Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Beauty and The Brain

Lately I've been thinking about who I want to be. Do I want to be the girl who gets a plentiful nights sleep and studies for hours, or do I want to be the girl who wakes up at 5 to begin transforming herself from a mess to a model with the magic of makeup? I've come to the indecisive decision that I want to be both. Who says I can't be beautiful and brilliant?

Some of my all time inspirations include Emma Watson, Eleanor Calder and Zooey Deschanel. Coincidentally, all 3 of these incredible women are greatly educated and opinionated. They also have a killer sense of style. Emma, Eleanor and Zooey always remind me that I have every right to be thoughtful and clever while wearing designer clothes the whole time.

Emma Watson is my biggest role model. She simultaneously filmed 5 major motion pictures while working towards her degree at Brown University. She also recently spoke at a UN conference about what a feminist truly is, and how a woman should not be afraid to declare herself one. At both of these prestigious events, Emma was rocking a red lip. Talk about girl power.

Some people (One direction fans) might think having Eleanor Calder as one of my inspirations is a bit silly, but I have a completely valid reason for looking up to her. Eleanor is a completely independent woman, who graduated from the University of Manchester. She managed to go on tour with her boyfriend and study for finals simultaneously. Eleanor always looks perfectly chic, and rocks the minimalistic style even though her boyfriend could buy her a diamond bikini. 

Not only do I love Zooey Deschanel for her show New Girl, I love her for what she stands for. Zooey is another avid spokeswoman for feminism, which I really look up to. Zooey manages to do so much (music, film, television, HelloGiggles) while looking retro, cute and comfy. Zooey is definitely more of a style inspiration, but I really adore her personality, drive and opinions as well. 
(p.s. Emily Deschanel is pretty rockin' too) 


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Mayan Ruins, Selfies and Snuba | Belize 2014

Welcome back to my Belize Travel Journal...thing.
If you want to check out the first few days you can click here!

The 4th day I spent in Belize was a bit boring compared to the others, but fun all the same! We visited Xunantunich Mayan Ruins (It took me the whole trip to learn how to say that... shoe-nan-too-nitch) which were quite spectacular. We then hopped on the bus and drove to Chaa Creek History Center where we got to learn loads about blue morpho butterflies and walk into a cage full of them. BLUEtiful! I think we visited a few schools on this day, but I'm not entirely sure. I'm not very good at interacting with children, so I didn't really enjoy the school trips. The kids did seem to enjoy us though! :)

Day 5 was our last day on the mainland of Belize and we spent it by visiting a baboon sanctuary. I don't know why they called it a baboon sanctuary seeing as all that was there was howler monkeys. Hm.
The lady who was our monkey guide so-to-speak was a character. In an effort to attract the monkeys to where we were she made grunting monkey noises, without any thought as to what a bunch of 13 years olds would think of it. 

Well there, I told you about everything we did on the mainland of Belize. Obviously I left things out, like souvenir shopping, water stops at local grocery stores, what the money there was like, and hotel free time, but you get the jist. 

Next we traveled via water taxi to Ambergris Caye (Ambergris means whale vomit f.y.i.). The water taxi was probably one of the worst things I have ever experienced. First off, the ride from Belize to the island was 2 and a half hours. The boat we were on was not made for such a long journey; we were all jammed in the undercarriage of the boat, no fresh air was capable of getting in. There was at least 40 people on the boat, and there was only 27 life jackets. Terrible.

Although I prefered the jungle compared to Ambergris Caye, it was still a great time. We got the chance to Snuba and snorkel which I jumped on the chance to do. It was such a great experience to swim above the second largest coral reef in the world and look down at the millions of fish below you. I will never forget that in my life. (Before anyone asks, Snuba is essentially scuba diving, but you don't have an air regulator attached to your back- it floats about you on a raft.)
Out hotel was right on the beach, and if you walked down to the dock you could see a man of war jellyfish floating around... so glad I didn't go swimming there! There was also a family of seahorses that hung around the dock which were incredible. 
On the last day we rode the dreaded water taxi back to the mainland and started the long drive back to the airport. I am so glad I went on this trip, and it is definitely life changing. After I got home I went into a post-trip depression for a few days... that's how much I loved it there! All the people in Belize are so lovely and they treat everyone like family. I never encountered an unfriendly Belizian.



This place had unbeatable burritos!


Blue Morpho

On of the teacher chaperones taking a selfie with some local school kids!

Yep. You read that right. Cashew wine. *cringe*

Howler Monkey

Pray time

Nesting Jabiru storks. A.k.a the largest flying bird in the world!

Ah. The wonderfully terrible underwater camera pictures.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Monkeys, Dogs, and Tricky Mennonites | Belize 2014

June of 2014 is home to one of the greatest experiences of my life. On June 2nd, about 5 days after freshman year ended, I packed up my bags to travel to Belize with a group of kids and teachers from my old middle school. I was a bit weary of being one of only 6 high-schoolers going, but I decided once I got to the airport that age didn't matter, seeing as everyone going was just as nervous as I was. It was the first time I had ever traveled alone, without my parents I mean, and the first time I had ever even left the county. The fact that I had to be at the airport at 2:45 a.m didn't help my mood; my mom got to deal with a grumpy, tired, nervous girl for 3 hours before my flight.
The travel group consisted of about 25 people, so it took us quite a while to get through customs. Security was also a bit of a mess, seeing as the metal detectors kept picking my metal in my collarbone and head...?  Mom, is there anything you need to tell me?! 

After the 6 hour flight was over and we landed in Belize City, saying I had culture shock would be a bit of an understatement. We left Denver in an air conditioner airport with bridges to get into the airplane and we arrived at a building no bigger than your local drug store, by getting out the plane through emergency exit steps. Not to mention the ground was covered in dead months bigger than my passport. *cringe* 
The first hotel we stayed at was Birds Eye View Lodge, and it was a cute little thing. We were right on the shore of a lake, and there was hermit crabs crawling around everywhere. To be honest, the first few nights were hell because I was terribly homesick and I was roomed with 2 girls who didn't like each other. I was quiet as could be for a few days, and didn't really feel like I fit in. Most of the kids there already knew each other and I only knew the teachers.
I did make some friends by the end of the trip, and I do regret my the gloominess I had the first few days. Who cares if you're alone, you're in a foreign country for goodness sakes! Make the most of it!

The first day we were in the country we went to the Lamanai Mayan Ruins, took a boat ride on the Belize New River, and drove by the Old Sugar Mill. The mayan ruins were beyond cool. Our tour guide, Roberto, knew basically everything there was to know about Belize, so it was very educational. There were lots of temple you could climb up, some being over 200 ft. tall I believe, and get a panoramic view of the area. The entire country only has 300,000 people in it, so the views you get are not of skyscrapers but miles and miles of rainforest. Stunning. 
The Belize New River tour was also spectacular- we actually got to the ruins by taking a boat. We were on the lookout for wildlife the whole time. 
One of Belize's primary exports in sugar/sugar cane, and we got to the factory just as they were bringing in the last few truckload of sugar cane stalks. 

The next day we left my least favorite hotel, Birds Eye View (I hated how cliquey everyone was there... why are you forming cliques?! You're in Belize.) and traveled in our charter bus to San Ignacio to stay at Windy Hill Resort. I don't actually remember this hotel all that well, but they probably hate stellar food. All the food is Belize was fantastic and different. I got to try ceviche and lots of other strange foods. My favorite was the homemade burritos, obviously.  
Day 3 consisted of visiting Peccary Hills National Park,  taking a jungle hike, cave tubing, and ziplining. This was probably my favorite day of the trip. I really enjoyed the jungle hike - I loved seeing all the unique plants and their uses. This hike was actually more of a survival hike, so our guide would show us edible and useful plants we could eat or use. It was unbelievable how much there was. 
Most people haven't ever heard of cave tubing, but if you ever get the chance to do it I strongly recommend it. Belize has lots of natural caves that have rivers running through them, and cave tubing is basically where you sit in a tube and go down the river through the cave. Your not allowed to get out of your tube, but it is very relaxing and the caves are full of beautiful formations.
Ziplining was such an experience. We got to go on a course that went all through the jungle and over rivers. I really want to do it again... so thrilling!

I'm going to end the post know because it is getting a bit long, but I'll post part two tomorrow! Check back to read the rest of my life changing adventure! 


Bird's Eye View

'Jesus Christ' bird

Here's some local mennonites we saw on the way to Lamanai...

And on the way back! 

Mask Temple

High Temple. To get up, you had to hold onto the rope and basically scale the side!

Hot face I'm pullin'

Check out the names... ;)

Water vine

I wasn't allowed to take my camera cave tubing or ziplining... so here's a crappy picture of the sign! haha x