Tag Archives: Arizona

Top 20 Movies to Watch Over The Summer

10 Jun


Shannon’s Picks                                                              Chrissy’s Picks


 The Bourne Identity                                                          Dracula Untold

PicMonkey Collage


Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows                       Bridge to Terabithia



How to Train Your Dragon                                            Lion King



The Hangover                                                                    The Intern



Cast Away                                                                            Sense and Sensibility



The Sandlot                                                                         Howl’s Moving Castle



The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey                           Harry Potter



The Shining                                                                         Shrooms


Romantic Comedy:

The Wedding Singer                                                         The Ugly Truth


Science Fiction:

iRobot                                                                                    Blade Runner


Chrissy’s Summer Reading List

10 Jun

Summertime,  the most relaxing word a college student can hear, say, or think. Summertime opens up a plethora of opportunities that are not available during the school year: sleeping until 1pm, going on random road trips, and of course reading fun books. I don’t know about y’all, but I find that during the school year I am way too busy reading the various assigned readings to  actually get any fun reading done! So, I made a list during the school year of all the books I would like to read during them summer and I am now steadily working my way through them! Here are my top 10 books that I would like to have read by the end of the summer. I included short summaries of the books that I found on the publishers’ websites.

Please note that most of these contain adult themes and violence. Please read at your own discretion. 

10. Ella Enchanted: Gail Carson Levine

How can a fairy’s blessing be such a curse?

At her birth, Ella of Frell was given a foolish fairy’s gift—the “gift” of obedience. Ella must obey any order given to her, whether it’s hopping on one foot for a day or chopping off her own head!

But strong-willed Ella does not tamely accept her fate. She goes on a quest, encountering ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, fairy godmothers, and handsome princes, determined to break the curse—and live happily ever after.

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9. Dracula: Bram Stoker

During a business visit to Count Dracula’s castle in Transylvania, a young English solicitor finds himself at the center of a series of horrifying incidents. Jonathan Harker is attacked by three phantom women, observes the Count’s transformation from human to bat form, and discovers puncture wounds on his own neck that seem to have been made by teeth. Harker returns home upon his escape from Dracula’s grim fortress, but a friend’s strange malady — involving sleepwalking, inexplicable blood loss, and mysterious throat wounds — initiates a frantic vampire hunt. The popularity of Bram Stoker’s 1897 horror romance is as deathless as any vampire.  Its supernatural appeal has spawned a host of film and stage adaptations, and more than a century after its initial publication, it continues to hold readers spellbound.


8. The Blood of Flowers: Anita Amirrezvani

Both a sweeping love story and a luminous portrait of a city, The Blood of Flowers is the mesmerizing historical novel of an ill-fated young woman whose gift as a rug designer transforms her life. Illuminated with glorious detail of Persian rug-making, and brilliantly bringing to life the sights sounds and life of 17th-century Isfahan, The Blood of Flowers has captured readers’ imaginations everywhere as a timeless tale of one woman’s struggle to live a life of her choosing.

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7. The Iliad: Homer

Dating to the ninth century B.C., Homer’s timeless poem still vividly conveys the horror and heroism of men and gods wrestling with towering emotions and battling amidst devastation and destruction, as it moves inexorably to the wrenching, tragic conclusion of the Trojan War. Renowned classicist Bernard Knox observes in his superb introduction that although the violence of the Iliad is grim and relentless, it coexists with both images of civilized life and a poignant yearning for peace

The iliad

6. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep: Philip K. Dick

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was published in 1968. Grim and foreboding, even today it is a masterpiece ahead of its time.
By 2021, the World War had killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remained coveted any living creature, and for people who couldn’t afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep. . . They even built humans.
Emigrées to Mars received androids so sophisticated it was impossible to tell them from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans could wreak, the government banned them from Earth. But when androids didn’t want to be identified, they just blended in.
Rick Deckard was an officially sanctioned bounty hunter whose job was to find rogue androids, and to retire them. But cornered, androids tended to fight back, with deadly results.

Do androids dream of electric sheep

5. 13 Reasons Why: Jay Asher

You can’t stop the future. 
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.
Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

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4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. That’s because he’s being raised by his miserable aunt and uncle who are terrified Harry will learn that he’s really a wizard, just as his parents were. But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards, and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny.


3. Brave New World: Aldous Huxley

The astonishing novel Brave New World, originally published in 1932, presents Aldous Huxley’s vision of the future- of a world utterly transformed. Through the most efficient scientific and psychological engineering, people are genetically designed to be passive and therefore consistently useful to the ruling class. This powerful work of speculative fiction sheds a blazing critical light on the present and is considered to be Huxley’s most enduring masterpieces.


2. The Other Boleyn Girl: Philipa Gregory

When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of the handsome and charming Henry VIII. Dazzled by the king, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her family’s ambitious plots as the king’s interest begins to wane, and soon she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne. With her own destiny suddenly unknown, Mary realizes that she must defy her family and take fate into her own hands.

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1. Poison Study: Maria V. Snyder

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace- and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia. And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dusté and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison. As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear—.

Poison study.jpg

Chrissy’s Declassified Midterm Survival Guide

21 Oct

It’s that time of the semester: when all-nighters are a must, the libraries are packed, and anyone hoping to survive can be found with notes in their hands. That’s right, it’s midterms!

Midterm 1

For those just starting out, midterms can be a frightening thing, but with these tips you should be able to get through them without too much trouble.


This is honestly the most important thing a student can do. Not only does your brain get a chance to rest and sort all the information you are going over, it also keeps you healthy. While you sleep your body rejuvenates itself. Staying healthy during this time of year is difficult enough without adding this obstacle, and you need to be healthy for your midterms!

Midterm 6

2) Start studying in advance

This is one tip I have trouble with, but it really does work. You know at the beginning of the semester when your midterms will be, so be sure to start studying at least two weeks in advance. I know that you won’t have all the content of the class by then, but if you start refreshing yourself on the old content earlier, then it you will only have to refresh yourself on the new content closer to the exam!

Midterm 2

3) Drink lots of water

Water is very important especially in Arizona. Drinking lots of water will not only keep you hydrated, but it will also help with your attentiveness in class. Try replacing one of your coffees a day with a bottle of water, you’d be amazed by the difference.

Midterm 4

4) Don’t stress out

I know that this seems a bit hard, but honestly by stressing yourself out over midterms you are really psyching yourself out of doing well. This is not to say that you shouldn’t take midterms seriously, but stressing out will only take time away from studying. Be sure to take breaks and let yourself breathe.

Midterm 3

Good luck on all of your midterms!

Midterm 5


#OutrageousOctober: Facing Your Fears

15 Oct

In my mind, there are two types of people who watch scary movies: those who enjoy them and those who are challenged to watch them. I don’t know about everyone else, but I cannot stand watching scary movies. Why should I suffer through almost having a heart attack every 6 seconds just to wake up six times during the night from nightmares? Can you guess which boat I was in? That’s right, for my blog this month, I decided to face a fear of mine and watch the movie Se7en starring Brad Pitt (which is a scary thing all in its own right).


Now, to face this challenge properly I had to make sure certain aesthetics were in place.

  • It had to be dark. To attain full scariness, a movie must be watched at night. I made sure to watch this well past the sun set.
  • There had to be plenty of snacks that I would scatter around the room every time I got scared.

This was more for me than for any real reason, I have always had the dream of jumping and having popcorn scatter around the room. Unfortunately this did not happen.

popcorn 1IMG_20151014_230115_871

  • I had to watch it with another person who had seen it.

This has to be done for many reasons, mostly because they add to the fearful feelings in the room thus making the experience seem way scarier than it actually is. Luckily my friend Erika was happy to be recruited for this endeavor.


Overall the movie was not too bad. It was much more of a psychological thriller, but I still had nightmares. I am happy that I watched it because it means I faced my fear, but I would not say my fear of scary movies has been squashed, just lessened a little.

Go out there and face your fears everyone!



#MightyMay: Summoning Summer

3 May

May is here.

May is finally here!

And do you know what that means?

The semester is coming to an end! (This can either be really exciting or depressing news.)

Now is the time for you, the student, to wrap up your semester, finish strong, and enjoy your last days of the Spring 2015 semester!

summer animated GIF

Because isn’t that what summer is all about? Summer is meant to be a time of enjoyment! A time to appreciate all of the the water, sun, nature; all of the good times you had during the school year, all of the bad times you had during the school year.

Summer is a time to enjoy yourself. Summer is a time to celebrate. Summer is a time to be you.

So use this month of May to celebrate your future and all of the many awesome events that your summer will consist of!

Whether it be filled with looking for a job, summer classes, work, relaxation, or travel, make your summer one to remember.

summer animated GIF

Because Summer time is smiling time.

I cannot tell you how many times throughout the school year, I’ve wished it were summer. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve let my mind wander off during a lecture (I don’t recommend this, by the way), and have let myself fantasize about summertime and a time when things seem somewhat easier. Summer is inevitable. We all look forward to it.

This May, I’ve decided to focus on successfully wrapping up my school year. I want to finish off strong and happy. It’s very difficult for us as students to look forward into our future and relish in what is to come. Many times we are consumed by the present, what we have to accomplish during the day or week; we forget why we are all here in the first place: for our future. Every single student currently roaming the UA campus has one same goal in mind: future success. Whether you focus on finding success in dancing, in biology, in engineering, or in politics; we all are looking forward to success. So be proud of the semester you’ve just finished. You’re almost there! You’re one step closer to your goal.

Use this summer break as a time of reflection, relaxation, reinvention.

Focus on becoming the student and person you want to be this next semester.

summer animated GIF

Whether we can’t wait to have some time off, or can’t wait to start that new job, or can’t wait to travel; we all have something to look forward to for summer. Although it is currently May, and summer is not here yet, it is very good to start planning and acknowledging of the many mighty reasons to CELEBRATE this summer.

Don’t forget to Bear Down.


#AdventurousApril: Nature is Neat… Neature…

5 Apr

When people think of Arizona, they think of hot weather, cactus, and the Grand Canyon… but there is SOO much more here. I just got back from the neatest nature adventure! 

We started at Tonto National Bridge Park. Unfortunately due to high water level and poor planning  on my part, we were unable to really explore the park. 


It is a bridge, I promise!


This tree was half hanging over NOTHING!

Up next, Sedona. Sedona is a beautiful place that has something for everyone, no matter what you’re interested in. The town is super cute and there are a bunch of shops and restaurants to explore. There are also so many hiking options. The entire area is so beautiful and no matter which adventure you choose, there will be an amazing view!



No adventure in complete without a selfie.

Then I took a surprise trip to Page, Arizona. Right next to Page is the Navajo reservation. We went with our guide into the Upper Antelope Canyon… this place was spectacular! 






Horseshoe Bend is a little spot along the Colorado River and it is only a few minutes away from Page. The view is gorgeous and it’s a wonderful place to spend a few hours!



My final big adventure was to Bearizona in Williams, Arizona along Route 66. There are two parts to Bearizona. In the first, you get to drive through the enclosures of  wolves, bears, bison, and deer. Then you can park and see baby bears, otters, beaver, and some birds. 






Arizona has a lot to offer, so get out there and enjoy! 


Major Changes With Major Changes

30 Jan

I’ve always seen myself as a determined student. Someone who knows what to do and how to do it.


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I came into college with one goal in mind: to become a lawyer. I thought being a lawyer was my destiny, my calling, my life. I knew becoming a lawyer was going to make my family extremely proud of me, which frankly is a serious and big goal in my life. Having a proud family is a big deal for me.

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Being a first generation student in his freshman year, I childishly thought I had my entire life figured out. I remember letting everyone in my freshman year dorm know of my goals, constantly repeating the phrase “I’m going to be a lawyer.”

And I believed it too.

Things started to change during the first semester of my sophomore year, once I started to take courses required for my major. I was not doing so great in them and even thinking about my major would stress me out.

I felt as if I were an alien in a foreign land, unaware of what to do next.

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I realized that I was feeling all of this because I wasn’t truly passionate about the subjects I had to focus on to succeed in my major.

I felt like a coffee aficionado being forced to drink water for the rest of his life.coffee animated GIF

I began to wonder if I truly wanted to be a lawyer. I felt scared, ashamed, and clueless.

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I wanted out.

I knew I wasn’t meant to go through college with doubt and dissatisfaction. I knew I had to make this experience my own, I had to formulate a plan that would get me where I need to be, where I truly want to be.

I forced myself to focus on MY goals and dreams, not anyone else’s. I realized college is a place for students to advance their knowledge on the things that they truly want to learn about, not what they think will make their parents proud. Although this is a big goal for many students, as it is for me, it is not all that students should focus on. At the end of the day, if you are passionate about something, you will always be eager to learn about it, which only guarantees your success.

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If you truly set your mind on the things you love, you can accomplish them.

And THAT will definitely make people proud.

I encourage students to reflect on their educational and professional goals throughout their college experience. Think of all of the high stake decisions you’ve had to make, and the many you know you’ll have to make. Focus on what your goals are, memorize the steps you need to take in order achieve them, and succeed. Remember, sometimes change is good.

Good luck, wildcats.

– Julian

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#JumpStartJanuary: Supply Shopping

15 Jan

I’d like to start off by saying that college breaks are great–nay, awesome. College is most likely the last time of our lives where we have extended periods of free time with no worries or work to do (I mean seriously guys, we will never probably have this much downtime to ourselves again). With that said, it is perhaps our duty as college kids to dawdle and have as much fun as possible during these breaks.

These gloriously long break periods we get over the summer and winter months however, can take a toll on us all as we may creep back into the new semester with our old, lazy, uninspired habits.


If you’re like me, after every long college break, you have something I like to call “Vacation-brain.”


Being diagnosed with vacation-brain can be dangerous seeing as every new semester comes with a fresh workload, and boy does it come by fast. Being an expert in my personal case of vacation-brain, I’ve found a way to combat the slow fade into oblivion: by supply shopping.


It may seem juvenile, but buying new materials for academic purposes (or simply the distraction of pretty colors) can ease you back into your study routine. Here’s my list of school supplies that kicked my butt back in gear:

6ad0e1d537e47830a151394a1c6e761c68-297800-2 fnhwix.HILIGHT25.Sharpie-Accent-Highlighters.500.500.51a57800-f52b-4d4d-ab0e-eadd78453d5d mechanicalpencilsHappy 2015!


#OutrageousOctober: Let It Go

14 Oct

Hi, my name is Elena and I am a control freak.

This is not a recent realization in my life, and it doesn’t come out in every aspect of my life but it is always inside of me. My need (yes it is a need) to be in control REALLY comes out when I travel. One of my favorite things to do is to travel and that is why I get so interested in the details of a trip.

When I go somewhere, I don’t need or want every moment of every day to be planned but I want to know what’s going on. If I am not able to help plan, I need an itinerary of what to expect.

I know you’re thinking “this girl is too much,” and you may be right, but that is just how I am!

So I tried something new, I decided to let it go. I went on a trip that  I had no part in planning, besides the city we were going to and one activity we would attend, I knew nothing about the trip. The whole week leading up to my departure day I kept being asked, “where are you staying,” “what are you going to do,” and “who are you going with.” My response was “umm, I don’t really know.” Yes, I didn’t even know everyone who was going,  in fact, I only knew one other person.

The time leading up to the trip was very uncomfortable for me.  I didn’t plan anything, I didn’t know anything, and I felt like I couldn’t talk about it with my friends because I had no information about my trip.

I went on the trip and I had a good time, but I know more structure could have made it so much better. On our free day, we wandered around the city with no idea what to do or what the city even offered. I found it to be frustrating because I felt like we didn’t utilize the short time we had. That being said, I don’t want to harp on the parts I didn’t enjoy because that’s not the point.

The point is, although there easily could have been improvements, I am happy I had this experience. It forced me to let it all go and live in the moment not in a plan.

The moments that were by far my favorite were because there was no schedule.

We stopped by a Starbucks that was next to the world’s largest Kokopelli.


My parents moved since the last time I saw them, so we stopped by their house and I got to see my puppy!

Neither one of us had ever stopped to see the Hoover Dam before, so we thought why not. However it was not as successful as we would have hoped! So close, and yet so far.

hover dam

The best part about the whole thing is I got to spend the weekend with one of my best friends!


From this trip I learned that things might not go as smoothly as you would hope, but the stops along the way make it all worth it!



Studying on the Wild Side: A Day in the Life of a Conservation Biology Major

16 Apr

We all meet people throughout college that are studying different things. If you’re like me in any way, you might ask yourself a few questions. What classes do they take? You go on field trips?! They have those in college? Do you do research? What does a typical day look like? The list of questions goes on and on. Fortunately, I am here to answer some of those questions for one of my majors: Conservation Biology.

First off, the full title of the major is, Renewable Natural Resources- Conservation Biology, but that is far too long to say and most of the time i lose people at the second word, so Conservation Biology it is. A typical day for an RNR major as they are nicknamed goes a little something like this…

Go to class. As a RNR major you are required to take classes like Conservation Biology, Genetics, Measurements and Mammalogy.. Yes, I said Mammalogy. You might be asking what the heck is that class? In short the study of mammals, but in long, a semester’s work of dedication to memorizing, recalling and sight identification of 150 animals native to Arizona and the wester United States. Now, this might make it seem like there is a lot of library time memorizing, but that is far from the truth. Here is was the class looks like:

We did a lot of research outside in areas throughout Arizona. We saw some pretty awesome locations and views.



A major in conservation biology doesn’t require that you conduct or participate in research, but there are ample opportunities to do so throughout the college. I participated in a joint study between U of A and Arizona Game and Fish Department where we studied the wildlife-urban interface in Chandler, AZ. It was an awesome way to get “field” experience and it looks great on a resume!


Part of the being a RNR major means that at some point in time you will have to work with wildlife. By work, I mean hands on work. As groups we would catch and analyze small mammals like the one below. Isn’t he cute!


You spend a lot of time with the people in your major and many times they become some of your closest friends. A campfire always helps the bonding also.


Sometimes, you get dared to do some silly things and have to eat a grasshopper… The key is not opening your mouth after you put it in.


We survived, and it didn’t actually taste too bad. I earned some bonus points with the professor that day though.

The major isn’t always outdoors, camping and eating weird bugs though. There are different tracks that you can follow. My focus was on policy and law which allowed me the opportunity to participate in an internship for the Arizona State Senate.


I was of the only student who wasn’t a political science major (nothing against Poli Sci), but this was an advantage. I had experienced or followed many of the laws that guide agencies such as the Arizona Game and Fish Department when doing research and field work, so I had a unique perspective that proved beneficial.

Overall, my major may not be typical, but it has sure been a blast. Despite the memorizing. I encourage you to ask your friends what a typical day looks like in their major or to take an elective class that counts towards your graduation, but is outside of what you would typically study. You never know what will interest you!