Distraction Magazine Summer 2024

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This special section is dedicated to traveling and satiating that wanderlust.

the university of miami magazine of the students of the
summer 2024
university of miami magazine of the students of the TRUE TO YOU
Making sure microtrends aren’t the end of individuality.
SOUTH Country is on the rise, so giddy up and head down BON VOYAGE This special section is dedicated to traveling and satiating that wanderlust. Select your spread and make a picnic that’s perfect for you.

Making sure microtrends aren’t the end of individuality.


Country is on the rise, so giddy up and head down south.


This special section is dedicated to traveling and satiating that wanderlust.


Select your spread and make a picnic that’s perfect for you.

miami magazine of the students of the
summer 2024 the university of


Country is on the rise, so giddy up and head down south.


This special section is dedicated to traveling and satiating that wanderlust.


A new game is hitting the court, so grab a racket and get out there.


Making sure microtrends aren’t the end of individuality.

summer 2024 the university of miami magazine of the students of the


This special section is dedicated to traveling and satiating that wanderlust.

the university of miami magazine of the students of the


If you want to stay up to date on our issues and any articles we publish check out our website. Every article we write gets uploaded to the website for your viewing pleasure and for ease of access. You can also read digital versions of our issues through our website as well. Its a great place to get distracted with all things Distraction!

Editor-in-Chief_Sal Puma

It’s finals week here at the U, and it is a perfect time for a distraction. I sure as hell needed one. Thankfully, I had this wonderful magazine to work on in-between my Pomodoro technique timers and never ending problem sets. Whenever this issue finds you, hopefully the storm has passed, and you’ll be able to breathe once more.

The special section of this issue is Bon Voyage, which is fitting seeing as summer vacation is right around the corner. We centered the articles around traveling, how to do it efficiently, sustainably, and even some tips on where to go. I know Miami is practically paradise, but the palm trees and Pub Subs can get a little overdone.

If your nights out can survive the rush of an outing to Coconut Grove or South Beach, you guys can handle a trip anywhere. Pack those bags, grab your passport and head wherever your heart leads you. Who knows, we can even be your in-flight entertainment. And with that being said:

- Bon voyage everybody!

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.

- 30 - Managing Editor_Andrew McCleskey

- 30 - Co-Executive Editor_Matt Jiménez

- 30 - Co-Executive Editor_Nic Facchina

PR & Social Media Director_Lex Kondratenko

Digital Executive Editor_Amanda Mohamad

Art Director_Marita Gavioti

Assistant Art Director_Charlotte DeAngelis

Assistant Art Director_Julia Gomez

- 30 - Photo Director_Sharron Lou

Photo Director_Valeria Barbaglio

Assistant Photo Director_Ethan Dosa

Social Media Manager_Morgan Black

Social Media Manager_Remi Turner

Events Manager_Devin Thompson

The Guide Editor_Caleigh Russo

- 30 - Happening Editor_Tamia McLean

Special Section Editor_Veronika Valia

Health & Wellness Editor_Jay Moyer

Fashion Editor_Victoria Fondeur

Faculty Adviser_Randy Stano

Supporting Faculty_Tsitsi Wakhisi

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photo_mary gorski. photo_melanie bergunker.
photo_sharron lou. photo_ethan dosa.















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======================================================================================= TABLE OF CONTENTS



Distraction’s Guide section is your go-to for the how-tos. Open your hearts for our four-legged friends and learn all about how to care for a pet while juggling college life. Navigate the road to a summer fling and pick up a racquet and hit the pickleball courts. Grab your notebooks, you’re gonna need to refer back to directions afterwards.

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Iceland photo_ford


Whether they’re missing their animal friends back home or are in need of companionship, some students make the decision to get a pet during their time in college. For some, their new friend is a small pet, like a hamster, lizard or fish. For others, adopting a larger pet like dogs or cats is the way to go. So how exactly do you go about bringing a furry friend home? Let Distraction guide you through the magical world of pet adoption.

At the end of her freshman year, Maeve Petersen knew exactly what she needed to make her college life better: a puppy.

“As a freshman, I was lonely without my dog from home,” said Petersen, a University of Miami sophomore and nursing major. “I knew at that point that when I would be a sophomore living in my own apartment, I needed a dog to provide emotional support.”

Petersen aquired her dog, a male doxen named Lincoln, in 2023 from a local breeder in Ohio. She now lives off campus with her one-year-old puppy in Vox Miami, a student housing development in South Miami.

Petersen’s experience mirrors that of thousands of other college students — especially those of first-year students who experience separation anxiety from their family pets. Research, including a 2021 study conducted by Washington State University professors, finds that as many as 75% of college freshmen say they experience some form of separation anxiety during the transition to college.

As a result, more universities are adapting their housing policies to allow pets to fit in the campus picture. While it is difficult to pin down the exact number of colleges that allow students to live with their pets on campus, scores of universities are implementing petfriendly dorm policies in ways that include appointing one or more residence halls to accommodate pets. So, a variety of pets from dogs, cats, chinchillas and birds, to hamsters, ducks, ferrets and fish in tanks

words_sofie daiberl, mia gerock & quinn hilbert. design_charlotte deangelis. photo_sharron lou.

up to 50 gallons, are checking in along with their human counterparts.

Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., is believed to be one of the first campuses in the

Unfortunately for us Hurricanes, University of Miami isn’t as pet friendly as Eckerd.

According to University of Miami’s campus policy, pets other than aquarium fish are not permitted in any on-campus housing facility. However, emotional support animals and service animals are allowed with approval of the Office of Disability Services, and many off-campus student housing policies allow residents to keep registered pets.

“When deciding on which student housing apartment I wanted to live in after freshman year, choosing a pet friendly apartment was my biggest priority as I knew I wanted to eventually adopt a dog,” said Lucy McCarthy, a UM sophomore. While you might be excited to bring home a new pet, students are advised to discuss their pet adoption plans with their roommate or family before adopting. Having a roommate who dislikes animals could also be a reason to reconsider adopting, and it is important that everyone is comfortable with having a pet in their space.

McCarthy, who owns a 7-month-old Corgi named Carrot, shares an apartment with Petersen and her doxen.

“With Maeve being my roommate and already having her dog, Lincoln, I knew if I

This dapper little guy in the bowtie, is Zeus. He belongs to our Digital Executive Editor Amanda.

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got a dog it would not be a problem for her,” McCarthy said. “I do know that there are some people who don’t ask their roommates for permission before adopting a pet and that can put both you, the roommate and the pet, in a very difficult situation.”

Jill Davis, CEO of Animals Helping Humans and Humans Helping Animals in Gainesville, Fla., said students need to be aware of the many other responsibilities of pet ownership.

“If [students] are living in their own house and have a said stable career lined up, that’s a different story,” said Davis. “But if they are relying on their parents, that’s where I see things go awry because they are not on board sometimes.”

McCarthy agrees that students have to consider how they will care for their pets, including during academic breaks and post graduation. For example, over breaks, McCarthy takes Carrot with her by plane to New Jersey.

Another important thing to consider when adopting a pet are the asssociated expenses. Petersen suggests that potential pet owners investigate these costs and look into things that might help save money in the long run like pet insuance.

“Having pet insurance is crucial,” Petersen said. “Vet bills can be very expensive especially as an independent college student and having pet insurance definitely helps cover some of the cost that comes with owning a pet.”

Forbes Advisor lists the average cost of pet insurance at $25 per month for cats and

pet adoption, some organizations will help the new pet owner with initial expenses.

UPurr, a UM student organization dedicated to aiding abandoned cats found on campus, encourages the UM community to consider fostering or adopting a cat and raises money through donations to pay for the required comprehensive veterinary examination. This includes a physical exam, deworming treatment, flea and tick prevention, spaying and neutering surgery, testing for FIV, FeLV and heartworm, fecal analysis, and FVRCP and rabies vaccinations.

The complexity of college students’ academic and social schedules is also a crucial factor to consider when seeking to adopt a furry friend. To ensure the well-being of an adopted pet, exercise and playtime are necessary, so college students must carefully assess their ability to provide a stable environment and make the necessary sacrifices needed for their pet.

“Before I got my dog, Carrot, I used to study for hours in the library and stay on campus in between classes,” McCarthy said. “Since I got Carrot, I don’t stay on campus as long and instead of going to the library in between classes, I study in my apartment to make sure I spend time with Carrot.”

Petersen said she keeps Lincoln in mind when she makes her class schedule.

“I revolve my time on campus and classes around my male doxen,” Petersen said. “On the weekends, days I don’t have classes, or when I am home in between classes, I take Lincoln on long walks, let him run around in the pool area of my apartment building and take him to the beach.”

A Few Rules of Engagement for the Student Pet Owner

As a college student looking to adopt a furry friend, it is important to remember the responsibilities that come with this special companionship. While the idea of a pet may bring comfort and happiness, a long-term commitment comes with it. From financial liabilities to a consistent daily routine, pet adoption requires extensive research and dedication.

Although owning a pet as a college student can be challenging here are five tips curated from student pet owners and animal care websites and organizations to help relieve some of the stress that students experience.

1. Create a budget that includes not only your daily living expenses but also pet costs such as their food, toys and vet bills is one way to be financially aware before adopting a pet.

Without proper planning, the adopted pet can end up back at a shelter or abandoned, according to the Humane Society and other animal groups.

“It’s definitely an emotional thing getting the animal and having to give the animal up, which can be very traumatic on both sides,” Davis

So before jumping the gun and running to the animal shelter or nearest pet breeder, make sure you’ve fully thought through the adoption process and that you can meet all emotional and financial needs for your potential new best friend. You’ll thank us later.

2. Research the breed of dog that best fits your lifestyle before adopting. Some breeds require more maintenance than others. Pet size restrictions depending on where you live may also be something to consider. If you are living in a small apartment, it may be best to adopt a small breed of dog that requires less space and outdoor time.

3. Ensure that everyone is comfortable with your decision in adopting a pet, which will help decrease the chance of having to return the pet. This not only helps to reduce stress for the animal, but also for the student.

If you live with roommates make sure that everyone is on board with the pet. Sure you’ll watch them, but you’re not the only one living with them!

4. Have a support network, which can make for an easier transition into being a pet owner. Taking care of a pet all on your own with no support or nobody to rely on can make caring for your pet more challenging. Ensure that you have a support system before adopting.

5. Be patient. “Give it a good month before you judge the animal for its actions or lack of actions because it’s transitioning,” said Jill Davis, CEO of Animals Helping Humans and Humans Helping Animals in Gainesville, Fla.

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Picking UpUp Up Up Up Up Pickleball

Tennis, racquetball, squash, badminton and, now, pickleball. Whether it’s the quick pace at which the game is played or the adrenaline of the competition or the community it brings, humans seem to be innately drawn to racquet sports. Racquet sports like pickleball have become token “networking sports,” often bringing together business associates for employee bonding. Whatever the reason for its recent popularity, we at Distraction would love to know: what’s rage about, anyways? words_maya merchant. design_maya armster. photo_ethan dosa.

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pickleball starter sets can be found on Amazon for about $25 to $30 dollars. Reasonable price for any rookie

According to CNBC and the Association of Pickleball Professionals, 36.5 million people in the United States played Pickleball from August 2021 to August 2022. Described as a mix between tennis and ping-pong, pickleball is fun, beginner friendly, and social, as the sport is played in pairs.

Everyone’s Playing

Sophie Aanes, a University of Miami freshman studying finance and global management, plays with her parents.

“My parents joined a pickleball league together about a year ago, and they play with other pairs of all ages,” said Aanes. “The players, and even the fans, get super into the sport making it both social and competitive.”

Aanes has been playing pickleball recreationally for about a year and loves to play with friends for fun. She enjoys the sport because she can spend time outside while also getting in a good workout. Another plus to pickleball for Aanes is that it’s a bonding experience for her and her friends that is more active than watching a movie together.

If you’re interested in the sport, Universityof Miami has its own pickleball club. The club is a place for students of all pickleball levels to get involved in a low-stakes, fun student organization.

“[The club has] equipment people can borrow and it’s a lot of fun,” said Brian Kanzer, a UM junior majoring in advertising who also serves as the Pickleball Club’s president.

He describes the club as a great way to meet other students and play with people of all different skill levels.

You can find the club’s players on the courts at the Shaffer Tennis Center, near Stanford Residential College, and in the Herbert Wellness Center every Friday from 5–7 p.m. for open play events.

Pickleball is all the rage and is glorified by all those who play. Are you ready to take a hit at the new sport sensation?

How to Play

Pickleball is often compared to table tennis or racquetball because of the court similarities. The game is played on a regular tennis court with four players in pairs. The players use racquets similar to those of table tennis: paddles made of solid wood that are slightly smaller than a tennis racquet.

Players battle back and forth, volleying a wiffle ball. Gameplay is fast-moving and upbeat, keeping players on their toes. If you don’t wat to play, don’t fret – the quick-paced pickleball matches are always fun to watch.

You don’t need many people to play pickelball. Try 1 on 1 duels or even rotating teams for bigger group games.

Pickleball is fun for all ages, as it is safe for all bodies. While it’s played on a regulation tennis court, the courts “bounds” are restricted to the front section of the court. This keeps players closer to the net for a more engaging volley while also limiting the running required. You

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rent a pickleball
court at the Herbert Wellness Center. Just go to https://wellness.miami.edu/booking

A Guide to Navigating a Sweet but Sticky Summer Romance

If you’re looking for a hassle-free hobby to keep you cool this summer session, we’ve got just the prescription for you. Meet the “summer fling”: a casual commitment that happens in the warmer months away from school.

Side effects include an inevitable end and possibly wasted potential.

Summer flings have similar characteristics to most “normal” relationships, but the one thing that sets them apart is their inevitable expiration dates. Whether you want to admit it or not, your fling will more than likely end as soon as you pack away the sunscreen and beach towels for the final time.

Summer flings are meant to be an escape from reality. When else can you fool around with an old fling from home, knock boots with a charming French beau while abroad or spark an interest with a new coworker, and not have to worry about what the future holds? By heading into a summer fling, you are guaranteed to be able enjoy yourself and your partner – at least for the time being.

In most cases, summer lovers go their own ways due to physical distanceor a return

to the regularly scheduled program. When summer vacation has ended and you’re cramming everything you need for school back into IKEA bags, it’s important to note that your summer fling probably won’t fit.

Don’t worry though, you can leave your summer fling behind without much guilt, since chances are, they knew the relationship was born to die. Most couples involved in summer flings are satisfied with the terms of their relationship and have been prepared for the end, so when it is time to call it quits, the transition back to normal life doesn’t leave them totally crushed.

One anonymous student — who this article will refer to as Janet — said, “Summer flings are relationships that end due to a lack of convenience.”

If your summer boo isn’t in your area code anymore, why carry on with a relationship that was lax to begin with?

Communicate or Don’t Date

Although summer flings are meant to be easy going, it is still essential to respect your partner. To ensure that both partners are

always on the same page, communication must be an integral part of the relationship.

Allow yourself to express how you feel when you feel it. It might sound hard, but don’t allow the fact that your summer fling’s end might be just around the corner to discourage you from divulging your thoughts, feelings or concerns. It’s also important to allow your partner to feel that they can freely speak their mind, so create a comfortable space between you and your partner that encourages them to be open.

Dr. Brian Doss, a UM professor of psychology who teaches a course on romantic relations, emphasizes that communication is key for every relationship, no matter how lax or serious.

“I think just being clear about what you’re looking for and what your partner is looking for,” Dr. Doss said.

There are no cutting corners when it comes to love, no matter how long that romantic flame is meant to burn. By making communication a key part of your fling, you’re increasing the chances that the relationship is beneficial as possible for both

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Who to Choose

Summer flings can be adventurous and spontaneous. For a touch of spontaneity in your summer intrigue, Distraction suggests picking a partner different than your usual type. Spice up your summer and fuel that desire to take risks by trying something — or someone — new.

That being said, be careful when selecting your summer partner, because even if someone is a blast to be around, if they aren’t a good person deep down, it’s not worth it. A red flag is a red flag. Don’t let the summer heat leave your judgements in a daze because even if a partner is meant to be temporary, you still deserve the best treatment possible.

Having someone around for the summertime isn’t worth it if they don’t treat you right, even if they are Jacob Elordilevel hot. Trust me, you’d rather be a little lonely over summer break than end up in a “Saltburn” sequel.

What’s the situation?

The summer fling can get a bad rap because of its common connotation with hook up culture. Most summer flings find themselves falling into the “situationship” category due to the lack of a title and true commitment.

But just because a fling is inherently less-involved than other long-term romantic endeavors, that doesn’t mean it needs to be

solely sex-focused. You can have a temporary romance and still feel like the fling isn’t a “situationship” at its core.

It all goes back to communication and avoiding making assumptions about the relationship. If you don’t want your summer fling to meet your mom, that’s fine, just make that known by setting expectations. From the jump, it shouldn’t be too hard to catch a vibe on whether your summer fling will consist of public outings or is deemed to revolve around late night rendezvous. But as always, its best to communicate with your party on these sometimes-sticky details.

Why fling?

The summer fling is the perfect option for someone who wants a steamy summer break without having to put in a lot of energy into a

you’re someone who is going to get very, very attached.” Don’t go looking for a summer boo if you can’t handle the fact that when the summer ends, so does the relationship.

Take the Summer Fling for a Swing

If you’re someone who seeks solace in not having everything meticulously mapped out, but still want to have a little cheeky fun this break, consider a summer fling.

Flirt with that cutie you were always too scared to talk to in high school. Ask your fellow intern to grab drinks after work. Go for your friend’s cousin who is only in town for two months. Find a new interim bae to name drop in your diary however you can. Or don’t. After all, your “hot girl summer” is what you make of it.




It’s time to open your eyes to all the big fusses and questions you might hear around. Extra, extra read all about one local mall approaching its longawaited curtain call. Meet a student band whose music could be your new “escape,” and prepare for an election that’s making headlines and history. And finally: dive into our Poetry Corner with “To Daniel.” Welcome to Happening: because news channels are boring.

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Milan photo_ford kern.

Ask University of Miami students if they ever go to the Shops at Sunset Place for shopping, a movie, a meal … or anything … the response is likely to be “no” or “where is it?” Yet at one point in time, Sunset Place used to be a staple of the South Miami community and social scene. So, how exactly did we get here, and why is Sunset Place on the brink of extinction?

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words_eva barraclough, anthony logan, jalen vaughn. photos_marra finkelstien. design_sal puma.

Even though it is the closest mall to campus, Sunset Place is not typically on students’ “to go” list. “I’ve heard of other malls in the area, like Dolphin Mall, but I’ve never really heard of that one,” said University of Miami freshman architecture major Anferney Sutton. Stan Zolek, a sophomore business management major, also said he does not shop at the mall and doesn’t plan on doing so anytime soon. “I have never gone before to the Shops at Sunset Place, and I have never thought about going,” said Zolek, who prefers to shop online. When he does go to a mall, it’s Shops at Merrick Park in Coral Gables — but rarely because he mainly shops online.

Once a seemingly thriving shopping mecca of 60 retail, dining and entertainment venues, the outdoor mall located in South Miami at U.S. 1 and Red Road is now rundown and nearly empty. Where stores such as the Gap, Urban Outfitters, Victoria’s Secret and Armani Exchange once lured UM student retail therapy customers, and where AMC and IMAX once gave Canes a convenient nearby reason to unwind off campus, the mall is now a place students say they pass on their way to somewhere else.

Now the most prominent remnants of the Sunset Place today are AMC Sunset Place 24, GameTime, LA Fitness, Barnes & Noble and Tea & Poets.

“It has kind of just slowly died out,” said Frank Gómez, an employee at the AMC movie theater. “I’ve been coming here since I was a kid, and over time there’s been a gradual decline. Nowadays, it’s almost nothing.”

Reddit and TripAdvisor reviews of the mall suggest at least a decade of local discontent. “It’s a shame because I used to hang out weekly there with friends and go bowling,” reads a Reddit comment. “Now it looks like an abandoned mall, with dirty walls, dirty stairs and dirty floors.” Another Reddit reviewer summed up the barrage of online epitaphs: “That place is cursed.”

The “curse” dates back a hundred years, with only one development, Holsum Bakery, having had sustainable, commercial success. According to historical accounts, the first

commercial development on the site came in 1926 with the opening of the 1,000-seat Riviera Theater. The theater closed a year later after it could not make a successful comeback following the 1926 Hurricane. The property was repurposed when the Holsum Bread Company opened at the same location in 1934.

For nearly 50 years, the area was defined by the smell of fresh bread and was known for the bakery’s annual crowd-pleasing Christmas displays. After the bakery moved northwest of downtown Miami to Medley in 1982, the property has since housed two malls. The first was the Bakery Center, a shopping mall that brought back a movie theater, AMC Bakery Center 7 Theaters, which opened in 1986. The sprawling, fivelevel office and retail complex had no anchor store and failed to attract a viable business and customer base. After 10 years, it was torn down in 1996 and was followed by the Shops at Sunset Place in 1999.

The mall was a popular stop on the Hurry ’Canes Shuttle, a UM student government initiative that provided free round-trip shuttle transportation to nearby off-campus locations, including Publix, CVS, Dadeland Mall and Coconut Grove. Various mall venues offered UM student discounts, including Buffalo Wild Wings, which gave students free wings each time the Canes defense forced a punt on fourth down during home games.

But Shops at Sunset no longer seems a popular venue for UM students. UM freshman Mitchell Starks has been once. In search of a costume last October, Starks went to Spirit Halloween, a seasonal costume store at the mall. Although the store was crowded, the rest of the shopping center looked empty, he said. The mall streetlights were not on, and the water fountain was turned off. “I mean, for a minute I thought I went to the wrong place, Starks said. “Aside from the Halloween store, the rest of the place just looked abandoned.”

Residents question why the mall is allowed to exist. When Tom Cruise made a surprise showing in July at the Sunset Place AMC for the premiere of “Mission:

Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One,” some questioned why the celebrity was allowed to show up at the decrepit mall. Headlined “This wasn’t our best look,” a letter to the Miami Herald called the mall a “virtual ghost town of boarded-up stores; a place where shops go to die. I hope Cruise didn’t judge Miami based on his visit to Sunset Place.”

Some mall employees say they go to work not knowing the mall’s immediate or longterm future. “What I’m hearing is that there was a plan to remodel,” said Tonee Roiz, an employee at GameTime.

“Every few years or so there’s rumblings that there’s a remodel or something going on, but those future plans are never really accurate as nothing has really changed,” said Gómez, the AMC employee.

Over the years, the city has been discussing how it could help revitalize the property. Five years ago, the South Miami City Commission unanimously approved a redevelopment plan for the mall that required zoning changes. It sought to reduce retail, expand office space, demolish half the mall to build two apartment buildings and a hotel and add a two-story parking lot expansion with valet spaces. Retail spaces would be remodeled to face outward – rather than inward – to allow harmony between the shops on the sidewalks and the mall.

Before work could even get started, the COVID-19 pandemic crisis negatively impacted the economy and social atmosphere of public spaces, placing the Sunset Place project on hold. “It was so traumatic,” said South Miami commissioner Josh Liebman. “We weren’t sure whether there needed to be more office, retail, and unit space anymore, which would have potentially raised dividends for shareholders.”

South Miami Mayor Javier Fernández anticipates the new site will be mixed use—residential and commercial. “We want to provide an important, beneficial place for shopping, dining and entertainment to encourage people to move to the area,” Fernández said. “When more people come to live here, it can double the tax base and more stores and restaurants should open.”

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The AMC at Sunset Place is still a popular spot and has frequent movie showings despite the mall’s state


One brisk night last winter, Cane Records set up the Rathskeller for a performance featuring some of the label’s artists including solo performances ranging from indie pop to R&B inspired rap. The patrons sipped on their hot cocoa and collected some winter goodies enjoying the live music as a break from the finals frenzy.

words&design_sal puma. photo_ merrit sherrer

Years ago, the trope of “forming a band” seemed to be everywhere in popular media—after all, slowly gathering members through clubs and classes always made for good movies and television… and an even better soundtrack. Like these popular bands of cinema, one of University of Miami’s student bands has an origin story perfect for the silver screen. After a slow climb to their current formation, the alternative pop-rock band Dreamscape has turned their dreams into a reality, and they’re just starting.

Near the end of the night, the Rathskeller amassed quite a crowd. Faithful patrons, students stopping in to get their late night GrubHub orders and the others who were telling themselves “one more performance” to procrastinate returning to the library all gathered around the Rat stage.

The next gap in between performances left a hush upon the crowd — or a slightly awkward silence — as a whole band packed onto the small, raised platform at the back of the restaurant.

However, the second Dreamscape started to play their first song, the silence was no longer awkward — it was amazing. The event workers stopped pouring cocoa, the audience put down their chicken tenders — even the Rathskeller staff stopped taking orders for a moment.

Dreamscape showed the truth of their name, entrancing the crowd with their captivating music.

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Members of the Band: Tucker Motyka, Keys Max Levy, Drummer Harrison McNulty, Bassist/Acoustic Guitar Vivienne Frederick Lead Singer Sameer Kumar Lead Guitar

This event might’ve been the start of Dreamscape as they are today, but their origin came far before then during a time that is, for most, somewhere chaotic, vulnerable and as shifting as the wind itself: freshman year of college.

From The Start

During auditions for UM’s Frost School of Music in December 2021, the initial two members of Dreamscape, and future roommates, ran into each other for the first time. It was then that sophomore Harrison McNulty, the band’s bassist and acoustic guitarist, met Sameer Kumar, sophomore and lead guitarist for Dreamscape.

“We were the first guys on campus, holding a guitar. There’s a picture of us looking so awkward,” said McNulty, reminiscing on the day. “We decided, ‘Oh, if we both get in, we’ll room together.’”

Fast forward to 2022 when the two both got accepted into the university, they followed through on their decision to room together. The pair hit it off instantly, having little dorm jam sessions where they would write smaller bits of music for fun. Playing together came naturally to the pair as, prior to college, Kumar played music with friends from sixth grade through highscool, McNulty was part of a band that wrote and published two EPs in high scool.

Being in a band was just a constant part of their life, and they had no intention of stopping now.

Upon arriving on campus, the two quickly found opportunities.

“I mean, I knew it would happen. I got asked to join one like a week in,” said McNulty. “But I was only like, ‘Okay, I need to make a band’ when [me and Sameer] started writing.”

Kumar happily agreed, “Oh, this, this guy plays bass, and he’s good. Like, I needed to be in a band with him.” And with that, the foundations of Dreamscape were laid.

Recruiting and Rehearsing

To get from two guys in a dorm room to the five-person ensemble they have now, McNulty and Kumar had to do some scouting. Luckily, they didn’t have to look far.

“I heard Vivienne singing once for small contemporary ensemble. After class I remember I beelined, I was like ‘I need to talk to you about writing music with you.’”

Recruiting Vivienne Fredrick to Dreamscape ended up being a success, as current sophomore Frederick is now the lead vocalist and lyricist for Dreamscape.

Frederick came to college with the goal of out putting music under a solo name, though this goal quickly changed after she joined a band.

“Coming [to UM], I was like, ‘I’m going to do it on my own. I’m going to write all the songs. Yeah, I’ll need musicians, but I’m just going to do it.’ I think you don’t realize that honestly, that’s not as fun. It’s so much more fun to be in a band,” said Frederick.

“From there, we wrote ‘Letting Go of Nothing,’ which is our first single,” said McNulty, “Then we were like ‘S**t, we need drums.’”

The group already had someone in mind. Max Levy, a current sophomore, was asked to become the group’s drummer, as the group had known Levy for a while.

“Harry was the first person I met that our music tastes like immediately aligned. We literally have the same music tastes like artist, for artist,” said Levy.

“First time Max and I met was on Fate Bridge. I was walking with my headphones on, and I thought I saw a snake,” said Frederick. “I jumped up and screamed, and I was like, completely by myself. And he’s like, ‘Are you okay?’ And that’s how we became friends.”

The group was solid for a while. They continued to mess around and jam, starting songs and projects that would later become their future setlists and releases. Unfortunately, last fall, they started to hit a creative roadblock.

“When we’re writing songs it’s like, how is this going to sound when we record it,” said Frederick. “Like, what are elements of this song that are only going to sound good live or that are only going to sound good recorded?”

They could add all they wanted in the studio but, at a gig, they can’t magically make the other sounds appear unless they played with a track.

“We played a coffee house, and it just felt like kind of empty,” said Levy.

That’s when they reached out to the fifth and final member of their band, Tucker Motyka, a current sophomore, keys player and resident music theory guru of the group.

In early December 2023, the band posted their official lineup and member introductions on their Instagram (which you can find @dreamscape.band) then continued to post behind the scenes and promotional content to start building their brand.

Dreamscape was born.

Trust Takes You There

Now that the members were set, Dreamscape hit the ground running, continuously working on songs to build their repertoire. Their chemistry was perfect, their execution was clean— but they felt like there was something missing.

“We had these two songs that we were struggling to finish. We were getting in the studio the next week, and we didn’t like them,” said McNulty. “We didn’t even have a name for us to call them, but one was called the ‘Angry Song.’”

The band sat in the practice room for hours trying different things, but to no avail. There was nothing that they did that they liked. It was then they decided they had to pivot and pivot hard if they wanted to mold the Angry Song into something they’d be proud of.

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McNulty and Kumar at their Frost School auditions in the winter of 2021

Since Dreamscape doesn’t label themselves to a particular genre of music, they have some flexibility to shift vibes.

“That’s one of our selling points is that we have a unique sound since we all come from different musical backgrounds,” said Frederick.

Everyone has got to just throw something onto it: funky baselines, backing vocals and a bunch of other things to just spice up the track. After they had some fun with it, they found a direction to take the song. All that was left was to strip it down to the parts they liked.

It’s this freedom of input that the members attribute their band chemistry to. They trust in each other’s abilities and admire their band mates so each addition to a song they treat like a gift. If one of them wants to add something, they have complete trust that they know what they’re doing and give them a shot. No idea is a bad idea.

As they were interviewed in the Distraction office, this trust was palpable. Anytime they complement another member on some performance they did or some addition to a piece, the rest would respond praising that member’s input. It was like they were all each other’s biggest fans.

No creative obstacle could stand in their way it seemed. They would look to each other for help because they love their work, and felt so grateful their input was valued.

“The other day, we were struggling to

write a verse melody. And we were like, ‘Let’s just wait to bring it in, play the chord progression that we have. And let’s see what Vivienne comes up with,’” said McNulty. “Because [she] just comes up with really, really good melodies, and we just trust her so much to come up with something totally unique.”

“Samir is better at guitar than I will ever be. So a lot of the time, like, if he has an idea, I’m just like, ‘You go!’” said Frederick. “It’s the same for all of them. I feel like we all really know our way around our instrument. So I think to an extent, they’ll take my ideas for their instrument, but do it actually right.”

While they’ve been a band for a while, they’ve been friends for longer. Producing a song or having a group rehearsal is just a group hang out for them.

Levy showcased that bond saying, “You could be the best musician in the world. If you’re a shitty person, no one’s going to work with you. And I feel like, I have so much respect for everyone here because I know you guys are just all genuinely good people.”

Throughout their rise, the band has performed many shows both on and off campus. They’ve performed at Patio Jams, Frat Fundraisers, a Porche show, even a small release performance in a Lakeside Village study room. And it seems like they have no plans of stopping there.

Kumar puts it best: “I just want to do what we’re doing now. Like for the rest of my life.”

Dreamcape, The EP

The band released their first EP this April, which features a collection of old and new songs that the band has worked on the past year.

Scan the Spotify code below in the app to listen!

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Dreamscape recently celebrated their recent EP with a performance at the Wetlab on UM’s RSMAS campus.

Poetry Corner

poem_jordan biller. interview_nicole vedder. design_charlotte deangelis.

There is a verse for everyone in poetry. Whether it’s free verse or prose, poetry allows us to look through another’s perspective and interpret their words depending on both the subject matter and who we are as people. For the poets themselves, their words can function as an extension of their thoughts and experiences. Distraction’s Poetry Corner spotlights writers here at the U and explains the meaning behind each piece.

To Daniel

We have our grand plans. We want to hear monsters hem and haw in the transparent hours of the night and unravel local mysteries. We want to find the source of the underground river that greens the lake and name the fish beating along its edges.

That fish we wanted to name, silently grazing, tends to suffuse his glare on the awkward egret tiptoeing by and the iguana squatting on the shoreline. We can see him in his entirety, idling over a cloud of silt that obscures the kelp and guppies. He intends to remain seen while the current pushes him to a further shore, where mangrove labyrinths await.

What would you say your relationship is with writing, in terms of your introduction to it and how you view it now?

“I started writing last year while I was taking Introduction to Poetry here at UM. I really grew to appreciate how poetry can express something complicated so concisely because of the precise language it requires. After analyzing a lot of poetry in class, I started to get more comfortable with how poems garnered meaning, and I decided to start writing them. It was initially to challenge myself to do something new, but I never expected to keep at it for this long.

In general, I use poetry to journal feelings and events in my life. I always like to include the date I wrote my poems, similar to how journal entries are usually dated. That way, I can look back on a poem and understand the state of mind I was in when I was writing it. Lately, I have been trying to write more poems from perspectives besides my own, just as thought experiments.”

“To Daniel,” the title is a bit of a nod to your intended audience of this poem. What message do you want both the person who you dedicated this poem to along with others who read this to take away?

“Daniel and I’s friendship is intertwined with our attendance at UM. We met as roommates in freshman year and have both grown so much in our 3 years here together. I consider Daniel one of my best friends. One day, while we were sitting on the rocks outside Shalala, I started thinking about everything I was grateful for in my life. Daniel has been a consistent friend to me ever since we met and I wanted to express that in a poem. There is a fish that always sits by the edge of the lake that we always talked about naming. In some ways it reminded me of him, so I used it as a starting point to write the poem.

I hope this poem can serve as a reminder to step back and appreciate the important people in our lives for the little things that make them who they are.”

Behind the Verse with Jordan Biller

What helps you create poetry? Run us through a bit of your thought process as you tackle creating your poems.

“I almost never start something completely from scratch or on a whim. I let ideas come from absolutely anywhere. Sometimes, I’ll see something cool while out and about, living my life as usual. If I can find a way to phrase it, I’ll use it to represent an idea I already have. Additionally, after reading a fair amount of poetry, it becomes easier to listen for interesting sounding words or phrases in my daily life. If I hear something I like, I can use that as a starting point for a poem too.

The observations I have made about Daniel in this poem have been made about other people countless times before. Therefore, the goal for me is to find a way to convey my thoughts that makes sense to others. However, I still want to leave room for nuance. Since poems are short, I try to create meanings that aren’t apparent on the first read.”

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in the U.S.

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Examining the Growing Concern of Aging Politicians

As the 2024 presidential election creeps closer, a significant component on voters’ minds is the age of nominees President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. By Election Day, they will be 81 and 78 years old, which urges the question: is age really just a number? With the recent death of Senator Diane Feinstein, news networks being quick to cover Biden’s speech slip-ups and Senator Mitch McConnell choosing not to run for reelection amid multiple public freeze-ups, many are questioning the number of “older” politicians across all U.S. government branches. While age minimums for Senate, House and President have been set in stone since the writing of the Constitution, a lack of age maximums make young voters wonder if they will start to see younger representation any time soon and what that means for the future of our country

words_amanda mohamad. illustration_marita gavioti. design_marita gavioti.

Constitution, Calculations, Chaos?

When it comes to age and politics, there’s no arguing U.S. history and the Constitution. You must be at least 25 to be a house representative, 30 for senator and 35 for president. Thus far, Theodore Roosevelt still holds the title of youngest U.S. president at age 42, when he took office in 1901 after President William McKinley’s assassination.

The U.S.’s oldest president: none other than Joe Biden. Biden was inaugurated in 2021 at age 78, taking the title from Ronald Reagan, who left office at age 77. Biden is currently 81 and will be 82 by the next inauguration; thus, he will beat his own record if he wins the 2024 presidential election.

Going back to his first campaign, media was quick to scrutinize Biden for his speeches as he often stutters, mumbles and slurs. The most recent example is his 2024 St. Patrick’s Day speech at the White House, where he met with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and slurred his way through a story about his great grandfather building a cathedral in the 1800s, claiming he has touched the bricks his relative worked on. At the end of the speech, Biden appeared to look lost before Varadkar guided him off the stage.

While Biden claims he has had a speech impediment since childhood, many U.S. citizens are concerned about his memory as several speeches include word or fact mixups. Another notable example was Election Day 2021, where he spoke in Philadelphia with his granddaughter, Natalie. With his arm around Natalie, he said to the crowds over a megaphone, “This is my son, Beau Biden, who many of you helped elect to the Senate in Delaware.” However, Beau died from a stroke along with brain cancer complications in 2015 and was an attorney general, not a senator. Natalie is the daughter of Beau.

Even with this, former president Donald Trump only trails behind Biden in age.

Inaugurated in 2017 at 70 years old, Trump was the oldest to be officially elected and inaugurated into the U.S. presidency at the time. Trump turns 78 in June, meaning if he wins the 2024 election, he will be tied with Biden as the oldest inaugurated.

Facing the Facts

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, 52, who dropped out of the race in March, made age a prominent point of her campaign. She argued that candidates like Biden and Trump come from an era of politicians and Americans who are increasingly “out of touch” with the rest of the country. Throughout the last month of her campaign, Haley often spoke about how she was ready to be the leading force and representative of a new American generation who wants to enter the political spotlight.

On the Democratic side, presidential nominee Dean Phillips, 55, a house representative of Minnesota, made the case in his campaign that while he supported and voted for Biden, he was much more in touch with the ideology of younger generations. However, neither Haley’s or Phillips’ rhetoric seemed to sway primary outcomes, as most voters decided to stick with Biden or Trump.

University of Miami political science professor Matt Nelsen, who specializes in studying youth political engagement and is the current faculty adviser of the UM College

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Stagnant and Senile

Statistically, fifteen percent of the current seats in the Senate have been occupied by the same person for the past 20 years. In the House of Representatives, more than eight percent have likewise had tenure longer than 20 years. Not to mention that 15 senators and 43 members of Congress are 75 years or older.

The oldest senator to date, Dianne Feinstein, died in September 2023 at the age of 90. The former San Francisco mayor served as a California State senator from 1992 until her death, and towards the end of her tenure, she often had to take time off work due to illness. Unlike many past presidents, Biden has had the opportunity to appoint new federal judges during his tenure. However, in a split government, Feinstein’s temporary absences often prevented him from making those appointments.

Similarly, late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who died at 87 in 2020, was given the opportunity by former President Barack Obama to step down so he could appoint a younger liberal justice.

“RBG obviously decided not to take that invitation and then passed away while Donald Trump was president. From a symbolic standpoint, it certainly raises some questions that the average age in the federal government is so much older, especially given that there are larger, younger generational groups that are kind of in the wings ready to take a bigger role,” Nelsen said. “An individual’s decision to hang on to power and then passing away or getting sick suddenly can have real political consequences.”

Democrats, said, “I think an interesting component of this is some of the most consistent voters today are older voters. I think a lot of older voters see with age comes experience and perspective.”

But as we know, elections aren’t up to voters alone. Sean Kaps, a junior political science major and director of political affairs of the College Democrats, said, “parties know who their reliable members are and hence retain them for important offices as they can be trusted. [To piggyback] off the notion of reliable members is the lack of an age limit in governmental positions. This produces a situation where youth engagement is not promoted with the ever-present continuity of older politicians.”

Young Democrats aren’t the only ones with their notions as to why current politicians are mostly Gen X and Boomers. Daniel Espinal, senior computer science major and public relations chair of UM College Republicans, said, “the institutions that have been created around U.S. politics make it hard for any young independent politician to get elected with non-conforming ideals. For example, any young Republican or Democrat with views that don’t conform to the party’s values will have difficulty getting support from the party. Without the party, it is difficult for them to get elected. This leads to older politicians often getting the support because if they are the incumbent to run, they are more often likely to get re-elected.”

Young and Hungry For Change

With no age maximums in place, questions, concerns and room for potential political issues are certainly on the rise. So, what can younger generations do now to feel represented — as voters and potential future representatives — in a democracy of politicians three or four times their age? One solution might be to increase the number of young people in the voting booth. Arthur Simon, who served as a Democratic State Legislator of Florida from 1982 to 1994 and is now a political science professor at UM, calls himself “the number one advocate for lowering the voting age.”

“That 18-year-old voting age means the state cannot deny you the right to vote if you’re 18. But there’s nothing that prohibits a state from allowing you to vote if you’re younger than 18,” Simon said.

“Voting is infectious. If we had a law that allowed high school students to vote at 17, maybe in local elections, even 16, whenever there is an election coming up, every high school would then become a critical voting precinct where registered voters could vote.”

Simon also argues that throughout the country, most 16 and 17-year-olds who commit a major crime are tried and convicted as adults and sent to prison with other adults and that if the government finds them mature enough to be in an adult prison instead of juvie, they should be able to vote like adults.

While no change in voting age is currently in the works in Florida, student organizations like College Democrats, College Republicans and Get Out The Vote are helping to increase the number of young voters at UM. Throughout election season, especially gubernatorial and presidential elections, these organizations hold several informational events on campus and offcampus with other local party-affiliated organizations to help increase voter turnout.

This year, Election Day will be on Tuesday, November 5th. We’re only young for so long, so why not vote and advocate for change while it matters to us most?

“[To piggyback] off the notion of reliable members is the lack of an age limit in governmental positions. This produces a situation where youth engagement is not promoted with the ever-present continuity of older politicians.”
— Sean Kaps
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This issue’s What the Fork explores the sweet, spicy and savory of Miami eats and your home kitchen. Make it feel like summer vacation every day with our frozen drink recipes. Sing “aye aye aye” when you read all about how you can incorporate spices into your meals with a college schedule and budget. Visit the hidden gem that is Madruga Bakery and plan a picnic so perfect, you can compare it to a rom-com — or an aesthetic TikTok — . Lick your lips and flip the page for the ultimate course.

morocco photo_ford kern.


Frozen Strawberry Mint Limeade

Orange & Pineapple Sunrise

A Berry

Frozen Drink


• 1 cup of frozen strawberries

• 1 cup of Limeade

• 4 medium sized mint leaves


1. In a blender, add frozen strawberries and limeade. Blend until the mixture takes on a slushie form.

2. Add three of your mint leaves to the slushie mixture and blend for an additional 5 seconds.

3. If needed, add ice or more frozen strawberries and blend if the mixture has not reached a desired consistency.

4. Pour the drink into a glass and garnish with your remaining mint.


• 1 cup of frozen pineapple

• ½ cup of ice

• ½ cup of pineapple juice

• 1 cup of orange juice

• Grenadine syrup (optional)


1. In a blender, add frozen pineapple, ice, pineapple juice and orange juice. Blend until the mixture reaches a desired frozen consistency.

2. (Optional) In a glass, add grenadine to coat the bottom of the glass. Swirl the glass around so the bottom and sides are coated.

3. Pour the drink into the glass and serve.


• 1 20 oz. bottle of AçaíBlueberry-Pomegranate or Dragon Fruit Vitamin Water

• 1 cup of frozen berries

• ½ cup of ice (optional)

• A splash of lime juice (optional)


1. In a blender, add the 20 oz. bottle of Vitamin Water, 1 cup of frozen berries and splash of lime juice.

2. Blend until the mixture reaches a desired frozen consistency.

3. Add more ice and blend again if it is too sweet for your liking.

4. Pour the drink into the glass and serve.

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Summer is just around the corner, and here at Distraction, we’re ready for these picture perfect frozen bevs. Whether you’re planning a pool day or a movie night, simple and affordable treats are always on the menu — or your Instagram feed. So, pull out your blenders and ice cubes and get ready to please your sweet tooth. words_victoria fondeur. design_charlotte deangelis. photo_valeria barbaglio.

Teeny-Bit Tipsy Cherry Coke


• 2 12 oz. cans of Coca-Cola

• 1 cup of frozen cherries

• 3 oz. of your favorite rum

• A splash of lime juice (optional)


1. Pour the two cans of CocaCola in ice cube trays.

2. Freeze the two cans of Coca-Cola overnight.

3. In a blender, add 1 ½ cups of the frozen Coke cubes, 1 cup of frozen cherries, 3 oz. of rum, and a splash of lime juice

4. Blend these ingredients until the mixture until it reaches a desired frozen consistency

5. Pour the drink from the blender into the glass and serve.


• One scoop of chocolate ice cream

• One scoop of strawberry ice cream

• ½ cup of milk


1. In a blender, add ½ cup of milk, one scoop of chocolate ice cream and one scoop of strawberry ice cream.

2. Blend these ingredients until the mixture until it reaches a desired consistency and enjoy!

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Chocolate Strawberry Milkshake

Spring has sprung, and summer is officially upon us. How else could we celebrate the change of the seasons than with a beautifully curated picnic in the park? Whether it’s date night, or a time of celebration, picnics are the perfect way to spend time with those you love and enjoy a intimate meal in the great outdoors!

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Our writer Mary Gorski pulled out all the stops to make a picture perfect picnic that could make your mouth water through the page

Al fresco dining is nothing new. However it’s had a recent rebranding as a luxury experience, complete with aesthetic decorations, picturesque destinations and indulgent finger foods — and we’re so here for it.

First, the most important part of any event is the aesthetic. What are you wearing? What are you listening to? Are you sitting on a blanket? Or bringing a table and cushions? Are there candles? Should you tie ribbons on everything?

You can always go the classic route, pack your on-hand gingham blanket, trusty picnic basket and wear your cutest pair of jeans to live out a movie-esque day in the park. But if you’re looking for an aesthetic a little more Instagram worthy, we suggest consulting the oracle of vibes, Pinterest. The havens of mood boards dedicated to picnicking on Pinterest might look like florals to the max, lacy dresses and dainty tableware set in an ethereal garden if cottagecore is your thing.

Those of us inclined to take advantage of our Miami locale might set up our picnic spot with white linens, cushions in shades of blue, fresh flowers and a large picnic basket for lots of snacks — a set up any Coastal grandma would be envious of. However, if we’re being honest, picnicking on a college budget looks like gathering up your assortment of Goodwill knickknacks and family heirlooms, all the while telling yourself it’s an eclectic and whimsical aesthetic.

Secondly, where shall you rendezvous? Your location sets the tone for the picnic, as well as what you’re going to eat. We are blessed with the consistently sunny weather of the Sunshine State, so year-round outdoor dining is a privilege we should take advantage of. Cottagecore lovers are likely to be frequenting the many parks and tropical gardens in the area, like Vizcaya Museum and Gardens or Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden for an afternoon meal.

Second year PhD student at the University of Miami, Mariana Viso, said her favorite

picnics are with friends or her partner at an idyllic spot on the coast of Biscayne Bay, for a relaxing day on the sand. “I love soaking up the sun at Crandon Park for peak summer vibes,” said Viso.

Similarly, Emily Hutchison, also a second year PhD student at UM, looks forward to dinners on the beach at South Pointe Park in Miami Beach, complete with everyone she knows and loves, late night swims and a Jane Birkin approved picnic basket. “When it comes to picnics, the more, the merrier,” said Hutchison. “I love the days when everyone meets up spontaneously, and we get to take advantage of the gorgeous Miami weather.”

And finally, our favorite part, the spread: an assortment of food, beverages and treats to snack on while enjoying the warmth of the Miami sun. Picture a gorgeous sunrise on the beach. You’re lounging atop an assortment on pillows and blankets, waves are softly rolling onto shore, and a steaming Cafecito is in your hand, with a pastelito de guayaba in the other — absolute perfection. Whether you prefer breakfast at the beach, in the park or at Tiffany’s, it’s in your best interest to make a pitstop at a Cuban bakery before arriving to your picnic destination. Not everyone is a morning person, understandably, so sometimes lunch is best for a day of al fresco dining. “A midday picnic where I don’t have to get up early is ideal,” said Viso, one of the second year PhD students.

An afternoon tea service in the park wouldn’t be complete without tiny tea sandwiches, fresh fruit, crudité with a dip of choice, cookies, cakes and freshly brewed tea — or the very convenient canned Trader Joe’s sparkling teas. Alas, dinner is the meal best enjoyed al fresco in good company, either with friends, family or your current situationship. An aperitivo hour at sunset is an effortlessly aesthetic meal that is equally enjoyable and perfect for your Instagram feed.

“There’s just something so perfect about charcuterie at the beach, while watching the

sun go down,” said UM senior architecture major Benjamin Darby. “And when it’s a full moon it’s even better.”

While the snacks might vary, there are a few main categories to hit for the perfect aperitivo nosh: always a carb, both a soft cheese and a hard cheese, something briny such as olives, grape leaves or marinated beans, a fruit or vegetable, probably a second carb, a cured meat to round everything out, and your favorite sparkling wine or aperitif.

Darby, the UM senior architecture major, is an aperitivo hour lover and believes a perfect sunset picnic is complete with a whimsical assortment of fruits, cheeses and crisps. “I’ve always been a fan of the ‘effortlessly beautiful’ vibe, even more so when it comes to picnics,” said Darby. “All you need is a couple blankets and pillows artfully thrown together to achieve that boho chic look.”

At the end of the day, picnics are supposed to be a leisurely activity, and if the thought of planning a menu, theme and decorations feels insurmountable, might we recommend a professional picnicking service? Notable South Florida small businesses, specializing in aesthetic picnics and luxury experiences are The Picnic PopUp, Picnic Fairy, The Little Gatherings and Glam Picnic Co. Once you book a picnic, you get to pick a style and location.

From there, the company will take care of setting up and packing up after your meal. It is important to note that these companies only offer food and beverage as an add-on, except for The Picnic Pop-Up who does not offer any food or beverage. When planning a proposal, girl’s night or birthday with a little something extra, professional picnic services are the perfect option for a stressfree experience.

So now that you know all the ins and outs of this sacred craft, get out there and put that picnic basket together. Gather some friends, some great eats, and of course, happy picnicking.

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words&photo_mary gorski. design_melanie bergunker & sal puma.


Located within a ten-minute drive from the University of Miami’s Coral Gables campus, Madruga Bakery has become a hot spot among ’Canes and local community members alike. But how exactly did the bakery become so popular, and why do ’Canes keep going back for more? From delicious coffee to mouth-watering pasteries, Madruga has it all to leave you begging for another bite or drop.

In Spanish “madrugar” means to rise early. And at Madruga Bakery, where the aroma of freshly baked bread is synonymous with sunrise, that’s just what employees do. “As bakers we come in at four in the morning,” said Madruga co-owner Naomi Alvino. “The name just made sense.”

The bakery, a brief walk from campus, attracts loyal customers who join earlymorning queues for their favorite pastry and caffein fix. Many are University of Miami students, faculty and staff.

Katia Gelbstein, a junior biochemistry major who lives in Key Biscayne, frequents the bakery on weekends. Madruga is one of the best bakeries in the area, she said.

“I’d say Madruga was a good nine out of 10,” said Gelbstein, who likes to pair an egg sandwich with a matcha latte. “I’d take off a point due to it being insanely packed. Still, they were so quick with my order, and I never have problems.”

Providing great customer service is a

have that support and have that relationship.”

Alvino brings her own baking and business talents to Madruga. She began baking in high school, making small challah bread loaves with her B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, and she continued baking as a pastime during her time at Northwestern University where she studied political and environmental sciences. Before she opened Madruga, she had done internships with a pastry chef at a Coral Gables restaurant, worked at other local restaurants and spent a year and a half in Alaska, where she worked at Anchorage’s Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop.

Just two years after opening Madruga, Alvino received a James Beard Nomination as a semi-finalist for outstanding baker.

“I’m really proud of my daughter in this business and the business she created,” Pollo Tropical co-founder Larry Harris said. Alvino attributes part of her success to the bakery’s emphasis on community. “I grew up within the general area, and my family grew up here, so I want to have a more community-based bakery,” Alvino said. “I never wanted it to be trendy. We don’t try to do the latest baked good

don’t use any dyes, artificial sweeteners or preservatives,” she added.

While Alvino aims to keep a consistent menu, there’s recently been the addition of fresh milled whole wheat. “The fresh milled whole wheat is something we’re doing that’s super unique,” she said. “It is, of course, a little bit of a niche product, but people who are looking for healthy bread really appreciate it. And for the craft, it’s very hard to make 100 percent whole wheat sourdough bread consistently, but I enjoy it.” Alvino, who opened the restaurant pledging to learn customers’ names and orders, said she enjoys that aspect of the job as well. “We just really cater to people who like to come here all the time and come back,” she said.

The menu features breads, breakfast and lunch specialties and desserts. It also includes her father’s special recipes for banana bread and granola, and they build a menu for Jewish holidays, including Passover.

“My passion really is the bread, and we mill grains here,” Alvino said, adding that the breads are 100 percent whole wheat. “We

Brickell resident Laura Soto was a regular at the bakery when she used to live in the Coral Gables area. Although she has moved, she keeps coming back to Madruga. “It’s a nice local bakery, and I think that’s why people come here,” Soto said. “It has that feeling of a very Miami thing.”

UM sophomore business major Daniel Flores applauds the bakery’s mission to be a community based. “It’s local, and they make everything from scratch by themselves,” John said, who also puts in a plug for Madruga’s

Larry Harris said he and his daughter appreciate the patronage of UM customers.

“When we first opened, I feel like UM didn’t know much about it,” Harris said. “As the years went on, everyone began to come.”

“Sometimes people come in as freshmen and then we get to know them over four years and see them graduate,” added Alvino.

words_clare lanscioni, angely pena and nikki rozenfeld. design_ marita gavioti. photo_valeria barbaglio.

The mini lemon polenta cake ($4.50) is a nice size if you are looking for a treat to satisfy your sweet tooth. A great gluten-free option, the polenta makes an interesting texture that adds little bites of crispiness, which we enjoyed. The cake is moist and has a perfect amount of lemon flavor, making it a refreshing bite.

The chocolate chunk cookie ($3) is packed with oats, coconut, walnuts, chocolate and topped with a pinch of sea salt, which creates a pleasing chewy texture. The cookie has a nice balance of flavors since the walnuts add a savory bite and the sea salt balances the sweetness of the chocolate.

The dark chocolate rye brownie ($4.75) is an extremely good brownie, but we were not able to eat the whole thing because of how decadent it is. It has a crisp top and an insanely moist inside with a rich dark chocolate flavor. If you are a huge chocolate lover, this would be the perfect dessert for you.

The monkey bread ($3.50) is a smaller serving size like the lemon polenta cake, the perfect amount for any sweet tooth. It has a nice cinnamon flavor that is mixed into crispy outside bites of the bread as well as the softer inside. We think it would be even better warmed up.

The egg sandwich ($11) has a perfectly cooked egg with a runny yolk that provides a nice dipping sauce for the onion poppyseed roll ($1.85). The bacon adds a nice smoky crunch to the creamy cheese, but we do wish the roll was toasted as well to create another textured level that would take this sandwich up a notch.

The guava and cheese Danish ($5) has a flaky exterior, an ooey-gooey center with a slightly savory cheese complementing a sweet guava paste that tastes just like Miami in a bite. There was a balance between the cheese and the guava, neither too sweet nor savory.

Madruga Bakery 1430 S. Dixie Highway, Coral Gables 305-262-6130 madrugabakery.com Hours: 8 a.m.–3 p.m. Wednesday–Friday 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 27 distraction Summer_2024

In Western culture, cooking has been widely considered an art since the end of the Renaissance period. Like all other art forms, cooking requires passion, patience and precision. However, for many of us in our busy lives, we often don’t slow down and appreciate the intricate details of the culinary process enough to consider eating a meal as an experience or even a form of entertainment. To ensure the meals we create always leave our guests scraping the plate, head to the spice aisle.

words_hannah pierce. design&illustration_andres alessandro.

Yes Chef! Nobu Knows Best Like a Pro

As the author of the six book science fiction series “Dune,” Frank Herbert, would say, “he who controls the spice controls the universe.” Miami-based private chef, Stella Giraldella, would have to agree.

Chef Giraldella recommends experimenting with different spice blends by mixing and matching as this is a great way to personalize your dishes. She also shared a two of her favorite general spices which we should all keep in our cabinet tucked away from any heat or moisture: cayenne and paprika.

Cayenne pepper is an incredibly versatile spice which can help add a kick to your dishes. She often uses cayenne to season grilled meats, roasted vegetables and marinades for both chicken and seafood and she recommends incorporating cayenne into spicy shrimp tacos.

As a chef in Miami, it’s important to understand the value that spices add to Spanish inspired dishes. Chef Giraldella also loves to include paprika while cooking paella or patatas bravas dishes because “paprika adds a beautiful color and a subtle smoky flavor to dishes” and “it’s perfect for seasoning soups, stews and sauces,” she said.

As a chef at one of Miami’s most wellknown Japanese restaurants in the country, Nobu Miami, Chef Maritza Cepero knows which spices to have to keep her dishes sapid in the kitchen. Chef Cepero provided a list of her favorite basic spices which she recommends that everyone keep in their pantry at all times: black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin and paprika.

But as a chef at Nobu, Cepero likes to augment her dishes with more niche spices. Her favorite, cardamom, adds a very fragrant but woody flavor to her dishes, and she prefers incorporating a small amount into sweet dishes such as chai tea, Indian desserts and Nordic bread. Although cardamom will undoubtedly enhance your dish’s flavor range, Chef Cepero advises to use this spice sparingly.

Moreover, when working with fresh cardamom, Chef Cepero said “[to] always crack to the pod and use the seed as that is where all the flavor is.” Alongside cardamom, Cepero recommends pairing cardamom with cumin as cumin also adds a smokey, earthy flavor and further amplifies the dishes herby notes.

Spices aren’t just for the professionals, even college students can try their hand in the seasoning world. As a student, it is undeniably difficult to find time to get in the kitchen, but Lucas Scardino, a University of Miami sophomore business management major is a perfect example of a student-chef. “I’ve always had an interest in cooking. My mother and grandmother have always loved cooking and baking and have composed a cookbook that’s been passed down,” said Scardino.

As a full-time student, Scardino likes to keep his cooking process less complicated, while still incorporating certain spices. He enjoys cooking both in the morning before classes and in the evening afterwards to ensure he has ample time to prepare and clean.

“Simple things like garlic powder and paprika are most effective in my eyes. Also, I love how relaxing cooking is, and I feel like the food tastes better when you spend time making it,” said Scardino.

Cameron Kohls, an equestrian rider and UM sophomore finance major, knows how to keep it clean and fresh in the kitchen while avoiding tasteless dishes. “I was super focused on eating clean food that I knew was vegan, so cooking my own meals came naturally. But what didn’t come naturally was taste,” Kohls said.

Growing up in a predominantly take-out oriented family, Kohls taught herself how to cook and incorporate spices without much influence. She even prefers to wing it in the kitchen, completely recipe-less.

“For me part of the fun of cooking is the adventure and there’s no set way your dish has to turn out because every dish is fully customizable to you,” said Kohls.

Keep in mind that cooking is an art, and cooking is one of the most unique and endearing ways to display love and affection. Using our spice tips, tricks and recommendations, we can assure you that yourself and others will undoubtedly taste the love.

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Fly, cruise or drive into our “Bon Voyage” Special section, your one-stop destination for traveling on this beautiful planet we call home. Take off on your “tour de sustainable” and learn how to be green on the go. Your perfect vacation is closer than you think: check out some regional tourist destinations you’ll love year-round. Save your overweight fee and see how you can pack your suitcase practically and say “ciao, bonjour and hola” to our staff who’s studying abroad. All aboard: you are now boarding a travel junkie’s dream section.

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carcassone photo_ford kern.


It’s 2024, and all over the world the tourism industry is skyrocketing, bringing with it a plethora of benefits — from boosts to a country’s economy to the much deserved appreciation for a country or region’s culture, religion and physical beauty. We’ve all seen the positive effects of tourism right here in South Florida. Yet increases in tourists can create tangible harm for the communities who live in popular travel destinations. So, how do we as tourists ensure we’re not part of the problem? words_veronika valia. illustration&design_uyanga erdenebayar.

While tourists can pick what they desire to do, locals in these host communities are often subject to the double-edged sword of tourism — overuse of resources, pollution and littering from inconsiderate visitors as well as the lack of care towards maintaining a community’s environmental and cultural integrity. But how do we travel more conscientiously, keeping in mind the importance of respect towards the locals and environment? The perfect approach to this is what we like to call “sustainable tourism.”

According to the United Nation’s Tourism Agency, sustainable tourism is “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.”

Dr. Shouraseni Sen Roy, a University of Miami professor in the department of geography and sustainable development, believes sustainable tourism is the key to solving issues associated with the disconnect between victors and residents of vacation destinations across the globe.

are ground zero for climate change, so we must have more ecofriendly trips and options,” Roy said. Some examples of more ecofriendly excursions provided by Roy include visiting Shark Valley in the Everglades as well as shopping with local businesses and dining at local restaurants that source sustainably.

Even if tourist-centric communities encourage eco-friendly excursions and implement sustainable public policies, they may still suffer if residents and visitors do not make an active effort to preserve them — increasing the chances of certain sites not surviving the inevitable effects of climate change.

“We are at ground zero for climate change, so we must have more eco-friendly trips and options.”
-Dr. Shouraseni Roy

“[There is a lot of] disconnect between the tourists, what their demands are, and what the supply is versus what is there, the communities, the local residents, and what they face when tourists come,” Roy said. “That needs to be brought up.”

Miami is a tourism hot-spot, especially during spring break, and Roy views the Magic City as an example of a community where sustainable tourism measures must be implemented. “In Miami, we

“We should be thinking about what we are leaving behind for those who come behind us,” Roy said.

When asked what travelers can do in preparation for traveling to a new place, Roy explained that learning as much about the culture and community as possible is the first step to move towards a more conscientious travel experience.

“Read up about the culture, read up about the current movements, activities that are going on, and the issues [the community] is facing so you don’t exacerbate those issues,” said Roy.

Aside from spring breakers, tourism communities in the United States such as Miami Beach, places in California, New York City and more are drawing people from all over the world and generating profit. According to the UN’s Tourism Agency, the United States

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CO2 Emissions in Aviation, 2000-2022

drew nearly 51 million visitors in 2022 — a 50% increase from the year before — and tourism accounted for $2.02 trillion in the United States’ overall GDP that year.

Tourism destinations outside of the Western World are also experiencing growth in terms of numbers of visitors. The UN’s Tourism Agency found the number of tourists to Columbia, for example, increased by 18% between 2022 and 2023. However, in developing countries, a lot of travel experiences are resort based, so travelers have little to no contact with the local communities.

UM sophomore Will Charlop, who visited Colombia for this recent spring break, explained that tourists need to know their place while traveling abroad. “Tourists should consider how what they plan on doing impacts the people and the environment and what role they have as a tourist from a different country or from a wealthier country.”

Moreover, Charlop emphasized the necessity of integrating yourself into the local culture and community, which can be accomplished in part by attempting to speak the local language. “it’s very important when I travel somewhere to speak the language of where I’m going, just know a little bit, even if it’s a language that I don’t know. Just being respectful of the local culture,” said Charlop. However, according to Charlop, there are a couple of things that tourists should absolutely not do. “Not going in with an entitled mindset. Not having the mindset of, ‘I’m paying money to be here, so I can treat it however I want.’ Not treating people like they are your servants,” said Charlop.

Residents of host communities in developing countries often suffer from the number of resources that tourists drain from the cities they visit. Roy explains, for example, that a lot of the locals cannot get into restaurants because they are just booked forever, or the prices are so high that it just is not attainable for residents.

“Some negative impacts are pressure on the infrastructure, traffic jams, shortage of resources, and rentals that have gone up, along with prices of other goods,” said Roy.

When asked what the goals of sustainable tourism are, Dr. Roy explained that there are three. The first is meeting the needs of the host community and what their needs are, especially in developing countries that many Western tourists are out of touch with.

However, it is important that host communities provide tourists with a good time. Dr. Roy explains that the second portion of sustainable tourism is what communities are doing to keep up with the needs of tourists.

“If we don’t keep it up, [tourists] won’t come back, and many communities need those tourism dollars. The final part is protecting the environment, protecting the human heritage sites, the environment and diversity,” Dr. Roy said.

Next time you find yourself impulsively booking a flight in the middle of a lecture, make sure you’ve done your research into where you’re going and understand these tourist destinations are more than simply idyllic scenes for your enjoyment. There are living and breathing communities with people who deserve to be treated as such.

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2000 2005 2010 2015 2020 2025 250 500 750 1000 1250 Mt CO2
Domestic Aviation International Aviation Data from International Energy Agency (2023), Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Energy

Sometimes, the plans never leave the group chat. Today, it’s so hard to coordinate any sort of plan with a group because we all have our own lives that come with our own dramas and conflicting schedules. However, that shouldn’t stop you from venturing out and exploring the world by yourself. As you embark on those adventures, always lead with caution. Whether you’re traveling alone, domestically or internationally, it’s always a good idea to play it safe.

words_ brooklyn brezak, ariella green & jessica horowitz. photo_ethan dosa. design_charlotte deangelis.

Over spring break, University of Miami freshman Gianni Echeverría spontaneously decided to travel alone to The Bahamas for jet skiing, shopping and swimming with pigs. While many college students pack-travel with their friends during the summer and spring break, Echeverría says having a good time doesn’t always have to be with other people.

“The best thing about traveling alone is that you get to do basically whatever you want,” said Echeverría, a psychology and biology major. “You don’t have to compromise on plans or spend time doing stuff you don’t want to do.”

Solo travel, also known as “solocation,” may have been new to Echeverría, but this summer, he will join thousands of other college students who will be traveling unaccompanied around the globe. Booking. com predicts 59% of travelers, many of them Gen Zers, will want to go solo in 2024, representing a marked increase over prepandemic solo travel, which was 14%.

Hila Meir, a 25-year-old travel influencer who has an Instagram following of 13 thousand, says she took her first solo trip after she was unsuccessful in getting her friends to go on a trip to Portugal last summer.

“I was asking all my friends: ‘Let’s go somewhere. I want to go somewhere. You know, it’s summer; everybody is going,’” Meir said. “Everybody was like, ‘No, I really need to work.’ They made a lot of excuses. And then I was like, ‘Hey, I can travel by myself.’”

The experience, she said, allowed her to gain a new form of independence, a sentiment expressed by other solo travelers. Meir, who has also amassed a large following on TikTok with more than 30,000 followers, said solo travel can be exciting and enjoyable.

“It’s crazy because I never felt like I’m alone, like I’m by myself,” Meir said. “People are so lovely and friendly.” Still, Meir said

that although she builds connections and friendships with the people on her travels, she does not broadcast that she is traveling alone and waits until her trip is over before posting content.

To help ensure a safe and rewarding experience, Meir said tourists should do the following before traveling:

1. Research the destination: How safe is the country and cities?

2. Determine where to stay: What area is most convenient and has transportation?

3. Plan what to do: Which restaurants? Which events are going on?

Meir has learned the key to packing: Less is more. However, she’ll never leave behind a swimsuit, which she somehow always manages to use on all her travels.

Additional advice for solo travelers from other online travel sites includes knowing as much as you can about the destination, staying in populated areas and not broadcasting to strangers that you are traveling alone.

“Be careful of where you go,” Echeverría said. “If you think an area you’re in starts to seem like maybe you shouldn’t be there, then maybe you shouldn’t be there.”

Mandy Becker, a UM junior marketing major, is currently studying abroad in the UMadrid program, a spring semester program allowing students to take language, culture and other courses at Universidad Nebrija, UM’s partner institution in Madrid.

“I try not to be on my phone all the time and do my best to be aware of my surroundings,” said Becker when she decides to explore on her own. “I don’t wear earbuds when I am alone or taking public transportation since I would be distracted.”

Alejandra Grijak, a program coordinator


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If you plan to carry around a bag, make sure it’s a crossbody with a secure latch to prevent anyone from snatching it and pickpocketing.

with UM’s Study Abroad Office, said UM prioritizes student safety. UM requires students to register all their outbound flights and travel plans through a system called International S.O.S. Students also receive live updates of any kind of emergencies such as a natural disaster, a protest or demonstration or an unsafe location to avoid. Studying abroad with a UProgram gives students access to onsite doctors, and their staff handles all the ground emergencies when it comes to student safety, Grijak said.

On her solo excursions, Becker said she noticed how busier and more crowded a city is, the more easily distracted you can become as a tourist. She said she has been in constant communication with her friends and family and actively updates them on her location and whereabouts to stay safe.

“I always have my location shared with others and a map handy, and I look at which areas are safe to walk alone in,” Becker said. Echeverria recommends carrying a safety device.

The Addalock portable door lock is a device that can be installed or removed on any door that opens inwards. The lock prevents people on the outside from gaining access to your hotel room once you’re inside. On Amazon, the Addalock sells for $17.95.

When traveling alone, it is important to draw attention to ourselves if we feel unsafe through isolation. The Birdie is a personal safety alarm that can be attached to a keychain, wallet or belt loop. The small device acts like a fire alarm because when you pull the top pin off it, it flashes a strobe light and beeps piercingly loud to draw attention to yourself if you feel unsafe in your surroundings. The retail price of the Birdie is $30 and is available for purchase on the company’s official website and on Amazon.

With all these pointers and tips in mind, pack a suit case and book a flight for just one traveler —because what company is better than your own?


You’ve made up your mind to embark upon a solo adventure, and the list abounds with recommended “solocation” venues.

Travel influencer Hila Meir said top destinations abroad this year are Paris, Thailand and Portugal. These destinations offer easy modes of transportation which help you get around and explore the city on a budget without having to worry about ordering an Uber.

Paris offers visitors various experiences to immerse themselves in the culture and embrace the Parisian spirit. Everything from enjoying a baguette along the street to gazing out at the city, going to art museums and more.

Thailand is a popular location because the English language is a mandatory course taught in Thai schools, making it easy for American travelers to get around in their country.

Like Thailand, Portugal is inexpensive and has a low crime rate. Though Portugal is geographically small, it offers its visitors views of the mountains, oceanside and cobblestonelined city streets.

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Not all adventures have to extend beyond the seven seas. There are so many sites within our own backyard to explore that’s not your typical Miami, New York, Los Angeles or Las Vegas. The total land area of the United States is 3.8 million square miles and that number increases if you include highways and rural roads. Traveling internationally can require extensive research and a large budget, while traveling within your home country can be more flexible and budget-friendly words_ariella green. design_charlotte deangelis.

New Orleans’ Bourbon Street, which is famous for its bars and strip clubs, is not named for the amber colored alcohol, but actually the French royal family, the House of Bourbon.


Southern Charm: we’ve all heard of the cultural concept that people from the southern United States embody a warm, polite and hospitable personality, especially toward strangers. While this stereotype may not be applicable to every individual from the South, it’s a generalization that holds quite a bit of truth.

New Orleans, Nashville, Savannah and Charleston are all cities within the southeastern United States that are all deeply rooted in history. These cities are home to renowned architectural landmarks that attract millions of visitors a year to gaze at the many different styles of architecture from colonial and antebellum to Victorian and Creole. Not to mention, nothing beats Southern food.


New Orleans is the home of jazz, and a must-do activity when traveling to this city is visit a jazz club and hear from local artists such as Kermit Ruffins and Jeremy Davenport who carry the spirit and tradition of the genre.

Liana Stern, a University of Miami senior majoring in public relations, wanted to experience Mardi Gras this past year with her friends after seeing countless of her friends from Tulane University post about it on social media.

“I stayed in the French Quarter. The hotels were obviously expensive. I got a pretty cheap one, but it was still definitely expensive. I mean, this is the most expensive week in New Orleans. We paid almost $700 total,” Stern said.

When visiting New Orleans, a must-try food is its beignets. Café Du Monde is worldfamous for its beignets and coffees and has been serving customers since its establishment in 1862. If time permits, another must-do activity is a guided ghost tour which allows you to get an insider’s perspective on the phantom culture of the hypnotic city.

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“A lot of people go there for bachelor or bachelorette parties, stuff like that. But I didn’t realize how many of them there were,” said Paul Lohmann, a UM junior majoring in psychology and business technology. At any time of year, you can spot bachelors and bachelorettes roaming the city in their matching outfits and accessories. Lohmann moved to Tennessee from California in middle school and has lived there for the past 11 years.

You don’t have to be attending a bachelor or bachelorette party to check out the bar scene in Nashville and get a taste of its music and culture. Matthew Meltzer, a UM journalism professor and food and travel writer, recommends traveling to Nashville on a Monday.

“If you go to Nashville during the week, it’s cool because the bachelorette and bachelor parties haven’t overtaken the city, and you can still roll down Broadway and go to those little honky tonks and the bars on Broadway,” said Meltzer.

Similar to New Orleans, Nashville is famous for its music and is known as the Music City USA. David Cobb, who was a Nashville-based radio announcer, coined the term in the ’50s following country and western star Red Foley’s performance at the Grand Ole Opry. Today, the Grand Ole Opry is the longest running radio broadcast of all time and has been operating since 1925. Famous country artists such as Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline and Hank Williams have all performed there.

While Nashville is not typically known for its barbeque like Memphis or Kansas City, if you ever find yourself in Nashville, be sure to order the famous Nashville hot chicken. Nashville’s hot chicken is typically served as a sandwich and features a seasoning combination of cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic powder and some other secret spices.



Known for its picturesque coastal views and natural beauty, Savannah begs visitors to enjoy the outdoors during their stay, especially if it’s a riverboat cruise. However, if you’re not an outdoorsy person, there’s many activities to partake in such as museums or theaters. To complete most of the activities on your itinerary when visiting Savannah, three days is an ample amount of time.

Annie Codega, a UM junior majoring in education, traveled to Savannah with a group of her college girlfriends after numerous people recommended the girls take a weekend trip to Savannah. Codega described the city as having a younger crowd with a very large nightlife scene.

“When we went, it was during Saint Patrick’s Day weekend. So they had a huge celebration that weekend, and I guess it’s a big deal there because people were up at like 7 a.m. ready to go. We didn’t get up at 7 a.m.,” said Codega.

Savannah offers visitors a wide variety of southern cuisine, but specific to Savannah, some must try foods are fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, pralines and anything involving peaches.

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CountryCarolineFrisiras,aUMsenior,visitedthe MusicHallofFameduringhertime in Nashville.



Founded in 1670 by English colonists, Charleston was named after King Charles II of England. Today, visitors travel to Charleston to tour its historical sites and landmarks such as Fort Sumter or a federal-style architecture home like the Nathaniel Russell House.

Housed in the heart of downtown Charleston, King Street is one of the most iconic and go-to shopping destinations. Shoppers can choose from a variety of retailers to spend their money ranging from nationally recognized brands to your local mom and pop antique shop. Once you’ve finished your shopping, you can grab a bite at one of the many restaurants located on the street.

Market Street is another famous site to visit when in Charleston. The two streets differ when it comes to the types of stores and overall atmosphere; King Street is bustling city street geared to more high-end retail shopping, while Market Street is more of a traditional scene with local based businesses.

Mion Smith, a UM freshman majoring in global health studies, is originally from New York, but she grew up 30 minutes from the city’s downtown. She explained that what she’s missed most from home besides her family is the people.

“It’s very welcoming, and I think a lot of Charlestonians are family oriented. So, you know, you walk into a grocery store and there’s people asking you how your day is going. That’s not something you really have [in Miami],” said Smith.

Charleston is known for quite a few firsts such as the first public college, museum, golf club and playhouse in the United States.

Travel agent Stephanie Maher has worked in the industry for 45 years and currently works for a Coral Gables-based travel consultancy firm called travel agency Lorraine Travel. Maher has worked with many different age brackets and demographics of clients as an agent throughout the years. While certain adventurous vacation getaways may be fun to plan at the spur of the moment, she’s noticed that her clients seek her for her services to get more out of their vacation experience.

“If you run into difficulty, you can call your travel agent to be able to resolve your problem. If you buy online, you can’t talk to anybody. The travel agent will try to adjust things so that it’s more to your liking,” said Maher. “You get online, you don’t have anything personal. All you have is, you know, you book your airfare, you pick your hotel, and then what?”

While traveling within the United States is a lot cheaper compared to international travel, it still can be pricey, especially if you plan to travel to a city in its peak season. Matt Meltzer, the UM journalism professor, recommends booking your flights during the weekdays compared to the weekend because the most popular outgoing and returning flights are on Friday or Sunday. Travel agent Stephanie Maher recommends booking a hotel that includes a classic continental breakfast and that is close to the city which will help you save money by avoiding Ubers. So get on out there and see what these cities in our own backyard have to offer.

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Olivia Campmany, a UM senior, at a Noah Kahan concert in Charleston Red’s Ice House is located on Shem Creek, which makes it perfect to view southern wildlife and Charleston sunsets.

Making a list, checking it twice

A methodical to-do list is useful to ensure you bring everything you need without letting things like toothpaste or a phone charger slip your mind while you’re focused on travel outfits.

Open that weather app

While getting caught in the rain by surprise while traveling can make for great party stories, you’ll want to know the weather of wherever you’re traveling so you can pack appropriately for whatever weather conditions are coming your way. But, even if the weather app says “sunny,” it’s never a bad idea to have a rain jacket for an emergency.

Check your calendar

Before you can choose how you want to pack, it’s important to know how long you’ll be staying. If you’re staying for a weekend, don’t pack two weeks’ worth of outfits.

Consider your activities

When traveling, you don’t want to be underprepared to go for an impromptu hike, beach or yoga excursion. Categorize the general activities you’ll be doing and pack accordingly.

Once you’ve done these things, you can choose from the variations below, or even use these sample pairings to create your own. Keep in mind that these options are catered to 4-6 day trips:

6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Method

6 pairs of undergarments, 5 pairs of socks, 4 tops, 3 bottoms, 2 pairs of shoes, 1 hat.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Method

5 tops, 4 bottoms, 3 dresses or rompers, 3 pairs of shoes, 2 swimsuits or bags and 1 hat and a pair of sunglasses.

5 undergarments, 4 tops, 3 bottoms, 2 pairs of shoes and 1 hat.

Color and style matching

We get it, the color wheel may seem like the least of your worries, but after you decide how much cloting you want to pack, you’ll most likely want to coordinate. If you want aesthetic photos to look back on, pay attention to each article of clothing so you can mix and match different outfits throughout your trip.

Footwear is important

Make sure you have at least one pair each: casual walking shoes, and a nicer pair for nights out.

… Eyewear too

Be it sunglasses or actual contacts, if you need these, don’t forget them.

The bare essentials

Hygiene products, chargers, headphones, computers and undergarments are used by everyone daily, so make sure to pack these accordingly.

Make the most of your luggage space

One of the best ways to save space is to roll your clothes to effectively compact them. An added bonus of doing this is that it’ll lessen the wrinkles in your clothing and limit ironing time when you get to your hotel or Airbnb. However, for bulkier items such as denim and sweaters, folding them is the way to go.

Section your luggage space

Make sure to either organize the clothes by type of garment or outfit of the day to make looking through your luggage easier.


Some useful things to have include a tote bag and an extra pair of undergarments, T-shirt and water bottle. If you want some entertainment for your trip, grab your favorite fiction or poetry book in addition to your headphones.


With our college intermission around the corner, packing seems to be the last thing on our minds. Dusting off that suitcase and finding time to actually get ready for a trip seems to keep getting put off, despite its being the first step to relaxing without a hitch With this guide, you’ll rest easy on your road trip or plane ride knowing you didn’t forget any of the essentials while still minimizing any unnecessary pieces. Streamline your packing so well that, yes, you may have room for a fashion-overfunction item you’d want to whip out during your trip’s photo op. words_nicole vedder. design_charlotte deangelis. photo_valeria barbaglio


Travel is one of life’s precious treasures and should be an experience for everyone. It is a chance to step out of your comfort zone and experience a different way of life. Study abroad is increasingly becoming more popular, especially in the post COVID-19 era, amongst college students who want to break free of their usual routines and explore a new culture while perhaps learning a new language in the meantime. If you’re not sure of whether you want to go abroad for a semester or just need some advice, the well-travelled staff of Distraction has got you covered.

Caleigh Russo: URome, Spring 2024

“I went in knowing very little; I knew a couple of UM girls in the program but not well. I didn’t want to go abroad with any of my friends because I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and meet new people.

I am glad I did go abroad because I love it. I live in Trastevere, which is a neighborhood in Rome in an apartment with several roommates who are also AUR students. It was difficult adjustment moving to a new country and living with several random people, but I really love my roommates.

Since being abroad, I have only stayed in Rome for a couple weekends as I’m always hopping around. We have spent our weekends visiting Florence, Vienna, Prague, London, Paris, Dublin, Budapest, Amsterdam, Brussels, Pompeii, Sorrento and Capri.

Find someone who did the program you want to do. I was lucky to have a friend who had done the same program the previous spring, and her advice was invaluable to me.

Throughout the fall semester and winter break, it was so comforting to be able to text someone who had experienced it with all my random questions. She had a Google Doc detailing all her recommendations — from restaurants to coffee shops to nightlife. She was so helpful. She even helped me pick out my schedule, telling me which classes and professors were the best.

Be adaptable — The point of study abroad is to expand your worldview by immersing yourself in other cultures, so it goes without saying that you must be adaptable. Be respectful of other cultures and open to trying new things.

On a smaller scale, when traveling with larger groups, you have to be able to go with the flow. This means when traveling to a new city and acknowledge that not everyone has the same interests as you. Every city has something for everyone, and it’s important to make an itinerary that everyone is happy about.”

Lizzie Kristal: UPrague, Spring 2024

“Want to live in a fairytale? Or see charming architecture laced with snow and riverside courtyards blossoming in the spring? Or drink some of the best, cheapest beer in the world? UPrague is shouting your name. I completed a spring semester in Prague and have nothing bad to say. Not only is Prague in a pristine location to travel to across Europe, but the city itself drips in beauty. The public transportation is efficient, and the prices for just about everything are college student friendly.

The only thing I struggled with was learning the Czech language. UPrague program requires a twoweek Czech intensive course at the beginning of the semester, so they prepare you well. But I can’t lie — the only things I remember are “dobrý den” [hello or good afternoon] and “děkuju” [thank you].”

Beyond Prague, the program has a few educational trips built in. Our group visited Poland, Austria, Germany and Greece. I also structured my classes for only Monday through Wednesday, so four-day weekends were pristine for traveling. By the end of the semester, I added 13 new countries to my map. However, Prague was still my favorite destination. On a final note, don’t get hit by a tram, hunt for mushrooms and check out the beer spas.”

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Tamia McLean, Yonsei University Exchange, Spring 2023

“Before coming to UM, I knew I wanted to study abroad and needed to search for a school that can offer multiple programs to choose from — which, thankfully this university has an overwhelming amount. As someone who’s used to traveling and visiting countries that are like my own cultural background, I knew I wanted to stay in a country that is completely opposite of what I’m used to and avoid the typical destinations such as Paris and Italy — hence why I chose South Korea.

I’ve always been exposed to Korean culture through media, whether through K-pop and K-dramas. Yet, despite being familiar with the basics of the language and the advertised side of the culture, I still wanted to explore another side of the world and become more open-minded and self-sufficient. My stay was at Yonsei University, one of the ‘S.K.Y’ schools that are the equivalent to Ivy Leagues, in the heart of Seoul — South Korea’s bustling metropolitan capital and province. When I tell you that there is so much to do, best believe that five months barely covers a fraction of what Korea can offer.

Though Korea is an ethnically homogenous country, I’ve met so many people from different countries like France, Senegal and Japan. I participated in “café shopping” which is basically visiting different cafés, with many of them having a variety of themes like Studio Ghibli and Harry Potter. I also partied way too hard in Hongdae’s clubbing district and lastly, but most importantly ate a lot of delicious Korean cuisine.

My advice for any student interested in visiting South Korea, or just any country in general is to do your research. Especially if you haven’t traveled before, just research the basic things such as currency exchanges, common phrases in the language so you can get by, climate, social events, cultural traditions, and norms and cues, especially within a collectivist culture like South Korea.

In addition, you must stay mindful of your surroundings and use common sense. South Korea is relatively a safe country in terms of crime rate — the safest one I’ve ever been to from my own experience, but that doesn’t negate the fact that anything can happen, and it doesn’t hurt to be hyperaware of the environment you’re in.”

Ethan Dosa: Macroeconomics Course in Italy and Spain, Summer 2023

“I studied abroad in Italy and Spain for a macroeconomies course over the summer. It was shorter than the normal study abroad for the whole semester, but it was an amazing experience regardless. I highly recommend it to any students on the fence about doing the semester one to try it for those few weeks in the summer instead.

The trip started in Sorrento, Italy where we traveled to the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii and Naples. We stayed at a study abroad school in the area and took classes in Italian language and Italian economics with the UM macroeconomics professor. It was a great way to learn more about the country within the classroom setting then go on field trips later in the day to local businesses in the area learn from their experiences.

We then went on a plane to Spain to spend our second half of the trip in San Sebastián, Pamplona and then Barcelona. There, we went on tours and learned about the history of the areas while we were taking our economics class. I even managed to meet with one of the companies that I would be working for in the United States that summer and managed to secure a future internship for this summer as well.

Overall, it was very valuable to become close with fellow UM students and professors on the trip while adapting to live and learn in a different country. The memories from these trips will last a lifetime and is certainly worth doing in your college years.”

Julia Hecht: URome, Spring 2024

“I always knew I wanted to study abroad in Italy, and I couldn’t be happier with my semester in Rome. It’s such a cool and active city but still has all the perks of European slow living: aperitivo after class, amazing restaurants where the staff doesn’t rush you out and obviously the best pasta, wine and coffee I’ve ever had. My favorite trip from my time abroad was probably a trip through our partner school where we went to Pompeii, Sorrento, Naples and Capri.

Watching the weather get warmer and seeing all the cities come back to life has been so special, and I’m so grateful to have experience it all with my friends from UM.

I think the best way to approach coming abroad is with as little expectations as possible. I think some people come in expecting it to be a four-month long vacation, and those people only got disappointed and missed out on a lot of actual culture. I feel like I’ve learned so much about Europe and traveling in general and that’s just because I went into it with an open mind. It’s absolutely nothing like being in the U.S. and Miami, and that’s the most exciting part.”

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When you imagine the most breathtaking views on this planet, what do you see? Is it a dense, rich, old-growth forest of trees so grand that you feel like an ant between gargantuan blades of grass? Do you picture all-seeing red cliffs dusted with a fresh layer of desert sand or ancient mountains that tower over plains cut with crystal blue rivers? In the United States of America, 429 units of land are protected and managed by the National Park Service — 63 of which bear the title of “National Park.” You may know Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Everglades, but do you know where they came from and why they’re important? Learn all about the parks that inspire people — America’s National Parks.

words_nic faccina. photo_nic faccina. design_marita gavioti.

What Are National Parks?

To understand National Parks, you need to know where they came from and what they are.In essence, National Parks are breathtaking regions and lands necessary to preserve for educational and humanitarian purposes. For land to be considered to become part of the National Parks System, it needs to meet the following three criteria outlined by nps.gov:

“Possess nationally significant natural, cultural or recreational resources,” “Be a suitable and feasible addition to the National Park System” and “Require direct NPS management instead of protection by some other government agency or by the private sector.”

While the first-ever officially established National Park was Yellowstone National Park in 1872, the National Park Service wasn’t established until 1916 — 44 years afterward, according to the Library of Congress.

But now, well over 100 years later, the National Parks Service continues to uphold its mission to “preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education and inspiration of this and future generations” as outlined on nps.gov.

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“There are a few places where I have felt safe enough to be truly seen. Unapologetically authentic.”
— Anna Renner

Why Are National Parks Important?

National Parks were created to preserve beautiful lands for the benefit of humanity. So National Parks are important because of their impact on people.

National Parks provide designated protected regions for people to spend time in nature which, according to a 2021 paper titled “Associations between Nature Exposure and Health: A Review of the Evidence,” has been associated with “improved cognitive function, brain activity, blood pressure, mental health, physical activity and sleep.”

Anna Renner, a junior at Texas Christian University, is an avid skier and hiking enthusiast. She appreciates National Parks for their impact on the mind and soul.

“There are few places where I have felt safe enough to be truly seen. Unapologetically authentic,” said Renner. “National Parks protect those places, and for that I’m forever grateful.”

Renner’s feelings are common among frequent visitors to national parks. University of Miami senior Isabella Anderson agrees with Renner’s sentiment but highlights another side to the importance of National Parks:

“I think national parks are an extremely important way for people to reconnect with nature,” said Anderson. “I think they are also important examples of how we can protect the natural beauties of the world for everyone to enjoy.”

As Anderson noted, aside from their impacts on people, National Parks are also important because of the land. National Parks are land preserved to be as least touched by man as possible, meaning that in some cases, these parks are bubbles of ecosystems otherwise lost to urbanization.

“In many cases, National Parks and other federally protected areas such as National Grasslands contain the largest contiguous parcels of relatively undisturbed ecosystem types,” said Dr. William Drennan, a professor of ocean science at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric and Earth Science. “In some cases, they contain the only significant remaining examples.”

While part of the importance of national parks lies in the form of land and its preservation, unfortunately, sometimes that land isn’t enough to preserve entire ecosystems from disruption or destruction.

“In many cases, the Parks are simply not big enough to conserve entire ecosystems,” said Drennan. “This means that in some cases, large predators … which may be essential to the maintaining the ecosystem in balance, are not protected because part of their range lies outside park boundaries. The problem is exacerbated by climate change because the ranges of many species are shifting, with new ranges potentially outside Park boundaries and protection.”

Despite this, scientists are working to combat these issues by studying the landscapes and making necessary changes to the boundaries and maintenance of National Parks.

An example of a park that benefited from these changes is in Miami’s backyard: Everglades National Park.

“In the case of the Everglades, the Park was expanded in 1989 to include critical lands not included in the original boundaries,” said Drennan. “The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan of 2000 was passed to improve the quality and quantity of water entering the Park.”

There’s always more work to be done to protect and preserve our parks, but the importance of National Parks and their impact on people is evergrowing as concrete spreads across the globe.

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Tell Me About Parks

Want to visit the parks but don’t know where to start? Here are three notable national parks and some interesting information about each one to get you excited to visit.

Grand Teton National Park | Wyoming | Est. 1929

While Grand Teton National Park is perhaps most famous for its eight towering peaks and pristine mountain lakes, the roughly 484 square miles that make Grand Teton National Park as we know it today are the product of dedication, effort and time, as this park took decades to become what it is today.

According to the National Park Service, the story goes that in 1923, local ranchers and businesspeople held a meeting to discuss the preservation of the Teton Mountain Range and Valley as the West began to develop. Around the same time, in 1926, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. began privately purchasing property in the valley, eventually accumulating 35,000 acres of land that he intended to transfer to the Federal government to become part of the National Park.

Grand Teton National Park was officially established by Congress in 1929; however, Rockefeller, Jr. donated his purchased land to the government in 1949.

So in 1950, the park’s original boundaries were combined with Rockefeller Jr.’s land and the nearby Jackson Hole National Monument, which Franklin D. Roosevelt created in 1943, to become today’s Grand Teton National Park.

Capitol Reef National

Park | Utah | Est. 1971

In 1969, Paul Newman and Robert Redford brought two of the American West’s most iconic outlaws — Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid — to life on the silver screen. But in the late 1800s, the real Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid evaded the law by hiding in a collection of canyons appropriately titled “Robber’s Roost” — which just so happens to be right next to Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park. While Robber’s Roost isn’t within the park’s boundaries, the famous outlaws spent ample time traveling through and hiding in the roughly 377 square miles of land encompassed by Capitol Reef today.

The park pays homage to Butch Cassidy specifically through the iconic Cassidy Arch, which is accessible through the 3.1-mile Cassidy Arch Trail, according to capitolreefcountry.com.

Capitol Reef National Park also contains important archeological and geological sites, including the roughly 100-mile-long monocline or “warp in the Earth’s crust” known as the Waterpocket Fold and the Fremont Culture Petrographs — images carved into stone by The Fremont Culture, a native ancestral people who lived in Utah and other areas of the West from around 300 to 1300 CE (all according to NPS.Gov).

Denali National Park and Preserve | Alaska | Est. 1917 and 1980

First and foremost, while we know the roughly six million acres that make up Denali National Park and Preserve as an American National Park, it’s important to acknowledge the land’s history with and significance to Alaska native communities.

According to nps.gov, “Denali is at the intersection of the traditional lands of five different native groups: the Ahtna, Dena’ina, Koyukon, Upper Kuskokwim and Tanana peoples.”

According to travelalaska.com, archaeological history connected to indigenous peoples on these lands can be traced back roughly 12,600 years. These lands continue to be significant to Alaskan

native groups, specifically Athabaskan cultures, today.

So while it was first established as Mount McKinley National Park in 1917, amidst controversy over its name, this park was renamed and re-established in the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act as Denali National Park and Preserve in 1980. The park’s new name, “Denali,” comes from one Athabaskan oral place name for the park’s tallest mountain, according to nps.gov.

Speaking of Mount Denali, while Mount Everest in Nepal might be the world’s highest mountain by elevation, it’s not the tallest. According to USA Today, if you compare Everest’s vertical rise — a measure of a mountain’s height from its base elevation to its peak — to that of Mount Denali in Denali National Park, the Alaskan mountain is larger by around 3000 feet.

At the end of the day, remember just like parks impact people, people impact parks. If you choose to visit a National Park — which we hope you do — be aware of how you interact with wildlife and the environment and be sure to leave the park in the same condition that you found it. America’s National Parks can only stay as preserved as the visitors leave it.

If you want more information on America’s 63 National Parks and other units visit nps.gov.

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It’s time to tackle some hot Health and Wellness topics – literally. Find out if beating the heat is just what you need in your workout routine. While we question if sunscreen is causing more harm than good, stick it to the stigmas of body count and body hair. Turn the page to take charge of your health — physically and emotionally.

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From TikTok tradwives touting anti-feminist chastity decrees to college parties encouraging hookups left and right, it’s hard to live out your sexual life without feeling pressure from all sides. As people tally up their “body counts,” it seems there’s no right number to have. No matter how you choose to express your sexuality, body count stigma may be something you’re all too familiar with words_jay moyer. design&illustration_andres alessandro.

Sexual stigma makes it particularly difficult to be a college student in this day and age. Let’s face it, hookup culture dominates much of the social landscape that young adults enter, and the problem is felt quite palpably by students here at the University of Miami. “There is a huge emphasis on Miami being a party school and party schools come with that guarantee of you’re going have hookups,” said one anonymous UM student — who this article will refer to as Miranda. All the sources interviewed for this piece asked for anonymity due to privacy concerns.

While a “go for it” attitude towards sex can be empowering for many, hookup culture comes with the risk of devaluing potential partners over shallow pursuits. The problem goes further than house parties full of drunk strangers. It permeates our social lives, online and in real life, especially in the dating sphere.

“[Hookup culture] is the premise of all dating apps, and honestly a lot of social media these days. That’s most people’s motives for connecting with each other,” said another anonymous student — who this article will refer to as Nicole. People pursue each other based on their looks and social status, and wrapped up in that is their sexual experience as well.

Stigmas Aren’t Sexy

Part of the problem with body counts, high or low, is that sexual partners are seen as exactly what the name implies — bodies. The stripping away of personhood contributes to predatory attitudes that run deep within a patriarchal society. This type of objectification may seem like nothing new, depending on your gender. In fact, some of the biggest targets of body count stigma are sexually active women, who face the age-old

issue of “slut-shaming” for choosing to take on higher numbers of sexual partners.

In a culture like ours, “purity” and virginity are prized for all the wrong reasons. Dr. Claire Oueslati-Porter, director of the Gender & Sexuality Studies program and professor here at UM said, “Having very few male sex partners [as a woman] is very much still idealized.”

“The idea is that one is somehow impure if they have sex,” added Dr. Oueslati-Porter. “We’re still very much a purity culture.”

But how many partners is too many? It seems like there is a very delicate balance to strike if you’re a young woman looking to explore the dating scene without being deemed promiscuous. “If yours is above, like, three, it’s like: ‘What the f*** are you doing,’” said another anonymous UM student, who this article will refer to as Anna.

Anna pointed out that men of the same age can get away with being sexually active openly. In her experience, it’s often these men who sling degrading terms like “slut,” “bop” and “hoe” at women like herself.

Messages like these, while ruthless on their own, can do even more damage as they become internalized. “I definitely feel like I have internalized shame or guilt for doing

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certain things because of … what society deems a ‘well-behaved girl,” said Nicole.

Although men are met with wildly different standards around sex, they’re not immune to stigma. In fact, for them, the problem with body counts can be quite the opposite. Despite movements to push back against the unachievable standards of toxic masculinity, many still feel shamed for not having enough sexual experience.

As Dr. Oueslati-Porter describes it, “It’s an embellishment on their masculinity to have what they call a high body count. The stigma would be if they didn’t.” She said men historically have gained power and built up their reputations around sexual access to women.

Surrounded by Stereotypes

This toxic history translates into this day. Especially in college party culture, men tend to engage in a competitive and objectifying attitude toward their sexual endeavors with women. Sex, in the masculine realm, is commodified as a social currency.

This standard is further perpetuated by the rampant spread of the “alpha male” archetype depicted by social media voices such as Andrew Tate, who builds himself up upon a history of sexual experience with women — much of which is morally questionable at best. Today, as younger groups of boys gain access to social media, their perceptions of women’s worth become grounded in hateful stereotypes.

“Girls have been raised now with so many new progressive ideas. A lot of times, those messages and those ideas aren’t necessarily for boys in the way they’re being brought up,” Dr. Oueslati-Porter said.

Unfortunately, even content aimed at women upholds harmful stereotypes as well. Certain female influencers pushing a highly conservative model of the “high value woman” are making an impression on young girls, spreading a clear message: save yourself for a husband who provides for you or else you’ll be undesirable.

Societal pressures continue to place restrictions on healthy sexual lifestyles at a systemic level. With women losing control over whether they can terminate pregnancies, there is little room to encourage making one’s own decisions sexually.

On top of threats to reproductive rights, several areas of the country including Florida refuse to provide inclusive sexual health education, which harms children’s ability to think critically about gender issues and stigma. Dr. Oueslati-Porter views these legislative choices as major roadblocks in the way of fostering true sex positivity.

“Using the education systems we already have and having [gender issues] built into existing classes and courses kids are taking, even as they enter adolescence, would be the best way forward,” said Dr. Oueslati-Porter.

“Girls have been raised now with so many new progressive ideas. A lot of times, those messages and those ideas aren’t necessarily for boys in the way they’re being brought up.”
— Dr. Claire Oueslati-Porter
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Are you tired of the peach fuzz invading your upper lip? Do your prickly pits bother you? Here’s a thought: why not whack those weeds? There are endless solutions to remove pesky body hair, from DIY wax strips to professional laser hair removal. Whichever route you choose to remove it, it’s important to be educated to avoid unpleasant side effects. On the other hand, what’s the right way to go about removal? If you’re one to embrace the bush, not to worry, shedding your natural coat is never a necessity.

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words_remi turner. photo_annie codega. design_marita gavioti.

Body Hair Has No Gender

Body hair. Like it or not, we all got it. No matter your gender, you’re born with hair all over — unless you’re some type of Barbie-like exception who was blessed with barely any.

For University of Miami freshman Bahar Arian, body hair removal has been an ongoing part of her life since her childhood. “As a Middle Eastern woman, body hair removal has been a part of my regular self-care routine since I was 10 years old.”

Our society has made many progressive efforts when it comes to accepting body hair, but we still have a lot of room to grow. With new methods for body hair removal popping up all the time, the resources are there for removal. But before our society can fully accept body hair for all its good and bad, we must first start with acknowledging the fact that body hair applies to all genders.

Body hair removal is notoriously known to be more of a pressure force when it comes to female body standards, but men, and those of other genders as well, can struggle just the same with bothersome body hair. Men, now more than ever, are becoming more comfortable with taking on methods to remove their body hair. No longer fans of the furry chest-look of the ’70s, the men of today have been taking on removal methods once only associated with women.

DIY Hair Removal

The most obvious option for at-home body hair removal is shaving. Although this one may seem self-explanatory, it’s still essential to be careful with your razor. To ensure a safe shave, always use a shaving cream or gel to reduce irritation. Also, before grabbing your razor of choice, exfoliate your skin to prepare for the shave. Make sure to use a good quality razor, since blades can dull in as soon as two to three weeks if you’re shaving every other day. Unless you’re a fan of razor burn and skin irritation, it’s best to replace your razor when it starts to show signs of dulling. Shaving might be one of the more tedious options for at-home removal, but it’s also known to be the cheapest.

If you’re not a fan of the classic shave, you’re in luck, because sugaring is the newest rave when it comes to DIY removal. Sugaring paste is simple to make and much gentler than commercial wax. You can make your own batch of paste with just water, lemon juice and sugar.

Sugaring might sound sweet, but it can take a lot of practice to get it just right. Follow these steps to get started on your sugaring journey: warm the paste, spread a thin layer over the desired area against the grain, then rip the strip off your skin in the direction of the hair growth.

Hair removal creams have been a go-to for individuals seeking a low-effort option to hair removal. We’ve all taken a whiff of the cotton candy-colored Nair bottle in our mom’s shower, but this stinky hair removal solution is not meant for everyone. Also known as depilatories, hair-removal creams cause a chemical reaction in your follicles by breaking down the keratin proteins in your hairs, allowing them to dissolve. However, you should read your cream of choice’s directions and follow them carefully since every formula is different. Leaving a depilatory on for too long can cause burning and irritation to the skin.

For those little hairs crammed in tight spaces, tweezing is a suitable option for cleaning up around the edges. Start by picking a good pair of tweezers. To prepare for the plucking, make sure to wash the area you plan to pluck beforehand so you avoid annoying breakouts and ingrown hairs. Be gentle. Tweezing isn’t a big game of operation, so if a little hair won’t budge, leave it. When finished, follow up with your normal skincare products like witch hazel or gentle moisturizer.

Professional Methods

If you’ve got the budget to seek out more professional methods when it comes to body hair removal, make sure to consult a dermatologist first. Laser hair removal is one of the longest-lasting professional methods but normally has some specific requisites. For example, most individuals require many lasering sessions and you must avoid harsh environmental influences like the sun and chlorine when receiving treatments.

Victoria Turner, a local esthetician based out of Delray Beach, Fla., noted that laser is not meant for everyone. “Laser can only be done on certain skin tones and hair colors,” she said. If you choose to laser, do your research on the technicians in your area, as well as if this method will even work for you. Be warned, laser can be expensive and painful, but for some it’s totally worth it Professional waxing is also a suitable option for someone who wants a hands

free experience with hair removal. Waxing can be much less expensive than laser hair removal, but if your get wax treatments regularly for years, it could end up not being the bargain you reckoned it was. Most nail salons offer waxing services, but make sure all technicians are up to date on necessary certifications and possess appropriate waxing materials. You can also look for waxing services at esthetician offices or wax studios.

If neither of these removal methods are giving you the results you seek, it might be a good idea to ask for your doctor’s advice. They might suggest drugs that inhibit hair growth. Pills and creams exist that slow or reduce hair growth. For example, Vaniqa is an FDA-approved cream for slowing hair growth in women. Everyone’s body is different though, so make sure to consult a professional, and if prescribed, follow instructions thoroughly.

Your Body. Your Business

Whether your body hair removal process is strictly in the comfort of your own home or consists of scheduled appointments with a professional, make sure to go into your removal efforts educated. Turner, the Delray Beach esthetician, explained how imperative it is to take the right approach to removal options. “Not taking the right precautions when it comes to hair removal methods can cause continual damage to your skin,” said Turner. Each method has its own specific precautions, so make sure to conduct background checks on your DIY wax before letting her into your home.

Although you might feel naturally inclined to add hair removal to your self-care regime, it is totally not necessary to do so. For some, a part of being comfortable in one’s own skin is embracing the natural growth of body hair.

Anisah Steele, a UM junior majoring in psychology, mentioned how dealing with body hair really comes down to one’s own preference. “We should be more cognizant of people’s choices with body hair because it’s not about what society tells you to do its about what the individual prefers.” Don’t allow ancient “norms” to negatively encourage you to take concern over something so natural as body hair. It’s up to you what you do with your outer coat.

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While sweating is a natural part of physical activity, hot workouts take it to the next level by intensifying the heat, promising increased benefits. Workout enthusiasts looking for more intensive and purifying types of exercise are thinking “burn, baby, burn” to reduce stress, detoxify and become more flexible. For those willing to brave the heat hot workouts offer an exciting and energizing approach to fitness.

words_maerose daniels, julia horwitz & alexie carogioiello. design_charlotte deangelis. photo_cecilia intriago.

Emerging in the exercise scene in the early 2000s, hot workouts were popularized by celebrities like Lady Gaga, Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow. Hot workouts include various exercises, from Pilates, yoga and cycling to high-intensity interval training. Depending on the facility, classes are conducted in heated environments with varying degrees of elevated temperatures, from 80 F to 105 F. The increased temperature is believed to enhance flexibility, promote detoxification through sweating and boost calorie burn.

One of the key advantages of these workouts, participants say, is that the high temperatures make muscles looser and soft tissues easier to stretch, thereby maximizing the benefits of the exercise.

“The heat helps deepen my stretches and improves my overall flexibility,” said Maddie Roh, a University of Miami freshman architecture major who has attended hot yoga classes regularly for the past six months. Roh participates in multiple types of fitness classes, including reformer Pilates, Barre and cycling. Recently, hot HIIT classes have become her favorite.

“I enjoy hot workouts more than any other workout I’ve tried because of how good they make me feel,” Roh said.

Various forms of hot exercise include

power yoga in warm studios and other programs that combine aspects of conventional exercise regimens with heat. The allure of perspiring heavily while working out has been linked to mental and physical purification, which caused the practice to gain popularity among athletes looking for more significant physical difficulties and overall health.

The cost of hot workout classes varies depending on the location and type of workout. Hot yoga sessions can differ significantly in price based on several factors, including location, studio amenities and instructor expertise. A 50-minute class, the average class time, in Miami may cost between $20 and $30.

Sofia Uddin, a UM freshman finance major, said she has always loved working out, but it was not until she started doing hot workouts that she noticed a physical and mental change.

“Not only did I start to see my body changing, but my mindset did also, and I started to enjoy working out,” said Uddin

This perspective led Uddin to pursue a career in teaching hot yoga.

“I want to give everyone else who does hot workouts in my classes the same feeling and realization that I felt when I started doing them,” said Uddin, who is now an instructor

Hot yoga can actually strengthen your immune system. The increased heat that makes you sweat allows your body’s Lymphatic system to flush out more waste and build up your immune response.

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at CorePower Yoga in downtown Brickell.

Despite being traditionally associated with women, hot yoga has grown in popularity among male students. Ben Gerkin, a UM freshman journalism major, is a regular attendee at Mimi Yoga in Wynwood.

“The heat adds an extra challenge that pushes me to my limits, and I’ve seen significant improvements in my strength since starting,” said Gerkin.

Do be warned, doctors and chiropractors say that the high heat may motivate people to push their bodies past safe boundaries in search of deeper stretches or challenging poses, raising the risk of injury.

Exercise in scorching temperatures can also cause heat exhaustion, dehydration and overheating, especially in individuals with underlying medical issues or inadequate hydration. Extended periods in extreme temperatures can also put stress on the cardiovascular system, which puts people with heart problems or hypertension at risk.

Gina Murray, a certified yoga instructor at Mimi Yoga, emphasizes the benefits of heat in promoting relaxation and stress relief during yoga sessions, but warns to students to be aware of possible side effects.

“Students need to be cautious, listen to their bodies and, most importantly, stay hydrated,” Murray said.

According to Healthline, a hot pilates studio is typically set to 95 degrees Fahrenheit with 40% humidity. While the heat is intense, it’s nothing that us Miamians aren’t already used to.

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

The three writers of this article attended a hot yoga session at Mimi Yoga in Wynwood. Here are their experiences and ratings:

Alexie: 5 Stars

My experience exceeded my expectations. I had some concerns about the heat, but I was pleasantly surprised by how it enhanced my workout. They allowed deeper stretches and increased flexibility, resulting in a genuinely invigorating fitness experience. And, heat promoted detoxification through sweating, leaving me feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Julia: 4 Stars

I found the hot yoga session at Mimi Yoga to be a transformative experience. It was only $30, which I found to be a decent price for what it was worth. Despite some initial discomfort in adjusting to the temperature, I found that it enhanced my overall well-being and workout satisfaction.

Maerose: 2 Stars

While recognizing the potential benefits of hot workouts, I struggled to acclimate to the extreme heat throughout the session. Despite my initial enthusiasm, the intensity of the head lead to discomfort and diminished enjoyment of the experience.

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SPF result disparities can be due to confounding variables such as product testing methodology. Whether participants are dry versus participants who went swimming, as the Consumer Report study indicated, may bea significant reducing factor. To combat this, the study tested the selected sunscreens in a “more realistic fashion,” more closely mimicking a regular pool day.

Bluffing Bottles

The Consumer report study found the “most problematic products were Banana Boat Kids Tear-Free, Sting-Free Lotion and CVS brand Kids Sun Lotion, which were both labeled as SPF 50 but were found to have only SPF 8.” Expecting to apply SPF 50 and only getting SPF 8 is a serious worry for all age ranges.

Children under the age of 10 are at a high risk for skin and eye damage from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, as the skin on a child’s eyelids and around their eyes is more delicate and vulnerable than adult skin. Without proper regulation and testing of products, some brands are exposing young children to future long-term issues.

Negative effects of not wearing sunscreen include “premature aging of your skin and potentially skin cancer,” said Dr. Maggie Aldousany, a professor of kinesiology and sports sciences at the University of Miami. “More sun exposure can leave dark spots and

concerned parents, doctors, or most of us have heard “don’t forget ” at least once in our lives— especially living in Miami. When any of us venture out for a beach day or a long hike, we usually never forget pack a bottle of SPF 40 in our bags to ensure we don’t end the day burnt and red as a sun-dried tomato. But do sunscreens really work as advertised, or have we

reapplying. According to Dr. Aldousany, you should reapply your sunscreen around every two hours, and if you’re swimming or sweating, it’s recommended to reapply more

Where you Wear

Each location’s unique UV exposure determines the sun’s range of possible skin damage.

“Different parts of the globe have less exposure in their ozone layer than others that allow those UVA and UVB light rays to penetrate,” Dr. Aldousany said.

With Miami located approximately 1,800 miles from the equator, the sun’s UV rays are much stronger than what most UM nonMiami natives are used to.

Dr. Aldousany herself uses SPF 50, because she assumes there might’ve been an error in the sunscreen testing process and expects to only get SPF 30 protection from her sunscreen.

According to Dr. Cameron Rokhsar, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, a good rule of thumb for sunscreen is to buy and use products that are above SPF 30.

“It does not really matter as long as sunscreen products have an SPF of at least 30,” said Dr. Rokhsar.

Moreover, as mentioned by the CNN article above, products with SPF greater than 30 provide only marginally better protection. The CNN article found that,“while SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays, SPF 50 and 100 block 98% and 99% of rays, respectively.”

Where many individuals fall short is with

While it’s generally easy to remember sunscreen when going for a run or relaxing at the beach, it’s relevant in other settings. For example: when you’re driving a car, and the sun’s rays touch your skin through a window or sunroof. Often, we don’t think about sun damage during our daily activities. However, dark pigmentation on individuals’ hands from sun exposure can accumulate over time. Even for those that don’t burn easily, the sun damages accumulate.

“[It’s] especially true of all different races and ethnicities to realize, even if you’re maybe fortunate enough not to have that immediate reaction to the sun and burn, you can still have sun damage because we know that UVA rays are linked to skin cancer,” Dr. Aldousany said.

Researching the Rays

Finding the right sunscreen is an individualized process. With varying levels of sensitivity, acne and allergies, it’s important to find what works best for you to ensure proper, authentic protection from the harmful rays of the sun.

Precautions to consider along with wearing sunscreen are protective clothing and annual dermatologist visits.

So, next time you’re out an about — whether it be for a morning of errands or an afternoon of leisure — don’t forget to put on and reapply the sunscreen you almost left at home.

And, the next time you find yourself scouring the aisles of the grocery store or the Amazon storefront, make sure to do your research and don’t simply throw any old sunscreen into your cart simply because of the SPF listed on the bottle.

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This issue’s Fashion section is about being YOU — fearlessly and unapologetically. Take the beauty salon home and save yourself some cash, crush the power of trends and put some individuality into your style and make your own jewelry that will have Tiffany and Cartier gasping for air. And as if our “Bon Voyage” section wasn’t enough, take a trip “Down South” and discover all the ways that country is the new chic. Put on your cutest fit and prepare yourself for riding in style.

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florence photo_ford

Let’s face it. Beauty maintenance is becoming a bit too expensive. When a weekly trip to the nail salon rivals the cost of your water bill, it might be time to implement some cost-effective alternatives to maintain your appearance. Whether you’re a beauty professional or a selfcare rookie, we’ve got you covered. There are some seriously savvy ways to keep yourself looking great, that won’t cost your whole paycheck. So, put that wallet away and get to work. words_kaya langley. design&photo_valeria barbaglio

Eyebrows and Eyelashes

As the old saying goes: the eyebrows frame the face. Sure, eyebrow threading is incredibly appealing, but wellgroomed brows can be achieved from the comfort of your own home. Facial razors can be used for eyebrow retouching and are easily found at general merchandise retailers and drug stores. A simple shave around the brows gives a fresh appearance. Additionally, a pair of tweezers can be used to keep your brows shaped to your liking.

University of Miami senior Jennifer Rivera loves keeping her brows groomed at home.

“I pluck my eyebrows to save money,” Rivera said. “It’s easy, and it prevents me from overspending.”

If you’re someone who needs a little extra “umph,” an eyebrow pomade is the way to go. Pomades have a thick consistently that will hold the brows in place all day. Don’t worry about refills; these tubes have a very generous amount of product that’ll last. However, it’s always a good idea to replace your product after a year or so.

If you’re looking for lash volume, mascara and lash primer will often do the trick. Drugstore mascaras are widely used by top beauty industry professionals and won’t break the bank.

If you’re natural lashes aren’t doing the trick, opt for false lashes or an eyelash serum to stimulate growth.

“A lash serum is a more permanent way to make your eyelashes fuller and longer without having to rely on mascara,” said, Kaitlyn McClintock, a beauty writer at Byrdie, a digital beauty magazine.

However, when trying lash growth serums, be aware of the some of the potential side effects. According to wellness writers Zoe Weiner and Tehrene Firman at the digital publication Well & Good, lash serums can cause hyperpigmentation around the eyes, orbital fat loss and red itchy eyes.

If you want to add some extra curl to your lashes without a lash lift treatment, purchase an eyelash curler. Sit back and be amazed at the instantaneous eyelift they give. Curl the lashes and finish with your favorite mascara.


If you find yourself in proximity to an overpriced nail salon, run the other way. If nails are a non-negotiable, try out an at-home treatment. For example, a Gel X manicure kit is equipped with all the features of an in-person nail salon.

Annie Blay, associate beauty editor at Allure, praised Gel-X.

“One of the biggest benefits of Gel-X is how easy it is to remove,” Blay said. “Gel-X’s can also better preserve the health of your natural nails.”

Professional nail tech Elizabeth Ridley also swears by this savvy tool.

“The GelX’ time for application is so much quicker,” Ridley said.

Cut the process in half while saving your coins and clip, polish and cure right from your dorm. If polish is too much of hassle, then try your hand at press on nails. A variety of styles are available and provide salon-like results for half the price.

DIY nail work might take some trial and error, but trust us, your pockets will thank you. If polish isn’t your thing,

don’t fret. A nail clipper is all you’ll need. File down those bad boys and clip away.


A basic slick back bun never hurt anyone. This hairstyle is suitable for many different hair types and textures. Plus, it requires minimal tools: a brush, hair gel and your favorite scrunchie. The beauty in a bun? It goes with everything.

For UM junior Julie Sondon, simplicity is key when it comes to athome haircare.

“Sticking to a regime and getting into a habit of using the same things, using simple good products makes it easy to keep my hair together,” said Sondon. “My go-to hairstyle is a half up, half down.”

For the all-equipped salon-style treatment, grab yourself a hair mask and your favorite hair oils and treat yourself to an at-home spa day. Glamour Magazine’s acting associate beauty director, Fiona Embleton, claims that “nourishing oils can soothe scalp inflammation, restorative oils repair dry and split ends, and some are even rumored to help prevent hair loss.”

So, the next time you’re thinking about splurging on a new do, remember that a great hair is only a few feet away.

Looking good shouldn’t burn a whole in your pocket. These thrifty beauty tricks are sure to elevate and impress, and the best part? Both you and your wallet are happy.

While beauty can be tons of fun, it’s important to shop smart and utilize efficient ways of making selfcare accessible for you. Grab your favorite beauty products and salon away.

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If you don’t know what you’re doing, watch a Youtube video as a guide. Just make sure its from somone you can trust!

Beauty School Drop Out

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True To YOU

As the fashion industry grapples with the rapid pace of social media trends, the traditional 20-year cycle of fashion appears to be fading, raising questions about the future of individuality and originality in style. Recently, originality seems to have started taking a backseat to the convenience of the fast fashion era. But is everyone now just a copycat, or are today’s it-girls and -boys just being drowned out by all the noise?

In this digital age, everything seems to be going at a break-neck pace, and fashion is no different. With the rise of fast fashion companies coupled with hyperindividualized social media algorithms, trends seem to come and go in the blink of an eye. So fast and short is it all that the traditional 20-year trend cycle has been unexpectedly defenestrated, forcing the fashion industry to try and keep up. Unlike the traditional fashion cycle, the typical microtrend lasts only one season.

We have now reached a point in fashion history where everything is “in” only for it to disappear within a few months, and aesthetics grow increasingly niche and erratic, products not of cultural influences but of algorithmic ones. Such examples include Barbiecore, quiet luxury, coastal grandmother, cottagecore, dark academia, old money and just about anything with the suffix -core attached to it. And while clothes have always been a favorite consumerist commodity, with the dawn of this new era comes the unique risk of fashion losing its cultural significance.

What’s Hot

Haute couture, a term synonymous with high fashion and a form of fashion tightly regulated by the French government, is the epitome of the expensive, impractical and artistic in the fashion world: a space where brands compete not for profits but prestige. However, many of these ateliers have shuttered in recent years — such was the fate of Balenciaga and Molyneux in 2017 — partly due to the French government’s strict rules surrounding this particular aspect of the industry. Yet while it may have been easy to dismiss these cases as just the upper echelons of the designers finally reckoning with their poor financial decisions — these kinds of Paris-based ateliers all lose money for their respective fashion houses — it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the wider struggles of the industry.

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According to fashion magazine “Glossy,” even companies like Macy’s, Saks, REI, Nike and Express have seen layoffs and significant downsizing. “Macy’s is opting to go higher and compete in the upscale retail space, rather than race to the bottom against affordable fast fashion brands,” it wrote in one article.

Indeed, the self-fulfilling cycle of fast fashion and microtrends has the potential to take a wreak irreparable harm to wellestablished companies, the environment and the creative class, as well as having the potential to redefine “fashion” for the worse. And as with many things, the pandemic only accelerated this problem.

A Fit Full of Problems

In 2021 alone, the World Economic Forum identified the fashion industry and its supply chain as the world’s thirdlargest polluter, releasing 10% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions annually and contributing 1.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It is no wonder the topic du jour has been about sustainability, though it is difficult to materialize any substantive change when the industry disruptors — think SHEIN or Temu — are the most responsible yet the least willing to take accountability.

Notwithstanding the clear and present danger this all poses to the environment and normal companies, it also creates a social problem that is less apparent: the loss of originality. Franny Collingham, a fashion sustainability expert and owner of the brand Wild Clouds, said in an interview with Vice, “microtrends encourage overconsumption when we should be future-proofing our wardrobes and not buying for the short term. Whilst shopping secondhand is better than buying new, we should be discouraging such behavior and looking for durable, versatile and trans-seasonal clothing which can be with us for years.”

However, that might be easier said than done. After all, people are constantly bombarded with post after post on social media platforms of the latest “trends,” which are oftentimes nothing more than corporations using influencers to peddle their newest products in a more targeted way. And since influencers aren’t bound to disclose what is or is not an ad, they can get away with a much more subtle approach, too. This can lead to a lot of people being, well, influenced into indulging their impulses and purchasing another article of clothing they may not need or even want beyond the short term.

Fashion Feelings

University of Miami senior Bingwei Tang says she frequently shops at fast fashion brands like Temu. “I buy a lot of cute things I like from Temu and SHEIN, and I like styling them together with my more expensive items like from La Mer. I especially like wearing lots of neutrals, especially black,” she said.

“I’m always hearing about climate change, and I’m pretty worried about it, although I didn’t know fashion was such a problem.”

Miu Matsumoto, a UM junior exchange student, has a similar opinion. “I regularly purchase from fast fashion brands such as H&M and ZARA. Actually, I think microtrends increases people’s originality,” Matsumoto said.

When asked about the environmental impact, Matsumoto responded, “the impacts don’t concern me. I know that fast fashion is causing air pollution and other environmental problems, but I don’t care because I can buy clothes cheaply.”

Fashion designer and past Project Runway contestant Fäde Zu Grau thinks microtrends promote originality, on the other hand.

“That everybody can be part of setting a trend now is actually promoting originality, not killing it, in my opinion,” Zu Grau said. “It’s no longer up to just a few industry players and, therefore, we’re exposed to a much broader variety of creations, which is great. Where I see a problem with fashion microtrends is that they will heighten the pressure for everybody involved and the environment will suffer.”

Zu Grau sees flaws in the way that the fashion industry handles the issue of sustainability, mainly because of the nature of “constantly needing something new.”

“The industry itself is not promoting sustainability, in my opinion. It’s a couple of fashion brands and individual clothes makers that try to make a difference in producing more environmentally friendly. But the basic concept of ‘constantly something new’ is the problem,” said Zu Grau. “I rework my whole wardrobe every couple of years. That way I constantly have something ‘new’ without spending much money, time or resources on it; nobody even notices. I would love to see this becoming a huge part of fashion in the future.”

So, while microtrends offer the convenience of fitting into a prefabricated aesthetic and vibe, the negative consequences severely outweigh the perceived benefits. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with indulging in items that make you feel happy and comfortable, but it’s important to be conscious of what you’re buying.

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Over the past few years, Southern culture has taken Gen Z by storm. From Bama Rush outfit videos blowing up on TikTok a few years ago to Beyoncé topping the charts with her country album “Cowboy Carter” this year, no one can deny the South has permeated fashion, music and many other facets of pop culture. This may not be Texas, but your outfits sure can be ready for a real life hoedown

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words_andrew mccleskey. design_ marita gavioti. photo_sharron lou


To make sure your boots are properly styled, a pair of wide-legged jeans or a denim skirt is a must. Any wash of denim works for the most part, but we recommend a light or dark blue hue to achieve the quintessential Southern look. Bell bottom jeans or another flared variant will add movement and extra shape to your outfit, but straight leg cuts also work well — especially for those of you a little scared to dive head first into the extravagance of the bell bottom.


To finish off the bottom half of your outfit, you should consider rocking a leather belt with a chunky and flashy buckle: the bigger belt buckle, the better. Belt buckles make for great accent pieces and can bring additional textures to your outfit. You can also find belt buckles with elaborate patterns and designs that can let your personality shine through in the tiniest of details.

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When anyone thinks of Southern fashion staple pieces, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Cowboy hats. However, you shouldn’t just run to your local Party City or hop online to Amazon, buy the first cowboy hat you see and throw it on with any old outfit — unless you’re buying a bedazzled pink cowboy hat for a themed house party. For cowboy hats that are durable and high quality, head to a Bass Pro Shops, Cavender’s or a local Western store. Go for neutral colors such as beige, black or dark brown that will go with everything. When styling, color matching is the key to making sure the hat doesn’t look just plopped on your head for the hell of it.


To tie it all together, anything leather will bring that extra umph to your wardrobe. In fact, some people go as far as wearing nearly all leather from head to toe to tie everything together. However, considering the infamous South Florida humidity, that might not be ideal. You can sprinkle leather into any outfit by purchasing tops and bottoms with leather accents.

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Now that you’ve got the waist-down figured out, it’s time to move to the top half of your outfit. Casual button downs, blouses or vests are usually the way to go, but the key is sporting a dynamic and fun pattern. Flowers, embroidery, geometric shapes or stripes with color are a great way to add even more color to your outfit. If you really want to go the extra mile to achieve the Southern look, anything with fringe will do the trick.


For those of you that don’t automatically think of cowboy hats when you hear the term Southern fashion, you’re more than likely picturing a pair of cowboy boots. Although a nice pair of cowboy boots can run you hundreds or even thousands of dollars, you can always head to a local boutique or thrift store and get a pair for a fraction of the cost. The most popular cowboy boots are usually white, black or brown but don’t be afraid to spice up your outfit and rock a pair of colorful boots to spice up your look. Even if you’re not rocking a Southern get up from head to toe, cowboy boots are a great staple piece to add some flare to your wardrobe for any occasion.

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Acouple years ago, while the world was locked inside their homes, there was an unsurprising resurgence in DIY hobbies. From artistic outlets like knitting and embroidery, to home-made looks like the butterfly haircut, people found comfort in expressing themselves with simple at-home projects. Now, in 2024, more and more people are rocking their handmade jewelry looks.

Chances are, you know more than one person who makes their own accessories. Madison Dantes, a senior criminology major at the University of Miami, is one student who recently got into this hobby. What drew her in was the accessibility of handmade jewelry. Materials and learning resources are easy to come by and don’t require too much commitment, especially for a busy college student.

“I just wanted a creative outlet that I had been missing in college,” Dantes said. Inspired by a book she found about repurposing jewelry, Dantes began going to estate sales, thrift stores and garage sales on the hunt for stylish pieces. Now, she uses her finds as well as old jewelry she already has on hand to create something new out of something old.

sustainability or a post-pandemic era return to homemade crafts, DIY jewelry is super hot right Friendship bracelets and mosaic necklaces are just a few of the ways everyday fashion lovers have been adding a personal touch to their style. If you want a break from the cheap trends of fast fashion accessories, this might be your sign to buy some beads, charms and chains, and let your creativity flow.

words_jay moyer. photos_marra finkelstien. design_sal puma.

Dantes also credited Pinterest and YouTube as places of inspiration. “I think the internet was a big part in me teaching myself a new skill,” Dantes said. Because of this, anyone with an internet connection and a little time on their hands can get started. Websites like Etsy and Depop are also great ways to get your creations out there in the world, if you want to turn them into a little bit of profit.

Not only is DIY jewelry easy for anyone to get into, it’s also a sustainable way to upgrade your look. It’s hard to be a mindful consumer in this day and age. Especially with retailers like SHEIN having such a chokehold on young shoppers, it can be hard to even know where your fashion commodities are coming from and who’s putting in the labor for them.

Purchasing cheap jewelry from fastfashion retailers comes with the price of ethical doubts and a loss of authentic quality. “I think now with fast fashion, it’s very easy to put out a bunch of copies of stuff that’s going to tarnish right away, and it’s not really worth the investment,” Dantes said.

As someone who tries to be more environmentally conscious, Dantes is all for thrifting and DIY. Like many shoppers, Dantes finds these outlets to be a refreshing

change of pace from the mass-produced style of ready-made generic clothing. “I can find things thrifting that match my personal style more,” Dantes said.

To anybody trying to practice sustainability, Dantes recommends not buying anything you aren’t truly set on. Taking the time to find long-lasting materials, especially when you can add a personal touch, will save big bucks in the long run and leave you with a wardrobe that feels fully you.

DIY jewelry also offers an outlet to unapologetically express yourself and connect with others. Think back to when you were in elementary school, when friendship bracelets and Rainbow Loom were all the rage. More recently, you may have seen flocks of “Swifties” exchanging themed friendship bracelets at the Eras Tour shows, a callback to those childhood recess days. With fun accessories like these, people share something small but meaningful about themselves.

Ella Pelligra, a UM freshman majoring in vocal performance, describes how making jewelry connects her to the people around her, starting with her family. She credits her mom, who she calls “a very crafty person,” for encouraging her to make her own jewelry from a young age.

“[Our family is] part Italian, and I remember everyone around me always wearing the mosaic tiles and glass art, which is really common in Italy,” Pelligra said. She uses her creativity to make accessories that remind her of her family, often working in tandem with her mom. To her, jewelry is a way to carry pieces of childhood nostalgia around anywhere she goes.

Pelligra doesn’t only make jewelry for herself. Her pieces also make for long-lasting sentimental souvenirs. As a graduation gift, she took a piece off of her best friend’s favorite tree, encased it in resin and made it into a necklace.

Clearly, making your own jewelry can do so much more than just elevate your style. If you want to make a positive change while saving some pocket change, it’s never a bad idea to exercise your creativity with this little craft.

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