2012

Awesome Spring Break Destinations: No Passports Allowed

Spring break is right around the corner—finally! It’s time to spend a week on a cozy beach, in a city, or at least somewhere interesting! And the best part is you don’t need to worry about your awful passport photo. All you need is you, your gear and a friend or two. Unless you’re the loner type, in which case, bring some extra pepper spray. Let’s get these vacaciones started!

1.     South Padre Island
Don’t let its name fool you! This little bit of beach is on the southernmost tip of Texas. For those who don’t know geography well, that leaves you along the Gulf Coast. There’s tons of water activities to choose from, like parasailing or dolphin watching, horseback rides on the beach, and pools if sand isn’t your style. Fresh Gulf shrimp or some other local bites will be sure to wow your taste buds, and there are plenty of clubs and bars to keep the party going all night long.

2.     Myrtle Beach
I’m sure many of you have heard of or been to this popular spot in South Carolina. With temperatures around 70, it’s the perfect not-too-tropical-but-still-toasty beach destination! Beach houses can easily be rented for large groups so you can share the cost and the memories with ease. There’s Family Kingdom Amusement Park and Water Park if you get bored with the normal beach town agenda, along with theaters, clubs, bars, you name it! Sounds like a good time for everyone.

 3.     Las Vegas
Be careful. It’s called Sin City for a reason. Plan the ultimate high-rollers get away with your friends. Even if gambling isn’t in your budget (and you should seriously make a strict budget for gambling if you plan to), there’s still action around every corner. A wide variety of shows, like Cirque du Soleil and the Blue Man Group, will surely keep you entertained during your week off. Remember, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas—just don’t abuse it like The Hangover boys.

 4.     Crested Butte
It’s been a light winter almost everywhere, so make up for it this year with a wintery spring break ski trip in Colorado! Crested Butte is one of the best skiing destinations. If you need some serious R&R, this little town has several great spas to choose from. You’ll get back to school feeling like a whole new you. You can even give dog sledding or ice fishing a try! Talk about the best snow days ever.

5.     Santa Barbara
Everyone goes to LA, San Fran, or San Diego. Try a different Cali vacation in just-as-sunny Santa Barbara. You can choose from plenty of beaches (duh), as well as parks and picnic areas to enjoy the outdoors without always being in your swim trunks. If you love art, you can visit one of the best art museums in the country: Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Though there’s many other galleries and museums to choose from. Exercise nut? There’s plenty of trails to take your bike on or hike around; you’ll be so busy pedaling your break away, your friends will be envious of your buffed bod when you return.

 6.     Jackson Hole
 Haven’t heard of it? It’s a small-ish ski town in Wyoming. This is another need-to-go-to vacation spot for you snow bunnies. If you don’t know how to ski, it is said this spot is the best place to begin. By the end of your trip, you’ll be a pro (unless you’re really uncoordinated, just not meant to ski or hate the snow so much you don’t put an effort in). Like Crested Butte, Jackson Hole boasts many great spa options and shopping. And if you have a late spring break, you just might get to be part of its Mountain Festival on March 30th! So if you’re without snow and itching to ski, get your booty to Wyoming.

 7.     Oahu
This is the place to be if you love luaus, beachy time and relaxation. You can even go island hopping! Instead of getting your athlete on in the snow, do it in the water! At an average of 80º year round, the water is perfect for shark encounters, kite boarding, surfing and snorkeling—just don’t get eaten. Golf courses, beaches, cave exploring, or seeing the endangered parrots are just the tip of the iceberg (though you won’t find any here) for this island dream vacay. Don’t forget your sun screen!

 8.     Ocean City
No, not where Marissa tragically died along with the TV show. Travel to Ocean City, Maryland! Though it won’t be super warm like California, the weather will still likely fair around the 60s or 70s. But there’s plenty to do besides hit up beaches! Maryland crab cakes are a must (my mouth is watering at the thought), as well as seeing the famous Assateague ponies, just 9 miles from the main city and surrounded by great nature trails for a day trip. Their downtown area is known for its history, so take a few steps backwards by visiting the Life-Saving Station Museum.

 9.     Salt Lake City
Though they’re sadly won’t be any Olympics going on, there’s still plenty to do in this great Utah city! Plus, you can visit the Olympic venues to lessen your sorrows. Temple Square downtown is another popular spot, with guided tours, interactive exhibits, and more. Plus it features the largest genealogy library in the world. Salt Lake also has a nice art collection, for all the art lovers (like moi) in the crowd. Depending on the weather, you can add winter or spring athletics to the itinerary too! So, basically, come to Salt Lake to do some sight-seeing and wish for the Olympics.

 10.  New Orleans
A little too late for Mardi Gras, but that isn’t all this historical city has to offer! There are plenty of festivals to choose from in March, like Soul Fest at the Audubon Zoo celebrating African American culture or Saint Patrick’s Day Festivities from the 11th-18th, with big parades, street parties that rival Mardi Gras and some delicious Louisiana grub. You can also visit the many different areas of the city, including the French Quarter, full of beautiful architecture, plenty of museums, and—of course—tasty treats. There’s so much to do, I hardly even know what to write about next! Take it from me, there won’t be a single dull moment.

Feliz vacaciones mis amigos!

-ToonyToon

I’m reading Anthropology: Appreciating Human Diversity

Exciting New Movies Coming Out in 2012

There is nothing I love more than a bucket of popcorn, sour gummies, and a good movie. However as college students, many of us don’t get to movies quite as often as we would like. When I was home over winter break I was able to re-grasp reality and figure out what was showing, but now we are back at school, and weekends are filled with award shows all highlighting a majority of movies I barely remembering hearing about. School sucks you in and if you’re lucky you get an update from your newsfeed with friends raving about a movie that you can then quickly YouTube for a preview.

So to help ease us from our class coma, I did a little research about some movies that are coming out later this spring. I don’t mind telling you I’m super excited about some of these titles. I’ve seen previews for most of them and they look like winners!

I haven’t quite jumped on the “Hunger Games” bandwagon but from what I’ve heard, the books are outstanding. Everyone—from children to adults, even my grandparents—have at least heard the title. After such a successful launch in the literary world, avid moviegoers are abuzz with anticipation for the movie to come out. The movie is starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen. In just a few short weeks this film will be released and I’m sure will be an instant hit. Look for it in theaters March 23rd.

Another movie I’m just dying to see is “Mirror Mirror”, an adaptive Snow White Fairy tale of sorts. After seeing Julia Roberts in the preview I was instantly sold. Sometimes I pretend that life’s a fairy tale so why not partake in a little break from reality and indulge in this witty take on a classic tale. You can see this movie starting March 30th.

April is filled with movie madness. There is a whole plethora of pictures coming out, all of which I can’t wait to see. First we have a renewed classic coming to the screen one more time. Having been the top grossing movie of all time until Avatar, Titanic is set to re-hit theaters April 4 in 3-D. I don’t know about you, but I secretly want to go watch.

On April 6th, another installment of the American Pie movies is set to come out—American Reunion. It looks like this one is the “where are they now” movie when the original cast come back, for you guessed it, their high school class of ’99 reunion. I was skeptical at first. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but having grown up with three brothers, two of which are older, I have heard all about these movies. They have a certain comical value and great cast, so it may be worth seeing!

Rounding out the April the grouping is The Five Year Engagement. This movie comes to us from the directors of Bridesmaids and is starring Emily Blunt and Jason Segal. It looks like it’s packed full of laughs and fun. Ever since I saw the Devil Wears Prada, I’ve been a sucker for Emily Blunt. I will line up around the block to see this one—not to mention I’ve got weddings on the brain with both my oldest brother recently getting engaged, and my boyfriend’s sister set to get hitched this June! This looks like it’s going to be a crowd pleaser and I can’t wait to see it!

And last but not least on my list of movies to make sure you go and see is Men In Black III. I remember watching the first MIB with my brothers being confused but acting interested.  After more than 10 years since the original came out, I’m sure MIB diehard fans are already counting down the seconds until it’s May 25th release date. I want to be part of the hoopla and will of course make sure to go see it! Any move with Will Smith is worth watching in my book, and from what my brothers tell me, with 10 years to brainstorm, this one is sure to be an upgrade and just as exciting if not more so than the original!

-Ring Queen

I’m reading Writing Today