Favorite Hiking Spots

With the weather starting to warm up, all I want to do is be outside. Even if my shoes are caked in mud from the wet soil.  There is so much peace with finally being on the steady trail (as opposed to an icy one). Although we are probably bound for a few more spots of snow, I am excited at the thought of spring/summer hiking. I thought I would list out some of my favorite places to spend some quality time with mother nature.

Twin Cities Area:

Minniehaha Falls

Any time of year, the place is a great for photo shoots. Keep in mind, this place is always busy and that can interfere with photo taking. However, do not fear. Minnesota-nice is always here to save the day and more often than not the scenery hogs are willing to take a few snaps of you with the Falls as well.

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The Falls in the Summer Time.

 

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Farther down the Falls there is a quieter spot where many people like to dangle their legs and feet in the water. That is, in the summer time.
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Minniehaha in the winter. Looks like a real life Narnia.

 

Spring Lake Park Reserve

Looking for a trail that is a little less busy and does not cost you any money? Spring Lake Park is for you! This park is located farther from the Twin Cities, allowing you to be completely alone with nature. The trails offer beautiful views of the Mississippi River as well as gorgeous tall grass plains that are spectacular at sunset. This is by far my first go to when it comes to choosing a trail.

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View of the Mississippi River. So Gorgeous!
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So much green! Makes me miss summer so much more!

Note: They are very strict about Park times. You have been warned. :0

Willow River State Park

Being a very proud gopher fan, it is hard to admit that Wisconsin has one of my favorite places to hike. But this park is by far the most grand. If you want to watch and be amazed by nature, this is the place to go. The amount of activity that happens at the Falls makes it seem like a beehive. Birds are flying close to the Falls, people are hiking up the sides of the Falls, and dogs & owners are swimming across.

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I mean really, this is in Wisconsin?
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This is a lookout over the Falls. It is ever prettier in the Fall with the colorful leaves.

Note: If it has rained recently it will be very, very muddy on the trails.

Double Note: If you have a waterproof camera, bring it. I have seen people take the coolest pictures behind the Falls.

Northern Minnesota Area:

Bean and Bear Lake Trail

If you are traveling to the North Shore, you need to take a hike to Bean and Bear Lake. The trail is a tad bit hard to find at first but once you find it you will be amazed for the next 6 miles. Compared to the rest of the trails, this one tends to be a little bit rocky and more challenging. But don’t worry the people you meet on the trail are super friendly and helpful.

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Perfect, right?
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Ignore the tongue.

Where is your favorite hiking spots in Minnie/’Sconsin? Share the wealth of knowledge of the trails down below. 

Happy Hiking!

-Elise

 

 

 

Things Every Girl Needs to Know Heading into 2015

Another New Year? Is is really 2015?

I saw somewhere that the year 2000 is just as far away as the year 2030. That took a few seconds for the perplexity of that statement to sink in. I have been extremely blessed with the past 15 years and am optimistic to the next 15 years.

Instead of coming up with a list of resolutions that need to be completed, I came up with a list of ‘need to know’ points before entering into the new year. Here are my list of things every girl needs to know before heading into 2015:

1. You are so worthy. You are worthy of great and powerful things to happen in your life. You are worthy of unending love. Your worth is not something that can be shaken or damaged by outside forces.

2. You are going to get hurt and that is okay. Pain is apart of life. No one is excused from feeling pain. Your heart is going to break and you are going to suffer from annoying headaches. Although, how you choose to react to hurt and pain is entirely up to you.

3. Which leads me to my next point. You are entitled to feel every emotion. The good. The bad. Even the ugly. Do not let your emotions be belittled or discarded. Emotions are to big to be swept under a rug. Allow yourself to feel every emotion.

4. You are in charge of my own happiness. Being in a relationship is not everything. Listen to the friends that have repeatedly said “you deserve better.” Love yourself, wholeheartedly.

5. You are in a marathon, not a sprint. Feel free to slow down. Enjoy the life you have been given at this exact moment. Be proactive about loving life because It is hard to recover from burning yourself out.

6. Take care of your physical body. Promise yourself to take the stairs more often than not, choose a side of veggies instead of chips. Actively make positive and healthy choices. This also includes but is not limited to manicures, facials and visiting the hair salon.

7. Learn what helps you relieve tension. Music? Dancing? Painting? Learn what puts you in your happy place.

8. Shed what is holding you back. Rid yourself of the people that harm more than help. Get rid of all forms of negativity in your life.

9. Be okay with mistakes. You will make mistakes. Your loved ones will make mistakes. You do not have to like the fact that mistakes will happen. However, mistakes are important to growing and learning as a person.

10. You can’t and shouldn’t know everything. You will not know everything. Everything will happen in its own time.

What do you think is important to enter 2015 knowing?

If I was Granted Three Wishes

While writing this I find myself at the height of finals week and all I can think about is the amount of joy and relief I will have after my last exam. But then I am reminded that I am only halfway there. Since I no longer have the capacity to focus, I dreamed up three wishes just incase I was confronted by a genie.

1. I wish in the winter season that every room that I entered would have a roaring fire. Preferable a fireplace made out of stone accompanied by a comfy chair.
2. I wish for a little sneak peek at the future. No need to go into too much detail, but just enough to let myself know not to over worry about finals.
3. Last but not least, I wish for a very long and time consuming art project that I could delve into.

What are your three wishes?

20 Times you Should Have Said Yes and 20 Times You Should Have Said No

History has a tendency of repeating itself. Well that’s what I have heard. In such a case, I choose to list the times when I should have said yes and no to prepare for the future by solving the past’s dilemmas.

1. You should have said yes to ice cream cake. Never turn down ice cream cake.

2. You should have said no to eating that entire batch of puppy chow. It is just way too addicting.

3. You should have said yes to studying a week before an exam.

4. You should have said no to taking that extra shift at work.

5. You should have said yes to that one time someone asked you if you needed help with math because you really needed a lot of help.

6. You should have said no to your teacher after they asked if you understood what they just explained.

7. You should have said yes to traveling to Paris. Oh wait that’s just Lauren Conrad.

8. You should have said no to that gas station bathroom.

9. You should have said yes to waking up early to get stuff done.

10. You should have said no to drinking coffee after 11 PM.

11.. You should have said yes to saving your money for a rainy day.

12. You should have said no to using an umbrella on that rainy day. Wheres the fun in that?

13. Speaking of rainy days, you should have said yes to watching Netfilx two Saturdays ago.

14. You should have said no to watching Netflix after 11 PM on a weeknight. You are not doing yourself any favors.

15. You should have said yes to going to that Ed Sheeran concert.

16. You should have said no to pretending to like something that you despise.

17. You should have said yes to spending more time with your grandparents.

18. You should have said no to spreading yourself too thin.

19. You should have said yes to going outside. Fresh air just smells good.

20. You should have said no to taking more than 10 minutes to pick out an outfit. Don’t put yourself under that amount stress that early in the morning.

21. You should have said yes to that plaid shirt that you really wanted.

22. You should have said no to those gaucho pants back in the fifth grade.

23. You should have said yes that random dance party with your friends.

24. You should have said no to that guy on the street who called you shawty. Don’t let anybody call you shawty, unless you want to be called shawty. Totally your call.

25. You should have said yes to going for a run. Endorphins work miracles.

26. You should have said no to the treadmill. The weather is going to get gross soon and then you wont have a choice but to be on the treadmill, inside. Gross.

27. You should have said yes to wishing someone happy birthday on facebook; even if you barely ever talk to them.

28. You should have said no to going back and looking at old statuses and tweets. It’s just all-around extremely embarrassing.

29. You should have said yes to road trips with friends.

30. You should have said no to playing that song on repeat.

31. You should have said yes to defending yourself that one time someone was rude to you.

32. You should have said no to that unnecessary comment you made about someone you are not very fond of.

33. You should have said yes to defining yourself as a feminist.

34. You should have said no to constantly having your phone in the palm of your hand.

35. You should have said yes to being more involved in high school.

36. You should have said no to leaving the house with only socks on your feet. Did your mother never scold you for that?

37.  You should have said yes to forgiving people who have asked to be forgiven.

38. You should have said no to thinking about people who wouldn’t think about you.

39. You should have said yes to allowing yourself to wear those sweatpants out of the house. Nobody has to always look that good.

40. You should have said no to busy work.

3 Things to Take Away From the #heforshe Campaign

You have to have been living under a rock not to have heard about Emma Watson’s speech presented to the UN. This strong, fresh-faced, young female, also known as Hermione Granger from Harry Potter, is the ambassador for the new #heforshe campaign. Here are the three main topics of her engaging speech that extends to both men and women.

1. Males can be feminists.
Men should want their grandmothers, mothers, aunts, nieces, sisters, wives, daughters, and granddaughters to be treated the same way as their grandfathers, fathers, uncles, nephews, brothers, sons, and grandsons. Men should not be looked down as weak for supporting equal rights. Men who support feminism are not a walk oxymoron. They simply value fairness and consistency.
2. Feminists are not crazy.
Feminists may have opinions but what group doesn’t have opinions. Why is one groups opinions seen as lesser than another groups opinions. We should encourage both women and men to question the roles society has created and to find passion in solving the problem. We have the ability to shape the world around us.
3. Expect feminism to become a topic that is discussed at the dinner table.
Feminism is no longer just for politicians and activists to talk about. It is up to us to teach the next generation how to practice feminism and place these practices into motion. Encouraging both girls and boys to learn to stand up for themselves as well as teach the value of equality, no matter a person’s sex.

“How can we effect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation?” -Emma Watson

Watch Emma Watson empowering speech on equality below.

 

How do you practice equality?

Will this be relevant two years from now?

Two years ago, I had no idea that I wanted to go into health sciences. I thought I wanted to be an author and write young adult novels while sipping on tea. Side note: I still have not acquired the taste of tea, so in no way shape or form did that plan work out.

Two short years ago, I wrote a short little snippet for a contest on Figment. Below is The Final Destination.



 

“What am I doing?” I thought to myself as I walked in to the dim lighted room with beads dangling from the ceiling and dark fabrics hanging from the walls.

            “I was expecting you” Said a middle aged woman dressed a black dress that looked more like a cape due to its huge sleeves. The gold head piece that sat perfectly on her head complemented her straight burgundy hair.

“Take a seat, my dear” motioning toward the red velvet colored table that held a glass ball as a centerpiece.

As commanded I took the closest seat.

“Let’s see what I can find…” Said the old woman peering into the glass ball.

For thirty seconds the psychic seems mesmerized into a blank state. Suddenly the trance was broken and she looked up at me with a grin plastered onto her face.

“Scared of the future. Huh?”

I nodded my head up and down not sure what else to say.

“Well seventeen is the age of decisions. Deciding who you are, who you want to be, and the life you want to live. It’s most certainly difficult for a young woman, especially when you do not even know what you are going to be doing a month from now nevertheless years from this moment.”

“What should I do?”

“Let me look” she said refocusing back on the glass center piece.

The wait was much longer this time to receive a response. My foot began to start twitching and my finger nails began to race on the table. Was she going to tell me my parents were right of not following my dreams of becoming a writer and to look for a more realistic career? Had I placed my dreams too far out of reach for a small town girl? Was it even remotely possible that I could succeed? Was college even for me? No campus that I had step foot on felt like home and the added pressure of need to choose one for next school year made my head spin. Not only did I not know which school to go to but what if I choose one out of desperation?

Her head rose so her eyes were at the same level as mine. For a while we just looked at each other because based on the look on her face she did not know what to say.

“My dear…” she started. “I cannot tell you what your future entails because…” she stopped trying to think of what else to say. “Child, you are a gifted person and all of the paths you will come into contact with, no matter which ones you choose, will lead you to the same destination.”

“What is my destination?”

“Think of every vein in your body. These veins represent the winding and switch paths you will encounter. Just like all the veins lead to you heart, so do your paths. That, my dear is your final destination.”



 

Even though I have narrowed my career goals to be focused in the health sciences, I still have not figured out which profession is the right one for me. With all of the thoughts in my head I remembered what I had wrote when I was first thinking about college. The specifics might not be relevant but the overall general themes are the same. My life has changed so much in the past two year and in the next two years it will continue to change. No matter which path I choose to go, I know I will be happy. And the beauty of life is that if I am not happy with where I am going, I can take a different route.

In school, there is so much pressure to choose the right college and the right career path. Odds are that if you follow what your heart is telling you to do while using the mind for some logic, in the end you will be happy.

Kari’s Breakfast Cookies

Reason number 139 why I love my roommates: they make yummy food. One of my favorites is Kari’s Breakfast Cookies. This recipe is so simple but it curbs the sweet-tooth fix. Because this recipe only contains healthy ingredients, it is a guilt free-treat.


What You Need:

-Two Ripe Bananas

-One Cup of Old Fashioned Oats

-One-fourth Cup of Dark Chocolate Chips

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1. Set the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Mash two ripe bananas.

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3. Add one cup of Oats.

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4. Sprinkle in a fourth of a cup of dark chocolate chips. Note: It never hurts to add more chocolate.

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5. Place the mix into tablespoon sized balls on the baking pan. To save yourself from crumbling cookies or a huge mess use a cooking spray. You will thank yourself.

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6. Place in the oven for 12 minutes at 400 degree.

7. Enjoy the deliciousness. Like all cookies they are best right after they come out of the oven.

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Suggestion: The recipe tastes so much better when country music or anything Ellie Goulding is playing in the background. 🙂