Category Archives: L.A. Life

Pumpkin Spiced Fall

By Emiko Akama-Garren

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3 minute read]

The American fall time consists of many traditions and holidays, and those who are not familiar with them may find the traditions amusing and sometimes odd. This time of year is heavily centered around food, with the most important item being the pumpkin. Pumpkins play a role in Thanksgiving, Halloween and essential fall activities like going to a pumpkin patch. So, it is no surprise that pumpkin spice has become an essential part of the season. I always feel more festive and start to get into the fall mood when I see all of the seasonal pumpkin-flavored items available.

Pumpkin spice products are continuing to spread and major brands continue to introduce new pumpkin fused items for the fall time. The limited availability of the flavor has been a key selling point for the products. Some of the most popular items include candles, soap, cookies, drinks, baked goods, snacks, and even pet products. The most quintessential pumpkin spice item to try is most definitely the pumpkin spice latte. Social media, especially Instagram, has created a large following and obsession for pumpkin spice latte fans of all ages.

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

It is already a shock to many non Americans how many different products that feature pumpkins are available, so it is even more surprising when people find out that pumpkin flavored coffee is such a sought after trend. Pumpkin spice lattes have become quite the commodity and bring in huge profits for coffee companies. Pumpkin spice lattes are typically made from milk, pumpkin puree or flavoring, pumpkin spice seasoning, a sweetener, and coffee.

Starbucks is the main party responsible for starting the pumpkin spice latte craze and turning the name of their drink into an acronym and widespread hashtag (PSL). Since Starbucks has launched their drink, over 200 million drinks have been sold and it has quickly become their most popular beverage. Now many other coffee chains offer their own versions of pumpkin spice coffees. Starbucks starts to offer the PSL in the beginning of September and it is only available “while supplies last”. This period is usually right up until when they bring back their holiday drinks.

Photo by Maddy Baker on Unsplash

Pumpkin spice no longer just creates a flavorful sensation but it also creates an emotional one. The widely loved trend admired by many Americans is slowly starting to spread, but understandably has not been picked up as quickly in foreign markets. There is no better place to try pumpkin spice food than in America as a way to celebrate the beginning of the fall holidays. Trying out and tasting this fall trend is the best way to understand the American obsession, and might just help you feel some of the holiday spirit.

Featured Image by Chris Hardy on Unsplash

Emiko is a recent graduate from the Sol Price School of Public Policy and Marshall School of Business. She was born and raised in the Bay Area, California up until high school, when she moved to Switzerland and then France. Emiko lived in Switzerland and Germany all throughout high school and then studied abroad her first year of university in Paris. While living abroad, she was involved with Model United Nations and was a figure skating coach for international students and local students looking to work on their English. She loves meeting new people, traveling, dancing, figure skating and entrepreneurship.

LA’s Top 5 Touristy Spots

By Connor Brown

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3.5 minute read]

Popularity is an interesting concept. Some people see popular things as good, assuming that if many people enjoy something, it must have value. Others see popular things as bad, assuming that if a ton of people like something, it must be “basic” or overhyped. Los Angeles is home to both opinions, and as a capital of both trends and hipsters, the nuance between these two stances emerges. Many of the most popular, touristy things to do in Los Angeles are fun, others not as much. From my experience as an Angeleno, here are the five best touristy things to do in Los Angeles — all popular, pleasant, and picturesque!

Photo by Joseph Ngabo on Unsplash

1. Santa Monica

First on our list is arguably LA’s most famous beach, the iconic Santa Monica, brimming with sight seers, seagulls, and sunshine. Santa Monica is a fairly large city within LA, and offers more than just an endless, wide beach. The boardwalk is a popular tourist attraction, and while it’s not my personal favorite, many enjoy it. The Promenade along Third Street is a great shopping center, and the surrounding area is full of intriguing stores and sights. Ocean Avenue offers a great walking path, and leads right into the iconic Pacific Palisades. Best of all, Santa Monica is easily accessible via public transit, as the Metro Expo Line ends in the heart of downtown Santa Monica, blocks from both the beach and the Promenade.

2. Griffith Park

My personal favorite on this list, Griffith Park is a must-visit destination for anyone who’s been to LA. The park itself is massive, covering a large swath of the LA hills, and includes a number of great hiking paths. It is also home to one of LA’s most famous landmarks, the Griffith Observatory. If you go to the Observatory on a clear night, you can see the most spectacular views of the city. While the view is the main attraction, the Observatory is a destination in and of itself, offering fun astronomical and scientific displays, planetarium shows, and telescope viewing opportunities!

Photo by Lydia Koh on Unsplash

3. Downtown Art Museums

One of the best aspects of USC, in my opinion, is its proximity to downtown Los Angeles. Downtown LA is an enigma — there are times when it is bustling, with restaurants overflowing, rooftops full, and clubs thumping, and times when it is so empty you expect to see a tumbleweed roll across the street (Sunday afternoons). The one constant is the tranquility of the art museums. I find few things to be more relaxing than wandering around a quiet, curated space dedicated to the great artists of our time, being able to just pause and stare at some often-unintelligible expression of the human spirit. The Broad and The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) are two of the best modern art museums in the country, and are barely two miles from campus. Hop in a bus, Lyft, Metro, or Bird scooter, head up Figueroa and unwind in the sterile vibrance of a modern art museum.

Continue reading LA’s Top 5 Touristy Spots

Take a Breath: Keeping Things in Perspective in College

By Stella Yeong

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[4 minute read]

It’s easy to feel like college is supposed to be the most important and formative part of your life. At least, that’s what many of us have been led to believe through media and film. However, after some time, I’ve come to realize that’s not true for everyone. It’s hard to not get muddled up in what you think your experience is supposed to be, but it is best to focus on making it the best version of what it already is. I felt the same way about high school — like everything that happened was the most important thing in the world. Yet, the number of people that I still keep in contact with that I used to see every day can now be counted on one hand. Even my most embarrassing or happiest moments have all become a blur.

Photo by Fuu J on Unsplash

High school and college can be all-consuming while you’re in them, especially because they are a cesspool of unhealthy comparison. However, everyone is on their own path — it may take longer to get from one place to another for some, but that doesn’t determine your destination. Trust that everything will work out, and if it doesn’t, worry about it when it happens because everything, good or bad, eventually comes to an end.

Here are a few tips I’ve gathered over time to help remember how to keep things in perspective in college:

1. Start studying early to minimize stress around exam time.

Photo by Matt Ragland on Unsplash

Annoyed how tests, projects, and papers all seem to pile up at the same time? Start studying early by going over your notes for a few minutes each day so you don’t have to cram for four classes at once. When you have some free time, study even if you don’t think you have to because exam time can sneak up on you before you know it. Easier said than done, but try not to procrastinate! This way you won’t be so concerned about where you stand in relation to others when you are cramming during exam week.

Continue reading Take a Breath: Keeping Things in Perspective in College