7 places to explore in Minnesota

By Maddie Baggenstoss and Daniela Fernandez

Minnesota is a great place to be during the summer. Here are some of the best places to explore this summer!

Grand Marais is a great place to go in Northern Minnesota. It’s a small town on the waterfront of Lake Superior. There are many small restaurants, stores, museums, and trails to go on while you visit. Some of these places are the Cook County Museum, Pincushion Mountain Trail, and the Grand Marais Harbour point according to Google. Not to mention the beautiful view of Lake Superior, which you can go on.

The Boundary Waters is another amazing place to go in Minnesota. While there you can canoe and kayak in Lake Superior. As you travel the lake you can also look at the amazing sights and views of nature. You can even look at the amazing and beautiful wildlife all around the Lake as you camp there according to Google.

Gooseberry Falls State Park is another beautiful place to visit. Located in northern Minnesota you can walk the trails and see the falls. While there you can take a hike through the park and see all the falls the park has to offer according to Google.

Split Rock Lighthouse in Two Harbors, Minnesota is a great place to go. While there you a tour the lighthouse and see the view from the top of Lake Superior, and visit the State Park. You can also visit the museum and the lighthouse’s history according to Google.

Taylors Falls is a fun place to go with family. While there you can canoe and kayak the St. Croix River, and take a boat tour. Another fun thing to do is go hiking through the park and camp. While hiking you can see ancient lava flow traces and glacial holes according to Explore Minnesota.

Itasca State Park is Minnesota’s oldest state park, and it is located right at the beginning of the Mississippi river. It has over 30,000 acres of land and over 100 lakes. It offers many beautiful views and several dozen campsites.

Don’t forget the local stuff. The twin cities has a lot to offer on a warm summer day! A quick search will reveal seemingly endless options. Some of our favorites include art museums, local coffee shops and restaurants, and bike trails. Did you know that Minneapolis has over 200 miles of bike trails? If you don’t have your own bike, try renting a lime green bike from Nice Ride Minnesota.

Have fun this summer, and see you all next year!

Summer road trip destinations

By: Daniela Fernandez and Maddie Baggenstoss

As summer approaches, we are all tasked with finding fun and interesting ways to spend our precious summer months. If you don’t want to or can’t go on a long and expensive overseas trip, these road trip destinations are the way to go – literally.

South Dakota is a very common and enjoyable road trip. It is very easy for Minnesotans, especially those of us in the Twin Cities area. Some of the most popular stops along the way include: the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park, Crazy Horse, and strange tourist attractions such as Wall Drug and the Corn Palace. Overall, South Dakota is a good option if you enjoy beautiful trails and outdoors.

Duluth, Minnesota is also a fun destination (although it isn’t exactly a road trip, it is only a two hour drive away from the Twin Cities). Canal Park has many hotels and restaurants along the shore of Lake Superior, and if you’re brave enough you can swim in the frigid water. You can also shop local businesses, try new foods, and explore historical sites including Split Rock Lighthouse and the Glensheen mansion. Remember to pack extra layers – it can get chilly!

Chicago, Illinois is another popular drive for many Minnesotans. In the city, there are a lot of cool things to do, many of them in the water. There are boat rides in lakes and rivers as well as Navy Pier. There are also many beautiful parks and museums. Chicago is also home to Wrigley Field, where the Chicago Cubs play. It is the second oldest ballpark in the Major League.

St. Louis, Missouri is a cool place to go. It’s known for the Gateway Arch, which is a very popular place to visit. Standing 630 ft tall, you can view the entire city from the top. While at the Gateway Arch they offer riverboat tours that take you along St. Louis to look at many different sights the city has to offer. In St. Louis you can also visit the beautiful Missouri Botanical Garden and Forest Park.

Another fun place to visit while on a road trip is Cleveland, Ohio. While in Cleveland you can visit the iconic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Glass Pyramid, with signed artifacts from your favorite rock stars. What’s not to love? While there you can take a tour of the museum looking at iconic artifacts from bands  and artists like: the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Stevie Nicks, Aretha Franklin, and many more. While there you can also explore Lake Erie, and the International Women’s Air and Space Museum.

Road trips are always fun. Getting to discover new places and having adventures. These road trip destinations are just a fraction of what’s out there to do. Whatever you choose to do, the important things is to have fun!

ME! by Taylor Swift and Brendon Urie

By: Daniela Fernandez and Maddie Baggenstoss

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard any new Taylor Swift music. The last new music we heard from her was from her Reputation album back in 2017.

Before the release of her new song, Taylor left many clues for fans to find. She posted 11 Instagram pictures all with the caption 4.26 which led many fans to think she would be releasing either a new album or single on that day. She then added a countdown on her website and Instagram story to mark the day all her fans were waiting for.

Then on April 26, 2019 she released her new song called “ME!” with Panic! At The Disco’s lead singer Brendon Urie. This song is very different from her Reputation album. It sounds very bright, cheerful, and peppy; as compared to the darker tone in her last album.

The song was released with a music video which represents a new change in Taylor’s music. Click here to watch the music video. With the video released many fans have decoded it to find hidden messages and clues for what lies ahead. According to Time Magazine, one of the messages fans have discovered is a snake transforming into butterflies. This is clearly referencing her Reputation album, which had a few major themes including snakes. The snakes represented all of the people who ruined her reputation. The snake transforming into butterflies most likely represents Taylor herself leaving behind her past drama in favor of a more positive style of music. Then fans found a painting of the Dixie Chicks in the background possibly telling them there would be a collab soon. All of the clocks in the apartment seen were set to 8:30 which many fans think is when Taylor will be releasing new music; August 30th. There are many more clues and messages throughout the video. To read more about them click here.

Swift and Urie performed their new hit song at this year’s Billboard Music Awards on May 1, 2019. According to CNN, their performance then sparked controversy because they were accused of copying Beyoncé’s 2018 Coachella performance. In both performances marching bands and drum lines were used, and the lightning was also very similar. Some have pointed out these similarities while others believe it is just bad timing. Beyoncé fans are using the hashtag #mayochella to mock the fact that Swift copied the Coachella performance in May.

In response to these allegations, many fans have taken it upon themselves to point out the fact that this is not the first time a drum line or marching band was used in a performance according to CNN. Many pointed out that Prince used them at his iconic Super Bowl Halftime Show in 2007, Gwen Stefani at the Teen Choice Awards in 2005, and Madonna in 2012 for her MDNA tour. Lastly, fans pointed out that Taylor Swift used a marching band in her “You Belong with Me” music video back in 2009.

The Instagram “Nasty List” hack

In the past few weeks, many Instagram users have seen strange messages on their accounts and sent to them by friends. If you have seen any of these messages, you are not the only one. The messages are spread from person to person, by clicking one link and entering a password.

The messages that people have been seeing all refer to something called the Instagram “Nasty List.” The messages vary slightly, but they all tell you that you are on the “Nasty List.”

Below the intriguing message, there is a live link. Many people unknowingly click the link hoping to discover where they are on the list and why. After clicking on the link, users are brought to a login page, where they are asked to enter their username and password. Although the page looks very similar to the real Instagram login page, it is really just a convincing fake.

Shortly after giving your information to this website, the same message you received will be sent to many of your followers. By clicking the link and entering your information, you are giving the hackers full access to your Instagram account. It is unknown what the hackers will do with the stolen accounts, but it is always better to avoid finding out.

The best way to avoid getting hacked in this case, is simply to not click the link. If you’ve already clicked the link, change your account password as soon as possible. This will make it so that the password you gave the hackers is invalid; however, they may have already changed your password. In that case, there unfortunately isn’t anything you can do.

If you are ever worried about your Instagram account getting hacked, the best thing you can do is set up two-factor authentication and never enter your information anywhere except for the official website or app.

Stranger Things 3 – The trailer is out!

The Stranger Things 3 trailer was released by Netflix on March 20, 2019, and it is absolutely full of new clues about the third installment of the beloved Netflix original. From audio clips, to briefly flashed images, fans of the show are beginning to piece together exciting details about season three. Today, I’ll cover some of the details that give us an idea of season three’s plot.

If you haven’t seen Stranger Things, you may want to now. Even with only 2 seasons (17 episodes total) since July 15, of 2016, when it first aired, Stranger Things is still incredibly popular. According to Nielsen – a rating service well known for its accuracy – 15.8 million people watched the first episode of Stranger Things 2 within the first three days.

To give a very brief summary, the show follows the story of friends Mike, Dustin, Lucas, and Will as they encounter strange mysteries in their small hometown of Hawkins, Indiana. Along the way, they meet Eleven – a girl with supernatural abilities and the number 11 tattooed on her wrist.

From the opening scene of the trailer, we can tell when the third season will take place. Dustin has returned from summer camp, as we can see he is wearing his camp uniform and is talking about how he is finally home.

We can also assume that Nancy and Jonathan are attempting to spread the word about what is really happening in Hawkins. In season two, they were working with the reporter Murray Bauman to expose the Hawkins Laboratory. In the trailer, Nancy and Jonathan are shown in the waiting area of The Hawkins Post, presumably about to talk with a reporter.

Finally, many fans have speculated that the main source of evil in this season may use, or be related to, mind control. The opening scene where Eleven is controlling Dustin’s toys could be hinting at this.

Throughout the trailer, we also see many people with blank looks on their faces, and Steve Harrington seems to have an infection on his arm that closely resembles the typical texture of the upside down. Shortly after that, we see someone in a hospital transform into a new kind of monster while Jonathan watches in horror.

Water and electricity may play a role in the controlling of the people of Hawkins, as both are common themes in the trailer.

Whatever happens, Stranger Things 3 is sure to be a great addition to the series.

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is a day we take every year to celebrate all the women in the world and their achievements. It’s also a day where people raise awareness of the bias women face, and fight for equality for all. Every year International Women’s Day takes place on March 8.

According to International Women’s Day, the first International Women’s Day took place on March 19, 1911. It was first celebrated by Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and Denmark. This happened after an agreement made the previous year in Copenhagen after Clara Zetkin proposed the idea of an International Women’s Day.

On the last Sunday in February, 1913, women in Russia celebrated International Women’s Day to support peace before World War I started. In 1913 it was also decided to move International Women’s Day to March 8.

On March 8, 1914, in London, and other places across Europe, there were rallies to stop the war and unite all women. In London there was a rally from Bow to Trafalgar Square were people supported the women’s suffrage movement.

In 1917, the Czar of Russia granted women the right to vote. This happened after they put together a strike for “bread and peace” after over 2 million Russians were killed in World War I. The women kept striking for 4 more days. Many people opposed them, such as political leaders. The Czar forced the provisional Government to give women the right to vote.

The UN first started celebrating International Women’s Day in 1975. Then two years later, in December of 1977, the General Assembly officially created a resolution for a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace. This resolution states that member states (countries that are part of the UN) can celebrate International Women’s Day on any day that works for them based on their cultures.

Today, International Women’s Day is celebrated all over the world in many different ways. The International Women’s Day website recommends many ways to celebrate the day by making a difference. They tell people to identify their goals, identify their audience, and then decide what you can do; just a few of the ways they suggest are their downloadable selfie cards, social cards, and posters. You can also order event packs, which help you run a women’s day event.

The International Women’s Day also tells readers about the #BalanceforBetter tag. Social media is a great way to spread awareness of inequalities and educate others. Something as simple as a Women’s Day filter on Snapchat can inspire others to learn and remind people of the day’s significance. If you want to make a difference, use tags including the #BalanceforBetter and #InternationalWomensDay tags, or simply spread the word.

Visit https://www.internationalwomensday.com/HowToPlanIWD for more information.

Hexaflexagons and how to fold them

What is a hexaflexagon? Yes, it is a real thing. At first glance, a hexaflexagon appears to be a simple two-dimensional two-sided hexagon. However, if you know how to fold it the right way, it can be rearranged to reveal a third side hidden within.

How do I create a hexaflexagon? They are actually quite simple. First, you’ll need to start with a strip of paper. Fold it over itself to create a chain of ten equilateral triangles. You’ll know that the triangles are equilateral if they can continue to be folded on top of one another while still staying within the sides of the paper strip.

Then you have to fold it into a hexagon shape as shown below, making sure to have the three openings facing the same way. There also shouldn’t be an opening all the way through the middle of the hexagon.

Once it is folded correctly, either fold and glue the tenth triangle, or cut off the tenth triangle and instead use tape on the seam.

Once you have your hexaflexagon made, you can color it so that once the third side is revealed it is obvious that it is a new side. To reveal the third side, pinch three of the seams inward. Then open the seams along the top. If you can’t find the opening to the third side, try flipping the hexaflexagon over and doing the same process again. Below is a diagram of how to reveal the third side.

The hexaflexagon mentioned above is actually known more specifically as a trihexaflexagon because it has three sides. You can also create hexahexaflexagons, which contain a total of 15 different arrangements, or tetraflexagons which are square shaped and are used to construct many things including the Jacob’s Ladder toy and the magic wallet trick.

If you want to learn more about hexaflexagons, print a template, or watch an instructive video, visit vihart.com/hexaflexagons

Should you make a New Year’s resolution?

By Maddie Baggenstoss, Claire Ramadan, and Daniela Fernandez 

The New Year, a time for resolutions that will swirl down the drain by late February. What was once sparked by confetti and noisemakers is most likely destined to later crumble under cheesecake and binge watching. Whether it’s to workout, to eat healthy, or be a kinder person, the fun ends by January 3rd when we begin to miss our old vices. Will the destructive cycle of forgotten New Year’s Resolutions ever end?

Although New Year’s Resolutions can seem like a productive and achievable idea, many don’t often realize the cons that come with it.

One thing that many people don’t realize is that they will most likely end up quitting something cold turkey; sugar, smoking, drinking, etc. It takes about 21 days to start a new habit, which by then, most people stop their New Year’s resolutions.

Although ceasing bad habits abruptly is a method of improving, lots of people struggle with it. This is because many have the possibility to experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can affect mood, productivity, and energy levels among other things.

When trying something new, or quitting something old, it is almost always best to ease into new habits slowly; or at least not that quickly. Choosing to make a huge change in your life can be very overwhelming, and huge changes don’t happen overnight.

Many people will attempt to stick to their New Year’s resolutions, but the truth is that they are often way too much way to fast. For example, you may decide you will workout everyday beginning on January first. That’s a big goal, and we’re sure you could do it. Or you could start by working out a few times a week, and build up to it everyday. You may be more likely to reach your goal if you start small and stick with it rather than diving right in, and then quitting after a week.

The real question is: Should I make a New Year’s resolution? Ultimately, whether or not you want to make a New Year’s resolution is completely up to you. If you are able to set goals and stick with them, no problem, then this may be just another excuse for you to make a positive change to your life.

Even if you’re not so sure you can give up that amazing slice of pie that easily, we still encourage you to try. You don’t have to eat a perfect diet of fruits and vegetables right away. No step towards your goal is too small.

Whatever your goal is, do your best to get to achieve it. Get there at your own pace. What do you have to lose?

Ice skating in the Twin Cities

Winter break has started! If you’re looking for something to do with family and friends, we recommend ice skating. Here are some great places to go ice skating this winter!

A great place to ice skating is at the Wells Fargo WinterSkate. This is at Rice Park in downtown Saint Paul. It’s open every day, and Monday through Thursday from 11am until 4:50 pm. Friday through Saturday it’s open from 11 am to 10 pm, and on Sundays it is open from 11 am until 4:50 pm. Skate rentals cost $4 per person, and if you have a Wells Fargo credit or debit card it’s free. Read more about Wells Fargo WinterSkate here.

If you wish to skate au naturel, we suggest Centennial Lakes Park. The Park features a large lake that is as smooth as any indoor rink. Admission is free, and renting skates costs $6. However, be sure to check out the Centennial Lakes website to make sure the lake is frozen. Centennial Lakes usually opens up around mid-December. The hours change day to day, but the skate rental opens several hours after the park opens for guests with their own skates.

Another great place to skate is The Oval in Rosedale. It is located close to the Rosedale mall. Admission costs $6, and skate rental costs $4. This is a very good option if you want to skate outside, but would still like to have a wall to lean on. To check open skate hours in December, check the December schedule.

If you want to visit a skating rink in the Highland Park area, then you can try the Charles M. Schulz Arena. Admission is free, and skate rentals are $5. This is a good option for you if you would prefer to stay indoors. To check open skate hours visit Ramsey County’s website.  

Our final recommendation is Skate the Star at the Mall of America. It is located outside of the north entrance to the mall, and will be open until January 27th. The rink is a circle around the giant star sculpture. Admission is free, and skate rental costs $5. The mall also provides lockers next to the rink that you can rent. You must have a waiver, and it must be signed by a parent if you’re 18 or under. The hours change from day to day, but to check out the times and learn more about Skate the Star, go here.

Decorative plants

Want to add a touch of green to a room? Here are some plants that you can easily grow indoors.

Air Plants-

Air plants are cute, simple, and mess free! Air plants are not grown in soil, and can be placed in any open container. That means that they can easily decorate any surface in any container! They are most commonly kept in glass terrariums. An air lantern can be placed directly on the container, or you can add rocks on the bottom of the container.

Your air plant should be watered every two weeks, and lightly misted one week after watering. Water your air plant by placing it in room temperature water. Let it soak for 5-10 minutes, then allow it to sit upside down to get rid of excess water. It should be dry in less than three hours. Never skip this step! Allowing your plant to air out after watering prevents rot.

Pineapple Plants-

Pineapple plants require a bit more work at first, but once you plant them they are very easy to care for. And if you like eating pineapple, you’re in luck! To get this plant, twist the top leaves off of a pineapple and peel back some of the fruit from the bottom to reveal some of the tiny roots.

Soak your little plant in a shallow bowl of water until you begin to see the roots develop. When soaking your pineapple plant, try to keep the water shallow so that the leaves do not get soaked. Just like with the air plants, soaking the leaves can cause them to rot.

Once the roots have developed, plant your pineapple plant in a pot. Water your plant whenever the soil dries. Your pineapple plant can be kept outside during the summer, but should be kept inside for the rest of the year.

 

Succulents and Cacti-

Succulents and cacti are beautiful plants that have many subspecies. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Succulents either come planted in a disposable plastic pot or already planted in a permanent pot. If they come in a plastic pot, replant it into a cute pot of your choice, making sure to add any extra solid you may need to fill the space.

Your succulents should be kept in a sunny place, and watered when the soil is dry. Be extra careful not to overwater your succulent- they are quite sensitive and adapted to live in environments with little water.