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Little Marks Play Big Parts

Do you ever wonder if you ever leave an impact on people? I’m going to be honest I never really saw myself as very popular or cool in high school. I had a lot of friends, but I really feel like I was more nerdy. I loved school and oddly enough I loved doing my school work, but I wasn’t the leader of the school or anything. The height of my popularity was probably mostly due to me dating the star football player and the class president of my grade. Other than that I was pretty normal and average. Being average I always kind of felt like no one really took notice of me and just kind of breezed past, which really didn’t bother me because I was happy with the people I was friends with and my life. Little did I know that I did actually affect someone.

I ran into this girl and I feel terrible but I had no idea who she was. She called me out and excitedly said, “Hey Lily, how is school?” Like I said I have no idea who she is and how she knows me but I did what I do best: play it cool. I talked to her about school for a bit. Then she finally revealed it. She started to tell me that when the first day of school came around she was sad to see that I was off to college and wouldn’t be her locker neighbor anymore. I felt kind of awkward I didn’t remember that she was my locker neighbor but flattered she actually was sad not to see me around school. Someone I barely exchanged words with was sad that I graduated. With that, I realized people do leave their marks whether they know or not. It is important to remember that even when you feel like no one cares there is someone looking up to you or cherishing your presence.

Xoxo,

Lilz Welz

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Traveling Aspirations

I have always found train rides super relaxing. I love watching out the window and seeing all the different places pass by. I may not be a world traveler, but I definitely take trains frequently since my older sister lives in Chicago. I am actually currently on a train to Grand Rapids, MI to visit two of my best friends, who recently moved out there. My train, however, is delayed giving me the perfect time to write up this blog. There is apparently something wrong with the signal?! I am no train expert, so I’m not quite sure what is happening. All I know is the train is at a stop until further notice.

Even with this train “drama”, I still enjoy being on it. I met this girl who is beyond cool and super sweet while we were waiting to board. She was telling me about how beautiful Grand Rapids is, which makes me so excited to hopefully get there soon. I mean maybe I have an approachable look or I just come off as friendly I don’t really know, but this girl just started telling me about her life. Oddly enough this girl has very similar aspirations as my little sister. The girl currently works for a business, but she is also working towards a yoga certification. In her free time she is painting her VW bus bright orange to get it ready to move to Lake Tahoe, California. If you know my little sister, then you know this is so her. Anyways, this girl and I started swapping travel stories of different places we have been and she helped me come to a realization. She said that people are always wanting to leave the US to see amazing places, but they neglect to see that the US has some beautiful places you just have to search for them. It amazes me how true that is. I didn’t expect this, but my summer has included quite a bit of traveling. I went to many places in northern Wisconsin, I went to Menominee, Michigan, and now I’m heading to Grand Rapids. Although they may not seem like the most extravagant places, they are still extremely beautiful!

Last summer, I went on a huge road trip through 13 states. I saw and spent time in states like Wyoming, South Dakota, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Colorado, New Mexico, and more. After this trip, I had such a different perspective on the United States. There is so much here in our country worth seeing like New Mexico’s mountains and the hospitality of the people in the south (it truly does exist). It’s just all so great. As crazy as it seems even Illinois has it beauty. I am from Illinois and I definitely pick on it for all the cornfields that are in my state, but there is also some greatness. I mean as I’m riding through Illinois currently the old buildings are so interesting to look at. The windflowers are so cute in the fields. The graffiti on the old trains is so cool to look at. It honestly is not as bad as it seems. With this, I strive to see all the states. I actually made this promise to myself for many reasons. My grandmother died last year and when we sadly had to go through her apartment there was tons of pictures of all the places she has been and traveled to. It amazed me to see how well traveled she was and how she mostly did it with the same friend. I was even lucky enough to travel with her on one of her trips. As her grand kids, we were given an opportunity to go on one trip with her once we hit middle school age. I chose Portland, Oregon since that is where my god parents/aunt and uncle lived. If you have been there, you know it was totally worth it. Since my grandma went anywhere and everywhere, I have always wanted to the same. My road trip last summer also made me want to pursue this goal. All the states I went to and the things I got to do like white water rafting in Colorado And horseback riding in the mountains of Wyoming made me have the desire to see what else the US has to offer. So far, I have been to 16 states, which means I still have a lot to go, but I at least have a start.

Here’s to my traveling in the future and maybe yours!

xoxo,

Lilz Welz

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Electronics are Taking Over

I’m not going to lie my iPhone plays a huge role in my daily routine. It is super unfortunate how my reliance on my iPhone has increased over time. I always use it for directions, I use it to find out the weather, I use it to look up anything and everything, I use it to read news, and of course I use it for social media/communication.

For me getting an iPhone was an exciting time (it really shouldn’t be but it was). I have previously had some REALLY bad luck with phones. For instance, I have cracked my phone screen. I was building a fort with some friends and their dad was coming in to check on us and stepped on my phone leaving it with a huge crack. I also have dropped one of my phones in the toilet making it unusable. Basically getting a nice new iPhone that hasn’t had any problems or hasn’t broken yet was a miracle. Now that I have this glorious iPhone (which I am using to even type up this blog post) my reliance on technology has immensely increased. I wish that wasn’t the case, and I wish that reliance on technology was not so imperative in our world in general.

I have been babysitting a kid this summer, and he is such a great kid. The only bad thing is that he would rather be on the computer and playing video games instead of being outside or even playing board games. This breaks my heart because part of being a kid to me was spending every second I could running around outside and playing games with my friends. I rarely even thought about being on the computer or playing video games (I grew up with only sisters, so video games wasn’t much of thing in my household). At these younger ages, I barely even knew how to work a phone or a computer. Now grade schoolers and middle schoolers are already getting phones, iPads, and other electronic devices. This was so not the case for me. I was in fact very upset with my parents that I didn’t get my phone at the same time as everyone else; however, I’m glad they made me wait looking back at it. This is pretty embarrassing to think about but I honestly would make charts and lists of reasons why I deserved a phone in hopes I would finally get one. According to my parents though rules were rules in my house. I had to wait until I was officially a high schooler like my older sister.

This rule more saved me than damaged me to be honest. I had all my family’s and friends’ numbers memorized since I had to use the good ol’ home phone. I also gained better communication skills having to always talk rather than text. I most importantly spent more time outside and enjoying people’s company. I feel sad that people these days don’t enjoy this luxury as much. The younger generation especially saddens me since they are missing out on the great world outside of technology. I’m going to get a little nostalgic. As a kid, I had so much fun playing cops and robbers, ghost in the graveyard, having kickball tournaments, and riding bikes instead of looking at a screen for hours. The reliance people have on technology now a days just freaks me out to be honest.

The movie Her was so interesting and absurd, yet it was such a great glimpse of what our future will come to. I wholeheartedly believe that soon people will only use technology as their form of communication and totally lose sight of communicating outside of their electronics. I guess the point I want to get across from all of this is that go offline sometimes and get away from your phone. I mean you could simply just enjoy a meal or enjoy catching up with friends without checking your phone every few minutes. When you are driving, try using a physical map for once. Getting lost just adds to the adventure right? When walking to your class, look up from your phone and actually take in what’s around you. There is just an endless amount of things you can do with no phone necessary. All you have to do is just give it a try.

xoxo,

Lilz Welz

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Bye Northwoods, See ya Next Year!

I just arrived home after a lovely two weeks in the north woods. It was just a reminder of why Wisconsin is one of my favorite states and places to be. The trip had ups and downs, but overall everything balanced out and made it a great vacation. The 5 hour long car ride up there was not as miserable as car rides usually feel to me. Side Note: I HATE car rides especially when they exceed 2 hours. It was so beautiful to be surrounded by trees and deer feeding on the grass on the side of the road. It reminds that not everything is just cornfields everywhere like Illinois. Once I was there, I couldn’t help but think of my time in the north woods like pros and cons. For instance, one of Wisconsin’s huge pros is having Friday fish fry. Fish is one of my favorite foods, so of course this excites me. Unfortunately, fish makes other people happy as well, which leads to my con: a waiting list. A waiting list being a con may make me look impatient, but I promise that is not the case. Since we were on this list for this hoppin’ restaurant, I had to order my drink at the bar. This is where my negativity towards the waiting list comes in. I went up to the bar just to casually order a Sprite, but of course this old man sitting at the bar had to say, “You are definitely going to get carded. You look like a 12-year-old.” This may sound like I am a drama queen, but SERIOUSLY I am going to be a sophomore in college. I am going to be a 20-year-old, yet I am still getting mistaken for a CHILD. But I am obviously not bitter about it.

The other great part of the north woods is the fact I got to be active everyday (pro). I swam in the lake almost every day it was sunny. I paddle boated across the lake. I rode my bike through the woods. I hiked at the beautiful Madeline Island and Copper Falls. Basically I did a lot of activity. The con of all this is being vacation means majority of my diet consisted of treats like twizzlers and s’mores. The activity did nothing for my health, but it was all so worth it especially the twizzlers.

The north woods made me appreciate natural beauty (pro). My hiking allowed me to take in the beauty of the trees, the plants, and all the fresh air. When I went on the hike at Madeline Island, I hiked alongside Lake Superior, which is beyond beautiful. I went on a cliff and just looked out at the water and could honestly think that all is right in the world. At Copper falls, I witnessed beautiful waterfalls and rapids. In times like these, all I can think is even though there is ugly in the world, nature will always be a reminder of all the good. Even the animals were amazing to look at and experience. I know you are thinking its northern Wisconsin what “amazing” animals could you possibly see. Well let me tell you it was no African safari, but it was still just as breath taking. I loved that I got to see does, bucks, and little baby fawns feeding in the fields. I also saw the deer literally just laying in the middle of fields sunbathing and enjoying life. Snapping turtles appeared frequently as well as they made their trek across the road. Wait.. that could make a perfect joke. Why did the Snapping turtle cross the road? Answer: To get to the other side. Classic ey?  Anyways, one of my favorite animals I saw was the duck family. Almost everyday  the duck family would pay a visit to Plum Lake, where I was staying. The duck family reminded me that animals are so much like humans. They find love, have families, and most importantly take care of each other. One day the male duck got separated from his wife, so he called out to her and wouldn’t stop until they were reunited. As cheesy as it sounds, it warmed my heart to just see love exists even within animals. All of this natural beauty only had one flaw. This flaw is the fact that observing nature results in the pains of itchy mosquito bites and terrible sunburn (con), but luckily these pains don’t last long.

One of my favorite parts of going up north is definitely shopping. The cool part of the north woods is most of the shops are local (pro). Of course you will find the typical Walmart, but for the most part these stores are one of a kind. The best part of the shopping experience is the flea markets and farmer’s market. There is honestly nothing better than buying food that was freshly grown and homemade as well as buying goods that are being sold by the maker themselves. I just think it is so much cooler to actually know where the things you buy are coming from. Another cool part of the shops is a lot of them in town are galleries. The shops are usually owned by local artist, who are selling their work. This is refreshing to me since my little sister wants to be an artist. Seeing these artists doing what they love and showing people what they do gives me hope for my sister to do the same. The only bad part is I want to buy everything and I am pretty broke, so I mostly go home empty handed (con).

Even though I got to spend so much time doing amazing things, nothing beats being with my good friends and family. There is not much that can compete with playing family games, having conversations at the dinner table, and just enjoying each other’s company at the campfire. One of the last nights there, my friends and I sat on the dock looking at the stars just talking to each other. Its those moments I am most thankful for. It’s truly nice to be home, but I already can say I am missing the greatness of Wisconsin.  

xoxo,

Lilz Welz

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Sissy

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Reality Should Be Better

I feel like people spend a majority of the time wishing things were different and not enough time being happy with the way things are. In the movie (500) days of summer, it shows Tom (the main character) and his friends talking about love. One of his friends, who had a long time girlfriend, said he had a dream girl in his head but his girlfriend is better than his dream girl because she is reality. I have watched this movie a thousand times since it is my favorite but just recently I actually listened to that line. There is honestly so much truth behind it. No matter how much time you spend wishing for something better there is nothing that could be better than what you have. Don’t get me wrong I am a dreamer and all, but quite frankly what I have in front of me is already in reach. I know when things get tough and you face struggles it’s hard to not wish for a better life, but why not instead use this to make you stronger rather than dwell on it. I think it adds character to have been through something and grown from it.

Being up in the north woods for the past week has got lots of thoughts rolling through my head, especially when we have bonfires. One of the best parts of coming to the cabin is the nightly bonfires with all the different cabins on the resort. This past week I have enjoyed bonfire conversation with an older crowd so the topics were more centered on worldly subjects and news. These conversations, however, put a lot into perspective. When things seem tough in your life, there are worst things going on. At least when you turn on your faucet to get a glass of water, you know clean water will come out. At least when you are done after a long day of work, you know you will return to a home with food, power, and a bed. Even when life is at a worse for you, you got to appreciate the small things. Those small things could soon be part of something bigger. Next time life is bringing you down, just remember you have so much to be thankful for right in front of you.

Xoxo,

Lilz Welz

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Music to my Ears

This Wednesday, I am going to see Vampire Weekend at the Summerfest grounds and I am beyond pumped for my first concert of the summer. In honor of this, I decided to make my blog post about 15 songs I am really into right now and just can’t jammin’ to them. Here they are:

1. Fancy (Feat. Charli XCX) by Iggy Azalea: I first heard this song when Jimmy Fallon did it for his first round of lip-synching against the fabulous Emma Stone. However, during that I was too consumed by the fun of the competition to appreciate the song. I heard it again when my roommate Lex was playing  in our room, and I was then reminded of the greatness of the song. Ever since I can’t get over the upbeat tune and catchy chorus. Plus Iggy Azalea is such a cool chick I have been reading so much awesome things about her. I honestly can’t wait to hear what else she has to offer.

2. The Love Club by Lorde: Lorde is just one of my favorite artists right now. I just found out today she is touring in Milwaukee. I could not be more excited. Anywho, Lorde’s album and all her songs are so good. I love the way her voice sounds and the beats of her songs. The Love Club is definitely my favorite. I first heard it when Paula picked it out to play on our radio show and now I can’t stop listening to it.

3. Chandelier by Sia: I am a HUGE fan of Dance Moms. One of the dancers on the show, Maddie, posted on her instagram she was featured in this music video. I checked out the music video and immediately fell in love with the song. I love the dynamics of the song of how the beat switches from a faster pace to a slower pace throughout the song. I also love that it really showcases how talented she is as a singer. I can’t believe this is the same singer who sang the chorus in Flo Rida’s Wild One. Her voice is just beautiful.

4.Beating Heart by Ellie Goulding: Ellie Goulding is what I like to call my celebrity soul sister. Through her instagram and twitter, I can tell we have many similar likes and qualities, which makes me love her more. Ever since Lights came out, I have loved the voice of Ellie Goulding and the sound of her songs. Beating Heart is one of her newer songs she released on the Divergent soundtrack and let me tell you it doesn’t disappoint. She is so talented in every way and this song and all her songs are worth a thousand listens.

5. Colours by Grouplove: Tongue Tied was such a massive hit from Grouplove and to this day I love jammin’ to it. I am trying to be more hip and get into the Spotify craze and while doing so I have made quite the discoveries to some songs. Colours is one of them. The lead singer of the band has such a unique sound and this song just flatters it so well. I like it because it shows the diversity from Tongue Tied by having different sound and beat, which I can appreciate in an artist.

6. Seaside By The Kooks: Shine On by the Kooks is probably one of my all time favorite songs. In my discovery of the Spotify world, The Kooks became a band I wanted to expand my knowledge on. Seaside is one of the songs I came across and I love it because its short, simple, and sweet. The song is soft and less than two minutes long, but every second I am entranced by the lovely sound of the song.

7. Flowers in Your Hair by The Lumineers: The Lumineers is a band I always have enjoyed. In fact, for my dancereach class I taught last year I choreographed a dance for them to Flapper Girl by them. With that being said, The Lumineers is a band that I am always trying to find more songs by them to enjoy. If you like any of their songs, this one won’t be any different. The song starts off with a soft beat then picks up and goes from just the lead singer to other band members joining in making it a beautiful song.

8. Let Me Go by Cake: Every year at my dance company, the company members have the first show of the year to show off their own choreography skills. This song was one of the songs featured in my senior show as a solo done by one of my best friends Gail. Cake is always a band I liked from my older sister and my dad listening to them, but after seeing the dance to this song I fell in love with them all over again. I recently rediscovered it, and it has slowly become one of my most played. It has a fun beat making it perfect to jam to as you drive around with the windows down this summer.

9. A Sky Full of Stars by Coldplay: Coldplay is just a killer band. It is hard for me to find a song I don’t like by them. I enjoy all their albums old and new. This song in particular is newer. The band performed it on the Voice finale, and it was amazing. I love it because they go for the more electronic upbeat sound that is popular these days while still sticking to their own style. Chris Martin’s voice never fails to impress as well.

10. Cameras by Matt and Kim: My best friend Kitzia loves Matt and Kim and has always encouraged me to listen to them. From what I gather from listening to them, they are just a fun band with just upbeat and uplifting songs you just want to dance to. This song does that justice. Why this song over others you may ask? Well Cameras just has a killer beat that I truly enjoy the most out of the songs I looked at.

11. 5 years time by Noah and the Whale: I use Pandora a lot for listening to music probably more than anything else. When I listen to it, I always have post it notes near by to write down bands and songs I enjoy to look up later or want to download. Noah and the Whale is a band that frequently comes up on my Pandora, and I finally remembered to check them out. This is the first song I fell in love with by them.

12. Drunk off your Love by Shwayze & Cisco: Shwayze is so rad. I love jammin’ to them ever since Buzzin’ was released. I never get tired of their songs. This song is older and I unfortunately just found it now. It is a perfect summer song and is extremely catchy. Every time I listen to it, I just picture myself kick backed and relaxin’ on a beach.

13. Water Fountain by Tuneyards: My sisters saw Tuneyards at Summerfest last year and loved every second of it. I got into her after that with her song Gangsta. I saw her perform Water Fountain on Jimmy Fallon and she is so cool with how she creates the beats on stage. She started off by clapping and recording it then letting it play over again as she adds in the drums and other instruments throughout the performance. Anyways, like many of the other songs it is upbeat and fun. Her songs in particular have a cool creative spin on them that is very enjoyable.

14. Boom Clap by Charli XCX: “The Fault in Our Stars” is one of my favorite books, so I am very excited for the movie to come out this week. Whenever I saw the preview I was excited enough for the movie itself but I loved it even more when I heard this song playing in the background. I immediately had to look it up so I could listen to the full song. The lyrics are so easy to catch on to and it is a song that you will find yourself singing all the time.

15. Pumpin Blood by NONONO: I am not going to lie one of my many guilty pleasures is watching Glee. Before you poke fun, if you watch it I know you will be hooked. The point of me admitting that is they sang this song on this past season and I enjoyed the tune very much. I became curious to what it was but couldn’t figure it out. Then I heard it again on commercials, which sparked my curiosity once again. After much research I finally found it. I love this song because it makes me want to dance around my house. ha

Hope you give some of these a listen and enjoy them as much as I do.

xoxo,

Lilz Welz

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Sunshine and Fun, here we come!

The sun is starting to come out and the weather is starting to get warmer, which can only mean summer is finally here. As most people I will have to spend some of summer dealing with grown up stuff like scholarships and continuing my summer job hunt, but in the mean time I plan on making the best of my summer. With that being said, I have come up with a summer bucket list. I usually don’t do that kind of thing, but I thought it could bring on a new twist to my summer. So here it is:

1. Road Trip: I honestly want to become more worldly and just visit some places I haven’t encountered before or even revisit some places now that I am older and at a different point in my life. It will also be nice to visit some friends. Unfortunately, quite a few of my best friends from high school moved away so home is not in Rockton for them anymore, so I want to spend sometime visiting them and seeing their new home. Along with my friends from high school, I want to make an effort to visit some of my friends from college whether I go to their hometown or on an adventure with them. I just want to see them before the school year starts up again.

2. Concerts: Music is my number one love in my life. I am always singing or jamming to some tunes, so it is crucial I actually get out and see some of these bands live. I already have two concerts lined up for the summer, Panic! At the Disco and Vampire Weekend, but I want to try to attend some more. Now that I live in Milwaukee during the school year, I want to try to make it out to Summerfest for the first time in my life and see a lot of the bands playing there as well. Basically, any music festival or concert that doesn’t break the bank, I am going to try to be there.

3. Read: I haven’t always been a reader, but then again in high school I did not have a lot of spare time to read since my life was consumed by dance and high school. However, now that I do have more time I want to make reading a bigger part of my life. I already finished one book, Divergent, and have lots of books ready for me to read next. I would greatly appreciate some recommendations though! I am up for reading anything!

4. Discover a new series: I want to enjoy nature and be outside this summer mostly, but I know I will have those days I won’t want to leave the couch. For those days, I want to invest my time in some new TV series since most of my shows are over until fall (Exception: The Bachelorette and Awkward). I have a promise to my roommate Jess that I will watch her favorite show One Tree Hill, but I also want to check out some others I have heard hype about. Anyways, recommendations are welcomed here as well.

5. Enjoy Nature: I think people take the beautiful outdoors for granted. Some people much rather spend their time inside on their computers or watching TV. BUT NOT ME. I want to take in the natural beauties of the Earth. This includes getting up early to enjoy a sunset or perhaps star gaze and try to find constellations or shooting stars. I just want to take in the outdoors while its nice and I have time to do it.

6. Be a Kid Again: Although I am on the verge of being a twenty-year-old, I still do enjoy partaking in similar activities as I did as a kid. This summer I want to enjoy drawing with chalk on my driveway, flying kites, playing in a park, running through a sprinkler, blowing bubbles, catching fireflies, etc. etc. The list could honestly go on forever.

7. Get Fit: This summer I do not want to put on the pounds. I want to stay active and healthy. To accomplish this, I have signed up for a 5k that is happening next weekend and now have a gym membership. I also love bike riding and swimming so I will do that frequently. I hope to be a little more outdoorsy and adventurous and go on hikes, row boat (to you know work the arms), as well as climb trees or even rocks. Basically just become a stronger and fitter person.

8. Embrace Local Culture: I went to a dance show the other night at a small theatre that just opened in Rockford called Westside Showroom and honestly it was such a refreshing experience. The dancers had a Q & A after they performed and it was so interesting and awesome how many people actually cared about the arts and enjoyed analyzing the movements of the dancers. It was just nice that people enjoyed this local company and what they stand for. I want to put forth an effort to support these places and appreciate what my area has to offer. Like last weekend my sister and I went to this Artwalk, where they highlighted local artists and their work in the city of Beloit and then there was an open mic night at this local coffee shop. It is honestly just cool to see how talented people truly are. I guess my point with all of this is I want to spend more time going to flea markets, farmers’ markets, and just see what my town’s culture has got to offer.

9. Learn new skills: As an avid French braid wearer, I really want to develop the skill of French braiding this summer. I can make a normal braid and fishtail, but I haven’t quite master the French braid yet. I want to be more crafty as well. I want to be able to be able to invest more time in making more DIY (do it yourself) crafts like clothing and stuff to spice up the dorm next year. This will not only be fun, but it will also save me some cash. A skill I really need to master this summer is cooking. I am not going to lie, but I am far from a master chef. The most I can do is put a frozen pizza in the oven. Since I am going to be living on my own soon, I might as well start perfecting my cooking skills this summer.

Anyways, I hope you all enjoy your summer and try some new things.

xoxo,

Lilz Welz