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7 Spring Cleaning Tips

By Emily Squance, Blogger 

Spring cleaning is a tradition that partially originated in the 1800s when cleaning was a necessity due to homes being covered in soot from the sources of heat homeowners used during the winter. However, as time passed, the tradition became deeply rooted in society. Today, many people use the beginning of spring as an excuse to declutter their homes in an effort to start the season off with clean and organized spaces. Some experts have even said that a clean home can potentially strengthen your immune system and help you avoid illnesses. 

Make a Plan 

Even though spring cleaning obviously has benefits, it can also be overwhelming depending on how dirty your home is. If you feel yourself starting to become overwhelmed with clutter, make a plan or list for yourself. Section off each individual room you want to focus on, taking note of how much effort and time each room will require. You can even try to use the “time blocking” system to try to section off how you’re going to be spending your day and time. Sometimes when you write out everything you want to get done, you are able to create more of a mental image of how long each cleaning activity will take. If you really want to bump your spring cleaning up to a new level, search online for printable cleaning checklists! 

Declutter 

Decluttering your space can mean many things depending on your current living situation. It can mean just simply organizing your room, cleaning out your closet or it can mean doing a full-on deep clean that involves getting out with the old and in with the new. Decluttering your space can not only alleviate anxiety and depression but potentially help you sleep better as well. 

Don’t Forget About the Walls & Windows 

I am very guilty of forgetting to clean more than just my room. I often forget that windows and walls are sometimes the dirtiest things in a house. Cleaning your windows in the spring is very important due to all the bugs and dust that might have built up on the outside screen. The beginning of spring also means summer is slowly approaching. Getting a head start on cleaning your windows before summer may prove very beneficial for you and your family. Starting to clean your windows before summer also gives you a chance to check the security of your window screens, examining for any potential holes bugs can get through. 

Get Your Household Involved

Whether you live at home with your parents or in an apartment/house with roommates, it’s important to remember that you’re not in this alone. The other members of the house should be just as responsible for cleaning. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help. You can even make a fun game/activity out of cleaning by giving your roommates points or incentives for doing certain jobs/tasks. Be clever! Even though cleaning isn’t the most fun activity, you can make the day interesting by offering rewards or prizes for whoever is the most productive. 

Dust, Dust, Dust 

For me, dusting is the most important element of cleaning. I suffer from really bad allergies and they only get worse as summer approaches. Make sure you keep up with dusting your house while focusing on very problematic areas such as fans, blinds, floorboards, ceilings, and even lamps. If too much dust starts to build up in your house, it can affect your lungs and breathing ability. Dust particles and dust-containing macrophages can collect in the lung tissues, causing injury to the lungs. If you only do one thing this spring, make sure it involves dusting; you’ll thank me later. 

Don’t Forget About The Air

This next tip may seem a little odd but it can be a lot more important than many people realize. Oftentimes a clean home involves a home that smells good and fresh. When spring cleaning, many people focus so much on the physical appearance of their house and forget about what it might smell like. Granted, if you’re cleaning with special disinfectants, your house probably smells somewhat clean. However, maintaining a house with a clean and fresh smell can be hard. I would recommend using candles, oil diffusers, and even wax melts to your advantage. The smell of your house may not be important to your guests but it could potentially affect your mood and overall tone. Try to find very simple yet fresh scents for your home like lemon, mint, or vanilla. You can even use aromatherapy by incorporating scents into your house that improve the health of your body, mind, and spirit, while overall enhancing your physical and emotional health. Spring cleaning isn’t just about cleaning your home, it can also be about treating yourself and making yourself feel relaxed and comfortable in your own home!

Save the Wall Scuffs for Last

Typically when we think about spring cleaning, it isn’t common to think about the little things like wall scuffs. However, there are many small spring cleaning tasks that require minimum effort, being perfect to save for last. One tip for dealing specifically with wall scuffs is to make a light mixture of soap and water on a sponge. If that doesn’t work, I highly recommend trying a magic eraser. 

As you can see, there are many ways you can take advantage of the spring season by starting off with a clean slate for yourself and your home. Keep in mind while cleaning that anything you’re thinking of getting rid of may be of use to someone else. Try to donate as much as you can; giving back to another person during the spring season is the perfect way to show your gratitude to your community.  

Celebrate Earth Day This Week With These Sustainable & Fair Trade Brands

Photo from @peopletreeuk on Instagram

By Maya Meade, Blogger

Earth Day is this Thursday, and you can do your part to celebrate by shopping these brands.

People Tree

People Tree is a pioneer in sustainable and Fair Trade clothing. The brand started in 1991 and has been continuing its mission to make clothing at the highest ethical and environmental standard from beginning to end. The goal is to make innovative, stylish and affordable clothing for women while respecting the planet. To do this, People Tree uses natural materials when possible and avoids plastic and toxic substances. The brand combines traditional skills and new technologies to produce high quality, well-made products.

Reformation

Reformation started as a small brand that sold vintage clothing. The brand quickly expanded to making their own clothing with a focus on bringing sustainability to women everywhere. Reformation built its own factory in Los Angeles to ensure that its employees were in a safe environment and getting paid fair wages, and it work closely with the Fair Trade Association. The brand uses rescued deadstock fabrics, low-impact materials and repurposed vintage clothing. To remain sustainable, Reformation balances all of the water and waste used to make their products and they are 100% carbon neutral. 

Illustrations by Olivia Dutkewych

Pact

Pact’s mission is to build “Earth’s Favorite Clothing Company.” They sell clothing for women, men, children, babies and make bath and bed products. Everything at Pact is made from organic cotton which saves large amounts of water and means no toxic chemicals are utilized. Pact shows that they care about people and the planet by partnering with factories that are fair trade. Fair trade factories focus their energy on protecting the environment, providing safe work conditions and empowering and uplifting local communities. Pact also offers carbon offset shipping, a Give Back box and thoughtful packaging for their consumers.

Girlfriend Collective

Girlfriend Collective makes being eco-friendly and transparent with its customers its number one priority. The brand makes a variety of women’s clothing and activewear in addition to handbags and accessories, and the packaging is made out of entirely recycled products making it entirely recyclable. It also makes compressive leggings and bras that are 79% recycled polyester and 21% spandex. Girlfriend Collective also makes t-shirts and tank tops that are fully created out of cupro, a fiber made from waste produced by the cotton industry. Its LITE leggings are made from 83% recycled nylon and 17% spandex. Girlfriend Collective guarantees fair wages, no forced or child labor and safe and healthy work conditions.

Everlane

Everlane prides itself on practicing “Radical Transparency” by being honest about the costs of its products and making its products in ethical factories. It caters to the needs of women and men and specializes in denim. Everlane strives for a positive work environment and fair wages for its employees to ensure that their long-lasting clothes are made by happy workers. It designs products that are intended to last and put forth information about the brand’s clothes that customers want to know.

The Importance of National Autism Awareness Month

By Emily Squance, Blogger

About 1 in 54 children have been identified with autism spectrum disorder. Every individual with the disorder may have a different degree to which it affects them. There are mild cases of autism to very severe cases. Depending on how severe the case, the disorder can affect each body differently. For example, early signs of the disorder may include, avoiding eye contact, wanting to be alone or even delayed speech. As children with autism age, they may lose language or social skills they had previously gained. This is partially due to how the disorder affects the person’s brain. 

Autism affects the brain’s ability to process information. The sensory areas of the brain in people with autism showed more random activity than in individuals without autism. The most random activity occurred in those with the most severe cases of autism. In very severe cases, it can cause meltdowns, hyperactivity and aggression. Therefore, depending on the severity of the disorder, the symptoms can vary due to how it uniquely affects each individual brain.

Like many disorders, there is a stigma within society about autism. It’s important to educate yourself and others on the disorder and how it affects the people around you. There are many ways to learn about the disorder and support the people who live with it. 

The Autism Society aims to further increase awareness on autism signs, symptoms and opportunities through information, referrals, events, printable/digital resources and community partnerships with businesses and organizations dedicated to building inclusive experiences. The Miracle Project is a non-profit organization that is a “fully inclusive theater, film and expressive arts program focused on building communication, self-esteem, job and social skills for individuals with autism and all abilities – speaking and non-speaking.” They provide both social skill and musical theater courses while also coordinating theatrical and vocal shows with their members. They have updates on their website about their events and ways to get involved! The organization also frequently posts on their Facebook account with updates on their musicals and how to attend! 

The Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI) is another great resource for parents and teens to learn more about disorders like autism so that people with these disorders can be given the opportunity to live their best lives. The OCALI website even has learning modules that provide high-quality information and professional development for anyone who supports, instructs, works with or lives with someone with autism. Participants can even select from over 40 modules to complete at their own time and pace.

Take advantage of the month of April by understanding autism and promoting the organizations raising awareness for it!

7 Best Outdoor Hang Out Spots in Athens, Ohio

By Grace Dearing, Web Editor


Strouds Run State Park

College Green

Hock Hocking Adena Bikeway

Emeriti Park

Shade Winery 

Little Fish Brewing Co.

Dutch Creek Winery

Pittsburgh Artist Janel Young ‘Inspires Through Creativity and Play’

By Jordan Schmitt, Head of PR

Whether driving through the concrete jungle of New York City or the streets of Pittsburgh’s cultural district, a passerby glancing out the window is likely to see a painting or mural by artist Janel Young.

The road to becoming an established artist was not an easy one for Young, who spent many years fueling her passion juggling shows and exhibits while holding down a day job.

With an inclination toward art from a young age, Young attended Rogers Middle School for the Creative and Performing Arts, before going to Schenley High School. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Pennsylvania State University, Young accepted a job with a digital marketing firm, Ruder Finn, in New York City.

It was then that Young moved to New York. She joined Ruder Finn as a digital content and social media strategist. Leading many graphic designers, web developers, videographers, animators and overall creative people, Young decided to tap into her own artistic ability outside of work.

“It made me miss being on the other side as the creative person,” Young says.

Portfolio in hand, Young started going straight from work to art exhibits and even entered pieces of her own. She was working full-time during the day but doing what she loved in the evening, and her day job coworkers often came to support her.

Photos from @jy.originals on Instagram

It was an opportunity to show her art in Sydney, Australia, that showed Young the open doors that art could lead to. She applied on a whim and was notified of her acceptance two months later. Knowing she could not turn down such an opportunity, Young promptly told her job that she would need time off. 

The show was amazing, I met fashion designers, photographers and artists. It was a crazy experience,” she says. “That’s when it clicked for me that I should really take this a little more seriously.”

Continued exhibits in New York led Young to receive larger commissioned projects. After nearly five years at the firm, she decided to leave permanently and focus on art full-time. She started volunteering with the New York City Mural Arts Project, a well-known organization that collaborates with the community to produce murals. After a good bit of volunteering, Young was hired as a team artist.

“I was working on really big projects, like one- to two-thousand-square-foot murals in the city. I now probably have around seven murals in New York,” she says. 

Through having the ability to bring her art to a physical canvas, Young used her creativity to illustrate positivity. Public art, such as murals, allows artists to influence everyday passersby.

“For me, the challenge is what do I want them to feel or see or take away from the space that they are in,” Young says.

Young put on her first solo show in her hometown in 2018, and a year later she officially moved back home. It was in Pittsburgh that the journey of making art a profession came full circle for her.

One of Young’s most renowned pieces that she featured in her show was “The Difference Between You and Me.” Young describes it as her most political piece. On one side is a white body with a Captain America shield on the chest, and the mirroring body is a brown body with a target and a bullet hole. Intended to illustrate a statement on police brutality, the work went viral on multiple social media platforms. As a Black woman, tackling heavy subjects is a crucial part of the healing process for Young.

“To me, part of creating that type of art is about the healing process. You can’t really start the healing process until you confront the thing that is making you angry or sad. This is the first step: you have to get it out,” says Young.

Activism is an important aspect of Young’s art. Another digital piece, “Avalanche,” was created to address the impact of COVID-19 on marginalized communities. The piece addresses social issues and environmental disadvantages such as local air and water quality in Pittsburgh’s poorer areas. According to Young’s portfolio, “Avalanche” was awarded with a public wall scape display in Pittsburgh from the New Sun Rising and RiverWise grant cohort.

“As an artist or creative person in general, our job is to use the talent that we have to tell beautiful stories and tell them accurately. The part that is usually missing is the accuracy,” says Young, “When it comes to activism, that is the piece that feels very important. Making sure that the story is told from the point of view that is often ignored.”

For Young, celebrating joy is just as important. The artist is intentional about the messages that she wants her work to portray. She has created many works to affirm young members of Black and brown communities. For example, Young designed a 42-page coloring book titled “Color Your Crown” as a way for young Black girls to embrace their natural hair. The book was a part of her Black Girl Magic series, which includes 26 portraits.

“My main motto is to ‘inspire through creativity and play,’” Young explains. “I want kids who wouldn’t normally be exposed to the arts in the same sort of way to see themselves and feel like they are being reflected and represented. I am very intentional about making Black and brown kids feel very important through my work.”

Most recently, Young has gained recognition from a partnership with Yahoo to redesign its logo for Black History Month. According to her portfolio, Young is the first artist the company has partnered with in such a way. The project gained widespread media attention and outreach. 

In anticipation to the start of the commission, Yahoo’s creative director advised Young to “put as much as yourself into the design as possible.” As a result, Young created a logo that reflects herself as well as the community she aims to represent.

“It gave me validation as an artist that my work is valuable and to make things that I love,” she says. “I think it gave me more momentum. It made me realize that this is not asking for too much.”

A College Student’s Guide to Laundry

By Madison Kopp, Blogger

College means two things: no parents and no one telling you to clean your room … until your dirty clothes start to pile up and your roommate starts subtly suggesting that you do your laundry.

Doing your own laundry may be challenging at first, but it is easier than you may think. Laundry symbols on clothing labels may seem confusing, but they are important for correctly washing and drying as well as bleaching or ironing. Here are a few common symbols and what they mean. 

Washing Symbols 

The wash tub icon tells you exactly how to wash the garment. Underscored lines indicate the recommended cycle and black dots representing water temperature. If needed, the triangle on clothing labels indicate bleaching instructions. Also, always be sure to add in your detergent before washing. 

Illustrations by Olivia Dutkewych

Now that you know the most common symbols for washing, you should be ready to start the laundry. Before anything else, you need to separate your clothes into piles. Darks and lights should always be separate to avoid the bleeding of colors. Darks include blacks, blues, browns, denims, etc. and lights include whites, creams, tans, pastels, etc. 

Most laundry will be washed under a normal load but when washing towels, beddings or heavily stained clothes, it will be on a heavy load. 

Detergent Symbols 

The next step is to put the clothes in and then add the detergent. Detergent comes in pods, liquid and powder. The dirtier or the more clothes in a load, the more detergent required. The pictures below will help you understand how much to use. 

For pods, toss the pods into the washer with the clothes and turn it on. 

For liquid detergent, use the cap to measure the dosage. Once you are done, simply add clothes and pour detergent into the dispenser and start the washer. 

For powder, the right dosage is very important. Once you are done, start the washer, add detergent, then add your clothes. The measuring cup will come inside the powder detergent. 

Drying Symbols

Laundry symbols not only tell you how to wash but also how to dry clothes. Determine whether the item should be air or tumble dried. The lines inside the square will tell you how an item should be dried. Just like washing symbols, underscored lines indicate cycle and black dots represent temperature. Also, be sure to add two to three dryer sheets to the load before drying in order to prevent static and lint. 

Drying Cycles

The final step is drying clothes. It is important to choose the correct temperature when drying to prevent the shrinking and damage to the clothing. Immediately take your laundry out of the washer to prevent musty smells. Just be sure to not overload the dryer to allow all clothing items to dry. Lastly, add a dryer sheet to stop wrinkles and prevent static.

Now you know how to do your own laundry from start to finish. Happy folding!

The History Behind April Fools’ Day

By Emily Squance, Blogger 

The official origin of April Fools’ Day is actually unknown; there have been many speculations as to how this day gained importance. Some historians believe the day may originate back to 1582 when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. Those that were unfamiliar with the switch, celebrated the new year during the last week of March through the first of April . The people who were still using the Julian calendar were made fun of and became the butt of jokes. However, historians aren’t confident enough to officially dedicate the creation of April Fools ‘Day to the switching of the French calendars. 

Another possibility is that April Fools’ was linked to a festival in ancient Rome. This festival was called Hilaria which was celebrated by the followers of the cult of Cybele. The followers dressed up in disguises and mocked their fellow citizens. This festival celebrated Cybele, the “mother of the gods,” and Attis. Cybele fell in love with a human man named Attis and when he strayed to another woman, Cybele made him go insane. Attis killed himself, after which flowers grew from his blood and his body became a tree. 

There is clear proof that the holiday was practiced around 1776 in Britain due to an article in Gentleman’s Magazine. The article discussed a custom the United Kingdom has of making fools of people on the first day of April. However, many believe the holiday is celebrated in honor of the trickery Mother Nature plays on nature this time of the year with unpredictable weather. 

Even though there is speculation of the official origin of the prank-filled day, it’s celebrated in 11 countries around the world. The holiday spread throughout Britain during the 18th century. In Scotland, the day became a two-day event that involved hunting and pranks. In Brazil, the day is known as the dia da mentira, or “day of the lie.” The news outlets will post fake headlines with false claims and many people will tell white lies to prank their friends. However, in Ireland, jokes and pranks on this day are expected to end at noon and those who continue to play them past then are considered foolish. Some people even go to extremes by driving on the wrong side of the road! 


Even though the coronavirus is still affecting the world, you can still find many COVID-safe ways to prank the people around you. The day can give you a chance to brighten the atmosphere of by cracking a joke or being silly. Remember to keep your friends’ limits and boundaries in mind; even though this day allows endless pranks, it’s important to recognize the difference between what’s funny and what’s hurtful. 

If you are unsure of what prank you would like to pull or if you would like to learn more information about April Fools’ Day, check out this article by Good Housekeeping

6 Must-Visit Local Businesses in Athens, Ohio

By Emily Squance, Blogger 

In honor of National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day on March 29, there are many ways to support the family-owned small businesses in your community. If you’re in Athens, Ohio, there may be a lot more small businesses in your area than you may think! Here are 6 small businesses you should check out in Ohio University’s college town.

Jackie O’s Pub & Brewery

Located at 22 West Union Street, Jackie O’s is the place to go if you’re new to Athens. The pub has a few locations but this location is their public restaurant. This restaurant makes you feel right at home by providing a fun, safe space for family and friends. Jackie O’s was founded by two men with a dream and passion for beer and family. Owner Andrew Arthur Oestrike decided to name the pub after his mother, Jackie Oestrike, who passed before the pub was officially open. The Jackie O’s staff lets newcomers feel right at home, making it the perfect place to take your friends and family from out of town.  

Photo from @jackieosbrewery on Instagram

Blue Eagle Music

Blue Eagle Music is a vintage instrument shop that offers banjo, bass, fiddle and guitar lessons along with musical merchandise. Even if you’re not taking up guitar lessons anytime soon, the shop offers good vibes and a story on the art of music. The shop has been serving the Southeast Ohio region from the same Court Street location since 1971 and is the perfect place to showcase the thriving local music scene in Athens. 

Photo from @blueeagleguitars on Instagram

Brenen’s Coffee Cafe

Brenen’s Coffee Cafe is located on Court Street and is the perfect walking distance for local university students. Owners Josh and Jessica Thomas are both Ohio University alumni and have lived local ever since. The shop offers customers a wide selection of coffee along with a bakery that serves sandwiches and pastries. This lighthearted, cozy shop is often filled with local students, making it the perfect place to introduce out-of-towners to the university and its student life. 

Photo from @brenens_coffee_cafe on Instagram

Casa Nueva 

Casa Nueva is a Mexican restaurant located on West State Street and its story is unlike others. In 1985, eight unemployed restaurant workers formed the business and helped create the foundation for the current state of the establishment. Casa Nueva has developed since then, creating its own salsa and expanding to a full-service bar. They have been a provider of local, sustainable, Mexican-inspired food for the Athens community for the last 30+ years. The cantina also frequently hosts art and live music shows for customers and staff to enjoy.  

Photo from @casanuevaathens on Instagram

Uptown Dog T-Shirts

Uptown Dog T-Shirts offers shoppers customized designs; some of which are Ohio University-themed. The store has been operating since 1988 and is located on West Union Street. Not only is this shop local, but it’s the perfect place to stop if you’re looking for a gift for someone back home. Owner Mary Cheadle purchased the company from her brother Kevin Morgan in 1998. This shop emphasizes that it’s more than just a t-shirt shop — it’s a shop that allows anyone to see their unique vision on a t-shirt. 

Photo from @uptowndogts on Instagram

Fluff Bakery 

Fluff Bakery was officially started in 2010 on Court Street and intends to attract dessert and bakery lovers in the area. The bakery menu includes brunch favorites like breakfast tacos, sandwiches, salads, wraps and even rice bowls. The business has a mission of introducing its version of comfort food to the people of Athens and strives to support community members, businesses and nonprofits in the process. 

Photo from @fluffbakeryathens on Instagram

There are many ways to support the mom-and-pop businesses near you. Although the official day of celebration has passed, there’s always a good reason to adventure around your town and see what the local shops near you have to offer.