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Nov 2 / Natalie Frakes

Essential Apps for WSU

Colleges and universities are the places in which the minds of the future are molded and educated. I believe that they are also places in which new technologies can be tested and evaluated – what better way to get the students involved than having them critically rate computer and mobile applications that can be used in college? I also think it’s important for colleges to keep up with these new technologies, and it’s great because Wayne State has done just that.

The following is a list of some of my favorite mobile, tablet, and computer applications that have helped me throughout my college experience and while I’ve lived in Midtown!

Wayne State Mobile

The Wayne State Mobile app has helped me stay connected with mostly everything that was on my Pipeline account (now Academica) and has kept me up-to-date on the status of my grades, campus events and news, and so much more. This is a must-download for freshmen since it features parking availability, your class schedule, and a building search.

Blackboard Mobile Learn

We all know that (almost) every professor tries to use Blackboard to communicate with students at Wayne… false! Some people don’t know! Yes, it’s true. Professors are encouraged to utilize Blackboard – it’s an easy way to communicate with multiple students and post assignments, grades, and tons of other helpful stuff. Ever since I got a smartphone, it was easier for me to check what was going on in my classes with this app. Professors, rejoice, because never ever again can a student say they “didn’t know about that homework!”


There is no shortage of note-taking apps out there, but for me, Evernote comes out on top. Forget carrying around that disorganized planner and It’s a digital notebook in which you can organize your notes by subject and not have to worry about heavy papers. You can get the app on your desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphone! They all sync together and it makes life so much easier – take my word for it!

Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud

When working with so many different classes and being in different places at once, it becomes a hassle to carry around a heavy laptop and all your books with you. I have also been scanning stray papers I have an organizing them in my GoogleDrive – it means less clutter for me and more accessibility.

iTunes U and Coursera

iTunes U and Coursera, though controversial amongst academic profesionals, are both interesting and innovative ways to self-learn and teach. There is an abundance of online courses to choose from in almost every subject field and it definitely reimagines education.

Artown Detroit

ARTOWN DETROIT is an app created by Entrega Systems in Troy, MI and it assists users in locating Detroit public art, galleries, museums, and more! This app is seriously cool in that it uses your location and determines which pieces of local art or art-related vicinities are closest to you. Check out their browser app, too!

My list doesn’t end there, but I’ll save more for next time! Comment if you have any more essential apps for college.

Oct 20 / Natalie Frakes

Soul Jazz Sundays at Cadieux Cafe

The good ol’ Cadieux Cafe is not for the faint of heart. The classic Belgian-style bar, feather bowling alley, live music venue, and mussel madness producing restaurant is on the northeast side of Detroit on Cadieux, just before you hit Mack Avenue. On the outside, it appears to be the only functioning building on the block with huge “Cadieux Cafe” painted in classic font-type on its side and a dirt parking lot.

Don’t like the smell of seafood? Can’t handle the feeling of a place being haunted? If you answered yes to either of those, then don’t dare go inside the Cadieux. It’s home to the best mussels and pomme-frites in town and also home to the ghost of former owner Yvonne and Robert DeVos. Their ghosts have been seen sitting at tables after-hours and in the basement of the restaurant.

In addition to all its splendor, the Cadieux holds a dear place in my heart. It was where my parents took us for awesome dinners throughout my childhood, where my band Man Francisco had its CD Release Party, where I have met many great musicians, etc. etc. It’s the neighborhood hang-out on the east side with great food and drink, and locally-produced musicians.

Every Sunday, the Cadieux features Soul Jazz Sunday, a night of local jazz from 8:30pm-1am. This past Sunday, October 19th, my friend Jake Shadik and his quartet performed some original works and followed with a jam session in which lots of Wayne State products participated! It was really cool to see friends and classmates from Wayne perform together at a local hang.


If you can’t decide on what to do with your week, go to the Cadieux. There’s always something interesting happening – Tuesday jazz, Wednesday karaoke, Thursday quiz night, and the weekend always brings live music.

For more information on the Cadieux, check out!

Sep 28 / Natalie Frakes

Food Feature: Dine Drink Detroit

We all know that ’tis the season for studying, dining, and exploring the city of Detroit! For you freshmen who have spent your first month of college without exploring Detroit’s awesome restaurants, art and music scene, and other activites, please keep up with this blog. It’s my job to make sure you’re involved with the goings-on in Detroit!

For the next two weeks, keep an eye out for Dine Drink Detroit – it’s a restaurant collaboration in which certain participators offer $15 menu items from October 2nd through 11th. Some of my favorite Detroit restaurants that are participating include Green Dot Stables, Great Lakes Coffee Co., Mercury Burger Bar, and Motor City Wine!

Check out more details at Crain’s Detroit article: Dine Drink Detroit returns with more bars, restaurants.

Take advantage of the spectacular food culture Detroit has to offer! You can also visit Dine Drink Detroit’s website here:

Let your taste buds enjoy! xx

Sep 8 / Natalie Frakes

Summer Review

Hello, Wayne State friends! Welcome back to another year of academics! I’m excited to be sharing the journey of my last semester with everyone!

This past summer was one of the best I have had ever! Some highlights include going to Italy with my best friend Grace, who also just recently graduated from the music department, and completing my practicum requirement for the College of Education in Baltimore with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids program! Of course I will share more later, but these were the major highlights.

I am looking forward to continue sharing my Detroit happenings with everyone and I’m excited to be working as a Dean’s Delegate again!

Happy second week of school, everyone!

Apr 13 / Natalie Frakes

Marcus Elliot Quartet at Cliff Bell’s

For over a year now, the Marcus Elliot Quartet has been the Tuesday night feature at Cliff Bell’s jazz club located in downtown Detroit. Apart from the musicians who flock to the club for the traditional third-set jam session, the quartet is chiefly composed of Marcus Elliot on saxophone, Michael Malis on keys, Ben Rolston on bass, and Stephen Boegehold on drums.


The sign has a typo – they’re a quartet, not trio. But, they play every Tuesday night at CB’s – 8pm to midnight and there is no cover! My friends and I try to make it out every Tuesday night to support these guys because, simply put, they are some of the most fresh, talented, and most influential of the younger generation in the jazz scene of Detroit. Individually, all of the musicians in ME4 have performed with some of the world’s best jazz musicians – Marcus Belgrave, Paul Keller, Bob Hurst, etc. They’ve learned from some of the best, which is clear once you’ve heard them.


Listening to them is like witnessing a fresh page in Elliot’s/Malis’/Rolston’s collective narrative progress while the group continuously searches for artistic expression with in-demand chops and inventive writing. My favorite tune, and definitely a crowd favorite, is one of Elliot’s titled “The Hills of Panar Del Rio”.

Going out to Cliff’s on Tuesdays has become a tradition which I hope to keep to for a little bit longer. And simultaneously supporting Detroit’s music community and my friends is something that I will also continue to do for a long while.

Make it out to Cliff Bell’s sometime soon! You won’t regret it because they have great food, my favorite bartender in the world, and of course, the best musicians playing the best jazz. To hear some of Marcus Elliot 4tet’s music, check out You definitely won’t regret it!

Feb 18 / Natalie Frakes

Food Feature: Sala Thai

Sorry, folks! It’s been a while since I posted in here… I’ve been busy with midterms, and I know you all have been, too.

A couple weeks ago, I had a long lunch break on a Friday and I called up Stephen and we took a trip over to my favorite Thai food spot (because of the food and sentimental reasons) – Sala Thai.

Sala, located in Eastern Market on Russell Street, has delicious and authentic Thai food – arguably one of the best Thai restaurants in Metro Detroit. The restaurant is located inside an old firehouse and the environment is cozy and Thai-themed with canopy-like booths and big tables. The staff are all very nice and service is quick-paced. They have an extensive menu, as well, which includes a full bar and sushi.


The picture above shows my favorite dish from Sala Thai – tom kha. It’s a twist on chicken soup with a sweet and sour and lemony flavor. I order it with tofu, and it has coconut milk, green onions, mushrooms, and it’s sour because they also add fish paste. Don’t let that last ingredient make you stray from trying this! It honestly makes the dish so much better!

All of their noodle and rice dishes are to die for… Just be careful with the heat. Since this is an authentic Thai restaurant, their mild = a little spicier than normal, medium = spicy, and medium plus = mouth on fire and a runny nose.


Their vegetable curry (picture above) is superb. Get it with tofu, or don’t!

When you’re over in Eastern Market or just hungry for some Thai one day, I definitely recommend Sala Thai. Check out their website:

Feb 2 / Natalie Frakes

Food Feature: Green Dot Stables

Green Dot Stables is another restaurant in Detroit that stays open because I single-handedly support them with my patronage…

Just kidding. I do, however, go there maybe more often than I should, but only because it’s that good. Everytime I want a quick, cheap, delicious meal and some good drinks, Green Dot is the first place I think of.


Everything on the menu is below $2-$3 and even though you end up getting a few dishes, it ends up being less or equal to a regular, boring, sittin’-around-stale meal you can get at any other restaurant. But the Green Dot… They show horse races on their tv screens and they have raffles on Saturday nights for really obscure prizes. It’s also in the middle of nowhere on Lafayette and from the parking lot is an unobstructed view of the ghastly majestic Michigan Central Station.

These are the benchmarks I use when evaluating restaurants – not the food. So, with Green Dot being the A++++ exemplar, what’s not to like?

The food is super. It’s superfood. The following are specimens from Green Dot’s esteemed menu:


Chicken Paprikas (Hungarian-inspired soup) – $3

Korean Slider (burger with kimchi and peanut butter) – $3

I also had a Fluffer Nutter (marshmallow creme + peanut butter) for $2.

Spend the $10 you’ve made from tips at your after-school job and visit Green Dot! It’s the place to be.

Jan 28 / Natalie Frakes

Food Feature: Socra Tea

A few Sundays ago, I had the pleasure of eating Sunday brunch at Socra Tea, right here in Detroit! They were hosting a special brunch with Detroit Gypsy Kitchen and Socra Tea has the best loose tea collection I know of.

Detroit Gypsy Kitchen is based on the concept of plant-based eating. Of course, there’s plenty more to it, but the food on the brunch menu was all vegan and gluten-free! The spread below contains the following: tomato-basil soup, mushroom and Brussels sprouts quiche with rice-based crust, and a kale and sunflower seed salad with a homemade vinaigrette. Seriously yummy!


On top of this, I ordered a 20 oz. pot of Socra Tea’s Japanese Sencha – one of my favorite teas. All of this was for only $12. So, of course, with all these benefits, I hope they put together something again soon!

IMG_2401 IMG_2402

Socra Tea has a great space over in the Medical Center on Garfield, right by MOCAD. If you’re ever around there, you absolutely have to stop in! They always have a daily tea sampling, amazing pastries and desserts, and the tea is always delicious and hot. The atmosphere is welcoming and next-door to Sugar Hill Clay, a pottery school and art center.

Check out these awesome Detroit-based businesses at their websites: Socra Tea, Detroit Gypsy Kitchen, and Sugar Hill Clay!

Jan 18 / Natalie Frakes

Michigan Music Conference

I just got home from Grand Rapids after a few days of absorbing tons of information about music and music education at the Michigan Music Conference. I have the right to exclaim that I am absolutely exhausted!

The MMC is an annual conference for musicians around the state and Midwest. It’s such a great opportunity to network and see people you haven’t seen in a while! I ran into my middle school music teacher, youth orchestra director, saw a lecture by a former camp director, and got to see plenty of Wayne State alumni!


WSU Booth

I worked the Wayne State booth and spoke to several educators expressing interest in working directly with Wayne’s music programs. They wanted to form a relationship with the ensembles so their schools’ music programs could potentially take field-trips to witness collegiate-level music in action! This concept would be an amazing opportunity for the music department to become more involved with the community and for recruitment!

I attended and helped Academic Services officer Danny DeRose with the successful set-up of the Wayne State Alumni Reception. I greeted familiar faces and met new ones – all alumni of Wayne, too!


Alumni Reception

I believe that attending conferences pertaining to your field are important. Not only do you make valuable connections, but you also gain vast amounts of knowledge… The amount of sessions happening was overwhelming and I had a difficult time choosing what to go to. I highly recommend to all my colleagues in the CFPCA to attend some sort of conference for the field they are studying. Professional development is praised in the workforce!

I had an amazing time at the MMC and I can’t wait ’til next year!

Jan 7 / Natalie Frakes

Food Feature: Detroit Institute of Bagels

Yesterday, which was the first day of the Winter 2014 semester, and our first snow day, was when I ventured outside in freezing weather to try out the Detroit Institute of Bagels. They were of the few places around that was open and since having my wisdom teeth extracted last week, I hadn’t been able to chew anything substantial. I was semi-healed and I wanted to chew on something, so why not bagels?


We arrived at the DIB, hungry and wanting coffee, and I was surprised to see a decent amount of patrons weathering the cold. I guess it meant that their coffee was hot and their bagels awesome!

My hypothesis was proven – I ordered a plain bagel with jalapeño cream cheese and Stephen ordered one of their small-batch bagels: rosemary, olive oil, and sea salt with scallion cream cheese. Mmm! Seriously, their bagels are amazing… They were so good that we had to order one more. They also serve Anthology Coffee, a local artisan coffee roaster, and the roast they were serving was a full-bodied, sun-dried roast called Ngororero Bourbon.


Definitely recommend going to Detroit Institute of Bagels. They’re reasonably priced for the level of work they put in and everything is completely local. To find out more about them, check out their website: