Seeing Fall Colors at Rocky Mountain Arsenal

Rocky Mountain Arsenal

Another weekend at home made for another fun adventure with my family. This weekend, my sister had to hike for one of her classes, so we did that! We ended up going to Rocky Mountain Arsenal in Commerce City and hiked around several of the lakes there. 

Saturday was a beautiful day here in Colorado. It was a little breezy but it was still shorts weather (yay!) so all was good. Our first hike was around Lake Ladona which is one of the larger lakes at Rocky Mountain Arsenal. There was a large, paved main path and then heading into the grass, there was a more narrow and natural trail. I decided to take the more narrow trail that lead through the grass. I thought we were going to get lost while on this trail but thank goodness my dad was paying attention and found an easier dirt trail along the way! Along the trail, we saw deer hoof prints, cattails, a variety of bushes, and of course trees. It was wonderful to see the trees displaying their orange, yellow, and red tones for fall. That’s my favorite part of fall. The trees are always so pretty!

As our hike around Lake Ladona came to an end, we got to pass directly over the lake see more plants and algae. I was hoping to see some frogs, but they weren’t around unfortunately. After finishing up the loop around Lake Ladona, we headed over to a smaller lake, Lake Mary. Lake Mary had a lot of beautiful trees and the view around this lake was gorgeous. There were plenty of little areas to go exploring around Lake Mary too, which made it more fun.

Hiking at Rocky Mountain Arsenal is totally a family-friendly experience. The hikes are easy and there are lots of places to stop to rest and also take pictures! At the visitor center, there’s a lot of valuable information about the arsenal and the animals that call it home. One of Rocky Mountain Arsenal’s greatest contributions is to the black-footed ferret population. They’ve helped bring the ferrets back in numbers and do amazing things to educate society on the cute, little prairie dog hunters. 

So if you’re looking for a fun, easy hike, near Commerce City, Colorado, Rocky Mountain Arsenal is the place for you. My family and I really enjoyed our time there. What a fun way to spend time in the great outdoors. Have a good week everyone!

Last Weekend

last weekend

I had a really good idea for last week’s post so that’s what that was. After that posted though, I realized how good of a weekend I had and how happy I felt to be home for the weekend. So now, I’m going to take some time to share about last weekend!

I’ve been going home every two weeks since college started, just because it feels like the right amount of time to step away from college life and go back and see everyone at home. 🙂 When I got home Friday night, my sister was babysitting so I spent some time with Marty and Boo my lovely little doggies, and Bobo my sweet, talking bird. When she got home, we crashed. Sleep was much needed.

On Saturday, my family and I checked out Denver Premium Outlets in Thornton, which is a new, high-end mall opening in our area! Some of the shops there included: Calvin Klein, Vineyard Vines, Ralph Lauren, Armani Exchange, and many more. The layout of the mall was very cute and open and honestly, they had a sweet playground. Had there not been as many kids as there were, I would’ve definitely been checking out their jungle gym. This was a great time to just be with family and I really enjoyed getting to see all the people there who were wayyyyy to excited to spend all that money. Funny side-note here, outside the Michael Kors store, there was a super long line. I just thought that was funny. How many people desperately needed a Michael Kors bag?

After our experience at the new mall, my dad and I played tennis which was wonderful, even if I sucked. Not playing for two weeks is tough! I was surprised I got my rhythm back as soon as I did! Tennis was cut short, unfortunately, by a spray tan appointment.

Yes, I did just type that. A spray tan appointment. As many of you know, or now know (haha), I will be competing in the Miss Colorado USA pageant in October. In preparation for that, I wanted to test out a spray tan, because by the time of the pageant in October, my actual tan will be looooong gone. When I hopped in the booth, I was all by myself which was nice but also terrifying. I had instructions and knew what to do based on the instructions on the wall, but I still had no clue what to do. I applied the primer and barrier cream like I thought I was supposed to and then got into the machine. Life was pretty good, until the spraying of the tan actually began. I adjusted quickly, but OH MY GOODNESS, I have never shook so much out of fear in my life. I didn’t expect the spray to come out where it did and then I wasn’t holding my breath at first, so my body definitely freaked out a little. I was fine in the end and got a nice even spray tan out of that experience. Wow, what a time.

Now that this chaos was over, I had the honor of getting my little sister ready for homecoming. I got to do her makeup which was a lot of fun and then I helped with pictures for her and her friends. It felt a little weird honestly, not going to homecoming, but it’s also fun to look back on the wonderful homecoming experiences I had. Allyson looked beautiful and I’m glad that she had a fun and safe senior homecoming. 🙂

Sunday was much less busy. I played some more tennis with my dad and then gathered everything I needed to head back to CSU. I enjoyed a wonderful lunch with my family at the country club I play tennis at and hung out with my sister for a while, and then it was time to head back! Staying at CSU for weekends is great from time to time so that I can focus on my studies but it’s also been a blessing to only live an hour away from home so that I can go back to Broomfield and be with family. I hope you all had a good weekend and have a great upcoming week! 🙂

Pre-Match Warm-up For Setters

warming a setter up
Here’s baby me 🙂

Now I haven’t played volleyball in a long time, so don’t judge, but from my experience, I know a thing or two about warming a setter up before a volleyball game. I set the entire time I played volleyball so I hope I know a thing or two about warming a setter up! Here’s what I’ve got:

  • Before warm-ups, get your setter or setters on the wall. When I say this, I mean: have them warm up their hands with quick sets and a variety of other exercises on a wall to get warm and loose. Stretching beforehand is good too. I remember that my coaches never let me get on the court unless my wall warm-ups were done. I also know that this definitely helped me feel relaxed and set much better when I actually played. My post on workouts and warm-ups for setters may be helpful.
  • Once your setter or setters are off the wall, have them work with each other for a little. Have them set back and forth for a couple of minutes. If you only have one setter, have them work with one of the coaches. Work on footwork and getting a rhythm.
  • After this, their individual warm-up is done and it’s time to join the team. You can warm up your setters with the team as you like. I preferred warming up with someone passing to me and then I set to my outside, middle, or right side. We would work on various hits during this time and this situation felt the most like a game would.

And that’s really it for how to warm up a setter, at least from my experience. I tended to start so it was important that I was warmed up and I know that even for our backup setters, getting loose and warm was important in case we needed to change something. During a match, there are a couple of important things to keep in mind for your setters too.

  • Keep their hands warm. I actually wore gloves in colder facilities so that if I rotated out during a 6-2, my hands wouldn’t get stiff. 
  • Keep your setters hydrated. We do a lot of work out there so it’s important to make sure that your setter is feeling good so they can keep up the good work.
  • During timeouts, pull your setter aside and talk with them individually. The setter is the playmaker and if there’s something you see as a coach, that needs to be addressed with them one on one. I always found this the most beneficial because I felt more focused. 

So here’s what I’ve got to say about warming a setter up! Good luck to all you setters and volleyball coaches out. Have fun out there!

A Trip to Triangle Mountain

triangle mountain

I haven’t been on a hike in forever. This past weekend, that changed. My roommate and one of my friends and I decided it was time to explore the mountains just outside of Fort Collins. While we were looking for a good hike, my roommate and I stumbled upon one up Triangle Mountain. According to the app we used, it said that the hike was going to be easy, and based on previous recordings, the hike was estimated to take an hour and a half. Sounds easy enough right? Boy were we wrong!

After a quick stop at Rocky Mountain Bagel Works for breakfast (which has really good cheap bagels by the way!), we were in for an hour drive up to the trailhead. Triangle Mountain is located in the Roosevelt/Arapaho Forest not too far outside Glen Haven, Colorado. Once we parked the car, it took us a little while to find the actual trailhead since it wasn’t even marked. When we did find the trailhead though, the only direction we could go was up. Directly, up. Oh my goodness, was that an incline. From the get-go, we were working our butts and thighs and I was doing my best to stay balanced and not fall over. Haha. 

As the hike progressed, the view got better and better and it also got hotter and hotter. Thankfully we started early in the morning and came prepared with plenty of water and sunscreen. Triangle Mountain was a challenging but fun hike in that there were multiple false peaks. We thought we had reached the end, only to find that the trail continued! And when I say the trail continued, there wasn’t an easy-to-follow trail but we could easily distinguish where people had walked before us. We hiked through some wonderful shady areas, plenty of grassland, and even up and around some boulders and rocks. 

As most would say, my favorite part of the hike was the summit. The peak of Triangle Mountain sits at an elevation of 8,415 feet. That’s pretty high up! I was honestly quite surprised that I made it up all the way, considering I have asthma, or some form of an inability to breathe when I overheat or work myself out too hard. 🙂 The view was gorgeous from the top and the world felt so still. It was a wonderful time up there. At the top, we had lunch and then it was time to head back down. 

Heading down was definitely an exciting time. We strayed from the trail quite a ways and found ourselves in a valley with lots of cacti and scraggly, dry brush and tree branches. After wandering for quite a while and eventually having to do some bouldering, we found our way back to the trail and it was smooth sailing from there. 

When we found our way back to my roommate’s car, we took some time to cool off in the nearby creek and then began the journey back to Fort Collins. On the way back though, we stopped by this super cute little store called the Colorado Cherry Company. They had a variety of fruit ciders, jams and jellies, pies, strudels, and tea! Most of it was centered around cherries, which makes sense, and they even offered free samples! I got some cherry taffy, peach tea, and honey sticks for myself and my family and then it was actually time to head back to Fort Collins.

Beside the fact that I got beat up by a rock, we got lost for a while, and I got sunburnt even after applying what felt like a bottle of sunscreen, I had a great time. The hike was a good work out and it was different than what I’ve been used to lately.

I will say that even though the app we used (All Trails) claimed that Triangle Mountain was an “easy” hike, that was no easy hike. There’s a lot of challenging terrain and short bursts of intense working-out, so if you want to give this hike a try, be ready for an intense one. It wasn’t what I would describe as hard, but it was definitely NOT easy. Also, to whoever said that the hike only took them an hour and a half, they must be some hiking god because my roommate, friend, and I spent about four hours on the hike. Granted, we did take time to look around and drink water and apply more sunscreen, but still!

As I write this post today, I’m not afraid to admit that I feel a bit sore after yesterday. Will I hike again in college? I hope so! Will I do that intense of a hike again? We’ll see. I just know that after that experience, I will do much more research on the hike in question. I definitely want to know more about what I get myself into. Happy trails and have a good week everyone! 🙂

A New Perspective on Burton’s Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland

In my honor’s seminar on children’s literature, I will be giving a speech this week on what critics, reviewers, and scholars are saying about Tim Burton’s version of Alice in Wonderland. As I did my research preparing for my speech, I chose to focus more on what scholars had to say about the development as Alice, the main character, and how she’s been changed by society over time and who she is in Burton’s movie is a result of that. Here’s what I learned from that research. This is a reflection of what several professors and doctoral candidates had to say about Alice and all I did was interpret it. Here’s a different look at Alice from Burton’s version of Carroll’s classic tale!

A 51% rating by Rotten Tomatoes, a 53% rating by Metacritic, and a 6.5/10 by IMDb. These are the ratings that Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland received when it was released in 2010. After the movie’s release, the new Alice was met with mixed reviews. Some critics believed that the movie was a fresh take and interpretation of Carroll’s story. Others thought that Burton’s version of Alice in Wonderland was grotesque, much too dark, and “ordinary” in comparison to Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

I feel like I could go on and on about what the critics and reviewers had to say about Burton’s version of Alice in Wonderland but I’m not going to. That stuff is all very interesting, but I found that what several English professors and doctoral candidates had to say about the movie was even more fascinating. There was a general trend I noticed. This trend was that Alice has been so influenced by popular culture over the years, that she is worlds apart from Carroll’s version of Alice.

For one, Alice has been sexualized over time and we see this as Alice struggles to keep her clothes on. When she enters Wonderland, she is only in her petticoat. As she grows and shrinks, her clothes do not conform to her body. She shows more skin and cleavage than would be considered appropriate during the Victorian era. At one point in the movie, the Knave of Hearts even pulls her aside and compliments Alice, or Um, on her “largeness”. The innocent and adorable little Alice of Carroll’s story that we all know and love has been lost to the sexualization of women that we see so often in media today. Another side of this argument, however, applauds Burton on his decision to display Alice as he did. Some scholars and even the screenwriter for the film argue that Alice is more empowering shown as she is. She encourages girls and young women to break the barriers of their own society by breaking the barriers and expectations of girls and women in her own Victorian society. To scholars that believed this idea, Alice’s portrayal put an emphasis on creating and building strong-willed and empowered women.

In addition to this, many scholars noted that Alice seems to have lost her sense of curiosity and interest in Wonderland which completely contradicts with Carroll’s message of encouraging curiosity and imagination in young girls. Alice flees to Wonderland to escape from an unwanted engagement and throughout her journey, her one goal is to get home. In Carroll’s version, Alice follows after the White Rabbit because of her curious nature. Alice wants to engage with the animals and learn about the nonsensical world she’s stumbled upon. In Burton’s Wonderland, she’s in a constant state of fear, uncertainty, and rejection toward Wonderland and curiosity is viewed as a negative thing. As Alice ventures through Wonderland, she constantly reminds herself that she’s in a dream but has no control over anything. Like in the instance with the Vorpal Sword, In the end, you might remember that “The Vorpal Sword knows what it wants, you just have to hold on to it.” According to one of the doctoral candidate’s papers I read over, Alice had no control over killing the Jabberwocky. It was ultimately up to the sword to finish off the monster and this was an interesting thought because it demonstrates that Alice has morphed into a woman who has no control over her choices which holds true for some women in society today too.

So in conclusion, the Alice of Burton’s movie is not the Alice of Carroll’s book. Burton’s Alice is not the curious, lovable, and innocent little girl she once was. Alice has grown into a completely different person as a result of society’s expectations and beliefs of women over a long period of time. Honestly, if the Caterpillar was to ask Alice who she was today, there’s a good chance she would have no idea how to answer.

Works Cited

Aguilo-Perez, Emily R. “Appearing Otherwise: Alice Is Now The Woman in Wonderland.” The Looking Glass : New Perspectives on Children’s Literature, 2015, lib.latrobe.edu.au/ojs/index.php/tlg/article/view/595/556.

Rother, Larry. “Drinking Blood: New Wonders of Alice’s World.” New York Times 26 Feb. 2010. Web. 11 Sept. 2018.

Susina, Jan. “Marvels & Tales.” Marvels & Tales, vol. 25, no. 1, 2011, pp. 181–183. JSTOR, JSTOR, jstor.org/stable/41388993.

Beating the Freshman 15

freshman 15

Last week, I briefly mentioned the Freshman 15 in my “How to Be Productive in College”. For those of you who don’t know what the Freshman 15 is, it’s an expression that refers to a weight gain during the first year of college and it’s typically a gain of 15 pounds.

I’ve been really conscientious of my weight, physical health, and mental health ever since I was cleared to play sports again after my ankle injury. I gained about 30 pounds throughout the time I was injured and I feel like I wasn’t happy with how I looked at all. Since then, I’ve worked my tail off to get back to a place where I’m about where I should be in tennis and I’ve maintained my flexibility from dance as best I can. In no way am I exactly where I want to be physically, but I’m feeling much better about myself and I feel like I’m in a much better mental state. By eating right, getting good sleep, and working out, I’m getting closer to my goal.

Coming to college, I was worried that all of my hard work would be destroyed. With all of the food available at practically any hour of the day and all the free time, I could easily gain back 15+ pounds. To stay healthy and beat the freshman 15, here are some of the things I’m doing:

  • Drink lots of water. Drinking water is not only good for your body in general, but it’s good for the skin. Drinking a glass of water before eating can also be good since it makes you feel fuller. I try to drink around 60 oz. of water a day from my Hydroflask and then I have water with every meal.
  • Exercise, exercise, exercise. Whether you just walk around a track, lift weights, do some form of cardio, or play a sport, it’s important to work out. This keeps your body in a good state (as long as you’re not overdoing it) and working up a sweat is a good natural detox. Some of my favorite things include the elliptical, circuit training, and various leg, arm, and core workouts. If you’re looking for some fun, different workouts, Pinterest is a great place to search.
  • Avoid stress eating or bored eating. I’ve been guilty of this before, but this is a big way to eat excess calories. If you’re in your room and find yourself bored, find something to make yourself busy! And whatever it is, try not to resort to eating. If you do feel the need to stress eat or you’re bored and want to eat, make it something healthy, like celery or carrots.
  • Limit the sweets. Too much sugar can be a bad thing. I’ve really tried to cut back on dessert foods and really sweet things. If I decide that I am in need of a cookie or some ice cream, that’s the only dessert I get for the day. So if I had ice cream after lunch, I tell myself no desserts at dinner. Just be aware of what’s on your plate.
  • Have a colorful plate of food. Going off of that last sentence for my last tip, watching what’s on your plate is really important. My rule of thumb is this: If all the food on your plate is the color of “fried-brown”, you need to change something. Make sure there’s some veggies or fruit  with every meal. Your body will thank you.

These are just some of the things I’ve done to beat the Freshman 15, and I hope that by having these good habits, I’ll keep it that way the rest of this school year. Honestly, keeping these habits for the rest of my life wouldn’t hurt either!

I strongly believe that self-improvement is awesome and everyone should work toward becoming the best version of themselves. If there’s a certain something you don’t like about yourself or there’s something you feel could be better or stronger, work toward that! Sitting around and complaining will get you nowhere. It’s honestly much more satisfying and inspiring to have a goal and work toward it and then look back and see how far you’ve come. With that in mind, I hope you all have a great week! Until next time 🙂

How to Be Productive in College

productive

As I found out very quickly over these past two weeks of classes, making use of the free time you have is crucial to staying afloat in college. Being in honors, I feel like I have fewer classes, but by no means does that mean I have less work. Having fewer classes means that I have more time to do what I want, which can be a good and a bad thing. Here’s what I’ve done to stay productive in college, so far. 

  • When you have nothing to do, study! I’ve found that if I have a chunk of time where I’m doing nothing, it’s best to study. They do recommend that for every hour you spend in class, you need to spend 3 hours studying, so use your time to study!
  • Be smart about how you study. Personally, I can’t study with a lot of noise or music just because I get distracted by that stuff easily. Find what works best for you and go with it. If you need highlighters to emphasize certain points in your notes, use them. If notecards make studying for tests easier, use them. If working on homework and studying in a group works best for you, do that! Do whatever you can to better your understanding of what you’re learning. 
  • Take time out of your day to exercise. I’ve heard that the “Freshman 15” is a thing, and oh boy do I see how easily it could hit you! I will not allow myself to gain weight because I’m feeling lazy and have access to all the carbs, cookies, and other sweets in the world right now. For all of you, find some physical activity you like to do and do that. Exercise is also a great way to destress and relax. I recommend working out before studying just because it makes your brain much more active and helps get out any jitters you may have before going to do homework.
  • Get a healthy amount of sleep. You can’t be a productive person if you can’t even stay awake in class. Get the recommended 8-9 hours of sleep to let your mind and body recharge so that you can have a great next day. Just take good care of yourself.
  • Use a planner. I honestly haven’t seen many college kids using planners, but I know that I use one and I need one. Planners are a great way to organize your exams, due dates for assignments, and other events going on in your life. Even if you don’t use a planner, at least look into putting down some stuff in your phone calendar. Keeping track of everything makes your life soooo much easier and allows you to see what you’ve done and what still needs to be done.

College is a totally different world from high school and it’s been exciting to figure out life on my own and test my productivity and ability to manage my time properly. The one thing I’m still trying to get used to is showering in flip flops… We’ll get there some day. Have a good week everyone! 🙂

How I Define a Leader

I’m involved in the President’s Leadership Program at CSU and I think it’s going to be a wonderful opportunity. I’m very excited to learn more about what makes a good leader and just get to meet some cool, new people. As our first assignment, we were asked to define what leadership is and what makes a leader who they are. Here’s my response.

A leader is the kind of person to embrace challenge. If there’s an issue in their community, a leader is the type of person to promote change and work hard to make their world better. In our world, there are many leaders known for their outspoken personalities and abilities to work a crowd. While a leader can be that type of person, it is also crucial to have the leaders who guide others through their actions and ability to listen. Leaders who listen gain the trust and respect of others while also giving voices to those who may not typically have one. Regardless of how talkative or quiet a leader is, every leader should have the ability to listen to others. In addition, every leader should be respectful of others’ opinions and ideas even if they disagree. Leaders should understand all sides of an argument or issue and comprehend the various backgrounds of others.

When leaders work together within their communities they promote social change. Social change is the evolution of people’s interactions, ideas, and acceptance pertaining to other people. Leaders greatly impact social change in that they work to promote acceptance of all people, no matter who they are.

The way I lead is through my kindness and ability to listen. I lead by encouraging others to become leaders, participate in community service, and show support for their friends, peers, and coworkers. When I played club volleyball, I learned that leadership is most importantly about making a difference in the lives of others. As a leader, I’ve found that being approachable and inclusive is extremely important too. I lead by demonstrating good character and spreading positivity to others. Leadership is the opportunity to help others grow. It’s a chance to have fun, work hard, and learn so much about yourself and others. Most importantly, leadership is what allows one to truly make a difference for others and make the world a better place.

I Said I’m Proud to Be a CSU Ram

CSU

Wow am I exhausted! Move-in at CSU was a lot of work. Meeting new people was a lot of work. Ram Welcome was a lot of work, and walking! Going to classes this upcoming week is going to be a lot of work! From pep rallies to finding our classes to getting free succulents and doing the most fun high ropes course with my roommate, I’ve done a lot. Here’s some of what I’ve learned this week.

  • See where your classes are BEFORE they actually start. If you want to feel more confident about where you’re headed on a giant college campus, take the day before classes to figure everything out. 
  • Take the time to meet people. Whether it’s on your floor, in your orientation group, or in classes, be social! You never know who will become your best friend. And it’s also nice to get to know people so that you see some familiar faces around campus.
  • Introduce yourself to your professors. This is something I’ve heard time and time again from upperclassmen. In big lecture halls, you don’t just want to be another face. Get to know your professor so that you’re not just another face or test to grade.
  • Get involved. Even in the first few days, it’s important to find clubs and other things you want to get involved in. This is another way to meet people and find what interests you!
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help! I know that when classes start, I’m gonna need some help actually finding my classrooms. I know the general buildings I will be in, but not the classes. If you’re lost, get some help! There’s no need stressing yourself out and there’s no need to walk around staring into outer space when you could be figuring out what you need to. 

There’s a lot more I’ve learned over these past couple of days and I feel like if I kept writing, I would have another novel of a blog post. To those of you also leaving for college soon, or already at college, have a great, safe time! If you’re at CSU, good choice. If there’s any CU Buffs reading this post, go Rams, am I right? Haha 🙂 Have a good week everyone!

Thank You to My APUSH Class

As I finished packing up my stuff for school this week, I ran across my AP United States History (APUSH) notebook from junior year. I loved the teacher I had for that class. He made everything really engaging and actually interesting. I also had some of my really good friends in that class which made it fun too. 

One of the things that made that class rough was the other half of the room. In my class, there was my half of the room, which was the smarter group of kids and then there was the other half. Oh boy was that a group. I often asked myself, “What made them think taking APUSH was a good idea?” Some of the things I heard were comical. I decided it would be a great idea to write down some of the stuff these kids said and figured I could share them now.

And disclaimer before we get started: I am sharing these just as something that was a part of my junior year experience. I’m not making fun of anyone or making any attempt at being insulting. This is just stuff I heard and I’m sharing it. Now here’s some of what I heard in my APUSH class!

  • “There’s no alcohol in Utah?”
  • “This is totally unrelated but in the movie Top Gun what war was that?”
  • “Angelican is the new Anglican.”
  • “God made animals so we could eat them… but why are we eating them all so fast now?
  • “No one survived the Civil War, did they?” RIP AMERICA
  • “If I get 200 retweets on Twitter, will you give me an A on the final and in the class?”
  • “Social Darwinism”. Pay attention to the spelling on that one.
  • “Have you seen the show Weeds? It’s about a mom who sells drugs and I just look at it and think, that could be me one day!”
  • We were talking about the Progressive Era in class one day and our teacher asked what progressive meant. Someone answered, “If someone is driving slowly in front of you, you are progressive by going around them.”
  • “You know… when they like… drew a line between the Apache Mountains?”
  • Our teacher asked, “What is the importance of the French Indian War?” Someone answered, “Well, it was seven years.” 

On that note, I’ll end this week’s post. I hope you all have a great week. This week is the big week for move-in so wish me luck!