Santa Cruz

Having just gotten back from my weeklong vacation in Santa Cruz, I am totally entranced by the city. I love how completely natural it is, all of the different options there for shopping, food and coffee. I love how much art there is, and what’s great is most of it is inspired by the ocean. It’s an incredibly creative place that I have been in love with for years now.

So in honor of my vacation to Santa Cruz, I am going to create my own top five list of activities to do in Santa Cruz.

 

5. Check out the local coffee shops and eateries. I had a great time testing out the different coffee shops that were around me.

4. Go see the mystery spot! The tour guides are funny and informative, and both adults and children can enjoy pretending to be Jack and Rose from the titanic and defy gravity. Warning: it can make you feel sick or dizzy. Also, make sure to make a reservation, the tickets are cheap but they fill up fast. But don’t worry, it’s totally worth getting that bright yellow mystery spot bumper sticker at the end.

3. SURF!! It’s not called Surf City for nothing. Santa Cruz is a great place for both beginners and veteran surfers to go out and share the waves. Plus you might see some dolphins like I did. (:

2. Go to the boardwalk. The big dipper is legendary, and one of the oldest roller coasters, but my personal favorite will always be the log ride. The best part about it is the  higher you go, the better the view seeing as the park is right on the beach.

1. Go whale watching in Monterey Bay! This is the one thing I have yet to do in Santa Cruz, probably because the tours only run from December to April due to migration patterns of the whales and I usually only go in the summer. However, it’s definitely on my bucket list and seems like it would be an amazing experience. If more people did tours like these, maybe there wouldn’t be such a high demand of those cruelty parks. Whoops. I meant Sea World. Seeing these magnificent animals in their natural habitat is a truly amazing experience and also the way these animals were meant to be seen. I believe it is totally worth the cost of about $50 a person.

Santa Cruz is a beautiful and utterly unique place, and I am definitely blessed to be able to access it so easily. So go experience it for yourself and check out Santa Cruz!

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What Every College Freshmen Should Bring To College

AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE. Having just finished my freshmen year at Whittier College and being an average female, I have first-hand experience on what and what not to do when packing for college. The biggest thing to keep in mind is all dorm rooms are exceptionally tiny– I don’t care if your at a small liberal arts college like me, or an Ivy like Stanford. They are all small. Trust me.  And you have to share that mini room with another person, sometimes more than one other person. So for the love of God, DO NOT bring everything on that packing list you found on Pinterest. You will regret it. And your roommate will secretly hate you (or maybe not so secretly.) Here is an example of a list you should not follow:

As for what you should bring, my biggest advice is, know yourself. Know your habits, your quirks, your flaws. Go to a yoga class and do some serious soul searching and reflect upon yourself. How much of this stuff will you actually use? For example, if your a reforming messiholic, I would suggest for silverware just bring one of everything. One coffee cup, one to-go mug, one plate, etc. That way, once you’ve used it, your forced to wash it the next time you need it. Which could still be months, if your as bad as I am.

Bring the things that you use on a daily basis, that’s just common sense. I don’t think I need to list tooth brush or hairbrush or curling iron, because those are things you use daily, depending on your habits.

So then the next thing to think about is how your going to store and organize your necessary items. Personally, I found that a plastic three drawer thingy that can be easily tucked away in a closet, one of the most important things I brought. Right along with the drying rack I brought, because TBH, dorm dryers suck.

Hopefully though, you have toured your dorm room either in person or online, and you know the general layout of the room, then you can start to plan where your going to store stuff. Under the beds, the closets, wherever you can find space really. I was actually spoiled with storage space, which  I didn’t realize so I brought too much storage stuff, like tubs and cubbies. But they still came in handy.

Personally, I think my family could have saved some money had we waited to buy storage stuff once I had already set up my room during move in day, and see what I still needed.

Anyways, onto some of the things I bought that I found very useful.

Scentsy: trust me, this comes in handy, especially if you have two smelly athletes in a room. And the best thing about them is they’re legal at almost every school because they’re not a fire hazard like candles are. But fabreeze can be just as effective.

Desk Lamp and Standing Lamp. I found it really helpful to have both. One by my bed, and one on my desk. For those nights when my roommate needed to sleep and I had to pull an all nighter. Just remember most of them will be too bright for comfort for your sleepy roommate so make sure you have something to put over the light. A hat or light blanket will do.

Shoe or Sweater Rack for your closet: Though this personally wasn’t necessary for me, because of all the storage space we have, I know that at a lot of colleges don’t have the same situation and these are a good way to save some closet space.

Mini Fridge: Unfortunately, I gave mine away bust this is a seriously helpful thing to have especially as an athlete. No one wants warm gatorade. But your Caf isn’t always going to be open and you will eventually go out to eat and bring home leftovers. You can also buy one of those thingys that go over the fridge and put your silverware and plates in the pockets on the side.

Keurig: No explanation needed. Coffee and Tea is 100% necessary.

Microwave: So this one is kinda optional. Most dorms have a community kitchen that will have microwaves, but TBH they’re kinda gross. So I brought one. And used it a lot. But do NOT be the person that burns the popcorn at 1 a.m. and sets on the fire alarm because I seriously wanted to kill you last semester.

Bathrobe: I was never really a bathrobe kinda person until I got to college and lived right next to guys. Then it became completely necessary and I was so thankful I had it when my roommate locked me out while I was in the shower.

Other than that, just bring the obvious necessary items like towels (you really don’t need that many), clothes, school items, trashcan, etc. Filling a dorm room really isn’t difficult and as for decorating, it’s better to stay cheap and personalize fun things. Make as  much as you can. Do crafts with your friends, and then the decorations will serve multiple purposes; it’s decorative and turns those terribly white walls to cozy and they’re great memories. Also remember, bring nothing that damages the walls so command strips are important.

Good luck on your college adventures! 🙂