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June, 2015

  1. Analyzing TED Talks

    June 30, 2015 by Olivia Kathleen Richards


    This TED Talk was definitely both memorable and successful. It is memorable since Goffman was able to leave a lasting impact on the listener and make her point effectively. She successfully established the significance of the issue in a fast manner, with relation to the members of the audience in regards to college and coming of age. The statistics of 8% of our population being in prison as the highest in the world was alarming. Also, she makes the TED talk memorable with the personal experience that she shared from her time at the University of Pennsylvania. For African Americans and Latino…prison stands between young people trying to make it and fulfulling the American Dream. That became visible to Goffman in her experiences with Chuck and Tim. Alice Goffman manages to put the entire audience in the shoes of these young boys and their unfair, unjust system that they couldn’t break free from. Goffman leaves the audience tells the audience that while crime is down, suffering continues. Young people in both prison and college can be leaders in the work of reforming our criminal justice system.

    She concisely addresses every important topic that she wanted to address and didn’t over complicate anything. All of the language that she used was understandable and precise. Her rhetoric was powerful.

    Documenting the violations of human rights is something that should always happen. We can fight injustice with raw video. His organization, Videre, uncovers, verifies and publicizes human-rights abuses that the world needs to witness. Oren Yakobovich makes this TED talk both memorable and successful by pulling the audience in, to these awful situations and human rights violations that people live through, every single day. The videos from the tiny hidden cameras that his organization gives to people, who are daring enough to video, are incredibly powerful. The contrast of what we hear on media and what he experienced in the Israeli military were quite interesting.

  2. One extreme & another….quite close & quite far

    June 30, 2015 by Olivia Kathleen Richards

    Popular-Cupcake-Brand-Opens-First-Illinois-Franchise        Sweet-Lush-Cupcake-Camper-600x400

    It is important to test out cupcakes at home because you never know what you might just find around the corner. During the week leading up to my AP Exams, my Mom decided to treat me by stopping at a bakery that she heard of and bringing a few cupcakes home. I tried local cupcakes from a small, new shop, near my home called The Sweet Lush Cupcakery. Their bakeshop is located in Dunmore, Pennsylvania and they also run a Sweet Lush Cupcakery Camper. The ‘food truck’ type cupcakery appears at local festivals and events. At our recent Cherry Blossom Festival, they were selling very well! They have been extremely successful. While the cupcakes are slightly overpriced for a local cupcakery in a small city at three dollars each, they were tasty and large. The icing was sweet and managed to not go over the top. I particularly enjoyed the Cannoli cupcake and Cookie Dough cupcake. Watch out for the insane amount of icing on the cupcake that is beautifully decorated! The cake could have been a bit more moist but there was a clear balance between the cake and icing which is even more important. My problem was the price of the cupcake. While it was good, it wasn’t fantastic. I don’t like paying more than three dollars per cupcake when they weren’t unbelievable.

    Since the beginning of seventh grade, I was an active member of my high school’s speech and debate team. In June of 2014, I was lucky enough to qualify to the National Tournament of the National Forensic League in United States Extemporaneous Speaking. Last year, the national tournament was held in Overland Park, Kansas, which is extremely close to Kansas City. The food in that area was unbelievable. That feeling left me with high expectations for the cupcakes that I was destined to find. I was excited that since I was traveling to a new place, I could find a new cupcakery in the Mid-West to try! I knew that Smallcakes was the favorite bake shop, in close proximity to our hotel. But, due to how busy my schedule was for competition, my coaches actually went to the bakery, picked out the cupcakes and purchased them. I didn’t even pick what I wanted, but I heard that there wasn’t a large selection. Since I didn’t visit, I can’t tell you about the feel of the cupcakery or its atmosphere. I am sorry! But, I can tell you the most important fact…I have definitely had better. Of the dozen that they brought back, I think my favorite cupcake of the few that I ate was called Caramel Crunch. It was chocolate cake with caramel frosting topped with sea salt and pretzels. I do love sea salt on everything. Also, the name doesn’t lie…they are definitely small cakes. Of course, I had to try their “Famous” Red Velvet which is the baker’s grandma’s red velvet cake with her signature cream cheese frosting. The frosting was very good but the cake wasn’t perfect. The appearance of the cupcakes was adorable with the Hot Fudge Sundae looking quite realistic! The food in Kansas City was worth the trip.

    Life is short…eat a cupcake!

  3. Rough Draft of TOMS Shoes “One for One” Campaign Advertisement

    June 28, 2015 by Olivia Kathleen Richards

    TOMS Shoes One for One Campaign


                Companies across the globe have offered to give to the international community with cause-marketing efforts. Oftentimes, companies encourage consumers to bring in a gently used item, such as clothing or shoes, and they in turn would donate it to a cause. But, few companies have gone as far as TOMS Shoes. While traveling in Argentina in 2006, TOMS Shoes Founder Blake Mycoskie witnessed the horrifying hardships faced by millions children growing up in poverty. He quickly realized that most of them struggled to go about their daily lives without shoes. With a desire to help the children, he created his own company to make a difference in the world. He decided that TOMS Shoes would match every pair of shoes purchased with a new pair of shoes for a child in need, somewhere in the world. He began this campaign with the name of One for One. This simple idea of a way to make a difference in the world has evolved into a powerful business foundation that addresses global concerns and advances the health, education and economic opportunity across the international community.

    It seems as though the TOMS shoes company wants the world to incorporate the One for One campaign as something that is a part of everyday life, while manufacturing a new area where people can act as “good citizens.” People who buy products from TOMS are effectively acting as good citizens since shoes, sight, water, safe birth and bullying prevention services are provided to people in need upon every purchase.

    More specifically, TOMS Shoes are always given to children through humanitarian organizations who incorporate shoes into their community development programs. The company success has been unbelievable since it has given over 45 million pairs of new shoes since 2007. TOMS Eyewear launched in 2011, and has helped restore sight to over 275,000 people in need. In 13 countries, sight has been given by providing prescription glasses, medical treatment and/or sight-saving surgery with each purchase of eyewear. To incorporate cleaner water resources, the TOMS Roasting Co. launched in 2014, and has helped provide over 67,000 weeks of safe water in 6 countries. With each purchase of TOMS Roasting Co. Coffee, they work with their own Giving Partners to provide a one week supply to a person in need. Since they continually support the creation of sustainable water systems, they have managed to provide entire communities with access to safe water, which has led to improved health, increased economic productivity, job creation and access to education. In 2015, TOMS Bag Collection launched in 4 countries. With every bag purchased, TOMS helps to provide a safe birth for a mother and baby in need.

    Pertaining primarily to the works of Schudson, Crowley, and Hawee, the Toms advertisement calls on their audience’s civic learning, addresses a prevalent issue, and effectively uses intrinsic proofs and modes of persuasion. As we look to the text and examples presented while examining this advertisement, it becomes obvious that Toms calls upon the civic duties of its audience and addresses a prevalent issue that they need help to solve. Schudson advocated for the referencing of the audience’s learned civic duty. This Toms advertisement puts that practice into action by referencing the practices of voting and donating blood. These practices are already a part of the American way of life and many take “giving” quite seriously, as a civic engagement opportunity.

    There is a clear relationship between ancient and modern rhetoric that is even visible in advertisements that appear on billboards, in cities and in publications. TOMS Shoes manages to appeal to the logos, pathos and ethos of society as a whole, in a variety of ways. These methods have always been standard and effective modes of persuasion.

    The appeal to the pathos of everyday Americans is evident in its typeface and color. As explained in Chapter 6 of our text about the visual modes of communication, “the qualities of polished and professional are valued in our day and place,” especially when consumers are making purchases. An important visual mode is the appearance of clean cut text, which is a quality that this advertisement bestows with its rigid and clean text in a blank, black background. The creator petitions the audience’s emotions and evokes their feelings by emphasizing the phrase of “to a child in need” with the ability to reach sympathetic members of its audience, using bold print. That phrase, on the advertisement, is larger in size that anything else at the bottom. It increases the feeling of need to help protect the well-being of innocent children. Citizens feel the emotion of how it feels to help others in that every TOMS purchase supports improved health, access to education and confidence building around the world. Vision is one of the most important parts of learning and education. A large problem in our country was pointed out on the TOMS website, “Each year in the United States, two million children suffer from uncorrected refractive errors. Eighty percent of what a child learns in his or her first 12 years of life is through vision. For many students, the gift of sight means improved access to education or the ability to perform better in school.” When citizens hear about this along with the company name of TOMS, they article continue to have that appeal because of the way that the company is making such a difference even at home in the United States. Also, in Chapter 6 of our text, the relationship between pathos and color was analyzed to come to the assumption that how people respond to colors depends on the contexts in which they see the colors. The black background and white text can be seen as hard and loud to the audience.

    In this advertisement, there is an appeal to the audience’s logos as well. This is suggested that one can cause a large amount of good in communities, on the local and national level. At lot of this goes along with the context. For some without much knowledge about TOMS Shoes, including what was previously mentioned, there wouldn’t be as much of an appeal with logos. Also, our text analyzes the logos of arranging visual elements in the way that the author of the poster, TOMS Shoes, shaped someone else’s attention by using an actual TOMS shoe as the center of the advertisement to stress its important and what it can do for the world, persuading them to take the action. This visual composition has a limited number of elements so that the audience isn’t overwhelmed by detail and can see the point of the advertisement. The visual hierarchy is obvious with the last, valuable piece of information about making a difference at the bottom as it all makes one argument.

    Aristotle often wrote that ethos consists of three sub-parts that include good moral character, good sense and good will. Usually, ethos is associated with character of the speaker or writer, which in this case is TOMS Shoes. Today, Americans are persuaded by people they trust, even if the argument is not terribly strong. In this ad, the argument is strong using both the trust and commonplace aspects of the ethos of average citizens. American citizens tend to have strong ethos and Toms manages to address that well by pointing out other forms of civic duty and good citizenship. This behavior is assumed and considered to be commonplace in this great nation. By comparing the purchase of a pair of Toms to voting and giving blood in this advertisement, they have even more appeal to the American people because those acts have been and always will be important parts of our American identity and ideology.

  4. It’s all about the experience…

    June 28, 2015 by Olivia Kathleen Richards

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    Since my first visit to Georgetown Cupcake in 2010, I have eaten a cupcake in every place that I travel to. I have almost always found a great place. Each time I travel, look for a bakery that isn’t too far from my destination that is the favorite online with reviews.  But, I feel as though a problem of mine while going to all of these fantastic cupcakeries was that I never wrote anything down. Most times, I have documented my experiences by taking photos of me at the location. I wish I kept a notebook and recorded what I thought of the cupcake’s details. I desperately wanted to have the experience but, at those points in time, I wasn’t looking into sharing all of my experiences and opinions with the world. But, since I am now, I apologize for now being as concise as I could have been when I was actually eating the cupcake. Over the past five years, I feel as though I have always compared the cupcakes that I have tried to that of Georgetown Cupcake, the masters of perfect cupcakes, in every way. It is possible that the comparison will always be in the back of my mind…oh well!

    So, I will share the places that I have been too. Honestly, I have never had a truly BAD cupcake in any bakery that I find.

    Last year, I visited Hoboken, NJ to catch up with family living there after a piano performance of mine in New York City. I decided that since we were only down the street, it would be a great idea to finally stop at the bakery of the one and only Buddy Valastro of the show, Cake Boss. His show came onto TLC in 2009 and has been a “lazy” Sunday favorite in my house. Carlos Bakery was actually packed. Their line was extremely long…so much that it stretched to a street corner and then started on the next street corner where you would receive a ticket number like a deli counter. So, that forced us to return when it was less busy, after we had dinner with my family. Upon our return after 8 o’clock, there wasn’t even a line outside of the bakery. Once we got in, it was extremely crowded and slightly unorganized. I waited for at least a half hour inside of the crowded bakery before an employee took my order. They also only took cash, which was inconvenient. I ordered cupcakes and cannoli’s, since they are well known for their cakes. But, to my surprise, the cupcake wasn’t very good at all. It tasted generic and I had high expectations. I feel as though they are simply a master at decorating beautiful cakes in huge styles but they probably don’t taste very good when it isn’t a rich client purchasing them. The cannoli’s, on the other hand, were absolutely excellent. I was glad that we made the extra trip…just for the cannoli. I was sad that Carlos Bakery was overrated.

    Next, I will talk about a cupcakery that is a bit closer to home!

  5. TOMS Civic Artifact- Outline of Speech

    June 25, 2015 by Olivia Kathleen Richards


    Topic: Toms One for One Campaign

    Introduction: What does voting, giving blood and buying Toms shoes have in common?

    Thesis Statement: Toms began the One for One campaign to provide free shoes to children affected by the current poverty levels across the globe. With their campaign and usage of rhetorical strategies, the Toms company manages to raise awareness while considering the ethos, pathos and logos of their audience and calling upon them to uphold their own civic duty.

    Purpose: The purpose of this civic artifact and contemporary Toms advertisement is to motivate citizens to help the world by purchasing a pair of new shoes.


    Body 1: Description

    1. Bringing the audience into the real day to day situation that millions of children live in every day. Use rhetoric and the imagination of the audience to “reel them in.”
    2. History of Toms
    3. Start of the “One for One” campaign


    Body 2: Relation to text

    1. As we look to the text and examples presented by the authors of our RCL book, it becomes obvious that Toms calls upon the civic duties of its audience and addresses a prevalent issue that they need help to solve.
    2. Relation to Ancient and Modern Rhetoric- Appeals to the logos, pathos and ethos, of society as a whole, have always been standard and effective modes of persuasion.
      1. Reference to Ideologies
      2. Reference to Civic Commonplaces in America


    Body 3: Impact for today and tomorrow

    1. This civic artifact has clearly been successful in that it has definitely inspired members of society to action…even if they were unable to buy a pair of Toms.
    2. Their success is obvious as we analyze the numbers of shoes, bags, glasses and services donated.
    3. 100 giving partners in 70+ countries


    Conclusion: Toms Campaign- working to make change in the lives of children across the globe by appealing to our American civic nature with many rhetorical strategies

  6. Let’s start at home…

    June 25, 2015 by Olivia Kathleen Richards

    IMG_5859IMG_5854Georgetown Cupcake

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    The best way to begin my passion blog is to explain the root of this passion that I have acquired to find the greatest cupcake in America. It all began in the summer of 2010 as I sat with my mother in our living room, watching television. At that time, a new reality television show was released on TLC called “D.C. Cupcakes,” which shares the recipe to the sweet success of Sophie and Katherine Kallinis, sisters who risked their life savings and careers in fashion and finance to pursue their lifelong passion and dream of opening a bakery. With familial support and grandmother’s recipes, Sophie and Katherine opened Georgetown Cupcake in 2008 and became a success over night. The show highlights their booming cupcake empire from the decorating of thousands of cupcakes per day, to dealing with high class clients on special projects, to making cupcake tower masterpieces for weddings, fundraisers and festivals.

    As my Mom and I watched the pilot episode, I was enthralled by everything! I could literally take a bite of their cupcakes without leaving my couch. Georgetown Cupcake has an incredible selection of cupcake flavors and icing combinations. But, this cupcakery is most well known for their classic Red Velvet cupcake and signature swirl of icing.

    The half hour episode had me hooked. Once I took it all in, I set a goal for myself in a conversation with my mother. I decided that I couldn’t become obsessed with Georgetown Cupcake without tasting one of their Red Velvet or Salted Caramel cupcakes. So, I quickly told my Mom that by the end of 2010, I would get to Georgetown to make that happen.

    Luckily, my brother’s ice hockey tournament at the end of August took the family to Washington, D.C….giving me the opportunity to visit the home of D.C. Cupcakes! So, my mother, sister and I planned to visit Georgetown Cupcake between my brothers first and second ice hockey games of the tournament since there was a two and a half hour gap between them. Of course, we hit a ton of traffic on our way and arrived to see a line for cupcakes that stretched around the block. In order to make it on time for his second game, we had to turn around before we even got in line. I became very upset and talked my Mom into stopping at Georgetown Cupcake before we left to drive back to Pennsylvania.

    Once we finally arrived, we bought a dozen! I tried Salted Caramel and Red Velvet and fell in love. They had incredibly moist cake that was nowhere near dry and excellent icing that wasn’t too sweet, in their signature swirl.

    On that day, I decided to test a cupcake in every new city that I visit until I find a cupcake better than that of Georgetown Cupcake.

    Katherine, Sophie and their staff currently bake over 5,000 cupcakes each day and ship those batches of deliciousness all over the country. Their cupcakes have won numerous awards and contests and was voted “Best Bakery” in Washington, D.C. In my book, as a Cupcake Junkie, they should be voted “Best Cupcakery” in the United States. Since 2010, I have been to every Georgetown Cupcake location besides Atlanta (some more than once) in Georgetown, Boston (on its opening day), Bethesda, New York City and Los Angeles.

  7. Kairos in Happy Valley

    June 22, 2015 by Olivia Kathleen Richards

    The Family Clothesline                                                                                                                                        The Jerry Sandusky scandal rocked the Pennsylvania State University community in 2011. Following a two-year grand jury investigation, Mr. Sandusky was arrested and charged with 52 counts of sexual abuse of young boys over a 15-year period from 1994 to 2009. After a few were dropped, Sandusky was found guilty on 45 of the 48 remaining charges on June 22, 2012. Sandusky was sentenced on October 9, 2012 to 30 to 60 years in prison which is a life sentence at his age. Penn State became involved because the actions of several Penn State University officials were questioned in terms of whether they met ethical, moral, and legal obligations in reporting any suspected abuse.

    As a result of this scandal, the NCAA used the Freeh Report instead of its own investigation to impose sanctions on the Penn State football program. The NCAA imposed a $60 million fine, four-year postseason ban, scholarship reductions, and vacated all victories that occurred between 1998 and 2011. These sanctions were some of the worst ever imposed on a member school.

    In September of 2014, the NCAA realized how severe the consequences were, for the wrong people, and lifted two of the sanctions that were put in place. On that day of renewed athletic scholarships and bowl game eligibility, students gathered and celebrated this victory for the community which was given the opportunity to be civically engaged as the football sanctions were lifted. The community joined together to share its passion for Penn State University and its culture.

    In light of the celebratory circumstances, the Penn State Family Clothesline released t-shirts with “We’re Back” written on them, promoting the excitement and unity of the Penn State community, as it slowly returned to normalcy. The Family Clothesline displayed this ad on its windows and around campus during the kairotic moment that followed the sanctions being lifted.  The t-shirt wouldn’t have much meaning had it not been such an exciting and emotional time for the community. The business wanted to capitalize, financially, while relying on kairos. As a result, people purchased the shirts since the prior events increased their interest. The issue was extremely relevant to the time, place and community in which it originated. There was a clear sense of urgency for the business to maximize profits. This place-based event of the lifting of the sanctions was a kairotic moment and opening for opportunity.


  8. Passionate Possibilities

    June 21, 2015 by Olivia Kathleen Richards

    I am extremely excited for the beginning of my blogging experience. When I think about my blogging possibilities, two ideas seem to come to mind. I am truly passionate about interesting things that include cupcakes and politics. Over the past five years of my travels, I have visited a new “cupcakery” whenever I visit a new place in my hunt for the best cupcake in the country. This journey has taken me from California to New York to Kansas. I have had my fair share of cupcakes and tasted both the bad and the good. I am interested in starting a blog to document and share my experiences at these bakeries. In another aspect, I have a passion for politics and foreign policy of the United States and other foreign nations. I am interested in the actions that the United States federal government takes in hot spots of the world such as the Middle East. Advocating for the rights of women and other underrepresented groups is a passion of mine. Blogging about either of them would be an enjoyable experience for me.

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