Raw Denim 101

8.27.2014

By Evan Shinn

Denim still

If you’re a male who considers himself down with the fashunz, buying your first pair of raw denim jeans was probably baptismal to everything you know about #menswear today. Whether purchased from a brand like A.P.C., Nudie or Baldwin, you remember how sacred that moment was when you coughed over a couple hundred dollars for a single pair of jawns. But more importantly, you remember jonesing for the day you’d finally wash them.

Because raw denim culture insists you refer to denim’s lifespan in terms of “months, washes and soaks,” dudes go months and years without washing their jeans in order to individualize the denim’s fades, tears and rips. So, wash day is a big fucking deal, as it commemorates the time and effort spent “going hard” in a single pair of jeans.

If the term isn’t cringe-worthy enough, explaining the phenomenon is. Most dudes won’t even mention it as to avoid conversations that end with, “But won’t they, like, start to smell?” However, not washing jeans is just a response to the way raw denim is produced.

During the color treatment stage of raw denim’s manufacturing process, the indigo dye in which the denim is dipped isn’t 100 percent absorbed by the fabric. Because of this, the denim loses a bit of its color and rigidness with every wash thereafter. So, in order to sharpen and personalize their denim’s fades, dudes go six months to a year without washing their jeans, performing any and every activity that will emphasize the denim’s natural folds.

I remember when I first copped some raw denim. I was so hype about the whole not washing shtick that after a night of heavy boozing and throwing up all over myself, I tossed my jeans into the freezer and scraped off the frozen chunks the next morning. Everything worked out OK, aside from the fact that my jeans were walking biohazards; the denim wasn’t ruined, but I probably should have just washed them the next day.

Some denim makers refute a lot of what raw denim culture preaches, like Self-Edge founder Kiya Babzani and 3sixteen founder Andrew Chen do in a video for the Crosby Press, “Denim Mythbusters.” They explain why not washing your jeans and other methods of cleaning, such as freezing and ocean-soaking, are “moronic,” and recommend washing jeans every two months, at the least.

Unlike the actual show “Mythbusters,” Babzani and Chen don’t disprove techniques with experiments and results; you kind of just have to take their word for it. In all honesty, I take their advice with a grain of salt, as I’ve seen some successfully faded jeans using the methods denim heads have created for themselves, but I’m very behind the line of thinking, “If your jeans start to smell, wash them.” Airing out, freezing and spraying denim with Febreeze will only go so far.

I understand the fear of putting $250 jeans into a washing machine. However, there are other ways of making sure your jeans get cleaned on which I think both denim heads and the “Denim Mythbuster” dudes could agree.

Like many Kansas City-natives, I copped a pair of Baldweezys, and fortunately for you, a wash was due. As much as I’d like to have washed them in the Chi-O fountain in SOTH-like fashion to mock ocean-soaking denim nerds, it wouldn’t have been environmentally safe or effective. Instead, I washed them my usual way and provided a guide for all you noobs.

 

Video by Andrew Shepherd with music by Emilio Quezada

Edited by Hannah Swank

August Mood Board

8.01.2014

Sleepy Jones.AugustThor Elias.AugustRefinery.AugustAlex and Ernest.AugustUrban Outfitters.AugustRefinery20.AugustOracle Fox.August

Photos via: Sleepy Jones, Thor Elias, Refinery29, Alex and Ernest, Urban Outfitters, Oracle Fox

She’s Just Not That Into You…Or Is She?

7.16.2014

By Emma McElhaney

George-Costanza

It’s a common trope — the clueless guy who doesn’t take any of the hints an interested girl is sending him, even when they’re in capital neon letters. Before she made it clear she was into him, Emily Pinkston struggled to snag her current boyfriend’s attention.

“I sat behind him in class, and after I decided I was interested in him, I tried multiple times to walk with him after class,” said Pinkston, a University of Kansas senior.

He would either leave the room immediately, giving her no chance to show interest, or he would be engrossed in a conversation with someone else and she “would have looked dumb waiting for him,” she said.

“I would also try to talk to him before class about homework or other stuff, but it rarely extended beyond homework chat,” Pinkston said. “Finally, one day he turned to me and started talking to me after class to ask about my plans.”

For many guys, reading into a situation is risky — what if she’s just being friendly? But missing an opportunity could be equally as disappointing.

Doug Lawson*, a KU sophomore, said body language, such as a girl touching your shoulder or hands or giving you playful pushes, are good indicators of interest.

“If she feels comfortable enough with you to touch you, that’s a pretty good sign,” Lawson said. “If she hangs around — spends a longer amount of time with you specifically — or goes out of her way to continue a conversation with you, then she’s probably into you.”

It may be tempting to overanalyze all the signs, like body language or text messages, searching for a clear and obvious green light. However, Daniel Packard, professional love coach and touring speaker, said this isn’t a useful strategy.

“Nobody’s smart enough to think their way to love,” Packard said. “It’s too complicated; people are crazy.”

Sometimes life is uncomfortable, Packard said. You may be waiting around forever for an explicit, “Yes, I’m interested.”

“Things take courage, and people try to avoid courage, to try to skip that step and think their way through,” Packard said. “Even if you know what to say or not to say, if you walk up to her with the approach of, ‘I have to get this right,’ you’ve already lost the battle.”

Packard suggests focusing less on the outcome. Don’t be so caught up in whether they give you a yes or a no.

“Make your measurement of success be how you showed up. Were you courageous? Did you take a risk? Did you own what you want? These things make you proud of you. Then, no matter what they say, you walk away from the interaction feeling better about yourself,” Packard said.

Putting yourself out there can be scary, but through trial and error, Lawson said, you eventually figure it out. And sometimes it just takes courage.

“If you’re interested, ask her out,” Packard said. “People say no for a million reasons and none of them have anything to do with your worth. Just go for it.”

 

*name changed

 

Edited by Hannah Swank

July Mood Board

7.01.2014

BFA.JulyAlex and Ernest.July  Le 21eme.July Olive Cooke.JulyLe 21eme2.JulyOlivia Bee.JulyOracle Fox.July

Photos via Billy Farrell Agency, Alex and Ernest, Le-21eme, Olive Cooke, Olivia Bee, Oracle Fox

Ombre Trend Not Likely to Fade Out

6.18.2014

By Hayley Jozwiak

ombre

Ombre was one of the most popular trends of 2013, but it’s not finished yet. It isn’t just for your hair anymore, either.

It’s a simple gradation of color, making one end darker than the other. It can be having dark brunette roots that gradually change to light blonde tips or nails painted a light pink ending in a deep red at the tip.

The ombre look became popular for hair because it’s very low maintenance. Elena Diaz, a hair stylist at Lou & Co Hair Studio in Lawrence,says its roots lie, well, in roots. “Ombre actually started when people got lazy and let their roots grow out without touching them up,” Diaz says. “They thought, ‘Hey, this actually doesn’t look too bad.’”

Ombre hair is making a comeback, but in a subtler way according to Leslie Stauffer, a hair stylist at Lawrence salon La Bella Vita Hair Studio. “Beauty blogs are saying that ombre is on its way ‘out’ and that sombre is coming in. Sombre is just a more subtle version of ombre,” Stauffer says.

Hannah Carey, a senior at the University of Kansas who recently dyed her brown hair with blonde tips, describes ombre as the “modern day tie-dye.” Her hair is light brown that gradually changes so that her tips are a darker blonde color. Her sombre look is so subtle, she says few people have noticed the difference.

Carey is excited about her refreshing look for summer and thought it was the perfect way to make a change to her hair without going overboard.“In a way, it’s non-committal,” Carey says. “If I decide I’m tired of it, I just cut my ends off. No harm done.”

Apart from her hair, Carey has painted her nails ombre a few times as well. She said it was easy to do because she already had a few shades of the same color.

Carey’s favorite part of the ombre trend is the opportunity to personalize it. “[Ombre] gives you a chance to add your own touch to it,” Carey says. “That’s what I love about it. It’s unique and individual, but still trendy.”

Or not, depending on whom you ask. Maddie Schultz, a KU junior, is tired of the trend because it’s overused. “I never understood the ombre hair trend, but at least it’s better than splashlights. Hopefully those never catch on,” Schultz says of the hairstyle that features a splash of color stretching from ear to ear to create a halo effect.

Another popular version of ombre has emerged through makeup. Stauffer says ombre has always been a big trend in makeup; it’s just never been called ombre before. Smoky eye makeup is a perfect example of this. It’s just a transition from a darker color to a lighter color found at the brow bone, Stauffer says.

Between the usual requests for smoky eyes, Stauffer has had a few clients ask for ombre lips. An ombre lip is a lighter shade toward the inner lip moving to a darker shade toward the outline of the lips.

Stauffer suggests to not overdo the ombre look: “If you’re going to do a smoky eye, tone down the lips and have them be a soft pink that is close to your natural lip color. If you’re going to do an ombre lip, then stick with a classic eye.”

Whether you try out the new sombre look, a smoky eye or even an ombre lip, it looks like this trend is sticking around, whether you’re into it or not.

 

Edited by Hannah Swank

The Fade: Suitable Way to Split or Cold Cop-Out?

6.11.2014

By Emma McElhaney

Untitled

Becca Campbell says she’s been the victim of the fade on more than one occasion.

“I’ve mostly had it happen when things were going more quickly than they were ready for. I think that’s kind of the trigger, and it’s just time for them to go,” she says.

It can happen after the first date. It can happen after you’ve taken the next physical step. It can happen before you even meet.

The fade – that kiss of death in any budding relationship – is what goes down when one person isn’t interested in another and slowly backs out without being direct about his or her feelings or intentions.

“It’s a very sly and inconsiderate way of tapping out of a potential, or real, relationship,” says Campbell, a recent University of Kansas graduate.

There’s a speed and simplicity to fading, says Suzanna Mathews, a dating coach and matchmaker in Wichita. Ending something via text is much easier than sitting down and having a heavy conversation.

“I find that a lot of people in their 20s are fairly fluid about dating. They hang out, they text, they maybe hook up, but they aren’t necessarily aiming towards a relationship,” Mathews says. “They don’t seem to need to pin down what it is. And that also kind of keeps it freer and more loose for when it’s time to drift away or do the fade.”

A Lesson from the Dating Coach: How to be Direct Without Being a Dick 

Instead of fading on the next date you’re just not that into, Mathews suggests serving up a “rejection sandwich,” or something positive and kind on either end with the rejection in the middle. She offers something like this: “I enjoyed meeting you, I just don’t really think we have a connection. But if I know someone that might be right for you, I will keep you in mind!”

Or maybe this: “I’m really glad we got to meet, and it was really cool to hang out with you. I just don’t think this is the right thing for me at this time, but you seem really wonderful and I know you’ll meet someone great.”

“Anything you can do to be warm and polite and kind of save their ego a little bit is good, but it’s okay to be direct,” Mathews says.

Dragging out something that’s going nowhere is a waste of time for both parties, Campbell says. If she’s not feeling it, she just tells the guy. “No one is really used to that kind of honesty, but I’ve wasted weeks and months on dudes who, if they had just said, ‘Hey, I’m not feeling it,’ we both could have walked away and saved face.”

People fade for a variety of reasons, including, obviously, just not being interested. Campbell suggests people may fade when things progress too quickly. Mathews says perhaps some people think the timing is off but would consider revisiting a relationship further down the road.

If you’ve been dating for months or years, Mathews says the fade isn’t an acceptable way to end a more serious relationship. You owe someone an explicit, clean break. “If you’ve only gone out a couple times or you’ve only made out at some parties, you don’t really owe them that same sense of completion.”

Mathews and Campbell agree that it’s not too hard to determine the difference between getting faded on and just playing hard-to-get.

“If someone’s really into me, they’re going to text me back within an hour,” Mathews says. “Anything over 24 hours’ lag time on responding to a text, you pretty much know they’re just not that into me.”

KU junior Will Putzier says he’s pulled a fade before.

“Initially I thought it had the potential to go somewhere, and then I changed my mind,” Putzier says. “I feel bad, because it had happened to me where someone just straight up told me ‘no’ and I thought that was a bad way to do it. I thought that being nice and not ever doing anything was better, which it probably wasn’t.”

Someone could flake out on you once for any reason, Campbell says. “I’ve learned that any person – girl or guy – when they want something, they will get it. So if they’re doing anything to keep it from happening, then they just don’t want it.”

Most people eventually realize they’re being faded on. They may want to avoid conflict and not ever bring it up.

“I think it became obvious pretty quickly, but it still took a couple of awkward conversations,” Putzier says. “It’s kind of like finding the balance between crushing them and being nice.”

Fading takes a lot of the pressure off the person who isn’t interested, but leaves the jilted party hanging. Campbell says that fading is too easy of an out, and she wishes people would just be more direct about where a relationship is heading.

“I don’t want people to just be able to walk away without addressing it. So I always bring it up, and I would recommend that to other people too, just for the sake of your sanity.”

 

Edited by Hannah Swank

Photo illustration by Emma McElhaney

Netflix: A Binge-Watching Revolution

6.05.2014

By Erin Orrick

Netflix Load

Nine out of the 10 people I talked with as I stood outside Wescoe Beach admitted to it. Four of those 10 people did so sheepishly while the other five practically bragged about it.

I was skeptical of Jeff, a University of Kansas sophomore and the lone individual who didn’t cop to feverishly binge-watching a television show on at least one occasion. And I continued to hold on to my skepticism even when he told me it was because he didn’t own a TV.

Like the others, I asked him if he watches Netflix. “Well, yeah. Who doesn’t?” he said.

I joked that he was a rare breed, someone who watches Netflix, but has yet to binge-watch anything. “I’m sure it’ll happen someday,” he said. “It just hasn’t yet.”

Jeff is an unusual specimen, indeed. According to a 2013 survey conducted by Harris Interactive, a world-leading market research firm, 62 percent of nearly 2,500 online TV streamers interviewed binge-watch on a regular basis.

The word “binge-watch” isn’t new. According to oxforddictionaries.com, the term has been around in circles of television fans since the 1990s, but did not become mainstream until 2013. Coincidentally, this was the same year both of Netflix’s original series, “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” debuted.

The same Harris Interactive survey also revealed that 73 percent of those viewers polled defined binge-watching as consuming two to six episodes of a television show in one sitting, or roughly two to six hours of straight viewing.

This begs the question: Why do we spend countless unproductive hours on a couch staring intently at a TV show?

“I think what makes it so appealing is that people love to set their own timetables,” said Mandy Treccia, a writer for TV Source magazine and Examiner.com. “Everyone is busy, so instead of making sure that you’re on the couch in front of the TV at an exact time, you can just boot up your computer and pick a time and show that fits your schedule. I think people love having that extra sense of control.”

In response to Harris Interactive’s survey, Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, said Netflix’s viewing data reveals that the majority of viewers prefer to have a whole season of a show available to watch at their own pace, a concept that Netflix has pioneered. Differing from Hulu or Amazon Prime, who also stream original series, Netflix’s own original programming is created for multi-episodic viewing, providing content with new norms of viewer control for the first time.

Whether it’s control or an intense lack of patience, Netflix’s new model of releasing episodes of original programming like, “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” all on one day has turned binge-watching into a national fad. It’s not necessarily an attractive one on some occasions, but a fad nonetheless.

“Oh, it gets ugly really quickly,” said Whitney, a KU junior, who was too embarrassed to reveal her last name. “I’m usually in a sweatshirt, yoga pants and my hair is a mess. It’s also really hard to binge-watch without consuming large amounts of food. I mean, you’re sitting in front of your TV, engaged, and at some point between hours four and five of non-stop watching, you don’t realize you’ve plowed through two bags of chips and a two-liter of pop already. It’s so addicting.”

Though Netflix’s model appeals to many of its nearly 34 million U.S. subscribers, the all-in-one release format has a few notable downsides.

For the binge-watcher extraordinaire, a typical network or cable 13-episode season lasts three and a half months. Netflix allows such a fan to cram 13 episodes all into one day, two at the most. Speaking from personal experience, this makes the next new season seem like an eternity away.

As a not-so-quick consumer, and in an age of rapid technology, you have to be wary of spoilers and essentially disconnect yourself from the Internet while you watch.

“I don’t think anyone has gotten it quite right yet,” Treccia said. “Netflix releasing 13 episodes of ‘House of Cards’ in one sitting is great, but either you sit and watch them right away or you try to avoid the Internet to make sure that you don’t get spoiled. The network models of 22 episodes are nice because you get more episodes than Netflix or cable, but because they stretch seasons from fall to spring, there are always a lot of breaks.”

Whichever model proves to cater to your personal preference, Netflix has re-invented the way TV shows are watched.

“I love Netflix,” Nate, a KU senior, said. “I love being able to decide what I watch, when I watch it and how much of it I watch. I binge-watch way more than I probably should, and I’m pretty sure it has adversely affected my grades at some point. Some shows just pull you in, and you can’t stop. It’s an addiction.”

I thanked Nate for his comments. He smiled, turned to walk away and then stopped. He looked over his shoulder and jokingly called back at me, “Do they have rehab for Netflix addicts?”

 

Edited by Hannah Swank

June Mood Board

6.02.2014

Numero China.June

Olivia Bee.June

Wildfox2.June

Wildfox.June

Oracle Fox.June

Front Row Mode.June

Akila Berjaoui.June

Photos via: Numero China, Olivia Bee, Wildfox, Oracle Fox, Front Row Mode, Akila Berjaoui

Nail Fashion Takes a Sharp Turn from Classic Styles

5.13.2014

By Kathleen Smith

Rihanna- Nails

They are long, pointy and look more like a weapon of mass destruction than a fashion accessory – something more suitable for Catwoman than every woman. Yet despite the possible risk to humanity, they have become the newest trend in fashion.

When you turn the pages of InStyle magazine, you will spot them adorning the runway models during Fashion Week. They have many names from stiletto to almond to pointed to claw, but regardless, these nails have pierced the hearts of fashionistas everywhere and are quickly becoming a fashion staple.

Pointed nails are a trend many try through do-it-yourself projects. Gillian Walsh at Sally Beauty Supply in Shawnee, Kan., says the girls wearing them are about 22 to 30 years old and turn to Pinterest and how-to videos for pointed nail ideas. They then come to Sally’s to buy the acrylic nails, polish and clippers to make the sharp look.

Most of the girls are edgy or into fashion and want to wear a daring manicure. Despite having a nose bridge piercing, a nose ring and a large tattoo on her forearm, Walsh said she would never wear the look.

“I think they are to hard to work in. I might be edgy, but I also have a 3 year old at home,” Walsh said. “My friend Wendy wears them but she models and she’s more into fashion. She doesn’t have to get her hands dirty like me.”

You don’t have to do the nails yourself, since salons in Lawrence can achieve the pointed look for you. Tonya Wynn, a nail technician at Nail Citi, says you can get the look starting at $35. Its price is determined by how long your nails are and what polishes or appliques you may want.

Many customers go to nail salons but really don’t know the difference in the nail styles, so Tracy Meisenheimer, owner of Nails by Tracy and CND certified master nail tech, says she requests that her clients send pictures of what they want before appointments. She has been doing nails for more than 20 years and was the first artist in Kansas to do Mink, a heat-activated type of applique that has 100-plus design possibilities. She was Mink trained by Naja Rickett, the nail artist who stars on the WeTV show L.A. Hair.

Meisenheimer offers stiletto nails that are very long and narrow with a sharp point, oval almond-shaped nails that have a slight point and a kitten nail that is short, claw-like and really pointed. Most of her clients prefer the almond shape, though she often wears her nails in the long stiletto style so she can showcase the look. The stiletto costs $75 and it takes two hours to do. She must fully sculpt the nails on a nail form, place the metallic fringe on the natural nail and shape it into a point, and then add acrylic. The almond shape costs $40 for a normal length and $60 for a long length. It is made from nail tips and then shaped before acrylic.

“This type of nail can be for everyone,” Meisenheimer said. “Most of my clients wear the shorter almond or kitten nail style. You just have to figure out what length you are comfortable in and be a little daring.”

 

Edited by Hannah Swank

Photo by David Sims for Vogue magazine

Getting Canned or Popping Bottles: Beer is More Popular in Cans

5.08.2014

By Duncan McHenry

Canned Beer

As he settled into a wrinkled leather couch, KU graduate Kyle Gardner cracked the tab of a Tallgrass Buffalo Sweat. The dark, milky-sweet stout beer from Tallgrass Brewing Co. in Manhattan is Gardner’s favorite brew — and it only comes in a can.

“I actually like both [canned and bottled beer], but I can tell cans are definitely becoming more prevalent,” Gardner said. “Tallgrass beers actually only come in cans, and I’ve seen New Belgium and beers like that in a can, so I’m sure it will keep growing.”

For Gardner, canned beer is a gameday tradition no matter the season. When he’s in the mood for something less-than-top-shelf he’ll buy a six-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon tall boys to share with friends during basketball games. And during football season, he tailgates with canned beers to avoid broken glass.

“You’re not hauling around a load of bottles. I’d much rather crumple up a can,” he says.

Gardner is not alone in his preference for drinking the planetary favorite liquid from a can. According to a 2012 Brewer’s Almanac Report, cans held 53.2 percent of the beer market share, and bottles held just 36.5 percent.

The rising popularity of canned beer has paralleled the growth of the craft beer industry. Many popular microbreweries such as Blue Moon, Sierra Nevada and New Belgium are producing canned beer, and a few, like Tallgrass, are getting rid of bottles completely.

Many glass fans object to a metallic taste when they drink canned beer, which Cork & Barrel General Manager Brendan Dowdle says is all in their heads.

“Generally, I don’t get that metal taste some people are tasting. Maybe they’re just tasting the outside of the can,” he said.

With beer being such a light-sensitive drink, cans are actually a more effective storage vessel than bottles. A recent New Jersey Business Journal article, “Getting Canned: Why Beer Tastes Better, Sells Better in Cans,” said cans are more airtight than bottles and offer full protection against UV light. This is crucial to flavor because hops — the flowers that give beer its bitterness — can spoil easily with too much light.

With just five Ripple Glass recycling locations in the Lawrence area, ease of disposal is another factor in Gardner’s — and likely the nation’s — affinity for aluminum. Right now, the jury is mostly out on whether glass or aluminum is more eco-friendly.

In a 2011 article from Oregon Public Broadcasting, proponents of cans argue that aluminum is lighter and has a naturally lower carbon footprint from a packaging standpoint, whereas glass supporters say mining silica to produce glass is much less energy-intensive than bauxite used to make aluminum. To leave the smallest carbon footprint possible, the article concludes, the best option is a mug of beer from a local bar tap.

After Gardner and his friends had drained his six-pack of Buffalo Sweat cans, they threw the crushed empties in a grocery sack. But at least there’d be no urgent need for a trip to the recycling center, he said.

“It’s easier to dispose of and transport cans, I hate the clanking of bottles when I throw them into the glass recycling. It’s very jarring — especially when you’re hungover.”

 

Edited by Hannah Swank

Photo by Duncan McHenry

Ending on a High Note: Matt Easton Relishes his Final Weeks in Lawrence

5.01.2014

By Erin Orrick

matteaston

Matt Easton, a senior at the University of Kansas, kick-started his career as a writer, rapper and producer in 2010. He released his first self-produced mixtape, “Intro into Public Speaking,” as a freshman and has become a common face around the Lawrence music scene. In December 2013, Easton released his sixth mixtape, “Grey Area.” I chatted with Matt, who described his musical adventure and what graduating and leaving KU means for him and his future.

You bring a lot of energy and showmanship to your concerts. Any crazy fan encounters during your sets?

ME: Honestly, the craziest fan encounters come from online, through my social media sites. On Facebook, I sometimes have kids from all over the world sending me inbox messages, saying how they are fans of my music. To me, that is a crazy experience: seeing firsthand how far my music is reaching.

Every artist seems to have that one moment on stage they remember for the rest of their life. Have you had that moment?

ME: Yes, during one of my first out-of-state shows, at a fraternity house at the University of Miami. It was one of the first times playing my song “Live Life” in front of a new crowd, and all 300 kids in the fraternity basement knew all the lyrics and were singing them out loud. Then, towards the end of the song the speaker system cut out, but the kids continued to sing, “That’s the way we live life.” I remember standing on that stage with the microphone down at my side, completely in awe. It was the first time I had witnessed kids who were familiar with something I had created.

You actually don’t read music, but play by ear. Has this ever been a hindrance for you?

ME: When I work with trained musicians like Wes Powell, the guitar player I work with, sometimes it can be difficult for me to communicate. I have been able to learn which notes are which, but I have no education in music theory. Playing piano by ear is something I think I learned from my father, but I didn’t really take interest until my freshman year at KU. I started messing around with producing in the dorms, and began learning covers of songs using YouTube. It came very easy for me, to the degree that it has convinced me it was something I was meant to be doing.

 

 

If you could collaborate with three artists, dead or alive, who would they be and why?

ME: Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis and Bill Withers. These are three of my favorite musicians of all time. Jimi Hendrix morphed sounds of blues into a new sound of rock, Miles Davis put swagger into jazz and Bill Withers put soul into his music that I feel every time I listen to one of his songs. I mainly listen to music from before the 80s. I really feel the passion that went into the song writing and production in music from the 30s through the 70s. I think this had a lot to do with the social movements going on in America at the time. There was so much passion and emotion going into these songs, something that I think lacks a little in what is considered mainstream today.

What are your plans after graduation?

ME: I plan on making the transition from Lawrence to Chicago. I like the idea of building on the network we have established in the area. The first step was attempting to establish a solid network in Lawrence, and the next step is to build on our Chicago network. Because of the way the industry has been evolving with technology, shifting most of the focus to social media, I think we will still be able to reach the markets we want to reach. I honestly think a strong social media game can allow someone to make it in the music industry, without having to move to LA or NYC.

May 2 will be your last concert in Lawrence before you graduate and head off into your future. Where is your head at right now?

ME: I cannot wait for the show. It will be my first time headlining at the Granada, and I also get to share the stage with some good friends of mine who are talented Lawrence artists as well. The Granada has played such a huge role in shaping me as a performing artist, and I am very thankful to have received the opportunities I have had. Lawrence has been such an influential environment for me beginning my career as a musician. KU is a family I plan on staying a part of for the rest of my life, and I hope to become successful enough to be able to give back to this incredible university. Rock chalk.

 

Matt Easton’s free farewell concert is Friday, May 2 at the Granada
9:00 p.m. Doors open at 8:00 p.m.
Headlining with Chase Compton and Brian Lockwood
The concert is free, but you need a ticket to get in. Pick them up at Minsky’s on Mass or DM @theofficialCME on Twitter.

 

Edited by Hannah Swank

Photo by John Reynolds and Tristan Gramling

The Reality of Employment Discrimination: “Say No to the Fro?” Writer Responds

4.30.2014

By Kathleen Smith

I am an African American woman and the writer of this story. The story was written to open eyes to the difficulties which are still present for African American women joining the corporate workforce. I hoped there would not be bias and discrimination in the workplace, but after much research found that it still exists by some employers. The story is not to influence African American women to change their style or cultural attributes. Every woman, of every color, should embrace their own individuality, style and uniqueness. This is the power of our femininity. We must represent.

My example of Lupita Nyong’o shows this power. She is currently gracing the cover of People Magazine as its Most Beautiful Person for 2014. She has a short fro and is very successful, but she is in the entertainment industry.  It is often more difficult for African American men and women with Afrocentric hair to find jobs. It depends on the occupation. This was showcased by the man who was denied employment by Sprint for an IT position. He was eventually hired after cutting his dreads.

Please take this article as food for thought as you enter the workforce yourself.  Encourage others to look past people’s outward appearance and features such as hair, piercings or tattoos. We should instead look at each applicant’s knowledge, experience and competency.

Say No to the Fro? African American Hair Choices May Affect Future Hiring

4.27.2014

By Kathleen Smith

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A sly smile appears across Claudijah Lever’s face as she shifts forward in her chair, as if she’s about to tell a secret. She radiates confidence as she talks about her crowning glory: her African American natural hair.

Until the early 1900s, and the invention and patent of the first hot comb for straightening by Annie Turnbo, African American women could not straighten their curly locks. Today, women wear their hair relaxed or straightened while others prefer a more Afrocentric look, such as braids, cornrows, dreadlocks or afros. Lupita Nyong’o recently accepted the best supporting actress Oscar while wearing her hair in a short, natural fro accessorized with a headband. Vogue Daily then crowned her best dressed from head to toe. Each hairstyle a black woman wears represents the image she wants to portray, but can that style ultimately cost her a job in the workforce?

It could, says the President and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, Gwendolyn Grant. Companies have an established culture, and if your style doesn’t fit with that culture, then a company may not want to hire you. Young applicants and graduates are encouraged to find out what is acceptable in their potential industry and to present themselves in that way. And when in doubt, go toward conservative.

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Company cultures vary widely. What is acceptable to a company like Hallmark may not be acceptable to Commerce Bank. Grant suggests basic hairstyles for all African American women, such as straightened hair, weaves, extensions or even wearing a wig. Styles like cornrows will take the focus off you, she says. Despite antidiscrimination laws, interviewers have their own biases.

“While the country and society may be progressing in areas of race and sexual preferences, the corporate sector is not,” Grant said. “The important thing is that a young person of color must assimilate into the culture of that company.”

Lever agrees. The University of Kansas junior said while growing up in a black and Hispanic neighborhood on the north side of Milwaukee, she learned the importance of hair from an early age. She reminisces about how she got her first kiddie perm at age 8 so she would fit in more with the Latino girls in her class. Now she wears her hair natural, but says she will straighten it or wear it up for job interviews because she feels it will affect her chance of getting a job as a nurse after graduation.

“A lot of companies do not embrace Afrocentric styles,” Lever said. “I always get a lot of people of other races asking me about my hair. I don’t want it to be a factor of whether I get a job or not.”

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Black men are not off the hook with their hair either, says Nichole Hines, the owner of Niki’s Niche salon in Leawood, Kan. The college-educated son of one of Hines’ clients could not get a job because he wore dreadlocks. He finally cut off his dreads and Sprint immediately hired him. He works in the IT industry and was not in front of the public, but still couldn’t get hired until he cut off his dreads. People think dreads are dirty because you have to go months without washing your hair to get it to lock together.

“Dreads are virtually an employment blocker,” Hines said. “One can try pulling them back and creating a conservative look for interviews, but this hairstyle choice is really not accepted by most businesses.”

Hines says that 90 percent of her clients are professional, white collar, African American women who mostly wear their hair naturally but get it straightened. Her clients abandon the chemicals for a plethora of reasons, mostly safety and health. She believes natural textured styles can be acceptable in the workforce but they must be tame. Her clients prefer twist outs and braid outs that are formed when the hair is wet and then dried. This allows the hair to form waves and ringlet curls. If a black woman just washes her hair and lets it dry naturally, she’ll wind up with a fro and that’s a no-no in conservative industries.

“I think potential employees need to research every company they are interviewing with to learn the acceptable culture. If it is a company with few minorities, this is not the time to make a statement with a fro,” Hines said. “It’s not selling out, it is survival.”

 

Edited and photographed by Hannah Swank

Model: Clarisa Warfield

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

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Photography by Hannah Mougel

A Bold Brow Takes Shape in Lawrence

4.06.2014

-Hayley Jozwiak

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“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

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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

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