Wednesday, July 27, 2016

My Experience as an ISJW Student

Newspapers, Scavenger hunts, and blogs! Oh MY!

  My Experience as an Iowa Summer Journalism Student
The Personal Writing group during the scavenger hunt
  Imagine walking onto the campus of your dream school for the first time. I no longer have to imagine but rather remember. The first time I stepped foot on the campus of my dream school was last Sunday when I checked into the Iowa Summer Journalism Camp. I was so filled with anticipation for the camp that as soon as I got up to my dorm room at Burge Hall, I pushed my parents out and urged them to leave. I found myself in a place I had never been to with people I had never met and it was exciting. Above all, I wanted desperately to get into class and start showing everyone what I am capable of. 
  I met with my instructor, Jarrin Williams, an enthusiastic and peppy man, on the first night. Mr. Williams went through a very helpful informational presentation about what a blog post should accomplish and how to write reviews. That night we also received our first assignment. During our work time, I asked Mr. Williams to look at my personal blog. He agreed and started to scroll through months of my hard work. He was very pleased with my blog and told me that it was internship worthy and very professional. His praise gave me the affirmation that I had been looking for since I started my personal blog last November. 
  I went back to my dorm and felt like I was walking on clouds. All I could think was, Yeah! I guess I am good at this! When I reached my dorm I found out a peculiar fact about life in Burge Hall: to go to the bathroom, you need a key. I had never experienced living in a dorm that locked their bathrooms. Other than that, dorm life was easy living although I was always out and about!
 Every day in class we were given two assignments that would need to be posted by that night. Some of these assignments required us to go into Iowa City and review a coffee shop or to interview campers. I really enjoyed the interviews and I wish that we had a chance to do more!
Walking to class on a sunny day
  In our class time, we were granted a lot of freedom in terms of writing. We could write as many posts as we wanted to and we weren't limited to certain topics. Mr. Williams left us to our devices while always giving us the option to eat some starbursts. Mr. Williams challenged me to write about things that were happening in the news. I struggled with the idea at first, I didn't keep up with the election and didn't think of myself to blog about hurricanes or robberies. I realized that I could talk about my one true love: fashion news. I didn't struggle after that. 

A candid shot of me taking photos of butterflies PC: Jarrin Williams
  One of my favorite memories from the camp was when we traveled to the Johnson County Fair. On a whim, Mr. Williams asked the photojournalism instructor if we could join them when they went to the fair to take photos. That night, after dinner, the personal writing group piled into a University of Iowa van and drove to the fair. We only spent about an hour on the fairgrounds, but it was really invigorating to get out and experience what the community had to offer. My camp friend Bella and I had a lot of fun taking pictures of the butterflies at the butterfly garden and going on a ride together. Below is a photo she took of me while we were spinning around in the air!
Flying around the fairgrounds  
  Later in the week, one of the counselors took the time to walk the campers through how to apply to the University of Iowa. I found this informational lecture very helpful because I will be a junior this upcoming school year and Iowa is my top choice for colleges. Eric, the counselor, answered all of our questions about the school. He also told us an anecdote to urge us to get out to the job fair our freshman year so that the representatives can see how you grow year by year.  

The Personal Writing students on the set of the campus news!

  I also really enjoyed getting to talk to the editor of The Daily Iowan and a couple members of the summer staff. Surprisingly, I hadn't heard of The Daily Iowan, a student run newspaper on campus, until I visited the University of Iowa. I knew that Iowa State had three student run magazines on campus but I didn't know that the University of Iowa had a newspaper! We got to see where the campus news station recorded as well. Mr. Williams took advantage of the Kodak moment and asked Lily Abromeit, the editor & chief of The Daily Iowan to snap a photo of us on the set. (Seen above) 

"We Are All Scientists"

  Lastly, I had a lot of fun running around Iowa City for the scavenger hunt. We were given a list of clues that described different things we could find/see in Iowa City. The scavenger hunt was a huge competition between all of the different workshops and we took a lot of adorable photos! The Personal Writing group didn't end up winning the competition but it still was  entertaining (and really good exercise). 
Outdoor pianos line the streets at the Pedestrian Mall
  Overall, I really enjoyed my time at the USJW! I loved trekking around to all of the different places we visited for class. I feel like I truly got my first taste of Iowa City...and I want more! Iowa City is the perfect college town. You can walk everywhere and people genuinely prefer small town sandwich shops to Subway. I can't wait to return next summer to experience another Iowa summer journalism workshop and some more Iowa City culture. 
We love the Ped Mall! (& Free Wifi!)

Bailey Takes the Johnson County Fair

Bailey Takes the Johnson County Fair

Three young farm girls tend to their calves 
  Colored lights illuminated the skyline while the smell of fried food permeated the air last night as I walked through the Johnson County Fairgrounds in Iowa. Children ran from one building to another, petting animals, getting their faces painted, and enjoying fairground treats. 
  Ever since I was very little I've attended county fairs. My mother would enter contests where the quality of the flowers and vegetables she grew was tested. My dad would take me around the fairgrounds and we'd build a bird house, watch the dog show, or grab a carton of cheese curds while talking to an adult dressed as McGruff the Dog. 
  Last night was my first time at a fair in Iowa. I, of course, have heard of the Iowa State Fair and how wonderful it is. I have attended both the Wisconsin State Fair and the Minnesota State Fair as well as other county and town fairs. I knew that to get the full experience I had to try some fried food and go on at least one ride after walking through the buildings to admire the animals. 
A youngster smiles for the camera
  My first stop at the fair was the butterfly garden. I had never seen a butterfly garden at a fair before but it soon became one of my favorite parts of the night. Outside, butterfly experts informed curious children about the different species of butterflies. Inside the structure, fair goers ambled around searching for a butterfly to snap a photo of. 

A shy butterfly hides
under a large leaf
  Butterflies work on their own schedule and don't wait for anyone. I instantly regretted not bringing a better camera  while I chased butterflies with my phone just to get a nice shot to include in my blog post. Getting a nice picture was a challenge on its own but it was also enjoyable. I felt a bit more youthful, seeing as I was chasing butterflies on a cool summer night. 
  The garden itself did not look hastily put together. There was a fountain and a bird bath where slices of watermelon were placed to attract and feed the butterflies. 
  The butterfly garden had different types of flowers for the butterflies to enjoy and pollinate. Butterflies are attracted by certain species of flowers, so if you want to attract more butterflies in your garden at home, ask an employee at your local greenhouse about butterflies' favorite flowers. 
  The children around me really enjoyed the butterfly garden. They tried to name the species of the butterflies they saw to their parents. Others tried to catch a butterfly on their arm. 
  The butterfly garden was super chill, not overly busy, and relaxing. If you are in the area, stop at the Johnson County Fair and take a walk through. My trip to the butterfly garden made me enjoy the details of nature a little bit more.
  After I was done stalking the butterflies, my friend Bella and I (Bella is a photo journalism camper at the ISJW '16) decided to look at the livestock. We walked through the cow barn first. I told Bella about how at the Wisconsin State Fair two years ago I saw a cow poop all over it's owner. 
A cow takes a short nap
  We watched some young farm girls tend to their baby calves. Mothers took candid photos of their kids petting cows. The soft sound of country music played in the background as Bella and I took photos of the animals.
 After visiting the cows, Bella and I decided to look at the pigs. All of the pigs looked like they were going to fall asleep. The early evening was calling them to take a nap. All of the animals had not been judged yet, so no ribbons decorated the stalls as I walked past. 
A pig stays hydrated 
  I decided that we didn't need to look at the chickens or ducks since I had them at home and I was on a time limit. Instead, Bella and I made a break for the food stalls. 
  The Johnson County Fair is relatively small in size so there were only a handful of food vendors to choose from. Bella and I wanted to binge on deep fried delicacies that fairs are known for, so we stopped at the vendor pictured below. On the menu, we read of deep fried peanut butter and jelly and home made root beer but I decided to order one of my favorite fair/festival foods: deep fried oreos.
The food vendor I chose to buy from
  The first time I tried deep fried Oreos, I was at Oktoberfest in Appleton, Wisconsin. I had heard via the internet that milk's favorite cookie was even tastier when battered and fried. Do you know how people say not to believe everything you hear on the internet? Don't listen to that saying, the internet is right! Deep fried Oreos are twenty times better than eating Oreos from the package.
  I was greeted at the window by a likeable guy who made jokes while preparing his deep fried creation. He told me that they were fresh out of Oreos and laughed when I fell for his trick: there was a container of Oreos right in front of me. 
  Bella ordered some funnel cake. She explained to me that every time she went to the fair that her dad would always buy funnel cake for her and her siblings. I think that every fair goer has some type of tradition. My family usually gets some cheese curds because Wisconsin fairs typically have the best cheese curds around. 
Funnel cake: a fair fan's favorite
   The vendor dusted both of our deep fried desserts with a generous quantity of powdered sugar and handed us our plates. I eagerly searched for a picnic table to sit at so I could eat my Oreos which were still hot from the fryer. 
   You have to eat deep fried Oreos before they cool off otherwise you will never experience the amazing combination of melty Oreo cream and crunchy chocolate encased in a slim layer of batter. 
    I took a bite of the funnel cake. I am not the world's biggest funnel cake fan, especially when deep fried Oreos are involved--always take the Oreos! Funnel cake is almost hollow inside which always confuses me. Aside from it being confusing to my senses, the funnel cake was made well. Each bite I ate was consistently crunchy and sweet. 
  The deep fried Oreos were really good when they were warm but as they cooled off, they fell apart into micro crumbs. As I was cutting my final Oreo in half with my  fork, I found a hair cooked into it. I decided not to finish eating it. I was a little disappointed because I payed five dollars for four oreos and only got to eat three of them. I didn't blame the vendor though. Hairs don't fall into food on purpose. 
The hair in my Oreo
  The ISJW Personal Writing group wasn't staying at the fair for very long so I was on a time limit. The last thing I did before leaving was go on a ride. Bella and I chose a ride and stood in line. When we got to the front, we found out we needed tickets. That was a bummer, so we bought tickets and came back. (Perhaps a sign saying how many tickets that are needed to ride the ride would have been helpful)
  The ride consisted of eight poles holding two person seats which looked like old bathtubs. The ride then lifted you off the ground and spun you around. You could also spin the seats around if you wanted to. The ride lasted for roughly five minutes. It was fun for about two, if you leaned back, you would sometimes feel like you were falling backwards which cued an adrenaline rush inside your body. After eating funnel cake and deep fried Oreos, going on a spinning ride was probably not the best idea. Both Bella and I felt a little sick near the end of the ride. 
  There were other events going on while I was at the fair. There was a BMX competition as well as a hay bale toss where people tossed hay bales seven to twelve feet in the air. While Bella and I were waiting in line at the ride, we saw some of the BMX competition. There was also a band playing as well. 
Decorated hay bale
  Overall, the Johnson County Fair was simple but still fun. I felt the small town vibe and enjoyed the decorated hay bales that were placed around the fairgrounds. If you are in Johnson County in Iowa and want some simple fun, check out the Johnson County Fair!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Bailey Takes Iowa Vlog: Jeremy Scott

A Big Year For Dior

 A Big Year For Dior: Maria Grazia Chiuri Takes the Reigns

Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli
The House of Christian Dior announced less than three weeks ago that Maria Grazia Chiuri would be taking over as creative director for the brand. The house was turned upside down when Raf Simons announced that he would be leaving the company back in November 2015.
 Since the departure of Raf Simons, the ateliers were run by a duo of designers to keep the house afloat while Bernard Arnault, the chief executive officer of the LMVH group which also owns Christian Dior, picked the new creative chief.
 On July 8th, the fashion world was rocked when Dior announced that Maria Grazia Chiuri would be the new creative chief--the first woman creative director in the history of the company.
 Though womenswear is worn by, well, women, most of the designers are men. Karl Lagerfeld is the creative head at Fendi and Chanel. John Galliano is head at Maison Margiela. Gucci is run by Alessandro Michele. Miuccia Prada is one of the sole couture designers that are women.
 Maria Grazia Chiuri has been at Valentino for the past sixteen years working alongside Pierpaolo Piccioli in an array of jobs including accessories designer and creative director.
 Personally, I am interested to see what Maria does with her first collection alone since 1999. I also think she has huge shoes to fill. I am a die hard Raf Simons fan. A photo of him blowing a kiss at the end of his final show for Christian Dior is the background on my laptop. I cried when I heard he was leaving Dior and wore all black in mourning the next day. His Spring/Summer 2013 haute couture show inspired my intense love for Christian Dior (as a house) and threw me into the fashion deep end. I am highly anticipating her show in September and can’t wait to see what’s next for Raf Simons’ menswear brand. Maybe he will surprise us and design womenswear under his own brand!

Monday, July 25, 2016

A Visit to The Java House

A Visit to The Java House

An honest review of an Iowa City's most hoppin' coffee shop

A Pleasant View of Iowa City from The Java House

Today, I visited The Java House, a local business connected to The Heirloom Salad Co. in downtown Iowa City. I walked past a sea of homeless people who were being very friendly to each other, granting high fives and handshakes to their buddies on the street while sometimes calling things out for the public to hear. Nonetheless, I speed walked through the large door of the Java House and found myself in a busy, dim coffeehouse with the low hum of alternative music playing in the background.

The strong artwork popped out from the onyx colored walls and drew me into the atmosphere. Above me, moldings decorated a grey ceiling decorated with wooden ceiling fans with ornate glass coverings around the light bulbs. I enjoyed the atmosphere from the minute I walked in. I peeked in the dessert display case and ordered a 'chocolate chip brulee' and a chilled raspberry white truffle coffee. I glanced at the prices, four dollars and some odd cents were the prices of both of my treats.This pricing is common in coffee shops, especially local shops that compete with large corporate coffee megastars such as Starbucks. At Starbucks, you get a venti (large) coffee for five dollars and a handful of change. Today, I paid about four and a half dollars for the same thing. The pony tailed and beard decorated man with large rim glasses took my name and walked away. I awkwardly looked for a place to sit after having been left hanging.
Intricate drawings line the walls
of The Java House
The Java House has seating on the right side of the counter (near all of the action), seating by the front window (with the best lighting) and a large seating area in the back where one will find rows of Apple laptops illuminating the tables. The service was average in terms of how fast they staff made one’s coffee. A barista had an obvious cold and sneeze at least twelve times from behind the counter during my visit. As I was waiting, I looked at the floor and found it littered with straw wrappers and other pieces of garbage. Later, after I was finished with my food, I ventured to another part of the coffee shop. The floor was flaked with bits of trash in that area as well.
I tried my cake first. You can never tell how tasty something is from the first bite. At first, you are taken overboard by a wave of flavor that your taste buds haven’t experienced since the last time you ate. The second bite is when your taste buds say, hey, oh yeah, it’s that flavor again. The third bite is when you can truly figure out if the food you are consuming is good or not. By the third bite, I realized that my cake, though filled with chocolatey goodness, was not even mildly cool. The cake which was less of a cake and more of a cheese cake, was room temperature. It also was chewy on the top. I peeled back the top with my fork. My cake was definitely not made that day and it wasn’t being stored at the right temperature. I didn’t end up finishing my cake although I wanted to considering I payed almost five dollars for it.
Although the cake wasn’t ideal, the creamy flavors in my coffee complimented the cake’s rich flavor. Again, I ordered a chilled raspberry white truffle coffee. I was really pleased with my choice. The coffee was smooth and cold with a nice raspberry aftertaste. I would definitely try pairing a drink with raspberry undertones with a dessert with dark chocolate in it.

More artwork on the
walls of The Java House
Despite the lack of caring put into the cleanliness of the establishment and the poor temperature control where desserts are stored, The Java House was very busy. Customers of every age seemed to flock in for a cup of joe.

After visiting The Java House, the likelihood of me returning is still in question. While the coffee was really good, I’m sure I could find another local coffee shop that offered just as tasty drinks but with proper temperature control and a cleaner establishment. I would give The Java House two out of five stars. The reason being is that food safety starts with temperature control. If you aren’t refrigerating foods that need to be refrigerated and then leave them in the case for a few days, chances are, someone will eventually get sick from eating the food. Now, I’m not saying that if you eat at The Java House you will get sick, I’m just pointing out that The Java House should pay more attention to important details that guests will notice no matter how busy the place is.
I think that the Java House has a really good thing going for it, and it definitely is attracting a crowd. With a little bit more upkeep and attention to detail, The Java House could become an even more popular attraction for the citizens of Iowa City.

What does a timeless portrait of a 16 year old look like?

What Does a Timeless Portrait of a 16 Year Old Look Like?

The current generation receives a lot of backlash for being too tech involved while the generations of the past are stuck in the stone age. In a time where the age groups clash daily, what does a timeless portrait of a sixteen year old look like? 

Paul Jensen, age 63
  Paul Jensen, age 63, is an esteemed photographer and the director of the Iowa Summer Journalism Workshop 2016. Paul told me that during his teenage years he liked to hang out with and talk on the phone with his friends as well as take photos. He was also a techie for his school's drama productions. Paul is a self proclaimed nerd who found his passion for photography at a young age. He smiles when he tells me that he listened to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones as a teenager. His demeanor changes slightly when I ask him about the younger generation. He told me that the younger generation spends a lot of time on their phones, never actually conversing with each other. "I don't think people are so much different," he told me in response to my question about the current generation being different from past generations. "They have different opportunities," he continued. "Nowadays, you can take your friends on vacation with you where when I was a teenager, you would tell them about your vacation after you got back." There you have it, teenagers are not so much different from past generations but have different opportunities.
Jennifer Cooper, age 44
  Jennifer Cooper, age 44, is the mother of a fourteen year old. As a teenager, she spent her days in a small town where she entertained herself by cruising downtown with her friends and going to the movies. Jennifer also had a lot of school spirit in high school and attended many football and basketball games in her free time. Jennifer described her sixteen year old style to me as well. "Leggings, big shoulder pads, eyeliner and a lot of eye shadow... I had really big hair, a perm. I can't remember if neon was out yet or not but we wore primary colors. Like a royal blue, red, yellow, and a lot of black." Jennifer also listened to a lot of music as a teenager. Her playlists were filled with new wave artists such as Duran Duran and Depeche Mode with a nice helping of heavy metal bands such as Guns N Roses and Metallica. She also had a love for Jon Bon Jovi. When I asked Jennifer about what her daughter liked to do in her spare time, she answered similarly to Paul. According to Jennifer, teens spend a lot of time on their phone messaging their friends on snapchat and watching videos on YouTube. I asked Jennifer if she thought that the current generation was similar or different from her generation. "I think they're really similar but I think they get the things they are in to in a different way," she answered. As previously stated, Jennifer proclaimed her love for Duran Duran. Jennifer's daughter loves the YouTube duo Dan and Phil who, like Duran Duran, are English. Jennifer found her English celebrities via the radio while her daughter came across them on YouTube. 

Madeline Smith, age 20
  On my quest to define a sixteen year old teenager, a counselor at ISJW smiled and waved me down. She eagerly agreed to be interviewed for such an important cause. The photo to the left is of the woman herself, Madeline Smith. Madeline is twenty years old and is a student at the University of Iowa. Madeline just finished her teenage years and has a different perspective than the other people I interviewed. As a teenager, Madeline liked to drive around nice neighborhoods with her friends and look at the nice houses. She also enjoyed MySpace and wishes it was still around on the internet. Madeline liked to hang out at the mall with her friends to shop or go to a coffee shop to play board games. She liked to follow the trends and loved skinny jeans and low top converse and wore an unhealthy amount of bracelets. Madeline also told me that she didn't understand the younger generation. "No one seems to want to make authentic relationships," she said while she made frustrated motions with her hands. When I asked her if she thought that the younger generation was completely different from her generation she answered instantly with a Yes! They're completely different! Madeline blames the problem on social media just like everyone I've interviewed before her.

Emily Wangen, age 17
  I decided to go to the roots and interviewed a teenager. This is Emily Wangen, a camper at the journalism camp. Emily loves music and spends her time playing instruments, taking photos, writing, and playing Pokemon Go! Just like Madeline, she likes to hang out at a coffee shop with her friends. She also likes to spend time at the local lake to take photos or just hang out with friends. Emily tells me that she thinks that her generation is completely different from past generations. "I think teenagers today are more connected and you can connect with teens around the world and share that human experience,". 

  So what does a timeless portrait of a sixteen year old look like? Based on my data, a sixteen year old is a young, stylish person who enjoys to be with their friends surrounded by good music and a relaxing environment. Teens are people who like to have fun, obsess over celebrities, and take photos to document their ever crazy life. A sixteen year old attacks their dreams with passion and ferocity. Teens do not limit themselves and see the world as an open, spacious place of opportunity. Though the teens of the current generation seem to be attached to their screens, their screen time is not for nothing. Teens accomplish a lot on the internet while also enjoying themselves. This blog is proof of that.