Orange and Blue magazine - Fall 2020 - The Love/Hate Issue

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In This Issue Front and Back Cover Credit Modeling done by Amonn Mitchell Makeup done by Quanteria Wiseman Photography done by Alexa Spicer

Mental/Wellness 6

New Year's Resolutions: Why We Have Them and Why They Fail


Social Media in a Digital World


Living with Misophonia: The Hatred of Sounds


Your Body is Not Your Enemy


How to Age Beautifully


BS Stands for Best Self


Get Your Life Together - One Book at a Time


The Stress of Being Home for the Holidays


Changing Catittudes and Purrceptions


The Duality of Our Memories


Local Passions Become Rewarding Businesses

Relationships & Sex 23

How Do You Show Your Love? A Quick Look at the Five Love Languages


Pillow Talk Might Just Save Your Relationship


Beginner's Guide to Astrological Compatibility


Sex in the Aftermath of Trauma


Dates: The Best of Times or the Worst of Times


The Best Love Songs As Told by Gainesville DJs


Chains and Whips and Ropes, Oh My!


Community & Culture 33

The Love/Hate Relationship Between Gainesville and its Residents


The Love of the Game


Gender-Fluid Fashion: Breaking Social Constructs and Loving Yourself


Behind the App: What's the Human Cost of Delivering Groceries to Your Door?


From Truck to Table: How A Love for Arepas Became A Success Story


A Vegan Diet and its Misconceptions


How Well-Loved Clothes Can Find a New Home


Most Hated Fashion Trends From This Year


Do Tattoos Affect Your Professionalism?


Home Sweet Earth: The Gainesville Guide to Loving Our Planet


From Kitchen to Co-Owner, Meet Mark Rodriguez of Satch²

Family & Home 49

Another Man's Treasure


Season's Eatings


How Your Plants Want to be Loved


Best "Swept" Maid Secrets, for Those Who Hate Cleaning


A House Divided: How Sisters at Rival Schools Overcome the Hate


Quiz: Discover Your Design Style

Letter From the Editors


Life as we know it has completely transformed. For the first time ever, our team went into producing the Orange and Blue Magazine being fully remote. When we entered our first Zoom meeting a few months ago, none of us knew what to expect. What has transpired, has been an avid collective effort to bridge the distance between us, while pooling our creative talents to compile a magazine that can hopefully take your mind off things for a little while. It’s been a rewarding experience working alongside such a talented group of peer journalists under the guidance of Nicole Irving. One of the toughest decisions we had to make was the theme of the magazine; we toyed around with many different possibilities. After brainstorming for a few weeks, we ended up with over 130 different ideas.

We playfully considered the theme “unprecedented:” a word that has quickly become one of the most prevalent adjectives this year. On the other hand, it is also a word that has grown tiresome. Everyone seemed to be sick of hearing it, just as everyone was also sick of hearing about the pandemic and the chaos it has left in its wake. We wanted to take on a fresh, new angle. Create a magazine that would engage, uplift and encourage. We tossed around themes like “innovation,” “evolve,” “adapt,” and “hope” to try and recognize all of the ways we have learned to persevere through this difficult period of change. We

thought a theme like “comeback,” though inspiring, felt too premature since we cannot dismiss all that is happening in the world right now. A global pandemic. Social unrest and inequality. Environmental disasters like flooding and fires. A monumental election.

As journalists, it’s our duty to shed light on the truth, as hard as it can be to hear sometimes. But, as human beings, we also want to focus on humanity, form a sense of community and instill hope in others. We were torn. How can we reflect both the light and dark in life? We realized we didn’t have to choose between the two. We thought that, in a world characterized by highs and lows, good and bad, the theme “love/hate” would capture a little of the duality that we’re all feeling lately. Love and hate are sometimes thought of as strong words. Sometimes they’re used casually or thrown around jokingly without much depth. Sometimes they have the power to build up or destroy someone’s entire world. In this issue, we wanted to explore both the more serious and lighter topics associated with each. We hope that within these pages you’ll be able to find something you can relate to. Maybe you’ll laugh, be inspired or even just learn something new. Whatever your takeaway is, we thank you for letting our little magazine become a part of your day.

Thank you to our advisers Nicole Irving, Diane McFarlin, Ted Spiker, Spiro Kiousis, Hal Herman, Martha Collada and Cally House. Orange and Blue is published semiannually by the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications students enrolled in Applied Magazines. This issue was printed by Publications Printers. Copyright 2020. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or transmitted in any means without written permission. Orange and Blue is protected through trademark registration in the United States. Send letters to Box 118400 College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.


Meet the Staff


Lia DiPaolo

Kala Parkinson

Editor in Chief

Editor in Chief

Mari Acosta

Rhianna Liuzzo

Mia Marks

Copy Editor

Copy Editor

Copy Editor

Alexa Spicer

Makenna Young

Sarah DeVoe

Photo Editor

Photo Editor


Rachel Kutcher

Taylor Martin

Michaela Mulligan

Blog Editor

Blog Editor

Social Media Editor

Madison Black

Lamar Mitchell

Marketing Director

Video Marketing Director

Photographs by Madison Artzt, Lia DiPaolo, Madison Black and Alexa Spicer



New Year's Resolutions: Why We Have Them and Why They Fail By Lia DiPaolo Photograph by Lia DiPaolo “It’s the promise of change in 12 blank calendar pages, or in the two seconds when the ball drops on the TV and everyone around you clinks glasses, a toast to a switch we’ve all decided to flip together,” Julie Beck, from the Atlantic, wrote. This is also known as the “fresh start effect,” the idea that people are more committed to pursuing goals after these landmark moments. But, “A fresh start is only fresh while you’re anticipating it. Once the New Year begins, it’s no longer special.” So, if we’re determined to make them, why is it so hard to stick to them? Kimberly Elkin, a psychotherapist working with clients in Gainesville, shares five of the most likely reasons based on research from the Statistic Brain Research Institute:

With the dawn of a new year upon us, the world clings to the hope that 2021 will make up for the catastrophe that the coronavirus has left in its wake. But just because the clock strikes midnight on January 1, does not mean that everything will be made whole and new again. Still, the age-old practice of setting goals for self-improvement on New Year’s remains as steadfast as ever since its ancient origins. Time magazine reveals how this tradition dates back 4,000 years to the ancient Babylonians. At the start of each year, they made promises to the gods to pay back their debts or return anything they’ve borrowed, lest they fall out of favor with them. Today, instead of making promises to the gods, people make promises to themselves—pledging to get healthier, quit smoking, lose weight or save money.

VAGUE, LOFTY RESOLUTIONS “Eat healthier” and “worry less,” are not measurable objectives. Until you make specific, tangible goals, you cannot achieve them; i.e., eating two fruits daily or setting aside 10 minutes for mediation every day, she said. THEY’RE TOO OVERWHELMING We often overwhelm ourselves by focusing on substantial changes down the road rather than on small changes right now, Elkin said. “Setting broad goals allows you to criticize yourself twice—once when you determine the thing that’s wrong, and then again when you fail to fix it,” Beck said. NOT READY TO CHANGE YOUR HABITS This one has to do more with habits and less about willpower. “Conscious willpower is not the driving force behind sustained behavior change,” Vedantam said. “Dismantling bad ones and building new ones are.”

But it seems that the only reliable thing about creating resolutions is the inevitable reality of breaking them. Research from the National Center for Biotechnology Information shows that while about 45% of Americans make resolutions, only 8% are actually successful in achieving them. With a record like that, the question then begs: Why do we make them in the first place?

DOING IT ALONE Most people who make a resolution alone end up not following it, Elkin said. If you have a group of friends or people with similar interests and make resolutions together, you are all committed toward the same goal and are more determined to accomplish them.

The start of a new month, a new week or a birthday, all serve as what Shankar Vedantam, a social science researcher for NPR, calls “temporal landmarks,” marking an opportunity to transition to a shinier, newer version of ourselves. Take losing weight, for example, a common resolution. Anyone can choose to do this at any time of the year. But what’s interesting is that Google searches for the word “diet” go up at the start of each new year, Vedantam said.

THE WORD “RESOLUTION” ITSELF Another problem is the psychology behind the word ‘resolution.’ It’s a strong, demanding word that screams “I must!” leaving no room for failure, she said. But failure is inevitable, and this only leads to disappointment. Therefore, resolutions should be approached as “SMART” goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timebound, Elkin said. This year, instead of making a laundry list of vague, unattainable resolutions, make a smart one.


Social Media in a Digital World By Mia Marks Photograph by Lia DiPaolo Online classes all day. Homework/studying an additional five hours. The occasional Netflix break; plus, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Tik Tok updates morning through night. This is what an average student’s day consists of in a predominately virtual world. For University of Florida senior Einav Kirsh, it was simply too much. About six weeks ago, she deleted her favorite apps, Snapchat and Instagram, once she noticed her screen time becoming a problem. “All day long, I was staring at my computer for Zoom and work, and then I would stare at my phone for social media,” Kirsh said. “I just realized that my whole life is digital, and I didn’t like that.” One of the biggest paradoxes is our love/hate relationship with social media. The Cleveland Clinic compares social media use to that of drugs and alcohol—creating the same tolerance that requires more and more exposure to gain the same satisfaction. According to Digital Marketing, with roughly 3.96 billion people active on social media worldwide, it consumes, on average, two hours of Americans’ daily lives. Social media has undoubtedly led to widespread communication and dissemination of information, but the ramifications can be costly to one’s mental well-being. Licensed Gainesville counselor Jorelle Degen specializes in coping skills and mental health. “It’s important to understand that social media is designed to be addictive because more usage means more revenue,” she said.

Degen said she sees the implications of social media in her patients when confronting the root of anxiety from “an abundance of fear-based posts, online bullying or stalking, shame about ‘checking out’ so much and lack of being present with loved ones,” she said. “Some of the more devastating realities of social media is the correlation of increased social media use to an increase in youth anxiety, depression, body dysmorphia, self-harm and suicide.” When scrolling through social media, it is easy to compare oneself to the latest Instagram model or peers seemingly ahead of the curve, leading to “Imposter Syndrome:” feeling like a fraud compared to the others’ abilities. Good Therapy explains that “social media platforms allow a person to display the things they most want others to see.” Meaning, we are not exposed to our peers’ failures; we do not see the 20 “no's” they received while job hunting, just the one public “yes,” leading to feelings of inferiority. To remedy the often overwhelming implications of social media, Degen instructs her patients to be in tune with their attentions. “When you pick up your phone, take a breath and check in with how you feel,” Degen said. “What do you notice about your urges as you hold your phone? Begin to recognize the pull toward certain apps. When you put down your phone, check in with how you feel again and notice what’s different.” Since Kirsh has given up her beloved apps, she finds she has more time for hobbies off-the-screen, like reading. “I have a lot more free time,” she said. “And my screen time is way down.”


Living with Misophonia: The Hatred of Sounds By Rhianna Liuzzo Photographs by Rhianna Liuzzo

“Can you please chew with your mouth closed?” It was the bright red candy that got me. As I sat in my fourth-grade math class, determined to master the art of multiplication, all I could focus on was the bright red candy that tumbled inside my teacher’s mouth. Didn’t she know how distracting that was? How it filled me with rage that matched the candy’s tint? Still, that sucker clanked and smacked in between her cheeks, filling the void where concentration used to live with anger. I went home, pickled by the fury that boiled inside me until I could finally vent to whoever would listen. That was when my parents and I first started to figure out that something was wrong. Nobody likes it when people chew with their mouths open, but the way that it made me feel was more than that. It was downright rage, and I could no longer be oblivious to the sounds that people made when they ate. I didn’t know it at the time, but the visceral reaction I was having at such a young age toward people’s eating habits was misophonia — something that my loved ones and I didn’t know existed at the time. A gut feeling told me this was more than a pet peeve, but four years of symptoms would pass before I was diagnosed.


The National Institute of Health translates misophonia as the “hatred of sound,” a chronic condition that causes intense emotional reactions to specific sounds. In others, the sound of pens clicking or labored breathing might cause a reaction. For me, it is eating. My sister likes to tell the story of one of my frenzies that happened when I was 13. She said that I grew so livid at her eating that I threw a fork — right at her head. Similar to blacking out after a night of tequila shots, I blacked out during this ordeal. I can’t account for it at all and only know the legend of my anger that night. As I got older, my symptoms magnified. Daily, I’d dig my nails until little moon-shaped pools of blood formed on my hands, hold my breath until I was lightheaded and grind my jaw until it locked to distract from the mental pain that the sounds of eating caused me. It took everything I had not to stand up and scream profanities at my offenders, which I still daydream about doing. “No eating in class,” teachers would announce on the first day of school. This was often met with a sigh of annoyance from other students, but I was always relieved. During lunchtime, I would opt to eat wearing headphones or seek refuge in a teacher’s classroom to escape the symphonies of crunching,

smacking, crinkling and slurping. The possibility of people setting my nerves on fire started to affect my relationships. I’ve grown wary of who I eat meals with. Something meant to bring people together only drove a thick wooden stake between the people I love and myself. I’d ask a friend, “Can you chew with your mouth shut, please?” only to be met with mocking smacks, teasing slurps and jokes of, “Do you like seafood? See, food.” It would be a false statement to say I didn’t seek physical retaliation at that point. The possibility of being triggered by someone eating was amplified at home. For some reason, the people I was closest to were more likely to cause a fit. I couldn’t stomach my father’s deep, crackly voice. My mom’s daily snack of cereal that could be heard from my bedroom drove me to tears. I was determined to identify the face of evil that sat beside me at the dinner table. When I was a teen, I stumbled across a story about a woman with misophonia. Her condition held her hostage, destroyed her marriage and eventually caused her to take her life. I saw myself in her. After reading it, I finally felt I could provide some legitimacy to my condition. After being diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, I brought up the possibility of misophonia to my doctor. She said that my anxiety could worsen the condition, but no one I’ve spoken to has been sure how to approach it. The sharp teeth of misophonia will always gnaw on my earlobes. A 2017 study from Newcastle University explained the mental activity in people with misophonia. “Brain imaging revealed that people with the condition have an abnormality in the emotional control mechanism which causes their brains to go into overdrive on hearing trigger sounds,” it said. Misophonia isn’t a household name. That makes it harder to explain my condition, get help, or even be taken seriously when I ask people to be conscious of it. It’s tricky to handle these situations, like approaching a rabid dog on the street. I could either put myself through the excruciating pain, laugh along and pretend I don’t want to cry from frustration, or I could explain my condition in detail, going over the severity of what I feel and completely ruin any fun we were having. Growing up, I went with the first option. I was too scared of offending people, questioning my misophonia’s validity,

or feeling too awkward to find the right words to explain without lashing out. I speak up for myself more often now, mostly when I’m in class. My education must come before someone’s need to munch on rice cakes. I try to be sympathetic to their hunger, but my emotional capacity often reverts to primitive states before I can even gather my thoughts. I know I can leave a situation if I have to. Instead of eating family dinner at the large table in our dining room, my parents know my spot is always set up six feet away at the kitchen island. If I get up and walk out during the meal, they know it’s not personal: it’s misophonia. My coping mechanisms have evolved with me. Now, I’m always armed with headphones. I know better than to watch a quiet movie in a theater where people will be snacking on popcorn. I still have a long way to understand all of my triggers and how to handle them, but this is something I have to learn to live with. It is a part of me, and it will be a part of me for the rest of my life.


Your Body is Not Your Enemy By Sarah DeVoe Photographs by Sarah DeVoe

“My weight.” “More muscle.” “Skinnier legs, prettier face.” “Clearer skin, abs, just more tone overall.” “My stomach and my legs.” “Face structure, height and body weight.” “Everything.” These are a few of the answers given by Alachua County residents when asked what they would change about themselves. In a survey with 45 responses from both men and women, 91% said that they have struggled with body image issues either now or in the past. Similarly, 96% said that they know someone who has, or has had, body image issues. Participants were also asked how they viewed their physical appearance on a scale of one to 10. The answers ranged from one to eight, with the majority of people picking numbers six and seven. But not one of the 45 participants, including the 9% that said they didn’t have body image issues, picked a nine or a 10. The truth is, the majority of people struggle with appearance and how they view themselves. What is body image? Body image is the subjective picture or mental image of one’s own body. Body image issues refer to when a person starts viewing his/her body negatively. According to nutritional therapist Karin Kratina, these issues are prevalent in both men and women, especially in college-age students, people in southern states and people in the transgender community. However, people of all ages do suffer from body image issues. Therapist Jaclyne Smith said that as people age, they struggle with body image issues, not just regarding how they look, but how their bodies function. This is also prevalent in people with disabilities, like those with missing or malformed limbs. There are many reasons why these issues come about; “The greater the gap between what we think our body should look like, and how we perceive our body, the greater body dissatisfaction,” Smith said. What causes body image issues? Kratina and Smith said that the media and societal norms are big reasons for body image issues. Magazines, content creators and advertisers consistently project a body type that is unattainable. Additionally, western society is very accepting and persistent about dieting and weight loss


programs. “In our culture, the expectation is that everybody should look a certain way, everybody should fit into a mold,” Kratina said. “And if you’re not in that mold, and your weight is above that in any way, then you’re wrong and you should fix it.” Every day there is a new product or program promising that it’ll help users lose weight fast. This feeds into the idea that if a person’s weight isn’t the ideal number, then they have to hurry to get it there. Other causes of body image issues stem from personal life experiences. Parental influence, trauma, bullying, and mental disorders like anxiety and depression can manifest into shame for one’s own body. How can body image issues affect someone? When someone struggles with body image issues, there are many ways it can affect their life. Smith said that often times people will become anxious or depressed, along with feeling self-conscious and ashamed of their body. These feelings often take time away from other things or get in the way of experiences. Some of Smith’s clients have said that they avoid going to the beach because they don’t like the way they look in a swimsuit. Isolation and withdrawal from others are common side effects, and this causes people to miss out on their true self and true potential. “We become afraid to try things because we don’t think we’re going to measure up,” Smith said. “Or we’re afraid that people are going to judge us based on our appearance.” Kratina also pointed out more harmful effects of body image issues, such as poor boundaries, lack of ability to stand up for one’s self and sexual assault. “It’s hard to stand up for yourself when you feel bad about yourself,” Kratina said. In more extreme cases, body image issues can feed into or cause eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia and compulsive overeating. What are some ways toward body positivity? The first skill that Smith recommends is media literacy. This means being aware of what content is being absorbed and what the content means. When looking at ads, magazines and commercials, it’s important to keep in mind that these outlets are not trying to help people. Content is edited and altered to sell a product, idea or program. “The media has a pretty strong incentive to create a fictionalized world that we all want to get to,” Smith said. “But that doesn’t make it real.”

Branching out to more inclusive and varied content, while keeping in mind that media is edited, is a good way to avoid unattainable expectations and improve body positivity. Another way to increase body positivity is to be mindful of comparing yourself to others. Smith said that most people are guilty of looking at the person next to them and comparing their physical traits. “What this does is it leads to that negative association so that we’re not necessarily perceiving ourselves in reality,” Smith said. Instead of focusing on one person and making comparisons, she said to consider everyone in the room. All bodies are diverse, and the more someone is exposed to this diversity, the more positively one will think about his/her own body. Finally, Kratina said one of the ways people can move toward body positivity is by noticing the times they are judging themselves in the mirror, and shift to more positive thinking. People tend to see their body as an object that should be compared, judged and criticized. In that process, people stop thinking about all of the things their body does for them. So, instead of criticizing the body, Kratina said to thank the body for sustaining us. Additionally, Smith said people should find things they truly love about their bodies as well, even if it’s something small. “Our body is not something to be at war with,” Smith said. “Our body is really one of our greatest allies.”


How to Age Beautifully By Rachel Kutcher Photographs by Madison Artzt

Sybil, 4, feels most beautiful in her "Paw Patrol" sneakers that light up when she stomps. Sometimes she jumps around just to see them twinkle. Her mom, Katie Larson, 41, feels most beautiful after she’s finished a workout. Katie’s mom, Mary O’Connor, 68, doesn’t consider herself beautiful, but feels closest to it when she’s in the water swimming. “I do feel beautiful because I feel very good in the water, like the way I move,” O’Connor said. “I swim better than I walk, actually.” Women’s physical features are constantly subject to judgment and made to question where they fall on the scale of beauty. These judgements come from both external factors, such as the media and others around them, as well as internal judgements—not feeling like they’re enough.

These judgements begin at birth. A study published by the American Psychological Association in 1974 found that parents were more likely to describe their newborn daughters as little, beautiful and cute within the first 24 hours after birth than newborn sons. A follow up study published in 1995 showed that female newborns were said to have finer features, were less strong and more delicate than their male counterparts. Stereotypes about beauty can be damaging to the psyche of young girls and can stay with them throughout the rest of their lives. By solely focusing on their physical attributes, girls’ intellect and strength often get overlooked. A 2017 study by University of Illinois psychologist Lin Bian, found that girls as young as 6 years old are less likely than boys to believe that people of their gender are “really, really smart,” and therefore, start avoiding activities aimed at smart children. Because of this doubt cast onto women, there is an unfortunate confidence gap between the sexes. Renowned journalists Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, authors of “Womenomics,” analyzed a multitude of studies and found that women are likely to underestimate their abilities and performance. It’s universally acknowledged that confidence is an attractive trait. That’s why so many people give the advice, “Just be confident,” when going on a first date. It seems like a catch22 that women are more likely to question their beauty and their confidence. It’s important for women to take a step back and analyze why they’re doubting themselves, both in terms of beauty and ability. Once they understand why they feel that way, they can take the next steps to fix those doubts. “Usually I try to do something that will make me feel better: working out, playing water polo,” Larson said when asked what she does while feeling down about herself. “Sometimes I just tell my husband and make him compliment me. Actually, probably what I do is make fun of myself and try to forget about it. It just gives perspective. Laughing about it helps me to get away from the negatives.”


O’Connor has a similar strategy, stepping back to try to gain perspective on the situation. She likes to do calming exercises, such as deep breathing, and sit outside, enjoying the beauty around her. “You know everybody has pity parties now and then, and they can find things that are wrong with them and focus on them,” O’Connor said. “I try really hard not to do that. I try to look at the beauty that I can see in myself or that others say they see in me. Really, I try not to focus on myself. I like to focus on other people and what’s around me.” Sybil’s approach is much simpler. When she feels bad, she makes sure to halt it in its tracks. “I feel bad when my brother points toy guns at me because I feel like he’s going to shoot me in the booty-butt,” said Sybil. “I just tell him to stop.”

“I always felt like I needed to look like one of those people in the magazines that was always perfect,” O’Connor said. “In the last probably five years since I’ve retired, I’ve been able to say, ‘I’m not going to put makeup on anymore, because this is my face.’ I’m comfortable with my face, and if other people don’t think I look great that’s their problem, not mine.” In Sybil’s four years of life she’s already grown stronger. “I couldn’t pick up big boxes when I was little,” said Sybil. “Also, babies can’t climb, but I can now. I’m a good hanger.” As women age, their perceptions of beauty change. These perceptions are influenced by what they are told makes them worthy to society. If we continue to tell little girls that their physical appearance is more important than their intellect or abilities, we’ll continue to have a society of women that question both their beauty and their abilities.

The idea of simply telling the things that make us feel down to stop grows harder as they move from external factors to internal judgements. Pictures of photoshopped models in magazines and offhand remarks from others seep into women’s minds and make them question their own beauty. This can lead to even harsher consequences. A study conducted of 3,300 girls and women across 10 countries found that 67% of all women aged 15 to 64 reported that they refused to participate in “life-engaging, life-sustaining activities due to feeling badly about their looks.” Some of these activities include contributing an opinion, exercising, going to work and going to the doctor. As time passes, women are forced to confront these ideals of beauty and actively work to refute these notions. “I used to base how I felt about myself on how others reacted to me,” Larson said. “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve tried not to do that as much. I used to want to be smaller, and I definitely don’t want to get bigger, but I don’t feel the need to be any smaller. I don’t want to take up less space.” O’Connor had a similar realization: She doesn’t need to change the way she looks so that others will accept her.


BS Stands for Best Self By Sarah DeVoe Photographs by Sarah DeVoe

There are many things in life we cannot control. This year especially has had its fair share of challenges—people are stressed, uncertain and anxious. But, there are still things we can control. We can reflect upon our own lives and find what is good and what can be better, so we can put our best selves forward. But what does being your best self mean? According to clinical psychologist Dr. Rhonda Jordan, being your best self is looking at what you want for your future and identifying where you’re at right now. Jordan also said being your best self is about looking at the different areas of your life, figuring out where you’re at in those areas, and trying to make improvements in order to be content. “When you’re 90 years old, and you look back, what are you going to most be appreciative of?” Jordan said. “I think that helps us gauge what we want out of life and how to be our best selves.” Dr. Dawn O’Byrne, who practices integrative counseling, nutrition and wellness, also said that being your best self is a process of growth based heavily on attitudes of the mind. “Because that [one’s mindset] affects how you think and feel and live out your life,” O’Byrne said. Reaching your best self is often difficult because of common mindsets people have about themselves. O’Byrne said that the self-limiting mindset can be most harmful. This is when someone thinks, “This is the way I am, this is the way I’ll always be.” When people can’t seem to make changes in their life, they start to accept that there is something wrong with them, and it discourages them from trying to make


necessary changes in their life. Similarly, Jordan said that it’s difficult to reach your best self when you don’t set goals. To make changes in your life, you have to set realistic, as well as reachable goals. Without those goals, you won’t see change, and you’ll start to think that you are incapable. It’s a vicious cycle of battling the mindset, setting and keeping goals. What O’Byrne recommends is training your brain to have a growth-oriented mindset. Becoming your best self is a process of growth and development and should be viewed as such. “Even if people develop that growth mindset,” O’Byrne said, “they need to actually have a realistic idea of how long it takes.” It will take time to reach your best self, a vision that could change at any moment. This is where Jordan’s advice to set goals plays a key role. If reaching your best self is your end goal, then you should also set smaller goals to achieve along the way. Jordan suggests picking one specific thing to change at a time. Tackling too many changes at once can be overwhelming and cause people to quit before they start. Jordan also pointed out that people tend to forget their goals after they set them. Making a visual, telling supportive people, and writing your goal down are easy ways to keep your goal at the forefront of your mind.

Get Your Life Together - One Book at a Time By Lia DiPaolo Photographs by Lia DiPaolo In an unprecedented time like this, it can seem as though everything is out of our control. Everyone is doing their best to remain positive and just survive. Still, during this crazy, difficult period it may be challenging to find the strength to reach out to others for help. Seeking advice can be challenging, but it’s vital now more than ever that we learn to take care of ourselves. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. These Gainesville residents have found words of wisdom within the pages of various self-help books that they’ve shared. As far as inspirational books go, Kimberly Elkin, a psychotherapist who works with clients in Gainesville, said her number one recommendation is “Love Yourself, Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay. She said it’s a structured workbook with healing exercises to help clear a life path for us. She also recommends the “5 Second Rule” and “You are a Badass.” “Both are really incredible, motivational books,” Elkin said. Struggling with finances? “One up on Wall Street” is not just for business-savvy individuals, but anyone looking for financial advice. Garrett Ort, a student from the University of Florida, said that he took a lot away from this book. “I’m a big believer that everyone should invest, and this book helps explain how anyone can be a good stock picker by being observant of trends and the world around them,” Ort said.

There is also a plethora of self-help books to choose from. One that focuses on strengthening one’s sense of identity is “Normal People” by Sally Rooney, said Moni Basu, UF’s 20192020 Professor of the Year and former reporter at CNN. “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle, is a great read to help with selfconfidence, Marina Vasquez, 21, said. “I’m not usually one for self-help books, but I recommend all women read this. It just confirms a lot of doubts and insecurities many of us can relate to and offers a different perspective to liberating our minds and souls. It’s insightful and empowering,” Vasquez said. Some other popular books include “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck,” “Girl, Wash Your Face,” “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do” and “The Happiness Project,” said Kristen Cushen, 21, a senior at UF, who read them all. They helped her to realize what’s actually important in life and to be able to prioritize them. Although she doesn’t consider herself to be struggling, they helped her organize her life in order to optimize her productivity and success. “After applying the methods and mindset these books talk about, I found myself [a] much more well-rounded, happier and productive person,” Cushen said. While we may be limited as far as going out and doing the things we used to, this is the perfect time to turn inward and practice self-compassion. Let’s start with what we do have control over. Whether it’s reading or practicing a new hobby, do something you enjoy that makes you feel confident, strong and happy. Let’s not just learn how to survive. Let’s learn how to thrive.


The Stress of Being Home for the Holidays By Madison Black Photograph by Madison Black

The hardest part of the holiday season for Alicen Collum, a Gainesville resident, is not having a family to go home to. More times than not, the holiday season is portrayed as happy, a time for love and lots of cheer among family and friends. The image that comes to mind is of a family, sitting cheerily around a table full of food without a problem in the world. Unfortunately, the holidays are not picture perfect for everyone. For those who have difficult family situations or don’t like the holidays, the time between November 1 and January 1st can be full of stress and fatigue. In the past, Collum has spent the holidays at friends' houses. She joins in on their festivities and traditions. This year though, she’ll be spending the holidays with her fiance’s family. Spending time with in-laws adds a new type of stress to the holidays. She is grateful for all those who have opened their homes up to her, but it also makes her long for the holidays when she was younger. A study published by the American Psychological Association and conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research shows the increased stress placed on people during the holiday season. A poll conducted within the study showed 25% of participants felt fatigued often, and 68% felt fatigued over the holiday season. When dealing with stress, Collum knows it’s OK to take a moment and remove herself from the situation. The holiday season can be stressful and long, even as it celebrates joy and love.


Kyla George, a law student living in Gainesville, also knows the stress of going home well. She describes her family’s home as chaos. Of course, there are plenty of things that she and her family do that bring her joy over the holidays, but because her mom is a busybody, there is rarely time for rest. If George is already stressed and looking to relax, going home over the holidays isn’t the easiest. Gainesville means the stress of work and classes, but her family’s home means the stress of small children and constant to-dos. George’s tip is to take a moment to notice something good in a stressful situation. If you are also feeling stressed about the impending holiday season, Johns Hopkins Medicine has four ways to be mindful of your stress. First, accept imperfection. Don’t hold your holiday experience to an unreasonable standard. Second, don’t lose sight of what really counts. Is there a way to make an unpleasant moment pleasant? Third, respond with kindness. You can’t change how others act, but you can change how you respond. Finally, rethink your resolutions. The pressure you put on the start of the new year adds to the stress you feel during the holidays. If you need additional support during the holidays, visit Mental Health America’s website at for hotlines and crisis management. Even though the holiday season projects love and happiness, the season does not pass without at least some stress. It is important to take care of yourself and check your mental health no matter what holiday you celebrate.

Changing Catittudes and Purrceptions By Alexa Spicer Photograph by Alexa Spicer

There is no doubt that dogs are the more popular choice for American pet owners. According to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association in 2019, 63.4 million households own dogs compared to 42.7 million households owning cats. This leads us to the question, what do dogs have that cats don’t? Micanopy Animal Hospital’s Veterinarian Technician, Emily Collins, said that it’s possible part of the answer has to do with people’s perceptions of cat behavior. Although cats are known to be self-sufficient, Collins suggests that they still need to be trained. Dedicating the time and frequently allowing social interaction helps to develop a cat’s personality. “They reflect your behavior just like any other animal does,” Collins said. Collins believes that although cats are independent, cat owners should provide the support to develop more socially inclined behaviors. She said that much of the time, pet personality can be a combination of their past experiences. Similarly, people can form opinions based on past animal interactions, more specifically, with cats. 36-year-old Gainesville resident, Brooke Robinson, feared cats after contracting the cat-scratch disease from a kitten at her friend's house when she was 11 years old. This bacterial infection made Robinson very sick. Although she recovered, she was told that getting it again could have life-threatening consequences. Without being able to identify infected cats, her parents told her she wasn't allowed to pet cats anymore. This marked the beginning of Robinson's apprehension toward the species. Despite spending the following years being wary around cats, Robinson has opened her home to a now 6-year-old cat named Celeste. Previously an outdoor cat owned by Robinson’s neighbors, Celeste made it apparent that she would rather live with Robinson. “I did not choose my cat,” Robinson said. “My cat chose me.” Although Robinson doesn’t consider herself a cat person, she welcomed Celeste’s decision to stick around.

Experiences play a vital role in forming how we interact with the world around us and help shape the foundation of who we are. Our differing personalities guide our preferences, and Dr. Beatrice Alba believes that this can help us understand the disparity between cat and dog people. With her Ph.D. in psychology, and as a researcher in a 2015 study, the answer to this question may lie within the realm of personality preference. Alba and co-researcher Nick Haslam found that the people who classified themselves as having a preference for dogs scored higher on social dominance orientation and competitiveness. They focus on the theory that dogs are more appealing to people who have higher tendencies with dominance-related personalities. The results suggest that dogs provide a more submissive role for humans and fill that almost subconscious desire for some people. “I think that they fulfill a psychological need for people,” Alba said. The underlying reasons for a person’s pet preferences are different for everyone, and understanding cats proves complex for many. It doesn’t come as a surprise that the answer may not be as straightforward as it seems.


The Duality of Our Memories By Madison Black Photographs by Madison Black

Our memories define who we are as humans. Memories that are both good and bad make up how we view the world and affect the way we treat others. We are continually accessing the memories we hate to avoid similar situations and the memories we love to try and relive joyful moments. But which memories, positive or negative, are more accurate in our minds? A study was done in 2004 by Linda J. Levine at the University of California, Irvine and Susan Bluck at the University of Florida focused on this idea. Their study, called Painting with Broad Strokes: Happiness and the Malleability of Event Memory, looked at who was able to recall an event more accurately: those who viewed it positively or those who viewed it negatively. They used the trial of O. J. Simpson as the common event.

Levine and Bluck found that those who viewed the verdict as favorable thought they remembered the trial’s events best, while those who disagreed with the verdict remembered the trial with more accuracy. So, while most people believe they remember their positive memories better, it tends to be our negative memories that are more accurate. Two Gainesville sisters, Colleen and Sarah Courey, discussed the dichotomy of our positive and negative memories and how our individual perceptions may skew how we recall events in our lives. Sarah Courey believes that she can remember good things that happen to her the best because she focuses mainly on positive memories. On the other hand, Colleen Courey believes that negative events stick out more explicitly in her mind. Though Colleen may have been correct in thinking that she can remember negative events better, her reasoning is much more simplistic than that of the psychologists. She doesn’t get really mad or upset often, she said, so it sticks out quickly in her mind when she does.


Both sisters have memories they love and memories they hate from Gainesville. Sarah loves reminiscing about a weekend spent with friends, going to breakfast at Peach Valley and then visiting a flea market. Colleen’s favorite memories involve anime club at UF, where she met one of her best friends, and their late-night walks back to their cars. They also have strong memories they don’t like from Gainesville. Sarah hates remembering how often her car has gotten towed throughout town. Colleen’s bad memories in Gainesville often revolve around the unskilled drivers she encounters and near accidents. Nonetheless, the sisters perceive their good memories to be more specific and to have more details. True to the above study’s findings, Sarah is confident that she remembers her good weekends more accurately than getting towed. Still, according to the researchers, she might remember the details of the towing better. Though research suggests we might remember the memories we hate more accurately, a lot of the time, we would rather focus on the memories we love. While we might not be able to change how we remember the past, we can impact how we let our memories affect our future. Perhaps this can be your takeaway: Rather than putting the memories you love on a pedestal, you should appreciate what the memories you hate can teach you.

Local Passions Become Rewarding Businesses By Mia Marks Photographs by Rachel Kutcher, Mia Crisostomo and Onna Maya Meyer

“I like to bring out people’s inner goddess,” Meyer said, reflecting on the positivity her skills can spread. “I have a way of capturing [their] higher frequencies.” It often feels as though we are stuck in corporate America, that our passions are hobbies, not opportunities. We live to work, rather than work to live. University of Florida senior Mia Crisostomo, 21, decided to take a different path after spending a year on the pre-med track. Instead, she chose to follow her gut while reverting to beloved childhood hobbies. “I read this book called ‘Mastery,’ [by Robert Greene] and it said, ‘if you want to find what you are passionate about, think of what you did when you were young,’” Crisostomo said. ‘“What you did for fun before anyone was telling you what to do.”’

She’ll leave them sprinkled throughout the grass. A simple circle of joy for kids while their parents are absorbed by the fresh produce at the local farmers market. Not a care in the world, children come and go, all equally fascinated, some perplexed, by this bright round ring.

Since she was nine years old, Crisostomo has been sewing and repurposing used fabrics to transform into new creations. Like many other students in high school, Crisostomo’s passions fell second to the pressures of academic achievement. She started sewing again throughout her first year of college, and interest from her peers and the community picked up. So, she made the intuitive decision to change her major to marketing and sustainability studies and launched her brand, “Redefined Goods.”

Onna Maya Meyer didn’t have a hula hoop growing up, but one swing around her hips at Tennessee’s Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in 2007, and she was forever hooked. So much so that she started handcrafting and selling them. Some know Meyer for the self-cleaning service she founded 25 years ago, but those who are lucky enough to experience her artistic side — her gift as she likes to refer to it — can take part in Meyer’s photography, videography or be adorned by her latest (and quick-selling) piece of jewelry. “Onna Maya” translates to “Rising Sun,” a name now given to Meyer’s feel-good earrings. Jewelry making used to be one of Meyer’s favorite hobbies; twenty years after she gave it up, Meyer decided it was time to return to her passion. Now, she posts her latest creations on her Instagram page, “Rising Sun Native Beads,” and her intricate designs sell immediately. Seeing the success and support for these pieces has inspired her to branch into other types of jewelry design. Her next adventure: necklaces. She is also eager to empower others through imagery, specializing in maternity and band photography/videography.


According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, “the most effective way to reduce waste is not to create it in the first place.” Crisostomo has been thrifting her whole life. Her parents moved to America from the Philippines and taught her to see the value in used goods not many developed nations must rely on. “Sustainability is a privilege to think about,” Crisostomo said, reflecting on her upbringing. Specializing in bucket hats and tote bags, she takes these used fabrics and creates something unrecognizable and entirely unique while simultaneously reducing the impact of fast fashion — a $2.5 trillion industry and second leading pollutant, only behind oil, according to Battered Women’s Support Services. Crisostomo’s goods can be found online and at Life Unplastic in Gainesville. Crisostomo will be graduating from UF in May 2021. She plans to pursue her yoga certification and Redefined Goods full time, as well as branch deeper into stores and art markets. “It’s nice to be able to create this environment

where a bunch of people can come and sell and enjoy art with food and live music,” Crisostomo said. She has also partnered with the local brand Opus Coffee, repurposing its old burlap coffee bags to transform into fashionable totes. Owned by Tim and Bret Larson, 40 and 38, Opus Coffee began as a small stand inside UF Health. The two brothers started working at a coffee shop together in high school at the South Miami Hospital. “One day, we looked at ourselves during the morning rush,” Tim Larson remembered. “Bret was on the register, I was making drinks, and we both just said, ‘We could do this ourselves.’” Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs, the brothers always knew they wanted to have a business of their own someday. They researched the largest hospitals in the state and, in the year 2000, journeyed on a road trip, pitching their coffee plan in hopes any hospital would bite. Fortunately for them, at this time, UF Health was seeking a coffee addition to its Shands Hospital, and the fit seemed right. So, the two packed all their stuff in a U-Haul and moved to Gainesville at the ages of 20 and 21. Building their brand from the ground up, Tim Larson fondly recalls the exciting adventure and growth process. He and his brother worked tirelessly, tackling everything from physical labor to strategic business planning. “I remember my parents seeing the coffee shop for the first time,” he said. “I couldn’t be more proud to show it to them.” Nearly 20 years later, Opus Coffee has eight locations, including two separate from UF Health near the university’s Innovation Hub and Fourth Avenue Food Park. It is Tim Larson’s goal to branch into real estate as well. The brothers currently own the Food Park and plan to expand this business model to a different city. While some of their other locations decreased in sales due to the pandemic, Opus Coffee Airstream at the Food Park tripled, Tim Larson said. He believes outdoor, welcoming food parks are the future and encourages others to follow their passions into the business world. “Do what it takes,” he said. “Just find a way.”


Relationships & Sex


Photographs by Rachel Kutcher, Lamar Mitchell, Michaela Mulligan and Taylor Martin


How Do You Show Your Love? A Quick Look at the Five Love Languages By Mia Marks Photograph by Mia Marks We’ve all been there, frustrated by our partner’s lack of attention or ignorance of signs we think we are so obviously putting forth. “I told him I like flowers, so why doesn’t he ever bring any home?” Sound familiar? Well, it turns out we are all just speaking different languages. Words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch are the five main love languages first proposed by marriage counselor Gary Chapman in his book “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts.” It is not uncommon for individuals to prefer more than one method, but the challenge becomes breaking out of your love language and opening yourself up to that of your partner’s. Licensed marriage and family therapist Amber Tucker services couples in the Gainesville area where she utilizes these languages to get partners to think about the other’s needs. “It’s a jumping-off point,” Tucker said. “The appetizer, dinner rolls if you will, to begin diving into the deeper connection—the meat and potatoes.”

She begins couples counseling by placing a can of beans equidistance between two partners. They have 10 seconds to each jot down details about the can from where they are sitting. At the end of the 10 seconds, both points of view are correct, yet incomplete without the other’s opposing perspective. “There’s more to the story than what you see,” Cohen said. “It’s what your partner is seeing and how differently they see the same thing. It’s about how to get to your partner’s side of the can of beans.” While everyone’s love language is slightly different, molded by past experiences, it is important to pay attention to specific emotional bids: verbal/nonverbal attempts at connecting. “Turn your antenna out,” Tucker said. “It is easy to take a partner’s bids for granted, so acknowledge them and turn toward [these behaviors] instead of rejecting them.”

Take the online quiz at to determine your preferred love language. Perhaps you’ll find you lean toward words of affirmation, feeling loved when you receive verbal compliments or encouragements. Or when your partner initiates acts of service—helpful, supportive tasks that you didn’t have to ask for. Maybe you perceive love by receiving gifts, something your partner saw and bought or made with you in mind. Not materialistic in nature; simply responses to thoughtful gestures. Leif Stringer, a certified trainer in nonviolent communication and local relationship counselor, said that quality time is the most problematic when absent in a partnership. The focus here is not just being around one another, but invested, void of distractions. According to Bhakti Cohen, a private practitioner of marriage and family therapy in the Gainesville community, physical touch can mean different things to different people. For example, holding hands may be meaningful to one partner while the other finds comfort in kissing. For this reason, Cohen stresses the need for open-mindedness and communication, as these are essential for understanding variances.


Pillow Talk Might Just Save Your Relationship By Taylor Martin Photograph by Taylor Martin

What happens on the pillow doesn’t necessarily stay on the pillow. Those little post-sex conversations, aka “pillow talk” sessions, are for more than figuring out what went well in bed and what maybe didn’t. And they could even help when more difficult relationship discussions arise in the future. A study from the Communication Monographs journal looked into the effects of pillow talk and found that it might help strengthen a relationship over time. “When partners engage in positive behaviors with one another aimed at maintaining the relationship, they build up a sort of emotional bank,” Dr. Amanda Denes, an associate professor at the University of Connecticut who has studied pillow talk since 2010, said in an interview. Positive behaviors can mean talking affectionately or cuddling after sex, kissing while passing in the hallway or saying “I love you” when waking up in the morning. “Couples who employ these behaviors and establish more ‘emotional reserves’ turn toward one another, rather than away from one another, during difficult times,” she said. In one study Denes helped create, 50 women and 50 men in committed, heterosexual relationships were split into two groups: one group would double their amount of pillow talk and the other would continue as normal. The results showed that the men in the study felt greater satisfaction in their relationship when their amount of pillow talk was increased; however, the women didn’t quite feel the same.


“We wonder whether some women did not find the increased pillow talk necessary because they are already disclosing and doing emotional labor in their relationships,” she said. Denes and her collaborators reasoned that with current gender norms, women are already expected to maintain their relationships without increasing the amount of time spent on pillow talk. When in a severe discussion with their partners, men who had engaged in more pillow talk ultimately had lower levels of cortisol — the stress hormone. Women who had also engaged in more pillow talk didn’t show any similar changes. An anonymous poll posted to the Gainesville Word of Mouth Facebook page and the UF Class of 2021 Facebook page asked for the community’s input. It showed that 65% of the 34 respondents felt closer to their partner and were more satisfied in their relationship after pillow talk. Most responders engaged in pillow talk at least one or two times per week, and over 60% said they cuddled after sex. When asked if they would prefer more pillow talk in their relationship, about 67% of women said yes and 50% of men agreed. Pierce Imperialbobis, a senior at the University of Florida, said, “It’s almost a reflex to check our phones after, so we usually end up watching funny videos or food reviews together.” She said for them, it’s wholesome and easy bonding. While partners may not feel immediate results from talking after sex, the relationship maintenance done then could show itself during a much less enjoyable conversation later.

Beginner's Guide to Astrological Compatibility By Kala Parkinson Photograph by Kala Parkinson You may know all about how you’re a Pisces or Libra. You may devotedly check your horoscope, and you may even complain when Mercury is in retrograde. Or, you think it’s all nonsense. For some, though, it can be fascinating to delve into what the stars have in store. I spoke with Gainesville professional astrologer Michelle Gould to talk romantic compatibility – and let’s be real, who hasn’t felt lost in love before? She offered insight into how astrology can help us navigate relationships. Traditionally, each sign is compatible with certain other signs. But, it’s not as easy as picking someone born a certain month, Gould said. “People should understand that astrological compatibility can’t be distilled and defined, and by that, I mean you can’t say you’re an Aries, so you should date a Leo – it’s not quite that simple. We’re complex beings, and our birth sign, which is shared by almost everyone born the same month as you, does not capture that complexity.” Gould suggests looking instead at the people who are already big parts of your life. If you look at your circle of friends and family, you’ll likely notice you gravitate to a lot of the same signs, and that’s for a reason, she said. Those are the people that complement your personality. Gould understands that astrology doesn’t make sense to some. “They’re just being rational,” she said. “They go: ‘Millions of people have my sun sign, and this can’t describe everyone.’” Astrology isn’t just about your sun sign, though — which is the sign that most people are familiar with. Your birth chart maps the skies at the moment you’re born, and this includes several different planets, celestial bodies and other aspects, Gould said. So, when you’re evaluating your compatibility with somebody, you’re not just looking at it through the lens of their sun sign. There is much more to each of us, and the entire birth chart better encompasses this individual uniqueness. For example, if you’re an Aquarius and you find yourself constantly drawn to Cancers, there is probably a placement in your birth chart in Cancer, or that is harmonious with Cancer, Gould said.

“Every person’s a little bit like a kaleidoscope,” she said. A good place to start when analyzing your birth chart for romantic compatibility is checking your sun sign, moon sign and rising sign, as well as your Venus and Mars for sexual compatibility, she said. “Astrology can provide insight into where people kind of naturally fall in sync with each other or where they’re prone to conflict, and for that reason, it’s a really valuable tool,” Gould said. It can help you to understand your communication style and how to relate to others, she continued. But it’s not the be-allend-all of connection. Insecurities and fear of commitment will still hinder romance, and each person still has to work at the relationship, she added. “It’s a tool. It’s not a magic wand,” Gould said. “You still come to the relationship with your own self-development and your own self-awareness. Astrology shows you potential, but there’s still free will here — it’s still up to you.”


Sex in the Aftermath of Trauma By Michaela Mulligan Photographs by Michaela Mulligan

Lying in bed next to someone. Looking up at a ceiling fan. Dark lighting. These are all triggers for Ryan Ealy. They all bring him back to the night of his sexual assault. Sex is something Ealy had enjoyed before his trauma that occurred in 2019 during his freshman year at the University of Florida. But now, as a sexually active gay man, triggers that set off his anxiety are everywhere. Being close to someone, or being held by someone, can seem like just a few anxiety triggers. Ealy said in those moments, when he feels trapped, his trauma comes back to him. “I get really, really anxious, and I’m afraid of what they’ll do or if I could trust them,” Ealy said. “It was hard with my trauma because it was with someone I trusted. It was someone I’d been talking to for months.” Ealy had been under the influence that night. He told his assaulter “no,” but they wouldn’t stop. He said that he was numb and couldn’t move his body. Ealy could see and hear, but he was stuck. To this day, Ealy can’t be with another partner while under the influence. According to the National Institute of Justice, 85 to 90% of college women are raped by someone they know. For Ealy, a gay man, the statistic does not apply, however, he trusted and knew his assaulter. “It was hard for me to enjoy sex because I felt almost smothered by people,” Ealy said. “And now I’ve had this love hate relationship with sex for many, many months.” When Ealy was coming to terms with his trauma, he used caution while talking to new men. Ealy said he often felt unsafe because with each new partner, he’d have to open up about his past trauma. He worried they would judge him. “Some people took it weird,” Ealy said. “You know, a lot of guys didn’t really understand it, or were not as comforting as I thought they’d be.” Ealy said some partners were more understanding and patient with him. He slowly became accustomed to being intimate with new partners. But like any road to recovery, it is a process. After being hesitant right after his assault, Ealy chose to then dive headfirst into sex. He had sex with multiple men, thinking the more partners he had, the more comfortable he’d be with sex and himself.


In a study by the University of Chicago, “Navigating Sex and Sexuality After Sexual Assault,” researchers found that survivors of sexual assault often engage with sex differently after their assault. One way is to have more sexual partners. The study describes this coping mechanism as a way “to feel in control of [the survivor’s] recovery.” To engage in more sex is a way for some survivors, like Ealy, to take back their bodily autonomy. But it didn’t seem right to him. “I don’t think it ever really helped, I still got really nervous or anxious, especially afterwards,” Ealy said. “I kind of went into sex thinking if I had it, I’d feel more comfortable. But then I just felt super traumatized afterwards.” Ealy said it was hard for him to enjoy sex. He spent most of the time anxious. He was trying to please other people, while also trying to help himself. He was walking a fine line, and his balance was slipping.

like a hurdle to overcome. Ealy said that his discomfort with sex is not true for everyone. People with trauma respond to it differently. As a man, Ealy said it is taboo to talk about sexual assault, especially if it happens to you. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, one in every 10 rape victims are male. Ealy said he doesn’t see as many male survivors as female survivors come forward. But he knows that there are many men who are victims of sexual assault. Ealy said he wants to make it clear any survivor is not alone in what they’ve experienced. He knows what it’s like. “As a gay man with trauma, you know, people respond to it differently,” Ealy said. “If you’re a survivor, tell your friend and tell people that you’re close with… because that’s not something you should live with on your own.”

Ealy said that what truly helped him throughout his journey, overcoming his trauma and battling his feelings about sex, was opening up to friends. After the night of his assault, the need to talk about it was eating at him. Ealy told his friends about the assault the night after. They are the ones who have helped him come to terms with his sexual trauma, and that is why he wants to tell his story. It’s how he’s been able to make strides in his recovery. “I guess coming to terms with it was just telling my friends - I needed to tell someone about it.” Ealy said. “I still get anxious about… telling other people just because it’s hard for me process it, because I kind of almost block it out of my mind.” Ealy thinks the best way for him to overcome his trauma is to find people he can trust. He feels most comfortable when he’s able to set boundaries. When he came to terms with his assault and began to open up about it, his healing began. “I didn’t come out publicly about it on social media till maybe a few months ago,” Ealy said. “When I did, I was met with a lot of love and compassion from my friends. They were really understanding.” Ealy has centered his road to recovery around finding people that he can set his own pace with, and who will go slow with him. Explaining he’s a survivor with boundaries is how he gauges who he can and cannot trust. People with sexual trauma are not always going to feel discomfort from sex. Sex can express love or lust but, understandably, it can also feel


Dates: The Best of Times or the Worst of Times By Lamar Mitchell Photograph by Lamar Mitchell

Dates are often a defining moment in a relationship. If the date goes well, the chances of a second date are significantly higher than if the date ends in awkward silence. I have experienced my own share of best and worst dates, including my date’s complete lack of focus or her audacity to show up hours late. Individuals were asked to recall and share their best and worst date experiences.

letter revealing a location and a blindfold. Clarke was led by Valerez to a picnic with her favorite foods and drinks. The date went even better than planned, so he asked her out again, and she said yes. On this second date, he asked her to be his girlfriend. They’ve been dating ever since. “[This date was] an everlasting experience with the woman I hope to spend the rest of my life with,” Valerez said reminiscing.

Before her 25th birthday, Tondrea Haddly had no idea that her life would change in a matter of days. Haddly, 29, graduated from the University of Florida and finished her graduate degree, yet felt unfulfilled in her life. Her boyfriend at the time, Lavonte David, left her gifts “just because” including bathing suits and tropical cards that hinted toward a big surprise. They were dating for over five years, and Haddly knew that a getaway trip may end in the question many girls dream of one day being asked. She woke up to a card lying next to her bed with a note that read: “I’ve loved you from the day we met, and I can’t wait to see the look on your face later on. Pack your bags and meet me at the airport in three hours.” Haddly’s boyfriend surprised her with a week-long vacation to St. Lucia. He planned a beautiful candlelit dinner on the beach featuring fantastic food and conversations about their future together. David then got down on one knee and asked Haddly to spend the rest of their lives together as husband and wife. Haddly recalls this date as a moment she’ll never forget.

Haddly recalls her worst date during junior year of college when her friend set her up on a blind date. The two of them decided to meet at a restaurant; her date, an aspiring rapper, showed up 45 minutes late without an excuse and spent most of the evening rapping his lyrics. When the date was over, his wife and children arrived to pick him up - talk about awkward. Valerez also vividly remembers his worst date experience. In the ninth grade, Valerez asked out a girl in his class who he thought was attractive. She was with her two friends when he approached her, and she refused to have a conversation without them present. Valerez asked the girl to the movies that weekend for the premiere of “We’re the Millers.” The conversation ended after she chuckled with her girlfriends and agreed. On the night of the date, the girl showed up with both of her friends and didn’t let Steven utter a single word.

Steven Valerez, 24, of Gainesville, always had a crush on Milly Clarke, but never knew how to approach someone as beautiful as her. After building up the courage over the summer, Valerez asked Clarke on a date the first day of school. To his surprise, she said yes; he told her that it would remain a surprise and to wait for further instructions. The following day in class, Valerez presented Clarke with a


Surprises can backfire, so be mindful when planning dates. First, know your partner or at least have an idea of what they like while planning activities. Also, listen to your partner when they are talking. Give them your undivided attention and show that you’re interested. Lastly, execute with precision. From handwritten cards to surprise getaways, plan every detail and take your time with everything. First impressions are vital when meeting someone. Whether it’s a simple chat over coffee or dining at a five-star restaurant, treat the occasion as your last.

The Best Love Songs As Told by Gainesville DJs By Taylor Martin Photograph by Taylor Martin There are a lot of ways to set a romantic mood: mahogany candles, fresh flowers, a new dress or a tailored suit. But what lights the air with sparks and says what needs to be said, without anyone saying a word? A love song. Not just any love song either; the perfect love song that can be played for special moments with that significant other. There are hundreds of millions of songs all trying to send that message, so how do you find the one? Whether it's for a wedding, a party or a night in with your significant other, there are some classics that suit it all. Jason Nelson, known as DJ Nelson, has specialized in weddings and proms for many years. He has performed at over 200 weddings and says the song that gets the best response is always “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye. “Everyone knows the iconic guitar pickup before the first beat,” Nelson said. While Marvin Gaye might have the party on its feet, the most classic love song to him is “My Girl” by The Temptations, closely followed by Grover Washington Jr.’s “Just the Two of Us” and Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon.” All are ideal options for swinging your partner into a surprise living room slow dance. Gary Kocher, of Gainesville Event DJs, became a DJ in 2013 when his wife volunteered him to run karaoke at their local bar. Kocher says any slow Ed Sheeran song is bound to send

the right message. However, a favorite for him is “Then” by Brad Paisley. “It’s personal to me and my wife, so I like to sneak it in and always get couples dancing,” he said. Since his first DJ experience, Kocher has performed at about 75 weddings, so he’s seen his share of first dances. “The first dance is usually something specific to that couple. I don’t think I’ve ever had the same first dance song.” But other couples like to go with more popular songs for their first dance. Eric “DJ E-LO” Lopez said “Make It Last” by Keith Sweat is a go-to. “I must have played that song for three years straight,” he said. A true classic for first dances, to Lopez, is “At Last” by Etta James. Whether trying to turn up the romance with a personal tune or a hit jam, Lopez said “For that moment, that song is their song, and they own it.” While first dances and their intimacy are important to most couples who have held a wedding ceremony, love songs can hold a special place in any relationship. Maybe “Our Song” by Taylor Swift brings tears to your eyes because you remember sneaking in late-night high school phone calls. Or that catchy indie song takes you back to a long, early morning road trip fueled by coffee and loud singing. These Gainesville DJs have started quite a list of love songs, but the best ones find the listener first.


Chains and Whips and Ropes, Oh My! By Rachel Kutcher Photograph by Rachel Kutcher

The Lady Grinning Soul, a fetish performer in Gainesville, enjoys being dominant. It stems from being a misunderstood child and helps her feel more empowered as a woman. She first discovered this kink when she was in her early 20s through fetish performances and her personal relationships. In her fetish shows, she performs several acts that are aimed at patrons’ kinks. These shows incorporate Shibari (the art of Japanese rope bondage), candle wax, inversion and more. Nothing portrayed is abusive, and all participants must sign waivers. Bondage, dominance and sadomasochism (pleasure derived from giving or receiving pain) may sound ominous, but for some, these kinky activities can be the extra spice they need. Kink refers to an array of consensual, non-traditional sexual, sensual and intimate behaviors, according to psychological researcher Samuel Hughes, who categorized five phases of kink identity development. Kinks range from choking to knife play, and everything in between. Fetish is often used interchangeably with kink. While they are related, they are not the same. Kinks refer to behaviors, while fetishes are an erotic interest in non-genital body parts (think feet) or non-human objects such as smells, fabrics or costumes. “The clients that I’ve worked with are looking for some form of release, be it control or a form of therapy,” The Lady


Grinning Soul said. “A lot of men don’t feel comfortable talking to women about some of those releases they want. They don’t feel comfortable talking about their kinks or what turns them on.” Kinks can arise from a variety of places and vary from person to person. For some, kinks first arise in childhood, typically before the age of 10, according to Hughes. These children often don’t understand what is drawing them in and usually don’t have sexual arousal attached to the concept. They will eventually start to evaluate what these interests mean for their identities, seek out others with similar interests and begin engaging in kinky play or sex after they’re 18. These sexual interests can also be formed by creating sexual connections where there previously weren’t any, clinical sexologist Rena McDaniel told Bustle. “Sometimes kinks come from our brains pairing an otherwise non-sexual, neutral object, body part or situation with a sexually relevant context,” McDaniel said. “For example, if you happened to have a really great masturbation session on a blue couch, then suddenly, blue couches might start making you a little hot and bothered.” Until 2013, kinks were classified as a mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the guidebook for psychologists and psychiatrists. Therefore, not much research has been conducted on how people develop kinks. Thanks to advocacy groups, the language eventually changed, and now those with kinks are free to express themselves sexually without fear of repercussion.

Community & Culture



Photographs by Makenna Young, Mari Acosta and Alexa Spicer

The Love/Hate Relationship Between Gainesville and its Residents By Kala Parkinson Photograph by Kala Parkinson 4. The weather. As Barbara Forest put it, “I guess the too-sweaty hot weather is the worst.” Fair enough – Gainesville’s humid subtropical climate lends itself to some pretty warm days. The average high temperature for the hot season, May through September, is usually 85 degrees and above, according to Weather Spark. 5. Roundabouts. “'What is a Roundabout?' should be your headline,” joked Josue Jenkins. More commenters joined him in expressing dissatisfaction concerning these circular junctions. Among their complaints were that some local drivers completely stop before entering an empty roundabout and that others go the wrong way altogether. What about Gainesville gets under people’s skin?

6. Lovebugs.

If you’ve lived here for a while, you probably know to avoid shopping during the University of Florida’s move-in weekend — unless you like subjecting yourself to throngs of people and barren shelves rivaling Black Friday. You likely dodge University Ave. at all costs on a UF home football game day. What other pet peeves exist among us?

“Lovebug season,” Katherine Robinson simply wrote. According to a news release from UF’s Institute of Food and Culture, two generations of lovebugs emerge each year, with the largest populations prevailing in May and September. While they can seem pervasive, these critters help the environment by redistributing nutrients from cut grass back to the ground, the release said.

I ventured into the Gainesville community for answers — virtually (like many things this year). My post on the Facebook group Gainesville Word of Mouth garnered a wide range of responses.

7. Adapting to paper straws.

Not to mention Archer Road and 34th Street traffic, added Patrick Reilly.

An environmentally friendly plastic straw ban went into effect in the city of Gainesville on Jan. 1, 2020, largely giving way to greener paper straws. “The paper straws don’t stay stiff until you’ve finished your drink,” wrote Elizabeth Kern. Megan Leigh offered some advice: “I lift the straw up a bit, so it’s not soaking in the liquid the entire time, then push the straw back in below the waterline when I want a sip.” Others, like Susan Van Metre, prefer stainless steel straws as an alternative. “I have had my collapsible stainless-steel straws for over a year, and they stay clean in a pouch before use, then they have a tiny test tube-type brush to clean and reuse,” she said.

2. Scooters Hogging the Fast Lanes.

Honorable Mention:

What bugs resident Jessica Feagle? “Scooters in the fast lanes going 20 mph when the speed limit is 45 mph,” she said.

“Alligators. Everywhere. In your pool, in your bathtub, the kitchen sink, the roads, you name it,” said Debbie Sorgi. “Like they own the place,” she said, pun intended.

Here’s a roundup: 1. Butler Plaza Traffic. “I think I speak for everyone here – but the traffic in and around Butler Plaza,” Devyn Perez said. “Don’t want to be caught on that side of town after 3!”

3. The Scooter Fake-Out. “Scooters parking in car spots and not seeing the scooter until you go to pull into the spot,” commented Kaitlin Simmons. We’ve all been there.

Whether you agree with the above pet peeves or not, you’ll probably concur that Gainesville has a one-of-a-kind allure that captures our hearts, nonetheless.


The Love of the Game By Makenna Young Photographs by Makenna Young Madison Sheffield has been playing volleyball for the past eight years of her life and has loved every second of it. Sheffield, originally from St. Johns, Florida, is an outside hitter for Santa Fe College’s volleyball team. This is her second year playing for the team. Before moving to Gainesville, Sheffield began her volleyball career by playing for various teams in the Jacksonville area. “What I love most about volleyball is just the relationships I’ve been able to form because of the sport,” Sheffield said. “I’ve played on multiple teams that have allowed me to meet many lifelong friends and learn from multiple different great coaches.” While getting to learn from and meet new people is exciting for Sheffield, it isn’t always easy. A time in her life that specifically came to mind for Sheffield was her first year in Gainesville as a freshman at Santa Fe. “Last year, it was difficult for me to adjust to being in a new environment as a freshman in college,” Sheffield said. “When I came to Gainesville, I didn’t really know anyone that went to Santa Fe, and I was away from home and kind of felt really out of place. So, all my efforts went into volleyball because that’s what I was comfortable with. And volleyball turned what I thought were significant stressors into insignificant ones. It made me work hard and be a better teammate and player.” Volleyball was not only able to aid Sheffield during difficult times, but also helped to shape her as a person. According to Sheffield, the sport has played a vital role in developing her character and understanding of the world.

“It has provided me with a foundation of who I want to be on the court and off the court,” Sheffield said. “It shows me how hard work and determination can get you to your goals, how vulnerability is helpful, both on and off the court, and most importantly, how to overcome obstacles.” 2020 has been nothing short of obstacles. One of the biggest obstacles the team has had to face this year was navigating the fall season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The season eventually got pushed back to the spring, but practices have yet to go back to normal. “We’ve been practicing since early September, but still haven’t been able to have a full team practice,” Sheffield said. “Practices are split up into groups so that exposure is limited.” Along with smaller group practices, players are also required to wear masks, sanitize and have temperature checks. “We’ve been taking everything day by day because there’s no telling what will happen in regard to COVID,” Sheffield said. “We haven’t had any games this fall. I so look forward to playing in the spring, but that season is still in question as well.” Despite the setbacks from the virus, there’s not one thing about volleyball that Sheffield dislikes. “Everyone has their ups and downs in the sport that they play,” Sheffield said, “but volleyball has really provided me with so many opportunities that I’m just grateful.”


Gender-Fluid Fashion: Breaking Social Constructs & Loving Yourself By Mari Acosta Photograph by Mari Acosta

Opting to wear flowy skirts in middle school and shop in the girl’s section for as long as they can remember, Sweet Tea has always felt an innate desire to step outside the boxes of traditional gender constructs in fashion. “I definitely stuck out like a sore thumb,” Sweet Tea laughed. “I have always been very fluid with my identity and how I dressed ever since I was a kid. My parents never really cared about what I wore. They were like, ‘Just do what you want and don’t hurt nobody.’” Sweet Tea, 25, is a powerful voice in the community for queer visibility. No stranger to acrylic nails, glittery makeup and spandex, Sweet Tea works nights at Gainesville’s legendary University Club, a known LGBTQ+ haven off of University Avenue. For Sweet Tea, gender-fluid fashion is a vital aspect of their life. Nonbinary gender is a spectrum of gender identities that lie outside the gender binary — not exclusively masculine or feminine. Sweet Tea is nonbinary and prefers the pronouns they/them. “I knew I was different growing up, but I was raised to take on challenges, you know. I didn’t want to dress or be like everyone else,” they said. “I had attention on me all the time because I won’t lie; I was a tacky dresser. My mom said I could dress myself, so I dressed myself.” Sweet Tea draws their confidence from one word: unique. “I took off with that word, and I was like no, I’m one in a million, and I just wanted to be true to me. People would pick on me, and I’d be like, ‘Oh, I don’t care... I’m unique!' Growing up, if strangers in the store would say, ‘Oh, your child is dressed so interesting,’ my mom would be like, ‘Yeah, he’s unique.'” It took time for them to disentangle the gender norms society had created to fit a specific mold, and that’s when they created Sweet Tea, a bouncy and assertive persona who dances to “Love Game” by Lady Gaga. While Sweet Tea has been out as queer since high school, coming out as nonbinary presented something new. Sweet

Tea believes gender-fluid fashion and body positivity form a robust and inseparable relationship. “There is a certain freedom in gender-fluid fashion for people who are experiencing gender dysphoria. With today’s standards of positive body image, I think they are getting a lot broader. It’s OK for you to be bigger, and it’s OK for you to be smaller. It’s OK for you to wear whatever you like.” What we now call gender-fluid fashion has existed since there have been gender norms to bend, functioning as a gateway for people to explore their identities without being restricted by social constructs — and Sweet Tea refuses to let identity dictate what they wear. Sweet Tea is part of this community of gender-nonconforming individuals – people for whom the bending of gender rules is not merely a style but an identity. “Fashion steps in to allow us to express our true identities. You know, by us expanding our minds and being comfortable with our bodies, no matter what gender we take on, I know gender-fluid fashion can offer euphoria to anyone’s confidence.”


Behind the App: What's the Human Cost of Delivering Groceries to Your Door? By Mari Acosta Photographs by Mari Acosta

Without a doubt, the last few months have been some of the busiest in grocery delivery history. Following an overwhelming influx of orders and increasing competition on popular delivery apps like Instacart and Shipt, Gainesville gig shoppers feel the brunt financially and mentally as the pandemic wears on. Instacart is a grocery marketplace that enables the delivery of fresh foods and household essentials. Shoppers get paid to go to the grocery store, shop with a list, then deliver it to the assigned customer’s door. Since the pandemic has turned grocery delivery into a vital service, Instacart’s business has never been better. In a matter of weeks, grocery delivery apps had to scale out the infrastructure to accommodate and support customers, shoppers and retailers all at once. Today, Instacart is on track to process more than $35 billion in groceries just in the last year, which puts it on par with Publix Super Markets, the fifth-largest grocery chain in the United States. Phillip Halter, 19, a sophomore civil engineering major at the University of Florida, has been running groceries for Instacart and Shipt since last April as a primary way to pay his bills. But even when Halter is lucky, he often isn’t fast enough. Like teachers and healthcare workers, grocery delivery drivers have become a revered profession in America — honored for their sacrifices but not compensated nearly enough for them. “It’s super competitive,” Halter said. “Whenever you go on the app, you refresh the page a dozen times because usually there aren’t any orders. So, when a batch pops up, you have to claim it instantly. It’s nerve-wracking.” “There are definitely times when I’m scared that I’m going to get the virus,” he said. “There are a million people around you. You’re touching carts and all sorts of things. Sometimes people don’t wear masks. It’s a risk I’m willing to take.” As independent contractors, Instacart shoppers aren’t covered by federal, state or local minimum-wage laws. They’re responsible for self-employment expenses, such as using their cars and taxes that would otherwise be paid by an employer. Instacart calculates pay offers based on the work required for each shopping assignment, rather than per hour.


“I think if people work full time, they should probably deserve some benefits. The shoppers are risking their lives in a way,” Halter said. Many shoppers deliver for the same customers routinely, so they have gotten to know them personally. Some are sick or suffer from mobility issues. Others are new mothers, college students or young professionals working to keep their livelihoods. Yet, the shoppers are happy to help by saving customers hours each week. While these mobile grocery delivery apps are supposed to promise a “safer way to shop,” local shoppers tell a much different story. Shoppers’ latest complaints fit into a larger narrative. Some dissatisfied shoppers allege that wages have been declining rapidly, at least since Instacart introduced a new pay algorithm in 2018. A 2019 study published by the American Sociological Association found that Instacart exerts greater control over workers than other platforms in several key ways. For example, the algorithm puts intense pressure on shoppers to accept a given order even if the labor isn’t worth the amount tipped. Also, the Instacart algorithm makes it more tedious and time-consuming to reject orders. Stefany Demko, 30, has been working with Instacart for over three years. As a stay-at-home mom, she loves the convenience and flexibility of setting her work hours. “My favorite part of the job is the customers. Hands down. You meet so many cool and interesting people,” Demko said. “But I’ve come really close to giving up, especially lately, which is why I stopped doing the everyday grind of it because of the change in the pay algorithm and the excessive number of shoppers. There are days when I drive into town, and I’m used to doing eight to ten orders a day. Now I would maybe get two. It’s just frustrating.” Despite loyalty to Instacart and the customers they’ve gotten to know over the years, many shoppers have been forced to find other gigs to make ends meet. Not all shoppers are lucky enough or even have the ability to be so fluid with their careers or time. A large portion of the working body are often single parents, caregivers, disabled, or have other conditions or obligations that make getting other work difficult or even impossible. To add insult to injury, grocery delivery apps appear to be highly aware of this fact and weaponize this against their

shoppers when they brazenly turn the pay dials lower and lower. Shoppers want to keep working, but now they can barely hang on. “My least favorite part is the crappy pay algorithm, but wearing out your car from driving so much isn’t fun,” Demko said. “My first year, I put nearly 20,000 miles on my car. It’s too much wear and tear on your vehicle if you’re in a larger area.” The supply of shoppers continues to outweigh demand, so there’s less work to go around. “Years ago, you could make $1,000 a week if you wanted to work 40 hours. Now you can only make like $300 working the same amount,” she said. Shoppers like to share their stories of survival with each other — stories about how they can’t afford to get their car fixed, so they’re forced to work more hours and risk their safety. Or how a family member is in the hospital, so they need to keep working to generate any possible income. Or how they lost their traditional job and have to keep going so they don’t lose their car or apartment. “When I started in 2017, the pay system was transparent, predictable, consistent and fair for the work we performed. We now have none of that,” Demko said. “There’s certainly a love/hate relationship with it — but what are we supposed to do? We need the money more than anything right now.”


From Truck to Table: How A Love for Arepas Became a Success Story By Mari Acosta Photographs by Mari Acosta While other restaurants ponder shutting their doors, one of Gainesville’s most beloved Venezuelan cuisine food trucks has finally opened their brick-and-mortar restaurant downtown. Following the incredible success of her father’s food truck, Arepas Milko, Antonella D’Erico and her husband, Tinker, decided to try their hand at the indulgent offerings reminiscent of Venezuelan street foods from their childhood. Despite a temporary setback of not opening the restaurant as originally scheduled, the husband and wife duo pushed forward. The restaurant serves Venezuelan specialties, street-food favorites and rich dishes out of a grand industrialstyle dining room with tall warehouse ceilings. Other funky features of the new spot include a string art wooden portrait of Chef Tinker and a green indoor lawn. At dinner time, the unmistakable aroma of fried cheese wafts out into the parking lot along with the high-tempo drumbeats of reggaeton music. D’Erico and Tinker have developed a menu of affordable American and decadent Venezuelan fare, including but not limited to loaded fries, Cachapa balls (fried corn balls filled with cheese), Nutella Tequeños, burgers, Perros (hot dogs) and mouth-watering golden empanadas. Street hot dogs, popular in South America, have been a big seller at Tinker, who offer them with toppings like pulled meats, fried crispy onions, crunchy cabbage and house-made special pink sauce.

Eileen Gelpi, a criminology and political science major at UF, was part of ten new members hired for Tinker restaurant’s grand opening. As a server, she’s responsible for packaging to-go orders, delivering food from the kitchen and sanitizing tables. She hopes to hang around her new Tinker family for the long-term. “At the grand opening, there was a point in time when the line was out the door for an hour and a half,” Gelpi said. “One thing you must try on the menu are the arepas. You can get two, so I usually get one carne asada and one pulled pork.” Arepas are portable starchy pockets that carry various fillings. Venezuelan arepas typically come stuffed with meat, cheese, eggs, or beans — though pretty much anything goes. While there are many ways to fill an arepa, there’s only one way to eat it: “with your hands,” Gelpi said emphatically. “I am happy to become a regular,” Guillermo Pino, a visitor at the grand opening, said. “The vibe and food were amazing, and I can only see improvements coming to this place.” The couple is beyond grateful for the outpouring of local support their grand opening received. “Our success is because of the love we have received from the Gainesville community. We wouldn’t be where we are today without it,” Tinker said.


A Vegan Diet and its Misconceptions By Alexa Spicer Photograph by Alexa Spicer It is difficult to ignore the presence of vegan food options at local restaurants and fast-food chains, but what exactly does it mean to be vegan and why is it escalating? For many, being vegan is a lifestyle that avoids making choices that exploit or hurt animals. Following a vegan diet means excluding the consumption of animals and their byproducts, such as milk and eggs. There are a variety of reasons why somebody would decide to make this change, but the top three reasons are related to the ethical treatment of animals, environmental concerns and health improvements. According to GlobalData, only 1% of U.S. consumers selfidentified as a vegan in 2014, but by 2017 it was reported that 6% identify as vegan, a 600% increase. With a spike in popularity, the topic of a vegan diet becomes more apparent in our everyday lives, and many concerns arise. Is it more expensive? Is it sustainable for my body? Sheetal Obal, an occupational therapist and 20-yearGainesville-resident, was a vegetarian for about 30 years before she went vegan six years ago. As a vegetarian, Obal did not consume meat or fish. After learning that her choices to eat animal byproducts still contributed to animal cruelty, she decided to transition to vegan. What began as a concern for animal rights expanded into benefiting all areas of her life. As an active 45-year-old who regularly works out, she has earned herself the nickname “Guns” from her coworkers. “I don’t feel like I’m 45,” Obal said. As a vegan, Obal thinks many people don’t believe a vegan diet allows a person to be athletic. When her friends, who are also 45, find discomfort with a lack of energy, she tells them it doesn’t have to be that way. She said eating right will provide the body the energy it needs to exercise and feel alert.

A survey of Gainesville vegans revealed that 90% of respondents claim a vegan diet is no more expensive than a regular diet. Another common worry surrounding vegan eating is what one is allowed to eat, and if those foods will allow for a wellrounded diet. Alexa Hosey, a master’s graduate student at UF and future dietician, said that it is possible to get every nutrient that a body needs with adequate research and planning. She recommends that anyone considering a vegan diet to look into vitamin B-12 supplements because it primarily comes from animal sources. Among the many misconceptions people have about veganism, Hosey notices health is a large portion of these views. She said that things like being protein deficient and not building muscle are common false statements. Being vegan is a viable option, and a person can get all the nutrients from plants that they get from animals. “It’s not all about the label,” Hosey said. She thinks that whether someone decides to become vegan or not, integrating more plant-based whole foods into everyday meals could be very beneficial to anyone’s lifestyle.


How Well-Loved Clothes Can Find a New Home By Michaela Mulligan Photograph by Michaela Mulligan

Kaley Storms has her own personal clothing store; the best part — it’s free. The “store” is actually her parents’ closet in their house. When she’s home from college at the University of Florida, she’ll wander into their closet for outfit inspiration. She gravitates toward the back where she can find her parents’ older pieces. It’s a place for her to find something that is unique.

Storms’ parents met in the 90s at the University of South Florida. One of her favorite pieces is her mom’s Delta Gamma sorority sweatshirt. She thinks of it as a juxtaposition between her youth and that of her mother’s. “When I have it, and I’m away from home, it’s really cool to think my mom wore this,” Storms said. “And how we’re kind of like on different paths, collegiately, but it’s still cool to think ‘oh when she was in her 20s, she was doing this.’”

Mothers save wedding dresses for their daughters. Entire families sometimes share the same christening dress. Fathers save special ties for their sons. Clothes hold meaning and are a way to keep those we love close. It’s how someone like Storms stays connected to her parents while she’s away from them.

Like Storms, Jessie Bock, another UF student, also likes to stay cozy in one of her mother’s collegiate T-shirts.

“I pick pieces that are very sentimental and look cool, and match the vibe,” Storms said. “Usually I go into my dad’s closet, find something I like, and go from there.”

Bock says her mom was planning on getting rid of the tee, but when she asked to keep the garment, it found a new home. Most of the clothes Bock inherited from her parents came from chance. She found another sweatshirt from her father by looking through old photos of him in college.

When asked how her parents feel about taking clothes from their closet, Storms giggled. Her dad, she said, could not care less. He’ll often see her wearing one of his pieces and acknowledge it’s his, but he doesn’t seem to mind much. Storms said she has to be more careful with her mom’s closet. She asks permission before taking anything and sticks to her mom’s older clothes from when she was around Storms’ age. “They’re both pretty chill about it,” Storms said. “I think they like the fact that I think their younger style is cool enough to imitate.”


“My mom occasionally wears her UF T-shirt, and I’ve been getting more into thrifting,” Bock said. “So when I saw it, I thought ‘it’s something that you really can’t buy.'”

“They probably would’ve given this stuff away,” Bock said. “It’s one-of-a-kind type of thing, where you’re not going to see a whole lot of other people wearing the same thing.” We hang on to clothes that we’ve created memories in, like a prom dress or a first uniform, because they hold meaning. For both Storms and Bock, they can stay connected to their mothers. Clothes we have cherished can pass love onto someone else and keep them close.

Most Hated Fashion Trends From This Year By Makenna Young Photographs by Makenna Young

Biker Shorts First made popular by celebrities like Kylie Jenner, biker shorts have spiked as a hot fashion trend. Worn casually or dressed up, in neon or animal print, these shorts have been seen everywhere. It’s hard to tell how long this trend will last, but it’s obvious that it’s not everyone’s favorite. Chunky White Sneakers Filas, Air Force 1s and Reeboks have all resurged in fashion this year. These chunky white sneakers are paired with just about anything and instantly give a look a sporty, fun vibe. However, many people are ready to ditch them. According to an Instagram poll, 83% of people voted against the trend. Gainesville resident Lindsay Vanderlinde was upset with these results. “I get that Filas aren’t for everyone, but I think they are pretty cool,” Vanderlinde said. "They are better than a causal sneaker and they make you a lot taller. I’m going to keep wearing mine."

I think we can all agree that 2020 has been anything but normal. Hours stuck at home have made way for some interesting trends. Influencers, teens, celebrities, millennials and more flocked to social media to keep up with one another while physically separated. We all remember “Tiger King," whipped coffee, Tik Tok dances and making bread, but what about the fashion trends? Well, there’s plenty – but not all of them are to-die-for.

Extra-Ripped Clothing It started with ripped jeans, but now it seems like you can buy everything torn: pants, shorts, jackets, T-shirts – you name it. At some point it went too far, even for the younger generations. Many Gainesville residents wrote in against this trend. Looking back on this year, there’s a lot I’d like to leave in 2020. Who knows what trends will stick around and which ones will come next? I think it’s safe to hope for these ones to get left behind.

Much like for any other industry, this has been a strange year for fashion. For obvious reasons, the attraction to loungewear skyrocketed, and boredom lead to increased online shopping. With nowhere to go to show off trendy outfits, many people stuck to the basics. On the contrary, others were willing to be bolder in their fashion choices without fear of judgment. Some fashion risks seemed to have paid off, while others left a bad taste. Here’s a list of some of the most hated fashion trends of 2020, as answered by Instagrammers in the Gainesville area. Low-Rise Jeans These popular jeans from the early 2000s have slowly been making a comeback this year. Styled with little purses and barrettes, low-rise jeans are loved by some, but hated by most. In an Instagram poll, only 7% of people voted that they actually liked the trend. High-rise jeans are definitely a favorite to many. I’m thinking this trend is one we won’t be seeing continued in 2021.


Do Tattoos Affect Your Professionalism? By Alexa Spicer Photographs by Alexa Spicer

While Muron has found comfortability in her line of work in regard to her tattoos, there are still workplaces that don’t allow them. According to Santa Fe College’s nursing handbook, students with tattoos must either have them removed or covered before entering their clinicals. While it is not uncommon for nursing programs to require its students to conceal their tattoos, there are professionals in healthcare who are allowed to show them. Britney Lassiter of Gainesville is a 33-year-old registered nurse with 10 tattoos. She is employed at North Florida Regional Medical Center as needed and a traveling nurse. When Lassiter first began nursing three years ago, she was required to wear long sleeved shirts underneath her scrubs to hide her tattoos. As the rules become more relaxed, tattoos are allowed as long as they are not offensive. Lassiter says that whether she has tattoos or not should not change what people think of her. “I’m still Britney.” Visible tattoos are known to make or break the chances of someone seeking to get hired. At least that was the case for Jessica Muron in 2014, when she first moved to Gainesville at 23 years old. On her first day on the job at Panera Bread, she was fired within five minutes. The reason in question? A small tattoo with quotes from a song by the band Rush, “Changes aren’t permanent, but change is.” Tucked away on her left bicep, the manager wasn’t aware of her tattoo upon hiring her. Muron has since revisited this Panera and noticed visible tattoos among its employees. She remains unsure if the rule against her tattoo was a corporate guideline or a personal preference. Muron’s termination from Panera left her discouraged at the time because it proved difficult to land a job. It was just the next week when she began her new position at a law firm and was eventually trained as a paralegal. Since then, Muron acquired almost a full sleeve of tattoos on her right arm, a knuckle tattoo and others. While her current place of employment doesn’t restrict her on her choice to have tattoos, she plans on adding more in the future. For Muron, she relishes in being able to carry meaningful messages with her.


An Ipsos poll from 2019 found an increase of tattoos among Americans since 2012. In 2012, 21% of Americans reported having at least one tattoo, compared to 30% today. While the acceptance of tattoos seems to be increasing, it is hard to predict whether there will always be some kind of restriction on them. Gainesville resident Gwenne Gorman, 65, got her first and only tattoo in 1975 during a Labor Day festival in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The matching tattoo of a butterfly on her right shoulder, that she and her boyfriend decided on at the time, was something she became self-conscious of. For many years, she hid her tattoo because she didn’t want people to think less of her. Even a simple tattoo had stigma attached to it. “It was an issue having a tattoo in the 70s and 80s,” Gorman said. As time passed and tattoos became more widely accepted, she began to forget it was even there. Although she doesn’t plan on getting more tattoos, she recently has been considering getting it re-done. As a business owner, Gorman has hired over 600 people. Although she thinks there is a place for tattoos, she believes

that tattoos have the ability to enhance a certain image that aren’t suitable in some workplaces. “I think in theory, it’d be nice if it didn’t make a difference, but in reality, it does,” Gorman said. According to a self-conducted Gainesville survey, 65% of the people sampled with tattoos have somebody in their life who disagrees with their decision. Lifelong Gainesville resident, Caroline Rowe, has first hand experience with family and opposing opinions. Rowe shares that her mother, a traditional Christian, views the body as a temple that shouldn’t be tainted with tattoos. As Rowe continued to accumulate more tattoos, her mother still holds the same opinion but has eventually begun to accept her decision. As a 23-year-old inpatient pharmacy technician for Shand’s, Rowe now has 13 tattoos. Throughout the five years she has been employed at Shand’s, no one has questioned her tattoos. Being employed in healthcare, Rowe said that her having tattoos doesn’t relate with the quality of care she gives. “Now as we are kind of moving forward and being more productive, it’s changing,” Rowe said. “And that’s good because doctors can give you good care and still be tattooed.” Although Rowe believes that society is undergoing a change in perception of tattoos, she still imagines that

there are circumstances where employers can make those decisions. She said that some professions place a higher level of importance on the way their employees look, such as modeling. With tattoos reaching new heights among the public opinion, it makes the idea of getting tattoos that much more inviting. Holding no regrets, Rowe finds gratification in embodying works of art that someone spent time creating on her body. Tattoos are a way for her to express her life in meaningful and unique ways. Similar to Rowe, Shayna Donoghue, 35, thinks that tattoos serve as a way for people to exemplify who they are. As a laboratory supervisor at Thermo Fisher, she has sciencerelated tattoos and others that she was drawn to. When it comes to tattoos and professionalism in the workplace, Donoghue thinks that employers shouldn’t let it interfere with their judgement. Having tattoos doesn’t reveal anything about the person or whether they could be a great asset to a business. She said that if people allow tattoos to be a deciding factor for employment, they could be losing out in the long run. It is no doubt that tattoos have persisted their way into what people can now consider a social norm. At their current popularity rate, there’s no telling the heights tattoos are likely to break in the workplace.


Home Sweet Earth: The Gainesville Guide to Loving Our Planet By Makenna Young Photographs by Makenna Young The climate is changing, the global sea level is rising and glaciers are retreating. We know this. How to effectively take steps as individuals and a species to stop these dangerous changes – well, that’s a bit more complicated. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an objective organization of scientists and professionals around the world, “scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal.” Scientists across the globe believe that climate change is real and is also a major threat to the planet we love and call home. As stated by the panel, not only does climate change create stress on land, but it also increases existing risks to “livelihoods, biodiversity, human and ecosystem health, infrastructure and food systems.” In other words, this is a big problem. One of the major ways people look to combat climate change is through sustainability efforts. The fight for sustainability is a global task with many players; however, there are organizations, small businesses and individuals in Gainesville joining the battle for a more sustainable Earth. One of these groups working to protect Earth is the Alachua Conservation Trust. Heather Obara is the community outreach coordinator for the organization, and she’s worked with different nonprofits related to the environment. For Obara, taking steps toward sustainability can start at a personal level. “I decided to become a vegetarian probably about seven years ago, and it was for environmental reasons and other ethical reasons,” Obara said. “That’s one thing that you can do on a personal level to make an impact on the environment, but also just working with and supporting environmental organizations like the ACT. We have a volunteer program and an internship program.” Through volunteering, individuals can help with things like trail maintenance and tree planting. Learning from others about the environment can help with decision making, Obara said. Obara thinks that Gainesville is a very eco-conscious community and that there are a lot of people who care about the environment and try to get involved. But for those who have yet to join sustainability efforts, Obara recommends paying attention to decisions being made that impact the environment, learning from local organizations and just getting outside.


“I think the most important step that people can take is to actually get outside in nature and experience nature,” Obara said. “Because when you see our environment, and we go out and explore these natural places, you fall in love with them. You realize that they’re special and unique and that Florida has a lot to offer.” Kayla Wheatley, the owner of Nature's Dye, agrees. According to Wheatley, the first step to take to love the planet better is to get out in nature. “I think it’s really hard to care about something without having a connection to it,” Wheatley said. By spending time outside with the Earth beneath her feet at her favorite places, like Morningside Nature Center, she was able to gain respect for the Earth and realize how magical it is. Wheatley, a botany student at the University of Florida, cares for the Earth in a unique way. Through her small business, she experiments with natural dyes and fabrics. They are less harmful to the environment, especially compared to the popular fast-fashion trends. On her Instagram, she sells a variety of natural-dyed pieces in the Gainesville area. “What interests me about natural dyeing is the backto-the-Earth feel of it,” Wheatley said. “It is also more environmentally friendly than synthetic dyes that then get leached into our waterways.” Natural dyeing is an obscure way to change something an individual might buy on an average day, but it’s not the only correct method of being environmentally aware. “I think finding little ways to improve yourself and make you feel more fulfilled by giving back to the environment is important,” Wheatley said. One way that people in Gainesville have made selfimprovements to care for the Earth is by being mindful of waste. Sarah Garavaglia, an environmental science major and treasurer of Sustainable Ocean Alliance at UF, has made some creative switches in her daily routine to be less wasteful. Garavaglia tries her best not to use any single-use plastics and to buy products in bulk without the plastic packaging. She also makes sure to use reusable containers, bags and bottles to replace the wasteful alternatives. When making these personal switches, Garavaglia said it’s important not to blame yourself if you’re struggling to make the transition. “Everyone’s just doing the best they can,”

Garavaglia said. “Nobody is doing sustainability perfectly all the time.” Outside of making personal switches in their daily life, Alachua County residents are also fighting for sustainability through policy change. Caroline Pope is a member of Climate Action Gators who is passionate about bringing awareness to the issue of sustainability. Pope believes that awareness is the first step to promote sustainability. Beyond that, more action is needed, like going to city hall meetings. Another way Pope fights for sustainability is through climate protests. According to Pope, these protests are empowering because she sees people with diverse backgrounds come together for a single cause. “It’s nice because it’s not just about being against something,” Pope said. “It’s about being for something, which I think is another reason why it feels so empowering. Because you’re trying to make a positive impact and preserve the planet together.” Through education, awareness, protests and personal changes, the people of Gainesville are striving to love the Earth with all they have to offer. As Pope said, this effort can only be done together.


From Kitchen to Co-Owner, Meet Mark Rodriguez of Satch² By Lia DiPaolo Photographs by Lia DiPaolo For years, he was the “prep guy.” He kneaded dough. He stirred sauce. He mixed salad dressing. All the while, dreams of owning a restaurant swirled in the back of his mind. But that didn’t seem possible. Dough, sauce and salad dressing were all he knew. Little did he know that in 16 years, he’d be running one of the most iconic pizzerias in Gainesville. Satchel’s Pizza has become one of the most beloved eateries in the community because of its food and aesthetic. Owner, Satchel Raye, dishes out not only delectable pizzas and homemade sodas but also the chance to eat in his infamous van, under a plane or in a greenhouse. Folks also come to admire Satch-made stained glass windows, local art and enjoy live music. After years of success, Satchel’s expanded and brought its unique charms to revitalize the dying downtown area. The person to run its new location is the former prep guy: Mark Rodriguez. “It’s been a great experience transitioning into being co-owner,” Rodriguez said. “Shuffling employees and going from helping out in the back to now the front brings new and exciting challenges for me.” The trending theme at the second location? Squares. Not only is it called Satch², but it also offers square-shaped waffles along with a succulent new menu addition: Detroit-style pizzas. These pizzas are a lopsided version of the traditional classic – an assortment of cheese is layered on the bottom with toppings piled in the middle and sauce sprinkled on top. “Man, the Detroit-style pizzas are so good, it needed to be its own thing,” Rodriguez said. “You’re not just getting one little slice of pizza; it’s meant to be a shared experience.” The idea was not to create a chain, but potentially a franchise. So, when the 4th Avenue Food Park contacted Raye offering him the space for Satch², he leaped at the opportunity. For Raye, this meant bringing people and revenue to the east side of town and bridging the gap of economic disparity between both sides. Nearby places like Opus Coffee Airstream is eager to welcome Satch² and continue to make it a shared experience within the community gathering space. His daughter Enid, 9, and his son Harrison, 7, were excited about the new location. Since it’s outdoors, it’s the perfect spot for the family dogs Penny and Breezy to play around. Right now, they also have live music or DJs on Saturdays but are looking to expand that to Sundays as well. “I’m looking forward to the food park growing as more and more people learn about it. The outdoor space is perfect for everyone,” Rodriguez said. Rodriguez, 43, grew up in Fort Lauderdale. He played the drums and guitar and was captain of his soccer team in high


school. He dreamed of becoming a middle school geography teacher just like the one he had, Mr. Hightower, so he pursued a geography and history degree at the University of Florida. Music, soccer and geography were all he knew. He never thought he’d work in a restaurant. But that’s not what life had in store for him. After working in retail and touring across the United States and Europe with his band, he moved back to Gainesville. To his surprise, he enjoyed the lifestyle of working in a restaurant. It was routine work but laced with new challenges every day. “I’ve always liked working in restaurants. It’s repetitive but not mind-numbing,” he said. After seeing Satchel’s rapid growth, Rodriguez joined the business. Once he started working there, he knew this was where he wanted to stay. He started in the kitchen, doing the prep work for the food on the menu, and gradually worked up to becoming the kitchen manager. Now, Raye and Rodriguez co-own Satch². Rodriguez is currently running it as his own store, and Raye will swing by sometimes and give some input. They collaborate to problem solve and make improvements if needed. “He’s an artist first before he’s a pizza maker,” Rodriguez said about Raye. He’s dressed in a plain black T-shirt and faded blue jeans, and

several tattoos his best friends designed for him crawl up and down his arm. Rodriguez’s arm in itself is a portrait of all that is Satchel’s: a constellation of quirky artifacts beautifully strung together in unconventional ways. Rodriguez has a day-by-day mentality and never knows what tomorrow will bring. His co-workers adore his laid back and go-with-the-flow attitude. This attitude has served him well during Satch²’s opening amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. “I think the most beneficial thing with that is honestly with the employees. I don’t really get stressed out too often, so I am able to train and work with employees without them getting stressed out. If they feel like they can ask questions and make mistakes as part of the learning process without feeling like they’re going to get yelled at, I think they learn a lot easier,” Rodriguez said.

Maybe provide some services that you didn’t before...those little things that make people realize that you’re here for them.” Rodriguez said. For example, they offer to bring your food to your car for contactless pick-up or they help people at their window if they don’t feel safe coming inside. Rodriguez mentioned a few things people might not be aware of: They’re open until midnight Friday and Saturday. They are also open at 8 a.m. every day. They serve waffles all day. They also have a program called Round Up for Charity where they offer the option to round up to the nearest dollar. Every quarter, they donate the money to a local charity. Right now, they are working with Meridian Behavioral Healthcare. Last quarter they were able to donate over $3,500 to Community Spring, a local charity that works to support low-income families.

Satch² was originally expected to open its doors in August, although Rodriguez hoped it would be even sooner. They knew that they were going to continue with the opening because they’re mostly a take-out style restaurant. With only five seats inside, being take out didn’t affect them too much. And so, they had a week of soft opening on July 13th and officially opened on July 20th. The pandemic didn’t end up delaying the opening at all. “The biggest struggle, honestly, was that I had to train 23 new people while also running the restaurant,” Rodriguez said. They started with 13 people, and after two days of their soft opening, they had to hire 10 more people. “Training that many people while also being busy was the hardest part. We were tweaking and fine-tuning everything... looking to see if we can improve on anything that we’re doing,” he said. As far as COVID-19 is concerned, they follow whatever guidelines are provided to them by health care experts. They require masks to be worn in the restaurant. They make sure that they’re cleaning and sanitizing the counters, doors, bathrooms and anything else people come in contact with regularly. “I think it’s great. I think that it puts people a little more at ease about being out,” he says. For other businesses in the area, “My advice would be to make people feel as safe as possible. If people trust you and your business, they’re more likely to visit your establishment.


48 Photographs by Michaela Mulligan, Rachel Kutcher, Rhianna Liuzzo and Taylor Martin

Family & Home

Another Man's Treasure By Sarah DeVoe Photographs by Sarah DeVoe Just because something is old does not mean it has lost its purpose and value. Using antiques in decorating takes one man’s trash and turns it into a treasured talking piece in any room. And with antique shops scattered throughout Alachua County, hunting for a room’s centerpiece is an affordable adventure with surprises through every store entrance. In the historic Micanopy Banking Company building, University of Florida alumni Monica Fowler established Delectable Collectables in 1979. Complete with the original vault, tin ceiling and marble walls, customers are transported back in time to find various antiques, pottery and fine jewelry. Before becoming proprietress of Delectable Collectables, Fowler was a collector herself. A passion sparked after she bought her first cameo—a piece of jewelry with a carved profile portrait. Over the years, that one cameo turned into 1,650 cameos. “They’re still my passion 45 years later,” Fowler said. “And I still have the first cameo that I ever bought.”

Just 14 minutes down the road is Paul Henry Collection, established in Gainesville in 2016. Here, customers can hunt for antiques, furniture and home décor pieces such as colorful Persian rugs and American-made wooden furniture. Owner and president Paul Gollner has been into antiques since the late 1960s when he worked for a rummage sale dealer. He started finding antiques that were of exceptional quality and it piqued his interest. Each one had its own unique features. “It has a style that you just can’t buy today,” Gollner said of antique design. In 1972 Gollner moved to Gainesville and started dealing locally. However, due to a large population of young adults and college students, it is easier for dealers to buy antique furniture than it is to sell it. Despite this, Gollner believes that every home should be accessorized with antiques. “If you take an antique piece and put it next to a similar one, the new piece will look like plastic alongside [that] of a quality antique,” Gollner said. Antiques are made for longevity, according to Gollner, so they can be passed down, reused and repurposed instead of being thrown away.

However, it wasn’t until she took a weekend job working for an antique shop that she decided to open up her own. Now, customers come to Fowler’s store in search of their own hidden finds.

Gollner is also an interior designer and owns Interior Associates of Gainesville Inc., established in 2000. From an interior designer’s perspective, Gollner said an antique can bring contrast, color and texture to a room. “Either a beautiful dresser in a bedroom, or a fine rug in a living room,” Gollner said. “It looks gorgeous in that environment.”

Because it is a smaller venue, Delectable Collectables doesn’t sell furniture pieces; but it does sell antique pottery pieces that can be incorporated in any room. One of the available styles is majolica, a tin-glazed pottery painted with bright colors. “You put a piece in a room, and it just makes it happy,” Flower said. Fowler also said that people gravitate toward antiques in a home as it makes a space feel homier. “It gives it a unique flair. And the antiques make it your own, so you don’t look like a furniture store,” Fowler said.


Season's Eatings By Rachel Kutcher Photographs by Rachel Kutcher

Hallmark movies are playing on repeat, people seem to be cheerier and the Florida weather has reached a cool, crisp 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This can only mean one thing: The holiday season is upon us. For most people, the holidays mean time spent with family that can either lead to wonderful memories filled with love and fun — or fighting and stress. But, wherever your family falls on this spectrum, there is one guarantee: There will be food. Whether you love the holidays or hate them, there’s a pretty good chance there’s at least one food dish that has you counting down the days. This could be your mom’s homemade mashed potatoes that warm your stomach and remind you of simpler times as a child, or it could be a storebought pie because it’s the one edible thing on the table. Regardless of what this food is, it likely brings you joy because of a memory associated with it. A 2017 study published in the International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science found that “comfort foods” play a role in alleviating loneliness by reminding us of previous positive social interactions. For Noori Syed, owner of Tikka Express in Gainesville, holiday comfort food is any type of biryani — an Indian dish made of any kind of protein, such as chicken, mutton or beef, that is marinated in 21 to 25 different spices, a variety of vegetables and yogurt. The protein is left to marinate overnight, and then it is combined with rice, tempered and steamed.


“I’m from South Africa and our holiday food used to always be some type of biryani,” Syed said. “It’s a favorite among our Indian culture, and the amount actually feeds a lot of people. It was always very filling, very satisfying. It’s a comfort food for a cold day. It just warms you up.” Syed’s biryani recipe has been passed down from generation to generation. It began with her grandma’s mother-in-law, and as the women in her family aged, they passed down the recipe, with her mother eventually passing the recipe on to her. “Food is just an excuse to be with family and friends,” Syed added. “Food really brings out the best in every Indian home, especially when it comes to the women in the house. Every woman, every household, tries to make the best. Seasonal food is everything, it’s a big feast. There’s enough for everyone that everyone can come in and get satisfied.” It’s a simple fact, food brings people together. This togetherness can actually lead to a healthier life. A 2016 study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that increased social interaction was associated with lower risk for physiological dysregulation, such as inflammation. The holidays may be fun, or they may be stressful, but one thing we can always count on to lift our spirits and put us in the holiday mood is good food. So, make sure you savor every bite of turkey, pie or biryani this holiday season.

How Your Plants Want to be Loved By Michaela Mulligan Photographs by Michaela Mulligan

Just like people, plants hate getting their feet wet. The advice comes from Paige Beck, a Gainesville plant enthusiast and home gardener. It’s a tip she gives to novice plant owners. Don’t put saucers under potted plants, she said. It’s a rookie mistake. The water needs to flow through and fully oxygenate the soil; a saucer will prevent that. The pooling water will result in soggy plant feet. Like people, plants are finicky. They have things they love and things they hate. Some plants will thrive in direct sunlight and some will wither.

Listen to your plants, Beck advises. They’ll tell you when they are happy. Watch your plants and if they are not thriving there, pick them up and move them. They want to love the location they’re in.

“They want to live in the right location,” Beck said. “They want to love their surroundings.”

Like Beck, Alexis Cafsrey, director of the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, said to listen to your plants, and take in your surroundings. Don’t change your environment, instead plant something that will thrive in that environment.

Beck grew up on a farm in West Virginia with a large vegetable garden and an apple orchard. During the summers, Beck and her mother would freeze food for the winter. In West Virginia, you may get snowed in for two or three weeks, she said, and those frozen fruits and vegetables became a necessity.

“As long as you plant the right plant, in the right place, then it is a lot less work that you’re going to have to do for it to succeed,” Cafsrey said.

“I think that it’s part of life, just being able to be outdoors and enjoy plants around you,” Beck said. “I just could not live in an apartment where I couldn’t have plants around me.” Florida, unlike West Virginia, is in a constant growing season. However, Florida’s sunshine can be harsh on some plants. Beck said her mint grows tiny leaves in the summer because of the brutal heat but large leaves in the winter. Once you know which plants love the sunshine, and where they’ll thrive, some plants can survive year-round. “Plants that I considered summer plants in West Virginia are winter plants here,” Beck said. “Instead of snow, we can have flowers all year.”

For example, if you have more saturated soil, plant an aquatic plant. Or, if you have a dry area, plant a drought tolerant plant. Just as people have their preferences, so do plants. If you want a firsthand look at the plants that love Gainesville’s weather, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is a museum filled with examples. Plants are displayed based on where they will thrive within the gardens, from full sun to shade. The trick to a thriving garden, or even a happy plant in a windowsill, is to give it what it loves—whatever that may be—and work with what you can provide. “Watch,” Beck said. “The plants will tell you if they’re happy or not.”


Best "Swept" Maid Secrets, for Those Who Hate Cleaning By Taylor Martin Photographs by Taylor Martin There’s a red splash of pasta sauce on the tile in front of the stove. A trail of sticky, yellow dots on the shelf in the fridge. A glob of toothpaste in the bathroom sink. Crumbs that litter the space in front of the couch. It’s time. You’ve put it off for a week or two – the kids needed extra help with virtual classes, that paper was due, a new series came to Netflix – but it can wait no longer. You set the wipes out on the counter to remind yourself; but that was yesterday, and they haven’t been touched since. If you can just start, it won’t take you longer than an hour to get it done. But cleaning is gross, and sometimes it takes a bit of muscle and sweat to get it done. You hate the start of the cleaning process. However, there’s a certain way to clean. Some things can make cleaning go a little quicker or with a little less effort. There’s a routine to it, and once you learn it, you can conquer any spot, stain, splash or smudge. Get it together Ashley Rotton, a team member at Gainesville’s Student Maid, said to have all of your cleaning supplies in one place. Put your bleach, wipes, brushes and foams together on a table or counter so time isn’t wasted scrambling for cleaners, drawing out the already detested process. As for cleaning products, the simpler the better. “Vinegar water works great, especially if you’re putting it in sinks or in the microwave because it doesn’t have such a horrible smell, and it neutralizes odors,” Rotton said. To make vinegar water, mix equal parts distilled white vinegar and filtered water. To make it a disinfectant, add lemon juice; to get out tough carpet stains, add a teaspoon of dish soap. She also recommends using old toothbrushes for getting in crannies and rags instead of paper towels to avoid the fuzz that comes off the paper.


Begging for attention The big projects need to come first. “Start in the areas that need your attention most,” Rotton said. This area is usually the kitchen, she said. But for her, it’s the living room that most often cries for help. Checking off the most in-need spots of the home can not only offer a sense of accomplishment while continuing down the cleaning to-do list, but it will be a relief to have finished the worst of it. Start it from the top If cleaning is an all-day task, it’s likely being done in the wrong order. In each room, put away all the papers and shoes and dishes. Then, start from the ceiling fans and lights and work down to the baseboards and floor. “If you try to go the opposite way, you’re going to end up putting

more stuff on the bottom layers,” Rotton said. Then more time is being spent on a counter or rug you already cleaned. Fans and trim don’t need to be cleaned as often as other surfaces, but they’re often left for far too long. Doing a quick swipe on the fan blades and running a rag along the baseboards can make a room instantly look cleaner. Let it sit for a bit Grimy surfaces, like sinks and toilet bowls, can often easily be dealt with by spraying them with bleach and letting it sit for a few minutes while working on other tasks. When coming back to the project, it’ll likely only take a wipe to clean off the worst parts. When cleaning a client’s house, Rotton always has bleach soak in the toilet before scrubbing it, she said. It’ll clean off the pink-ish grey line on the porcelain and kill any other kind of mold or germ build-up. This trick also works on tile grout and moldy showers. Distract yourself There are few things worse than letting yourself put all your focus on a dirty toilet. It’s stinky and there’s residue you’d rather not have your face so close to, especially if you’re not the only one who uses it. One thing Rotton prefers to do while cleaning is listening to people read Reddit posts on YouTube. She’ll also sometimes use the time to listen to class lecture videos. You can try to make cleaning time fun with music or videos, or you can make it feel more productive by listening to a new podcast or audiobook. Let a pirate romance drift your thoughts away from the splashing, crashing dishes or the fleet of crumbs under the dining table. Break it up If the idea of cleaning an entire house all at once is too much, that’s OK too. “I feel like when some people think about cleaning their house, it can be a little bit overwhelming,” said Cheyenne Jones, the head of

operations at Student Maid. She said the best way to combat the feeling of having too much house to clean or too little time to do it is choosing the three dirtiest things in the house and just cleaning those. “Then, even if the whole room isn’t clean, it probably looks better,” Jones said. It can be a massive relief to just have a visibly cleaner space. Though the internal battle of not wanting to pick up the broom or hunt down the glass cleaner but wanting a cleaner home may never fade, at least there are tricks to make the time pass just a little easier. “Cleaning is just an ongoing thing—forever,” Jones said. “While you’re cleaning the dirt, there’s more dirt accruing already.” Forever may be a daunting a word when used with cleaning, but it takes a change in mindset, Jones said. There will always be another pasta sauce splash, sticky spot in the fridge and glob of toothpaste in the sink, but all it takes is a quick wipe and it’s gone.


A House Divided: How Sisters at Rival Schools Overcome the Hate By Rhianna Liuzzo Photographs by Rhianna Liuzzo Giulia and Giovanna Moraes didn’t envision their education leading them to rival schools. From Brazil, the sisters lived in Florida at young ages, where they stayed until their teen years. They wanted to explore more of the United States, but they just couldn’t escape the Sunshine State. Giovanna, 22, a senior finance major at the University of Florida, couldn’t help but see the humor in her sister’s admittance to the same major at her rival school, Florida State University. Seeing the irony in the situation is just one way that the sisters keep their relationship alive while the rest of their family is in Brazil. Constant jokes, friendly bickering and sisterly love are all an integral part of the recipe for their love for one another. “I just find it so funny,” Giovanna said. “It’s more of a meme for us.” But that doesn’t mean that the sisters don’t take turns pushing each other’s buttons, something they, like all siblings, have been doing since their childhood. “Every time a professor talks bad about FSU, I can always take it to her to see her reaction,” Giovanna said. Sometimes, that reaction isn’t as satisfying as she might have hoped, as her younger sister has grown used to the jokes. Giulia, 20, has already heard them all and takes them in stride, waiting for her turn to return the favor. “I don’t get offended anymore that you guys call us the UF rejects,” Giulia laughed. And while they don’t always keep up with the football scores every week, they will never pass up a chance to get into their school’s spirit. Giovanna would never want UF to fall to FSU in a football game. She has to defend her school, she said. Back in Brazil, her family doesn’t really keep up with the rivalry’s traditions, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t find ways to enjoy it. In fact, their parents will take turns poking fun at the fact that the sisters go to enemy universities. “My mom loves learning with us,” Giulia laughed. “My professor was getting into the UF jokes, and my mom was like, 'Is this what they teach you?'” “She’s definitely a divided mom,” Giovanna responded.


Getting through the stereotypical rivalry means frequent visits and nonstop communication between the sisters. Because the rest of their family is in another country, they’ve grown to depend on one another for a feeling of home, even if their schools’ mascots aren't the same. “Our family is still in Brazil, so we basically only have each other most of the time,” Giovanna said. While they might not always see each other as often as they want, they’ve been able to maintain a stable relationship while going to school. Their rivalry doesn’t cut as deep as fanatics might expect, and they found a way to create their own identities even though they are studying the same subject: finance. “We’re both studying finance,” Giovanna said. “She wants investment banking; I want to do corporate finance.” No one’s a black sheep in this family — they are carving their own pathways and learning to embrace the hate between the schools. “It’s kind of like we went to Hogwarts and we're at two different houses,” Giulia emphasized.

Quiz: Discover Your Design Style By Rhianna Liuzzo Photographs by Rhianna Liuzzo

1. Do you look for patterns when shopping for home decor? a. Yes, I go for anything patterned, especially florals. b. Yes, I like warm, traditional patterns with global influence. c. Yes, graphic patterns and wood. d. No, I like solid colors. 2. What kinds of colors do you gravitate toward? a. Warm colors with accents of white, cream and beige. b. Neutral tones. c. Warm tones of brown, green and different shades of wood. d. Deep colors, blacks and steels. 3. What about textures? a. The more, the merrier! I like natural materials like rattan and anything leafy. b. Calm and cozy materials, like woven rugs. c. Wood should be everywhere, but I still like to create a comfortable space with soft furniture accents. d. I like metals, curved lines and shiny surfaces. 4. Lastly, what kind of lighting do you prefer? a. Natural lighting is the most important to me. b. Exotic light fixtures, but still calm and cozy. c. Statement; fun pieces that bring relaxation, but they’re still a focal point. d. Futuristic lighting, with some 80s influence.

Mostly A’s: You seem to like bohemian style the most. It has a considerable influence in almost all spaces. Kaitlyn Loos, an interior designer working in Tampa, Ocala and Gainesville, suggests searching for natural materials. Indoor plants are also key to succeeding in this design — the bigger your indoor garden, the better. The Benjamin Moore color of the year, “Aegean Teal,” is a great color to start decorating with for this style. Mostly B’s: Modern Farmhouse is your go-to. It has been evolving past tchotchkes and vintage signage to move more toward minimalistic usage of décor. “It’s three pieces of décor on the entryway table instead of ten, per se,” Loos said. Don’t be afraid to search for light fixtures that seem out of place in this design. Loos also recommends Indian hand-woven rugs. Instead of the popular greys, look for more neutral tones and create your own variation because this style is everchanging. Mostly C’s: You have mid-century modern style. This style has been growing in popularity recently, as the fashions of 2020 has made its way into interior design. This time, though, think more 70s than 50s or 60s. For Loos, this theme must include a graphic wallpaper and mid-tone to dark wood pieces with sleek lines in your furniture. “When you walk into a room with a true 70s style, it usually creates a feeling of warmth, relaxation and fun,” she said. Mostly D’s: You’re into a pure modernist design. “Absolutely nothing like your grandparents’ house,” Loos said. Prioritize minimalism over all else and be conscious of your storage space. This design is rare in architecture in Florida, so it’s really all about the décor here. High-end designers like to search for an 80s influence in their modern pieces, but also be sure to incorporate deep colors that go on forever. “Modern style might make you feel like you’re in the trendiest night club instead of your own home,” Loos explained.


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