After visiting Arizona in 2009, I really liked the climate, the landscape, and the state in general. I have been thinking about Arizona ever since and how interesting it would be to spend some of my life there.

Now that I’m a junior in high school I’ve been starting to think about colleges and what might be the right fit for me. I know if I were to go out of state it would be extremely more expensive opposed to if I stay in state. Honestly, I believe the best fit for me would be out of state in the southern part of the United States. I believe this because the climate is much more mild and warmer then Iowa’s weather.

A specific college I have been more serious about is Arizona state University in Tempe, Arizona. This college is in my mind not only because of the warm weather aspect but also because It is a big college. By big I mean 80,000 people, 60,000 attend classes on campus and 20,000 are enrolled on the online courses. I am interested in big colleges with good sports teams being football or basketball. Another reason Arizona State could be fitting for me is that they have pools around and on campus in which I could lifeguard at year-round. Lifeguarding is my current job and I really enjoy it at the moment but won’t be able to continue guarding if I go to college in state. Other then working at the pools I would definitely want to go layout and get some sun at them which I wouldn’t be able to do in Iowa either. The last other little reason Arizona could be reasonable is because I have an uncle living there. My uncle is my moms brother and could help me out if I were to need anything urgent.

Arizona looks pretty amazing in my eyes but in reality, I have no clue how it would actually be. My family is taking me to tour the university in the spring before my senior year. I will then get to see the set up of the campus and how big it literally is. Compared to the universities in Iowa, Arizona State is at least 50,00 students greater. That is significant coming from small town Cedar Rapids. I’m looking forward to visiting Arizona State and comparing it to all the other colleges I plan on touring.


Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix, Arizona is where my uncle Michael lives. Arizona is in the southwestern part of the United States with hundreds of cacti and hours of hot burning sunshine. My uncle loves Phoenix and has lived there for the past ten years and plans on staying.

My family and I were curious why my uncle liked Arizona so much and we decided to plan a vacation there. We vacationed to AZ in 2009 for spring break. Yes, not quite a beach vacation as we all like but it was still warm and relaxing. A few activities we did were the Grand Canyon, the Desert Botanical Gardens, horseback riding, a baseball game at the Scottsdale Stadium, shopping in Scottsdale, and we had a pool day. The most memorable activity was the Grand Canyon by far. We got to walk along the edge of the biggest canyon in the United States. The canyon was lined with beautiful colors covering ever wall and slope. For more information on the Grand Canyon go to this website. The Grand Canyon is a viewpoint you cannot miss out on if you’re in Phoenix. Other then the Grand  Canyon we went horseback riding through the desert. This was my first time riding a horse and it was a good opportunity that I would take again. My horses name was Carmel and my moms horse was named Princess. Carmel was a better behaved horse compared to Princess, Princess had some problems with staying on route and listening to the tour guide. I was just happy it was my moms horse and not mine. Lastly, the Desert Botanical Gardens were really interesting having many different sculptures and visuals I have never seen before. An example of the sculptures are colorful, swirly, long or short, glass objects standing throughout the whole garden. These sculptures were places with the cacti, butterflies, plants and other wildflowers. Everything was very particular.

Visiting Arizona was not only to visit the cool various things we saw but to also see my uncle and spend time with him. The time spent in Arizona was special and I hope to go back someday and tour a college there. Arizona was highly liked by me and I could see myself living there someday or even vacationing there as a snowbird. Warmer climates are for me and Arizona suites that well.

KC for the Holidays

Leaves are falling, the air is becoming brisk, and everything is ready for harvest. This explains fall in Iowa. With every fall comes Halloween and Thanksgiving, the holidays everyone enjoys. For every Thanksgiving my family packs up and heads south to Kansas City. In Kansas City we have many relatives who love making Thanksgiving meal.

We usually start the trip the day before Thanksgiving and then stay for Thanksgiving and of course Black Friday. I have an aunt with two kids and an uncle with a girlfriend living in Kansas City.  My family typically stays with my uncle because he is always a great laugh.

Thanksgiving day is busy for most people but my family doesn’t take it to seriously, we like to be relaxed. On the day of Thanksgiving we sleep in and then we just sit around talking and visiting with our relatives until about 1 o’clock when the food is finally prepared. The Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, ham, hot rolls, green bean casserole, stuffing, fruits and veggies, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. Then when everyone’s full we all watch movies and take naps to rest up for the long day of shopping ahead of us. That night we then drive out to the Country Club Plaza to view the turning on of the Christmas lights. The lights line the buildings and light up in a variety of different colors of the rainbow.

Finally, the day I get the most excited for, Black Friday where we literally “shop till we drop.” My mom and I get up at 3 in the morning and hit up all the malls and stores around the malls holding big sales. Malls we like to go to in Kansas City are, Zona Rosa, Legends, and Oak Park. A nicer upscale area you can go down to is the Country Club Plaza having more high end stores. You know that feeling of something dragging on and on, that is what Black Friday shopping with my mom and I feels like. By the end of the day our feet feel numb and we are ready for a long night of sleep.

Spending Thanksgiving in Kansas City is always really enjoyable because we get to meet up with all our extended family we rarely get to see and we get to shop in a bigger city. The time is limited but it’s always good to return back home to Iowa to see some friends before the school week starts up again.

Beach Concert

Have you ever seen a concert on the beach? I haven’t and every time I look into It, the idea sounds more fun. To vacation somewhere warm and spend a week on a beach with a star performer would be bunches of fun.

If I were to go to a beach concert I would definitely want to see a country singer. Country music is my favorite and whenever I listen to country I think of warm weather, summertime and relaxing. I think hearing Kennedy Chesney on the beach would be a great time. Kenney Chesney would be my preference because there is not one song in his albums I don’t like. Also, I have heard from friends that have gone to his concerts he is an outstanding performer.

I hope someday I will be able to experience a beach concert and specifically with country music. Maybe somewhere on a Caribbean island. You never know, a dream could always turn into reality.

Carnival Legend

The day before our flight to Tampa we got a call, “The Legend has been having engine problems.” I’ve been excited and looking forward to my spring break for months knowing I was going on a cruise. After my family and I receive this call we were all a little nervous about cruising but we packed up and left just like normal.

We landed in Tampa and boarded the Carnival Legend. The Legend was the ship we would be vacationing on for the whole week. The captain said not to worry and that we would be headed to our first destination in no time. We were all relived and became relaxed. The first stop was Cozumel, Mexico a little island off the coast of Rivera Maya, Mexico. After the boat was tied to the port my family raced off and went to look for our excursion we had booked. The excursion was a dune buggy tour. We all hopped on a dune buggy and got to stop at three locations. The first location was a swim and snorkel area where we put on snorkels and flippers an got to swim around with the fish and look at the coral. Onto the next location, a light house. My dad and I walked all the steep steps up to the top of the narrow light house and got to look out at the island, it was very scenic. Lastly, we went to a beach bar where we were fed lunch and got to lay out on the hot sandy beach. Then we had to buggy back to the port and aboard our boat before we missed it.

Our next destination was to Belize, a small country in central America. In this country we took an hour bus ride to the Mayan Ruins. Let me tell you this excursion was not worth it. We were all dehydrated, tired and not ready for the long bus ride there and back. Other then that the ruins were neat but we didn’t get much time to explore before we had to be back on the Legend.

The third country we got to visit was Roatan, Honduras. Roatan is a little island off the coast of Honduras. On Roatan we took a dolphin excursion in a secluded place just off the beach. In this secluded area there were quite a few dolphins swimming around and through your legs as you would swim. They were all so cute and we got many pictures with them. Time went by fast with the ocean animals, we quickly had to get back on the cruise ship.

Finally, the last destination for the trip, Costa Maya, Mexico. We went to Costa Maya instead of Grand Cayman. Yes, my family was all sad because we were really looking forward to Grand Cayman. But due to the engine problems the boat couldn’t travel as fast as they would have liked. Costa Maya was still a great time we went to a beach and relaxed for the day while ordering food and drinks. While we were there we got to shop a little and I got to have a photo-shoot on the beach.

Before we knew it the vacation had come to an end. We spent one last day at sea to get back to Tampa and then home we go. Leaving a vacation is the saddest thing for me. After experiencing all the fun activities we did and making memories It is quite depressing to go back home to the cold. I thought to myself, “Just have to wait one year until next spring break.”

Princess Regal

“You can bring a friend on our family spring break vacation this year.” After hearing this I was super excited and quickly decided to take my good friend Jane. Jane was all in and got her flights booked right away to join my family on our cruise.

My family planned a Princess cruise on the ship named the Regal. We chose the Regal because it was one of the newest Princess cruise ships and got great reviews. Also, this ship cruised to places we were interested in seeing. The places we sailed to were St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Princess Cays (A private island in the Bahamas owned by the cruise company).

First we stopped at Princess Cays, on this private island we relaxed on the beach and ate a nice grilled meal with many different fruits. Other then that we slathered on tanning oil in hopes we were tanning. Six hours went by and we got back on board the ship. As we went to shower and get ready for dinner we noticed how fried we got. The tanning oil damaged us, leaving our skin burning for the next couple days.

The next island we arrived at was St.  Thomas, on this island we took an all day snorkeling excursion to the island of St. John’s. This was the coolest experience I have ever had. We got to swim in the beautiful Caribbean looking at all the ocean animals and drifting ashore one of the top ten beaches in the world. Honeymoon beach was the name of this beach. The beach was so sandy and soft and I could have laid on it for a month.

Lastly, we came upon St. Maarten. St. Maarten is a very flat island with not much to do. My mom planned an  excursion so we wouldn’t be “Bored.” Not that you would be bored in the Caribbean anyways but “Da Party Bus” sounded pretty fun. That’s what we did, took a party bus around the island of St. Maarten. On this bus we got to see many gorgeous spots on the island and learn some background on it. After the tour, the bus dropped us off at a special beach on the island. This beach had airplanes flying over head taking bikini tops of ladies. It was quick a laugh to watch multiple people be taken by the airplane drifts.

These three islands conclude our vacation aboard the Princess Regal. We had a couple days at sea to return back to the port in Fort Lauderdale and then sadly we had to fly back home. Another great cruise with my family and Jane in the books. Already looking forward to our next one.

Holland America Eurodam

Flashback four years ago, my family decided to go out on limb and take a cruise for the first time. We joined in with another family to accompany us. One of our close family friends, the Sohn’s were also excited to cruise for their first time. The Sohn’s have two girls, one my age, Morgan and one my brothers age, Taylor. Basically, I had a friend and so did my brother.

We cruised out of Fort Lauderdale on a Saturday and were headed to our first destination, Grand Turk. On Grand Turk my family, Morgan and Taylor all took a snorkeling excursion. This excursion was quite an experience. The day we got there it was a nice blazing hot day, only one more detail, the tides were rocky. A rocky tide leaves for a very bumpy boat ride and snorkel tour. While we were on the boat and swimming in the ocean everything felt fine and we had a good time looking at all the fish and coral. Right as we exited the boat we had an instant head ache and the feeling of nausea. My mom, dad and I all laid down on the beach and passed out for a good hour and then my brother being his impatient self woke everyone up and announced he was hungry. Waking up from being sea sick was great, I felt way better then I did when I fell asleep. Although we got a little sick, the beach and scene of the place was amazing. The sand couldn’t have been softer and the beach was all ours.

Our second stop was Puerto Rico where we found ourselves walking around trying to find the ancient forts. These forts were used back in the day to protect the citizens when enemies would come over to fight. In these forts my family and I found old cannon balls, many secluded rooms, and little alleys. The forts were located in a neat spot, right above the ocean. When you would look down you would see the water from the Caribbean crashing up against the rock made to build the forts.

Onto the third stop, St. Thomas located in the Virgin Islands. On this island we shopped the local shops along the ocean side. I got a tee shirt from a store named, Local Color. Other then that we didn’t do much on the island, although I would have to say It was one of the prettiest islands Iv’e ever been on.

Lastly, we stopped at a private island in the Bahamas. Half Moon Cay was a relaxing kind of end of the trip island. My family relaxed on the beach along with the Sohn’s this day and enjoyed the warm sunshine and the clear, blue water. Morgan and I went on a parasailing ride. This was my first time parasailing and it was really cool looking at the island from a Birdseye view.

Then before we knew it, Saturday was here and the cruise had arrived back at Fort Lauderdale. Everyone deported the ship and went their separate ways. After a long week in the Caribbean we were sad to leave but we all said “until next time.” Since our first cruise we have been on two other ones. Holland America was a great experience and I would suggest it to other people trying to cruise.