Distraction Magazine Winter 2022

Page 1

winter 2022


Shifting into adulthood doesn’t have to be so terrifying.


Who says the sober friend for the night can’t have a little fun too?


From Tumblr to TikTok, fashion trends that have stuck with us.


The history and culture behind the shoe-shopping hobby.

magazine of the students of the university of miami the


Shifting into adulthood doesn’t have to be so terrifying.


Who says the sober friend for the night can’t have a little fun too?


The history and culture behind the shoeshopping hobby.


From Tumblr to Tiktok, fashion trends that have stuck with us.

winter 2022



From Tumblr to TikTok, fashion trends that have stuck with us.


Who says the sober friend for the night can’t have a little fun too?

GROWN-UP Shifting into adulthood doesn’t have to be so terrifying.

the magazine of the students of the university of miami winter 2022
The history and culture behind the shoe shopping hobby


From Tumblr to TikTok, fashion trends that have stuck with us.



winter 2022


The history and culture behind the shoeshopping hobby.


Shifting into adulthood doesn’t have to be so terrifying.

magazine of the students of the university of miami
says the sober friend for the night can’t have a little fun too?
1 DISTRACTION Winter 2022 TABLE OF CONTENTS 56_indie sleaze 62_caftan craze DISTRACTION WINTER 2022 03 — THE GUIDE 35 — SPECIAL SECTION: GROWN UP 55 — FASHION 23 — WHAT THE FORK 13 — HAPPENING 47 — HEALTH & WELLNESS 4_sneakerheads 8_keeping it hush 10_cafecito 12_getting crafty 14_paid to play 17_campus rock 20_out of pocket 22_jingle jams 24_think outside the board 27_miami fruits 28_gekkō 30_playing it safe 32_mocktails 36_handling business 38_lost & found 40_home sweet home 42_au naturel 43_page turner 44_better work bitch 46_talk the talk 48_blowing smoke 50_(un)processed 52_equilibrium 54_swolemates 04 14 24 35 56 54


What did you want to be when you grew up?


Editor-in-Chief_Lizzie Kristal

Managing Editor_Sal Puma

Executive Editor_Nicole Facchina

Creative Director_Isa Márquez

Associate Creative Director_Drew Morris

Photo Directors_ Daniella Pinzón & Nina D’Agostini

Assistant Photo Director_Sharron Lou Public Relations Director_Lex Kondratenko

Fashion Directors_Andrius Espinoza & Grier Calagione

Digital Editor_Jamie Moses

Web Designer_Sidney Cocimano

The Guide Editor_Matt Jiménez

Just yesterday I was a first grader watching “Scooby Doo” in class — time flashed and I blinked. Today I’m in college and tomorrow I’ll be graduating. Whether you’re 17 or 65, growing up is inevitable. Though adulthood seems terrifying, it doesn’t have to be. After the first-semester frenzy passed, reality set in. Finances, career plans, apartment hunting, oh my! Let us hold your hand through the process with this issue’s special section: Grown Up.

My team has collected every crumb of passion to put this issue together. I watched them create sentences that made me chuckle and visuals that widened my eyes, all locked into these 64 pages. After hours spent clicking away in Shalala, I am tremendously proud of the final product you grasp between your fingers. What else can I say — get distracted.

Stay tuned,

Just rich, I guess.

Happening Editor_Tamia McLean

Fashion Editor_Kelly Bramson

Health & Wellness Editor_Virginia Suardi

Faculty Adviser_Randy Stano

Supporting Faculty_Bruce Garrison & 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.


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.

2 DISTRACTION Introduction the magazine of the students of the university of miami winter 2022 SNEAKERHEADS MOCKTAILS Who says the sober friend for the night can’t have a GROWN-UP Shifting into adulthood doesn’t have to be so terrifying. The history and culture behind the shoe-shopping hobby. INDIE SLEAZE From Tumblr to TikTok, fashion trends that have stuck with us. EDITOR Our fashion editorial “Indie Sleaze” gives Tumblr trendy with a rugged edge. photo_daniella pinzón This issue’s special section “Grown-Up” provides a succinct guide to adulting. illustration_rachel farinas “Mocktails” gets you tipsy on creativity through delectable, sober recipes. photo_isa márquez “Sneakerheads” sheds light on a specific kind of shopping addiction. photo_nina d’agostini the university of miami MOCKTAILS Who says the sober friend for the night can’t have a SNEAKERHEADS The history and culture shopping hobby. From Tumblr to Tiktok, fashion trends that have stuck with us. INDIE SLEAZE GROWN-UP Shifting into adulthood doesn’t have to be so terrifying. winter 2022 magazine of the students of the university of miami winter 2022 the Shifting into adulthood doesn’t have to be so terrifying. GROWN UP MOCKTAILS Who says the sober friend for the night can’t have a little fun too? SNEAKERHEADS The history and culture behind INDIE SLEAZE From Tumblr to TikTok, fashion magazine of the students of the university of miami winter 2022 the Who says the sober friend for the night can’t have a little fun too? MOCKTAILS SNEAKERHEADS The history and culture behind the shoeshopping hobby. INDIE SLEAZE: From Tumblr to TikTok, fashion trends that GROWN-UP Shifting into adulthood doesn’t have to be so terrifying.
winter 2022
Professional skier.
The president *nerd emoji*
A photgrapher (:


Welcome to your roadmap — from the how-to’s to the best-of’s, The Guide has you covered. This section makes it easy to discover the unexplored. Get a surge of energy from the best Cuban coffee, hop into the world of sneakerheads, get crafty with how to start an art hobby and learn the scoop on Miami speakeasies. Sit back, relax, and read.

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sneaker heads

Over the years, collectors have found different things to stock up on. Trading cards, action figures, coins and stamps, just to name a few. A popular item that has become a more mainstream horde are sneakers. From Yeezys to Air Jordans, shoes can be used as an accent for every outfit. They have become a staple in just about everyone’s closet. From trading sites to collectors, sneakerheads have created their own network.

words_lewis walker, daniela lombardi garcia & tassilo von furstenberg. design_ isa márquez. photo_nina d’agostini.

Oz Espino remembers when the only way to cop the latest sneaker kicks was to wake up early, go to the mall and wait in the lines that dragged on forever.

And even then, the stores might not have his shoe size.

Regardless of the inconvenience, the experience would be worth it, especially if you got your dream pair of shoes, said Espino, a junior at UM and a longtime sneakerhead.

“I think it’s one of the coolest communities,” said Espino, whose interest in the world of sneakers dates to the 2009 premier of Sneaker Con. — an annual signature sneaker show where collectors go to buy and sell their precious kicks.

The community — primarily male millennials and zoomers — collects and trades in the sneaker resale market. According to Huddle Up, a daily online letter that analyzes the business and money behind sports, sneakerheads own anywhere from 25 to 75 pairs of sneakers and buy one to four pairs a month.

Once the symbol of athleticism, sneakers have become one of the biggest fashion and commercial items in the world. Some industry analysts put the U.S. sneaker market value at approximately $2 billion and estimate the global market could reach around $120 billion by 2026.

Worn by celebrities, athletes, artists, models and, of course, students, sneakers are on just about everyone’s shopping list— and feet. And with the rise of online sites such as StockX, GOAT and Nike’s SNKRS, sneakerheads are stocking up on their favorite footwear faster and more efficiently.

HŸP IS OPEN 12-8 p.m. on Monday – Thursday, 12-9 p.m. on Friday, 11-10 p.m. on Saturday, and 11-6 p.m. on Sunday.

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THE AIR JORDAN 1 Retro High OG in ‘University Blue’ goes for around $400 on StockX depending on size.

“It’s bigger than ever,” said Espino, whose collection includes the Vans Old Skool and the iconic Air Jordan 1.

Despite many online alternatives, the sneaker store experience remains an important part of the community. Flight Club and Stadium Goods boast some of the biggest storefronts in the nation, with multiple locations in Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago and Miami.

Locally, recent UM alumnus Marcus Sharf opened HŸP, a sneaker and streetwear store in late August in Coconut Grove.

Both walls of the store are lined with prominent sneakers in floating displays. In addition, several high-end apparel pieces fill the remaining racks.

Some items include the incredibly notable Nike Off-White Dunks, iconic Yeezy Boosts and the more elusive Jordan 1 Fragment x Travis Scott Dunks.

An elegant zen garden with undisturbed designs traced into the sand and some of the hottest shoes on display in the middle of the store completes the relaxed vibe that Sharf intended to create.

“We try to provide an experience rather than just having all the cool sneakers,” Sharf said. “Everyone should have the right to

enjoy the sneaker culture.”

However, the trend goes beyond just having the latest, greatest or even rarest sneakers available. For sneakerheads, it’s more about telling a unique story through the distinct styles they choose to wear.

“My favorite brand is Converse,” said junior Bella Clark, a new sneakerhead who is growing her collection. “I like that they have a classic feel but also have new cool styles.”

Hank Shalom, a senior sports management major, said he owns a whopping 15 pairs of sneakers.

“A lot of them are Jordan Brand sneakers, but I also have sneakers from Adidas and Nike,” said Shalom.

“I own sneakers purely based on style and comfort, and it just so happens to be that those three brands dominate the market when looking for those two characteristics. My collection is worth somewhere between $5,000 to $7,000 ,” Shalom said. “The most I’ve paid for a shoe is $550 and the least I’ve paid is $80.”

Because of the ever-growing streetwear fashion style, affordable brands such as Nike, Adidas and Champions are beginning to collaborate with luxury brands such as Gucci, Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton. Sneakers

IF YOU WANT TO KEEP YOUR SNEAKERS LOOKING FRESH, but also want to wear them out, invest in a crease protector. They come in plastic and foam varieties and you wear them in your shoe so they keep it stiff and resist the fabric from creasing.

and their rise in fashion have led to brand collaboration in order to create luxury items that still fit into the aesthetic.

Sophomore Isabella Martinez said she has about 10 pairs of sneakers.

“I have a few Nikes, Adidas, specifically some Jordans and some Burberry and Valentino,” Martinez said. “I like to get Nike and Adidas because they’re my go-to athletic shoes.”

But with sneakers being so accessible, it has, for some, ruined the sanctity of the sneaker community.

Rampant reselling, limited stock and oversaturated styles are commonplace has fragmented some of the sneaker community,” said Espino. “It’s part of the reason why I don’t like that it’s gone mainstream. People care more about owning rare pieces than wearing rare pieces.”



Sneaker culture and the community that safeguards it have evolved considerably over the past few years.

Sneakers have been gaining in popularity and prestige since they were first introduced to the sports world in the 1830s by John Boyd Dunlop. Boyd, founder of the Liver Rubber Co., created an invention called “plimsolls,” which were rubber-soled shoes.

Nearly 60 years later, the US Rubber Company developed an updated version of the “plimsolls” called “Keds.” The shoes gained the slang name of “sneakers” because people would say that they were so quiet that the person wearing them could sneak up on you.

German shoemaker Adolph “Adi” Dassler made further advancements beginning in the 1920s by creating the first track shoe with a full leather sole and hand-forged spike. He later created his sportswear company Adidas, which has become one of the most popular brands in the world. It became the first brand of sports shoe to gain popularity when four-time Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens competed in them in the 1936 Olympics.

But the sport that really started the general popularity of sneakers was basketball.

In 1921, Chuck Taylor, semi-pro basketball player and a salesman, started promoting the Converse sneakers, the first-ever celebrity-endorsed athletic shoe. The first NBA player to have a signature sneaker was Walt “Clyde” Frazier with the PUMA Clyde in 1970.

The biggest and most popular collaboration between a sneaker and an athlete was with basketball legend Michael Jordan. Air Jordan, launched in 1984, is considered the “grandfather” of all modern sneakers. The Jordan x Nike collaboration proved sneakers were more than just a shoe for athletic wear, leading to several creations of various types of fashion-focused sneakers.

Meanwhile, the music industry also has contributed to sneaker popularity. Rap, reggaeton and hip-hop were the biggest music genres from the 1970s through the 1990s. Artists recorded and performed in various types of sneakers, marking them as modern-fashion staple. Nike Air Force 1s became popular among a large amount rappers and musicians, and Converse sneakers were popular with rock and punk artists.

Collaborations between artists and sneaker brands first started with hip-hop duo Run-DMC and Adidas. A version of Adidas Superstar was created in 1985, after the artists released a song called “My Adidas.” Jay-Z had a collaboration with Reebok and created a sneaker inspired by one released by Gucci in 1984. Ye has had many collaborations with Adidas, Nike, Louis Vuitton and others, with his most famous release, “Yeezys.” Similarly, Rihanna had a collaboration with PUMA in 2016, which was a defining moment in the fashion industry because of the popularity, influence and public sway she had as a female celebrity.

Movies have also had a huge role in the advertising and marketing of sneakers. Sneakers are a big part of pop culture history because of their appearances in famous movies. Many sneakers were first presented to the public in movies without the intent of marketing them. But on many occasions, there was high demand for the sneakers. Some movies with famous sneakers are “Forrest Gump,” “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” “Dirty Dancing,” “Aquatic Life of Steve Zissou,” “Space Jam” and “Back to the Future.”

their favorite or rarest ones on the wall, and some get fancy boxes to keep them in.

7 DISTRACTION Winter 2022


Who doesn’t love a good secret? We’ll let you in on this one: there’s something sexy about exploring the unknown, a night out turning into an exciting adventure. Clubs and bars might not be doing it for you anymore, so add a little secrecy into your weekend routine. Mix a hidden backdoor in with dancing and drinks, and fall down the rabbit hole of speakeasies in Miami you just have to try.

words_kelly bramson. design & photo_daniella pinzón.

Appearances can be deceiving. Who knew when grabbing a late night meatball sub you could stumble into an elegant, vintage cocktail lounge? NDA is a new, intimate, disco-inspired bar and lounge, reflecting inspirations of Old-Hollywood glitz and glam. The atmosphere blends old and new together with vintage decor and modern vibes. Dim lighting creates a sense of warmth and secrecy, with a disco ball lighting up the middle of the room — perfect to dance the night away. Orange velvet coats the room, lining the walls and lavish banquette couches, dressed with extravagant feathers to create a sense of comfort and class. The music does not disappoint: a live DJ spinning a variety of upbeat music from hip-hop to Latin to throwbacks to house remixes.

NDA has an extensive list of delicious cocktails curated by beverage director Andi

Cruzatti. The must-try drinks include: “Y Tu Mamá También” — jalapeño tequila, mezcal, lime juice, watermelon chai syrup and ginger beer. “La Vie en Rose” — rose-infused vodka, framboise raspberry beer reduction, lime and bitters. “Catch Me If You Can” — gin, simple syrup, lime, plum liqueur and rosemary.

How to find it:

Step inside The Mad Butcher, a gourmet sandwich shop with an old-school deli vibe located in Wynwood. To your left of the brightly lit menu, you’ll see a cute, retro photo booth next to the bathrooms. Walk past the bathrooms, through the plastic butcher-shop curtains and you’ll find yourself in a metal room bathed in red light. If you see a slab of fake meat hanging, you’re in the right place. Open the door to the walk-in cooler and suddenly you’ve been transported into the cozy, ’70s-style speakeasy. 2300 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33127

More tacos and clubs … what could be Better? A not-so secret speakeasy hidden behind a delicious taqueria’s porta-potty. Yum. Bodega is a Miami gem. With a lively crowd, always fun music and tasty drinks, Bodega is iconic for a night out with friends. Bodega is dark and intimate, yet loud and filled with dancing and boozing. Bodega shifts from casual to more formal as the day goes on, enforcing a dress code on Fridays and Saturdays, meaning no shorts or hats. Being a popular destination, there’s usually a line out the door and, if you can finesse your way to the front, there might be a cover fee depending on how busy it is. Don’t let this scare you — it’s often worth it.

The lounge has two comfortable stories lined with mismatched plush couches. The interior is wooden and rustic with hanging lights creating an industrial, homey vibe. And you simply can’t say you went unless you take

a picture of the iconic “Love Me, F*ck Me” LED sign that lines the wall. There is a happy hour daily from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., but the crowd doesn’t fill up until around midnight. They offer a variety of events including NFL Sundays and live music nights, anything you could want from a bar.

Bodega also just expanded, opening up a new location close to the University of Miami in Coconut Grove, located at 3419 Main Highway, Coconut Grove. This spot offers not only a lounge but a private and exclusive mezcaleria upstairs as well.

“I’m so excited they opened up a Bodega closer to campus! It makes life so much easier,” said senior Vivi Martell. “Grove Thursdays are back.”

How to find it: Walk through the blue porta-potty covered in graffiti and stickers. Simple as that! 3419 Main Hwy, Coconut Grove, FL 33133



How to find it:

Coyo Taco is the ideal taqueria after a night out with a great deal on margarita jugs. However, what you might not know is there is a hidden club in the back of the Wynwood location, where unsurprisingly, you’ll find heaven in the form of tequila and mezcal. Dark and crowded, the Latin influence takes over and has you moving your hips in ways you didn’t know you could. The walls vibrate with reggaeton, creating a high-energy oasis. And while you’re there make sure to get one of their famous margs.

Once at Coyo Taco, walk past the wooden benches outside and straight to the back where the bathrooms are. Past the bathrooms, you’ll see a blue door labeled “employees only.” Don’t let this fool you. Enter this and you find yourself in a dark hallway with an exit sign. If the pounding music wasn’t enough of a clue, step through the curtains and you’ll have made it: a hideaway Latin bar. 2320 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33127


New York City is in Miami — and we’re not talking about the student population. Dante’s HiFI in Wynwood is where hipster meets music junkie. When you first step in, you’ll see a collection of Polaroids taken and signed by various past celebrity guests. Dante’s HiFi is aesthetically pleasing and oozes with sophistication and soul. With the gold, velvetpleated walls, plush couches, dim lighting, staff dressed in Newsie caps and suspenders, and the bar itself being a bookshelf library of vinyl records, it feels just like an old jazz bar.

Dante’s HiFi is a Japanese-inspired listening bar, where the purpose is to come, sit, sip your drinks and listen, fully immersing yourself in the music. There’s a moe mature crowd here compared to other places. It’s nirvana for audiophiles, a dream come true with lofi beats and hifi vibes. The DJ’s selection is rich and diverse and curated by music director Rich Medina from his own personal collection. Although there is no cover, they offer memberships for record fanatics, which includes exclusive events at least once a month.

They offer a vast menu of Miami-inspired specialty drinks, the most on brand being “Skinny Love,” a very smoky drink made of mezcal union, toasted rice, lychee and lime. However, they emphasize the importance of ambience and art here rather than chugging down drink after drink.

How to find it:

Stumble along the streets of Wynwood and you’ll find a well-lit alley with lots of art — walk down that; it’ll lead you into an open plaza marked by wooden benches and a giant painted masked cat on the wall. You’ll see a plain building with black caged windows, a door topped with an umbrellashaped cover, and the numbers 519. You’ve made it.

519 NW 26th St, Miami, FL 33127


Tall Beautiful Views of Brickell: Tea Room

Located on top of the EAST Miami hotel at 788 Brickell Plaza.

Where Sake & Wine Meet: Kojin

Located in the back of ramen restaurant, Hachidori, at 8222 NE 2nd Ave.

Elegant Late Night Cocktail Galore: Swizzle Rum Bar & Drinkery

Located inside The Stiles Hotel at 1120 Collins Ave., Miami Beach.

Día de los Muertos-inspired Club: Don Diablo

Located inside the restaurant El Santo at 1618 SW 8th St., Miami.

9 DISTRACTION Winter 2022

IF YOU WANT TO MAKE CUBAN COFFEE AT HOME you could use almost any coffeemaker in a pinch, but it won’t be as strong as traditional Cuban coffee. Brewers recommend preheating the water in a kettle to a point right before it boils to extract the coffee faster.

Many cities around the US are known for certain food and drink that taste better there. New York and New Jersey boast about their “world famous” pizza, Kentucky has their fried chicken, and Massachusetts has clam chowder. Floridians, instead, are proud of the cuban cafecito that can be found in small cafes around the state. If you haven’t had these cups of heaven, listen to why Miami residents live by this cultural coffee. Get the run-down on its history, how it’s made, and where to get the best cup.

words_anessa garcia, caleigh russo & alanys viera. design_isa márquez & lizzie kristal. photo_isa márquez.


In the throes of a tiring day of hauling boxes and sorting through clothes and campus gear during freshman move-in weekend, Kelly Brennan and her parents were in search of a liquid picker-upper.

Eager to sample Miami’s muchtouted Cuban coffee, the New York family headed to Havana Harry’s on LeJeune Road, where Brennan ordered a cup of Cuban coffee.

“I was tired that day, so it got the job done,” said Brennan, now a sophomore at the University of Miami.

For those new to the unique Cuban coffee experience, “the job” is the nirvana-esque, sweet-jolt-of energy feeling that comes with Cuban cafecito.

All respect to Gloria Estefan, it’s not Miami’s rhythm that’s “gonna get you,” it’s the café cubano, the café con leche, the cortadito and the colada.

“Cuban coffee is the best coffee there is, and I can’t go a day without it,” said junior Annemarie Suárez, who has been drinking Cuban coffee for a majority of her life.

Whether you’re looking for a new way to get a mid-day energy jolt or on the prowl for a new coffee joint, Cuban coffee can be your new go-to habit, and there are many places in Miami that provide. Some famous locations for a Cuban energy boost such are Versailles, La Carreta, Islas Canarias, Latin Café and Havana Harry’s.

“Our most popular Cuban coffee is a colada,’’ Havana Harry’s manager Gabriel Ortiz said in a telephone interview. A colada is which is a fourounce styrofoam cup of straight Cuban espresso. “I notice people like to get desserts like flan or cookies with their

From the ventanitas — the walkup windows at restaurants where customers stand in line for coffee or sugar cane juice (guarapo) — to the tiny white Styrofoam cups of sweetened espresso that magically appear each afternoon in UM faculty lounges, coffee stands and offices, it’s hard to miss the obvious Cuban caffeine craze that dominates the area.

Even UM President Julio Frenk is a fan of the beverage.

“I love Cuban coffee,” said Frenk, whose favorite is a cortadito “with no sugar.”

Suárez, who owns six moka pots, said she usually enjoys drinking Cuban coffee at home, but her favorite spot is Islas Canarias near her home in Miami.

Whether brewed at home, a Cuban restaurant or coffee shop, Cuban coffee is a strong, dark roast espresso sweetened with a raw brown sugar called demerara during brewing. Because the grind is finer and has a shorter brewing time, Cuban coffee

typically has about twice the amount of caffeine as a regular cup of coffee.

How did Cuban coffee come to cure our lethargy?

Cuban coffee is the product of years of development. Coffee first came to Cuba in 1748, when José Antonio Gelabert began importing arabica coffee beans. Before the Cuban Revolution, which lasted from 1953 to 1959, Cuba was a top producer of coffee, with many coffee shops spanning the island. Back then, coffee exports rivaled sugar exports in Cuba, with Cubans using pure arabica coffee beans to cook up their coffee in a lucrative market.

When Fidel Castro came to power in 1959, he ordered coffee plants to be removed from the ground and replaced by food crops. Cuba began importing cheaper Robusta coffee beans in the form of ground coffee, which are often used for instant coffee because they are easier to grow.

Robusta bean ground coffee, which is known for its bitter taste, was not good on its own, so Cubans began adding chicharo, a pea, to help the flavor. To combat the bitterness that remained, they added sugar.

Since then, Cubans have developed techniques to make their coffee and curate a unique, distinctive flavor.

It’s the caffeine jolt that junior Leticia Milesi-Halle says she looks for in Cuban coffee whenever her classwork gets intense.

“I didn’t understand the type of caffeine power it would have over me,” said Milesi-Halle, who said she experienced automatic caffeine jitters and noticed an immediate uplift and boost in her mood.

Brennan also sampled her first Cuban coffee while she was still in high school after a friend’s mother persuaded her to try it.

“She showed it to me, and it looked like espresso,” Brennan said, adding that she was pleasantly surprised when the drink was sweeter than she anticipated.

For the uninitiated, Suárez suggests starting out with café con leche, which is diluted with milk and can lower the intensity of the caffeine.

Despite the pervasive presence of Cuban coffee in South Florida, sophomore Will Carello is not a follower. Caffeine, Cuban or otherwise, is addictive, he said.

“Coffee means nothing to me,” said Carello, who grew up in a household where his parents made a pot of hot coffee every day.

Carello’s must-have beverage? Gatorade: fruit punch, please.

Cuban coffee, qué rico!

Here are some places to get your cafecito fix near every UM campus.

Vicky’s Bakery, University of Miami

Coral Gables Campus Food Court

Monday, Tuesday and Thursday: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Wednesday and Friday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Havana Harry’s, 4612 S Le Jeune Road, Coral Gables

Sunday to Thursday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Los Amigos Café, 7105 SW 47th St, Suite 401, Miami

Monday to Saturday: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Latin Cafe & Mini Market, 1164 SW 17th St, Miami

Monday to Saturday: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Casa Cuba 5959 SW 73rd St., South Miami Sunday to Friday: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday: 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Espresso Cubano, 147 Giralda Ave, Coral Gables Open 24/7

Classica Victoria, 638 Crandon Blvd, Key Biscayne

Every day: 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Latin Cafe 2000, 1053 Brickell Plaza, Miami

Every day: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Pinecrest Bakery, 6655 S Dixie Hwy, Miami

Every day 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Versailles, 3555 SW Eighth St., Miami Monday to Thursday: 8 a.m. to 12a.m.; Friday and Saturday: 8 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Sunday: 9 a.m. to 12 a.m.

Isla Canarias, 13695 SW 26th St, Miami Sunday to Thursday: 7 a.m. to 9:45 p.m.; Friday and Saturday: 7 a.m. to 10:30p.m.

Passion del Cielo, 100 Giralda Ave, Coral Gables

Sunday: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Monday to Saturday: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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Getting Crafty

Want to pick up a new hobby? How about something artistic? Whether you are naturally talented at drawing, dancing, acting or playing an instrument, everyone can tap into their creative side. Luckily, Miami is a great place to begin your art journey with a little help from the staff at Distraction to get you on the right beginning track. Here is the simplest way to start your art journey.

words_tamia mclean. illustration_isa márquez. design_nina d’agostini

Art is best described as the expression of manifesting your imagination in a visual medium. It sounds fancy, but it’s really not that hard. Whether you were that creativelygifted kid or are a complete newbie, everyone is capable of making art. However, art isn’t just relative to drawing and painting; singing, dancing, playing instruments, acting and more all make up the arts.

There are plenty of resources available to get creative, and the University of Miami serves as a hub to unleash that creativity. UM offers various art and music classes that explain how to make your own, or even the history behind some styles if that’s more your speed. So, if you’re interested in learning about how to get started in the arts, you’re in the right place.


To start drawing, just find a pencil, a sheet of paper, and move your wrists. Doodling — whether on scratch paper or the corner of your calculus notebook — can help you practice the basics of drawing such as composition and stroke.

However, suppose you don’t want to have your notebooks filled with miscellaneous scribbles and that one anime eye you keep making, and you want to take your drawings to the next level. Luckily there are plenty of stores around that sell art supplies. Michaels is one of the largest arts and crafts stores in U.S. which offers an excess of art supplies. The best part about Michaels is that their products are typically on sale and their online store offers a variety of deals so you don’t break the bank.

Amazon is currently the largest online retailer that sells thousands of art items from a bunch of different artistic suppliers, sometimes at an even lower price. When looking for art supplies, it’s important to note that higher-quality items tend to be more expensive, but you don’t have to purchase a $100 marker set or a $50 inking pen to create wonderful artwork. A mechanical pencil and a $6 sketchbook work fine, especially if you’re just starting out.

Sometimes, you don’t even need a pencil and paper to create art. If you have an iPad with a compatible stylus, you can easily start out with digital art. Digital art has taken TikTok and Youtube by storm with their visually-pleasing speedpaints.

Arianna Nicolas, vice president of the Black Student Creatives, is a digital artist as well as a character designer. She began drawing as a kid from watching cartoons and, as she got older, turned to online resources to refine her craft, and is currently a character designer for the interactive media program for a faculty-run game.

However, Nicolas mentions that as she got older, more responsibilities took her away from art.

“Only this year I’ve set aside my responsibilities a bit to focus on my art,” said Nicolas.

Drawing is a great way to temporarily escape the stressors of life. Instead of letting responsibilities separate you and your art, use drawing as a way to release stress.


They say that while art is what we use to decorate space, music is what we use to decorate time. If you find yourself wanting

to explore that passion we have a bunch of resources here on campus. UM has a renowned musical school, the Frost School of Music, home to many of the best musically gifted talents.

Sydney Myers, a Frost School student, has been singing since she was three and grew up in the middle of a musically-oriented family and is a music aficionado.

“I love music, I find it hard that some people don’t listen or like music,” said Myers.

If you find yourself wanting to take up an instrument, the good news is the internet has millions of apps and tutorial videos everywhere to help you get started. From bass guitars, bassoons, piano and the piccolo, you can find a decent YouTube playlist to help teach you basic chords and even some rudimentary songs. Though if you prefer a more traditional approach nearby on campus, both Guitar Center and School of Rock offer lessons to help. Just reach out on their websites for inquiries.

The downside is that purchasing instruments can be expensive.

Acoustic guitars average around $100–$200 while electric guitars can cost anywhere from $200–$2000. Brands also play a big role in pricing; obviously, the higher-quality the instrument is, the more expensive it’ll be. You can always opt for a cheaper alternative, like the Ukulele or a recorder.

Kayla McIntyre, a composition and jazz studies major, started playing guitar at age 12 and even played in a house band called Okay Kenedi for several years.

“Music can be expensive,” said McIntyre. “I have seven guitars — I bought two — but my father bought three and my uncle gave me one, and I won one in a contest.”

Digital Music

Much like how there is a digital counterpart to drawing, music has the same. Self -composing is the use of visual software to create beats from vocal or instrumental samples and other sounds. It is nothing new, but with the rise of lo-fi music these last few years and the popularity of Digital Audio Workstation like Audacity, FL Studio and Adobe Audition, there are ways to turn small ditties into producer level pieces. If playing an instrument is not your forte, perhaps producing music digitally can be better since it is a great way to make something tangible out of your singing.

Kalia Spearman is a sophomore music business major, as well as an artist and songwriter. She composes her own music and is currently doing an internship at AudioVision and learning audio engineering and administrative work.

“I love harmonies,” said Spearman. “I love stacking up vocals to make pretty harmonies. Sometimes, I mute the background just to listen to the harmonies — it’s so good!”

To get motivated, she starts with listening to beats, freestyling and composing from the ground up.

Fortunately, some DAW programs either offer a free trial or are completely free. And with the upswing of independent artists, thanks to Spotify and SoundCloud, anyone is capable of producing music — but it may take some time to make it stick.



Happening tackles today’s hot topics and inspiring innovators — the news of now. Take an exclusive look at how college athletes can earn a living with NIL deals, the rockin’ student bands on campus, the bizarrity of absurdist comedy and our very own staff song picks to get you in the holiday mood. We bring you the latest and greatest Miami has to offer.

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BORREGALES, #30, kicker and current sophomore, kicks in the game against BethuneCookman University.

The life of a student-athlete isn’t easy. Grueling practices take up a lot of time and energy, and they still have to juggle classes and coursework. This leaves very little time for jobs of any kind. Enter NIL Deals. By using these new sponsorships, athletes can build their brand and fill their wallet by endorsing certain brands, allowing them to still have a source of income despite their packed schedule. Read on to hear how UM athletes use NIL deals and whether the school supports them or not.

words_isabella destounis, max popiel, kamren kinchens & mykel tubbs. photo_jared lennon. design_lizzie kristal.

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The National Collegiate Athletic Association has long prevented student-athletes from advertising or promoting products or services of any kind. This was meant encourage them to be motivated primarily by the sport, not the financial gains. That all changed a year ago with new NCAA rules that allow players to sign deals based on their name, image and likeness — NIL.

How it Works

Under the plan, student-athletes can earn big money and accept deals that include commercials, endorsements, public appearances, brand wearing, social media posts and more.

“I think NIL deals are a great thing,” said linebacker Ryan Ragone, who, with former quarterback D’Eriq King, started the “King and Ragone” podcast last year.

“Players can finally help their families back home and live comfortably,” said Ragone, a fifth-year redshirt junior. “There have been players struggling to handle life’s responsibilities while playing sports, so this will grant them more help.”

Social Media

Having a social media platform can be a key component in college athletes making and keeping these lucrative deals.

“My performance against top-tier teams and my social media presence is what has made me the most appealing to brands,” said Nijel Pack, a men’s basketball guard and third-year sophomore. He is getting $400 thousand per year for two years and a car from his NIL deal with LifeWallet, a healthcare company.

Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke, a third-year sophomore, said many NIL deals rely on players using social media.

“My first deal was in the summer of 2021 with a small start-up company,” Van Dyke said. “To keep my deals, I would post on social media and appear in commercials for the brands I worked with.”

Haley and Hanna Cavinder, identical twin guards on the women’s basketball team, reportedly have 400 thousand Instagram followers apiece and four million more on their shared TikTok account. Both of the sisters transferred from Fresno State to Miami just this year.

With an estimated $1 million in earnings from NIL deals, the Cavinders are some of the most successful college athletes benefiting from the new rules.

According to Forbes, they were the first college athletes to sign a deal through Icon Source with Boost Mobile and appeared on a billboard in Times Square. Since then, they’ve had several partnerships with deals ranging from sports and nutrition companies like Six Star Nutrition to fantasy sports app Sleeper, Champs and Eastbay, and World Wrestling Entertainment.

While some athletes are scoring national deals worth six figures, NIL offers can vary according to the player, team prominence and performance, even when studentathletes are from the same school. LifeWallet, a healthcare company, has deals ranging from $800 thousand to $2,500 with several UM students.


Some of the deals the student-athletes get are local. UM athletes report contracts with area companies that include Josh’s Premium Meats in Miami, CrossFit Key Largo, Ibis Prep and Sports Grill.

“My most interesting deal was with a meat market right here in Miami called Lomelo’s,” Frierson said. “It was my first ever NIL deal experience.”

Canes defensive lineman Joshua Neely acquired a deal with It’s Just Wings last year, a chicken wing delivery restaurant, and said he hopes to score more in the future.

When asked how many UM students have NIL deals, UM’s athletics department declined to comment.

“As a private institution, we do not provide any information regarding NIL deals or what deals our student-athletes have,” deputy director of athletics Craig Anderson said in an email.

But student-athletes say the athletic staff educated players well before the new rules were set in place.

“The NIL department here at Miami did a great job explaining how we should approach these new rules,” Neely said. “We had hours of meetings just about building our brand, what to look out for and how to stay eligible.”

The Controversy

While these deals sound like a dream come true for college athletes, non-studentathletes are ambivalent about the financial gains the players are receiving.

Junior Kiera Fielding is supportive.

“I think that athletes should be able to profit from the sport they play, especially if they are getting the offers,” Fielding said.

Others contest whether the athletes deserve extra compensation.

“I know that NIL deals can be very lucrative,” said junior Makenzie Smith. “What I don’t understand is why players are receiving additional pay if they are already in school on a scholarship.”

It took a while for a lot of college sports leaders to warm up to the idea that studentathletes should be allowed to earn more than what it costs to attend college. And some students remain on the sidelines regarding compensation.

“I don’t mind athletes getting paid for their image and likeness through NIL deals,” said junior Kylee Krivijanski. “But I do think their deals are quite lucrative for not that much effort.”

With NIL deals in place for just over a year, colleges, student-athletes and brands are still trying to figure out how to navigate state laws and university guidelines when it comes to athletes’ names, images and likenesses.

UM assistant athletic director Tim Brogdon, who works with student-athlete brand development and strategy, said last year when the NIL deals took effect that he thought the rules would become less strict over time. He envisions athletes getting possible deals with clothing companies, restaurants and various media entities.

“The opportunities for athletes are only going to increase,” Brogdon said.

“Players can finally help their families back home and live comfortably. There have been players struggling to handle life’s responsibilities while playing sports, so this will grant them more help.”
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campus roc

Ever get the urge to live out your “Lemonade Mouth” fantasy? We can’t blame you. But it’s very rare to have music just click like it does in the movies. UM has its very own groups on campus, started from the ground up. Whether you want to rock out at a house party or start your own group, read on to find out how some of our own campus bands have found their rhythm, both on the stage and off.

words_sal puma. design_emily collins. photo_nina d’agostini.

The University of Miami is well known for some of its stellar academic programs. The rigorous architecture and RSMAS programs are a few of UM’s finest.

But the Frost School of Music is often overlooked for its variety of programs. While some love to call Frost students “advanced band kids,” their work is considered exemplary. They juggle classes, ensemble practices, and even extracurricular groups in which they perform. Outside of the Frost programs, student musicians find ways to explore their own music potential.

Enter campus bands.

If you’ve been around the Lakeside Patio on a Thursday, there’s a chance you’ve seen

some people on the stage performing covers of songs or even their own music. That’s all thanks to Hurricane Production’s Patio Jams. They give some of these student groups a chance to perform in front of their peers in a relaxed atmosphere.

While some of these groups decide to perform only for events like Patio Jams and other small things, some decide to display their talents elsewhere by performing gigs at parties and events off campus.

Both Sunny Side Up and Pulp Love are Frost student-based groups formed here at the U. Sunny Side Up has an indie pop feel to its music, performing bright songs that can get stuck in your head very easily with its catchy tunes. Pulp Love really tries to

bring some more funk to the table, literally, deriving its sound from R&B with a touch of psychedelic rock.

Aron Stornaiuolo, the guitarist, singer, and songwriter of Sunny Side up, said, “[We] met in a practice room, and we did our first practice there and brought in a bunch of original songs.”

Ryan Baker, the guitarist for Pulp Love said, “We were trying to get a group together because we all had similar musical taste and wanted to start a jam band project on campus.”

There was no bigger picture, just a few people wanting to play for the fun of it. A lot of their music consists of their own originals.

gan “not from concentrate,” Pulp Love prefers live

versus recordings. Though that’s

on all streaming platforms. The funky song is a great listen for local artists.

DISTRACTION Winter 2022 17
BAND PULP LOVE PERFORMS WITH A LIVE AUDIENCE. From left to right: Ryan Baker, Adam Finkelstein, Bennett Wyler, Sami Govero. With the slo- shows the case, check out their most recent release titled “Mixed Signals” out

there, some have created their own library of songs to pick from. Stornaiuolo said very proudly that “we actually don’t do any covers.”

Unlike vocal artists, these groups tend to focus more on their in-person presence, like gigs and events. But when they do decide to publish a song digitally, UM has a variety of places where students can record their songs and work on production.

Pulp Love recently pushed out one of its songs — coming soon to streaming platforms like Apple Music and Spotify. While being able to have a song on an official platform, Pulp Love explained that it’s not the entire goal or purpose of the band.

Jordan Chesebrough, the keyboardist and vocalist for Pulp Love, said that the band members “write songs for the live connect.”

“[We are] really trying to hone in on the live sound we could really use on stage and convert it into a recorded medium as best as possible,” said Baker.

When it comes to performance, these bands try to keep their schedules busy, giving their fans plenty of opportunities to see them. Signing up for Patio Jams is as simple as submitting a Google Form, but what about bars and other events?

“We just emailed everyone,” said Zach Levine, drummer of Sunny Side Up.

When they were starting out, they didn’t exactly know who to call or where to go, so the band said they just reached out to every campus organization looking for bars who were accepting gigs.

“Once you start playing gigs the other gigs start popping up and it grows from there,” said Chesebrough.

Some popular locations these bands find themselves playing feature Pub 52, The Sandbox, Titanic Brewery, and Unseen Creatures Brewing & Blending.

But if you’re talking about the bands on campus, it would be a disservice not to mention what Baker described as “the whole mythical aspect of the Frost Party.”

These are the notorious parties put on by Frost students and cliques. Think of it like the Sandbar on Thursday nights, but in someone else’s backyard and with live music. While it may be packed and stuffy, there’s something so college about screaming “American Boy” at the top of your lungs with a lukewarm beer grasped your hand.

As fun as the band life is, these rock stars still have school, leaving them with jampacked schedules.

Bass guitarist for Sunny Side Up, Jake Sonderman, said the busyness of student life can cause conflicts.

“I’m engineering so I have to do STEM and that can be very hard. I do tend to be the one who has to say no to gigs. Sometimes I have a test and we can’t do a gig.”

Sonderman added, though, that it’s just

something he balances all the time: “They are both fun, but you don’t have to do the band every day.”

Chesebrough mirrored Sonderman’s view and explained how he sees the balance.

“Being in music school, band life is kind of like school life to an extent,” said Chesebrough.

The Frost School of Music requires students to join an ensemble to practice their performance, and the band formed out of that requirement. But it persisted after the members enjoyed the experience. Like

they say, if you love your work, are you even working at all?

And it’s not for naught, either — these bands are just among the few in the campus band scene that have reached notoriety. House parties, bar gigs, and campus events — they really do it all.

“Seeing local Miami people who follow us to every show and know the lyrics to every song is amazing,” said Sonderman. “It’s great when your friends support you, but having people who never saw you before, saw you, and then became your fans is amazing.”

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BENNETT WYLER SHREDS ON THE GUITAR. If you have a group of your own and want to try out performing, contact @hp_patiojams on Instagram when they’re trying to put together their set list for the semester. It’s a great way to showcase your musical talent to the student body for the first time.

KEYBOARDIST AND VOCALIST IN PULP LOVE, JORDAN CHESEBROUGH, SMASHES THE KEYBOARD AT A RECENT PERFORMANCE. The group emphasizes their love for performing with live audiences rather than through music platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.

all of these songs in one place? Luckily, we
student-produced songs
collected some
into one Spotify playlist. Open the app, click on the search icon,
hit the camera icon in the upper righ-hand corner. Scan this code, and voila! Happy listening.

out of pocket.

Q: Why will you laugh when you read this joke?

A: Because students like to eat at the Rathskellar. Weird, right? That’s the basis of absurdist comedy — a special type of humor that embraces the random and outlandish. Think Vine culture turned TikTok — this is where the culture holds its roots. So what exactly does absurdism entail?

Dear Reader, welcome to absurdist comedy. Are you laughing yet?

Keep that to yourself, but know that the absurd, AKA the surreal, aka the abnormal is an immensely popular form of modern humor that permeates theater, movies, jokes, TikToks and just about anything you can think of.

What is it?

The more illogical, nonsensical, misleading, exaggerated and weird, the more this special side of comedy thrives.

A few examples circulating the internet include “I’ve lost my home, I’ve lost control, and I can’t see any escape — It’s time to get a new keyboard.” Or, “Why do I need a fridge? I don’t smoke. Because Bob’s your uncle.”

We told you — weird.

In real life, absurdist comedy can be displayed when somebody shouts out

something ridiculous or random in a room full of silent people. Give this a try in class and let us know what your professor thinks.

While absurd comedy can come in many different forms — including satire, parodies, mockumentaries, and theater — a key facet of the genre is its ability to take normal, everyday scenarios to the extreme. Sometimes the funniest absurd comedy pieces highlight the ridiculousness of life in mundane situations, such as at work, like “The Office,” or a celebrity television show with a twist, like “Eric Andre Show.”

In an episode of the “Eric Andre Show,” the main character has a parachuting accident and is hanging above the street asking the people below for help.  English major Logan Fernandez-Smith finds that situation stupid but funny.

“In order for absurd comedy to be good, it needs to recognize that it’s absurd” and be “somewhat grounded in actual experience,” Fernandez-Smith said. The show featured real people reacting to an unrealistic, absurd situation. However, it wasn’t so preposterous that it didn’t make any sense, he said.

The “Eric Andre Show” could be considered the pinnacle of absurdist comedy in television because it takes the familiar talk show format and turns it into something completely ridiculous. For example, in response to a joke that Jimmy Kimmel tells in one episode, Andre spits out his coffee, chews the cup until it shatters and destroys the desk in a frenzy of laughter.


“Comedy relies on us benefiting from or us laughing at the misfortunes of others,” said John Berst, an associate professor of practice in the theater arts department. “What has to happen in comedy is something bad has to happen to someone else, and that has to happen within a world where I know it’s safe for me to laugh at them, and I don’t worry about them.”

Absurdist comedy subverts expectations, supplying a potent dose of randomness, nonsense and unpredictability. Its bizarre, and even dream-like nature at times, is what makes absurdist comedy such a unique force to be reckoned with.

Comedy needs to rely on a degree of extremes, Berst said. Things have to be extreme for them to be funny. Absurd comedy only starts from the extreme and builds from there.

Berst will bring absurdity to University of Miami theater audiences when he directs the spring musical “Lucky Stiff,” an irreverent comedy that is reminiscent of the iconic “Weekend at Bernie’s.”

“The premise is absurd,” Berst said.

The musical tells the tale of a man who receives a $6 million inheritance from an uncle he never knew existed. But the condition of the inheritance is that the nephew takes the corpse on a vacation to Monte Carlos, a place he always wanted to visit. The uncle has a checklist of activities that he wants to participate in, such as scuba diving and gambling at a casino. To make things even more absurd, someone is meticulously watching over the nephew with a little checklist to make sure he gives his dead uncle a fun time.

MEME CULTURE AS A WHOLE HAS DERIVED ITSELF FROM THIS CONCEPT. Nowadays, you can find a random image, throw some uncorrelated text on top, and it could go viral on Twitter if enough people see it.

“If he screws anything up, he loses everything,” Berst said.

The fact that the characters try and justify this ridiculous reality “signifies that we’re really entering the world of the absurd,” Berst said. This implausibility is the key to modern comedy in a world so full of uncertainty.

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20 DISTRACTION Happening

Some History

Absurd humor, though seemingly new, has been around since the Middle Ages. “The Canterbury Tales,” written by Geoffrey Chaucer in the fourteenth century, uses anthropomorphism to give animals human attributes. Absurdism really kicked into high gear during World War I, when Dadaism, an artistic movement that questioned institutions, language, and culture, emerged.

Dadaism attacked the concept of art itself by making a mockery of it. One of the most notorious examples of this was when Marcel Duchamp drew a goatee on the Mona Lisa. How classy.

In 1917, the same naughty artist submitted a work called “The Fountain” to an art exhibition. Sounds like quite the sight, however it turns out that this “fountain” was just a urinal that Duchamp bought at a nearby plumbing shop.

Dadaism emerged during a time where the world made little sense and people were trying to make sense of a traumatic war. The Dada crowd believed that these antics were no more absurd than the war itself.

The entire movement originated as a reaction to the horrors of the world war and the overarching sentiment that life was basically meaningless.

For the Gen-Z crowd, absurdist comedy can provide a similar reprieve from the continuous stresses of today’s unstable world that is littered with political division, social injustice, a deadly pandemic, and environmental uncertainty.

“You experience trauma, and then socially we need to laugh at it to gain strength and perspective and move on,” Berst said.

“Because we are so desensitized from shocking events in real life, absurdist humor makes us laugh due to its simple but shocking stupidity,” said Julia Mena, an aspiring Miami actress.

Gen-Z has been influenced by satirical, implausible comedy from a young age with television shows like “SpongeBob,” “Chowder” and “Fairly Odd Parents.” These shows served as a foundation for Gen-Z’s unique sense of humor, Mena said. As the generation matured, growing into shows such as “Rick and Morty,” “The Office” and “Family Guy,” the seeds were planted to cultivate the rise of absurd comedy on social media, most notably on Vine and TikTok.

This emerging form of content allowed seemingly random phrases to become nationally known jokes that are incorporated into everyday conversation.

“I do enjoy my own comedic and absurd comments because it’s a good way to show personality and individuality,” Mena said.

Social media platforms have popularized the concept of short form, easily absorbed content videos, which has allowed them to become a breeding ground for absurd comedic art. The constricted nature of this

content gives creators little time to leave a lasting impression on their viewers, and absurdist humor is an effective way for them to do exactly that.

Aldo Regalado, a professor in the American Studies program, said he does not understand the modern take on absurdist comedy.

“What is it about today? Is it simply that technology has afforded

youth access, and this is just what comes out?

Or is it that really our youth are experiencing the same kind of abstain of official culture or bafflement of official culture that people were experiencing in the ‘60s and in the ‘50s,’ said Regalado.

Berst said that the compression of information in the modern world could have triggered content producers in the advertising and political spaces, as well as on social media, to make use of absurd humor “to grab” more people’s attention in a short period of time.

Given how much information humans are constantly being bombarded with, there is “a huge need to reach out to people and make an impression within those 30 seconds or so, [which] can be done more effectively with humor,” said Berst.

In summary, dear Reader, there is a lot to know and admire about absurdist comedy – from its decontextualized humor to its punchlines without guardrails, to … Wait, are you still reading this?

W inter 2022
Gen Z

Jingle Jams

It’s no question that the music we hear around the holidays carries a special type of comfort and nostalgia. it be a song from your elementary school chorus concert, or the same one that’s always playing in your hometown mall while you gift-shop, there’s no better way to get in the spirit than to turn on the holiday music. Whether you want the classics or some newer tunes, the staff at Distraction compiled a list of our favorite holiday songs. So, swap out your earmuffs for headphones, and get festive.

words_julia hecht. illustrations_isa márquez. design_nina d’agostini.

“The Hanukkah Song” by Adam Sandler

Who else would you expect to produce the funniest Hanukkah song out there, other than comedy icon Adam Sandler? Sandler dedicated his song to “all the young Jewish kids” who don’t hear nearly as many Hanukkah songs as Christmas songs. He shares some highlights

hilariously rattles off a list of celebrities

This 1981 song details a missedconnections romance taking place during the holiday season, from the perspective of a woman who is over the exhaustion of the holidays, and love in general. Inspired by one band member’s genuine hatred of Christmastime, the song was only made per request of The Waitresses’ label. But both the song and the real-life story have happy endings — the fictional couple find love, and this turned out to be one of their biggest hits.

12-year-old Augie Rios sings this endearing song about a restless boy who can’t sleep on Christmas Eve and rather pesters his mother about where Santa Claus

“You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” by Thurl Ravenscroft

It doesn’t get more classic than a song from a Dr. Seuss original. While we recommend you set aside 26 minutes to watch the whole 1966 short, listening to Ravenscroft’s gravelly voice detailing the Grinch’s escapades could surely make your heart grow three sizes. Also, check out Tyler the Creator’s modern twist from the 2018 film remake.

Despite making music year-round, the a capella group Pentatonix makes a large resurgence every holiday season. They’ve made some solid original Christmas music, but often more beloved than that are their uptempo takes on traditional Christmas carols. This one transforms the seventeenth century English carol “God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen” into a song you could completely groove to.

“Winter Things” by Ariana Grande, “Christmas Tree Farm” by Taylor Swift, “The Christmas Shoes” by NewSong, “Winter Paradise” by Destiny’s Child, “Last Christmas” by Wham!, “What Christmas Means to Me” by Stevie Wonder, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Glee Cast, “Hallelujah” by Pentatonix

Honorable mentions: Claus?” by Augie Rios “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” by Pentatonix


What the Fork is a foodie’s paradise, stuffed with trending recipes and the hottest Miami restaurants — a section sure to make you salivate. Get inventive with abstract charcuterie boards. Dress to impress at Bad Bunny’s very own Gekkō restaurant. Indulge in tropical

fruits sent to your door by Miami Fruit. And soberly sip our favorite mocktail recipes. We are serving up the latest dishes, so grab a plate and dig in.

23 DISTRACTION Winter 2022


24 DISTRACTION What the Fork

Are you getting tired of the simple meat, cheese and cracker combination? Are you a picky eater who consistently struggles to find the ideal dish when going out with friends and family? There are plenty of abstract charcuterie boards you can curate with countless options for pairings, dips and more: fruits, vegetables, brunch, fast food, chocolates, pastas, candies— the list goes on. These boards make for the perfect way to spend a birthday, holiday or a casual night in with friends and family — get creative!

match, an abstract charcuterie board can


For breakfast or brunch, you can create a charcuterie board that includes pancakes, French toast, fruits, cereal and more.

“I would include different types of eggs or berries on my charcuterie board. I put strawberries and blueberries in literally everything. I would definitely want to use those,” said sophomore Reagan Miller. “You can also create a mini charcuterie and use smaller versions of the foods you wish to

combination allows meat and sea lovers who can’t pick a side to get the best of both worlds.

Sophomore Robbie Heyde was thrilled about the idea of a land-and-sea charcuterie board for a new recipe.

“The Surf-and-Turf combination sounds perfect to me,” said Heyde. “The idea of having two distinct but equally delicious types of food together to experiment with, and with different sauces or dips just sounds incredible to me. I’m definitely going to have to try it.”

Get Creative

Incorporate your creative gauge into every aspect of charcuterie, down to the board, the layout and the ingredients.

For lunch, you can make your own savory menu. Try an Italian-style charcuterie board with different types of pizzas, pastas, salads and more. Collect your favorite Italian spreads in some ramekins — pesto, marinera,

Senior Ethan Robbins described his ideal Italian abstract charcuterie board in detail.

“A margarita pizza with an assortment of cheeses ranging from sweet to bitter. Then pasta with the same sauce used for the pizza. The pasta would be topped with a bitter cheese to complement it,” said Robbins. “A red wine should be served with the pasta and butter cheese. Then also have crackers, marmalade jam, blueberry jam with apricots

Lunch Dinner

Another popular trend has been the land-and-sea assortment, and this makes for a wonderful dinner charcuterie board. The land part of the combination may include chicken, steak, bacon, sausage, boiled eggs and turkey. The sea part may include salmon, tuna, shrimp, calamari, cod and fish sticks. In the middle, place dipping sauces like A1 steak sauce, teriyaki sauce, spicy mayo and chilled cucumber sauce. The land-and-sea

You can give your board personality by organizing it like a collage, painting, 3D landscapes or anything else to cater to your interests. You can also purchase boards that spin, or have different shapes and layers, that can spice up your board presentation.

“I would love to have a multiple-level charcuterie stack. Multiple charcuterie boards in one setting, and you can turn the platters around,” said Heyde. “That’s the dream.”

Below are some ideas for abstract charcuterie boards to enjoy or to use as inspiration for your own creations. No matter what you decide to include in your charcuterie, we hope you enjoy your charcuterie experience.

If you’re looking for further inspiration, you can search beyond a simple #charcuterie. Change the search to something more specific. Abstract charcuterie, candy charcuterie, pasta charcuterie and more. You can also create a Pinterest board or look through other posts to gather some ideas.

Charcuterie possibilities are endless, and social media continues to innovate new spinoffs of the traditional board. Who knows, one day you may see Gordon Ramsey hosting a new show with the best recipes and competitions in the world of charcuterie.

IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR SOME SWEET DIPS TO ADD TO A FONDUE BOARD like this one and chocolate fudge isn’t your style, there are plenty of things you can use instead. Cookie butter, frosting, and even some jams or preserves can be a great substitute.

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Maybe you’re a vegetarian looking for a non-meat option, or maybe you just love fruits and vegetables and all the healthy goodness they bring. Either way, here are some classic types to put on your charcuterie board:

- Berries: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, etc.

- Melons: watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, etc.

- Marrow: pumpkin, cucumber and zucchini


Fondue can be romantic or wonderful for friends and family sharing. Why not make it a charcuterie board? Include the following for some delicious options and pairings:

- Three Chocolate Dips: milk chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate

- Graham crackers

- Strawberries and bananas

- Pound cake: from the grocery store


Are you obsessed with Shake Shack and want to make a charcuterie board with all your fan favorites? Here are some recommendations for things to include:

- ShackBurger

- Chicken bites

- Avocado bacon chicken

- Fries or cheese fries

- Hand-spun shakes


words&photo_ valeria barbaglio. design_ jennifer vega.

According to their website, the Miami Fruit team harvests local fruits weekly from their farms in South Florida. They also mention that their hard-working farmers take pride in growing tropical fruits of the highest quality. The team understands that it can be difficult to find many of the fruits they sell, so they are eager to share them with others.

Miami Fruit started as a small stand in a Miami farmers market in 2015, as mentioned on their website. After its popularity quickly skyrocketed, it moved online to provide goods to people from all over the U.S. and Canada, not just in Miami-Dade County. Now, the business has grown tremendously in size due to their increasing popularity on social media, with over one million followers on Tik Tok.

The Fruit Offerings

By “exotic,” they don’t mean dragonfruit and starfruit. They’re more rare than that.

One of the fruits they offer is the monstera deliciosa. An exotic, scaley fruit that catches the attention of many. Their website mentions that it tastes like a combination of pineapple, coconut and banana, and also has a potential to cause a burning sensation if ingested unripe. Its hexagonal scales beginning to fall off signifies that the fruit is ripe and ready to eat. This is one of their popular items, so don’t wait to order yours.

Their awapuhi is another famous fruit that grabs many people’s attention. According to one of their most popular Tik Toks, this fruit is also known as shampoo ginger because when you squeeze it, a gingerscented liquid pours out containing anti-inflammatory properties. Used correctly, it can repair dry and damaged hair, nourish the scalp, help with dandruff, protect hair from damage and improve hair growth. Originally from India, this product is used in several common hair products in the U.S., and in Hawaii, they use this fruit’s liquid in shampoo and body wash.

What to Order

If you don’t know what fruits you want to get, don’t worry — they offer a variety of boxes ranging from small to bulk that are randomly packed with a selection of fruits available from their weekly harvest. These boxes almost always contain different types of bananas and other seasonal fruits.

“I think they did a pretty good job getting weird fruits to people,” said sophomore David Antonevich. “I feel like the point of the company is not to enjoy all of the fruit you try, but to try a lot of fruit and see what you enjoy.”

David’s twin, sophomore Leo Antonevich, also enjoyed the Miami Fruit order.

“It’s kind of a fun experience, just for the vibe. It’s like a wine tasting or a cheese tasting,” said Leo. “If this was Lagniappe and they did

exotic fruit boards every night, I’m showing up there every single night.”

After tasting all the fruits, they agreed it would be beneficial if the package came with a guide on where each fruit came from, its history and other fun facts.

In the pamphlet sent out with the fruit boxes, Miami Fruits mentions, “It’s not just about the fruit. The environment is important too!”

They mention that their biodegradable packaging “includes compostable and recyclable tape, flyers, boxes and pillows.” The boxes are made from recycled paper, and the tape is made from water-activated kraft paper. Even the fruit cushions that come in the packaging are made with “recycled tissue paper and wood shavings that you can reuse as much for your plants.” All of these factors allow for the packaging to be 100 percent recyclable and environmentally friendly.

Miami Fruits now ships to all 50 states and Canada to anyone in search of new fruits to spice up their diet. They also have a weekly newsletter to inform clients about what fruits are in season if you want to keep track of what they might send in the next box.

Like everything else, routines can get trite and could benefit from a change. So next time you plan on making some smoothies, try to add some exotic elements to the mix. Who knows, you might enjoy that new taste of paradise.

THESE ARE SOME TROPICAL FRUITS RECEIVED IN THE LARGE 8–10 LB. VARIETY BOX offered on their website. Some fruits included in this randomly packaged box were different types of bananas, cacao, caviar lime, key lime, longan, mamey, pineapple, rambutan, red dragonfruit, tropical persimmon, and passion fruit.

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In search of some fresh, tropical fruits? Miami Fruit is the place to go. It’s an online store committed to bringing fresh fruits to people all over the country. These are no ordinary fruits from Publix — they get exotic. Whether you want to shop for your favorite fruits or explore some new ones, it might be worth the order.



HIGH QUALITY SELECTIONS and comes in the categories of To Share, Starters, Raw, Maki, Nigiri, Main Plates, USDA Prime Steaks, Specialty Steaks, and Japanese Steaks 28 DISTRACTION What the Fork


like to


If you haven’t been yet, you might want to make the trip.

steakhouse shines with its dramatic interior

menu items. The check might be worth a visit.

words_virginia suardi. photo_ matt jiménez. design_lizzie kristal.

a swanky new restaurant and lounge, is one of the hardest spots in the city to book a reservation right now. Why all the hype? Well, the masterminds behind the Japanese-inspired steakhouse are none other than Bad Bunny and hospitality mogul David Grutman. Bad Bunny, the Puerto Rican reggaeton prince, and Grutman, the socalled “King of Miami,” certainly pack a punch as an entrepreneurial duo. Gekkō is located in the heart of Brickell, tucked along 8th St. in close proximity to giants like Komodo, Rosa Sky and Casa Tua. Gekkō, which translates to “moonlight” in Japanese, has a unique and eye-catching concept. An official statement by the restaurant described it as an “inventive, intimate nightlife venue in the heart of the city’s social scene [that serves] the world’s finest cuts of Wagyu beef alongside inventive and elevated sushi offerings, luxe twists on chophouse staples, all new custom cocktails and much more.”

Despite this alluring introduction, many may dread that Gekkō falls into the category of gimmicky Miami “club-staurants” that deliver on the luxe vibe, but not the actual food quality. While securing the reservation, some may think: “I like some of the Bad Bunny songs, but ... what does he know about Japanese food?”

In a statement Bad Bunny made, “sitting down with friends to enjoy a good meal is one of the moments I value the most. I am thrilled that now I will have a hand in creating this experience for others.”

Though this statement still left room for uncertainty regarding Bunny’s connection to a passion for Japanese cuisine, Miami was anticipating what he and Grutman had cooked up.

Upon arrival, Gekkō sets the tone with the presence of

their own valet service. Once your ride is taken care of, making your way inside requires greeting a tuxedo-clad doorman who opens red velvet ropes to clear the entrance for guests. Inside, you can make your way over to the hostess desk, and then over to the bar to enjoy a cocktail before your table is ready.

Even on a Wednesday, Gekkō is full to the brim with a classic Brickell crowd — lots of men in polos with nice watches and women in dresses clutching their favorite designer bags. The dress code is upscale and classy — like a nice cocktail party.

The restaurant has two dining spaces: one located in the greeting room alongside the hostess desk and the bar and the main dining room, which includes a center sushi bar island from which you can observe Gekkō’s sushi chefs delicately plating 24k gold leaf and lemon-infused caviar on fresh sashimi cuts.

Gekkō’s interior design is dramatic and sexy. The entrance room is painted in a dark bluegreen color with cool-toned accents. Behind the bar, a finely painted metallic dragon looms over an illuminated array of bottles. The main dining room incorporates warmer colors, with punches of red, orange, and gold peeking out of the moody setup.

Now, let’s get down to what really matters: the food. It was a pleasant surprise to find that it was actually quite delicious. While somewhat overpriced, the serving sizes are pretty ample, unlike many high-end restaurants in the area.

Sophomore Masha Alon said that her favorite item on the menu was the wagyu dumplings, which she rated a “10/10.”

“They were wrapped in the perfect dough and just melted in my mouth,” Alon said.

Alon also ordered the Hamachi nigiri and salmon nigiri, commenting that the texture of the sushi “was like butter.” Finally, she ordered the lobster fried rice which she said was “even better as leftovers” the next day.

At first glance, Gekkō seems like a carnivore’s paradise. Thankfully, the restaurant provides plenty of options for diners with diet restrictions. The spicy edamame makes a great appetizer choice for the meat-averse, and the vegan drunken noodles, made with a plantbased chicken alternative and a delicious sweetsavory sauce, were also divine.

Gekkō really sparkles with its beautiful and inventive cocktails. The Fugu Kiss, for example, is a bright turquoise color and arrives in an elongated pufferfish shaped glass, garnished with a fuchsia orchid flower. The Beber Conmigo, crafted with unusual ingredients like passionfruit, carrot and wasabi, is a warm tangerine color and topped with delicate micro greens. The Cafecito Con Leche (a riff on the classic espresso

martini) is served with dry ice that dramatically wafts off of its mahogany-colored liquid.

Service-wise, Gekkō hit the mark. Despite the restaurant being extremely full, we received our food quickly and with a smile.

“Our server was very sweet and helped us with everything we needed,” said Alon.

But what about the expensive pricing? While paying $20 for cocktails and $30 for appetizers seems a bit excessive, let’s be honest: it’s not an unfamiliar concept for a restaurant located in downtown Brickell.

“In places like Gekkō you’re also paying for the vibe and the experience,” Alon said. “We got an amazing view of the whole restaurant.”

With undeniably delicious food coupled with the dining experience as a whole, the pricing doesn’t seem that absurd.

So, did David Grutman accomplish his mission to create an atmosphere where patrons can enjoy an “incredible meal while having an equally incredible night?”

In a word: Absolutely.

Gekkō is glamorous, fun and has a tasty and unique menu. Yes, you have to be willing to drop a bag to get the full experience, but it just might be worth it.

“Gekkō is perfect for big groups that want to order multiple dishes and share all of them to get to try a little bit of everything,” said Alon.

All in all, if you’re looking for a new Brickell dinner spot, consider indulging yourself at Gekkō. Just be sure to reserve far in advance and dress your best. If you’re feeling frisky — and are over 21 — take a peek at the lounge, too. You might find yourself bumping shoulders with some A-listers.

celebrities branch out into new fields. Gekko, David Grutman’s newest Brickell restaurant that co-owns with rapper Bad Bunny, is one of those venturers. The Japanese–inspired design, unique cocktails and delicious
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Recently, people have been very honest about their tummy troubles. While people have been able to deal with them in their own way, these problems have extended to the final frontier: the bedroom. Especially because harmful health practices spread like wildfire in the gay community, we’re providing you with some simple tips to follow so you can enjoy dinner, as well as the fun that comes after.

Picture this: it’s date night. You and your significant other are going to have dinner at a nice restaurant and you can’t wait to eat some good food. Everything was great, from the appetizers to the dessert, and now you’re back at their place watching a movie and hands are starting to wander. Next thing you know, you can only think of one thing: “God I have to shit so bad right now.”

That’ll take you out of the mood, right? As much as you want to move things to the bedroom, you don’t want to create an accident on the sheets. While everybody’s bowels are different, there are some general rules of thumb you can stick to in order to keep things clean and your tummy happy.

What to Stick to

The number one type of food to keep your stomach safe is high fiber food. Things like fruits, vegetables and whole grains are prime examples. They are made of soluble fiber which keeps your digestion flowing smoothly.

Those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome might recognize these as low FODMAP foods, which stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols … but that’s just all science words.

According to ibscenter.org, “FODMAPS are carbohydrates that don’t absorb well into the small intestine. These include compounds such as fructose, sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol.” The FODMAP diet helps minimize these ingredients.

Pasta and rice also work great. There are a few rules, though, in order to have these two help you rather than harm you. Creamy sauces are a no-go. As much as we all love a good alfredo sauce, the dairy content could be your downfall. The next rule is to not overcook them. If you do, they can form sticky blockades in the digestive tract which can cause stomach pain. Keeping them al-dente makes them easier to digest and prevents those blockages.

And last but not least, hydrate. It’s simple but vitally important. Soluble fibers need a solution in order to be fully effective, and nothing is as basic as water. So, a few glasses of water with your meal can help keep you regular.

What to Avoid

In terms of what foods to shy away from, there are a lot of different things that can cause stomach problems. While most of these things are fine in moderation, it’s best to steer clear of them before any frisky business.

To start off, red meat can have fat content that can upset your stomach, and so can its fermented counterparts like sausages and hot dogs. A little won’t hurt, but it’s best to get your protein from other sources like white meats, eggs, non-fatty fish and even some veggies.

Coffee and other energy drinks are a big no-go as well. While we love these beverages in the mornings to give us a much-needed boost, they leave our stomachs in shambles. What doesn’t help is the artificial sweeteners we might add to our coffees. Things like Splenda can increase the laxative effect and swell your stomach, which is not only unflattering but the last thing you want in bed.

Spicy food can also cause problems. Not only can hot sauces like Sriracha and Tabasco cause some problems on their way out, but the presence of them can actually increase bowel movements. These condiments,

30 DISTRACTION What the Fork
words_sal puma. design_michael cervantes. photo_valeria barbaglio

“TRPV1 receptors in your intestines, making your [digestive] system cramp up.” And in response to this pain, it causes your intestines to go into overdrive, trying to flush it all out as fast as it can.

Unsurprising to no one, processed foods are not great either. While the sugar and salt you find in a Dunkin’ glazed donut taste really good, our bodies don’t know what to do with them. It’s better to stick to organic ingredients to ensure our bodies won’t have a tough time dealing with them.

Finally, the one we were all waiting for: dairy. Oh, how we love our creamy delights. But they do not love us back. Whether you’re lactose intolerant or not, it’s not easy for your body to break down the chemical components of dairy products. The more processed ones like cheese and yogurt can be especially hard to break down, which can upset a delicate stomach.


While it’s not that hard to follow some of these rules, you might find yourself craving a particular food. The stomach wants what it wants, and it’s hard to decide if satisfying your cravings is worth a potential upset. Thankfully, there are a bunch of different ways to make some of your favorite dishes in a way that won’t cause problems in bed. The Bottom’s Digest is a company that has risen in popularity across platforms like Instagram, YouTube and Tiktok. Their whole premise is to take beloved foods and make them gut — and butt — friendly. While you can check out all of what they have to offer, here are some more of their very popular creations.

Pesto pasta is wellbeloved by college students since it’s easy to make with minimal supplies. Store-bought pesto tends to contain a good amount of dairy, which we have learned is best to avoid. However, Bottom’s Digest found a way around this by substituting the dairy for cashews and some nutritional yeast. After blending it up with the usual pesto

ingredients, you still get that desirable creamy pesto texture but without the stomach troubles.

The Bottom’s Digest also touch upon a few things when making salads. First off, stay away from cabbage — it is chock full of insoluble fiber, which can be a pain for your stomach to break down. For dressings, steer clear of ones that contain garlic. While it can taste good, it can be high in FODMAPS which can cause gassiness and bloating.

One of their stellar recipes was vegan and dairy-free cheese. It may sound crazy, but it works. By using a mixture of potatoes, bell peppers, cashews, onions and some other additives, they were able to make a delicious substitute.

While all of this information is very useful, there is one very important thing to keep in mind. This isn’t a diet, just some general tips in order to avoid tummy troubles. This is a guide on how to eat healthily while preparing for more intimate moments; any long term pains or problems should be taken up with a doctor. Play it safe out there.


though, pop a Tums if you’re experiencing heartburn or upper indigestion.

BASIC RED SAUCES, LIKE MARINARA, ARE ALSO A SAFE OPTION. Just make sure they don’t have a bunch of other ingredients, like corn syrup and spices, that you know tend to upset your stomach.

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tails mock-

32 DISTRACTION What the Fork
Jalapeño mule mocktail Mock mojito Non-alcoholic eggnog Blue lagoon mocktail

MANY OF THESE DRINKS TAKE LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES TO MAKE. Just follow the recipes below, and you’ll have a refreshing glass to sip on in no time.

Mocktails have been on the rise, allowing people to enjoy drinking in a social setting without the pressure of getting drunk — and they’re tasty. Restaurants across the country are altering their menus to offer a selection of non-alcoholic cocktails, giving a new variety to virgin options that are known to be limited if available. As mocktails continue to trend, non-alcoholic sales are treading on the heels of alcoholic sales. With all the talk about mocktails, hop on the bandwagon and try some. Here are seven fun and fresh mocktail recipes you can make at home. Cheers! words_ molly mackenzie. design & photo_isa márquez.

Mock Mojito

It’s only fitting for the first mocktail recipe to be one of the most popular drinks out there — mojitos! To craft your refreshing mock mojito, you won’t need much.

• 2 tablespoons honey simple syrup

• 2 tablespoons lime juice

• 10 mint leaves

• Sparkling water

• Lime slices for a garnish

Add the lime juice and mint leaves into a glass and muddle the two together for around one minute. Then add in the honey simple syrup and mix before doing the same with the sparkling water. Add a lime slice into the drink or place it on the rim and it’s ready to sip. This mock mojito will be a favorite for adults and children alike.

Rose Lemonade Mocktail

This rose lemonade is a refreshing and unique beverage that’s perfect for an afternoon sit-down or brunch beverage.

• 1 ½ cups sugar

• 6 cups cold water

• 5 large lemons

• 2 teaspoons rose water

Using a saucepan and the stove, cook the sugar and one cup of water over medium to high heat until the sugar is dissolved. Make sure to stir often to prevent the syrup from spilling over. Roll out the lemons on a clean and flat surface to soften them and then squeeze about 1 ¼ cups of lemon juice. Remove the seeds. Mix the cold water, sugar syrup, lemon juice, and rose water in a pitcher. Add additional teaspoons of rose water depending on desired taste.

Blue Lagoon Mocktail

One of the most visually appealing drinks happens to also be incredibly simple to make — the blue lagoon mocktail.

• 2 tablespoons lemon juice

• ¼ cup blue Curacao syrup

• 12 ounces Sprite or 7-Up

Chill the syrup and soda prior to preparation for the tastiest results. Begin by pouring the blue Curacao syrup into a tall glass. Squeeze the lemon juice into a glass. Then, add the soda into the glass. Stir gently and add ice if desired, and you’re done

Apple Pie Punch

This apple pie punch is the perfect blend of a winter mocktail and a snack. Another plus is you only need four ingredients.

• 4 cups apple cider

• 3 cups ginger ale

• 1 cup white grape juice

• 1 diced apple

Cortland, Spartan, Gala, and Empire apples all work well in this mocktail. After preparing your ingredients, combine the apple cider, ginger ale, and grape juice into a pitcher or large bowl and mix. Then, simply throw in the apples and it is time to enjoy! For visual impact, drink your punch out of a festive cup.

Spicy Jalapeño Mule Mocktail

This spicy jalapeno mule mocktail is fitting for anyone looking for a drink with a bit of a kick to it.

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• 8 ounces ginger beer

• ½ lemon

• 1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey

• 4 slices jalapeño peppers

Grab a copper mug for the classic mule look or a similar sized cocktail glass and some ice. Add ginger beer, agave nectar or honey, lemon juice, and jalapeño slices to the glass. Give it a good swirl and it’s time to enjoy some spicy sipping!

Non-Alcholic Eggnog

In lieu of the approaching holiday season, this recipe is for the creamiest non-alcoholic eggnog. This requires quite a few ingredients and preparation but is worth the effort with every delicious sip you’ll take.

• 2 ½ cups milk

• 2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

• 4 whole cinnamon sticks

• ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves

• 7 egg yolks

• ¾ cup white sugar

• 2 cups heavy cream

• ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Exclusive Distraction Mocktail

And finally… a recipe for a mocktail you can’t find anywhere else. This delicious peppermint ginger lemonade mocktail combines three strong flavors that blend together perfectly.

• 2 ounces lemonade

• 1 ounce ginger beer

• 1 teaspoon peppermint syrup (Torani brand is a great choice)

• Crushed mint leaves


Add the cinnamon sticks, milk, cloves, and a half teaspoon of vanilla extract into a saucepan and heat over the stove on low heat for five minutes. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a separate bowl for around one minute. Remove cinnamon sticks from the saucepan and turn the heat up to a medium-high setting. Pour about a quarter of the hot milk into the egg/sugar mixture and whisk before adding the entire mixture into the saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk consistently for three minutes as the mixture thickens. Pour the hot eggnog into a large bowl or container and let sit at room temperature for an hour. Add cinnamon sticks back to the mixture if you desire. After one hour, stir in the heavy cream, two teaspoons of vanilla extract, and nutmeg, and place the eggnog in the fridge to cool for at least four hours before serving.

Have your cocktail shaker handy and filled halfway with ice. Add in all the ingredients and shake vigorously for twenty seconds. Pour your drink into a glass and enjoy. An additional step to add flavor and flare to the drink is to coat the rim with sugar. Do this by coating the rim with simple syrup or peppermint syrup.


• Mingle Mocktails: Cucumber Melon Mojito, Cranberry Cosmo, Blackberry Hibiscus Bellini, Blood Orange Elderflower Mimosa

• Spirity Cocktails: Mindful Margarita, Mindful Mule, Mindful Negroni, Mindful Apricot Sour

• Hella Cocktail Co: Bitters & Soda beverages

• Ghia Le Spritz: Ghia Ginger, Lime and Salt, Ghia Soda

• TÖST: Rosé, Cranberrry & Ginger, Ginger & Elderberry

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With this issue’s special section, Grown-Up, shifting into adulthood doesn’t have to be so terrifying. Learn the rundown on securing a job in the professional world, how to cope with loss, furnishing for newbies, and more. Throw on your business casual attire, and delve into the goldmine beneath your fingertips.

35 DISTRACTION Winter 2022


Always dress a little nicer than the dresscode of the workplace in an interview. This way, you come across professional and caring without showing off too much.

The corporate world can be scary, especially if you’re fresh out of college or still in it and trying to score internships. After the stress of the college application process, many dread having to play the same game with potential employers. If you can master a few key things, you’ll be the Wolf of Wallstreet in no time We bring you simplified CVs, resumes, and interviews.

words_sara angel blum. design_lizzie kristal. photo_reese putman.

Special Section: Grown Up

Everyone starts university with the expectation that when you graduate, you’ll find your dream job. However, there’s one little problem: how do you get there? With balancing grades, internships, future jobs, extracurriculars, and a social life, it piles up. But let’s be real … how are you supposed to excel at everything all at once? You need guidance, and we aim to give you some advice on what you can do to stand out in the professional world.

For starters, you must have a curriculum vitae, resume and cover letter, and must also master your interview skills. We know that sounds like a lot but, don’t worry, we’ll break it down for you.

For those of you that don’t know the difference between a resume and a CV, a resume is usually a one or two page document where you list your past work experience and skills. On the other hand, a CV is a document where you list all your achievements, both professional and academic, making it lengthier than a resume.

Create a CV

CV stands for curriculum vitae, which roughly translates to “life course,” which makes sense because it’s a complete overview of your work experience, skills and education, quite literally showing the course of your life so far.

Curriculum vitae for academic, medical, scientific or research positions contain detailed information about the applicant’s educational background, such as awards, fellowships, research projects or major publications. Make sure to have it printed and ready to hand out when networking.

There are so many areas to focus on when making your CV, so it’s important to highlight what makes you qualified for the job you’re applying to. For example, if you’re a recent college graduate, you may want to use a pragmatic approach to highlight all your skills and qualifications. Make sure to focus on extracurricular activities and volunteer experiences that demonstrate skills related to your desired job.

Write Your Resume

Dominique DeTullio, the CEO of Standard Trust Company NV, emphasizes the need to be thorough with what you include in a resume. “I’ve had experienced workers with no degree perform better and require less training than a master’s graduate with no experience,” he said.

Especially in an age where college degrees are less of a requirement in certain jobs, making sure you accurately portray what you can do can make you stand out — in a good way — from other applicants.

• Contact information: This has to be placed in the header. It has to be clear and up-todate. Add your full name, phone number,

professional email, address and links to your professional accounts — LinkedIn, online portfolio, and other relevant online accounts.

• Objective statement: It doesn’t matter if you are writing a summary or an objective, you must sound convincing, consistent and clear. Make sure there’s a purpose as to why you’re applying and state it.

• Work experience: Write your latest job on top and all the others you’ve had in the past below. Write your title, the name of the company, the location and when you started and finished. Little tip: if you were promoted, don’t just give them your last position, add that progression since it shows how you worked your way up in the company.

• Your skills: you should write six to eight skills and mix them up between soft — being organized and sociable, for example — and hard skills — ones that would correlate directly to the field the job is in.

• Education section: you need to write down all your secondary education, such as where you attended, when you graduated and what degree you earned.

• Include certificates, licenses and trainings: right under your education information put the title of your certificates, licenses or trainings. Then add the name of the certifying agency, when you obtained the certificate and its expiration date.

Master Your Interview

This is your moment to sell yourself, to show the employer that you’re the right person for this position and that if they don’t take you, it’ll be a mistake. Remember that repeating everything that’s on your resume isn’t efficient. They’ve probably read it before the interview and want to know more about you, so elaborate on what’s missing from the resume. Think of the unique talents, qualities, skills and traits you can bring.

Find an original way of bringing them up in your interview by supporting your claims with examples, but without bragging. If they ask, “What makes you stand out from the other candidates?” or “Tell us why we should hire you?” be humble about it. You want them to remember you for your professional qualities but also for your personality. Don’t make the interview a stand-up comedy routine but, the more relaxed you are, the less robotic your responses will feel.

Corinna Stam, former CEO of Antillean liquors, a beverage distributor for part of the Caribbean, said, “Dress sharply and groom yourself properly. No one will want a messy person who doesn’t shower sitting next to them at work.”

It’s self-explanatory, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t follow that rule. This doesn’t mean you have to wear your

Sunday best, but look presentable and wear something business casual.

Now you have your CV, resume, your cover letter and you know how to rock your interview. But where do you present all of it? “LinkedIn, Facebook groups, business forums,” said DeTullio, which are all popular nowadays. While these are great to have, it’s even better to actively network.

If you find a networking event, before you go, try and find the list of attendees and prepare some go-to talking points. Know what you bring to the table, your strengths and weaknesses. Have your elevator pitch ready and know it by heart so you don’t waste time. In the next 24 hours, message your connections to ensure they remember you and maintain your network.

When you go to a networking event, remember that it’s all about quality over quantity. You want to leave the event by having three to five names and contacts because this way you can build a relationship. Make sure to listen, do not interrupt and engage in conversation.

It’s clear that the corporate world can be daunting for students, but we hope that with these tips you can have a smother entry into professionalism. And remember, not every interview will be a smash hit. You might mess some up and get rejected from a few jobs, but that’s life. Don’t let these experiences discourage you, and instead try to learn from them as you move forward.


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L & Found

We might not think about it as it’s happening, but time stops for no one. The nature of life is that we all grow up. Friends and partners come and go, and with aging comes new experiences — including the things we might not be ready to face. Here, we’re going to talk about loss. Whether you’ve lost a loved one or haven’t experienced it yet at all, grief, mourning and loss will impact us all at some point in time. So, it’s important to open the door to discussion about the process of grief in the moment, and the healing that comes after.

Whether through cinema, literature or conversation, it’s safe to say that almost everyone has heard of the five stages of grief. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Swiss-born psychiatrist and author of “On Death and Dying,” developed the stages through her work with patients suffering from terminal illness. The five stages of grief are essentially a model for processing grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Sound familiar?

While this is a widely accepted model for the process of grief, that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone experiences the process in the same way. Everyone is different, and so are their experiences.

Dr. Simon Howell, a professor of psychology at the University of Miami, believes that grief isn’t only processed in the linear model of the five stages — it’s too rigid.

“Some people say it’s like this linear process,” said Howell. “Some people do go through that linear process... but some people don’t fit that linear model, and other people would have a more ‘U’ shaped curve.”

Howell described this “U” shape as a process that extends over multiple periods in someone’s life. Some may experience the five stages all at once, processing the loss and coming to an acceptance that lasts. However, others may process the grief partially, then later experience it again where an anniversary or other external factors resurrect the feelings.

“It’s not just like you’re going to go through these stages and then you have acceptance,” said Howell. “It’s that depending on time or situations you experience this up and down sort of movement. The intensity might not be as big, but the hills are still there.”

The timing of the grieving process isn’t the only thing that can differ from person to person. The way people experience the stages can also differ.

“For me personally, the hardest part of the recovery process was accepting that I was out of control in the situation and could not ease the pain of my mom and my sister or make my dad come back,” said McCleskey.

Grief in no way is a one-size-fits-all concept, especially in daily life. While the five stages of grief can be a good way to contextualize and map out the process from a distance, the manifestation of grief in daily life presents itself in many ways.

According to the paper “Grief and bereavement: what psychiatrists need to know” written by Sidney Zisook and Katherine Shear, common feelings people describe when experiencing grief are “shock, anguish, loss, anger, guilt, regret, anxiety, fear, loneliness, unhappiness,” and “depression,” to name a few.

Junior Arianne Shedlock describes her own grieving process over the loss of a close friend as a feeling of numbness.

“I don’t want to feel anything, because if I try to feel anything I’ll just be sad,” said Shedlock. “So, I think a numbness is a big part of it and that’s the main way I experience it, just being numb and wanting to cry for her, a lot.”

The grieving process is different for all of us. There is no right way to grieve the loss of a loved one, and however you feel most comfortable should be the way you grieve. But in the grieving process, there is also hope. In the same way that grief is an individualized process, so is healing. So, while healing can look significantly different for everyone, we wanted to share a few thoughts and insights into ways you might be able to express your emotions in a healthy way throughout the process.

Howell suggests that a person should find a support system to share positive memories and experiences of their lost loved one.

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Special Section: Grown Up
Andrew McCleskey, a sophomore at the University of Miami, gave insight into his own grieving process after the loss of his father.

“Being able to continue to have memories that live on in a positive way and just talking about it allows people to reduce the grief that they’re feeling,” said Howell.

Reliving positive experiences through sharing stories with trusted friends or family can bring a sense of closeness to the people around you, allowing you to express your feelings in a healthy way.

An article written by the University of Washington outlining “healthy grieving” details some other healthy ways to deal with grief. If you’re in the process of grieving, the article suggests journaling, practicing yoga and exercising, seeing a counselor, joining a support group and, perhaps most importantly, “going gently”—in other words, treating yourself with kindness.

that people allow themselves to truly feel and work through their emotions, though this can be intimidating.

“Cry, scream, shout, pout, do whatever to release the emotions associated with grieving,” said Mccleskey. “You cannot harbor that negative energy forever.”

No matter how you experience grief, know that it’s valid. No one is going to experience grief the same exact way that you do, and comparing your own process to someone else may cause more harm than good. At the end of the day, the most important part of the grieving process is healing in a way that feels best for you.

FEELINGS ARE ABSTRACT AND HARD TO EXPLAIN. Try journaling once a day, or even once a week, to get to know your feelings and emotions.

TO GET HELP, TRY THESE RESOURCES. Reach UM’s counseling center at https://counseling. studentaffairs.miami.edu/. For more information on mental health disorders, visit https:// www.apa.org/.

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The opportunity to craft your own space can seem daunting at first — where do you start? Furniture is pricey and not all of us are as talented as Bob the Builder. We are here to simplify it for you. There are many ways to transform a house into a home, and we are here to offer some insight on the best way create a sanctuary for you to live, thrive and succeed.

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words_lauren ferrer. design_ lizzie kristal. photo_ sharron lou & isa márquez.

Furniture and decor is expensive and overwhelming. To the first-time furniture shoppers who don’t know where to begin, let’s break it down.

“Think about what is really needed,” said Joanna Lombard, a professor at the University of Miami School of Architecture. “Each person has their bare minimum and that is a good place to start.”

Whether that “bare minimum” is a futon and crate, or two chairs and a cafe table, these beginnings depend on what characteristics are most important to you. Once you establish a foundation, you can begin to incorporate what Lombard described as “extras.”

Adding Extras

These extras can play many different roles. They can be practical pieces like a mirror or a lamp, or decorative like pillows and bedding. By acquiring these things as you go along, you can easily avoid overspending and impulse buying at the beginning of the process.

“Try to furnish life rather than accommodate life to an idea of furnishings,” said Lombard.

Knowing what your basics are completes step one. Next is finding economically sound, long lasting, unique pieces of furniture that represent your style. Beware of splurging on expensive home style trends, as these pieces rarely stay in style for a long period of time.

Additionally, try diving into the world of Do It Yourself. Not the early 2000s DIY trend of making purses out of duct tape, but instead take the time to carefully craft customizable pieces that fulfill your needs perfectly. Check out Pinterest for loads of inspiration to get a feel for what styles you like, then invest the time into DIYs.

“If you have patience and are willing to put work into something, finding thrift shop items can work as well as spotting items that other people are putting out on the street for trash pick-up,” said Lombard.

IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR GOOD AND RELIABLE WAYS TO DIY SOME CUTE PIECES FOR YOUR HOME, make sure they are credible. Some accounts — like the infamous 5MinuteCrafts — make posts for sake of content rather than actual reliability. So definitely do a background check before you start building.

simple to master. Found at any Home Depot or Lowe’s, the paint comes in a wide variety of colors to fit any aesthetic or theme desired.

Some may not have the patience or time it takes to master the thrift flip. If a quick buy and build sounds more your speed, many have found Ikea to be a reliable option. As a college student, building furniture together could also be a great way to get familiar with basic hardware and hang out with new roommates. Talk about some team bonding!

Thrift Your Heart Out Individuality

When it comes to furniture, Miami thrift stores do not disappoint. Look no further than Dragonfly Thrift Boutique and Classy Not Trashy Thrift Shop for unique pieces that are waiting to find a home. In your search for the perfect items, don’t forget to stop by a Goodwill or Salvation Army. Many pre-loved pieces of furniture and decor can be found in these stores as well — hidden gems if you will.

Online sellers have also taken a new spin on pre-owned furniture. Looking through accredited and reliable apps like OfferUp and eBay can be a great way to expand your virtual options.

Once you’ve thrifted an item that isn’t one hundred percent your style, there are a few ways to go about what social media has coined a “thrift-flip.” Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and try something new. Reupholstering a few chairs and a couch could be the key to finalizing your space. DIY home trends are constantly flooding social media, so save a few videos, gather the right materials, and enjoy the time it takes to make a space uniquely yours — it’s a privilege.

Chalk paint has also revolutionized the way DIY designers go about refurbishing tables, chairs, and even cabinets. This thin, opaque paint went viral for its versatility. Whether you are going for a full coverage paint job or a vintage distressed look, this paint does it all. Chalk paint is easy to use and


The driving force behind what Lombard defined as “extras” is going to look different for everyone. People are unique, and therefore are going to have different ways to complete a room. Individual style can been influenced by a variety of factors.

“My mom is a fashion icon,” said junior Navya Kulhari. “Our home is decorated with a lot of stuff from her childhood, things she handmade from India, and places they have traveled.”

When designing her space, Kulhari drew inspiration from her mother’s approach to memorabilia. Kulhari’s first experience furnishing a living space was redoing her childhood bedroom shortly after her sophomore year in high school.

“It was the first time I had a say,” said Kulhari. “Even then I asked mom because she can make things look nice. I had a pink room and my mom helped me not make it look childish. I was super excited about that because before it was nude.”

Make it Memorable

Similar to the story of the pink room, Kulhari’s extras are rooted in her own memories.

“I like storing memorabilia,” said Kulhari. “Memories are important, my Harry Styles poster has got to stay up, you know?”

Sophomore architecture student Carlos Hernandez recommends investing in pieces that bring comfort to a new, and sometimes overwhelming space.

“With all the new obstacles and experiences that college brings, it could get overwhelming really fast. I get stressed out very easily, and knowing what relaxes you is really important to how you decorate your space,” said Hernandez. “I have a bunch of stress relief candles and warm lighting in my room because I’ve found that those ground me when I start to get overwhelmed.”



MIGHT SEEM VERY TEMPTING TO INDULGE IN. Make sure that if it’s expensive, you like it enough to keep even when the trend has run its course. This coffee table is timeless and classic, sure to outlast trends.

All things considered, in order to furnish the ideal living area for the first time, design a space where you can adequately function while leaving room for creativity and comfort.

Moving out means responsibility, but it also means freedom. In this case, freedom to design a unique space perfect for the next chapter of your life. So make sure to decorate the space in a way that feels true to who you are.

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Wrinkles, grey hairs, and age spots, oh my! In the world of “Dr.Miami,” how can we find the space to age in a city defined by its hyperactive plastic surgery industry? Pressure to age gracefully has never been higher, but there’s still hope to embrace natural signs of aging, perhaps with a touch of excitement even.

Among all the glistening skyscrapers that comprise the Miami skyline stand billboards promoting the latest beauty fads taking the city by storm: Dr. Miami’s infamous Mommy Makeover, lip filling injectables, cool sculpting technology, Kardashian BBL and other procedures.


In recent history, Miami blossomed into the plastic surgery capital of America and became known for innovative approaches to plastics. According to a study conducted by the beauty research conglomerate RealSelf, Miami has the highest density of plastic surgeons in the country, reaching 3.9 plastic surgeons for every one hundred thousand residents.

Clearly, a market exists in South Florida for any sort of nip, snip, plump, and tuck that can provide patients with the facial and body features of their dreams.

Miami’s hyperactive plastic surgery industry targets young girls and aging women alike with a beauty culture rooted in operations that contribute to an ageist, Eurocentric, and fatphobic standard of beauty. As young women embark on the task of determining their proximity to this beauty culture, some decide to take a leap of faith and go under the knife.

Following personal bouts of insecurity, sophomore Isabella Reiser made the decision to go through with a lip flip, a non-invasive surgical procedure that involves injecting Botox into the upper lip to curtail the appearance of a gummy smile.

“I have gotten a lip flip before, and I remember the doctor asking me why I was even getting the procedure,” said Reiser. “I feel like there’s a huge expectation of body type and appearance here in Miami, and as a woman, there is pressure to assume this ideal form of femininity.”

Despite the booming plastic surgery business in Miami-Dade, women have begun to question the need for surgical procedures that cause extreme alterations to their physical appearance. In light of horrific anecdotes on television programs such as “Botched” and deliberate warnings from health care professionals, some women have adopted a surgery in moderation approach. Influenced by the experiences of close family members, sophomore Em Pachecho affirms that plastic surgery can reinforce a woman’s natural beauty instead of looking artificial.

“I feel like plastic surgery is a way to enhance one’s true beauty,” said Pachecho. “I have family members who have gotten and even performed types of plastic surgery, but [the operations]only enhanced [their appearance].”

Moreover, women have started to examine the enabling nature of plastic surgery and its connection to women’s mental health. Reiser, a psychology major, worries about the implications of plastic surgery for individuals who struggle with body dysmorphic disorder, a psychological disorder that causes an unhealthy obsession with physical appearance.

“The doctors themselves are feeding into the illusion created by body dysmorphic disorder” said Reiser. “This is dangerous because there are so many surgical avenues that are readily available in Miami to those wanting to change their appearance, and down each of these

avenues no one will tell you no.”


As calendar pages turn at the speed of light, women become increasingly aware of aging-related features, such as wrinkles and grey hair. For many women, navigating the stressors of growing up, an imminent, deep rooted fear of aging emerges and reconfigures personal relationships with beauty.

Pachecho notes that, from her perspective, societal expectations to maintain youthfulness feed into anxiety about aging.

“I feel like women are always pressured to look young, have nice skin, and have nice bodies,” Pacheco said. “I think that many young girls, especially today, are scared of aging because after a certain age it may seem like they are undesirable.”

Desirability politics, or how perceptions of beauty relate to power systems, play a huge role in vilifying the aging process. Heteronormative and patriarchal social constructions place value upon women who appear to defy aging, as this lack of aging inadvertently signals to men that a woman’s reproductive capability has been delicately safeguarded. Dr. Brian Doss, a romantic relations professor in the University of Miami psychology department, underscores the weight attractiveness holds in the realm of dating.

“The strongest predictor of initial attraction is physical attractiveness,” said Doss. “Research suggests that once men reach their late twenties, they generally find younger women more physically attractive than women their own age.”

Although the aging process may creep into the lives of many without any formal notice, the rate and magnitude of aging varies on an individual basis. No secret formula exists to dictate when and where a woman may notice her first wrinkle, grey hair, or age spot. However, Dr. Oliver Bracko, a biologist and professor who studies the aging process at UM, argues that prioritizing personal health and making conscious lifestyle choices may prove more effective than cosmetic procedures in the perpetual fight against aging.

“Gray hair and wrinkles are linked to disease, stress, malnutrition, hormonal changes, genetic factors, among other factors,” said Bracko. “Managing cardiovascular risk and reducing stress levels seem to be the best choices to slow down phenotypes associated with aging.”

In spite of the nuanced nature of plastic surgery culture, one can find comfort in the mortality of the human experience. To be frank, our time will come to an end at some point. However, Bracko underscores how aging is a universal experience that society should strive to understand and embrace instead of to fear or reject.

“As of today, no magic pill can help us, so we are all aging,” said Bracko. “Aiming to increase the quality of life should be our goal, not necessarily increasing the number of years of life.”

So go ahead and say hello to your newest grey hair or burgeoning wrinkle. Give a heartfelt hug to your blossoming bunion or growing skin tag. And make sure to embrace every sprouting age spot along the way.

SOCIAL MEDIA PLAYS A BIG ROLE IN AMENDING BEAUTY STANDARDS, with apps like TikTok and Instagram having algorithms that tend to push conventionally attractive people for more exposure on the platform.

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words_andrew mccleskey. design_michael cervantes. photo_daniella pinzón.

For many of us, reading books is an entire culture. The crisp feeling of turning the first page, fingers running down on an embossed cover — cracking the spine of a new title feels like walking into a haven. But as more and more bookstores close down due to the rise of e-reading options, does a glowing screen really feel the same as the pages we grew up with? words_scarlett diaz. photo & design_daniella pinzón.

WITH millions of digital books at your disposal the need for a physical bookstore may, at first glance, seem redundant. Kindles, iPads, and even laptops have all substituted tangible copies. But, for many of us, the benefits of reading on paper outweigh the negatives of digitally reading.

Reading can lower your stress levels, reduce your heart rate, increase your capacity for empathy, prevent cognitive decline while aging, and help people suffering from depressive symptoms, according to a study from the Journal of College Teaching and Learning.

But reading books on any blue-light device can pose a health risk beyond eye strain. Harvard studies have shown that not only does exposure to blue light late at night mess with your circadian rhythm, but reading on an iPad or computer late at night suppresses your melatonin levels as well, therefore reducing your sleep quality. If you enjoy reading at night, physical books or a device like the original Kindle, which has no blue light, might be a healthier option for you.

Global health studies major Gabby Whitehorn’s travel habits have made her a big Kindle fan.

“I read so fast that whenever I go on vacation, I would need to bring five or so books and that gets too heavy,” said Whitehorn. “And sometimes when you’re out of the country you can’t guarantee that there will be bookstores with a lot of English books so the Kindle is

just more convenient.”

Reading digital books on a tablet, phone, or even laptop can be more of a distraction than cracking open a real novel. “Do Not Disturb” is a great way to silence notifications, but without it you’re likely to see all your alerts coming across your screen. Then it’s easier to take frequent breaks from reading and switch back to scrolling.

Reading for undisturbed periods of time allows you to fully process and store new information, which means your reading comprehension can be negatively impacted when you use devices loaded with distractions. A 2013 Norwegian study reported that tangible-paper readers display higher levels of empathy for the characters and immersion into the story. The author attributed these results to the tactility of reading on paper.

Senior exchange student María Alarcón shared these sentiments, describing how she loves being able to turn the pages in her books.

“A lot of the time, the countries that the books come from publish different books in very different ways, using very different paper stock and different shapes for the covers,” said Alarcón. “That’s definitely an effect that’s lost with e-readers. It’s that additional detail that transports you into whatever you’re reading.”


shelves and run your hands down the glossy covers before questioning what story is right for you right now. E-readers and Amazon orders lose that personal touch.

Bookstores are required by law to charge manufacturer’s suggested retail price, but Amazon sidesteps it to get an advantage in the book selling market, said Robert Baumann, manager of Books & Books in Coral Gables.

“It’s all algorithmic, it’s not personal. It’s never going to ask you what you liked about the book,” said Baumann.

Instead, Baumann preaches in-person book shopping.

“We like to say that what you pay extra for here is you get someone who really cares about finding the perfect book for you, not just a book,” said Baumann. “And a good bookstore will actually ask you questions and really distill what you like about reading — and what you don’t like about reading and point you in the right direction.”

In the hyper digitalized and isolated years following the pandemic, it’s good to try and find ways to take a break from the virtual world. So instead of scrolling through your TikTok feed, have a change of pace and open up a novel instead.

Not to forget the beauty of picking the perfect book — it might even be the best part. You can wander through the endless

BOOKS & BOOKS, PICTURED HERE, FREQUENTLY THROWS EVENTS where they feature a certain writer and talk about one of their recent works. It’s great to get an insight into the writer’s process, especially if it is a book or genre you are interested in.

For more information about Books & Books and their events, scan this code on your phone.

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Miami is a beautiful city full of lavish bars and bumping clubs, giving you the opportunity for a different experience every night … but that’s only if you have the budget for it.

Things are costly out there in the real world, and if you want to live the Magic City life, you need to have the funds to support it. Thankfully there’s plenty of ways us students can make some cash on the side.

words_hope geissler & gracie palmer. design_lizzie kristal. photo_sara angel blum.

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ANTHONY AKINRINMOLA WORKS PART-TIME AS A TRAINER AT THE HERBERT WELLNESS CENTER. He shares his passion for fitness with students and locals in Coral Gables.

Taylor Tardibuono enrolled at the U to pursue a degree in psychology and studio art. Miami’s warm weather and amazing nightlife made her decision to leave small town, windchilled Lancaster, Pennsylvania, a no-brainer.

What makes Tardibuono’s perfect picture less perfect, however, is Miami’s incredibly expensive lifestyle.

“By the end of fall semester freshman year, I was quickly running out of money,” Tardibuono said.

She needed a job.

One of Tardibuono’s friends, Gabby Allen, worked at the Patti & Allan Herbert Wellness Center as a lifeguard and helped Tardibuono get a job at the same place.

“Gabby came to me saying her boss needed people to work the front desk,” Tardibuono said. “I sent her boss an email that night and was brought in for training a few days later. It was an easier process than I was expecting.”

On-Campus Jobs

Approximately 5,500 University of Miami students are working on campus this semester, according to the Office of Undergraduate Financial Assistance and Employment. These employment opportunities stem from federal work study, student assistantships, Miami Commitment and graduate assistantships.

The university offers all students access to JobX, a student employment job posting system. Students can find and apply for on-campus and off-campus jobs directly on the site. On-campus jobs on JobX vary from research assistants to baristas at Starbucks. JobX also has a section for off-campus jobs. These include tutors, swim lesson instructors, hostesses and more.

Other ways for students to find jobs off campus or internships include LinkedIn and Handshake. The Toppel Career Center on campus works to connect students to job opportunities and help with resumes.

Loretta Young, an administrative assistant for the University of Miami School of Communication, says the work study program at UM is a great opportunity for students to gain valuable work experience and to balance work and life before getting out in the world.

“It gives them a sense of responsibility, accountability and common sense. It makes them a little more balanced in work life and school life,” said Young, who oversees a variety of students in the school’s work study program.

Students take on jobs for reasons that range from contributing to their tuition and living expenses, to supplementing federal and personal loans, and of course, having enough money to support their Magic City lifestyle.

Miami is the second most U.S. expensive place (behind Los Angeles), according to the US News & World Report’s 2022-2023 list;

the cost of living in Miami is higher than the national average; and the average rent in Coral Gables for a one-bedroom apartment is around $23,400 for a nine-month lease.

While the minimum wage in Florida is $11 an hour, UM students earn an average hourly wage of $11.40, according to the Office of Undergraduate Financial Assistance and Employment.

Meshi Saha, a sophomore motion pictures and business law major, performs throughout South Florida as a stand-up comic. His earnings – typically $50-$150 per show -- are based on his performances and the venues.

Saha estimates he spends three-and-a-half hours a week on his job, including being on stage for about 30-45 minutes a performance.

“Due to my job being performance and creativity based, I am able to balance school and work pretty well,” Saha said.

Time Management

However, many students are spending more time on their jobs than on their studies, national surveys show. In 2020, the majority of employed college students were working more than 20 hours a week, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Dan D’Amico, a student equipment manager for UM’s football team, works between 30 and 40 hours a week and earns about $11 per hour.

“I have found that it’s quite difficult to find time for homework and studying between my classes, work and clubs,” said D’Amico.

Maria-Cristina Espinoza-Alguera, a finance lecturer at the Miami Herbert Business School at UM, advises students to be mindful about how much they are spending and how much money they are going to have to pay back to banks in the future.

“Having fun while spending money you already have saved is less stressful than borrowing money and becoming more indebted,” Espinoza-Alguera said.

Young, the work study supervisor in the School of Communication, said a common problem work study students face is dealing with time management.

“It can be a number of things that can affect a student’s ability to work,” Young said. “Some just come in and are on their A-game while others struggle with schedule and life changes.”

Emily Rodman, a senior neuroscience major, started working this semester as a teaching assistant for First Year Directions, a class for freshmen that helps them with academic advising.

“One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that just because I have a test in another class, First Year Directions can’t be put aside,” Rodman said. “I need to be as punctual there as I am in all of my other classes.”

Jessica Axtman, a sophomore exercise physiology major, works off campus at Cracked by Chef Adrianne, a South Miami restaurant. She said she struggles the most with asking for time off since her managers are not super lenient.

“It’s just a lot about time management and making the best choices of what to do first,” Axtman said.

UM’s Office of Undergraduate Financial Assistance and Employment said managers are expected to accommodate a student’s class schedule when developing a work schedule and that students are not allowed to work during their class times. They further advised that students should consider the time commitment before applying for a job.

Kiana Gaviria, who works six days a week in the interlibrary loan department at Richter Library, also emphasizes the praises of time management.

“Just don’t be so hard on yourself and make time for yourself as well,” said Gaviria, a sophomore accounting major.

Tardibuono, now a senior and a facility manager at the wellness center, said the hardest thing about working and going to school is finding time for herself.

“Intentionally making time to do nothing but relax is important and it is a skill I am still working on,” Tardibuono said. “I always thought people were being dramatic when they said work/life balance, but it’s really hard.”

Working while studying teaches students a certain level of accountability that classes never do, she said.

“You can skip class and not turn things in and still pass the class, but having a job is not like that,” Tardibuono said. “Life is just going to get harder, so I think it’s good to push yourself bit while you are still in a relatively safe bubble.”

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Wages and Hours


Whether you’re trying to flaunt your knowledge in classes, or just trying to crush, speech is crucial in our day-to-day lives. Sometimes, we try to make ourselves sound better than we are, and while it works for the short-term, honing your speech skills can benefit you academically, professionally, and even socially. If that’s something you think you need, listen up. Class is in session.

words amanda mohammed. design_isa márquez.

“Soo, like, uhhh, what’s up?”

These “filler words” find their way into our speech without us having to think about it. Often, they drag out conversations longer than needed. To older generations, they make us sound unprofessional and perhaps immature to some.

When going for an interview, negotiating with business partners, or even when talking to a potential love interest, you want to look and sound your best. While we usually correlate public speaking with speeches and presentations, the ideas and techniques behind it can be used for everyday speech.

So, whether you’re trying to score that big promotion or trying to sound intellectual, we have some tips for you to help make that a reality soon to be yours.


It’s natural to find comfort in speaking louder or quieter than usual. Those who are naturally outgoing tend to have a louder speaking voice, while those who are reserved keep to themselves. To master the art of public speaking, you have to find a happy medium between the two.

Unfortunately, you can’t just find a level that works and stick with it. Your volume should be based on your surroundings, like a quiet office versus a crowded bar and loud enough that only the people you want to listen to will hear you — not everyone at the Rat wants to hear about your nightly escapades and adventures.


Sometimes, we want to blurt out a thought as quickly as possible so we don’t forget to mention it later.

However, it’s worth waiting to let someone finish a thought, as you may think of a more productive

response to continue the conversation rather than cutting them off immediately. Listen as maturely as you speak and hold those intrusive thoughts.

What also falls into this category is the speed at which you talk. Speaking too fast makes it hard for others to understand what you’re saying, and can be especially problematic when giving a speech or a presentation, as your facts can get caught up in the rush. Sal Puma, sophomore computer science major, is taking a public speaking class here at the University of Miami.

Puma said that after taking the class he “started to be more conscious of [his] tone and slow down.”

Be Direct

Another thing to keep in mind when talking the point of what you have to say. When telling a story or giving a presentation, everything you say needs to be relevant.

Valerie Giroux, who is teaching a public speaking class at UM, uses her years of teaching experience to help students work on their speech for jobs and even other classes.

“When you drown [a presentation] out with boring slides, it loses its impact,” said Giroux. “Make what you’re talking about relate[s] to your audience.”

Focus on what needs to be said such as important facts and details, as those give what you’re saying a reason to be said. That doesn’t mean that you can’t take diversions here and there for tangents and other factoids, but don’t lose your way. Once you lose your listeners, it’s hard to reel them back in, so keep them engaged with relevant and important information.


When meeting new people or addressing a crowd, confidence is key. It is a crucial element to help you garner respect from who you’re talking to, whether it’s a class listening to your

presentation, or someone you met at a bar.

Granted, confidence is not the easiest to build up, especially for the public speaking averse. A great way to start is to practice before hand by yourself, or even to friends to get out the first time jitters.

Celia Lynn, a public relations major who is in the same public speaking class as Sal Puma, praises what the class has done for her own speech on a daily basis.

“Even though I have always been a confident speaker, this class forces me to speak formally more often. I feel I have become more confident answering questions in other classes now that I am in this class,” said Lynn.

“I think it’s a valuable tool for everyone, regardless your major,” said Puma. “At some point you’re going to need to talk to a boss or present something to your team, and a class like this gives you the basics for that.”


While these tips will help you sound more mature, there is such a thing as going overboard. If you’re too conscious of all of these different aspects, it starts to sounds off — like an exaggerated character you would find in some corny commercial.

Giroux said “not to have a canned presentation. Like something [you’ve] done many times.”

Practice is important, and it helps boost your confidence, but there is a sense of flow you need to achieve when talking. Wanting to know everything you’re going to say is great, but you have to take it to a higher level — know your points well enough that you can add some personality without messing up.

Plus, people truly care about the meaning behind speaking, less about the presentation.

“Communication is sender, receiver, hopefully your personality is coming through,” said Giroux.

Whether it’s a funny conversation you had with someone in an elevator, or how you eloquently explained your viewpoint in class, putting your personality into whatever your saying can make people remember you.

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Here is your sanctuary to refuel your body and mind. Dive into the insand-outs of vaping, the backwards American food system and its toll on your digestion, how to balance all facets of a chaotic life, and the optimal way to approacing a gym crush. Keep flipping for the best tips on tending to your own health.

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VAPES COME IN TWO DIFFERENT STYLES, disposables ones (HQDs, and Puff Bars) that you throw out when they’re empty, or reusable ones (like the classic JUUL) where once your pod runs out you either get a new one, or fill the existing one back up with juice.

Out of all the habits college students pick up, vaping might be one of the biggest. There’s something many find so enticing about this small stick full of flavored air, that they try it out and get hooked. If you’re wondering if you should quit before you’re stuck, or a long-time buyer wondering what it’s doing to you, Distraction aims to clear some of the smoke.

words_virginia suardi. design&photo_daniella pinzón.

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Afamiliar cloud of thick, sweet-scented smoke floats your way, and you realize that someone around you has just taken a big hit of their vape. Are you at a house party or in a club? Nope, you’re just at Richter Library, working on a paper.


If you ask any University of Miami student, “Can I hit your vape?” they’ll likely pull out their very own pocket sized and colorful e-cigarette. Nowadays, it seems like everyone vapes. But how did we get here? How is it possible that we, as a society, almost completely abandoned cigarette culture and then somehow collectively revived our nicotine addiction.

Marketing professor Trinidad Callava explained how tobacco companies were initially able to build such a powerful empire.

“Their marketing was excellent, based on powerful identities, i.e. the Marlboro Man,” she said.

The downfall of tobacco companies was largely caused by an outpouring of public health concern and the 2009 Tobacco Control Act “really put the nail in the coffin,” said Callava.

This act, also referred to as the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, gave the FDA the power to regulate the manufacturing, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products. The passage of this act completely curtailed any hope and control tobacco companies had over glamorizing their public image.

Like tobacco companies during their prime, e-cigarette companies use a boatload of enticing advertising strategies to promote their products. They’re often marketed as a way for smokers to decrease nicotine usage and engage their oral fixation in a safe way.

As Callava puts it, their products are “aesthetically pleasing, quite fashionable, and customizable.” Vapes come in fun flavors like mango, mint, and popular e-cigarette brand HQD Cuvie even has a “Miami Vice” flavor — whatever that means.

But are vapes really healthier than cigarettes? In some regards, yes. According to renowned pulmonologist Dr. Gustavo Ferrer, “research shows that most e-cigarettes have less content of toxic hydrocarbons [than cigarettes].”

However, Ferrer emphasized that vapes still expose users to the addictive chemical compound nicotine. In fact, some vapes have more nicotine than a normal cigarette.

“I wouldn’t call it healthier because nothing that is smoked is healthy,” said Ferrer in reference to e-cigarette usage. Some vapes even contain more nicotine than the average cigarette, a surprise to many vape users.

Yet, most young people grew up after the fall of the tobacco industry and weren’t introduced to e-cigarettes as an alternative to regular cigarettes. So how did this generation get so incredibly hooked?

A sophomore, who chose to remain anonymous, explained how she was

introduced to vaping.

“My first time using a vape was about a year ago,” she said. “I tried one of my friend’s vapes while we were out, and realized that it gave me more of a buzz when I was drinking.”

After taking a hit out of boredom while sober, her addiction became just about impossible to avoid.

“I feel like it’s almost become a comfort object of sorts to hold in my hand, and satisfy an oral fixation,” she said. “The flavors just kind of serve as a bonus to an easily concealable method of doing exactly what cigarettes do.”

The same way that previous generations used cigarettes as appetite suppressants, many teens use vapes for the same reason.

The sophomore said that “especially here where we see so many people who look like they’re straight out of a high fashion magazine, it’s really easy to compare yourself to others.”

When the typical Miami weekend involves pool parties, boats, and beach days — it’s hard not to fall into the trap of unhealthy eating habits.

“I think vaping gave me a way to look and feel skinnier without having to deal with the hunger factor,” she added.

Not only can vapes fuel eating disorders, but they’re also full of mysterious and unnatural chemicals that are extremely unregulated, according to Ferrer.

The Addiction

“Another big issue is that the content of the e-cigarettes is not well controlled by the FDA,” said Ferrer. “Manufacturers can add oil-based products with drugs and flavors that are very dangerous to the lungs.”

According to the American Heart Association, e-cigarette vapor includes chemicals like diacetyl, volatile organic compounds, and metals like nickel, tin, and lead, all of which are linked to cancer, lung disease and more.

In a college environment where drinking alcohol, getting poor sleep, and subsisting off of junk food are all normalized, it’s easy to dismiss medical warnings about vapes as another thing that we know we “shouldn’t” do but do anyways.

However, vapes are nothing to play around with like a toy.

“Long term effects [of e-cigarette usage] are severe and debilitating, affecting every organ,” said Ferrer.

These can include medical problems like “strokes, memory issues, sinus problems, throat cancer, chronic bronchitis . . . heart attacks, [and] circulatory problems that can lead to amputation of toes [and] feet,” said Ferrer.

Ferrer has personally witnessed the impact of vapes with his own patients.

“I had a young college student that developed acute severe lung damage with holes in the lungs that required hospitalization,” said Ferrer. The student

ultimately required permanent use of external assisted oxygen.

Fortunately, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for all the vape fiends out there.

“The good news is that there is effective treatment to help people quit smoking and to treat the damages and symptoms,” Ferrer said.

Social Context

Alleviation of social pressures after graduation can help remove some of the tendency towards smoking.

“I definitely think it’s harder to quit when I’m here because they have such a regular presence in party culture,” said the sophomore. “I don’t want to be a mom, or going to my job in the future, or even in graduate school still using vapes.”

While vapes might seem harmless in the moment, their effects can be far-reaching and much more severe than most people imagine. For those already addicted, try waning off vaping by either finding a nicotine fix that you can gradually decrease (i.e. a nicotine patch, or nicotine gum), or finding an alternative for your oral fixation — either with gum, a tasty beverage, or even hard candies — whatever’s most appealing to you. Though the effects of your addiction might be insignificant enough right now, a few years down the line, they might not be so reversible.

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Another big issue is that the content of the e-cigarettes is not well controlled by the FDA.”


Ever visited Europe and those pesky digestive problems faded away? Well, the American food system is designed in a way that can slowly make you sick. Between ultra-processed foods being pushed on us by strategic corporations and agriculture prioritizing efficient crops over health, it’s no wonder you might always be bloated. But don’t fret — minimizing these health effects doesn’t have to be complicated.

words_ lizzie kristal. design_ lizzie kristal. photo_ nina d’agostini.

The average American diet is pretty terrible. According to a study conducted by Steele, Baraldi, et al., about 60 percent of the American diet comes from ultra-processed foods. Ultraprocessed foods are made with industrial formulas not used in normal homemade culinary preparations.

Hate to break it to you, but your favorite “healthy” Trader Joe’s snacks are probably ultra-processed too. The CDC also found that one in 10 Americans meet the minimum recommended amount of fruit and vegetable intake. These days, it seems to be all about processed food.

“Processed foods play a role in harming health because our digestive system is made to consume fiber rich foods, and fiber naturally only comes from plant foods,” said Dr. Michelina Witte, adjunct lecturer out of the Kinesiology & Sport Sciences Department. “[Processed food] has taken away the ability for your body to do what it’s supposed to do, which is extract nutrients.”

Not only does eating processed foods affect the immediate health of your digestive system, but it can also impact your long-term health down the road.

“The number one cause of death in this nation and on the planet is heart disease and cancer is number two. They’re all linked back to lifestyle and diet,” said Witte. “Take a closer look at why that is, and it’s the processed foods.”

Often, processed foods that are advertised as healthy are not — it’s just clever marketing so you pick up the product.

“I would say that the ‘sneaky’ ingredient that resides in most foods is sugar,” said Kylie Courtney, graduate assistant and doctoral student in the Department of Kinesiology and Sports Sciences at the University of Miami. “Even foods that may appear healthy often have large amounts of added sugars.”

Store-bought beverages like coffee and juice are often loaded with added sugars despite looking healthy on the shelves, according to Courtney.

“These are often empty calories because they do not increase the feelings of fullness and only add unnecessary amounts of sugar to the diet,” said Courtney.

Even foods that don’t appear processed at first glance often contain additives or pesticides that can be harmful to your digestive health. For example, glyphosate is a powerful pesticide that is used to speed up the process of harvesting grain by drying out crops. Its widespread use in the US is normalized, despite the chemical being labeled as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. Some countries, including Mexico, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and many more, have even completely banned the substance.

“Glyphosate makes it so my body can’t break down grains. It’s a harmful chemical, and it’s not meant to be broken down by the human body,” said sophomore Kamryn

Elder who has struggled with digestive issues for a few years.

Because of this pesticide, Elder stays away from grains completely, stating that she “wouldn’t have to be gluten free [if they didn’t] spray this chemical.”

During her senior year of high school, Elder experienced severe digestive issues, including constant stomach pains and bloating. After receiving inadequate help from medical professionals, she took matters into her own hands.

“I saw a ton of doctors and they were just prescribing medicine after medicine. In reality, they were always treating symptoms. They weren’t treating the root cause,” said Elder. “I practically, through about six months of work, had to completely cut out almost every single food in the American diet because my gut couldn’t break down anything.”

She eventually made the switch from a processed diet to one rich with whole foods, like vegetables and fatty fish. She also completely cut out dairy and gluten. With these changes to her diet, in addition to acupuncture sessions, Elder saw a huge improvement in her gut health.

So what is it about processed foods that’s so attractive to consumers? Companies don’t just create a product that tastes good and pack it into grocery stories — it’s much more calculated than that.

“The processed food industry has

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Processed Food Corporate Claw

really tapped into the science behind addiction,” said Witte. “There’s a reason why you can’t just eat one Pringle. There are many reasons that have to do with the testing that they do to make sure the salt-sugar-fat combination present in that Pringle, the crunch sound, the size of it and everything else … is going to activate that pleasure center.”

As Witte described, the US food production giants have made sure to create the most accessible, addictive products on the market. In many cases, these irresistible treats are formulated by adding excess salt and sugar. A review published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that sugar has a similar effect on the brain to cocaine and other drugs. There’s no doubt about it — processed foods have a dangerously addictive quality for a reason.

However, Witte said to be wary of labeling a category of food as the enemy.

“You don’t want to develop this very black and white idea of what food is and have a bad relationship with food, but the idea should be to look at food as fuel. You want to put the optimal fuel in your body,” said Witte.

Providing good fuel for your body doesn’t have to be complicated. To start, Witte suggests eliminating as many “barcodes” as possible. Stick to the perimeter of the grocery store, where most of the fresh food is kept. This way, the food you consume will come close to its form in nature.

Affordability is a common argument against eating whole foods. Produce and other fresh food are often believed to be more expensive than processed foods, which can appear to be a cheaper and more convenient alternative.

“Reevaluate whether or not it’s actually more expensive to eat in a way that requires more whole foods on your plate,” said Witte. “It is a myth that the fast-food industry tries to sell.”

While the price tag may be similar, the time commitment is not. Cooking meals from whole foods is more time consuming, which can be difficult for ultra-busy college students. That said, it’s not hard to make small swaps. Start with small changes, like switching jam for fresh fruit or re-creating your favorite Smoothie King order at home with simpler ingredients.

“There’s a level of independence that you feel when you start realizing you can make your own food in the kitchen,” said Witte. “You can make your meals for yourself and they can taste good.”

Don’t feel bad for stocking your

pantry with processed foods — it’s a corporate trap that’s designed to look as easy and enticing as possible. And don’t feel like you need to completely eliminate all of those fun little snacks, because that’s not realistic. Be aware, however, that falling prey to the ultraprocessed American diet will inflict damage to your health. Start with a few little tweaks here and there, and don’t be afraid of getting your hands dirty in the kitchen.

SODIUM IS HIDDEN IN EVERY PROCESSED FOOD, INCLUDING A STACK OF BROWNIES. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 75 percent of the sodium Americans consume comes from processed foods. This can increase the risk of raised blood pressure and heart disease.

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Food as Fuel

College students aren’t alone in the struggle of a busy schedule; according to the World Population Review, the U.S. is the tenth most overworked country in the world. Students often try to do everything all at once: get good grades, participate in clubs or sports, work a part-time job, and socialize with peers. With so many responsibilities and only 24 hours in a day, it can feel impossible to manage all commitments effectively. Finding a way to keep yourself calm and happy is key to achieving a healthy balance, which is at the root of academic, social, and emotional stability.

A lack of balance can affect all aspects of life, especially your personal relationships. Placing too much emphasis on one part of your life and not giving enough attention to friends and family can cause a decay of your personal relationships, which chips away at your support system.

Resources to Help

Sometimes it’s hard to find a technique to keep your stress as bay, but luckily modern technology is here to help. There are many apps designed to help you manage your priorities and keep track of your to-dos. While your “notes” app might cut it for rudimentary brainstorming, it’s not exactly the most effective organizational tool. Some more nuanced alternatives are, Notion, and Habitica.

Found on all app stores, Notion is a great organizational app. It includes a wide variety of features, such as to-do lists, toggle lists, numbered lists, bullet lists, quotes, tables, simple databases, equations, and an ability to embed images and links. It’s an organizer’s paradise. Because of these features, it takes a bit of experimenting to understand the full extent of the app’s abilities. To help relieve any possible confusion, the company offers easy-to-follow tutorials and an

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PÉREZ’S ADVICE TO THOSE STRUGGLING WITH TIME MANAGEMENT IS, “Create task lists, set times, do not procrastinate and schedule yourself appropriately — don’t schedule yourself for something you realistically can’t complete or attend!”

IF YOU DON’T WANT ALL THE BELLS AND WHISTLES FANCY MANAGEMENT APPS HAVE, you can always use Google Excel. While this lets you structure lists in any way you want, its barebones structure does require some prior knowledge to make sense of its tools.

FAQs page to help to answer any questions about the platform.

Habitica is more of a unique choice than some other organization apps. Branding itself as a “gamified task manager,” it delivers that kind of experience. In the app, you can set habit trackers that help with things like eating habits and productivity, dailies you can use for every day routine tasks, and longer to-do lists to manage school, work and other tasks. There are so many features to explore.

While its design is pretty intuitive, what makes it stand out is its reward system. Completing tasks in the timeframe you set and tracking your habits and dailies in the app helps you level up your avatar. Doing so grants you access to different gear and abilities that come in handy for the quests you can send your avatar on. For the more game-inclined out there, it’s a great way to turn the more mundane aspects of life into something more interesting. I mean who doesn’t love a little side-quest?

While these apps provide great resources for management, learning specialist Ashley Pérez from the University of Miami Camner Center for Academic Resources has mixed feelings about downloading these apps.

“It depends on your preference, but I always suggest finding a system that works for you,” said Pérez. “This is only effective if you make the time to keep it updated.”

Of course, it’s easy to make a bunch of Notion widgets, and give yourself a slew of quests in Habitica. However, unless you actively keep up with them, you’re not going to benefit from them.

When managing your stress levels, intense compartmentalization can become a little daunting. Sometimes, you need to take a step back and remember that you’re in college. While these are some of the more formative years of our lives, it doesn’t mean they need to be all

work and no play — some spontaneity can be refreshing. But before you start skipping class and neglecting homework on a whim, there are some rules of thumb.


Pérez emphasizes the importance of setting priorities.

“Students should prioritize anything that is urgent and important,” said Pérez. “Making a priority list can help you decide what to do now, later or not at all.”

Once you have one of your own it makes it easier to see when its worth the risk to clubbing on a Tuesday night.

“Don’t forget about self-care. This is just as important as academics,” said Pérez. “Remember to make time for things that you like to do.”

If you stick to those task lists you make, curling up with your current binge watch and a glass of wine on a Thursday night can feel a lot more rewarding after cranking out a big essay. Relaxation is always nice, but seeing it as a reward after a grueling assignment or packed day makes you power through all the not-so-fun aspects of life.

College life can feel extremely daunting, but with small changes here and there, an exhausting workload can feel more manageable. Determine what’s important to you and prioritize those things accordingly. Pitbull once said, “life is to live it, not to let it live you,” so remember that when you’re dancing on a table at Sandbar, you earned it.

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Picture this: you double scoop pre-workout with the person you’ve been eyeing across the gym for weeks. It’s push day, and you finally have someone to spot you on the bench press. After a solid lift, you end it off with some cardio together. Sounds like a dream, but it’s time to make it a reality. Approaching a gym crush is a tricky game, but with some simple techniques, you’re sure to max out your chances with them.

It’s understandable to want your gym crush to remain just a crush. Sometimes just the rush of working out in the presence of a gym crush is satisfying enough. Of course, there’s always the worry that the potential relationship may go wrong, which would make the gym a hotspot for awkward interactions. But for those of you who want to level up your gym crush connection, this message is for you.

So, how do you approach your crush? You don’t want to scare them away, and you don’t want to annoy them — it’s a delicate balance.

Senior, and former personal trainer at the Patti & Allan Herbert Wellness Center, Rachel Apodaca has spent plenty of time witnessing campus gym culture.

“I would say it really is case by case. I know some people who are like ‘the gym is my space. I come to the gym for myself, so don’t come talk to me,’” said Apodaca. “That is a super easy vibe to pick up on. If you’re picking that vibe up, don’t push the limits.”

Make sure to scope out the attitude of your target. If they seem present, social, and talkative, it might be a green light. Otherwise, be careful of interrupting someone who is purposely closed-off.

The next step is to gauge interest. Apodaca takes a direct approach.

“There are ways to do it in a non-creepy way,” said Apodaca. “You ask to work in and see if they’re open to conversation.”

Anthony Akinrinmola, senior and personal trainer at the Wellness Center, accomplishes this by measuring eye contact.

“There are two boxes that need to be checked off before you can approach your gym crush. The first one is eye contact. You’ll know if somebody’s looking at you or paying attention to what you’re doing,” said Akinrinmola. “The connection — it’s just there without being said.”

He also emphasizes the importance of timing: “The second box is the golden rule. You can’t bother them while they’re actually working out.”

Instead of approaching someone during the depths of their squat, find a better time. If possible, say hello in a completely different setting, like between classes or in the dining hall. If your schedules never overlap outside of the gym, approach them at the water fountain or by the lockers. You could even try a rest period, but be careful — make sure they’re not still gasping for air.

And finally, the most crucial part: your opening line. This should not, in any way shape or form, resemble a pick-up line. Anything overly flirtatious will likely come across way too strong in a setting where such little clothing is worn. Instead, gradually establish a gym friendship that has potential to develop into something more.

“The way I’ve done it in the past is I asked them to record a set for me because I always record my workouts,” said Akinrinmola. “Then after I’d be like, ‘oh yeah, what’s your name? I’ve seen you here all the time.’ And that’s how I start the conversation.”

A good opener doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes, less is more. Apodaca first approached

her current boyfriend with a simple compliment.

“I complimented his shorts,” said Apodaca. “A couple days later, I ran into him again and we started talking. He asked for my name, and then we had a couple interactions after that. We went on a date, which was great, and we’ve been together since.”

Junior and Wellness Center employee Randa Serhan likes to play it a little more cheekily by joking around with them.

“The way I would approach a gym crush would be to tell him that he’s doing baby weight. Tell him to get his weight up,” said Serhan. “Joke around, like maybe, ‘take some steroids or hop on tren.’”

When in doubt, a simple introduction is the best option to play it safe. Then, say hi to them whenever you see each other. See if they reciprocate your interest, and after a few days of mutual hellos, ask for their number or Snapchat, and take it from there.

Gym crushes are all about the long game –after all, doesn’t slow and steady win the race? Who knows, soon you might have a your own swolemate.

THOUGH FINDING A SWOLEMATE TO ARM WRESTLE WITH MIGHT BE THE DREAM, make sure you are content with who you are before adding anyone else into the equation.

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words&design_lizzie kristal. photo_sharron lou.


Fashion is showcasing the best in style, perfect for those looking to make a statement. Channel your inner Tumblr with a fashionable take on Indie sleaze. Discover where Morocco and Miami collide with a UM caftan designer. The fashion section plunges into the cultural significance of today’s trends.

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The 2010s marked the explosion of Tumblr and thus followed an era of digital transparency that influenced fashion in a way never seen before. The Tumblr culture was all about being perfectly imperfect: it became cool to be uncool. With this newfound realness in social media, “Indie Sleaze” was born.” Indie Sleaze” is the lovechild of hipsters and punk-rock. It’s messy, carefree, and effortlessly cool. Everyone looked chaotic but fun — like they just spent a week partying with an underground band you’ve never heard of. Think Vanessa Hudgens’s iconic Coachella outfits, Effy from “Skins” or even Little-J from “Gossip Girl.” words_kelly bramson. design_isa márquez. photo_daniella pinzón.


That’s Not Hot! The “Y2K” moment has come and gone and as we segway into a new fashion cycle, we’ve moved onto the 2010s. We’re now seeing a resurgence in a (perfectly curated) effortlessness. Photo dumps, spam accounts, and digital flash cameras are popular once again to show off a more “real” side of life. This new aesthetic is all about trying to look like you weren’t trying at all.


Animal print is a super easy way to get in the sleazy mood. Grab a printed item and throw it into any outfit. It’s an immediate upgrade with just one piece. Our favorites are cheetah, snakeskin, and even zebra.

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Messy hair, eyeliner from last night, holes in shirts and rips in pants: anything that shows you’re too cool to care is the soul of “indie sleaze”. This is the return of graphic tees, tanks and skinny jeans, and anything ripped. Jay Hurst (right) looks effortless and cool throwing on a brown leather jacket over a white tank top and blue jeans.


Teens have mastered this edgy look for decades. Think contrasting pieces, like mixing baby doll and gothic aesthetics. Throw on a pair of fishnets, chunky boots, and lots of leather and lace to channel your inner rock star. Diana Rojas (right) mixes a slip dress with a cheetah print coat.



Urban Outfitters is a great way to get the sleaze-look in the Dadeland mall. If you’re shopping on a budget and wanting to stay on campus, UThrift and Raygs are affordable and convenient options. UThrift is every Wednesday, and Raygs is every Thursday.


The core of “indie sleaze” is all about throwing pieces together that traditionally wouldn’t match, but somehow just work. Isa Márquez sports an animal print shirt and leather vest: contrasting materials that create an unexpected look when paired.



Layering shirts, oversized jackets, jewelry, tights, and other pieces is also an easy and effective way to showcase your individuality. Unique or vintage pieces also work particularly well. Cindy layers up a red faux fur coat with a leather dress, belt, and fishnet tights.


Sometimes, more is more. “Indie sleaze” wouldn’t be “indie sleaze” without the excessive use of accessories. Gaudy, chunky, in your face, metallic jewelry is a must. Jalen Fertig (right) is layering silver rings and chains. Other accessories include scarves, pearls, and hats (yes, fedoras and beanies are back).

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Indie Sleaze ;)

ONCE OCCASIONALLY WORN FOR FORMAL EVENTS, KAFTANS HAVE BEEN MODERNIZED by Moroccan stylists and have been an international fashion staple. This one appears in a velvet green.



Caftans stand as a Moroccan symbol of feminity and beauty. Their traditional designs illustrate luscious beadwork and classic designs. UM student Dina Toum-Benchekroun puts her own twist on caftans. She combines the vibrancy of Miami with the culture of Morocco to create her own interpretation on the garment. Keep an eye out for her — soon the designs will hopefully be hitting the runways across the world.

words_wanjiru gitonga & anastasia cavounis. photo_ nina d’agostini. design_lizzie kristal.

At a Moroccan wedding, everyone’s attention is directed toward the beautiful bride, who arrives at the ceremony dressed in an elaborate white caftan and is seated in an amaria, a bejeweled roofed platform that is carried by four men.

Dina Toum-Benchekroun, who grew up in a family of wedding planners, was in awe with the luxurious and lavish styles she saw at the first wedding she attended.

“I always saw it as a symbolic entrance, and how women are appreciated in society,” Toum-Benchekroun said. “When I first saw that elevated perspective, it was a huge moment.”

Toum-Benchekroun, now a graduating senior at the University of Miami, developed a passion for caftans from these very weddings.

“The sparkles, the beads, the silky fabric, the royal cuts, and the long skirts had my heart beating faster than I thought possible,” ToumBenchekroun said. “Caftans became my opiate.”

Toum-Benchekroun explained her mother introduced her to the art of caftan design. At the age of 17, she began designing her own caftans and worked with a tailor to bring her ideas to life. Her first creation was red with winged beadwork in the center. She has now designed 15 caftans and djellabas (long, loosefitting outer robes with full sleeves) worn by men and women. Worn all over the world, caftans represent a highly desired fashion and cultural status that holds a very special significance in Morocco.

exclaims. “It reflects important artisanal aspects of my culture and can only be done by hand.”

Although she creates the designs, a tailor in Casablanca, Morocco, executes them while she supervises from Miami.

Apart from attending classes and designing her caftans, ToumBenchekroun has been working with a marketing and advertising company, giving her lots of experience in her public relations and marketing majors. With so many interests, Toum-Benchekroun finds it important to balance her time wisely.

“Most days I’m juggling a bunch of different things, but that’s what has made me the person that I am today,” Toum-Benchekroun says. “My academics are the most important, and always come first. Classes are non-negotiable; I will never skip class.”

When applying for college, Toum-Benchekroun knew she wanted a school with diversity. Growing up, she studied at an international American school in Morocco, where she was exposed to people of all types of ethnicities and cultures. She knew she wanted to foster a similar environment, and the University of Miami was the perfect place to make that happen.

“In Miami you see people being super expressive of themselves, and bright red is all over the place. I try to fuse Moroccan and American culture in my caftans, which you can see in the beadwork and style,” Toum-Benchekroun stated.

Caftans, both formal and casual, have become well-known and promoted throughout the fashion world. Christian Dior, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, and Lebanese Haute Couture designer, Elie Saab, are among the top designer labels with caftans in their collections.


CULTURE that many regions have their own set of unique designs. Women have designed their own caftans for generations.

“The love affair between the Moroccan caftan and the woman wearing it goes beyond price and occasion,” Toum-Benchekroun said. “The relationship begins at first sight, when the woman sees the design and continues until her body meets the fabric of the caftan. It highlights the woman’s outer beauty while revealing her inner delicacy.”

Caftan, a derivative of the Persian word, kaftan, is believed to have originated in ancient Mesopotamia. It was worn by Ottoman sultans as a full-length garment from the 14th to 18th centuries, and now as a traditional garment popular in northern Africa. The dresses are used for special occasions, including weddings and birthdays, as well as for casual wear day-to-day.

Toum-Benchekroun says the design process involves a great deal of thought and inspiration. When she’s inspired by a color or pattern, she thinks about what fabric it will look best on and then begins sketching. The neck shape is crucial part of the the entire design. A low V-neck is rebellious and fun, whereas more modest occasions, like a wedding, require a higher neckline. After sketching, she may go through five or six styles and play around with colors. Once the sketches are finalized, she will decide the kind of beadwork she wants incorporated into her design.

“Beadwork is the most important part,” Toum-Benchekroun

Toum-Benchekroun, plans to release her designs in Morocco after graduating in December and has been in contact with tailors in Miami to see if they can adapt to Middle Eastern style bead work, but the search has not been very easy at all.

“The type of beadwork needed is an artisanal work specific to the Moroccan region and is best known by Moroccan tailors,” said ToumBenchekroun. She is currently working hard on creating her first design showcase, for June 2023.

Toum-Benchekroun wants to create a solid foundation before she starting to sell and emphasizes the importance of building a unique and authentic brand. She notes the power of social media in gaining exposure and plans to make that a priority as well. Another goal is to make her brand inclusive to all kinds of different people. She plans to incorporate models who have disabilities. Inspired by her rich culture and experiences in Miami, Toum-Benchekroun is excited to pursue her professional journey and love of caftans.


63 DISTRACTION Winter 2022

When putting in your headphones, it can be hard to find an exact song or album to capture exactly what you’re feeling. Sad isn’t just sad anymore — it’s “numb-butokay” sad, or “bawling-my-eyes-out” sad, or even “I’m-overstimulated” sad. As music platforms gather creative users, more specific playlists become available to listeners. Somewhere out there, there’s probably a playlist for exactly how you’re feeling. We put our heads together to whip up some of our own mixes to capture some of the feelings you might have in your time on campus.

64 DISTRACTION The Last Distraction
just woke up and the tailgate
in 10 minutes
just found the best oddly specific Spotify playlists words_sal puma. design_lizzie kristal. You
Beats to wait in
Corner Deli line to Songs to cry to at 2 am in the library POV: you have to run from Knight Physics to Lennar for your next class
65 DISTRACTION Winter 2022
now by scanning the QR code, or visiting our website, Ibisyearbook.com! You can catch us taking portraits at the Whitten UC Lobby starting at the end of January.
now, your face is waiting ...
Seniors it is
last chance
mark. Book
Senior portrait
www.distractionmagazine.com @distractionmag @distractionmag Join our awardwinning staff. We’re always accepting writers, designers, photographers, videographers, PR pros and businesssavvy 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! Can’t get enough of us? Scan the QR code above to check out our website, or visit distractionmagazine.com.

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