Good News Hunting: Casa Verdi in Milan

I realized this morning, for better or for worse, that I am good news hunter. I read my morning newsletters and papers, but you better believe I skim the sections about it being baby seal-killing season in Canada, the fact that people in Flint, MI haven’t had safe drinking water for over 1,000 days and POTUS tweeting missile threats at various foreign adversaries. Before you religious newsreaders judge me – don’t forget one famous white man or another said “If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.”

Image Source: Alessandro Grassani for The New York Times

So, while I skip over political analysts’ opinions on the pros and cons of bombing a country devastated by decades of war thousands of miles away – I come across some feel-good gems like this piece in the New York Times on Casa Verdi in Milan. What is Casa Verdi? A mansion in Milan built by Verdi himself (if you don’t know who Verdi is maybe you’re the uninformed one, my friend!😉) as “a sanctuary for musicians who found themselves poverty-stricken in old age.” Can you imagine anything more magical than Verdi’s house in Milan filled with elderly Italian musicians who used to perform opera together at La Scala?

Image Source: Alessandro Grassani for The New York Times

Not only do these elderly maestros receive room, board and medical treatment but “they have access to concerts, music rooms, 15 pianos, a large organ, harps, drum sets and the company of their peers.” While Italians tend to complain about the perceived decline of their country, Casa Verdi’s existences persuades me to think the Italianis are doing something right.

Posted by Giana

It’s Time For Some Diversity, Victoria’s Secret

While the renowned Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show isn’t until fall, transgender model Leyna Bloom is using the power and reach of social media to get the brand’s attention as they scout for this year’s models. With her goal set to be the first trans model of color, or of any race, to appear in the show, she’s using Twitter to spread her message to VS that “#transisbeautiful” and its show should be all-inclusive.

Image Source: @leynabloom Twitter

Since she began modeling professionally in 2014, Bloom has longed to work with Victoria’s Secret. “It’s always been a dream for me, like so many others, not just trans — POC, all women, and some men even… This is a platform that glorifies femininity… For my trans sisters, regardless of color, this will be a moment for us all,” she told Yahoo.

Many members of the Twitter community are coming together to support Bloom’s mission and help her secure support from Victoria’s Secret, hoping she will be the one to break through and pave the way for other transgender models for years to come.

With a running trend of a lack of diversity from Victoria’s Secret, specifically when it comes to its fashion show, many viewers and models alike are standing by to see if the brand will take Bloom’s hint and start representing well-deserving, talented transgender models of color. Whether included in this year’s show or not, Bloom’s public actions on social media have inspired thousands so far and will continue to do so. Keep doing what you’re doing, Leyna! Here’s to hoping brands and individuals encourage diversity and practice inclusion as a result of your brave and bold actions.

Posted by Victoria

Instagrammable AF: #TheCADO

Call me a basic millennial, but I love avocado. It’s delicious as avocado toast, guacamole, baked with an egg in it, deep fried, on top of a salad, in a taco, in a sushi roll…the options are endless.

If you’re sick of all the avocado recipes already filling up your Instagram feeds, I hate to be the bearer of bad news: my fellow avocado fans will likely be clogging your feed with more avocado ‘grams. A pop-up immersive avocado museum called “The CADO” is coming this summer to San Diego and it promises to be very Instagrammable.

Image source: The CADO

Sponsored by The California Avocado Commission and built out of fused-together shipping containers, The CADO will let you “walk through the skin and into the fruit” as you learn all about the California avocado. Exhibit features include a “Ripe Room” that teaches visitors how to identify perfectly ripe avocados by touching textured walls, an ombre hallway that is reminiscent of the flesh of an avocado, a powder room that is perfect for taking selfies while you learn about the beauty benefits of avocados, a gift shop that looks like a grocery store, and an avocado grove where you can enjoy “avocado-centric bites.”

So if you’re feeling like the Museum of Ice Cream has had its moment in the Instagram spotlight and you’re ready to get more fruit in your diet and camera roll, avocadon’t miss your chance to get tickets to The CADO ripe now because FOMO is the pits.

Posted by Sylvie

We Were the Lucky Ones

Image Source:

As you are probably well aware, the fifth anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing was on Sunday. Five years ago, a day that was full of joy and mirth, anxiously awaited by so many, quickly became a day of terror, tragedy and pure, unwavering evil.

The former marlo marketing office, with its unimpeded view of the marathon finish line, was a gathering place for clients, friends and colleagues on Patriots’ Day. It surely instilled a sense of pride for Marlo to watch us stand by the windows, watching triumphant and exhausted runners perform such a remarkable feat. It is by far the best place to be on Marathon Monday; the energy is contagious. But on April 15, 2013, it was in that spot, just yards away from where we stood, that the first bomb detonated, the blast destroying everything in its path. From the second-floor window at which my comrades and I stood, it was a piercing boom and a gust of smoke, alerting us to danger and sending us frantically running toward the fire escape in the back of the office, away from a hazard that was, at that point, unexplained.

My first thought was “the bleachers must have collapsed, people must be hurt.” But, why the smoke? It was only as I reached the back alleyway of the office, clutching my friend and uncontrollably sobbing, that I heard those around me start to say “bomb.” Terrorism never crossed my mind, I suppose because I had never surmised being so close to it.

After meeting up with a few colleagues near the Common and consoling one another, and frantically calling my mom spitting out words like “explosion,” “finish line,” and “I’m okay,” my friend and I decided to walk back to his place in Allston. It felt like we were walking for hours, and it was mostly silent. Somewhere on Comm Ave, we stopped at a coffee shop so I could use the restroom, and people were rejoicing, a mood that felt so foreign. The news had not yet reached them. On the walk, my friend and I furiously Googled and checked our Twitter feeds, trying to find an answer for the questions that had been racing through our minds, and it is then that I saw reports of “one possible casualty… one confirmed casualty… at least two people dead…dozens seriously injured.”

The few days following the bombings are a bit of a blur. I remember watching the news, seeing shots of the outside of our office amidst the coverage of the attack: the blood-smeared sidewalk, the shattered windows, the “marlo” sign we had in the window, hanging sideways by a thin piece of rope. Feeling a strong longing to be close to loved ones, I drove to my parents’ house in New Hampshire, where I grew up, as reports of the alleged terrorists started to surface. I spoke with a member of the FBI on the phone, who was interested in any photos myself or my colleagues had of the crowd. Could the terrorist have been standing outside the whole time? A malicious intruder among so many elated people? Marlo arranged a day for our team to spend together, where we were able to console one another and talk through our fear. We wouldn’t be back to the office for a while, she said.

It was a few days after the bombing that I remembered that just a couple of hours prior to 2:49pm, a few of us had been standing on the street right outside the office. I wondered if I had seen Martin Richard, leaning over the barricades, cheering for the runners. I thought about how, had we chosen to go outside a bit later, things could be dramatically different. But we were okay – we were the lucky ones.

Two years after that wretched day, Mayor Marty Walsh announced a new annual tradition: One Boston Day. “Each year, the day serves as an opportunity to celebrate the resiliency, generosity, and strength demonstrated by the people of Boston and those around the world in response to the tragedy of April 15th, 2013.” April 15th would now be associated with kindness, community and strength. A day of remembering that, among all of the evil that exists in the world, good still endures. I think Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu, and Sean Collier would be proud.

Posted by Erin

Another Reason Why I’m Addicted to Target

Can we take a moment to appreciate just how on point Target, the mother of all big box stores, has been lately? As a ~suburbanite~ who recently bought a house, Target has become my second home. At this point, it’s no longer just a store but more like a lifestyle.

For years, I frequented Tar-jay for some one-stop shopping and random clothing purchases when I was in a pinch. I joked about how Target steals my money and I always walk out with $100 worth of stuff I didn’t need. Yet, it wasn’t until I spent an entire stress-filled weekend renovating my fixer-upper with my family and declared I needed to make a Target run for a mental break that I realized that I’m in much deeper than I thought.

I quite literally buy everything there thanks to the influx of amazing new product lines recently, including Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Hearth & Home with Magnolia collection, Project 62 and A New Day. But the latest Opalhouse brand is a bohemian dream with colorful home décor additions that I can’t wait to incorporate into my home. As someone who is pretty allergic to bold color when decorating (#grayallday), this line has some perfect accent pieces to bring a little life into every room. Check it out yourself now that it’s available in stores and online, but here are some of my favorites:

Image Source: Target 

Posted by Tracy 

Old Computers or Works of Art?

Ever wondered what happens to old electronics and computer parts? To be honest, I hadn’t given it too much thought, until I saw Benjamin Von Wong’s stunning artwork inspired by Dell’s electronics recycling program.

Image Source: AdWeek, Benjamin Von Wong

As of 2010, Dell had determined that “142,000 computers are thrown away [every day] in the United States” and that number is growing each year. After learning about Dell’s recycling program at South by Southwest in 2017, Benjamin Von Wong got to work to spread awareness of this issue through a year-long photography project. By using thousands of old computer components (4,100 lbs of them to be exact) and a body-painted model, Von Wong developed a number of eye-catching shots showing the startling surplus of electronic garbage, which “is the fastest growing municipal waste system in the world,” regularly developed by humans in our computer-driven society.

By creating such a stunning piece of storytelling artwork, Von Wong successfully caught my attention, as I’m sure he will with many others, regarding himself as an artist and environmental activist, while also spotlighting Dell as an ethical company working to do its part to save the planet. Check out his creative process behind the project here and prepare to be amazed

Posted by Victoria

Puppies For The Win

Spun out from a Japanese TV show, American Ninja Warrior is an intense obstacle course competition show featuring contestants who are in better physical shape than I can ever hope to be. Obstacles have names like “Metal Spin,” “Warped Wall,” and “Cannonball Drop.” Doesn’t that sound like so much fun?

Well, if that doesn’t appeal to you, maybe this will: American Ninja Warrior: Puppy vs. Puppy. Filmed as a promotion for USA Network’s American Ninja Warrior: Ninja vs. Ninja series, the puppy version features two teams in head-to-head canine competition to be crowned the winner. It’s pawsitively adorable!

Image source:

Team Barking Mad, featuring Lazer, Truffles and Loki, goes up against The Ruff Ruff Riders, featuring Preston, Remy and Pancho. The rules are simple. Each heat features one pup from each team racing through three ruff obstacles: Sky High Hound Hurdles, Suspended Puppy Path and Puppy Ninja Warped Wall. The first team to win two heats gets the trophy. If a pup falls into the puppy pool or goes potty on the course, it’s an instant disqualification.

Watch the full competition here.

Video Source: Entertainment Weekly 

If you ask me, it doesn’t matter if Barking Mad or The Ruff Ruff Riders finished the course first. In this competition, we the viewers are all the winners for getting to witness such cuteness unleashed. And don’t forget to check out the blooper reel and puppy profiles!

Posted by Sylvie

People of Walmart: Yodel Boy

In case you haven’t heard, a boy that recently yodeled in Walmart is now a viral sensation. Ten year-old Maison Ramsey apparently treated the aisles of Walmart as his very own stage, completely transforming this boring old Harrisburg, Illinois shopping center into a once-in-a-lifetime concert for all of the lucky bystanders just trying to do errands.

Why was he yodeling in Walmart? No one really knows. Thank god he did, however, since we clearly never knew what we were missing! Never thought I could love a good yodel, but here I am – intrigued by this *rising* star.

Then, it wasn’t long until some EDM genius turned this yodel into a one minute song that has already wracked up millions of views! Whether you like EDM music or not, you have to do yourself justice and give it a listen. I mean, hey – you already invested a few minutes (or, maybe, ten seconds) listening to Maison already, so don’t rob yourself after you’ve come this far:

Some music festivals have even gone as far as to playing this remix on their big stage, too:

Not sure if your ears are bleeding yet or not, but I am INTO IT! Can’t wait to see what new mashups are created following Maison’s next Walmart hit.

Posted By Olivia

Let’s Bring Back #RealNews

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. – First Amendment to the United States Constitution

Broadcast companies. You know the big guys – ABC, CBS, Clear Channel, Univision, Tribune – but have you heard of Sinclair Broadcast Group? Probably not. Sinclair owns hundreds of local stations across the US, 193 to be exact, reaching 40% of the American population. Generally local news stations stick to just that – local news. Yes, they cover national topics, but primarily you’re going to hear about what’s going on in your area. Because of this, they typically stray from having a political narrative, unlike mainstream media channels like Fox News and MSNBC.

But that was before #FakeNews. Now it appears that Sinclair is straying from the norm and having their local channels focus more on national news, while pushing conservative, pro-Trump ideologies. How are they doing this? Watch this rather horrifying video put together by Deadspin, where anchors across the nation say the.exact.same.thing.

Video Source: Youtube 

Freaky, right? What’s even scarier is that Sinclair fully stands behind their forced narrative, noting they are “standard practice in the industry.” Oh, and they are also in the process of trying to acquire Tribune, which would boost their reach to 72% of American households. At the end of the day, this isn’t about what was said, but rather it’s an attack on the legitimacy of the press. I leave you with a quote from Thomas Jefferson, one of America’s Founding Fathers and the third President of the United States.

Image Source: AZ Quotes

Posted by Allie

Heineken’t Do That

Fifty years after MLK’s death and we are still living in a country where racism is at its height. Sure, bathrooms are no longer segregated, bus seats are a free-for-all and we had a black president, but if I hear one more person say, “Racism doesn’t exist, we had a black president!” I’m going to lose it.

While overt racism has decreased, passive racism is bigger than ever. While I also agree that sensitivity is at its height and words and messages (especially in politics) are misconstrued so we can point fingers and call people “losers” and “racist,” you can only be so ignorant.

I understand that people are educated differently based on demographics, economic class, religion, etc., but as a multi-BILLION dollar company, you have the resources to hire open-minded, educated employees who are not ignorant (dumb) or one-sided, which is why I believe that Heineken’s new ad, “Lighter Is Better” was not an “Oopsies, didn’t think this one through,” rather it was a deliberate attempt to subliminally spread the message our president has encouraged for too long – strip our nation of the colors that make it so vibrantly beautiful and give privilege to all things white.

Video Source: 

For those of you living under a rock, Heineken recently released a new series of ads for their light beer, with the tagline “lighter is better.” If this tagline was the only flaw, I would give Heineken the benefit of the doubt, but the underlying messages are what really disappoint me the most.

A light-skinned woman sits at a bar and is dissatisfied with her beverage choice. A light-skinned (creepy-looking) bartender with (creepy) binoculars spots her dissatisfaction and slides a Heineken her way. On the voyage to this damsel in distress, the bottle passes two black gentlemen and a black woman before it makes its way to the white woman’s hand, to which the white bartender winks in satisfaction and “sometimes, lighter is better” flashes across the screen…followed by an ironic “open your world” slogan. Help me, Jesus.

While I’ve often praised Heineken for their open-minded approach to advertising, I can’t help but feel saddened in this ad. Whether deliberate or ignorant, it’s not what our country needs right now.

As someone who works in media, I’m always double checking to make sure the messages I’m putting out are inclusive and positive. I now challenge the big dogs out there to do the same, especially when working with multi-billion-dollar companies who have the power to influence millions. Your words, the images you put across the screen, they matter, so rather than getting a few cheap click-throughs on your ad, think of how you can use your power to fight for equality, inclusiveness and encourage the beautiful colors that made America great in the first place. I triple dog dare you.

Posted by Christina B.

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