Reminiscing On My Digital Discoveries.

As the semester comes to an end, I must say farewell to my time spent learning and exploring digital communications.

My finals thoughts about digital communications revolve around what I believe it means to be “digitally literate”.

My generation has grown up in a world where technology is constantly becoming more complex, diverse, and cutting-edge. The digital realm is a space almost everyone has frequented.  I believe having digital literacy means you are knowledgable, experienced, and adept with digital media in today’s society. Glynda Hull, professor of Language and Literacy, Society and Culture states in her definition of digital literacy, “Ours is an age in which technologies for multimedia, multi-modal authorship proliferate, challenging logo centric habits of mind…”

Throughout my journey working with digital communications, I have embraced the perspective of the “inside-looking-out”, rather than the “outside-looking-in”. By this I simply mean that I have experienced an insiders-view on being the creator of the media, instead of being the audience. To be a successful media producer, there are certain elements that build the framework for digital literacy:

  • Self Branding
  • Editing 
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • User experience
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The About page for Ashley’s Appetite. Photo taken by Ashley Trice.

How you choose to brand yourself plays a major role in the development of your digital work. This is how you let your personality shine through your work. You are the designer, the planner, the visionary. You get to decide what you create and how to go about doing so.

For example, in my blog, Ashley’s Appetite, I designed it in a way that felt fun and light-hearted. I wanted my food blog to be friendly, and inviting. All of the food images on my blog were taken by myself. I think is an important aspect of my blog, because it not only shows that I am just focused on food and nutrition, but I also want to be creative and document my love for food.25587274613_63340c8fa0_o

Editing is also a huge aspect of media development and requires a large skill set to do so. There are a plethora of different editing tools found in different multimedia programs that allow you to enhance your work and sharpen it up for your audience. Great quality is admired, whereas poor quality is instantaneously noticed.

In both my personal video and my group video, the majority of the time spent working on the project was devoted to editing. My teammates and I wanted to created the best work we could offer. In order to do so, we were constantly making changes by fine tuning the audio, video and overall quality.

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An insiders-view to the editing process. Image taken by Ashley Trice.

I believe SEO works hand in hand with user experience. Now that I have been a user of media as well as a creator of media, I understand the importance of making sure the media you display is accessible, easy to navigate, simple, and enjoyable. In my blog and website, I made sure to include multiple hyperlinks so that reader/viewers could explore the topics I was addressing. I also included tabs at the top of my sites so my content is clearly organized.

Throughout this course I have gained an abundance of skills that will be beneficial in my future endeavors. I have learned how to use a number of different tools such as Adobe Photoshop Elements, Adobe Premiere Elements, WordPress, and more. I had experience prior to the course with video and iMovie, however, certain assignments gave me the opportunity to improve my skills further.

Although I am not a communications major, I plan on continuing to advance my skills with digital media and apply it to my passion for health sciences.

 

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California Here We Come!

Spring break is here! While everyone is busy preparing for their vacations, I am busy playing lacrosse. I am a member of the Furman Women’s Lacrosse team. Lacrosse is a spring sport so I am in season during spring break. This year, my coaches planned a trip to California to play games but also get the opportunity to travel!

This was my first time ever visiting Cali and boy, was I excited.

NOW THIS IS WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT. San Diego was exactly what I imagined Cali to be like. There were mountains, palm trees, beaches, cool people, and… wait for it… GOOD FOOD. I think it is safe to say that the Furman Women’s Lacrosse team ate their way through San Diego.

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In Cali you eat ice cream for lunch! The Baked Bear is a build-your-own ice cream sandwich shop. Definitely my favorite stop of the trip!

Our first meal in San Diego was at an authentic Mexican restaurant called Guadalajara. It was phenomenal. They made their own tortillas and the portions were massive. Another night we ate at an authentic Italian restaurant where they served us chicken parmesan that was the size of our heads!

When we went to Pacific Beach we were allowed to go anywhere we wanted. I went to The Baked Bear which is a build-your-own ice cream sandwich shop. IT. WAS. AMAZING. I made a sandwich with a chocolate chip cookie on top, a brownie on the bottom, and birthday cake ice cream in the center with M&Ms around the outside.

Finally, we went to In-N-Out Burger, which is a popular fast food restaurant only in California that is known for it’s burgers. I ordered the double-double (pictured below) and it was fantastic. Final thoughts afterwards: California needs to share the love, bring In-N-Out to South Carolina!

Check out this video about the lacrosse team in California!

Good Food & Good Friends.

“Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act hat should not be indulged in lightly.” – M.F.K. Fisher

There is truly nothing better than sharing a great meal with your closest friends. Friendship is very beneficial to your health. It relieves stress, enhances your mental well being, and friends can motivate one another to make healthy life decisions.

This year for Valentines Day, I decided to surround myself with friends and food.

My friend Alyssa and I decided to surprise our roommate Samantha by asking her if she would be our Valentine. (Disclosure: she said yes.) We made reservations at a restaurant in downtown Greenville called Soby’s for just the three of us. I highly recommend Soby’s to anyone who wants to indulge themselves in an exquisite meal!

I love going to Soby’s because they have great seafood entrees and seafood reminds me of my friends and family. I am from Ocean City Maryland; a popular beach vacation destination. Growing up at the beach definitely had it’s perks, one of which being I have always been blessed with fresh seafood (I am, and forever will be a seafood snob). Whenever I visit home, I eat as much seafood as I can since I do not get to eat it very often in South Carolina. I can always count on Soby’s to serve me a dish that is full of delicious seafood with a southern flare.

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Presecco with my lovely dates! Photo taken by Ashley Trice

On the night of my romantic Galentines soirée, Soby’s was offering a scallop special – my mind was immediately made. The dish consisted of four fresh scallops accompanied by grits, mushrooms, butternut squash, and a balsamic maple glaze drizzled on top. It was stupendous. 

Most people know that fish is good for you, but what about other kinds of seafood? Turns out scallops contain the vitamin B12 which plays a key role in normal functioning of the brain and nervous system. Vitamin B12 can lower your risk of developing atherosclerosis, diabetic heart disease, heart attack and stroke. In addition to vitamin B12, scallops also contain magnesium and potassium which provide significant benefits for you cardiovascular health. 

No Place Like Home.

There is nothing better than a home cooked meal. Something about it is just so comforting. You get to relax, stay home, lounge in your favorite comfy clothes, and eat a fantastic meal. Sounds great, right? Well it can only get better if you have delicious recipes to work with! I love to cook (and my roomies love when I do). I always try to cook something new, different, and healthy. So here are some of my favorite dishes that I like to make at home that warm my soul.

This week I made homemade chicken meatballs. YUM. I found the meatball recipe on Pinterest, which is my favorite way to find new recipes. I was inspired by my mom to make the meatballs. One of my favorite meals that she makes when I come home is Italian Wedding Soup. She makes homemade chicken meatballs to put in the soup and they are TO DIE FOR! So I decided to cook some of my own. They were super easy to make and are also a lean source of protein!

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Homemade Chicken Meatballs inspired by Pinterest and my mama!

Another one of my favorite dishes to make is spaghetti squash! It is a healthy substitute for pasta and it is pretty simple to make. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO KNOW ABOUT SPAGHETTI SQUASH: caution when cutting it in half!! Spaghetti squash is very difficult to cut but once you get past that step, it’s smooth sailing. Just stick the halves in a dish with a small amount of water and bake them in the oven. Once it is done, you use a fork to fluff the squash and serve it however you please. I personally like it serve it with spaghetti sauce.

Another fun way to change up this meal is to add zucchini noodles! I bought a nifty handheld spiralizer for vegetables so I can make vegetables into noodles … I know, I know … I’m a dork. BUT IT’S SO COOL! You can also add a protein with the squash to enhance the meal!

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Examples of Zucchini Pasta and Spaghetti Squash (Source: Google Images)

So if you are a loyal reader and viewed my previous post, you will remember my talk about carbohydrates. These meals are just more examples of carbohydrate-rich foods, as well as incorporating protein in your diet. Protein is another important nutrient that is beneficial for your body. Like I’ve mentioned before, carbohydrates serve as the main source of energy for our bodies. Proteins can be an energy source as well but that is not it’s main function. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. Proteins make up hormones and enzymes in the body as well as building blocks for bone, muscle, skin, and blood, aka take care of yourself and eat your protein!! 

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(Left): Homemade Spaghetti Squash & Zucchini noodles with ground turkey meat-sauce (Middle): Homemade Paella (Right): Homemade chicken meatballs with asparagus and angel hair  |created by Ashley Trice|

How Healthy Can A Sweet TReat Be?

Joyce Bridges and Dawn Hawkins are the proud owners of TReats, located in Travelers Rest. This mom and daughter duo are local women who wanted to share their passion for healthy treats with the community. TReats is the only smoothie and juice cafe in the area. All of the ingredients used are 100% organic meaning there are no chemicals, additives, or artificial flavorings. TReats offers a number of different fresh pressed juices and smoothies, as well as wheat grass shots and protein energy balls.

When I visited TReats I ordered the black-n-blue smoothie which consists of blueberries, blackberries, banana, spinach, kale, and almond milk. It was 222 calories of pure deliciousness. I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves tart smoothies. Plus they give students and teachers a 10% discount! 

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Photo taken by Ashley Trice at TReats

On my next trip to TReats I may be adventurous and try a wheat grass shot (no promises…) HOWEVER, I am absolutely going to try one of the protein energy balls. These are super simple to make at home, plus they are a great snack!

Ingredients:

  • oats
  • peanut butter
  • whey protein powder
  • chocolate chips
  • honey

All you have to do is mix up the ingredients and roll the dough into bite size balls, then refrigerate. Simple, right?

Now let’s talk carbohydrates.

When most people think of carbs, they immediately think bread, pasta, grains, etc, BUT, did you know fruit and vegetables are also carbohydrates? Carbohydrates are the most important source of energy for your body. Fruits and vegetables contain sugars such as fructose and glucose which are simple carbohydrates. These sugars are different from sugar found in processed foods. Fruits and vegetables are among the more nutritious sources to get your daily dose of carbohydrates.

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Smoothies Galore! Photo taken by Ashley Trice at TReats

Smoothies are a great option because not only are they super tasty, they are a healthy option that are easy to make yourself. All you need is a blender, fruit/vegetables, and a base (water, milk, yogurt, etc.) Smoothies are also great because you can always change up the ingredients and make a whole new creation!