The Mandala Blog: Assateague Island

After graduation, my friends and I took a quick camping trip to Assateague Island. Afterward, I had the chance to guest write about the experience for the Mandala Blog. If you’re interested, take a look:


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One of the first things I did when I graduated college was hit the beach. And not just any beach: Empty stretches of sand and a rising sun over the ocean’s horizon, where you’re isolated alone on an island seemingly in the middle of nowhere—and are those wild horses?

Assateague Island, a 48,000 acre vacation oasis, is shared between Virginia and Maryland, and is relatively untouched by human civilization. The secluded nature and wild island horses feels like a scene straight from your collection of Walter Farley Black Stallion books you had as a kid.

To Read More, Click Here To Visit the Mandala Blog.

Let Your Fire Die

As a post-college graduation indulgence, and as a way to prove to nature that we were competent adults worthy to take on the world, I and two of my friends from high school ventured through the countries of Maryland to Assateague Island National Seashore.

Only Veronica had been camping before, but while she supplied the tent, cooking utensils, lantern, and fire starters, even she admitted to Rebecca and I that she’d never camped at Assateague before and that she was more familiar with camping in the woods than by the ocean.

But not to fear; we were college graduates. We were adults.

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Cover Reveal and Designs for Author Zachariah Wilhelm

I’m about to mention Zachariah Wilhelm’s awesome new book, A Spark of Light, which is now available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle. Inside you’ll find a collection of short fiction and essays that center on the universal theme of light in a world of darkness. Also, if you want to keep up with his current projects, you can visit him on his website!


In college as a writing major, we get to the end of our education and have to compile a portfolio of all the best work we’ve done in our core writing classes. What’s even more daunting is this: we have to print it in a physical book form, complete with a cover.

Most writers are not graphic designers. We imagine all the cool book covers we’d like to see with our name on them, sure. And we might actually attempt to design a few, but for people at PCC, they typically syphon the project off to a graphic design friend to better focus on the content (since that’s the main part that will be graded).

My portfolio is next semester, but half my class is doing theirs this semester. Eager to practice and attempt a book cover myself while helping my fellow writing friends, I asked Zachariah Wilhelm, who sat next to me in Creative Nonfiction, if he had a cover designer yet. He said no, and the design was due in two weeks.

I volunteered. And boy was I ever excited.

This is what we came up with in the end. He wanted the spark to have severe contrast with the darkness around it, since that’s a strong theme he has throughout his stories: that spark of light in the darkness, that flicker of good in a world of evil. We also wanted to try to connect some of his pieces together with the cover, so we decided to rely on a dark forest and a tire swing, both of which are mentioned in the book.

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Middleridge Celebrates “Night Out” (Fairfax Connection)

Click here to read the PDF version.

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Middleridge Celebrates “Night Out”

The Middleridge Civic Association puts on the largest National Night Out party in Fairfax County.

The smell of grilled burger and smoking coals mixed in the air with the soundtrack of live music Tuesday night in Middleridge Park during the community’s National Night Out. Hundreds of Middleridge locals came to celebrate their community at the Middleridge Civic Association’s annual picnic and festival.

“My kids are having a blast. [They’ve got] snow cones, they’ve got fireman helmets, they’ve got badges from the police,” Jenny Scherff listed, a new resident in Middleridge from Alexandria City. Continue reading

Saratoga Pool a Hot Spot to Cool Off This Summer (Springfield Connection)

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Saratoga Pool a Hot Spot to Cool Off This Summer

Local pool continues to be a source of community for its members

After the climatic deluge from rainstorms throughout the last weeks, Springfield had a few days of blazing sun one would expect at the end of July. Nestled between the neighborhood and Saratoga Shopping Center, the Saratoga Pool provides a respite from the heat and haze prevalent in the late summer months.

“This is kind of my kids’ first exposure to water,” said Lucy North, recently moved from New York. “It’s great because being around friends or other kids their own age has made them stretch themselves in their ability and what they’re willing to try.” Continue reading

Lorton Library Challenge “Takes You Everywhere”

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Lorton Library Challenge “Takes You Everywhere”

Library integrates STEAM activities with reading program for the summer.

The Lorton Library is halfway through their Summer Reading Adventure, which runs from June 15 to September 1. Children and teens participate in the library’s summer reading program every year to read outside of school and win a coupon book for their efforts.

“I really enjoy working here and working with the kids and the community. It’s great especially in the summertime to connect them with books and activities while they’re out of school,” said Melissa Kariger, youth services manager.

The reading adventure at Lorton is one way the library encourages children to extend their education even during the summer. Any time during the program, children and teens can pick up a reading log at the library or register online and read a specified number of books based on the participant’s age. Continue reading

Teens Receive Character Awards (McLean Connection)

I had the opportunity to write an article for the Connection Newspapers about three teenagers awarded for their upstanding characters and public acts of service during McLean Day, a community fair held on May 19, 2018. For the online version, click here.

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