Competitive Comradery

By Jacob Embuscado


For the past four years, sports have become an important part of my life, which I don’t see changing any time soon.

As a child, however,  I didn’t particularly enjoy playing sports because I wasn’t always good at catching, throwing or even shooting a basket. Once I went off to college though that changed. I started getting more involved in fun activities outside of academics and studying.

I began to develop friendships through playing sports like football. Currently, I play with a group of friends every weekend: Ricky, Sunni, Eric, Jordan and Zach. Sometimes the people in these recreational games can change. Once I started getting involved in sports, the competitive comradery began to surface alongside it.

Now, I play with an extreme competitive drive that fuels me to help make both my teammates and I better each time we step onto a field or court. My competitive drive works with my friends who I play with regularly. However, it also works outside of the people you know. I’ve found that having a true passion for sports can connect people even if you just met them.

After starting to play pick-up games at Flavet Field with my friends, I decided to go into intramural flag football. When I first started, I didn’t have the confidence in my abilities that I have now.

When my roommate, Jordan, and I first began playing flag football together, not only did playing competitively feel exhilarating, but it helped strengthen our friendship. Since we started, I feel like I’ve learned a lot from him about the sport, which has helped form a stronger bond between us that I may not have found if I didn’t start getting into sports.

However, it isn’t always fun and games. Football, or any sport, can be emotionally grueling. Although sports can build great relationships, they can also make you feel incredibly irritated. Sometimes the passion of the game takes over and frustration settles in. Whether it’s a play that doesn’t go your way or your team loses by a ridiculous amount, your anger can really surface as a result.

Over time I’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff. Jordan would always calm me down when things got heated, which helped tremendously in making sure I kept my composure. What’s wonderful is that some of the people I met when the team was first assembled I’m still friends with today.

Sports can stir up a myriad of feelings such as anger and defeat, but also happiness and triumph, and that’s the beauty in sports. There’s so much more to it than throwing, running and catching. Sports create bonds and give people a window into your true form no matter how raw or competitive it may be.  

Farm to Table Restaurants in Gainesville

By Rebecca Rubin

The farm to table phenomenon came about when chefs wanted to link the food grown in local farms back to nearby restaurants that would serve them. Instead of shipping fruits and veggies before they are ripe across the country, farm to table restaurants serve food during the season it’s harvested in. So, what does this mean for us? Not only does it support local farmers and positively impact the environment, but the food is healthier, fresher and tastier. Luckily, Gainesville is a haven for restaurants with locally sourced foods and listed below are some of the best farm to table restaurants in the area (not in any particular order).

1. Root and Pecker

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Root and Pecker, formerly known as Cymplify Fresh, is truly a hidden gem in Gainesville. The restaurant, which is a quick drive down Newberry Road, abides by its mantra, “Real food. Intentionally sourced. Made well.” Root and Pecker uses locally sourced foods and humanely raised animals to prep its brunch, lunch and dinner menus. On the lunch menu, the California club sandwich is considered a favorite with choices of free-range sliced chicken breast, thick-cut candied bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, guacamole and cashew aioli all mixed between two slices of sourdough bread. The menu features an option to pair half a sandwich with a few different sides or any of its soups such as creamy broccoli, Thai tomato and squash or the 12-hour chicken bone stock and rice soup. The dinner menu has a variety of pizzas on sourdough, which is often easier to digest. The pizzas pair perfectly with a number of salads or tapas available during dinner only. Brunch is only available on Sundays and includes everything from sourdough waffles to homemade biscuits and gravy. It’s located at 5408 NW 8th Ave.

Come check the restaurant out here.

2. Daily Green

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Don’t be intimidated by Daily Green’s overwhelmingly vegan and vegetarian menu choices. Vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike will be impressed by the delicious combination of options for both lunch and Sunday brunch at Daily Green. A majority of the soups, salads and sandwiches offered use fresh, organic and sustainable ingredients. Some standout brunch options include tempeh tacos, avocado toast stack and a build-your-own-waffle extravaganza. The waffle extravaganza can include your choice of a banana or peanut butter waffle with butterscotch cashew cream. You can top it off with additional food choices of raw cacao ganache, candied ginger, dried cherries, walnuts, pecans, almonds, pumpkin seeds and coconut shreds. Daily Green can be found on 436 SE 2nd St.

To take a look at its menu, check it out here.

3. Civilization

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Civilization’s menu includes a worldly mix of foods for brunch, lunch and dinner. According to Civilization’s website, the restaurant sources as much produce as possible from local farmers and bakeries such as Possum Hollow Farm, The Family Garden Organic Farm, Dogwood Lane farms, Cedar Shoals, Ward’s Super Market and Vine Bakery. One classic sandwich is the terranova farmers market sandwich with pepper jack cheese, avocados, tomatoes, sprouts, red onions and red pepper mayo on wheat bread. Also, you can’t go wrong with the avocado toast for brunch. It’s located at 1511 NW 2nd St.

4. The Top

The Top, one of downtown Gainesville’s most beloved restaurants, uses locally sourced food whenever possible. While The Top has just about any food you can dream of – salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes – nothing tops (pun intended) its burgers. With 11 signature burger options, you can also build your own dream concoction. Choose between an organically raised grass fed beef burger, chicken breast, black bean burger or falafel patty and dress it up with just about anything you can imagine, from a fried egg to bacon or even chimichuri sauce. Oh, don’t forget the pretzel bun! The Top can be found at 30 N Main St. (No website listed.)


Enjoying the Great Outdoors

By Chloe Stradinger

Most students have a ready-made answer to the question: “So, why’d you come to the University of Florida?”

They’ll say, “I’m a sixth generation Gator,” or “football.” Or, perhaps they’ll give the smart answer: “To challenge myself academically and make connections within the Gator Nation that will last a lifetime.”

Which is why I feel sort of guilty when I give my honest answer: “The weather.”


I was born and raised in the great Midwest. My childhood passed in a blur of beautiful seasons, the longest and least appealing of those being winter. The first snowfall was always a surprising and wonderful thing, especially when school was called off, and we could spend the whole day sledding and drinking hot chocolate.

But every year I grew wearier of winter. Dark, gray days stretched for months, and I longed for the sun. So you can imagine my delight when I received an acceptance letter to the University of Florida. Florida, the Sunshine State—a beautiful peninsula with palm trees, sand and saltwater!

Little did I know that UF is actually in north central Florida, which is a part of the state considered “cold” to many Floridians. And the closest beach to campus isn’t super close.

And yet, this weather is glorious! While I sometimes miss the seasons, I feel lucky every time I wake up to yet another beautiful, breezy, sunny day in the middle of February.

As I’m looking to move up north or out west in a few months after I graduate, I’m fully aware that I need to soak up the most of this Florida weather. And you should, too!

Here are a few of my favorite ways to get outside in Gainesville:

1. Take a walk.

Whatever happened to a good old walk n’ talk? Take your friend or significant other for an afternoon stroll. You can end up at a coffee shop, grab some ice cream or just take it around the block.

2. Go to a brewery.

First Magnitude is a great place to sit and drink outside with friends. Grab a beer and challenge a crew to giant Jenga.

3. Check out Depot Park.

This place is my new favorite hangout. I love walking to the Pop-a-Top, which is a cool general store full of goodies. Grab an iced coffee, then sprawl out in the grass and enjoy the day.

4. Eat outside.

Downtown Gainesville has tons of great outdoor eating spots that feel very Euro when crowded. Enjoy lunch on Gelato Company’s patio or sip on a margarita at Boca Fiesta.

5. Check out a nature-y place.

Try a new trail at Payne’s Prairie or head to San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park for a hike. If you prefer the water, go to Ichetucknee Springs and drift the day away in a tube.

However you choose to spend your day, make sure you get outside. It’s beautiful!

Turn Your Day Around with the Right Smoothie

By Elise Engle


I used to never drink smoothies. In fact, I never even touched fruit. That all changed last summer when my mom gifted me with a Magic Bullet. A small and less dangerous looking blender? Sign me up!

Since then, I have become dependent on quick and easy smoothies. As it turns out, there’s a smoothie for every mood you could possibly have. Here are a few single-serving recipes for those days when you could use a little help.

Sick? Some vitamin C certainly won’t hurt!

  •  1 1/2 cups of a nondairy milk
  • 1 cup of fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 tablespoon of lemon zest
  • 1/2 of a small orange
  • 1/2 of a small banana
  • 1/2 cup of spinach

Feeling down in the dumps? Bananas are great for lifting your mood, and they help your brain create serotonin.

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup of nondairy milk
  • A few blackberries

Hungover? We’ve all been there. Luckily, there’s a way to detox!

  • 1 cup of spinach
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup of orange juice
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 kiwi
  • 1/2 cup of pineapple
  • 1 tablespoon of honey

Too tired to tackle your busy day? Let this smoothie wake you up! Kale is great for getting some extra energy.

  • 1/2 cup of almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup of pineapple
  • 1/2 cup of strawberries
  • 1 cup of kale

When it comes to smoothies, there are endless options and combinations. Try out some of these recipes or create your own, because you never know when they’ll come in handy!


Vegan Recipes to Impress Your Meat-Loving Friends

By Diana Illingworth

If you’re a fan of vegan food, you might be used to getting questions and puzzled looks from your meat-loving friends. If they’re curious but ordering a vegan entrée at a restaurant seems like a risky investment, introduce them to the world of plant-based eating with a home-cooked meal. These three easy recipes mix and match a group of common ingredients available at almost any grocery store.

Versatile Kale Salad


Kale is another hit-or-miss veggie, especially if eaten raw. Sautéing and seasoning it can make a big difference for picky eaters. Assemble this simple but nutritious salad in less than 20 minutes.

  • Kale
  • Red bell pepper, chopped
  • Red onion, chopped (or onion powder)
  • Beefsteak tomato, diced
  • Hass avocado, chopped
  • Sliced eggplant (or sautéed tofu)
  • 1 cup hemp seeds
  • Olive oil

Fill a large bowl with kale. Remove the stems and rinse the kale well. Massage the kale with olive oil for about two minutes and toss it in a pan over medium heat. On the same pan, sauté slices of eggplant (or tofu) until they are golden. Add the pepper, tomato and onion. Sauté the mixture for about five minutes, stirring regularly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Put the mixture in a salad bowl and add the avocado. Sprinkle the hemp seeds on top of the salad and add any optional dressing.

Serves two.

Spring Quinoa


Your pals will understand the rave about quinoa after they try this colorful, protein-packed entrée.

  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 3 cups spinach
  • Bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup (each) broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, chopped
  • 1 ½ cup corn kernels
  • 1 cup edamame beans
  • 1 cup tomato sauce or paste
  • Red onion, chopped (or onion powder)

After rinsing the quinoa, put it in a large pot and pour in two cups of water per each cup of quinoa. Add some salt, cover the pot and cook the quinoa over medium heat on a stove for about 10 minutes or until the water boils and the quinoa looks fluffy. The germ will curl and form tiny spirals around the quinoa seeds. Add in the spinach, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots and let the mixture sit for about five minutes. After draining the water out of the pot, stir in the pepper, edamame corn and onion. Season to taste with salt, black pepper, parsley and garlic powder. Add the tomato sauce and stir until the mixture looks uniform.

Serves four.

Tofu Teriyaki Linguine


Persuade meat eaters to try the “mysterious” tofu by combining it with familiar ingredients in this pasta-based dish. They’ll forget it’s not chicken.

  • 16 oz. linguine
  • 8 to 12 oz. extra firm tofu
  • 1 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli, cauliflower and carrots
  • Bell pepper, diced
  • Red or white onion, chopped

Cook the pasta in a large pot filled with salted water. Separately, press paper towels against the blocks of tofu to drain them as much as you can. When the tofu is dry, use a knife to cut it into small blocks or rectangular slices. Then, place the slices on a pan over medium heat and fry them, turning them on all their sides until they look golden brown. Sauté the pepper and onion on the same pan, seasoning them with salt and black pepper. When the pasta is cooked, add the broccoli and carrots to the pot and let it sit for about three minutes. Then, drain the water out of the pot with a strainer. Add the tofu, pepper and onion to the pot and stir in the teriyaki sauce until the mixture looks uniform.

Serves four.

Which Subscription Box is Better?

By Lauren Rowland

Which subscription box is better: Play! by Sephora vs. Ipsy?

Warning: subscription boxes are highly addictive, so proceed with caution.

Play! by Sephora (January 2017)


Box cost: $10 per month

What is in the box: Each box typically includes five deluxe samples plus one fragrance sample.

  1. Caudalie Resveratrol Face Lifting Moisturizer with SPF 20 – 0.5 fl oz ($25.38)
  2. OUAI Treatment Masque – 0.5 fl oz ($6.67)
  3. Tarte Frxxxtion Stick Exfoliating Cleanser – 0.22 oz ($4.84)
  4. Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey – 0.04 oz ($9.71)
  5. Boscia B.B. Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 27 PA ++ ($7.60)
  6. Pinrose Wild Child Eau de Parfume Towelette ($0)

Total value of box contents: $54.20

I have been receiving the Play! box for almost a year now, and each month I am just as pleased with the products inside. I love having the opportunity to try a variety of products from make-up and skin care to hair products. I love that each box comes with a pamphlet that tells you what each product is and how to use it. The box also comes with a voucher for extra points when you spend a certain amount at Sephora. The products they provide are similar to the ones they have as rewards for points, so I am saving extra points. Plus, for each box you purchase, you get 10 points added to your account. I am a point hoarder, so this especially excites me.

Ipsy (January 2017)


Box cost: $10 per month

What is in the box: Each boxes comes with full- size samples and includes a makeup bag.

  1. Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream with SPF 35 0.25 fl oz – $9.75
  2. Pretty Woman Nail Polish in the shade 0.3 fl oz – FULL SIZE $7.99
  3. Coloured Raine in the shade Mars – FULL SIZE $17
  4. Loverecipe Aloe Mask – FULL SIZE $1.50
  5. Loverecipe AcaiBerry Mask – FULL SIZE $1.50
  6. Model Co. Blush in the shade Peach Bellini – FULL SIZE $22

Total value of box contents: $59.74

I love this box because of the full-sized items and learning about brands I have never heard of. They mostly focus on makeup and skin care. I love that each month there is a new makeup bag, which is very high quality.

So, who wins? Well, for me, Play! by Sephora wins because I am able to try high-end products for cheap. Yes, none of the products are full size, but for me it’s just about trying nice products and seeing which one I would want to buy. With Ipsy, you pretty much get everything without needing to think of buying something unless you use up the full-size product. I have found I am more likely to repurchase the products in Play! over Ipsy.

Overall, I recommend you try both boxes to see which one you prefer. Subscription boxes are a great way to build up your makeup collection and also really exciting to receive a surprise each month.

Associating your Lipstick Color with your Mood

By Mary Kate Cobb

“If you’re sad, add more lipstick at attack.” Some wise words said by the lovely Coco Chanel.

I like to call myself a lipstick junkie. I have an obsession with buying lipsticks and literally never using them, or buying lipsticks in a similar shade to one that I already own. The moral here is that I spend way too much money on lipsticks. However, I think Coco Chanel had it right; lipsticks can certainly change a mood. As a lipstick junkie, I feel I have mastered the art of associating my lipstick to what mood I’m in, so here are my go-to colors based on my mood. 

If  you’re feeling sad, go for a dark red color. My favorite dark red lipstick is called Devine Wine from Maybelline, and it’s perfect for any type of skin tone. Devin Wine is the perfect addition for when you’re feeling a little blue. Add some mascara and you’re ready to take on the day!

If you’re in a sassy mood, then a hot pink shade should do the trick. My go-to sassy lip color is OKURRR by Khloe Kardashian for Kylie Cosmetics. My favorite thing about this lipstick is it lasts all day long, which makes it perfect for all the adventures you and your sassy self will get into.

If you’re feeling a bit girly, try out a soft pink lipstick. When I’m feeling extra girly I go for a pretty soft pink. The one I always reach for is Embrace by Maybelline. This matte pink lipstick is the perfect color to softly brighten up the lips and bring out anyone’s feminine side.

If you’re feeling relaxed, add a brown color onto your lips. I always opt for Bow ‘n Arrow by Kat Von D. This lipstick is so natural with just one coat, but with enough coats it can  become a deep brown. Lately, this is my go-to shade for any mood I’m feeling.

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