Cough and Cold Season: How do I Avoid it?

It is officially a cough and cold season everybody! With the new stands of covid spreading along with the yearly flu, it is very important to know how to stay safe in a time like this. Unlike normal flu seasons, Covid-19 is still as apparent as ever, making the process of taking precautions even more serious. Here I am going to let the public know, or remind them, of the important precautions that should be taken to accommodate the flowing viruses.

First and foremost, wash your hands!! Whenever you get home from school, work, or an event, the first thing you should think of doing is washing your hands. I know that saying this sounds like a no-brainer, but most people do not wash their hands when they get home. To put into perspective, all of the bacteria from all the different places you touched that others have also touched are all on your hands. If you were to eat, all that bacteria that may carry viruses will go into your system, which is not good! By consistently washing your hands, you are minimizing the chance of exposure.

My next precautionary step is something most people do not think of, which is disinfecting your phone. For most, their phone is like an extension of their body, meaning it travels everywhere with them. People also tend to always place their phones on tables, bags, and other dirty surfaces. When doing this, your phone picks up more bacteria than you could think of and is dirtier than a toilet seat. Now that you are thinking about all the places you have left your phone at today, think about how viruses could be on your phone, which you touch every day. To prevent your phone from causing a cold, always keep it when you get home. This means taking a disinfectant wipe and cleaning off your phone, killing all of the bacteria that had collected on your phone throughout the day. This way the bacteria is not transferring from your phone to your hands, which could cause you to get sick.

My last step may be the most important, that is to get the flu or covid vaccines. I am fully aware that vaccination has become politicized, but I am merely speaking from a neutral perspective, a health perspective. If you can find your local CVS or Walgreens, make an appointment to get the flu or cold vaccine. This way if you are exposed to either of the viruses, your body will have some immunity, and either you will not get sick, or you will experience symptoms that are a fraction as bad as they would have been without the vaccine. This way your immune system is built up and ready to face the virus that may enter your body. 

These are my helpful tips to keep you guys safe during this fall season!

-Lilly G.

Cold Season, Fact or Myth?

Now that it is the cough and cold season, myths and misconceptions are constantly being spread about catching or dealing with a cold. Here, I am going to clear up some of these statements and help you differentiate between myths and facts of colds.

Facts about flu - Mayo Clinic Health System

“Going out in the cold or with wet hair will get you sick!” is a statement almost every person has heard over and again. But, in reality this overused statement is false. You are not more likely to get sick if you go out in the cold versus the heat. This is a common misconception since cold season is usually when it is colder. This is because when it is colder, people tend to meet others indoors, where colds can spread more easily.  Or they are closer to other people due to the cold, allowing viruses to spread through breathing and coughing quickly.

Another common statement heard around this time is “getting the flu vaccine will make you catch the flu!”. Again, this is another common misconception. This is a false fact that has been spread. It is not possible to get the flu directly from receiving the vaccine. Most people feel slight cold symptoms and soreness within a few days following the date of receiving the vaccine. But, this reaction is nowhere in comparison to the severity of the vaccine.

“Antibiotics will cure colds” is another “solution” many people hear in response to getting colds. But, this is not true. Antibiotics only fight bacteria, not the viruses that cause colds. Although in some cases colds lead to bacterial infections where antibiotics are useful, for general colds they are proven ineffective. On the other hand if you have a bacterial infection, antibiotics are very effective and the effects are significant.

Throughout time, ideas get spread although not always true. That is why it is always important to consult a doctor or trusted sources before acting rashly when you come down with a cold. Most importantly, trust tested and verified ways of treating specific colds when doing self-treatment.

-Lilly G.

You CAN Handle that Workload!

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Now that most high schools have returned to in-person school everyone is feeling the academic and social pressure. The teachers were not hesitant to give a large workload for all students. I want to share some tips for time management that helps me manage my time while still taking 8 classes. 

My first tip is for those procrastinators out there taking many AP classes, feeling the work pile up faster than imaginable. This first tip is very helpful but may seem crazy to some. Personally, I set screen time on my phone from 5pm to 10pm. I get home from school around 4, I give myself a little mental break but once it hits 5 my phone blocks entertainment. I first thought this idea was going too far, but after several months it has really helped my procrastination. If I want to open instagram or tiktok I get a reminder that I should not be on my phone. This way I have a 5 hour window to sit down at my desk and simply work.

My next tip is to create a google sheet to plan both your homework and reminders for the day. Make a column for each of your classes on the top. On the right put each date and fill in the homework for each class. Whenever you finish an assignment turn the cell block green to show that you completed that task. This is a simple way to keep organized that does not require buying a planner. Also, personally I find motivation to turn all of the blocks green as soon as I can.

My next tip is to know your limit of classes. Some people, especially as they enter their junior and senior years, attempt to take as many AP, IB, and honors classes as possible. But, I would recommend taking the workload you know you can handle while still pushing yourself. This way you are not overexerting yourself to a point where you are not doing well in any classes.

My last tip is to take advantage of given class time and homework times during class! Oftentimes teachers leave 10-15 minutes to work on assignments. Many people tend to spend that time talking to their friends. I say get as much done as possible, your future self will thank you for it. During this time you are often more productive, have the teacher to ask any questions, and can get some of that work done before you even reach home. 

Overall my tip is find the best time management plan for yourself, as it differs from person to person. Once you find that schedule that fits your workload and personality perfectly, you will find dealing with all of the assignments will no longer be as daunting.

-Lilly G.

Need a new show? Try Fresh Off The Boat!

Fresh Off the Boat (TV Series 2015–2020) - IMDb
Just look at this loveable family you will get to follow!

With summer around the corner, everybody needs some light and fun television shows to watch to fill the time. One of my favorite genres of television is sitcoms and I have watched many that have come to my liking. Today I am recommending Fresh Off the Boat! This sitcom originally started airing in 2015 but currently has 6 seasons with the idea that there will most likely be a season 7. So do not worry, there is plenty of content to keep you busy.

Fresh off the Boat stars a Chinese family moving from a majority Chinese town in DC to the majority white in Orlando, Florida. This show takes place in the 1990s which I believe is the icing on the top for this show. The mother, Jessica, is your typical tiger Asian mom. She attempts to control the lives of her three sons: Eddie, the teenager who only wants to play video games, Emery, the perfect son, and Evan, the young smartie pants who skips a grade. There is also the dad, Louis Huang, who runs a bbq restaurant and is your classic funny carefree dad.  At the same time, Jessica attempts to fit in with the white neighborhood moms group. We get to see how it was like for an Asian family to enter a majority white area in the 1990s. Hence the name Fresh Off the Boat, meaning they are basically fresh immigration with little idea of how things work in a suburban area. 

The story mainly revolves around Eddie, the oldest child. One of my personal favorite scenes of the entire show is in the first episode. Eddie goes to school and is made fun of for his Chinese lunch. All he dreams of having for lunch is Lunchables so he can be cool, it seems we all had the idea of what is cool even in the 1990s! He goes to the market and gets to pick out the cool “white people food” as he calls it and boosts his confidence. This show is full of comedy that keeps you laughing for the entire episode. 

Nonetheless, my favorite character has to be Jessica Huang, the overprotective mother. We slowly get to witness her mellow out her ways and become more of a relaxed parent. Do not get me wrong, one of my favorite parts of the show is getting to watch her be the typical tiger mom with a twist of a comedic side. She always rocks her 1990’s fashion to no end that makes her a character that you cannot just help but adore.

If you need a new show to watch I would seriously recommend watching Fresh Off the Boat as soon as possible!!

-Lilly G.

Preparing for school?

Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Pexels.com

The much dreaded back to school season has finally arrived. Although it is a disappointing time for most, the best way to enter the new school year is to be prepared. By setting yourself up for success before the school year starts, your future self will be thanking you once the workload begins to pile up. 

One tip I would recommend is to get a daily planner before the school year starts. One of the hardest parts of being a student is keeping track of assignments, test days, and extracurriculars all at once. Finding yourself a planner that works before the school year starts will help boost your efficiency and time management. I would recommend looking on amazon to find cheap and durable planners. They have a wide variety of options where you can even choose which month the planner starts and ends on.

Although this tip seems simple it is important. Most students neglect to check if there is ever summer homework and it always comes back to bite them in the butt. So, before school starts make sure to check your high school’s website to ensure you have all the summer work you need to do. This way the first tests on the summer information will not cause your grade to drop as soon as school starts. 

Another tip I would recommend is refreshing up on your previous year’s math concepts. One of the most difficult parts of returning to school with math is carrying over the skills you learned. Unlike other subjects, math tacks on the cumulative information that you have been learning since middle school. Going to Khan Academy or simply watching review videos on YouTube will help tremendously in starting the school year off strong and with a high grade.

For those taking AP classes, another huge tip I would recommend is buying test prep books at the beginning of the school year, along with reading the basics of the class which is available on the college board website. AP classes throw so much information at you all at once. Having a very simple basic understanding of what you are going to learn will help. Also with review books, you can make sure you understand each concept as you learn it by trying the practice questions.

Although these tips are simple and seem quite basic or unnecessary, they will be very beneficial once you begin receiving 2 assignments for each of your 7 classes. These small changes and advancements will put you ahead and will helps you receive that strong starting grade that is crucial in determining how you will success in a class. 

–Lilly G.

Summer is here, now what?

Everyone is still adjusting from the pandemic controlled world to a slightly less restricted lifestyle. Now that summer is here, every teens has more freedom, but many are questioning how they used to live their old pre-covid lives. In this post I will give some suggestions of fun activities to do with your friends, family, or even yourself.

I would first like to start off this list with going on hikes. Hikes are an activity that is enjoyable both by yourself and with company. Find a fun trail that fits how difficult you would like to experience. If you are by yourself, pop in an earbud and play your uplifting songs while staying active. For those in the Mission Viejo area, some trails are the Oso Creek Trail, Alicia Trail, and the Nellie Gail Trails. Going on hikes can take up your time while keeping you active. The only thing to be cautious of is the weather, make sure to check the weather for the day you plan to make sure you do not accidentally hike on an extremely hot day, which I am guilty of, not fun. 

If you are planning a hangout with friends and have no idea what to do, like many of us, I would recommend having a picnic at a park. Choose any centrally located park or beautiful one near the beach. Each person can bring their own food to fit what they like while still enjoying the company of others with them. Make sure to bring a blanket and maybe a speaker to play some fun music. Besides eating, I love to bring other activities to do at a picnic. Some fun ideas are to bring cards or a board game. Or bringing canvases and paint to have a painting/art contest with your friends. 

Here is an example of a fun picnic setup you have have with friends!

Another idea I would recommend is to take a day trip. Whether you choose Los Angeles, San Diego, or any other location that is outside of your daily circle of travel, a day trip can be super fun. The night before, plan your stops. This way you have a roadmap of approximately which areas you will be in. Especially for L.A, it is a huge area so planning which part of it you will be in is a great idea. On day trips to areas in the city, I find it very fun to find trendy food places I see online and actually get to try it. Some ideas are getting mochi donuts, korean hot dogs, or bubble waffles that have been circulating across the internet but are mainly located in areas like Los Angeles. Also if going on a day trip, find cool activities you can only do in that area. For example, if going to LA find a swap meet like the Melrose Trading Place. Or go to famous spots like the Santa Monica pier, which is far enough away from home that it seems more exciting. 

Summer is the time where people can finally enjoy themselves after months of stress. Find an activity you personally enjoy. Your goal is to make yourselves miss summer as much as possible!

-Lilly G.

Home Ec At Home: How To Do Laundry

How to do Laundry – a need to know skill!

Start by gathering up all of your dirty clothes. Next you will need to separate them into three different piles. 

  • One pile is for all delicate clothing, meaning undergarments along with clothing made from silk, wool, lace, linen, or any other fabric that appears fine.
  • The next two piles are light and dark clothing items. The dark clothing items include reds, black, grey, dark blues, dark purples, and other dark colors. This is important or else your dark clothing can stain the lighter clothes while in the wash. 

Now that your clothes are separated the next step is to load them into the washing machine. Load your washing machine until it is about ⅔ full of clothes. Next, you will need to load laundry detergent. On standard washing machines, there is a trey to insert the detergent on the top left-hand corner. Read the label of your detergent to find out how much you need but most call for about 1-2 tablespoons of detergent.

For the light and dark piles set the turning knob to “normal” and “warm water” then press start. For the delicate pile, it is a little different, set the turning knob to “delicate” on “cold water” then press start. Then set a timer for however long the machine says it will take to wash, normally around 50 minutes. 

Once the machine says that the washing process is done the next step is to transfer the clothes to the dryer. When all of the clothes are in the dryer check for lint. In most dryers there is a lint shield on the edge of the giant circle. Clean out all the lint that was collected from previous washes to ensure lint does not collect on your new clothes. Next close the drawer and again for the light and dark clothing piles turn the knob to “normal” and press start. For the delicates turn the knob to “delicate” and then press start. Once again set you time to the listed amount of time it will take for the clothing to dry.

When the timer goes off on the dryer open the drying door. Remove all of the clothes from the machine, check that all of the clothes are completely dry, they should be hot. If some clothes are still a bit damp hang them up to dry completely. For the dry clothes immediately hang up or fold the clothes to ensure the clothes do not wrinkle. Clothes will wrinkle are left in the drying machine once it is done for long periods of time. Lastly get excited that you have newly washed clothes in your closet!

*note that if you are washing towels turn the knob to “heavy duty” and “hot water” when in the washing machine. Same with the dryer, set the knob to “heavy duty”

-Lilly G.

Music Genres?

In modern society pop music appears to be the most mainstream and popular style of music to listen to. Especially in the younger generations artists such as Ariana Grande, Charlie Puth, and Billie Eilish are some of the most played artists. Though I personally like some pop music, most songs are overplayed and extremely repetitive to one another. As another option, I will be describing some of my favorite songs, artists, and genres to listen to.

Though it is quite underrated in the modern United States, jazz music is very satisfying. When studying or doing homework lyrics often distract students, but jazz is a great substitution. The music always contains great rhythms and crazy solos that leave you wanting to listen more. I personally have listened to jazz for many years and I know finding a place to start is one of the hardest parts. Paul Desmond’s “O Gato” is a bossa nova tune that is soft but yet addicting to listen to. Some of my other favorite players are Charles Mingus, George Bensen, Wes Montgomery, and Sonny Rollins. Their pieces have varying styles of jazz like bossa nova, big band, swing, and bebop. If you are looking for a nice upbeat song Charles Mingus’s “Moanin’” is a great tune to get your feet tapping. Though jazz is the backbone to all music today, it is often overlooked for more modern pieces. But if you analyzed songs today, they all have remnants of jazz written all over them.

Your Name (album) - Wikipedia
This is the album cover to “Sparkle” by RADWIMPS

My newfound favorite type of music as of now is japanese music. In modern society younger generations have been introduced to anime, a japanese style of television. Simurally this is how I began this new area of music. Without prior knowledge I would never see myself listening to Japanese music but now some of my favorite songs originate from openings and ending animes. My personal favorite artists are called RADWIMPS, lots of their songs are soundtracks to popular anime movies like “Your Name” or “Weathering with you”. Not only that but they have beautiful album covers that are card to ignore. Their songs included “Stick Figure”, “Cocoronoaca” , “Sokkenai”, and “Sparkle”. I would seriously recommend these songs, Japanese music in the United States is quite underrated and is not overplayed. Similarly they are great songs to listen to while doing work, since the lyrics are not in English and therefore can not distract you. If you are one of the many people that enjoy watching anime I would seriously recommend researching the openings and closings of your favorite shows as an introduction to Japanese music. 

Lastly I would like to introduce some funk bands that I enjoy. Funk is one of those styles that is always there but never that popular or mainstream. As far as modern bands go, Vulfpeck is my favorite. They combine jazz and modern rock to create some funky tunes. My favorites include “1612”, “Tesla”, and “Back Pocket”. They have great bass lines and drums that just get your head bopping. Vulfpeck has great wind players along with a rhythm section that will blow your mind. Personally I believe that Vulfpeck’s live shows on youtube are even better than their studio recordings. If you ever need some music to vibe to when you feel down or lonely, never underestimate the power of funky music.

-Lilly G.

What is Modern Family?

Modern Family (season 10) - Wikipedia

I am here to recommend one of my all time favorite television shows to binge. I do know that a lot of good shows never seem to have enough episodes, so this one is a long one, the famous Modern Family. Many people have heard of it but have yet to watch it, and let me tell you it is hilarious. Modern Family ended in 2020 but has 11 seasons for you to watch. This show revolves around 3 different families that are all related. 

The first family is Gloria, Jay, Manny, and Joe Pritchett (Joe is a new addition later on in the show). Jay is an old white man while Gloria is the young Columbian that marries him and brings her son, Manny, from a past marriage. Though many are skeptical about their relationship, they are an amazing couple. Gloria is one of the characters that just make you laugh the entire time. She is full of jokes and is constantly criticizing Jay’s old man habits. 

The second family is Cameron Tucker, Mitchell Pritchett, and their adopted daughter Lily from Vietnam. Mitchel is the son of Jay Pritchett, with Jay’s past wife. This is one of those families that you cannot look away from. Cameron is from a rural town and always finds a way to include his life from the farm into every conversation while exaggerating many events. Mitchell is the put together lawyer that tries to keep him in check. One of my favorite parts of this show is them constantly criticizing others for stereotyping them as a specific type of gay couple while fulfilling half of the stereotyping at the same exact time. 

The last family is Claire, Phil, Haley, Alex, and Luke Dunphy, my personal favorite family. Haley is the typical teen that always wants to go out and part, Alex is your nerdy middle child, and Luke is the young and carefree child constantly getting into trouble. Claire Dunphy is the mother and daughter of Jay, who is a housewife with a strong opinion. Phil Dunphy will most likely be one if not your favorite character in the entire show. He is a real estate agent with a passionate hobby of magic. He always wants to be the “cool dad” who his children see as one of the “boys”. This family is one of those crazy ones with kids running around everywhere and parents who are just as crazy.

Those families sound very different, one of my favorite aspects of this show is how we get to see being brought together during family events. There are many awesome relationships between the uncles and nieces, cousins, etc. We get to see the conflicts between adult siblings and their parents along with how they end up making up with one another. You will definitely get a hoot of this show if you love comedy while following a crazy extended family.

-Lily G.

Intro to Guitar!

With the more free time that has opened up due to quarantine it is the perfect time to find something you enjoy to fill the time. I recommend learning the basics of guitar. If you enjoy any style of music there is bound to be a guitar part somewhere within the piece. The awesome thing about this stringed instrument is once you understand the basics you can learn any song you want with a little bit of practice. Stay tuned to hear some basic tips for getting started on your music journey!

When you pick up a guitar for the first time the first thing going through your head is most likely what are all of these pieces. Right below I have a picture that shows the different parts of the guitar. If you are right handed the fretboard and neck is where you put your left hand while the right goes over the body. If you are left handed it is the opposite, there are actually left handed guitars that are made for any left handed players so keep that in mind when finding a guitar. But, it is not necessary, my brother was left handed but learned on a right handed guitar and never used a left handed one, it is all up to preference. 

As seen in the picture above there are 6 strings that stretch across the fretboard. From top to bottom, or thickest to thinnest, the notes are E A D G B E. An easy way to remember this is by remembering the expression Eddie Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddie. If you noticed there are 2 E strings. The difference is the first one is a low E while the last one is a high E, meaning they are a whole octave apart from each other. Memorizing these string names is very important when you’re starting to play guitar. 

For beginners I recommend starting on an acoustic guitar so that your fingers can grow accustomed to the thick strings before playing an electric guitar where the strings ate thinner. Many do this so you can build calluses on your fingers as you play. If you start and notice that it hurts everytime you touch the string, that is normal!!!!! After several weeks your fingers will grow calluses that make  any pain disappear. 

When you pick up a guitar the first thing you need to do is tune it. On a guitar the pegs at the end of the guitar is what tunes it. For starters notes can be flat, sharp, or in tune. When it is flat or sharp the notes will sound off and distorted which is why it is important to tune it first. As a tuner I would recommend the “GuitarTuna” app available on app stores. This app will provide a visual representation of whether or not the guitar is in tune each time you play a string. Linked down below is a short and simple video to be used as a visual of how exactly to tune a guitar. 

Instructions on how to tune the guitar are readily available on YouTube!