11 Ways You Know You're From Chandler, Arizona.

11 Ways You Know You're From Chandler, Arizona.

The suburban life isn't too shabby.

For the past ten years, I have had the pleasure to grow up in Chandler, Arizona. Although it may seem like the cliche "suburban hell" that everyone loathes, it has truly treated me well this past decade. Here are some of the most iconic places/events I've had seen or been a part of since moving to this amazing city.

1. San Tan Soccer Club

If you've never had a child that has played for this league, then you'll at least know someone who does. Growing up, it was never strange to run around town and see kids everywhere with Legacy and San Tan Soccer shirts.

2. In-N-Out on Friday nights

Avoid at all costs during the Fall on Friday nights (or any night really). After football games, the high school crowds love to all head here and enjoy a victory meal.

3. Starbucks vs. Dutch Bros

The never ending fight: whose coffee is truly better? Starbucks has been around Chandler for a while, so it is both reliable and popular. But now, Dutch Bros has entered the scene and is giving Starbucks a run for their money with their superior customer service and a different selection of coffee drinks.

4. Hamilton vs. Chandler

A rivalry that will truly never. Every year, this game is hyped up and it's honestly quite difficult to walk around town without hearing people murmur "who runs Arizona avenue" during rivalry week.

5. Road Construction

The question is, when will it end? Just as they are finishing up a project, it seems as though new begins right away. What makes it worse is that they always choose to work on streets that were perfectly fine in the first place.

6. Ostrich Festival

Everyone's favorite part of March! Every year, Tumbleweed Park hosts a festival/carnival that is fun enough for the whole family. From Ostrich burgers to funnel cake, this event will leave you in a food coma.

7. The Village

The hot spot "stay-cation" of Chandler, Arizona. If you're not in the mood to hop in a car and travel a long distance, this small get-a-way will surely suffice.

8. Paseo Vista Park

Also known as the "dump park" (because it was built on top of a landfill). This is a great place to be after a long day, enjoying the playground and some fresh air. There is also a mile long path that is perfect for running, a disc golf area, and a park to entertain the little ones with.

9. Chandler Fashion Center

As a local, we all know not to be here during the holidays (especially on Black Friday); however, sometimes it is nice to have a place to blow your paycheck with some close friends. From Macy's to Barnes N' Noble, this mall has a large variety of stores that will please the entire family. Then once you're done shopping, there is a Harkins theater right next door where you can catch the latest flick.

10. Ocotillo Friends

For those of you who aren't tech-savvy, this is an online group where people are able to sell and buy items. Along with business, it's also a page where locals talk about the city. Conversation can vary from traffic to crime, to food reviews, to where to find the latest and greatest items. This group is located on Facebook titled, "Ocotillo Friends".

11. Close-knit community

No matter how big you think Chandler is, somehow everybody knows everybody. It's great because this town is full of friendly people who are always willing to help each other out.

Cover Image Credit: Chandler, Arizona

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10 Signs You Know You're From Michigan

You may know weird lingo, but you are proud to be a Michigander.

In a few weeks when I fly back to the East Coast from Detroit, I know I will have to adjust back to life in New England. For the last month I stayed in Michigan with my family over the holiday break, and other than constantly mixing up "soda" and "pop," I was able to fall back into my habitual ways.

However, I will never fail to express my Michigander pride to my Mainer friends.

1. We show where we're from with our hands

Oh, you're from Detroit? I'm from Lansing! *holds up hand and points*

2. You know someone who hates foreign cars

Detroit is known as the Car Capital of the World, and odds are that you know someone who sneers every time they see a foreign car. I know I do!

3. You know what a Michigan Left Turn is

This is something I have only seen in Michigan! It's hard to explain, but we essentially turn around using U-turns instead of at an intersection. My hometown has several of these and I often am confused with how to turn around in other states.

4. Meijer

Founded in Michigan, Meijer is a wonderful store for all of one's shopping needs. There are a little over 200 locations, and over half of them are in Michigan's Lower Peninsula. A few other locations are scattered across the Midwest, but it is concentrated in Michigan. I'd say Meijer is comparable to New England's Hannaford market.

5. We know how to say (and spell) Mackinac

Mackinac is NOT pronounced "Mack-in-ACK." It is "Mack-in-AW."

6. You know what a Troll, Yooper, and Fudgie is

Trolls live in the Lower Peninsula below the Mackinac Bridge. Yoopers live in the Upper Peninsula or the "UP." Fudgies are pretty much everyone else because Michiganders love their fudge.

7. We have two seasons

The two seasons are winter and construction season. Our "spring flowers" are orange construction cones! Not to mention that winter is great because the snow fills up the many potholes infecting the roads!

8. Your sports affiliation

The rivalry between Michigan State and University of Michigan football is real. But one thing is for sure: both teams support each other when up against Ohio.

9. You love Superman ice cream

It's the best tasting ice cream, and originated in Michigan. It's traditionally blue, red, and yellow. I have yet to see it offered in New England.

10. Weird weather

The Great Lakes really funk with the weather. It can either bump weather away from the state, or trap it inside. We've had mornings where it snows, and by the evening it's all gone!

One thing is for sure, and it's that we are proud Michiganders.


Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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13 Tips To Survive Your Next NYC Trip Like A Local

This will help you be more prepared for your big trip!

I got to go to New York City for the first time a few days ago with a group of my friends and I had an awesome time. Even though I made great memories that I’ll keep forever, by the end of the trip I had learned some things that would definitely have been useful before I got to NYC. Here’s my tips for your vacation to the Big Apple:

1. Pace yourself.

New York City is huge and what may seem like a few blocks on a map can end up being a long walk. Even if you decide that you don’t mind a longer walk, make sure you pace yourself. Walking too much the first day in the city can make you sore for the rest of your trip, which isn’t fun.

2. Get an unlimited Metro card.

If you’re only in the city for a few days and can calculate exactly how many times you’ll ride the subway/buses and how much that costs, then you can put money on a normal Metro card.

But for peace of mind and increased flexibility, an unlimited seven-day metro card is perfect. You can hop on and off the subway and buses whenever you need to and won’t have to worry about your money running out.

3. Plan your trip before you get there.

My friends and I had an idea of the sites we wanted to see but didn’t really figure out exactly what we wanted to do and when until we were riding the subway into Times Square. Our trip still worked out- we saw everything close to us the first day and then saw what we missed from there for the rest of the trip. But it would’ve helped if we’d had a solid plan earlier.

4. Bring a reusable water bottle.

Walking a lot means you’ll need to be hydrated, but bottled water is expensive in the city, so bring your own and refill at water fountains (the New York Public Library and the United Nations are both free to go into and have clean ones) or ask for a cup of water if a restaurant allows that (Chipotle does) and refill with that.

5. Walk when the New Yorkers walk.

When crossing the street, there will be a moment when the little red hand is still up, but people start walking. That’s because the people who live and work in NYC know that the little walking figure is coming since the light is red, so they get a head start at crossing the street. Don’t bother waiting for the little walking person, or you’ll hold up the people behind you. Just walk.

6. Avoid carrying a bag.

Even sites that seem less major, such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral, have bag checks whenever you go in, so try to keep the bare necessities in your pockets. If you absolutely need to carry a bag, try to make it a small one and be prepared to open it whenever asked.

7. Clean bathrooms are rare.

The random deli we ate in had a bathroom, but it was disgusting. In contrast, Chipotle had a rather clean bathroom. The best restroom I found, though, was at the New York Public Library. Attractions, even free ones, will most likely have the cleanest bathrooms. After that, trust a chain restaurant first. Remember that a dirty bathroom won’t kill you though.

8. Always carry hand sanitizer.

After using the subway, touching souvenirs, and taking selfies, you’ll want to use hand sanitizer before eating, especially since the restaurant you’re in might not have a clean bathroom to wash your hands in, as mentioned above. Always carry hand sanitizer with you for those moments and for any other gross, unplanned things that might happen.

9. Time and money are related.

You might save money by staying in New Jersey, but you might also spend half an hour getting into and out of the city every day. A tour of the UN might be awesome, but it also might take more time and money then exploring by yourself. Decide how much time and how much money you want to spend on attractions and accommodations because often these things are related.

10. A lot of attractions are free.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the New York Public Library, the 9/11 Memorial, Fearless Girl/Charging Bull, the Brooklyn Bridge, Grand Central Station, the United Nations, Rockefeller Center, Alexander Hamilton’s Uptown Estate, Times Square, the Staten Island Ferry, and Central Park are all free. Some of the museums have suggested donations, but you can always pay less depending on your budget. Google other free attractions for the season you’re going and you can find some great, cheap gems.

11. Bring a phone charger.

Google maps will be your best friend while getting around the city, but if you’re in the city for a long time, you’ll want to have a charger handy. A small portable charger that can fit in your pocket or bag is a great way to make sure you don’t get stranded anywhere.

12. It's ok to talk to strangers . . . sometimes.

You don’t need to talk to every person you see, but we did end up having a great conversation with an older gentleman when we asked if we were on the right bus. We spent the rest of the ride talking to him about everything from his recent operation to have a pacemaker put into his passion for writing poetry. His name was Frank, and I’ll always remember that brief bus friendship that made the end of our long day brighter.

13. Keep calm and enjoy yourself.

With all the hustle and bustle of NYC and knowing that your time is limited, it’s easy to just jump from place to place in a crazed desire to see as much as possible. However, you’ll enjoy your trip more if you walk a little slower, and calmly take in everything around you instead of snapping a picture and rushing on.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

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