Life, It’s a Relatable Thing

Written By: Kaelyn Binder

As we look around at one another it is easy to make assumptions about the individuals we are seeing. No matter where we go, we are surrounded by people that may seem similar to us, yet far from what we view ourselves to be. Surface level assumptions that lead to biased opinions about people we don’t even know. From what they are wearing, to how they walk, or who someone is associating themselves with, we as humans create surface level opinions about the individuals we are surrounded by. However, have you ever considered how you may personally relate to those people who you are so ungraciously depicting? Have you ever attempted to view them past their surface level appearance or general demographics? Although it may be hard to realize at times, every person that walks this earth is more than just the skin they show or the clothes they wear on their backs. We are compiled with stress and worry, we have learned from beautiful mistakes, and we were all created from similar life experiences that in turn molded us into who we are today. Throughout the remainder of this blog post, I would like to ask each of you to dig a little deeper and consider whether or not you can personally relate to these ordinary circumstances and practices that we as humans experience each and every day. Go ahead and make yourselves comfortable, grab some coffee or a beer; because let me tell you something, those two surface level beverages are definitely something that I can relate to.

Stress, It’s a Relatable Thing

    Have you ever been in a public library or a coffee shop and seen an individual who appeared to be on the verge of a mental breakdown? Yeah, that’s called stress, and that is something that we can all relate to. Stress is a mental and physical emotion that every person around you has felt at some point in their lives. Take it from a true college student working two jobs and going to school full time for the past five years. Yes, I said it, FIVE. Not only do I stress about money, school work, and getting things done in a timely manner, I also personally stress about much more minor things that I know each and every one of you can relate to. Even the simplest things in life are easy to stress about. For example, have you ever stressed over waking up late and realizing you snoozed your alarm for the fourth or fifth time? All you can think to yourself “S@*#!  I did it again!” Yep, that is something I can definitely relate to. Or maybe you are stressed because the toast you just made for breakfast is overly burnt and is now inedible.  As a result you end up hangry, leaving the house irritable and agitated. What about when you are in a hurry in the mornings and can’t find the shoes you are wanting to wear even though you have seven other perfectly wearable pairs of shoes waiting to be worn in your closet? As crazy as all of that may seem, the majority of us have all stressed about and can relate to minor instances such as these. So, the next time you see someone who appears to be in distress at your local coffee shop down the road, realize that this stress may have been caused by an instance much more minor that it may appear. Instead of assuming the worst, consider creating a bit of random small talk to simply let the individual know that “Hey, I can relate”.

What is Life?

    Growing up into who I am today I was sent through a series of ‘phases’ that weren’t all that pretty. From my initial tomboy image that I rocked until highshcool to learning how to acquire more lady-like attributes, I still find myself in an awkward phase in life learning how to “adult”. However, aren’t we all struggling with the concept of what ‘adulting’ actually means? I mean, we are sent through a long and drawn out educational career where we are faced with so called core curriculum that is supposed to aid us in our future paths in life. But then again, how are we supposed to relate those core curriculum courses to what we all struggle with today?  I am now a college level student who is about to graduate in May, 2019 and am still struggling to find an understanding of how the Pythagorean Theorem or how learning a song to remember the capital of all fifty states relates to the everyday knowledge that we are all supposed to be familiar with. Individuals my age (stinkin’ millennials) can almost all relate that we don’t have any sort of understanding of how to properly file our tax returns, how to understand the basic car troubles that we all undergo, or how to appropriately treat any health issues we may be experiencing. Call me crazy, however WebMD is still my go-to medical symptom site, and I know my parents are tired of receiving phone calls from me worrying that I may be experiencing a potential stroke. Don’t lie, the majority of you can relate, we all tend to self-diagnose thanks to WebMD. The point that I am trying to make is that no matter what age you are, or where you find yourself at in life, we can all relate that learning how to ‘adult’ is a never ending phase.

(Relat)ionships and Friendships

One thing that I can personally appreciate is that the friendships and relationships I have been a part of are what helped me grow through each of those so called phases. It wasn’t until I graduated high school that I was able to fully understand just how important some of those connections that I made truly were. The people we associate ourselves with directly impact what we are going through at that point in time. They are a reflection of not only our tough times, but some of our most prosperous moments as well. Have you ever been apart of a friendship that you thought was fun and adventurous but turns out was damaging and toxic? I know I have, and it was an experience that I have both learned and grown from. What about being a part of a relationship or friendship where you were their emotional support blanket? Although it may be difficult at times, in these circumstances we must understand that we are someone who that specific individual personally felt they could relate to and confide in. Lastly, there are going to be certain people within your life where you feel an instant connection with them. They are the ones who share similar interests and odd habits, such as eating a pickle and peanut butter sandwich; not many people can relate to you on that, but the ones who can are the ones worth waiting for. What I am trying to get you to see is that we make connections to people in life based on what we are going through at that current time. It doesn’t matter if you were able to relate to someone on a deeper level or through the discussion of your sandwich, what truly matters is that at that exact moment, you found a level where you could both relate.

Technology, it’s how we relate.

As our world has become more advanced, technology has created a new avenue that allows us all to connect and relate to other people around the world. For individuals my age, as well as those who are younger than me, it is easy to get caught up in the technology that is quickly shaping our lives. Through the use of social media platforms we are able to connect with people who may have once seemed unimaginable. Whether it be famous actors or athletes, health and fitness enthusiasts, or the numerous array of influencers that fill our social media feed, there is always someone who we are living vicariously through each and every day. We are now given the accessibility to make connections through Instagram or Facebook, Snapchat or Twitter, or perhaps through other blog posts with individuals and groups who we never thought we could connect with before. At times we may get caught up in our overly obsessive scrolling, I too am guilty of that, however we are generally viewing our social media as a way to visually connect and relate to different people. It is crazy to me that through the use of technology and social media we all have a particular individual or group who we have never met, yet we feel we can relate to.

I relate to you, and you relate to me.

    I feel like it is safe to say that there are numerous other ways that I could discuss with you about how we all relate to one another. Whether it be surface level relatability, or deeper internal relations there is always something you can relate about with the person sitting next to you.  If you like Macaroni & Cheese, we can relate. If you wear mixed-matched socks, we can relate. If your family isn’t perfect, we can relate. If you are secretly upset with your body image, trust me we can relate. The list goes on. As this blog post comes to a close and I am writing to you, I keep thinking to myself how and or why I chose to write about relatability. What I have decided, is that not only am I an individual who has told myself numerous times that only I would understand, but I am also an individual who appreciates being the person that others turn to when they feel they are alone. What I would like you all to remember, is that we all are connected to one another in some shape or form. Simply breath, stay calm, and always remember that everyone around you can relate.

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10 Must Watch Shows On Netflix

Being a broke college student without cable TV, I’ve been around the Netflix lineup my fair share of times. It’s easy to get caught into the same old, same old shows like Orange is the New Black, Stranger Things or How I Met Your Mother (which if you haven’t watched any of those – stop reading right now and go watch them) and it’s easy to forget that there are actually a lot of good shows out there that people just aren’t talking about. So I’ve went and put together a list of shows that I feel are “must watch” if you need a shake-up in your traditional suggested TV shows.

Sherlock 

9.2/10 IMDb and 91% Rotten Tomatoes

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Many people know or have heard of Sherlock Holmes. This BBC TV series did a great job making this show full of twists and often very funny scenes to keep you totally engrossed while watching. It is brilliantly acted and by far the best iteration of Sherlock Holmes ever to air on TV.

Downsides: Each episode is an hour and a half long so make sure you grab some popcorn because these episodes are basically like a continuous movie.

Jessica Jones

8.2/10 IMDb – No Rotten Tomatoes score

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Everyone seems to be talking about the series “Luke Cage” but I find that not many people know that he was originally introduced in the “Jessica Jones” series! I personally like Jessica Jones over Luke Cage but to each their own. Jessica is a personal investigator who is trying to leave her life as a superhero behind her. Marvel’s Jessica Jones is extremely addicting to watch and a must see in my opinion – if you like Marvel / superhero type stories anyways.

Downsides: None – it’s a great show!

Black Mirror

8.8/10 IMDb and 96% Rotten Tomatoes

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For some reason Netflix has this listed as 3 out of 5 stars but you have to give it a chance. It is seriously such a good series! Each episode is completely different from the next and no episodes are tied together. They are like little movies with new actors and actresses in each episode, chalked full of mind blowing theoretical future technological scenarios in a twisted, Twilight Zone type of way. Trust me, watch one episode and you’ll be hooked.

Downsides: There are only 3 seasons and the first two seasons only have 3 episodes (but the last season has 6! Woohoo) so you might go through them fast.

Shameless (U.S. Version)

8.7/10 IMDb and 92% Rotten Tomatoes

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This was one of those shows that I binged watched all summer long. It’s an honest comedy about an alcoholic father (Frank) who can hardly take care of himself and his family of six children who struggle to keep life going together. Despite the seemingly harsh premise, Shameless is seriously hilarious and it is so easy getting caught up in the Gallagher’s dysfunctional world. Netflix has 6 seasons available so you have plenty of episodes to keep you busy.

Downsides: There is a lot of sex scenes. Like a lot – but you get used to it after a while. Just a heads up haha

Broadchurch

8.4/10 IMDb and 88% Rotten Tomatoes

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Broadchurch is a British television crime drama. The premise is typical of a crime show in the sense that there are two main detectives that are investigating the mysterious murder of a young boy in a small seaside town in England. Give it two episodes and I promise you’ll watch the whole two seasons in no time flat. Make sure to watch the BBC version and not the U.S. version for this one though!

Downsides: Becuase this show is a British TV series, all of the cast have heavy accents making it, at times, hard to hear what they are saying. Not a big deal but still wanted to mention it 🙂

The 100

7.8/10 IMDb and 90% Rotten Tomatoes

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Imagine a Hunger Games meets Divergent meets The Maze – That’s what The 100 is like.  After living in space for three generations due to a nuclear Armageddon that destroys civilization on Earth, the survivors of the international space station start running out of resources. The 100 is all about a group of kids trying to save the human race. If you can get through the first four episodes, you’ll be in it for the long haul.

Downsides: There are only 2 out of 3 seasons available on Netflix so if you really like it, you’ll have to get your fix by some other means online.

Limitless

7.9/10 IMDb and 57% Rotten Tomatoes

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If you have seen and liked the movie Limitless, then you will definitely enjoy this spin-off. Even if you haven’t seen the movie you should definitely give this a watch. Just like the movie, Limitless is about a young man who is down on his luck until he is introduced to a drug that enhances his mental acuity. While the show and movie parallel each other, they are quite different in their story line (although the TV show does a nice job picking up where the movie left off). Oh, and Bradley Cooper, the main character in the movie, makes appearances throughout the show as well which is pretty cool.

Downsides: There is only one season available right now and last I looked, there is no hope of a second season starting anytime soon. With that being said though, season one has 22 episodes and it wraps up pretty good while still keeping a small door open for a potential second season.

Nurse Jackie

7.7/10 IMDb and 84% Rotten Tomatoes

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This is a really easy show to watch. I would typically have it playing in the background while I was getting ready. Nurse Jackie is centered around the chaotic, relentless ER of a busy New York hospital as Jackie maneuvers through her busy work life, one Vicodin pill at a time. It’s a funny and quirky series that will keep you coming back for more.

Parenthood

8.1/10 IMDb and 90% Rotten Tomatoes

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Parenthood is a heartfelt family show with some popular actors and actresses in the cast including Lauren Graham and Dax Shepard. The show features the whole Braverman family tree and follows the ups and downs of four grown siblings as they juggle parenthood, relationships, and their daily lives. All six seasons of the show are available on Netflix and I highly recommend if you are looking for a feel good show!

The Following

7.7/10 IMDb and 55% Rotten Tomatoes

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While this series has the lowest ratings of all the shows on this list, it is still one of my favorites that I felt needed to be included. The Following is a mystery / detective show centered around the hunt for a serial killer who has escaped from death row. This show is full of twists and turns that will keep you wondering and wanting more. Don’t be surprised if you end up misplacing hours of your time while getting engrossed watching.

So there you have it, 10 shows to go watch on Netflix! Hopefully there is one show on this list that you haven’t seen yet that you can add to your queue. Happy watching! 🙂

By: Lauryn Wate – University of Montana student studying Business Marketing

5 Life Lessons from Growing Up on a Ranch

I wouldn’t trade growing up dirty and wild on a ranch in the middle of nowhere for anything in the world. Every day was an adventure. I figured it’s time I share a few lessons I learned along the way.

#1: Always close the gate behind you.

This may seem like a little thing, or it may seem unimportant to the regular city-raised person, but this is one of the most important things I’ve learned to date. You never know when the cows will get turned out, and most of the time you won’t have time to check the gates across the pasture—you’ll just trust that they were closed. In life, closing the gate behind you has a little bit of a different meaning. Don’t let the past sneak up on you. Your past may contain hurt, sadness, anger, or words that sting like a snake bite. It’s important to close the gate. Don’t let the negative aspects of your past effect the endless possibilities of your future. Always close the gate.

#2: Never trust the roosters.

To some, roosters look interesting and some of them can even appear attractive the average city-raised person. To a ranch kid, roosters look like the devil himself trotting around with crooked feathers and a razor-sharp beak with rough talons to match. Never turn your back or trust for one second that the rooster(s) won’t launch a sneak attack. The same can be applied to life. Some people may look inviting and maybe even interesting, but it’s important to keep your distance. Trusting everyone you meet can lead to broken hearts and tear-stained pillows. Although people don’t have crooked feathers, razor-sharp beaks and nasty talons, they can have crooked intentions, razor-sharp tongues, and rough eyes—used only to judge those around them. Never trust the roosters.

#3: Moving sprinkler pipe sucks.

If you grew up with a dad like mine, you were up at 5:00am; before the sun broke over the purple mountains. The air would be crisp…too crisp. The water would be cold…actually, make that one degree away from freezing. The pipe would be heavy…full of the almost frozen water and the occasional mouse, snake, or gopher. The field would be big…and seem to get bigger as you make your way across with the air stinging at your nose, the cold water dripping down your arm and making its way into your jacket, and the pipe slowly getting heavier. OKAY, so maybe it wasn’t this bad. But, getting drug out of your warm bed at 5:00am everyday sucked. However, watching the sun peak over the mountains, hearing nothing but your footsteps through the crop and the occasional coyote yelping and yipping was pure heaven. Watching the crop grow each day always made me crack a smile. Watching the swather cut down your hours of hard work was bittersweet, but being able to feed your horses a couple flakes of hay off of your field—knowing you worked through the cold, wet, heavy, adventurous mornings was a feeling like no other. Always remember to move through the unpleasant to be rewarded in the end. Moving sprinkler pipe sucks.

#4: Dying is a part of living.

Although most are afraid of death, growing up on a ranch teaches you at an early age to view death as a part of living. Losing crops, animals, or loved ones never gets easier, but it does start to become less shocking. Moxy, Friday, Kitty, Maggie, Daisy, Mario, Luigi, Oreo, Theodore, Stereo, Wilson, Bob, Blake, Wyatt, Star, Julie, and Steiner is just a partial list of the animals and people I’ve watched get to wherever they’re going over the years. Nothing about losing them was easy, and nothing about losing them made sense. You’ll become familiar with death, and maybe even start to accept it. When I was little my uncle told me, “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather skid in sideways, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming-‘Holy shit! What a ride!'” Dying is a part of living.

#5: Keep yourself company.

Most of the time you’ll be building fence, fixing fence, riding horses, filling tanks, or feeding by yourself. This time is important. You’ll learn that being alone doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. You’ll hear the birds calling, horses snorting, water flowing, and grasshoppers chirping. Cows are good listeners. They stare, and they’re dumber than a box of rocks, but they’ll listen to you practice public speaking or singing or even just talking about your day. When the sun starts to go down and you start to slowly make your way home, remember to keep yourself company.

5 St. Patrick’s Day Snacks That Will Leave You Feeling Lucky!

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner! The day of green beer, good luck, and everyone is Irish! I am going to help you make your St. Patrick’s day a little tastier with these fun, festive, and delicious treats.

Disclaimer: these are what the treats REALLY look like. I’m not a professional Pinterester so they may not be perfect, but that gives you a good idea of what they will realistically look like!

 

ONE: Little Lucky Bars (gluten & dairy free option)

Just like your traditional Rice Krispies Treats but with Lucky Charms.

IMG_2288What you will need:
– 8 cups of Lucky Charms
– 1 bag of mini marshmallows
– 1 tsp. of vanilla (optional – I like to add it)
– 3 tbs. of butter (I use vegan to avoid dairy)
– Green food coloring

 
Instructions:
1. Melt butter in large sized pot on stove
2. Add full bag of marshmallows to IMG_2304melted butter. Continue to stir         consistently to avoid burning the marshmallows until fully melted.
3. Add vanilla and about 5 drops of green food coloring and mix evenly.
4. Remove marshmallow mixture from heat and mix in 8 cups of Lucky Charms.
5. Once cereal is mixed in pour the mixture into a grease 8×12 inch cake pan and press down the top lightly until flat.
6. Let the mixture cool, then cut and serve!

TWO: Luck of the Irish Mix! (gluten-free) 

Have you had Puppy Chow or Muddy Buddies? Make those ordinary treats a little more lucky with this Luck of the Irish Mix recipe!

IMG_2287What you will need:
– 1 bag of white chocolate chips
– 8 cups Chex cereal
– ½ cup peanut butter
– 1 tsp. of vanilla
– ¼ cup of butter
– 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar
– Green candies – I chose mint M&M’s
– Green food coloring

 

 

Instructions:
1. Combine chocolate chips, butter, and peanut butter in a medium microwavable bowl.IMG_2303
2. Microwave to melt the contents, stirring frequently to avoid burning mixture.
3. Add green food coloring and vanilla
4. Place Chex cereal in a large bowl and add melted mixture.
5. Stir thoroughly to make sure all pieces are coated
6. Add powdered sugar and mix well. This works best if you have a lid for your bowl so you can shake it.
7. Let the mixture cool.
8. Add sprinkles, M&M, Lucky Charms, or any other green candies!

THREE:  Irish Jell-O Shots (for the adults)

It’s not St. Patrick’s day without at least a little bit of alcohol. You can solve that problem with these Jell-O shots that are the colors of Ireland’s flag.

What you will need:IMG_2290
– 1 box of orange Jell-O
– 1 box of lime Jell-O
– 4 packets of unflavored gelatin
– 7 oz of sweet and condensed milk
– 1 1/2 cups Vodka of your choice
– Whipped cream (optional)
– Plastic cups to make your Jell-O shots in. I like to use the cups with lids for easier storing.

 

Instructions:
1. Start with the box of lime Jell-O. Combine 1 cup of boiling water with contents of Jell-O packet. Stir until dissolvedIMG_2306.
2. Add ¾ cup of vodka and ¼ cup of cooled water
3. Fill 1/3 of shot glass with green Jell-O.
4. Place in fridge to set.
5. Combine contents of four packets of unflavored gelatin with 1 cup of boiling water, mix until dissolved.
6. Add 7oz of sweet and condensed milk to unflavored gelatin mixture.
7. Fill the next 1/3 of your shot glass.
8. Place in fridge to set.
9. Finally, with your box of orange Jell-O, combine 1 cup of boiling water with contents of Jell-O packet. Stir until dissolved
10. Add ¾ cup of vodka and ¼ cup of cooled water
11. Fill 1/3 of shot glass with green Jell-O.
12. Place in fridge to set.

FOUR: Leprechaun Hats – my personal favorite!

Every little leprechaun will love these special treats! Perfect for making with the kiddos.

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What you will need:
– 1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
– Circular cookies of your choice
– 1 bag of marshmallows
– Green frosting
– Yellow sprinkles

 

 

Instructions:IMG_2305
1. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave. Stirring every 30 seconds to avoid burning the chocolate.
2. Coat the cookies and marshmallows with semi-sweet chocolate chips.
3. Add a little extra drop of chocolate to the bottom of the marshmallow and stick on the center of the cookie.
4. Put in the fridge to set.
5. Use frosting to add a band where the marshmallow and cookie meet.
6. Use yellow sprinkles to make a buckle.
7. Ready to serve!

FIVE: Shamrock on a Stick  

Mix sweet and salty to create these decorative treats!

IMG_2284What you will need:
– 1 bag of white chocolate chips
– Pretzels
– Lollipop sticks
– Green food coloring
– Green sprinkles

 

 

 

Instructions:
1. Melt chocolate chips in the IMG_2313microwave. Stirring every 30 seconds to avoid burning the chocolate.
2. Add green food coloring to the chocolate.
3. Dip pretzels into the chocolate and set on greased baking sheet in groups of three to form a shamrock.
4. Place the lollipop stick in the center of the pretzels and add a small amount of extra chocolate
5. Add sprinkles if desired.
6. Let the shamrocks dry and then serve!

Enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day treats! There’s a recipe for everyone!

This blog was written by Anne Hagerty.