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Issue 4 / Summer 2012

Our girl crush talks about her singing career, finding love and pursuing your passion

Starting a Business

Living with PMDD

Accordino Designs Freelance graphic designer, making your world a more beautiful place.

M.L.T.S. Magazine Issue 4: Summer 2012 MOST STYLISH & BEAUTIFUL 09 Outgrowing Those Extra-Large Tshirts JANET IAFRATE was born with ectodermal dysplasia, which meant very thin hair and discolored, oddlyshaped teeth. Since the days of Full House, Iafrate has found peace with her looks.



11 Full Body Detail: The Highlights TORI MARCHIONY wrote a health and fitness column called Full Body Detail for M.L.T.S. Magazine’s website. Here are some of the best tips, tricks and news she shared with us during her tenure. 12 This Girl’s So Fixe Ally Cruz, the ambitious Portuguese founder of the Fixe clothing and accessory brand, just may be Philly’s ticket to the fashion big leagues. BIANCA GOLASA CRESPO picked her brain. 13 Now She’s Teaching By Example Erin Meagher was a high school teacher with business expertise whose students often encouraged her to start her own business. Finally, she did and now, her coconut oil company is garnering national attention. ALISON MILLAR shares Meagher’s story

MOST LOVED 15 Love is a Battlefield... ...Especially when you’re dealing with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, a hormonal imbalance that takes its toll on your health and your relationships. AMANDA VAN SLYKE tells us what it’s like living - and loving - with PMDD.

17 What’s Age Got to Do With It? We’ve had some detractors question how useful the advice of our young columnists could be, especially when it comes to love. Here, our Love Doctor, CHRISTOPHER DOCTOR, tells you why it doesn’t matter that he’s only 25. 18 Love Lessons

What does it take to have a healthy relationship? ROSELLA ELEANOR LaFEVRE and CARY CARR have set out to examine what makes and breaks a relationship 20 Sharing Your Problems with Each Other You’re partners. Meaning you’re supposed to share and solve

M.L.T.S. Magazine

CONTENTS Issue 4: Summer 2012

5 problems together. It’s not always easy. ROSELLA ELEANOR LaFEVRE went to an expert to help you better communicate with your mate.

of young women? JENNIE BURD presents her analysis. 27 Books


28 5 Must-Watch Classics

21 I Know My Worth It’s rare to find paid internships in certain fields of study, but there comes a point where you have to say no to no pay. ROSELLA ELEANOR LaFEVRE explains why she recently turned down an unpaid internship.


23 A Brief Guide to Starting Your Own Business If you’re looking to start your own business, start with these five steps. By JAMES KIM 24 The Master of Photogenic Philosophy Philadelphia-bred, PPA-certified photographer Jeani Grady is the owner of Catalano Studio Inc. BIANCA GOLASA CRESPO interviewed Grady about her passion and her business.

MOST ENTERTAINING 25 Girls on Top This past season, a slew of TV shows featuring young women premiered. The question is: Are they helping or hurting the perception

28 Karen Gross is Too Damn Cool She wears a black feather boa and white flower in her hair while singing about finding and winning love. She sings about Hammerstein in the composer’s house. And she’s just the cutest. ROSELLA ELEANOR LaFEVRE talks to her about success and pursuing your passion.


32 Volunteering is Really Rewarding Working with a good cause is great for the soul. Here, three students share their experiences volunteering. 36 Calixte: A Novel Excerpt Here’s an excerpt of our editor’s recently published young adult romance novel. Enjoy!

IN EVERY ISSUE 04 Editor’s Letter 05 Managing Editor’s Letter 06 Contributors/Masthead 07 MLTSMag Online 44 Final Say

Our cover girl looks so fabulous thanks to the combined work of nature and these talented ladies: Judith D’Andrea ( did Gross’ makeup and outfit. Ettore Mastroddi (www.ettoremastroddi. com) did Gross’ hair.

S o T o k y o

Accessories that take you there...

Orientation | Editor’s Letter Dear Reader, Long time, no see. Sorry about that. This past semester at Temple University, I had statistics and macroeconomics. Talk about stressful. Between homework and trying to find time to breathe, I struggled to try to pull together this, the fourth issue. Now, we’re back! And I gotta say, I’m really proud of this issue. First of all, we’ve got the coolest cover girl. Karen Gross is a caberet singer, songwriter and comedienne based in Philadelphia. She’s been performing in Philadelphia and New York City for close to 11 years. It all started with her show, Sex and the Single Singer, and now the attached beauty, who works during the day as a communications manager at a local museum, is performing for the Philadelphia Art Museum’s Art After 5 series and singing about Oscar Hammerstein II in the house where he wrote The Sound of Music. Talented, sweet and wise, Gross is the kind of woman you wish was your best friend. And here, on page 29, I picked her brain about making it as a singer, pursuing two different careers, finding love, and what she wishes she’d known five years ago. Also in this issue, we’ve got interviews with several entrepreneurs and a bunch of essays for your enjoyment. Now, onto my bad news. Bianca Crespo, who started as our Managing editor after the release of our second issue, is leaving the team as she heads to L.A. to pursue her writing dreams. It’s such a shame to lose her. She kept us on track and kicked writers’ butts until they turned in great copy. Ms. Crespo has also done her fair share of writing and a lot of her wonderful photography has graced our pages. Always full of ideas and enthusiasm, she’s been the best managing editor I could have asked for. I’m already shedding tears over losing her. I’d wish her the best but I know she has what it takes! Well, I hope you enjoy the next issue. As always, let us know what you think!


JOIN THE TEAM! We’re always looking for new talent to contribute to our quarterly magazine and daily blog. Some of the contributors we need include editors, writers, photographers, stylists to work on photo shoots, makeup artists and hairstylists to work on fashion and beauty editorials as well as contribute written content. If you’re interested, we want to hear from you. Send us resumes, previously published clips, photos of your work, ideas for articles and photo shoots and completed works. Send it to

Photos: Foreground image courtesy of Bianca Golasa Crespo & Background Image by Alana Sise

Orientation | Managing Editor’s Letter

California Dreaming.............

When I was a little girl, books consumed my life. I found myself neck-deep in lands covered by medieval castles, a series of unfortunate events, deserted islands, and more. Each image was manifested in my mind, colorful and deeply enriched by the trickery of my imagination. I lived and breathed literature. And from this thickening of dreams and fantasies, writing emerged. It was a beautiful baby that I carry with me to this very day. I feel like writing is the ultimate power: having the ability to craft entrancing words means that you have an intellect both clear and insightful. Minds rule the world, although some may think that men do. I knew that approaching Rosella Eleanor LaFevre would give me the opportunity to teach other young, driven women how to hone the written word. I knew I had to seize this chance. I am beyond happy that I did. From the last months of 2011 and well into the summer of 2012, I have grown as a writer and an editor. I have seen the beauty of Philadelphia women through their work in the magazine. From sassy cabaret performers and promising bakers to soulful leading ladies and inspiring news anchors, I have witnessed the roots of passionate women. They grow each and every day. Through M.L.T.S. MagaSummer 2012

zine, I know that these roots will continue to stretch. It has been an honor to provide the nourishment. I will be seeking great, rewarding screenwriting pursuits in Los Angeles, California, this August, and therefore, I shall be leaving my position as Managing Editor. But I know that whomever takes my spot will fulfill the same promising tasks of the magazine with the best interests of our fine young women in mind. M.L.T.S. Magazine has changed my life for the better. I thank Rosella, the force behind the storm, for allowing me to put my heart and soul into this publication. I thank my friends and family for their undying support through fudge-thick and paper-thin. And last but not least, I thank YOU, the readers, writers, photographers, and participants of Most Likely To Succeed Magazine. You made my work exciting and fruitful. Thank you all. Keep calm and carry on.




M.L.T.S. MAGAZINE <<< Bianca

Golasa Crespo, 22

Crespo is a freelance writer and photographer who earned her Bachelor’s degree in English at Temple University. She has written and edited work for the Philadelphia Daily News, JUMP Philly Magazine, Catalano Studio, Raphaela Studio, Her Campus Temple, and M.L.T.S. Magazine. She is vigorously pursuing the completion of her postmodern horror play, The Sweetheart Resistance. This August, Bianca will be pursuing her writing career in Los Angeles, CA. 

Michele Elaine Hannon, 21

Education: Senior Film and Media Arts student at Temple University. Extracurriculars: Watch Supernatural and HIMYM, work on film ideas, play RISK with my awesome nerdy friends. I love college... because it gives me a chance to learn, grow and enjoy the hell out of my early 20’s. Favorite food: Bacon-topped pizza is my weakness. Favorite drink: Vanilla Coke. Favorite movie: The Fall. Favorite band: Queen has been a recent favorite. Favorite book: Harry Potter always and forever (book 6 might be my favorite). Worst nightmare: Not having my friends in my life. No. 1 of your bucket list: Die happy. The best class you’ve taken: Exhibition and Distribution, because it made me realize I have a passion for producing.

Janet Iafrate, 30 >>> Education: BA, Fordham; MA, University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Favorite drink: Anything that involves good friends or family sitting to my right and left. Favorite book: I could probably read “Slaughterhouse Five” every day for the rest of my life and keep finding new sentences to be excited about. No. 1 of your bucket list: Driving across country with good company. What you love about M.L.T.S. Magazine: I think it’s innovative, and totally unafraid of talking about things that women actually need to talk about. It’s creating its own category. One tip to help others survive college: Take your time-- don’t feel like you have to make every decision and experience every major milestone in four short years. A good day is... A day with Downton Abbey in it. I guess I set the bar pretty low. Jennie Burd, 24

Education: About to snag my BA in English from Temple. Extracurriculars: Distribution Editor for Hyphen and intern at Judith Riven Literary Agency. I’m also a crazy cat lady and I watch TV like it’s my job. Favorite food: Cheese. It’s how I maintain my doughey figure. No. 1 of your bucket list: Have you ever read “The Most Dangerous Game”? One tip to help others survive college: Craigslist is a good place to find roommates if you don’t mind sifting through all the grifters and rapists. Better to piss off someone you weren’t already friends with. Best college memory: I’m not particularly proud of this, but driving around with my friends throwing eggs at party-bound pedestrians on a Saturday night. Turns out I have really good aim. I wear this over and over: On the rare occasion that I take off my cut-offs, they stay in the shape of my legs. Also, my green, crushed velvet blazer that I’ve been instructed never to wear again.



M.L.T.S. Magazine is for young women Most Likely to Succeed. We aim to help our readers achieve their dreams, an that involves putting out four issues of this magazine via and MagCloud. com. The magazine is created by a bunch of passionate, talented individuals who make no money from the fantastic product you see before you, so please, please don’t get angry with us and try to sue. You’ll only get gallons of salt water for your trouble.

MLTSMag Online Overcoming Obstacles (An EDITOR”S NOTE Excerpt): “When two bodies interact by exerting force on each other, these action and reaction forces are equal in magnitude, but opposite in direction.” Those of you who are pushing hard to achieve your dreams know that, in accordance with Isaac

The Lies Guys Tell to Get Into Your Pants (A Love Smudged Excerpt)

Newton’s third law of motion, when you push toward those dreams, the universe pushes back. Sure, sometimes things go smoothly. But how rare is that? It can be hard to handle these blows. You’re tempted to take it personally. Don’t.

Ah, freshman year. Keg stands, beer pong, dirty basements and mysterious jungle juice. And, of course, random hook ups. I have no shame in admitting that I’ve slept with more than one person in my lifetime, and why should I? It’s part of being an adult – getting to make your own, personal choices about what you want to do in the bedroom. But we young adults also make our mistakes. I was utterly obsessed with a rising senior (gorgeous, hilarious and clearly way-toosmooth), and I had endlessly tried to receive just a smidge of his attention. Eventually, it worked and oh, did he charm me. Next thing I knew, we were making out on the floor in my dorm-room, and he was working on persuading me to go into the

bathroom for a little one-on-one action. Problem: I didn’t really think I was ready to have sex with someone without any sort of commitment. But his sweet words flowed into my ear and next thing I knew, my clothes were on the floor. He promised me that I was “the perfect girl for him” and that he “couldn’t wait to take me on a date.” Unfortunately, those were only words, and next thing I knew, I was crying on the subway reading his (quite cowardly) rejection text messages. So what could I possibly learn? Well, for one not to fall for the guy that swoons every girl at the party, but also that any guy that doesn’t understand the word no the first time isn’t worth it.

Check out Love Smudged, the biweekly sex and love column written by Cary Carr and published every other Tuesday on our blog.

CONFESSIONS: I’m Terrified of Driving I don’t know how to drive. I’ve been putting it off since I was sixteen. That’s how old I was when my dad gave me my first driving lesson. We were in a parking lot in the middle of nowhere, right near the Pennsylvania-New York border. It was nighttime — after the falling of the sun from the sky. And I sat behind the wheel of my parents’ massive Buick Rainier. Dad told me to take the SUV out of park and I coasted in neutral for a little before he told me to hit the gas. The vehicle bucked forward. I was headed for a wall when Dad yelled at me. I pulled the gear shift into park before putting my foot on the brake. Yelling. That’s what I heard. I can’t remember the words but I can still feel how they made me feel. I felt like I was five years old again and I’d just admitted to duping a neighbor out of some change under the guise of a donation to our Girl Scouts troop when all my sister and I wanted was some candy. Since then, every thought of getting behind the wheel and every “You should learn to drive” comment has made my stomach turn over, a flash of panic cut through my body. I can’t actually tell you what makes me sick to think of actually driving. Maybe it’s that I don’t believe I can control a 2,000lb. automobile. Or that I don’t want to have another responsibility. Or that I don’t have the ability to handle the added financial Summer 2012

burden that is owning a car. And yet, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Well, just because she learns to drive doesn’t mean she needs to own a car.” Don’t say it out loud. Don’t tell me that. Let me have my excuses. Eventually I’ll learn. Just not today. (Or tomorrow.) For now, I’m only willing to admit that I’m terrified of driving. Baby steps, people. – Rosella Eleanor LaFevre



Most Beautiful & Stylish

Outgrowing Those Extra-Large T-shirts JANET IAFRATE was born with ectodermal dysplasia, which meant very thin hair and discolored, oddly-shaped teeth. Since the days of Full House, Iafrate has found peace with her looks.

Photos: Bianca Golasa Crespo


ne of the first activities we learn as little kids is to connect dots on a piece of paper. I suppose that’s how all of this started for me—I was simply connecting the dots, absorbing conversations, totaling up what I saw. I saw a pattern well before kindergarten. The women who made up my little world—at home, in school, on television—were always annoyed with some aspect of their appearance. From my family, to my teachers, to Mrs. Brady and D.J. Tanner, the women I knew complained. They complained about their hair, that their pants didn’t fit, that they needed makeup in order to leave the house, that they needed to shave their legs, that they would “work off the weight” in the summer, that they looked too old. I connected some dots, drew some lines, and before even entering kindergarten I stepped back, gazed at the whole picture, and suddenly there it was—my body was a thing that would cause me an awful lot of pain, or at least some annoyance. A war was raging between the “good side,” my mind Summer 2012

and spirit, my creativity and my heart, and “the villain,” my reflection in any given mirror. To add to the issue, I was also born with a mild case of ectodermal dysplasia. There are many varieties, but in short: My hair is very thin and sparse, to the point that if I am not wearing my detachable hair, one can easily see straight through to my scalp. As a kid, I received questions ranging from “Do you have cancer?” to “Why do you look like that?” My teeth, too, were misshapen and spaced apart, another symptom of the condition, which made me shy about smiling well into my college years. I will not recount the stories of teasing and bullying here, because thankfully I have just as many memories of the wonderful friends, teachers and adults in my life who tried to convince me that I was beautiful, none of whom I believed at the time. I found some solace in things that did not have to do with my reflection: books, movies, music. And I found T-shirts. I like to divide my life into eras—the Sesame Street years, 9

the Ramona Quimby stage, the summer I discovered Elvis Costello. This was the Age of the Extra-Large T-Shirt. At fifteen, I was less than five feet tall and weighed eighty-five pounds, but I found it necessary to wear giant flannels and extra-large R.E.M. T-shirts that I grabbed from my brother’s laundry pile. I wasn’t “grunge” by any means; I wasn’t cool enough to pull off any fad or subculture altogether. In a way, the T-shirts hid me from the body I hated. And I mean hated. This was different than the problems that arose every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. for the teenagers on TV; my problem couldn’t be solved by 8:25 p.m. like theirs. It wasn’t as if I wanted to look like someone else, or imagined myself with thicker hair and perfect teeth. I hated all bodies. Period. Flesh and skin, every cell that made up my sparse hair and misshapen teeth—this, I subconsciously decided, was the stuff that made people feel bad about themselves. That these things were the root of the pain 10

women built up over so many years was perhaps the first “dot” I had ever connected. If I could have slipped out of my body entirely and simply existed as a fleshless soul, I would have taken it over waking up every day inside of this…. thing. But alas, as with all major stages, the Age of the ExtraLarge-T-Shirt evolved into other eras of personal identification. A lot happened in between 15 and 25, but I remember one year in particular propelling me into a healthier perspective on my reflection. After spending most of my life believing that the internal and the external were in fact at odds, I reached 20 feeling that I wasn’t exactly happy with either side. I grew angrier, was more defensive about my hair and I rarely smiled out of fear of anyone seeing my teeth. My responsibility for my physical health was altogether slipping my mind. I got sick frequently and brushed it off. It was as if I had subconsciously disowned my own body. Eventually, I felt a need to at least maintain a sense of balance between the self I had attempted to dismiss altogether and the self I wanted to be. And the road toward reconciliation began to unravel before me, slowly. Every time I made any attempt to change and own my physical appearance, whether it was purchasing a hair attachment, seeking out dental work or simply buying a new outfit, there was a part of me wracked with guilt. Was I giving in? Had I let the Cosmo covers and Gossip Girl ads win? Was I becoming a part of a superficial world I did not believe in and would I become less of a genuine person in an attempt to feel better about my reflection? Janet, settle down. No, I did not become a lesser person or less genuine, nor did I become self-absorbed. Sometimes I go shopping or out with friends without wearing my hair-attachment, and I put about as much effort into my daily physical appearance as I do into learning how to cook—which is to say not very much. But the changes I’ve made in this new era, which I haven’t yet named, have made it possible for me to pursue things that I could not in the ExtraLarge-T-Shirt-Era. One of those opportunities happened to be one that required standing in front of large groups of people and confidently explaining things. Ironically, I ended up teaching at an all-girls school, which was a bit like holding up a mirror to my past every day, a constant reminder of the hatred I felt for my own body when I was their age. I am very open with my students about my hair loss, about my wrestling with the concept of beauty, about the distance we sometimes maintain between our physical and emotional health. That disparity between my mind and my body—call it shame, disgust, hatred, whatever—I hope they never know it the way I did. I hope that for them it is all one beauty. Truth be told, I still struggle from time to time, because there is no Emerald City of body image. It’s a working relationship, something I will strive to understand better, to improve upon, not to obsess over but not to ignore completely. I struggle with how to speak to my 3-year-old niece. Do I tell her how beautiful I think she is? Do I wait for that, and instead tell her how smart, funny, and kind she is? Is it insane to worry about it? Like with my students, I do not want her to connect the same dots that I did. In the meantime, I’m happy to throw on an extra-large T-shirt now and again, not in an attempt to forget about the body underneath, but simply because I like the shirt. I think I look pretty good when I’m wearing something I like. •

Most Beautiful & Stylish | xxxxxxxxxxx

Full Body Detail: The Highlights TORI MARCHIONY wrote a health and fitness column called Full Body Detail for M.L.T.S. Magazine’s website. Here are some of the best tips, tricks and news she shared with us during her tenure.

Work It Off On Less $$$.

Looking for a Workout Playlist?

Looking for a cheap trainer? Try finding an upper-level kinesiology student interested in being your private trainer. Everyone wants the opportunity to practice their skills. Kinesiology, athletic training, physical therapy- these are all majors where people may be aspiring to be a personal trainer. Find one of them, and offer them $10 an hour to train you. They get an education and a few bucks, and you save big money on personalized workouts.

Try mine: - “Power” by Kanye West - “Here We Go” by Chiddy Bang - “Guilty Pleasure” by Cobra Starship - “Miami” by Will Smith - “No More Long Years” by Matt & Kim - “We Got More Bounce In California” by Soul Kid - “The Way I Are” by Timbaland (feat. Keri Hilson) - “I’m Really Hot” by Missy Elliott

Drink This, Be Healthy. Aloe is a natural detoxifier and has been proven to aid in digestion, improve circulation, speed healing, dilate capillaries and aid in cell growth. Two 4-oz shots of it daily is a great boost for your system and one that I definitely recommend.

Good News for Your Coffee Addiction. Research shows that the antioxidants and caffeine in coffee help with the following: - Restorative anti-aging properties - Reduces risk of heart disease, diabetes, dementia, colon cancer, cirrhosis, gallstones, Parkinson’s disease - Relieves headaches and asthma symptoms - Protects against cavities Summer 2012

Sitting Pretty (and Healthy) Stuck behind a desk at your summer internship? Follow these steps to avoid pain: - Back straight, shoulders back, booty touching the back of your chair - Uncross your legs to ensure even weight distribution on the hips. - Your knees should be at a right angle. If you’re not tall enough for this, lower your chair, or put your feet on a phone book. - Feet should be flat on the floor. - Switch positions every 30 minutes. - When sitting in a chair that rolls and pivots, don’t twist at the waist while sitting. Instead, turn your whole body. 11

This Girl’s So Fixe What does your clothing line say about you? I want to show the world what I can create and make because this is what I love do to. My Fixe logo consists of two f’s facing each other. They represent my grandfather, Fernando, whom I have dedicated When did you first become interested in fashion? Fixe to. He taught me everything I know I knew that I always wanted to be in fashion at a young age. My avos – ‘grandabout sewing and his support is still motiparents’ in Portuguese – were excellent tailors for many years and I grew up vating me today. making my own doll clothes from the scrapes of fabrics that my avo would bring home from work. Let’s just say, my dolls always looked “fixe.” What do you want people to think and how do you want them to feel when they put on What or who really made you want to become a designer? Fixe clothing and accessories? My avo taught me everything I needed to know about sewing and about the fit “Fixe” means ‘cool’ and ‘chic’ in Portuof garments. I’ve always been a creative and an artistic person, so I wanted to guese, which is my heritage, and that’s pursue my dream of creating illustrations and making them into a reality. what I want my clothes to represent and make you feel. Whenever I create a garWhy did you start Fixe? ment and I see it being worn, I get this I went into this industry not knowing what to expect, and it’s the same thing in rush of overwhelming emotions: I want life. I love how clothes make you feel, everyday is a chance to express how you to laugh, I want to cry, I want to scream, feel and have clothes that represent those special moments in your life. “YEAH, I DID THAT!” Who inspires you today? How would you like to contribute to women’s There are so many things that can inspire me: music, scenery, and everyday life. fashion? My dream is for my clothing line to be a part of this fashion empire. I want it to I want everyone to feel “fixe” in my clothes. inspire people to be creative. I guess you can say I have a lot of pride in what I want my garments to make a woman feel I do. That’s what makes it all worth it. If it wasn’t for my family to support me “fixe,” regardless of shape or size. Every every step of the way, I don’t think I would be the designer I am today. woman deserves to feel beautiful. If my clothes can make them feel that way, then You can find Ally’s fashion company online at my mission is accomplished. •


Photo courtesy of Ally Cruz/Fixe

Ally Cruz, the ambitious Portuguese founder of the Fixe clothing and accessory brand, just may be Philly’s ticket to the fashion big leagues. BIANCA GOLASA CRESPO picked her brain.

Most Beautiful & Stylish | Beauty / Food Entrepreneur

Now She’s Teaching By Example S Erin Meagher was a high school teacher with business expertise whose students often encouraged her to start her own business. Finally, she did and now, her coconut oil company is garnering national attention. ALISON MILLAR shares Meagher’s story

hortly after graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree from North Carolina State University, Erin Meagher took a job as a high school business teacher. Meagher’s passion for motivating students to pursue entrepreneurship made her a popular teacher at Osceola High School in Seminole, FL. “They would always ask me, ‘Ms. Meagher, you are so passionate about starting a business. Why are you here with us, when you should be out there doing it for yourself?’” Meagher recalls. While amazed at their encouragement, Meagher simply acknowledged their kind words and went on with her lessons. But with fine-tuned business savvy, she had a longing to launch her own business and see her curriculum come to life. A couple years later, Meagher, a self-declared “health nut,” discovered extra virgin coconut oil as a replacement for butter and oils in cooking and baking. “I couldn’t get enough of the coconut oil. I was using it on everything!” she says.

Photo courtesy of Erin Meagher/Kelapo

Meagher on the set of Studio 10 TV with hosts Jerome and Holley.

Summer 2012


Impressed by its taste and versatility, she began researching its origins and health benefits and read an article in the Tampa Bay Times about how coconut oil helped improve the memory of an Alzheimer’s patient. That’s when she recognized the product’s potential and the role it would play in her entrepreneurial path. She spread the word about coconut oil to her friends and family and anyone who would listen. Meagher, then 26 years old, decided that she would become the official advocate of coconut oil. At the urging of her students, Erin launched Kelapo™ in 2009. Her goal was to produce the very best quality coconut oil on the market, while ensuring fair and ethical treatment of the farmers who cultivate it. She insists that the coconut farmers be protected under the IMO Fair Trade Program, that they are organic-certified, and that the company engage in eco-friendly practices, a combination she says was lacking in the industry. “Sure, there were other coconut oils already out there, but to have the very best, I wanted to make sure of the quality of the oil from start to finish,” Meagher says. “I found a farming collective in Sri Lanka doing just that. The certified organic farmers harvest and extract high food grade extra virgin coconut oil. The oil is then shipped to the US in eco-friendly shipping containers, packaged in organic-certified facilities,

and sold at a competitive price.” Meagher’s timing could not have been better. With trend-spotting experts declaring 2012 “The Year of the Coconut,” and the NY Times calling coconut oil “the darling of the natural-foods world,” Kelapo is in position to soar. Celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow are raving about coconut oil. Reportedly, Jennifer Aniston was spotted with a shopping cart full of the stuff. Popular health gurus Jillian Michaels, Dr. Oz, and tough Bravo TV Trainer Jackie Warner are vocal about coconut oil’s health benefits. Even Victoria’s Secret super-models Gisele Bundchen and Miranda Kerr say 14

they include coconut oil in their daily routines. “We’ve definitely seen the impact of these trendsetters on our business,” Millar says. “It helps when you are marketing a product people aren’t familiar with to be able to point to someone they trust and say, ‘Apolo Ohno eats this’ or ‘Dr. Oz says coconut oil will help you lose weight.’” Meagher and her team participate in as many industry events as they can. “You have to get out there and put your product in front of as many people as possible. That’s the test of whether people want your product or not, especially when you are new. You never know who is going to be willing to help you or give you valuable advice,” she says. And it looks like that advice has paid off. At the end of 2011, Kelapo acquired national distribution for its entire product line, making it available at stores like Whole Foods, Dean and Deluca, and Wegman’s. This January, Kelapo was named in an article listing the Top Five Trends of the Winter Fancy Food Show, an industry event featuring nearly 80,000 products. The success of her business can be attributed to the support of her family and friends, whom Meagher recruits often to help on projects. “My sister tags along at trade shows to help me with behind the scenes activities,” she says with a laugh. “My stepdad has even built tables for trade shows! They’re my support system.”

Meagher also relies on her lean, but just as ambitious team of hard-working employees. “At first, it was just me working alone in my house. Then I recruited my good friend Alison, who was crazy enough to agree to work at a start-up,” she says. Now Kelapo has four full-time employees, “who all complement each other’s skill sets, work as hard as I do, and help make Kelapo a success on a daily basis,” Meagher says. These days, though outside of the classroom, you can still find Meagher sharing her knowledge and experiences with other younger, more novice entrepreneurs. “When challenges or obstacles arise, keep on your path and remember the enthusiasm and drive that led you down that path in the first place,” Meagher advises. “Every day is a new challenge, but when you have passion and desire, ideas are actually easy to follow through with.” • Alison Millar works at Kelapo.

Photo courtesy of Erin Meagher/Kelapo

Most Beautiful & Stylish | Beauty / Food Entrepreneur

Most Loved

Photo courtesy of Amanda Van Slyke.

Love is a Battlefield... ...Especially when youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re dealing with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, a hormonal imbalance that takes its toll on your health and your relationships. AMANDA VAN SLYKE tells us what itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s like living - and loving - with PMDD. Summer 2012


Most Loved | Essay


or a century I wondered what was ‘wrong’ with my mother. She would become enraged about the pettiest things, seemingly picking fights constantly. When I asked my father how he could live with her outbursts, he said she didn’t mean what she was saying. He told me to just let it go and not take it personally. Bullshit, I thought, and for years I fought back, trying to make her understand how badly her words hurt me. But nothing changed. So a year before I was about to graduate, I moved out. I promised myself I would do everything in my power not to be like her. Fast forward five years. I’m almost twenty-three and still doing everything in my power to reject the vision I’m terrified of becoming. But it’s not that easy. I was diagnosed with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder – a permanent hormone imbalance that affects three to eight percent of women. PMDD typically begins on day twelve of the menstrual cycle and ends four days after a woman’s period. That’s roughly one week out of the month that I have free of symptoms, the kind of symptoms which take over my life to the point where I can barely work, study or have a social life without interference. Sylvia Plath called it “the Bell Jar.” To me, it’s my own personal black hole – a disorder which sucks me into a foggy state of irritability. It causes uncontrollable, non-stop crying spells, and unsettling, supressed rage. I get constant anxiety and panic attacks. I get deep depression and suicidal ideation. Not to mention the pre-menstrual migraines, cystic acne, intense cravings and constant fatigue. And I just generally feel like I’m going crazy. But this isn’t surprising. When I was a teen, my parents called me “a trouble maker” and various ex-best friends said I was “an attention seeker.” There is a spot in my parents’ staircase where I kicked in the wall. There are report cards showing a drastic decrease in marks which were once honours. And there are memories of not feeling loved or being good enough. I’m sure these feelings were connected to growing up with a mother with the same thoughts. And that’s why I’ve always told myself kids weren’t in the cards. How could they be with someone so unstable? And then I met Benito Ladguto*. He was handsome, mature and five years older than I. The first few months were spent drinking beers, watching movies and debating things – including why I didn’t want kids. While he said he was just joking, it bothered me. A few months later, he started looking for houses. I knew this was coming, since he told me at the beginning of our relationship he was saving up for one. But when your boyfriend is buying a house, the typical thing to do is assume one day you’ll be moving in with him. Isn’t it? Every serious relationship I’ve been in has been a bit dramatic. The dysphoria fucks with my mind, creating warped thoughts and lies. Those I love turn into red targets for the bull I morph into. Soon my sweet and optimistic interior becomes covered by doubt and negativity, creating a loose cannon that just needs to be loved. But who wants to love a wild animal that just attacked them? “Obviously PMDD affects relationships,” says Dr. Robert Hauptman of St. Albert, Canada. “Because of the predominant

mood symptoms, loved ones and friends can be directly impacted by a patient’s PMDD. My advice would be to be supportive and to have patience with someone who has PMDD. Treatment is often very successful and can help restore a patient’s emotional health and relationships.” There was this time Benito* and I refer to as the ‘pie incident.’ He just moved into his house, and I had this great idea of going over to bake him an apple pie. I had never baked a pie in my life. But for some reason, I was at the grocery store getting fucking apples. When I called him and he said he was hanging out with his friends, I flipped my shit. I texted him all night about how my awesome idea for making him an awesome apple pie was ruined, and how it was all his fault. Really, I was just trying to prove my value. If I could become Suzie Homemaker, then I wouldn’t be the woman who’s too fucked up to be loved. But in the year and half that *Benito and I dated, I’ve learned feeling loved means much more than being loved. It means loving myself and healing from the past in order to stop the turmoil that has been taking over my life and my relationships. Only then, will I know the difference between dysphoria and my own mind. “There are many treatments available for PMDD sufferers,” says Doctor Hauptman. He tells me that there is hope, and that with work I can improve. I don’t know if I will ever have kids. But I do know that I am on a long, personal journey which will always supply one person I can trust to separate the lies from the truth: Myself. •

“I told myself kids

weren’t in the cards.”

AMANDA VAN SLYKE runs the website, Flurt! ( and is currently the closest she’s been with her mother. She and Benito* are in a non-labeled relationship. Amanda continues to work on improving her health through a natural, drug-free routine. She is the happiest she’s ever been.

Photo courtesy of Amanda Van Slyke.


* Names have been changed

Most Loved | Love Doctor

What’s Age Got to Do With It? We’ve had some detractors question how useful the advice of our young columnists could be, especially when it comes to love. Here, our Love Doctor, CHRISTOPHER DOCTOR, tells you why it doesn’t matter that he’s only 25.

Photo by Rosella Eleanor LaFevre.


elcome to my office. In fact, here you will be immediately seen. No need for an appointment. There aren’t any nurses, and everybody is welcome, regardless of what ails you. I don’t want to treat the symptoms, I want to cure the problem. My problems, your problems, and every damn problem in the world. ‘Course the world is a very problematic place, now isn’t it? Let me first tell you that I appreciate you. The fact that you care at all what I have to say is the only reason I will say it. For those of you that I have helped along the way, I am grateful to have done so. There are no people out there I would have rather helped than you. If you have looked through these pages thinking you’ll find guidance, and have not, then I offer you my deepest apology. If you think that what I’ve offered is of no consequence because of my age, then hopefully I have something to offer you yet. Like many kids, I looked up to the adults who surrounded me and mocked them. They had obviously forgotten what it was like to be young. The many things they did and I could not, the only reasonable explanation being was that they were adults, and I, only a kid was bullshit. I found it to be completely unacceptable. Were you any different? They say that in time, you will understand. I think some people take much longer than others. I remember once I walked into a pizza parlor. There were two teenage girls arguing with each other. Freshmen in high school, and they bickered over which of their boyfriends really loved them. Inside, I laughed, because I remember my own way of thinking not all that long ago. I allowed myself, in turn, to mock their conversation inside of my head. What could you possibly know of love, young lady? I thought to say it, but I bit my tongue. In that moment, I felt like those insufferable adults I dealt with when I was their age. This would not do, and I would not allow myself to become them. So the question turned from what do they know about love, to what do I know? I know that it is wonderful. I know that it is painful. I know that it can be fleeting, and I know that it can last forever. I can tell you what else love means to me, but I have learned an extremely high number of differences. I’m sure you have learned much of the same. One thing I have learned that, we as people, live our lives as fractions of a whole. To be more specfic, we have less of the w, and much more of the hole. We patch the best we Summer 2012

can, yet we are always left reaching for things to try and fill it. I ask, are the things that patch up your life any better than mine? I am still young. Does that make me unfit to give you advice? I have always believed that age, for the most part, is completely irrelevent. When you are young, the first thing your parents try to teach you is the difference between right and wrong. I am in serious doubt that there are many people who do not know that difference, even if they had no one to teach them. So, I figure the best way I can think to express age would be the time you started to make your own decisions. For argument’s sake, that may begin at 18. The world has given you 18 long years to think hard and plot your real birth. By that count, I am currently seven years old. I have had seven long years to make mistakes, and make everything that has ever happened to me matter. Hopefully I will have many, many more. I have been equipped with basic tools. Whether from people, books, or media, I have learned the importance of good decisions. Because they are permanent, and consequences can sometimes be more than you could handle, I have tried hard to make them count. I could not begin to remember exactly how many bad decisions I have made through the years. I can tell you that I have learned, like everyone does, that hindsight is 20/20. I will even tell you that when making most of those decisions, I knew they were not the right ones. I will admit to having made them anyway. I don’t live with this burden because I know that there are many more decisions to be made, and this time, I will make the right ones. Who am I to give advice? By my count, I am still only 7 years old. I have had only that much time to get things right. I know of many people who have had much longer. I’m not sure whether they have it more right than I. I dare not be the one to direct people’s lives. As people have assisted me, I will assist others. Everything that I have learned, be it meager and unimportant, I will place at your disposal. We as people are the world. We do not make it go round, we go with it all the same. Differences are made individually before they are made as a whole. To even get there, you need to place that “w” in front of what you call your “hole.” As for me, maybe I am still trying to fill it. I may not be more whole than you. But just maybe, something I have to say just might help after all. • 17

Love Lessons What does it take to have a healthy relationship? ROSELLA ELEANOR LaFEVRE and CARY CARR have set out to examine what makes and breaks a relationship

Scott Schuman, the Sartorialist, told New York magazine’s Amy Larocca about how his fashion blogger girlfriend Garance Dore’s fragility is becoming: “I grew up reading designers’ ideas about women, like: She’s so strong, she rules the world, whatever. I wouldn’t want to be with a girl like that, who’s type A. Garance is smart, driven, all these great Corsican qualities of self-determination, but she’s totally fragile. Totally insecure. That’s a real human. That’s the whole package.” It’s very important, I believe, to be able to be fragile or vulnerable with our loves. No one can be type A, 100 percent of the time. – REL 18

Photo from Focus Features.

Vulnerability is Key

You Gotta Keep That Loving Feeling Alive The most popular post I’ve ever written on my blog is called, “Phasin’.” In that post, I wrote about the honeymoon phase which is supposed to be the first 90 days of any relationship. Today, I still believe that the honeymoon phase does not have to end -- or it can, at least, last a much longer time than three months. Chris and I have been together two years and it still feels at least a little like we’re in that honeymoon phase. I think a large part of this has to do with the fact that  we make each other feel loved every day. We do small things for one another and we say “I love you” to each other a million times a day. Knowing that we care about each other is half the battle of keeping that honeymoon  feeling alive and  maintaining a healthy relationship, I believe. It seems to me that the reason older couples find themselves unhappy is because, in the everyday hustle and bustle, it’s easy to forget to say those three words with meaning. It’s certainly easy to take one another for granted, but perhaps half of the “work” people think they need to do in a relationship could be eliminated if they just remembered to say those words with a smile. – REL

Photo from Fox Searchlight.

Shared Interests Aren’t Everything When Tom Hansen described how perfect Summer was for him, his little sister said something very wise. “Just because she likes the same bizzaro crap you do doesn’t mean she’s your soul mate,” she told him. Tom’s preoccupation with his and Summer’s shared interests in (500) Days of Summer is something a lot of us have shared. When people look for partners, they tend to focus on shared interests, thinking that being able to talk for hours about something or other means they will never run out of things to talk about. In writing her incredible book, Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, one of the things Lori Gottlieb discovered while interviewing experts and regular people is that shared interests are not most important to making a relationship work. What’s really important is shared values and personality traits like patience, honesty and understanding. These are the things that determine a couple’s compatibility and what gets them through life together. – REL

Forget the Flaws or Move On So your boyfriend forgot to turn off the lights when he left the house and when you got home the cat wasn’t fed and the son-of-a-bitch forgot to make the bed? Get over it. FocusSummer 2012

ing on someone’s flaws will indefinitely destroy your relationship, especially if you’re consistently throwing them in your partner’s face thereby making them feel like a bad puppy that just had a carpet-abolishing incident. Now there’s some, shall we say, personality flaws that are simply unforgivable (i.e. anything that involves abuse, cheating, lying, etc.), but if you can’t let go of the little things than you’re not being fair to your mate. And, truth be told, none of us are perfect – excluding of course Ryan Gosling and George Clooney. Instead of focusing on how annoyed you are, try focusing on the positive -- like the fact that your partner is comfortable enough around you to be themself. Plus, those dorky character imperfections are what makes your sweetie multidimensional and – let’s face it -- pretty comical. – CC

Ditch the Routine Every weekend last year my boyfriend and I made our way to our favorite cheap Philadelphia eatery for create-yourown salads and buffalo burgers then we toured the shops on Walnut and eventually made our way back to the confines of his room to half watch a movie and happily fall asleep. Enjoyable? Yes. Comforting? Of course. But exciting? Clearly not. And the more of a routine rut we fell into, the more we argued. We didn’t have anything interesting to recap on when our night was over, and there weren’t any new, life experiences for us to share together. The routine was quietly destroying our bond. But when I moved to New York this summer, all of that changed. Each time we see each other, after obnoxiously long embraces, we have a new neighborhood to explore and adventures to embark on as a couple. And now, we have improved not only our conversations but also our bond. So this weekend, instead of finding peace in comfort, make your love get out of that rut and experience something new with you. It makes a big difference, I promise. – CC 19

Most Loved | Advice

Sharing Your Problems With Each Other

You’re partners. Meaning you’re supposed to share and solve problems together. It’s not always easy. ROSELLA ELEANOR LaFEVRE went to an expert to help you better communicate with your mate.

Know This: He’s Not a Mind Reader. Remember that your boyfriend deals with problems differently and so you can’t expect him to know by osmosis exactly what will help you. “Generally speaking, men are fixers, or problem solvers, so if you want your partner’s opinion on how to handle a situation, let him know that’s what you want,” says Jennifer Jones, a couples therapist who works with the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. When you need his rational brain to help you sort through something you can’t handle because you’re too emotional about it, you should say something like, “Hey, baby. I’m really upset 20

and I would love it if you would give me some ideas about how to deal with this.” But on the other hand, if you just need a listener, let him know. “Being upfront with what you want will cut down on yours and his frustration” especially if he offers you solution and you don’t take his advice, Jones says. When you’re face-to-face, start the conversation like this: “Something happened today that really bugged me and I think I’ll feel a lot better if I just tell you about it.”

Don’t Badger; Be Supportive. Men are taught to suffer in silence and figure out their issues on their own. From an early age, boys believe that talking with a friend about a problem they face will leave them feeling “weird” or like they’ve wasted their time shows the research in Child Development. As adults, they remain reticent because “They often feel that they can handle it, don’t want their partner to worry, or may not want to appear too vulnerable,” Jones says. If it’s been a while since he opened up to you and you think that something might be nagging at him, ask how he’s doing or feeling. Should he start talking, listen patiently before asking if he wants your advice, Jones suggests. But don’t take it personally if he doesn’t spill his guts right away. Just let him know you’re available if he needs you. “When a man knows his woman has his back or believes in him, it can mean the world!” Jones says. •

Photo from 92.9 NIN’s website.


hen your boss rips you a new one or your mother calls you fat, the first person you want to talk to is usually your man. Only he’s not quite the best listener. Every time you open up about your frustrations, he stares blankly at you or suggests a solution for your problems  – one you’re sure will never work. He just doesn’t get your needs like your best girlfriend. And, for the love of Thor, why won’t he ever open up to you about his own dilemmas? Well, recent findings published in the journal Child Development confirm what you may have read in self-help books: there are basic gender differences in how we expect to feel after talking about a problem that appear at a pretty early age. The truth is it takes communication in order to communicate say the experts I’ve talked to. 

Most Valuable

Photo by Bianca Golasa Crespo. Model: Amber Brown.

I Know My Worth Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rare to find paid internships in certain fields of study, but there comes a point where you have to say no to no pay. ROSELLA ELEANOR LaFEVRE explains why she recently turned down an unpaid internship.

Summer 2012


Most Valuable | Internships


got you contact information for a guy at the Metro,” Chris wrote to me in a text while he was at work. The car dealership where he works is a new advertiser in the free daily paper read by commuters and Chris had spoken to the ad sales rep about his journalism student girlfriend who happens to want a paying job in journalism. When I got home to our apartment that evening, Chris handed me the guy’s card. “He said to give him a call. He said he’s got jobs and internships open,” Chris said. Yippee! Maybe I’ll get a part-time paid journalism gig, I thought. Stupid me to get so excited. When I called the guy the next day, he offered to pass my resume and some clips along to an editor. “Thank you so much!” I said. Within minutes, I’d sent him an email with my resume, three targeted clips and the link to my online portfolio should the editor wish to see even more. Hours later, I had a new message in my inbox. The ad sales guy apologized saying there were no jobs open, only unpaid internships. Dagnabbit! I thanked him once again and shot the editor, whose email address he’d included, an email. In the email, I thanked him for his consideration and apologized that I couldn’t take an unpaid internship at this time. Would it be okay if I emailed him in a few months to let him know what I’ve been up to and to see if there are any new opportunities? The editor never responded. Those of you who are more experienced journalists may be shaking your heads at me. Why wouldn’t I devote 15-20 hours of my week to working without compensation? Because I’ve written news before. One of the pieces I wrote for Broad Street Media appeared on the front covers of both of their weekly newspapers (and I was paid to write it). So I’m sorry, but I’m not going to work hard at something I’d adept at for no money. Just ain’t happenin’. Now, if I had never interned before, I would have taken it. And maybe, if I wanted an internship in marketing, something that’s a little outside my area of expertise, I’d take an unpaid internship. But at this point, I’d really just like to get paid for the things I can do and do well so that on my night off, I can afford to buy candy at my local Wawa. At the moment, I work my ass off at a day job at Temple, run a quarterly online magazine (for which I am paid nothing) and am trying to further my freelance career. Seriously, I’m not looking for sympathy or pity -- even though between me and my hardworking live-in boyfriend we hardly make enough money to have any fun. Nope, it’s fine. Just don’t tell me that I should bow down and thank anyone willing to throw me an unpaid gig. I can make my own unpaid work. So perhaps, having read this, you’ll understand why a recent discussion board on a magazine group on LinkedIn pissed me off so badly. A young guy posted a fairly innocuous question asking if all journalism internships are unpaid and if so, why. The first response got my blood boiling. “Unfortunately, many [interns] are not yet at a standard where they are contributing anything of value. They often take more resources than they offer. So from the company’s view it is reasonable to have them work for a lim22

ited time, initially, for nothing. For many or most interns it is more ‘work experience,’ than ‘unpaid work’ per se! We are doing them a favor and [helping them] progress towards a career.” This woman’s response is outrageous to me. First of all, lots of interns will do as well as you let them. Yes, at first, there might be some instruction required but honestly? If you offer paying internships, those interns she’s claiming have to be “broken in” will stick around a lot longer than one semester, meaning there’s a significant return on your investment. And “for a limited time”? Most internships -- and I’ve had a bunch of unpaid internships -- that start off unpaid don’t ever start paying you, unless you’re hired as a fulltime staffer (which is by definition an entirely different gig). As for work experience, I get that argument. And I’ve made it to juniors and seniors I knew who had never had a single internship. I’ve often said that I learned more during my internships than during any class at my journalism school. But if the intern or potential intern has done this kind of work before -- and employers are honest enough to admit or grant that -- then they should be paid. Maybe not as much as a staffer, but give us more $12 a day (this is the stipend I’ve seen on most listings at companies like Conde Nast and Hearst, making a commute to New York City for an internship feel like a waste of my time and money, no matter how much I might learn by bringing Anna Wintour her coffee). In one of my classes this past semester, which was taught by an employed journalist, the teacher and one of her guest speakers lamented that the beginning salary for a lot of journalism jobs is about $20,000. I wanted to smack their indignant, disbelieving faces. I’d be overjoyed to make that much money in a year -- especially starting off. I didn’t go to journalism school expecting to come out making $60,000 a year, but I don’t think an internship that pays minimum wage is too much to ask. These companies wouldn’t hire interns if they spent more resources on the students than their work was worth. Once upon a time, I knew a girl who had to paid a $50 parking ticket incurred while spending her afternoon off taking photos for a local alternative weekly’s style blog. I asked her, “Can’t they pay that for you?” She scoffed at me and said she’d gotten another the week before that she was told she’d have to handle. Interns give a lot and they should be compensated fairly, especially if they’ve amassed a lot of relevant “work experience” at previous internships. Want another reason why interns should be given a dollar value? Because interns working for free devalues what paid employees and contract workers do for these kinds of companies. They offer valuable, viable skills that they expect to be fairly compensated for and they deserve it. I think interns do, too. After I turned down the internship at the Metro, I messaged a guy who was suggested to me on LinkedIn and asked if his company needed freelance writers. He said they don’t really use freelancers but they have paid internships. If I was interested, I should send my resume and some samples, he said. Within half an hour, I did just that. And later that day he asked me to interview for a position. Two weeks after my interview, I was told I got the $10 an hour gig. I’ve never felt so vindicated! •

I will not bow down and thank anyone willing to throw me an unpaid gig. I can make my own unpaid work.

Most Valuable | Business Tips

A Brief Guide to Starting Your Own Business If you’re looking to start your own business, start with these five steps. By JAMES KIM


f you have decided to take the plunge into the wild world of business, you are probably wondering what exactly you need to do to get things up and running. Here are five steps to help you along the way. From establishing a web presence to getting an online fax service, we’ll help get you started on the right track to success.

Give Your Business a Name The name you choose for your business will follow you around for quite some time. So, put a decent amount of thought into it. You don’t have to spend hours upon hours thinking about it, though. A simple name with a nice ring to it will do. Make sure it’s easy for people to spell and pronounce. And make sure it’s original. You always have the option of changing your company’s name if you decide it’s not the best one later on.

Establish a Web Presence

Art by J. Howard Miller.

To put yourself on the map, you have to create a website. Creating social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter is a good idea too. To create your website, you have to register a domain name. You can register a domain name by logging on to Once you’re there, you can make sure the domain name you want is available. If it is, you’re all set to purchase bandwidth, domain variations, and other customizations you might find useful.

Create a Business Space Creating a business space simply means establishing a business address, phone number, fax number, and business email address. You could use your own personal address and phone number at first. Unfortunately, doing this could cause trouble later on if your business grows. You might have to reprint materials, edit formation documents, and possibly even lose clients who don’t have your new contract information. Summer 2012

Classify your Business Your business should be classified for tax and other purposes. The most common types of businesses are: corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), sole proprietorships, and partnerships. Many startup CEOs classify their companies as LLCs. An LLC gets the best of both worlds. Like a corporation, it has limited liability. This means that if a company goes into debt or is sued for some reason, business owners and investors only have a limited amount of financial liability. Similar to a partnership, an LLC gets treated pretty well when it’s time to pay taxes. An LLC benefits from something called “flow-through taxation.” Flow-through taxation allows a business owner to pay the company’s taxes and his or her taxes on the same return. This prevents a CEO from being taxed twice, once as an individual and once as a company. You should do some research on the other business types before you decide which one is best for your company’s needs. Once you’ve decided, you need to submit articles of organization to your state’s Secretary of State. If you decide to categorize your business as an LLC, you’ll be assigned an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This number will enable you to do important things like acquire company insurance, open a company bank account, and take out loans.

Focus on Relationships with Clients As you start out, you’ll want to proactively seek out clients. One way to do this is to launch an email marketing campaign. This will get your company’s name right in the inboxes of potential clients. Online companies like GetResponse and Benchmark Email can help you with your email marketing efforts. You should also think about using simple marketing tools like business cards. Business cards are a great way to network. They are professional looking and impressive, which helps you establish credibility for your company. And they allow you to keep in touch with clients and other professionals. • 23

Who and/or what inspired you to take on this profession? The year was 1979. I was at a lunch break with my dear friend Lisa Van Horn. She declared her future was determined by perusing the Yellow Pages the prior evening. She proclaimed her new career choice was photography, as it seemed the most appealing in the rather large yellow book. She would enroll at the Antonelli Institute of Art & Photography immediately. I asked if I could tag along and she said ‘No way, you don’t even own a camera!’ I persisted. And the rest is history! If you knew then, what you know now, what would you change? Embrace all new technology. Shift your mindset from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can’ and you will be amazed at how much fun you can have.

The Master of Photogenic Philosophy

How does one professional-photographer-in-training start a business? First and foremost, you must become as equally adapt at business and marketing as you become in photography. Know your cost of sales! Value your work and structure your prices accordingly. Professional Photographers of America and Guild of Professional Photographers of the Delaware Valley are sensational resources for starting a new photography business. Surround yourself with positive people, who are willing to share in your vision.

Philadelphia-bred, PPA-certified photographer Jeani Grady is the owner of Catalano Studio Inc. BIANCA GOLASA CRESPO interviewed Grady about her passion and her business.

How does a photographer find a job in this economy? Where do you start? You begin at the very bottom. Interning is an absolute must! When you can truly convey your passion for what you do and prove yourself invaluable, an owner can’t help but want to find a permanent position to help grow their business.

When did your love for photography first develop? My true love for photography developed after attending a weeklong seminar with internationally renowned photographer Lisa Jane Murphy. I was enamored with the artistry of her ‘fairytale’ images. My heart was transformed as she taught us to look forward and create images from the child within our hearts. I began to focus on the emotion of photography, and this was very life altering. 24

What are your plans for the future? Become the person God has intended me to be is always first on my list! I am always striving to grow, learn, and flourish. Creating images that exceed my own expectations. I’m like the little engine that could. Anything is possible: as long as you believe in yourself and keep a positive attitude! •

To learn more:

Photo courtesy of Jeani Grady.

On that note, do you have any advice for young photographers out there? Keep the passion alive by doing what you love versus trying to conquer all aspects of the industry. Then, go beyond your comfort zone and strive to be the absolute best, setting yourself apart from the ordinary. Acknowledge those who have helped along the way, and you’ll have the perfect recipe for success.

Most Entertaining

Girls on Top Photo from HBO Pictures.

This past season, a slew of TV shows featuring young women premiered. The question is: Are they helping or hurting the perception of young women? JENNIE BURD presents her analysis.

Summer 2012


Most Entertaining | TV Analysis


his season, a slew of new comedies featuring strong, intelligent female protagonists have premiered, narrowing the gulf of gender inequality in the TV industry. One such show is Girls, which airs Sundays at 10:30 on HBO. Girls, a show about recent college graduates learning the ins-and-outs of life in the Big Apple, is the creation of Lena Dunham, the 25-year-old winner of South by Southwest’s 2011 Best Narrative Feature award for her film Tiny Furniture. Dunham is also the daughter of Laurie Simmons, a renowned photographer and Temple University alumna. Simmons’ notoriety, along with the fact that most of Girls’ lead actresses come from the upper echelon of the American arts scene and from entertainment aristocracy, has been problematic for reviewers. Even so, Girls isn’t the only show of its sort to make an appearance; both CBS’s 2 Broke Girls and ABC’s Don’t Trust the B--- From Apartment 23 have been renewed for second seasons. The popularity of this new mode of comedy for women begs a number of questions. What potential do the networks see in these series? Are they helping the cause, or just trying to sell us the latest tampons and hair accessories? Is a revolution in women’s programing visible somewhere on the horizon? Though women are making tremendous strides in the professional sector, according to the 2010 census, women still only earn

With all of that sweet, sweet HBO money and big names like Apatow involved, it’s difficult to imagine what could have gone wrong with Girls. 77.4 cents to men’s dollar, and the television industry reflects this. A 2009 study by sociologist Denise D. Bielby revealed that since 1999, women have made up 27 percent of Hollywood’s television writers and only 8.2 percent of those were executive producers, while 19.7 percent of male writers who were also executive producers. While 2 Broke Girls (in my opinion, the weakest of the three) credits Michael Patrick King as executive producer and Whitney Cummings as a producer and executive consultant, Apartment 23’s executive producer is Nahnatchka Khan, a female and former writer for American Dad and Malcolm in the Middle, and Dunham, along with Judd Apatow, is an executive producer and often writer or director of Girls. Each of this series relies on a format to some degree; they’re all about young women trying to make it in the big city. Set in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, 2 Broke Girls follows the exploits of surly, brunette waitress, Max (Kat Dennings), and Caroline (Beth Behrs), a blonde heiress whose cash flow has suddenly dried up. Max and Caroline, roommates and reluctant friends, raise money to start a cupcake business in an attempt to claw themselves out of the drudgery of Williamsburg, a neighborhood in which most Americans could not afford a pack of Twizzlers, let alone a month’s rent. Don’t Trust the B--- From Apartment 23, a promising series in spite of its nauseating title, also revolves around an unlikely friendship between the two main characters living in an impossibly up-scale apartment. Bubbly and optimistic June (Dreama Walker) moves in with Chloe (Krysten Ritter), a con artist and moral black hole. As the two spend more time together, June’s 26

compulsive moralism and Chloe’s proud hedonism begin to balance each other out. While the naïve blonde/street-wise brunett dichotomy plays a role in Apartment 23, Khan pulls it off with more satiric elegance than a CBS sitcom is capable of. Furthermore, Apartment 23 showcases a lack of authorial moral judgment that we may expect from an HBO show, but is shocking on a major network like ABC. Chloe is a con artist and a drug dealer, but, thanks to the writing and Ritter’s gleefully absurd performance, she comes off as a profoundly likable character. The writers of Girls also manage to integrate the more formulaic aspects of TV with only minor damage to its air of originality. The series tells the story of Hannah (Dunham), an unemployed, twenty-four-year-old amateur writer living in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Hannah also has a best friend and roommate, Marnie (Allison Williams). This roommate is not blonde, but she sometimes serves as Hannah’s foil. Marnie is traditionally beautiful, often shallow, and tends to make every gathering into a fancy little party. The two other main characters, Jessa (Jamima Kirke) and Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet), are also polar opposites, especially sexually. In the pilot, Hannah’s parents tell her that they will no longer pay for her expenses. The show loosely chronicles Hannah’s job search, but focuses mainly on the girls’ relationships and sex lives. Their friendship sustains them in a world of uncertain futures and unsatisfactory men. With all of that sweet, sweet HBO money and big names like Apatow involved, it’s difficult to imagine what could have gone wrong with Girls. The show, however, has drawn an enormous backlash despite initially glowing reviews. Reviewers have spoken out against the show’s absolute lack of non-white characters, its elite cast, and its bleak, characteristically youthful presentation. In her article for Slate, Katie Roiphie poignantly asked whether the bleak and humiliating sex scenes from Girls might not just be “an old-fashioned moralism very sleekly packaged for a new age.” The series certainly displays sex’s negative consequences most prominently. (Spoiler alert!) Hannah, who has only slept with two men and always uses a condom due to her “obsessive fear of AIDS,” learns in the third episode that she has contracted HPV. The series also features uncomfortable sex scenes between Hannah and her horrible “friend with benefits,” Adam (Adam Sackler). Adam doesn’t return Hannah’s calls, occasionally kicks her out of his apartment after sex, and texts pictures of his penis to other women. Hannah, of course, can’t keep her hands off of Adam. Even so, by episode six, Hannah’s nightmare of a relationship seems to be the most healthy hetero-normative one on Girls. Despite its flaws, TV does seem to be moving forward in terms of female representation, both on screen and behind the scenes. All three series revolve around single women trying to make ends meet, a theme that would surely make Mary Tyler Moore toss her hat triumphantly into the breeze. Maybe it is a revolution. Maybe the networks are finally catering to the hordes of young women who want to know whatever happened to the Clarissa Darlings and Angela Chases of childhood. Or maybe they are just trying to sell us tampons. But so what? The times, it would appear, are a-changin’. And it’s about time June Cleaver put down the vacuum cleaner, fixed herself a cocktail, and started earning the big bucks. •

BOOKS Dreams of a Manic by Mark T. Greene: It’s hard to write a review of a book composed of poems and short stories. I’ve mulled over creative ways to lead into my own perception and reception of Mark T. Greene’s second book. It’s a great book, one shot through with moments of raw brilliance. Like the poem, “The Refrigerator Got Lost in the Closet,” on page 32. Greene writes, “I have to wake up to this same mess / Me, everyday whether I like it or not.” The poems, songs and short stories in the book don’t just deal with depression or anxiety. Greene writes about lust, like in the poem, “Superman,” where he writes, “Me at my most manic realizing that / Twice the night before I had been inside you / Now eagerly awaiting the next time” (p. 44). Love comes up a lot. Some of my favorite lines in the entire book are: “Love to watch you sleeping / While you’re lying in the bed / I know you’re always close / Because you’re always in my head” (p. 124). Dreams of a Manic is composed of a mountain of pieces written all in first person but with different narrators. There are pieces about drug use and prostitutes, and then there are pieces about a loving thirty-year marriage. Because of this, it’s a book that doesn’t need to be read consecutively. I jumped from poem to story to song to another poem and found myself enraptured. Drawing comparisons in my mind to the work Charles Bukowski, Greene’s book is a must-read.

True Colors by Kristin Hannah: New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah began writing when she was pregnant and on bedrest. She’d finished reading every book in the house when she decided to start writing. That’s a pretty cool little story. But her recent book, True Colors, which you may have seen in paperback at your local Wal-Mart is completely boring. I picked it up because of the description on the back. Three sisters. They live in Washington state, in the little town their great-grandfather founded. There’s strong-minded Winona, a successful small-town lawyer and the oldest sister. Aurora is the middle sister with an intense need to keep the peace between her siblings and their widowed father. And Vivi Ann, the beautiful younger sister, always seems to get what she wants. Then a stranger comes to town and flips everything on its head. At least, this is supposed to be the big dramatic plot point. But it takes 77 pages to even get to the stranger’s arrival. From there, it reads like the book is on fast foward. What the jacket copy calls “breathtaking pace,” reads more like laziness on the part of an author too scared or impatient to really provide the “penetrating emotional insight[s]” promsied on the back of the book. Hannah trips over the important moments of the story -- barely giving them a minute of her time -- and glosses over the interpersonal conflicts that could really resonate with readers. The book is largely composed of boring dialogue and underwhelming description. Hannah repeatedly describes -- and with the same staid details -- a few visuals: the snowy mountains in the distance, the beautiful family farm, Winona’s plump physicality, and the imposing stature of a Native American named Dallas. And the worst thing of all? None of her characters are emininently likeable -- or even despicable. There’s nothing to make you root for one or another and at times, they really just need a mute button. When it’s all said and done, Hannah’s novel is one I’ll try to forget. Summer 2012

Introduction to Writing 101 Writing is one word One line One page at a time You can’t learn it From some professor Don’t take A correspondence course It comes from living It comes from the gut It comes late at night On the crapper You better read first Try early Hemingway Maybe Bukowski If you force it It will stink If it burns the insides Let it out If it finds itself In some small magazine And someone You’ll never know Reads it and thinks That’s not so bad If you are that someone Then I’ve succeeded Finally Reprinted with permission from Dreams of a Manic, a book of poems and short stories by Mark T. Greene. 27

Most Entertaining | Films

5 Must-See Classic Films Rope (1948, Dir. Alfred Hitchcock): Usually when one hears the name Hitchcock, it invokes mental images of someone being stabbed in a shower or a flock of the original angry birds. But the director, a legend among directors and master of the thriller, was responsible for upwards of 60 films in his sensational career. Among them include this wonder, Rope, which he made in 1948. The film begins with a murder; two young men, Phillip and Brandon, invite their friend Brandon to their home for a drink, and end up strangling their former classmate to death simple to prove they can pull off the perfect murder, and then they decide to stow the body away in a trunk in their living room. But that alone doesn’t constitute a masterpiece, so they invite the murder victim’s closest family and friends to their home for a dinner party, pretending the whole night to have no knowledge of where their old chum is. Controversial for the implied homosexuality between the two main men, this film is a Hitchcock not as often talked about. An underrated film, this is the only film on the list without an Oscar nomination or win, but I can assure you, it’s definitely a classic worth seeing.   Roman Holiday (1953, Dir. William Wyler): Audrey Hepburn’s first major film, may be one of her best. She portrays an extremely sheltered Princess on a tour through Europe, who by the time she reaches Rome has had enough of her structured and restricted life. After she manages an escape, she meets a mysterious man, played wonderfully by the dashing Gregory Peck. What she doesn’t know is that he’s a journalist, and once he realizes who she is, he sets off to get the perfect interview with the runaway royal. What ensues is a trek across Rome, an accidental romance, and a truly delightful film with an ending I didn’t see coming. It’s like a live action Disney Princess story, but even better. It also has undoubtedly served as inspiration for a number of other films since then. The film was nominated for a whopping 10 awards in 1953, but one of the three it won was for Best Actress. West Side Story (1961, Dir. Robert Wise): Back in 1961 during the yearly awards season, West Side Story took home 10 of the 11 it was nominated for, including Best Picture and Director. Not an easy task, but if ever I’ve seen a musical that deserves it, it’s this one. A retelling of the Shakespeare classic, Romeo and Juliet, the film depicts two gangs in New York City: The Jets, a bunch of white American punks and the Sharks, a gang of Puerto Rican immigrants. The film carefully addresses these issues of race and rivalry and more emphasis is put on reconciliation, mostly thanks to our Juliet counterpart, Puerto Rican beauty Maria, played by star Natalie Wood. Her lover, Tony (Richard Beymer), is a young ex-Jet, and the two of them fall into a love that without rhyme or reason just exists, and we watch as it consumes them. The movie is powerful on every level possible and every time you watch, it strikes a chord. Annie Hall (1977, Dir. Woody Allen): Considered Woody Allen’s 28

comedic triumph, this film deals with love, relationships, and a man trying to figure out his place in the world. Allen’s character, Alvi Singer, cracks joke after joke, realizing that the only way to get through this “horrible, miserable” life, is to make light of it. It is full of unique and memorable scenes and is an endless stream of excellent one liners. The film’s witty and dry is no doubt what has allowed it to remain one of the greatest rom-coms of all time. In all his years since, Woody Allen’s continued to make great films that deal with relationships, but none of them rivals the greatness of this gem. Dead Poet’s Society (1989, Dir. Peter Weir): Teenage angst is a tough subject to cover, and cover right. This is one of those films that nails every emotion. Depicting a rigidly structured all boys prep school in 1950’s New England, the film follows several stories. Todd (Ethan Hawke) is a new kid who lives every moment in the shadow of his older, perfect brother who attended Dalton Academy before him. Neil (Robert Sean Leonard) is the young aspiring actor who always listens to his strict father, despite his immense spirit and lust for life. And “Captain” of the boys and their classmates is English teacher John Keating, played by Robin Williams in one of his greatest rules. He teaches them a lesson we should all learn: Carpe Diem; seize the day. He encourages them to “make their lives extraordinary.” I always find after watching this film that I have a greater sense of what life is really about the beauty and the little things. The film was  nominated for Best Picture and three others. And it won the award it most deserved: an award for Best Writing. With a tantalizingly beautiful script, this piece of cinema is not one that should be missed, especially by young people who find they’re having trouble trying to figure out how to be happy in this life. I can almost promise that this film will change you, and it is without a doubt my most recommended must see of this entire list. • MICHELE ELAINE HANNON is the Director of Operations at Mirrorwall Films, a small independent film company based in Philadelphia, PA, where she lives.


Photo: Bianca Golasa Crespo


Karen Gross is Too Damn Cool 30

She wears a black feather boa and white flower in her hair while singing about finding and winning love. She sings about Hammerstein in the composerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s house. And sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just the cutest. ROSELLA ELEANOR LaFEVRE talks to her about success and pursuing your passion.

Photos: Bianca Golasa Crespo


he best girl’s night out I’ve ever had was thanks to Karen Gross. In February, three of us went to Black Cat Cabaret, a cabaret and comedy series that showcases the Philadelphia area’s top talent and which Gross produces and hosts. Wearing a long black dress with a feather boa and a large bloom in her hair, Gross told jokes and sang in between acts that included burlesque dancer Annie A-Bomb and comedian Dave Terruso. That’s the thing about Gross: she’s not only talented, but she’s adept at getting the message out about her music and she can bring together groups of talented individuals like those that perform the Black Cat Caberet shows and the dream team that handled her wardrobe, makeup and hair for our cover shoot. Here, Gross talks about her career path, what success means and what she wishes she’d known years ago. What did you major in at Wesleyan? I was an American Studies major. American Studies was a way for me to do a bit of everything: writing and literature, history, women’s studies, media studies, and popular culture. I took a lot of film classes. In my senior year, I was a fellow at Wesleyan’s Center for the Humanities. The semester theme was “Performance,” and I took the opportunity to create an original play called “Conquistadoras,” which was about women’s experiences traveling and studying abroad around the world. I interviewed several women and then loosely based the play on their experiences. In addition to writing it, I cast it, directed it and produced it. The show 32

featured 11 actors and it was an incredibly rewarding experience to work with them and create this completely original performance piece. What I found especially satisfying, and surprising, was that -- in addition to its serious moments -- the show made people laugh. It was my first taste of writing comedy, and I was hooked. It definitely provided the inspiration, and the confidence, for the comedic parts of my cabaret shows later on. At Wesleyan, you were inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, an honor society. What did that experience mean to you? To be honest, I worked my tail off in college. It certainly wasn’t easy to be inducted into Phi Beta Kappa; it means you are in the top two percent of your class. I think it may surprise people that I was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. I think there’s a misconception that if you choose an artistic path, you are flaky or lazy. But what I’ve learned is that the opposite is true. To make it as an artist, you have to work incredibly hard and be extraordinarily motivated. You have to constantly hustle and steer your own ship. It’s an unconventional path and you have to be up to the challenge. You’ve been performing since you graduated in 2001, correct? How did you get into singing? I have been singing since I can remember. There are early home movies of me singing at around four years old. I was always entertaining, putting on shows, dressing up, and

ing around. Later on, I started piano lessons, and eventually I started to accompany myself on the piano. The first song I learned to play and sing was “The Rose.” In middle school, I got into folk music and classic rock, particularly Neil Young. That phase led to writing my own songs, starting around eighth grade. I recorded my first demo as a senior in high school. I was bussing tables at local restaurant to pay for studio time. The engineer of that first demo was Jim Cravero, who still works as a producer in Philadelphia and just won a Grammy Award! At that time, in 1997, we were still using cassettes (now I’m dating myself!) and I remember passing them all out to my high school classmates. People responded positively and that encouraged me to keep at it. I kind of put music on the backburner in college, but got back to it after I graduated. I felt that calling again. How long have you been performing Sex and the Single Singer now? I moved into my own apartment in Chestnut Hill around 2005. It was the first time I lived on my own. I was keeping a journal on my computer about living alone, and I started collecting all these anecdotes about being a single woman especially in a neighborhood that was very family-oriented and somewhat quiet. I got booked to headline at Odette’s, a legendary cabaret venue in New Hope, and I realized I wanted to put on a proper cabaret show. And I realized I had this interesting material to draw from in my journal. Sex & the Single Singer was born in 2005, and it evolved significantly over the years thanks to workshops with artistic mentors like Jennifer Blaine and Tony Lawton. In 2010, I celebrated my 5th anniversary of Sex & the Single Singer with a sold-out show, which was featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer. That was a true thrill! Then, in 2011, the show had its New York City debut at cabaret institution Don’t Tell Mama. Since then, I’ve been creating new material and new cabaret shows. Earlier this year, I debuted a cabaret show about the life and music of legendary Broadway lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II. He lived with his family for 20 years in Doylestown, my hometown, where he drew inspiration for his musicals such as Oklahoma and The Sound of Music. I performed the show in his home, Highland Farm, which is now a beautiful bed and breakfast on the National Register of Historic Places [and the setting of our cover shoot with Gross]. The show sold out well in advance and I’m planning to perform it more in the future. I also recently performed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as a featured entertainer on their Art After 5 series.

happy ending.

Features | Karen Gross

You’ve worked as a media professional during the day while pursuing your passion for singing at night and on weekends. Are you still leading this double professional life? Yes. I’ve always juggled music with a journalism or communications job. I have been the news editor at the Bucks County Herald newspaper, the publicist for the Arden Theatre Company, a contributing writer for Philadelphia magazine, and currently I serve as the communications manager at the National Constitution Center. What’s it like to work a day job while pursuing another passion? How did/do you balance the two? In truth, it can be a tough balancing act. There have definitely been times when I’ve changed in the bathroom at work to get ready for a gig that night. I think you need to be upfront with your day job and tell them that you have a musical life, and it’s ideal to find a job that is supportive. I have had bosses who have come out to shows and really helped spread the word to people, and that’s wonderful. The good thing is that I really love writing, public relations and communications; these jobs work different creative muscles and stimulate me in a different way than music. In both sides of my life, I have tried to pursue things that inspire and excite me. I think that’s key.

“There’s a misconception that if you choose an artistic path, you are flaky or lazy. But to make it as an artist, you have to work incredibly hard and be extraordinarily motivated.”

When did you and Dan start dating? This September will be 4 years. I’m a lucky girl to have found him. He’s not only a great guy, he’s a great musician. I ended up retooling Sex & the Single Singer so he would make an appearance at the end and we would do a duet. Coincidentally, he had written a great song from the guy’s perspective about being single. So it fit into the show perfectly. And it’s nice that the show could have a Summer 2012

How do you define success? I think success is getting paid to do what you would be doing even if you weren’t getting paid! Doing what you love to do as much as possible. Waking up every day and being delighted by what lies ahead. Having love, friendship, and enough time to create what you were put on this Earth to create. Having enough money in the bank to cover your bills and then have some left for travel and fabulous food. I would also like to make my parents proud. They have been so supportive of my artistic path. I would love to one day be that person who accepts a Grammy and thank them for all they have done to help me.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known five or ten years ago? First off, I wish I knew to trust my instincts. I think our gut reactions can reveal a lot and help guide our decisions. I wish I knew that it was okay to ask for help. You can’t do everything yourself. Well, you can, but you probably won’t do it well, and you’ll make yourself nuts along the way! Find allies that you trust to help you grow. However, I think every revelation comes in its own time. I needed to have the past 10 years of experience to be where I am today. For instance, I just got an apartment in New York City so I can immerse myself in the music scene there. I had people tell me 10 years ago that I needed to be there. But I just feel that now is my time. I have had so many great experiences here in Philly that have shaped me as an artist and as a person. It’s my fuel for the next chapter. 33

To find out more: Summer 2012


Volunteering is Really Rewarding Working with a good cause is great for the soul. Here, three students share their experiences volunteering.


John Bul Dau was one of thousands of “Lost Boys,” young children who walked across two countries to escape genocide in Sudan in the 1980s. John eventually made his way to America and his later mission to support his homeland was documented through in the award-winning film God Grew Tired of Us. In 2009, after building a clinic in his Sudanese community, Duk Payuel, he began to plan the Deng Malual Library and Education Center, a refuge to promote peace and jumpstart the economy of his beloved country with the seeds of education and agriculture. In 2009, a few months after we had watched God Grew Tired of Us, my mother introduced me to Bul Dau himself, who asked me if I would design for his project a logo incorporating what he considered its heart: peace, unity and education. From John’s vision I drew about ten logos the best way I knew how—on printer paper using a ballpoint pen. From there, I was asked to polish one using Adobe Illustrator. I spent weeks learning the program, stumbling through it, submitting the logo, reformatting it, editing it for color, for shape. When it was finished, it was used on architectural plans, stationary, and even on the Deng Malual Library and Education Center website. My mother told me I should be very proud of my work. I brushed it off, saying it was really nothing. I didn’t stand on the roots of an Acacia tree to read to Sudanese children or sweat onto shipping crates as they were reformatted to serve as the walls of the library. But my mother said an image creates a beacon for a group to focus on, a sort of legitimizing visual talisman for the project. She said my logo would help the project receive general support and even funding. Today, the Deng Malual Library and Education Center is the South Sudan Library, the first public library in the newly independent country of South Sudan. I didn’t construct the building, but I supported a cause I believed in, my way. I have volunteered for various organizations since, some in the “active” way I had always envisioned, but John Dau showed me that volunteering embodies the giving of yourself and your skills to a greater purpose. - Julie Haberstick

Photo from Midaber Blog.

Using Her Design Skills forThe South Sudan Library

One Night with Tuesday’s Children

Photo from WorldNow and KCOY.

As a first semester college student, I yearned to volunteer and I sought service projects I was accustomed to in high school. But being fresh meat in New York City, which is literally one thousand times the size of my hometown of Glenside, PA, made my search for service much more daunting. It occurred to me that I would be spending the tenth anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks near Ground Zero and I knew immediately that I wanted to contribute by volunteering in some way. As it turns out my school, New York University, partnered with several organizations to give students the opportunity to perform service in various ways for this special memorial. Thanks to this program, I was able to work for the organization Tuesday’s Children on the eve of 9-11 near the site of the newly established memorial. Although I only spent a few hours distributing flyers and brochures for increased awareness about the organization, it was a privilege to learn about their mission and support them on the tenth 9-11 anniversary. Tuesday’s Children is a non-profit company that provides support for the children and adults affected by the September 11th attacks. On the evening of September 10th, I was surrounded by

the families and friends of 9-11 victims. Families embraced one another, sobbing, years later, still haunted by the tragic losses of loved ones, was more than I expected to see. I was just supposed to be handing out brochures; but as I stood on the corner of one of NYC’s many cramped streets, and was ignored more times than not by my offers of pamphlets, I began to understand what I was representing as a Tuesday’s Children volunteer. The experience was not the most physically grueling volunteer endeavor I have participated in, and it only took about two hours of my time. But it was the most emotionally draining and one of the most worthwhile. I think the most important aspect of volunteering is putting one’s whole self into the process and genuinely empathizing for the people you serve. Volunteering for Tuesday’s Children taught me this lesson in action, as it is still something I frequently think about months later. Tuesday’s Children has a fantastic mission and I look forward to supporting them again sometime soon; but most importantly, I look forward to serving those children whose lives changed dramatically just ten years ago, and those awkward moments of rejected pamphlets don’t seem so futile anymore. - Katie Breen Tuesday’s Children, 390 Plandome Road, Suite 217, Manhasset, New York 11030. Phone: (516) 562-9000.

Spring Break with Rostro de Cristo in Ecuador I spent my spring break with the Rostro de Cristo (Face of Christ) organization in Durán, Ecuador. We had to drive through Guayaquil to reach Durán. Safe to say, it was a beautiful journey. There were large, ostentatious houses, and gorgeous foliage. However, when we drove over the bridge into Durán, the scenery changed drastically. Although night cloaked the town, I could still see small shacks scattered across the hills. These small, barely visible buildings were so close together that if the residents leaned out their windows, they could probably touch the other houses. There were stray dogs and dirt roads that led the way to the house that we would be staying in for the next week. A large cement wall surrounded our residence. Two dogs and a police officer guarded the perimeter. I was astounded that the poverty in Durán existed in such close proximity to the richness of Guayaquil. Our meals were extremely modest since we were trying to have a genuine experience. Breakfast consisted of two rolls and a banana while lunch included a tuna fish sandwich – no mayo – and a tomato, onion, and pepper vegetable salad smothered in lemon juice. Dinner was rice and some version of a plantain. We were given water jugs to fill our personal water bottles since the water in Ecuador is unsanitary. 38

Each day, we went to a different place. We spent time talking and playing dominos with people who had Hanson’s disease, while we also served meals to residents in a soup kitchen. Everywhere we went people were smiling; they were eager and happy to talk to us. I was amazed at the positive attitude these people had about life despite their situation. In the afternoon, we went to different afterschool programs to play with the children. It was difficult for me because my Spanish is horrible, but I was surprised by how well we understood each other with simple sign language and facial expressions. They were not mad that I could not speak their language. The people I met often took the time to try to teach me and understand what I was trying to say. What amazed me the most about these children was that they were so willing to run up to us, jump on our backs and start a conversation before even asking our name. My trip to Ecuador was more about being present and learning about life there than about doing any labor. We weren’t building houses or cleaning a yard. We simply spent time being in the moment with the people we met. Often, people who I talk to about the experience don’t understand what it is I did in Ecuador, and the only way I can explain it is that you need to see it for yourself to truly understand. - Lauren Nestel Rostro de Cristo, P.O. Box 920433, Needham, MA 02492. Phone: (617) 552-2281. Email: Apply: http://www.

Photo from Lauren Nestel.

Lauren Nestel with her host mom in Ecuador.

Features | xxx xxxx xxx

Compiled by Amy Senter

PICK A CAUSE, ANY CAUSE Help Disaster Victims Work from home: Donate used shoes and other general relief supplies to those in need.

Photo from Kern Atheist Society.

Get out there: Travel to a place that has been affected by disaster and help clean up.

Get out there: Join Big Brothers Big Sisters and become a role model by playing games and getting to know a child in need in your community.

Help the Elderly

Help Animals

Work from home: Assemble walker or wheelchair bags to mail to seniors in nursing homes. Get out there: Visit a nursing home and play cards with the locals.

Work from home: Adopt a pet from your local animal shelter.

Help the Sick

Get out there: Volunteer to work with animals.

Work from home: Knit hats to send to cancer patients.

Help Your Community

Get out there: Grab some friends and go on a walk/run to raise money and awareness for a specific disease.

Work from home: Help support a local park by donating to the National Park Service.

Help the Poor

Get out there: Organize a clean-up crew in your neighborhood through Keep America Beautiful.

Work from home: Donate gently used clothes and other items to Salvation Army or Goodwill thrift stores.

Help Children

Get out there: Find a homeless shelter and work in the soup kitchen.

Work from home: Sponsor a child from another country. Monthly donations provide food, shelter, education and medicine for your child. You can even write letters and send pictures. Summer 2012

Find more ideas at: 39

Hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an excerpt of our editorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s recently published young adult romance novel. Enjoy!

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en minutes after the pizzas are delivered, the first guests arrive. Cheers erupt when Glory opens the door. Someone shouts, “The party’s here!” The excitement in the speaker’s voice fades. “Where is everybody?” “You’re the first here,” Glory says. “Come on. Ooh, here come a bunch of people. Head into the living room here. And drinks and pizza in the kitchen down that way. Help yourselves. Go on!” I turn to watch as a troupe of ten people bounce down the hallway, laughing and shouting. Glory yells for me to start the music and when I do, she yells again for more volume. I turn it up all the way and sit down. Howard encourages me to greet people with Glory and I do for a while until I get bored. I don’t like meeting tons of new people within minutes of each other; I always get bored when I have to learn too many new names. I find Howard in the kitchen, making a rum and coke. He asks what I want to drink. I shrug and he chooses for me, pouring a brilliant green syrupy liquid into a red cup. “Apple martini,” Howard says and hands it to me. He raises his cup to start a toast. “To your first party and your first drink,” Howard says. “To firsts, period,” I say, blowing him a kiss. I immediately regret this move. We tap cups and swig. The apple martini tastes like candy; so, so good. Howard leans in for a kiss. His hands move from my lower back down to my butt and he lifts me up to the countertop. I finally notice how tall Howard is. Sitting on the counter, I still have to turn my face up to reach his lips. Heaven! I put one hand on the back of his neck and finger a patch of skin near his jeans waistband. Howard’s lips stop groping mine, his eyes shift endlessly. “Can we... slip away?” I groan. I really want to... I mean I really want to, but I don’t want to miss my party. “Can we wait a while?” Howard’s face drops a little. “It can wait...”


lory enters amid others, laughing and shouting, “Fuck, I’m starved.” She grabs herself a slice and fills a cup with beer. A guy with dirty blonde hair, which is short except in the front where hair touches his brow bone, wearing a vest and white t-shirt with dog tags leads the way. He’s short compared to me and Howard but as he moves closer to Glory, I see he’s taller than her. This kid wraps his arms around Glory from behind and she shoves her pizza and cup onto the counter before twirling in his arms to face him. Glory kisses this guy on the cheek and he plants one on her forehead. Then she puts her head to his chest while he rocks her from side to side before Glory pulls away. She takes his hand. I realize this must be the infamous on-again, off-again boyfriend of hers. I’ve heard lots about him, though never his name. Glory’s boyfriend comes from a family as rich as—well, richer than anyone on earth, but the money is stashed in banks all over the world. His parents are—well, I don’t know what they do, but they’re rarely home. He has pretty much raised himself during his teenage years. Now, he’s 18 and to get into college, his parents are paying millions for some new building at one of the Ivy League schools to persuade the admissions team. Glory’s boyfriend says, “Yo, Love Era, what’s up?” “What?” I look at Howard. “It’s his—well, everyone’s—nickname for me. Whichever clever bastard thought of it, I don’t know, but it’s stuck for years.”

Summer 2012

Features | xxx xxxxx I nod. “Oh, makes sense.” Howard shakes this guy’s hand and gives him a half-hug. Howard pulls away and watches Glory and her boyfriend. The group that followed him in is hovering. Glory looks at me quickly, and says, “Cali, this is Benedict Weisberg, or Benny. Benny, this is Calixte Beaulieu, the coolest girl in school.” “It’s a great pleasure,” he says, extending his hand to me. “It’s nice to meet you too, Ben—should I call you Benedict or Benny?” I ask. Hoards of strangers pass through the kitchen, grabbing cups and gobbling down slices. “Benny’s cool; less uptight. After 18 years with the name Benedict, every time I hear it I still feel the need to put on a starched-collar shirt,” he laughs and the group behind him laughs anxiously. “These are my friends,” Benny says. He points to each one and introduces me to Johnny and his girlfriend Gin, Bob, Thom, Gary and Gary’s girlfriend Farrah. The group is talking and laughing, but I can’t really hear over the music. The song changes and Glory jumps. Benny rolls his eyes playfully. She grabs his hand and drags him into the living room. Most of his group follows, save Thom, who pours himself a drink. Howard presses his body to mine and whispers in my ear something that I don’t quite hear. He repeats himself and I still don’t hear what he says. The whole time, Thom is staring at me. He watches me as he gulps down his drink. Thom is about my height and has a pleasant face but he’s nothing special. He’s nowhere quite as intoxicating as Howard, who repeats himself a third time. “I have to pee. You gonna be okay?” “Yeah, I’ll be fine, I think I’ll just head into the living room and check up on things,” I say, mixing myself another drink. When Howard exits, Thom asks if I’m “with Love Era.” “Depends on your definition of ‘with,’” I say. “Well, are you going steady?” I laugh. I’ve never heard anyone my age call it “going steady.” Thom stares at me like he can’t see what’s funny. “We just met,” I say. Thom’s eyes grow wide in shock. I laugh and almost choke on my mouthful of apple martini. I feel my body temperature rising; I’m warm all over. Beads of sweat are forming on my spine. I have to slow down with the drinking. Thom’s eyes go back to normal. “You’re hot,” he says. “Um, thanks,” I say. My stomach starts to heave. I’m not much of a drinker so there’s a good chance this is a side effect of too much alcohol on a semi-empty stomach (I never finished my slice), but I am pretty sure my stomach’s heaving because this kid is freaking me out. This kid is kind of weird, this whole situation is weird. How did I get to this point in my life? Throwing parties at my house and drinking and being friends with Glory? I leave for the living room. Someone turned the lights off, so the only light is coming from the TV. There are people everywhere. There’s a couple lounging on the couch and staring at each other. Another making out on the windowsill. People line the walls and others are grinding against each other all around. Glory’s in the middle of the room with Benny and she’s practically humping his leg. The music is deafening. It’s the same as it looks in any of a million movies and now I wish it would all disappear. I should never have done this. It’s not like me.


Features | Calixte Correction: It’s not like the daughter my parents always wanted me to be. I have always followed their rules and I used to think it was completely wrong to party and to drink before you turned 21 and to smoke and to grind against another person’s body in public. But can you really say something is wrong if you have never done it? Everything that I have considered right or wrong so far in life has been prescribed by my parents. Why should I just accept everything my parents say without question? Who has the privilege or right to determine what is moral and amoral? Sometimes things just feel right despite the fact that they are deemed wrong by either social standard or law and when something feels right, completely and utterly perfect, why turn down the chance to have that perfection in your life, even if it’s only for a minute? Glory pulls me from my thoughts as she drags me into the circle of dancers. I’m mortified as she shakes her skinny hips in front of me. I stand still, not sure what to move or how to move it. Glory gets closer and we fall into a rhythm and every concern melts away as the dew of sweat rises on my forehead—my eyes close as I move to the music—Glory is no longer behind me and the song changes— I keep moving—someone steps in and moves with me—I open my eyes and Howard is there dancing with me. This is the first time I have ever danced with a guy. I feel myself growing hotter and hotter every minute. “Want to get away now?” I ask. “More than ever,” Howard says.


’m amazed by what Howard has set up in my bedroom. The ceiling light is barely glowing and tiny candles line my windowsill. On the little table in my reading nook are another candle, a bottle of champagne, and two champagne glasses. “Oh, it’s magical,” I say. I wince at the cliché, but nothing is more fitting to describe my room. Howard removes the cork from the bottle and bubbly shoots out. He fills both glasses and hands one to me. We each take a sip and after I put my glass down, he puts down his. Howard kisses me once and runs a hand up my thigh, lifting my dress hem. I reach for my hem and start to pull my dress up. I tell Howard to sit down at the table. He obeys and watches me, his eyes squinty to take in everything. I kick off my boots, pull my dress up-up-up and over my head, look him in the eye, trace the line of my bra across my breast, and look for his reaction. Howard leans forward and reaches out to me—I step within grasp—he pulls my hips closer and then down until I’m in his lap—legs straddling his waist—he kisses me once between my breasts—licks the hollow he licked before, kisses my lips, flicks my tongue with the tip of his. Then he stands, holding my waist, and rushes me to the bed. Howard lays me down, kisses my lips before kissing my stomach, then my lips again. He reaches behind my head and pulls the pins out of my hair. He kisses me again, gently pulling my hair while he does. I lay my hands to his shoulder blades, feeling them move as his hands play with my hair, touch my face. I feel his shoulders budge as his hand moves south. Howard grabs my lingerie shorts in his big fist and pulls them down around my knees. With his fingers, he makes a lap up the inside of my thigh. Howard’s face, hovering above mine, lights with a smile. I kiss him for a long time. His arm gives out and he is on top of me, every inch weighing on me— There’s a knock on the door. “Cali? Howie? Are you in there?” Glory calls, hysterical.


Howard rolls his eyes. His lips tighten into a line. “Yes,” I call out. “One minute please!” I try to push myself off the bed, but Howard wraps his arms around me, keeping me locked to his body. “No,” he pleads. “She’ll never go away.” “I gotta; something’s wrong.” Howard groans but lets me go. I jump up, throw my dress on, toss Howard his shirt, run my fingers through my hair, turn the dimmer dial to make the room brighter, and open the door. Glory’s face is streaked with black mascara and teal eyeliner and her hair is disheveled, in a way unlike before. “Oh, honey, what’s wrong?” I ask as she pushes past me and plops down on my bed. “Benny!” She breaks out into violent sobs, her shoulders jumping up and down in a jackhammer motion. Howard gets up and starts walking around the room, looking at my bookcases, the plaques and pictures on the wall, the files and notebooks on my desk. Glory launches into her story without needing to be asked. “Benny went to the bathroom and I guess there was a line ‘cause he was gone so long. While he was gone his friend Thom who I love ‘cause he’s super sweet asked if he could talk to me and I said okay and we went to find a quiet or semi-quiet place to talk and ended up outside. It was way chilly, but I thought maybe the air would sober him since he looked so upset and he started telling me his girlfriend dumped him today for some other guy and he’s broken. And then Thom got upset like he was gonna cry and I hugged him and held him a little while. I was just trying to be nice! And Benny comes crashing out the door and he started yelling about what a whore I am and how I’m all over every dick in town and I’ve only had sex with him! And then Thom tried to calm him down and explain once he’d gotten himself together and Benny just kept flipping. I told him I can’t do this anymore that I love him but I can’t be with a guy who’s constantly jealous and mean and he yelled ‘Fuck you’ and stalked off and I don’t know where he is. I don’t know why he’s like that.” Howard picks my latest short story off of my desk and stares at it. “I’m so sorry, I don’t know what to tell you. I’ve never been in a serious relationship,” I say. Howard shoots me a look of surprise before he turns to his sister. “I’ve said it before: Ben’s an asshole. You need to dump him and have fun. You work so hard on that relationship and he is nasty to you. You’ve got to move on.” “I’ve been dating him since I was thirteen,” she sobs. “I’m a creature of habit; I don’t know how to move on. We talk every day and it’s so good until he flips. I don’t know what to do.” Howard sighs and returns to reading my work. “Being single isn’t as scary as you think it is. You’ll report to yourself only and you’ll have the ability to change in ways that you can’t if you’re with him,” I say. Everything I tell her is true but I feel like a hypocrite. I’ve never appreciated being single and now I’m telling Glory how much benefit she’d get out of being single? That’s completely hypocritical. And I hate hypocrites. I add, “Of course it won’t be easy at first and even after you’ve been single for a while, it’ll hurt to be alone in the presence of other couples, but otherwise, it’ll be great.” Glory just cries. Howard looks up from the story again. “She’s right, Gloria. Benny’s got issues, deep-seated issues that you can’t solve.”

Features | Calixte Glory envelops me in a hug. “I’m so glad you were here tonight.” Then she laughs. She stands and hugs Howard too. Howard hugs her and looks fiercely protective and I feel like maybe I could love this guy. For the millionth time tonight, I stop myself from feeling emotionally attached to him. “I’m so sorry I bothered you guys,” Glory says. “I’m going back downstairs to check on Thom. First his girlfriend dumps him then his best friend does. It’s probably a far worse day for him than for me.” She manages a half-smile. “Glory, you should wash your face. You’ve got make-up all over.” Glory smiles a whole smile. “Thanks.” “No problem,” I say. “Don’t knock again, unless it’s a real emergency,” Howard laughs. I frown at him. That was not as funny as he wanted it to be. Glory leaves and shuts the door. I get up to lock it. Howard still holds the story and flops down on the bed. “Is it true you’ve never been in a serious relationship?” “Nope. I mean, yes, I was serious.” Howard lays on his side, plucks at the quilt on the bed. “How is that even possible? Based on looks alone, I’d marry you. And then I’d spend the rest of my life just trying to get to know you.” “How many girls have you said this to?” I ask, not meaning to offend but wanting a serious answer. “Honestly, I’ve never ever told a girl that. It’s just... I have this feeling about you. You’re different, and not in a forced way.” How-

ard holds out my story. “This is amazing and I’m not even done yet.” I lay down on my side to face him and snuggle real close. My heart aches looking into his eyes. After months of getting used to the idea that I would never find a good guy because I was sure they are myth, I wonder if I have been completely misled. Sure, he has probably got a bad-guy past, but here with me, he’s such a good guy. “Howard, I’m scared.” I fold my arms into my chest. “Scared?” Howard moves ever closer and wraps his arms around me. “All night I have kept myself from thinking—feeling—anything for you unless it was purely physical, but you really seem like a good guy and I really want to like you,” I say. “There’s a ‘but’ coming,” he says. “I am so wary of dating a guy and coming to love him and then letting him become my whole world... I don’t want to be the girl who isn’t complete until she finds a boyfriend,” I say. “You don’t need completion. You are a full person; I know it, even if you have flaws... When the right person comes along, I think you only see perfection where everyone else sees flaws. The perception is different from reality. Except I think you’re really perfect,” he says. Silence. Silence. Silence. “Please, please... I can’t wait anymore,” I say before I kiss him, hard. •

Graduation | Final Say

Being single doesn’t have to be the end of the world, says AMANDA VAN SLYKE. Alone and happy. Those are three words that I never thought I’d write together. But it’s true. One of the reasons my boyfriend (well, ex-boyfriend) and I used to fight was because he didn’t want to do things I wanted to do. After eight hours of work, he didn’t want to put on snow pants and slide down a frozen hill while getting snow up his ass. I couldn’t imagine why not. So I didn’t go sledding. And I’m bitter because of it. Now it’s summer and there are a billion things to do, but he won’t be there for me to get mad at him for not doing them with me. Instead, I have to find friends to do them with, or – gasp – go alone and meet new people. When you’re in a relationship, you tend to get comfortable with being a unit. If one person doesn’t want to do something, you don’t do it. You want to spend time together – so you sacrifice some things that you enjoy, because you enjoy being with them more. And when you finally get tired of sacrificing enough things and venture out by yourself or with friends, you wish they were there with you to experience them too. And that kind of takes away the fun. The fact is, not everybody wants to do what you want to do. Not even your friends. You want to see that super cool indie flick? Surprise! None of your friends want to see it. You want to watch that really awesome indie band? Surprise! Nobody wants to see that either. You would expect the people who love you or at least have things in common with you to want to do the same things with you – but a lot of the time, they’re busy or they just aren’t interested. It sucks, but you can’t let people dictate your life. Now that I’m single (God that’s weird to write) I have to push myself out of my comfort zone. I don’t have someone to hold my 44

hand when I walk across the street, let alone put their arm around me at an event. I have friends who don’t live by me, work long hours or study late into the night – so if I want to do something, odds are I’m going to have to go alone. Even if people I know join the Facebook event, they’re not always accountable. Something always comes up, and I’m left texting in one hand and sipping a cocktail in the other, awkward as hell. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The other night I really wanted to go to this fundraiser, and I went alone because I thought there were going to be people there I knew (because they joined the Facebook page). But there was no one there who I knew. Well, there were a few people I kind of knew, but for the most part I was awkward as hell. But instead of leaving right away (something I might have done in the past) I stayed with a purpose: Networking. This was a fundraiser for a literary journal – and there were other writers/artists who would be great to get to know for my business. So I networked like a champ. I met poets, writers, comedians – and even my boss, who I’d only talked to through email before. The people I talked to not only were great resources for my business, but gave me contact information for other people they thought I should know. In the span of a few hours, I made not only potential business partners, but potential acquaintances who might be at events like this in the future – and potential friends who might want to go with me to events like this in the future. I wasn’t alone anymore – I was doing something I loved, with people who wanted to do the same thing as me. And because I’m now single, I didn’t feel like something was holding me back from having fun. I wasn’t in a unit – It was just me. And for the first time since being in a relationship, I was happy being alone. •

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M.L.T.S. Magazine Issue 4 Summer 2012 Karen Gross  

This is the fourth issue of M.L.T.S. Magazine, a quarterly publication for young women in college. Karen Gross, a caberet performer, singer...

M.L.T.S. Magazine Issue 4 Summer 2012 Karen Gross  

This is the fourth issue of M.L.T.S. Magazine, a quarterly publication for young women in college. Karen Gross, a caberet performer, singer...