Category Archives: Opinion

On Trend: FYI, ‘90s Threads Are Totally Stylin’

-Rache’ll Brown

High-waisted shorts, denim-on-denim, revealing bustiers, and small floral print dresses—this spring, break out the grunge-inspired clothes because the ‘90s are back.

Although new trends arise every season, fashion is cyclical, and retro-styles make comebacks all the time. Some things should have died the first time around (Harem pants. Enough said.), but overall, I think the ‘90s were a great era for style. So, watch some Saved by the Bell, blast this playlist, and prepare to be taken back to the final, and disputably best, decade of the 20th century.

First off, decide which aspect of the rising trend to tackle. Retro looks are hit or miss. Bringing an old trend into current times is tricky because no one wants to look like they wandered out of a time machine. Hint: find pieces with ‘90s prints and current cuts, like a fitted small floral print top, and only wear one trend at a time.

Let’s start with denim: jean on top is huge. Chambray shirts (pictured above), and denim jackets and vests are easy ways to spice up a spring look. Pair a chambray top with black leggings, or a denim jacket with a girly dress to bring this fad to life. Denim-on-denim is no longer a faux pas! As long as both pieces are different shades, the embarrassment of a Canadian tuxedo can be avoided.

Another ’90s comeback look I’m loving is high-waisted anything. Shorts, skirts, jeans—it doesn’t matter. They are comfortable and stylish, which is ideal. A sheer, sleeveless, collared top in a pastel color tucked into high-waisted shorts can be paired with sandals for a girly and casual spring look. Another option is pairing high-waisted bottoms with a crop top, or bustier. This allows the trendy top to be appropriate for everyday wear, and it offers more body types a chance to utilize the style. But be careful! Bustiers can be really cute, but only when paired with something a little more conservative: channel Selena Gomez, not Keira Knightley. Trust me, less is more.

So embrace the ‘90s! Bring back the classics with a current twist by mindfully pairing old items with new. The great thing about fashion is that once something goes “out” it pretty much always comes back—but in a bigger and better way. I can’t wait to see what is next!

Follow Rache’ll on Twitter!

The 5 Most Used Apps on My iPhone

-Marissa Tomko

I live on my iPhone. I’m not proud of it, but I do. Okay, I’m a little proud of it. Things could be worse . . . I could live on my Android. Who wants to do that? (Sorry, Android users! Nothing but love for you—I’m just one of those people.)

One of my favorite things in the world is discovering new apps. It’s crazy to think that ten years ago, apps weren’t a thing. Now, they run our lives. I even took a class on how to build them—who knew our world would come to this! Those cute little squares on our screens hold so much potential, and the possibilities are endless. Like you all, I have my favorites. They are all so different from each other, and they all serve a specific purpose throughout my day. So without further ado, here are the top five most used apps on my iPhone.

#1 InstaGranny

Sure, we’ve all seen the apps where you can insert cats into pictures of you and your friends. But what if instead of cats, you could sneak a random and funny grandma into your pictures? Or a grandpa? Or all three? InstaGranny is a hilarious app that lets you do just that. It is essential to have if you need to help out a friend who is having an off day. With new grandparents being added with each update, I would call it money well spent!

Cost: $.99

#2 RunPee

Okay, the name is a little iffy, and whoever came up with this idea is probably a little insane, but you know what I always say: insanity breeds genius! This app is really cool because it tells you which times during a movie you can run to the restroom, and how long you have before you start missing pivotal plot points. The movie database is constantly being updated with new releases, and you can even set a timer to vibrate when it happens!

Cost: $.99

#3 Action Potato


I put this app on my phone for the sole purpose of having something entertaining to do when I pretend to be paying attention to something boring. All this game entails is catching potatoes in buckets. Personally, I find the concept hilarious. It’s just fun enough to keep you awake, and just mindless enough to not steal all of your focus.

Cost: free

#4 Flipboard


Don’t worry everyone, I don’t just spend my iPhone time throwing potatoes around—I like to keep life practical sometimes! Flipboard is a  social news magazine and is designed to put all of the news and social media you care about in one place. You handpick the topics you want to read about and they are displayed before you in a visually-pleasing grid arrangement. It also lets you connect to social media accounts like Twitter and Instagram so you can flip through everything in one location. The design is awesome and innovative, and it’s an extremely convenient way to keep yourself up-to-date.

Cost: free

#5 Allwomenstalk


This app was recommended to me by iTunes account because I installed Wanelo. It’s like Pintrest, but better (I think) because it’s more user friendly for the iPhone. It let’s you flip through lists about fashion, diet, exercise, travel—you name it! I like to have something interesting to look at in the morning to keep my eyes open when I first wake up, and this app is perfect for that.

Spring-spirational Music

-Rache’ll Brown

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the Sperrys are out—that’s right, it’s spring again! A new term, great weather, and endless opportunities for fun require something special, and what better way to start off this season than with some music to sink into? Whether they are old or new, these musicians will be the anthems to every shenanigan I get into this spring.

Hoodie Allen
I’m not sure where he has been all of my life, but I do know that his music will be the main component to every playlist I make this spring. Energetic beats, clever verses, and a carefree vibe make this hip-hop star better than the rest. Check out “No Interruption” and become as obsessed as I am.

Imagine Dragons
Okay, so I know they aren’t exactly new. In fact, most people are already starting to get sick of them. But since I don’t listen to the radio, that’s an issue I rarely face. They’re catchy, fun, and inspiring; plus, everyone loves a song with a group chorus. This to me is the epitome of feel-good music; “On Top of The World” just makes me want to smile.

A$AP Rocky
I was first introduced to A$AP through Lana Del Rey’s “National Anthem” video (a.k.a. the best music video in existence) and was immediately intrigued. Now everyone I know loves him and all of his problems (I commend all who get that reference). Anyway, I expect to hear “Wild for the Night” at at least half the parties I attend this spring.

Florida Georgina Line
I know I’m probably one of the last people in America to hear about this band, but better late than never, right? I’ll be honest: I’m not the biggest country fan. But they make some really great tunes. They sound like how I feel when floating the river on one of those late-spring-so-hot-you-want-to-die days. “Cruise” is definitely worth a listen. Or ten.

Zedd
Nice weather is one of the main driving forces for my weekend all-nighters. On a warm spring night I get lost in a good dance party and the next thing I know the sun is up and a good portion of my life is just gone. I blame the music, and Zedd makes some of the best electronic dance music around. Listen to “Clarity (feat. Foxes)” and dance the night away.

Follow Rache’ll on Twitter!

The Chronicles of Zipfizz: One Woman’s Story

-Marissa Tomko

Zipfizz did me dirty.

This self-proclaimed “healthy energy mix” comes in powder form with the intent that the user mixes it with water to his or her desired dilution. It does not boast that its energy comes from caffeine—one serving only contains 100 mg, which is less than one-third of the caffeine found in a grande sized Starbucks blend. Instead, Zipfizz is proud of its all-natural mixture of vitamins, particularly the 41,667 percent recommended daily intake of B-12. Yes, you read that right: 41,667 percent. The mix is only ten calories (which I love) and is artificially sweetened (which I hate). Now that you’ve learned a little bit about this beverage, back to my story . . .

In the name of research, I decided to replace my habitual cup of afternoon coffee with this strange-sounding energy drink. After knocking back my grape-flavored concoction, I awaited the natural burst of energy that I was promised. While I was waiting, I fell asleep.

I rolled over, looked at my phone, and shot up into the air like a cat that just got hosed; I had exactly five minutes to make the quarter-of-an-hour journey to my meeting for this very publication. I pulled on some boots, swished around some mouthwash, and muzzily wandered to campus.

When I arrived, I gave an exasperated hello to my fellow Pulse writers, and collapsed into my seat. I was sad that Zipfizz hadn’t affected me; I wanted it to be my new thing because carrying around the vile that the powder came in made me feel really cool! If I could go back to that moment, I’d look myself in the eye and say “Oh my dear, sweet Marissa. You don’t know what you’re in for.”

The time came to meet with my fellow writers and our editor, so I stood up—that’s when it hit me. For lack of a better medical term, I felt high. My mind was airy, my arms were jittery, and every time I spoke I wanted to face-palm myself. As I giggled my way through my meeting, I pondered if this was a normal reaction to be having. After all, I’m not exactly the poster child for having an average amount of energy. Or sleep. Or caffeine. With these variables in mind, I did a little bit of research when I got home. After perusing the internet and texting some friends, I came to a conclusion that Zipfizz has about a thousand different effects, and no two people that I talked to had identical experiences.

Maybe I’m just crazy and my Zipfizz episode was all in my head. Or maybe I’m crazy for a different reason in that it makes me feel like I’m on pain killers—I don’t know. In any case, all I can say is if you want to know if this product works, try it! As for me, I’ll continue to run some Zipfizz experiments to see if the life of excessive B-12 is the life for me.

Coffee, sweet nectar for the weary!

-Casey Klekas

My morning ritual consists of drinking two glasses of water and three pots of coffee. That’s not true; sometimes I forget to drink any water. Regardless, I’ve picked up the nasty habit of buying a new coffee appliance every few months. Long ago I resigned my automatic drip brewer to the cupboard. Now, my coffee station consists of three brewers: the French press, the Aeropress, and the Chemex. If I’m entertaining for Easter brunch, I’ll use the French press. If I want a single cup of coffee, Americano, or shot of espresso, I’ll use the Aeropress. When it’s just me and my old lady—I wanted to say “Me and the Mrs.,” but there isn’t a standard unabbreviated form for Mrs. (forgive me, dear)—I use the Chemex. The Chemex is essentially a Melitta, the little plastic cone that is often used for single cup brewing. I can’t squeeze four years of coffee experience into 500 words, so I’m devoting the next few posts to the elixir that got me through college.

The best beans in town at the most agreeable price is a pound of whole bean, house coffee from Espresso Roma. I’ve long thought Roma to be the best coffee on campus. In my opinion, the next best coffee in Eugene is either Stumptown or from the Wandering Goat. However, they price their coffee adjusted for hyperinflation, and they have too many “floral” coffees that I don’t fancy. No, the beans to buy are from Espresso Roma for eleven bucks a pound. Do not buy your coffee from Starbucks. A twelve ounce bag goes for nine clams. As Dr. Bill Nye will tell you, there are sixteen ounces in a pound, so two extra greenbacks will get you four ounces more of higher quality beans if you go with Roma.

Next, you’ll need a coffee grinder. It is best to grind your own coffee immediately before brewing. Do a taste test between a pot of coffee made with fresh ground beans and the one made with your usual choice of musty shavings. You’ll never go back.

For years I used a standard blade grinder, loud and messy though it was. If you’re a snob, like me, you should invest in a burr grinder. These do not randomly hack the beans into submission. The burr is like a pepper grinder, where two blades or abrasive metals revolve in opposite directions. This gives you an even consistency in your grind.

Why is the grinder important? There is a noticeable difference in taste and aroma between the blade grinder and the burr grinder. The burr creates less friction, meaning less heat, therefore less flavor lost in your grinder and more in your cup. Also, you will want to grind your beans according to the brewer being used. If you need a medium grind for standard drip coffee, your blade grinder will give you pieces, big and small. Those grinds will give different tastes according to their size, leaving you with an unpredictable cup of joe. The coffee bean is a sensitive seed that, should you treat it tenderly, will repay your respect by ten-fold.

If you’re not using an automatic brewer, you’ll need a kettle. I prefer electric to stove-top kettles, but this is only a matter of preference (my stove sucks).

Well, that’s all for now. My next post will include step-by-step instructions for various brewing methods. The coffee is good enough to make anyone into a coffee snob. I should warn you: it’s an expensive lifestyle. Remember, get a burr-grinder and fill it with Roma beans!

Don’t Worry Be Healthy: 1,3,7-Trimethylxanthine – Part III: Red Bull

-Marissa Tomko

If you follow “Don’t Worry, Be Healthy,” you’re probably well aware of the fact that I love caffeine. After all, you know what they say, you should write about what you know!

So far, I’ve talked about the way caffeine works and given a little bit of background on coffee. But what’s next you ask? Here’s a hint: it gives you wings.

If you’re not a college student, have never taken a long drive, or have never been into a 7-11, then maybe there’s a chance that my hint means nothing to you. But as for the rest of you, you know what I’m talking about—Red Bull.

I have been a fan of this beverage since I was a freshman, and in the past two and a half years, I’ve heard it all: “They’re full of sugar,” “You drink too much caffeine,” and “Did you know you don’t need that much taurine in your diet?” I am fully aware of all of these things, and my guess is that you are too. I could write about how energy drinks are bad for you, and list the negative health effects you may or may not experience when drinking them. But what I find to be more interesting is why we still drink them, despite what we know about them. It all comes down to one thing: killer advertising.

In my opinion, Red Bull has one of the most effective advertising campaigns out there. It doesn’t sell a drink; it sells a lifestyle. The brand appeals to the adventuring, extremist, free-spirited athlete in all of us. The Red Bull website has next to nothing to do with that skinny silver can that I love to drink from; it’s full of sports videos, action photography, and the latest remixes. Red Bull’s Twitter profile is slightly more geared toward the actual beverage, but its main purpose is still to sell a persona. The bio on the social media site reads: “Red Bull is the only Energy Drink that #GivesYouWings. Likes: F1, racing, skate, surf, snow, moto, BMX, MTB, X Games, wake, music, art, culture, gaming. Fun.” The feed is full of inspiring thoughts, crazy videos, and has snow-covered mountains as a background picture—that right there sold me!

I know, I know—you think I’m a sucker for advertising. And maybe I am. But this campaign does more than sell a product. It taps into the person inside of us that we love the most: the fun-loving, dancing, carefree one that we wish we could be all the time. Even though drinking a Red Bull doesn’t make that come true when we’re studying or driving home on the interstate, it is sure to remind us that that person is still there, and that the possibilities are endless.

What YouTube Teaches Me

-Rache’ll Brown

I spend way too much of my time on YouTube when I should be studying, cleaning my apartment, or writing an essay. But what can I say? I’m a procrastinator, and YouTube is just so much more appealing than a five-page paper. However, I don’t see this obsession as time wasted—YouTube teaches me a lot, and I have had more than enough time to narrow down my favorite channels that I frequent instead of tending to my grown-up duties (who wants to do laundry anyway?). So here are the YouTube channels that teach me how to dress better, cook better, look better, and feel better.

Wendy’s Look Book

This channel features a small woman with a huge wardrobe and a ton of style. Her outfits are impeccable and her videos are prime quality, and most of her “pairings” and style advice is spot on. Fashion-lovers will be impressed with her words of wisdom.

DailyMixTV

From the sisters of Pixiwoo comes a British fashion and beauty channel featuring celebrity-inspired tutorials, makeovers, street style, and more, all featuring everyday viewers that are yearning for a new look.

You Deserve A Drink

Hosted by actress and comedian Mamrie Hart, You Deserve A Drink (YDAD) is filled with cheesy one-liners (which are the basis of her built-in drinking game) and delicious drinks in honor of celebrities and current events.

Laura in the Kitchen

My dad is a chef, so the cooking channel is always on when I am home. And let me just say, Laura Vitale is better than everyone on there. Her Italian-style cooking, simple recipes, and sheer enthusiasm are inspiring. Plus she has some great close ups of delicious food.

Pop Pilates

Fitness instructor Cassey Ho shares her tips and tricks on efficient workouts, diets, and fitness apparel with this hands-on channel. Her workouts can be hard, but her optimistic attitude makes it a little easier to complete (although her enthusiasm can be slightly irritating—I mean, how is someone so happy while doing side plank extensions?). I feel great after completing one of her videos, and sometimes an at-home workout is much more appealing than heading to the Rec Center.

Fighting Senioritis

-Casey Klekas

As my college experience nears its end, I’ve come down with a bad case of senioritis. This ailment has caused my creative faculties to dry up at a time when I need them more than ever. I feel like it’s the fourth quarter and I don’t have the energy to finish strong. I’ve found a few ways to combat this condition so as to relight my imagination before it burns out completely.

The best defense against senioritis, I think, is to take time to read for pleasure. I always carry a book with me–one that isn’t on a syllabus–just in case I have a free moment when I need to recharge rather than zone out. This goes double for writers. Being a good reader is essential for being a good writer. I find that when I’ve spent the whole day buried in unabsorbing texts with big words that have little relevance to my daily routine, it’s hard to make the transition to writing well.

I know that whenever I’ve been reading a lot of a particular author, I tend to write much like his or her style. Sometimes I do this deliberately. For example, when I need to write a short essay, I warm up by reading George Orwell. When I feel my writing style has become dull or flat, I’ll flip through a random passage of Nabokov to refresh my love of the English language. I’ve heard several of my favorite authors, including Hunter S. Thompson, say that they learned to write by copying whole texts from the writers they most admired (in his case, it was Fitzgerald and Mailer). If this seems excessive, then just read them carefully.

When reading, if you’re not buzzing with caffeine shakes, you should be sitting straight in a not-too-comfortable chair, in a well-lit, quiet room. I don’t think the same needs to be said for writing because sometimes it’s easier for me to write if there is a white noise overlaid with music in the background.

Whatever the case for reading and writing, the best antidote to senioritis is to recharge your imagination. Boredom is a very serious disease. It stifles creativity and it must be overcome if one wants to create anything interesting. So, now that finals week has come and gone, don’t spend your very short periods of free time zoning out on YouTube or Netflix. Pick up a good book, and keep your creativity candle lit and your imaginative skills burning.

Excelsior Inn & Ristorante: The Not-So-Hidden Gem

-Whitney Gomes

Whiffs of sweet honey tickled my nose as I approached the front door. I found myself gliding through the garden of the Excelsior Inn; the nasal nostalgia had induced memories of my mother’s delectable homemade cornbread. The comforting memory suddenly alleviated my nerves: I hate trying new things and I’m an incredibly picky eater. The moment my leather boot met the hard wood of the foyer, I was greeted with a bright smile and a thick Italian accent. “Come, come, sit anywhere you’d like,” he said.

For the next three hours, I ate the best Italian food of my life, chatted with a former professional soccer player, toured the inn and restaurant and took photos of the local art adorning every square foot of the walls. Maybe it was the three-pound plate of pasta I devoured, or maybe the nostalgic scents prompted this realization, but I had discovered my new favorite restaurant. Having never eaten there before and living 200 feet from the building proved that some of the best places to eat are right under my nose.

Covered in vines and over 100 years old, the Excelsior Inn & Ristorante stands alone just one block from the University of Oregon. Since 1912, the building has served as a sorority and fraternity house, student housing, a dress shop, and a café. In 1972, the Excelsior Restaurant opened in the small area now known as The Bistro. By 1996, renovations were completed in order to open the Excelsior Inn––including fourteen rooms, a private dining area, a terrace dining room, and the Bistro, which features live music by local artists every weekend.

Located right off of 13th avenue and Alder Street, hundreds of students pass the restaurant every day. Do they forget the Excelsior Inn exists? After all, the gated building is quite literally hidden beneath a layer of overgrown vines and shrubs. Or is it that their starving college budgets don’t account for fine dining? Whatever it is that keeps other students out, the high-quality seasonal menu items and reasonable Bistro prices have made me an instant fan of this hidden gem.

Born in Naples, Italy, Chef and owner Maurizio Paparo proudly advocates the Slow Food Movement. He bought property in 2008 to start The Excelsior Farm: a five-acre patch in Dexter, Oregon, dedicated to growing every herb, legume, fruit and vegetable used in the restaurant (as well as his more casual Italian pizzeria in Springfield, Oregon). The Excelsior’s breakfast, Bistro, lunch, brunch, and dinner menu all feature seasonal items. During the winter they use a variety of greens such as kale and chard. This season’s Bistro menu includes three different linguine dishes, three ravioli dishes, three pizza dishes, various salads and your choice of a beef or lamb burger.

Once I had decided on an insalata Mista––a salad of mixed farm greens with creamy gorgonzola dressing––one of the chefs, Tommy Oliva, approached me asking if I would like some wheat bread he had just made from scratch. It seemed a rhetorical question to me, but he didn’t know that I would never pass up a carb-filled treat. The moment the slice met my salivating mouth, I melted.

“We make all of our bread, ravioli, pasta, and sausage in-house,” he told me. After reading and re-reading the Bistro menu, I decided to go big or go home.

Linguine all' Arrabbiata – spicy tomato sauce, homemade pesto, grilled chicken.

“I would like the Linguine all’ Arrabbiata,” I said. After the salad, I was substantially full. But then the pasta came. The noodles were unlike any noodle I’ve come across in my twenty-three years of pasta consumption. Each bite was wholesome and rich. Oliva told me they get their semolina flour (the main flour that pasta is made of) imported directly from Italy and that they are the only food establishment in town to do so. The spicy marinara was zesty and had a flavorful kick to it. The grilled chicken was seasoned to perfection and knowing that everything I ate was handmade and locally grown influenced how I felt about the pricing. Considering the cost to produce organic food, the Excelsior’s prices are reasonable.

Belly filled with pasta and ready for a nap, I thanked my server and assured her I would be back. Two days later, I brought my hesitant vegetarian roommate who lives on Kraft Mac-and-Cheese and Top Ramen noodles to the Bistro for happy hour. We ate more homemade pasta and sipped on Limoncello. I think I just became a regular.

"The Bachelor": The Formulaic Falsification of Forever

-Emily Fraysse

The visions of a Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty love story are seen as pipe dreams to young women. Those visions are reserved purely for the fairy tales they grew up reading. This changed in 2002 when The Bachelor debuted on ABC. The show began by generating perfected, artificial settings where regular, very attractive single women get the opportunity to “win” their prince charming. Every episode strives to reassure the viewers that the process of cocktail parties, single and group dates, and eliminations work to single out the woman that fits the bachelor’s needs and desires, and, ultimately, to fall hopelessly in love. The reality television show illustrates what this “true love” looks like—or, what it should look like. Once the bachelor picks the last girl in the season finale, he is supposed to propose to her (although they are allowed to refrain if they don’t feel ready).

To make a relationship last on a round-robin-dating show such as The Bachelor, the women have to do two things in order to “win” him. They must be able to fully immerse themselves in the man whom they have never spoken with before, and they must do so incredibly fast. They must be willing to show affection toward him physically, either during their one-on-one time or later on in the show if they get offered to spend the night with him in the Fantasy Suite. The same goes for the bachelor, as he is also required to show a certain amount of physicality towards to the women. On season 14, Jake Pavelka was seen as a questionable bachelor candidate in the eyes of Entertainment Weekly when they wondered if “Jake’s crushingly boring style of courtship” would even be worth watching. Yet, later in that season, Corrie Adamson, a 23-year-old virgin, explained to Jake that she was saving herself for marriage. Jake replied with, “I completely respect where you’re coming from, and that’s not an issue for me” just before he sent her sobbing to the limo back to her home in Alabama. The realm that the show creates has twisted what is considered “normal” in a typical, long-lasting relationship.

If a candidate does not perform as expected, they may give off the vibe that they are just not that into him or that they are holding back. During the six weeks that the women and the bachelor have together, they do not have any other choice but to show that they are falling in love in order to keep him in the end. For the women who are more hesitant to show their true feelings usually end up getting eliminated. By giving the bachelor constant, over-the-top affection and attention,  they have a better chance of “winning” him.

For the women on the show, it is all about attempting to stand out among the sea of love-hungry females by dramatizing and aggrandizing their proclaimed love for the bachelor. By placing the contestants in various environments, situations, and challenges, they attempt to stimulate a “real-life” effect, except most people don’t fly to their dates in a helicopter or constantly go to extravagant locations.

To the younger eyes, this show can seem very inappropriate and unrealistic. Not too long into the show, the contestants still standing are offered the Fantasy Suite date, which is not exactly a “normal date.” This is telling society that although he is dating multiple women at one time, this is what is considered normal and almost mandatory to do if you are dating someone whom you would like to spend the rest of your life with. In order to capture a man’s heart, the women must perform an intimate act, which seals the deal and reinstates their affection for him. The show enforces bizarre claims of sincerity and a belief in love.

For the young women watching the show, the program could send mixed signals and ideals about what is considered appropriate, normal, and morally right in a relationship. The show tells the audience that it is “okay” and “normal” to sleep with your escort of the evening, that no holds are barred, and that it is okay to put aside your morals to snatch up the man and do what is best for a show dependent on high ratings. Although it is a new generation of thinking when it comes to dating, relationships and marriage, it does not mean that basic morals are thrown out the window. The “Prince Charming” fantasy lives on in The Bachelor, which oozes magical matchmaking powers, “true,” “real” romances, and horseback rides on the beach into the setting sun. The show is not meant to be taken seriously and is in no way a model for the public’s own conduct.

Image from http://beta.abc.go.com/shows/the-bachelor