How to Donate Blood Platelets with the American Red Cross

One activity that I enjoy doing is donating blood platelets. I started off donating whole blood at various blood drives in college and through my employers. One day, I had a conversation with a volunteer at a blood drive and they told me about platelet donations. They said they had a need for my blood type, and thus began my path to donating platelets.

Here are a few steps on how you too can donate platelets…


  1. Platelet donations take place at Red Cross donation centers. So, before you call to make an appointment you should google to see if there is a donation center near you.


  1. Next, you must make an appointment for platelet donations by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or going online to


  1. After you have made your appointment you should begin prepping for the appointment. You can do this by, getting eight hours of sleep a night, drinking 8 glasses of water daily, as well as, eating meals with iron rich foods.

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  1. So it is the day of your appointment. You should know that platelet appointments take up to 3 hours so plan your day around that.


  1. If you would like to save some time before your appointment you can go online and use RapidPass®, which is the pre-donation materials and health history questions you fill out before every donation.


  1. If you used RapidPass®, show the intake workers the code you received from the program when you arrive at the donation center.


  1. Then you are set up for the donation. This donation is different because needles are placed in both arms and are connected to a machine which takes your blood, sorts out the platelets, and returns the rest of the blood back into your body.


  1. During the process, there is a small TV in front of you with headphones. You also have a remote and can watch any channel on cable while your donation is happening.  (I suggest Sex and The City reruns)


  1. Before you know it, your donation is done and you are on your way. For just a few hours of your day you can help up to 3 patients who require platelets.


To learn more visit

How to empower girls

By: Michelle Reyes 

Revised Cover Photo
Michelle Reyes

What’s so hard about being 10? Life is fun. A trip to the zoo, a ride on a carousel and yummy ice cream equal the perfect day for two best friends.

But they’re not just having fun. They’re learning how to empower each other. If one friend falls, the other rushes over to pick her up. If one friend accomplishes a goal, the other looks up to her with genuine admiration. It’s a powerful bond to witness.

Girls teach parents and teachers how to guide them from childhood to adolescence. Here are four prompts that girls can relate to:

  • Care about others. Girls are aware of their surroundings. They ask questions if someone is hurt and offer help without hesitation. As girls transition into adolescence, they focus on other concerns. Parents and teachers can remind them that a kind inquiry or a simple gesture can boost a friend’s day.
  •  Follow your heart. Gymnastics, softball and cross country are attainable competencies with a few supportive cheerleaders. Girls motivate each other to try new things. Fear, doubt and self-consciousness are nonexistent. Hope and positive words have the power to swat the obstacles of adolescence.
  • Stay true to yourself. Girls like similarities, but they admire unique talents and characteristics. Friends don’t have to act the same, dress the same or play the same sports to be good friends. Adolescence introduces new pressures to fit it. Parents and teachers can emphasize all the ways girls are unique and how those qualities make them extraordinary.
  •  Do your best. Competition is fierce among friends. Girls challenge each other to work hard, hit home runs and try their best. It’s not about winning or losing. It’s about the effort.

Girls show us that small acts can have big effects. A day at the zoo is one small step toward much bigger decisions.



On October 27th, President Obama pushed for sentencing reform during a law enforcement forum in Chicago. The bipartisan bill aimed to reduce drug related sentences many argue disproportionately affect and further disrupts marginalized communities. While the President’s reformed passed based on the decisions of the Senate and the House of Representatives, this would not be possible without the years of hard work of their constituents and grassroots organizing. Un Mundo Feliz 10

Addressing the multitude of issues surrounding our prison system is no easy feat, let alone identifying solutions and launching campaigns. Building on the victories of the shutting down of Tamms, placing restorative justice alternatives to juvenile detention in some of our schools and the recent Reparations campaigns, the following are a few local organizations currently on the ground continuing this important work. Their organizing and research is, and will be, invaluable to changing hearts, minds and policies.

Project Nia has played an essential role in understanding and addressing the complex nature of prison reform. Its research, resources and reports have been used by various stakeholders in the justice system to guide their own work. Project Nia’s campaigns seek to educate and engage those most vulnerable to the injustices of the justice system, advocate for legislative change and, abolish prisons altogether.


We Charge Genocide (WCG) is one of the spin-off organizations of Project Nia. WCH has been on the front lines of unsettling “policing as usual.” From being part of the successful Reparations campaign to their Stop and Frisk campaign, WCG aims to police the police and imagine a world without police.

 Another spin-off group developed by Project Nia’s members is Circles and Cipers, which works with men of color who have been in the juvenile justice system. Their goal is to engage participants to respond to the tragic pattern of incarceration by working as a community through peacemaking circles and designing nonviolent approaches to address their own needs.

We cannot speak of abolishing the prison system without addressing the conditions which lead to incarceration. In June 2017 issue of The Atlantic, it was estimated one in every inmate has some form of mental illness. The Cook County Jail has become our largest mental health facility in the United States. In 2013, it was estimated that 25 youth were arrested daily on Chicago Public School grounds. Organizations such as Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP) and the VOYCE Project are working to combat these deplorable pitfalls in our system by disrupting the flow of our population’s most vulnerable groups to incarceration by combating these pitfalls in our system.

 kevinOf course, these are only some of the inequalities, which lead to incarceration. Our communities must be able to rely on their education system, steady jobs, affordable housing and access to health care to keep them from falling victim to the prison system. All organizations working towards any or a combination of these issues is, in essence, doing prison abolition work.

It is clear many of the organizations mentioned above, as well as many others, understand and live the complexities leading to incarceration. They are compiling data, conducting research and harnessing community power to further their work. While legislation seems low coming to alleviate the issue of mass incarceration, the groups in Chicago are already taking action and working towards changing our schools, communities and prisons.


Making franklyHANK…


Forget “Making Oprah” or “Making Obama!” This is making franklyHANK, a how-to on a story coming to life in my weekly entertainment segment on ABC 7’s “Windy City LIVE.”

USA Today Royal Wedding, May 16, 2018

Every segment begins with me asking, “What’s in the news?” “What will other people care about?” I came across a USA Today story detailing how to watch the Royal Wedding. Prince Harry is about to wed American Meghan Markle. It’s all very hush, hush, top secret. That will be my lead story, but I need more so I search for related articles to provide me more details of the big day.

I will need video of Harry and Meghan. We’re on a first name basis now. I reach out to ABC News, our parent company. NewsOne is the video source for ABC affiliates. I request video (or b-roll to use the industry term) of Harry and Meghan and preferably that adorable video from their engagement. I submit an online request. A short time later, Olga, at the ABC News library in New York, emails to say she’s on it.

gfx requests
Graphics requests.

Next, I read through my stories to determine how I can best illustrate what I am saying on camera. I think graphics will serve me best. I send three emails to our Design department. Each email dictates a separate graphic I want. The first graphic shows when ABC News’ coverage begins. The second graphic dictates what will be happening all morning as people watch television and the third graphic is an event people can attend if they believe getting up at 4 a.m. is just too early.

Rundown franklyHANK
Windy City LIVE computer rundown.

Then, I start building my segment in the show rundown indicating the order in which I would like these elements to air: graphics 1 and 2 followed by video and then graphic 3.

Now I must write the introduction to the segment. These are the words Val Warner will read she introduces me. I try to be clever and bitchy at the same time. That’s our on-air “relationship.”

I then build the rest of the segment following the same steps as above. My second story will be about the forthcoming Whitney Houston documentary since a new trailer was just released and my

franklyHANK in the makeup chair with makeup artist Laura Washington.

third story will be Tina Fey hosting “Saturday Night LIVE” for the sixth time.

I then head to makeup because, you know, I didn’t just wake up like this. Audio attaches a mic to my shirt and connects my IFB, the little ear-piece the Control Room uses to communicate with me.


And then it’s time to make television, folks!

That’s how my franklyHANK television segment comes together. Until next week…


How to Have a Great Day with Your Dog

By: Jessica West


Growing up, my family and I always had cats, so naturally, I became a cat lover. It wasn’t until a year ago I got my dog Kylo with my boyfriend. I know my cat lover friends are probably going to roll their eyes at this, but my dog has brought so much joy to my life. He doesn’t know it, but he helped me discover my passion for photography. I love doing things that makes Kylo happy because it makes me happy. That is why I would love to share Kylo and I’s tips on how to have a great day with your dog.


Wake up and smell the coffee together

Mornings are our favorite in this house. When you make breakfast, always make sure to “accidentally” drop some human food on the ground for your dog, they will love you forever (Kylo told me to tell you guys that tip). When we are finished eating, we look through The Wall Street Journal. Lately, Kylo has been very interested in the socks…I mean the stocks section.

Soak up the sun

Going outside is one of our favorite things to do after breakfast. Being outside is like watching Animal Planet live for your dog. With all the creepy bugs, twitchy squirrels, and noisy birds… you can’t get that indoors.

Socialize with furriends

Picture being surrounded by dogs, seems like a dream, right? Well recently, we discovered the dog park and let me tell you it’s fun for both Kylo and I. Dog parks are always a good idea. It’s like humans at the bar. Your dog can get loose and can meet a lot of furry friends or shall I say furriends.


Car rides

It doesn’t matter where you are going or what time of the day it is… if you have your dog in the backseat with the window down, it’s going to be golden. Nothing like the wind in your ears and the smiles at stop lights; car rides are always a good idea.


These are just some of the things Kylo and I do to make sure we will have a great day together. It’s priceless seeing the smile on your dog’s face after a day like this. For more adventures or adorable photos, visit Kylo’s Instagram, @thegoldenone_kylo

How to Create the Perfect Spring Capsule Wardrobe

Written by: Brittany Aaron

Image result for bottoms  wardrobe
 Reason for a capsule wardrobe.

Spring has sprung! It’s time to pull out your warm weather wardrobe. If you’re anything like me, you have more clothes than you know what to do with, but nothing to wear. 


A capsule wardrobe includes essential items that are timeless. These classic pieces can be worn during any season. This wardrobe saves money, closet space and time.

♡ Wardrobe ♡ Beauty room + makeup vanity with Ikea Malm dressing table and clothing rack. Pink fluffy rug, clear chair, flowers, makeup brushes and plants. Pretty wardrobe, clothing, storage, organisation goals and inspiration.
Capsule Wardrobe


9 Tops + 6 Bottoms + 4 Dresses + 2 Jackets + 4 Shoes + 5 Accessories =



Gather your current wardrobe into the same space. This will allow you to see what you have or don’t have to work with. You will be surprised to see that you have clothes, shoes, and accessories that you’ve worn out, still have the original tags on or you will never think about wearing. 


This step requires you to let go of a few things. Separate your wardrobe into the following categories:

DONATE: These pieces no longer fit you or you will never wear them again. 

TRASH: Worn out clothing unable to be worn again or donated. 

LOVE : These will be your favorite pieces. You wear them often, they fit you and you just can’t get rid of them.  


Now it’s time to piece together your wardrobe. It’s easier to stick to neutral colors. Limit
yourself to the essentials.


  • 2 tank-tops
  • 1 t-shirt
  • 2 blouses
  • 2 button downs (at least one denim)
  • 1 sweater
  • 1 cardigan


The Billie Light Wash Distressed Jeans - The Pink Lily
Boyfriend Jeans
  • 1 pair of boyfriend jeans
  • 1 pair of skinny jeans
  • pair of leggings 
  • 1 pair of joggers
  • 1 skirt
  • 1 pair of shorts


  • 1 slip dress
  • 1 button-up dress
  • 1 shirt dress 
  • 1 sundress 


Nude single strap heel.

Nude Heels
  • 1 trench coat
  • 1 canvas jacket


  • 1 pair of boots
  • 1 pair of heels
  • 1 pair of flats
  • 1 pair of sneakers


Pinterest; ashlrincesa☽ ♡
Rose Gold Watch
  •              2 handbags
  •       1 belt
  •              1 watch
  •              1 pair of sunglasses 

 Less IS More

If you are overwhelmed even thinking about building a capsule wardrobe, reference this blog as the perfect starting point. Creating your first capsule is time-consuming and emotional. It can be hard to let go of so many items however, you will LOVE the simplicity of your new capsule wardrobe. Having fewer items will teach you how to style your pieces in multiple ways. 

Tell me about your capsule wardrobe experience in the comments!

How to Move Without the Headache

Moving is an exciting time – new home, new beginnings. However, the process of moving is never fun for anyone. The planning causes time and stress, and once you’ve spotted that first scratch on your furniture, you can’t help but feel a little defeated.

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I moved this past Monday, and I think I learned a thing or two in the process. Here are a few tips to help ease the stress of moving and ensure that first night in your new place is worth celebrating.

  • Purge before you move. The best thing any mover can do is to critically look at your belongings and decide if it’s something you can/cannot live without. If you haven’t worn those pants in the past year, do you really think you will again? Are you hoarding those freebees you picked up at last summer’s music festival? Do you NEED all of your college t-shirts? As difficult as it can be, trimming the fat off of your belongings will not only mean less items you have to move later, but they could be useful to someone else down the road.
  • Move during the week. Weekends are obviously the most convenient times to move because you have the days off, but so does the entire city! Moving on the weekend equals busier streets and higher moving rates. When you’re paying movers by the hour, the less time they have to sit in traffic, the more money and time you’re saving.
  • Shop for movers. Get at least three quotes from different moving companies and be sure to get a full description of what services are included, so you’re not blindsided when the bill arrives. (For reference, I have used Dolly for both of my Chicago moves. The movers have been very efficient, friendly, and reasonably priced.)
  • Ask around for boxes. If you have a good relationship with your neighbors, there is no harm in asking them to pass along any boxes they receive from shipments. People are usually willing to help others, especially when a nice note and bottle of wine arrive later on their doorstep! Otherwise, Home Depot sells moving boxes for as inexpensive as $1.

The more you plan ahead with the steps above, the less stressful your move will be and the more you get to enjoy your new home sweet home.


How to Survive a Long-Distance Relationship with your Homeland

By: Sashwatha Sridhar

At a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet above the ground, I jolted from my sleep to the stillness of the aircraft and the realization that I had left home. But it wasn’t until the flight descended into the snowy winter of Chicago that the truth hit me. This isn’t home, I murmured under my breath.

This was one year ago.

After a few rough months, I warmed up to the city. It is true what they say, “Home is not a place; it’s a feeling.” A feeling you can create anywhere you go — if you are willing. So if you’re reading this in the midnight hour of nostalgia, scroll down for some expat-tested ideas on surviving a long-distance relationship with your homeland.

  1. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. You’re not getting married but you’re starting a new life and that is significant. Maybe it’s an old blanket you can crawl under when you feel homesick or the pajamas you literally lived in back home. Don’t forget to pack them in your suitcase.
  2. Identify a store that sells spices and other ingredients you’ll need to prepare a home-cooked meal. I couldn’t even boil an egg when I started. Ready-to-eat food to the rescue ! Brands such as MTR, Swad, and Haldirams have a plethora of options for Indian food.

    Food is often the best cure for homesickness
  3. Find camaraderie in fellow expatriates. I follow a mommy blogger in Hungary, a food gourmand in Germany, and a fashion influencer from New York. We are continents apart, but united in our shared circumstance. All three of them lived in India. And now, all four of us, don’t. Reading their posts makes me feel less alone in my journey.
  4. Sign up for websites that air shows from your home country. YouTube is my go-to channel but you could also surf HotStar, SonyLiv, and Amazon Prime for a collection of daily soaps and movies.
  5. Call your mom. Ask her about her day. Then ask her to show you around the house. Take a virtual walk in your backyard or even down the street. This may or may not work for you but seeing that everything is just as I left it, has a calming effect on me.

While this post may carry some specifics for an Indian audience, I hope this article helps the broader expatriate community settle into their new homes. Do share your story in the comments section below. I’d love to know what’s in your survival kit !

Classify Yourself as the “Cool” Aunt or Uncle

By: Nicole Prorok

Meet my niece, Giuliana and my nephew, Vincenzo

I am an aunt to three children and one adult. My eldest nephew is 22-years-old. We grew up together. I revere every moment with him as a child, because each day was filled with thrill. I would play video games with him, share stories, and create imaginative made up adventures. It was from that moment, I officially became the “Cool” Aunt.

As I got older, I gained two more nephews and one niece. I was invigorated to continue to develop real relationships with my sister’s children. Through time, I initiated a main priority: to always have fun.  To me, being a “Cool” Aunt is defined through the balance of responsibility, entertainment, excitement, and laughter. It is learning how to be the adult in the room, while keeping flexibility and leniency in mind. The title of a “Cool” Aunt involves a lot of  sweat, laughter, and tears.

If you would like to gain the title of a “Cool” Aunt or Uncle, here are a few tips:

Always put them first

Let them know how much they mean to you. Attend their birthday parties, games, and outings. Don’t miss out on anything that is important to them. If you do, let them know why you missed it. At this age, everything matters. You must be there, show up, and take as many pictures as you can.


You won’t receive the title of a “Cool” Aunt or Uncle unless you babysit. Spend a Friday night with your niece(s) and (or) nephew(s). Put on their favorite movie, order pizza, and play games they enjoy. Through it all, make sure to keep them entertained.

Talk to them

Children love to talk, so listen. Ask them what they like to do. Are they in certain activities in school? Are they playing sports? Are they making new friends? It’s always nice to keep up with their life. Continue to ask them their favorite show, color, and sport’s team.

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Meet my nephew, Easton

Have fun with your niece(s) and (or) nephew(s). Laugh at their jokes, tickle their feet, change their dirty diapers, sneak them an extra cookie. Do it all while they are young. Offer them a friendship they need, an adventure they look forward to going on, and experiences they won’t want to miss out on. Don’t forget, it’s not easy being the “Cool” Aunt or Uncle, but it’s worth it. Through these actions, you are building a bond that lasts a lifetime.

Here’s a short clip of Rachel from Friends representing what it is like to be the “Cool” Aunt to Ross’ son, Ben. Each day spent is a new, yet delightful adventure.

How to Style a Denim Jacket Four Ways

By: Abby Willett

Spring is here, and it is time to trade in your winter coat for a denim jacket. This is a trend that will never end because a denim jacket is versatile, comfortable and matches everything (yes, it is acceptable to wear denim on denim if you do it the right way!) Here are four different ways to wear your denim jacket this spring!

1. Sunday brunch lookimg_7932.jpg

Photo: Madison Messer

This look pairs a denim jacket with a casual sundress making it perfect for Sunday brunch or shopping down Michigan Avenue. Spring can have unpredictable weather, so a denim jacket will keep you warm if the weather decides to cool down. If it is too warm, the denim jacket can be draped over the shoulders for a classy and chic daytime look.

2. “Athleisure” look


Photo by: Maddie Potter

The perfect way to spice up a casual outfit is with a denim jacket! Instead of pairing your leggings and sneakers with a sweatshirt, dress your outfit up with a white tee and your denim jacket! Another great addition to your lazy day outfit is a baseball cap (I won’t tell anyone it’s to cover up your crazy bedhead.)

3. Girl boss look


Photo by: Pinterest

A denim jacket can be work appropriate if you pair it with the right items. This woman looks like a total girl boss! In this case, the denim jacket would dress your outfit down. A pair of heels and a pencil skirt contrast the casual denim jacket and create an appropriate work outfit! (TIP: Avoid wearing a denim jacket that is distressed with rips and tears for a more conservative look.)

4. Denim on denim (it can happen!)


Photo by: Bre Sheppard

I know what you’re thinking… Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake circa 2001. However, don’t doubt denim! When pairing denim with denim, be sure to use similar but slightly different shades. For example, the best denim on denim look comes from pairing light and medium washes. All you have to do is pair these items with a graphic tee and white sneakers for the perfect spring outfit. (Denim on denim = simple)

In light of spring finally arriving here in Chicago, I hope these outfit tips encourage you take advantage of your denim jacket! It is a timeless piece in your wardrobe and can function in many different ways.

Leave your favorite ways to style a denim jacket below in the comments!