New Year’s resolutions by the numbers

By: Ellen Villafuerte

It’s the same thing every year –– people decide that with the new year comes new habits, whether it’s going to the gym more, eating better, or quitting smoking, to name a few. But as most people know, not everyone can or wants to keep that promise he or she made when the clock struck 12 on the last night of 2014. Here are New Year’s resolutions by the numbers.

  • The amount of people who often make a resolution: 45 percent

Almost half of Americans make resolutions to form new and healthy habits, which is not too shabby. But if you’re impressed by that amount, you might be disappointed by the amount of people who actually stick to it.

  • The amount of people who stick to their resolution: 8 percent

With only 8 percent of people forming a habit, it’s safe to say that sticking to new habits are hard, which why people tend to give up on their resolution so quickly.

  • The number of days it takes to stick to a habit: ???

Most people have heard of and stick to the saying that it takes 21 days to form a habit, but studies have shown there’s no definitive proof to that statement. Although the average number of days varied greatly, a study done in Britain showed that the average number of days it took for participants to form a habit was 66 days –– way far off from what we’ve been thinking this whole time.

  • The most popular New Year’s resolution: to lose weight

It’s easy to see why a lot of people make losing weight and eating better as their resolution. The New Year comes not too long after holidays that involve a lot food: Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners. Don’t forget about that bowl of candy “left out for trick-or-treaters” on Halloween. With fewer holidays to worry about in the spring, it makes sense to start then, and it’s why the gym may seem a lot more busy than usual –– though that doesn’t ever seem to last long.

Website referenced:

Déjà Vu and You

By: Amanda Guillen

You walk into a coffee shop for the first time. Yet the coffee bean aroma, the soft jazz music playing and even the way the sofa chairs are arranged seem so familiar to you. This weird feeling takes over as you fight with the idea that you’ve been here before. Impossible, you think, but you can’t seem to shake the feeling. Maybe it’s familiar or maybe it’s déjà vu.

No, I’m not talking about the movie with Denzel Washington or the song by Beyoncé and her man Jay-Z. I’m talking about the feeling that a situation you are presently in feels more familiar than it should, or as the literal translation suggests, something you’ve “already seen.”

But I haven’t seen this before!

While it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly causes this sensation, scientist describe it as a false sense of perception; the mind’s wiring playing tricks on your conscious state. For example, scientists have found that there has been the strongest correlation of déjà vu with temporal lobe epilepsy.

So I’m going to have a seizure?!

Not exactly. The “epilepsy” just describes a sudden jerk or movement experienced right after the déjà vu episode. This is characterized by an irregularity related to a wrong electrical release in the brain – crazy wiring.

Actually, some scientists even believe that experiencing déjà vu is a sign of a healthy mind because it indicates that you are aware of familiarity signals that are incorrect.

So there’s nothing to worry about – you are perfectly healthy!

Thing is, scientists don’t know 100 percent if that is true. Although research is still being done on the subject, there isn’t really hard evidence.

Still no need to worry – maybe you’re psychic!

Although scientists reject the notion of clairvoyance there are some that believe déjà vu is a sign of psychic abilities. They believe that experiencing déjà vu could be seeing into the future or a glitch in time that allows you to experience something before you were supposed to.

Some even attribute the déjà vu experience to a dream they already had of the situation. You may have dreamt that you were in that coffee shop with the chairs arranged in that way with the soft music playing in the background and then went on to experience it later.

So I’m psychic?!

Not exactly.

Although people seem to have experienced situations before, there isn’t anything that proves that they have seen into the future or that their brain wires were mixed up. As of right now, déjà vu is as mysterious as the haunting feeling you get when you experience it.

So the next time you walk into a coffee shop with that aroma and that music and those chairs – just breathe. You aren’t alone; we’ve all been there before too.

Make Time To Have Some Fun

Make Time To Have Fun

By: Hayli Zuccola

We live in a fast-paced society. We are always on the go or busy with school, work or other activities. Sometimes it’s good to take a break from our crazy lives and take time out to have fun. Here is a list of simple and cheap ways to have fun without traveling too far.

  • Have a picnic outside
  • Spend the day with a pet
    • Animals can bring a smile to your face. If you can, take your pet out for the day. Even if you don’t have a pet of your own, you can visit your local shelter to give the animals some love.
  • Take a walk around town
  • Go window shopping
    • Even if you don’t have cash to spend, it’s still fun to window shop around at the mall or antique stores.
  • Go to a farmers market or flea market
    • From March through December, Jacksonville is having the Riverside Arts Market every Saturday. It’s filled with fresh produce, merchandise vendors and lots of food.  If that’s too far of a drive, most nearby town have a local farmers market or flea market you can visit instead.
  • Visit a museum
    • It could be the Butterfly Rainforest at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens in Jacksonville or anything in between.
    • Bonus Tip: Some museums give special discounts if you are a student or give discounts on certain days of the week.
  • Visit the beach or a local river
  • Take a drive
  • Watch the sunset or the sunrise
  • Have a cup of tea and a homemade scone
  • Make an indoor pillow fort
  • Have a movie marathon day
    • Find a long movie series or mini-series like “The 10th Kingdom” or “Back to the Future” and spend the day watching the whole thing. If movies aren’t your thing, burn through a whole season of a TV show you’ve wanted to watch.
  • Buy a plant
    • Plants can make people feel relaxed. Either get a house plant to brighten up your home or buy one to plant outside and take care of.
  • Make a homemade spa day
    • Light some candles.
    • Fill a bucket with warm water and bath salts for a foot bath.
    • Find a recipe for a homemade face mask.
    • Maybe even give yourself a manicure!
  • Attempt making a pinterest recipe/craft
  • Have a theme night
    • Some suggestions:
    • Italian Night – make spaghetti, get some cannolis and watch “The Godfather.”
    • Oktoberfest Night – Make some schnitzel, whatever that is, grab a pretzel, drink some butterbeer, and watch the Monster Movie episode of “Supernatural”.
    • French Night – Have a sandwich on a baguette, eat a croissant and watch “The Pink Panther.”

Whatever you decide to do will be a relaxing break from your daily routine.

Make Time To Have Fun (2) Make Time To Have Fun (4) Make Time To Have Fun (3)

What’s The Deal With Time Zones?

By: Anagabriela Medina

For those of us who travel a lot or have family and friends around the world, you know the struggle of trying to understand time zones.

So, why exactly do they exist? Well, let’s bring in some science for this. If you remember, the Earth spins on an imaginary axis with each complete rotation taking 24 hours to complete, creating what we know as a full day. Only certain parts of the Earth receive sunlight as it makes its full rotation, which it was know as day and night. So, you can clearly imagine what would happen if time zones didn’t exist. Twelve in the afternoon could be bright and sunny for some parts of the world, while others would be in pitch black. In short, they are muy importante!

It was the International Meridian Conference that took place on October 1884 that established what we now know as the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), the world’s time standard and prime meridian. Greenwich is the starting point for all the time zones around the world.  If you head west from the GMT, you will lose an hour for every 15-degree sections of the Earth. The opposite is also true if you decide to head east instead by gaining an hour for every 15 degrees. For example, if it was noon in Greenwich, and a country to the east stated their time as GMT +6 (or sometimes UTC for Coordinated Universal Time), then it’s 6 p.m. in that country. And since there is 24 hours in a day, there is also 24 different time zones excluding the International Date Line.

The International Date Line is what separates each day, 180 degrees both east and west of Greenwich, so things can get a little more complicated if you cross it some time during your travels. You might end up gaining or losing an entire day!

Just like the United States, which has a total of 6 time zones, other countries may also have multiple time zones depending on how large or small it is. By including all of its territories, France has the most at 12 time zones. China only has one time zone.




Analog is So Much Classier Than Digital


By: Kathryn Williams

When you think of time, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

Probably a clock, and I imagine, a clock face: a watch, an alarm clock, Big Ben. I doubt you thought of the Apple Watch.

The first modern clock came to the world in 1511 thanks to Peter Henlein, a German inventor. It didn’t keep time correctly, and often lost a few hours during the course of a day, but it was the springboard for others to move forward in creating more accurate, smaller clocks.

One of the first known wristwatches was a gift to Queen Elizabeth from the Earl of Leicester in 1571.   It was said to be ornate and “jeweled,” though the actual watch has been lost. From this point, women wore the arm watch, while men usually received a pocket watch.

Then came digital.

Digital watches are easy. Three or four numbers in a clean sans serif tell you exactly what time it is. You don’t have to think, and it’s kind of sad how things have changed.

The first digital wristwatch was made by Hamilton Watch Company and came out in 1972. For $2,100, someone could have the 18-karat gold timepiece that even featured LED light for the display.

The clock used to be an almost romantic thing before we digitized it. Between the two histories I told you about, which sounds more classic? A father would pass down a pocket watch to his son or a mother would give her daughter a watch for graduation. Both were a way of expressing appreciation for someone’s time here on this earth, and what they were planning on doing with the rest of it. Both were analog.

There is something about the classic analog clock that speaks to what time really is. In a way, it is time personified: a face with two hands that keeps tickets away the seconds quietly.

It is reminiscent of an older, more classic period where a person would listen to their grandfather clock strike and know it was time for brunch, or to go to work, or to pick up the kids. We were less fast paced. It wasn’t a big deal to take a second to look down and follow the hands to the correct number.

There is a reason why when you look down at your arm, your watch still has these very classic hands and twelve numbers in a circle.  We like the nostalgia of the analog clock. We want to be a little more Hepburn and Grant than McFly.


Quick DIY Room Décor

Tacher_Quick DIY Home Decor_photo6

By: Taryn Tacher

Does your room look a little dull? Are the walls lacking that trendy flair you only find in Urban Outfitters store windows? Are you just too busy to decorate your room to reflect your personality?

In less than an hour, you can create a beautiful and unique dream catcher that will transform any barren wall.


Plastic or wooden embroidery hoop

Spool of yarn

Friendship string

Beads (individual or pre-strung)




  1.     Separate the inner embroidery hoop from the outer embroidery hoop. You will not need the outer embroidery hoop.
  2.     Tie a knot of yarn around the inner embroidery hoop.
  3.     Coil the yarn around the hoop until it is completely covered. Cut off the excess yarn.
  4.     Tie a knot of friendship string around the hoop.
  5.     Wrap the string over the hoop and pull the rest of it through to form a loop or loose knot around the hoop.
  6.     Repeat this step to create loops along the entire edge of the hoop, spacing the loops about one or two inches apart.
  7.     Continue making loops, but instead of wrapping the string around the hoop, wrap it around the loops you have just made. As you get closer to the center, the loops will become smaller, and the string will become taut, You’ll see the classic dream catcher pattern forming.
  8.     When you can no longer continue making loops because you’ve reached the center of the hoop, tie the friendship string into a knot and cut off the excess.
  9.     Tie yarn and string beads from the bottom half of the hoop.
  10. Tie feathers to the bottom of the yarn.
  11. Hang on a nail or thumbtack or from the center of a fan.

Additional tips:

  •      Use ombré yarn or multiple different yarns to create a more colorful dream catcher.
  •      Add beads to the friendship string for a more decorative center.
  •      Dab the bottom of the feathers with glue and sprinkle with glitter for a sparkly finish.

Tacher_Quick DIY Home Decor_photo4


Tacher_Quick DIY Home Decor_photo3

How To Photograph Smoke


By: Andrea Sarcos

Looking back at some of my favorite photo shoots, this smoke photography one was one of my favorites. My friend and classmate Camila Guillen served as the beauty, and my rain-scented incense served as the beast. As challenging as it was to chase and capture untamed smoke, I’ll give you some tips below on how I managed to get a few shots.

Tools you’ll need:

  •      A D-SLR camera with manual control
  •      A few (preferably nice smelling) incense sticks
  •      A friend who doesn’t mind getting a little burnt
  •      Two external lights (one with a snoot and one with an umbrella)
  •      A black backdrop
  •      A speaker to pump some jams for dancing in between shots

The two ideas that sprung to my mind when thinking about smoke: a smokin’ hot person and a visual sense of smell. I wanted the smoke from the incense to look like it was coming off of my model. She held two incense sticks in her hands, away from the camera.

Here’s the technical photo details: I set up a rim light directly behind her and angled it slightly up to light up the smoke and create a rim of light outlining her body. The rim light was set at ¼ power with a snoot for directional lighting. I could only shoot at certain angles to not show the light behind her. I set a main light at 1/8 power at a 45-degree angle from Camila. I used a Canon EOS 7D and a 50 mm lens. My shutter speed was at 1/100 and aperture at f/10.

I had to do a few test shots to get the desired exposure, so I recommend you do the same and use my settings as only a starting point. Experimenting with photography is a learning process. The black background creates contrast for the smoke to be more visible, and the rim light pointing directly at the smoke will light up and capture it in its ever-changing forms. For the rose photo, Camila held the incense along the stem. The incense stick was hardly visible to make it seem like the scent was coming off of the rose. Smoke photography possibilities are endless, and I hope you feel inspired to create your own.