Story and photos by: Sophia Socarras

My childhood dream was to become an interior designer. While most kids were watching Saturday morning cartoons, I spent my weekend mornings watching HGTV design shows and helping my parents pick paint colors for our house. When I finally moved into an apartment this semester, I was excited to decorate my own place!
Whether you’re moving into a new place or are looking to change it up a bit in your apartment, dorm or house, here are my top 5 tips to make the most of your space.

  1. Explore your local thrift stores. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to make your space unique. For example, I found a beautiful, large wooden mirror at Goodwill in Annandale, VA for only $30! Saving money on pieces like this will leave you more money to spend on investing in other parts of your space. Habitat for Humanity is also a great place to look for discounted furniture pieces. You can even view their inventory online so you know what they have even before stepping into their store.

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Story by: Emily Lloyd, Class of 2014

Emily Lloyd graduationI have been a UVa alumna for all of three months now, and to say that I miss the University and everyone I met there is a gigantic understatement. However, life must go on, and I am excited to say that I am about to start a journey that would have never been possible without UVa and without the Women’s Center.

Starting this September, I am moving to New Hampshire to work as an AmeriCorps legal advocate at a domestic violence shelter in Nashua. It is a job that sounds to me like my dream job some days, yet absolutely terrifying others. I have no idea what to expect when I get up there, but I like that. I am tired of a schedule consumed with classes, studying, writing papers and swimming. I am ready to finally put my knowledge to use in a way I believe will further not only the Women’s Center’s mission of creating change but also my own personal mission to raise awareness about sexual and domestic violence. Looking back on my work with the Women’s Center, and with Iris in particular, I am now realizing how vast an impact this organization had on my collegiate life as well as my life after graduation.

As a collegiate athlete, I had a very different experience at the Women’s Center than most interns and employees. Coming into college, my job seemed simple: pass classes and focus on swimming. However, I soon realized that a life revolving around athletics was not all it was made out to be. Swimming is a stressful sport, both physically and emotionally, and I desperately needed an outlet. So, I buried myself in my schoolwork and found comfort in my major, Women Gender and Sexuality. As I furthered my passion for advocacy through my studies, I discovered opportunities outside of athletics that UVa has to offer.

Working at the Women’s Center under the Iris staff as well as participating in the Young Women Leaders Program was one of the best decisions I ever made and truly helped me discover myself in college. The Center helped me realize that there is so much more to life than swimming, and I needed that. I still loved swimming, and I loved incorporating athletics into my work with Iris. I was able to plan Iris’ “Bad A** Women in Sports” event last fall, as well as write articles about my team and other UVa athletes, and I even convinced some of my little sisters in YWLP to come to one of my swim meets! I will always be thankful to my coworkers and supervisors for allowing me to connect my two worlds.

But when comparing the swimming world to my work at the Women’s Center, I realized how small of a role swimming would play in my future and how I truly wanted to dedicate my future to advocacy. Any collegiate sport, especially at a division 1 level, is intense. To some people, swimming is a job. But working with the Women’s Center reminded me that sports are for fun. When I compare the nerves I had before a big race, it will be nothing compared to those I will have upon meeting my first sexual violence survivor in the upcoming months.

Working at the Center gave me the opportunity to meet new people with stories so different from my own, and it really opened my eyes to what’s truly important in life and how incredibly lucky I have been to have a support system of family, friends, teammates and coaches that a lot of people lack. The Women’s Center and Iris played a huge role in why I chose to work for AmeriCorps in sexual and domestic violence advocacy. It will always be a defining piece to my college years and I am excited to use my experience there in the future!

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Story and photos by: Sophia Socarras

The summer has finally ended, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably already started making plans for next summer. This past summer I spent my time picnicking on the Lawn with friends, getting ahead on the classes I need for my major and exploring Charlottesville. Here are my top 5 r easons you should stay in Charlottesville next summer.

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1) Make next summer more productive! I personally spent my time taking a classI needed for my major and getting accustomed to living off Grounds. I know I’ll be happy later this fall when I have fewer credits to take and more time to focus on what I love to do.


2) Even while under construction, the Grounds are absolutely beautiful in the summertime. Not only is the weather gorgeous, but the smaller student body and the slower paced lifestyle allow students to appreciate the beauty.
Angelica Botlo, a second year and prospective Government and
Media Studies major, “loved relaxing on the Lawn [… and] also enjoyedwatching the new first years at orientation because watching themexplore U.Va. and get excited about attending reminded [her of] how amazing Grounds is and how it should never be taken for granted.”

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Story by: Olivia Knott

One month left of summer means only one more month of uninhibited reading for fun.

No, this is not another Cosmo magazine-esque list of  “sexy summer beach reads.” Here are three compelling non-fiction books for the girls who want to flex their learning muscles while laying out on the beach.

Whether you are a fashion lover, entrepreneur, social activist- or all of the above- there is a perfect read for you!

Grace: A Memoir

As past articles might indicate, I am a documentary addict, and so of course, I discovered this memoir thanks to a documentary called The September Issue, which follows the staff of Vogue in creating the magazine’s most important issue of the year.

In it, we meet Grace Coddington, Vogue’s creative director. With bright orange hair and no eyebrows, she’s a fascinating character from the start. Naturally, I left the film needing to know the story of the intriguing visionary behind Vogue’s pages.

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Grace Coddington holding her eponymous memoir.

Her memoir is a combination of written story, self-illustrated sketches and samples of personal modeling pictures as well as fashion spreads, creating a book rich in visual content.

Coddington recounts her professional journey from model to Vogue’s creative director, as well as her personal life and includes many revealing anecdotes about her experiences with fashion’s biggest designers and photographers. Most interesting is watching her navigate her, at times, contentious relationship with Anna Wintour- including penning a chapter focused on the editor-in-chief.

Visit this link to view the creative director’s work in an excerpt of the documentary, The September Issue.

The Path Redefined: Getting to the Top on your Own Terms

Lauren Maillian Bias, who penned this memoir at the age of 28 as an already successful entrepreneur of three different business ventures (including creator and former C.O.O. of Sugarleaf Vineyards, rebranded in 2013 as Wisdom Oak Winery, right here in Charlottesville!), gives her advice on finding success in the business world using three driving principles:

  1. To attract opportunities and be prepared for when they arrive
  2. To invest in relationships that will bring opportunity
  3. To seize opportunities

I admit, I am not a fan of confrontation- when it comes to fight or flight, I pick flight about 95 percent of the time.  Not exactly a great career skill.

Therefore, my favorite advice comes from the third section of the book on seizing opportunity- a chapter on learning to negotiate. Negotiating is integral to advancing in the business world, but something many people (aka me) are fearful to do. Bias gives her insight on the importance of knowing your audience, as well as how to prepare for, construct and control the direction of your negotiation to best benefit your goal.

Finally, us confrontation-fearful can breathe a little easier (and get that promotion).

Each chapter also includes tips from successful business veterans such as Kathleen Warner (former C.O.O. Startup America Partnership) and Kelly Hoey (co-founder and managing director of Women Innovative Mobile).

Watch an interview with Maillian Bias about the key to her success here:

I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban

The Let Girls Learn campaign recently highlighted the fact that 62 million girls around the world are not in school. Malala Yousafzi would have been one of these girls, had it not been for her father, who believed in educating his daughter. Now, at only 17, Yousafzai is an international leader in the fight for education.

Her memoir, I am Malala, recounts her experience growing up in the Swat Valley of Pakistan, an area deeply affected by Taliban violence. Despite erupting violence, her father continued to ensure her schooling. As a young pre-teen (wow), Yousafzai began to publically speak out in favor of the education for women, with such wide reaching activism that it came to the attention of the Taliban, and led to a member shooting her in the head at age 15.

Yet, her miraculous survival is proof that her message will not be silenced.

Last fall, this John Stewart interview with Yousafzai captured the attention of millions. If you have not seen it, let her powerful message inspire you to pick up the book immediately.

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Story by: Olivia Knott

The lone runner, huffing and puffing down University Avenue, yes, I see you. You have a will of steel, are the ultimate self-motivator, probably on mile 13.6, and yes, now the entire Corner knows.

Before I throw on my running shoes and attempt to drag myself outside to imitate said runner, I need to remind myself that there is a far more enjoyable way to suffer in front of people… suffering with them.

Gone are the days of step aerobics and jazzercise! Get familiar with these cool fitness classes in Charlottesville for all different workout tastes, but tied together by a common thread- working out together.

If you want to get toned, especially with lean muscle, try Pure Barre:

Just down Old Ivy Road, this workout uses micromovements to engage, hold and release your muscles repetitiously with ballet-inspired technique. The only tools you use are a barre, ball, lightweights, resistance band and socks. (Seriously, don’t forget to bring a pair!)

The difficult aspect of this workout is that because the movements are so small, it is difficult at first to understand which muscles you are trying to engage. When I took the class for the first time last week, a fellow student told me that consistency is key. She said that once you take this class about seven times, then it gets really hard because that’s when you finally understand completely which muscles you are working.

This is also an excellent choice for people who need an intense but low-impact workout- there is no jumping or other movement that is strenuous on joints.

Perk: New student special for a month of unlimited Pure Barre is $100.

Want to know what to expect in class? Watch this video for tips and more information about the workout and class structure:

If you are looking for a dynamic yoga experience, try Opal Yoga:

The Vinyasa style studio on Main Street constantly changes up the routine of each class- I like to think of it as yoga for the attention-challenged. Having taken Bikram yoga before, I find that I often lose interest due to the repetitiveness of each class; this is not the case with Opal!


Photo by Olivia Knott

One class last week happened to fall on the same day as a USA World Cup game, making it the perfect reason for the teacher to lead a class based in Vinyasa yoga for athletes, focusing especially on the muscles used by soccer players.

Vinyasa is a perfect combination of strenuous physical activity and deep stretching, making it my personal favorite.

Opal regular (and the friend who always manages to help get my butt off the couch), Kaija Flood, agrees: “Vinyasa is challenging yet relaxing,” and even better, “Opal is an absolutely gorgeous studio to practice in.”

Perk: New student special for an unlimited month of yoga for $50.


Photo by Olivia Knott

If you want a high intensity workout, try CrossFit Charlottesville:

According to the CrossFit Journal, a publication dedicated to the CrossFit lifestyle, this workout is centered around “constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement.” In addition, the CrossFit Charlottesville website describes this workout as full body exercises that mimic movements made in the real world such as sitting and standing, lifting and pushing and pulling, but in a gym setting.

Still confused? Watch this video:

Scared that this workout looks like an injury waiting to happen? Do not fear! CrossFit Charlottesville will scale their workouts to the level of your ability.

Perk: 15 percent discount for students on all membership packages.

If you want a workout that involves teamwork, try SEAL Team Physical Training:

In order to obtain a workout membership you first have to complete a two-week training course that teaches how to safely and correctly participate in the SEAL Team PT’s exercise regimen. After working out with the same group of people for 10 workouts, bonding through obstacles, strength and endurance workouts…

You have completed the training course! Congrats! Now what?

When you become a member, you get unlimited access to the hour-long class that meets Monday through Friday. Now, don’t forget this is a military based workout… and that means early mornings. Charlottesville classes are only offered at 6 a.m

Two members of the Women’s Center staff, Assistant Director of the Young Women Leaders Program Melissa Levy and Trauma Counselor Margaret Edwards, regularly attend the workouts.

Edwards describes it as “inclusive, body-positive […] challenging and outdoors. It feels like the best parts of recess and PE.”

Recess at 6 a.m.? Not a terrible way to start the day.

Perk: 50 percent full-time student discount for the $250 two-week training program. After that, a month-long membership is only $90, making it the most wallet friendly option on this list. Right now, Groupon is offering an even better deal for these classes!

What does SEAL Team training look like? Watch as the University of Illinois women’s basketball team undergoes the rigorous program:

Make sure to check out LivingSocial and Groupon for a variety of group class deals:


One Month of Unlimited Hot Yoga for $39

5 Club Mo Fitness classes for $29 11 for $49

One Month of Unlimited Muay Thai Boxing $39


$19 for 3 Trial SEAL Team PT classes/$79 for two-week SEAL PT training program/$149 for two-week SEAL PT training program for 2 people (featured above)

$40 for 10 hot yoga classes at Hydra Yoga/$89 for 20 classes

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