The U.S. Bourbon Boom: How a Man’s Drink Became Everyone’s Drink

4.23.2014

By Duncan McHenry

Reserve Bourbon

As a bartender working in her hometown of Wichita, University of Kansas junior Rachael Dowding fell in love with her favorite drink — American bourbon whiskey — from the bottom up.

She started by sampling her bar’s bottom-shelf whiskeys, from “the well” in bar terminology, and soon moved up to premium, top-shelf whiskeys. Maker’s Mark quickly became her favorite, and, since then, she has even traveled to the company’s Kentucky distillery and dipped her own bottle in their signature dripping red wax.

For her, the rich flavor of a good bourbon whiskey like Maker’s Mark is the draw. She started off drinking bourbon with Dr. Pepper, but now prefers it with water.

The Wide World of Bourbon Whiskey: A Price and Style Comparison

“Whiskey” and “whisky” are both correct spellings. “Whiskey” typically is applied to variants distilled in the U.S. and Ireland, whereas “whisky” is usually used for whiskies distilled in Scotland, Wales, Canada, Japan and other countries. This is not a hard-and-fast rule, however, as some distilleries, such as “Marker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky,” choose to spell it differently on their bottles.

Popular American Bourbon Whiskeys:

Wild Turkey 80 Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Price: $29.99
ABV: 40%

Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky
Price: $36.99
ABV: 45%

Dark Horse Distillery Reserve Bourbon
Price: $54.99
ABV: 44.5%

Evan Williams Black Label Kentucky Bourbon
Price: $24.99
ABV: 43%

Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Price: $46.99
ABV: 43.2%

Sources: Broken Secrets, LoveScotch, DrinkUpNY

“Maker’s Mark is a small-batch distillery,” Dowding said. “They told us on our tour that the creator of their recipe baked bread to figure out what kind of grains he wanted to use to make it, and whatever made the best-tasting bread is what he used to make his bourbon. If it’s something you can drink with water, you really can appreciate it.”

Dowding is not alone in her love for the dark, amber-colored, flavorful drink distilled from a mixture of corn and other grains such as barley, malt and rye. According to Euromonitor International, whiskey sales in the U.S. have climbed by 40 percent in the last five years alone. And, based on February numbers from the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., people also love bourbon overseas as American distillers exported $1 billion in whiskey in 2013 compared to $376 million in 2002.

Along with this so-called “bourbon boom,” as it has been labeled in the media, has come an influx of smaller, craft distilleries — much like what happened in the craft beer industry over the last couple of decades.

Dark Horse Distillery is one such small-time company that was founded in Lenexa in 2010 by siblings Damian, Eric, Mary and Patrick Garcia. The four divide the labor needed to run the business evenly among themselves, with Damian serving as director of sales and marketing, Patrick as master distiller, Mary as head of their event space and Eric handling distribution and legalities. Another major player in Dark Horse’s operation is its copper still, which is affectionately named “Chester Copperpot.”

As Damian discussed Dark Horse’s signature Reserve Bourbon — made with a unique mash of 80 percent corn and 20 percent rye, when U.S. law only mandates a mix of at least 51 percent corn to warrant classification as bourbon — he said several things likely play into the drink’s booming sales. People’s overall affinity for more locally made products and more transparency in production, he said, also helps explain the success of small-batch distilleries like Dark Horse.

“The craft movement is within beer, wine, cocktails and it’s within food, of course,” he said. “You see a lot of people that are starting to gravitate toward that small-batch, handcrafted product. We do some different things that some of the big guys aren’t doing. A lot of consumers are looking for stuff that’s local.”

And as bourbon — and all types of whiskey — has traditionally been thought of as more of a put-some-hair-on-your-chest type of “man’s” drink, it seems logical that its growing popularity has brought a wider range of buyers. Damian said he would attribute this, in part, to a resurgence of creative cocktails in the bar and restaurant scene.

“The traditional cocktails of your Manhattans to the whiskey sours have really been making a comeback for years now,” he said. “[The cocktail movement] is now starting to gain traction even more. People are starting to do what they want with cocktails. They want to have something that’s delicious, and, in a good whiskey cocktail, the whiskey shines through especially nicely.”

Dark Horse Still

Dowding said she has noticed some of her more adventurous girl friends trying bourbon instead of their usual mixed drinks made with clear alcohols like vodka and gin. She attributed many women’s usual affinity for clear drinks to the mentality of “not wanting to look like an old man” more so than from a desire to cut back on calories or from flavor preferences. In fact, according to drinksmixer.com, Maker’s Mark and plain Smirnoff Vodka have the same number of calories and carbohydrates per one-ounce serving — 69 and zero grams.

While Damian added that it has been an “uphill battle” for Dark Horse in the competitive craft beverage industry, he’s confident moving forward with the company. Dark Horse has recently won numerous awards, including a bronze medal for its Reserve Bourbon at the prestigious 2014 World Whiskies Awards in Europe.

Relaxing on her porch swing with a book on a sunny March afternoon after a day of classes, Dowding mixed her favorite Maker’s and water. Although bourbon can be a bit pricey for a college student, she said, it’s her go-to when she’s in the mood for “something distinguished.”

“I drink Maker’s and water,” she said. “It’s just what I like.”

 

Edited by Hannah Swank

Photos courtesy of Dark Horse Distillery

Get it Close and at the Barber: The Hot Shave is Not for Sissies

4.21.2014

By Dane Vedder

Shaving

I spend too many mornings looking in the mirror, reluctant to make an effort to shave the scruff on my face. A rusty double-bladed razor stares at me from the medicine cabinet, a reminder of the painful tugs and cuts that will soon replace my beard. If only someone would do it for me.

Turns out someone can: a barber.

Though most men find the grooming process a chore, the classic hot shave is making a revival.  Of the dozen barber shops in Lawrence, only a few offer it. I decided to visit Dan Fitzpatrick at Amyx Barber Shop to clean up.

“You’d think that only older men come in for the hot shave, but it’s actually the opposite,” Fitzpatrick said as he buzzed away the longest of my facial hairs with an electric razor. “Most of my customers are in their mid-20s.”

Lining the walls of Amyx are autographed footballs with cracked leather, yellowed newspaper articles of KU basketball wins and photos of the owner, Lawrence Vice Mayor Mike Amyx. It’s a time capsule rooted in the traditional barber shop style.

Before moving to Lawrence, Fitzpatrick attended a four-year barber school in Utah where he learned traditional barber shop services from a group of men in their 80s.

“These guys worked at barber shops during their heyday, when customers visited regularly for a shave and a trim,” Fitzpatrick said. “These old men were the only people who could teach straight razor shaving the right way.”

Fitzpatrick began by prepping my beard with a thin layer of moisturizer and a hot towel wrap. The heat and moisture opens up pores, making the hairs softer and easier to shave. After wrapping and removing three hot towels, he applied a thick lather of shaving cream with a badger brush.

With delicate precision, Fitzpatrick shaved the hairs in sections, re-lathering once or twice after each stroke.  This is to ensure that the shave is as close to the skin as possible. After the most tedious spots around the chin and moustache are shaven, the excess cream is wiped away and a splash of cold water can be applied to close the pores.

The whole process took about 20 minutes and cost $15.  Between the hot towels and cooling sensation of the menthol aftershave, the straight razor shave is hardly comparable to everyday grooming at home.  It’s a relaxing tradition that every man should try at least once.

During my visit, Taylor Umbrell, a KU senior from Olathe, visited Amyx for his own hot shave.

“I usually shave every other day at home,” Umbrell said. “But I come here for the classic shave once or twice a year.  It’s kind of like getting a massage while you get cleaned up.”

Although Fitzpatrick made the process look effortless, he stressed that straight razor shaving is dangerous and has a slow learning curve. It took him months to master with the help of trained professionals.

Fitzpatrick is the only barber at Amyx trained to give straight razor shaves, and his 5-10 weekly customers are a testament to its revival.

 

Edited by Hannah Swank

Photo by Michael Engelken

#WITW14, or, a #Kimye Dialogue

4.15.2014

By Chloe Hough

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I was recently told by my (now ex) boyfriend not to write this article – to get off my “feminist kick” with all the “big words” I had learned at the 2014 Women in the World Summit, hashtag’d #WITW14 with over 500 million Twitter impressions, founded and co-hosted by editor-in-chief of the Daily Beast Tina Brown.

I found this comment interesting as I told him post-conference about my plans to write a response to the Vogue cover article, “Keeping Up with Kimye,” as this summit was not a bra-burning, men-denouncing dichotomy scenario, but in fact, quite the opposite. This conference was a place for all genders to gather: We celebrated strong women such as Hillary R. Clinton and Christine Lagarde, were inspired by young women CEO’s who have created humanitarian change and learned more about pressing issues such as Pussy Riot’s time in prison under Vladimir Putin for peaceful protest. It was full of “cool women” as Tina Brown eloquently put it.

I am not here to put out conjecture on why Kim should or shouldn’t be labeled “aspirational” as Anna Wintour puts it in her editor’s note. There is a strong debate around the Internet about the significance of Kim’s gracing the cover. Brown herself wrote a response to Wintour’s comment (mainly plugging #WITW14) titled, “Why Kim Kardashian is Not an Aspirational Woman.” Other articles I have picked through discuss why Kim is relevant, and why she deserves the attention she receives.

I am here, however, to discuss what I found in the shadows of the spotlight, in the connotations of the article and the wording Kim and Kanye chose to describe their “fantasy world.”

Vogue’s Hamish Bowles paints a very honest, even graceful portrait of the couple and their darling baby, North West. The set is reminiscent of a more Hollywood-glamour era than a monotonous reality television show. Bowles even manages to work in the “narcissism-nurturing mirrored wall” that parades a very real reflection of the millions watching the show and reading the magazine. I am reminded of Marilyn Monroe – I suspect Kim would be pleased to be compared to such an archetypal symbol – but I am saddened at the thought of what Marilyn became. She, much like Kim, is and was an ideal, a fantasy. Kanye even says, “Kim is like a fantasy, period. She’s like a dream girl. And I think a dream girl should live in a dream world.” So it goes.

Kanye is also quoted saying, “It’s really interesting that we’re on the front lines of a few different concepts at the same time. You’ve got the interracial thing; you have mega-media and mega-art crash; you have, you know, the Vogue-and-reality show combination. There’s a lot of new frontiers being broken in 2014.” And I have to wonder: Is part of this grand debate over the cover rooted in the fact that we are not sure if Kim is, in fact, a pioneer, breaking “frontiers,” or rather if she is simply a product of society?

For example, one of the most telling pictures of this fantasy world embodies sort of an ersatz-iconic sentiment of glamour, narcissism, societal burden and paradigm all at once. This is the photograph of Kanye holding an iPad, recording Kim and North taking a seflie on a cell phone, mirroring their lives in a quite literal, as well as metaphorical fashion. Annie Leibovitz is famous for capturing, if I had to choose only one word, truth in her photos, and this one is no different. It is also important to remember there is a fourth wall of sorts: the audience. The camera itself is a mirror. And speaking of mirrors, Kanye even states of the couple’s wedding: “We could get the Hall of Mirrors [at Versailles] or something. We could turn up.”

One of the segments at #WITW14 discussed the power of the selfie and the ability it presents to young people in particular that one can be beautiful without a mirage of makeup slathered on, without “hypersexualization” as actress Rashida Jones entitled it, and without pretense for the model in question. The problem with this is that we are hypersexualized, and Kardashian is no exception. Famous for pioneering contouring in the celebrity makeup world, notorious for her accidentally released sex tape with former beau Ray J and renowned for her “womanly” ass-ets, Kim Kardashian could be called the antichrist of feminism.

I, however, would make the case that the multi-dimensional selfie photograph by Leibovitz is a parallel, if not an echo, of a whole generation of millennials and their predecessors who have elected to put Kimye on their self-proclaimed throne. The paradox with the selfie is this: Kardashian is bashed for her idolization when in reality she is just a reflection of ourselfies – pun intended. We venerate ourselves (guilty), which is empowering and damaging at the same time, as it can lead to a perpetual teenager reigning queen, marrying her prince and living happily ever after. Right?

Of course Vogue, like all major monthly publications, chooses its cover models to remain, in part, culturally relevant – Tina Brown even relents this in her critique of Wintour’s selection. So I pose this question: Should we be attacking Kimye? In promoting #WITW14, Brown does make an excellent point that Kim Kardashian would not be one of the “cool women” on stage at the summit. And in my personal opinion, she probably wouldn’t want to attend anyway.

However, we as a society (and I hate to use that term in such a general sense), have created a frenzied dialogue about what cultural hubs such as Vogue magazine should and shouldn’t promote, and yet we personify the camera following Kardashian’s royal self(ie).

We have socially konstructed the Kardashian Kommonwealth, and now we must live with our rulers and their empire.

 

See more of the #WorldsMostTalkedAboutCouple here.

Edited by Hannah Swank

Photo by Annie Leibovitz for Vogue magazine

4.07.2014

IMG_9654IMG_9660IMG_9645

 

Photography by Hannah Mougel

A Bold Brow Takes Shape in Lawrence

4.06.2014

-Hayley Jozwiak

DSC_0843

“Hayley, you would be so beautiful if you would just let me tweeze your eyebrows.”

It’s not exactly what a girl in high school wants to hear from her peers. I was mortified every time someone suggested that I tame my eyebrows in order to be “beautiful.”

My bold eyebrows, dark brown with a defined arch contrasting with my pale skin, made me stand out. I felt self-conscious and embarrassed, especially when people drew attention to them and even offered to thin the bushy masses.

Just a few years later and I no longer receive backhanded compliments about my eyebrows: The power brow is back in style.

You can find it on young Hollywood stars today like Emma Watson and Lily Collins. They each have brows that naturally frame their face and bring attention to their eyes because of their heaviness. Collins’ eyebrows are so prominent they have their own Twitter account, @iamthebrows.

The power brow trend brings out a person’s natural beauty, said Jenn Streeter, a graduate student at the University of Kansas. “The bold brow look, to me, is very old Hollywood. I think it’s more natural than the drawn-on, pencil look that has been popular for a while,” Streeter said. “Seeing some brow on a celebrity shows me they’re real.”

Brea Cudney, a junior at KU, appreciates the trend because she has bold brows. She’s taken notice of stars like Lucy Hale and Lauren Conrad.  “I’ve followed the transformation of Lauren Conrad since her days on ‘Laguna Beach,’ and I’ve noticed how she’s let her eyebrows become more full and natural,” Cudney said.

Cudney is often ask how she “styles” her eyebrows, which she takes as a compliment. “Eyebrows are funny, but I definitely notice them on other people and appreciate when someone admires mine as well.”

Cudney is just one example of how the power brow trend is taking shape in Lawrence. Elena Diaz, a hair stylist at Lou & Co Hair Studio, said it’s socially acceptable to have big eyebrows now.

“I appreciate a fuller brow because it means that you’re not afraid to think outside the box,” Diaz said. “You have your own idea of beauty and you’re comfortable with what you’ve been given.”

Eyebrows are important because they frame your face, said Nasrin at Brow Expressions. “The first thing that you notice about someone is their eyes, and eyebrows go with that.”

Nasrin said that her clients often ask for a thicker shaped brow. “People think it’s old-fashioned, but it’s very popular among my clients.”

Whatever kind of eyebrows you have, one thing is clear: The natural look is best. Don’t let know-it-all high school girls make you feel ashamed of your natural beauty.

 

Get some professional help shaping up those bold babies right here in Lawrence.

Threading:
Brow Expressions, 2223 Louisiana St.

Waxing:
Lou & Co. Hair Studio, 2040 W. 31st St., Suite C

Simply Wax, 901 Kentucky St., Suite 102B

SkinCare by Jennie, 2311 Wakarusa Dr., Suite C (Brow tinting also provided)

Karin Kelley Skin Care, 2311 Wakarusa Dr., Suite C

 

Edited by Hannah Swank

Photo by Hannah Carey

Pinky Up: The Best Teas in Lawrence

3.31.2014

by Sylas May

Gaiwan

A mushroom-like lump of bacteria floats in a jar on the counter of Mana Bar, the newest tea shop in Lawrence, Kan. I’ve drunk the vinegary liquid it floats in, which tastes something like balsamic vinaigrette dressing, only sweeter.

It’s called kombucha, and it’s a popular kind of tea in parts of China, Russia and Japan. Produced by leaving a culture of probiotic bacteria in black tea to ferment, kombucha is dubbed a health food by many of its supporters, who claim it’s capable of improving digestive health.

Kombucha is one of many unconventional types of tea that Mana Bar stocks. You certainly won’t find bags of English Breakfast here.

“A lot of Americans, when they think of tea, they think of grocery-store tea and tea bags, and that’s just the lowest on the totem pole as far as tea quality goes,” said Derek Poskin, Mana Bar’s chief procurement officer. “A lot of our job is just re-educating people on what tea is.”

Apparently, it’s herbs, roots, leaves, and mushrooms. It’s hot, in multiple senses of the word — the Tea Association of America says the demand for specialty and exotic teas rises 10 to 15 percent each year.

I’ve been a tea drinker since childhood, but I’m still no expert, so I decided to find out what the best teas in town are from the people who sell them and drink them.

Mana Bar: Toasty Ti Guan Yin

At Mana Bar, the owner, Matthew Rader, says something familiar, like jasmine tea, might be the best place to start exploring high-end tea.

“Jasmine tea is probably something everyone has come across at some point,” Rader said. “But ours is just so above-the-bar that people just smell it and are like, ‘Okay, if it even tastes half as good as that, I want that.’”

For the more adventurous, Mana Bar carries teas that would baffle most tea novices, including teas that taste like coffee.

“We have a dark roast Ti Guan Yin that, when brewed properly, almost tastes as strong as coffee,” Poskin said. “But it’s a very mellow energy, as well.”

The Taiwanese Ti Guan Yin tea I took home to brew, while not as dark as coffee, had a similar aroma and went down smoothly. I didn’t really suffer the crash like that of coffee, either; the tea kept me going for a few hours without ever feeling lethargic or nauseous. Plus, watching the tightly rolled leaves unfold in the water was a great way to relax.

Brits: Smoky lapsang souchong

Many other places in Lawrence stock loose tea leaves to swirl around in the pot. One such store is British import shop Brits, where you can find common teas like Earl Grey alongside stranger varieties like Ntingwe Kwazulu. Owner Sally Helm says most of the teas sold in the shop are basic, but more people have started buying green teas, like the popular rose tea, instead of the more traditional black varieties.

Some of the teas Helm sells are well outside most people’s comfort zones — and a few are even too outlandish for her palate. One such tea is a Chinese black tea called lapsang souchong, which is smoked as it dries.

“The lapsang souchong, to me, it tastes like the bottom of an ashtray,” Helm said. “But it’s all a matter of taste.”

When I tried brewing it, the room smelled like a bonfire for about an hour after the tea had steeped. The tea itself was very strong and spicy, and it definitely woke me up. If you like your tea strong, lapsang souchong is a great way to get into exotic teas.

House of Cha: Iron Buddha

At the cozy House of Cha, employee Isaac Jambor recommends something called Iron Buddha. “It’s really caffeinated and really strong, especially if you let it steep for a long time,” he said.

As I swish it around my mouth, I can’t place its flavor; one minute, it’s fruity, the next, earthy. It’s always rich and smooth, though, and it doesn’t taste that strong to me at all.

He also suggests a powdered tea from Japan, called matcha, for tea-lovers on a budget. “It costs $8.00 per ounce, so it’s not as expensive as our other teas,” he said. “Plus, it has rice puffs in it.”

People don’t drink tea just for the taste; the health benefits are reason enough to drink it. Tea is rich in antioxidants and can reduce regular drinkers’ risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the Tea Association of America.

Mana Bar’s Rader and Poskin can vouch for the beverage’s benefits, too, as they have seen regular customers visit the shop when they feel a cold coming on. The bestseller for these customers: naturally, the probiotic-rich kombucha.

“It is kind of the high road to dealing with sickness,” Poskin said. “Instead of antibiotics, you do probiotics.”

 

Want to broaden your horizons with some weird teas? Here’s the roundup of recommendations, along with where to find them and how much it’ll cost you.

Ti Guan Yin

Mana Bar, 1111 Massachusetts St.
Price: $5 per ounce

Lapsang souchong

Brits, 929 Massachusetts St.
Price: $7 for 4.5-ounce box

Iron Buddha

House of Cha, 21 W. Ninth St.
Price: $15 per ounce

 

Edited by Hannah Swank

Photo by Ryan Ott

Spring Break Diets: What Some Will Do to “Get Skinny Quick”

3.21.2014

DSC_0018

 

Sitting at the bar in Dempsey’s Burger Pub with an Odell ‘5 Barrel’ Pale Ale in hand, Cameron* Long, a third year KU Law School student from Overland Park, shifted uncomfortably as he described the intense diet he went on for spring break two years ago.

“The first three days were absolutely miserable,” Cameron said. “The first day I could only eat fruit. I was starving and I felt like I was torturing myself.”

Cameron and his friend John* were desperate to get in shape and impress the ladies for their trip to Panama City, Fl., in 2012. They did a quick Google search online, found the General Motors (GM) Diet and decided to give it a try. The GM Diet was developed for employees and dependents of General Motors, Inc. with a grant from the FDA. The management’s intention was to facilitate a wellness and fitness program for everyone, according to the website Cameron and John used.

Cameron said he wouldn’t have done it if John didn’t do it with him. He said it’s just kind of embarrassing to be on a diet if you’re a guy.

During the first seven days of Cameron and John’s diet they had to abstain from all alcohol and drink 10 glasses of water each day.

Cameron, who is 5-foot-7 and about 160 pounds, is not overweight, according to the Rush University Medical Center’s Height and Weight Chart. Neither Cameron nor John needed to lose weight; they just wanted to diet and look good because, well, it was spring break.

“We thought it would be fun, and even though guys don’t like to admit it, we care about being in shape too,” Cameron said.

He said he still drank whiskey on occasion and was able to lose 15 pounds in one week. He said the whiskey definitely got to him faster and he felt lightheaded every time he drank but he couldn’t resist; he had to have some enjoyment.

Cameron laughed and took a sip of his beer.

“It was a week of hell and I gained it all back immediately, but if you wanna lose weight quick, I promise this works,” Cameron said.

 

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The GM Diet is just one of many crazy diets students experiment with to lose those extra pounds before beach week. Kelsey Fortin, health educator in the resource office at Watkins Memorial Health Center at the University of Kansas, said students are swarming in early March, asking about fad diets.

General Motors:
Day 1: Fruit only
Day 2: Vegetables only
Day 3: A mixture of fruits and vegetables
Day 4: Bananas and milk
Day 5: Beef and tomatoes
Day 6: Beef and vegetables
Day 7: Brown rice, fruit juice and vegetables 

Atkins:
Limited carbohydrates and no fruit
Heavy on meat, fish, cheese and vegetables

Cabbage Soup:
Eat as much cabbage soup as you want for
seven days
Recipe and directions here

Paleo:
Based on the concept that the optimal diet is
the one to which we are genetically adapted.
Cannot eat: dairy, grain, soft drinks, fruit
juices, fatty meats, salty foods, sweets,
potatoes or starchy vegetables, limited fruit
Can eat: eggs, meat, fish, olive oil, sweet
potatoes only, bananas and unsalted nuts

The most popular spring break diets this year, Fortin said, are the Atkins Diet, the Cabbage Soup Diet and the Paleo Diet.

“With all fad diets, you will see results when you first start,” Fortin said. “But they are very unhealthy, not a long-term solution and most students will just gain the weight back the minute they stop.”

Fortin said she gets tons of students coming to her desk wanting a “quick fix” and she tells them that’s not how it works. She said if people really want to be healthy and lose weight they need to take the time to learn about a balanced diet and incorporate healthy foods into their lifestyle every day. Fortin said all food groups are important and balance is key.

Katie*, a senior from Edina, Minn., is another student who longed for a get-skinny- quick diet. Katie said with her busy lifestyle, it was hard to stick to limiting food, so she tried the Grapefruit Diet.

She said she read somewhere that if you eat half a grapefruit before every meal, you can naturally lose weight because of the excess water filling you up.

“I was so sick of grapefruit by the end of the week, but I guess it was worth it. I lost 5 pounds, just in time for bikini season,” Katie said.

Amanda*, one of Katie’s friends and a senior from Naperville, Ill., said she tried the Atkins diet instead because she didn’t think the Grapefruit Diet would work. She said Atkins was extremely hard because you have to drastically lower your carb intake and you are constantly hungry.

Amanda and Katie both felt the need to go on a diet before spring break because “everybody was doing it.”

Katie said it’s hard to just eat regularly when everyone around you is on a new diet and constantly talking about it; the only way to tolerate all the diet talk is to join in too.

“Any diet that tells you to completely eliminate a food group or eat as much as you want of something is not healthy,” said Fortin, the health educator. “I call those red flag diets because most of the time people will end up gaining even more when they stop.”

Katie said she thinks the 5 pounds she lost right before spring break made no difference in the long run.

“Any weight I did lose, I gained back during spring break just from all the alcohol,” Katie said.

Amanda blushed, laughed and nodded reluctantly in agreement.

*Names have been changed.

 

-Avalon Cole

Edited and photographed by Hannah Swank

Booty and Brains: An Interview With The Men Behind #ASSJAMZ

3.14.2014

Cameron Birdsall and Jon Marzette, KU students and creators of the punk karaoke show Taking Back Mondays are the DJ duo behind the Bottleneck dance party, Assjamz.  Cameron and Jon have been involved in the Lawrence music scene since 2012 with their emo/punk band, Sovereign States, but they never expected Assjamz to snowball into the success that it is now. I sat down with the DJs at Louise’s Downtown Bar to talk about their upcoming show.

 

Cameron Birdsall (left) and Jon Marzette (right)

Cameron Birdsall (left) and Jon Marzette (right)

 

So how did Assjamz come about? I know it initially didn’t have a name. 

CB: Yep, it wasn’t called anything at first. About two years ago, one of the bartenders at the Bottleneck, Mike, had played some music in between the commercials when KU was in the Final Four, and everybody loved it. Mike told us nothing was planned at the Bottleneck for Cinco de Mayo so he asked if we wanted to play some music for whatever crowd came in.

JM: We aren’t DJs, but we said we’ll figure it out. That turned into the first Assjamz. We tweeted and Facebooked, letting people know we were playing music. There was a comfortable 40 people or so, but we drank the bar out of tequila.

 

I see #ASSJAMZ blowing up on Twitter whenever there is one coming up.  Was social media important in getting off the ground?

JM: Absolutely. Twitter, Facebook and word of mouth. That’s it.

CB: And, originally, we didn’t even have our own night. It was usually only after a show that ended early, so you had to just see it on Twitter to find out because we didn’t even know.

JM: After a while, we just kept getting more people, but I think I know the turning point: There was a show where we got a text that there was going to be an Assjamz after some blues guitarist was done playing. We got there and it was a much older crowd. He still had like four songs left and all these young people started filing into the Bottleneck and eventually started chanting, “ASSJAMZ ASSJAMZ,” and the dude was still singing. It was kind of disrespectful.

CB: A bit of a dark mark, but we realized that we needed our own night, so we just took a slot on Saturdays.

 

So, does Assjamz get pretty sweaty?

JM: Oh yeah.  I remember the sweatiest one last summer. Over half the crowd removed most of their clothes. The Bottleneck was dripping, and some of it wasn’t even their own sweat.

CB: Well…that’s the booty sweat.

JM:  That’s true; it’s great. I’ve seen it now in real life, and it’s beautiful.

 

How do you choose the music?

JM: We’re people that like to dance first. We choose most of it from the time when we went to school dances to actually dance.

CB: I like to play the music we used to listen to at middle school mixers: things that were hits in 2004, lots of Nelly, Ying Yang Twins and all that.  But if there’s an older crowd, you’ll see some Bell Biv Devoe.

 

Each Assjamz has a booty-dancing contest.  How are you able to do that with such a large crowd?

JM: Well, now Assjamz is almost too big for it.  At first, we were just like, “Yeah, come up on stage and twerk a little bit,” and there were usually only like five girls and two dudes.

CB: And bigger it got. It just became chaos on-stage.

 

You booked a New Year’s Eve edition of Assjamz at the Granada last year. What was your favorite part of that show?

CB: Definitely right up to midnight when we had people just rushing the stage for the countdown and going nuts, with the #ASSJAMZ video playing behind us and the confetti.

JM: Bottles everywhere.

CB: We actually both wept.

JM: It’s true. I’m pretty sure that’s the first time we’ve ever cried from being so happy.  I mean, we’re musicians, but we’ve never headlined anything at the Granada, much less sold it out.  So, at the end of all that work and preparation, we just cried.  It was so great.

 

The next Assjamz is March 15. Are you expecting a Spring Break crowd?

CB: Yes! “The Ides of March.”

JM: It’ll be a good launch point for people to bounce from Assjamz to their vacation.

 

 

Get all the details here and let the ass-shaking commence:

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-Dane Vedder

Edited by Hannah Swank

Photography by Quinn Brabender

Graphic by Jon Marzette

2.26.2014

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Photography by Hannah Mougel

Winter Whites: Why You Don’t Need to Follow Your Grandmother’s Rules

2.20.2014

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We all know the rule. “You can’t wear white after Labor Day. It’s tacky and tasteless.” Breaking this rule used to be one of the most well-known fashion faux pas of the last century. The rule is rumored to originate from wealthy aristocratic women in the early 1900s attempting to distinguish themselves from people who weren’t worthy enough to be in their social circle (like a Jenny Humphrey, obviously). In order to do this, these women made codes and classified them as etiquette norms, kind of like what The Plastics did in Mean Girls. (“On Wednesdays, we wear pink.”)

Nevertheless, we all know that rules are meant to be broken. This rule has seen resistance even from others in the fashion elite since early on. Coco Chanel was known to have worn white year-round as it was a permanent part of her wardrobe. In simplest terms, this rule just doesn’t matter anymore.

Although the rule of not wearing white after Labor Day can be broken, there are, in a way, rules on how you should wear white after Labor Day. First, it needs to be weather appropriate. There are many white lace short summer dresses out there — don’t wear them during the winter. There are ways, however, that you can convert more summer or spring appropriate clothes into a winter closet. The easiest way to do this is by layering. One can mix different sweaters, vests and jackets of knits, wool, leather, etc., to keep warm. The trend also includes more than just plain white. Mixing different shades of white, whether it is eggshell, cream, beige, and even light grays can work. On top of this, you can add white jewelry, whether bangles, earrings, necklaces and rings. Being able to layer effectively is a style skill that everyone can benefit from.

Another reason why white is great — because it naturally evokes a style that is minimalistic. Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Simplicity is white’s essence. Due to this, it is able to have a longer “closet life,” and can be worn year-round depending on how you wear it and what you wear it with. It is a color that can adapt through all seasons.

This trend has been spotted all over the runway, including Creatures of the Wind and Alexandre Herchcovitch‘s fall 2014 ready-to-wear collections.

Now, instead of looking tacky, you can wear white and look sophisticated and chic in an effortless way. If you need more inspiration, check out our Pinterest board or look how we styled winter whites.

For day time:

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For night time:  

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-Kate Watson & Erika Reals

Model: Lana L’Heureux

Photography by Bethany Hughes

Styled by Kate Watson & Erika Reals

#ASSJAMZ: New Years Eve Edition @ The Granada

12.29.2013

If your are looking for some ass shakin’, booty bumpin’, team twerkin and jiggy poppin’ get yo self  to #assjamz on NYE. 

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If your feeling the vibes and want to see some booties go to  The Granada on NYE and tickets are only $5. (Not to shabby!!!)

For more information go the The Granada’s webpage.

BAD BITCH X STRIDER PRESENT: SLOWJAMZ

12.26.2013

 

~~~ We found a cure to post-holiday blues with some slowjamzzzz by Bad Bitch x Strider ~~~
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Downloadable MediaFire link here.

 

Baby, it’s cold outside – so layer up!

12.19.2013

Winter is for cool coats, ankle boots with chunky socks, furry hoods, dramatic silhouettes, slouchy beanies, menswear fabrics, thick tights and cashmere sweaters. The hard stuff. But how do you not look like a homeless person and like you are swimming in a sea of wool? 

Here are some multi-layer looks that will keep you warm as the temperatures get colder.

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Play with different fabrics - flannels layered under a wool make a great combo.

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Layer on a thick, cozy cardigan instead of a jacket for days when the sun peeks out on campus.

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For a more bohemian look, bring your maxi skirts back to the front of the closet and wear with a oversized sweater. Also adding a pattern beanie never hurt anyone. 

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And why waste a summer slip when you can layer a pattern sweater over, adding a embellished ruffle.

 

For behind the scenes of how our Style on the Hill girls choose their outfits go to The Bold Americana.

- Emily Paulson, Emma Johnson and Lana L’heureux

Photography by Emma Johnson

M.O.T.H: FINALS Edition pt. 1

12.15.2013

The only positive I find about finals is plugging in my Beats and listening to the perfect mix. Luckily for those who feel the same, we gathered some local djs to smooth your ears during this stressful week.

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Music on the Hill Presents: J▲CK ROL▲ND

“Stargazers of this subculture – I give you harmony.”

00:00 J▲CK ROL▲ND — She, the illusion [demo] (Andrea the Dreamer)
05:43 Nguzunguzu – Skycell (FadeToMind)
07:02 Huerco S. — Prinzif (Colonial Patterns)
08:50 Laurel Halo — Ainnome (Chance of Rain)
10:17 Egyptrixx — Water (A/B til Infinity) //// 10:29 MIKE WALL — Times [Original Mix] /// 11:49 Cheap and Deep — Beautiful
14:53 Piano sample ripped from Nicolas Jaar’s mixtape release ‘Our World’
17:42 Darkside — Paper Trails
22:33 Andy Stott — Submission [sampled] /// 23:22 Destiny’s Child — Emotion [Accapella sample] /// 24:25 Burial — Come Down to Us [sampled]
26:11 BLONDES — Business
29:06 Delroy Edwards — Heart and Soul (Lies X-MAS 01)

For more mixes by J▲CK ROL▲ND visit his soundcloud page.

And check back this week for more local artists. GOOD LUCK JAYHAWKS! 

Graphic by Patrick Blanchard.

Edited by Emily Paulson.

12.12.2013

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Photography by Hannah Mougel

12.11.2013

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Photography by Hannah Mougel

Tangled in Tights Lookbook

12.10.2013

No one wants goosebumps in the cold and why go tanning to get your pale legs bronzed when you can get tangled in tights this holiday season. Outfit ideas that don’t leave your summer shorts shoved in the back of the closet and keep your ripped tights chic.

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… You don’t need the sun to showcase your legs (so don’t wimp out on your leg wear.)

-Emily Paulson & Lana L’Heureux

Styled and modeled by Emily Paulson, Lana L’Heureux, Callan Reilly, Sarah Morris

Photography by Andrew Shepherd

Snagging a pair of highly coveted sneakers: A How to Guide

12.04.2013

 

 

 

Copping a fresh pair of Nikes is harder that you think.

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Sure, buying those Air Max 90s with your mom at DSW was easy enough back in the day, but snagging a pair of highly coveted sneakers is much more difficult. There are pre-release campouts at stores, ridiculously long lines the morning of the release, and absurdly fast sell-outs. And that’s all in New York. The game is much harder to play here in the Midwest, where your best bet for a nice pair of sneakers is an out-of-state “friend” you met at a party who had good drugs.

First I’m going to handle the haters, because I feel their wrath coming and I keep my pimp hand strong. It’s not that hard – just buy them online. -SMACK- Why don’t you just go to the mall, or Foot Locker? -SMACK SMACK- Bitch please with that nonsense. If this were that easy, you all would be wearing Air Yeezy 2s or Nike Mag 10s instead of the Shocks and Sperrys I see y’all fools rocking. Respect your elders in the game, because I’ve been there.

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The bottom line that any true sneakerhead will realize about life in the Midwest is that good shoes are imported. There simply isn’t a large enough market for brand retailers like Foot Locker or FinishLine (or other good stores) to supply either the volume or selection that places in LA and NYC can cater to. Sure, they might participate in highly anticipated releases to ride the wave of profitability that these release provide, but shoe stores out here cater to a different market. And sadly, that market is flooded with Crocs.

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The second thing you should know about dedicated sneaker shopping is that shopping online can be just as unsuccessful on release dates. Especially on highly coveted pairs, sites like Eastbay of FinishLine have been known to experience server crashes when flooded with thousands of customers in a five-minute span. A crashed site, with an emptied cart, is not what you want.

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Your true path to glory will be had via Twitter. Follow “@nikestore” and keep an eye on their tweets the day before the expected release date, which can be found on the Nike store’s calendar. At some point, usually mid-afternoon, the Nike store Twitter feed will tweet something prolific, something that will resonate with a generation. Something like: “Extra responsiveness. Ultimate control. The @NikeBasketball KD V Elite launches tomorrow at 8am EDT. pic.twitter.com/24rrajgjmP”.

At this point the heat is on. You know the date. You know the time. Set your alarm, cue up a Twitter feed on perpetual refresh, and let the waiting begin.

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At the assigned time, Nike’s twitter will ring out again, although this time with a link to the proper Nike store page. USE THIS LINK. Nike’s site has a reputation as being the best place to buy sneakers, namely because their servers expect to handle the massive influx of customers. Move smoothly, but quickly, adding one pair, and only one pair to your cart. None of this Nelly, Air Force One, “Get me two pairs,” type nonsense. Some releases are extremely limited, and Nike will limit their sales to a certain amount per customer. Apparently you’re allowed to go over the limit when adding shoes to your cart, but come checkout time, the whole thing fails, empties your cart, and starts you over at the back of the line. Not a good place to be when the stakes are high and the bounty is few. Best to ensure you’ve got at least one pair before getting greedy.

Once you’ve got your cart loaded, do like I do when late in the semester and check the fuck out.

Sit back, wait for shipping, and prepare for hipster girls to swoon.

Preston Bukaty 

Edited by Erika Reals

Photography by Vasu Gupta

12.03.2013

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Photography by Hannah Mougel

Boyish Charm

12.03.2013

 

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Call me ahead of the game, but I’ve been stealing clothes out of my brothers’ closets for as long as I can remember. This trend isn’t for  the average Tomboy or feminist anymore, though — it’s a fashion statement that celebrities, designers, fashionistas and college students alike can all indulge in. It is a trend suited for all the ladies, and it is easy to add your own twist of originality and style to make the look yours.

While walking along Jayhawk Boulevard after the steam whistle has blown, the amount of Converse sported by all types of girls is almost uncountable. This shoe was originally made for men, particularly as the first basketball shoe, but on this campus the women seem to be dominating the Chuck Taylor market.

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The greatest thing about it is that it can be done both casually and formally. For more formal occasions, add a pair of suspenders to your slacks, a brimmed hat paired with a sweater, or buy some patterned mens dress socks to add some detail to the outfit. If you want to get super fancy, consider wearing a tie to really make your outfit pop.

To keep the look casual, add some baggy jeans to go along with your high-top Converse. Wildman Vintage on Massachusetts Street has a lot of classic mens looks for cheap, including dress hats, suspenders in nearly every color, leather belts, ties, and more. Browsing through the men’s section as a woman nowadays won’t turn a lot of heads, so don’t be afraid to shop on the other side of the spectrum. What really matters, though, is to just have fun and be creative with it.
For more Tomboy inspiration, check out this Pinterest board.

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-Erika Reals

Model: Sarah Morris

Photography by Bethany Hughes
Styling by Erika Reals

 

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