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St. Edward's University senior to graduate May 2013. Kxan News intern for SP'13. Aspiring reporter writing about Austin news, entertainment, food, etc.


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Craziness at the beginning of the semester

After Christmas break, it is time to get back to school, work, internships and late Sunday homework.

Many students start the semester with the same goal – plan ahead and don’t leave anything for the last day. However, not many keep it for long. The excitement of a new semester, having new classes, meeting new people and learning new things always pushes one to do better and try to keep it up. But the truth is that it barely happens.

Not matter how many agendas you buy, or color post-its or highlighters, if you are not really willing to stay up to date with your work, then it won’t happen. Plenty of times students have heard from teachers and other peers, tips and ideas on how to be successful for the semester, but reality is that those only help for the first week.

My goal was to keep blogging daily or at least try, and it’s obvious that I failed. It is easy to plan your hours before starting the semester, but once you start your internship, work, and classes, it is harder than you thought. However, not impossible.

I found it helpful to have ‘to-do’ lists everywhere, in my purse, my room, my agenda, and my phone. Also, setting up alarms for little things you are most likely going to forget. Avoiding working on the bed or sofa is helpful as well. If you have a desk, use it. Bring your computer, if possible, everywhere. Take the opportunity of working on projects on-the-go. Have extra clothes and a toilet bag in your car, just in case you can’t afford to spend time driving home and have to stay at a friend’s nearby. These are some things that have helped me throughout my career to stay focus and finish my projects on time. It doesn’t always help, because again willingness is the key, but it has definitely helped many late nights.


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The Three Kings Day – January 5&6

Besides Christmas and New Year’s, there is another day for celebration in the Spanish culture, the Three Kings day or Three Wise Men, which is celebrated the 5th at night and the 6th in the morning. A Spanish tradition in the evening of the 5th is the Cabalgata de Reyes (Three Kings parade) where entire families go outside waiting for the three kings and their ‘page boys’ passing by throwing candy to the kids. Although this is a country’s tradition, each family has their own traditions at home.

In my family, first, we choose a pair of fancy or favorite shoes; we clean them up and choose a place in the living room to put them at. Wherever you put your shoes is where you will find your presents in the morning. After that, we prepare the food for the Three Kings and their camels. The usual is three glasses of champagne with Spanish Christmas candy, and a bowl of lettuce and another one with water for the camels.

Once the food is ready, the whole family stands around the nativity scene singing few carols before going to sleep. The morning is always the hardest part. No one is allowed in the living room until everyone is awake. I must say that trying to take a look might cause you being the last one to open the presents. Finally, when everyone is up, we stand in line from the youngest to the oldest and we enter the living room in that same order.

Courtesy of Paellas, Tapas & More

Courtesy of Paellas, Tapas & More

After all the gifts have been opened, it is time for breakfast. The tradition is to have Roscon de Reyes (left picture) and hot chocolate. After everyone gets dress and play with the new toys. I’ll have to say that all these traditions were done to keep children’s imagination up but now that everyone is grown up, instead of preparing the food for the camels and Three Kings, we all drink together while putting out all the gifts. Still, I think it is necessary to keep traditions in order to keep the magic of Christmas.


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Quick tips for a successful NYE

It’s December 31, 2012 and in few hours one of the biggest celebrations of the year will start. While you are thinking where to go for cheap booze, there are some other factors that you need to take into consideration for tonight.

–          Transportation: Capital Metro will be free from midnight until 3 a.m. But if the stops aren’t near where you have to go, I would recommend car pool and finding a DD you can trust. Getting a taxi once downtown is closed is going to be absolutely insane and pretty much impossible unless you decide to walk few blocks. Keep in mind that parking lots will take advantage of this night and raise their prices considerably, so be prepared with cash.

–          Booze: if you are planning to go downtown, make sure you pregame a little bit unless you are ok with spending a high amount of money in few drinks. If you still have the chance to purchase tickets that will provide you with open bar, I would definitely recommend that. That money will pay off.

–          Clothing – for girls: it is a fact that is raining. Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend wearing those cute new shoes that you bought specifically for tonight. One, because whether you like it or not, they are going to get messy. Two, because with all the rain you will find yourself with trouble to walk and won’t look as classy as you think you are. Therefore, wear boots with or without heel, as long as they are comfortable. If you still have nothing to wear, tonight is the time to wear that black dress that we all have at the bottom of our closet and combine it with some colorful jewelry. We all know that carrying a jacket is a hassle but tonight it should be a must. For guys: some slacks and a nice button down shirt will do. The girls around you probably took hours to dress up so please, do them a favor and don’t wear jeans or tennis shoes.

–          Safety: drink responsible. There will be undercover people downtown trying to catch underage and irresponsible drinking.

–          Have fun and Happy New Year’s!


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‘Women Shaping Texas’ Sneak Peek

Nowadays, despite many saying that men and women are now equal, there are still fights over genre equality in the workforce, households, sports and such. I’ve heard and participated in multiple discussions about equality. However, what I’ve come to conclude is that most arguments were lacking knowledge of the history. I’ve found few women knowledgeable of our history, women that know beyond the main movements and characters. Now through April, the Bullock Texas State History Museum has a special exhibition about Women Shaping Texas in the 20th century, where you can learn more about women in the United States and more specifically in Texas.

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I decided to check it out and entered the exhibit thinking that I would know most of the things, but I didn’t, and that was a pleasant surprise. I never thought about what women have accomplished in each state. I always thought about the big picture of women’s right movements, leaving out women who did extraordinary things in their city/state. I had never heard of Annie Webb Blanton, a Houston native that started teaching at the age of 16, later on became president of the Texas State Teacher Association, and then aided by 11 other women founded Delta Kappa Gamma, an international society that promotes “professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education.”

Besides her, others like Jovita Idar, a women that resigned from her teaching position at a Mexican-American school angry at the poor conditions of the school, and became a journalist at ‘El Progreso’, using her writing skills as a way to communicate society the injustice in Mexican-American education. In sports we have Sheryl Swoopes, sometimes called the female Michael Jordan, a Texas Tech basketball star that led the Lady Raiders to national NCAA women’s basketball championship in 1993 and was named Most Valuable Player. Her actions have shaped Texas by showing excellence and encouraging women athletes.

Like them, many other women have fought for their rights and open the path for us, women of the 21st century. The exhibit provides videos, images and more for the audience to learn in an enjoyable and easy way. I highly recommend taking time during the holidays and checking out the exhibition.


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Keeping the traditions in a foreign land

As there are different cultures, there are different traditions and customs. In my family, we tried to adopt the American traditions while keeping the Spanish ones. We decorated the outside with the lights like the rest of the neighborhood, but we also put up a nativity scene on the right side of the door. Inside the house, we have the tradition of putting up a small nativity scene in the reception area welcoming any guests and then a big one with multiple little figures, a fake river, the three kings and so on in the salon. Besides that, we have the traditional Christmas tree and the Christmas boots hanging on the chimney, which we started doing when we got to Austin.

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Besides the decorations, we also have traditions for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, plus “special” food that we eat during these days. For us, dinner on the 24th and lunch on the 25th are very special. We use the fancy eating area, the fancy dinner service and tablecloth. There are few dishes that are specific of these days; seafood cocktail (lettuce, apple, shrimp, lobster, and pink sauce – ketchup and mayonnaise), and consome (meat clear soup). Besides these, we also eat Jamon Serrano (Spanish Ham), turrones, polvorones and mazapanes (Spanish sweet candy only eaten during Christmas time).

After mass on the 24th, we have dinner and once we are done, we all gather in the living room around the table with champagne, and the candy while singing Spanish carols and playing the Christmas instruments. Once we’ve had enough alcohol and candy, each person chooses a spot in the room where the gifts will be placed and found in the morning.  On the 25th, besides being able to sleep in, everyone has to wait for everyone to be awake in order to start opening the presents. We entered the living room by age, from the youngest to the oldest. Once all the presents are opened, we pick up the trash, have a light breakfast, get dressed and start preparing all together the delicious lunch. And after lunch, it is movie time.


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Sushi and Sports: all at once

Here in Austin, Sushi Zushi and Uchi are well-known restaurants in Austin. The problem comes when there is a football or basketball game you want to watch. Neither of these restaurants have TV’s; therefore, either you enjoy sushi or the game. But, what if you could combine both?

Today I found a sushi sports bar called Sushi Nini; the dream for many sushi and sports lovers. It isn’t in Austin, but closed enough. The outside looked kind of creepy. You can’t see the inside, only the red light open sign and the name of the restaurant on top. Regardless, we walked in. It is a small sushi restaurant/bar with multiple screens showing the different football games that were going on this afternoon. At first I doubted that the food was going to be good but we gave it a chance.

If things couldn’t get better, Sunday is happy hour all day meaning that a big fried roll costs you only $4.99 which I thought was pretty great. Besides that, they also have late happy hours after 8:30 p.m. which is rare but really convenient.

We ordered the combination tempura and the spring rolls as appetizers. Neither the spring rolls nor the tempura plate was too big, but they were good. For the entrees, we ordered three different rolls, the Beautiful (tuna, avocado and cream cheese), the Philly (salmon, avocado and cream cheese) and the Nini (crab mix, avocado and cucumber), all fried. We wanted simple rolls, but there are plenty of fancy and spicy rolls for the spicy lovers. They were all tasty and definitely bigger than the ones from Sushi Zushi and Uchi, and for sure cheaper.

If you are looking for cheap, good sushi where you can enjoy some football, I would recommend driving the extra miles to Sushi Nini.


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One finals week away from ‘freedom’

Photo credit Tumblr

Photo credit Tumblr

It’s the last week of school and every college student knows what that means: finals week – probably the worst week of the semester for students and even teachers. During this week/s, students tend to eat fast food, not sleep and maybe not even shower. After reading multiple Facebook posts, tweets and Instagrams, I decided to write a blog post about tips for finals week since this is basically my last finals week as an undergraduate.

–          Eat well: It is always easier to drive through McDonald’s and Whataburger than making a salad. However, I believe that eating well is crucial for success and productivity. Whenever you take a break make yourself a fast and easy meal. For example, a salad, salmon cooked in the oven, eggs, chicken, pasta and so on. They are all healthier, cheap and easy to make. If you find yourself at the library with no way of getting home and cook while in your break, I recommend you eat a sub instead of burgers. Jimmy Johns, Which Which, and Subway are good options. If you think you’ll get hungry at 4 a.m. in the morning, buy the sandwich earlier and keep it until you get hungry rather than going to Whataburger.

–          Sleep: Let’s be honest. Without sleeping, you get grumpy, you won’t do well in your tests rather you’ll most likely fell asleep on them, and you’ll become delusional. SLEEP. If you can feel your eyes closing, don’t drink another 5 energy poison liquid, take a two hour nap and you’ll be way more productive. Not sleeping is the last thing you should do during finals week and I believe that it is not even worth it.

–          Plan ahead: although you might feel like telling your friends that you pull an all-nighter is cool, it is not. It doesn’t say that you had way too many things to do; it just says that you don’t know how to organize yourself. Sit, write down the things you need to do, and PLAN AHEAD. Be productive, be detailed about your plan for the week, be realistic about the time you have in your hands and the time you’ll need for each task, and most important be serious. It is pointless to make a list and spend 10 minutes organizing yourself if you are going to end up chilling and hanging out with your friends instead of sticking to your plan.

Throughout my short four years of college, I’ve learned that these three things are the most important for midterms and finals week. If you don’t have some type of order during that week, then you will end up going crazy and your friends will not appreciate it. Think about you and the people next to you.