Small summer activities

This summer is going to be complicated. With all of the pools in the Twin Cities closed (maybe), and all the stores shut down (partially). We are going to have to find ways to keep ourselves occupied. So, for that reason I decided to come up with 6 fun ideas to try during our quarantined summer. 

1. Pen Pal

If you enjoy writing letters this is the activity for you. If you want to pursue this you’ll need to take the following steps.

  • First, you’ll want to find a friend to do this with either here in Minnesota or somewhere beyond that.
  • Then, you will want to make sure you have all the supplies necessary: stamps, envelopes, paper, and a writing utensil.
  • Lastly, you will want to set up a schedule based on distance and how often you want to update your pen pal. 

2. Chalk

Chalk is a very simple and fun way to pass the time. If you have sidewalk areas you can use, then take advantage of that space. You can draw elaborate murals or simple little designs.

All you need is chalk, which you can buy online, and sidewalk, which you can find outside. 

3. Science Experiments

This activity is a more difficult one to try because of all the materials you’ll need. There are hundreds of different science activities you could do. You could make your own ice cream, make slime, etc. 

4. Art

There is a lot you can do in this category and that’s why it’s so fun. You can draw, sketch, paint, color, etc. You can follow art tutorials or try and draw something nearby. You can use some of your old things to create a sculpture. 

5. Try Something New

Have you been staring at an old instrument in your house that you want to play? Look up how to play it and work towards that goal. Maybe you want to learn how to loom, or knit, or sew. Try it! It’s now or never.

This is the one summer where you get to do things that you can’t do next summer, or the year after that. You’re still young so embrace it! 

6. Learn to Do Something Cool

You want to learn something cool to show your friends the next time they see you? Do it! You can learn to do a cartwheel or a flip. Maybe you want to do a skateboard trick? Go ahead! Try your best! 

Always remember to be safe! Wear a helmet if you or a family member thinks it’s necessary. Don’t make unsafe choices. Be smart and be safe! 

Apps

There are lots of things to do during this time.

You could draw or play board games.

You could do so much, but most people just like to chill on their phones.

That’s okay too!

Since we have a lot going on in our day, we have to make sure we are taking care of ourselves. We should all try and do our best to make good habits that can last us until after quarantine. If you already have good habits that you want to stick to there are some fun games to pass the time below as well. 

1. Headspace

This app is a really good way of keeping track of your mental and physical health. It’s good for stress, and is a good way to help wind down for the night.

On Google Play it has a 3.5 star review and over 10 million downloads. 

2. Brain Test:Tricky Puzzles

This app is so much fun! It’s a fun way to find new ways of solving problems and it is a really good way to spend time playing! It’s not really an IQ tester but it’s fun to play around on. 

It has a 4.6 star review and over 50 million downloads.

3. What’s up? – A Mental Health App

This app has a lot to offer, it keeps track of your good days, when you rate them on a scale of good to bad. It’s almost like an online diary to help you reflect on the past. It has habit trackers and uplifting quotes. 

It has a 4.3 star review and over 500 thousand downloads.

4. Bored Button – Games 

This app offers a bunch of games and puzzles! A great way to pass the time with many levels and games to choose from. Once you finish up school work this app has a lot to give.

It has a 3.8 star review and over 5 million downloads.

5. Houseparty 

This app is one of my favorites! It’s a great way to connect with others through a video chat! There are built in games that you can play with your friends from a distance! If you get your friends to download it you can play with a bunch of your friends! It’s a great way to stay connected and have fun! 

It has a 4 star review and over 10 million downloads!

I hope this was a helpful article! I know how hard it is to find ways to spend your time since we’re all stuck at home. Stay safe!

Helping small businesses

During these times, there are a lot of people struggling. There are many ways that we can help these people who need us. Small businesses are having some troubles with maintaining pay and keeping up with rent. So, here are some good ways to help these small businesses. 

There are certain small business owners who have made gift receipts or gift cards available to keep buyers coming. Some other places are making gift baskets or bags to carry out to cars. This is a great way for business owners to keep transactions moving and a great way for us to get ahead on birthday and holiday gifts! 

A nice way to help out is to offer volunteering if you can risk working outside of your home. There are a few places that are offering carry out jobs. Just make sure, that if you decide to do this, that none of the people you’re around have pre-existing conditions or have a low immune system. 

Another nice way to help out a local shop is to leave a positive review on Yelp and on Google Location review spots. On March 24th, Yelp made a collaboration with GoFundMe so you can leave a good review and send some cash to your local businesses at the same time. 

You can tell your friends and family about how you are trying to assist a small business so they can help out too! Finding ways to post online, or even writing a suggestion in chalk outside, can really make the difference. You never know who might be looking to help too! 

The last thing you can do is a very good and easy way to just spread positivity and hope. You can find the address of your local place and send them a nice card or something to say thanks. Kindness can really go a long way. 

During these hard times we all need any help we can safely get, so make sure there are no negative vibes!

Stay hopeful, stay safe, stay positive! It will be okay!

Nova Miller

At only 18 years old, Nova Miller has already debuted a new single and a wonderfully made music video. 

She was born in July of the year 2001, in Stockholm, Sweden. She is a very talented singer, songwriter, actress, and dancer. She has her very own blog and newsletter. She went on tour in 2019 to Los Angeles, California and Sweden. At only thirteen years old she was thought to be the next big thing in pop. 

Her personal theme and the vibe in the music video is very retro fancy. I love the general feel of the song and the video. I’d like to point out the mixture of retro and pop that really makes her song unique. The song is called “Do It To Myself” and it’s about toxic relationships. The lyrics describe a flaw that she has in a relationship.

The contrast and significant amounts of wardrobe changes really brings the story together. I really love the ‘70s and ‘80s trend she has. The song is easy to relate to; it’s about being insecure in relationships and avoiding opening up so you don’t get hurt.

I feel that the lyrics are a bit standard in today’s music industry and you can’t find the unique part in the lyrics. The song itself, without considering the lyrics, is very catchy and fun to listen to. 

I love her description of the song and her music because it really makes you lean in. She says “‘Do It To Myself’ is not what you think it is. At first it’s a guitar-driven retro bop but it’s really about the worst form of going crazy, driving yourself crazy! My favorite part of the song is the ‘California Dreaming’ reference like the layered vintage vocals that take you all the way to summer and back.’”

Her vocal range is remarkable, she effortlessly sings deep and slow notes, whilst being able to hit a perfect whistle note. She demonstrates her singing abilities on many social media accounts such as TikTok and Instagram. She also includes a few tips and tricks to help with your singing which I think is nice. 

She has her new single and she says there’s more on the way.

Lauv

As a 25-year-old singer and songwriter, Ari Leff has really made a name for himself. Professionally known as Lauv, Ari is a singer and guitarist. On March 6th, 2020 he will be debuting his album how i’m feeling. His fans are buzzing about his new album; all the songs are very fun but also have a deeper meaning which is interesting to listen to. 

He already has 3 million views on YouTube with his new, romance packed song “Tattoos Together” which was released on January 16th, 2020.

His music videos are usually bright and very catchy. Once interviewed about his new song he says, “This is one of my favorite videos I’ve ever done cause I’ve recently done a few heavier, more existential videos, but “Tattoos” is just straight fun the whole time….and I got to prove to the world once again that I can’t dance.” 

In 2017, he had his first hit song “I Like Me Better” and continues to make more electronic pop based music. He says that “I Like Me Better” was the fastest song he has ever written and he says it may just be one of his most popular. His career has been lifting ever since. 

With his collaboration with popular K-Pop group, BTS, and with Billie Eillish, Khalid and more, his fans are excited to see what comes next.

His songs have been played in popular TV series and movies such as Grey’s Anatomy, 13 Reasons Why, and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. So when you listen to his songs you may recognize his extremely talented voice.

He is touring through many different countries for almost the entire year and will be stopping in Minneapolis on July 28th, 2020. He is going to travel the world, sharing his songs and his upbeat energy. 

Theater arts

Theater arts is a very interesting concept. I mean, it tracks back hundreds and hundreds of years. You can learn so much about theater arts and you can have so many opportunities with it, like acting on television, being onstage, teaching, and so much more. 

Being in a production is so much fun if you like to act. You get to meet so many new people and do so many exciting new things that will make so many good memories. In certain productions you get to dance, sing, and play around. There are so many opportunities in the world of theater. You can learn to express yourself in so many new ways.

There are theaters all over the U.S. Some of the best theater programs can be found in New York, San Francisco, Minneapolis, and so many more places.

Theater arts isn’t just about being on stage it’s also about lights and sounds, it’s about the sets, the props, the scripts, and the dance moves. The possibilities are endless! 

Stage fright is a thing and it is really important to know that there are many professional actors, singers, and dancers that had stage fright when they began their careers and they decided that maybe it was time to overcome those fears. Mark Twain, Lorde, all the way up to Rihanna, and Adele had stage fright. 

Theater isn’t just dramatic shows like Shakespeare, no! There are so many new and interesting shows like the very popular Hamilton and Be More Chill. There are very modern shows that can be very relatable to many different people. There are some very old ones that can be fun to see or be in as well. 

Even if theater isn’t for you it’s always fun to support your community and your friends, seeing shows here at Highland or at the theaters near by. 

Bee puns really sting

Bees are very interesting insects. In one way they are defying the natural law of weight compared to flight and in other ways they are very efficient and precise little creatures. 

They are built very large and have very small wings. Strangely, they can fly which is interesting because they don’t have the large wings that would be needed for its size.

They are very strong and have an interesting life system. There are many different types of bees like the: bumblebee, hornet, honey bee, western honey bee, etc. Each type has its own features. A bee has a standard defense system but has a complicated outcome. 

Queen and worker bumblebees can sting. Unlike in honeybees, the bee can sting repeatedly without injuring itself; by the same token, the stinger is not left in the wound. Bumblebee species are not normally aggressive, but may sting in defence of their nest, or if it feels endangered itself. 

There are many bees that have a complication. If a bee feels like it is in danger it will sting, but the stinger will be left behind. The bee needs its stinger or it will die. 

Certain bees are in danger of going extinct and many have been put on the endangered list. 

The main causes for the extinction of bees is pesticides and parasites. Ever since WWII the use of pesticides has increased by extreme amounts.

One third of the world’s food supply is made by bees. If all bees go extinct we would be left with no crops, flowers, or plants. If bees disappeared off the earth mankind would estimatedly only have four years or so to live. We wouldn’t be able to regrow any plants to make more food. If bees don’t have food then we don’t have food. 

Easy ways to help protect them is to plant more flowers and plants in your yard, try to eat bee friendly foods that don’t contain too much honey and things, and most importantly, don’t kill them. You can easily find a safe way to move their home somewhere new or just let them stay where they set up camp. Always remember that if you don’t bother them, then they won’t bother you. 

The television

Once upon a time there was a world with no streaming services. If you even had a television, you couldn’t binge watch all you favorite shows. You couldn’t just watch T.V. at anytime in any place. You couldn’t even decide what you wanted to watch. You would watch what was on. Your parents were the remote control for you grandparents. Before remote controls, there were buttons connected to the giant box we called the T.V. 

The first showing of a working television was on January 26th, 1926. There were three crucial inventors of the television: John Logie Baird, Philo Farnsworth, and Charles Francis Jenkins. It was first made in the Jenkins Factory. It cost between $1000 and $3000. It was a large cube with a screen less than half the size of the box.

The first advertisement for the television aired in 1941. 

The first television remote was developed by Zenith Radio Corporation in 1950. it was attached by a wire and had big and bulky buttons.

In the 1990’s ‘‘streaming’’ was first named as a demand service but never really became a thing until 2008 when Hulu first came out. Hulu was owned by NBC and Fox. 

There are so many streaming services that they really took business away from cable networks. There’s Hulu, Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, Sling TV, Playstation Vue, fuboTV, CBS All Access, Disney+, and so many more. Cable networks are slowly being shut down and suddenly you have a million Netflix and Hulu originals like The Handmaid’s Tale, Stranger Things, etc. 

The television is slowly getting bigger and bigger physically. The variety of shows is getting bigger as well.

Many people say that watching television lets them explore different perspectives and have a world away from our own. Others believe that the same thrill of escaping can be found in books. As people continued to make and buy televisions the new ideas for shows expanded. People began to become invested in a character’s life. 

*Disclaimer* I am not hating on any streaming services, just simply writing about the changes that have happened with television. Thank you.

Healthy habits

There are lots of things you can do to make sure school goes smoothly. You have to develop good habits that are helpful to your body and mind. If you continue to work hard and stay healthy you’ll be great! Making good decisions and preserving a healthy lifestyle is always good.

Now, the first thing you can do is drink lots of water. You have to have at least 64oz. Which is crazy, but it’s really good for you. Water is a great way to drain your body of unhealthy bacteria and keep your body ready for action. 

Eating healthy is pretty obvious. Avoid fatty foods and junk food because they don’t help your body. You should try to plan your meal instead of just throwing something together. 

Skipping a meal doesn’t help either. Don’t skip breakfast!! Breakfast is a great way to start your day. It boosts your metabolism and helps you not overeat during the rest of the day. Make something quick like a cereal bar or just a bowl of delicious cereal. 

Studying? Finishing homework? Make sure to take breaks! Work for as long as you can and once you feel antsy just walk around a little, do some lunges or stretch. Don’t go for another glass of coffee, move around. 

Is 11 o’clock too late? No, one more hour is fine. Not!! You need to sleep. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night is something to aim for. We all know math takes more than 10 minutes to finish most nights but you should try to go for it. Sleeping for a reasonable amount of time is 100% necessary. It puts you in a better mood 

Working on assignments at a decent hour is important too. You should strive to do it all once you get home, or while you’re eating a snack, or in free time in any of your classes. Just make sure your grades reflect your best work while keeping you in a good and healthy space. 

If you stay on a good schedule, and have a positive attitude, you will surely make it through high school happily. Stay positive!

‘Trail of Terror’

Well this is it, the spooky season. Now we’ve got to think about costumes and candy for the neighbors. But some of us like to go all out. Like haunted houses and mazes, and dressing up for this spooky time. Halloween is very festive, but my favorite thing to do is go to the “Trail Of Terror!”

On Friday, October 18th, I went there. If any of you don’t know, the “Trail Of Terror” is multiple different set ups of mazes. They have different people that dress up in scary costumes and makeup. The whole thing is near where the “Renaissance Festival” usually is.

During my visit I went through “The Maze Of Mayhem.” It has many people hidden throughout the maze. They jump out and scare! I think they did a wonderful job with this, but I feel that it was more suspense than anything and I think on my visit they were a bit understaffed but it was still fun. 

I also went through the mini versions of “The Maze Of Mayhem” which are the trailers. They were a bit disappointing, they didn’t have many people to scare you. 

The wait time gets longer and longer, about an hour after it opens. I arrived at 7:15pm and the line for “The Maze Of Mayhem” was not bad but after we left the maze it had almost twice as many people as it did when we were in line. 

I got in touch with the marketing team and asked them a few questions about “Trail Of Terror” so here it is: 

How many staff do you have return year after year?

About 70% of our staff returns each year and the rest are new people who want to get involved!

Are there emergency exits for the people that are too scared?

There are emergency exits for people who decide to leave the haunted houses before the end. In “The Maze of Mayhem,” there’s somewhere to exit around almost every turn.

Do they ever open an art contest for scary art, or other contests for new ideas?

Some years there are “Trail of Terror” mural competitions where people can submit murals and earn a free ticket.

What is the average age of people that go?

Teenagers and adults are the main demographics that we see, we don’t see young children here very often.

Do staff do their own makeup or is there a makeup team? 

We have a team of one professional makeup artist and some volunteers that do makeup for the entertainers.

How long does the prep, dress/makeup take each day?

It can take anywhere between 1-2 hours for full hair, makeup, and costume preparation.           

What requirements do you need for the job?

You must be over 14, have the desire to act and be scary, and the ability to stay in character!

How long have you been hosting this?

This is our 26th year of “Trail of Terror!”

Who started this tradition? 

“Trail of Terror” is hosted by an events company, Mid America Festival, that also puts on the “MN Renaissance Festival.”

Were there any challenges in starting this?

The biggest part is transitioning from “Renaissance Festival” to “Trail of Terror.”  While they are in different areas of our grounds, there is a lot of work to be done with closing down the “Renaissance Festival” and beginning “Trail of Terror.”

Anything else you want to say?

We have other fun promotions going on this year as well.  

This is the last weekend that you can attend! So, have a great Halloween, don’t get too spooked. 

If you plan on going:

Location: 3525 145th St W, Shakopee, MN 55379   

Prices are Online Tickets: $18.95

Box Office Tickets: $23.95

Times: it opens at 7pm and closes at 12:30am.