Saturday, December 29, 2012

Travel Guide: Shaver Lake, CA

Shaver Lake, CA is a beautiful lake located in Fresno County, CA. Don't let this small lake fool you! The size may small, but there are many types of activities that are possible year round!

A perk about Shaver is that it appeals to the summer loving tourists in summer, and the snow loving tourists in winter!

An easy bet is taking the 168 all the way up to Shaver from Fresno!

Fresno, CA is a great port to head off into the Sierra Nevada's. You can fly into the Fresno Yosemite International Airport, rent a car, and head off to Yosemite National Park, Shaver Lake, Mammoth or other options. 

The air is so clean that high up. Take long deep breaths there - your lungs will thank you!

In the summer, you can rent cabins, boats, jet skis, or canoes. Not to mention free activities like swimming, hiking, or biking!

During winter [like to the right] the snow can be usually deep, so enjoy some snow hiking, snowmen building, or enjoying a snowball fight! The snow ended up being knee deep, so we just went sledding. 

There were many hidden sledding trails. This one was slick, steep path with body turn twists and no ends! 

The town itself is small - all on one street with little shops, restaurants, and businesses. Very local and unique!

During summer, this Expresso shop is also an outdoor cafe! One stop shop!

The Falls Restaurant is delicious. Eat here for a wonderful meal!

We are college students, so we ate at the Shaver Lake Pizza instead. There were scores of options, but because I am pesto-obsessed, we got the Pesto Chicken Pizza. I vouch that this pizza is one of the best Pizza's I have ever had, and even for a reasonable price!
 Look at the perfectly toasted cheese melted over the chicken and pesto ... my mouth is salivating now. One of the best parts of the pizza is that the crust was pesto filled! [see below]


Shaver Lake is a perfect place year round to get 'lost' in the wilderness and submerged in nature's beauty. Have you been to Shaver Lake? Feel free to let me know of your experience! 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Travel Guide: Muenster, Germany

A wonderful place to visit is the city Muenster, Germany. It is the epitome of a medieval urban, trendy environment!

Known for having an excellent University, Muenster balances a blend of college students and growing families. Luckily for most locals, the tourists are primarily Dutch and Germans from other Regions. The city has a 'center' with branches of mini-cities surrounding it.

I was an exchange student in Muenster, Germany for one year, and it was the best year of my life! The beauty of the city, the lush environment, refreshing weather, and great night life made my year there unforgettable! I would highly recommend visiting and living there for a unique life experience. Not to mention that Muenster won the 'most livable city' International Livcom Award in 2004!

Located in Northwest Germany, it neighbors bigger cities and is a train ride away rom Cologne, Hamburg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Beautifully warm in Summer with the average high around 75-80 degrees, and pleasantly cold in winter with a 32 degree average high, it fits everybody's needs! Muenster is one of the greenest cities in the world - economically and with nature. 

Muenster is the bike capital of Europe! For 400,000 people, there are around 2 million bikes! When I lived in Muenster with my host family, each person had their own bike plus an extra. Needless to say, it would be recommended to rent a bike while visiting, because there are so plentiful bike paths through gorgeous green landscapes [or snowy ones during winter] with countless beat of trails to little canals, fields full of flowers, or even isolated villages.

A good place to rent bikes is simply through the City of Muenster. It is relatively cheap too! If you are opposed to it, you can rent Bus Tickets for less than 10 Euros/day that travel all throughout the city and neighborhoods. I lived off a bus pass during the winter months! I would suggest renting bikes in Summer and wander around the city. Nearly everyone can speak English, so if you get lost, someone can help. However, buses are preferable in Winter! [hello snow and icy roads!]

The highlight of Muenster is Prinzipalmarkt. Here you see extraordinary architecture that transports you hundreds of years back. Cobblestone streets colonnades are usually filled with people enjoying a cup of coffee, shopping, or biking through a shortcut. Depending on the time of year, there will be festivals, camera crews filming for Tatort [Germany movie series], or Christmas Markets! There is so much to do in the city center! I would suggest Cafe Kleimann [the outdoor cafe pictured above] to take in the essence of Muenster, but if you are on a budget, Cafe Extrablatt on the street Salzstrasse is a great option as well. 

Fun Fact: The Church to left is about 1,200 years old! It is one of the only structures in Muenster that wasn't destroyed in WWII. The British mostly occupied Muenster during the war, and used the tower as a lookout! However, most of the buildings around it were destroyed and were rebuilt after the war. 

If you peek up at the top, there are three cages on the tower that once held criminals. The city removed the bones within the last 20 years. 

Endless activities will be presented to you when you visit Muenster! 

Ride your bike or take a walk down the Promenade [the path that surrounds the city center where the walls once stood.] It's about 3 miles around with branches into neighborhoods, parks, schools, and restaurants!

Visit the Hafen [the harbor] during the day for amazingly delicious food and night time for a great party scene! Coconut Beach [the fake sandy beach] is a great place to relax, sip on a drink, and then walk to a few feet to a popular nightclub called Heaven to dance the night away! [best time to go is a Wednesday or Saturday night!]

Head over to the Schloss [castle] where the vast gardens and stunning architecture can make for some beautiful pictures. If you go to the back of the castle, there are very large Botanical Gardens with greenhouses, ponds, and other wonderful things to explore.

If you are in Germany in December, you can not miss the Christmas Markets! These booths hold roasted chestnuts, gingerbread cookies, accessories, and my favorite part - Gluehwein! Gluehwein [Glowing Wine] is a spiced wine served warm! They are located several times within one section of the market, so you will not have trouble finding it. It will be a magical experience, especially if it snows! Look how festive it looks! 

Muenster is a fabulous place to experience, and you will not regret it! If the weather channel says rain, it will rain. Prepare yourself for showers periodically, as well random temperature changes. If you dislike smoking, ask around for a smoke-free restaurant. A great smoke-free bar is called Peacock in the Altstald. Transportation is easy, the scenery is magical, and the culture is captivating!

HAVE FUN IN MUENSTER! I encourage you to let me know if this was helpful or not, or if you have suggestions!

I wonder who this person is celebrating Karnival? :P

Picture 1Picture 2Picture 3Picture 4Picture 6,7, Picture 8, 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

10 New Year's Party Outfits!

Dress to impress on any budget! 

That is the one thing I love about shopping, you can usually find similar styles at completely different price ranges. Plus, who doesn't enjoy saving money?!

It is so important to know what fits you, what makes you feel beautiful inside and out, and what are options at all different price varieties. The point is to be radiating your beauty! I created 5 ways to wear two similar dresses at two opposite ends of the budget spectrum: Splurge vs Steal!

Just know that you should feel amazing in anything that you wear ever, but you will look impeccable in these 5 outfits for your New Years Eve party!

 - - - 
Cool Blue

Blue and Silver work so well together. Both of these dresses have a higher neckline [I'm a firm believer that a warm chest equals no doctor visits] to stay warm but to keep things covered up while you show off your killer legs! So why not slip on some strappy silver heels, have a white clutch, and add some mysterious drama with a pair of dangly black earrings.

 - - - 
Gold Dusk

When I think of decadence, I think of a red-family color paired with gold. The clash is so elegant! That's why I would suggest wearing a strapless Gold dress with some minor detailing! Wear some Cranberry heels, light Pink Lipstick, store your goods in a black Envelope Clutch, and add a pair of red dangly earrings. You will feel like a million dollars with either budget!

 - - -
Green Envy

Can you tell how much I love Gold? I love these Green sequin dresses! To keep the focus on you and the dress, keep accessories simple with black and gold clutches and earrings, leather heels with gold toes, and blush nude lipstick. Others will be envious of how stunning you look!

 - - - 
Indulging Leather

There is nothing too sweet as leather! Leather gets a bad-girl vibe, so if you want that look, add dark accessories. If you want to sweeten up the look, pair the dress with some red Mary Jane heels and a feather clutch. Wear pearl studs with red lipstick to make you irresistible! 

 - - -
Dreamy Purple

Purple is subtly sexy and playfully mysterious! Keep the look simple with some basic black pumps and a champagne clutch. Play up your beauty with a bold red lipstick and some dangly silver earrings. 

DKNY Blueberry Pleated Silk Dress - $329 [originally $470]

- - -

I hope these looks will help inspire you to look fabulous this New Years Eve or with any other party outfit! Life is too short and you can never be overdressed :) Leave a comment below if these looks were helpful and/or inspiring to you rocking a party!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Obama's Perfect "Fiscal Cliff"

Democrats are already poised to blame Republicans for doing all the work. Boehner sticks to his political values and the Democrats will not take it, and then he takes the Pelosi Plan and the Republicans ditch him with the Democrats rejecting it again. They rejected their own plan. It is as simple as that - the Democrats do not care to reach an agreement, because 'the fiscal cliff' will raise taxes for everybody. It will not be just the upper class. Hello social justice!

I can't help but feel bad for House Speaker John Boehner.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Obama told Boehner that he wasn't willing to 'play games with the debt ceiling.' That is an unbelievable amount of power that the President demands to hold. Even without the unlimited debt ceiling, he is asking for a dollar for every 25 cents he cuts. Now as a Libertarian, I am completely opposed to having the federal government having an abnormal amount of power, and now the President wants to be able to spend as much money as he wishes. He would have the power to spend money that we clearly don't have - did he forget about $16,401,612,800,000 (as of December 23, 2012 at 8:50 Pacific Time Zone) national debt?!

From the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, this graph would show how the tax cuts and the new tax increases would affect YOU in  2013.

The Tax Policy Center estimates that the average household would see an extra $2,000 tax increase on federal taxes alone! That is an unreal amount to unload on an weak economy. 

If you want to see information about the United States money debt, income, revenue, etc. be sure to visit US Debt Clock.

Sources: Moody's Analytics, Tax Policy Center. By Bonnie Berokowitz, Karen Yourish and Laura Stanton - The Washington Post. Published on November 11, 2012, 5:24 p.m. (Posted on Washington Post.)

The Tax Policy Center estimates that the average household would see an extra $2,000 tax increase on federal taxes alone! That is an unreal amount to unload on an weak economy. President Obama promises that they will have a $1.2 trillion tax cut in the next decade, but this is completely ignorant of the American people to justify the tax cut considering he has spent an average of $1 trillion each year he has been President. Plus, his desire for an unlimited debt ceiling makes $1.2 trillion over ten years seems like pocket change [that we don't have] to what he intends to borrow and spend! 

Oh, did I mention that around $500 billion will be cut from defense spending? No wonder incidents like Benghazi have occurred and will occur. Who needs defense when you can attempt to be friends with people[countries] who have personal agendas to kill Americans?!  

These taxes will also bring less money to workers, more taxes for businesses, and an "estimated 2.1 million jobs losses will occur in 2013" according to George Mason University Center of Regional Analysis. If you live in California [where the new props have raise taxes significantly] like I do, good luck.  

Now how is the media handling this? Of course, the liberal bias is trying to hide the truth as usual. Surprise!

Washington Post Poll concluded that over 50% of the people believe that missing the deadline will affect them negatively. Indeed fellow Americans, your taxes will go up.

Surprisingly, 38% of the participants believed that a decision will occur before the New Year, and the Republicans would have 53% of the blame.

So let's get the straight - plain and simple.
  1. Republicans and Democrats argued about their plans. The Democrats want more taxes, an unlimited debt ceiling, and defense cuts. The Republicans want major cuts to entitlements, no unlimited debt ceiling, and reluctantly agreed to have tax increases on people earning over $1 million.
  2. President Obama denied the Republican plan. Speaker Boehner had to negotiate with both sides in order to make the plan work. In the process, many Republicans didn't support him, and the Democrats rejected his plan again.
  3. Boehner offered a plan that Nancy Pelosi discussed several months ago. Republicans were not happy, and apparently Democrats weren't either because President Obama rejected this plan.
  4. Boehner meets with President Obama to try and negotiate again. Shortly after meeting, Obama goes on a $4 million dollar vacation to Hawaii at the taxpayers expense
  5. If a deal is not met, federal taxes will increase, taxes will hit businesses as money slowly disappears from workers paychecks. Businesses will fall, millions will lose their jobs, go on entitlements, and be dependent on the government. {by the looks of it, a deal will not have been met - maybe a small deal will though.}
  6. Obama gets what he wants - redistribution and socialist tendencies. 

This is exactly what we are trying to avoid. Now, though I do have doubts on both sides, the real Americans in this situation are the Republicans. The Republicans, if willing to make some compromises, have American interests and businesses at heart. The President and Democrats in Congress see American taxpayers as their credit cards, and they want to be able to spend unlimited amounts of money. My generation and my children's generation will be footing the bill due to some men with power who are irresponsible with money. The US Unfunded Mandates are already at $122,002,141,000,000 and that is without the Democratic plan. Unfunded Mandates will be something my children's children will be paying off in their lifetime if we do not stop the credit-card-spending mentality of the current administration.

It is crucial that Congress agrees on a plan without the President having an unlimited debt ceiling.

While Obama is having a fantastic time having a free vacation in paradise, the people of this country are worried that an agreement can't be met.  How is Obama spending his time besides having fun in the sun? Being himself - a narcissist. This video below is Obama in Hawaii at Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii's funeral courtesy of The Blaze. Within 100 seconds of talking, Obama mentions himself 63 times!! I wasn't aware that Senator Inouye's funeral was an autobiography of Obama! 

My conclusion: Obama will not get his unlimited debt ceiling, Republicans will cave on taxes about $250,000 paying more, and for every dollar given to the Government through taxes, the Government will cut a quarter and spend the rest. Millions of Americans will lose their jobs, thousands of small business will die out, and we will see the highest number of Food stamp, Unemployment, and Welfare recipients in history.

"If we allow that to happen it will be the most colossal consequential act of congressional irresponsibility in a long time, maybe ever in American history," - Senator Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut. 
I couldn't agree with you more.

When will a Libertarian come in to save the day from two polar opposite parties?

(Top Picture Source)

3 Ways to Wear A Red Party Dress

Every woman deserves to always feel beautiful, no matter the occasion, no matter what the price. Now that Christmas and New Years are near, it is time celebrate at Holiday Parties!

I decided to choose a red, the color of Confidence and Bravery, long sleeve dress - hello warmth! The high neckline is for modesty during events that might involve younger children or coworkers, but it also brings a sophistication to the intensity of the color. This dress, an Oasis dress for $73 , will look great on any figure by bringing in the waist, creating an hourglass image!

Family Gathering

I paired the red dress with a skinny leopard belt, opaque tights, a warm, furry collared coat and some comfortable black booties. A white scarf was added to keep you warm in case you go on a walk own Christmas Tree Lane or simply to keep that flu away. If you are naturally a busty woman or have broad shoulders, scarves are the perfect way to hide the high neckline. Casual family party? Slip into some black flats and a simple, braided, brown belt!

Business Affair

The cute bow belt works perfect with the black statement necklace to radiate sweet sophistication! Why stick with the normal black outerwear when you sport a warm, white festive coat? These shoes are fabulous, but can be uncomfortable or inappropriate depending on the work environment. If these booties are too high, go with a simple black pump, or be daring with a black and gold pump! Pair it the outfit with stockings for a little extra warmth with your hair up in a bun - viola! Fabulous!

Out With Your Friends

Firstly, this outfit screams classy wild child! Secondly, I am obsessed with the collar! Normally I wouldn't choose a collar, but this statement black-studded collar on this red dress paired with these sky high black boots is just too perfect. To stay warm, add a super sassy black coat and a muted leopard print clutch for the conservative-undercover-crazy-woman-look that you are! You are so fierce, heroine!

Hope you like some of these options! If you think you have anything that could be nicely paired with these outfits, tell me about it in the comments below!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Appetite Curbing Smoothie

Be as creative with smoothies as you are desserts!

Smoothies are fun, an excellent source of nutrient intake, and they are so dang filling! Unlimited amount of recipes and variations make smoothie-making addicting, and they are just as delicious as dessert!

I promise you that this is such a deliciously fast way to absorb daily nutrients & vitamins while filling you up. You won't be hungry for hours, and your taste buds will be thanking you :)

1 Mango
Greek Yogurt (Flavor Optional)
Flaxseed Meal
(Additional: Add Spinach!)

For one person: (if more than one person, double amounts)

1/2 cup blueberries (loaded with Vitamin C, Magnesium, and Antioxidants)
1/4 cup blackberries (contains cancer preventers, & Phytoestrogens- PMS reliever)

Cut up the Mango into quarter inch pieces. (lowers cholesterol, appetite suppressant, rich in Iron)
Add desirable Flaxseed Meal (rich in Fiber, Lignans, and Omega-3 Fats)

*Flaxseed should be an essential to your diet! It is virtually tasteless and adds tons of benefits to your food! I add it to my toast, yogurt, oatmeal, sandwiches, and even pasta. Fantastic!*

Add about 1/3 cup Greek Yogurt (rich in Calcium and makes you fuller)
Pour desirable Honey quantity on top! (Honey prevents fatigue and builds immune system)

VIOLA! Yummy Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack, or Dessert!

This is one of my favorite smoothie recipes. I can last without food for hours through school and work! I hope you enjoy this recipe! 

Leave a comment on how you like the recipe, or if you tweaked anything to it!

Gun Control or No Gun Control?

THAT is the question. 

Will defenselessness or guns ultimately protect the people? 

After the violence in Newton, Connecticut, (please pray for families and loved ones of the victims) senators and law makers are shifting towards gun control. It is a perfectly logical reaction to the deaths of innocent school children and their teachers. I agree, it is a terrible tragedy, but senators like Diane Feinstein (sadly a senator of my state) are perverting the deaths of children and heroes to pass these gun control laws.

Let's be realistic now - gun control is ideal in an Utopia-like country in which there are no enemies outside or within the country who centralize their beliefs on the deaths of Americans. However, we are not in a situation in which we fear no harm. Extremists in the Middle East attempt to harm Americans on a regular basis, and the United States has the highest number of serial killers and homicides in the world. Taking away guns will not influence the decrease of crime in the United States, it will dramatically increase crime, including robbery, assault, rape, and murder.

Do guns kill people?

NO. People kill people with guns. People also protect themselves and others with guns. 

The Democrats seem to forget that criminals don't follow the law. Heads up Dems, criminals break laws! Do Democrats honestly believe that by taking away our guns, our 2nd Amendment right to protect ourselves, that criminals will suddenly behave? I will never understand liberal logic.

Yes, taking away guns might prevent attacks from mentally ill people, but murderers, rapists, gang members, and terrorists will thrive if the citizens follow these gun laws.

GOOD citizens will not have guns, CRIMINALS will acquire guns, and the criminals will have the advantage!
(I am slowly flashing back to the first and third Batman movies in which all the criminals take over the city of Gothem equipped with their explosives and guns. Citizens beware!)

I can't stress the notion of using guns for protection is far more important than stripping the citizens of their Constitutional right to be able to protect themselves. Other countries around the world love this notion of having the powerful United States kneeling at the feet of other nations. For most Europeans, this will be a respective move, but for the terrorist organizations or Russia and maybe even China - this is the time to move. America disarmed, with the exception of criminals who illegally obtained guns that can't be registered to their name because it does not require a license, and the terrorists with assault weapons, bombs, or worse. Maybe it's because I loathe the idea of Communism, but is it a bit fishy that China suggests that Americans should be disarmed?

I love this ecard. It couldn't not be more correct.

In case you are unfamiliar with Fast and Furious, it is a federal operation in which a team with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives gave U.S weapons to suspected gun smugglers to be traced. The intent was for the guns to get into the hands of top Mexican drug cartel members, but it failed. Around 2,000 assault weapons have been lost, resulting in two American citizen deaths, scores of Mexican citizens deaths, and the federal agents have not made any arrests of the cartel members. Two days ago, a Mexican beauty queen was found murdered in her home with a Fast and Furious assault weapon.

So yes, you better believe I will not listen to an irresponsible administration telling me whether I am allowed to protect myself or not. Who knows, one of those guns could be a threat to me one day, and I will not be defenseless, but rather answer that threat with full force.

Guns are such a depressing topic. You either live, die, or are in pain. I'd rather have guns to protect myself.

Imagine if the Principal had a gun locked up in a protected locker in his office, or if one person in the movie theater in Colorado had a gun for protection - the outcome could have been different. Who knows how many lives could've been spared?

Which brings me to a compromise for both of the two main political parties. Instead of gun control, let's run things similar to Israel. Teachers there carry guns on their backs, but that is too extreme for the United States.
My compromise would be
1) To have a set locker with a gun locked up in it at all times at schools. Only the principal would have the right to this locker, and the principal would take charge if a situation like the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre occured.
2) There will be background testing and/or drug testing prior to receiving a gun and gun license.
3) All convicted criminals and mentally ill patients can never acquire a gun. Ever.
4) Have all gun owners require to pass a gun proficiency test. This will insure that in the case of protecting an individual or group, the person will be able to quickly and efficiently maim or take out the target.

There are arguments on both sides of the spectrum. What is your side? Do you agree or disagree with me? Feel free to leave a comment below, I love a little bit of respectful and tasteful feedback.