Too School for Cool: Regifting without the regret

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Nov 162012

Author: Allison LeCain

We college students are hard to shop for. Usually I end of getting rolls of cash instead of tangible items for holidays, which is great. Other times I receive items that I would rather live without, such as girly smelling lotion, my fifteenth pair of sunglasses, or jewelry that is not my style.

Since it’s uncommon for gifts to come with receipts, these presents get thrown into my closet and forgotten about until moving day. Seems like a waste, but fear not, for there’s a solution.

Christmas gifts.

Christmas gifts. (Photo credit Wikipedia)

No one wants to turn into a hoarder and the holidays can be a stressful time of spending money. You can eliminate both these fears by regifting unwanted presents from years past.

For example, in the case of the girly smelling lotion I received to my dismay, I prefer softer, fresh scents, like oatmeal and vanilla. I recall that my roommate loves floral scents, so the lotion would be a perfect thing to regift to her this holiday season.

One of the keys to regifting is that you should still put as much thoughtfulness in it as you would if you were buying something new. If you got a punk CD you dislike for your birthday, don’t give it to your friend who also hates punk music. This is inconsiderate and doesn’t show how well you know them as a friend.

Also, avoid regifting a present back to the person who gave it to you in the first place, unless you’re prepared to pull-off the old “well I liked it so much that I thought I’d get you one too!” No one likes a liar. Keep it clean, people.

When regifting, be sure to consider the item’s condition. Don’t regift something that has been used or has missing parts. The gift receiver will know it’s been used and won’t appreciate your gesture.

While regifting is a perfectly practical way to ‘shop’ for the holiday season, it is better not to tell people when you are regifting to them. In addition, don’t tell the person who originally bought the item for you that you gave it to someone else. No hard feelings are necessary in this practice.

If you own something that you don’t need that doesn’t qualify for regifting, remember that there are homeless shelters and donation spots in town that would be more than happy to receive gently used items, especially this time of year. So either way, the joy of giving is always an option.

Too School for Cool: Unconventional uses for condiments

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Nov 092012

Author: Allison LeCain

Schedro_ketchup Dansk: Ketchup sælges typisk p...

Heinz Tomato Ketchup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Look inside your fridge. I bet you have all the basic condiments – ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard.  While these are great for barbecuing, they serve many other purposes.

With just these three condiments, normally made for consumption, you can have a spa day or clean your house.


This condiment, most commonly used on French fries, contains a high amount of sodium, making it great for shinning pots, pans and auto parts.

It can also be used to correct the green highlights that blondes can get in their hair from spending a lot of time in chlorinated water.  Just wash your hair with ketchup instead of shampoo next time you shower.

If you’re out of shaving cream, you can use ketchup as a replacement. Just be sure to throw out the razor once you’re finished.


English: 48-ounce (1.42 l) jar of Duke's Mayon...

English: 48-ounce (1.42 l) jar of Duke’s Mayonnaise (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Mayo is packed with fatty oils, which can be good for your skin and hair or removing sticky stuff.

If you have dry, brittle hair, try moisturizing it will mayo as a cheap alternative to hair products. Comb about a tablespoon of mayo through your scalp and leave it in for one hour. Wash it out with only a little bit of shampoo, as to not strip your hair of the moisture the mayo added.

You can also exfoliate your dry skin with mayonnaise. Put it on wherever necessary and let it sit for 10 minutes. Mayonnaise will also strengthen fingernails, making you hang-nail-free.

Mayo has the power to clean crayon marks off of walls and floors, as well as removing stickers and glue.  It will even clean water rings off wooden tables, so you can say bye-bye to the coasters.


Plain yellow mustard has medicinal properties in it that can heal muscles and aches, as well as getting rid of bad smells.

A bottle of French's Classic Yellow Mustard

A bottle of French’s Classic Yellow Mustard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mustard can be used to deodorize water bottles. Simply mix a little mustard with hot water, swoosh it around in the bottle, and rinse clean. This miracle condiment will also get rid of skunk stench.

Adding mustard into a warm bath can soothe sore muscles. The same affect applies to healing headaches through soaking your feet in warm mustard water for 15 minutes.

If you have a cold, mix a squirt of mustard, lemon juice and honey in a glass of warm water to sooth a sore throat. You can also apply mustard to your chest and place a hot towel over it to ease chest decongestion.

Best of CSU: The Mayor of Old Town, cleansing your beer pallet monthly

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Nov 042012

Author: Allison LeCain

Beer is the most widely consumed alcoholic beverage in the world, and with all the micro-breweries in Ft. Collins, CSU students have the chance to sample many delectable beers.

Most bars in town feature the same six beers at a time.  They have the standards, such as Bud Light and Coors, and a few seasonal beers from local breweries. The Mayor of Old Town offers a different beer experience.

Austen Miller and Derick Burton enjoy their Goose Island Matildas at The Mayor of Old Town on a Thursday afternoon. Photo by Allison LeCain.

Austen Miller and Derick Burton enjoy their Goose Island Matildas at The Mayor of Old Town on a Thursday afternoon. Photo by Allison LeCain.

Voted best place to get a beer by CSU students this fall, The Mayor of Old Town has 100 beers at a time on tap.  They feature beers from around the country and around the world, as well as local beers.

Owner Kevin Bolin said that only 30 of their beers are fixed and the other 70 are rotators that change monthly.  At any given time, their selection is approximately 33 percent local beers, 33 percent national and 33 percent international.  That makes for a lot of choices.

“They’re all so good, that’s the problem,” said Austen Miller, senior natural resource recreation and tourism student. “You’re sitting here for like half an hour trying to think what beer you’re going to get next. No matter what, there’s always a solid beer to go for.”

Bolin and his wife opened The Mayor of Old Town in July of 2011.  After selling their renting business, Kevco, Bolin said they were on the hunt around the country to find a new place to live and open a new business doing something different.

After some soul searching and traveling, they realized that there is no place better than Ft. Collins. In their travels, the Bolins had seen a lot of great beer bars.

“To have such an awesome beer culture here, and to have the same six beers at every bar, it seemed very apparent that we could stay here to take on our next kind of business,” Bolin said.

The concept of this beer bar has been heavily accepted throughout the community, as Bolin said the support has far exceeded his expectations.

In the past year The Mayor of Old Town has won top five beer bars by Playboy, top 15 beer bars in the nation by, and top 100 beer bars in the nation.

While The Mayor caters to people of all ages, young people enjoy the alternative atmosphere that they experience there.

“They bring in a lot of beers from all over the country. You can’t find that anywhere else,” said Derick Burton, who graduated from CSU in May 2012. “I guess this place is like a beer aficionado.”

The Mayor of Old Town offers 100 beers on tap. Photo by Allison LeCain.

With so many beers to choose from, Burton recommends the Goose Island Matilda from Chicago as one of his latest discoveries at The Mayor. Since 70 of the taps are always changing, there’s always something new to try.

“It’s always changing, always evolving, always adjusting and that keeps people interested and makes them try things they haven’t’ before,” Bolin said.

While The Mayor does attract college students with their many beers and café meals served all day, the atmosphere is very different than most college bars. Instead of a crazy place to get drunk and dance, it’s more of a relaxing spot to enjoy a beer and have a conversation with a friend, according to Miller.

Miller said he thinks the prices are not bad, ranging from $4 to $6 for a nice beer. In addition to fair prices, Miller said the servers are friendly and knowledgeable about beer.

“This place has really kept drawing me back to it, so I’ve started coming here more and more,” Miller said. “You just can’t beat it.”

As the weather turns colder, people can expect to see more browns and stouts at The Mayor.  Bolin said the bar manager has a great pallet and good taste in beers, so she heads up the selections.

Bolin believes that this local beer bar is a place that students can feel proud of since it is a unique, more relaxed vibe than other beer spots in town. At The Mayor, there’s always something new to try.

“I like it because it’s not like everybody comes here to get a Bud Light,” Miller said. “People come here to branch out.”


632 S. Mason St.
Fort Collins, CO 80524
Mon – Fri 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Sat – Sun 9 a.m. to 12 a.m.

Too School for Cool: Your ideal facial hair for no-shave-November

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Nov 022012

Author: Allison LeCain

November is upon us, which means it’s time to throw away those razors and let your facial hair hang low.

To all those manly men out there that are brave enough to withstand the challenge that is no-shave November, it is important to decide what type of facial hair you will conquer. Some men can pull off the full-on beard; some can only grow a little caterpillar above their lip.

No matter what hair growing abilities you may have, there is a facial hair style that is right for you.


English: My friend in his sweet beard

The Lumberjack

For those of you that are physically able to grow a full-faced beard, The Lumberjack is the right style for you. Many men are not able to pull this is off, so if you can grow it, show it! The ladies will be impressed with your manly hair (this is Colorado, people) and the extra layer will keep your face nice and toasty for the cold winter to come. The Lumberjack also requires the least amount of maintenance out of all possible facial hair options, holding true to the no shaving rule of November. You literally just let it grow, no trimming or grooming necessary. You also might want to invest in a plaid shirt.




The Ladies ManSide goatee!

If the hair on your cheeks appears a bit patchy, go for The Ladies Man look. This is more of a goatee style that looks snazzy and sleek.  It keeps your cheeks smooth, making the ladies want to come and touch. The Ladies Man requires a bit of upkeep, as you must shave off the patches that may appear on your cheeks after a few days, but still proves to be an overall laid-back look that will drive the women wild. Side effects may include appearing older and more dignified looking. Pair it will a fedora and you may have the honeys flocking your way.




English: Man with short, dark mustache.The Caterpillar

Some men are not as well endowed with hair, making a beard nearly impossible to grow. Never fear, for there is still a facial hair style out there for you.  The Caterpillar consists of a simple mustache, perched delicately above your lip. This classy look has been in style for centuries, so why not give it a try? It requires a bit of trimming and shaving any patches that form outside the lines. You may want to buy a mustache comb to ensure that you and your new facial hair always look dapper.

Too School for Cool: A lesson on libel for future presidents

 Too School for Cool  Comments Off on Too School for Cool: A lesson on libel for future presidents
Oct 262012

Author: Allison LeCain

From day one, as a journalism student, I heard professors ranting about libel, libel, and more libel. And yet, the presidential candidates can’t seem to get enough of it.

For those of you not familiar with the term, libel is the publication of untrue, defamatory statements. Now if you ask me, each presidential candidate is guilty on multiple accounts.

First consider the attack ads approved by Romney and Obama. Many of the statements made are taken out of context, making them virtually untrue, or are just completely made up.  Since these false ads can damage the reputation of the other candidate, they are considered defamatory and could be libelous.

English: Barack Obama delivers a speech at the...

English: Barack Obama delivers a speech at the University of Southern California (Video of the speech) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Next, think back to the many speeches that the candidates made around the country as they rallied to get votes. Many of the ‘facts’ they shouted out about their competitor weren’t completely true. Libel could apply here again.

Lastly, in the past three debates, (with the exception of Obama on the first debate), both candidates made claims about their opponent’s policies that were skewed to make their opponent sound unappealing. While each candidate had a chance to defend themselves, (even though Obama didn’t during the first debate), the false comments made could surely damage their voter approval.

Clearly this presidential campaign has been jam-packed with libel, but it’s not the first time this has happened. Making false remarks about a presidential competitor has been a trend ever since Washington took the title.

So the true question is, how do they get away with it?

Well, there’s this thing called malice. In order for a public official, such as Obama or Romney, to successfully sue for libel, they must be able to prove actual malice. This means, that the person who published the libelous statement must have had a reckless disregard for the truth and have intended to cause the person harm.

While I think everyone can agree that the candidates know that some of their facts are not true, they are not actually trying to harm the other person. They’re just simply trying to beat them at this election game.

So to all the political science majors out there, or anyone with as aspiration to be president someday, always remember the laws of libel so that you don’t get your butt sued off.

Too School for Cool: Penny skateboards hit the streets

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Oct 192012

Author: Allison LeCain

Bruises with Penny Board

Penny Board (Photo credit: well.written.or.badly.written)

I see a student almost getting run-over by a skateboarder on a regular basis around campus, but lately the skateboarders have looked less threatening and more affable.

A not-so-new type of skateboard, the Penny board, has come back to life from the 70s. These skateboards are only 22 to 27 inches long and are made out of plastic, unlike your typical 43 inch wooden longboard.

Penny boards come in every neon color imaginable and are only four inches wide, fitting perfectly in any skater dude’s backpack. You know what that means – no tripping over longboards that are leaning up against your classroom wall!

While these skateboards look adorable and vibrant, they may not have a very manly effect on the boarder.  I’ve never heard a guy yell out, “Sweet hot pink wheels, bro!”

Too be honest, I’m not a huge fan of skater guys, so this possible flaw in color choice may be lost on me. The only true use I see for a skateboard is to sit on it and roll down a hill, but my butt probably won’t fit on a Penny board anyway.

These intensely colorful retro mini boards may be a scheme to get more girls into the skater market, but I’ll stick with my single-speed bicycle from the 80s. Hopefully now, when skate boarders do run over pedestrians on campus, there will at least be less damage due to the size and structure of the skateboard.

Too School for Cool: ‘Tis the season of the sweaters

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Oct 112012

Author: Allison LeCain

Autumn is officially upon us, which means the holidays are creeping up. In most cases this involves house decorations, warmer clothing, and

christmas sweater - 1

Christmas sweater (Photo credit: GobberGo)

pumpkin spiced everything, but I’ve noticed one more trend that’s been sweeping the city.

Every elderly lady is sporting seasonal sweaters. The other day I saw an adorable old lady wearing the typical cotton-blend turtleneck with an autumn-themed sweater over it.  The sweater had a tree with fall-colored leaves on it. To top it off, there was a squirrel with an acorn in the tree and each leaf had a tiny sequin on it. As I admired the stitch work I found myself thinking, ‘I want her sweater’.

This time of year, grannies look so festive it’s almost unfair. I wish there was some way that I could pull off this merry look without looking like a turd.

Pretty soon we’ll be seeing elderly women all around Fort Collins, warm and cozy in jack-o-lantern sweaters, turkey sweaters and finally holiday sweaters with jingle bells and all.

I wish that young people would take on this sense of fashion. Every morning I’d think to myself, ‘how can I feel as comfy as possible while looking as festive as possible today?’ Now that’s the way to live.

TELLURIDE, CO - DECEMBER 18:  (L-R) Jayson Hal...

Good sweaters for gaper day. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

In a way this style makes sense for young people. We are busy-bees, and with the constant movement and work we do all day, we deserve to have the comfiest clothes as possible. In addition, it’s our job to go all-out for the holidays to show future generations how it’s done. This is easily accomplished by having a seasonal sweater for every day of the week.

As of right now, the only excuse people my age have to wear grandma-esque sweaters are the yearly ugly sweater party and gaper day on the ski slopes. I say boo to the status-quo; let’s get our grandma style on!


The power of meditation, achieving peace of mind

 Beats, Fit & Fine, The Well  Comments Off on The power of meditation, achieving peace of mind
Oct 072012

Author: Allison LeCain

The mind is a powerful thing, constantly racing with thoughts about school, work and social life. It controls everything we do, and yet many people focus all their energy on how their body looks or how well-liked they are among friends.

As a college student, the mind is more frantic than ever, but through meditation, anyone can achieve peace and happiness.

Quinn Hutchinson, senior phycology major, created the Kadampa Meditation Club at CSU about a year ago in order to share the culture of meditation with her fellow students.

“The benefits of meditation are really powerful and I think they’re so necessary at this age where we have so much going on,” Hutchinson said.

Meditation is a Buddhist practice of calming the mind in order to gain clarity and peace. It only takes about ten minutes to feel the effects of meditation, and is best if practiced at least once a week. One  goal of meditation is to become a happier person who is more in touch with their mind.

Gen Kelsang Rinzin, a resident teacher from the Heruka Buddhist Center, teaches weekly meditation classes at CSU.

Gen Kelsang Rinzin, a resident teacher from the Heruka Buddhist Center, teaches weekly meditation classes at CSU. Photo by Allison LeCain.

Hutchinson started practicing meditation four years ago when she saw a flyer for a class. Raised as a Catholic, she said she thought the idea of meditation was a little funny at first, but, over time, she said noticed a great difference in her quality of life.

“I was calmer and more stress-free and it really changed my life,” Hutchinson said. “I went from being a big partier to trying to get in touch with something deeper.”

Now Hutchinson said she considers herself a Buddhist, but meditation can be practiced by people of all religious backgrounds. When starting the meditation club, she collaborated with the Heruka Buddhist Center to have resident teacher Gen Kelsang Rinzin, a western Buddhist monk, come to CSU to teach meditation classes every week.

Kelsang Rinzin said that since starting the classes last October, the number of students coming has increased a lot, showing that meditation is becoming more popular in the Fort Collins community. His class sizes at the Heruka Center have grown as well.

Each class that Kelsang Rinzin guides at CSU has a name, such as ‘Developing Concentration’ and ‘Improving Mindfulness.’  This is what drew graduate student Laila Dillsi to take part in the classes.

Dillsi has been practicing meditation off-and-on for 10 years and meditates about four times a week.

“It’s really applicable to our lives as students,” Dillsi said. “[Meditation] keeps me more calm.”

Hutchinson describes similar effects of meditation, as she says it helps her to manage her schoolwork and social life.

“Things don’t bother me as much as they used to,” Hutchinson said. “It’s a lot easier for me to let things go in my external environment.”

As Kelsang Rinzin explains, this is one of the major benefits of meditation. Through meditation, a person can develop peace of mind and the ability to let go of disturbing thoughts. A negative thought can be changed into a positive one, full of kindness. This can change your outlook on life, according to Kelsang Rinzin.

Kelsang Rinzin said meditation can be a good way for students to let go of stressful thoughts; Hutchinson agreed.

“If I start to get stressed out I have five minute brain-breaks,” Hutchinson said. “Five minutes of meditation is so helpful for me throughout the day, like focusing on my breath and tools that I didn’t have before. Our brains are so powerful when you tap in to that.”

The mind is so powerful that Kelsang Rinzin compared it to a wild elephant, as in anything a person can do, he or she can only do because their mind thinks it first. Our mind is in control and our bodies are just machines fulfilling the minds commands. This why Kelsang Rinzin said it is important to get in touch with your mind through meditation.

He helps students do so through weekly classes held in Lory Student Center room 208 on Wednesdays at 3 p.m.

Hutchinson said that at these classes, meditation helps students let go of anxieties and utilizes all the powers the mind has.

“It’s all the power of our mind,” Kelsang Rinzin said. “If we can learn to let go of negative thoughts and cultivate positive thoughts from meditation, then there is so much opportunity to be peaceful, healthy people.”



Too School for Cool: Fake ID impatiencey

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Oct 052012

Author: Allison LeCain

The Best Gol Darn Beer Ever.

The Best Gol Darn Beer Ever. (Photo credit: Bmaas)

Does the saying ‘it doesn’t count as alcoholism until you’re out of college’ mean anything to you?

When people hear tales of college, they usually involve drinking. You come home for winter break and all you hear about from your friends is how wasted they were when they jumped off the roof, fell out of a tree, or woke up in a stranger’s bed. This makes it feel like college is all about drinking alcohol.

I myself turned 21 almost a year ago (what do I have to look forward to now!?), but my 21st birthday certainly wasn’t the first time I had tasted alcohol (sorry mom).  I’d be lying if I said that underage students at CSU don’t drink, as it’s easy to look up the statistics online, but in my opinion some of the underage students are smarter than others.

It’s my understanding that the majority of underage students tend to move in crowds, house-party hopping on Friday nights. For others, it seems like there is no way they can possibly wait to go to bars or buy something at a liquor store, so they choose to ‘turn 21’ right now.

Fake ID’s are nothing new, though it is becoming increasingly easier to get them, what with the internet and all that jazz. Once a person has a legitimate-looking ‘fake’, they can join their 21-and-up friends for a night of buying overly-priced alcoholic beverages and mingling with some honeys.

While it is ridiculously unfair that a person can serve in the military and vote at the age of 18 but cannot buy or consume alcohol, the repercussions for dodging this law by purchasing a ‘fake’ are costly, and I don’t just mean money-wise.

If a person is caught with a fake ID, there are several possibilities of punishment by law. These range from a $1,000 fine to one year in jail with a felony or misdemeanor charge on your record, depending on your criminal history.

This image shows a red wine glass.

This image shows a red wine glass. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now this may just be my belief, but I’m thinking that messing up your college career by going to jail might not be a good plan. You should treasure those few more months/years you have of being underage, because after you’re 21, life kicks into gear. Soon you’ll graduate college and be in the real world. That’s when you’ll be wishing you were underage with less life decisions to make.

Stay smart rams and think before you drink.



Too School for Cool: Cuddling made easy

 The Well, Too School for Cool  Comments Off on Too School for Cool: Cuddling made easy
Sep 282012

Author: Allison LeCain

to sleep is to dream

Photo credit: Janesdead

It’s getting to be that time of year when the weather is a little bit unpredictable. Some nights it’s really cold, allowing you to cuddle up next to your lover. Other nights you find yourself stripping off blankets and scooting away from your partner because they feel like a furnace.

Until the freezing nights of winter are upon us, couples all over the Northern Hemisphere will be struggling to stay close to their loved one throughout the night. Never fear though, because there is a mattress that solves this problem while inspiring alternative ideas to change cuddling from being a hassle to a pleasure.

The Modular ‘Love Mattress’ (see link below) is made from unique strips of foam that are designed to bend sideways to allow users’ limbs to easily slide under their partner when cuddling without cutting off circulation or feeling squished.

While not everyone can afford a fancy snuggling mattress, this design offers inspiration for other cuddling solutions.

Similar to the mattress design, you can use pillows to elevate parts of the body so that arms can slide under your partner more easily.  No one likes waking up with a dead arm, so be sure to use supportive pillows.

Another solution to this dilemma that I’ve found helpful over the years is this advice: cuddling doesn’t have to be full embrace. Cuddling can be simply holding hands while each partner lies completely separate from one another on their backs. Don’t make it complicated. The point of cuddling is to feel like you’re close to someone, not to suffocate them.

Now there’s still the problem of the erratic weather of this season. Generally, the nights are cool, but not cold, so you begin your sleep holding on tight to your lover only to wake up an hour later feeling feverish and sweating like a pig.

To this I say, fewer blankets are better. If you rely on your partner to give you warmth throughout the night while only using a thin comforter, you will be less likely to overheat. This will avoid that uncomfortable situation of waking up in the morning wondering ‘Oh dear, how did I sweat that much and what does he think of me now?’ (Less clothing is also an option.)

It is truly amazing how much warmer a bed can be when there are two people in it instead of one, so keep that in mind when preparing for sleep.

Another option is to keep a fan close-by. Sometimes one person may overheat quicker than the other.  With a fan next to the bed, the hot partner can angle it so it is blowing directly on them, not affecting their cozy, snoozing partner.

The most important thing to remember is that cuddling is about sharing an intimate moment with your loved one. It’s a special time for just the two of you to feel each other, so it’s important for both parties to feel comfortable. Enjoy this time, as it’ll make you feel closer to one another.

Disclaimer: cuddling is not for everyone. Ladies, do not get offended if your man cannot fall asleep while cuddling. It is nothing against you and there is not a whole lot you can do about it. If you’re reliant on cuddling, simply suggest that he cuddles you until you fall asleep, then he can gently roll away and sleep on the other side of the bed without disturbing your slumber. In general, spooning is the most comfortable position for men. It is also the easiest position for him to roll away from, so give that a try first.