Fall

Thanksgiving Break: Dos and Don’ts

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Do:
Spend time catching up with your friends.

You probably haven’t seen much of your friends while you’ve all been away at different schools. Sure texting, social media, and Skype sessions help you stay in touch, but nothing compares to actual human interaction, so you should definitely carve out some time to hang out with your friends and just enjoy their company.

Don’t: Ignore your family.

Hanging out with your friends is important, but don’t forget about your family. While you’ve been off having a great time at school, they’ve been home missing you so don’t neglect them. Spend some quality time with your family: have a family dinner, a movie night, go shopping, or whatever else you want, but make the time count!

Do: Indulge at Thanksgiving dinner.

You’ve been away from home for almost three months by now, so you should take advantage of some great home cooking! Thanksgiving dinner has something for everyone, so make sure you enjoy your favorite part of your family’s menu. Sit back and enjoy the delicious food and quality family time.

Don’t: Overdo it.

By all means, eat mashed potatoes, stuffing, mac and cheese, and whatever else your heart desires, but be careful. You’ll be tempted to send yourself into a food coma, but you don’t want to go back to school ten pounds heavier when Thanksgiving break is over. You’ll be very happy to avoid that.

Do: Get some much-needed relaxation.

With finals just around the corner, this is a great opportunity to catch up on some sleep and enjoy time off from classes. Take advantage of your ability to sleep in. Snuggle up with your dog or cat. Stay in your pajamas all day. Lay in bed for six hours watching TV. Do whatever relaxes you.

Don’t: Neglect your responsibilities completely.

If you have any homework or papers due when you get back, make sure to find time to do them. If you have a test the week you get back (it sucks, but it does happen) make time to study or at least go over your notes. This goes for personal responsibilities as well. If you have a workout routine that you like to stick to, find ways to work out while you’re home. There are tons of guided fitness videos on YouTube, so don’t feel like you can’t keep up your exercise at home.

Fall Fashion For Fellas – The Tweed Blazer

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fashion1.tifThere was always something about your British Literature professor that you found… debonair. The female students in class would swoon about his accent as he was a true Brit. While other professor’s offices were drab and devoid of personality, his featured personal artifacts from his many travels and had the scent of leather bound books and whiskey. The thing that particularly caught your attention was the odd looking blazer he’d wear as he taught about Kipling and Austen. It’s not that you were new to jackets; you certainly got good use of the navy blazer your dad bought you for the end of the year team dinner, as well as the seersucker you wore to Oaks. This jacket however, was something more; informal yet sophisticated. You discovered this soft, brown, herringbone patterned coat was a material called tweed. On some days your professor would dress it up by pairing it with slacks and a knit tie. Other days, he’d exploit the jacket’s relaxed side with jeans, an oxford and a sharp pair of brogues. Once you got your own, you’d follow some of your professor’s worldly cues but would also add a touch of youth to your ensembles. You received several looks when you donned it with your lacrosse hoodie. The girls on Greek row whispered and smiled in your direction the day you wore it over a striped rugby. You got labeled “philosophical” when you added a crew neck (with an oxford collar peeking out the top) and pocket square to the mix. Now, as you sit on the steps of the library with a book of poetry under your arm you have no intention of reading, you’re considering taking up a tobacco pipe.

Does This Costume Make Me Look… Offensive?

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In fall of 2010, I was firmly sitting atop of the world. I had pledged one of the best houses on campus, my female peers were staring to notice me, and like every other freshman on campus that October, I was eagerly anticipating my first college Halloween party. When we got to the affair, the drinks were flowing and the music was pumping as sexy nurses mingled with vampires. Of all of the costumes we saw that night, a handful of them stood out. There was one guy dressed as pimp and another dressed in orange prison attire as a convict. These costumes would be commonplace for a Halloween party with the exception of one little detail; the guys in the costumes painted their faces black. Two weeks, one very uncomfortable campus rally attended by seemingly every black student on campus and tons of bad press later, my fraternity found itself on a seven month suspension.

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Anytime a party calls for a costume, there is always a possibility that someone is going to do something offensive. While culturally insensitive costumes aren’t exactly a new concept, it is kind of baffling why in 2014, given all of the very public and very embarrassing incidents we’ve seen, students continue to offend. Yet, whether it’s the 2012 Mexican Party hosted by the Penn State Chi Os, the self-titled “Racist Rager” put on by Duke’s Kappa Sigma chapter in 2013 or the CMT vs. BET soiree presented by the Phi Deltas and Phi Sigs earlier this year at McDaniel College, it would seem that cultural insensitivity is alive and well. Perhaps I give people too much credit.halloween2

Trying to get to the root of these issues is difficult as there are many “excuses” and “explanations” given. There is the tried and true “I wasn’t trying to be offensive”, which in a lot of cases, I tend to believe. Call me naive, but I like to think my fellow man wouldn’t intentionally participate in harmful behavior. The problem with this excuse however, is that it is usually given in order to absolve one of any responsibility for their actions. However regardless of intention, the damage is still done.

halloween3There is also the “I did it to give my costume a sense of realism”. I’m almost sure that is what Dancing With The Stars’ Julianne Hough was shooting for when she donned blackface to go along with the orange jumpsuit and bantu knots of her Crazy Eyes costume (from Orange is the New Black). This “attention to detail” is usually not warranted.

And let us not forget the “Come on dude, I’m just trying to joke around” crowd. You know them; they were the once who painted bullet wounds on their hoodies last year while holding a can of Arizona Ice Tea and a pack of Skittles. And thank goodness that we had these merry jokesters to help bring humor to the slaying of Trayvon Martin; I don’t know how I would’ve otherwise coped.

Halloween doesn’t have to be a time of ignorance, hurt feelings and university sanctions. With the smallest bit of commonsense, a lot of these mishaps can be avoided. Because I know how much this blog just loves a good list, I present: Tips For Not Offending People This Halloween.

halloween41. If your costume portrays a racial, ethnic, religious, LGBT or cultural stereotype, DON’T WEAR IT.

Have a happy Halloween y’all.

Classic College Cinema

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With “sweater weather” on the horizon nothing is better (and cheaper) than skipping the movie theatre, inviting the significant other over to the dorm (within visitation hours of course), slightly burning a bag of popcorn and watching a movie. Whether you still stack DVDs to the ceiling or you are a total Netflicker, there are some classic films about “the four best years of your life” that every undergrad should go out of their way to watch. Here are a few of my “oldies but goodies.”

Animal House

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If you’re in a fraternity, then this is your Godfather. Though this is a film set in the 1960’s, many of the movie’s events are time honored college traditions; from the toga party to the random road trip. Fun fact; during filming, the actors portraying the Delta fraternity were encouraged to have rambunctious parities (resulting in a piano being stolen from the hotel lobby) to promote cast bonding. The Delta actors also harassed the actors portraying the Omega fraternity in order to fuel their onscreen rivalry.

 Best time to view: The beginning of pledge semester.


Roadtrip

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A cheating boyfriend on the east coast accidentally mails a videotape of his sexcapades to his girlfriend on the west coast. What is the logical next course of action? If you said getting your buddies together to go on a cross country excursion to intercept said tape while making a bunch of hilarious stops along the way, then this is the movie for you. When I came to college, this was one of the only DVDs I owned. Needless to say, it was viewed at great frequency. This movie is also proof that, at one time, Tom Green was actually funny.

Best time to view: Right before your weekend road trip to the party school one state over.


PCU

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This one is a little more obscure than the others on this list but it is an absolute cult classic. For many students, college is a time to take up a cause to be passionate and active about. PCU (Politically Correct University) humorously riffs on what happens when people take these causes a little too far.

Best time to view: Right before the silent, candlelight protest over the rising prices of chicken nuggets in the student union.


Revenge of the Nerds

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A quintessential 80’s movie, Revenge of the Nerds is a cautionary tale of what happens when you push people who are smarter than you too far. This film is pure fun as the war between jocks and nerds (before being a nerd was cool) spawns prank after hilarious prank.

Fun fact: Curtis Armstrong is the actor that provides to voice for the character “Snot” on the show American Dad. Snot is based upon a character from Revenge of the Nerds named “Booger”, also played by Armstrong.

Best time to view: After going pocket protector shopping.


Legally Blonde

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For the life of me, I can not remember which girlfriend talked me into seeing this; however I’m glad she did as this is easily the most inspirational film on the list. Underestimated by her jerk boyfriend, sorority president Elle, decides to one up him at his own game by gaining admittance in Harvard Law school. Despite starring the gorgeous Reese Wetherspoon and being hilarious, Legally Blonde carries the message that a girl can be beautiful, sociable and smart; excelling in one of the hardest collegiate program while being a master of the good old bend and snap.

Best time to view: When someone is telling you that “you can’t.

Healthy Broccoli and Pasta Casserole Recipe!

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This is a recipe for a delicious casserole that can be made in a surprisingly healthy way.  Now that we are heading into the colder months, you might be craving some heavier comfort food and this will definitely satisfy that!  This is also a proven crowd pleaser even amongst the pickiest of eaters and while it is vegetarian friendly, meat eaters will love it too!

The trick to making this casserole more health conscious is to pick your ingredients wisely.  I usually go for low-carb pasta (whole wheat would work as well) and Smart Balance instead of butter.  This really cuts down on the calories!  A great low carb pasta is made by Dreamfields and can be found in many grocery stores.  For the broccoli I find that using frozen broccoli florets work best with this dish.

So here we go…

Ingredients

1 box low-carb pasta

1 package frozen broccoli

1 tub of Smart Balance (you won’t use all of it!)

1 package/tube of grated Parmesan cheese (again, you won’t use all of it!)

Directions

  1. Put water in a pot and bring to a boil.  Toss in pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350.
  3. Put several chunks of Smart Balance and the frozen broccoli in a frying pan over medium to high heat and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Once done, drain your pasta and put it into an oven-safe casserole dish/bowl.  Then put several more (as much as you like) chunks of Smart Balance onto the pasta and stir.  Pour in your broccoli and stir until evenly distributed.
  5. Sprinkle on about ½ – ¾ cup of grated cheese and stir again.
  6. Put it into the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the top looks a bit crispy.
  7. Take out and serve.