A Hike Away

This past weekend, my friend invited me to join her and her friends to hike up Bear Mountain, a state park near Rockland County along the Hudson River.  Until this past weekend, I had yet to leave the city this summer and now I’m kicking myself for waiting so long.  The hike alone was one of the hardest hikes I’ve ever been on, but the view at the top was incredible.  It was so nice to get away from the craziness of the city and be back in genuine fresh air.  A lot of the time I find myself so wrapped up in what I’m doing with school and my future career to the point where I don’t take time to take a breath.  I highly recommend to somehow get away from your current environment when things get too crazy, as difficult as that is.  With Bear Mountain only being an hour away from the city, take the drive if you have access to a car.  (3006 Seven Lakes Drive, Woodbury, Parking $8 per car)

Bear Mountain State Park Summit

Bear Mountain State Park Summit

Bear Mountain State Park View

Bear Mountain State Park View

Ashley

We All Scream for Ice Cream

With this crazy summer heat and the non air conditioned subway cars, sometimes all we need to cool down is some delicious ice cream.  There are two places here in New York that have a special place in my heart.

Chloe’s Fruit: (E 17th St between 5th and Broadway) Being health conscious but also ALWAYS craving ice cream, Chloe’s truly saves the day for me.  Their soft serve is gluten, dairy, and fat free and absolutely delicious.  The dark chocolate and banana flavors are my favorite and there’s no way possible that you can leave there without getting peanut butter drizzle on top.  I can’t wait to try their newly added breakfast items!

Chloe's Fruit Soft Serve

Chloe’s Fruit Soft Serve

Big Gay Ice Cream: (West Village – Grove St and 7th Ave, East Village – E 7th and Avenue A) What started as an ice cream truck has turned into a character of NYC.  I’ve only been once but the next time I’m feeling a cheat meal, I’ll definitely go there.  I got the Rocky Roadhouse when I went for the first time and I’m very thankful that they have GLUTEN FREE CONES!  I highly recommend that you look at the menu online in advanced because it can get busy on a hot summer day.

Big Gay Ice Cream Rocky Roadhouse

Big Gay Ice Cream Rocky Roadhouse

Ashley

Restaurant Review – Hu Kitchen

New York is known for its great food.  You could spend your entire life going from place to place trying out every food that New York has to offer.  Unfortunately, if you’re like me and have a ton of food sensitivities, my food exploration adventure gets cut a little short.  Thankfully, more restaurants offer gluten free options and you will often come across places like Hu Kitchen (78 5th Ave (14th and 5th).  Hu Kitchen’s menu is entirely gluten free and the ingredients are truly fresh and you can taste it.  The atmosphere of the place alone is incredible (see photo below).  It is very inviting with some of the nicest people working there.  I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed if you try any of their chocolate bars or their almond banana smoothie.  The next time you have a lunch break, be sure to stop by and give it a try.  You can thank me later.

Hu Kitchen interior

Hu Benny breakfast

Hu Benny at Hu Kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ashley

Ode to New York

Being from the midwest, New York has changed me for the better.  Before coming to FIT or New York City, I would have never taken risks or stepped outside of my comfort zone.  I would have never been able to walk into an interview or even get offered said position.  I’m not afraid to speak my mind or stand up for what I believe in.  I have gained confidence above all.  New York can make you grow up really quickly.  Not grow up in a way that you’re looking at retirement plans, but growing up in a way where you figure yourself out.  You start to know what you want and what you don’t.  You now have that sense of freedom and independence.  People may say that you gain those things just by going to college, but New York is a different ball game.  Prepare yourself to begin an entirely new book in your life.  New York is the place where you become the person that you are meant to be.

“I believe in New Yorkers. Whether they’ve ever questioned the dream in which they live, I wouldn’t know, because I won’t ever dare ask that question.” — Dylan Thomas

Very literally…welcome to New York.  It’s been waiting for you.

Ashley

Notes From the 6 Train: Keep Going. You Got This.

More and more I begin to see how past relationships keep resurfacing. A few weeks ago I was invited to a huge gala as a guest of honor to a former scholarship program I was involved in whilst in middle & high school. I was “One of the 52,” an alumna that had a large impact on the organization while involved/ after my graduation, by volunteering, mentoring, or tutoring. But that’s not what this post is about, this is about what happened while I was on stage.

All of the alumni got on stage and talked about our paths after graduation, what we are doing now and what we anticipate to be doing the future. I have to admit something. It was the first time I’ve ever completely owned and honored my artist title, especially in front of such a large group of people. Fully believing and owning my truth in that way has been a long time coming. Part of it was me not feeling I deserved that title and the other was being ashamed. Growing up, I’ve also been surrounded by incredibly academically focused people, and there’s been a part of that wished that I was passionate about academia in the same way.

My mentor & I.

My mentor & I.

But with unlearning the common narrative that art is not important. While also adhering to an intense artist practice, fully internalizing how important art IS, and what it means to bring it to communities spaces (which is what I’m all about), has instilled in me an unwavering pride to call myself a creator, an artist. Having the platform to stand up and just briefly mention what I am up to, and it being honored, was transformative for me. I felt proud while hearing everyone’s accomplishments, and feeling proud. I am thankful to experience these little, unexpected, cathartic moments offer unexpected healing.

Side-note: I wanted to write about this because I’ve been thinking about how blogs & the internet in general, only show snapshots of everyone’s experience. Behind that perfect Instagram picture, there was uncertainty, doubt, question of talent, etc. But for artists, it’s important to remember to not stop during those times of self-doubt. Just keep working, don’t stop, and own it.

All Things Color, Love & Fashion,
Ayanna Lane

Notes From the 6 Train: Finding Work That Fills Up You

I’m really enjoying my internship with the Laundromat Project. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of helping out my artist, Elvira Clayton, at the Harlem Art’s Festival. We were in the kid’s corner, where we had a live drummer, with an accompanying (evolving) drum circle. We also had materials to make mini djembes for anyone to take home to continue the music at home!

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Despite the challenging weather we experienced at the Harlem’s Art Festival, there was an incredible turnout at our table. And I know why.

The drums.

It brought together every community member possible. Little kids wandered over, with their older siblings and parents following close behind. At one point, an elder, master drummer even stopped by to play for a bit.

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That’s when I remembered, why drums are so enticing. I never forget this fact, but it’s moments like this that reaffirm, usually more passionately than before, that powerful nature of the drum. It’s an obvious reminder of our humanity, as it mirrors the sound of our shared heartbeats. This is even more poignant when there’s a troupe of drums. Strangers who didn’t even exchange names, were connected, if only for a moment, by playing together.

Not only do drums remind of us our shared humanity, but creates the perfect catalyst for community building. Everyone wants to touch the drum, beat and feel the rhythm of the drum. Even the shyest and most hesitant of passerby’s found themselves enraptured in the majestic nature of the drum circle.

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As my graduation swiftly approaches, I am paying attention to work that fills me up, makes me feel whole, and this community engaging work does it for sure. That’s what I plan on doing after I graduate.

All Things Color, Love & Fashion,
Ayanna Lane

How to Handle Being Sick

While being sick on its own isn’t fun at all, add on school, work, and internships AND being away from home, and it can seem like a hopeless recipe for disaster.  I for one, hate missing class or a day of work or an internship and even worse, I hate letting my boss or professor down.  Sometimes you just get really really sick because you are human and you have to take a day to get better and not get everyone around you sick.  I have some tips for when you have to make the dreaded call about missing an important days’ work.

  1. Let your professor or boss know as early as possible.  While you may only wake up 10 minutes before class starts, let your professor know immediately.  If you tell someone in your class to tell your professor, that can come off as irresponsible.  The professor may not check their email until later but it’s important to be as professional as possible.
  2. Find out what you missed if you’re missing class.  If it is a class where you MUST ask the professor what you missed, then so be it, but most of the time it’s much easier and less of an annoyance for your professor if you ask a responsible friend.
  3. Just because you missed class, that doesn’t mean that you have an excuse to not have something done on time.  If you missed more than one day of class, then you have an actual excuse, but if you missed one day because you were feeling under the weather, you still have six more days to get your work accomplished before next week’s class.
  4. Don’t miss exam days unless you’re incredibly ill or if it’s an emergency.  Sometimes the professor may not let you make up an exam or they may give you a harder exam (doesn’t always make sense).  If you have a cold and a headache and feel crummy, it’s best to get the exam over with and crawl back into bed.  With this being said, isolate yourself from other people to prevent others from getting sick.  While it is slightly selfish to go anywhere while being sick, it will cause greater stress for your professor and yourself if you have to take an exam at a later date or not at all.
  5. Thank your professor or boss for being understanding.  Most of the time, your boss or professor will understand your circumstances and be accommodating if missing class is unlike your behavior.  If you go out of your way to thank them, they will appreciate it even more, especially since you were just bedridden for a couple days.  A little kindness goes a long way.

    Ashley

Notes From the 6 Train: Summertime Hustle

So, I’m not sure when/ how/ where I signed up for this opportunity, but last week I was invited to assist Style Coalition at an event held at Milk Studios. Now, nearly everyone knows Milk, during fashion week many events take place at Milk. It’s funny because twice in the past I’ve tried to volunteer at Milk and heard nothing back. And this time, I was asked, without even applying, with pay, to work an event there. (Little story in how things work themselves.)

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The event was a collaboration with Loreal Feria + Style Coalition to showcase Feria’s new hair dyes. Helen Castillo (who was super sweet by the way) from Project Runway, debuted five pieces inspired by the new dyes, & Elliphant & Astr performed.

There was of course, an open bar & food, hair consultations for attendees, free hair dye and makeup.

Helen's pieces

Helen’s pieces

I spent majority of my time in the hair and makeup room & then checking people in at the front door. It sounds simple enough, but with over 250 attendees, I was on my feet the whole time. I was there with a few other FIT students as well. I talked to another girl who was working the event and mentioned that she has worked with this organization several times.

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As soon as the event concluded, I sent a thank you email to the organizers, so hopefully now that I’ve worked with them, they will contact me for future opportunities!

if you’re interested in attending free events in the future, I think all you have to do is sign up at Style Coalition to be put on their list serve.

All Things Color, Love & Fashion,
Ayanna Lane

Academic Advisement Help

As a freshman, I was completely overwhelmed with the proper classes that I needed to take.  I thought that everything had to be done in a certain order, no exceptions.  I didn’t think that I had many options to choose from and on the other hand, I wondered what my options were.  If you are an incoming freshman or new student and you have no idea what classes you are supposed to take, reach out to academic advisement.  Your academic advisor is somewhat the equivalent of your high school guidance counselor.  They’re there to help you with your academic lineup for your time here at FIT.  You should be receiving the contact info of your academic advisor, and I highly recommend reaching out to them regarding all of your class-related needs.  While you may think that you just have to take 6 credits of English (hypothetical), that doesn’t mean that you can take any 3 2-credit classes.  There are certain courses that aren’t allowed to be taken by certain majors/don’t count towards graduation for certain majors, so why waste your time and money by taking a class that doesn’t count towards graduation?  Here are some sample questions that you should ask your Academic Advisor:

  • If my high school AP scores transfer over, should I still register for those classes?
  • What courses can I get ahead on?
  • What courses do you recommend for a new student’s workload?
  • What options do I have when it comes to my liberal arts and what classes don’t count towards graduation?
  • What are some of the minors and how do I declare a minor?
  • What are some of the classes that I should be taking during the spring incase a certain class/section fills up?
  • Should I only be concerned about my associates graduation requirements or my bachelors as well?
  • Is there a way that I can graduate early?

You can find out more information about Academic Advisement at https://www.fitnyc.edu/22232.asp

Your academic advisor is here to help you!

Ashley

Notes From The 6 Train: Honoring The LifeWork of Adam Gray

Wow. As I’m still processing this, I don’t really know what to say, but it’s something I do think needs to be adressed.

Adam Gray, assistant director of the FIT writing center, (where I work as a writing tutor) unexpectedly passed away two days ago. He was one of my favorite faculty members at FIT. He was super smart, present and aware in ways most people just aren’t. He was just a really special person.

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Below is what I wrote to go to into a booklet that’s being sent to his parents.

“I don’t know if you know, but your son was a quiet revolutionary.

As a black women from the south, and member of the queer community, I often struggle to find to people to connect with, especially within the hierarchal system of academia. Yet, we established a special connection, that did not merely transcend or ignore our plethora of different life circumstances, and experiences, but instead used those differences to build a more dynamic and full relationship.

He valued truth, in all forms it came in, from the disenfranchised, the unheard and marginalized, he brought this into his practice, his work, and our community. It was obvious, from the books he suggested, language he used, and topics he studied, he cared about the voice & story of people that most usually don’t. Those voices being inner-city black and brown kids coming from working class backgrounds, such as myself, who speak, think and perceive the world differently.

As our society has more and more visible acts of rage and violence, one of the most revolutionary, and most challenging, acts anyone can do is listen to people who are different from them. And that’s what Adam did, listen, and spent his time here at FIT, investigating ways to better equip tutors and students to own their voice, and by doing so, their story, their experience, their purpose.

His work is done, nor his voice is not lost. He can be found in notes, quotes and suggestions scribbled in my notebooks, emails and the energy of our writing community. I hope our words help illuminate the indescribable impact your son had in his work, at FIT and on us all.”