Distraction Magazine Spring 2023

Page 1

spring 2023


The pioneer of punk is forever a fashion icon in history


Basketball fans, get your brackets ready for March Madness


How to elevate your everday staples


They’re more than just cars; they’re a lifestyle

the magazine of the students of the university of miami
magazine of the students of the They’re more than just cars; they’re a lifestyle PEDAL TO THE METAL spring 2023 VIVIENNE WESTWOOD The pioneer of punk is forever a fashion icon in history HIGH BALLIN’ Basketball fans, get your brackets ready for March Madness UPGRADE U How to elevate your everday staples

spring 2023


Harlond Beverly, UM guard, sinks a dunk. Basketball fans, get your brackets ready for March Madness


The pioneer of punk is forever a fashion icon in history

UPGRADE U How to elevate your everday staples


They’re more than just cars; they’re a lifestyle

the magazine of the students of the university of miami


the magazine of the students of the university of miami
to elevate your everyday staples.
WESTWOOD The pioneer of punk is forever a fashion icon in history.
TO THE METAL They’re more than just cars; they’re a lifestyle.
BALLIN’ Basketball fans, get your brackets ready for March Madness.


1 DISTRACTION Spring 2023 CONTENTS TABLE OF 3 11 19 29 43 51 52_Vivienne Westwood 55_juxtaposition 61_bell’uomo 62_upgrade u
HAPPENING HEALTH & WELLNESS 4_pedal to the metal 7_which car are you? 8_Fort Lauderdale 10_emojiology 12_imposters 15_not what it seems 16_turning red 20_get baked 24_boia de 26_not milk? 30_high ballin’ 33_up your game 34_game over 36_Puttshack 38_game on 40_roll with it 42_hate the player 44_slimming down 46_cycle syncing 48_oh, honey 50_gym class heroes


Who’s your favorite Super Mario character?


Editor-in-Chief_Lizzie Kristal

Managing Editor_Sal Puma

Executive Editors_Nicole Facchina & Matt Jiménez

Creative Director_Isa Márquez

Associate Creative Director_Marita Gavioti

Photo Directors_Nina D’Agostini

Assistant Photo Director_Ethan Dosa

Public Relations Director_Jordan Browning

Fashion Director_Andrius Espinoza

Digital Editor_Jamie Moses

Web Designer_Sidney Cocimano

The Guide Editor_Caleigh Russo

What the Fork_Amanda Mohamad

Special Section_Andrew McCleskey

Health & Wellness Editor_Virginia Suardi

Fashion Editor_Kelly Bramson

Faculty Adviser_Randy Stano

To this day, I’m undefeated in “Who Let the Dogs Out?” on the original “Just Dance.” I still cherish my vintage “High School Musical 2” deck of “Uno” cards. And not to mention the sacred day I quit basketball in middle school after years of hoping I’d grow past 5’4. Games have always acted as a getaway from my responsibilities, a playful veil drawn over my stress. This issue’s special section, Game, is meant to do the same for you. Competition lights a fire in everyone — just don’t let it burn you.

Bounce through the vibrant photos and animated designs on these pages. I’m incredibly proud of the teamwork my staff presented to piece this issue together. It’s my favorite so far, but who’s keeping score? Life’s a game, and Distraction came to play.

Auf Wiedersehen,

Supporting Faculty_Samuel Terilli & Tsitsi Wakhisi & Contributors


The magazine is produced four times per year, twice a semester. City Graphics and Bellack Miami printed 2,000 copies of the magazine on 8.5 x 11 inch, 60-pound coated text paper 4/4. The entire magazine is printed four-color and perfect bound. Most text is nine-point Minion Pro with 9.8 points of leading set ragged with a combination of bold, medium and italic. All pages were designed using Adobe Creative Suite CC software InDesign with photographs and artwork handled in Photoshop and Illustrator. For additional information, visit distractionmagazine. com. Questions and comments can be sent to 1330 Miller Drive, Student Media Suite 202A, Coral Gables, FL, 33146, dropped into SSC Student Media Suite Suite 200 or emailed to distraction305@ gmail.com. All articles, photographs and illustrations are copyrighted by the University of Miami.

Vivienne Westwood’s legacy lives on, forever influencing punk fashion. photo_gracie herron.

“High Ballin’” highlights the fun for fans as they place bets on March Madness brackets. photo_jared lennon.


When it comes to contributors, we’re not picky. Whether you’ve found your niche in a biology book, you’re notorious for doing “nothing” at the comm or business school or you’re halfway into your college career and still wave that “undeclared major” flag, we want to hear what you have to say. Distraction is an extracurricular/volunteer operation made for students, by students, and covers the full spectrum of student life here at The U. If you want to get involved or have any questions, comments or concerns email us at distraction305@gmail.com.

Take your daily staples to the next level with some simple tips in “Upgrade U.” photo_reese putnam.

“Pedal to the Metal” explores the world of car addicts and the high-speed lifestyle. photo_evelyne_305.

the magazine of the students of the university of miami spring 2023 UPGRADE U How to elevate your everyday staples. VIVIENNE WESTWOOD The pioneer of punk is forever PEDAL TO THE METAL They’re more than just cars; they’re a lifestyle. HIGH BALLIN’ Basketball fans, get your brackets ready for March Madness. the magazine of the students of the university of miami spring 2023 The pioneer of punk is forever a fashion icon in history. VIVIENNE WESTWOOD HIGH BALLIN’ Basketball fans, get your brackets ready for March Madness. PEDAL TO THE METAL They’re more than just cars; they’re lifestyle. UPGRADE U How to elevate your everday magazine of the students of the They’re more than just cars; they’re a lifestyle. PEDAL TO THE METAL spring 2023 VIVIENNE WESTWOOD The pioneer of punk is forever a fashion icon in history. HIGH BALLIN’ Basketball fans, get your brackets ready for March Madness. UPGRADE U staples. the magazine of the students of the university of miami spring 2023 VIVIENNE WESTWOOD The pioneer of punk is forever a PEDAL TO THE METAL They’re more than just cars; they’re lifestyle. UPGRADE U How to elevate your everday staples. Harlond Beverly, UM guard, sinks a dunk. Basketball fans, get your brackets ready for March Madness. HIGH BALLIN’
spring 2023
I don’t know anything about Mario Kart.
2 DISTRACTION Introduction
Toad Rosalina for the WIN Luigi

Welcome to your roadmap — from the how-to’s to the best-of’s, The Guide covers it all. We’ll answer the curiosities you never knew you had. Buckle up and veer into the world of car obsessions and addicts. Pack your bag and plan a weekend in the infamous Fort Lauderdale. Text smarter when you learn the hidden meanings behind popular emojis. Whatever you’re looking for, let us guide you.


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photo_gracie herron.


For some, cars are just a mode of transportation: a way to get from point A to point B. But for car lovers, they’re more than just a medium; they’re a lifestyle. These supercar sommeliers treat their cars like children and could tell you about every square inch of metal and machinery. But what makes these four-wheeled contraptions so alluring? Turns out the intrigue is far deeper than a sick paint job and loud engine.

words_virginia suardi. design_michael cervantes & lizzie kristal. photo_@evelyne_305. THE MK5 TOYOTA SUPRA, pictured here, can be considered a layman’s race car. The owner can be found at @theultimatecarguy on Instagram.

Living in Miami, chances are you’ve met plenty of people who love their cars more than themselves. With streets choked by Lamborghinis, BMWs and Corvettes and a campus that is no stranger to unique sports cars, our city is home to unlimited car fanatics with flashy, loud cars.

From differences in design to speed capacity, there’s a plethora of traits that separate one vehicle from another. Each car is like a snowflake, with unique motor sounds, interior amenities, and steering ratios. Some sturdier cars, like Jeeps, are more suited to the great outdoors, while high-tech Teslas make better big-city cars.

But don’t cars all serve one purpose: to take you from one place to another? Do these sometimes minute-seeming variations between cars really make a difference? According to Jose Cortez, a 23-year-old University of Miami graduate, yes, they do.

Cortez owns a MTM LLC. store in North Miami. MTM, in partnership with ANSA motorsports, provides all kinds of services for car-aficionados, including repairs, tuning services, racecar rentals and track support for racers.

Getting involved with the industry was only natural for Cortez, whose interest in cars dates back to as long as he can remember.

“[Cars] are an extension of people’s personalities,” said Cortez.

For him, the opportunity to work with all kinds of vehicles for a living has been a lifelong dream. His interest in cars began when he was a baby, and fully blossomed when he got his driver’s license as soon as he turned 16.

But is an interest in cars an innate trait, or is it learned? For many, it can be a combination of both.

João Renato Corbellini, a UM senior, inherited his love of cars.

“It’s been with me since I was a baby,” said Corbellini. “My dad is a big car enthusiast, so I always had an affinity to cars.”

Later, his obsession with the show “Top Gear,” which features and reviews a wide variety of cars from supercars to family cars, accelerated his passion for cars.

Echoing Cortez, Corbellini said that “[cars] all feel completely different to drive which gives them a ‘personality’ in a way.”

To maximize sales, car companies build a strong brand identity for themselves. While aesthetic aspects play a large part in brand differentiation, so do engineering facets like weight distribution, the type of suspension or the tire design. These elements make cars feel either lighter or heavier and make them either smoother or more resistant to drive, which can make cars feel more specialized to their particular owner.

Corbellini’s love for cars extended past an affinity for different features or brands, even becoming a career for him at one point. In 2013, he started racing in a sport called “karting,” a road race variant that involves driving open wheel, four-wheeled vehicles on full-size motorsport circuits. Getting involved in karting led him to win the Brazilian championship in 2017, and in 2019 he moved to Italy to compete in the European races.

Corbellini ultimately stopped competitively karting in 2020 after losing his sponsors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but his passion for cars is still a major part of his life.

“Being wheel to wheel with other talented drivers competing for one win was an incredible experience,” Corbellini said. “It is the most rewarding sensation I have felt to this day, and that sensation is what had me coming back.”

Like Corbellini, racing is a big part of

what drew Cirrafina Biele, a junior majoring in public relations, into car culture. Her family’s love for Formula 1, the highest level of international racing competition, introduced her to the world of car enthusiasm.

“I started watching F1 when I was 16 and that sparked my own interest in cars and racing,” Biele said.

Traditionally, F1 holds their events in cities like Monaco and Barcelona, but as of last May, the competition expanded to stage a race right here in Miami at Hard Rock Stadium. Biele is working in the Paddock Experience & Industry Relations department at this year’s Miami Grand Prix.

For her, it’s the adventure of the races that keeps her coming back. “Formula 1 is a dangerous sport,” she said. “But it’s the thrill and differences in every race that keep me coming back for more.”

F1, among other events like the evergrowing Miami auto show in October, will increase the visibility and popularity of car culture in the Magic City. The thousands of up-and-coming companies moving into South Florida and the rising cost of living in the city will also likely attract more supercar owners and car aficionados.

So, what makes a great car? Obviously, like any product, it’s subjective, but according to experts, there are key components to look out for. Good weight distribution, braking ability and driver comfort are all important tenets of an excellent car.

While many people value cars as crucial status symbol, established “luxury” brands don’t always deliver on quality. Alfa Romeo, for example, which today is one of the most reliable luxury car brands, once released a car called the “Alfa Romeo Arna” which was criticized for being a terrible crossbreed of Japanese and Italian construction, with poor

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THE STRAIGHT-SIX ENGINE, also known as the inline-six engine, is found in the Supra and is well known across luxury cars for its smooth handling.

design and terrible functionality. And Jaguar, which is known for producing high-quality, reliable vehicles, released the “Jaguar X-Type” car, which was named one of the 50 worst cars of all time by Time Magazine.

Affordable car brands can also produce exceptional cars. Top Gear’s list of the 50 greatest cars of the past 20 years includes several cars from Toyota, Honda, and other traditionally “lower-end” manufacturers.

There are some fan favorites worth mentioning, however. The Porsche 911 is often referenced as one of the greatest cars ever made – with impressive sporting abilities, beautiful, timeless design, and everyday durability. Both Corbellini and Cortez love the Porsche 911, but Cortez preferred the modern GT3, just released recently in 2023, while Corbellini favored the classic, vintage turbo version.

There are a plethora of exciting car releases in the upcoming few years for car enthusiasts to look forward to. Many of these upcoming releases include fully electric or hybrid cars, which represent a monumental shift in the car world towards sustainability.

BMW, for example, has been experimenting with hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars, the results of which have been somewhat mixed. The upcoming 2024 BMW i8 M is predicted to be an improved follow-up to their plug-in i8 hybrid halo car, which didn’t quite live up to expectations.

In other electric-car news, Biele is intrigued by Lamborghini’s announcement that they will no longer produce combustion engine vehicles, henceforward introducing hybrids and plug-in hybrids.

“I’m not the biggest supporter of this idea, because I love the sound of current Lamborghinis,” she said. “So, it should be interesting to see how they can incorporate that.”

Also in 2024, Ferrari will be releasing their first SUV – a historic moment for a brand traditionally built on racing. The car, named “Purosangue” — meaning thoroughbred in Italian — shows the brand’s commitment to retaining the character and performance quality of Ferraris despite the significant change in size. The Purosangue is predicted to be one of the fastest SUVs ever created and will likely compete with luxury brands Rolls Royce and Bentley, who also produce high-quality, performance driven cars of the same size.

From racing competitions to new electric releases, there’s much more than meets the eye when it comes to cars. Through speaking to car lovers, it’s not hard to understand what makes these intricate, complex machines so alluring. With the introduction of the F1 Grand Prix and a rapidly growing population of entrepreneurs, investors, and go-getters, Miami is the perfect place to dive into the world of car-aficionados.

If you want to get immersed in the culture, you don’t have to break the bank. Start by watching racing competitions or TV shows like “Top Gear,” which are accessible ways to become more involved in the car world. Or for something more hands-on, there are plenty of upcoming car events to attend, like the F1 Grand Prix in May, or the official Miami auto show in October.

DESIGNED ONLY FOR A TOURING CHAMPIONSHIP in Japan, the ultra-rare Toyota Supra ‘88 Turbo A had only 500 models made. Though not the car pictured here, it’s definitely a collectors item.



Cars have personalities too, so which one matches yours? Take our quiz to find out, and add it to your Pinterest dream board. We’re not experts — we can barely tell the difference between the gas and the brake, so take your results with a grain of salt. words_amanda mohamad


How do you pace your life?

a. I take my time with everything. Cherish the moment.

b. Like Vin Diesel — if you know what we mean.

c. Depends on the day.


What does your dream vacation look like?

a. Floating in the sea.

b. Racing down the slopes.

c. I’m always down to explore new destinations.


It’s Friday night, you are . . .

a. Recovering from my long week of school or work on the couch with my favorite snacks.

b. Staying until closing time at clubs and bars.

c. I don’t even know my plans before 11:59 p.m.


Your favorite movie is . . .

a. A rom-com.

b. Action or thriller.

c. I have too many favorite movies.


What makes you swipe right on a dating app?

a. Showing off their hobbies.

b. Showing off their body.

c. Dating apps are not for me.

If you answered mostly A . . . 2023 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA Coupe

With a futuristic and elegant exterior, this car is for those of you who don’t necessarily need to push the pedal to metal but want to ride around in style. The automatic climate control system, ambient LED lighting and premium leather seats make long road trips a luxurious experience. Don’t get too confused by the gearshift disguised as a windshield wiper.

If you answered mostly B 2023 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet

Incorporating 640 horsepower and a top speed of 205 mph, this car allows you to fly down I-95 like you’re in “Fast and Furious.” The best part is you can reach 60 mph in under three seconds. For the record, we are not taking responsibility for any traffic tickets you may receive while driving this beauty.

If you answered mostly C . . . 2023 BMW i4 M50

Whether you’re the cool soccer mom picking up your kids from practice or the young business professional heading to an important meeting, you need a reliable car that doesn’t give you a headache. That’s why the efficient, electric-powered BMW i4 M50 is perfect for those of you who get confused every time you go in for an oil change. Plus, who doesn’t love a fully charged car in the morning?

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Picture this: you’re fresh off the plane, having just escaped yet another brutal northeast winter Sure, you will have to go back in four days, but you’re determined to make the most of your vacation to Fort Lauderdale This South Florida city has it all: enriching museums, beautiful beaches, buzzing bars and chic boutiques. Need help figuring out where to start? Don’t fret, we’ll show you the best places to go, no matter what scene you’re looking for.

words_lauren ferrer. design_adriana leόn. photo_isa márquez.

“The weather is always so nice, and it’s always calmer than Miami,” said Navya Kulhari, a University of Miami junior from Broward County. She said Fort Lauderdale is the perfect place to soak in the Florida sunshine without the hustle and bustle in Miami. Come one, come all to Fort Lauderdale, your new go-to vacation spot.

The Background

Fort Lauderdale was initially inhabited by the Tequesta people. In the late 19th century. The area was settled by Americans who established small farms. In 1911, the city of Fort Lauderdale was incorporated and, in the 1920s, the city became a popular tourist destination due to its beaches and scenic waterways. During World War II, the city served as a training center for soldiers and, after the war, it experienced a rise in popularity as many veterans returned to the area. In the 1960s, Fort Lauderdale became known as the “spring break capital of the world” due to many college students visiting the city during spring break. Now, you may know it as “Fort Liquordale” during March while students flood the streets and clubs.


The spring break hotspot is often referred to as the “Venice of America” due to its vast network of canals, which resemble the waterways of Venice, Italy. The city has over 165 miles of navigable waterways connecting to the Intercoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean. Initially used for transportation and commerce, these waterways add to the attraction of Fort Lauderdale, offering boat tours, water taxis and views of the magnificent waterfront homes you see on Zillow. The canals have also contributed to the city’s reputation as a boating hub, littered with numerous marinas and boat yards.

Food & Culture

The Fort Lauderdale food scene is thriving, with a collection of restaurants that range from casual seafood grills to fancy steakhouses. Whether you’re looking to catch a meal between tanning sessions on the beach or dress up and splurge on a fancy dinner, you’re covered. Mitch’s Downtown Bagel Café is a popular breakfast spot known for its fresh-baked bagels made daily. The menu also features a

PALM TREES LINE the beaches and streets of Fort Lauderdale, an iconic scene often pictured in marketing for the Sunshine State.

variety of spreads, sandwiches, salads and other breakfast items. The café has a cozy atmosphere and is a popular gathering place for locals to grab either a quick bite on the go or indulge in a leisurely brunch.

“We ate at Mitch’s Downtown Bagel Café and it was fire,” said Thalia Vlahos, a UM sophomore who visited Fort Lauderdale earlier in the semester.

For lunch, stop by Magnolia Caffe, a hidden gem in the heart of Fort Lauderdale. The artisan cafe is covered in eye-catching antiques from wall to wall. The familyowned business serves coffee, tea, kombucha, light meals and desserts baked fresh every morning. Its unique decoration — indoors and outdoors — makes any guest feel like they are enjoying a meal with the coolest grandparents.

15th Street Fisheries is a popular seafood restaurant situated on the Intercoastal Waterway. The riverside location offers scenic views of the water and surrounding boats. The menu features a variety of fresh seafood options, including fish, crab, lobster and more. Known for its relaxed, casual atmosphere, the spot is a popular destination for locals and tourists.

If you’re searching for a pick-me-up throughout the day or a spot to catch up with friends for a cup of coffee, there are plenty of options. JB&C, Wells Coffee Co. and Brew Urban Cafe are all situated along the Tri-Rail railroad. With their unique atmosphere and varied menus, these spots allow patrons to enjoy company or read.

Shopping & Culture

Fort Lauderdale also has a rich cultural heritage, reflected in its museums, galleries and cultural events. Las Olas Boulevard, a popular location, offers a variety of shopping and dining options.

“If I was visiting Fort Lauderdale for Spring Break, I’d definitely say to visit Las Olas. There’s plenty of great local restaurants and shopping there, and they often host events like theater performances and off-broadway shows nearby at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts,” said Emily Danzinger, a UM sophomore from Broward County. “Not too far from Las Olas is also Revolution Live, where you can watch your favorite band, and the Museum of Science and Discovery, which has one of the biggest IMAX movie screens in America.”

According to locals, the thrifting culture in Fort Lauderdale is one of the best in the tri-county area. Stop by the American Thrift Store for multiple floors of pre-loved clothing, shoes, bags, furniture and more. Now open with two locations, Oddballs is the place for antique lovers, filled with what is best described as “things.” From unique plates to vintage movie posters and bomber jackets, Oddballs is the perfect place to walk through for hours. Out of the Closet is a chain of thrift stores with a mission to support HIV/AIDS healthcare, prevention and advocacy. All proceeds from the sale of items at Out of the Closet stores support the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and its efforts to provide healthcare and support to those affected by HIV/AIDS. In addition to its thrift store offerings, Out of the Closet also provides free HIV testing and other health services at some of its locations.


Fort Lauderdale has a vibrant nightlife scene, with several popular nightclubs that offer a variety of experiences for visitors. Some of the best nightclubs in the city include Revolution Live, a popular live music venue that hosts local and national acts, America’s Backyard, a large outdoor bar and nightclub that features live music and DJs, Vibe Las Olas, a chic nightclub that features a large dance floor and VIP areas, The Wharf Fort Lauderdale — cousin to Miami’s belvoed Wharf — is waterfront bar and bistro with DJs providing the vibe and Blue Martini, an upscale bar and lounge that features live music, cocktails and a VIP section for you.

Spring Break

If you’re planning to spend spring break in Fort Lauderdale, here are some tips to help you make the most of your trip.

First, plan. Fort Lauderdale is a popular destination, so make plans to ensure you have accommodations and activities set before you arrive. This doesn’t mean have a full itinerary, but locking down where you’re staying and maybe a reservation or two for dinner can make things go a lot smoother.

Next, know the rules. The city is known to have strict regulations for spring breakers, so familiarize yourself with the local laws and regulations to avoid trouble during your stay. Stay safe and use your common sense. As one would anywhere else, be aware of your surroundings, travel in groups and take precautions to keep you and others you are traveling with safe.

Though while being prepared is important, the number one rule of every trip is to have fun. Explore the city, bask in the beautiful beaches and enjoy every moment.

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IF YOU WANT TO MAKE YOUR STAY a little boujee, try staying at a hotel. Some popular hotels are Hilton Fort, Pelican Grand Beach Resort or the Riverside Hotel. GRAB A QUICK BITE at some great cafes — Fort Lauderdale has plenty. Try Maggie’s Favorite Bakeshop, Stork’s Bakery, Brew Urban Cafe or Press and Grind. THE LAS OLAS CENTRE are two luxury office towers that also have fine dining options, shopping destinations, a Starbucks and even a fitness center.


If trying to decipher what your crush said in a text wasn’t enough, an added emoji can make it hard to see their true intentions. Nowadays, when every joke is layered in five different coatings of irony, how can you tell if that sad face emoji is genuine? Thankfully, our staff is chronically online. With our extensive knowledge of emoji nuance, you can peel back the layers of these modern hieroglyphics.

Whether it’s for a joke, emphasis or even decoration, emojis have become a staple in online communication — enough to warrant companies making emoji merchandise, spinoff Bitmojis, a musical and a movie.

What makes these emojis so fun is their versatility. When glancing at a teenager’s screen, the average parent might just see a “dizzy face,” a “sweat drop,” and a “hole.” However, those more involved on social media might have widely different definitions for these emojis.

So, whether you’ve been under a rock the last few years or want to up your emoji game, scroll no further — we’ve got the goods.


While it seems like a bland emoji, this one has made its way into text-lingo. The main use of it is for shock or speechlessness. For example, if you friend throws their god-awful crush into the group chat, and you don’t want to tear into them but want to show your disapproval, use this emoji to show that you’re at a loss for words.

After the original crying-laughing emoji was commodified on every mother’s Facebook meme page, the younger crowd began to use this emoji to make a new laughing staple and set themselves apart from middleage Facebook users. Even though its official name is “loud crying,” it is used the same as the laughing emoji.


While looking innocent, these leaves have a very distinct definition among the stoner crowd. They’re used as a calling card to show that someone smokes weed, without outright saying it. The inconspicuous leaves are popular on dating apps as well, so smokers can find their perfect bud.


Look at this rascal — what has he done, why is he smiling, and why is he trying to cover it up? That air of mischief is exactly what this emoji entails. Put it at the end of some burn to enact your jester’s privilege and show that you aren’t really angry, but that you see whatever you’re talking about as a joke rather than a serious matter.

Its spelt sleigh, but it rhymes with slay. Pretty self-explanatory.


With the iOS 16.4 beta recently being publicized, it seems that iPhone users will be having a few new emojis coming soon. Among them are a few new animals to the digital menagerie. A moose, a donkey, a crow and a silly little goose.

This guy looks like he’s had a few too many, and that’s the direction his definition has gone. It’s all about making bad decisions. Telling your friend that you woke up in your ex’s bed after the party? Use this to soften the blow, even though but they’ll still yell at you.

There are a few items as well: maracas, a flute, a comb and even some peas in a pod. Though, what will definitely make people happy are some new hearts. A sky-blue heart, a gray heart and a much-needed classic pink heart are coming to the new iOS — finally giving us pink heart lovers a simpler one to use.

Make sure to update your phone when they come out or you’ll be stuck in question-box hell while everyone else has fun with their new toys.

words_sal puma. design_isa márquez & lizzie kristal. MISCHIEF MAKER DIZZY FACE LOUD CRYING FACE FALLING

Happening tackles today’s hot topics and inspiring innovators. If it’s happening, we’re writing about it. Tune in to the latest developments in AI and where the technology is headed. Learn about a changing political climate in Florida as the Republican party dominates. Keep your balance as you read about Miami’s latest Museum of Illusions. We bring you the latest and greatest Miami has to offer.

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photo_gracie herron.


Something joked about in 21st century media is the fabled technology apocalypse or robot uprising. When the artificial intelligence assistants, Siri and Alexa, came out, people were astonished by their ability to fulfill our requests. While they function well when completing simple tasks, robotic assistants were only effective on a small scale. Recently, new AI capable of performing complex tasks are making news — from making realistic paintings based on existing art styles to writing an essay on whatever topic you need. While that sounds great in theory, these seemingly innocent innovations might bring more problems than solutions.

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Whether you are a tech enthusiast or anyone with connection to the internet, chances are you’ve seen some new AI program wowing everyone with its abilities. While innovative, these AI programs aren’t unionizing … yet. But the bigger problem at hand is the near endless possibilities of what these programs can create. Where does it end?

OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, said on their website that in order to create the program, “we trained an initial model using supervised fine-tuning: human AI trainers provided conversations in which they played both sides — the user and an AI assistant. We gave the trainers access to model-written suggestions to help them compose their responses.”

In other words, the creators taught the AI how to take the information from its internet-sourced databases and convey it in a way that reads like another human wrote it.

Lensa, a photo-editing app that launched in 2018, rapidly gained popularity when it revealed their “magic avatar” feature in late November. This allowed the app to use a few pictures of the user’s face to produce a variety of different AI-drawn works of art that looked like the user.

million billion [sic] mathematical operations to analyze a single set of photos.”

While these two AIs are undoubtedly amazing innovations, they’ve also posed issues because they create creator-less content.

Chat-Based Challenges

It’s a student’s dream for a super-intelligent robot to type up their English paper in a few seconds while they rewatch “Grey’s Anatomy” for the fifth time. Now, with AIs like ChatGPT, that is completely possible. Now that AI can write an essay, how can educators adapt?

“I have already modified my course to have in-person quizzes to avoid the issue altogether,” said Professor Elizabeth Cantalamessa, a philosophy professor at the University of Miami. As both a teacher and a philosopher who focuses on the use of language, Cantalamessa has been observing these AIs and their rise in popularity. Thankfully, she hasn’t had a student turn in AI-generated work, but she did provide an example of a predicament from a professor from Furman University in Greenville, S. C.

Darren Hick, a philosophy professor at Furman, was reading a student’s submission

assignment reveals that the student merely wants to satisfy criteria, rather than develop or hone their own skills and express their own thoughts,” Cantalamessa explains. “I understand, it’s not easy to do either of these things, and it’s costly to have your own thoughts scrutinized by someone else — so it makes sense that we’d seek out a low-cost, quick ‘tool’ for doing work that we either do not value for its own sake or do not feel as if we can complete it with our own skills.”

In Hick’s case, this holds true. His assignment was a 500 word paragraph about horror — relatively simple, and could probably be finished in 30 minutes. But why take the time to knock out that quick task when you could type in a prompt into a website and have it do the work for you in just 30 seconds?

Art of The Real

As previously mentioned, Lensa, ChatGPT’s more artistic cousin, is one of the recent image-based AIs which uses your face as the input. While it seems harmless — who wouldn’t want impressive portraits for $7 — this AI has rattled the art community.

Arianna Nicolás, a UM alumni and character artist for the School of Communications, highlighted some of the issues these AI are making artists face.

“The way that [these AIs] work is that somebody programs them, and they have to learn how to do the art,” said Nicolás. “And they learn how to do the art by taking it from other artists. They ‘learn’ in the way someone else would learn from other artists.”

While Prisma Labs states that Lensa would generate art based on your face, it still needs other works of art to learn from. Like other AIs, it uses the internet’s wide database for “teaching” itself how to “draw.”

While the text bots are causing problems for academic integrity, the image-based AIs come with a different problem: artistic integrity.

“AI art could be really cool, but you need to focus on the people who are already doing art because your prompt could’ve been a commission,” Nicholás says. “Their art is their source of income and an AI learning from their art can hurt their income and shift the focus onto the robot and not them.”

Depending on the medium and complexity of a design, commissioning an artist can have a wide range of costs from around $30 to possibly a few hundred. Now, there are apps and websites where you could generate almost anything for free, with the more complex requests not costing much.

“The definition of art is something that evokes emotion in you,” said Nicholás. “If art is being made by something that doesn’t have any emotions is it even art?”

Cantalamessa has a similar outlook: “With the introduction of photography and digital art, [we reconsidered our] assumptions about originality and creativity, as well as [our] role in artistic value.”

DISTRACTION Spring 2023 13
MANY HAVE SAID THAT THE FACES generated by AI art bots fall into the uncanny valley, evoking the feeling of reality with subtle things that make them feel off. Creepy.

What Now?

Recently, Microsoft invested a few billion dollars into ChatGPT, so it seems these AIs are here to stay. Does this mean the robot revolution is finally upon us?


Definitely not. While there’s no debating that these inventions are very smart, they’re not perfect. In reference to his student’s botched assignment, Hick said: “[ChatGPT] did say some true things about [the topic], and it knew what the paradox of horror was, but it was just bullsh*tting after that.”

Nicholás brought up another AI imperfection.

“You can look at [the art] and see they aren’t perfect because they always mess up the hands and the feet,” said Nicholás.

On his website, Professor Geoff Sutcliffe in the Computer Science Department at UM, stated that while “right now, [these AIs] seem like a pretty astounding tool,” so did other technology when it was initially invented.

“10 years from now, intelligent search and chat engines will be normal,” said Sutcliffe.

In the cycle of technological innovation, it’s common to look at new innovation with shock and confusion. I’m sure if you showed TikTok to a Victorian child, they would have a heart attack. While these AIs can be a little scary, welcome their use with an open mind while also being responsible with them. To quote Uncle Ben’s advice to a Peter Parker, with great power comes great responsibility.

“I HAVE A VIEW OF THOUGHT that is essentially social. It’s a matter of how others take and treat you, and so it isn’t something that could be specified ‘from the armchair’ or in principle, instead ‘sentience’ is revealed through practical doings,” said Cantalamessa.


Do you trust this computer? Because philosophers sure don’t. These programs are causing people to rethink and reevaluate how we view sentience. While Siri and Alexa are classified as AI, the general population seems to be far more trusting of these applications than of other programs. So why exactly are these new AIs sending people into a philosophical spiral?

“I have a view of thought that is essentially social,” Cantalamessa said. “It’s a matter of how others take and treat you, and so it isn’t something that could be specified ‘from the armchair’ or in principle. Instead, ‘sentience’ is revealed through practical doings.”

Which is to say, even though these AIs can “think” and “learn,” they aren’t real beings because they don’t have a form that allows them to exist in the physical world. In other words, they are code in a server somewhere that was given the ability to process information by humans, not humans themselves.

On the flipside, there are some that think this lack of body will allow AI to flourish in a way the human mind cannot, perhaps granting it unlimited intellectual potential.

“Others, such as Paul Humphreys, have suggested that computational methods in science could develop to a point where computers are engaging in ‘autonomous science’ that humans can neither fully comprehend or control,” Cantalamessa said.

How does one assess artificial intelligence, exactly? The Turing Test is usually brought up with this moral quandary, though many see it as unreliable. The test itself only records if a human being can interact with an AI pretending to be a human being — if the human can’t see through the AI’s facade, it passed the test.

The problem with this evaluation is that it doesn’t check to see if the AI is thinking like a human being, only if it can sound like one. For all we know, the AI could be programmed to respond to all questions with “human-sounding” answers rather than it understanding speech as a whole and how to converse.

Professor Sutcliffe uses himself as an example of identifying intelligence.

“Walking from my office to the Smoothie King shop on campus — at each step I have lots of possible movements, forwards, backwards, sideways, no movement, etc.,” said Sutcliffe. “Thus, the problem is exponentially hard, unbounded, and yet I always manage to get Smoothie King — I have heuristics that guide me in a good direction at each step.”

Heuristics is the thought process you use for everything, like how you know not to leave the fork on the plate when you put it in the microwave because you have knowledge from others or past experiences that tell you it’s a bad idea.

With this definition, intelligence isn’t just the ability to think, but the ability to process the thoughts you have and choose those that are logical.

Sure, these AIs can think and make choices, but they still lack that natural core processing. Until an AI develops that ability on their own or bypasses the limitations of their code, they cannot follow the path to consciousness.

Want to ride a magic carpet? Or jump off the ledge of a building? If these are some wild thrills you’ve been itching to scratch, look no further. You can do everything your parents told you only happens in movies at the Museum of Illusions — or at least look like you’re doing them.

words_amanda mohamad. photo_matt jiménez. design_marita gavioti.

LOCATED AT 536 LINCOLN ROAD IN THE HEART OF MIAMI BEACH, the Museum of Illusions has transported its visitors into dozens of fantasy-filled worlds since Dec. 2019. Alongside additional locations in Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Miami Beach museum is full of imaginative exhibits that are often changing or refreshed. Whether visiting with friends, family or on a date, the Museum of Illusions is an unforgettable experience for many whio visit.

With over 40 three-dimensional exhibits, this museum is made for posting on your social media. It’s a self-guided experience, and walking through all the displays will take approximately one hour — and that’s including stopping often to take photos. But feel free to take your time and explore because the possibilities of how to pose for your next Instagram post are endless.


“I would 100 percent recommend going to the Museum of Illusions, especially if you’re trying to spice up you IG,” said University of Miami freshman Wrigley Kordt.

According to their website, the museum’s three core values are imagination, expression and, of course, fun. Feel like a kid again fighting off aliens, motorcycling through a high-speed chase or floating through space with a rockstar astronaut. As silly as it all sounds on paper, creativity runs wild and without judgment at the Museum of Illusions.

The lively environment of the museum is not only tons of fun for its visitors, but also for its staff. Museum of Illusions Miami marketing director, Lisa Marie Deleveaux, unapologetically loves her job and the museum’s vision.

“I put everything into marketing and what I do for a living, but here it doesn’t feel like work,” said Deleveaux. “I love what I do and working for the museum, where exhibits are constantly changing, inspires me to be open to a clean slate once in a while.”

While many exhibits stay in the museum year-round, several come in and out by season or popular demand, including one of the most iconic attractions in the Museum of Illusions’ history, “Smash It!” Feeling the pressure of school or work? Museum of Illusions gets it and has the perfect exhibit to help you release any negative energy you might have bottled up.

When entering “Smash It!” you are provided with plates and markers. The exhibit encourages you to write any stress-filled thoughts onto your plates. That ex-partner you can’t seem to get over, the job that doesn’t pay you enough or the 25-page paper you already know you’re going to fail. Whatever the root of your stress, write it on the plate and, as the museum says — smash it.

UM freshman Colette Belzer said she was “really impressed by the size and scale of museum” and its “colorful and unique exhibits.”

Let the negative emotions out, the positive vibes in and smash your plates onto the floor, walls or provided targets of the exhibit. While this exhibit is safe for anyone over 12, the kind staff also provides you with a face shield just in case.

Each group is provided their own private throwing room for “Smash It!” so don’t worry about strangers seeing what you wrote on your plate. Nothing can hold you back now.

Open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m.–9 p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 11 a.m.–10 p.m., the museum offers a variety of ticket packages, including ones that fulfill a college student’s needs.

For only $30, adults 12 and over have access to all the museum’s main exhibits and for $50, additional access to temporary exhibits like “Smash It!” However, there is no need to fear smashing open your bank account to visit the museum, as special ticket deals are always happening, so keep yourself updated on their website.

Want to take your special someone on a date that isn’t dinner or a movie? The exceptional VIP Date Night package for two allows you to skip the line, have a professional photoshoot and receive an additional “special gift,” according to the museum’s website.

Although Miami Beach is known for its nightlife, it’s pleasant to occasionally take a step away from the notorious clubs and bars and acknowledge the illustrious art that fills the vibrant city — and not just for Art Basel weekend.

The Museum of Illusions is a one-of-a-kind experience where you can step away from reality, let your greatest imaginations take the lead and, without a doubt, amaze your followers with some very deceptive posts leaving them wondering how no harm was caused.

THE MUSEUM OF ILLUSIONS is sure to keep you on your toes. This exhibit may feel a little dizzying, but it’s sure to spice up your Instagram.

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Florida, once known as the perennial swing state, has been unexpectedly flipped by Republicans in the 2022 elections. Instead of the hyper-competitive races Floridians are used to, Ron DeSantis cruised to reelection, easily dispatching challenger Charlie Crist, securing a supermajority in both chambers of the Legislature and consolidating his position as a rising conservative star. So what’s behind this change? Has Florida truly become as red as it seems and, most importantly, what’s got Floridians saying “In Ron we trust?”

words_matt jiménez. photo_nina d’agostini. design_lizzie kristal.

THE FLORIDA FLAG PICTURED OUTSIDE THE HYATT REGENCY HOTEL has been standing for years. It is one of three flags in the United States with “In God We Trust” on it.

While Democrats across the Union defied midterm history and held the majority in the U.S. Senate — though they still lost the House — Florida was the one glaring exception. Unlike in the rest of the country, Republicans not only held their own but got to revel in their nearobliteration of the left in the state, unofficially making Democrats an endangered species on the peninsula.

Gov. Ron DeSantis won reelection by a staggering 19 points, a far cry from when he won by less than half a percentage point in 2018. Regarding the Floridian delegation to the federal government, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio was reelected by a similar margin against former Democratic Rep. Val Demings, and Republicans flipped four House seats. Most surprisingly, however, was how Republicans captured a supermajority in both chambers of the Legislature, and no Democrat won a statewide office for the first time since Reconstruction.

Diaz’s Defeat

The loss was so big that Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Díaz — who got the job partly to appeal to South Floridians, especially Cubans — stepped down after only two years, continuing the track-record of unstable FDP leadership. This came as a sharp turnaround in Díaz’s rhetoric who, four days after the elections, responded in a written statement to internal pressure to step down that he would “refuse to give up when the going gets tough.” As party leadership elections will be held in February, this means the FDP is effectively leaderless for the time being.

As party leader, Díaz hoped to unite Floridian Democrats, a goal he admits he did not achieve.

“However, we cannot win elections if we continue to rely on voter registration to drive turnout, build field operations only around elections, and expect to get our vote out without engaging voters where they live; listening to them and earning their trust — helping everyday people with their everyday problems,” said Díaz in his resignation letter.

In the letter, Díaz acknowledged he fell short on addressing these issues, but heavily implied his party was responsible for most of the failures.

“Instead, I found obstacles to securing the resources and a long-standing, systemic and deeply entrenched culture resistant to change; one where individual agendas are more important than team; where selfinterest dominates and bureaucracies focus on self-preservation,” said Díaz.

Democratic Decay

As of the time of writing, the party’s website has not been updated to reflect the new reality, with 2022 candidate profiles still on the homepage and Nikki Fried listed as Commissioner of Agriculture, an office she resigned from to run for governor before losing in the primary. Only four candidates

are in the running for FDP chair now: Fried, former Florida Sen. Annette Taddeo — who suffered defeat against María Elvira Salazar for Florida’s 27th U.S. congressional district — Broward County Democratic Party Chair Rick Hoye and Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida chair Carolina Ampudia. Alex Berrios, a West Palm Beach organizer, dropped out on Feb. 15 before endorsing Fried.

While this change in the political landscape may seem sudden, it was a longtime coming. While a Republican-friendly environment did not help Democrats, most of their woes have been self-inflicted. Democrats enjoyed a voter registration advantage numbering in the hundreds of thousands before Republicans changed the tide and gained a 257 thousand voter lead in 2021, meaning there were now more registered Republicans than Democrats for the first time in history. This is due not just in part to FDP stopping voter registration during the pandemic — the Republican Party of Florida did no such thing, instead adding over 553 thousand voters to rolls since 2018 — but overall disorganization and treating on-theground efforts like voter registration and volunteering as afterthoughts.

Beyond this, Democrats failed in both candidate quality and rallying behind a single, coherent message, which resulted in a lack of voter turnout from their base. UM junior and biology major Olivia Martínez, for example, did not vote.

“I didn’t even vote. I should have,” said Martínez.

Democrats spent most of their time criticizing Republicans and, while rebuttals of the opposition is always a given, they failed to sell their own vision for Florida to constituents. As for candidate quality, In These Times opinion piece, “How to Fix the Pathetic Florida Democratic Party” by Hamilton Nolan regrets the selection of moderate Democrats like former police chief Demings and former Republican and Gov. Crist. There were also issues with Naomi Blemur, who ran for Commissioner of Agriculture and was embroiled in scandals for not only recent homophobic tweets but also because she had no relevant experience; this led to several withdrawn and withheld endorsements.

All these issues, combined with a heavily lopsided financial battlefield — DeSantis raised $200 million and Crist only $31 million, compared to DeSantis’ $58 million and Andrew Gillum’s $55 million in 2018 — brewed to form the inevitable: Republicans would take home the whole stadium.

Losing Grasp

So, has Florida truly become the Republican stronghold some are painting it as? Well, maybe. Democrats lost control of Florida’s Senate for the first time in 1995, the House of Representative in 1997, and the governorship in 1999, none of which they have managed to reclaim a single time since. Despite this, Democrats still held a sizable minority, several statewide offices and many Supreme Court justices.

None of that is true today. Nowadays, Democrats rely upon the only moderate justice on the bench, Crist-appointed 70-year-old Jorge Labarga, who is nearing the mandatory retirement age of 75. While Democrats remained competitive even decades after losing control of Florida’s government, part of that was due to attention from the national party, which at the time thought it could still flip the state. George W. Bush infamously won Florida, and therefore the presidency, by 537 votes after a massive electoral controversy in 2000, and former President Barack Obama won the state twice on his paths to the White House in 2008 and 2016.

This attention from the national party would soon die off after making gains in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Arizona, making Democrats realize they don’t need Florida to control the federal government. And while abandonment by the national party stings, FDP’s issues are largely the consequences of their own actions finally catching up to them, as they were relying upon the life support granted to them by the nationals and did not take the time to organize properly. The result is that since 2002, Republicans have won 30 statewide elections, while Democrats have won six.

Even Republicans acknowledge the internal chaos of FDP.

“They’re not addressing issues that really matter to folks, and so they really need a whole course correction and a big overhaul,” said DeSantis.

Be it politicking or genuine pessimism about the state of his opponent’s party, he predicted they would not fix their issues.

“I don’t think they’re going to do it because I think the incentives are to continue to do what they’re doing on an individual basis and so they can sort all that out,” said DeSantis.

Where to Go Now

Notwithstanding such dismal results, many leftists are still unwilling to call Florida a red state and believe there’s still a path to victory, but only if they act immediately.

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Political climates and opinions are constantly swaying, and we never know what will be the most important issue by the next election cycle.”
Betsy Mullins FDP Campus Organizer

FDP campus organizer Betsy Mullins repeated many of the aforementioned failures of her party as points to improve upon, but also outlined some concrete steps she thinks FDP should take.

“I would have the party have year-round work in communities to build a strong support basis so they will have a head start when election season rolls around and have people eager to help, volunteer and get the word out,” said Mullins.

“Political climates and opinions are constantly swaying, and we never know what will be the most important issue by the next election cycle,” said Mullins, stressing that Democrats are still a viable party.

Similarly, UM sophomore and political science major Riley Simon, who is also president of the school’s Young & College Democrats, is worried about the new supermajority in the Floridian government but refuses to throw in the towel.

“I think we just need to work together in a better manner. Hopefully we can pull it together in time for 2024,” said Simon.

On the other side of the aisle, Floridian Republicans had everything to celebrate, and are firm in their belief that they just secured the Union’s largest and most famous swing state along with its 30 electoral votes — and they are not without reason. With their newfound voter registration advantage, reshaping of the educational system, legislative supermajority, a friendly Supreme Court, the double-digit thrashings of Crist and Demings and a governor who could realistically become the first Floridian president in history, it could hardly get any better.

That being said, RPOF is keeping its eye on the ball and will not soften the pressure on FDP anytime soon. Republicans are keenly aware that, while nonthreatening now, Democrats could regroup and start regaining ground in future cycles. After all, nearly 150 years of Democratic power is nothing to dismiss, especially when their opponents have only just gotten rid of them.

Andrés Escandón, committeeman for district 28 of the Republican Executive Committee in Miami-Dade County and former office manager for the Hispanic Engagement Office in Miami, echoes such sentiments.

“The goal for Republicans is to keep the state red long-term, a product of policy implementation and voter engagement. Policy-wise, the GOP should keep building DeSantis’ conservative record, especially when it comes to parental rights, protecting unborn children, and safeguarding our elections,” said Escandón. “The RNC and the Republican parties of Florida and MiamiDade should keep working intensively in grassroots efforts to reach as many voters as possible.”

Escandón also credits DeSantis’ policy wins as the principal reason for the red wave in Florida, stating that “Floridians were grateful for what he had done in his first term, mainly because he let them work in 2020,” referring to the governor’s aversion to lockdown measures during the pandemic. He also cites the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) mobilization efforts as a significant boon, especially in South Florida.

“The RNC did a fantastic job engaging voters, especially in South Florida. For instance, they had a Hispanic Engagement Office in Miami and a Jewish Engagement

Office in Boca Ratón for the past election cycle. Those ethnic-specific offices were beneficial to register voters, answering their questions about the then-upcoming elections, and holding events with elected officials,” said Escandón.

The fall of the Floridian Democrat brings to mind Hemingway’s famous quote regarding his bankruptcy: “Gradually, then suddenly.” And though they finally hit rock bottom, there is still time to get back up — but only if they do so now.

2022 Florida Senate Election Results

LIT UP IN RED — the most recent election results show Florida’s Republican swing. Though main cities still remain in blue zones, the shift to red is shown on this 2022 Florida senate election result map. In the 2020 elections, there was a lower percentage of red concentrations.

Size of lead

Source: CNN

Estimated vote in: 99%

Votes: 7,676,569

Last updated: Dec. 2, 2022

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0-10% 10% + 0-10% 10% + Republican Democrat

What the Fork is a foodie’s paradise, stuffed with mouth-watering recipes and hidden-gem restaurants. Step up your edibles with some cannabisinfused recipes. Make your reservations at the fresh Italian restaurant, Boia De Save your stomach with a review of the best dairy-free milks on the market. We are serving up the latest dishes, so grab a plate and dig in.


19 DISTRACTION Spring 2023
photo_gracie herron.


For some, baking is the process of setting makeup on your face; for others, it’s a hobby where you’re rewarded with delectable treats after mixing ingredients. But if you talk to Snoop Dogg or Shaggy Rodgers from Scooby-Doo, they would probably say that “getting baked” means getting high. Fortunately for weed and kitchen bakers alike, there’s a way to combine the hobbies. So run to the kitchen and grab your spatula — we’re here to talk about getting baked. words_nicole facchina. photo_marra finkelstein. design_valeria barbaglio & lizzie kristal.

Whether you’re from a state where it’s legal, your friends have told you about them or you’ve seen them on TV, it’s safe to assume most people have at least heard of edibles. Just in case you haven’t, according to the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, “edible cannabis products (edibles for short) are products containing cannabinoids that you eat or drink.”

Edibles come in a wide and fun variety of delicious treats including gummies, cookies, chocolates and the oh-so-famous weed brownie. Different people use edibles for different purposes, and they can make a great alternative to people who don’t like to smoke weed but still want to experience the high.

A University of Miami student who wished to remain anonymous shared with Distraction why they take edibles.

“Personally, I really like edibles,” the student said. “They don’t hurt your throat as bad and make you super relaxed. I love using them before I sleep because I have a lot of issues falling asleep.”

In states where it’s legal, you can order these snacks online or pick them up inperson at dispensaries. However, for the kitchen-savvy, making edibles at home is a practice that you can learn and perfect. But before you get baked, it’s important to understand some key aspects of these very special and sensitive snacks.

There are different varieties of edibles on a chemical level. While some edibles have THC, others only contain CBD. The difference between the two is THC is the active ingredient that gives you the high associated with weed consumption, while CBD doesn’t make you high, but still alters your mood.

In both cases, it’s important to be careful and check your dosage when consuming edibles containing these chemicals. According to the Canadian Centre on

Substance Use and Addiction, you should “always read the label before ingesting edible cannabis” and, if you’re new to edibles, “consume no more than 2.5 mg of THC and wait to feel effects before taking more.”

A University of Miami student from Colorado who wished to remain anonymous shared their insight into how to take edibles safely.

“Just take a small amount to start and seriously wait a full hour or two before taking more,” the anonymous student said. “Some take longer to kick in than others.”

When taking edibles, slow and steady wins the race, but what about making them? How can you bake to get baked in your own home? Turns out it’s all about practice and experimentation.

Emily Kyle, MS, RDN, HCP and owner of EmilyKyleNutrition.com, has worked in the cannabis space since 2019. During COVID-19, Kyle took the extra time at home to begin experimenting with cannabis infused recipes and encourages others to do the same while educating themselves on the cannabis plant.

“Whether you start with my website or a cookbook or a tried-and-true recipe from a friend, having some background information and firsthand experience can help guide you on your way,” said Kyle. “Take some time to learn about the plant, the process of decarboxylation and ask yourself what your ultimate goal is for making edibles. From there, experiment, experiment, experiment! The best rule to follow to stay safe and dose appropriately is to start low and go slow.”

Try out a recipe you find in a cookbook and do some research before getting started. There are many ways to infuse your favorite recipes with THC, but Kyle’s favorite is cannabutter. Cannabutter is pretty much exactly what it sounds like — cannabis infused butter.

Kyle’s advice to experiment can also be

20 DISTRACTION What the Fork

THESE BROWNIES MAKE FOR A PERFECT MOVIE NIGHT SNACK — ooey and gooey. After this snack, all you need is to find a movie that fits the “baked af” vibe.

21 Spring 2023 DISTRACTION

Disclaimer: Of course, Distraction isn’t suggesting any use of these recipes in places where cannabis is illegal, or if you’re in a legal place and under the age of 21. For these recipes, a product called cannabutter should be used to make the edibles. There are ways to make this at home which can be looked up online, and we recommend either doing that or purchasing the cannabutter from a trusted source. If you are under the age of 21 and/or in a non-legal state, we do not encourage you to make these recipes with cannabutter. If you still want tasty treats, you can make them with normal butter. It’s not the end of the world.


This recipe was submitted by a UM student who wishes to remain anonymous, and as far as edible making goes, is a bit more advanced. While you might not see guacamole and think weed, this recipe is sure to hit the spot and fix your cravings.

Before you bake to get baked: This recipe requires you to decarboxylate your weed, which you should look up how to do online before attempting to do at home. The author of this recipe also recommends starting with around the amount of weed you might use to pack two bowls on an average sized bong and working your way up to greater amounts.


- 2 average sized bong bowls worth of weed

FOR THE GUAC, switch up your chip options. Try pita chips or some crunchy veggies.

- 3 avocados

- ½ cup Onion (diced)

- ½ cup Tomatoes (diced)

- Garlic (to taste)

- Cilantro (to taste)

- Lime (to taste)


- Decarboxylate your weed in advance

- Add decarboxylated weed to avocado after mashing the three avocados

- Add other ingredients as normal when making guacamole

- Enjoy slowly

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Chocolate chip cookies have never been more appetizing. Of course, without the weed, they’re delicious—but who doesn’t love the bonus of a beautiful high?

Recipe originally published on emilykylenutrition.com and written by Emily Kyle. Kyle and her husband Phil have published five cookbooks, one of which focuses solely on cannabis infused drinks, and co-run the cannabis communications company Emily Kyle Nutrition, LLC. The two are also licensed Cannabinoid Hemp Retailers and Adult-Use Cannabis Cultivators in N.Y.

DID YOU KNOW THAT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES were invented by accident when chef Ruth Graves Wakefield thought that the small pieces of chocolate would melt evenly making a chocolate cookie?


- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour

- ½ teaspoon baking soda

- ½ teaspoon salt

- ½ cup cannabutter,or cannabis coconut oil, room temperature

- ¾ cup white ,or cannabis sugar

- 1 large egg

- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

- 1 cup chocolate chips


- Preheat the oven to 375° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set them aside.

- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, and salt. Set this aside.

- In a separate medium-sized bowl, cream the butter and sugar together with a hand mixer until light and fluffy, approximately 2-3 minutes.

- Add the egg and vanilla to the creamed butter bowl and beat well with the mixer.

- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients while continuing to mix. Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated and a dough is formed.

- When the dough is formed, fold in the chocolate chips.

- Create 1 tablespoon-sized dough balls (using a #70 scoop) and place them evenly 2” apart on the reserved baking sheets.

- Bake in the oven for 9 minutes. See baking notes below.

- Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool for 1-2 minutes before removing from the baking sheet and transferring to a cooling rack. Enjoy!


All ovens bake at different temperatures, and 9 minutes is an average baking time. Some ovens will bake quicker, so check your cookies for your desired doneness between 7-10 minutes. Bake time will also depend on the size of your dough balls, so adjust accordingly.


What’s better than a regular brownie? Nothing. Except for pot brownies. It’s the most classic staple for weed baking you can find, so enjoy this legendary icon for edibles.

Originally published on The Thrillest, this recipe does the trick to give you a perfect, ooey-gooey high.


- 7½ tablespoons (3 ¾ ounces) unsalted butter

- 1½ teaspoons (1/4 ounce) cannabutter

- 6 ounces dark chocolate, 60-70% cacao

- 1 cup all-purpose flour

- ½ teaspoon baking powder

- 2 large eggs, at room temperature

- 1 cup sugar

- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

- ¼ teaspoon salt

- 2 tablespoons malted milk powder (0.63 oz / 18g) (optional)


- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square cake pan with butter or cooking spray; set aside.

- Melt both butters in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in chocolate until combined and smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

- In a small bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder (and the malted milk powder, if you choose to include).

- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt until fluffy and light yellow. Add chocolate mixture and mix until combined. Add flour mixture and mix until combined, but don’t overmix. The batter will be thick.

- Pour into a greased pan and bake for 20-25 minutes on the center rack, or until the edges pull away from the pan and the top has an even, shiny crust. Let cool for 20 minutes.

- Cut into 12 even pieces. Serve warm (can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for one week or in the refrigerator for up to a month). Be sure to mark them as “special” and store them out of little ones’ reach.

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SETTING THE TABLE ISN’T ALL THEY DO — Boia De even has its own line of merchandise. Visit https://www. boiaderestaurant.com/store/ to see their options.

From beloved taco truck to Michelin-Star awarded Italian restaurant, co-owners of Boia De, Luciana Giangrandi and Alex Meyer, have certainly made a splash in the grand pool of Miami cuisine. Boia De, located in Little Haiti, is normally completely booked up 29 to 30 days in advance. So, yeah, it’s pretty popular. But in a city of endless entertainment and high-quality dining experiences, what exactly sets Boia De apart from the rest? The answer can be found in the quality of the food, experience, team and, of course, the owners themselves.

Run by co-owners Luciana Giangrandi and Alex Meyer, a couple where both have each individually worked their ways through the restaurant industries of cities like Los Angeles and New York City, this small restaurant packs a big flavor on many levels.

“The motto of Boia De Has always been ‘Everyday Better,’” said Giangrandi.

Since its opening in the summer of 2019, Boia De continues to affirm its everyday better motto, even throughout COVID-19.

While the Italian restaurant may appear unassuming on the outside — surrounded by a concrete parking lot and nestled away in a small strip mall space marked with a giant pink neon exclamation point above the entrance — the vibrant decorations inside bring life to the dark green walls and dimly lit interior. When enjoying a meal at Boia De, settle down at a wooden table booth or sit up at the bar and make note of what’s on the walls around you; even the wandering eye

has much to observe and admire at a place like Boia De.

As mentioned before, this place fills up fast. With only 27 seats available inside, Boia De isn’t exactly ideal for large groups or parties. However, if you’re looking for an intimate experience with a few close friends or a significant other, Boia De is the place to be.

Matt Meltzer, Thrillist’s correspondent for Miami, spoke on his experience and opinions of the restaurant.

“Boia De is a great spot if you just want to have a nice kind of quiet, intimate, dark dinner,” said Meltzer. “The service is incredible — everything from servers who really seem like they enjoy being there who know a lot about the menu, the sommelier... is very good about telling you what they have and what they can pair with food.”

Hard work and good service are extremely important to Giangrandi and Meyer. Not only do the two carefully hire staff who genuinely want to be there, but they also put their own sweat and tears

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words_nicole facchina. design_laurie vuong. photo_@bethmade.

into their mom-and-pop business. In other words, they’re constantly on the grind and working hard.

“More than anything, we’ve tried to hire good people,” said Giangrandi. “Because there’s a lot of things that if someone has the right attitude, you can train or you can teach. Just having good people around builds a nice culture, and I think that’s really important.”

Boia De trains all its staff members to do many different jobs around the restaurant. The co-owners emphasize honing skills such as breaking down fish in the kitchen while also incorporating staff ideas into the restaurant’s meals, remarking that it would be “boring” if it were only the two owners contributing to the menu.

Speaking of the menu, Boia De’s small menu includes several delectable Italian dishes that, according to Meltzer, set it apart from other restaurants like it.

“There’re eight million mediocre Italian restaurants in Miami,” said Meltzer. “And I think [Boia De] manages to have some stuff like [pappardelle alla lepre] that’s just not something you see typically — and that’s what makes it stand out.”

The aforementioned pappardelle alla lepre, made from Floridabased rabbit, tomato and rosemary, is one of a couple different kinds of pasta on this menu including tortellini in brodo and white truffle tagliatelle. If you’re not in the mood for pasta, try a taste of Boia De’s beef tartare with a garlic-shallot crumble and crispy capers or the ‘ika crudoe,’ made with cuttlefish, lima beans, beets and charred treviso. For dessert, drool over the carrot cake or ‘chocolate budino’ — when it comes to sweet treats, there’s no way to go wrong.

Don’t skip out on the cocktail menu either. Boia De has an interesting and diverse selection of tasty drinks, including the postcards from Italy cocktail, a selection of beers and many uncommon and exotic wines.

Between the unparalleled service, intimate atmosphere and delicious food, it’s no wonder Boia De soared to the top of Miami’s cuisine scene. In 2022, this restaurant was one of 11 restaurants in Miami to earn at least one Michelin Star. However, Meyer and Giangrandi remarked that this success, while a great accomplishment and rewarding, was unexpected.

“The heights we’ve reached was not what we aimed for in the first place,” said Meyer.

“We thought it would be successful because it also was in a huge space and we, you know, got a nice rent and things like that,” said Giangrandi. “I don’t think we ever thought it would become what it is.”

Following the success of Boia De, the co-owners have partnered with chef and friend Jeff Maxwell to open another restaurant only a few steps away: Walrus Rodeo.

While the public expects great things from Meyer and Giangrandi’s newest project, Boia De shines bright as a restaurant that the city of Miami can be proud of. Make a reservation online — 30 days in advance, of course — to experience the one-of-a-kind dining or try your luck as a walk in one day for one of the six seats at the bar or few outdoor tables. Either way, Boia De is worth the detour from your daily life.

Italian Alternatives

If you can’t clutch that reservation at Boia De but still have a hankering for some authentic Italian food, here are some other options to help you satisfy your cravings.

In Coconut Grove, a cute pizzeria called Farinelli 1937 sits on the corner of Commodore and Grand Ave. With both indoor and outdoor seating and a large menu with a wide variety of food and drink options, you can mix and match to your heart’s desire. Choose to have a pizza and shareable plate night with friends, or all order your own entrees—either way, good food is guaranteed.

Located in the heart of the Miami Business District, Soya & Pomodoro is the combined dream of two Italian Immigrants realized in Miami. Cooking every dish on the menu with a sprinkle of familial love and creating a memorable experience for patrons, this restaurant won’t disappoint. Don’t forget to let your eyes rove around the space, as the main dining room’s décor includes beautiful bookshelves, art and architecture.

From the exquisite menu to the beauty of the restaurant itself, the Italian restaurant Carpaccio in Bal Harbor screams luxury. Open since 1994, this restaurant continues to provide an unforgettable dining experience to its patrons. Sit inside and enjoy the up-scale ambiance of the restaurant’s interior or choose to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air while peoplewatching without missing out on the fine-dining. Either way, you’ll leave with a full heart, and even fuller stomach.

Octopus Confit
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Bufala Ricotta Gnocchi


THE POPULAR OAT MILK BRAND OATLY was created in the ‘90s in Sweden by brothers Rickard and Bjorn Oeste, who wanted an alternative to cow’s milk for people with lactose intolerance.

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Many of us grew up watching the “Got Milk?” commercials and adorning milk mustaches, but the days of dairy seem to have passed. There are several reasons to ditch cow’s milk, environmental concerns, nutritional benefits or even just for the taste and aesthetic. The new wave of nondairy milk is taking the world by storm, and since the options seem endless, there’s undoubtedly a milk out there for everyone.

Fifteen years ago, the hardest choice you had to make in the milk aisle was deciding between whole and two percent. Today, the simple options of our childhoods have increased tenfold – and the grocery store isn’t the only place. Perhaps you’ve encountered this dilemma as your local barista stares at you expectantly waiting for your choice – almond, oat, coconut, cashew, the list goes on.

Dairy Disgust

University of Miami sophomore Darrel

with UM Dining, explains why dairy milk isn’t as good for us as we once thought.

“In general, having food products that are high in fat, especially saturated fat and cholesterol, are not heart healthy,” Marquez said. “Traditional dairy milk fits that profile. Even when you purchase reduced fat milk, it contributes to total cholesterol intake and other at-risk substances such as hormones, antibiotics and pesticides.”

UM Nutrition professor Maria Negahbani agrees.

“Dairy milk is high in saturated fats that have been linked to promoting many chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease,” said Negahbani.

Almond milk is one of the frontrunners in the milk-alternatives movement. It was first super-popularized in the early 2010s as a suitable alternative to milk for people who were vegans or lactose-intolerant.

Flavor Factor

Though despite its original purpose, more and more people started gravitating toward almond milk because they prefer its taste. It can best be described as a smoother, sweeter and nuttier than cow’s milk – though we now realize, that in some cases, this is due to certain additives companies add into their product.

“The flavored variety can be high in added sugars,” Negahbani said. “They also may have thickeners like carrageenan that can cause possible inflammation or other abdominal distress for some people.”

Some well-known almond milk brands are “Silk” and “Blue Diamond Almond Breeze,” which both sell a variety of almond milk types, from unsweetened to vanilla or chocolate milk. Marquez advises sticking to unsweetened varieties to avoid any of the potentially harmful additives.

Climate Care

Another big draw to milk alternatives is the idea that they reduce the negative environmental impact that the dairy milk industry is known to create.

“Dairy milk takes a larger toll on the environment by requiring much more water to produce than plant-based products such as soy or oat milk,” said Negahbani.

Breeze” have received some backlash in recent years, not only over health concerns about their additives but also as people have become more skeptical about the validity of their claimed “positive environmental impacts”. Almond milk production requires high water consumption, and its exportation to countries that don’t produce it creates significant emissions. If sustainability is your driving factor in making the switch, maybe look to one of the many other dairy milk alternatives.

Down to Preference

A well-known successor to almond milk is oat milk, which only became popular in the U.S. around 2016. Oat milk is known to be slightly sweeter and thicker than almond milk, making it a lot of people’s preference. Its production requires much less energy than almond milk or cow’s milk, making it quite an environmentally friendly alternative.

The brand that originated oat milk, “Oatly,” is one of the most popular brands, though several derivative companies have followed it. Among all the milk alternatives, oat milk is also incredibly easy and cheap to make yourself — check out Distraction’s DIY recipe on page 28.

UM sophomore Kasey McPherson, president of “Plant Based Canes,” says her family initially switched to nondairy milk due to taste preference in cereal or coffee, but stuck with it due to the added perks of environmental friendliness and a cleaner nutritional label.

“My digestion is much better, and I never feel bloated or sick in my stomach like I would sometimes when I had dairy milk,” said McPcherson. “It is lower in fat, hormones and additives that can be in dairy milk, which makes me feel better about drinking it.”

If neither almond nor oat milk strikes your fancy, many other less-talked-about alternatives offer similar health benefits. Soy milk has been around for decades and, according to Negahbani, is an excellent protein source. Though, she did note that some people don’t like the taste of soy milk, and it can also contain some not-so-great fillers like almond milk.

by negative nutritional and environmental impacts of dairy free milk.

Alyson Marquez, a registered dietitian

While this is true for the milk alternatives she referenced, the beloved almond milk brands previously mentioned are a little more questionable.

“Silk” and “Blue Diamond Almond

Cashew and rice milk are two more alternatives Negahbani promotes. A big benefit of two is their low-calorie content.

“Cashew milk has a creamier consistency then other nut milk’s and has heart health benefits. Rice milk is less likely to cause

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hecht. design&photo_isa márquez.

allergies and is a good option for people with lactose intolerance and/or allergies,” said Negahbani.

However, she warned that these milks are naturally higher in sugar content. This is something to be aware of across the board if you’re buying off the shelf instead of making your own at home.

Regarding the vast shift from dairy to nondairy, Negahbani, Marquez and McPherson agree that marketing has played a prominent role.

“Thinking back to when coffee shops like Starbucks started advertising different kinds of drinks and food items with nondairy milk, these headlines grabbed the attention of the younger generation,” said McPherson. “I would like to believe that our generation


Oatmilk doesn’t have to break the bank — just make it yourself. It’s not too complicated, and you only need a few easy ingredients. Put it in coffee, smoothies, cereal or even drink it on its own. Just don’t hold us liable if you find oats in your communal bathroom sinks.


- 1 cup rolled oats

- 4-6 cups water — more water for a

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“AT LEAST INITIALLY, OUR GENERATION didn’t care about the health benefits of nondairy milk and that it was based more on marketing and brand aesthetics,” said McPherson.

This issue’s special section, Game, is geared towards your competitive side. Players aren’t just on the court — they’re on Tinder, at an arcade and on the server. Place your bets with March Madness bracket advice. Tread lightly with the correlation — or lack thereof — with video games and violence. Gather your old board games with tips on the perfect game night. After all, don’t we love playing games?


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photo_gracie herron.


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HARLOND BEVERLY, PICTURED NAILING A DUNK, is a 6’6 guard from Detroit. He is currently a junior at the University of Miami.

Get your brackets ready — it’s almost time for one of the most anticipated events in sports: March Madness. The college basketball tournament doesn’t just mean fun on the court; its fans often create brackets and compete against each other to see whose predictions are the best. Sometimes the prize is money, other times it’s some outlandish punishment to the loser. In preparation for March Madness, look into what this process looks like for its fans, both the victors and the losers. words_jamie moses. photo_jared lennon & ethan dosa. design_lizzie kristal.

According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the odds of predicting the perfect March Madness bracket are approximately one in 9.2 quintillion. The fame and honor that comes with predicting that winning bracket, or one close to, causes absolute insanity among college basketball fans. The bets and prizes in betting groups between co-workers, friends and family taking part in the competition make this time exhilarating for dedicated participants and clueless bystanders.

Sports administration professor Mu He commented on the uniqueness and fascination of March Madness.

“Unpredictability is a charm that makes the tournament so popular. Unlike the NBA, where you may have all-star players rule the game or a dynastic team dominates the league for seasons, there is no utterly dominating team in collegiate basketball,” said He. “As tough as Zion Williamson is, he still failed to lead the team to the championship. Also, remember underdogs. As overlooked as UM is, we made it to Elite Eight.”

With March Madness right around the corner, college students across the nation are eager to pack stadiums and root for their favorite teams. Recently, ‘Canes fans have shown a renewed interest in college basketball.

Last year, the University of Miami’s men’s basketball climbed the national rankings and reached the Elite 8 for the first time in school history. And not only did the women’s basketball team finish as the fourth best team in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but the Cavinder twins became internet sensations for their courtside dance videos with fellow teammates on TikTok. Clearly, ‘Canes basketball is making a comeback.

This time of year creates a unified dynamic campuswide. Miami merchandise can be spotted all over campus and Sebastian the Ibis runs around hyping everyone up for games. While students go to games to show their school spirit, there are also incentives for showing up on game day at the Wastco Center, including Pit Viper and Category 5 giveaways, as well as funny interviews. He explains the benefits to having the home-court advantage.

“The strategy may significantly boost the home team’s performance through the magnificent atmosphere, as many of us might already experience,” said He.

Freshman Bobby Stone made quite the

offer to his high school teacher back home in Brownsville, Texas. A die-hard Villanova University fan, Stone believed in the Wildcats and supported them throughout their 2021 run in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

“During my senior year of high school, I bet my teacher two breakfast tacos from Stripes that Villanova would take it all,” said Stone.

Ahead of the Miami-Kansas game last year, junior Kallie Tsartsalis made a bet with her brother. She grew tired of him calling the men’s basketball garbage and wanted to make a point.

“My brother and I are about as competitive as it gets,” said Tsartsalis. “So, during the Elite 8 game last year, we made a bet. I told him that if Miami lost to Kansas, I would bleach all my hair red.”

The Miami-Kansas game had everyone on their toes. It was an extremely close first half, however, Kansas pulled away with a 76-50 lead against the ‘Canes.

“If you were wondering about the outcome of our bet, let’s just say my parents still tell this story to people. It took a while for that bleach to come out of my hair,” said Tsartsalis.

Monetary bets can be a lucrative incentive to get your head in the game. Warren Buffet, a renowned American businessman and investor, claimed that a perfectly accurate March Madness bracket is worthy of a $1 billion reward. But of course, you can always make smaller monetary bets with your group; maybe the bracket loser owes everyone dinner and drinks or the winner takes home a lump sum. There are plenty of fun reasons to place your bets and aim to take home that grand prize.

Junior Elias Gerstein explained the simple bets he made with home friends during the last March Madness bracket. Thankfully, Gerstein’s bracket was quite successful.

“Whoever could come up with the most accurate prediction for the Final Four would win all the money that we pooled in,” said Gerstein. “I guessed three out of four of the teams and I won five hundred dollars.”

Bets and brackets are not only restricted to the score of a game. Junior Fernanda Salas,

a dedicated member of the Category 5 spirit team, explains how she got into betting in her own creative way.

“I decided to wing it. I made my own bracket with some of my friends, for the men’s bracket on the mascots, women’s on the logo. Between these two, which had a better logo, goes forward. This year I’m doing it based on uniforms,” said Salas.

The March Madness Mascot bracket is another popular tradition, in which the bracket is filled in based on the mascots competitors believe should advance based on how the team performs, or simply for how



11, puts a shot up. Miller is 6’7 and a fifth year senior.

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much the competitor likes the mascot. These brackets can really be made based on almost anything.

“I’m not that experienced with basketball, but I wanted to be a part of the bracketing. There are so many ways to get involved, and I have learned so much about what goes into a basketball game,” said Salas.

Sophomore Catherine Butler chimed in on her experience with Category 5 brackets and betting. She appreciates how March Madness brings her and her friends closer together.

“We do most of the betting for bragging rights. It’s always a friendly competition of course but creating these huge brackets is so much fun,” said Butler.

UM students are ready for a thrilling and successful season. As of Feb. 19, 2023, the men’s basketball team hold a 15-0 record at home and dominated over Duke with a final score of 81-59. The Watsco Center is now booming, as the Duke-Miami game achieved the third most attendees at a single game in ‘Canes basketball history.

Senior Caragan Olles shares her positive outlook on the upcoming games and season.

“I am seriously so hyped for this season. My parents have been watching this season closely from home in Wisconsin and they always update me with their favorite highlights,” said Olles. “We have been doing so well lately and it is so exciting to cheer on the ‘Canes.“

If you are looking to support the ‘Canes, pack Watsco Center during the home games, and root for them while they are away. And of course, do not forget to place your bets. There are plenty of ways to make an incredible bracket and some lasting memories that pair with placing these bets while rooting for your favorite teams. What’s March Madness without a little competition off the court?

How to make the best bracket

Use A Credible & Well-known Sports Betting Platform

There are plenty of great websites that you can use for filling out your brackets. Not only do they make the act of placing and viewing your teams easier, but you can also win insane prices ranging from a trip to Hawaii provided by ESPN or some Amazon gift cards from CBS. These websites also guide you to finding useful information on teams and their players’ performance and predictions. Some website recommendations: NCAA.com, Yahoo!, Plexkits, Athlon Sports

Don’t Always Pick The Underdog . . . Unless . . .

Look, it’s always exciting to hope for an upset and root for the underdog. The National Championship Game back in 1985 resulted in Villanova 66, Georgetown 64. While this was an incredible game to have those upset bets in for, placing your bets on a team that is less likely to win will not always work out in your favor. Pay some attention to the statistics and trends though, a team on the come-up can produce some incredible results, and it is important to watch out for this, as it may impact your brackets. Although if you believe in taking risks, the occurrence of sixteen upsets in a tournament has happened during March Madness a few times, in 1990, 1999, 2002 and 2010.

Do Your Reading & Research Early

Know the players and the teams you are betting on, especially the teams you predict to advance far into the tournament. Start the process of gathering knowledge as early as you can and look through different sources. For any type of bracketing, especially fantasy football, you can look through Sport Illustrated articles and ESPN for a start on bracket basics and additional sites with simplified information. There

NOTHING TO LOSE? Try having some fun with your bracket by choosing the team with better colors — anything goes. Who knows, you might bag a few dollars in the process.

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Up your game

Sliding into someone’s DMs or approaching a real-live human being can seem daunting —especially if you’re new in town or just arrived on campus. Enter dating apps — relationship window-shopping from the comfort of your bed or classroom, if you’re feeling bold. So, if you want to stick out and not be a mindless swipe, here are some tips to get the people talking. words_diana moschetti. design_melanie bergunker. illustatrion_isa márquez.

When making your profile, remember that it’s practically an elevator-pitch. Make it short and sweet, so that people are intrigued and want to learn more. Add some unique features to your profile.

Sure, most people might write a short bio and list some interests, but how many people include audio recordings? On the app Hinge, users can answer “voice prompts,” which are recorded answers that appear in your profile. This unique feature will not only help you stand out, but also provide a sneak peek into what your personality is like for potential matches.

Other unique features you can use to showcase your personality on dating apps include attaching your favorite songs, answering short, witty prompts and including video clips.

Instead of telling people about your personality, show them. Incorporate pictures into your profile that highlight your hobbies and interests. If you love to travel, add a picture from your semester abroad. If you love watching hockey, throw in a picture of you at a hockey game. Having visual depictions of your interests is more likely to grab users’ attention than just simply telling them.

The first picture is key. This picture is the make-or-break for matches. If it’s too blurry or just a shot of your abs, you might receive less matches. Showcase your face — the real prize.

That being said, make sure your profile has a diverse range of pictures. Too many pictures of the same thing can drive people to swipe left.

When asked about red flags on dating apps, Isabella Rodriguez emphasizes an issue with men overusing the classic “fishing picture.”

“You could fish that’s fine,

but if it’s your entire personality, I can’t vibe with that,” said Rodriguez.

Make sure to include solo pictures and even a picture of you simply standing. This way people can get a sense of your height, your style, and how you may appear in person — if you choose to meet up at all.

“When there are too many group pictures, I can’t even tell who the account belongs to,” said Rodriguez.

Dating apps are half about making your account presentable and half about shooting your shot. You could have the best profile out there, but if you have no game, how do you expect to keep a potential partner interested?

When messaging a match, don’t go the cheesy route. Instead, try asking an interesting question about the user’s profile to spark conversation. Ask about a song, book, or even where they were in a picture. If it’s something with more substance than “you have gorgeous eyes” or the ever-so-simple “hey,” it shows that you at least browsed their profile. Even a fun question like a “would you rather…” might be a good way to get a fun conversation going.

On the other hand, taking the overly cheesy route can be successful too. Have a little fun with a match and over-exaggerate how much you’re into them. Sarcasm via text is tricky, so make it obvious that you aren’t serious about “booking the honeymoon to Greece” or “getting the two-carat diamond.”

It’s essential for dating app users to showcase the best version of themselves without being misleading. Although it may be tempting to hide your true self in order to get more swipes, science suggests doing so might result in the opposite effect.

Dr. Elyse Hurtado, a social psychology professor at the University of Miami, highlights the relationship between attraction and similarity.

WHEN SWIPING, BE THOROUGH. It’s easy to judge every profile by its cover, but if you really want to make a genuine connection, read everything they have to say. You might like more than just their gym results.

“One of the strongest predictors of attraction is similarity. We are most likely to be attracted to someone with similar values, interests, upbringing, background, education, income level, race/ethnicity, religion, political views, etc.,” said Hurtado. “By being true to yourself, you are more likely to attract people who are similar to you, and in turn, find someone you could be a perfect match with. The best advice I have for dating apps is, to be honest, and be yourself; that gives the best chance of finding the right fit for a relationship, or a fun date, whatever someone is looking for.”

So, make sure that as you go about enhancing your profile, make sure to keep it authentic, positive and true to you. Happy swiping.

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The question of whether playing violent video games causes aggression has long been examined by scientists, parents and psychologists. Teenagers battling and killing animated characters for hours every day may seem vigorous, but does it affect real behavior? In a debate so prevalent yet so indecisive, what’s fact and foe? We are here to get to the bottom of it.

words_molly mackenzie & valeria barbaglio. design&photo_ valeria barbaglio.
34 DISTRACTION Special Section: Game
WHEN IN A VOICE CHAT for a game, keep it civil. It can be frustrating when a teammate messes up or isn’t pulling their weight, but remember — it’s a game not a job.

Auto,” “Fortnite” and “Mortal Kombat” are among the well-known. And that’s not all they have in common: each of these games contains multiple types of violence, including gun violence.

In 2010, psychologist Craig Anderson did a meta-analysis with 136 well-conducted studies. He concluded that such games increase aggressive behavior, feelings and cognitions and reduce empathy and prosocial behavior. According to a U.S. Senate hearing on video games, the frequency of violence shown in mass media may be a “factor contributing to high levels of violence,” though it’s only conjecture.

Viewing violence — whether in video games or media — teaches new techniques, primes aggressive thoughts or memories, desensitizes viewers to the effect of violence, reduces empathy for victims and weakens inhibitions according to the American Psychological Association.

In studies, it remains unclear whether violent content alone is responsible for elevated levels of aggression in players or if the more competitive aspects of games is to blame. While it’s inaccurate to state that violent video games will lead to aggressive behavior for all players, those with existing aggression may be subject to behavioral changes due to the violent content.

Research studies on this topic have only been correlational. It would be unethical to force one group of children to play violent video games and prohibit another group; therefore, direct causality cannot be inferred.

Dr. Roderick Gillis, a psychology professor at the University of Miami, believes that “just because you play a first-person shooter game, does not mean you will become a first-person shooter,” which is true for the majority.

One World Education, a charitable foundation dedicated to the advancement of writing in children, has provided evidence to show that video games rated M (mature) “have been the blame for school shootings, an increase in bullying and violence toward women.”

Individuals that play violent video games who already have aggressive tendencies and thoughts are likely to, in the long-term, be impacted by the promotion of aggressive

Columbine school shooting of 1999 led people to adopt this belief but, then again, it is not directly proven by research.

Gaia Stromokov, 17, routinely plays violent video games and agrees that players can become desensitized to painful images.

“Seeing violent content definitely has made me less sensitive to blood and similar images,” said Stromokov. “But I would say the media, in general, has had the most impact in desensitizing me.”

Stromokov believes that aggressive behavior displayed while playing games stems from the competitive aspect and frustration rather than from the content of

to prevent using these types of games with parental regulation, but with adults it is more difficult. These behaviors cannot be unlearned but rather relearned.

It is known that violent video games have negative effects on the development of a child, yet it is up to parents to make decisions for their children. Many parents cave and buy these games for their children at young ages due to fears of exclusion. They think they are helping the problem when they are escalating it. Evolutionarily, our attention is drawn to what may harm us.

“Negative things draw our attention,” said Gillis. “We are designed to pay more attention to negative things. Video games don’t change your genetics, but it is one environmental input.”

According to Online Counseling Programs, a digital platform dedicated to continuing psychology education, common relationship problems caused by excessive gaming include loneliness, mood and anxiety disorders, infidelity and inability to have sexual and emotional intimacy. Video games damage relationships.

Moreover, professor Reece Akhtar at University College London said that individuals are drawn to violent video games due to a sense of autonomy, competence, reactance and the illusion of control.

“VIDEO GAMES DON’T CHANGE YOUR GENETICS, but it is one environmental input,” said Gillis.

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Clubbing, Top Golf and Miami’s restaurant scene had a baby: Puttshack. The new destination for a casual night-out is a great option for students looking to switch up the routine Miami weekend. The minigolf location combines the vibes of a club, competition of Top Golf and high-standard cuisine of Miami. From the depths of your summer memories or possible first dates you might not remember, we reintroduce to you: minigolf, Puttshack style.

words_audrey adl. photo_ethan dosa. design_emily collins & lizzie kristal.

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THIS SKEE-BALL THEMED HOLE is one of the few interesting takes on mini-gold Puttshack has. Some other holes incorporate games like “Tetris,” “Air Hockey” and even “Roulette.”

Loption that combines a nightclub vibe with a mini-golf setting. In recent months, Puttshack gained social media traction on TikTok and became a staple for anyone in search of a muchneeded distraction from the bustle of Miami. Drawing in eager tourists and locals in need of a new weekend activity, it became a hit.

To stand out in a trendy neighborhood known for its dining, shopping and entertainment, the owners of Puttshack designed three small manifold courses, all including eight holes. On top of that, there’s an arcade, bar and lounge area elevate their typical Topgolf experience. While the courses are small, the holes are fun and funky, which makes the short 30-minute playtime worthwhile.

You don’t have to break the piggy bank to have good time, either. Puttshack offers individual games starting at only $18 a person. Additionally, it hosts larger parties and events for any occasion, whether that be a children’s birthday party or a company gettogether. It offers private rooms for parties of 15 people or more starting as low as $46 per person.

Puttshack is easily accessible. You can drive, rideshare or take the Metrorail to the Brickell City Centre where the three-story, 29 thousand square-foot location stands out among the comparatively minuscule restaurants and stores.

With a late morning opening time of 11 a.m. and a closing time past midnight, there is plenty of time to lounge, enjoy a refreshing drink and show off your relentless mini-golf skills to all your friends. If you need to take a breather, there is also an expansive terrace outside that looks over the Miami cityscape.

Amanda Philips, head of hospitality at Puttshack, believes the venue is what draws people in and keeps them coming back.

“The venue is a huge attraction for families during the daytime and they bring in a younger late-night crowd on the weekends,” said Philips.

On the weekends, Puttshack provides live music performed by local DJs and the bar serves hand-crafted cocktails. If you’re hungry, the restaurant has a variety of mouthwatering foods from Asian-inspired dishes to casual American favorites.

Philips explained that the venue is a beautiful attraction where people love to come and enjoy the two large bars with the amazing food and cocktails.

“We bring in a local taste of Miami through our distribution of Little Havana Pizza and a variety of Miami Tail Pipe flavors,” said

Don’t think you’re too cool to go to Puttshack because you’re a college student who’s “too old” for that kind stuff. Students from the University of Miami who have been to Puttshack have all left with great reviews.

Senior Eden Avolio went with a group of friends on a whim and absolutely loved her experience.

“I had such a great time there with my friends,” said Avolio. “It was so cool inside; everything was really high-tech and the game was really different from other mini-golf games. I would definitely go back there.”

Puttshack created a brand-new style of mini-golf, creating an authentic experience for players. It has taken the simple elements of traditional mini-golf and enhanced it with new technology to create a fun and interactive game for people of all ages.

Puttshack uses “trackaball technology,” which lets them automatically link your game profile to each distributed ball. This allows your ball alone to track your score, and even how many strokes you took on a hole. With this system, you’ll spend less time keeping track of cheaters and more time enjoying the enthralling mini-golf experience. This tech also allows them to add “supertubes,” bonus points and “hazard traps” which can help or hinder your score in different ways, giving each hole a slightly different objective.

As we mentioned earlier, the holes are a little different than your normal course — one hole incorporates a game of “Connect-4” into the game, and another a game of beer pong.

The mini-golf games were designed to be accessible and inclusive to everyone. From beginners to Tiger Woods, there’s a place for you at Puttshack. It has a variety of clubs to accommodate for each person’s height and the course also has wheelchair ramps

and other accessible ways to get around, making the fun available for everyone.

In addition, Puttshack is proud to be an environmentally friendly company, as the entire mini-golf course was constructed from recycled materials is powered by renewable energy.

Puttshack is an exciting site to check out because of its vibrant courses blended with modern technology. It’s an amazing experience designed for people of all ages and expertise levels and can be the perfect place for a fun night out. Whether you are stopping by with family or friends, Puttshack mini-golf is a must-see destination for people looking to have a one-of-a-kind, memorable time playing a seemingly childish game.



BE FUN, take it easy. Your balls track your progress in the game, so if it’s a busy night or your group wants to buy another round, feel free to pace yourselves.

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GAME ON words_elizalee.photo_ninad’agostini.design_emilycollins&lizziekristal.

In a city filled with extravagant clubs and lively bars, many of us are consumed by a perpetual fear of missing out. Sometimes we just want a simple night devoid of expensive Uber rides and overpriced drinks. Turn up the jams and get gaming — staying in just got a whole lot more fun.

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THE GAME OF LIFE has plenty of twists an turns — literally.
LET IT RAIN — celebrate your wins but don’t be too arrogant. Your friends might not invite you to another game night.

MQiami is no stranger to a good time. From the electric clubs of South Beach to the endless bars of Brickell, there’s no shortage of fun in the 305. However, the party culture can be overwhelming, so staying in with friends is a great alternative to a wild night out. Board games are a fundamental part of an at-home party. They bring out the competitive nature in everyone and are a great source of entertainment and bonding. While extremely rewarding and fun, organizing a true game night can be quite taxing. Whether you’re worried about what food to bring or what fights will break out over “Uno,” we’ve got you covered on how to ensure the best party experience with your friends. Let’s break it down.

Everyone must bring a game.

A great game night is all about variety. Each attendee, including the host, should bring their own game to the party. Whether you want to take it back to the classics with a game like “Battleship” or “Monopoly,” or bring a modern vibe to the event like “Cards Against Humanity,” having each member bring their own flair to the table allows for a diverse, boundless night of excitement.

To avoid confusion or accidental game twinning, check in with your group beforehand so everyone knows who’s bringing what game. If you don’t have one to bring, stores like Target and Barnes & Nobles have surprisingly extensive selections ranging from all different types of games. When in doubt, grab a deck of cards and some spoons.

Get familiar with the system.

Getting a heads up on who’s bringing what not only ensures variety but gives everyone the chance to familiarize themselves with the game material. While trying new games is fun, it can be annoying to have to check the rules every five seconds. Instead, make sure to familiarize yourself with each game’s structure beforehand to prevent any hold-ups — and try and learn the rules of the game you’re bringing so you can easily explain them to everyone else. The spirit of competition is great for game night, but a lot better when no one’s being accused of cheating.

QSet the mood.


Let’s face it — without clear guidelines, game night can get a little messy. Establish some ground rules regarding game manners and team behavior. Game night can bring out the best —and worst — in people, so it’s important to set clear expectations. Get acquainted with board game night etiquette.

Rule #1: Commit to the game. Don’t abandon the event just because you’re losing or don’t like what’s being played. If you’re not interested, sit out that round and wait until a different game sparks your interest.

Rule #2: Don’t be a sore loser. If things aren’t going your way, stay put and regroup for the next round. On the contrary, if you’re winning every game, don’t get cocky. Conceit doesn’t really fit the vibes that we’re going for. If we’re being honest, you’re better off being humble so everyone can enjoy the night — though enjoy some revelry, you fought tooth and nail in that game of “Clue.”

Have fun.

It might seem obvious, but the essence of fun often gets overlooked during board game nights. As we know, game nights can incite uncomfortable feelings and bring out unwanted behavior in those we least expect. Losing and frustration can cause people to lash out and say things they’ll regret later. Don’t let simple fun be the cause of a friendship breakup. Leave the drama at the door, put feelings aside and have some much-needed fun with all your favorite people. At the end of the day, it’s just a game.

You must set the vibes to ensure a good time. Create the tone for all the fun that’s about to go down with music playlists and snacks. In addition to everyone bringing their own game, allow each person to DJ a bit. The right soundtrack can make it feel like the Disney Channel original movie moment of our dreams. To prepare ahead of time, make a collaborative Spotify playlist. As for snacks, convenience is key. Simple, practical snacks such as popcorn, Doritos and Oreos are great to have around. If you’re up for it, devote some time to making a charcuterie board that is equally aesthetic and delicious. Good food and great music — what could be better?

IF YOU DO END UP CRAVING “MONOPOLY" but want to change things up a little, there’s a bunch of versions to try. Use a credit card instead of money or try actually encouraging cheating.

the ground rules.
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IF YOU WANT A SET OF FUNKY DICE, you can pick them up at your local game store or even at a Barnes and Nobles. Chessex dice is a great company that makes cute sets for as cheap as $8 — perfect for starting out your dice horde.

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Every now and then, some fashion or beauty trend originally deemed tacky becomes popular after influencers or celebrities sport the look. But fashion and beauty trends aren’t the only things that can be in vogue under the right conditions. For example, when “Stranger Things” first came out, it put a spotlight on the tabletop roleplaying game Dungeons and Dragons, bringing it back into popular media for the first time in years. So, in the spirit of old trends becoming new again, don’t throw those trading cards away yet — you might catch some clout for that holographic Charizard.

Whether you’ve been a part of it or not, nerd culture has been on the rise. TV shows and movies that people once saw as cringey have made their way into the mainstream and been embraced by new audiences. But what exactly caused this sudden renaissance of nerdy media? Like most things, it can be traced to social media.

In recent years, the idea of “cringe culture” has started to fade as people are posting anything that comes mind on the internet — and we mean everything. Amidst the most outlandish stories, a post of someone gushing over their video game is a breath of fresh air.

A sort of reboot has also emerged in media, and old franchises from “Doom” to “Pokémon” are getting new installations to garner the attention of new generations. As they are released, influencers sometimes mention their anticipation or love of a new release, something that wasn’t around in the ‘80s.

With platforms like YouTube and Twitch, there are thousands of content creators who churn out videos about both old and new games. Anyone with a decent internet connection can become a fanatic of any franchise without ever having to even buy the game themself. The online exposure helps the reach of this media grow, but it’s the creators themselves who help remove the stigma.

Dianna Whaley, a self-proclaimed “Minecraft” veteran has been playing since she was eight.

“Sure, it’s not as nerdy as other games, but I watched a lot of YouTube when I was younger they looked like they were having so much fun [on Minecraft] I had to join,” said Whaley.

TikTok heartthrob Vinnie Hacker is known for his physique but also for his twitch streams where he does anything from play games with his friends to open Pokémon card packs. In a video with Nerdist, a channel dedicated entirely to nerdy media, even Vin Diesel sat down to play a game of “Dungeons and Dragons.”

Plus, people of our generation have ditched the stereotypical idea of “being cool.” Leading styles like indie and alt are all about doing whatever makes you happy. Even the bigger names in nerd culture have become cultural staples, like

Avengers Infinity War and Endgame. Talking about the movies, mainstream films, alongside TV shows, have also helped bring this culture mainstream. Let’s continue with “Dungeons and Dragons” as an example— one of the nerdiest games out there where people create their own characters and laugh, scream and cry over the outcome of colorful dice.

Sarah Dowell, a player in many D&D campaigns, said “the first exposure I had to D&D was a YouTube recommendation for a podcast. Though since I’ve started playing I notice references to it constantly in TV, movies, and even other games.”

D&D used to be looked down upon for being extremely geeky, and the church even saw it as Satanic. However, in recent years hit TV shows like “Futurama” and “Gravity Falls” have dedicated entire episodes that parody or directly reference the game. On a larger scale, shows like “Stranger Things” fully commit to the bit, featuring overt references to core villains and monsters in D&D lore throughout the show.

Another factor that has allowed for the rise of nerdy media is the cyclical nature of trends in mainstream media. Between thrifting clothes and taking polaroid pictures, it seems there is a deep appreciation for all things retro in the modern era. A lot of this goes with ditching the fancy new tech and fastfashion retailers and embracing more analog trends. Enter board games.

In recent years, board games have gained popularity due to their accessibility, affordability and their ability to bring people together.

According to a report by the NPD Group, the board game industry in the United States grew by 28 percent between 2016 and 2020, reaching a total of $1.2 billion in sales. One reason for this growth is the increasing of board games in bigbox retailers, such as Target, making them more accessible to a wider audience.

And during this time, a lot of people found themselves stuck at home with a lot of time to kill.


It’s great to see this culture resurfacing, though as an outsider looking in, getting involved can seem like a daunting task. Whether it’s video games, board games or even card games, we got you covered.

Video Games

Whether you’re aiming to be the next big Twitch streamer, or just want to elevate your game experience further than “Minecraft,” there’s some simple ways to get started. Obviously not everyone is ready to drop the cash on a new console or fancy gaming PC, so if you’re just wanting to test out the waters there are much cheaper options.

If you want to get into PC gaming, a great start is downloading the two game launchers “Steam” and “Epic Games.” While some games might require their own, these two have large stores where you can browse through the different popular games of various genres. Even without a computer there are a bunch of games you can play.

“Steam” is especially great for starters because of their refund policy. If you just want to test a game out and see how you like it, you can buy it on Steam and as long as you’ve played it for less than two hours, and it’s been less than two weeks since you purchased it, you can get a full refund.

Tabletop Games

With so many to choose from, finding the perfect board game for a night with your friends can get confusing. If you know what type of games your friends might be into, the process is simpler. For the more strategic thinkers the two games “Settlers of Catan” and “Risk” that I mentioned earlier are perfect. Both are games where you are trying to expand your empire and manage your resources, while simultaneous making and breaking alliances with your friends. Though if your group is a little more… chaotic, there are still ones that are perfect. “Exploding Kittens” or “Coup” are faster paced card games that allow for quick rounds and more interactive gameplay. Looking to tackle the behemoth that is D&D with all of its rules, and setup can seem daunting.

“The easiest way to find a group is to ask the people you know. Finding a group doesn’t mean that everyone has to have experience with the game,” said Dowell. “The rules are important, sure, but don’t stress about them when you’re starting out. There’s not a way to ‘win’ D&D, because it’s collaboration, not competition. Focus on what is fun for you and your table, and the rest will fall

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words_sal puma. design&photo_lizzie kristal.

Playing games is more than just board games — it’s


words_amanda mohamad. photo_reese putnam. design_lizzie kristal.


GEAR UP FOR A FIGHT — you’re about to beat them at their own game.

This section is your sanctuary to refuel your body and mind. Workouts, mental health, beauty, oh my! Narrow in on the harm of using body types as trends. Learn how to optimize your workout routine based on your menstrual cycle. Switch up your fitness with the best classes at Herbert Wellness Center. Keep flipping for the best tips on tending to your health


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photo_gracie herron.


From BBL to weight-watchers — body types are trendier than designer labels. Celebrities are using their bodies as marketing tactics, and the media is falling for it. First it was the Tumblr skinny, then it was Kim Kardashian’s hourglass and now it’s the “it-girl” aesthetic. Using body types as trends curates disordered eating and unhealthy body images, so when can we finally put romanticizing thinness to bed?

words_andrew mccleskey. photo&design_jade hidalgo.

Kim Kardashian’s drastic weight loss, which was on full display at last year’s Met Gala, shocked and triggered many attendees and onlookers. In the weeks following Kardashian’s now infamous appearance at the event, a slew of publications began announcing the death of slim-thick and the resurrection of thinness.

Following this declaration of the ideal body image reversal, images of thinner bodies like the heroin-chic supermodels of the ‘90s have dominated the Gen Z cultural discourse and spurred some users to form communities rooted in pro-anorexia messaging.

Promotion of anorexia or “pro-ana” communities trace their roots back to social media sites like Facebook, MySpace and Tumblr. Although these groups remained on the fringes of the mainstream as niche internet spaces for years, they’ve now infiltrated TikTok, the world’s-most downloaded app for the last two years.


MIGHT MAKE YOUR HEAD EXPLODE. It’s on every media platform and can easily wiggle its way into your head.

Nicole Kujas, a University of Miami sophomore majoring in biochemistry and nutrition, has been alarmed by the increasing number of TikTok videos she sees with hashtags like #skinny, #weightlossmotivation and #fitnessinspo in recent months.

“I am not a fan of pro-ana communities, and I try to stray away from any form of interaction with them because I think that they are extremely toxic,” said Kujas. “Interacting in a pro-ana community online can make one’s eating disorder more drastic by encouraging them to partake in drastic behaviors because others are, too.”

Pro-ana communities may appear harmless under the guise of aspirational wellness content or aesthetic inspiration. However, these pockets of the internet can romanticize disordered eating habits which, through consistent exposure, can cause fullfledged eating disorders. UM senior Antoneasha Hudge, a global health major, had her early interactions with “thinspo” in pro-ana communities.

“When I was 13, I unfortunately had too much unrestricted internet access,” said Hudge. “I remember the grunge and hipster eras on Tumblr when girls would take webcam photos showing off their rib cages and sickly faces in tiny shorts and bikinis.”

After her initial exposure to thinspo images, Hudge admits she became consumed by the pro-ana users’ glorification of women with thigh gaps, visible collarbones and flat stomachs. Like many social media users, her vulnerability to these toxic messages stemmed from her own insecurities about her body.

“I started engaging in pro-ana communities after seeing those grunge and hipster girls and wondering why I didn’t look like that,” said Hudge. “Aside from seeing those images, I started to see tips on how to get skinny such as establishing a daily limit of 500 calories or running five miles a day.”

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Logging meals, counting calories and tracking weight became a part of Hudge’s daily routine in hopes of feeling good about her body. However, Hudge felt disillusioned when her disordered eating habits weren’t as effective as she had hoped, and began to villainize her body for not dropping the pounds she desperately wanted to lose.

“I was doing everything pro-ana communities told me to do, yet I couldn’t get the results I wanted,” said Hudge. “I felt like my body was the enemy.”

These pro-ana communities all encourage some variant of disordered eating, most of which are most closely related to anorexia — or anorexia nervosa, as it’s referred to in the medical world. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder associated with malnutrition and negative body image and is notorious for its profound effects on mental and physical health.

Many individuals, however, remain unaware of the condition’s lifelong ramifications for the human body. Dr. Melissa Spann, the Chief Clinical Officer of the eating disorder treatment organization Monte Nido, says anorexia can induce a slew of potentially devastating health conditions.

“Anorexia can absolutely damage the body on a physical level, as individuals can experience thinning hair, lethargy, muscle weakness and wasting, brittle and dry nails, hair, and skin and mild anemia,” said Dr. Spann. “Individuals also run the risk of permanently damaging their heart, brain and other important organs that aren’t getting the necessities they need to function.” Despite knowing the many risks that anorexia can pose to long-term health, pop culture’s unattainable beauty standards still impact many young people.

“I have always correlated how I feel about myself to what I deem to be at the center of beauty in my head at the time,” said Hudge. “When you constantly see conversations online about the ideal body type and the ideal weight, I think you have no choice sometimes but to internalize [it].”

In 2003, doctors from the United States National Library of Medicine conducted a study on the relationship on youth media usage and unsurprisingly found a direct correlation between excessive exposure to media and eating disorders in American children. Citing this study, Dr. Spann said images depicting thinness in the media can negatively impact a young adult’s body image.

“Body image concerns can begin at a young age and endure through life, resulting in disordered eating behaviors such as skipping meals or fasting, along with weight control behaviors such as over-exercising, taking laxatives or vomiting,” said Dr. Spann. “As media continues to be prevalent in our society, youth are bombarded with images of the ideal body size and programming geared toward weight loss.”

In the era of social media, it’s hard for today’s youth not to compare themselves to celebrities, influencers and models who have access to world-class dieticians, nutritionists and plastic surgeons. Kujas sympathizes with the urge to compare oneself to seemingly perfect individuals on social media, but says these images can perpetuate unrealistic beauty standards.

“It is often hard not to compare yourself to other people and wish you looked differently, but it is important to try and remind yourself that you do not need to look a certain way to look beautiful,” said Kujas. “Obsessing over the way people look online is unhealthy as what we see online is not always what is

Dr. Spann admits that achieving body acceptance and self-love can be an exhausting journey, but professional care and mindset adjustments can help affected individuals combat eating disorders.

FOR THOSE STRUGGLING WITH DISORDERED EATING, try these resources: Clementine South Miami, an eating disorder residential facility found in Kendall, or Oliver Pyatt Center, eating disorder treatment center located in South Miami. Dr. Amy Boyers is an eating disorder therapist and University of Miami alumni based in South Miami, and Dr. Jacqueline Pablos is a post-doctoral fellow and counselor at Brickell Psychology. The National Eating Disorders Association’s Helpline can be called at (800) 931-2237.

“Accepting the way our bodies look is one of the hardest things to do. Feeling positive about them might be even harder,” admitted Dr. Spann. “A few ways individuals can enhance their quality of life include learning how to consume media critically, remembering that you are more than your body, not fighting your body and taking advantage of available resources.”

Body types are not trends, despite what media may be advertising. Though “thinspo” is being pushed across platforms as the new, unachievable standard, these messages are purely harmful marketing.

“Self-love is one of the most important things to cherish and protect,” said Kujas. “Because if you don’t love yourself and your body, how are you going to show love to others?”

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WHILE THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH achieving healthy weight-loss, be weary of letting it get too far. The scale is just a number.

ycle yncing

Cramps and cravings often push exercise to the backburner — after all, many don’t want to do sprint intervals while free-bleeding. Menstruation has been known to affect exercise because of its lovely side effects like bloating and nausea, but what if it did more? Some research points toward evidence that performing exercise during certain phases of the cycle are more beneficial for adaptations, and plenty of fitness influencers seem to agree. But is it the same for everyone? Let’s dig in.


FLOW IS NOT A PROBLEM. Unless your cramps are unbearable, keep your workout schedule running — as long as you’re feeling up to it.

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kristal. design_melanie bergunker & lizzie kristal.

Fitness influencers have done it again — a fresh wellness topic has been floating around online discourse. Should women program their workouts around their menstruation cycles? It’s a complicated question that doesn’t necessarily have an answer. First, let’s start with the basics.

Cycle Basics

Menstrual cycles can be split into two basic cycles: follicular and luteal. The follicular phase begins on the first day of bleeding and lasts until ovulation. During this time, estrogen levels are on the rise and progesterone levels remain low.

Next comes the luteal phase. This begins at ovulation and lasts until bleeding starts again. During this phase, estrogen levels remain low while progesterone is peaking. The luteal phase is also when premenstrual syndrome symptoms occur.

“The first half of the cycle, when you’re creating the egg, is really all estrogendependent and the second half is all progesterone,” said Dr. Austin Zanelotti, an assistant professor in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Miami. “[Symptoms] are how your body reacts to estrogen versus how your body reacts to progesterone.”

Progesterone and estrogen have a sweeping impact on the body, beyond just menstruation. Enter exercise — should you be planning your programs based on your cycle?

The Research

The research on this topic is vastly spread across multiple conclusions. A study published in the National Library of Medicine found that the resting heart rate was higher during the luteal phase, as well as the peak heart rate being lower during the luteal phase — though VO2 max wasn’t affected. This means that reaching high heart rates during intense exercise would be harder during the second half of your cycle. However, the same study found no change when it came to resistance — or strength — training.

But a study published in SpringerLink had a different conclusion. It showed that maximal muscle strength is greater in the follicular phase for both trained and untrained females, especially when it comes to leg muscles. Not only that, but recovery and reconstruction of muscle is greater in the follicular phase, as well. This could be because of estrogen’s impact on growth hormones.

Though these studies show specific benefits of working out during the follicular phase, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t train in luteal. However, there might be more benefits to saving intense workouts for the beginning of the cycle.

“Progesterone on smooth muscle causes relaxation. In pregnancy when you have higher progesterone, your sphincter and esophagus get loosened because progesterone doesn’t allow it to be tight,” said Zanelotti. “A similar thing might happen to skeletal muscle.

Individual Reactions

All this said, the research is far from perfect. There are numerous explanations as to why these conclusions were drawn, and evidence is still developing. Everyone is unique and won’t react to hormones in the same way.

“There’s a lot of different studies that show for strength-specific exercise and shorter exercise sessions, the period and the point that you’re in doesn’t necessarily affect your ability to perform and have good muscle contraction,” said Dr. Jaime Dickerson, assistant professor of OB-GYN at UM. “All of that’s based on people’s heart rates and ventilation and the lactate response to exercise.”

Dickerson also mentioned numerous women who have made incredible athletic achievements like Kiran Gandhi, who finished the London marathon in 2015 while freebleeding, and gold-medalist swimmer Dara Torres, who trained while pregnant. These women show that hormones don’t have to affect their performance.

“If you look up the female athlete triad, they’re people who are really exercising a lot, like world-class athletes,” said Dickerson. “They can eventually suppress their period because of how they’re exercising, so there’s definitely an effect. We just don’t really know if, for some people, there’s a point in the cycle where it’s better to exercise or not.”

Sometimes, exercising while experiencing PMS symptoms might be beneficial for nonperformance reasons.

“[Exercise] can help deal with the negative side effects the menstrual cycle has and give them a chance to not think about it and do something physically exertional that helps them cope with their pain,” said Zanelotti. “Anything that gets your basal heart rate up should have a positive effect on how you feel. It can be a psychiatric benefit as well as a physical benefit.”

Despite not feeling your best during some parts of your cycle, exercise can relieve some symptoms, including emotional ones.

Junior Zoie Tirona finds relief in working out during her cycle.

“I’m more moody, so I want to work out harder. But the week leading up to the period I definitely am more tired, and I tend to take those days slightly easier,” said Tirona. “I don’t really change my workouts that much.”

The concept of aligning workouts to your menstrual cycle is rising in popularity, with many fitness influencers exploring the topic on TikTok and Instagram, sharing their personal

experiences and recommendations. Some, though, are dispersing false information about what’s beneficial for everyone.

“The concept of trying to change your workouts around your cycle is not a bad one. I’ve had a couple people ask me about this because it’s something that’s been in the news and in the media recently just out of interest,” said Dickerson. “There’s nothing wrong with trying it and journaling, seeing if any of this stuff works for you, but if it doesn’t, that’s not really a bad thing.”

Birth control can make navigating hormone effects even more complicated. Depending on the type, birth control will likely change how your body feels throughout your cycle.

“The concept of [the pill] is that you’re at a steady state of estrogen and progesterone, so there’s less fluctuation,” said Dickerson. “That in and of itself should make it less necessary to sync what type of exercise you’re doing throughout your cycle.”

There’s even less research on exercise performance while on birth control, so it’s unclear whether it can affect muscle building or endurance training.

Remember, everyone’s body is different. Reactions and experiences vary enormously from person to person, and the research often doesn’t account for that. Listen to your own body and find a routine that feels good for you. For some, that might be lifting all throughout their cycle, while others might prefer focusing on high-intensity training during the first half and low-impact workouts during the second.

“It’s a great thing to be aware of,” said Dickerson. “It’s better for it to be talked about because a lot of times there’s this stigma, and women are supposed to cover up that they’re at a different point in their cycle and if that has any different impact on their lives.”

The Cycle Map

THE CYCLE ISN’T TOO COMPLICATED. First, split it into two phases: follicular and luteal. Menstration, when you actually bleed, happens during the first few days of follicular. Ovulation, when you release the egg, happens in between follicular and luteal. And that’s the cycle basics.


3-7days 1 day
Phase Ovulation
14 days 14 days Luteal Phase Follicular
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Having a sweet-tooth isn’t always optional, but choosing how to sweeten your food is. Regular sugar gets the job done; however, there are alternatives. Do you want a neutral sweetener that adds some nutrients and minerals to any dish? Or would you prefer a sweetener with a little extra flavor? We got you covered. Venture into our saccharine world of natural sweeteners and how to use them in some unusual ways

oh, honey

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wordsphoto&design_lizzie kristal. VEGANS BEWARE: honey stays sweet forever. It’s one of the only foods that doesn’t expire.

coconut sugar

Turns out this tropical favorite has yet another use. Despite how it might sound, coconut sugar doesn’t taste much like coconuts. This light-brown sugar is made from coconut palm sap, not the coconut fruit itself. It contains minerals, antioxidants and fiber — everything that’s missing from processed sugar. Its taste has been described as neutrally sweet with caramel undertones, and you can substitute it for cane sugar in almost any baked good. You could add it to any ordinary baked good or even incorporate coconut sugar into coconutflavored baked goods: think coconut cream pie, or coconut macaroons. Talk about committing to the bit.

date syrup

agave nectar

For superior margaritas, try incorporating agave nectar. This syrup comes in light, amber, dark and raw variations, which are all produced from the agave plant’s sap. Light agave is neutral and sweeter than cane sugar and best used for regular baking. Amber agave has hints of caramel. It’s best for desserts, sauces and even for a sweet twang on savory dishes. Dark agave has a rich, burnt-caramel flavor, and adds a distinct undertone to any dish. Mixed with olive oil, you can use it as a marinade for poultry and meat. Finally, raw agave is produced at low temperatures to preserve its nutrients, and works as a perfect sweetener for health-nuts. Tequila-lovers and vegans, this one’s for you.

yacon syrup

Delicious and gut-health friendly? Sign us up. Yacon syrup is made from the yacon plant, a root vegetable that’s traditionally been used for medicinal purposes. Yacon syrup is also packed with nutrients, particularly fructans. Fructans are prebiotics, meaning they help feed the good bacteria in your gut. However, too many insoluble fibers like fructans at once can give you an upset stomach, so take it easy with this option. Tastewise, yacon syrup is about half as sweet as honey with a hint of caramel. Works great in your morning coffee, as a salad dressing or even as a “healthier” substitute for caramel sauce.

Ever had a bad date? Yeah, us too, which is why we just stick with the fruit now. Dates, Middle East natives that grow in bunches, are a fleshy fruit packed with a rich sweetness and a multitude of vitamins. Filled with peanut butter or chocolate, they make a great snack. But turning them into a syrup isn’t too complicated either. Chop and soak the dates in warm water. Let them simmer, then drain the solution through a cheesecloth. To thicken, reduce the syrup over the stove. And voilà — your very own date syrup. You can mix it into just about anything. It tastes amazing on toast with some tahini, on top of yogurt or even mixed into tea for a fruity twist.


If you thought we were going to list off how to eat honey, oh honey. You already know how to do that. But other than the popular uses for honey, let’s look at some of the lesser-known uses. If you want to incorporate honey into a spread, try honey butter. The recipe is as easy as four parts butter with one part honey whisked together, and it makes a great spread with starchy foods like biscuits or cornbread. You can even add a touch of honey into some soups for a more complex flavor. It works best for adding a different dimension of flavor for savory soups and can be a great flavor contrast in spicier soups.

These sweet concoctions can be quite the mess. When using them, try to keep everything clean, otherwise you might end with a sticky fiasco.

fruit jam

In a jam? Craving something sweet? Well, try jam. Store-bought is great in a pinch, but making it at home is also super easy. All you need is fruit, sugar and lemon juice. Oh, and a cute jar. Fruit-wise, you can stick with the classics: raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, etc. Or venture out a little. Try making jam with banana, watermelon, vanilla or lilac. For a savory twist, try bacon, garlic or cucumber. Let your creativity take control — you can’t mess it up. Once you’ve simmered all the ingredients together on low heat, pour into your jar, add a bow and you’ve got the perfect hostess gift or delicious spread for yourself.


Tread lightly here. Molasses isn’t for the faint of heart. Unlike other sugar-alternatives, molasses doesn’t come directly from a plant. It’s a byproduct of sugar production, the leftover sticky liquid once the sugar is crystallized. It’s packed with iron, magnesium, calcium and other nutrients, and has a warm, smoky flavor that is great in baking. Beyond the regular gingerbread recipes, molasses makes a delicious addition to carrot cake or oatmeal cookies. Blackstrap molasses, a molasses variant, is somewhat sweet, but also bitter and salty. It’s great for savory dishes like meat, veggie glazes, baked beans or even as an ingredient in homemade barbeque sauce.

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Let’s be honest: the Herbert Wellness Center can be an intimidating place. Whether it be the mounds of aggressive-looking dumbbells lining the walls or witnessing people bench double your weight, the campus gym can be scary. If you prefer a less intimidating, communal-style workout or just need a change from the conventional gym flow, fitness classes at the Wellness Center offer a great alternative.

Twenty-six free fitness classes are offered at Herbert Wellness Center, ranging from standard classes, such as cycling or yoga, to more unique classes like “Core to Floor” or “Glute Camp.” With this much variety, there’s surely something for everyone to enjoy.

Senior Emi Tran loves the fun, vigorous pace of the classes she’s attended.

“I like the classes because of the instructors and the atmosphere,” she said. “You get to work out with other people and that’s very motivating.”

Students of all fitness levels are welcome in every class, which are made with the core purpose of providing engaging workouts in a fresh, exciting way.

“I would totally recommend any class to my friends because any kind of fitness and activity is good for your body,” said Tran. “It’s also fun when you get to do it with other people.”

Herbert Wellness Center instructor Andrea Ceballos described her Zumba class as a “Latin-inspired class that’s great for shedding lots of calories.” However, her Pound Rockout Workout class is a fullbody cardio jam session where you get to “rock out to great music as you become the star of your own band as the lead drummer,” said Ceballos.

Catch Ceballos’ Zumba classes on Mondays at 6 p.m. and her Pound Rockout Workout classes on Mondays at 7:15 p.m. and Wednesdays at 5 p.m.

The Wellness Center offers plenty of yoga classes for those looking for some much needed rest and

relaxation. Yoga and meditation instructor, Adriana Moreno Zarate, said her classes are “vigorous and challenging — guided toward self-discovery and self-care.”

“We take time to welcome ourselves and to prepare the body and mind for the practice, warming up with several salutations followed by a series of standing poses such as warrior and balancing poses,” said Zarate.

Classes end with around 10 minutes of lying on the floor for “final profound

relaxation,” said Zarate. “Everything is done with mindful awareness.”

For a more hands-on approach to fitness, the wellness center offers a variety of smaller, more individualized classes for affordable prices. Test your balance and core strength with six or 10-week Pilates classes offered to students for $70–120, or try your hand at Tai Chi for only $45 per six sessions.

No matter your style, you’re sure to get a good sweat-sesh while having a great time. Just visit https://wellness.miami.edu — or the UM Wellness app — and click the “Group Fitness Registration” tab. Choose your desired class, sign in with your CaneLink credentials and register for a slot. It’s that easy.

LUNGE INTO A CONSISTENT SCHEDULE. If you can’t make a class regularly, try hitting the gym with friends. It doesn’t mean you’re all doing the same workouts, but setting a time for all of you can keep you accountable.

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words_kaya langley. photo_lizzie kristal. design_laurie vuong.

Fashion is showcasing the best in style, perfect for those looking to make a statement. Honor Vivienne Westwood’s legacy in punk fashion. Head to McDonald’s after the club with this issue’s shoot, Juxtaposition Level up your daily outfits to class with accessories. This section plunges into the cultural significance of today’s trends.


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photo_gracie herron.


Where to start? A fashion designer, entrepreneur, revolutionary, pioneer of punk and now a subject in history textbooks.

Vivienne Westwood was no ordinary fashion designer. She sought trends she could spin as her own; she was the trend starter and founder of punk, always finding new ways to blend art and fashion. She recently passed away, but her contributions to the fashion industry will impact future generations of designers to come.

Vivienne Westwood, named Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2006, brought contemporary punk and fashion together, using her rebellious style to advocate her political views. A selftaught designer, Westwood learned to make clothes as a teenager, taking garments apart and putting them back together to understand where to cut and where to sew. She loved the chaotically messy look associated with destroying materials and then putting them back together, hence the abundance of bikeresque zips and leather found in her earlier designs.

Elysze Held, former fashion editor of the Miami Herald’s Indulge Magazine, calls Westwood an icon, recalling how “she lit up the room” when they met at a fashion event. Westwood’s attention to detail and her unique designs helped pave the way to transforming fashion into a rebellious artform.

“The construction was always perfect,” said Held, specifically discussing the leather Westwood used, which was “fabulous for handbags and dresses.”

Westwood was a schoolteacher until 1965, when she divorced her first husband, Derek Westwood. Shortly after, she met her partner, Malcolm McLaren, who would become the propeller of her fashion career. Manager of the band Sex Pistols at the time, McLaren searched for ways to differentiate his artists from flashy supergroups, such as The Beatles, that dominated the music scene.

Westwood and McLaren began designing provocative T-shirts that would bridge the gap between fashion and music, giving youth a way to channel their expression through their clothing.

In 1971, the couple opened Let It Rock, a shop selling ripped T-shirts featuring unconventional sayings and symbols. They rebranded the store many times, calling it Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die, SEX and Seditionaries. The racy nature of their clothing landed the two in hot water, getting prosecuted under the 1959 Obscene Publications Act.

That didn’t stop them. They rebranded


words_ caleigh russo. design_adriana leόn. photo_gracie herron.
IF YOU WANT TO GO FOR A PUNK but put-together look, try mixing brown leather into your outfits. It has the same dark silhouette as classic punk but with some more class.


the store to become even more provocative, challenging both government and society, with T-shirts more suggestive and controversial than before. Eventually, the pair settled on the name World’s End for their store, which still stands to this day.

In 1981, Westwood and McLaren went their separate ways, with McLaren continuing to manage bands before eventually releasing eight studio albums. As for Westwood, she transcended into the realm of independent fashion design trailblazers, unveiling a line called “Punkature” that same year which she derived from Philip K. Dick’s novel, “Blade Runner.”

In 1985, Westwood released a mini crinoline skirt called the Mini-Crini, which was essentially the mini-skirt version of the stiffened and hooped petticoats used to make long skirts stick out in the 19th century. This moment was truly a turning point for Westwood to establish

herself as an independent designer, gaining her lots of recognition.

“I learned to take risks and think outside of the box from Vivienne Westwood’s career,” said Taylor Sussman, the Buying Lead at Ralph Lauren Women’s Polo and Collection.

Sussman appreciates how Westwood opened the fashion world to Avant-Garde dressing. While she does not see much of Westwood’s influence working for Ralph Lauren — which is known for being very preppy — she is excited to see that punk rock has begun to re-emerge in fashion.

Throughout her career, Westwood released collections that paid tribute to fashion from centuries past, including her resurrection of tweed jackets in the Harris Tweed Collection from her autumn/winter ‘87 and ‘88 release. Westwood revived corsets in her 1990 spring/summer Portrait Collection, turning a garment that once connotated the rigid boundaries of society into one that highlighted female empowerment, transforming it from underwear to outerwear. This piece was inspired by François Boucher’s 1743 painting, “Daphnis and Chloe.”

Westwood garnered much inspiration from Boucher, using his artwork as a print for clothes throughout her collections. Westwood released another collection enhanced with the Boucher painting “Hercules and Omphale” in her spring/summer 1993 collection.

Westwood’s fame continued to rise over the years and, in 1989, John Fairchild of Women’s Wear Daily selected Westwood as one of the six top designers worldwide. In 1991, Westwood received her first of three awards for Fashion Designer of the Year from the British Fashion Council. In 1992, she was made a member of the Order of the British Empire, an honorary title for those who have made substantial contributions to the arts, sciences, philanthropy or public service.

10 years later in April 2002, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London created an exhibit called “Vivienne Westwood: 34 Years in Fashion,” the museum’s most extensive collection ever dedicated to a British designer. In 2006, she was promoted to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.

Vivienne Westwood quickly became a household name and sought after for dressing the famous, ranging


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THE CLASSIC VIVIENNE WESTWOOD NECKLACE has become an iconic accessory, sporting strings of pearls and a central symbol of royal British iconography and outer-space symbolism.

from politicians’ wives to supermodels. Yet despite all this prestige, Westwood never let go of her rebellious roots and attitude. She remained an activist all her life, raising awareness of climate change and rising sea levels.

Westwood’s activism echoed into her designs. In recent years, she transitioned into more sustainable fashion, using recycled denim and materials with lesser environmental impact.

As for Westwood’s impact on contemporary fashion, punk continues to filtrate through the fashion pyramid. While punk is now targeted at the general public and not solely marginalized communities, its effect on culture is immeasurable, influencing rappers like Lil Uzi Vert and Playboi Carti.

In a 1988 interview with BBC, Westwood said she envisioned men wearing her pearl necklaces, defying traditional heteronormative fashion modes, that her clothes were not meant to conform; she was alternative.

In both modern trends and nostalgia, punk lives on, although it is now considered mainstream by the fashion industry. Vivienne Westwood’s brand is tied not only to fashion, but has streamlined into pop culture, too.

Fashion lover and UM sophomore majoring in art history, Katie Brubaker, recalls being in awe of Carrie Bradshaw’s wedding gown designed by Vivienne Westwood in “Sex and the City: The Movie.”

“It is my dream to get married in a dress just like it,” said Brubaker. “I love the way she blends classic couture with punk style.”

Brubaker spent a summer saving up money to buy the iconic Vivienne Westwood pearl choker secondhand and loves the modern, edgy flare the studded pendant adds to her night-out looks.

The world stood still when Vivienne Westwood passed away on December 29, 2022, mourning one of the greatest and influential people of our time. In life and in passing, Westwood’s impact continues to inspire and motivate people though her advocacy and bold personality.

Held, saddened by Westwood’s passing, spoke of the relationship between art and fashion highlighted in Westwood’s designs, saying the job of fashion, art and music is that “they are all interdisciplinary.”

Donatella Versace called her the “greatest punk,” describing how her designs spoke of true rebellion and independence in a heartfelt Instagram post following Westwood’s passing.

“I was so sad to hear about her passing,” says Kelly Brennan, a University of Miami sophomore majoring in political science. “I think she created a timeless brand emblematic of her values and specific to itself in its unique designs.”

While Vivienne Westwood has passed on, her brand and legacy lives on through her designs and the people they touched.


TO REALLY KEEP THEM ON THEIR TOES, mix patterns — like houndstooth or plaid — to make an outfit that will pop.


Have you ever seen those people at the club hidden away in sweats and hoodies? Maybe you see them and think, “are they famous?” Or, “they look so cool.” Or maybe you’re thinking, “they look so f*cking stupid.” And what about those people you see at the most random places in public, dressed up like they’re going to a red carpet event — aren’t you immediately curious about who they are and where they’re going? Maybe, but either way, they got your attention. This is a juxtaposition: the art of contrast, the beauty of being different.


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bramson. photo_nina d’agostini. design_marita gavioti.


SOMETIMES TWO COLORS ARE SO DIFFERENT that you would never think to pair them together. However, sometimes those insane opposites are more complementary than you might think. Play around with pink and green, blue and yellow, orange and pink, red and pink, or the same color in different tones and shades for a fun, unique, and guaranteed head-turning outfit.


THRIFT SHOPS are the perfect place to get luxury items on a budget. In Miami, try these hot thrift spots: Thrift Vintage Outlets, Red White & Blue Thrift Stores, Out of the Closet, Thrift Sh!t, Dragonfly Thrift Boutique.


WHY IS THERE SOMETHING SO ENTICING about dressing completely contradictory to your surroundings? The feeling of standing out, looking and feeling different from everyone else around you and being the center of attention. It can make you feel special, like you’re the main character, and who doesn’t want to be the star in their own life? Juxtaposition comes in many forms, big or small. At the core, it’s all about being unique and showcasing yourself in a different light than everybody else. It’s also a quick and easy way to take your simple closet to the next level.

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ANDROGYNY IS ONE OF THE EASIEST and coolest ways to elevate your style. Mixing together traditionally feminine elements with traditionally masculine elements creates a contrast that never fails to capture attention. This could mean throwing on a super girly dress and pairing it with sneakers or work boots and an oversized rugged jacket. This could also be matching a simple pair of jeans and a tee with extravagant pearls or earrings. Contrasting tight-fitting items with loose, oversized items is also a good way to explore gender norms in fashion.



A CLASSIC STORY AND A MATCH made in heaven, combining innocence and purity with grungy and darkness. Think good girl meets bad boy. A frilly, white dress with a leather jacket thrown on with ripped tights and tall boots is an easy way to showcase your inner angel and devil.


SOMETIMES CURATING THE PERFECT “I just threw this on” outfit requires a lot of effort to look like there was no effort at all. But once you achieve that “I don’t care” style, it brings a certain casual coolness to you. While everyone else is dressed up and trying their hardest, you’re just effortlessly put together. So next time you’re going out to the bars, dinner or a party, throw on a simple outfit with some sick sneakers and sunnies and channel your inner local celeb.

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IS IT THE MET OR THE METRO? You never know who you’re going to see in public. So why not always dress like you’re about to meet the love of your life? Dressing to impress is the norm in New York City, and we think it’s time to bring this fashion culture to Miami. Spice up your life by throwing on full glam to run to the gas station — make the world your runway.



Men’s fashion is more than what meets the eye. Being effortlessly fashion-forward doesn’t require much, but it’s more than a Gymshark T-shirt and sweats. European styles pose as a great example — sleek, tasteful and nothing uncomfortably far outside the box. Italian brands, like Stone Island and the CP Company, are making a splash on the University of Miami’s campus as a great way to elevate sporty basics for men.

“Wear what you want, be confident and empower yourself with the clothes you choose to wear, and find your individuality through your own personal style,” said Nick Dunac, a sophomore at UM studying biology and immunology.

As men explore the world of style, it’s easy to look to Europe for inspiration as a leading factor in men’s fashion. Italian menswear well-known for its timeless, sophisticated style. Esteemed for its historic high-quality craftsmanship and high attention to detail, Italian menswear combines classic cuts and traditional materials with modern styles and innovative fabrics. Brands such as Gucci, Prada, Armani and Brioni have become synonymous with Italian luxury, elevating the men’s fashion segment from within. Italian suits are considered some of the best in the world, due to their hand-made construction, precise cuts and luxurious fabrics. Additionally, Italian menswear encompasses a range of casual wear, from stylish sneakers and leather jackets to elegant polo shirts and cashmere sweaters. Italian menswear is a reflection of the country’s rich history and appreciation of art. Today, high end Italian menswear brands are taking the market by storm. Newer brands are popping up and seeing great success. The undeniable class of high quality cuts and clean looking styles has men everywhere interested and are made available to any who want to pursue them. The CP Company, founded in 1971 by Massimo Osti, is an online Italian menswear brand best known for their activewear collection. The CP Company uses traditional and unique garment dyeing methods for each piece of fabric and their muted tones and unique styles scream comfortable sophistication.

Stone Island is another Italian clothing brand known for its highquality sports and casual wear.

Founded in 1982, the brand became famous for its unique fabrics and technologies, such as reflective materials and special dyes. Their product line includes jackets, coats, sweatshirts, trousers and accessories, all designed to provide the wearer with both style and comfort. Despite its high-end status, Stone Island is also known for its versatility, making it suitable for a wide range of occasions, from outdoor activities to casual events. They even have a store location in the Miami Design District, bringing that style from Italy to Miami. These brands have spread their Italian influence across the world, especially with the boom of fashion in America in the last 50 years. Even more so, the culture that Italian influence brings helps break down the toxic masculinity culture in America that caring about fashion is not manly. European men, especially Italians, are notorious for being well-groomed and put together. In America, not so much. Men are often ridiculed for caring too much about their looks. However, the handsome, cool factor of Italian menswear has brought a certain excitement and carefreeness back to men’s fashion in America, inspiring a whole new generation of men.

“Be yourself. That’s the best advice I could give to anyone searching for their style,” said Julian Crosby, a senior at the UM.

All around UM you will see students sporting their iconic athleisure wear, taking clothing made for the gym and crafting stylish looks with them for long days of class. But for those who put comfort first, that doesn’t mean your style must be sacrificed. It’s clothing or accessories influenced by the chic coolness of Italian menswear that will elevate any day-to-day outfit.

“Push yourself beyond what is traditionally ascribed for men. Be creative. Change your silhouette, play with color, patterns, and try something out that scares you,” said UM senior, Matteo Claure. “I’ve really been into layering skirts with pants recently and layering will always add to your outfit. More is the minimum. Also, men, please wear more jewelry, please.”

An accessory here or there will spice up an outfit from casual to cool. High quality T-shirts and polos paired with a solid trouser make for a versatile look ready for any occasion. Small, simple decisions like these will elevate athleisure into outfits that can be worn on numerous occasions with multiple variations. Whether it’s a walk through campus or a dinner out, outfits like these are ready for anything.

words_lauren ferrer. photo nina d’agostini. design logan o’neill.
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CP COMPANY was founded by Massimo Otsi and is known for its sportswear and garment dyeing. STONE ISLAND specializes in innovative textures and fabrics.

UPGRADE ANY OUTFIT with a spunky jacket. Even without this statement piece, you can always add a belt or jewelry to spice it up.


It’s 7 a.m. after a grueling Thursday night-out. You’re late for class, the Advil isn’t helping your hangover and picking an outfit is the last thing on your mind. Before throwing on the same sweatshirt, spice things up with some fashion-forward tips. It doesn’t take a rocket-scientist to elevate everyday staples — just some accessories.

words_scarlett diaz. photo_reese putnam. design_lizzie kristal.

t’s Miami 101: the classic revolving uniforms many students wear throughout the week. How can you escape the cycle? How do you differentiate yourself on a college student budget — and what if you don’t want all this attention of standing out? Don’t worry, it’s a lot easier than it sounds.

“A supposed stigma around dressing up for class is where a lot of students falter,” University of Miami senior Isabel Ackerman said, wearing her lounge fit of white Alo Yoga sweats, a thrifted Dolce and Gabbana top, an Aritzia cardigan, Adidas shoes with pink ribbon laces and socks with hearts

“You’re getting up, you’re exhausted, maybe hungover, but even when I am putting on a comfy outfit I like it to be cohesive,” said Ackerman.

Resident “it-girl” Ackerman has made viral fashion TikToks that showcase her sense of style. You can easily spot her on campus because of her elevated outfits, making her stand out among the sea of hoodies. Ackerman explains that a simple way to elevate your look is by curating your wardrobe.

THROW ON A FLUFFY purse to add dimension.

“Go through your closet and develop your basics — not what is basic, but your basics,” said Ackerman. “I’ll have one piece in mind and I’ll style around that or I’ll have one color or color scheme. One way I’ll make my comfy outfits look more put together is basing it off of one color … I think if you want to look a little more put together, figuring out a color palette is a great way to start.”

UM senior Gabriella Trama agrees and cites capsule wardrobes as a leading force in her fashion. She adjusted her closet to 95 percent neutral colors over the past few years.

“I feel best that way,” said Trama. “It’s all about finding your personal style and for me my personal style is mostly in neutrals, and that just makes me feel more comfortable.”

Curating your closet can also make your wardrobe more sustainable. The constant pressure of needing a new outfit or something specific traps students into the fast fashion cycle, both unsustainable to the planet and their wallets.

“When I was younger and I bought more colorful clothing. I was always trying to keep up with the trends,” Trama said. “I buy less now, and I feel less of the need to purchase things as often because I feel like my wardrobe never goes out of style … And I think that’s where I have fun with fashion — in silhouettes and textures. Velvet, satin, low rise versus high rise. All that.”

Another way to avoid feeding into microtrends is by steering clear of fast fashion. Ackerman suggests secondhand shopping, like thrifting or apps like Depop or Poshmark instead.

“It’s crazy how quick trend cycles are nowadays,” said Ackerman. “Which is fine, don’t get me wrong. I do wear some trendy stuff, and my style will change somewhat based on trends … It just takes practice and going in knowing what you’re looking for. People think it’s overwhelming … But you

just have to spend a week or a few hours liking and saving stuff. Just like TikTok and Instagram have an algorithm, so does Depop. Look at different people you know about and look at who they’re following.”

Accessorizing is also an easy way to elevate your closet. A simple T-shirt and jeans become cooler by adding sunglasses and jewelry. Statement accessories can show off your unique flare. Miami has a plethora of local designers, and the internet is crawling with small businesses waiting to be discovered. Hats, jewelry, sunglasses, shoes, bags — there’s no limit to style yourself.

Another fashion trap at the U is the overemphasis of labels.

“The older I got, the more I got away from name brands,” UM junior Jordan Berrada said. “I like pieces where people have to question, ‘Where did he get that from?’”

Your aesthetic can add to your allure, but if you’re wearing exactly what everyone else is, what’s the appeal?

“The way I see fashion, with high luxury brands, is it’s not so much that you’re buying the product itself. It’s that you’re buying their credibility,” said Berrada. “You’re using brands’ credibility to express yourself, but I think there’s more merit in expressing yourself in your own types of ways of dressing. I think there’s beauty in subtlety. I think that has a cooler outlook and a cooler message.”

Berrada initially explored fashion as an escape. Growing up in Milwaukee, he felt like he didn’t really fit in but, by taking risks with his clothes, he developed confidence, and it changed his outlook on himself and life.

“I wasn’t really happy with how I looked weight-wise or face-wise, and my way of hiding that was the way I dressed,” said Berrada. “It killed two birds with one stone. On the one, it helped my confidence a lot but it also differentiated me for sure from people

PATTERNED PANTS and a simple top — what could go wrong?

who I didn’t feel like I fit in with. I’d say I’m a person who is not really scared to stand out or do my own thing and, in a way, how I dress kind of shows that.”

Unfortunately, sometimes fashion in Miami brings new meaning to the dreaded phrase “one size fits all.” There seems to be a need to wear very little clothing, in large part due to the hot climate.

“[When I was younger,] I thought that in order to feel pretty I had to wear really, really cut off denim shorts and have a really low-cut shirt just so I could feel pretty and attractive,” said Trama. “As part of growing into my personal style and becoming more comfortable with myself, I started to dress in ways that made me feel comfortable because I realized that what made me feel pretty is feeling comfortable. So for me that means not really showing as much skin anymore or wearing looser things, and also weird quirky things like Dickies around my ankle with long socks and boyish sneakers.”

In a city where it’s all about the flashiness and the hype, it’s interesting to consider how daily looks don’t require the same effort.

“I will dress up in a fit to go to Target and everyone’s like ‘oh, you look so nice’ versus in New York, whatever errand you’re running, it’s always a fashion show. Since you’re walking everywhere or taking the subway, you’re not just throwing on a pair of sweats or leggings and driving, you’re always being seen,” said Ackerman. “The whole attitude toward it is different [in Miami].”

When it comes down to it, fashion can be about showcasing who you are — the real upgrade is internal. Being comfortable and confident in your own skin is essential to elevating your look. Be it wearing rhinestones on your face like Trama or wild accessories like Ackerman and Berrada, there’s so much more to explore than the standard UM fashion formula.

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Playing games is almost a mandatory part of growing up. Is there a better way to cure the insufferable boredom of childhood than a good old competition? Playing even the most nostalgic games can create new, exciting memories. That’s why our staff has compiled a list of our top picks to help you reconnect with the past and maybe even discover some new favorites.

words_diana moschetti. design_lizzie kristal.


If you’re a college student, you probably know how to play this classic drinking game. All you need is a deck of cards and your drink of choice to start. Place the king’s cup at the center of the table and hand each player their own drink. Evenly distribute the deck of cards around the king’s cup. Every player will take turns selecting a card from the deck, each being associated with a different activity. Feel free to get creative here or try out the most common card activities. For example, drawing a four calls for all the ladies to drink, picking a two means you point to another person to drink, five means you have to play “never have I ever,” etc. This classic drinking game will help you create terrific memories with friends — but it’s not our fault if you don’t remember them the next day.


The game itself might be ancient, but the fun never gets old. To start, you’ll need a mancala board and 48 marbles. Tip: if you can’t find the board in stores, opt for an empty egg container. And, if you don’t have marbles try using coins. Each player will then need a small bowl or “mancala store,” and then give both players 24 marbles. Each player will place four marbles into each of the pits closest to them. The starting player must grab all the marbles from one hole on their side and go around the board dropping them in each pit in a counterclockwise direction. If the player passes over a mancala store, they must drop the marble in it. The object of the game is to capture more marbles than your opponent.

Honorable Mentions:

Fruit Ninja, Dominos, Chess, Settlers of Cattan, Sorry!


You may have heard of this unique new card game from TikTok. “WRNS” emphasizes building strong connections through quality conversation. Each card has a different prompt and falls into one of three distinct categories. Level one, Perception, focuses on assumptions of one another or first impressions. For this level, you may pick up a card that says: “Do you think I’ve ever been in love?” Whereas level two, Connection, dives into deeper questions such as “What is the last thing you lied to your mom about?” Level three, Reflection, allows players to reflect on their conversations with one another. The game concludes with each player receiving a hand-written note from one another. With no actual winner or loser, this game will have you wondering if the real prize was the friends we made along the way.


Ever wondered what it would be like to achieve total world domination? Look no further than this classic strategy game. In “Risk,” players build armies and engage in battles across continents. The catch is that the outcome of each battle is dependent on the roll of a die. While based on luck, it is still crucial for players to think, strategize and take action if they hope to succeed in this game. Whoever can eliminate the other players’ troops and conquer every territory first wins. Take a risk and check out this classic board game if you haven’t already.



In the spirit of games, let’s go back to a middle school classic. It’s easy to make — you just need some paper, scissors and a writing utensil. If your tarot card spreads haven’t been working for you, cut out this fortune teller template and rekindle the connection to your inner child. What’s in the cards for you?

words&design_sal puma.

DISTRACTION ISCALLING , BETTER PICKUP. @distractionmag @distractionmag www.distractionmagazine.com Join our award-winning staff. We’re always accepting writers, designers, photographers, videographers, PR pros and business-savvy sales reps. However you’d like to get in the swing of things, we have room for you. Send an email to distraction305@gmail.com for more information. Anyone is welcome to contribute! illustration_katherine pericas.
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