Brittany² And Emily Go To The Ozarks For The First Time, And A Lot Happened

Brittany² And Emily Go To The Ozarks For The First Time, And A Lot Happened

*Goes to Wal-Mart in a town we have never been at 11 p.m.*

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We wanted to take a trip before school started. We casually started planning it at the beginning of the summer. In July, we finally decided we were going to do this and booked our motel. We knew it would be a grand 'ole time, but we never thought we would end up at Wal-Mart at 11 p.m. because we needed tea.

1. Planning

At one point in the beginning of the summer we decided to make a very loose plan for a small vacation before school started. We finally decided where we wanted to go, and went from there. None of had been to Lake Of The Ozarks before. I know, what a Midwest sin.

2. Driving

The drive down to The Ozarks was about five hours. We had an endless amount of snacks, and a 24-hour long playlist ready to go. We went from cornfields to beauty. It was an eventful five hours. There was a lot of off-key singing, a lot of "hand me a bag of chips," a lot of deciding what we're going to do when we get there.

3. Arriving

Driving in Missouri was definitely an incredible experience. There were vast hills and it was far different than a cornfield ridden Illinois, and finally, after more than five hours of driving with multiple pit-stops, we arrived at our Motel.

4. Sketch Motel

Motels have a bad reputation because they're typically small, cheap, and run-down. We were ready for that to be the case, but once we arrived we were pleasantly surprised. The entire motel, and our room, was very clean, and the owner was extremely accommodating.

5. Struggle with the floaties

We brought weird inner tubes along with us. We didn't think it through too well and thought we could blow it up by ourselves. We gave up and went to Wal-Mart the next day to get an air pump.

6. Coffee #CAFFEINATED

We were in need of caffeine, so we headed out to find a coffee shop... that's essentially it. We needed coffee.

7. Horseback riding

We went to Tan Tar A Resort; one of the most beautiful scenic drives we went on during our trip. Of course, we had to sign release forms before we went, but once we finally arrived it became one of the most fun experiences yet. We each got our own horse after receiving instructions and headed out on a beautiful trail for a good 50 minutes.

8. Cave

We went to Bridal Cave in Camdenton, MO. You can take a tour through Bridal Cave with a tour guide. You will see multiple parts of the cave. In some parts of the cave, the mineral water has dropped so much causing the walkways to get smaller and smaller. Nonetheless, it is a beautiful and historic area, we recommend seeing.

9. Wal-Mart to get air pump lady said we don't have them, guy said we don't have electronic ones "um there's one right there"

Floaties we had were bigger than us. We couldn't do it alone. We needed the help of an air pump. So, we went to Walmart to find one. We asked for help, and the sweet, kind, lady we asked said they didn't have any. We decided to look anyways. We found a gentleman, and he told us they didn't have any either. I, Emily, looked up and there they were. Trust no one.

10. Beach

Brittany #1 couldn't quite get up on the popsicle floatie.

11. Hand-mixed banana pancakes #VEGAN

We didn't want to spend more money than we had to, so we made pancakes. Turns out we needed eggs for the pancake mix we had. We didn't have eggs but we did have bananas. So, I was incredibly tired and made hand-squished banana pancakes.

12. Beer and wine

We went to the store to get stuff to *treat ourselves to*. Of course, we didn't go hard. It was a simple girls' night before we headed home the next day.

13. Couldn't fall asleep

We could not fall asleep. We were laughing and saying the weird things you say when you're delusional and too tired to function. So, we decided to go to Hy-Vee and get tea to help us fall asleep.

14. Hy-Vee

We all know grocery stores are a weird place at night. We got our tea and went to check out. The music was poppin', so I, Emily, decided to start dancing and singing.

15. Sleepy tea

Brittany the second and I, Emily, could not sleep for the life of us. We were too wired or something. There wasn't an ounce of sleep in the near future if we didn't do something about it. So, we got "sleepy tea."

16. Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's was my/Brittany #2 idea because it's always been a store I wanted to hit for their unique vegan options. We headed there before the Butterfly Garden, bought some items I could bring home and we left.

17. Butterfly

The Butterfly House was absolutely gorgeous. When we arrived, they had different insects inside and the observatory with the butterflies. The moment we entered, we were surrounded by colorful insects. A lot of them aren't afraid of humans so we got some amazing pictures.

18. Playlist

Every road trip needs a great playlist.

19. The baby that wouldn't shut up

Alright, so we're broke college kids just wanting to have a good time. We don't need to stay anywhere fancy or ~aesthetically pleasing~. At our motel there was this neighbor of ours who cried for all of eternity. Okay, so I'm exaggerating. They cried for a long time though.

20. The toilet

You know those stories you think are hilarious but probably shouldn't tell too many people? Yeah, that's this one. Many people are going to know now. Somehow, our toilet got clogged. We don't know what clogged it and maybe that's a good thing. Other Brittany or BA, flushed the toilet and the water stayed at the top. Then, Brittany the second decided to go as well. When she flushed the toilet, chaos broke out. It overflowed like Niagra Falls. I'm kidding it wasn't that bad, but she did scurry away. I ran to the bathroom with towels and we tried to contact management. It was probably 11 p.m. at that point so it took awhile.

21. What we learned

  1. You need to have a few moments of peace and quiet from each other. When you spend three straight days with each other you need to take some time to yourself. We also learned taking trips are expensive no matter what. Activities can be at, food can be , gas is expensive when you add it all up, lodging is ,, and so on.
  2. But all in all, we had a great experience and it's a trip we'll never forget.

All in all, the trip was great. It was nice to get away from our regular routine for a little bit.

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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.
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After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say, "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing.

My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from "Shameless."

"Shameless" is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out of place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum, it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone, however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by "Shameless."

Cover Image Credit: itsfilmedthere.com

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Why You Should Send Me And My Best Friend To Hawaii

Please say yes.

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This is not a joke, it's a shoutout to our parents.

This past week, I spent spring break with my parents. At the end of the week, they shared the incredible information that we were going to Hawaii in May 2019.

Being an only child, one of my struggles is being alone with my parents on vacation and not having anyone my age to share the experience with. My parents said I was allowed to take a friend with us if they could pay for the plane ticket.

I immediately contacted my best friend Bailey, and together we started planning out ways for her to pay for the $563 plane ticket.

Once we figured out how to get rich fast, we made a PowerPoint presentation to send to both of our parents. We came up with plenty of reasons why we should be allowed to do this. Here's why:

1. Bailey and I called each other everyday while we were separated over spring break. 

Therefore, we need this vacation together because we won't be able to see each other over the summer. It's the perfect chance for a getaway before we move away from each other.

2. After a long semester of work, we need our relaxation.

3. Our major is all about traveling and exploring the world, so this is the perfect beginning to our future adventures together.

4. The Instagram pictures would be so good

5. My parents would be less annoyed with me if I had someone else to hang out with for part of the time

6. Bailey's parents would get a child-free house for a week.

7. We are paying for half of the ticket! And there really is nothing else to pay for except for tourist gifts

8. It will get us active as we plan to snorkel and hike!


Please send me and Bailey to Hawaii! If anyone reading this wants to help us pay for the ticket - contact us or Venmo!

<3 Mckenna and Bailey

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