Finally Fall

Fall is definitely my favorite season of the year. My birthday and everything else that is magical takes place in the fall. The leaves start changing colors and the air suddenly becomes crisp and refreshing after the hottest summer months.

There are so many fun activities to take part in during the fall season. Corn mazes, haunted houses, pumpkin carving, and dressing up for Halloween are some of my favorites. The city of Gainesville truly has so many fall activities for people of all ages to enjoy!

During this time of year, I love to visit Payne’s Prairie. Visiting the Prairie is also a great way to stay active at school. One of my favorite trails is the La Chua trail that is about 3 miles round trip. After you make it past the alligators and wild horse poop (yuck!), there is an observatory deck that is amazing for taking in the beautiful scenery! Last week, my boyfriend and I enjoyed a visit to the trail to appreciate the fall weather.

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What are your favorite fall activities?

– Liz

75 Recipes to Make for a -Healthy- MLB Playoffs Party

As a child I would meticulously set up my Barbie house in the near vicinity of our 90’s box TV. Especially around this time of  year too. October is my birthday month, so I felt it was my right to enjoy extra long play time. By the time my father got home at the end of the day, I had had my fill of fun and suffered from “little kid fighting their tiredness” syndrome and would often cry at the littlest crisis. My dad would lay out the line, “there’s no crying in baseball!,” just like he had stepped out of A League of Their Own.

There was no irony for his use of a baseball movie quote, because baseball was on our TV; more specifically the MLB Playoffs. The TV that I was blocking every time I got up to take Barbie and her *totally cute* boyfriend Ken to their fancy dinner date in the kitchen as my mom prepared our dinner. (Maybe Ken played baseball?!)

The point I’m getting at here is baseball has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My grandfather (b. 1918) grew up in Boston and unbelievably became a Yankees fan. His father would take him to Fenway anytime the Great Bambino and the Yanks came to town. I grew up going to spring training games in Tampa to see my fave, Derek Jeter: number 2 on the field, number 1 in my heart.

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I took this photo of Jeter at his last spring training game!

So with that being said, THE 2016 MLB PLAYOFFS ARE HERE!!! My team may not have made it, but who doesn’t love enjoying a playoff party with friends and family?

In order to throw the perfect playoff party, you have to have a great food lineup. When you think about baseball food, hotdogs, pretzels, and beer probably come to mind. *Instead* of those carb loaded foods, try a few of these 75 healthy game day party recipes. The eggplant fries are definitely one of my favorites on this list!
My pizza recipe could also make for a great appetizer to share!

Whether you are cheering for the Chicago Cubs, Toronto Blue Jays, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Dodgers, or Washington Nationals, you will hit a home run using any of these recipes!

Checklist to throw the perfect fun and -health conscious- MLB playoff party:

– TV and appropriate TV service for viewing MLB games
– Comfortable seating, more specifically a big comfy couch
– Minimal decorations to support your team; festive but not fussy
– Any of the 75 healthy game day recipes!
– Variety of drinks; alcoholic and non-alcoholic
– Friends and family

Enjoy and happy playoffs!

– Liz

Relaxation

It’s almost that time of the semester when midterms are bogging us down. Instead of stressing out and putting my body into a frenzy, I decided to take time for me! One of my favorite ways to relax is taking a nice hot shower and using a refreshing face mask.

After I was done with my face mask, I still didn’t feel totally relaxed… so I found the perfect bedtime yoga video! Boho Beautiful is now my favorite Youtube channel because they have so many awesome videos about yoga, exercise, health and nutrition.

~stress free~

– Liz

Review – Don’t Make Me Think

After reading “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug, the title is truly fitting. An overall concept in the book is making websites user friendly, therefore by not making the users think as much as they should have to. In order to have a good website you first need to start with that principle and base everything off of that. Things that can make a website easier to navigate are colored links different than the rest of the text on the page, headers, buttons that are easy to read and understand, as well as other grouping organizational methods.

By not having to “think” as the reader, Krug also points out the importance of usability. The website should be able to be navigated by a person of “average” ability for its purpose and not cause the user to get “frustrated”.

“Self-evident” and “self explanatory” are also other concepts that Krug puts importance on. For a website to be successful and useful it should be self-evident and self explanatory, which goes along with its usability. It should be easy to use and easy to understand.

It is very important to make sure the user can “scan” the website and find what they are looking for. Because most people don’t take a great amount of time reading a website, it is recommended by Krug to design a website page like a billboard. Keep the same design throughout the pages, keep things in groups, keep areas defined and clear, and keep things clean.

Going along with this idea of keeping things to the point for optimal user scanning, good websites do not have unnecessary text. When a page has too many words, it can cause the user to be leery of reading the page or article and leave the website. If a user can’t find what they are looking for easily, like a keyword for example, they will also leave the website. A good website should be useful to the reader and should make the reader want to visit because of its accessibility.

A user also should not have to use an excess amount of clicks to find what they are looking for. They can not see how large a website is from the home page, so it is a better idea to keep buttons and links clarified and available so that users can get optimal accessibility.

I think reading this book while beginning a blog is a great idea. It is important to organize your pages and words from the start so that the whole site can have a cohesive feeling. This cohesiveness causes a feeling or organization and ease when looking at a site. For me, it was helpful to learn this information and get tips in order to make my blog more visually  pleasing and more easily navigated.

Not only is the visual cohesion important, but also the style in which you write. I think that by keeping things neat and to the point, you avoid excess material that is not important to the user and is practically a waste of time for both the writer and the reader.

 

Fresh Air

My favorite way to enjoy the outdoors is by playing golf. Many people think that golf is not a great source of exercise, but it definitely is when you opt out of riding in a cart and walk 18 holes. Most golf courses are over 6000 yards. That’s a pretty far walk!

In my bag, I always make sure I pack plenty of water and healthy snacks. My favorite things to eat while playing are carrot sticks or bananas. It is important to stay hydrated and energized on the course so your physical and mental game can be the best they can be.

When I am home, I love to play golf with my dad. Thankfully at school there are some great deals to play golf for students. At the Mark Bostic UF course they have awesome student rates to play the course and after 3 P.M. they have a twilight rate where you can play as much as you want until dark.

Some people may think golf is frustrating, but to me it is a great way to relax and enjoy nature. For me it is a great way to relieve stress and focus on my mental health. Nothing makes me happier than enjoying fresh air and taking in all the beauty that can be found on the golf course!

– Liz

 

Stay Active

Throughout my time at UF, I seem to always find myself struggling to make ‘me’ time. Between studying for the next big exam and creating a vibrant social life, I feel sluggish from time to time. Then I always realize, “I probably need to catch up on my sleep and get back to the gym.”

Its hard to create a routine in college that you can stick to on a daily basis. You may not make it to the gym everyday, so it is good to try to include as much activity in your daily schedule. Here are some of my favorite ways to stay active when I don’t have much time.

Walk! Don’t Ride
One of the easiest ways to burn some extras calories is to walk to class! Wake up a little earlier and skip out on the bus ride to get your heart pumping. Walking to class is also a great way to get a closer look at campus and take in all the beauty. Your calves will thank you.

Take the Stairs
This one goes along with walking to class; pass up the elevator and take the stairs. This is an easy alternative if you don’t have time to spend 30 minutes on the stair – climber at the gym.

Actively Socialize
Instead of sitting at home hanging out with your friends or hitting up the bars, try to plan a fun social activity. These can range anywhere from a trip to the pool for a swim and tanning, a hike through Payne’s Prairie, a fun yoga class, and so much more. This week my boyfriend and I turned date night into an evening at the golf course. We both love to play golf, so we spent the evening hitting balls at a range that stays lit at night.

Home Gym
Exercise in your apartment or dorm if you can’t make it to the gym! Some of my favorite workouts come from my Jillian Michaels’ Get Ripped in 30 DVD that only takes, you guessed it, 30 minutes! Just taking time to stretch in the morning and night can do wonders to keep your head clear and your body feeling good.

Get creative with staying active. Your body and mind will thank you during finals week!

– Liz

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My friend Jaime and I, freshman year.