11 Reasons Why I Love Fall

11 Reasons Why I Love Fall

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year!
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Ever since I can remember fall has always been my favorite time of year. The smell in the air, the leaves cascading down from the trees above me and the holidays I get to spend with my family and my fiancé.


*all pictures are owned by author Jinni Workman*

1. The Weather

While this fall here in Maine has been oddly warm, I typically love fall weather. It's the best feeling in the world to wake up, get ready to go and throw on a sweater or a hoodie. Sweatshirts and hoodies are comforting to me. Their warmth is just enough to keep me a neutral temperature on some of the brisk fall days without needing to break out a thick L.L. Bean winter coat. This fall so far, though, I have worn a hoodie outside in the morning and by the end of the workday have found myself stripped down to just a tee shirt as the air has warmed up to the 60s!

2. The Colorful Leaves

Leaving in Maine and getting to experience the beautiful foliage has always been a treat to me. Everywhere I see out-of-staters flock to the state to drive on the backroads and witness the leaves themselves. Everywhere I look I can see a brilliant red tree standing out against the skyline. Every morning I have to wipe my car off as leaves have taken over the hood or my windshield.

3. The Crunchy Leaves

After the foliage has gone by and the leaves begin to hit the ground I search relentlessly for the crunchy leaves. Crunching the leaves is a thing that I have done for my entire life. The sound is strangely soothing to me and sometimes taking your stress or anger out on a dead leaf can be relaxing.

4. Halloween

I LOVE Halloween. It has always been my absolute favorite holiday. I love being able to dress up for a day and pretend to be something or someone else. I love to see what other people have done as well. I am not exactly a creative person, so I enjoy watching what other people have been able to create from makeup. My old roommate and one of my closest friends used to take advantage of me letting her try out makeup looks on me. She would create so many new looks for me. Last year I managed to turn myself into a (not that great) cat. Also, I just really love candy. My fiancé and I are unsure if we will get any trick or treaters at our apartment, but you better believe we still plan on buying candy. And if worse comes to worse we will eat it ourselves!

5. My Birthday

Another reason Halloween has always been my favorite holiday is that my birthday happens to be the next day. When I was a child the idea that one day I could dress up, go out in a costume and eat candy and that the next day I could open presents and eat cake was astonishing to me. I remember having friends be jealous of the timing of my birthday. It was also great because when I was a kid I could have Halloween-themed birthday parties! My parents would send out invitations asking people to bring their children dressed in costume and we would have costume contests, Halloween treats and a piñata!

6. Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving never used to be one of my favorite holidays, but as I‘ve grown older I’ve learned to appreciate the time I get to spend with my family. Over the years our Thanksgiving celebration has grown smaller as family conflicts occur, but I don’t mind too much. My grandmother still cooks an enormous amount of food which means more leftovers for me to bring home. Currently my fiancé and I still split up for the holiday. I am curious to see what happens in the future when we have children. Perhaps it is in our future to host Thanksgiving ourselves!

7. Apple Orchards

Admittedly, I can no longer actually eat apples without them making me nauseous and it has truly devastated me this time of year. However, that hasn’t stopped me from drinking apple cider and eating caramel apples like there’s no tomorrow. There’s just something about a cup of hot cider on a cold fall day. Apple orchards are my favorite because they always have so many fun activities that you can participate in. A few weeks ago, my fiancé, my family and I went to Wallingford’s Fruit House in Auburn, Maine. They had a corn maze (which was easy btw), they had pumpkins, they had goats for me to feed and, of course, they had silly things we could put our faces in to take pictures with. Wallingford’s also has a haunted walk which we are checking out this upcoming weekend!

8. Flannel

I love flannel everything. Flannel shirts. Flannel sheets. Flannel converse (yes, these do exist!). Also, my fiancé looks really nice in a flannel shirt and I appreciate the brisk weather forcing him to wear them more often. I can’t help myself. :’)

9. Going on Walks

Fall is the perfect time of year to go for walks on the various trails around where I live. In the summer, it’s honestly too hot to be able to enjoy myself when taking a stroll. I end up sweating and it really turns me off from being outside. However, in the fall, the trails are covered in a small layer of leaves and there is usually a cool breeze blowing around to keep me cool.

10. School

As much as I complain about being a graduate student I do really enjoy being able to learn new things each week. I hate doing homework, but I love to learn. This semester I am taking three classes and completing an internship. My classes are on social welfare policy, social welfare practice and then a field seminar where I discuss how my internship is going. Being able to get back to school also means I get to interact with other people who work in the field I do. I am able to bounce ideas and complaints around with them and also hear how they are doing in the job field.

11. Football

Yes. You saw it here. Football. I never used to like football even remotely until I met my fiancé. He is a big Patriots fan and in the two and half years we have been together I have also become a fan of the team. Each week I find myself watching more and more of the game and focusing less and less on whatever else I planned to do while he watched it. I have a jersey for my favorite player, Danny Amendola, and I find myself getting excited when he catches a ball or when he makes a touchdown. I’ve learned a lot about the sport since I met my other half and I like being able to understand the game.
Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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20 Of The Coolest Animal Species In The World

Animals that almost seem imaginary.
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The world is full of amazing animals. So amazing, that narrowing them down to 20 felt nearly impossible. To determine who made the cut for this list, I used very important factors such as, cuteness and how much some of them looked like Pokémon . I know, very official. So here are some of the coolest animals in the world.

1. Pink Fairy Armadillo

The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest and cutest species of armadillo. It is on the list of threatened species and is found in the sandy plains, dunes, and grasslands of Argentina. The pink fairy armadillo is a nocturnal creature that survives mostly on insects and plants.


2. Okapi

The okapi is an animal native to the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Although the stripes make many people believe okapi are related to zebra, they are actually closer to giraffe. Okapi are solitary creatures and come together to breed. They are herbivores, mostly eating leaves, grass, and other plants.


3. Glaucus Atlanticus or "the Blue Dragon"

These little dragon-like creatures are often only about a few inches long and can be found in the Indian Pacific Oceans. The blue dragon floats upside down in order to blend the blue side of them with the water, and the silver side with the surface of the ocean. This tiny dragon feeds on creatures like the man o' war and can even deliver a sting similar to it.


4. The Maned Wolf

The maned wolf is often found in the grasslands of south, central-west, and southeastern parts of Brazil. It is neither related to wolves nor foxes despite its appearance and name, but is actually closer to dogs. The maned wolf hunts alone and primarily eats both meat and plants (about 50% of its diet).


5. Fossa

The fossa is a carnivorous animal located in Madagascar. Despite having many traits similar to cats, it is more closely related to the Mongoose. The fossa is only found in forest habitats and can hunt in either daytime or night. Over 50 percent of its diet happens to be lemurs.


6. Japanese Spider Crab

As the name suggestions, the Japanese spider crab inhabits the waters surrounding Japan. In many parts of Japan, this crab can be considered a delicacy but can be considerably difficult to catch. The Japanese spider crab can grow to 12 feet long from claw to claw. There is only one sea creature-- amongst similar species (aka crustaceans)-- that beats the weight of a Japanese spider crab: the American Lobster.


7. Pacu Fish

Look closely at the teeth, do they look familiar? This fish is found in the waters of South America. This fish, while related to the piranha, can actually grow much larger. They can also be found in rivers like the Amazon and is an aid to the fishing industry. Unlike the piranha, pacu mostly only eat seeds and nuts, though can still create nasty injuries to other animals if need be.


8. Slow Loris

The slow loris is a nocturnal creature found in Southeast Asia. While very adorable, the loris's teeth are actually quite venomous. The toxin on their teeth can also be applied to fur through grooming to protect its babies from predators. Often times these creatures forage and spend time alone, although can on occasion be seen with other slow lorises. Apart from their toxic teeth, the slow lorises have another defense mechanism, in which they move nearly completely silently in order to prevent discovery.


9. Angora Rabbit

These cute, fluffy rabbits are among the hairiest breeds of rabbit of both wild and domestic types. These rabbits originated in Turkey although managed to spread throughout Europe and was even brought to the United States in the 20th century. These rabbits are often bred for their soft wool which can be made into clothing, and often get rid of their own coats every 3-4 months.


10. Axolotl

The axolotl or "Mexican salamander" (who looks like a Pokémon , if you ask me) is often spotted in lakes in various places around Mexico. These little salamanders are amphibious although often spend their adult lives strictly in the water. However, the population of these cute creatures is dwindling due to non-native predators and the continued urbanization of Mexico. The axolotl eats small worms, insects, and fish in order to survive.


11. Liger

The liger, however made up it sounds, is a real (and cute) animal created by a lion and a tiger mating. Ligers only seem to exist in captivity or zoos because the lion and tiger don't share the same habitat in the wild. Unfortunately, these animals don't live very long or are sterile despite being bigger than both the lion and the tiger. While these animals are cool and unique, they are not strictly natural or sustainable.


12. Bearded Vulture

I don't know about you all, but this vulture reminds me of a phoenix which was initially why I looked into the creature. These vultures inhabit a range of places from southern Europe to the Indian subcontinent, to Tibet. This vulture, like other vultures, typically eats dead animals, although it has been documented that the bearded vulture will attack live prey more often than other vultures.


13. Goblin Shark


This unusual shark is also known as a "living fossil" because they are the last representative of sharks that lived about 125 million years ago. It is a deep sea shark that can grow between 10-13 feet if not longer. The goblin shark has been caught accidentally in every major ocean. The goblin shark is not a fast swimmer and relies on ambushing its prey.


14. Red Panda

This cute, small panda lives in the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. The red panda is rather small, only about the same size as most domestic cats. Its eating habits range from bamboo, to eggs, to insects, and several other small mammals. The red panda is primarily sedentary during the day and at night or in the morning does whatever hunting it needs to do.


15. Blobfish

This blobfish is, in a way, so ugly that it is cute (although reminds me of a certain Pokémon ) This fish lives in the deep waters of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. The blobfish has a density only sightly above that of water. The fish primarily hunts by just floating along and letting creatures wander into its mouth, rather than expending any energy.


16. Leaf Deer

The leaf deer is usually found in dense forests in the northwest region of Putao. The adult leaf deer only stands at about 20 inches high and the males and females are nearly identical except for an inch long horn on the males. It is called a leaf deer because hunters could wrap the deer in a single large leaf.


17. Tiger

While tigers are a more common animal than many others on this list, it is still one of the coolest animals in the world. Tigers are the largest of all cats and once ranged from Russia, to Turkey, to parts of Asia — almost all over the world. These animals are fierce, powerful creatures, although they are on the endangered species list.


18. Narwhals

Narwhals are a species of whale that live in the waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia. The narwhal's diet changes depending on the time of year: in the spring the narwhal will eat cod, while in the winter the narwhal will eat flatfish. Narwhals can live up to 50 years and most frequently die of suffocation from being trapped under the ice.


19. Cheetah

Cheetahs, while more commonly heard of then some of the other animals on this list, are still incredibly cool. They often inhabit many parts of Africa and Iran. These amazing cats can reach up to 60 miles per hour in three seconds and use their tails to make quick and sudden turns. These amazing cats also have semi-retractable claws which helps with speed. The cheetah, however, doesn't have much besides speed to defend itself.


And finally....


20. Superb Bird of Paradise

This GIF demonstrates the mating dance used by male superb birds of paradise. Typically females reject about 20 mates before selecting one they want to mate with. They are often found in New Guinea although it is unsure just how many of these birds there are. As far as scientists know, the population has remained stable.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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The Expense Of Hurricanes Should Not Be A Burden For Everyone

Imagine if the state of Florida stepped in and stopped the rebuilding and development of these areas that are prone to devastation, may cause the possibility of lowering homeowners' insurance for the rest of the citizens in Florida.

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The 2019 hurricane season starts in less than two months and I am wondering with the devastation that these storms cause on the shores of our country, when do we decide enough is enough and not allow victims to return and rebuild.

The official season for hurricanes is June 1st through November 30th. However, I want to focus primarily on the Florida coastal waters and the effects hurricanes have had on the state. Hurricane Michael depleted over and above the funds allocated for last year's storm season and it looks like Florida will start this season at a loss once again.

After Hurricane Andrew, the Florida Legislature created the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund (FHCF). "The FHCF acts as a state-administered reinsurance program and is mandatory for residential property insurers writing covered policies in Florida. As of June 2018, this fund has a loss of ($1,279,762.00). The amount posted for hurricane losses is $2.5 billion. This loss was recorded well in advance of Hurricane Michael, hitting the panhandle in October 2018 with an estimated cost of damages of $25 billion.

Citizens Property Insurance Corporation was also established after Hurricane Andrew. It was created to provide coverage for home-owners that can't obtain insurance elsewhere. It is a not-for-profit insurer and is considered a last resort for homeowners. As the price of new homes increases so does the rate of homeowner insurance and many homeowners from the Keys to the Panhandle have seen their rates increase annually by 10% since 2010. This begs the question, why would anyone want to keep paying higher homeowners insurance year after year? With a higher percentage of Florida citizens in the retirement age, it seems that owning a home is more of a burden in areas that are prone to hurricanes.

When Hurricane Maria devasted Puerto Rico, it left the entire island in need of massive infrastructure rebuilding. Not only the political implications of the lack of funding for the island, but the images of destruction and personal suffering was heart-wrenching. Some are of the belief there is an economic benefit from a hurricane. After the initial blow to retail, fast food, and hospitals, there is a regrowth that puts many people back to work, if only for a temporary period and another hurricane does not come to make its way to that area for the next seven to ten years.

Yet, according to https://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/global-warming-and-hurricanes/, their models project that Atlantic hurricanes and tropical storms are substantially reduced in number, but have higher rainfall rates, particularly near the storm center, as well as potential higher intensity. This can be true for winter storms as well. Many of us have been caught in an airport or up in a northern state in the winter months and have difficulty returning to the sunshine state because of a storm that has pounded inches of snow along its path like a hurricane from the frozen tundra.

No one should be allowed to build a home in a floodplain or a flood zone. For that matter, areas that have been prone to wildfires, or fault lines. If every state looked at the areas that have been continuously destroyed by mother nature, and calculated the cost incurred to rebuild, decided to stop the bleeding and zone those areas as hazards, uninhabitable, or just government property, they will save billions of dollars for other much-needed services.

Imagine if the state of Florida stepped in and stopped the rebuilding and development of these areas that are prone to devastation, may cause the possibility of lowering homeowners' insurance for the rest of the citizens in Florida. The basic questions are, should Florida allow citizens to rebuild once their homes have been destroyed by a tropical storm? Think of it as an automobile, if the house is totaled the insurance company replaces the home. Just not in the same location.

The government has a duty to protect its citizens, and by that definition are in their rights to tell homeowners and developers the devastated area is no longer available for rebuilding. At what cost both financially and in human lives do the citizens of Florida allow the coastlines to be developed or rebuilt? If the developers and homeowners can rebuild the rest of the taxpayers and homeowners should not have to pay the increase in insurance rates or a hurricane relief tax.

The taxpayers of Florida don't want to pay a hurricane tax, they don't have a choice. Their elected officials side with the developers and the large money donor homeowners. Maybe the beach that has that $2 million home isn't meant to be there. Of course, there is a great view and the ocean or gulf coast is at your feet, as the shoreline slowly covers your property. Yet the erosion isn't going to happen in the next few years so why worry?

I can't understand why a person wants to own a home that no insurance company will insure. If these million-dollar homes on beaches meant for sunbathing, surfing, fishing, and Florida wildlife, are forever a part of Florida, maybe these homeowners need to be self-insured. Be solely responsible for the environment they own. Yet, the state of Florida has created legislation to help these people and can't figure out how to make affordable housing for the rest of the state.

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