Did You Know: Bees

Funny story, so I was walking Marty and Boo this past week a little after dinner and we passed these flower bushes we always pass by toward the end of our long walk and all of the sudden, something flew at my face. I immediately closed my eyes, thinking that whatever it was flew into my eye and felt this little creature on my face. I opened my eyes, threw whatever it was off of my face, and freaked out. Thank goodness my mom was with me and she pulled out the stinger that the little bugger had left right below my left eye. We aren’t even sure it was a bee because I recall the evil little flying creature being black and my mom pulled out a black and green stinger. That was definitely a painful experience and I hope I’m never stung by anything again. Honestly, I’m not even sure I did anything that would’ve appeared threatening to a bee, so why did it sting me in the first place??? My sister and I did some research and think it was a bee of some sort and for that reason, today you all are going to learn some things about bees.

-Bees’ brains defy time. When aging bees do work that is typically reserved for younger bees, their brains stop aging and actually the aging process reverses. HOW DOES THAT WORK?!

-Bees can recognize human faces. They put faces together the same way that we humans do, through configular processing.

-The queen bee is the only bee that lays eggs and can produce up to 1,500 eggs a day!

-Bees have been on earth for over 30 million years! There honey was even found in the tombs of mummies in Egypt and was still good.

-Honey produced by bees comes in many different colors. The different colors are a result of the different nectar gathered from flowers.

-A bee has an oval-shaped brain and its brain is only the size of a sesame seed. This is amazing because bees have the ability learn, remember things, make distance and travel calculations, and be extremely efficient in foraging.

-Each honey bee colony has a different and special odor for members’ identification.

-Honeybees are very clean creatures. If something dirties their hive, they freak out and do whatever they can to immediately clean the hive.

-Bees are responsible for 80% of the pollination that occurs. Even though many people hate bees, we actually need them to have all of the wonderful fruits and vegetables we have!

So whether this information is new or not, now you know a few things about bees. They’re actually pretty amazing creatures!

Did You Know: Bees

How to Hit a Slice Shot in Tennis

In the tennis world, we have a variety of shots to change up the pace on the ball and mix up things for our opponents. There’s lobs, regular groundstrokes, flat shots, shots with a lot of topspin, dropshots, tweeners (which are impossible for me to master, haha), slice shots, and the list could go on forever. Hitting with slice can be challenging, and I know that I struggled to get it at first but with time and practice, I think my slice shots are pretty effective. Here’s how to hit a slice shot.

When you hit with slice, you are putting backspin on the ball and your goal is to keep the ball low and out of reach for your opponent. Nowadays, a lot of people play with a big Western grip which allows for them to get great topspin on the ball. However, when the ball is hit lower, they struggle to keep the ball in play because their racket face is almost parallel to the court and it’s difficult to stay in the point.

  1. When you want to hit a slice shot, either an Eastern grip or continental grip will do just fine. I am successful hitting forehand slice with an Eastern grip and on my backhand slice, I find positive results with the continental grip, which is also what I use for my regular backhand. Hitting with these grips maximizes the underspin or backspin you get on the ball.
  2. As you prepare to hit your slice shot, it’s crucial to get a good shoulder turn. You’ll want your upper body turned with your chest facing one of the sidelines. As with all other shots in tennis, use your non-dominant arm to guide and track the ball into your racket.
  3. You’ll also want to make sure your knees are bent. This will allow for you to hit through the ball and get a good swing at the ball as your racket comes under the ball.
  4. Finally, you’ve made contact with the ball and your swing begins. Take a nice, relaxed, and long swing. A slice shot is a pretty and smooth shot and is not meant to be hacked or chopped at. Even if a slice shot is a more delicate tennis shot, you should still be accelerating through the ball. On slices, you’ll also want to start high and finish low and as you come through the ball, transfer your weight forward.

Another thing to remember with slice is that it often is NOT used as a winning shot or put-away shot. Many players, especially those on the tour, like Federer, Murray, and Nadal use their slice shots to move their opponents off the court and create openings for winning shots. Be smart with your slice shots and they will do great things for you.

How to Hit a Slice Shot in Tennis
Here is a guide to understanding the different grips and hand positions on the racket in tennis.

And here is a video on how to hit an effective backhand slice shot. There are plenty of other great videos on how to hit slice and there are plenty that focus on the forehand slice if you’re interested.

Not a Big Fan of New York, New York

I’ve been really lucky to do more travelling than usual this summer and this past Friday, I got home from New York after spending a week there, competing at a modeling and acting convention. I will definitely agree with most that New York is a really cool and different city, but I think I’d prefer my Rocky Mountains and 300 days of sunshine in Colorado.

New York
The view from our hotel room

My mom and I arrived in New York on the 9th, early in the morning. Our trip began with a thirty-minute taxi ride from JFK to the Hilton Midtown in Midtown. Wow, was that an adventure. Taxi drivers in New York City are RUTHLESS. The man we had driving us was super sweet but once he got behind the wheel, he became an aggressive, hardcore racecar driver. It was kinda cool to see how he dodged cars and semis and sped down the highway. We got some pretty good air hitting a jump one time too. What a thrill ride!

New York

Once we arrived at the hotel, the week was a whirlwind. There were a lot of outfit changes, late nights, hairspray and makeup, and quick runs to grab food. I wish that my schedule at the convention allowed for me to do a little more sightseeing and wandering around the Big Apple, but it is what it is. The convention itself, was fun, but not nearly what I expected it would be. I think that for some people, it opened doors, but for the most part, it seemed fake. There were a lot of promises made by agencies and the convention themselves that were not followed through on and that’s ok. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot from the experiences I had and I’ll never forget that adventure.  Something I learned from my experience this past week and the whole experience I had with my former agency was that you have to be really careful in the modeling and acting industries because there are a lot of real, good people and there’s also a bunch of sneaky people who might seem like they are legit but actually aren’t.  They could care less about who you are and are only concerned with how much you’re willing to pay to sign their “contract”. I respect who I’ve worked with in the past and I wish them all the best and I’d just like to say that it’s tough to discern who the real people are but after this interesting journey, my eyes are more open than ever, and I know what I have to do.

New York

When I had time to be outside of the hotel, my mom and I had a lot of fun. We visited the Rockefeller Center and took a tour of the NBC Studios which included seeing the sets of the Tonight Show, SNL, and the Late Night Show with Seth Meyers. That was super cool. It was exciting to get to be in the same room and even step in the same places as some famous and talented people. My mom and I even got to make our own late night TV show at the end of our tour and we enjoyed that. That was probably the highlight of my NYC trip.

New York

We also visited Central Park and Times Square while in the Big Apple and those were both cool places to visit. I honestly imagined Times Square, specifically where the ball is dropped on New Year’s’, much bigger and wider than it was. There were a lot of sketchy people and pushers making attempts to sell my mom and I stuff or get us to take pictures with them. That was definitely uncomfortable. Also, it was incredibly hot and humid while we visited Times Square and that made it a struggle to do a lot of walking. We spent about thirty minutes wandering Times Square and then frantically searched for the nearest Starbucks or air-conditioned place to cool off and head to Central Park. After a quick trip to get some iced tea, we walked to Central Park and I enjoyed seeing nature and trees and endless (not really) green. It was a nice escape from the dirty, crowded, and crazy place that New York City is. I enjoyed getting to see the many different people in Central Park and see a variety of plants and trees, because trust me, there were soooo many different types of trees. It was pretty cool.

New York

At some point during our stay in NYC, we also managed to find a few good places to eat at, like Fresh & Co, an artisan bakery with really yummy sandwiches and coffee, and a great pizza place called PizzArte. Food, well actually everything, was EXTREMELY pricey in New York and it was crazy how much we spent on food. At PizzArte, one of the pizzas we got was $24!! Holy cow, was it expensive, but it was also probably one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had. We also found an ice cream truck chilling right by our hotel one day, and that half-and-half ice cream cone was one of the best ice cream cones I’ve ever had. I never wanted it to end.

New York

I did enjoy my time in New York City, but I will honestly and confidently say that it’s not my favorite city. I wish I did a little more sightseeing, as mentioned earlier, and I hope to go back in the future and see more of the city. I could do without the gross smells and the unhappy people and the sketchy people and the trash constantly fluttering the streets and the awful traffic and sound of sirens every hour or so, but not every city is perfect. Actually no city is perfect! The time I had in New York was worth it and I’m ready to go back (whenever I do) and have another adventure.

New York
I took this picture near Carnegie Hall on the way to Central Park. What’s with the giant pile of trash?!

New Adventures in Omaha, Nebraska

Now, now. Some of you might be thinking, why go to Nebraska? All that state has to offer is endless fields of corn and cows! You might be partially right, but for the part of Nebraska I was in, you’d be wrong. Last weekend, I visited Omaha, Nebraska with my mom to go see Creighton University and wander around as tourists. Here’s how our trip went.

My mom and I arrived on Sunday, July 2nd and arrived in Omaha around noon. We stayed at the Homewood Suites by Hilton in Downtown Omaha, and let me tell you, those were some sweet suites. Best hotel I’ve stayed at, by far. Anyway, we unpacked our things and then decided we were going to the zoo.

Omaha

Omaha has an AWESOME zoo and the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is one of the best zoos in the world, not only in my opinion but also according to TripAdvisor. It was raining when my mom and I got to the zoo, so the crowds weren’t too bad and we had a lot of fun. The animal exhibits were spacious and fun to look around and the animals themselves seemed to be quite happy and healthy. We spent several hours wandering around the massive zoo. My favorite part of the zoo was the desert dome. At Henry Doorly, the desert dome was home to all creatures and even plants living in a desert. When we walked into the desert dome, it was like we were in an actual desert and my mom and I really enjoyed ourselves in there. Right below the desert dome, the zoo had an exhibit called “Kingdoms of the Night” which was home to all of the nocturnal creatures housed at the Henry Doorly Zoo. There were naked mole rats and alligators and bats and so many more animals that called the nighttime their daytime. The zoo also had great people working there and great food. I definitely recommend the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium if you’re ever rolling through Omaha.

The same day we visited the zoo, while hunting for a Starbucks, we stumbled upon a cool little national park called Pioneer Courage. All throughout this park, there was a variety of pioneer statues which made great photo opportunities. The park showed a significant part of Nebraskan history and how the state came to be and that was really cool. We also got to see the building for the Omaha World Herald,  which is the newspaper for Omaha.

Omaha

On our second day in Nebraska, we toured Creighton University, which I loved and went and walked around Old Market afterward. Creighton University and a nice campus and I really enjoyed the feel of it. I’m still not sure if it’s where I’d like to go to college, but it seemed like a good fit for me and I liked Omaha, so we’ll see. As mentioned a little earlier, after our tour, we journeyed to Old Market, which is a historic and old neighborhood in Omaha that has been turned into an array of shops and restaurants. There, my mom and I had really good (but cheesy, like super cheesy) calzones at a great pizza place, bought some really good taffy and chocolate treats at an old candy shop, and just had a good time walking around. Old Market was cool because the streets were all cobblestone, which honestly made me feel like I was in a Disney movie. It was cool.

Omaha

Omaha was fun to visit and I was honestly quite surprised with how green the city actually was. Nebraska in general was actually much more green than I thought it was going to be and that was a positive. On the 4th, my mom and I left to return to Colorado, and I think I can say that we both had a good time and plan on making trips back in the future. 🙂

Top Ten Things to Do in Colorado

I absolutely love my home state of Colorado and I think that if you’ve never been to the Centennial State, you should make an effort to stop by sometime. Living here my entire life, I would say that I’m comfortable giving suggestions on what you should come do.

10. The Cherry Creek Mall. The Cherry Creek area of Denver is definitely a more upscale area and it’s always fun to wander around the Cherry Creek Mall. They’ve got a variety of great stores to shop at and some really great food places at the mall and around it. If you get a chance to, you should definitely stop at the Cherry Cricket. They’ve got great burgers and it’s an iconic restaurant in the area.

Top Ten Things to Do in Colorado

9.  Butterfly Pavilion. If you enjoy seeing bugs and being around them, this is a great place to visit. The Butterfly Pavilion has a large variety of creepy crawlies and cool little bugs for all to see. You can even pet and hold Rosie the Tarantula if you want to. I think the coolest part of the Butterfly Pavilion is the big pavilion where all of the butterflies are actually held. You get to walk into this giant room and you’re surrounded by butterflies. Just be careful not to step on one! They’re literally everywhere.

Top Ten Things to Do in Colorado

8. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. I’m going to be honest here and let you know that I have yet to go to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, but I’ve had enough friends go to tell me that it’s a great zoo. I’ve heard the exhibits are great and you even get to feed giraffes if you want! That would be a lot of fun.

Top Ten Things to Do in Colorado

7.Red Rocks. Red Rocks is another beautiful place to visit in Colorado. Concerts are held at Red Rocks frequently and in the mornings they even have work-out sessions and yoga sessions if you’re interested. Sometimes, I’m pretty sure they even have movie nights at Red Rocks. Red Rocks is one of the most stunning venues in Colorado and I highly recommend seeing a concert of some sort here.

Top Ten Things to Do in Colorado

6. Mesa Verde. I haven’t been to Mesa Verde in a long time but the last time I went, my family and I had a blast. Mesa Verde is a national park and it was the former home of the Anasazi Indians. They built beautiful structures and homes into the rock and what’s left of them is absolutely amazing. Mesa Verde is a place that does require a lot of hiking and even climbing so I would recommend bringing your good walking shoes here. The views are breathtaking and I think you’ll be impressed with all that Mesa Verde has to offer.

Top Ten Things to Do in Colorado

5. Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. As a child, I spent hours on end at both of these places and with them being right next to each other, I felt like they had to be a package deal. The zoo is AWESOME. Not too long ago, they added an Asian tropics complex which is now home to the elephants and several other animals. In the past few months, they also added a sweet new tiger exhibit. Our zoo has a lot to see and exploring the zoo is a fun way to spend the day. The Museum of Nature and Science is also a lot of fun with a variety of exhibits ranging from dinosaur bones to a bunch of animal exhibits to a fun health and discovery zone and much more. Every so often we have special exhibits which travel around the nation and those are a lot of fun to go through. In the past we’ve had special exhibits on the Mongols and Genghis Khan, the Mayans, pirates, and most recently Vikings.

Top Ten Things to Do in Colorado

4. The Denver Botanic Gardens. There’s a lot of pretty places in Colorado and I would say this is one of the prettiest. The botanic gardens are home to a HUGE variety of plants and exhibits. The gardens are all gorgeous and this is a fun place to relax and take a scenic walk. I think the rainforest dome and building is the coolest, partially because some of the plants are so big plus there’s a cool tree house to scope out the area.

Top Ten Things to Do in Colorado

3. The Denver Center for Performing Arts. The Center for Performing Arts hosts a variety of shows from big shows off of Broadway to symphonies to operas and also ballets. The complex is beautiful and the theaters themselves are pretty as well. Definitely see a show if you come to Denver.

Top Ten Things to Do in Colorado

2. Boulder, the Flatirons, and the Pearl Street Mall. Ok, Boulder can get a little weird, I’m gonna warn you. For the most part, Boulder is pretty great though. I would recommend spending time walking around the Pearl Street Mall which has a good variety of shops and places to grab some food or a sweet dessert, like the Cheesecake Factory. Boulder is a beautiful city in that our mountains are literally right by Boulder and the view is absolutely gorgeous. If you have time while in Boulder, you should try and squeeze in a hike to Chautauqua Park which is absolutely beautiful.

Top Ten Things to Do in Colorado

  1. Garden of the Gods. Garden of the Gods is the most amazing park in the state of Colorado, well at least in my opinion. The landscape is beautiful and the rocks themselves are magnificent and gorgeous. I would recommend walking throughout the park and if you do this, make sure to bring lots of water, good walking shoes, and a jacket, just in case the weather takes a turn. Also, bring your camera or phone to take plenty of pictures, because you’ll definitely want to take pictures.

 

Truly, this is just the tip of the iceberg in all that you can do if you visit Colorado. If you’re interested, you could also visit the Capitol building, Mile High Stadium, Coors Field, and really the list goes on. There’s so much to do in Colorado and I hope you come to see the beautiful Centennial State! 🙂