Travel: Ledges State Park, Iowa

I was in the mood to do some hiking last week while I was in Iowa and one of my friends suggested we take a trip to Ledges State Park. I grew up close to Ledges, and even went to girl scout camp about a minute away, but had never been to the park before. I didn’t know what to expect but we had a great experience.

The first thing we saw was a swampy area.

Ledges State Park Swamp

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I personally love areas like this, as long as they don’t smell. Fortunately, this one was all good. AND there was a lovely surprise! If you look closely at the picture, you can see dozens of tiny cricket frogs sticking out of the algae.

Swamp with frogs

The following is another section of the same pond. If you look to the left of the big branch, you can see little froggie heads sticking up.

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Next we walked to the “secret lake” – not really sure how a giant green swamp is a secret, but it was lovely. Here is a pic of my friend Mikey, the wonderful guy who took me to Ledges.

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Now, the secret lake ended up being one of the best experiences of my entire life. The entire shore was covered in bull frogs and cricket frogs, so every time we moved a dozen would hop into the water.

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You can see some of the frogs in the photo above if you look closely. There aren’t as many close to the camera, but if you look further out you can see just how many were on the shore.

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This next one really worried me. Wasn’t sure if it was a monstrosity or a normal development. Apparently it’s a polliwog. I thought that was a Pokemon, but my friend explained that she is actually a scientist and its a mix between tadpole and frog.

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I never wanted to leave that area, but apparently since we were at Ledges State Park we were required to see the actual ledges.

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Here is Mike being an ~expert~ hiker. He even has a backpack with a water pouch!

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Here is me. I’m a normal hiker. I put lipstick on before hitting the trails.

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The view of the Des Moines river was quite lovely.

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This next ledge was a little terrifying. Normally I would have been a daredevil and tried to hop onto it, but apparently some guy died doing that this summer and I wasn’t super interested in following in his footsteps.

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I loved the park and had a great experience, especially the jumping frogs. What is the coolest thing that you’ve seen at a state park?

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Review: Tony Moly Super Peeling Liquid Shiny Foot

One of my favorite Asian beauty products is the Tony Moly Super Peeling Liquid Shiny Foot. This product helps remove all of the dead skin from your feet and is absolutely disgusting but also complete magic. I have done a foot peel twice and have been very happy with the results both times. If you’re someone who has stubborn dead skin during the winter, I highly recommend trying this product out.

Tony Moly Super Peeling Liquid

The product comes packed neatly in a nice square box, about the size of a DVD case.

Tony Moly Super Peeling Liquid Contents

Inside you’ll find two packets of “super peeling liquid,” a sample-sized packet of the Tony Moly Shiny Foot foot cream, and two plastic booties.

Tony Moly Foot Peel Process

In order to use the product, you slip the booties on your feet and then pour in the peeling liquid. After you pour it in, you can tie the booties tight around your ankles to prevent any of the product from leaking.

Tony Moly Foot Peel Wraps

The liquid feels very cold when you pour it over your feet. Though it’s cold, the liquid does not hurt or tingle. It’s important that you keep the booties on for at least 30 minutes so that the liquid can soak into your skin. The booties fit my feet perfectly, and I am a US size 9. Because they have ties, the booties will be able to adjust to fit different sized feet.

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Here is a picture of my heel before using the product.

Tony Moly Foot Peel

Here is a picture of my heel after my skin started peeling. This process does not hurt – though it does hurt if you pick/peel any skin that is not ready to come off. The areas that are white tend to be ready to go and the areas that are more skin colored are not quite ready to be removed. It’s always a fun surprise when you look down and suddenly big chunks of your skin are falling off.

It takes about a week for the skin to start peeling, and the length of time that it peels is unique to each person. If you have an event or know that you will be showing off your feet, I would give yourself at least two weeks from start to finish so that you do not terrify anyone.

All-in-all, I really enjoy this Tony Moly product. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who wants to try out a foot peel or a unique product. I am keeping a couple of them on hand so that I can take care of my feet whenever a disaster strikes. Since I can’t keep my feet smooth on my own, it’s nice to know that at least there is a product out there that will turn the situation around.

Read Your Face Off Feature

A few weeks ago I joined a summer reading group called “Read Your Face Off.” It’s a really cool group organized by a woman here in Madison and a lot of my politically active friends are members. I was inspired to join because I’ve had trouble finishing books this year and joining has now helped me finish two.

I emailed the creator of the group last week to ask a question and she asked me if I wanted to be the featured reader. I typed up answers to a few questions and thought they would be fun to share here, too.

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What do you think? Agree? Disagree? What are your reading goals for summer? Have you read any good books lately? Tell me all your thoughts ūüôā

My Favorite Podcasts: Summer 2017

One of the first posts I made when I started my blog last year was My Favorite Podcasts: Summer 2016. At the time I had been listening to podcasts for just a few months and found them really helpful when trying to complete mountains of data entry at work. I’ve now been listening to podcasts for over a year and they help me get through a lot more than data entry; I listen to podcasts during long car rides, while mowing the lawn, sorting laundry, and anything else mundane that allows my brain to be mostly somewhere else.

I am not including the podcasts that were listed on my previous post because my opinion of them is still the same, they are amazing.

3. Modern Love: I really like this podcast because it explores unconventional relationships. Each episode features a celebrity guest reading a story that was written for the Modern Love column in the New York Times. One of the reasons that I like this podcast is that I never know what to expect, the stories reflect our relationships in that they are all varied and intricate. I’m rarely bored when I listen to this podcast and I especially like when they contact the author for follow-up.

Favorite Episode: A Child of Two Worlds. In this story, a mom had to make a tough choice about giving birth. The mother had to decide whether or not to give birth in a third world country without a lot of pre-natal resources or any options for emergency assistance should anything go wrong. It was neat to hear about the care offered to the expecting mom and made me wonder what I would do in a similar situation.

2. Radiolab Presents: More Perfect: ¬†This would be my all time favorite podcast if there were more episodes. I absolutely loved listening to this. The podcast takes prominent Supreme Court cases and explains how they have impacted our judicial system and every day lives. While it sounds nerdy and probably is a little bit, it’s fascinating to hear the intricacies behind cases that have affected our lives in ways we don’t even realize.

Favorite Episode: Object Anyway. This episode bummed me out. It discusses Batson v. Kentucky, the case that led to the creation of the Batson Rule. The Batson Rule is a court rule that doesn’t allow attorneys to remove jurors based on race. This sounds wonderful but they explain in the podcast that all the attorneys have to do is give another excuse as to why they don’t want that person to be on the panel. The world is frustrating.

1. Criminal: I started listening to this podcast last month and have made it through 40 episodes. This podcast is actually perfection. There has only been one episode that I have found boring and every other episode has been engaging. It’s another podcast where I never know what to expect and find myself super interested in something I never knew was a thing. I have to admit – I thought the first episode was boring and it stopped me from listening to more right away. If you don’t like it, skip it and keep going. It’s worth it!

Favorite Episode: No Place Like Home. This episode talks about a man who went to prison and found out that the prison was also home to the last remaining leper colony in the US. Many of the people who lived there were dropped off as children and left there for years and years. It’s really sad to think about how we have treated anyone who is at all “different” in the US and was a very eye opening episode.

There you go! My top three podcasts right now.

What are you listening to? I’m always looking for new suggestions.

Madison, this weekend is your last chance to see the Do Ho Suh exhibit locally

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to check out the Do Ho Suh exhibit at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, a free art museum here in Madison.¬†I didn’t know much about the artist, but I had seen the exhibit advertised a couple of times over the last few months and had come across an exhibit while on vacation in another city. When I realized that the exhibit was coming to an end, I made plans to check it out right away.

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The exhibit is an intricate setting. The artist traced his apartment in New York City and then constructed the apartment with delicate fabric. Some parts of the fabric are sparse and others are more detailed.

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The exhibit was really beautiful and one of a kind. I highly recommend taking the opportunity to see it this weekend before it leaves Madison.

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It was definitely a great way to spend a day out with one of my besties. We also found a secret toward the end..

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Looking for more things to do in Madison? Check out my recent post about the beautiful flowers at the UW-Madison Arboretum.

 

My Favorite Podcasts: Summer 2016

I have to be honest with you all. Before this year, I really didn’t know what the podcast hype was all about. Sure, I listened to Serial (because who didn’t) and once I listened to a podcast when a friend was a guest, but besides that, I had little to no podcast knowledge. It actually took me several attempts to figure out how to use the Podcasts app and I initially downloaded so many episodes of random podcasts that I had no¬†space left on my phone. Fortunately I was able to work through the struggle¬†and I’ve discovered some real gems.

#3 Stuff Mom Never Told You

I love this podcast because I can really relate to the title. My mom and I have had fairly open communication my entire life (single mom) but we have very different personalities and interests.¬†There have been various moments throughout my life where I have had to have other people (usually via the internet) explain things to me that other young women learn from their mothers. A classic example – during my sophomore year of high school, my face was so dry that my skin was literally flaking off. I couldn’t get it under control and it got worse and worse. Finally a friend noticed and offered me lotion and my face has been flake-free ever since.¬†I’m sure this is a normal situation that occurs and that most people’s parents notice and help the kids find a solution, but my mom a) never noticed and/or b) had no idea how to fix the situation.

While this podcast is much more interesting and better researched than my friends suggestion to put lotion on my face, the general vibe of the podcast really matches how I felt in that situation. I love learning about things that my mom and I never talked about, whether she was¬†uncomfortable, wrong, or just didn’t know much about the topic.

Favorite Episode: It’s really hard to pick a favorite episode of this show because almost every episode is relevant to my life, since I’m, y’know, a woman. One particularly interesting episode was “Librarians” which spends quite a bit of time delving into the fact that Dewey from the Dewey Decimal system was a gross pervert.

#2 Guys We F****d

Literally whats not to love about a podcast called Guys We Fucked? I personally love this podcast because it explores sexuality in such a frank way. The guests on the show talk about their early experiences, current experiences, regrets, and fantasies. It is fascinating to hear about these private moments and thoughts and really goes to show that YOU ARE NORMAL. I AM NORMAL. WE ARE ALL NORMAL. Whatever the story of your sexuality is, it’s completely normal. There is also nothing better than doing data entry at work while listening to an explanation on how drag queens tuck their dicks into their but tholes.

I had an “AHA!” moment recently when I was watching a TV show and thought to myself, “If she hadn’t been such a ho, her best friend would still be alive!” – but then I realized that exploring sex and having your first sexual encounter as a teenager is NORMAL, does not make her a “ho” and that I¬†still personally have a lot of work to do in regards to sexual acceptance.

Favorite Episode: You’ve Given Abortions to Pro-Life Women??¬†This episode isn’t as sexually explorative as the others, but it does a damn good job of talking about¬†abortion. I highly recommend¬†that you and any anti-choice individuals in your life have a listen.

#1 My Favorite Murder

When I heard about this podcast I was super into the idea, but I deleted all of the episodes from my phone after I tried to listen to it the first time. Why? Because if you start on episode 15, the first thing you hear is 20 minutes of two random girls talking about nothing¬†and its hard to get into.¬†I gave it another shot a few months later and started with episode one, and then I fell in love. This podcast satisfies every inch of my brain. I’m also really interested by the connection that they’ve made on multiple episodes – many of the cold blooded killers that have been referenced had childhood head traumas. I’ll be working really hard to keep the kids I babysit from hitting their heads because I’m not trying to be responsible for someone becoming a serial killer. I also recently shouted a serial killer fact from the podcast across my office,¬†and I’m sure that everyone appreciated learning about that side of my personality.

I still find the chatter a bit annoying, especially when they give away TV show spoilers, but some of it is relevant and they’ve helped me expand my true crime interests. This is definitely my top podcast right now, though I hope they’ll work on cleaning up the structure and presentation a bit!

Favorite Episode:¬†Twenty-Nein This was the first full episode that I listened to and I was hooked right away. The way that John List’s actions were described really stuck with me, and I’ve repeated it to friends and family multiple times. It’s definitely worth a listen.

In addition to my top three, I’m also currently subscribed to: 2 Dope Queens, Dear Sugar, Presidential, Grammar Girl, With Her, Sooo Many White Guys, Anna Faris is Unqualified, & Modern Love.

What are you listening to? What are your favorite podcasts? What do you recommend? Why don’t I have a podcast?