Imperial Valley, Although You'll Always Have 115 Degree Weather And Be Uneventful, You're Still My Home For 15 Reasons

Imperial Valley, Although You'll Always Have 115 Degree Weather And Be Uneventful, You're Still My Home For 15 Reasons

Try finding quesadillas THIS GOOD anywhere else.


My hometown in the Imperial Valley has its perks, but both the 115-degree weather and unemployment rate is high enough to scare most people away. Nevertheless, I was born and raised here, so it will always be my home. Here are a few things I've missed while being away.

1. Juice Haus

No one makes acai bowls better than this place. Acai, berries, and granola have never tasted so good. It's true, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

2. Watching TV with my mom


At the end of the day, curling up in front of the TV with my mom is relaxing. We're currently watching "The Bachelorette" together. I think it's growing on her.

3. Uncrowded movie theaters


In Imperial, it's rare to watch a movie in a crowded theater. I love the fact that I can stretch out, laugh out loud, and enjoy my personal screening time.

4. Alexa


"Alexa, play songs by Bruno Mars." "Alexa, tell me a joke." "Alexa, play the song that says, 'I finally found something I'm good at.'" I missed this piece of technology more than one would ever guess. Washing the dishes goes by a lot faster with my dearest friend, Alexa.

5. El Zarape

This restaurant's handmade special quesadillas and quesadilla norteñas are unlike any Tex Mex food I've ever tasted. This little restaurant will always have a special place in my heart.

6. Getting a haircut from Jill


Although I haven't gone in just yet, there's nothing like getting a perfect trim and catching up with Jill. This is just one of the underrated perks of a small town such as Imperial. I've waited about six months for a haircut, because I simply trust no one else.

7. The slow-paced lifestyle


In Imperial, most people aren't rushing around to get to where they're going. When I'm driving around town, people will wave, share a smile, and take the time to appreciate the little things in life.

8. Pedicures with my mom and grandma


My cuticles were in the worst shape ever! It's a tradition for the three of us to go out and get our nails done together, and it's one of my favorite ways to kill two hours.

9. My church and youth group

I've missed seeing the familiar faces around my church and spending time with the first group of people that led me to Christ. Plus, going to church with my family is definitely something I've missed.

10. My car


I don't trust my brothers enough yet to take care of the Suburban I used to drive in high school. I've missed my car with its limited air conditioning and all.

11. Barbecuing and family time


The first weekend I returned home, my grandparents, aunt, and cousin came over to enjoy pool time and a barbecued dinner. These are some of the fondest memories I clung to in college, so it was fun to spend time as a family again.

12. “May I”


This is an intense, two hour minimum card game that my family and I play together. We all enjoy playing to see who has the best hand and who can "earthquake" before anyone else.

13. Free Wi-Fi at my house


Baylor's "AirBear" Wi-Fi was always spotty and would be a pain to connect to. Here at home, I don't have to worry about thousands of other students trying to connect to my Wi-Fi! I'm sure our Verizon bill will decrease this month.

14. Grocery store trips with my mom


As uneventful as it sounds, I've actually missed picking out groceries alongside my mom! I'd even argue that grapes and peaches taste better when you've picked them out with your mom.

15. My bed!


Nothing beats the feeling of sinking into my bed after a long and tiresome day. The pillow I use at home feels like I'm resting my head on a cloud of feathers. Plus, it's not lofted, so I don't have to climb up a ladder just to fall asleep.

Although I've missed being home and spending time with my family, I've certainly NOT missed chore lists, doing the entire family's laundry instead of just my own, and washing dishes for an army instead of just me.

I'm beginning to wonder if my vacation time was back in Texas, or if it's being here for the summer? ;)

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

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.

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.

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This Trump Oval Office Address Drinking Game Is NOT Fake News

Caution: You may need a DD.


An exciting moment in our 45th President's career will be taking place tonight: he will be addressing the nation on a "current state of emergency" on national television.

Yes, that's right. Our President will be taking the night off of Twitter (hopefully) to enter living rooms across the country on our screens.

Historically, these addresses are long and boring, so let's spice it up tonight. Don't even bother with shot glasses, I have a feeling you won't have time to refill the glass in time.

Take a shot every time he says "bad"

This one seems harmless, but remember, Trump likes to repeat himself to make a point. "Bad, bad people". Two shots right there for ya.

Take a shot every time he says "hombres"

Be careful! He's been known to say things like "bad, bad hombres, very bad." Four shots right there for ya.

Take a shot every time he mispronounces something

Look, it's bound to happen, have you seen the typos in his tweets? Oh man.

Take a shot any time he lies about terrorists entering the country via Mexico

Fun fact for you: Terrorists most commonly enter the country via airplanes, in fact, last year only 6 terrorists tried to cross at the Mexican border and all got turned around. Learn more here.

Take a shot every time he says "caravan"

I don't see this one hurting you too bad, but the man is hard to read.

Take a shot every time he says "uh"

This one seems like it's harmless but because he isn't a speaking professional he actually says it a lot more than you would think.

Finish your drink every time he says "national crisis"

Do it. Take that shot.

Take a shot every time he says "wall"

But you might just get alcohol poisoning.

Take a shot every time he says "terrorists "

Fingers crossed he doesn't say this as much as I think he will.

Take a shot every time he blames the democrats for the shutdown

You're the one holding the opening of the government hostage, buddy.

Take a drink AND DON'T STOP until he is done saying the word "huge"

Sometimes he keeps this one short, other times it's a dragged out "huuuuuuuuuuuge". Don't say I didn't warn you.

Take a drink when he starts using his hands as he speaks AND DON'T STOP until he puts them back down 

Another possible alcohol poisoning situation.

Remember to always drink responsibly!

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