Explore Northern Hillsborough County

This semester I had the opportunity to make a video for Hillsborough County for my Advanced Reporting class. Here are the posts I made about the video! And while you’re at it…

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Here we go.



Tampa, FL – Felicitous Coffee-shop has become the go-to hangout spot for locals surrounding the USF area.

Its first location was opened by former USF student Rani Chehal. Chehal felt that students needed a place to study and relax that was near the university. She decided to open a second location on North 42nd Street of Fletcher Ave.

The new location has the same artsy, eclectic vibe as its predecessor. The walls are covered in a black-and-white mural by barista Jonathan Perry. Each furniture piece is one of a kind, including a coffee table top decorated fully with pennies. Drawings by local artists grace the walls near the waiting area.

The shop offers delicious pastries, which include croissants, quiches and empanadas. Its menu also includes espresso, smoothies, gelato, toast and Paninis. For those looking for a more “grown-up” beverage, wine and beer is also served in a wide array of options.Capture

Photo by Maria Laura Lugo

Felicitous on 42nd also offers one hour Ukulele lessons every Thursday at 7:30 p.m. There’s no age limit for participants and a limited quantity of ukuleles are available for use.

Felicitous is open every day from nine a.m. until ten at night. Pets are always allowed, so bring your furry friend!

USF Concert Honors International Holocaust Remembrance Day

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is held on Jan. 27 every year. The day marks the anniversary of the liberation from Auschwitz of millions of Jews. It is a day to remember those who died unjustly by Nazi forces and celebrate those who survived.

This year, the University of South Florida commemorated this day by holding a concert in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Zachary Konick is a second-year music composition graduate student at the University of South Florida. He is also the organizer of the concert. His Jewish heritage remains a catalyst in his wish to give back to the Jewish community.

“I haven’t always been too involved in my Jewish background, unfortunately. I go to temple for service, here and there, but I haven’t been as involved as I might have wanted to be. Doing this was kind of a way to get back into my Jewish heritage a little bit more. To reconnect with this a little bit more,” Konick says.

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Image by Maria Laura Lugo.

As a composer, Konick wanted to bring a piece of his art to the stage. His piece “Kaddish” is derived from “The Mourner’s Kaddish,” a Jewish prayer that talks about death. Throughout the composition, a juxtaposition of the Israeli national anthem and his grandmother Rosette’s voice can be heard. These elements enhance the musical value of the piece and solidify Konick’s desire to honor his grandma in some way.

“I wanted to give something to my nana, who is a Holocaust Survivor. I wanted to give something to her before she leaves from this planet. My piece is dedicated to her for that reason,” Konick explains.

Francis Schwartz is the featured composer for the concert. He is a Sarasota resident who graces the world with his “music theater” compositions, as he likes to describe his music. Invited artists are performing four of his original compositions during the concert. These include “On the State of Children,” “Auschwitz,” “Caligula” and “The Grey Road.” Schwartz considers his music a way to combat injustice around the world.

“I’m very much aware of injustice being practiced all over the world. Discrimination, hatred. This is something that I have combatted ever since I was a little boy. Ever since I was old enough to be conscious of the fact that people hate each other and discriminate against each other for reasons of race, ethnic origin, color or sexual orientation. It’s a very complex thing. We are masters of hate. I try through my music to unravel that very tightly knit ball of hate,” Schwartz says.

The compositions are brought to life with the dynamism of the dancers. Dancers Carolina Garcia Zerpa and Itarah Godbolt are two of the dancers invited to grace the stage of the concert. Despite not having direct Jewish connections, they consider it important to use their art to bring awareness to events like these.

“Anyway that I can use my instrument, my body, my art form of dance to add expression or bring awareness, add another dimension or dynamic to another artist’s work and what they’re doing. That is my connection. I’m always willing and wanting to do that. We’re also not just artists. We are people and we are activists and we have experiences. There are many ways to express that through art. When you bring all of that together is just magnifies and brings back to life another way to share those experiences,” Godbolt says.

In light of the recent events around the world, Zachary Konick considers that this concert signifies a way to unify cultures and ethnicities.

“This concert isn’t about just Jewish Heritage. It’s really important to me that this concert is about unity as well, given all the tensions politically and socially in the US lately and throughout the world. We really want to strike home that this concert is about coming together and fighting about persecution of any kind,” Konick says.

Holocaust Remembrance Day Concert Social Media Posts

This past January I had the opportunity of covering this amazing event. Check out all my social media posts if you want to know more!

Runway Rundown: Coachella

Festival season is upon us! Coachella is finally here. And to be honest, I’m more interested in the clothing looks all the bloggers, fashionistas and celebrities will bring to the table, than the music (Kendrick Lamar aside, of course.) At the end of the day, Coachella has become exactly that: a street-style fashion runway disguised as a music festival.

I waited until the first Coachella weekend was over to have this rundown of my top five favorite looks of weekend one. Let’s begin!

5. Chloe Morello in Faithfull for Revolve

'Chella day 3 with @toofaced and @quayaustralia #toofacedxquay

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Chloe Morello is an Australian YouTuber, Blogger and Digital Influencer. With nearly one million followers on Instagram and over two million subscribers on her Youtube Channel, she has positioned herself as one of the most popular names in the Beauty industry.

She is my Top five look because of her laid-back vibe, without coming off as “too casual” or seeming like she didn’t try hard enough. The dress she chose is definitely something I would wear: it’s red, has a plunging neckline, a peek-a-boo leg and a bow at the waist. What else can I ask for?

She paired the dress with the most bad-ass looking black combat boots and a matching Chloé Bag. Body chain by Haati Chai and earrings by The Dark Horse Jewellery.

4. Negin Mirsalehi in Majorelle for Revolve

Negin Mirsalehi is a Dutch blogger, who created her fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog in 2012 and who holds an Instagram account with over 3.9 million followers.

She is seen wearing the gorgeous “Harvest” white crochet dress from Majorelle Collection, paired with two buckle belts at the waist. She added black combat boots and a black Chloé “Nile” bag to finish off the look.

The look overall is very feminine with touches of edginess, which is why it is one of my favorites.

3. Milena Karl in For Love and Lemons

Milena Karl is a German blogger and digital influencer. She is the founder of the blog “Milena Le Secret” and currently amasses over 460,000 followers on Instagram.

For the last day of the festival, Milena was seen wearing the For Love and Lemons Flamenco Strapless Dress. The pink mini dress features an all-over floral print, with a ruffled skirt and off-the-shoulder sleeves, a popular look this season. It also incorporates the choker trend, as a necktie is included in the same print as the dress.

Milena added more festival items, such as a metallic flower crown and glitter on the cheek. These elements added a more laid-back, free flair to the outfit, which made me love it even more.

2. Thássia Naves in John John Denim

When I first saw this look, I knew I had to write about it. Thássia Naves was one of our previous featured bloggers in the “A Look Into” series, so she does not need much introduction.

The dress is the “Jacquard Dots Dress” in burgundy from John John Denim. She paired it with a buckle belt at the waist, and matching boots (only available in navy blue) from the Universe Collection from Brazilian designer, Luiza Barcelos.

Layered necklaces in silver tones embellish Thassia’s neckline, with matching rings on her hands. To tie everything in, a Chanel Chevron Backpack poses itself on Naves’ shoulder to give the look a more casual vibe.

What makes this look, in my opinion, is the wig Thassia’s hairstylist and friend, Dafne Evangelista, utilized. Coachella is a time to experiment with new looks and ideas. Being a natural brunette, Naves definitely challenged the norm and proudly showcased her new (but temporary) locks.

1. Camila Coelho in LPA for Revolve

Coachella by night🎡🎼✌🏼 #coachella Porque a noite é bem mais divertido!

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Of course Camila was my favorite out of all the looks I saw during this first weekend of Coachella. She was the first fashion and beauty blogger I followed and her fashion choices have never let me down ever since.

In typical Coachella fashion, the fringe is present in the look as it adorns the sleeves and sides of her cozy sweater. The LPA “Skirt 59”, is the perfect pairing to the sweater. I love everything about this piece. First and foremost, it’s black leather. It also has a silver zipper down the front and studs all along it, which I love. Finally, the floral embroidery makes it very adept to the recent trend in embroidery in clothing.

The boots, that are from Brazilian brand “Carrano,” and the hat give the look a more rocker vibe.

Overall, I’m obsessed with this boho-chic look.

There you go, those were my top five looks from weekend one of Coachella. I tried to link all items listed. Don’t be afraid to click them if you want to cop some of these items! 🙂

A look into: Danielle Bernstein

The definition of Girl Boss: Danielle Bernstein. Founder of blog “We Wore What,” the native New-Yorker writes about everything, from fashion to lifestyle to interior design.

Afternoons in camel and gingham 👩🏻‍🎨

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pop pop pop 💥

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With an Advertising and Marketing Communications degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology, Danielle began building up her empire by establishing her brands multiple collaborations and clothing brands. At the end of 2016, Berstein launched “Second Skin Overalls” a collection made up exclusively of every 90’s kid favorite: overalls. It started with “The Basics,” consisting of five styles of overalls in stretchy cashmere-like denim that hugs every curve of the body without losing comfort. The first batch of overalls made Danielle over $70,000 in three hours, according to this Elle article.

Since then, the materials have evolved into velvet and leather, giving the often simple look of an overall, a more edgy and feminine look, right up Danielle’s alley.


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Collection Two drops next month!

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Bernstein has also created a collaboration with Strut This, to elaborate her perfect workout pieces.

In May 2015, Bernstein opened up about the amount of money “digital influencers” make from publishing sponsored posts on Instagram. The Harper’s Bazaar article gave Bernstein and her brand a lot of exposure and gave her a reputation of being “transparent” in the web, as she declared that she made approximately $15,000 from an sponsored Instagram post.

If this doesn’t make you want to become a Fashion blogger, then I don’t know what will!

A look into: Chiara Ferragni

Chiara Ferragni is an Italian fashion blogger with over 9.3 million followers on Instagram.

I'll always have my sunsets

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Sunday in LA #AmericanDays

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She is known worldwide for her blog “The Blonde Salad” (available in both English and Italian,) which she founded in 2009 along with Riccardo Pozzoli. The blog, as many of the ones we’ve talked about in previous posts, started as a fashion blog, but quickly evolved to offer insight into the travel and lifestyle realms.

In 2012, Ferragni launched her own brand of shoes “Chiara Ferragni Collection,” which started with her own collection of shoes and later branched out into clothing, tech cases and, my personal favorite, backpacks. All items in the collection transmit Chiara’s fun and laid-back personality, with lots of glitter, bold patterns and colors.

❤ #ChiaraFerragniShoes #ChiaraFerragniCollection

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@chiaraferragnicollection everything 🤗 #ChiaraFerragniShoes #ChiaraFerragniCollection

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Chiara was crowned with one of the spots in Forbes’ 30 under 30 list in 2015, becoming the first fashion blogger to be a part of the prestigious list.

With an award like that, there’s no doubt that blogging is taking more and more force in the latest years.

A look into: Aimee Song

Perhaps the most multifaceted blogger out there, Aimee Song maintains a career in both Fashion and Interior design. Not only does she run, “Song of Style,” a blog, but she also maintains a YouTube Channel, with over 100,000 subscribers, where she creates videos that appeal to the beauty, fashion and even lifestyle masses.

Her blogging career began all the way back in 2008, while she studying Interior Architecture at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California. Because of this, her content began with a focus on that realm. Although fashion was not Aimee’s desired career path at the beginning, her natural sense of style inevitable shaped her career, as her “OOTD” (Outfit of the Day) posts collected positive feedback from her readers.

With the perfect mix between edginess and girliness, Song constructs the most jaw-dropping looks that never fail to impress.

She is a lover of black, just as I am, so naturally I’m a big fan of how she puts her looks together.

As if her resumé wasn’t impressive enough, Song is also a New York Times Best Selling Author with her book Capture Your Style,” in which she spills every tip and trick she’s learned over the years about how to capture life moments in the perfect Instagram image.

She is also part of the Forbes’ “30 under 30” list since 2016.

Nowadays, Aimee has over 4.6 million followers on Instagram and those numbers are amassing as the days pass by. Can’t wait to see what she does next!

A look into: Camila Coelho

What started as a simple hobby arising from a passion for makeup, turned into a full time fashion job.

Camila Coelho began her career over six years ago, with her YouTube channel “Makeup By Camila.” She focused on just that: makeup. Then, she began experimenting with hairstyles, fitness advice and slowly began getting into fashion, with shopping hauls and brand partnerships.

As years passed, she became more and more recognized among the fashion community. This recognition brought her closer to the most renowned events and designers. Gave her opportunities she could not even fathom of having when she started off.

Nowadays, she is the most famous blogger and digital influencer from Brazil, with over six million followers on Instagram and thousands of visits on her blog. Her YouTube channel remains intact as one of the most popular beauty and fashion channels, with nearly three million subscribers. Needless to say, hard work pays off.

A look into: Thássia Naves

With nearly three million followers on Instagram, Thássia Naves positions herself as one of the leading fashion bloggers of not only Brazil, but also the world.

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A “Minas Gerais” native, Naves stays true to her roots and often sports local designers, such as Patricia Bonaldi and famous Brazilian brands “John John“and “Skazi,” brand with which Naves did a collaboration in 2014.

Being her third fashion week, Naves continues to escalate positions in the fashion world, getting closer and closer to that desired “front row” in the most renowned shows, such as the Chanel and Giambattista Balli runways.

Next week, we will be keeping it at home and talking about Brazilian blogger Camila Coelho. Don’t miss out!