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 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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This is the second blog post in a series about the culture that the city has to offer. To read the first blog post, please visit this link.

Story by: Olivia Knott

The music scene in Charlottesville

Big name stars like Taylor Swift and Luke Bryan may have stopped by John Paul Jones Arena this past year, but Charlottesville music really shines because of its intimate concert venues and penchant for attracting folk, indie rock and bluegrass bands from all over the country. Here are a few concerts I’m most excited about this summer:

Tall Tall Trees with Christopher Paul Sterling July 16 at The Garage

Watching a show at The Garage is a must. The tiny venue is an actual garage converted into a performance space for artists and musicians, letting you relive your days of high school guitarist stardom among the gardening tools of your parents’ garage- except cooler looking and probably much more talented.

Combining blue grass and folk rock, Tall Tall Trees is no exception- prepare for some killer banjo playing.

Watch a past performance by the band Toy Soldiers at The Garage to see what you’re in store for:

Rock’n to Lock’n with Kings of Belmont, Steal the Prize, Erin & the Wildfire, and We Are the Design July 18 at the Jefferson

This concert is awesome because:

  1. You get to show support for local bands
  2. You get to pick which one will perform at Lock’n Music Festival
  3. You get reminded that Lock’n is only about a month and a half away… too early to start a countdown? Nope.

Lock’n Music Festival takes place Sept. 4-7 in Arrington, Va., only about an hour away from Charlottesville. This year’s line-up includes Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers, Willie Nelson, The Allman Brothers Band and The String Cheese Incident. The festival is very student friendly, offering discounted student tickets for only $180 for all three days!

An Evening with Yonder Mountain String Band Aug. 31 at The Jefferson

Yonder Mountain String Band offers a taste of true Colorado Bluegrass. They can’t seem to get enough of Charlottesville either. Returning to The Jefferson for a second time, do not miss your chance to see a band whom concert reviewer Jason Warren once praised as “rooted in traditions of acoustic music,” but with the “spirit of San Francisco dance bands” like the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. I can’t wait to see this groovy combination of influences live.

My favorite song? “40 Miles from Denver”

Finally… for music on any night, check out Miller’s on the Downtown Mall, which plays live music 7 nights a week. One of their regulars, the John D’earth Quintet, headed by U.Va. Director of Jazz Studies John D’earth, has played there for more than 25 years, proving that Miller’s is a Charlottesville classic for live music.

Happy listening!

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