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Nine Reasons Aahs!! is Your New Favorite Convenience Store

Located in the middle of Westwood Village, Aahs!! The Ultimate Gift Store is where many students find themselves in before costume parties or birthdays. This store is basically the Costco (minus the wholesale part) version of gift stores. You can find everything from everyday necessities like utensils, stationery and clothing items to random hoarding objects like heart-shaped rocks, finger puppets and glow-in-the-dark test tubes. Here are nine reasons why this superstore is your new favorite convenient store, despite its initial black hole impression.

Don’t believe us? Just watch (read).

1. You won’t ever have to awkwardly speak your mind. 

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… because these socks are doing the job for you. It’s even aided with visuals – a small child with a magical white horse in a field of flowers!

2. You’ll become dark and mysterious.

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Have a dinner date at home? Bring out these suckers and you’ll have your date hooked. It’s basically stated in the instructions manual. It’ll be a great conversation starter or a quirky conversational transition: “Will you pass the white doll head please?”

3. You’ll become a romantic over night. 

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These three words have been idolized in society and especially Hollywood as being a big part of relationships. They mark your acceptance of not only your partner but also of yourself. This saying isn’t thrown around lightly, and that’s exactly why Aahs!! is here to help. Here’s a toast to your future endeavors!

4. Aahs!! is a fan of bacon. 

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If you don’t use bacon-flavored toothpicks after a residual meal, you’re doing life wrong.

5. It endorses adult throw blankets. 

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Aahs!! is here to provide what Snuggies never could do. Spiderman-print adult blanket throws. BRB – planning a Marvel Snuggie party.

6. You’ll be able to be a cat.* 

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*Magical cat with blue, starry eyes. This sleeping mask is for all the cat people out there.

7. You’ll be trendy. Jane Austen-trendy.

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Everyone has gone through that mid-life crisis-esque situation where they can’t decide whether to get a “Mr. Darcy” tattoo or a silhouette of Jane Austen on their lower back. Don’t fret! Aahs!! has been incredibly considerate and provided these in stock. Good thing these tattoos are temporary so you don’t have to #commit. Your dreams have come true. You can finally have Austen’s favorite word, “imprudent,” and Mr. Darcy’s hat tattooed on your back.

8. No, like super trendy. 

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This gal is a Renaissance woman. From tattoos to Band-Aids, I personally would like to declare Jane Austen as my “woman-crush Wednesday.”

9. You’ll be the coolest kid on the block. 

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When was the last time you saw these on stands? Yeah, never. This is possibly the coolest item created ever since Ziploc bags. With this in your dorm, your floormates and RAs will be begging to hang out with you. Better start penciling in all those play dates!

Have another reason why Aahs!! is the best? Comment below or Tweet us at @dbmojo!

 

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The Health Nut’s Guide to Homemade Snacking

We have all had those long nights starving in Powell, wishing that our backpack full of textbooks would turn into a backpack full of snacks. Even worse is that moment of disappointment when the person in line in front of you at the YRL’s Cafe 451 snags the last bagel. How about the frustration you feel toward eating the same type of cereal 23 mornings in a row?

Here are a couple of my favorite recipes that are easy to prepare for over the weekend and enjoy throughout the week.  All of them are very healthy and make perfect snacks that can even be enjoyed on the go so you don’t have to waste your time, money or hard work at the gym on options (or lack thereof) when you’re in a hurry and running between classes. The best part is that all of the following recipes can be modified to your liking, so it’s hard to mess them up. Most of the ingredients can be found right here in Westwood at Trader Joe’s, Ralphs or Whole Foods.

 

Date and Nut Protein Bar

2 cups dates (pitted)

2 cups cashews

1/2 cup almonds

1/2 cup shredded coconut

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons chia or flax seeds

2 tablespoons cacao nibs or dark chocolate chips

3 tablespoons cocoa powder (optional)

2 tablespoons water

Use a food processor or a heavy-duty blender to crush the almonds and cashews, then add in dates, coconut, cocoa, vanilla and water. Once the mix is a malleable consistency, add in the nibs or chocolate chips, chia or flax and knead in with a fork. Press the mix into a square or rectangular pan and refrigerate. After it hardens, cut it up into bars and enjoy!

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Homemade Acai Bowl

1/2 banana (frozen is best)

1 acai packet

1 handful of frozen berries

1/4 cup liquid (coconut water, almond milk)

Granola

Berries or fruit of choice

In a blender, add the packet, banana, berries or other fruit (frozen or fresh) and your liquid. Since I didn’t have any frozen bananas, I used a regular one and added in a couple ice cubes and some extra frozen fruit, but the frozen banana will definitely improve the consistency. Once blended, transfer the contents into a bowl and add your preferred toppings, such as granola (see recipe above), berries, the other half of the banana and some honey or agave to top it off.

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Salad in a Jar

1 handful kale

1 tablespoon sunflower seeds

1/4 cup quinoa (prepared kind with veggies from TJ’s is my favorite)

2 tablespoons dressing of choice (Balsamic)

You can basically do whatever you want with this as long as you layer it right. You can also make a few of these jars and keep them in your fridge to have enough salads on the go to last you a couple of days. Make sure your dressing goes at the bottom, followed by the quinoa and dry ingredients like seeds or nuts, then the veggies, topped with the lettuce of your choice.

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Egg Soufflé

2 whole eggs

Splash of egg whites (or another egg)

2 tablespoons of almond milk (unsweetened)

1 Laughing Cow slice

Salt and pepper

A little kale, zucchini and chopped onion

In a small, but deep pan or dish, mix the eggs, cheese, almond milk, salt and pepper together for a minute. Add in the vegetables and mix them in so that the contents are evenly distributed. Place the pan or dish in the oven at 300 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until the top of the quiche begins to look crispy. The same process can be done in a muffin pan for individual soufflés that make an excellent on-the-go breakfast.

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Be sure to tweet @dbmojo if you try any of these!

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Five Places to Find Your Last-Minute Valentine

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and of course, you waited until the last minute to find a date. Now, there is no problem with cuddling up with some chocolate and binge-watching rom-coms on Netflix, but wouldn’t you rather spend the most romantic day of the year with someone special?

Or, at least, someone at all?

Mojo has you covered with the five best places to meet that special someone. The best part? You don’t even have to leave campus to do it.

1. Northern Lights (or any campus coffee shop, for that matter)

The classic North Campus coffee shop is more than just a study space. According to Mental Floss, caffeine stimulates the part of the central nervous system connected to sexual arousal. Don’t like the bitter taste of coffee? Chai tea is the perfect alternative; it contains plenty of ginger, a spice linked to increasing sexual desire. Plus, the blaze of the fireplace totally sets the mood for some romantic chit-chat.

2. The gym

As you’ve probably noticed, Wooden has been recently packed with people working on their “New Year, New Me” bodies. As you wait for your turn on the StairMaster, why not strike up a convo with the person next you? Approaching a potential mate covered in post-workout sweat could actually work in your favor. LIVESTRONG says that sweat helps to spread the smell of your natural pheromones, the chemical that attracts individuals of the opposite sex to one another.

3. Street salsa at Bruin Plaza

Get your groove on in front of the Bruin Bear at the Salsa Society’s weekly street salsa events. Every Thursday at 6 p.m., the club starts off with two hours of lessons, followed by two-and-a-half hours of social dancing to show off the new moves learned that night. Just picture it: the sassy sound of the maracas, the swing of your hips to the Latin beat and the romantic glow of the moon. Plus, the sexual tension you’ll feel with your dance partner will be undeniable.

4. Outside your midterm

Who knew that professors actually had our romantic interests in mind during one of the most stressful times of the quarter? Dopamine, the chemical that floods our brains when we are in love, might increase during times of sleeplessness. When are college students most likely to suffer from constant sleeplessness? During midterms, of course! If you can muster up enough energy, try inviting that cutie from your discussion to a celebratory ice cream run this weekend.

5. Tinder

Finally, for those don’t do well with the whole “human interaction” thing, there is always Tinder. As much as people poke fun at the popular dating app, a surprisingly large number of people you know have probably made accounts. Who doesn’t love the instant satisfaction of receiving a new match? If you put in the time and effort, trust me, it is possible to find a gem in a sea of awkwardly too-close profile pictures and bios with filled with cheesy clichés. Bonus: You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your bed for this one.

 

Have any luck finding a last-minute date? Tell us about it in the comments or tweet us at @dbmojo!

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Eight Ways to Maximize Those Awkward, ‘Awkward Gaps’

It’s only 9 a.m., you’re on campus after your first class and your next class isn’t until noon. You’ve failed yourself, you think. This is a chunk of time, an awkward gap,  you’ll never get back, week after week.

But wait – before getting annoyed with your lack of scheduling perfection, give these ideas a shot to cure your campus blues.

1. The amazing nap chairs in the Louise Kerckhoff Study Lounge

If you’re running on empty after a long night of studying, or simply just want to relax for a while, head to the third floor of Kerckhoff and snatch one of the chairs in the lounge that recline all the way. Yes, I said recline.

2. Be adventurous with some slacklining on the lawn by Janss steps

If you have not yet heard of the outdoor activity that is taking the country by storm, slacklining is a balancing act on a rope or webbing strip that isn’t pulled as tightly as a tightrope (where the “slack” part of the name comes from). Students have been seen setting up their own slacklines between two trees in the lawn at Janss steps, so why not give it a try? All you need is a rope (preferably webbing strip), two trees and an open mind.

3. Explore the coffee options in Westwood

Have a long, early morning break between classes? Up for a bit of a walk? The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Espresso Profeta Cafe, Starbucks, Elysee Cafe, Novel Cafe and Peet’s Coffee & Tea are all open early in the morning and just a quick walk down to Westwood. Each offers unique coffee options if the numerous on-campus coffee shops are just not enough for your coffee cravings. Between these options and the probably numerous others, all your coffee hopes, dreams and desires could be satisfied during your break between classes. And if, like Buddy the Elf, you’re not a coffee fan, hot chocolate and tea can also be found at each shop.

4.  Check out the Fowler Museum

Head over to North Campus for a while and check out the Fowler Museum’s six current exhibits. From Wednesday through Friday the museum opens at noon to the general public and students and has free admission. The newest exhibit, “Past Forward: Contemporary Art from the Emirates” opened on Jan. 25 and will close on March 8. It includes over 50 paintings, sculptures and photos from Emirati culture. And it’s FREE, so check it out.

5. Figure out your schedule with help from the ASK counselors on campus

As the spring quarter schedule deadline looms in the near future, many students are in the process of planning their courses for the final quarter of the year. Instead of wondering to yourself all the questions you have about course planning, use your time on campus to get help from one of the ASK counselors. Student ASK counselors can help to answer your questions quickly from numerous convenient, on-campus locations. Find them in Royce Quad, the Public Affairs/Lu Valle (PAL) Patio or the Court of Sciences. Instead of staring at your schedule like this, get those questions answered.

6. Explore the botanical gardens with a self-guided tour

Buried deep in the land of south campus is UCLA’s beautiful botanical garden. If you’re in the mood to escape the hustle and bustle of campus, go no further than the garden for a relaxing walk. The garden’s website even offers a self-guided tour map so you can explore the miniature oasis on your own. Fix your between-class boredom by taking a walk down to the botanical garden for a peaceful adventure in a beautiful landscape.

7. Try a green smoothie at Jamba Juice

Are your tastebuds in the mood for an adventure? Feeling healthy? Usually look like this when you see a flourescent green smoothie? Well, your reaction may be different to Jamba’s new additions to their Fruit & Veggie Smoothies list (take, for example, the new “Amazing Greens” smoothie). These smoothies may not look appealing, but who knows, you may end up liking them. So during your next break, head down to Jamba Juice in Ackerman to give these green beverages a try.

8. Locks of Love

And if you’re still bored during your break between classes, you can head down to the James West Alumni Center and donate your hair to Locks of Love. The Alumni Scholars Club is putting on a Locks of Love event Thursday and Friday (Feb. 5 and 6) beginning at 10 a.m. Not only will you benefit a great cause, but also you receive a free haircut and get free Chipotle. Check out the link to view the hair requirements here.

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Food and DiningUncategorized

A Brew-in’s Best Friend: Tea (Midterms Edition)

I bring up tea not only because it’s the much celebrated week of midterms, but also because of personal preference. I rarely drank coffee in high school, and if I did, it was because the peppermint mocha was back for its seasonal debut at Starbucks or because I needed to be up in order to finish a paper. To me, coffee wasn’t a recreational drink, and it still isn’t. Coffee just doesn’t taste as good as it smells – wouldn’t it more make sense if it did?

Anyway, I found my substitute caffeine fix through tea.

The cool thing about tea is that you can manipulate its abilities for a specific situation. Chamomile tea can help calm a stomachache, for example, and if you needed to stay awake, black tea would provide you the same amounts of caffeine as coffee. Thus, for all those tea-loving junkies (and for those looking for a break from coffee), I’ve noted some beneficial ways you can fix some problems you might run into during this stressful week with tea.

Bloating, Gas and Everything In Between

Look for: Chamomile

From speeding up the healing process of skin rashes to soothing canker sores, chamomile can work wonders. However, there is one wonderful effect of chamomile that can specifically help us during finals week: stomachaches. Let’s break the ice. Everyone gets them, and no one is immune from that gastrointestinal mess. Stress can trigger stomachaches, and we wouldn’t want to have one studying, or worse, during a test. Basically, its anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic qualities can save your grade.

Can be found at: Kerckhoff Coffee House (Cozy Chamomile Tea or Chamomile Lemon Tea), Starbucks (“Calm” tea) and Trader Joe’s (Organic Chamomile Herbal Tea).

Stress and Anxiety

Look for: Mint

Mint leaves have menthol, a natural muscle relaxant. This ingredient, commonly advertised in cough drops, can also help you get a good night’s sleep (or nap, in our case). A cup before a test or before bed can certainly help your nerves stay put, right where they belong. Also, mint tea is usually decaffeinated, so don’t worry about drowsiness while taking your test.

Can be found at: Kerkhoff Coffee House (Moroccan Mint Tea or Mint Medley Tea) and our very own Bruin Plate (Spearmint Tea).

Feeling adventurous? Try The Coffee Bean’s Ginseng Peppermint Tea

Sleepy & Unfocused

Look for: Black Tea (Black, English Breakfast, Earl Grey)

Black, oolong, green and white teas are all made from a shrub called Camellia sinensis. Yet what differentiates the four teas is their oxidation level. Black tea has the highest levels of caffeine because it is oxidized the longest. In addition, polyphenols, antioxidants found in black tea, are known to fight oral cavities and plaque – something we should utilize in the midst of stress-eating and late night De Neve.

Can be found: Kerkhoff Coffee House (English TeaTime, Earl Grey, Breakfast Blend or Aged Earl Grey)

Feeling Adventurous? Besides Starbucks’ Black tea & Classic Chai Tea, try the Iced Earl Grey Latte or an iced Arnold Palmer (lemonade and black tea). Also, Peet’s Coffee & Tea has a variety of black tea which includes Winter Solstice and Assam Golden Tip.

Quali-tea studying awaits

There is a wide range of tea from orange spice to passion fruit, but ultimately it comes down to the basics.

The quarter’s halfway over, and we’re in the home stretch, everyone – let the tea help us.

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(Above) Tea selection at Kerckhoff Coffee House

 

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