Why I love Wawa

A Love Letter To Wawa

Dear Wawa, I love you!

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Dear Wawa,

Thanks for always being there any time of the day: breakfast, lunch and dinner…and snack time and dessert and a late-night treat. Whether it was a breakfast sandwich, a quesadilla, or a perfectly blended milkshake you always knew just what I wanted to eat.

Thank you for being open 24/7. Multiple stops during one day, or the perfect place to stop on a late night drive home or a quick bite before an early work shift; you have it all! Your "Sizzli Breakfast Sandwiches" are the only thing to make this coffee hater fully awake in the morning.

Not to mention one of your cream smoothies topped with a ton of chocolate chips is the perfect thing to cool me down after a long day.

Thank you for being a one-stop shop. While others may judge you for being world's best gas station, I think that's what makes you unique. Sure maybe the initial idea may seem weird, but I guess I've never known any different. Sure other gas stations try to be as great as you, but no one can compare to the thrill of walking into any one of your storefronts and pressing the magical touch-screen kiosk trying to decide what I'll order today.

And if it's not a touch-screen kind of day then you have whatever else it is I want, whether it's a cheese filled pretzel, a Coke slushie, sliced apples and peanut butter in a super convenient container, picking up some milk or just getting gas.

Once again, thanks for everything you do Wawa.

Yours truly,

Every Wawa Customer Ever

Cover Image Credit:

Lauren Siegert

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The Unspoken Dangers of 'Mukbang' Culture

Ever wondered why you can't stop clicking on these addictive, self-made eating shows?

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Unless you've been living under a rock for the past five years, you've probably heard of the internet trend commonly referred to as a mukbang, or "eating show." These self-produced video clips typically involve one hungry individual, their filming device, and an obscene amount of delicious foods.

Though these broadcasts originated all the way from South Korea (hence the foreign vocabulary), the growing popularity of eating videos has taken the internet by storm. Nowadays as you scroll through YouTube, you'll find an outrageous amount of uploads with titles like "10,000 CALORIE PASTA MUKBANG," "EATING EVERYTHING ON THE MCDONALD'S MENU," or "THE ULTIMATE CHOCOLATE CHALLENGE."

Popular 'mukbangers' such as Peggie Neo, Megan McCullom, and Steven Sushi have made a sizable profit off of their viral eating shows, some collecting tens of thousands of dollars in revenue.

So, what's the big deal you say? You order a large quantity of food, indulge in said food, film yourself completing this menial task, and upload to the internet for money and fame. On the outside, this may seem like a luxurious lifestyle, but behind the camera lens sits an individual battling their own demons and influencing the world of social media to partake in their harmful behaviors.

Mukbanger Livia Adams ("Alwayshungry" on YouTube) has opened up about her unhealthy relationship with food in the past, praising herself for fasting several hours in order to justify her over-indulgence on camera.

Similarly, internet sensation Trisha Paytas claims to diet and starve herself for weeks just to be able to satisfy her subscribers with epic mukbangs, which are essentially binges.

In all actuality, these social media celebrities are negatively impacting (and possibly triggering) vulnerable viewers.

Many fans only see the highlight reel of YouTubers shoveling bowls of cereal or boxes of doughnuts into their mouths, yet remain completely unaware of what truly goes on behind-the-scenes. Messages saying:

"I'm on a diet... watching this is giving me some sort of satisfaction, like as tho I ate, you know?"
"I watch these videos because I know I physically can't afford to eat like this because I gain weight too easily."
"When having an eating disorder, watching Trisha's mukbangs is sorta comforting in a way omg"

flood the comments sections of Paytas' videos. Quite obviously, fans young and old are heavily influenced by this content and continue to support these creators to fulfill a self-destructive need.

Additionally, famous mukbang accounts never seem to include the painful after-effects of their ginormous feasts in videos. Fitness model Stephanie Buttermore flaunts her slim physique just days after consuming over 10,000 calories for a challenge, giving the impression that her previous overindulgence had no repercussions on her health whatsoever. Because Buttermore is a trained, athletic young woman, she was able to quickly bounce back after a series of workouts and low-calorie meals.

On the contrary, if a sedentary woman of about the same age were to attempt this challenge, she would most likely feel sluggish, irritable, bloated, stomach discomfort, and even vomitous post challenge. Eating regularly like this could lead to bigger issues such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancer. Unfortunately, because topics like these aren't glamorous and attractive to subscribers, mukbangers often edit them out.

Now don't get me wrong. Though not everyone who uploads a mukbang to the internet has an eating disorder or an evil agenda, they have to realize the kind of audience they're appealing to. This generation is more susceptible than ever to emulate the actions and words of their favorite celebrities. Young boys and girls look up to successful adults, and influencers should be remembered for the change they inspired, not the disease they encouraged.

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Pay What You Can In Fort Collins' Donation-Based Restaurants

Donation-based restaurants thrive in Colorado.

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As they bid her goodbye the door closed quietly behind, and she walked away humbled, inspired and grateful.

FoCo Cafe is the first successful donation-based restaurant in Fort Collins. Customers are invited to pay what they would normally pay, what they are able to pay, pay it forward or to pay with their time and volunteer.

Cafe Executive Director Mallory Andrews is one of four employees, but there are just under 2,000 volunteers in the system. Volunteers prep and cook food, clean and help close, bus tables, administrative work, donation sorting, help host fundraisers and more.

"The mix of guests that we get is really one of our most important aspects," Andrews said. "It is important that we keep that client base to keep our mission alive." FoCo Cafe started feeding the community Thanksgiving Day of 2014. The entire kitchen was donated, and the staff all volunteers. Co-founders Jeff and Kathleen Baumgardner recently retired to Hawaii, where they are planning their next adventure. The two spent almost every day working at the cafe for three years, sometimes volunteering up to 80 hours a week.

Andrews and her fellow employees are excited to carry on the concept. Part of which includes minimizing waste.

"We've been told that we could possibly qualify as a no-waste restaurant," she said. "So we are looking into the capacity to do that." All compostable items (paper towels, coffee grounds, tea bags, leftover plate food, etc.) go into the compost. The better scraps are saved and fed to chickens in town. The rest is used for worm composting.

Trash is limited to non-compostable, non-recyclable items. "All of our trash is taken out once a week, and it's less trash than my household of three people."

You won't find a community like the one at FoCo Cafe anywhere else, but there are three other restaurants in CO that offer meals on a pay-what-you-can basis:

1. Cafe 180 - Soup and sandwich lunch spot south of Denver in Englewood.

2. SAME Cafe - Small plates and other lunch options in downtown Denver.

3. Seeds Community Cafe - Breakfast and lunch menu made with locally sourced ingredients in Colorado Springs.

Managing a profitable restaurant is a challenge, let alone a non-profit. Stop in today to help keep the mission alive, or sign up to volunteer!

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