Category Archives: blogs

so long


Last week I graduated from Union College in upstate New York. It was an absolutely magical day as my parents were there, my sisters were there, The Boy was there, my best friends from college were there, and my grandparents were there. It was extra special to have my paternal grandmother at the ceremony because her husband, my late grandfather, graduated from Union in 1956. My father received his BA in history from Union in 1987 and also got his MAT from Union. My mom received her MBA in Healthcare Management from the Union Graduate College.




Union College is such a special place to my family and it became even more meaningful to me over the past three years being there. After an unhappy freshman year at Boston College I transferred to Union hoping that I would find a better fit. Without a doubt I did. I have made beyond incredible friends at Union, met so many amazing professors and administrators, and really felt like I found myself during my brief time there. I happily majored in economics with a minor in Russian language and am proud to share that I graduated as the Salutatorian of the Class of 2014 (despite only having three years of grades to factor into my GPA!). Next month I am headed down to my most favorite city in the entire world, New York, to begin a job in finance.



TheGarnetLetter began as a work study assignment for Union College. Back in 2011 the school had a few student blogs running, many of which played an important role in my decision to attend Union. When I finally got to Schenectady, I wanted to be able to share my unique insights into the school and college life in general to hopefully help other potential students like myself find their perfect fit. Eventually Union combined all of its student blogs onto one platform, the award-winning Union Unfiltered, but I kept TGL going on the side as my own college lifestyle blog and creative outlet.



Having TGL in my life has shaped me in more ways than I can ever describe. The blog has chronicled my years at Union and the many amazing experiences that I am so grateful to have had. It will be difficult closing this chapter of my life (you might have noticed that I’ve been putting off this farewell post…), but like everything and anything it is time to turn the page and start on yet another, hopefully marvelous, adventure. This will conclude my time writing for TheGarnetLetter, but those savvy enough might find me elsewhere on the blogosphere in a more anonymous sense. I will never lose my love of blogging or my need for a creative outlet, but the real world dictates that my time curating TGL must come to an end.


Farewell, beautiful readers! Thank you for joining me on this beyond amazing journey and hopefully I will hear from you all again soon somewhere else in this wonderful blogging world ūüėČ


With much love and many thanks,


Let the Grecian dream of his sacred stream,

And sing of the brace adorning,

The Phoebus weaves from his laurel leaves

At the golden gates of morning,

But the brook that bounds through old Union’s grounds

Gleams bright as the Delphic water,

And a prize as fair as a god may wear

Is a dip from our Alma Mater.


Then here’s to the, the brave and free,

Old Union, smiling o’er us

And for many a days as they walls grow gray,

May they ring with thy children’s chorus!


get ready to dip!

dd1This Sunday, March 9th, members of the Union College community will be plunging down a 30-foot slide into icy cold waters in order to show support and raise awareness for three young and cancer-stricken members of our campus community.

dd2This year’s¬†second annual Dutchmen Dip¬†will be supporting 11-year-old Kristen Shinebarger, Justin Lloyd ’16, and Nate Greenberg ’14.

Kristen Shinebarger is an 11-year-old member of the Union College community has recently undergone treatment for Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer for the second time. On September 11, 2012, Kristen’s leg was amputated in order to battle this disease. Money raised will assist the cost of her prosthetic leg, which must be continually changed as she continues to grow.  Shelly Shinebarger, Kristen’s mother, is the Director of Student Support Services at Union College.

Justin Lloyd ‚Äė16¬†was diagnosed in February 2013 with Adenocarcionma. He has undergone right colectomy surgery to remove a tumor, and chemotherapy treatment to beat the disease. Justin is a member of the Varsity Baseball team and is planning to become an Economics major. His hometown is Milton, Massachusetts.

Nate Greenberg ’14 was diagnosed in August 2013 with Ewing’s Sarcoma. He has undergone a full hip replacement, and is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment to beat the disease. Nate is the captain of the Varsity Lacrosse team and an Economics major. His hometown is Westport, Connecticut.

dd3Last year the Dip was an absolute riot. It was freezing outside, yet our Dutchmen braved the cold to show support for little Kristen. This year should be even more fantastic. It was not an easy year for our college, learning that so many kids near and dear to our hearts were now fighting a life-or-death battle against sicknesses so ruthless, but in typical Union fashion we know how to come together as a community to show that our friends are not fighting alone.

dd4All of the money raised this year will be split between the three families in order to help cover treatment costs and medical bills.

If YOU want to be a part of this incredible cause, please donate¬†HERE.¬†Please click on the green ‚ÄúContribute‚ÄĚ button on the right to make a donation!!

If you’d like to create your own personal fundraising page for this cause click HERE.

If you want to learn more about the event or join the conversation, please check out the Dutchmen Dip Facebook page or check out the Dutchmen Dip blog!

that's my best friend's chinchilla, Skittles, that Kristen is snuggling with!

that’s my best friend’s chinchilla, Skittles, that Kristen is snuggling with!

Remember, “It’s never too cold to make a difference!”

crunch time


It’s crunch time for Union College’s second annual Dutchmen Dip!

If YOU want to be a part of this incredible cause, please donate at:

Please click on the green ‚ÄúContribute‚ÄĚ button on the right to make a donation!!

If you want to learn more about the event or join the conversation, please check out the Facebook page at:

Or check out the Dutchmen Dip’s own blog at:

And remember, “It’s never too cold to make a difference!”

homemade quinoa granola

i tried molding my bars into a cupcake pan for a no-cutting solution

i tried molding my bars into a cupcake pan for a no-cutting solution

Last week before my skiing adventures (see here and here) I wanted to make some kind of health easy-to-pack snack to bring with me to keep myself (and my friends!) energized while on the slopes. I found the answer on one of my favorite food blogs, How Sweet It Is, with Jessica’s No-Bake Brown Butter Quinoa Bar recipe. The recipe was fantastically easy to follow and so, so, so delicious! Although my “bars” didn’t really stay “bars” and turned into more of a loose granola, I will definitely be making this one again! I encourage you to give it a go!

this bread is bananas


The other day I made some delicious chocolate chip banana bread (if I do say so myself). And now, while I may live in the Culinary theme house on campus, I’m certainly no out-of-this-world chef like my dear friend Emmanuel of Scratch, a simple food blog for college students, but I am a mean follower of recipes (in fact, in my course this term, Culinary Chemistry, my answer to the personal bio question, “What can you cook?” was, “Anything with a recipe!”). I’ve made banana bread before on campus (remember this?) simply because it’s one of the best, college-friendly things you can make while at school. Just snag a few bananas from the dining hall, follow this recipe, and voila! A delicious dessert (or #breakfastlunchanddinner….)!

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour


– 3-4 ripe bananas, smashed

– 1/3 cup melted butter

– 1 cup sugar

– 1 egg, beaten

– 1 teaspoon vanilla

– 1 teaspoon baking soda

– pinch of salt

– 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Add baking soda and salt. Mix thoroughly. Finally, mix in the flour. Pour mixture into a buttered loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve!!





I have some very exciting news! One of my good friends at Union who has his very own food blog just got published in an online magazine! I am so proud of him! I love love love when friends blog (I kind of really like blogging… it’s a thing) and when a friend can combine that with something they’re super passionate about and get recognized?!¬†Well, that’s just too cool. I sat down with Emanuel ¬†of the awesome blog “Scratch” to pick his mind about all things culinary, creative, and cool:

So first off, tell us a little bit more about yourself. Where did you grow up and what are a few things that everyone should know about Emanuel Storch?
So… I was born and raised in Phoenix, AZ, grew up in the kitchen always helping my mom cook for ourselves or for the many guests that walked through our door. I started cooking dinner for my family in high school, and that’s probably when it became a real hobby of mine. After high school, I spent a year at Bar-Ilan University in Israel before coming to Union. I was on a gap year program, where we had kitchens in our dorms but no substantial meal plan. As the year began, my friends grew hungry, and I started cooking every day after class. I would take trips to the open-air market in Tel Aviv and made meals with our countertop plug-in stove and oversized toaster oven. My friends called it “Manny’s Meal Plan.”
What inspired you to begin Scratch? Where do you hope to take the blog or, better yet, where do you hope it takes you?
With my food blog Scratch, my goal is to teach college students that a college diet does not need to consist of frozen pizza or ramen noodles. Cooking can be easy and fun! I also believe that eating healthfully does not mean compromising taste. There is no reason for us to consume all these processed products served in our dining halls or sold in our grocery stores, when food can taste so much better and be so much healthier. 
During my year in Israel, I began documenting all the meals I made, and my friends told me I should make a food blog with all my photos. That really was my inspiration to start Scratch. My ultimate goal is to make a career for myself in the food industry. I think Americans are becoming a lot more health conscious and are searching for healthy alternatives to both diet products and regular processed products. I also hope to continue growing my blog and gaining a greater presence on the internet.
How excited were you to be approached by College & Cook magazine? Would you like to be involved with more magazines or other media in the future outside of just blogging?
I was extremely excited to be approached by College & Cook Magazine. I truly admire their work and attention to detail. They have a high-quality publication that I think will grow immensely in the near future. I would also love to be involved with more magazines and would love to network more with other food bloggers. 
You’re living with me in the Culinary Theme House next year — YAY! Any fantastic foodie ideas for 2013-2014?
Most of all, I am extremely excited to be living in Culinary House next year. I plan on cooking there a lot, developing more recipes, and possibly growing a mini garden in the backyard for the fall. 
Make sure to check out Emanuel’s feature in College & Cook Magazine HERE!
the blog outline amazingly simple recipes to make even things like brussel sprouts scrumptious!

scatch outlines amazingly simple recipes that make even things like brussel sprouts scrumptious! (i tried these very ones in real life — amazing!!!)

i've been meaning to try this little number myself!

i’ve been meaning to try this little number myself!

emanuel and his TWIN sister, Arianne -- THEY.ARE.TOO.CUTE!

emanuel and his TWIN sister, Arianne — THEY.ARE.TOO.CUTE!



Two of my most favorite applications on my iPhone are (without a doubt) Bloomberg and CNBC. Both news apps are great for checking news stories, markets data, stocks, and videos. However, my most favorite part of each is the breaking news notification feature. ¬†I get real-time updates sent to my phone with regards to just-released economic data and indicators, “early-movers” on the stock market each day, closing stock indices values, “after-hours buzz” stocks, and of course breaking new stories.


The notifications pop up on my screen just as a text message notification would and I can easily swipe across the symbol if I am interested in reading more. Granted, the applications are very financially-focused, but they are also super useful for news-buffs and I totally recommend downloading them (if not for the simple fact that they’re free!) Do you have any favorite news apps?


Undeniably the best notification I ever received. Usually the apps don’t mess up, but this one literally made me laugh out loud during class. My friend cunningly commented, “someone was fired over this.” Hahaha