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Day trip to Muir Woods

Nicole Voris

 

I fully admit to the fact that I am a city girl.  I love leaving my front steps and walking just a few blocks to my favorite restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and theaters.  Having grown up in the country though, I still love my escapes to the great outdoors.

 

On a recent trip to San Francisco we had a free day to do as we pleased.  I had never made it out to the beautiful Muir Woods despite having lived in the bay area for 3+ years.  The day we went was surprisingly warm, a rarity for the bay area.  The gorgeous centuries old trees provided us a stunning cover though.  We ventured off the boardwalk and onto one of the parks beautiful winding trails.  It was a perfect days escape from the city! And just look at those trees!!

If you ever make a trip out here remember to bring water and snacks.  Also try to take the shuttle instead of driving! Parking is a mess! Enjoy the ride instead of worrying about getting there! 

 

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My top 3 coffee spots in Arizona

Alanna Christina

If you follow my Instagram it’s pretty clear that I love a good cup of coffee, it’s something that to me is a simple pleasure in life. If you ask my friends they’d  probably say how I get “overly excited” about coffee. (pshhh! No such thing as overly excited about coffee.) I also look for unique atmospheres of different coffee shops, I love going to places that have a special vibe all their own. To me, coffee shops are the place you go to hangout, read, work or just take a break from life and people watch. I’ll be sharing my top three favorite coffee shops in Arizona and the reasons behind them being so spectacular, and in no particular order as you’ll soon find out. To me, each shop is a special and unique gem of it’s own kind.

Starting with Echo Coffee in Scottsdale, AZ.

What’s right away a cool thing about Echo is that they are an organic coffee shop, pretty sweet right? They give off a relaxed vibe, playing great music that isn’t overly loud, and have friendly barista’s. Mainly the shop is filled with young professionals either quietly chatting or working/studying with books and laptops astray.

I seriously suggest trying there Dirty Chai. It’s my personal favorite from them.

Next up is Gold Bar Espresso in Tempe, AZ.

Gold Bar is sorta a dreamy neighborhood hangout spot, it’s my typical to go coffee and gathering place. Right away when you walk in you get the feeling of a quaint coffee shop, the owners and baristas are super sweet and always down for a chat. 

Depending on the time of day you go, Gold Bar is either filled with groups of friends, students studying (it’s literally surrounding by Schools) or old and young people alike just enjoying a cup of coffee and reading. Something I seriously adore about them is that they have game nights and live jazz once a week. 

coffee4.jpg

Last up is Lux Central in Phoenix.

Lux has a magical-hiperstry-city-vibe to it, nothing beats the atmosphere they have going on. They have multiple rooms with tables and chairs to couches and arm chairs, filled with loads unique and awesome people.

Not only does Lux have amazing coffee and pastry’s, but they also serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, and have a bar. So basically they have something for everyone. 

My personal favorite thing about Lux, their hours are unbeatable. Sundays-Thursdays they’re open from 6am-12am, and Fridays-Saturdays, 6am-2am.

So if you live in PHX, or your stopping on through, check out these places and drink some coffee loves. Trust me, it’ll be worth it.

My top 10 movies of 2014

Stephen Jacobsen

I saw sixty of the films released in 2014, and after almost seven months, here is how the films of that year stacked up for me. These are my favorite kinds of films, full of good ideas, and brimming with urgency. These movies are prime examples of art in cinema. While showing us the fault in out patterns, and the flaws in our institutions, they also possess the power and intelligence to possibly move our society forward. In short, these films all taught me something.

1. Starred Up -This is a genius film. A gang movie set in a prison, presented like a thriller, and played out by a father and son who have both committed unforgivable crimes. The movie makes a statement on our problems with violence, incarceration, family, and the destructive patterns that ripple though our society because of them. Tense, smart, and brilliantly acted, a must see for any film buff, or anyone seeking knowledge and change.

Starred Up

Starred Up

2. Nightcrawler - Smart, violent, and utterly engrossing. Focusing on our broken news system, Jake Gyllenhaal gives the best performance of the year.

Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler

3. Whiplash - Possibly the best film ever made on the subject of artistic ambition, it also happens to have the best final act of 2014.

Whiplash

Whiplash

4. Birdman - Wows with the way it was shot, but holds up because it’s funny, smart, and personal. It really is as good as they say, but expect something a little off beat.

Birdman

Birdman

5. The Grand Budapest Hotel - Wes Anderson at his best. Whimsical, layered, funny, sad, and smart. With all the great performances, the familiar yet fictional fantasy world created in this film springs to life, and brims with heart.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel

6. Selma - A great film, that steadily - and terrifyingly - keeps getting more and more relevant. Even within the few months it’s been released.

Selma

Selma

7. Obvious Child - Honest acting and a smart script elevate this important film to become the best romantic comedy in years.

Obvious Child

Obvious Child

8. Paddington - Hilarious details, amazing sets, and a moving fish out of water parable for immigration and adoption. This is the kind of family film that truly is for the whole family, full of wit and love.

Paddington

Paddington

9. Only Lovers Left Alive - I know everyone loves to hate on vampires lately - thanks Twilight for that. But with stories like this and Let the Right One In, the sub-genre has proven to be the perfect setting for smart, thought provoking dramas, splattered with the occasional bloody thrill.  Funny, romantic, and an awesome soundtrack, if you can adapt to it’s methodic pacing,  you’ll be enthralled.

Only Lovers Left Alive

Only Lovers Left Alive

10. Ida - A quiet stunner. This film is so gorgeous to look at, you might miss the sheer amount of depth this deceivingly simple tale from Poland has to offer.

Ida

Ida

Honorable Mentions: - John Wick, The Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Wild, Still Alice, Gone Girl, Edge of Tomorrow, Captain America, Boxtrolls, and The Babadook.