Home & Holidays

Happy December everyone! I’m currently blogging from Washington DC. I traveled from Daytona Beach to Orlando then to Richmond, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach to see family and friends, and now I’m spending some time up north visiting with my sister. It’s starting to get so cold here, I feel like Florida has definitely gotten me accustomed to warmer climates. I’m definitely lucky to have been able to borrow my brother and sister’s warm clothes while I visited because my small carry on included jeans and a flannel that were not cut out for this 30 degree weather. Such a drastic climate change from blazing summers in Kansas and mild and humid temperatures in Florida.  

In other news, I have been enjoying my break so much. I’ve done a ton of yoga at a studio only two blocks away from my house (score!), have been running on the beach (in the cold yikes), doing push-ups and ab workouts, have gone on a couple hikes, and of course took my dog, Kita on walks with my dad, in addition to eating a bunch of good food, visiting local coffee shops, and sleeping.

One of my favorite things I got to do over break was paint a shed my dad built. Surprisingly enough painting the entire thing only took a few hours in the afternoon with my family all grabbing brushes.

Painting a shed! I promise the tiny brush was only used to cover nails.

Kita got painted too!

I also got to spend some time hiking with my sister and mom, which was great! Got to break in my new hiking boots I got for Christmas, broke in some new running shoes, and also some new ABU boots for Field Training Preparation (FTP) next semester. To say the least my feet are extremely sore, but better now than later.

On a hike with my mom and sister!

My aunt also took some amazing family photos for us that are currently being uploaded but will be sure to be included in the upcoming posts.

I fly back to Florida in a few days and can definitely say I will miss the leisurely pace of a balanced life and no homework. RAs always arrive back to school early to decorate, inspect, and set up the dorms again before all the residents return for the upcoming semester. Until then though, I’ll be sleeping and eating well in preparation for FTP, as well as working on scholarship applications and internship applications for the summer.

Happy new year and I hope everyone has been enjoying their holidays. Will report back soon once the semester starts up again!

RA Life, AFROTC, & Rest

Happy December everyone! Finals are over!!! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, but in a few hours I’ll be in Orlando departing from MCO, then I’ll be heading back home to Norfolk, Virginia. 

Just a brief recap of fall 2018 before the new year and spring semester begins: This has single-handedly been the most challenging semester of my life, but I passed all of my finals and my classes, friends, so thank you so much for the support. Key shout-outs here go to the boxing girls and my best friend Obie wan.

Many students have already left Daytona, but RAs are the last ones to leave (as well as the first ones back) as we do health and safety inspections and have to check all the rooms to prepare our residence halls for shutting down and for opening back up to residents. Fret not though, this process only takes a few days and after that is freedom. 

I am so excited to be able to relax over break. I’m sure it will be filled with all the things I love and only get to have sparingly while I’m in college, including but not limited to: lots of working out, home cooked meals with fresh vegetables, yoga (YESSS), seeing my best friend home from college, living walkable distance from the beach, my dog Kita, and also my family. I may read a book for leisure, shocking I know, as well as listen to lots of music. I also will be sleeping in glutenous amounts and will be going to all my favorite local coffee shops. Taking a break every once in a while is so well needed and deserved for both students, professors, and faculty. Everyone has been working so hard since August, we all really deserve this chance to reset, relax, and recharge before the spring.

Next semester in AFROTC will be Field Training Preparation which is extremely exciting as well because after that comes Field Training during the summer, which is one step closer to commissioning and graduation. Field Training in a nut shell is essentially a 15 day “boot camp” which is very strenuous and is a required step to complete before GMC (General Military Course) underclassman become POC (Professional Officer Course) upperclassman in fall 2019. Over Thanksgiving my early Christmas present was new running shoes and, although I feel I’ve broken them in, as soon as next semester hits I will probably rethink that.  

Some of my family from AFROTC and me after our final Pass in Review ceremony of the semester

Also here’s a picture from when I contracted around this time last year and swore into the United States Air Force, which if I haven’t mentioned before, was an absolutely amazing experience and I 10/10 recommend.

But for now, we are in break and de-stress mode and I will continue to get through the holidays with an open mind, lots of exercising and stretching, and good food. I miss cooking so much, but one thing I do not miss though is the cold weather. Perhaps I’ll have a white Christmas in Virginia? I do prefer the moderate climates a bit more though, as per expected with the majority of my year spent in Florida and other hot places.

For everyone traveling this holiday season, or even just driving a few minutes away, remember to de-stress and relax over break and state safe. Will report back soon! Happy holidays and almost happy new year!

College Christmas Wish List

Happy almost-holidays everyone!

I am so excited to post about the holidays soon – I cannot wait! Like many others, this is my favorite time of year. There are so many fun things to do here in Florida for Halloween (i.e. Halloween Horror Nights and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party), not to mention my birthday and fall break are in October too! But for Thanksgiving and Christmas, I head home, which is all sorts of exciting!

Although it is a bit early for Christmas talk in my opinion, I wanted to make a wish list so parents, friends, and other family members can get an idea of what to get their soon-to-be college student. Maybe some of these will be on sale for Black Friday, or maybe you’re better than me and get your shopping done early!

Twin XL Bedding Set – I think this is the centerpiece of your dorm, therefore I would recommend investing in a nice one. Florida is a bit tricky because you don’t want to get bedding that is thick, heavy, and ultimately too warm. If you want to splurge, I recommend Pottery Barn Teen and their dorm section. If you are on a budget, check out Target. I got my freshman bed spread from Macy’s and it was reversible and neutral, so I was able to flip it when I got bored yet it matched my roommates side! I opted for a gray/brown quilt (since duvets were too heavy in my opinion) and fun polka dot sheets. This made the style a little quirky yet grown-up, which is very me! If you wait to buy bedding upon arrival, there are options, but beware it may be slim pickings! Overall, be sure to buy Twin XL bedding to fit the dorm beds!

Organization Supplies – One of my favorite things in my dorm is this makeup organizer I got at Target. It was about $25 but it holds all my makeup. If I want to sit at my desk and do my makeup there for better lighting or simply comfort, it’s easy to grab the whole thing. I think it’s super nice looking and I will definitely be keeping this for my future apartment post-graduation.

Lights – I never had a string of lights in my room, but many people like it! I think this is a cute, inexpensive gift for your soon-to-be or current college student. They also come in different colors and shapes if you shop around!

Art – I like to find cute art on Etsy. I think that art makes your dorm feel less like a dorm and more like a home. You can order quotes or even get a painting of your beloved animals. My freshman roommate was a huge Hamilton fan, so her grandma got her a quote from the musical. It was a cute, sentimental idea.

Rolling Hamper – This was my mom’s ingenious idea. I got mine at the Container Store and it is most definitely meant for something other than laundry (maybe for teachers?) but I love it. It even has a pocket for my laundry pods! I got so many compliments on it freshman year lugging my laundry downstairs when I lived in Adams. Everyone wanted one! Now that I am in New Hall, laundry is a lot closer, but I appreciate not having to carry it down the hall. Mine is also a cute pattern and I know I will be able to re-purpose it after college. Not going to lie… I have used it to carry lots of things around when I have tabling for clubs or an event to help set up!

A Nice Backpack – I think you can find good deals on backpacks this time of year because it is “off-season” to be buying one. I love the brand Herschel because they are cute and well made. They have a great warranty as well. One of my Herschels had a broken zipper and they sent me a new one no questions asked! Your backpack is an investment since I have used mine all throughout college and even for trips as a carry-on. Make sure it is big enough to hold a lot of stuff like books and binders, an umbrella (it’s Florida), and a laptop if you plan on having one!

Space Savers – I like being organized, as you can see from the above items. When you live in a tiny area, especially when it is shared, I recommend investing in items that help save space. I have tiered hangers and a slim, hanging jewelry organizer. I prefer using tubs for shoes and having it under my bed. I also have a file organizer that is stacked on my desk. This keeps the clutter away. I also bought a desk organizer for my pens and note pads. Having cute bins to save space is stylish but practical. I used these bins to store my stuff over summer without worrying about dust or bugs. I can also use these in my future home.

A Plant – I have a plant in my room that I got at the beginning of freshman year. His name is Greg. I think he makes the room brighter and more refreshing with his green leaves! I love that I get to see him grow and I hope to pass him off to my kids one day. If you have a sentimental plant at home, consider passing it on or propagating it!

A Cute Pillow – I have a pillow I got on Etsy with my home’s coordinates on it. I love that it is comfy, cute, and sentimental. Things that have multi-purposes is nice in such a small space.

Sunscreen – A good stocking stuffer would be a nice facial sunscreen. We need it here in Florida. Even when it’s cloudy, we get tan. Save your skin!

Caddy – I use the term caddy very loosely. There is the typical caddy you take to the bathroom with you in the dorms (which is very helpful/useful), but I am thinking of a bigger caddy. I bought my large rolling caddy from Ikea and I use it to hold all my beauty stuff. It has multiple shelves so I can be more organized. I leave my makeup on the top, skin care in the middle, and hair supplies on the bottom. It looks cute but leaves the small room feeling less cluttered and full. I have also seen them at Sam’s Club for about $30. It’s so practical, I even made Chris get one for his apartment!

Laptop – A more obvious “Santa” gift could be a nice laptop. I use mine everyday in class, for homework, and to watch Netflix! Maybe consider waiting until the summer to benefit from the college student discount at Apple! May I recommend AirPods for now?

Pictures – I use the Super Snaps to print my photos. I like to get the big ones in matte with black corners. I use this to take up a good amount of wall space and make it look more modern/stylish. It can also be sentimental and help beat the homesickness when you look back on pictures of loved ones!

A Place to Relax – I think if you can swing it, find a tiny bean bag or cozy small chair! It is important to have a place to sleep, study, eat, and RELAX in your dorm. When you associate your room with just sleep or just work, it will never feel cozy and calm. Make it a point to get at least one item to help you relax! I have a body pillow I lay on when I watch Netflix!

Time-Saving Items – College is a constant battle of time management. You have to learn somewhere, right? I recommend investing in a nice blowdryer, steamer, and other time-saving items. If you can quickly steam your clothes, that’s an extra 5 minutes of snoozing your alarm. Your college student will love you for this.

So it might not be the most glamorous holiday season of gifting, but it surely is a practical one!

Have a happy Thanksgiving and Black Friday with all your friends and family! ~ Maddie Dietrich

 

End of semester is almost here!

Hello everyone!

I hope you’re well and had a great Thanksgiving Break! I went to New Hampshire with my boyfriend, Brent, to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family. It was really fun. I went Black Friday shopping with his mum and some of her friends. We started at 1:30 am and didn’t end until 12:30 pm!!! We got really good deals. One of things I bought was  Keurig, and I’m super excited to use it soon!

We also had a Holiday Party on November 30th for Women’s Ambassador Program, where we decorated cookies. We all wore ugly Christmas sweaters and listened to carols to get in the Christmas spirit! It was a lot of fun, especially since it was my first time baking cookies AND decorating them!!!

 

I hope you all finish up this semester strong. Winter break is almost here! Good luck in everything!

Until next time,

Maryam

Holidays Travel Tips

Here are a few travel tips as we go through this holiday season:

Before The Trip
Pack light: You should only bring the necessary stuff you need for your trip. If you are allowed a free checked-bag on your airline, use it instead of bringing a carry-on. This will accelerate the boarding process and reduce delays at the gate.

Carry-on: You should pack your travel documents, medication, car keys and spare lithium batteries in your carry-on or in a bag as your personal item. If you are bringing liquids, they should be 100g/100ml (3.4 oz.) or less. Make sure your carry-on luggage has the right dimensions and weight depending on your airline. Many air carriers are strict about this and will make you check your bag if it’s too large.

Bringing gifts?: If you are carrying gifts onboard the aircraft, you should keep them unwrapped until you go through security. It’s just easier for the security officers if they have to inspect your gifts.

Flying international?
: If you are flying out of the country, make sure you have all the documents you need to enter the foreign country such as passport and visas. Ensure your passport is valid and is not expired prior to your trip.

24 Hours Before The Flight
Check-in: One day prior to your flight, you can check-in on your airline’s website or on their mobile app.

Flight status: Enable your notifications on your smart phone so you can know the status of your flight. If it is delayed or cancelled, you will know before heading to the airport for nothing. Winter weather delays can be expected even if you are not flying to/from the north as your inbound plane and the crew might be coming from Minneapolis for example.

At The Airport
Arrive early: If you are flying early in the morning or out of a major hub, definitely arrive early before your flight. There are a lot of people at the airport checking-in for their flights, dropping their bags and going through the security check point, which means longer wait times. Early for me means between 2 hours and 3 hours before departure.

Security checkpoint: To expedite security, I would recommend that you put your phone and wallet in your bag or your carry-on. You’ll have less loose items in the bins that you can lose. If you have a laptop, put it in a separate bin. Keep your boarding pass and ID with you as you go through screening. If “TSA Pre” is written on your boarding pass, just put everything in your bag and go through the walk through detector with your shoes and belt.

Boarding the Aircraft
Boarding time: Only go closer to the boarding area when your boarding zone is called so you won’t block any passengers in line that are boarding an earlier zone than you. To increase the odds your flight leaves on-time, only board when it’s your turn. I was boarding a flight earlier this week and a passenger tried to board during  Zone 1 while he was Zone 5…

Onboard: If you have a carry-on, store it with handle out or wheels out to make space for everyone on board. If you have a winter jacket, don’t put it next to your carry-on. Squeeze it on top of your carry-on or put it under the seat in front of you with your personal item.

Comment below if you have other good #traveltips to give to our readers!

Happy and safe travels!

Nicolas

It’s Over!

I can’t believe the fall 2016 semester is already over. I feel like it was not a long time ago that I ended my summer internship. I’m very happy that finals are now over and that we have a bit less than a month of vacation.

I had my last final on Tuesday evening. This semester, only has two finals during the four days that are considered “finals week.” In most of my classes, the professors gave the final during regular class time on the last day of classes. Instead of being a big comprehensive exam with the material we saw from the beginning of the semester, it was just a normal exam with the material covered in the last few weeks. To make it even easier, one of my finals was open book and we were allowed to reference our textbook, our computer (with no internet access), PowerPoint slides and notes. It was definitely my easiest exam!

I am now at the airport waiting for my flight to go home for the holidays! Before I left Daytona Beach, I made sure my schedule was set for next semester. I was on the waitlist for one of my classes that only had one section. Fortunately, the Department of Physical Sciences decided to add a second section of Biology because many students were on the waiting list for the class. If you are currently on a waitlist for one of your classes, you have a few options. First, you can wait until the first week of classes in January where the class might open since many students drop classes. Second, you can try to force entry in a class, but this process is more complicated since you have to talk with your Program Coordinator, the Department of your class and the professor teaching the course. Finally, you might be able to take the class online* through Worldwide. You can read my blog to see if an online class is a good option for you.

I will be home with my family until January 1. On the first day of 2017, I will head with my family to London for a week!

Happy holidays and see you in 2017!

Nicolas

*Current residential campus students must submit appropriate paperwork before enrolling in online courses through the Worldwide Campus. Consult with the Record’s Office, your advisor or admissions counselor before deciding whether online courses are right for you.

Thanksgiving Break in Argentina

Instead of heading home for Thanksgiving like most students did, I decided to visit Argentina with my brother. As a former airline intern with Air Canada, I was offered two roundtrip tickets to go to any destination in the world the air carrier serves. The Thanksgiving break was the perfect time of the semester to use those tickets since they expire next January and there were blackouts dates in December for Christmas and the New Year. Because of Thanksgiving, I had five days of holiday including the weekend. Missing the first two days of the week made the trip possible since I now benefited of a full week of vacation.

Since we had to fly Air Canada, we had to go through Canada to fly to Argentina. I drove to Orlando and then I flew to Boston on Friday to join my brother. On Saturday evening, we boarded an Air Canada flight to Toronto where we connected to catch another flight to Buenos Aires. My brother and I arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina the next day on Sunday after a long day of traveling.

After getting settled in our hotel, we went out for dinner where we met our friend from high school who is studying abroad in Buenos Aires. After our dinner we walked around Palermo Soho, a popular neighbourhood in Buenos Aires.

A street in Buenos Aires

A street in Buenos Aires.

The next day we visited the city since it was our last day in Buenos Aires. We visited La Recoleta Cemetery (Cementerio de la Recoleta) which is one of the most visited site in Buenos Aires. We also visited the Floralis Genérica, a big metal flower. The six petals of the flower close in the evening during sunset.

Cementerio de la Recoleta

Cementerio de la Recoleta

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Floralis Genérica

The next morning (Tuesday), we all flew from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. Ushuaia is the world’s southernmost city. We spent the rest of the week over there doing some fun activities. Stay tuned to learn more about the city with the nickname of The End of the World! In the meantime, you can enjoy some fun facts about Argentina below:

Interesting Facts About Argentina

  • While I was on the taxi going from the airport to the hotel, I noticed that drivers drive very close to other cars. Cars in Argentina are quite small. It is rare to see an F150 on the road. Most vehicles in AR are manual and not automatic.
  • Did you know that Argentina has the widest street in the world? You’d be surprised how long it takes to cross Avenida 9 de Julio.
  • When you go to restaurants, the waiter will usually not bring glasses of water to your table. You will have to order a bottle of agua if you are thirsty.
  • Argentines apparently do not use black pepper in their recipes. You will only find salt on the table.
  • Unlike North America, Argentines eat dinner pretty late. You will probably be the only customer in the restaurant if you go eat at 7PM.
  • When two people greet each other, they kiss on the cheek. Even men.
  • The seasons are the opposite. When it is winter here, it is summer over there and vice-versa.

Until next time!

Nicolas

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Being in Florida during December, it is hard for me to get into the Christmas spirit. All of the palm trees, 80 degree days, and flip flops are not what you picture when you think of the holidays. However, I have found a few places in Florida that are full of Christmas cheer.

Over Thanksgiving break, I went to Disney World for a couple days. Of course, Disney is always decked out for the holidays! The parks have incredible Christmas trees and decorations, while Disney Springs has amazing Christmas themed merchandise. One of my favorite things to do is to go to all of the resorts to look at the gingerbread houses. They are incredible! The one at the Grand Floridian is a working sweet shop! They sell gingerbread cookies, chocolates, and gingerbread houses. I also enjoy looking at the gingerbread carousel that is at the Beach Resort. Another one of my favorites is the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Hollywood Studios, which is where they decorate an entire street in the park with Christmas lights. All of the lights dance along with the Christmas music that is playing. The street is always packed with people wanting to get some Christmas cheer. This is my favorite holiday activity to do in Florida, as it is always a good time. Sadly, this is the last year that Disney is putting on the light display, due to the new additions to the park that are being built.

Christmas tree at the Animal Kingdom

Christmas tree at the Animal Kingdom

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Decorations in the Magic Kingdom

Decorations in the Magic Kingdom

Decorations in the Contemporary Resort

Decorations in the Contemporary Resort

Gingerbread house in the Grand Floridian Resort

Gingerbread house in the Grand Floridian Resort

Chocolate from the gingerbread house

Chocolate from the gingerbread house

Gingerbread carousel in the Beach Resort

Gingerbread carousel in the Beach Resort

Osborne Spectacle of Lights

Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights

Once Finals were over, I headed up to St. Augustine to see their Night of Lights. The entire historic district is decorated with Christmas lights. You can walk around the city and look at the lights, or ride on one of the trolleys. I had never been to the Night of Lights before, so it was fun to see something new. There were a lot of visitors walking around, all enjoying the Christmas music and lights. After, I had to go to the Milkshake and Waffle Bar for a Nutella and Banana milkshake. They’re delicious.

Christmas tree in St. Augustine

Christmas tree in St. Augustine

One evening I went down to the Halifax River to watch the Christmas Boat Parade. It is a parade that the Yacht Club puts on, which includes approximately 30 boats that are decorated in lights. I was amazed at the amount of people who were out by the river watching. I had never experienced a Christmas boat parade before, as I am normally in Washington during December. It was a cool experience, and a fun, free way to get in the holiday spirit!

Most recently, I traveled to Fort Myers for the weekend and saw the Edison and Ford Estates lights. Each of the houses are decorated for Christmas, as well as the entire property. It was interesting to be able to see inside of the houses, while also getting in the Christmas spirit. I learned a lot about the two inventors, who both resided in Florida just over 100 years ago.The Estate is a beautiful piece of property on the river in Fort Myers, and is decorated every year for Christmas. I would definitely recommend going!

Inside Henry Ford's house

Inside Henry Ford’s house

As of now, there are only 11 days until Christmas, and I am sure I will find even more fun things to do before then! It may be weird singing “Winter Wonderland” while driving in Daytona Beach on an 80 degree December day, but there are many ways to get into the Christmas spirit in Florida… you might just have to look at little harder to find them!

Wishing you a happy holiday season!

Lindsey

 

R&R

By the time finals week rolled around here at ERAU, the library became completely packed, Starbucks was busy at all hours of the day (and night), and all of us students were eagerly packing our bags for our journeys home for the holidays. After all of the stress of finals week, our Fall 2014 Semester was finally complete and we were free to relax for a few weeks. I spent my break at my home in Lake Tapps, WA with my family and friends. Although it was filled with rest and relaxation, I also kept a somewhat busy schedule…

Before I left Florida, it only felt fitting to go to Walt Disney World one last time. I went with my boyfriend and we enjoyed looking at all of the spectacular holiday decorations Disney puts up. We also took time to ride a few rides (although it was very busy), visit Minnie and Mickey, watch the Electrical Parade, and end our night with the fireworks show.

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Once I finally got back to the Evergreen State, I was greeted with cool, crisp air the minute I walked out of the airport. As I got used to the cold over the next week, I had the chance to go to my first NBA game, which was the Portland Trail Blazers versus the San Antonio Spurs at the Moda Center in Portland, OR. It was a really cool experience getting to actually go to a game. I also went to The Nutcracker Ballet in Seattle, as well as a Michael W. Smith Christmas Concert with my family. My friends and I spent one night driving around Seattle to find the best Christmas light decorations around. We definitely found some over-the-top decorations. 

Our view at the NBA game.

Our view at the NBA game.

The curtain at The Nutcracker.

The curtain at The Nutcracker.

The week before Christmas was spent baking cookies, wrapping presents, having the annual gingerbread house competition, and watching Christmas movies with my family. It really is the best time of the year!

David and I's entry in the Gingerbread House Competition. We definitely won!

David and I’s entry in the Gingerbread House Competition. We definitely won!

Although we did not have a White Christmas at my house like I was hoping for, we did manage to get some snow in the Cascade Mountain Range with just enough time left for me to go skiing before I departed for the Sunshine State once again.

My dad, younger sister, boyfriend, and two other friends all went up to Crystal Mountain Ski Resort one day, and we had an amazing time. The mountain had just got over 20 inches of snow that weekend, so the snow conditions were wonderful! What wasn’t so wonderful was the weather… After a few runs on the small hill, we decided to head up the chairlift to the Summit. That day it was 7 degrees and very windy, however we did manage to make it a great day full of skiing.

David, myself, and Brian waiting to ride the Gondola to the Summit at Crystal Mountain.

David, myself, and Brian waiting to ride the Gondola to the Summit at Crystal Mountain.

The drive to Crystal Mountain.

The drive to Crystal Mountain.

All in all, I would call my break a success. It was full of rest and relaxation, family time, and adventures. Now that I am back at ERAU, I do miss the feeling of being stress-free and spending time with my family and friends, but I am also ready to see what this semester has in store for me!

Until next time,

Lindsey