‘Chasing Life’ refresher: Catch up before the Christmas special

Since August, we’ve been counting down to the Chasing Life Christmas special, and it’s finally almost here. So you’ll be ready to pick up where Chasing Life left us hanging this summer, I gathered the must-know moments of the season.

Oh hey, girl! We meet April and right away fall in love with her. She’s career driven and doesn’t accept the word “no.” She’s an aspiring journalist—strong, confident, and determined. Basically the stable 24-year-old the rest of us wish we could be.

Read the rest of the refresher here.

Jessica Meraz talks Natalie Ortiz’s return to ‘Chasing Life’

For a while on Chasing Life, Natalie was nothing more than a name on a Post-it, secretly tucked away in April’s desk after a chance encounter the two unknowing half-sisters had at Thomas Carver’s grave. Once Brenna found out there was a Natalie, she sought her out, and we got a glimpse at the other sister.

That wasn’t the end of Natalie, though. She’ll be back soon—and actress Jessica Meraz, who plays the hard-to-love character, says Natalie is “going to spice things up a little bit.” We chatted with Meraz to get all the deets onChasing Life’s bad girl.

Read the full Q+A here.

Keeping ‘Chasing Life’ light: Actor Abhi Sinha dishes on all things Danny Gupta

Chasing Life‘s April couldn’t get by without the crew she has, with each member contributing to her sanity in his or her own way. As a workaholic, April couldn’t maintain her professional edge at the Boston Post without some competition. Enter Danny Gupta, played by actor Abhi Sinha, who’s always trying to outdo April. On her last day in the office, we didn’t get to see Danny and April say a heartfelt, or even jerky, goodbye. During his hospital visit on last night’s summer finale, however, we got to see that Danny isn’t just a scarecrow without a heart.

We can’t get enough of the comedic relief Danny Gupta brings to Chasing Life. So we caught up with Sinha to find out if he’s Team Leo or Team Dominic, if Danny ever has a shot with Raquel, and how he’d like a career in journalism. Oh, and he was even down for some rounds of a Danny Gupta-style This or That game!

Read the rest of the Q+A here.

Urban Jibaro: The New Puerto Rican

Perhaps working a nine to five feels like enough for most people. Unfortunately for George Torres and his sleep schedule, the community building he does during his spare time is where his passion is rooted. While many people contribute to their communities by volunteering or participating in events, Torres does so predominantly by using social media. The 42-year-old or “29 years-old with 13 years experience” started by using his online presence for the Latinos in New York City and has since expanded to projects nationwide. Known in the Twitterverse as the Urban Jibaro, Torres uses his social media presence as a soundboard for Latinos. “I’m basically a mashed up version of the new Puerto Rican,” says Torres, who joins his traditional Puerto Rican roots while embracing the advantage of new technology.

Read the entire profile piece at quelatinablog

This Is How She Makes It

Latina finds ways to overcome the challenges of breaking into the entertainment industry.

Not many people are able to say they had the opportunity to showcase their skills in front of their biggest influence. For Judianny Compres, a thirty-something actress in New York City, today is that day. Her face would be most familiar to mainstream audiences for her role opposite Eddie Murphy in Tower Heist. On this day though, she beams with excitement as she chats about the full circle moment that awaits her, an audition for director Ivo van Hove, whose production of the play A Streetcar Named Desire inspired her during the early stages of her acting career.

Read more…

Latina Leads the Love Talk

February is a trial for single women who have to endure the endless sight of red hearts and swooning couples. It’s prime time for Brooklyn native Lisa Velazquez, who is at their aid year-round. After receiving her Masters in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University, Velazquez took up the challenge of coaching single women. Through workshops, individual coaching, and a guidebook in the works, she is filling a void in frank conversations about sex, dating, and relationships that she believes exists among Latinas, and along the way has branded herself as the Latina lovestyle coach.

Was there a moment or experience that led to you becoming a love coach?

Honestly, it was a series of experiences. And growing up Latina. When I was 15, I was in a peer education group with one of my cousins. We were discussing virginity and devout virginity among the Latina culture. And I really had an issue with why this was taught to the young women and not being taught to the young men. Why were we being taught to save ourselves for them when they don’t save themselves for us?


Read the entire Q&A at queLatinablog

Second-Screen Apps Support Social TV Trend

Traditionally Sundays are for football, and for 23-year-old Tony Moya that means a multi-screen event. With his 55-inch television screen as background noise, Moya turns most his attention to an iPad mini with the ESPN Fantasy Football app. His team, The Rolling Tones, is part of Carlo’s Bakery League along with nine other teams. The game day trash-talks keep the season entertaining and the team’s owners, like Moya, on their toes.

To be a well-informed owner, he spends three days a week—Tuesdays through Thursdays—scouring the Twitter section of the app and reading sports blogs to assemble a winning team for the week’s games. If a player on his team gets injured, Moya takes to following that player’s NFL team on Instagram and Twitter in order to get the latest updates on his playing status before locking in his team for the week. All of this effort has resulted in The Rolling Tones taking the number one lead on all but one game up until week 14 in early December.

The Hoboken native may not realize it, but he is part of the growing trend of  “social TV”: where viewers take to a smaller screen, like an iPad mini or smart phone, to gain additional information relative to what they are watching on a big screen or laptop.

Mashable defines social TV as “technologies surrounding television that promote communication and social interaction related to program content.” Simply put, social TV means viewers sharing real-time reactions  via Twitter, Facebook, texts and popular second-screen television apps.

This trend became so prominent in 2013 that Nielsen launched Twitter TV Ratings early last October In its first week, Scandal, ABC’s latest hit show now in season three, had topped the charts. Scandal also happens to be the pioneer in social TV; the cast of Scandal live tweets with their audience every week while the show airs in both coasts. For many Scandal fans, part of enjoying the episode is the experience of live tweeting with fellow fans, as well as the cast. This week Scandal remains in the top 10 of Nielsen’s Twitter TV Ratings at number six.

Not surprisingly, a Nielsen survey found that “a spike in TV ratings can increase the volume of Tweets, and, conversely, a spike in Tweets can increase tune-in,” according to Chief Research Officer of Nielsen, Paul Donato.

For Moya, participating in fantasy football has made him a more ardent football game viewer, and increased his TV viewing. “With this, you’re not just a fan of one team, you’re a fan of the whole NFL.” The fantasy football app automatically calculates the scores for The Rolling Tones. It has its own rules for accumulating points, which is listed in the app for reference, but even the newest participant of fantasy football is able to navigate the app’s turf green pages with ease. The Twitter timeline included in the app offers Tweets and article links from all sports reporters and bloggers to make Moya’s research more accessible.

Second-screen apps, like ESPN Fantasy Football, are purposely simple to navigate. Being television companions, their mission is to support the program, not take away from it.

Entrepreneurs have capitalized on the desire audiences have to go beyond just viewing the television program itself. When entrepreneur Anthony Rose and his business partner noticed how often people were watching television with a phone or tablet in hand, they “realized there’s something in this space.” They developed an app called Zeebox. Social TV is only one of the five uses of Zeebox as a second-screen companion. Zeebox members get a timeline of all tweets related to the program they are watching, so they are not limited to social media interactions with their followers or friends only.

The company also took on spoilers which had doomed the joy of watching a show for West Coast audiences. By using automatic content recognition to separate tweets based on their timestamp in correlation to the show, Zeebox allows users to filter their timelines in two: the tweets from when the show aired on the East Coast and the live tweets.

Once football ends Moya hibernates until the next season with the exception of the only television series he follows, American Horror Story, but he does not mind spoiler tweets. In fact, if his job has forced him to DVR an episode he encourages them by taking to social media to ask, “What’s going on,”. The spoiler tweets prepare him for what he will watch later and allows him to draw his own conclusions after reading everyone else’s.

In the future that fantasy football app could potentially be out of Moya’s hand and iPad and instead be an integrated part of the game on the big screen. Still Moya does not favor having any kind of overlay on his 55-inch television screen. “I would rather have the whole TV screen be the game than have the app stuff on.” He prefers to keep juggling three screens: television, iPad, and iPhone.

Olivia Simone: From Pre-med to Journalism

The daughter of two medical school sweethearts was destined to study pre-med, at least that was the plan, before Olivia Simone found her passion for journalism. Unsure if she could nail a journalism job with little real-world experience, but the desire to pursue a journalism career post-college, Simone landed at New York University’s magazine writing program. Early on in her time at Boston College, where she went on to major in English, she knew her dislike for chemistry meant she would not stick with pre-med. So now still unsettled, her belongings just arriving to her Astoria apartment the day before we spoke, Simone explains her excitement for this new journey, her first time in a big city.

Why New York University: After hearing the program praised by a former student who visited our class at Boston College I started thinking about it. N.Y. is the headquarters of so many publications; I knew it was the place to be. I interned in the summer of 2012 for the “Newton Tab” and “Roslindale Transcript.” As a junior and senior at Boston College I wrote and managed “Gavel” magazine. I really like fitness and I read “Self” and “Shape.” I think I’d enjoy writing for a fitness magazine, but I haven’t made up my mind on that yet.

Christmas Baby: I wouldn’t want to spend my actual birthday with anyone but my family. My birthday is actually Dec. 25, so I am a Christmas baby and my birthday cake is always the dessert after Christmas dinner. I have never celebrated my birthday with anyone but family. My parents actually met in med school then opened up their own practice in Maine. I am really close to my family. I have a younger brother, Matthew, who is 20 years old, and also lives away from home in an apartment at school, the University of Maine. My mom has never had empty nest syndrome, so I’m sure she is happy to have some alone time now.

Big City Obstacles: My biggest obstacle coming to New York University to study journalism is probably learning to live in such a big city. I do not really know how to get around. I’m worried about navigating the large N.Y. events, like fashion week. I do not have many friends here, though I do live with two people that with me from Boston College. I live with Mason and Tracy in Astoria because Mason refused to live in Manhattan. According to Mason, Manhattan is too crowded and he didn’t want a closet for a bedroom, but I partially think it’s because he wanted to live in a neighborhood that was more “hip.” The culture in Astoria is great. The food, different languages and even the farmer’s market on the weekends all make Astoria very likeable. I like to go eat at little hole in the wall more ethnic restaurants, so I look forward to finding some of those while I’m here.

Music Minor: I have always loved music, that’s why I decided to minor in it. I listen to classic rock, indie and instrumental music. The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Led Zeplin are a few of my favorite classic rock bands, and Phish is a jam band I enjoy listening to. When it’s raining, I listen to John Coltrane. The last festival I went to was Bonnaroo Festival in Tennessee in June 2013.

Home Sick Blues, Travel Itch: I am very into fitness and health, and in Maine I would do a lot of outdoor activities with my friends. That’s what I miss most from Maine: hiking, lakes and even driving a car! I do like to travel and see new places though. I’d love to travel to India for a summer to backpack of sorts through the country. I want to witness disparities. The poet Wallace Stevens was obsessed with Sri Lanka, and my thesis focused on Stevens, so I’d really like to travel to Sri Lanka.

–Katerina Torres