Founder and Editor-in-Chief
LARYSSA WIRSTIUK divides her time unequally between Maryland and northern New Jersey, where she grew up. In 2007, she earned a B.A. in Writing from Loyola College in Maryland. She is currently working on her creative thesis and hopes that by May, she will receive an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland.
In her spare time, Laryssa likes to write and read fiction, devour any and all current periodicals, eat great food, cook, lift weights, run, play with makeup, laugh, meet new people, and explore her surroundings. She has red hair, which gets her into trouble, and she answers to “Business,” a nickname created by her younger brother.
Laryssa loves cities and stories. One day, she will live in Manhattan, have a pet dachshund, see her name on a shelf in a book store, and earn enough money to treat herself to weekly pedicures and frequent restaurant meals.
When she isn’t in class or writing papers, she spends her time reading novels, writing in a journal, running, and experimenting in the kitchen. She also loves the Outer Banks, anything pumpkin-flavored or chocolate-covered, Starbucks’ holiday cups, people-watching at coffee shops, House, and white wine.
After graduation in May, Isabel hopes to move to New York City, which she fell in love with while interning there this past summer. Actually, she may have just fallen in love with Pinkberry frozen yogurt. Either way, she can’t wait to go back.
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CHRISTINE BARRETT was born and raised in Athens, Georgia and now is in her third year at Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She is majoring in Communication with minors in Spanish and Sociology.
Christine has many hobbies, besides reading and writing, which include driving and exploring, watching movies, daydreaming, learning new words, chatting, and eating. She enjoys fashion, tall buildings, cats, and a good pastrami sandwich.
Music is pretty high on her list; it’s almost time to invest in a larger iPod. She listens to a variety of music too wide to name ‘favorites’: to quote Steely Dan, “Give her some funked up music, she treats you nice.” Christine also has a weakness for celebrity gossip and never misses an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
After graduating in 2010, Christine dreams of living in New York City and of breaking into the world of magazine journalism.
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JUSTINE LORELLE BLANCHARD is a senior at Drake University in Des Moines, IA, where she’s pursuing a dual degree in magazine journalism and writing. Originally from California, she’s spent the last 12 years seeking out the positives of life in the Midwest.
When she’s not in class, interning, freelancing, or otherwise aspiring to her lifelong dream of writing professionally, she can typically be found working out, compulsively checking her e-mail, or teaching her kitten, McKinley, how to play fetch. Justine’s interests include reading anything, iced coffee, men’s fashion, road trips, and taking too many pictures.
After spending last summer interning at a New York magazine, Justine can’t wait to move back in May and (hopefully) continue to pursue her career in journalism. And to get a Great Dane. Because her parents never bought her the pony.
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FONTEZ BROOKS is currently a junior at the University of West Georgia. He is working on his Bachelor’s in English with a minor in Mass Communications. Though he currently lives in Carrollton, Georgia he has also lived in Florida, Arizona, Oklahoma and Missouri. In his spare time he likes write for the school newspaper, The West Georgian, play a little guitar and pretend to study.
After college Fontez plans to pursue a career in teaching (maybe?) he still slightly undecided. Overall he’s a pretty goofy guy that has the ability to get pretty serious when the time is right. His favorite authors right now are Chuck Klosterman, Cormac McCarthy and Charles Bukowski.
Though Literature and the likes are his passion, music takes up a considerable amount of his time. When he’s not writing or pretending to study he is trying to make music of his own (if you can call it that.) He sites his influences as Kevin Devine, Manchester Orchestra, O’Brother, My Morning Jacket and Anathallo.
One day, if all goes according to plan, he hopes to move to New York or somewhere around there. He loves the survival of the fittest atmosphere New York has and definitely plans to live there one day.
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LAUREN BUCCI grew up in a small town in Southern New Jersey. She is now a junior at The Pennsylvania State University, where she majors in print journalism with a minor in deafness and hearing studies.
She has an addiction to iced coffee, crossword puzzles, and laughing. She is a complete music junkie who spends most of her time, and money expanding her vinyl collection. She has yet to find a genre of music she doesn’t like at least a little bit. Some of her favorite artists include The Kings of Leon, Elvis, Bruce Springsteen, and The Doors. When music isn’t consuming her life she also enjoys reading and helping raise money for kids with pediatric cancer. A lot of her time is devoted to volunteering for the largest student run philanthropy in the nation, Penn State’s Dance Marathon.
Although not exactly sure what she wants, in the future she would like to live in a city, complete her vinyl collection, travel the world, see Pearl Jam live in Madison Square Garden, and write about music. More than anything she wants to make a difference in someone’s life.
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CINDY CHU was born and raised in Queens, New York and is currently a junior at Syracuse University. She has a major in political science and a minor in economics, but has no intention of working for anything related to the government. She hopes to become an investment banker once she graduates, but not for forever. She also wants to work at a fashion magazine. She never thought she’d be a writer, but here she is.
She has a love for art, basketball, piano, tennis, and traveling. Her favorite team is the LA Lakers and her favorite player is Kobe Bryant. She plans to travel all over the world to every continent; so far she has only been to Asia, but traveling to Europe is in the near future. She has a lot of different goals and doesn’t plan on letting anything stop her.
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Her obsessions include the beach, traveling, reading, the Food Network, being spontaneous, skydiving, family, coffee shops, skinny dipping, crosswords, and her shitzhu, Cooper. She loves giving back to the community and currently coordinates two mentoring programs in Baltimore through Loyola College.
Sam loves learning and laughing. She hopes to one day play a whole song on the guitar, return to Beijing where she studied for six months, actually fit the gym into her schedule, learn how to tell the difference between good wine and cheap wine, and a run a marathon.
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NATASHA HOCHLOWSKI is from Bel Air, MD and is currently a junior at Loyola College in Maryland. She is pursuing a double degree in Chemistry and Writing and hopes to one day enter the science writing field.
Although Natasha likes her Chemistry major, her real passion is writing. She enjoys writing poetry and reading science fiction.
Natasha is extremely proud of her Italian heritage. She will finally be able to immerse herself in Italian culture when she studies in Rome next semester. She also has a passion for fitness and has worked at several women’s gyms over the past year. She loves 1980s hard rock and heavy metal music, and one of her favorite things to do is see live performances at Baltimore venues.
LUCAS MCMILLAN is a sophomore at Drake University in Des Moines, IA, where he is double-majoring in magazine journalism and political science. Originally from Minneapolis, he has a hard time admitting that he resides in Iowa.
Besides being an avid reader and writer, Lucas is absolutely obsessed with music of all sorts. He also enjoys working out, seeking out vintage and antique shops, watching movies of every ilk, playing soccer, and attempting to create the perfect mixtape for all four seasons. His favorite band is The Velvet Underground, and his favorite film is Fight Club.
One day Lucas wants to be an editor for a music magazine, live within sight of an ocean, and have something he wrote make someone stop and think for a second.
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MERMAID IN MANHATTAN writes a weekly column about her experiences as a young artist living in the Big Apple. She entertains readers with her adventures and debunks myths about what it’s like to live the life of a struggling artist in Manhattan.
Mermaid grew up with her Catholic-Italian family in suburban New Jersey, where everyone knew everything about everybody, distinctly defined gender roles, frowned upon openly-expressed sexuality, and highly emphasized achievement. At 18, she moved to Greenwich Village, New York City to pursue acting at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she underwent conservatory training in acting, movement, voice, and life.
She loves being part of a community of artists that is awake and trying to find something out about the world. Her goal as an artist is simple; she wants to tell the truth and have fun doing it. She also wants to find a producer for her screenplay, act in the production, and continue acting in independent movies and plays. She would also like to break into prime-time television.
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PETER RICCI hails from Bartlett, IL, one of the bright, suburbia paradisos of the Chicago-land area. Formerly a student at Elgin Community College, he transferred to Ohio University in the fall of 2008, where he is studying for a B.S.J. in Magazine Journalism with a specialization in English.
A passionate fan of music, Peter’s favorite artists include Miles Davis, Nick Drake, Joy Division, and Otis Redding. A film cognoscente, Peter’s favorite films include Short Cuts, The Godfather Part II, and Mike Leigh’s Naked. As a voracious reader, Peter divides his time between NPR, blogs like The Daily Dish and The Huffington Post, and whatever authors he is currently interested in. Present fascinations include Buzz Bissinger, Truman Capote, and Raymond Chandler.
He dreams of working for a legitimate politics/arts print magazine, where he can write well-respected words. You can read more of Peter’s thoughts on his blog.
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ANA RICHTERS lives in Knoxville, Tennessee. She is a freshman at UT, where she is studying Journalism and Electronic Media. Ana loves reading, writing, the outdoors, soccer, dance, jogging, Starbucks coffee, cities, music, comedy (especially The Daily Show and Scrubs), politics, biking, shopping, beaches, and watching the stars.
Ana dreamed of being an author when she was little, then a fashion designer, followed by an astronaut, marine biologist, fortune teller, talk show host, model, chef, and finally the President. She settled on journalism, however, much to her parents’ relief.
One day Ana wants to run a magazine like Glamour or Vogue and contribute to a political magazine. Her ultimate career goal is to interview the President of the United States. Ana also wants to own a mini Yorkshire terrior, have a beachouse in California, a penthouse in New York, and a villa in France, help with several relief efforts around the world, decrease the effects of global warming, run a marathon (in the distant future), and complete a triathalon (in the very distant future).
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When she’s not in class, Ariela is normally at the gym. She teaches six pilates classes a week and will gladly admit to being a pilates junky. Other then pilates, Ariela’s current obsessions include crossword puzzles, the Food Network, mastering the art of urban bike riding, and visiting as many Philadelphia brunch spots as she can.
Ariela loves the beauty of fashion photography and the power of the written word. Her favorite publications include everything from VegNews and Nylon to her local city papers. She dreams of writing for a fitness or fashion publication someday, but would be happy with any journalism assignment that allows her to travel and communicate with people in under served areas.
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ADAM SHULER grew up in the dry confines of the Arizona desert. He received a B.S. in Electronic Media from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff before moving out to the Washington D.C. area to get a taste of East Coast life.
Adam is an entertainment nut. Expect nothing less from a guy who learned how to read by looking at TV Guide! Although he likes all forms and genres of film and television, he has an affinity for animation, satire, science fiction, and game shows. His favorite film is The Godfather and his favorite TV show is The Twilight Zone.
When not absorbing what media has to offer, Adam enjoys writing, travel, trivia, making people laugh, and wondering why some people do the things they do. He also loves music, and is a ringer in a prestigious handbell ensemble in Virginia. He’ll probably like you too, if he ever gets to meet you.
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ANGIE WALLS was born in Springfield, MO and has been living in Washington, DC for four years. In 2004, she received her B.S. in Professional Writing & Editing from Missouri State University. Angie recently launched All Creative Copy, her freelance writing business, and she specializes in writing about travel, public policy, business, energy, technology, and healthcare.
She loves classic literature and extraordinary contemporary fiction, particularly by authors like Janet Fitch and Joyce Carol Oates, who capture the inner workings of dysfunctional families. She also appreciates independent and foreign films like Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth and El Orfanato.
Angie dreams of traveling the world, writing about her travels, and becoming a published novelist. To learn more about her first novel-in-progress, about growing up in the Midwest, and to read her fiction, visit her blog.
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KEN WARD was born in Nago, Japan and has lived in the Midwest, in the South and now on the West coast. He is currently a senior journalism major at the University of Oregon. He also attended the University of Arkansas for his first two years of college as a creative writing major.
Ken loves movies and music, much like any other American youth. His favorite movies include Pulp Fiction, Mulholland Drive, and Adaptation. He is a bit of a music nerd, and enjoys all kinds of music; his favorite is post-metal. Weight-lifting, traveling, writing, guitar and skimboarding are some of his other favorite pursuits.
Ken plans to live abroad after he graduates for a few years and move to Los Angeles when he is done. He aspires to be a screenwriter some day and hopes to make movies of all genres.
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ERIC WILKENS was raised in Morris Plains, New Jersey, but is currently a freshman at Syracuse University. He is undecided about his career path, but hopes to pursue a career that will allow him to help others.
A supporter of the arts, Wilkens enjoys reading literature, writing short stories, listening to music, volunteering with various organizations, and trekking into New York City whenever he has the chance. Though his future plans are currently hazy, he does want to someday live in London, England, and extensively study modern art.
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A Francophile, Kate is passionate about France and everything to do with it. Living in Paris is a certainty in her mind. Another passion is travelling; her list of places to see is long.
Interested in many subjects, though not yet an expert in any, Kate’s chosen career path is in fashion journalism; a bit of an ambitious choice but we’ll see how she goes.
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NEHLA ZIKRIA is a graduate of Georgetown University. She now works as Sales Advisor at Costco with Club Demonstration Services. She has traveled extensively thoughout Europe, and has studied for two years in Paris, France.
After college, she attended Northern Virginia Community College and attained another degree in Liberal Arts. She likes to swim and write poetry . At the moment she is writing a novel with her cousin, Wali Zikria. The name of the novel is The Lost Gems, and she hopes to get it published this year. Nehla Zikria has been published by The International Library of Poetry and by Noble House of London.
She has also made some commentaries on novels like The Last Queen of Egypt and Salmon Rushdie’s The Enchantress of Florence. You can “Google” her name to find her comments.
SHAUN BELL grew up much like any other boy in the plains with a fascination for thunderstorms, cars, and architecture. He received a B.S. in Meteorology from Oklahoma University, the best damn school in the state, and an M.S. in Atmospheric Sciences from Stony Brook University in New York. Since then, he has been supporting a project at NASA, which has given him opportunity to visit and photograph other parts of the world (most recently China).
As an undergraduate, Shaun spent many afternoons chasing thunderstorms and tornadoes; these experiences first sparked his interest in photography. He now spends much of his time listening to his latest favorite song or roaming around Washington, DC, snapping pictures of buildings, landscapes, and sometimes people, when he can capture the right expression.
When Shaun grows up, he wants to own a small, quaint coffee shop or be a photographer (possibly taking photos of small, quaint coffee shops). Friends say that Shaun’s brain resides in his hat, which means Shaun is not often without his hat.
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PAUL OBERLE grew up near Saint Louis, MO, joined the military, and never went back. The US Government saw fit to transfer him all over the world to investigate crime and protect VIPs from getting shot. Ten years in the military was enough. Other Government Agencies promised to fly him to even more parts of the world and provided him with enough disposable income to invest in the hobby of photography.
He is a bit of a Europhile, attempts to speak German when drunk, has run the Marine Corps and NYC marathons and vows to sail more often.
He now lives in Arlington, VA and pays more than the total cost of his first car in monthly rent. Street and travel photography is what first turned him onto photography but he would love to learn more about off-camera lighting, portraiture and fashion/art photography. No need for him to take photography classes when he lives near a Barnes & Noble. Visit his photo-blog for a splash of color and a laugh. He will photograph anything intriguing for food or words of praise.