By Heather Hamacek, Staff Writer
Cupcakes are delicious; there is no denying that. Probably because they’re miniature cakes! Everything tastes better when it is miniature. Treat Cupcake Bar, which recently opened a location in Chestnut Hill, knew exactly how to take a cupcake shop to the next level. The customer becomes part of the experience at Treat’s make-your-own-cupcake bar, where customers are able to mix three toppings of their choice to create a custom frosting, much like Cold Stone Creamery. The custom-made frosting then tops a cupcake of the customer’s choosing.
Not only do the customers get control of the components of the cupcake, they can even do the mixing themselves if they want! Customers then get a naked cupcake, a cup of frosting and their three chosen toppings to mix in and design.
“Treat is focusing on the fact that everyone loves cupcakes. Our initial branding was more kid-oriented,” said Adie Sprague, head baker and general manager. “A lot of cupcake stores target adults with nostalgia, [but] we went right [back] to the beginning. It doesn’t have to have a nostalgic vibe, it [cupcakes] can just be fun.”
Treat mixes a fun activity along with a delicious treat, making it an excellent place to visit after dinner or on a date. The pre-made cupcake flavors are quite ingenious, ranging from Fluffernutter to seasonal treats, like Sprague’s favorite, Blueberry Pancakes.
Treat caters in addition to having a café. It has two locations currently, the new shop at The Street— an outdoor collection of shops and eateries in Chestnut Hill— and the original shop is based in Needham.
By Heather Hamacek, Staff Writer
What is one to expect from an event called Condom Couture? Well, condoms for one, and fashion for another. Boston University’s chapter of Face Aids, an organization that helps fight HIV/AIDs in Africa and advocates for safe sex held the university’s first Condom Couture last Thursday night.
The event worked to de-stigmatize condoms and safe sex culture as much as it worked to raise money for Face AIDS.
Dresses, skirts and a jacket made of condoms were strutted down the makeshift runway constructed in the Jacob Sleeper Auditorium while two drag queens, Liza Lott and Ms. Kris Knievil, provided crude-humored commentary and kept the audience involved and laughing.
The judges, including some professors from BU, gave advice to the crowd before the models walked.
“Don’t ever use a condom without lube,” said Sophie Godley, a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences.
Alfredo Hernandez, another judge, said, “do not stop having sex, by yourselves or with some else. Don’t stop. Do it safely.”
Jeremy Meltzer, one of the co-founders of BU’s Face Aids chapter said condoms do not even faze him anymore.
“The condoms are fun,” he said as he washed the lubrication off one in his sink. “You can make many condom jokes. 12,000 condoms, I’m always safe. Silly stuff like that.”
Meredith Hoobler, one of the designers and the winner of the fashion show said she has been walking around with condoms falling out of her bag since she got her first allotment of 600 condoms.
“I think it’s a really interesting conversation starter and topic,” said Hoober. “You never know, it tends to come out, something will just fall out of my bag. It tends to make life more interesting I guess during the day because people will be like ‘how’s the condom dress’ and others will do like six double takes. So I think that’s fun.”
Condom Couture is planning to become an annual event. It is definitely one worth going to.
By Samantha Wong, Staff Writer
With one glance, Match Public Charter High School seems to be an everyday high school: teenagers filtering in and out of the school for lunch and later crowding the T when five o’clock rolls around. What is not initially recognized is the hard work that is put into the school from both the students and faculty.
Teaching is often thought of as a thankless job. Teachers do hours of prep work before classes in addition to the typical school hours they work. More often than not, teachers are thinking of the progress and well-being of their students long after they leave the classroom.
The students have just as much impact on the teacher’s learning experience as the teacher influences the students’ work.
Match Education, the organization behind Match Corps and Match Public Charter High School, is responsible not solely for fostering a love of education, but also responsible for the brainchild that is their fellowship-teaching program.
Match Corps is Match Education’s program for aspiring educators who want an alternative experience with teaching. The people within Match Corps get put to work in a rigorous training program that immerses them into the high school as tutors. This way, the people within the program get firsthand experience.
Most people hire tutors in high school, but at Match, tutors come as a paired set with a high school education. Hand in hand, tutor and student find a mutually beneficial partnership. The tutor gets experience while learning how to better connect with the student being tutored. The student gets one-on-one help with their studies outside normal school hours
Match Education creates a better environment for students and teachers alike. That students are able to have access to tutoring services is great but the fact that these tutors are dedicated to their craft is more than admirable.
By Samantha Wong, Staff Writer
Most muggles do not have magic on the brain. ‘Muggle’ is the term J.K. Rowling uses to describe non-magical folk within the Harry Potter series. Of course, according to Rowling, most muggles don’t think about magic because they have already refused to accept that it even exists.
However, the Harry Potter Alliance and Boston University’s chapter, Dumbledore’s Army, prove that magic doesn’t have to be spells or curses to be practiced. Within the community, average muggles like you and I, can practice a less literal magic that wows. In this case, magic can be the simple thought of giving back to the community. Most people are amazed by the effects giving back can have.
Giving back can be something as small as donating books to others or selling free trade chocolate in the shape of chocolate frogs. Even getting together a group of people with a common interest in a character can be life changing for others.
What I never considered was that Harry Potter, other than being a great wizard for vanquishing the dark lord Voldemort, could be more than a character. It had not occurred to me that a book, which became a series loved by millions, could be something other than a book. Harry Potter’s name now stands as a symbol for hope. Harry Potter inspires change for the better.
As J.K. Rowling remarks on the Harry Potter Alliance website, “I am honoured and humbled that Harry’s name has been given to such an extraordinary campaign, which really does exemplify the values for which Dumbledore’s Army fought in the books.”
By Taylor Burke
They may seem intimidating, but Dean Elmore and Assistant Dean Battaglino are much more than busy figureheads on campus. Rather, they are approachable, easygoing people who genuinely love their jobs and getting to know their students. Most people don’t know much about either of the deans’ lives outside of their jobs.
Assistant Dean Battaglino jokingly hesitates to reveal his most embarrassing moments. Instead, he says “I refuse to answer on the grounds that it may incriminate me,” and laughs. He advises students to walk carefully across the BU Bridge in the winter, given his flop on the bridge’s slick, iced-over metal pieces . He said that was pretty embarrassing, which we can all imagine.
Something else you probably didn’t know about Dean Battaglino: he loves The Little Mermaid.
The reason? He claims that it’s both entertainment and a love story. Many of us can relate to these reasons.
When he isn’t watching Disney flicks, Assistant Dean Battaglino may be found listening to Norah Jones, watching the old version of Brian’s Song, or reading Breakfast with Buddha.
Dean Elmore, on the other hand, would rather be listening to John Coletrane or Nina Simone, and reading Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man. His favorite films are Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull or Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing.
Dean Elmore also calls himself a germaphobe, though he is never hesitant to shake someone’s hand.
He used to host a television show called Reality Check on PBS that focused on profiles of New England artists and other interesting people. He jokes that that gig was back when he had hair.
Dean Elmore’s on Twitter, too. Feel free to Tweet at him, but he says that he tends to accidently post publicly on Twitter when he thinks that he is direct messaging someone. After spending some time with the Deans, its easy to see that they’re not so different from all of us students as we may have imagined.
With Newbury Street only a few blocks away, Boston University students rarely have to worry about finding fashion-forward clothing. The issue, rather, is how students can afford to look fashion savvy without breaking their bank accounts. In such a cosmopolitan area, it’s no wonder that BUtiques, the Facebook group started by BU junior Alexandra Shadrow that allows students to post photos and sell their clothing, became a popular hit. Unitiques, the free service that is based on BUtiques, will not only help those struggling students in bustling cities, but students nationwide.
The host website will be the selling grounds for furniture, clothing, kitchen appliances, and the like. Fashion friendly students will no longer be the only people attracted to the site, but those with more realistic intentions can also find what they’re looking to have or even get rid of. Somewhat like a virtual thrift store, students can browse a plethora of products from Maine to California. Exchanging items is possible, and students can have confidence in the products they will soon be getting based on users’ reviews.
The fashion industry is constantly changing, which can make it difficult for students on a college budget to stay trendy. If someone wears something only once but happens to run into everyone while in it, he or she may already be looking for a new outfit to sport. Or if someone moves apartments and is looking for a change in scenery, he or she may find it time to decorate a little differently. Unitiques will allow students to search thousands of products with potential sellers without ever having left the couch, and often prices will be negotiable. Sounds like a pretty good deal for those of us already thinking about student debt.
In the meantime, some other sites I often check out are:
By Alexandra Diantgikis, Staff Writer
When you’re in a literature course that requires twelve books, a trip to the used bookstore is a must. Not only will it save you a bundle, but also I personally find it to be a great adventure.
Wandering through a bookstore and browsing the shelves is enough to put any avid reader in a good mood, but when the books are nearly seventy percent off, book collectors of all kinds are ecstatic.
There are no restrictions. There is no guilt in purchasing eight books when you’re currently reading three and have a small mountain of unread books back at home. There is a certainty that this sentence will be uttered if not to anyone but yourself: “They are all so cheap!”
I say go for it. Indulge. You can never have too many books. But there is some strategy to finding the right ones.
If I’m browsing through the shelves and happen across a book I’ve wanted, I usually grab the one that looks to be in the best condition. Despite the fact many used books contain marginal writing, dog-eared pages, and underlining, I welcome those charismatic touches. I feel it gives the book character.
You can tell how many people owned the book before you, what they thought at certain times, and what kind of life the book has had. Sometimes comments are insightful and make you consider the text in a way you hadn’t before. Sometimes they are absolute rubbish and you get to argue with the commenter. But you enter a kind of discourse with the book’s past owners – a weird sort of book club.
Used books have this other element that a new book can’t compete with. They have a past and story to tell other than just the text on the page.
By Alex Diantgikis, Staff Writer
For the past couple of weeks my phone has been taken over by the new craze– an app called Snapchat. The smartphone application allows users to edit and send a picture to their friends or contacts. Which pretty standard.
The catch is that the photos are only visible to the recipients for a set amount of seconds, decided upon by the sender, and the pictures don’t save to your device. The sender can see when the receiver has opened the picture and if they have taken a screenshot of the image.
Every day my phone is bombarded by Snap Chat. Pictures of food. Pictures of shoes. Pictures of tongues. Pictures of lecture halls. Pictures of this too close for comfort guy on the T. Pictures of the hot guy on the T. Pictures of painted nails. Pictures of snow. Pictures of the Citgo sign. Pictures of freshly rolled out of bed hair.
In the beginning, I was skeptical. The idea sending photos for a set amount of time seemed sketchy to me. “Snap me,”seems to have become an everyday phrase. Particularly embarrassing photos usually get a screenshot.
And where do the pictures go if they are not saved to your device? Are they just floating out in cyberspace? Are they deleted? Or is there some massive database warehouse of selfies where Snapchat workers laugh as they scroll through your most embarrassing shots?
Besides, what was the value of sending pictures on a timer? Why was this such a craze?
And then my hipster, I’m too cool for mainstream-attitude caved, and I downloaded it. I’d like to say I was peer-pressured into it, but it was simply curiosity. I wanted to understand the madness.
Then it hit. The hurricane of images.
And slowly, it started to seem less weird. It allows me to connect with my family and friends at home. It’s cute and harmless and slightly addictive. Bottom line: it isn’t what it appears to be and, like most forms of social media, its content and usefulness is created by the consumers. You can use it to your own purposes–I certainly do.
By Sanah Faroke, Staff Writer
Each year, around this time, my mailbox begins to fill more than usual. Dozens of letters and cheesy photo cards pile in from many people I haven’t spoken to in months to wish me a happy holiday! But why partake in this yearly tradition of holiday cheer?
Well, for one, I am obsessed with buying holiday stationary. What? You thought grandma was the only one who stalked the aisles of Barnes and Noble to find the perfect stationary? Snail mail isn’t only for the elderly, and it’s not only for the holidays either.
Snail mail has been a tradition I’ve had with friends who moved away or I didn’t get to see as often. Now that I’ve transferred from the tropics of Miami to the wintery Boston, writing letters has become more prominent in my ways of communicating.
In this ever advancing world of technology where everything is becoming so instant, it’s kind of hard to keep hold of reality. Yes, sure, it can be extremely hard to write out a letter to my friend about what is going on in my life, school, love interests and stresses and have to wait weeks for a response when I know I can just text or call her. But that’s the beauty of it. I’m one of those people who want things instantly, but with writing letters, I force myself to regain some patience that many of us have lost with technology.
And while I wait for a response, I manage to do other things instead of being glued to my phone, like I usually am. I’m sure (I hope) I’m not the only one who takes pleasure in sliding a hand over the handwritten scribbles on a page or actually spraying perfume on the pages being sent. I love mailing little things such as nail polish, CDs, photos and even the New England leaves. It’s something I’ve gathered and put together for my friends before I mail it, and a lot goes into what I send. Anyone can send an e-card for Christmas, but you can’t really do much with it or remember someone by it.
Getting the mail becomes so much more fun throughout the year because I have something to look forward to, something tangible and real. It reminds me of home and the loved ones who never stopped loving me while I was away. So yes, snail mail brings me joy―joy during the jolly holidays, joy during a random week in December and joy even during finals week. It’s possible.
By Sanah Faroke, Staff Writer
I was raised celebrating traditional American holidays—at least, they seemed traditional to me. But seeing as my mother is Jamaican and my father is Indian, their views certainly impacted my view of a traditional holiday. Living in Miami, I grew up alongside Hispanic culture infused into everything, even without me noticing the impact of its influence.
With the most American tradition of all time, Thanksgiving, coming up within a matter of days, I’m beginning to notice that nothing I’ve really experienced in my hometown has been truly American.
Every year for Thanksgiving, my family and I would walk to our neighbor’s house in the Miami fall (if you can call it that) weather, wearing sleeveless dresses and open toe shoes. As soon as we stepped foot into my neighbors’ house, Spanglish emerged from all corners. The smell of arroz con gandules, jamon, ensalada de papa and maduros filled the room, as well as turkey, of course.
I could never understand how the smell could make my mouth water so much until I sunk my teeth into the chicken and realized it was because I was in heaven. I had the best of two worlds―one American and one Hispanic. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
This year, for the first time, I won’t be able to taste delicious flan, pastel de choclo or drink sangria, and it just might be torture. For the first time, I’m going to be in New England for Thanksgiving. It seems appropriate for the very traditional cranberry sauce, turkey with gravy and stuffing Thanksgiving. While being in Massachusetts gives me the opportunity to finally experience a traditional Thanksgiving, turns out I’ll be having an Indian Thanksgiving instead. Yes, it’ll be my first too.
To be honest, I have no idea what to really expect. Maybe the turkey will have chili powder on it and the house will smell like spices and curry. And in the absence of Spanish, Urdu would be the dominant language in the house. Would we pray in English? Would we get out the prayer rugs or skip that ritual all together? For sure we would not end the prayer with “In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
One thing is certain: although the last time I saw my Indian relatives was when I went to India about six years ago, they are still my family, like the ones I left back home. They probably don’t speak Spanish, eat smoked ham or allow me to wear sleeveless dresses (although I wouldn’t want to in this cold New England weather), but with them, I’ll be able to make new traditions.
I’ll relish over the tomato chutney, samosa and vegetarian biryani (with a tall glass of water on the side). I may not be able to watch “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” as I usually do every year, but it’s possible I can persuade them, surely for the children to enjoy. (Okay, and a small part of it for me, too.)
Whatever kind of Thanksgiving you’re having—whether it’s a Hispanic, Indian or a Charlie Brown one—be sure to give thanks, indulge in amazing food and make new traditions.