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Arts & EntertainmentHow-to

A Beginner’s Guide to a Night at the Staples Center

If you’re anything like me, a Los Angeles newbie with a bucket list of places to visit before the undergraduate days are over, a concert at the Staples Center will likely be somewhere on that list. So when a friend presented me with an extra ticket to the 2014 Jingle Ball concert, I jumped at the opportunity, and I must say, I learned quite a lot in the process. If you’re new to LA or just haven’t been to the Staples Center, here are a few pieces of advice that I have compiled from the Friday night excursion.

In my particular situation, I found out I was going to Jingle Ball one week prior to the event. Fortunately for me, my friend had already bought and printed our tickets, but I still wanted to prepare myself for the night by looking up transportation routes, concert reviews and my seat location. I decided to do some basic research via Google and found out that the line-up for the event, sponsored by KIIS FM, consisted of 12 artists including Taylor Swift, Sam Smith, Ariana Grande, Iggy Azalea and host Nick Jonas. From the concert reviews, I got a better sense of how much money to bring and how long the event would last. This brings me to my first point:

Do some research in advance. 

The Staples Center and its surrounding area have very high traffic before and after major events. It’s helpful to prepare an estimate of how much money to bring for a taxi or Uber ride and to foresee any other bumps in the road.

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To save some money, my friend and I wanted to take a bus to and from the concert, but my roommate advised us not to take public transportation back from the concert for safety reasons and because of how late we would be coming home. Getting there, we took the Metro Rapid 720 from the intersection of Wilshire and Westwood at around 4:30 p.m., planning to get off on Broadway and 5th and walk a couple blocks to catch another bus. A woman on the 720, however, overheard our transportation plans and recommended a different route, which we decided to take. She advised us to instead get off the bus on Vermont and then take the red line of the Metro (underground subway system) to 7th and Figueroa, noting that the Staples Center would be just 5 blocks away. Buying the Metro ticket was very easy, and the whole trip to the venue only cost $4.50. This brings me to another important tip:

Make sure you are familiar with where your desired bus stop is located.

If you plan on taking a bus to the Staples Center, it’s important to know that there isn’t one direct line that takes you straight to the venue. You will most likely have to switch buses or use the subway system like we did, and that could include some walking in between. If you’re not familiar with downtown L.A. or where certain streets are, don’t be shy to ask someone who is more familiar how to avoid questionable situations.

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One of the perks of arriving two hours early to Jingle Ball was the free holiday-themed carnival that took place outside the Staples Center before the doors opened. Entrance was free, and various corporate sponsors had booths set up where they were giving away samples or showing off new products. An ice-skating rink, ferris wheel and outdoor concert, which included a performance by Meghan Trainor, were also available to the public.

So, when attending a concert or game at the Staples Center, don’t forget to take advantage of freebies.

Oftentimes, there will be similar outdoor festivities with free handouts for other events where you can have some fun before the show.

Once we showed our tickets and entered through the doors, the Staples Center was really quite easy to navigate. Signs very clearly direct you to which section and row your seats are in, and ushers and other personnel in each section are available to guide you as well. Each floor had plenty of restrooms and fast food eateries, so our basic needs were definitely covered.

My last piece of advice is, if possible, to leave a couple minutes early to beat the rush of people exiting the building.

If you’re planning on taking an Uber or Lyft, you might want to walk a block or so away from the Staples Center for pick-up, but there will definitely be plenty of rides available. And don’t be surprised if the ride is a little bit on the expensive side.

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Going to my first concert at the Staples Center was definitely a learning experience, but as a newcomer to L.A., the experience was truly amazing.

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How-to

Free iOS Apps to Get You Through Finals

With finals approaching, everyone is beginning to cram for the classes they’ve procrastinated on all quarter. Here are some free apps to download for your iPhone, iPad or other iOS device that will get you on track.

1. Exam Countdown. This is by far the most important: You don’t want to forget what day your final is on. Not showing up is a guaranteed way to fail. Plus, seeing how few days you have left can shock you into studying.

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2. Quizlet. If you’ve never heard of Quizlet, you’re missing out. It’s an app that lets you access flashcards for different subjects or make your own, and it allows you to quiz yourself in a variety of different ways. If you’re really trying to cram, these flashcards are easy to study between classes.

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3. RefME. This app is great if you’re writing a paper and need to cite your sources. If you’re using a textbook that has a barcode, all you have to do is hold your phone over the barcode for a few seconds. All of the information about the textbook pops up, along with the citation.

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4. Pocket. This app is great for looking up articles on your phone when you intend to save them for later. Simply download the app, and you’ll automatically have a list of options of how to save articles. You can save from Mobile Safari, your computer, apps and email. It’s ridiculously self-explanatory and incredibly useful.

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5. Calm. This app is a guide to meditation, perfect for the stressed college student preparing for finals. It begins by asking you to select a relaxing scene like a forest or a beach, after which it starts playing related sounds. You can customize the time you want to spend relaxing to fit your own needs and you can learn how to meditate through the “7 Steps of Calm.”IMG_5316

Good luck on finals!

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How-to

5 Ways to Survive Thanksgiving Travel

I can’t wait for Thanksgiving and to be surrounded by family, friends and food. Should we all just take a moment to appreciate eating bottomless amounts of turkey and pumpkin pie without worrying about conserving swipes? As great as this all sounds, the only way we will be able to completely enjoy this magnificent holiday is first by traveling home. Dealing with the masses of people also attempting to get home for the holiday can really test your patience. Whether you’re driving home, taking public transportation or flying like me, here are five tips for surviving the treacherous travel home.
1. Confirm Your Travel Plans
OK, now I know this one sounds obvious, but with how hectic it is to pack for your trip, it can be very easy to let the confirmation of travel plans slip your mind. Set a reminder on your phone to go off (at least) one day before your drive or flight so you remember to call and make sure that ticket is still yours. If you’re flying, checking in early is especially helpful because you can usually reserve a seat closer to the front of the plane. You’ll definitely be one of the cool kids when they call everyone up to board.
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2. Bring Food 
No matter what you eat before leaving for your trip, you will get hungry on your way. Being hungry leads to being irritated, and that’s not the first impression you want to make when you get home to your family. I recommend taking a quick stop at Target here in Westwood and grabbing everything in sight. Consider it practice for your Thanksgiving dinner.
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3. Charge EVERYTHING 
Phone, iPad, laptop, extra battery pack. Sure, you brought books to read and homework to do, but we all know catching up on your Netflix show and scrolling through your Tumblr dash is all that you will get done. Do yourself a favor and charge everything, because there is nothing worse than seeing a dead battery icon.
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4. Look for Travel Deals
If you haven’t set up your travel plans yet, hurry! There are many deals that happen for Thanksgiving travel, but there are also outrageous prices since companies know you have no other choice. Fortunately, UCLA Transportation is even offering a deal from the Hill to LAX for just $5, which also includes a ride from Lot 32 after you take a Flyaway when you get back. It’s a great alternative to Uber and Lyft, and taking the bus with a bunch of other students excited to visit home can’t be too bad either.

5. Pack Lightly
Speaking of deals, we all know what happens the day after Thanksgiving. There is nothing that truly sums up the hysteria of the holiday season than Black Friday. You can turn it into a bonding event as you and your family defend each other against the masses of people also trying to score a deal. If you’re planning to spend all the money you don’t have on clothes, that coincidentally aren’t that cheap even on sale, make sure you at least have room in your suitcase to haul them back to UCLA. It’s okay, we won’t judge. Pre-shopping planning is just a sign of good preparation (or that’s what we shopping addicts like to say).
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Just remember Thanksgiving is all about enjoying your time with your loved ones and being thankful for everything you have. Keep that in mind if travel-induced stress ever gets into your head.
 If you have any other travel suggestions, let us know in the comments.

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How-to

Apartment Hacks: A Guide to Saving Money and Time

It’s week six now. If this is your first year in your new apartment, you’ve had at least two monthly rent due dates pass, as well as the majority of your midterms. On top of this, you’ve had to do all the other things you’ve always had to do: homework, reading, extracurricular activities, volunteering, hanging out with friends and most importantly, watching Netflix. There’s also the very real possibility you don’t even have a couch yet.

Apartment life is harsh. It can be cruel. The relentless churn of monthly bills and rent payments, the never-ending mess (made worse by your messy roommate’s existence), the relative social isolation compared to the Hill. What’s an apartment-dweller to do? Here at Mojo, we understand your struggle. Money is tight. Extra time is nonexistent. Here is a handy-dandy guide with some apartment hacks to make your life a little easier.

Groceries and other basic purchases

  • Check out the Smart & Final weekly circular. It offers deals on basic groceries such as meat and produce.
  • Invest in a Costco membership card, either by yourself or with your friends and roommates, assuming at least one person has a car. Costco is great for bulk items like paper towels, toilet paper and groceries you use a lot of. (Emphasis is on “a lot.”)
  • Use Google Shopping Express. (It only offers dry goods; no fresh dairy, meat or produce.) There is a three-month trial with free delivery, and it generally delivers to your door within about 24 hours. This is especially efficient for heavier things, such as bags of rice or flour – both a time- and money-saver. Google Shopping Express offers many different items from different stores, including Costco and Smart & Final. It’s also useful for other items, though its selection may be limited.
  • If you only want to stay in Westwood and shop at Trader Joe’s, Ralphs or Target, be sure to keep a general idea of where to go between the three stores for specific items at their cheapest price. In other works, check and compare prices between Trader Joe’s, Ralphs and Target because these stores are so close to each other! Trader Joe’s, for example, has cheaper bags of lemons than Ralphs – last time I checked, Trader Joe’s had a pound of lemons for a dollar and cents and Ralph’s was selling lemons for $4. Pro tip: Go with some friends who also need to do some grocery shopping and just split it up. Once you have a general idea of what’s cheapest where, you’ll always know you’ll be saving the most money on what you need. 
  • If you’re looking for specialty or ethnic foods, Ralphs is almost always a rip-off. Try looking for stores further away or online to get your box of Japanese curry, kimchi or whatever. Nijiya Market on Sawtelle Boulevard is much cheaper for curry boxes, for example, and Korean red chili paste can be bought off Amazon.
  • Make a monthly grocery budget. Save your receipts for a month and figure out how much you’re spending on groceries so you can figure out what’s necessary and what you can do without. You’ll be amazed by the final number.

Cooking

  • Make an off-day a “bulk cooking” day. Whenever you have an uninterrupted two hours, make bulk foods like stir-fry and pasta salads so you can survive the rest of your busy week/month/life (until it runs out, I guess). You can also experiment with freezing bulk portions of foods, so buying freezer bags or Tupperware is a great add-on to this bulk-cooking technique.
  • Separate frozen meats into single portions, cut onions and other vegetables in bulk and refrigerate ahead of time. This speaks to the usual evening when you’re exhausted but still need to cook dinner, and you haven’t even defrosted your chicken breasts that are stuck in a hunk of other chicken breasts.
  • Cook “one-pot dinners” or similar dish-efficient meals. Plenty of recipes online are targeted at busy people who don’t like cooking food that results in 1,093,230,982 dirty dishes, not counting the final plate and silverware you’re eating off. Try making these, and figure out the best way to minimize the dishes you need to do.

Cleaning

  • If you live with other people (which you most likely do), you’ve probably figured out an efficient way to delegate cleaning responsibilities to everyone. While cleaning may be a drag, figure out the best, quickest way to complete your chores. Once you do that, buy appropriate cleaning supplies in bulk, and your chores will be a lot quicker and easier.
  • Invest in all-purpose cleaning supplies to cut down on the number of cleaning supplies you need to buy. This can range from Lysol wipes to general all-purpose cleaner. You can also make your own, for a variety of purposes. (Hint: This involves a lot of baking soda and vinegar – a good idea to buy in bulk from Costco.)
  • If you have a cleaning schedule that changes weekly or biweekly, try to negotiate with your roommates to have your midterm/heavy weeks off cleaning. A little bit of coordination and organization can go a long way, and it prevents your apartment from going entirely to the dogs.
  • Keep emergency cleaning supplies on hand. In other words, have a game plan for apartment cleaning emergencies, such as:
    - Your drunk friend vomits all over everything after you throw a party
    - Major spills on carpet or furniture, of any type (wine, food, etc.)
    - Other major disasters
    A lot can be fixed with around-the-house products, but you may need to invest in some heavy-duty cleaner to keep around for those disaster situations.

General

  • Keep a list of numbers for plumbers and repairmen on hand for all those things your lease doesn’t cover or your apartment manager refuses to fix.
  • Set reminders on your phone for bills and rent payments, even if your roommates are in charge of those.

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Arts & EntertainmentCultureHow-to

The Guide to the Getty

For those of you who have not yet been able to make it to the Getty Center, I highly recommend it. As one of the most visited museums in the United States, the Getty Museum is well worth visiting. Housing art from several different eras, it really does cater to all interests, from illuminated manuscripts to photographs to art from Van Gogh and Cezanne.

I don’t know too much about art, but while walking around there were several paintings that I recognized and was just blown away to see in person (AKA if you don’t like art, STILL GO).

For example, this Van Gogh painting is amazing:

Rhiannon Davies / Daily Bruin

Plus it’s free. We’re poor college students. We like free. The only money I spent all day was $1.75 each way for the bus. Speaking of the bus, it’s super easy to get to the Getty (I’m talking about the Center, not Villa, which is a different destination altogether). There’s a stop right next to the entrance to Bel Air on Sunset Boulevard and Bellagio Drive. Just walk up De Neve Drive past Sunset Village, and you’ll get to a crosswalk. The bus stop is on the Bel Air side, right next to the entrance.

Rhiannon Davies / Daily Bruin

The walk is not that long, and the bus ride is super short. You get off of the bus at the Sepulveda Boulevard stop, you cross the street, and you’ve arrived! You take a tram up the hill to the museum, and, trust me, it’s super self-explanatory (I’m saying this as the worst person in the whole world at orienting herself and reading maps involving public transport). The view from the tram is great, and it only gets better the closer to you get to the museum.

The first thing I did was take pictures of the incredible view and of the museum and its gardens. It’s #instagramworthy. And I know, because I instagrammed it.

Rhiannon Davies/Daily Bruin

Rhiannon Davies / Daily Bruin

Let me know in the comments if you’ve been to and what you thought of the Getty!

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