European Vacation

eiffel towerI was lucky enough to be gifted a trip to Paris and London as my graduation gift and I could almost say it did more harm than anything else. Now, don’t get me wrong, my entire trip was a dream, I absolutely loved every minute that we walked and used the metro or the underground and tried to sneak in sleep. All in between wonderful meals and wonderful destinations. I say it may have done more harm only because ever since the day I arrived back on American soil, I have been thinking about the next grand adventure I will go on. At the same time, I want to share that I absolutely love my country, I have traveled all over the great United States of America, and I suggest everyone see the beauty America has to offer, however unending, before setting off to Europe or anywhere else.

Paris, what can I say that hasn’t been said? Oh, Paris has my heart, I was completely enchanted by everything. The language, the food, the beautiful parks everywhere and the rich culture and history. Everywhere I turned there was something absolutely breathtaking. We started with going to see the Arc de Triomphe, and walk down the Champs-Elysees. The next day, a trip outside of Paris to the extravagant world (it seemed) of Versailles. I could have spent days in those gardens, and know that next time a half day pass will not do! Followed that night with a riverboat Dinner cruise down the Seine. When you go to Paris, you must do one of these! Our last full day we barely squeezed in the Louvre and saw all the glory that lives inside those walls followed by probably my favorite site of the whole trip, Notre Dame at sunset. Breath taking is the simplest way I could describe this Cathedral. Before our flight to London, we got to fit in a quick stop at L’orangerie, a small but glorious museum in the Tuileries where we saw huge Monet installments. There was soo much more we could have seen, and that I will make sure to fit in my next time!

London… London was awesome. Big Ben and the House of Parliament were astonishing to see in person. Not to mention Westminster Abbey right across the street. The infamous red phonebooths and doubledecker buses were everywhere, and I loved it. We rode the indredible London Eye to start, and I even got my mother to ride despite her very serious fear of heights and rides of any sort. This is something you should not miss! The next day, a trip to the National Gallery was exceptional. The art here was unlike any collection I have ever seen. Seeing some of the paintings I grew up loving right in front of me could have moved me to tears, honestly (and did I mention, free!). Then hang out and get some food by Trafalgar square. Our traveling caught up with us and we took it easy that night so we could go to the Tower of London on our last day, which was really awesome, but kind of easy to lose someone at… Whoops! Followed by a little shopping in Picadilly Circus and going to see Wicked in London, which was amazing!

But all in all, this whirlwind of a trip just opened a door to what could and will be a whole lifetime of adventures to be had! There is so much to experience and I can’t wait to see it all! New Zealand should be next on the list, so stay tuned..

 

No Man’s Land Is Where I Stand

An Article about where Oklahoma actually is, piqued my interest recently. So many believe Oklahoma is in the south… Others, the southwest… Even more believe it is part of the midwest. For the most part, I don’t think it is any of these exactly, but a mixture and different in it’s own way.

For the longest time, Oklahoma was considered No Man’s Land, which I believe was a misnomer, considering this is where a huge population of Native Americans lived. Being Native American myself, I have a different kind of pride being from Oklahoma because we have a different history. It is a history that keeps us separate from the deep South, unlike some of our accents. Our history separates us from all of the states, rich with Native American culture.

Baseball is back, And I’m thrilled!

I believe that baseball in Oklahoma is a little under-rated. Can you blame them, though? They don’t have a team like the Rangers to cheer for. It wasn’t until recently that Oklahoma got themselves a professional basketball team, and the Thunder’s popularity I would say is almost unrivaled. So, if you will, pick a baseball team and get ready for another season of “America’s favorite pastime” that’s sure to excite.

We aren’t quite as fortunate as the people of New York City, who had both of their teams playing at home yesterday for the first time since 1956. I can’t even begin to imagine the excitement, everyone boarding the subway to head to Queens or to Brooklyn to watch the opening day games. I could have hoped to see a more impressive game played by the Yankees, but the Mets did not disappoint.

If it weren’t for the rain tonight, I hope you would be cheering for the Cowboy Baseball team in a non-conference Bedlam game, too.

Putting an end to junk food has to happen sometime

Research. Research, research, research and marketing. This is what makes junk foods to be as addictive as they are. This article explains how major companies in the junk food industry have made their products exactly what we want. Whether it requires a change of color, crunchiness, packaging or target audience, the heads of coca-cola, Dr. pepper, Oscar Mayer, and Frito-Lay want Americans to like their products most.

Efforts to change what these companies were doing, contributing to the obesity epidemic, started back in 1999, and it wasn’t until recently that I think there have been positive results. Don’t get me wrong, obesity and diabetes rates are still rising, but marketing sugary, salty and fatty foods towards children is definitely declining at an incredible rate. The Disney channel is cutting out all commercial for foods that do not pass their health standards starting this year. Now Fast Food companies are also starting to follow trend. Hallelujah!

Here I am indulging in a Triple Meat Triple Cheese Burger from Whataburger

Here I am indulging in a Triple Meat Triple Cheese Burger from Whataburger

For $200 I’d quit Facebook too

Something to help Facebook addicts should have come along long ago!  I know too many people who fall too deep into the world of social media. I think this father had the rable idea in giving his daughter $200 to quit Facebook for two months.

There has been a site that you go and give $5 to say you’ll stay off of the website, you’ll get your money back but if you don’t, they keep the money and it goes to centers that will help people with mental problems and addiction problems. If people could take a step back, and take a look at your life without sharing it with everyone, I believe you cayourself much more. 

 

A Standout Superbowl Performance: Who Really Made The Show?

What does the superbowl mean to people? It’s THE football game of the year, it’s a great spectacle, a (hopefully) action-packed 4 hours of entertainment for everyone. If you don’t like the football, you probably liked this years performance by Beyonce, the much anticipated reunion of Destiny’s Child. Or you like the oh-so sweet Budweiser Commercial or the Oreo commercial. Cookie? Or Cream?

If you don’t like football, you can cheer for your favorite team anyway, based purely on the players. This is what I have to do if the Cowboys or Vikings aren’t in it. There are some “heartwarming, grotesque, impressive, and tragic” backstories to a lot of the players this year. My personal favorite was about Colin Kaepernick, a 25- year old backup quarterback starting the season with the 49ers.

Colin really seems to be a stand-up guy, despite some articles that came out trying to say the opposite. All I heard for a while from reporters, my grandfather and friends was how Colin was not your ‘typical quarterback’ and I completely agree. That’s not because he’s covered in tattoos, but because of how he led his team to the Superbowl, how he may be arguably be the fastest quarterback in the NFL, and what he does for his community. Like many others have done before, add Kaepernick to the list of people who stand up for a cause and raise money, his being Camp Taylor, a camp for children who have heart defects.

Go Niners?

Your not-so-average quarterback steals the show (photo from blueberryfiles/flickr.com)

Your not-so-average quarterback steals the show (photo from blueberryfiles/flickr.com)

Noble, Ex-Marine Finds New Purpose in College Football

When is it time to stop challenging yourself? For Nathan Noble, a 29 year old ex-marine, those days aren’t in sight. He has lived an accomplished life and now, he tries something new, and succeeds. Noble gets to walk on to Wyoming’s College Football team as the kicker. He has made a name for himself and is more than ready to be somebody that people depend on again, he is ready for this challenge.

I love stories like this, stories of inspiration, of people who take chances and succeed. I don’t think there is a need to ever stop challenging yourself, however routine or comfortable your life gets. Whether it be in health, academics, fitness, cooking, there’s always something more to learn or try out there. My next Challenge? Kickboxing twice a week.

The other reason I loved this story, the main reason, was that it reminds me of my favorite quarterback: Brandon Weeden. He too, was a little bit older and had experienced more than your average college student, being that he used to play professional baseball. Weeden came back to Oklahoma State to play football, ignored all the comments people made about his age, and rocked it. Now he plays for the Cleveland Browns, and new coach, Rob Chudzinski says it may be “premature” to call Weeden the starter in 2013 after his not so perfect rookie season. Bad call, Rob. You’re asking for a miracle to turn your team around, but you need Weeden to get there.

Brandon Weeden Photo by Erik Drost/Flickr

Brandon Weeden Photo by Erik Drost/Flickr

An inspirational cross-country journey

Now, just the fact that Ken Ilgunas set out to travel from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Shores of Texas is incredibly impressive to me. Personally, I would have tried to take a more scenic route, but that would defeat his purpose. Did I mention he has been doing this on foot? Being an adventurer myself, I would love to think that maybe one day when I’m stuck between jobs or just want to try something new I could take on a journey like this one, and hopefully learn about this country I live in, in a way I’ve never seen it before, like Ken did.

His goal: to conquer the XL Pipeline, and talk to numerous people about their feelings towards such a large task. The XL pipeline was going to be the route that TransCanada, a major oil and gas company in Canada, took to make a pipeline from the Tar Sands of Alberta to the Gulf of Texas, where the Tar Sands would be given to oil refineries. The people of TransCanada, and some of the people Ken talked to along the way thought this would be a great way to possibly a boost in the economy and a way to get oil and a great source of jobs. Others, who knew more about the destruction and environmental hazards of Tar Sands, strongly opposed this idea. They then took it upon themselves to make a stand and fight back, because all TransCanada needed was the ok from President Obama. As he travels, Ken gets to be a part of one of these rallies, and experiences some true passion from people who would no doubt be negatively affected by this Pipeline. It is great to see America standing up for themselves, and this time, it pays off. President Obama does not approve the building of the XL pipeline. But the peaceful protesters need to keep their guard up, because it looks like TransCanada may be re-applying. This fight may not be over.

Stories like this always excite me, trying something new and finding something great. One day, I want to travel like this, probably not as far, and probably with more than one pair of shoes. This story reminds me of a really good book I read this year, Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. I think today might be a great day for me to dust off my hiking boots and go for a little adventure, maybe I’ll learn something about the community I live in, or maybe I’ll learn something about myself. Either way, I’ll get to explore the outdoors and get in touch with nature.

A view from a hike at Glacier National Park Photo By: Austin Yoder

A view from a hike at Glacier National Park Photo By: Austin Yoder