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Haus of Hunter: From Home to Fort Collins

by Hunter on April 9, 2014

“Imperfections are beautiful.” – Lady Gaga

Kevin Spacey, "American Beauty"

Denver

Denver is no New York or Los Angeles, but it isn’t a Fort Collins, either. I was born downtown, but I grew up in Englewood, the first suburb south of the capital. Englewood is too small to be a city, but too big to be a town. Since I went to school in Littleton, and my friends lived as far away as Aurora, I felt connected to the area without feeling like the area was connected to me – it wasn’t that a reputation preceded me everywhere I went, but it’s not like I was unfamiliar with my surroundings, either.

Fort Collins

Northern Colorado is strikingly different from farther down south. The South Metropolitan Area of Denver is home to a diverse immigrant population, but Northern Colorado is a little bit more… Rural.

Politically, Colorado is a purple state to begin with. We’ll legalize marijuana, but, after Arapahoe, Aurora, and Columbine, we’ll buy more guns, whereas a state like Connecticut will entertain gun control legislation after Newtown (personally, I’m not saying one thing or the other about either of these controversies).

Nowhere is that more apparent than in Fort Collins. By nature, college students tend to be more liberal, but, off-campus, most of the people who are actually from Fort Collins, are descended from cowboys and ranchers, so they like their guns; from business owners, so they enjoy their Reaganomics; from mountainfolk, so they grow out their beards and guzzle their beers and drive pickup trucks.

Denver has nightclubs. Fort Collins has bars. Denver has skyscrapers. Fort Collins has Old Town. Historically, I’m a suburbanite, but, at heart, I’m an urbanite. I would rather take a vacation in the lights and noise of Las Vegas than in the cold and silence of a cabin. A night out for me is a concert at the Pepsi Center, not a house party.

There’s a reason Main Street in Disneyland was modeled after Old Town – it’s as picture perfect as a postcard: family-owned shops, neighbors safely walking around at all hours of the day and night, muted pastels and no mouth left unsmiling. In the background are the mountains, which people travel from far and away just to see. Everybody has a college education. Everybody’s successful. Everybody’s happy, and, when you’re not, it’s as though something is horribly wrong with you.

Call it paradise sickness, call it homesickness, label it whatever you please, but I plan on leaving Fort Collins right away when I graduate, for Denver, for New York, for Los Angeles…

I like having to lock my doors at night. I like having to leave my porch light on. Genetically, the odds are never in my favor – I had an unhappy childhood under parents who were, themselves, unhappy. Sometimes, a good day isn’t enough for me to be in a good mood. It’s much harder for me to tell myself to be grateful for what I have when everyone else around me has the same thing I do – a life in Fort Collins – and I’m the only one feeling anything other than ecstatic about it. I get along better with survivors than with victims – people who’ve had to overcome much worse than anything I could ever say to them, versus people who’ll launch a crusade against me because I refuse to get down on my hands and knees and kiss the ground they walk on.

Don’t misread me – Fort Collins has been good for me. It’s taught me that I can’t be satisfied with myself unless I’m constantly distracted through a fast-paced, city lifestyle. I’ve learned more about myself here than anywhere, because it's so peaceful. Diversity isn’t exclusive to the socially oppressed – experiencing Northern Colorado as a Denverite is just as important as experiencing Denver as a Northern Coloradan.

Thank you for reading. Fort Collins is perfect for people who like perfect things – but, I am a journalist, after all, a writer, a storyteller, and no story is good without a good conflict.

Paws up, and go Rams.

Get your workout done at the rec center - free for full-time students!
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Life on Marz: 12 things I’ve learned in the first half of my college career

by MarissaI on April 9, 2014

It amazes me that in four more weeks of classes I’ll be half way done with my college career. One month. Half way done. It feels like just a couple months ago I was touring CSU for orientation, only a couple weeks ago that I was giving my teary-eyed parents a hug and kiss goodbye, and just a couple days ago that I survived my first round of college tests. But in actuality it’s been years. Literally at this point. So lesson number one:

  1. Enjoy it. Live it. Appreciate it. College is tough, and frankly can really suck sometimes, but I look back at the last two years, and I realize how amazing they were. I’m so lucky I am to attend an awesome school, with awesome people, in an awesome town. This only happens once, so make the most of it.
  2. And with that, try things! I’ve written about this before. You can sleep when you’ve got a bachelor’s degree. Until then, grasp opportunity.
  3. And it’s okay to stay up till 3 a.m. on a Tuesday night watching House of Cards on Netflix when you’ve got a 9 a.m. the next morning. Mom definitely wouldn’t have allowed that to happen in high school, so why not take advantage of it now. You get to make your own decisions. Being slightly irresponsible for one night is not gonna kill you. So grab your popcorn, blanket and hot chocolate and enjoy that Netflix marathon. You deserve it!
    i do marathons on netflix
  4. At some point, your brain is going to stop caring about certain subjects. When this happens you gotta prioritize your studies and push through the classes your brain stops worrying about (I’m looking at you World History from 1500-present).
    girl laying head on desk, obviously done with studying
  5. If given a short answer exam, ramble. Seriously. Write down every possible thing that has to do with the question asked. They aren’t grading you on organization.
  6. Go visit your TAs. I’m convinced that I’ve done better on my writing assignments after visiting with the TA about the first one.
    office hours
  7. Hold the door for people. It makes you feel better, it makes them feel better, and it seems to be an unspoken rule amongst CSU students, faculty, and staff.
  8. If you don’t like going outside or being active, learn to like it. Fort Collins is one of the most active places I’ve ever been. I’d be willing to guess 90 percent of the population has some outdoor hobby—even if it’s just walking the dog.
    trail foco
  9. Stop worrying about your clothes, makeup or hair. People truly do not care in college. If you show up to your 8 a.m. looking like you just rolled out of bed, we feel ya bro.
  10. Finding close parking at any other time than 2 p.m. on a Friday is futile. It’s gonna take longer to drive in circles around the parking lot than to park in the far lot and just walk.
    parking
  11. Make an email signature and actually use your rams.colostate.edu email!
  12. Don’t stress about laundry. Trust me; it’ll get done… when you’re out of underwear.
    laundry

I realize I probably sound like a graduating senior, and I’m nowhere near that. But the fact that I’m half way done recently hit me, and it’s honestly amazed me. I’ve learned so much in just two years. I look forward to what the next two will bring…

Happy Humpday Rams!

Marz <3

P.S. This.

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Life on Marz: My Best Friend Got Married! (and other things…)

by MarissaI on April 2, 2014

andrew and claire got married facebook update

The only thing more shocking about your best friend getting married is finding out about it on Facebook. How rude, right? I wasn’t even asked to be her maid of honor!!!

Just kidding. It was just an April Fool’s prank. They got “divorced” today.

The Real Blog Post

If you’re like me, all this new found warm weather makes you wanna be outside—hiking, biking, running, walking, planking, boating, rollerblading, horseback riding, skipping, jumping, hiding, seeking… you get the point.

Lucky for us, Fort Collins has a FANTASTIC trail system. The city has implemented and maintained six trail systems that intertwine and cover most of the Fort Collins area. Additionally, these trail systems lead to parks and outdoor areas with restrooms, playgrounds and drinking fountains. Personally, I think these trails are a great way to experience the beauty of our town. The Poudre trail, for example, follows the river and winds through some pretty gorgeous natural areas.

poniessunset

Reasons to Love These Trails

1) No motor vehicles.

2) Mileage Signs! The Poudre Trail and the Spring Creek Trail both have signs every quarter mile. While this is a safety feature that allows people to tell authorities where you can be found in an emergency, it’s also really helpful for anyone exercising and trying to track their mileage.

3) Length. The longer I run, the harder it is to find good places to go. Most of these trails are relatively long, and since some of them connect, it makes for good loops and longer routes.

4) Other people! I love seeing other people exercising when I’m out running. It’s motivating and makes me feel like a part of a bigger fitness movement. Plus, everyone’s super friendly when you run past them.

If you’re looking for something to do next week when it warms up into the 70s, I’d definitely check out the trail system. It’ll be warm, beautiful and you can justify that second cookie you ate since you “exercised.”

Have a great week!

Marz <3

P.S. Cookies!!

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Epilogues by Kelly: Good Eats

by Kelly T on March 30, 2014

If you love food as much as I do, you’ve been waiting for this post for your whole life. I have to be honest, Fort Collins doesn’t have the best food. I have tried several Mexican restaurants, and haven’t found any I love. And good Chinese food is essentially non-existent (as far as I’ve seen). But today I want to share some of my favorite dining-out spots in the Fort!

Best Pizza:

1. Pizza Casbah—if you love cheese pizza, this is your place. With huge slices, garlic-y crust, and the perfect ratio of cheese to crust to sauce, this pizza is perfect. They also have really good coupons! But if you order anything other than cheese, the toppings are a bit sparse.

2. Krazy Karl’s—this place is a great deal. On Mondays between 5-8pm, the time you call is the price you pay for a large 1 topping pizza. And the pizza is really good!

Best Mediterranean:

1. Yum Yum’s Mediterranean Grill—this place is my favorite restaurant in Fort Collins. I love falafel, and this place serves up authentic, hearty pita wraps filled with falafel, chicken shwarma, or gyro meat. It is so good! Plus, if you have cash, you can get a wrap of your choice for only $5!

Best Thai:

1. Simply Thai—I love good Thai food. The plates here are huge—it’s a good place to order a few dishes and share them with friends! Try the pineapple fried rice and avocado curry, and you won’t be disappointed (the avocado curry is quite spicy, be careful!).

2. Toys Thai—If you’re on a budget but love authentic Thai, Toys Thai is the best choice for you. The food is so good, and really cheap—perfect for a college student! It’s such a cute little place, too, they have photos covering the walls of people that have been there.

Best Tacos:

1. Fuzzy’s Taco Shop—so they aren’t really Mexican food, but I love Fuzzy’s baja tacos. My favorites are the tempura fish and the grilled veggie tacos (on a soft shell, duh). Their chips and salsa are also amazing—they put spices on the chips—and I like to wash everything down with a Fuzzy’s on the Rocks lime margarita (if you’re 21, of course!). Fuzzy’s is a really fun place to hang out with friends, and they have some great drink specials for 21 year olds on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Best Bar Food:

1. Mainline—I love the atmosphere at Mainline because it’s calm, cozy, and modern. They have great cocktails (with a bit higher price tag), and some pretty interesting food options, including chicken and waffles, burgers, and tasty fries. It’s a good place to go if you want a little fancier night out.

2. Scrumpy’s—an apple cider bar, Scrumpy’s has some delicious sandwiches to go along with your flight of cider. The sandwiches are on the high end in price, but are served on homemade bread. They have some really different combinations, and I think even the pickiest of eaters could find something they love.

That’s all for now

There are plenty more restaurants that I haven’t had the chance to try, and I’m sure I’ve missed out on some really good spots! This is just a list of some of the places I’ve tried and really enjoyed, just in case you get sick of dorm food every once in a while. My friends and I went out to eat almost every weekend during our freshman year, because there wasn’t as much variety in the dorms on the weekends. Plus, it was a nice treat for working hard all week long!

Happy eating!

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Epilogues by Kelly: Fun in FoCo

by Kelly T on March 9, 2014

(If you don’t know, FoCo is a nickname for Fort Collins.)

When I started looking at colleges as a high school junior, I had never been to Fort Collins (which is kind of silly, considering I’ve lived in Colorado basically my whole life). So I didn’t have a great sense of what life is like in Fort Collins. But spending four years in the Fort has been a really fun way to check out the community. And there is a lot going on here! Between music festivals, art galleries, food walks, and the town’s obsession with beer and biking, living in Fort Collins is never boring. Here are some of my favorite events in the Fort Collins community that both CSU students and Fort Collins residents can enjoy.

Fort Collins Life

1. Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest—This music festival rocks (pun intended!). It’s traditionally held before school starts in August, but you may want to head up early and check it out. Bohemian Nights is a free, three day music festival that features live, Colorado artists. There are some really big bands, and a lot of smaller, local bands, as well as food vendors. It is a bike-friendly event, and it is probably my favorite festival in Fort Collins. If you love live music, this festival is worth checking out. Here is the website to read more about it.

2. Great Plates—Great Plates Fort Collins is currently going on! For 2 weeks in March, several restaurants in Fort Collins offer special dinner deals for $25. You can find the list of restaurants here. There are a lot of good deals, and it’s a great way for all of us “starving students” to get a taste of Fort Collins. Plus, there are some really great $2.50 deals on ice cream (and who doesn’t like ice cream?!).

3. Tour de Fat—The New Belgium Brewery hosts an annual Tour de Fat bike tour through Fort Collins in the early fall. The cool thing about this bike tour is that families, college students, and everyone in between are encouraged to participate—and wear costumes! Some people get really creative and build a structure to surround their bike, and some people just wear crazy clothes. Either way, it’s awesome! Sadly, I’ve never been able to ride in Tour de Fat, and it’s one of the things that I regret not doing at least once during my time at CSU. So learn from my mistakes, and do it!!

4. First Fridays Gallery Walk—this may sound stuffy and lame, but I promise it’s not! The First Fridays Gallery Walk is a self-guided tour of various art galleries and studios in Old Town—and there are a lot! It’s a really cool way to check out some art, and sometimes there are live dance or music performances. Plus, a lot of the galleries have some good snacks to munch on while you appreciate the art. This event takes place on the first Friday of every month, check out the website for more info!

5. Foodie Walk—The Fort Collins Foodie Walk is another self-guided tour of Old Town, but this one deals with food! On the third Friday of every month, you can walk around to various participating shops in Old Town and sample some cool foods, check out the shops, and learn something about making new foods. Here is the website in case you ever want to check it out!

6. Holiday Twin Drive-In—that’s right. Fort Collins has a drive-in movie theater. I think that’s pretty unique (or maybe I’m just horribly sheltered—we certainly didn’t have one where I grew up)! It’s a really fun thing to do in the early fall, or late spring—it’s definitely an experience that I think every student should have at least once while they’re at CSU. I saw The Hunger Games at the drive-in, and we brought a couch in our truck that we set up in the field to sit on! It was a blast. Here is their website—get some friends together and head to the drive-in!

Sounds like fun, right?

Well, there you go. Those are some of my favorite Fort Collins festivals, walks, and things to do. I know that I would have loved to have some ideas of what things would be fun to do in Fort Collins when I was a freshman, so hopefully this list is helpful for some of you! Because to me, college isn’t just about partying or studying—it’s about exploring a new place, having new adventures, and spending time with great friends.