Things to Do: Utica Edition Part 2

It’s study day and honestly, where did the time go? I feel like just last week it was February. But, now the sun seems to be here to stay and the area is getting greener and brighter with every passing day. The initial change of a season is my favorite time. (From summer to autumn, winter to spring-the transitions always feel so new and fresh.)

If you remember, I wrote a blog post about things to do in Utica during the wintery/colder season. (Check it out here) So, I figured since Spring is upon us, I would scope out some fun activities to do outside.

Head to the Utica Zoo!

The Utica Zoo is located off of the Utica Parkway, so it is not even 10 minutes from campus! The zoo boasts numerous types of animals and is a fun place to pass an afternoon. My favorite little animal buds are the alpacas. There’s also numerous bird species, invertebrate species, and so many others to oogle and aw at!

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(This goat was too cute. He ate right from my hand!)
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(There’s a great view of the city at the top of the zoo! It’s a must see!)

 

Every time I head to the zoo I make it a point to take as many pictures as possible.  And I encourage you to do the same! Admission to the zoo won’t break the bank, and you’ll probably have enough to grab some fries from the Voss’ food stand while you’re there!

Find a good mountain to hike!

Utica College is super close to the Adirondacks, maybe 45-1hr away! So I always take advantage of that. Located throughout the northern region are numerous mountain peaks, and hiking adventures you can embark on. My friends and I love to hike up Bald Mountain, near Old Forge, every year. There’s also Rocky Moutain right close by, so you can climb two peaks in a day if you’re feeling up for it! My family also hikes Panther Mountain, which is on Piseco Lake.

(My friends and I stopped for a group pic during a hike last summer!)
(My friends and I stopped for a group pic during a hike last summer!)

There are so many places to choose from, and they’re all free! So hiking is a great way to blow off some finals steam, and de-stress!

Head to the Canal Trail!

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(My friends and I always go and hang out at the lock. Here we were listening to Ed Sheeran’s new album for the first time last summer!)

For those that might be unaware, Utica actually had the old Erie Canal run right through it. (Where I live in Whitesboro, at the very end of a road not too far from mine is an Erie Canal Memorial area which is dedicated right where it used to run!) Some parts of the canal are actually still in tact, and are still used today. There is a lock not to far from Utica College that is one of my favorite places to just relax and hang out.

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The canal is great because it’s another free(!) spot to hang out and relax. Also, it’s closer to campus than hiking in the Adirondacks…so you can still get your taste of nature, just closer to home!

(My friends, Mary, Pat, and I, enjoy the occasional frog hunt both on campus and at the canal!)
(My friends, Mary, Pat, and I, enjoy the occasional frog hunt both on campus and at the canal!)

There are so many things to do in Utica! So soak up the last bit of the semester and explore the area! After a final head on down to the lock and de-stress! Or head to the Utica Zoo and make a new friend! Just whatever you do, have fun and I hope you give these activities a try!

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Goodbye Moose-a-Palooza, Hello Moose Madness!

Each spring, the Utica College Programming Board hosts an entire week of events that are totally free for UC students. This week has always been known as Moose-a-Palooza, and in years past, it has often included BBQ food, sunny weather, frisbee and volleyball tournaments, and inflatables in the quad. I look forward to it every year, because it’s a great way to enjoy the spring weather and spend time with other students before the craziness of finals week kicks in!

This year, UCPB revamped Moose-a-Palooza. First, they held a content to rename the week and design the tshirts that would be given out to students. While I was disappointed that my suggestions did not win the contest (C’mon, Trax wearing sunglasses would have made for a great shirt!), I was quite fond of the winning name: Moose Madness!

With a new name came some new programming for the week. I took advantage of as many of the events as my night class and desk duty schedule would allow, and was able to attend an event almost every day of Moose Madness! Here are just some of the things I checked out during the week:

Monday, I scored my free tshirt with the new Moose Madness design and was on a team that won 3rd place in the campus-wide scavenger hunt! Since it was my birthday, our team was named Happy Birthday Elaine. (Side note, my friends rock!)

Jason, Laura, and I competing in the scavenger hunt! Thanks, Karita, for taking the pic!
Jason, Laura, and I competing in the scavenger hunt! Thanks, Karita, for taking the pic!

Tuesday, team Happy Birthday Elaine won 3rd place in Battle of the Decades Trivia in the Pioneer Pub. Hey, at least we are consistent with our 3rd place winnings! 3BL loves trivia, and this event had a fun twist, because it featured questions from the 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, and today!

Wednesday featured the hypnotist Seilesh. I saw him last year when he came to UC, and loved him just as much this time around! He is an amazing entertainer and puts on a hilarious show. It is so funny to see fellow students under hypnosis! I never laugh as hard as when I see a good hypnotist show.

Saturday was the big WPNR and UCPB concert- the Royal Tongues and the X Ambassadors! The show was right in the gym and was totally free for UC students! We had a huge turnout, and students loved the unique sounds of both bands. The musicians were all immensely talented and really did an amazing job performing. I was so grateful to see both bands in person, as it made me appreciate their music a lot more- these guys are the real deal!

Group pic! UCPB and WPNR with The Royal Tongues and The X Ambassadors!
Group pic! UCPB and WPNR with The Royal Tongues and The X Ambassadors!

Overall, it was a busy week for UCPB and definitely a great time for the UC students who came out and enjoyed all of the events offered on campus. I loved all of the events I attended during Moose Madness and was really grateful to make some awesome memories during my last spring fest at UC!

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15 Tips for Mind, Body & Soul Spring Cleaning

Spring 14

When spring rolls in, we feel like new people waking up from a long sleep. We’re like bears after hibernation, or caterpillars turned butterflies through metamorphosis. We feel ready for a new beginning and a new season.

To obtain this refreshed feeling, many of us defer to a little spring cleaning. But did you know there’s more you can do to reawaken yourself than dusting china (do people even own china anymore?)?

  1. Get a new haircut. It doesn’t have to be anything drastic; you can opt for a simple trim and layers. Or, if you are feeling bold, feel free to shed those heavy locks for something lighter and fresher. You can even experiment with spring colors. A new haircut can go a long way.
    Fall '138
  2. Paint your nails. With all the fun springy shades available now, the possibilities are endless. Pastels are always a great option.
    The strawberry nails I did
    The strawberry nails I did

    Embrace color!
    Embrace color!
  3. Embrace springtime scents. Whether it’s Yankee Candles or Bath and Body Works, there are some amazing ways to tantalize your olfactory senses. The light, fresh smells of the season will energize you and perk you up.

    Image from Bath & Body Works
    Image from Bath & Body Works
  4. Open the windows. I will be the first to say I’m not always a fan of bringing the outdoors indoors, but sometimes it is very refreshing to throw those windows open.
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  5. Embrace seasonal produce. Strawberries, asparagus, greens, carrots, leeks, lemons, peas and more are all in season right now. Get your paws on them while the gettin’ is good, and whip up some mouth-watering seasonal recipes.
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  6. Take a walk. This might not sound exciting, but you haven’t been able to take a walk all winter! It doesn’t have to be high-intensity or a workout. Just do it for the fresh air and sunshine.

    I know it looks like winter here, but alas, this is from March!
    I know it looks like winter here, but alas, this is from March!
  7. Sport spring shades. Pick out some bright colors and pastels to incorporate into your wardrobe. You can feel free to do some spring shopping, or just break out favorites from last year.

    Pastels!
    Pastels!
  8. Make the switch to iced. Iced coffee and tea doesn’t seem so appealing in the dead of winter, but now that the sun is shining again, get your butt to a Dunkin Donuts or local cafe and grab some icy cold goodness.

    Everyone loves iced coffee!
    Everyone loves iced coffee!
  9. Study outside. Grab your books or laptop and take a seat under the sun for a while.

    Image from Utica College
    Image from Utica College
  10. Try new make-up. I’m not a make-up wearer, but for you folks who are, grab some bright colors and switch it up.

    Photo from makeupgeek.com
    Photo from makeupgeek.com
  11. Wear something new. Have you never bought colored capris before? Or perhaps you’ve never dawned a hot pair of wedges. Whatever it is, give something new a try and update your look.

    I'd never worn a dress like this before, bonus point for pastel shades!
    I’d never worn a dress like this before, bonus point for pastel shades!
  12. Try yoga. A lot of these tips will switch up your appearance, but yoga will refresh your mind, body and spirit. New to the yoga scene? You can take BodyFlow, a 55-minute yoga/tai chi/pilates class designed for all skill levels, at Powerhouse Gym right down the road from the college! Try a class for free, or get a membership and classes are included.
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  13. Eat something cool. Get yourself a refreshingly icy strawberry lemonade or dive into some ice cream. These are things we typically only consume when it’s warm, so enjoying your first one of the season will automatically make you feel refreshed and spring-ready.
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  14. Flaunt your florals. Whether it’s shirts, skirts, scarves, bags, or the like, try out all the beautiful floral patterns blooming throughout stores this time of year. That will give you spring fever for sure.

    This floral skirt has "spring" written all over it.
    This floral skirt has “spring” written all over it.
  15. Drop the negativity. It’s easier said than done, but find something that’s really been bringing you down, and get it out of your life. Pick something realistic; you’re 3/4 of the way through the semester, so now is not the time to drop that really hard class. But you can avoid people that treat you badly or stop trying to force down that vegetable that you’re just never going to start liking. Nix the negative thoughts that plague your head when you look in the mirror, focusing on what looks good instead of what you don’t like. If something is causing you more stress than it’s actually worth, than you might want to re-evaluate it.
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Spring Has Sprung! Maybe?

The current temperature in Utica, New York is 37°  Fahrenheit. If you’re anything like me, you are currently jumping for joy. Don’t get me wrong, I love winter. I love being able to wear scarves and sweaters, and I love tromping around in the snow. But I hate being freezing and shoveling snow. So by the time March rolls around, I’m pretty ready for a change. 

(A picture from last weekend’s Heart Run and Walk. I was clearly over the cold.)

Spring makes me think of flowers, fresh vegetables, and fresh air. Do not lie, spring air smells crisper than winter air; it’s a thing. …and I may have driven home from class with my car windows down a bit. It was a tad chilly, but so worth it.

(The ASA Gray Biological society planted vegetables this past week. Very “Spring-like behavior.”)

One of my favorite events on campus last year was an event in celebration of spring, Holi. It is a Hindu celebration commonly known as “The Festival of Colors.” People get together and throw non-toxic “color” at each other as a way of ushering in the spring season.

HOLI!!

(One of my favorite pictures from last year’s celebration.)

I’ve been told that the coordinators of the event are planning to do it again this year, which I sincerely hope they do. Matty Campos, a student at UC and an individual involved with the planning of the event said, “It will def. happen.” So, I’m taking that as a positive thing, and will count on the event.

It really is one of my favorite things about the spring semester though. It is so much fun being able to throw colored powder at random people. However, be sure to close your mouth because the stuff tastes horrible. It is a great event, and once information starts going up about it, I encourage everyone to get involved! It is so much fun.

(I got color in my mouth last year, not very nice.)

So while I patiently wait for spring (and Holi!) to actually be here, I’ve been told that the temperatures are supposed to drop again heading into next week. I’m disappointed and sad…but I’ll take the little bit of Spring-like weather while we have it! I’m going to take full advantage by blasting Miley Cyrus while driving with the windows down, no shame.

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