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A Somewhat Brief Appreciation Of Denver Nuggets Point Guard Jamal Murray

Three trivia questions: Who is the first NBA player to score 50 points in a game without attempting a free throw? Who was drafted by the Denver Nuggets after his first year at the University of Kentucky? Who has a silver medal from the 2015 Pan American Games? If your answer to all three questions is Jamal Murray, you are correct!

Jamal, a Pisces, was born on February 23, 1997, in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. His parents are Silvya and Roger Murray. Roger was a basketball player and track and field athlete himself, which is something that I believe shaped Jamal into the person he is today.

There are things that lead me to suspect that Jamal was born wearing a basketball uniform. He began playing at age three and at the age of six he was playing in a league for kids almost twice his age. I am adamant that some sort of magical basketball unicorn has blessed Jamal. That’s the only explanation for why he has been talented his whole life.

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Jamal is all smiles for a headshot (Credit: Denver Stiffts)

His talents continued over to high school, where he won multiple awards. These awards include an MVP recognition at the 2013 Jordan Brand Classic International Game, an MVP recognition at the 2015 Nike Hoop Summit, and an MVP recognition at the 2015 BioSteel All-Canadian Basketball Game. The theory that he was born in a basketball uniform starts to make a lot of extra sense.

At the University of Kentucky, Jamal continued showing his talents that he was given by the magical basketball unicorn. In his first and only year at the university, he earned multiple well-deserved recognitions. What are the recognitions, you may ask? Good question! They are a spot on the Associated Press Third Team All-American roster, a spot on the First Team All-SEC roster, an SEC All-Tournament recognition, and an SEC All-Freshman recognition.

Not only has Jamal been born in a basketball uniform and blessed by a magical basketball unicorn, but he is a magical unicorn himself! The unicorn is blue with white wings with red maples leaves all over them. The unicorn’s horn is platinum with pearls in them. The left front hoof is gold with amethysts, the right front hoof is sterling silver with sapphires, the left rear hoof is bronze with diamonds, and the right rear hoof is rose gold with emeralds. Lastly, there is a Canadian flag on the unicorn’s forehead. That has got to be the most descriptive unicorn analogy ever presented.

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Jamal is in a really great mood after a really great play (Credit: Sky Sports)

Ever since Jamal started playing professional basketball after his freshman year of college, he has been proving his awesomeness. His statistics include 611 three-point field goals; 759 free throws; 1,292 two-point field goals; 1,903 field goals; and 1,182 total rebounds. He’s one of the very best point guards to ever play for the Denver Nuggets. Change my mind. He’s the most magical unicorn in the team’s history.

Recently, this past Friday to be exact, Jamal made history! He scored fifty points, which is an extremely impressive feat in and of itself. There’s another wonderful fact about his fifty-point game: not a single free throw attempted or completed! That is the first time anyone in the National Basketball Association has ever completed this feat. You heard right! Jamal is literally the first player in the history of the National Basketball Association to score fifty points without a single free throw attempt. That is the best start to the weekend anyone could ask for.

I really admire Jamal’s leadership. After an interview last summer when he was getting ready to play basketball after the pandemic forced the association to go on a months-long hiatus, he wanted to listen to the media give their perspectives on racism before exiting the Zoom call. It shows that he likes to listen to many perspectives and wants people to have a voice. He’s a good example of how to show leadership skills, on and off the court. I’d love to be around an amazing member of society like him.

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Jamal does an archery pose (Credit: BSN Denver)

Denver Nuggets until the day I die! Blue Arrow Bubbas! Keep up the great work, Jamal!

SOURCES:

https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/m/murraja01.html

https://www.denverstiffs.com/2020/6/8/21283572/jamal-murray-still-wants-to-be-great

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamal_Murray

https://www.astrology-zodiac-signs.com/

Featured

My Struggle With Severe Depression

CONTENT AND TRIGGER WARNINGS: Mental Illness and Suicide

Picture this: You have absolutely zero energy in the morning. Even doing activities you enjoy, like drawing or swimming, sound like daunting chores you want to avoid doing if you can help it. You either want to eat a six-course meal to drown out your sadness, or get nauseous at the thought of eating a simple apple wedge. Either you’re a professional insomniac or you just want to sleep for the rest of your life. You feel like the future is bleak, hopeless, and destined to be doomed. Your emotional state has deteriorated to the point where you wish you weren’t living on this planet anymore. These symptoms last for two to six weeks, and it consumes your life.

This is what it’s like to live with severe depression. From what I remember, I have struggled with depression since I was in the fourth grade. At one point I would cry every single day. I had a hard time having fun at school. I was very upset about school being closed due to a major blizzard. The cafeteria staff and the physical education teacher were very worried about me.

Feeling depressed or worried over coronavirus? You're not alone - Los  Angeles Times
Depression is a barbaric mental health condition that can affect anyone, anytime, anywhere (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

I felt like the older I got, the worse my depression became. During two school years, specifically the eighth and eleventh grades, I was not in the best place ever. I just felt like I was floating on by and just waiting for summer break to come. In the eleventh grade I absolutely hated school. I only liked a select few classes and seeing friends and acquaintances. I wanted to change schools very badly for my last year of high school. 

The struggles didn’t stop there, however. It went on to affect me during college. The time period between September 25 and October 6, 2016 was a very difficult time to get through. I fell into an intense state of depression the day Jose Fernandez passed away. The next day on campus, I was just really upset. I was panicky, grief-stricken, fatigued, and lethargic. The fact that I was sick with bronchitis at the time made it even worse. That wasn’t my only bad depression moment. During the spring semester of my second year of college, I was in such a difficult state of mind that I wanted to honestly drop out of college.

Academic Pressure: 5 Tips From An Expert On Coping With School Stress |  HuffPost
Depression can make it extremely difficult to concentrate on schoolwork (Credit: HuffPost)

Things came to a tragic head on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. I was absolutely heartbroken about the passing of Roy Halladay. A serious threat on the campus and an argument with a friend tipped me over the edge. After multiple things that had already happened that year, I was just too heartbroken and crushed to continue. That night, when I went to bed,I decided I was going to just give up and end my life. The next day, I went to the university therapist first thing in the morning. Confessing the attempt to take my own life was terrifying. Getting through the rest of the semester felt like an ordeal. 

2019 was also a tough year for my depression. I had suffered from chronic, recurring bouts since New Year’s Day. Things came to a fevered pitch on July 1, 2019, when Tyler Skaggs’ body was discovered in a North Texas hotel. I was really devastated, and that just fueled my already existing depression. I could barely eat and I was already in shock. I was in on-again, off-again crisis for the rest of the month, including thoughts of suicide. That’s when I came to know that I had severe depression.

Here's What People Get Wrong About Depression | NAMI: National Alliance on  Mental Illness
Depression has many symptoms, and is treatable (Credit: NAMI)

To this day, it’s still something that affects me. I have a fluctuating appetite, problematic sleeping habits, lethargy, and am easily irritable. I have been controlling it through better eating habits, medication, therapy, and physical activity. It’s something that will be a part of my life forever, but I am doing what I can to keep it from having a brutal grip.

If you, or someone you know, is in crisis, here are some resources to help:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line: 741-741

Canada’s Crisis Text Line: 686-868

United Kingdom’s Crisis Text Line: 852-58

The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 (Hotline), 678-678 (Text Line)

Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860

I am not sponsored by or affiliated with any of these hotlines

Fifteen Tips I Have For Apartment Hunters

For the past seventeen or so months, I have been apartment hunting. I learned a lot about the process, from tours to budgets. Earlier in the month, I finally found the apartment that won my heart over. I signed the lease and the paperwork, and I am excited to announce that I will be moving in the fall! Here are fifteen things I learned during the process, which are tips for fellow apartment hunters. These tips can help people find a place that makes them feel happy inside.

#1: Look at your budget. Be realistic. Consider how much money you expect to spend on groceries, mobile phone bills, and insurance bills in addition to rent, amongst other expenses. It might be tempting to tour places that are out of your budget, but I don’t recommend it. If your budget indicates a studio apartment in a complex built in 1988 is the most affordable option, it’s better to look into that than a newly-built complex with luxury appliances and features. Who knows? You might even find a cute, renovated apartment that is on budget, too!

#2: Do a drive-by. I’m the kind of person who gets an aura from buildings. In my opinion, it’s a good idea to drive by some buildings and see how you feel. If you feel like the complex is wonderful based on the drive-by first impression, feel free to schedule a tour.

#3: Try touring on a rainy day. Interesting tidbit: my sister and I toured three apartments over the summer months. All three days, there was rain. Looking back, this probably was a good sign. I feel like it was a sign of making sure the buildings and outdoor features are safe in the rain. Knowing that the infrastructure complex where I will be living handles precipitation well makes me feel secure.

#4: Always do an in-person or scheduled virtual tour. While some people feel okay just looking at pictures or doing a virtual tour, I still think doing an in-person tour is a good idea. Some complexes offer the option of doing a virtual tour with a staff member. Either way, it’s a great way to get a good feel of the apartment and ask detailed questions.

#5: Ask about move-in specials. Don’t feel shy asking about these. Move-in specials will help you get the most bang for your buck. These can range from a waived application fee to a discount on pet rent. Who knows? These might lead to finding the apartment that makes you the happiest!

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A studio apartment (Credit: The Destiny Formula)

#6: Ask about additional expenses excluded from the lease. The lease includes expenses, but there are some expenses you will have to pay by yourself. You will want to ask the apartment staff. This goes in with being realistic. If additional expenses are going to put you over your budget, it’s best to check out different complexes. It’s a bummer, I can say from experience. However, you will want to be able to afford to support and take care of yourself.

#7: If the complex includes community laundry, ask about that. Some complexes have in-unit laundry, which can make or break a deal. However, some complexes have community laundry in the lowest level of the buildings instead. It’s a good idea to ask the complex staff about laundry room protocols, such as accepted payment methods and etiquette expectations.

#8: Discuss renter’s insurance requirements and company suggestions. Even if renter’s insurance is not mandatory for the complex where you will live, it’s always a good idea to have it in case something goes wrong. Talk to the complex staff about whether it’s needed and what companies they recommend. They can get the wheels rolling on insurance brand research.

#9: Ask about safety and security. You definitely want to feel safe and sound in your apartment. Be sure to ask questions about the safety measures taken to keep tenants secure. In addition, check with staff to see if protocol allows or prohibits tenants from installing their own security systems. Big important point: if you don’t feel safe or comfortable during the drive-by and/or tour, that’s a sign to consider a different place.

#10: Make sure that you and any future roommates are on the same page. Your acquaintance might want to live in a brand-new townhome in the heart of the larger city, but you’d rather live closer to your graduate school campus in a medium-sized ground floor apartment. Your two best friends adore the idea of a cozy, renovated 1990s apartment, but you’d prefer something newer and more luxurious. If you will have others living with you, make sure you can find common ground on everything, from price point to protocols.

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A one bedroom apartment floor plan (Credit: HOme Designer Lover)

#11: Look at proximity to businesses that you frequent. Is there a restaurant that you like to enjoy with family and friends on special occasions? What about grocery stores that carry foods that work well with your dietary needs and preferences? Do you visit a mom-and-pop coffee shop six times a month? Take businesses that you visit on a regular basis into consideration when apartment searching.

#12: Check out the reviews. Do people like the promptness and professionalism of the maintenance crew? Have many people expressed their disapproval of how they were treated by staff and neighbors? What about apartment quality? Reading reviews will make sure you will be happy where you live.

#13: Ask about parking. Are there assigned parking garages? What about surface parking? Is that first-come-first-serve? Or are parking permits needed? Get ready to learn about parking protocols. You’ll want to be prepared, so you’ll know if you want to use public transportation or bring a car.

#14: Ask about income requirements. Are there income restrictions? Do you have to make a certain amount of money each month to be able to afford the rent? If you will be living with others, how much will everyone need to make and how will the bills be split? These are good questions to ask yourself, the staff, and your potential roommates-to-be.

#15: Be prepared to compromise. What things are deal breakers? Are you okay with a two-bed, one-bath apartment? How about community laundry? Do you prefer on-site fitness, or are you okay with going to a community center or gym at a different location? Finding the right apartment is all about being within budget while enjoying where you live, so you might have to compromise on some features.

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A community laundry room (Credit: Bryant Grove)

How was your apartment hunting experience? Do you have any other questions or concerns about searching for a new place to live? Let me know in the comments below.

Colorado Rockies Versus Oakland Athletics: My First In-Person Baseball Game Since 2019

SURPRISE CHICK, I messaged my sister on Facebook Messenger. What was the surprise, you may ask? Excellent question! It was a pair of impromptu tickets to a baseball game between the Colorado Rockies and the Oakland Athletics. In Section 304 on the rooftop, to be exact! I can’t begin to describe how excited I was! I even planned out my entire outfit.
It was a real treat to get to do this. I bought tickets to about half a dozen games in 2020. I knew I wanted to see the Cleveland Baseball Team, Washington Nationals, Houston Astros, Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, and Pittsburgh Pirates. Unfortunately, due to the extremely severe threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, those plans were off the table for me. I did recall wishing I had seen the Oakland Athletics in July of 2018, so I decided to treat my sister to a game this year.
Then came the big day. June 6, 2021. I put on my 2016 Star Wars Night t-shirt, 2020 Spring Training Oakland A’s hat, blue aviator sunglasses, cream-colored floral print shorts, and black Costco sandals. Before driving to the ballpark, my sister and I got some breakfast at Starbucks. I remember getting a chocolate cream Frappuccino, a breakfast sandwich, and a croissant. My sister got egg bites and passion fruit tea.

Joshua Fuentes living his best life on the scoreboard while up to bat


With a clear bag filled with Sun Bum sunscreen, hand sanitizer, spare masks, and concessions money, we made the trek to the ballpark. After parking in the Music Garage, we walked to the ballpark. It was boiling hot outside, over ninety degrees. It was a giveaway day, so my sister and I ended up getting picnic blankets. Additionally, we went to the Diamond Dry Goods Store. Always a fun time.
The game was a blast to watch. It was so awesome getting to see some of my favorite players from both teams, including Matt Olson and Joshua Fuentes. For those of you who are curious, Joshua goes by his real name now instead of just Josh. The starting pitcher for that game for the home team? My absolute favorite, German Marquez! Spoiler alert, I got his t-shirt after the game.
My sister and I also ended up on the jumbotron. I was watching and I noticed myself on the screen. I waved as hard as I could. I felt like a celebrity. Raimel Tapia was extremely talented, as per usual. I also loved getting to sing Charlie Blackmon’s walk-up song, “Your Love” by the Outfield, at the top of my lungs. That is the absolute best part of home games.
I also developed a superstition, too. I got myself some Dippin’ Dots (a necessary tradition for home games, in my opinion). For whatever reason, I put it on my lap and spilled half of it on my clothes. Not proud of myself for that, but it preceded a gorgeous sequence of events later on.

Daniel Bard was amazing!


In addition, I got to have my very first bite of ballpark chicken tenders! I was worried about what I could have for lunch/dinner at the park because I had started a diet known as the pollotarian diet, where I eat poultry instead of red meat. Because of that, I knew that I could not eat a Rockie Dog. Big bummer, I know. But the chicken strips were very delicious!
The game caused me to develop huge crushes on Joshua Fuentes, Dom Nunez, and Sean Murphy. Joshua has such an adorable personality and he is extremely good looking! I plan to write a Joshua Fuentes appreciation post later on. When it comes to Dom Nunez, he has an absolutely adorable face, and I get the impression that he is extremely friendly. Honestly, Dom seems like the kind of person I would invite over to watch Disney+ and eat Italian food. I intend to write a Dom Nunez appreciation post later, too.
Sean Murphy, who played catcher for Oakland, seems like a really nice person with a great smile. That smile of his can improve half a million moods, and I get the vibe that he is the kind of person you will want to be friends with. I would totally introduce someone like him to my high school friends. Also, I would love to have a chat with him about superhero films. I do hope he has a great 2021.

My new friend, a rainbow sloth named Jordan


Do you want to know what the whipped cream on the pumpkin pie was? Getting to see Daniel Bard, the 2020 Major League Baseball Comeback Player of the Year, in real live time! I was blown away with how well he played. I remember filming the last out on my phone. I was chanting, “Let’s go, Bardo!” at the top of my lungs, whilst also yelling about how proud of him I was. As the game was wrapping up, I began chanting along to the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers theme song. As soon as Daniel got the last out, and the Rockies got the win, of course I screamed bloody murder to the point I lost my voice.
Dearest Rockies, thank you for the beautiful day out. I had a lot of fun. Look forward to seeing more games.

SOURCE:
https://www.mlb.com/press-release/press-release-salvador-perez-daniel-bard-win-2020-mlb-comeback-player-of-the-yea#:~:text=Press%20release%3A%20Salvador%20Perez%2C%20Daniel,Player%20of%20the%20Year%20Awards

A Definitive Ranking Of All The Mario Party 8 Minigames: 13-1

Mario Party 8 is one of my favorite video games. I don’t really play it to play the “party mode,” which is the mode where you play on different themed board game-like levels. I like to play the minigames. There are those I love, and those I don’t like very much. This list will be based on how difficult, fun, and engaging the games are. It will be divided into five posts. Extras Zone minigames are excluded from this list.

#13: Snipe For The Picking. This challenge/battle minigame is almost too easy! Humblebrag time: This is the first minigame in Test for the Best mode that I have ever gotten a perfect score on. It also kind of feels like playing darts with plungers.

#12: Eyebrawl. How many of y’all are familiar with the ghost level in the iconic game Super Mario 64? This minigame is kind of a throwback to that game. In the SM64 ghost level, you had to defeat/dodge anthropomorphic eyeballs. In this game, you make the eyes dizzy.

#11: Breakneck Building. Want to go to the hardware store without actually going to the hardware store? This is the minigame for you! You get to saw a log, hammer in nails, and paint a wooden board. I also have to wonder how many people were inspired to go into construction, industrial engineering, and interior design because of this minigame.

#10: Mosh Pit Playroom. Who else remembers the ball pit episode from The Big Bang Theory? This reminds me so much of that episode, since the purpose of this game is to collect all of your colored bouncing balls. This also reminds me of my childhood, when I would get bouncy balls at the dentist. 

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Mosh Pit Playroom gameplay (Credit: Mario Party Legacy)

#9: Blazing Lassos. Here’s your chance to feel like you’re starring in an old west movie. The point is to shake your lasso until it glows and get the higher scoring barrels than your opponent. Also, what’s in those barrels? Fire flowers? Power stars? Tanooki suits?

#8: Attention Grabber. This minigame almost feels like the Tom Hanks film Castaway. All you do is shake your Wii Remote to get the ship of Goombas and Koopa Troopas over to you. I don’t understand why those are on the ship that is sailing to save the winner. I thought that the protagonists from the Mario Universe were against them? Also, it feels like the pirate ship from Shy Guy Beach from Mario Kart: Super Circuit.

#7: Scooter Pursuit. I wish I knew why my mouth would always taste like a Wii Remote Jacket when I would initially play this game. Oddly specific, I know. Nonetheless, this game feels like the Mario Kart battle modes. You ride around on hoverboard scooters and fire laser balls at your opponents. That should be a battle mode option in future Mario Kart games, in my opinion.

#6: Kartastrophe. Kartastrophe walked so Mario Kart Wii could run. Also, it feels like participating in Nascar without actually participating in Nascar. And instead of getting a trophy, you will be getting coins in board game mode or an advantage in minigame mode.

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Kartastorphe gameplay (Credit: Mystic Falcon/YouTube)

#5: Crank To Rank. All you do is move your Wii Remote in a circle to raise your flag outside the Mushroom Kingdom. That’s literally it. Honest question: if someone wins this minigame, does it mean that they get hired to do the flag/guard work at Princess Peach’s castle? If Peach wins, what would happen then?

#4: Punch-A-Bunch. As if boss fights against Bowser weren’t enough, Nintendo decided to let us use virtual boxing gloves to defeat statues of Bowser, too! Quick life hack: make sure your boxing glove is big enough to do maximum damage. This will give you advantage in Party and Minigame Modes.

#3: Mario Matrix. Does anyone else remember the television series Code Lyoko? This minigame feels like that, and it’s also easy to win. You just select the lit up panels as fast as you can. Easy as pie. And speaking of pie, tangent: Village Inn has tasty apple pie.

#2: At The Chomp Wash. Quick question: how close does the butterfly get to the Chain Chomp to wake it up? The trick here is to aggressively shake your Wii Remote to clean all the paint off of the Chain Chomp. Also, it’s hilarious and adorable how Nintendo decided to make the Chain Chomp bark.

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At The Chomp Wash gameplay (Credit: NintendoMovies/YouTube)

#1: Shake It Up. You aggressively shake your Wii Remote for five seconds to make your soda go high in the air. That’s it. That’s the minigame. Easy as pie. Also a good arm exercise.

What are your favorite minigames from the Mario Party franchise? Let me know in the comments below.

A Definitive Ranking Of All The Mario Party 8 Minigames: 26-14

Mario Party 8 is one of my favorite video games. I don’t really play it to play the “party mode,” which is the mode where you play on different themed board game-like levels. I like to play the minigames. There are those I love, and those I don’t like very much. This list will be based on how difficult, fun, and engaging the games are. It will be divided into five posts. Extras Zone minigames are excluded from this list.

#26: Treacherous Tightrope. This is a nerve wracking minigame, but I actually kind of like it. They did a good job of picking the music for this game. It fits the suspense of who will make it to the end and who will lose their balance. It also reminds me of my slacklining days in high school.

#25: Speedy Graffiti. Do you like painting under pressure? Then this minigame is the one for you! The point of this game is to spray paint the shape on the rock enough times to win. It’s been a while since I’ve used spray paint, so this is a way to get the creative juices flowing with little danger from real life spray paint.

#24: Grabbin’ Gold. I have not played this game very much, but it’s the textbook definition of self-explanatory. Grab the coins, avoid the non-coins. Sounds simple, right? I should try to practice this game.

#23: Winner Or Dinner. It does not matter how poorly you perform this game. You’re still a winner at the end of this minigame. Why is that? The whole purpose of this minigame is to win coins! Takes a lot of the pressure off.

Image result for mario party 8 winner or dinner
Winner Or Dinner gameplay (Credit: Super Mario Wiki)

#22: Water Ski Spree. This is similar to Winner Or Dinner, but I like this one better. You literally water ski in this minigame for coin-collecting reasons. I want to learn some water sports, therefore, this is my favorite coin grabbing minigame.

#21: Boo-ting Gallery. It’s a race to become almost like you’re playing Luigi’s Mansion. The purpose of this minigame is to get rid of all the red Boo ghosts before the other pair of players does. It’s a test of teamwork and peripheral vision.

#20: Lob To Rob. Do you know those games at the fair, family entertainment centers, carnivals, and arcades where you throw items at targets to win prizes? This is what Lob To Rob is. It’s exactly like those games. Except virtual and the prize is not being chased through the forest by goombas. Also winning coins when playing in board game mode.

#19: Surf’s Way Up. Space nerds unite! I adore this game. It makes me feel like I’m doing the Star Trek or Star Wars version of the Olympic Games. The sport should be called Star Surfing. Heck, Nintendo might have even inspired a sequence of further fan events with this minigame.

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Surf’s Way Up gameplay (Credit: princessdaisyfan1995/YouTube)

#18: Cosmic Slalom. As much as I adore Surf’s Way Up, I love this one even more. It feels like outer space’s version of go-kart racing. It also makes me think of Star Trek. It’s kind of Warp Speed Kart.

#17: Pumper Cars. Is anyone looking for an arm workout? This is the minigame for you! Although you are really holding down buttons on the Wii Remote, it still feels like an arm workout because you are moving the Wii Remote up and down.

#16: Swing Kings. Those who have played baseball, softball, cricket, and similar sports: let me know in the comments if this is an accurate representation of batting practice. I wish I had played softball in my past. However, this game kind of makes up for it.

#15: Superstar Showdown. The last game you play in the Star Battle (Story) mode. The purpose of this game is to generate power from the Star Rod and defeat Bowser. It takes a while, but it’s worth it! It’s very satisfying beating this game and finishing out Story Mode, also known as the Star Battle.

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Superstar Showdown gameplay (Credit: EpicLugiKid/YouTube)

#14: Rotation Station. At first, I had a personal vendetta against this game because of how hard it was. However, the more I practiced it, the more I enjoyed it. It’s all a matter of the camera. The trick is to use it to your advantage.

This list is to be continued! Next: Rankings 13-1.

A Definitive Ranking Of All The Mario Party 8 Minigames: 39-27

Mario Party 8 is one of my favorite video games. I don’t really play it to play the “party mode,” which is the mode where you play on different themed board game-like levels. I like to play the minigames. There are those I love, and those I don’t like very much. This list will be based on how difficult, fun, and engaging the games are. It will be divided into five posts. Extras Zone minigames are excluded from this list.

#39: Paint Misbehavin’. Raise your hand if you are up for a virtual paintball fight! For whatever reason, this game reminds me of The Big Bang Theory. It reminds me of the fun activites the main characters did outside of their work lives at a local university. Paintballing sounds like such a fun activity. Well, maybe not if you’re one of the goombas in this game.

#38: Aim Of The Game. This is the lottery in video game format. The point of this game is to collect cards that will give you the most points. It’s a matter of luck and skill, but mostly luck. I have barely played this game at all, though.

#37: King Of The Thrill. Calling all fans of WWE, UFC, and MMA! I am adamant that this minigame was designed with you in mind. It’s also a wonderful way to blow off steam. Having a bad day? Frustrated with technology? Stressed out with outside life stuff? Playing this minigame will let you unleash your feelings!

#36: Lean, Mean Ravine. I like to think of this game as a crossover between NASCAR and Olympic water sports. Also, even though I have never played Diddy Kong Racing before, I have seen people play this game on YouTube. This minigame pays homage to the water levels in that game on YouTube, too.

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Lean, Mean Ravine gameplay (Credit: Super Mario Wiki)

#35: Rowed To Victory. This minigame reminds me of some watersports I would like to do. Once the pandemic is at a much less barbaric state, I would like to go to a swimming reservoir/lake in my area. Not only does swimming sound like a fun idea, but so do paddleboarding, kayaking, and wakeboarding.

#34: Grabby Gridiron. This game pays a tidbit of homage to some of my experiences. I have attended two high school football games and worked security for multiple college football games. I believe this minigame somewhat/partially encapsulates what happens at American Football practice, but feel free to let me know if I am incorrect on this theory.

#33: Snow Way Out. This game is a snowball fight, but with the effects of coffee mixed with 5-Hour Energy, Rockstar Energy Drinks, and Red Bull! The purpose of this game is for the one player to knock the three players off the roof with snowballs. In the developers’ defense, however, it is a good way to blow off steam.

#32: Thrash ‘N’ Crash. Ah, yes. The most chaotic skateboarding park in the world. I mean, what other skateboarding park has Bullet Bills, tumbling barrels, and toppling poles? I can’t think of one under any circumstances.

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Thrash ‘N’ CRash gaemplay (Credit: Super Mario Wiki)

#31: Picture Perfect. Nit picking moment: I don’t know why this is a one versus three minigame. I think it should be a two versus two minigame. Anyway, in my opinion, this is the perfect way to test your reaction time and attention to detail. It’s kind of funny how the pictures look when they don’t match how they are supposed to. 

#30: Swervin’ Skies. Flying balloon party! Also another nit-picking moment: How can planes be powered with petrol and balloons? Okay, I am overthinking things. Maybe Nintendo wanted to mess around with aerodynamics a little bit.

#29: Bob-ombs Away. According to YouTube, this is a game you can win while not doing anything. Just look up “Luigi Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing” on YouTube, and select the video about Mario Party 8. Also, it’s a good way to vent your mood.

#28: Wing And A Scare. I’m a little bit of an airplane nerd, not going to lie. Now that I think about it, this is an excellent way to feel like you’re in flight school. Except it’s flight school crossed with parkour. Also I like parkour.

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Wing And A Scare gameplay (Credit: arronmunore/YouTube)

#27: Alpine Assault. I have been wanting to learn how to snowboard since the age of fourteen. Now I am a twenty-something, and I still have never learned. I get some thrill out of this minigame. It’s the best way to go snowboarding without actually going snowboarding, if that makes sense.

This list is to be continued! Next: Rankings 26-14.

A Definitive Ranking Of All The Mario Party 8 Minigames: 52-40

Mario Party 8 is one of my favorite video games. I don’t really play it to play the “party mode,” which is the mode where you play on different themed board game-like levels. I like to play the minigames. There are those I love, and those I don’t like very much. This list will be based on how difficult, fun, and engaging the games are. It will be divided into five posts. Extras Zone minigames are excluded from this list.

#52: Fruit Picker. This game is a very good test of your memory and attention to detail. In my opinion, this is the trickiest Challenge minigame developed. Unless you.have an excellent memory, it’s a guessing game that may or may not result in you winning. I recommend practicing frequently.

#51: Pour To Score. Another minigame worth practicing on a regular basis. It’s so easy to pour too much sand or too little sand. It’s all about control.

#50: Stampede. I find it tricky to control the stress and stay focused. For some odd reason I feel like this minigame set me up for success in admin assistant jobs. Maybe it developed my attention to detail.

#49: Glacial Meltdown. This minigame means business. Do whatever it takes to balance your character on the ice floe and dodge enemies. Challenging, right? That’s why it’s a challenge minigame.

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Glacial Meltdown gameplay (Credit: Mario Wiki)

#48: Saucer Swarm. I’m a space nerd. This minigame is a fun challenge and has a funny ending. Characters get abducted by aliens and are taken away. It’s so funny! Also I believe in aliens.

#47: Ion The Prize. I have a trick for beating this minigame. At the end, when a bunch of neon balls fall down, don’t tilt in either direction. In fact, keep the bar even. You should win.

#46: Settle It In Court. Basketball is my third favorite sport. I almost played the sport myself. So this is sort of making up for that fact.

#45: Balancing Act. I remember getting to watch a circus during a trip to Europe nearly thirteen years ago. This is almost a throwback to that vacation. In addition, it kind of feels like a circus school final. That reminds me, I want to apply to graduate school.

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Balancing Act gameplay (Credit: Mario Wiki)

#44: Lava Lobbers. Rotten day? Play Lava Lobbers! You can blow off steam by knocking your enemy into the lava. Just thinking about that is satisfying.

#43: Specter Inspector. I believe in ghosts and the supernatural. This game is a lot of fun. It’s also a throwback to Luigi’s Mansion. 

#42: Rudder Madness. Yes, the river is slow. However, it’s kind of a fun way to go tubing without actually going tubing. I know I might not make sense. I would like to go tubing one day in real life.

#41: Sugar Rush. The pressure is on with this one! It’s important to be careful when doing this to make sure you decorate the cakes right. This makes me wonder how many people got inspired to go into cake decorating.

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Sugar Rush gameplay (Credit: Mario Party Legacy)

#40: Bumper Balloons. Sweet revenge! The trick is to pop others’ balloons. It makes me feel as if it’s generated to get back at characters for wronging you. Petty, I know.

This list is to be continued! Next: Rankings 39-27.

A Definitive Ranking Of All The Mario Party 8 Minigames: 65-53

Mario Party 8 is one of my favorite video games. I don’t really play it to play the “party mode,” which is the mode where you play on different themed board game-like levels. I like to play the minigames. There are those I love, and those I don’t like very much. This list will be based on how difficult, fun, and engaging the games are. It will be divided into five posts. Extras Zone minigames are excluded from this list.

#65: Flip The Chimp. I find this to be the most frustrating minigame. I can never switch the monkey in time for me to avoid the falling coconuts. I always end up with the monkey at the very bottom of the tree. I swear, this minigame was invented with the intention of only letting the computer characters win. I internally scream as loudly as I can whenever this minigame is selected to play.

#64: In The Nick Of Time. This minigame is practically impossible for me to beat. No matter what I do, I can never get the hands on the clock to move. It says stagnant all the time. I don’t know if I’m doing something wrong, or if the motion controls from the Wii Remote are broken. Either way, this minigame is frustrating, but less frustrating than Flip The Chimp. 

#63: Sick And Twisted. I literally have only seen one instance where a player actually won this minigame. Every other time has always been a tie. It’s really hard to predict when the platforms are going to stop and fall, taking the characters with them. Makes my brain bananas.

A screen shot of the Sick And Twisted minigame (Credit: Mario Party Legacy)

#62: Frozen Assets. I see this as a stressful hit or miss game. I feel really under pressure in this game. Trying to get even one gem is like trying to find a needle in eleven dozen haystacks. I think that with enough practice, I will feel less like that.

#61: Chump Rope. In my opinion, this game is extremely biased towards the player who is turning the rope. The only way I got the three players who were jumping over the rope to win was to intentionally turn the rope as few times as I can. It might be possible for the three players to win without the one player who turns the rope intentionally avoiding turning it. I can’t be sure, though.

#60: Cardiators. Another chance minigame. This is really nerve-wracking, because it’s impossible to know which card you will pick. You might do or receive little damage, or you might do or receive quite a bit of damage. There’s no way to know!

A screenshot of the Cardiators minigame (Credit: Mario Wiki/Fandom)

#59: You’re The Bob-omb. The suspense of this minigame is extreme. The fuse goes so slowly. You can never tell where that fuse will end! Halfway through, or trigger the Bob-omb? That is the question.

#58: Gun The Runner. I can’t be sure if this game was intentionally built to make the three players win. I’ve only seen the three players win. I might have seen the one player win, but I can’t be sure. This game feels like the opposite of Chump Rope.

#57: Cut From The Team. This is called a Challenge Minigame for a reason. It’s challenging to predict who will cut a string that will send someone flying and cause them to not be a winner of the game. Also, the suspense and then the surprise of being launched away is high. 

A screenshot of the Cut From The Team minigame (Credit: YouTube)

#56: Lava Or Leave ‘Em. I haven’t played this minigame much, but it looks tricky. Trying to avoid falling in the lava and being hit by the fire creatures is a big task to handle. I do like the idea of seeing your opponents burn. Kind of a mood booster after a rough day.

#55: Power Trip. Another minigame I haven’t played in a long time, if not ever. The goal here is to knock people off the stage. Sounds like a really tough minigame to win if you’re not the player knocking the players to the pits.

#54: Crops N’ Robbers. Love the gardening theme of it. It’s basically gardening in real life, picking carrots and getting rid of moles. Except in a video game. And with a time limit. And to win coins if you’re playing in board game mode.

A screenshot of the Crops N Robbers minigame (Credit: YouTube)

#53: Loco Motives. I played with trains a lot growing up. My siblings and I even had a train table for our toy trains. This is a nerve wracking one, I won’t lie! Hard to avoid popping the balloons.

This list is to be continued! Next: Rankings 52-40.

Ranking My Top 25 Favorite All-Time Low Songs

February marked three years since I first heard these amazing humans from the state of Maryland. I had just signed up for Spotify, something I had been meaning to do since the twelfth grade. Out of nowhere, a song called “Oh, Calamity!” started playing on Spotify radio. I fell in love with the song, and the group. One of my biggest regrets is not seeing them in concert in 2018 in Denver, Colorado, just before I started my last year of undergraduate studies. Here are my top 25 favorite songs by the group. 

#25: Cinderblock Garden. In 2019, I would routinely listen to All Time Low as a good luck charm for the Washington Nationals. This is one of the songs I listened to for good karma. I am very sure this is one of the songs I listened to on a shopping excursion with my sister. I will forever associate this song with good energy. 

#24: Wake Up, Sunshine. Another song that can be associated with good energy. The album that this song is from was released last year, when the coronavirus pandemic was just getting started. Perfect timing, at least from my perspective. Perfect way to bring happiness to a tough time.

#23: Basement Noise. This song is also from the album that was released during the height of the pandemic last year. From what I’m gathering from the song’s lyrics, this sounds like a very fun song. I’ll send myself G-mail reminders to purchase the song on iTunes.

#22: Satellite. My brain loves to confuse All Time Low’s version with Rise Against’s version. Nevertheless, I really enjoy this song. Though short, I can somewhat relate to the lyrics. I interpret it as a very bizarre, yet very awesome dream. I have that kind of dream all the time, for instance, meeting some of my dearest friends from the high school basketball team for graduate school at a small university in my home state’s capital city.

#21: The Reckless And The Brave. The vibe I get from this song is breaking free from your comfort zone and living life to the fullest. That was college for me. I have broken free from my comfort zone in so many ways, from living in a university apartment to switching majors three semesters in.

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The cover to the Nothing Personal album (Credit: Kerrang!)

#20: Keep The Change, You Filthy Animal. I really like the title of this song. It reminds me so much of Home Alone, where Kevin says, “Merry Christmas, you filthy animal!” after fending off some cold-blooded intruders. I also like the revenge vibes I get from the lyrics. Whenever I’m feeling grouchy and betrayed, I like listening to revenge songs. They make me feel better.

#19: Sick Little Games. I really like the theme of this song. When I read through the lyrics, I interpret it as the consequences of letting fame get to your head. This song will serve as a reminder to practice humility, at least in my opinion. 

#18: Kids In The Dark. One of my favorite lines in the song is “beautiful scars on critical veins.” I don’t know why I really like said line, but I just do. I think this song was very well recorded and composed. When I first heard it I couldn’t get enough of it.

#17: Sleeping In. The title is very relatable. So are the lyrics. I love getting the chance to sleep as long as I can whenever I can. Basically, the song is about staying in bed all day. That’s how I love to spend my weekends.

#16: Break Your Little Heart. I love the theme of this song: moving on from yicky experiences. I related to this song when I finally graduated from high school. I didn’t have the best high school experience on planet Earth, so graduating and attending college was a welcome relief. 

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The Wake Up, Sunshine album cover (Credit: The Daily Californian)

#15: Something’s Gotta Give. This is one of my favorite songs on planet Earth. The lyrics seem like they are describing a mental breakdown, at least from my perspective. As someone who has lived with anxiety, depression, and OCD basically her entire life, I relate so hard to the lyrics. One of the lyrics is, “I’m sinking.” That definitely accurately describes my depression and anxiety struggles. When my mental health issues are acting up, it feels like I’m sinking and there’s a weight on my head keeping me in a rut.

#14: Six Feet Under The Stars. It feels like this song is a relationship between two lovers of musical theatre. Musical theatre is one of my favorite things in the world. Some of my favorite broadway musicals include Dear Evan Hansen, Something Rotten!, and Fun Home.

#13: Melancholy Kaleidoscope. I will give this group credit where credit is due. They know just how to write, record, compose, and produce music exploring difficult subjects. I find this song to be describing the highs and lows of depression. It’s very accurate for me, especially since I experience mood swings frequently.

#12: Drugs & Candy. This song is another example of how well the group can create music based on heavy topics. Reading through the lyrics, I interpret it as the effects of a toxic relationship or friendship. I also think it could also be about addiction because the protagonist in the song mentions not wanting to give up on a relationship. That sounds similar to an addiction to, say, sports betting or chocolate milk. Deep, dark analysis, I know.

#11: Life Of The Party. Sounds like a sunny song about partying, right? That’s definitely my first impression of the song. Part of me also interprets it as a song about what it’s like to be a popular person. I was one of the most popular girls in my grade in middle school and high school. It was really nice, however, there were downsides, such as doubting whether I was that good of a person.

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The Future Hearts album cover (Credit: Wikipedia)

#10: Glitter & Crimson. I kept listening to this song whenever I posted it to my Instagram story. I really love how the song sounds. In addition, the theme of the song is something I can relate to, at least in a book I am working on. In the book, the main protagonist develops a crush on his classmate, then realizes that said classmate is the love of his life.

#9: Dear Maria, Count Me In. Ah, yes, probably the most iconic song in the history of the group. The guitar riff during the introduction to the song is an excellent build-up. Overall, the song’s lyrics and pop-rock beat are extremely fun to listen to! It’s hard to listen to this song and not smile.

#8: Birthday. This song is a two in one bonus! It’s content from one of my favorite musical groups, and I get to listen to it to send birthday wishes. Whenever my friends or a professional athlete I have a positive opinion has a birthday, I like to include the song in my Instagram stories to celebrate.

#7: For Baltimore. I would listen to this song walking home from work or school the fall semester of my last year of college. It was a real treat listening to the song and enjoying the beautiful sights of the university’s campus. It was one of the songs I listened to as a way to wish myself good luck in my studies for the semester.

#6: Dirty Laundry. I love the song’s very mellow instrumental. It demonstrates how good of a job the band does of recording songs of all kinds of instrumentals and topics. I also really enjoy listening to the lyrics, too. For some strange reason, I feel mellow. I think it’s because of how the song was recorded.

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The So Wrong, It’s Right album cover (Credit: Chordie)

#5: Last Young Renegade. During October 2018, I could not stop listening to this song. I was just so well recorded! It also really helped me focus on my schoolwork. The lyrics are supposed to pull on my heartstrings. However, the singing and instrumental talents make the opposite true.

#4: If These Sheets Were States. I am in love with the guitar riff at the start of the song. I could dance along to the rocking chorus of the tune for hours on end. I was very happy when I found that song on Spotify.

#3: Backseat Serenade. I love this song so much. I could dance along to the entire song. In fact, I have an entire dance choreographed in my head. It also is a song I associate with the 2019 Washington Nationals.

T-#1: Oh, Calamity! This song holds a special place in my heart. I had just joined Spotify and was listening to my introductory playlist. At the end, Spotify played suggested songs, and this was one that came up. I fell in love with All Time Low immediately.

T-#1: Bail Me Out (feat. Joel Madden). I had to include this as a tie with Oh, Calamity! It was tough picking between Bail Me Out and Oh, Calamity! as a favorite. So a tie it is. I love the vocals and instrumental. I never get tired of this song.

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The Put Up Or Shut Up album cover (Credit: Pinterest)

What is your favorite type of music? Let me know in the comments below.

A Somewhat Brief Appreciation Of Seattle Mariners Third Baseman Kyle Seager

Trivia Time! Who was a student-athlete at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was a 2014 All-Star Game player, won a Gold Glove in 2014, was named as the ninth best prospect in 2011, and led the American League with six sacrifice flies in the pandemic-shortened 2020 Major League Baseball Season? The correct answer: Kyle Seager! Mr. Seager is one of my favorite players on planet Earth because of his talent and his heart of gold.

Kyle, a Scorpio, was born on November 3, 1987, in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is the oldest of three brothers, his two younger brothers are named Justin and Corey. Since Corey is employed by the Los Angeles Dodgers, I like to think that Kyle is an excellent influence on the young star. Kyle is a star himself, since he won Co-North Carolina Player of the Year honors as a high school student.

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Kyle with the love of his life, wife Julie (Credit: From The Corner Of Edgar & Dave)

In my opinion, that’s a sign of amazing things to come. I remember in my post congratulating my high school pal Codi Heuer on getting called up to the Major Leagues (which I will link below) that Codi thrived in high school, setting school records even. I am adamant that Kyle thriving in high school made him a king.

Things only got better for Kyle when he started playing baseball for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he studied sports and exercise science. He helped the university’s team make the College World Series playoffs in all three of his years at the university. That is scary good. It only gets barbarically better, though. His college statistics include a .353 Batting Average, 17 Home Runs, and 167 Runs Batted In.

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Kyle tags out an opponent (Credit: Lookout Landing)

Kyle Seager is one of the most talented humans to ever be a student-athlete at UNC Chapel Hill. Change my mind. It is hard to do so. He’s a magical powder blue unicorn with glittery gold hooves, diamonds in the front left hoof, rubies in the right front hoof, emeralds in the left rear hoof, rubies in the left rear hoof, and a tie dye horn.

King Kyle has still been thriving ever since. His total career stats include a .255 Batting Average, 706 Runs Batted In, 633 Runs, 52 Stolen Bases, a .325 On-Base Percentage, 281 Doubles, and 52 Triples. I am so darn proud of the man. I am very grateful he’s with the Mariners organization. I feel like he is a good role model for the younger players. I feel as if his statistics prove that he is one of the most talented people that the Mariners have ever had on their roster. I am very blessed to have seen him play in person.

Kyle with his daughter (Credit: Seattle Times)

Best of all? Kyle is a gold-hearted class act! In 2015, Kyle paired up with the Vs Cancer foundation to fund pediatric cancer research and treatment. Kyle’s friend and college teammate, Chase Jones, is a brain cancer survivor. This is a cause that is very close to me. Two of my family members are cancer survivors themselves. I am at an elevated risk of getting cancer myself because of family history and health disorders. I appreciate that he has brought awareness to this cause.

Let’s go Mariners, and Kyle Seager! Keep up the great work, King Kyle!

SOURCES:

http://www.vs-cancer.org/blog/the-power-of-fickleness-and-a-platform/

https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/seageky01.shtml

https://goheels.com/sports/baseball/roster/kyle-seager/8942

https://carolinaszn.wordpress.com/2015/04/12/meet-a-tar-heel-kyle-seager/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyle_Seager

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrological_sign

https://elephantsandextrabasehits.com/2020/07/29/my-high-school-classmate-is-a-major-leaguer-my-thoughts-feelings-and-reactions/

Easter is a fun time for treats, fun, and tasty meals. Even though the coronavirus pandemic still has a brutal grip on the world, we can still have fun and enjoy the day. Here are ten ways to enjoy your quarantined Easter to the fullest.

#1: Easter themed cookies. This might mean baking some Pillsbury sugar cookies. This might mean baking cookies with M&M candies in them. This might mean baking some homemade sugar cookies, or enjoying frosted sugar cookies from the grocery store. Any way you slice it, cookies are a tasty Easter dessert.

#2: Paper easter egg hunt. Get your creative juices flowing! Use colored paper, felt, and any other crafts your heart desires. Your family members and roommates will have a blast finding these beautiful eggs. The best part? These crafts can be used for cards, collections, or office decorations.

#3: Egg shaped cakes. Of course, cookies aren’t the only treat that can make Easter yummy. You can make egg shaped cakes at home or purchase them from the grocery store, depending on your preference. I will link a recipe for Easter egg cake at the end of this post.

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Easter egg shaped cake (Credit: Blogspot)

#4: Favorite Easter dinner on video conference. Video conferencing software, such as Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime, has been our best friend during this pandemic. If you can’t have your family in person for Easter dinner, you can video conference during mealtime. It will feel different than having them in person, but it’s a wonderful way to stay in touch.

#5: Easter themed poetry contest. Poetry is another wonderful way to get the creative juices flowing. You can use whichever poetry type you would like! Whether you prefer haiku poems, limerick poems, free verse poems, or any other types of poem, you’ll have a blast. Prizes can be anything from picking the next board game to play to a new colorful eyeliner.

#6: Pink and blue nail polish. Pink and blue are colors I like to associate with Easter. They are fun colors that I think represent happy moods very well. Painting my nails is something I like to do to celebrate fun days.

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An adorable pink and blue manicure (Credit: DevianArt)

#7: Bright green eyeshadow. I really like the color of bright green. It’s a really happy spring color. Also, I feel like it would really complement the blue, green, and grey eye colors.

#8: Lavender lipstick. Purple, especially light purple, feels like a really Easter color. Therefore, bright purple lipstick feels like the perfect lipstick for Easter. Side note: my personal recommendation for bright purple lipstick is NYX Professional Makeup.

#9: Pink, green, and yellow homemade bracelets. Pink, green, and yellow sound like the ultimate happy color trio. Bracelets with these colors of beads are perfect not just for Easter, but any occasion. They also make great gifts!

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A pink and yellow braided bracelet (Credit: Pinterest)

#10: Purple and blue homemade necklaces. In my opinion, purple and blue are calming colors. Not only are they a wonderful craft, but they also make amazing presents and are wonderful for any occasions. Now that I think about it, they would make a good necklace to sell on Etsy.

What are some of your favorite Easter traditions? Let me know in the comments below.

RECIPE:

How to Make an Easter Egg Cake | Easter Recipes & Menus: Breakfast, Dinner, Dessert and Sides | Food Network