Archive | December, 2012

Goodbye, 2012

31 Dec

In honor of the new year, I decided that I would reflect back on 2012 and come up with twelve awesome things that I did in this pastyear.

  1. I had my first, full time, all summer job. And I was asked to come back next summer!
  2. I renewed my American Quarter Horse Association membership and joined their RIDE program. Log hours, get prizes. It’s like showing, but you don’t have to leave the trail!
  3. I visited the Outer Banks for the first time and got involved with the Corolla Wild Horse Fund. Awesome fund for an awesome cause.
  4. I learned how to knit! Yes, I consider this awesome. I learned about three months ago, and I’m completely hooked.
  5. I spent Christmas at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida with my parents. That was pretty awesome.
  6. I had an awesome fall semester – a B in comparative vertebrate anatomy? I’ll take it!
  7. I kept a memory jar this year. While I forgot to bring it home to add more to, and to dump it out this evening to look over everything I did this year, it was really neat to see it fill up and be able to just glance through what I did and remember the little things.
  8. Mom (re)taught me to make Potato Candy! If you haven’t tried it, it’s really fun and it only takes one small potato, two pounds of powdered sugar, and peanut butter.
  9. I downloaded Adobe Photoshop again and I’ve been working on some awesome edits. It might not be much, but I do pride myself in my graphic design.
  10. I’ve become more comfortable with “who I am”. I think that’s a good thing, yes?
  11. This may seem silly, but I bought Christmas presents with my own money this year. Sure, I did it over the summer when I had money from my summer job coming it, but I did it. I’m quite proud of that.
  12. I turned 21. I think that’s a big accomplishment.

Thirteen New Years Resolutions

  1. Ride my horse more! The only rides you regret are the ones you miss. Sure, I’m not home a lot, but I want to make the most out of every moment I’m at the barn. Four to five times a week, please.
  2. Get healthy. No, I don’t want to lose x amount of pounds, but I want to eat a balanced, healthy diet, and cut out a lot of pop. I’m going to be out in the “real world” soon, and I don’t see getting healthy hurting me any.
  3. Learn to cable stitch for my knitting. I can do a lot with cable stitching!
  4. On the same subject, I’d like to knit an afghan.
  5. Get a 3.0 this upcoming semester. With microbiology, parisitology, chemistry II, and research design and statistics II, this is going to be an interesting semester.
  6. Do more photography. I haven’t done much lately, and I want to do more.
  7. Study for the VCAT/MCAT and GRE. I have the books, I just need to actually read them.
  8. Spend less time on the computer. That seems to be my biggest habit…
  9. Procrastinate less. On everything.
  10. Finish my community service hours. I need so many to graduate, and I’d like to finish those up this summer.
  11. Support local shops (instead of chains) as much as possible.
  12. Stay organized for class! I can usually do this for, oh, six weeks, and come finals I’m a mess. I’d like to stay organized so finals aren’t so stressful.
  13. Unplug cords I’m not using, shut off the lights when I’m not in the room, and so forth. Save the planet a little at a time!

What have you accomplished this past year? What are your resolutions?

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For the past week, I have been at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

31 Dec

Interested in planning a trip, or do you already have a trip reserved? Keep reading! Over the next week, I will go in depth about each park, talking about my favorite attractions and shows, and explaining why some attractions did not make my “let’s do that again” list.

Leaving before the end of the week? Here’s my top three for each park.

Magic Kingdom

  • The Magic Kingdom Mountain Range – Space, Splash, and Thunder Mountain. Only have time for one? Go for Thunder Mountain in Frontier Land.
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant. Its not a trip to Disney without a ride on this classic.
  • The Mad Tea Party. Again, its a classic. See how fast you can get them to spin!

Epcot

  • Test Track. Disney joined with Chevrolet, and spiced up this ride with a little design-your-own-car magic and on the ride,¬† you do “test” the car, and you see how your car ranks along with the others in your group. Really neat!
  • Soarin’ – I’ve been waiting years to get on this ride, and yes, it is awesome. You don’t move much at all, but the sensation IS like you are truly flying. I have been nauseated on some rides like this in the past, but this one wasn’t a problem.
  • The Seas with Nemo and Friends. Why? The ride lets out in a giant aquarium, where you’ve got to catch Turtle Talk with Crush, whether or not you have kids. It’s quite funny to hear some of the things that the kids come up with to ask him.

Hollywood Studios

  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster! This is probably my favorite roller coaster of all time. Featuring Aerosmith, it’s quite the rockin’ ride. Have you ever hit a loop from the bottom before? This coaster goes from 0-60 mph in under three seconds, and the first thing you hit is a loop.
  • Toy Story Midway Mania. Okay, this ride has been there for at least four years, but this has been the first time we have been able to do it due to a two hour plus wait time. Is it worth the wait? If you’re going for three days, probably not, but if you’re going for five or more, yes!!! It’s an absolute blast.
  • Fantasmic. While this night time show isn’t what it once was, it is definitely worth catching!

Animal Kingdom

  • Expedition Everest. Are you up for a thrilling ride through Mount Everest? It’s quite the adventure, and you’re in for quite a surprise when the Yeti destroys your track.
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris. Not just for animal lovers, this is a wonderful trek through the Kilimanjaro reserve to see their protect animals. There was a baby rhino when we were there! Our guide pointed out a hidden Donald Duck on the lion’s rocks. Ask your guide if s/he knows about it.
  • Finding Nemo: The Musical. Definitely unique, it’s a super cute show combining the hit Finding Nemo, and theatrics. The props that they use are unforgettable.

Here’s just a few additional tips for those staying on Disney property:

  • Don’t forget to use your extra magic hours, especially the evening ones! The wait for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster dropped from 100+ minutes to 40 or less. Thunder Mountain went from 60 minutes to ten. Be sure to have your hotel key on you, though. That’s how they make sure you’re a park guest.
  • If your hotel offers mugs that are free to refill at the resort for every day of your stay, bite the bullet and spend the $15 on the mugs. My family and I calculated it out. By eating lunch and dinner at the resort the first day, and breakfast and lunch at the resort the second day, the mug had already paid for itself, looking at the cost of an individual drink for each meal. Add on the hot chocolate and coffee that we had, and it was well worth the initial cost.
  • Bring two pairs of shoes. This seems little crazy, but if you switch off every day, your feet will be less likely to ache. Trust me, comparing 2011 to 2012 Christmas, all three of us had less achey feet over this past Christmas.
  • Purchase Birnbaum’s Official Guide to Walt Disney World, especially if you have never been there before. It ranks each ride and show, so you can figure out which ones certain members of your party may want to skip, and they also have half day suggestions if you’re traveling with toddlers, because one day is just too much for them. No, I’m not being paid to endorse them, but every year since our very first time vising Disney World, probably fifteen years or so ago, we’ve bought them and they’ve been a huge help.

Be sure to drop by the blog later this week to see what I have to say, much more in depth, about each park!

 

Merry Christmas Eve

24 Dec

Have a wonderful holiday and don’t forget the reason for the season!

New phone, more updates.

5 Dec

Hey, all. I know I’ve struggled to stay updated recently with Take Flight¬† with school and everything, but I have good news! My old BlackBerry was traded in at the end of my contract and I am now the proud owner of a Samsung Galaxy S3. Therefore I should be able to update on-the-go. The WordPress app didn’t work all too well on my BlackBerry; let’s hope it does better on the Galaxy.

Please Remember: Don’t Give Pets This Holiday Season.

1 Dec

Year after year, pets are given as a Christmas gift because they are “just so cute!” Honestly, who can argue that logic? What people seem to forget is that while your sweet, six year old cousin Claire is begging for a puppy, it won’t be Claire doing all of the work to take care of the puppy. Mommy and daddy have to clean up after it, and pay for the cost of vet bills, food, collars, leashes, dog licenses…the list goes on and on. Another thing that people seem to forget is that puppies don’t stay puppies forever, and kids may lose interest in them once their new furry friend loses its baby face. It is wrong to place an animal in a home just for it to be abandoned a few short months later. A pet is a family member, not a toy that can be tossed away when the child gets tired of it.

Why am I bringing this up? I go to school in an area with a huge population of stray animals, and the number of strays seen around campus always seems to go up around January, February, and March. Why? People don’t want to pay the drop off fee at shelters, so they dump their child’s Christmas gift from Aunt Katie and Uncle Jim. If they didn’t pay to get the pet fixed, this brings up a huge array of problems. In theory, one female dog that is not spayed can produce 67,000 dogs through her and her puppies. Do you see my point? Sixty-seven THOUSAND dogs, when there are already over three million dogs in shelters throughout the United States. Long story short, over one million animals are euthanized in shelters in one month in the United States. Please, think before purchasing an animal as a pet, because if that puppy that Claire wants ends up being dumped on the streets, she could end up starving to death, being picked up by an animal shelter and euthanized in the shelter, hit by a car, or producing thousands of other dogs that would be unwanted.

This breaks my heart to say, because I think every (domesticated) animal deserves a home. The harsh reality needs to be known, though.

What brings this up? My lovely roommate and I came across another stray puppy today (the third in three weeks). Two were males and one was a female…and neither male was fixed. These sweet dogs were all homeless, and the males were able to reproduce and create more homeless dogs (and on another topic entirely, larger dogs can breed with coyotes and create a dangerous mix). Today’s stray was incredibly sweet, and he’d hop right on your lap and give kisses. I like to think positive and say “Okay, he’s pretty clean, and he’s so friendly, there’s no way he was born a stray. Perhaps he could have just slipped his collar” but he may have been dumped if he was too much work for some families. And no animal deserves to be dumped on the streets.

If you would like to know more facts, please visit the Humane Association’s WebPage.