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#AdventurousApril: Pho Time

15 Apr

For my Adventurous April I ate shrimp pho.  I know that doesn’t sound very “adventurous” but the fact that I completely despise seafood made it a pretty crazy endeavor for me. I don’t know why I hate seafood so much, I use to like tuna as a kid but it disgusts me now.  I don’t even think it’s because of the taste.  For some reason I just have a  subconscious hatred of seafood.  Eating the shrimp pho did not change that. It was disgusting and I still hate seafood.

This is me when the shrimp pho arrived at the table.  (As you can see, my boyfriend doesn’t have the best camera skills since he cut off most of my forehead.)

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This is my favorite part of pho – all of the herbs and bean sprouts!  They usually serve the pho with basil leaves, parsley, jalapeños, limes, and bean sprouts. Adding it all in really gives pho its unique taste, however it did not cover up the taste of shrimp unfortunately.

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Basically what happened was I took one bite of shrimp, found it disgusting, then gave my bowl to my boyfriend.  But hey, at least I tried it.

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For those of you who haven’t tried Vietnamese food before, I highly recommend going to Miss Saigon on Campbell. Pho is one of those rare dishes that’s low calorie but still full of flavor!

– Kaelyn

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What to Expect at Spring Fling

3 Apr

You’ve seen the advertisements and you’ve heard the chatter, but what is “Spring Fling” anyways and what do you do there? To sum it up, Spring Fling is a student-run carnival on the UA Mall complete with “carnival rides, games, food booths, and entertainment.” It is open to the University of Arizona and to the Tucson community, however U of A students do get free admission with their CatCard.

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There will be 4 live performances each day of Spring Fling.  This live entertainment ranges from DJ concerts to a Curious George appearance. However, the big attraction will be when the band Smallpools performs Saturday night. Most people know the band for their song, “Dreaming.”

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In terms of attractions, there will be over 35 rides and games for people of all ages. Wristbands range from $20-30 depending on the day you go and will allow you to ride an unlimited amount of rides.  Be sure to check out their promotions going on though for discounts on wristbands and admission.

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There will also be a section of Spring Fling dedicated to children and family activities called the Kids Korner.  Nonprofits, local businesses, and UA clubs host the Kids Korner which will include “hula hoop contests, interactive displays, obstacle courses and much more.”

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So when the weekend of April 10th rolls around, be sure to grab your friends and head over Spring Fling.  Expect lots of food, games, rides, and fun!

-Kaelyn

#MiddlingMarch: An Island Escape

25 Mar

March is a wonderful month. It’s the last few weeks of beautiful weather before Arizona turns into the scorching hot desert it is.  It also signifies the halfway mark for Spring semester.  Sometimes I think “Whoa it’s already halfway through the semester?!” But other times I sadly reflect on how it’s only halfway through the semester.  This March was one of those times. Lucky for me, Spring Break came at a perfect time to get me out of my semester slump.  And that’s what truly makes March so wonderful: Spring Break!

This year for #SB2k15 my boyfriend and I traveled to Santa Catalina Island in California:

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This was a much needed vacation for us because between work and school, we’ve been pretty stressed and haven’t had much free time.  So, it was a nice change of scenery when we spent our days looking at this instead of the inside of the library.

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The first activity we did when we got to Catalina was go on a “Submarine” tour. It was actually just a boat with large windows in the bottom you could look out of, but it was still amazing. You could shoot out fish food into the water and create a “feeding frenzy” where all of the fish swarm by the window. Unfortunately I didn’t capture a picture of the feeding frenzy, but I did take this one of the fish just swimming around doing their fishy thing.

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The next day we went parasailing.  It was fun and exhilarating, but not something I would ever do again.  I’m usually not frightened of heights, but being suspended 800 feet over the ocean was one of the scariest moments of my life. However, the view of the island from above was unreal.  I wish I could have appreciated it more, but I was too focused on what would happen if our harness broke or the rope snapped.  I wasn’t able to get a picture of us parasailing because I didn’t want to risk dropping my phone in the water, but here’s random photo to give you an idea of what it is.  Picture this except 800 feet higher…

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The last night on the island, we ate outside at a restaurant on the pier.  The sunset over the ocean and the sound of the waves crashing onto the beach made it one of the most serene environments I had ever been in.  This is the view we had from our table:

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The best part about going on vacation is the food.  And the food on Catalina Island didn’t disappoint.  So to top off our lovely beach-side sunset dinner, I ordered this magnificent piece of dessert.  It’s called a Java Mudslide and it was heaven.

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Catalina Island was the perfect escape from the craziness of college.  I wish we didn’t have to leave, but hopefully I’ll be back another year.

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– Kaelyn

Giving Back to the Community

22 Feb

Have you always wanted to get involved with the Tucson community, but weren’t sure how to start?  Joining a UA club that gives back to the community is a great way to do this!  With hundreds of clubs on campus, this blog will only highlight a few of the service clubs, so for a complete list of all clubs at the University of Arizona, check out the ASUA’s website.

Best Buddies is a club on campus that fosters friendships, employment, and leadership development for those with intellectual disabilities.  To become a College Best Buddy, you must be a full time student and in good academic standing.

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Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Tucson, otherwise known as “U of A Bigs” connects you to a child in the Tucson area. Through “volunteer recruitment, community outreach, fundraising, and community-building,” you can become a mentor and form a one-on-one relationship with your ‘Little’.”

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Challah for Hunger is an organization on campus that bakes challah bread to promote and educate awareness for social issues locally and abroad.  Half of their profits are donated to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. Challah for Hunger bakes every Thursday evening and sells the challah on the Mall every Friday at 10:00 am.

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MEDLIFE at the University of Arizona is a global health organization that provides health care and improved access to Medicine, Education, and Development (MEDs) to low income families and those in underdeveloped countries.

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So if you ever find yourself bored over the weekend, join one of these clubs, go outside, and do something worthwhile!  Remember that these are only a few clubs out of the hundreds within UA, if none of them fit your preference, keep searching for one that does.

-Kaelyn

#FearlessFebruary: Weekend Getaway

29 Jan

College life isn’t always glamorous and it certainly isn’t always exciting. When you have a full class and work load, it’s easy to fall into a routine day after day, week after week.  Before you know it, the semester has ended and the only things you’ve done the past few months is work, eat, sleep, and study.  Unfortunately, I’ve fallen into this trap before and it was the worst semester of my life.  That’s why it’s important to take a break every now and then and do something for yourself; something that is fun, stress-free, and not in any way related to school.

So for my #FearlessFebruary my boyfriend, Neil, and I decided to go on a weekend getaway.  Instead of going to the library or watching Netflix in bed all weekend, we went to Sedona, Flagstaff, Slide Rock, and Mormon Lake.

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This is a picture of me and Neil’s dog, Diesel, in Sedona.

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He’s a sweetheart and very photogenic.
 
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Diesel, Neil, and I went on a 3 mile hike in Sedona.  It was perfect weather and beautiful scenery. After the hike we ate lunch at a delicious Pho and boba place called Tea Light Cafe.  Our initial plan was just to visit Sedona, but since we were so close to Flagstaff, we thought why not? On the way there we stopped at Slide Rock to walk around, but definitely avoided going in the freezing water, winter isn’t the best time to go cliff jumping.

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This is a picture of Lake Mary in Flagstaff.  It was frozen on the edges, so we spent about 15 minutes throwing rocks into the lake, watching them break the ice and sink. With no other people there, it was such a serene and calming environment.

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We didn’t get to see much of Mormon Lake, but we did see a lot of snow driving through the area.  This is Neil right before he started throwing snowballs at Diesel; that poor dog.
 
So next time you feel the stress start to overwhelm you, or you feel like life is getting monotonous, take a break from the daily grind of things and do something out of the ordinary. Focus your attention on something other than school and work, and do something spontaneous.  I promise Netflix and homework will still be there when you get back.
-Kaelyn
 
 

#JumpStartJanuary: Look Pretty Do Pretty

21 Jan

My roommate freshman year gave me great advice before my first exam: “Look pretty do pretty.” Basically it means that if you look good on the outside, you’ll feel good on the inside, and that will set a positive tone for the rest of your day.  Now I admit, I have dressed up and looked decently “pretty” for each exam I’ve taken, but that hasn’t stopped me from failing/barely passing tests.  Still, I can’t deny that I feel more optimistic and positive in a dress or flirty skirt than I do in sweatpants and a hoodie.

So to “jump start” my January, I decided to plan out my outfits for the first (or second, since we have a shortened first week) of school.  It’s very basic, I know, but planning out my clothes not only helps me feel confident in my carefully picked matching attire, but it also saves me a lot of time in the morning.

For Monday, I went with my brown water-proof boots because there’s a slight chance of rain (and we all know how great the drainage system is here at U of A… you practically need a boat to cross the street in front of the PAS building).

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Tuesday I’ll wear the new necklace I bought for 3 bucks.

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Wednesday is knee-high sock day to channel my inner Gossip Girl.

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Thursday is just yoga pant day.

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And, on Friday I’m going for a business casual look.

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Now I’m sure nobody actually cares what I’m wearing for the week. But my point is to find and wear whatever clothes make you feel most confident.  Whether it’s a dress or yoga pants and Nikes, wear that outfit that gives you an extra pep in your step throughout the day.  Have a wonderful second week of school, Wildcats!

-Kaelyn

#DreadedDecember: Why I’m Broke

23 Dec

Every payday I tell myself I am only going to spend half of my paycheck, then put the rest in savings.  But by the end of the week, I always find myself sad and broke with no money to spare.  How does this happen?  Where does all of my money go?  I decided to investigate this for my #DreadedDecember.  My dreaded task was to go through last month’s statements of my two debit cards and one credit card and categorize my spending.  I added everything up then organized it in this neat little pie chart for easy viewing:

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So in the last month I spent $213.70 eating out, $154.70 on groceries, $132.50 on entertainment, and $122.60 on clothes/gifts. That’s $623.50 a month. No wonder I keep having to dig into my savings account to pay for electricity, water, and wifi each month.

Eating lunch out everyday really adds up.  A $7.50 burrito from Chipotle doesn’t sound too bad, but a $7 lunch every day ends up being hundreds of dollars a month.  I spent so much on “Entertainment” because I paid the first installment for my EDC ticket, which was $86 (the ticket is $400 total, but it’s so worth it).  Then, most of the $122.60 on “Clothes/gifts” was spent buying Christmas presents for my parents and boyfriend.

Adding up all of my expenses really made me realize how much I need to cut down on eating out.  I don’t possess much self-control when it comes to buying food, but hopefully next semester I’ll start making more meals at home and actually save some money!

– Kaelyn

#NovembertoRemember: Beauty School Dropout

24 Nov

For all those girls out there, we’ve all seen the plethora of hair and makeup tutorials on Pinterest. “Get the Perfect Smoky Eye,” “10 Easy Up-Dos” and other beauty videos always crowd my Home Page. I think to myself, “I can easily do that messy bun” or “How hard can lip liner be?” So I re-pin them each time, thinking I’ll try the tutorial out when I have a spare moment. But, like most things in life, I put the videos on my ever-growing “To-Do Later List.” So for my #NovembertoRemember, I decided to dig a couple Pins out of my {Face & Beauty} Pinterest board. Turns out the “Easy Up-Dos” weren’t so easy and the “Perfect Smoky Eye” turned out not so perfect…

The first tutorial I tried was called “Bombshell Makeup Tutorial.” Jaclyn, the makeup artist, gave step-by-step instructions on how to apply eyeliner, eyeshadow, and mascara to get the smoky eye “Bombshell” look.  She also explained how to contour, but since I didn’t have correct foundation colors (and am too poor to buy them), I decided to just focus on eye makeup.  Jaclyn made every step seem effortless and simple, but it was actually extremely difficult.  At any rate, I gave it my best shot and this was the result (I’m on the left):

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Not bad, but it took me twice as long to do everything and I skipped the contouring part.  I also didn’t use expensive $50 eyeshadow like Jaclyn, but I think it turned out alright.

The second tutorial I tried was called “How to Curl Your Hair with a Straightener! Easy, Effortless, Everyday Loose Curls!” Ramnique, the hairdresser, must have different definitions of “easy” and “effortless” because that tutorial was anything but. Still, armed with hairspray and a straightener, I attempted to create the perfect curls.

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My hair did not turn out as I expected.  The top of my hair was flat and the bottom was just a hot mess.  But using a straightener was actually much easier than using a curling iron.  Like the makeup video, curling my hair took me twice as long as it took Ramnique and didn’t look half as good.

Doing your hair and makeup is difficult and time consuming; I don’t think I’ll be opening up my {Face & Beauty} Pinterest board again anytime soon.  As a college student who is constantly rushing in the morning with a minimal night’s rest, I prefer to go for a ponytail and a bare face.  Ain’t nobody got time to spend 2 hours getting ready.

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– Kaelyn

#OutrageousOctober: Keepin’ It Spicy

4 Nov

Due to my Indian heritage, I have always been interested in other cultures all around the world. This month for Outrageous October, I decided to expand my food palette. I have tried cuisines from India, Germany, Thailand, China, Taiwan, Mexico, Cuba, Italy, Greece, and Iran but there were a couple of regions I had yet to experience.  

I have heard that Ethiopian food was really similar to Indian food, with all the spices and “curry”-like dishes, so I have been eager to get a taste for myself. A friend of mine told me about a restaurant called Zemam’s, which is located on Speedway about 5 minutes from my apartment. I can’t believe it took me so long, but for #OutrageousOctober I finally decided to gather a group of my adventurous friends and check it out! Some of my friends were a bit nervous, but Ethiopian food can be a bit “scary” looking to those who have not expanded their global palette. We ordered a large platter, mixed with various vegetable and chicken curries. I would say that Ethiopian food is one of my new favorite cuisines, definitely my all-time favorite from the whole #OutrageousOctober experience.

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One of my roommates, Christina, is  Korean. Christina has always talked about the delicious Korean meals her mother would prepare for her every night. After hearing all these fantastic food stories, I looked into some local Korean restaurants in Tucson. I found the closest and highest rated Korean restaurant – Kimchi Time. My roommate and I went to Kimchi Time, and ordered various plates. I absolutely loved kimchi, which is a traditional fermented side dish made with a variety of vegetables and spicy/ sour flavoring. Christina told me that her mother would leave the kimchi fermenting in a jar underground for months, which absolutely blew my mind! The Korean food overall was also a success, although I wish I was able to try traditionally fermented kimchi.

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My last cultural experience was with Polish food. I had found a cute little cozy restaurant called Polish Cottage. The restaurant was absolutely adorable with a fireplace and many ancient antiques. Growing up in Chicago, I was surrounded with many Polish-American friends. It was definitely a great feeling being able to experience a little bit of their culture. I tried some Polish sausage and these dumpling-type appetizers called pierogi. I had pierogi with beef, potatoes/ cheese, sauerkraut/ mushroom, and sweet cheese/ sour cream. Overall, I would say that I enjoyed the pierogi over the sausage. Polish food was delicious and unique in its own way, but lacked the rich flavors that Indian, Ethiopian, and Korean food contain.

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-Erica S. 

 

 

 

 

#OutrageousOctober: I (barely) survived Nightfall

31 Oct

I’m not one for scary things.  I don’t like horror movies, I don’t like being alone in the dark, and I hate when people, or things, jump out at me.

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However despite these fears, I decided to go to Nightfall and experience the “Nightfall terror” myself.  This was the most “outrageous” thing I could think to do for #OutrageousOctober and I had coupons.

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(For those of you who don’t know, Nightfall is a haunted town in Old Tucson that has multiple haunted houses and shows.  Sadly it’s closed for the year, but you can check out their website to plan your trip next year.)  So when we arrived, my friends and I started out at the Dia de los Muertos haunted house.

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This haunted house wasn’t too freaky, it was actually quite fun and cute.  There was a lot of dancing and bright colors…

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The terror didn’t start until we got to the next house which had the warning: “Horribly Horrific. Please be aware.” I should have turned around then.

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This haunted house definitely lived up to its three-skull warning because by the end, my throat hurt from screaming so much. Creatures chased us down corridors, bloody people popped out from hidden windows, and loud hissing steam blew in my face randomly.  However, the scariest part of the night was when I got up close to a zombie and it jumped out at me.  I caught the incident on video so you can relive the horrifying experience with me.  Luckily, there is no sound so you can’t hear the high pitch screaming of four girls.

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Some other terrifying moments of the night were when the zombies and monsters roaming the street sneaked up behind us.  We didn’t know they were there until we turned around and came face-to-face with creatures like these:

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My voice was weak and raspy by the end of the night due to the excessive screaming that went on.  Overall, I had fun and got some hilarious videos out of trip, but Nightfall is definitely a place I will not be visiting next Halloween.

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 – Kaelyn