Archive for June, 2014

Hidden Gem in Lower East Side: El Maguey Y La Tuna

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

If you are looking for a fun and authentic Mexican dining experience, look no further than El Maguey Y La Tuna, a small but festive restaurant in the lower east side. The service was great and the dishes were definitely some of the best Mexican food I have had in NYC. (I’m from Southern California where there is an abundance of good Mexican food.) I went on a Thursday night with a friend, and the welcoming hostess seated us right away.

El Maguey Y La Tuna

The waiter was helpful and let us know what was particularly good on the menu. As an appetizer we had the guacamole, which was fresh and just the right amount of spicy.  I had the Enchiladas El Maguey along with homemade Tamarind Juice (you should definitely give it a try). The mole sauce was really delicious and different from any flavor I had tried before. Out of curiosity I asked the waiter how it was made and he told me that it takes two days to blend all the spices and hours of cooking time. My friend had chicken simmered in mole sauce, which I tried a little bit of and was also very tasty. The upbeat music kept us in a good mood while we ate our food. Overall it was a enjoyable dining experience in a lively and authentic place.


If you’re into Mexican food you should definitely check out El Maguey Y La Tuna. The dishes there are unique and they have a large menu with many options. The portions are also very large and reasonably priced. It is the perfect place for a large get-together or party, but also simply a great place to go on the weekend to chill with a friend or two while enjoying yummy food.

Kristen Toms, New York University ’16

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Rustic Food at Melani Pizzeria

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

Summer’s already here, but it’s always in season to get some delicious pizza or pasta!

I personally love to eat pizza and pasta, and so I couldn’t be more excited to try some of the delicious-looking food at Melani. The pizzeria was easy enough to find, located at 170 Rivington St. just a few blocks away from Delancey Station. With the cooler air of early evening, the open space in the pizzeria was welcoming and relaxing. I found some people standing around a table outside, gobbling up their pizza; others sat inside with their friends, chatting while finishing up their own food. There’s enough room to sit indoors with a friend or two, so this is definitely a place you can visit with people. The doors were wide open, letting in the open summer air and last rays of sunlight.

Like most pizzerias, you order at the counter. Food can be eaten in at the pizzeria, or if you’re in a hurry, you can even take your food to go. (And they even offer delivery, if you’re at home and feeling like staying in!) I found a stack of menus at the counter, so I was able to scan through all my possible options.

Full Menu at Melani Pizzeria!

There’s definitely a wide range of food at Melani. From pizza options to pasta to hand made ravioli, all your desires can be met in a single place! The calzone here is made fresh to order, and there are also gluten-free options and salads available. You can couple your meal up with some garlic knots or rolls, and quench your thirst with a wide option of beverages.

I asked for several recommendations, and I was told that the lasagna pizza is a solid choice. As for pasta, penne or spaghetti bolognese was said to be delicious. Since I was feeling like a pasta kind of day, I chose the spaghetti and chicken with parmesan since it looked like an interesting combination.

I sat down while I waited, and the wait was rather short. All the workers were very kind and helpful, and let me know that my food was almost done. When I got my food, just the smell of the pasta made my stomach impatient.

Spaghetti and Chicken with Parmesan

A delicious, moist piece of chicken covered by parmesan cheese sits on a large portion of spaghetti. Its flavor mixes well with the spaghetti and sauce, and the parmesan enhances the whole meal. I first took a bite out of the chicken, and immediately, I was pleasantly surprised. It was flavor-filled and well-cooked, and although it looked somewhat crispy on the outside, the inside was tender and moist. Mixed with a bite of spaghetti, it was the perfect combination. I couldn’t help but finish the entire piece of chicken, but I could not possibly finish the large portion of spaghetti I was given. I brought it home for my parents to try instead.

With coupon discounts at The Campus Clipper, Melani Pizzeria is a great place to try as a student for a cheap price. As a pizza and pasta lover, I was intrigued by the mix of spaghetti and chicken rather than the classic spaghetti and meatballs, and I may even say that I enjoyed this combination more. Melani Pizzeria is a great place for inexpensive, large portions, so grab your friends and family and make a visit here!


Nancy Ma, New York University ’15

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Authentic Chinese Food at Spicy House

Saturday, June 14th, 2014

Although this recently opened restaurant is small and understated, the food is tasty and worth trying if you like Chinese food. No need to travel all the way down to Chinatown for your Chinese fix. Spicy House serves authentic Chinese cuisine and offers a varied menu with options that could please any palette. The interior, although sparsely decorated, is clean, and the white tablecloths add a nice touch. As is customary of Chinese restaurants, the menu offers many sharing dishes. Don’t be turned off by the restaurant name if you don’t eat spicy food, because they also offer a wide variety of non-spicy dishes.


My friend and I were greeted at the door and led to our table. The waitress was very friendly and let us know about the specialties and what was best on the menu. We decided on spicy beef tendon as a cold appetizer. The flavor was comparable to similar dishes that I have tried in China, and if you like spicy food it is an excellent option on the menu. Next we had shrimp with mixed vegetables. The ingredients tasted fresh, the seasoning was not overdone or too oily (which could be a concern when eating out at some Chinese restaurants), and the presentation was on point. This dish also came with bowls of rice, of which you can choose between white and brown. Last we had sautéed green beans, which was also very enjoyable.

The food was up to my expectations and the service was attentive as well, so overall I had a positive dinner experience. If you are looking for an authentic Chinese food experience, Spicy House is an easy stop tucked away at a convenient location on Third Avenue near Union Square. Also the prices are pretty reasonable, especially considering the quality of the food, so if you are a college student like me or just looking to get a yummy dinner without breaking the bank, definitely give this place a try.

Kristen Toms, New York University ’16

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Healthy Living to a Happy You

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of city life, it can be easy to forget to make the time to take care of your body. But as is well documented in the science world and as I recently discovered through personal experience, regular exercise as well as a healthy diet can drastically improve your quality of life. It was fall semester of my sophomore year and as usual I found that the determination and drive that had powered the first few weeks of my university life was slowly dwindling as the days floated by. I would head directly back to my dorm room after classes and I would spend the majority of my time indoors, simultaneously watching Netflix, doing homework, and eating a plethora of junk food. The increasingly cold weather certainly wasn’t helping my willpower to go outside and get physically active, so I ended up spending a lot of time alone in my room. My roommate was essentially MIA and at times the loneliness was overpowering. I blamed everything from the city life to the weather, before finally realizing that my situation was no one’s fault but my own. After many weeks of feeling miserable and gaining several pounds, I realized that something needed to change. The first thing I did was throw away all the junk food, the chips, chocolate, and the gummy bears. I made a trip to Whole Foods and bought almost every kind of vegetable and fruit they had on the shelves, which I then forced myself to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It was not easy and I found myself craving the sugary foods that I had become so used to before, but after the first couple weeks I realized that the new things I was eating felt better for my body and after that I hardly craved processed sugars at all, in fact the very thought of putting those things into my body revolted me. I signed up for three months of unlimited yoga classes and bought a pair of running shoes so I could jog along the river. After just one week of my new improved lifestyle I noticed some significant changes. Not only concerning the health of my body, but also the state of my mind. I was happier and more outgoing. I found myself more willing to participate in class discussions and to independently pursue my interests. Daily exercise and a clean diet helped me regain my confidence and be the person that I had intended to be when I first came into college as a freshman.

Kristen Toms, New York University ’16

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Interested in more deals for students? Sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter to get the latest in student discounts and promotions  and follow our Tumblr and Pinterest. For savings on-the-go, download our printable coupon e-book!


Painting a Self Portrait –

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Every creative individual designs a self portrait at some point. A piece meant to symbolize themselves, whether it’s through illustrating, singing, dancing, writing, etc. It’s simple to portray oneself as a female with long curly hair and green eyes, however the difficult part comes when we must describe who we really are inside. YOU are the only one who knows the real YOU. YOU decide how YOU want to be displayed to the world. Sure our family members and close friends know us well, but YOU ultimately determine how YOU appear to others. YOU create your self portrait.

As a college & career advisor, I am here to mentor you, to help with this process of self assessment and to further your knowledge base in order to pursue your goals and dreams. You have the skills, you know what you want, you know what you need, we just need to converse, ask questions and together we will find a way to get you there.

I’m sure you are curious about my story, my self portrait if you will.
So let me give you some background on me.

As a graphic design student at the Rhode Island School of Design, I actively participated in several on campus jobs. I found specific listings that drew me in and grew to love these jobs more than my studies. All throughout college, I was a mentor and teaching artist for a program (Project Open Door) that helped high school students with the college process. As a mentor at Project Open Door, I individually assessed the needs of each student. I helped them with their applications for college, assisted with their resumes, and taught beginner and intermediate drawing/paintings classes in order to build their confidence and skills needed to proceed. I gave student specific assignments as they progressed throughout the program to their senior year and then provided one on one guidance to help them figure out what colleges and careers they were interested in. We made college visits, attended fairs, and explored the options.

Despite my passion for design, I knew I loved my work at Project Open Door. However, I graduated with a BFA and decided to pursue it for a few years to see what I liked and disliked based on my experiences. Fast forward to 3 years later, and I am a Senior Graphic Designer, Career & College Advisor, freelance designer, mentor at The Campus Clipper, blog writer, podcast conductor, and Marketing Chair of YES! @Dress for Success. I am still searching for a way to marry all my passions into one career, but I love each and every one of them.

In December, I completed a certificate program at NYU in Career Planning & Development. It gave me the necessary skills to engage with you and help tell your story. Through my dedication to helping people, and my knowledge of marketing and targeting oneself in the world, I truly believe that together we can create your self portrait and show everyone just who you are!

Please visit my blog for more:
With my help, I hope you gain insight into how to pursue your passions, how to draw your self portrait, and how to convey your story.