Step 1 to Traveling on a Budget: Saving

During my time at the University of Oklahoma, the best advice I have been given is to save. Save your old tennis shoes in case you have to paint something or run through the rain. Save your aluminum cans so you can make a few dollars when you get poor. Save your old teddy bear for when you get homesick and your mom doesn’t answer the phone. Save your old food and make a compost pile. Save your plasma until you REALLY need a few bucks. Save your money in case you want to travel to Europe at any time. Saving is the key to everything. Saying no to getting a soda with your dinner can save you $2.50. After 50 skipped sodas, you have $125! Money is the root of our daily lives, so learning to save a few dollars here and there can make or break your first big trip.

Once you have successfully saved a good amount of money, next comes the budgeting part. For many travelers in their 20’s, this part is the worst. Your account is most likely exploding with money, which is great! But, being a money conscious traveler is just as important as saving. Don’t book that hotel that is €210 a night. Book the hostile that is $40 a night so that you can go climb to the top of the leaning tower of Pisa, rather than photographing it from below. As you travel from city to city, don’t spend money on senseless things like shoes and clothes when you know you packed plenty. Instead, spend some money on a small souvenir, more gelato or a big baguette.

By restraining yourself from buying things you don’t desperately need (or can fit in your suitcase) you may be able to fit in another city, or upgrade your train ticket to first class. Setting a budget for your trip and staying in that budget no matter what can save you from checking an extra bag or from paying off a loan later.

Spicy taste of health

A Norman restaurant is putting a twist on classic Mexican cuisine by removing the health risks that are typically associated with this style of food.

Puebla Tacos y Tequileria’s food comes from many rich, geographical cultures, explored by owners Armando Rivera and Clint Strickland’s extensive experience traveling abroad. Through their travels, they have found that Mexican food can be rich in flavor and low in calories.

“Puebla is the product of extensive travels around the country and around the world,” said Rivera.

Rivera and Strickland met decades ago through their musical endeavors and later started a band together. Their band began by playing gigs here and there, and later transforming their U.S. success to international success. Rivera and Strickland traveled across Mexico, Germany, and Spain before heading for the Middle East.

“We went to play for our troops in Afghanistan in 2004 and in Iraq in 2007,” said Rivera. “We visited different countries like Jordan and Kuwait. We would always talk about the food and drink that we would try, then, when we came back, we decided to do something.”

Puebla, located at 305 E. Main St., opened for business in May of 2015 and has been making a name for itself ever since. Puebla differs from traditional food in Oklahoma because it is authentic Mexican food, not Tex-Mex. Also, Puebla offers healthy Mexican food that is low in calories and GMO free.

As co-owner and manager of Puebla, Rivera oversees what comes into the kitchen each day. The goal is to not only serve authentic food, but healthy food that anyone can eat. Ingredients include more than just the typical green peppers and onions.

“I’m very conscientious with health,” Rivera said. “I don’t receive a truck that delivers food to me, I go to a market and buy every ingredient that comes in this kitchen. I have looked at every tomato, every box of onions and every other ingredient that is in our food.”

Rivera created Puebla’s entire menu with health in mind. From the handmade corn tortillas, to the fresh vegetables, nearly everything on the menu is additive free.

“One day I was looking at my menu and realized wow, 90 percent of my menu is gluten free, MSG free and additive free!” said Rivera.

Clint Strickland explained that Rivera is very adamant that the food he prepares for the community is the best.

“He really does make sure everything is the freshest, so that each time someone walks in those doors, they leave feeling good,” Strickland stated.

Regulars at Puebla rave about the food and atmosphere they are offered each time.

Amy and Tim Gonzales are two of Puebla’s biggest fans and have been since their opening in 2015. They go into Puebla for the hand-made corn tortillas and the smoked pork.

“This is easily my favorite spot in Norman,” Tim stated. “We love the food but more than that, we love Armando, he has us laughing the entire dinner.”

Armando explained that many people come in, look at the menu, but don’t know what to order because it is so different than other places around the state.

“I recommend something for the new people, but if they don’t like it, they get a 100% refund,” Rivera stated. “I want them to enjoy their food and their experience. If they don’t, I need to know so that I can make changes.”

The biggest difference besides the health aspect is that Rivera smokes all the meats offered on the menu. Each night, Rivera and his staff place the meat in the smoker. The next morning, they retrieve the meat that has been smoking for nearly 12 hours.

“People love Bar-B-Que here. Our food isn’t Bar-B-Que, but it is similar in many ways,” Rivera stated.

Puebla is a taste that Rivera believes can’t be found anywhere else in Oklahoma. Whether it is a meaty, smoked taco or a vegetarian quesadilla, Puebla is serving up something for everyone.

“Our menu is progressive, out of the ordinary in Oklahoma,” Rivera remarked. “We are really happy and lucky that Norman, as our first city, has accepted our menu and operation.”

Restaurant guests indulge in authentic Mexican food and drinks at Puebla Tacos y Tequileria in Norman.

OU Pre-Health organizations seek funding

 

The College of Arts and Science in Ellison Hall at the University of Oklahoma.

Students in health related-fields on the University of Oklahoma campus say they feel like step-children at a school where many of them will pay more than $200,000 for their degrees.

Whether it is money needed to run the student clubs or renovations for laboratories, students say they are always last. As a result, they are forced to fund raise for the necessities of their 11 pre-health clubs.

“The problem we have is with donations,” Nancy Blass, the OU pre-med advisor, explains, “When someone becomes a successful doctor, they don’t donate to their undergraduate program. They donate to the institution that made them into a doctor”.

One upset student is Bethany Roberts, a current OU pre-med president.

“One of OU’s bigger claims to fame is that we have an associated medical school, but I don’t know,” Roberts says, “the labs, the equipment, everything is just very ‘eh’”.

The pre-med club is the largest pre-health organization at OU with close to 500 members. The club’s executive committee, made up of OU students, works with pre-med students to prepare them to be the best medical school applicant possible. The committee holds mock interviews, sets up shadowing programs in Norman and Oklahoma City and provides students with successful medical mentors.

On top of the experience gained, being a member of the pre-med club and having hours logged of medical experience can push an applicant’s ranking higher when applying to medical school.

“We sell t-shirts, we require membership dues and we work together with the other ten pre-health clubs to make ends meet,” Roberts says, “Sometimes it makes me question, did I pick the right field? Essentially, biology is the study of life. Some of the research we do is ground breaking, huge for humanity, but we can’t get a few extra bucks?”.

Daniel Fryar, the College of Arts and Sciences Budget Director, provided the college’s budget but couldn’t explain why money wasn’t being allocated to the health clubs or laboratory renovations.

Fashion – With A College Budget

As a 20-year-old college student, clothes have been an ongoing problem at my massive University. None of us have the budget to buy every $78 tee from Free People that our heart desires, so we have to adapt. I’m here to fill you in on the girl hacks we all need to keep in mind while shopping.

Zara: the Holy grail

If you haven’t experienced the beauty that Zara has inside, you are missing out. Zara is a massive store filled with mediocre clothes, but there are dozens and dozens of gems waiting for you in between the chaos of all their ripped jeans. You can go to Zara and get a tee, lacy dress and a pair of ripped jeans for under $100 that NO ONE has. If you put the time into Zara, she will repay you greatly. It is the perfect store to raid before vacation, a busy OU/TX weekend, or if you’re just in need of some retail therapy.

Free People: the sale rack

I am as guilty as the next girl, I love Free People. I love everything from their stud earrings to their lace tank tops on display every summer. But like I said, Free People is not a regular shopping trip. No one has the money for that in college. Many people overlook one vital part of the Free People store, the sale rack. The sale rack (on a good day) can lead to seven+ purchases when you were just planning on browsing around. The sale rack has everything from cocktail dresses to lingerie and bralettes at great prices. While you should venture out into the newest releases, give the sale rack some attention. You will not regret it.

Nordstrom Rack: the old faithful

In the past five years, Nordstrom Rack has never let me down. The Rack always has at least one thing. Whether you need a new pair of Paige Jeans or a killer new pair of discounted Steve Madden pumps: the Rack has it. The amount of money I have spent at that beautiful 2-story building is quite daunting. Nordstrom Rack seems to never run out of clothes/shoes/bags/jewelry EVER. If you’re in the mood to go browse and be pleasantly surprised go to the Rack! You will not be disappointed.

Tricia Ryan Studio: the unhealthy obsession

Tricia Ryan Studio may be an unfamiliar name to most of you, but trust me when I say you are missing out. Tricia Ryan is a  jewelry artist based out of  Dallas, Texas who happens to have the hands down best selection of jewelry on this earth. Imagine walking into a beautiful Dallas home that is exploding with necklaces, bracelets and earrings all for a reasonable price. Yes people. It is real. Tricia Ryan makes the most unique jewelry I have seen thus far in college. Some of her pieces are expensive, but if you browse around you will find some great prices for some amazing jewelry. I can personally vouch for Tricia’s jewelry, the quality and the look of it all.

We’re all struggling right now to keep up with dues, eating out and our hot yoga membership, but remember to treat yo self every once in a while! Our moms will approve of it, because of our killer grades. Check out these stores and let your inner retail therapy addict come to life!

Free People dress: FEEL THE FLAVA $88.00

Tricia Ryan necklace: CRYSTAL $109.00

Learn To Say Yes

My University, much like many other Universities prompt students to study abroad for the “life-changing”, “once in a lifetime experience” and for the “unforgettable memories”. When I decided to study abroad, I fell for all those exciting words and ideas of what my time would be like. They were all proven true.

Life-changing. That description entails HUGE expectations. I can confidently reassure you that studying abroad will change your life. Within the last four-weeks, my life has been changed. This concept of traveling to a foreign country to find yourself and truly grow up is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I can now confidently converse with a 60-year old Italian only speaking woman, walk home everyday without needing to look at my phone for reassurance, to step out of my comfort zone and say hi to one of the 58 students here, and budget my money in order to see every beautiful sight I’ve been praying to see my whole life. From getting lost in Pisa to finding real spaghetti in Florence to falling down an Italian mountain side in Abetone, I’ve learned so much about myself. I may be 20-years old, but I am so capable! If we are put to the test of life, we can pass.

Once in a lifetime. I have had hundreds of once in a life time experiences thus far. I have accidentally ordered two rolls of sushi + soup at a restaurant that charges you if you don’t eat all your food, I have battled a gypsy who was invading my space for money (and won), I have kept my cool in a snow blizzard on top of a mountain, I have danced like crazy at the Space Bar and stood in the presence of some of the most beautiful pieces of sculpture my eyes will ever see. Studying abroad will place you in situations and scenarios you could never imagine, but that are truly once in a lifetime.

Unforgettable memories. So far, this subcategory has proven most true. I have seen things, tasted food, drank wine and met people that are unforgettable. Having a dance party with 12 of my new best friends and the Italian owners of a pizza shop, sprinting through the train station to catch our ride home and drinking the most delicious wine while laughing the hardest laughs ever are the memories that are unforgettable; the memories that are shaping me into a new version of myself. The people I have met abroad have helped me successfully flood a janky Airbnb, lived in the dark with me because of a fuse blowout and overcome bed bugs on a mattress without sheets. As we grow older fond memories from the past slip our mind without us noticing, but these memories are too unreal to forget

The things I have done and the feelings I have felt during these four weeks can’t even properly be put into words. The world is a huge, wonderful adventure waiting for you, so go see it! Go over eat, sleep on the floor and take sketchy flights because that is what our 20’s are for! Take advantage of all the resources you have to get yourself out of your comfort zone. Learn to say yes to anything and everything that scares you.IMG_6953

Our World on September 29th, 2016

I have stood my ground silently as the world I’ve lived in the past 20 years has crumbled piece by piece. Today, September 29th, 2016, is the day I make my voice known.

My heart hurts for the world. People of every color, every shape and every background are getting persecuted left and right. Our world is no longer the happy place it once was, it is now a fortress of hate and torment.

I am not one to negate things or to kill the joy, but how can one stay positive in these days? Hundreds of thousands of people are being killed day after day, with no sign of resolution.

Whether you are in Miami, Florida or Tehran, Iran, someone in your city is dying. How can times have come to this?

We the people need to make a change in our world. We need to radiate light and hope in a time of darkness and hate. We need to stand together with our neighbors and pray our world gets back in line, because the consequences are far greater than we can imagine.

Since i was a little girl, i have always dreamt of having a huge family with a wonderful husband and tons of babies, but as i get older i am more and more against that dream. Why would i bring children into a world of hate? As i doubt my dreams, i remind myself what my role is here on earth. My role is to lift others up. My role is to change someones day each and every day by my attitude and by my presence. We are all so focused on ourselves, that we often forget we need to focus on our loved ones. We need to change this world. Not with guns, violence, hate or discrimination. We need to change it with our pure kindness.

If each person in the world did one kind thing for someone else each day, that would be 7.125 billion kind acts a day. And if each person did one kind thing each day for a year, that would be two-trillion-six-hundred-billion-six-hundred twenty-five million kind acts a year. Think how our world would change!

Spend your day today not worrying about yourself, but worrying about what kind thing can you do today, and then sit back and realize how great you feel.

Let’s change this dark and hateful world, and make the change we need.

The College “Slump”

You have officially been back in school for a month. Things are going well for the most part; you know your teachers, you’ve made those three necessary friends in each class and you haven’t failed a test, yet. You’re taking a break from drinking, but also taking a break on the school work. You’re supposed to now be in “full swing” as my parents like to say, but you are done. You need a break because you have officially hit THE COLLEGE SLUMP.

The “slump” I am referring to is the time period of the school year where spring break is around the corner, and you need it. You need a vacation from homework, emails, test reviews, and required sorority events. This time period can either make or break the rest of your semester. There are three possible phases you could be going through at this time.

Phase 1: The Coma. You sleep all the time. You take naps between classes, (maybe even miss that late class because your nap ran long) after each day, all weekend, and again on Monday afternoons to start the cycle over. No, you aren’t tired silly, you’re just over it! College is tough, even if you’re relaxin’ and maxin’ in 12 hours, for everyone. Your mind is telling you yes, but your body, your body is telling you no (to everything). While this doesn’t seem like the most troublesome phase, YOU ARE FALLING BEHIND IN ALL YOUR CLASSES, and probably eating way more than you should be.

Phase 2: The Addiction. Netflix is the one and only thing you care about. You Netflix getting ready for class, Netflix in-between classes, and you watch Netflix until the second you close those lazy eyes of yours for bed. Netflix consumes you more than any boyfriend or friend ever could, and you like it. Maybe you finally got hooked on Grey’s or maybe you’re re-watching The Office (for the 5th time). STOP RIGHT NOW. Spring break is coming up girl! Get that butt to the gym and off your bed right now, or go meet a hot boy in the library to take to your next date party! I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Netflix will never love you back.

Phase 3: The Nonstop Party. You’re the person who laughed at what I said in the beginning about the break from drinking. Instead of taking a break, you are going hard. Four. Nights. A. Week. Wednesday-Saturday night you do not sleep unless it’s in the day time. You experience serious FOMO (fear of missing out) so you simply no longer miss out. While this is somewhat fun, you are racking in those calories. Spring break is coming up and you don’t want your tolerance to be that high or YOU WILL DIE ON THAT BEACH. Put the drinks down, and spend a few more nights in that library, your GPA will thank you later.

No matter what phase you’re in right now, break it. Go out once a week, sleep in on Saturday’s and limit your Netflix activity to only two shows per day. College is about going out there and doing that spontaneous thing you could have never thought of yourself and making those grades that mommy and daddy expect. BREAK THE COLLEGE SLUMP PEOPLE. We only have a few more years of this crazy ride, so take advantage of it. Like they all say, “You can sleep when you’re dead”. The same applies for Netflix.IMG_5968

San Francisco Fog or America’s Media?

Most of us Americans rely on our TV and smartphones to get all the breaking news stories and scandals day by day. What most of us don’t look into to find out is, is all of the information we get necessarily true? A lot of the time, news stories are feeding us distorted news. Vocabulary.com defines the word distorted as: a change, twist, or exaggeration that makes something appear different from the way it really is. So our news is twisted or exaggerated to make something appear differently. News channels and large anchors can get away with this often because we the consumers don’t know any different. Just like young kids in middle school, if the popular girl says its true, it has to be true right? What we hear on the news must be true if it’s coming from a huge channel like FOX, CNN, or CBN right?

Author, Liane Casten, wrote a piece about Jane Akre and Steve Wilson who were hired to write for FOX News. Akre and Wilson researched and created a story about Bovine Growth Hormones (BGH) and the effects these hormones were creating. A weak after turning in the story to FOX, FOX asked them to change some “minor details” in the story. When Akre and Wilson did not comply with the request, FOX News fired them. These “minor details” that FOX News wanted changed were actually huge details. FOX News ultimately wanted the authors to completely lie in over ½ of the story about Bovine Growth Hormones. Casten stated, “FOX asserted that there are no written rules against distorting news in the media”. When the trial was taken to court, Jane Akre and her husband Steve Wilson assumed that the trial would go their way because this was an obvious act of news distortion, but the jury found FOX News not guilty.

This case is very similar to hundreds of other cases that happen every year. Our media is feeding us tidbits of distorted news, and because of their power, we cannot prove them wrong. The power that the media and news holds is above all else. Distorted news is what keeps our media coverage so intriguing and sought after. If FOX News needs to create elaborate lies about Bovine Growth Hormones, imagine what lies news channels are putting in stories we follow closely. Consumers believe nearly every word they read or hear and its only getting worse. How far is our media going to be able to stretch stories before something is done about it?