Snow Hinton Park Is A Blast, If You Can Get Over Your Fear Of Heights

Snow Hinton Park Is A Blast, If You Can Get Over Your Fear Of Heights

Sometimes you need a little adventure to spice up your day, which led my friends and me to take a quick side trip to Snow Hinton to tackle the giant rope course. Here's a recap of our experience.

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Last week, my friends and I decided to take a quick trip to Snow Hinton Park. "What's Snow Hinton Park?" you might be saying, "I've never heard of that park before!" I bet you at least know what it's known for. Have you ever seen the mountainous, red climbing structure along McFarland that seems to be plaguing people's snap stories? Well, Snow Hinton is where to find it!

My friends — Sydney, Alexis, Eva and Jacob — and I just finished eating lunch, and, on our way to Walmart, we saw the iconic structure, and Sydney interjected that we should take a quick stop there. As I've never been before, either, I agreed, and we took a sharp left towards the park instead of continuing straight down McFarland. As we walked towards the ropes, Jacob and Eva, who'd been there before, started to back off; they weren't up for the challenge a second time.

Syd and Alexis walked towards the structure as I took off running. As soon as I reached the structure, I reached for the highest rope I could, did a pullover, and hung upside down, my hair a couple feet from touching the ground. Sydney and Alexis took a more cautious approach, starting from the ground up, and carefully planning each step, as I scaled the structure with ease, tearing up the red rope with each step. I got to the top in less than five minutes, doing acrobatic moves while holding onto the ropes along the way. I was being so extra, that Syd shouted at me, "Stop it! I don't want to have to get a new roommate this semester!"

Once I finally reached the top, I felt like a king, towering over two stories above Tuscaloosa. I waved down at Syd and Alexis, as they finally got halfway up the ropes. Going down the giant, silver spiral slide was one of the most satisfying things in the world, sealing the fact that I made it to the top of the mountain; a fun reward for a slightly terrifying journey. As Sydney and Alexis were almost to the top, I scaled it again and encouraged them to continue climbing. Once we were all were finally at the top, we waved to Jacob and Eva, who were seated on a bench nearby, to signify our success. We wrapped it up by going down the slide, but I guess Sydney wanted to leave a piece of herself on the mountain because she managed to lose her phone before she hit the ground at the bottom.

I'm glad I finally got to experience the rope tower at Snow Hinton, as it's really fun if you're athletic or looking for a challenge, especially when you have friends to conquer it with you. While the height of it may seem scary, getting to the top is satisfying because, you did it, you managed to get past a possible fear of heights (or fear of falling, in my case), and are at the top of the world, or the top of Tuscaloosa, at least.

Me casually flipping upside down about 15 feet off the groundAlexis Whitfield

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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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​10 New York City Brunch Restaurants I Love A Waffle Lot

Trust me, breakfast is overrated, even if it is at Tiffany's!

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You guys knew it was coming! If you know me personally or follow me on Instagram you would know that the thing that I love most in the world is brunch. My life motto is "Mimosa es su mosa" or maybe "On Sundays, we drink mimosas." Just kidding! However, there is nothing I love more than having waffles, poached eggs, and a latte on a Sunday with my girlfriends. Brunch is a long-held tradition for us, it's a great way to relax and it honestly just brings everyone together. So I thought I'd share a few of our go-to spots!

1. Dudley's

This is my favorite place of all time to get brunch. Dudley's is right on Orchard Street, it has a quaint little interior great for dinner, as well! However, I suggest going during the summer to enjoy their outdoor seating. The food is just so delicious! The first time I went was actually at the end of August with my best friend Alexia. She had just gotten back from traveling and we wanted to brunch, go to The Met, walk the Brooklyn Bridge and go thrifting all before we went back to school the next day. We got brunch and were full pretty much the whole day, it was insane. It was also really fresh. Alexia even says when she comes home from Greece no meal ever compares to the food she eats back home, but this really hit the spot. The cuisine is American with an Australian twist. I normally get the chia muesli, a burger with a salad on the side instead of fries. Also if it's later in the afternoon, I'll just do cauliflower tempura with green aioli! For drinks, I suggest a latte or their cold brew.

2. Buvette

I literally just went last weekend with my friend Emily, so if that doesn't tell you how much I love it here, I don't know what does! Buvette has extremely friendly staff and great food, the portions are a tiny bit small but they are super filling, definitely try the specials! I suggest the Belgian Waffle with berries and a latte. My friend Emily got a lemonade and avocado toast!

3. Victor's Cafe

Best croquettes and burger to date. I also got yuca fries on the side. Best brunch ever, oh my gosh! Of course, I got a latte with that, too! The paella de vegetales and platanos are to die for, as well. Victor's Cafe has my heart!

4. Your Mother's House

I actually just went to Your Mother's House on Sunday. It's not the best brunch ever, but they have such a great menu with tons of variety. I even had this Groupon for bottomless brunch if you are of legal drinking age. The Groupon definitely makes it worth it!

5. Sarabeth's

This has been a long-standing tradition between my friend Sara and I. The first time we went was actually when I was like 13, I want to say. It was December and at the time Sara was like 17 and she bought me tickets to see the Radio City Rockettes. However, the only reason I took the train at that point was for work so I wasn't going to be allowed to go. So we devised a plan to convince my mother that her mother was going and it all turned out quite splendidly.

We went to Sarabeth's, I got the lemon ricotta pancakes, and Sara got the crab cake benedict. I would recommend both. Then we saw the Rockettes. However, the reason this is a funny story is that a month later on Christmas Eve, she and her parents came over and our mothers are extremely close because Sara and I have been friends since I was five years old. Sara and I went to my room to hang out and left our mothers to talk. After a few glasses of Chardonnay, Sara's mom told my mom that we went alone. I was grounded for three weeks. Well worth it though, not only did I see the Rockettes, but I found a regular brunch spot!

6. Chat Noir Tea

I know I'm a coffee girl, but I needed some tea to spill it at this brunch! Chat Noir Tea has an amazing Croque Monsieur and a great English breakfast tea. I suggest getting the tea service for two!

7. Juliette

I've told you guys once and I'll tell you again, all great things reside in Williamsburg! I'll be back here with my girlfriends in two weeks. I recommend the french toast at Juliette if you have a sweet tooth like me!

8. The Cheesecake Factory

This is probably one of my favorite places to eat, for dinner here I usually get the crusted chicken romano but for brunch, at The Cheesecake Factory they have plenty of sweet things, so I'll normally order a few things and split it with whoever I'm with!

9. Milk & Honey Cafe

I know this one is a throwback to the "10 Instagram Worthy Cafes" article I wrote but the Milk & Honey Cafe does have some great brunch options and come on, you can try one of the best cafes and brunch places in New York all at once! (Fun fact: My Odyssey profile picture was taken here!)

10. Cafe Mogador

So I wanted to include Cafe Mogador in this because it was actually recommended to me and will be my next brunch stop, so I figured why not leave this here as a little surprise for us both!

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