Color me rad: my first 5K

My friend and I participated in a Color Me Rad 5K run this weekend. It also was my first 5K. If you never have experienced a color run, do it! It is fun, people are happy, it is not competitive and you get bombed with six different colors. It. Is. Awesome.

1.) The beginning of the race looks like this:


2.) You get cool tattoos:


3.) It is just plain fun:


4.) After the 5K you look like this:


and this…


and this…


5.) This is what the end looks like:


Go find one in your area and sign up now.


Treat yo’ self this summer

There’s a moment when every person (unless he, she is a millionaire or a teacher, professor etc.) realizes he, she will not have a free summer like they did when they were younger for a very long time.

Here are five things you need to do this summer to stay sane.

1.)  Get wet

Go swimming, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, water skiing cliff diving. Whether your idea of a water activity is floating down a body of water with a beverage in your hand rather than an extreme sport – don’t be afraid to get your hair wet.


2.)  Pamper yourself

Get a manicure, pedicure; go shopping; get a massage; get a free makeover from a department store; enjoy a tasty treat or have your hair styled. Whatever it is, channel the TV characters of Parks and Recreation and treat yo’ self.


3.)    Take a vacation

Take time off work. No really, take time off. You need to let your brain, body recharge by letting them have a break.


4.)    Stress less

We want things done right and we want things done well. We have a reel that is constantly turning, thinking of things we have to do. Preparing to take vacation is stressful as you try to get all your work done before you leave. Returning from vacation can be stressful as you try to catch up all the things you missed over the week. Stop stressing and enjoy yourself.


5.) Be a kid

Okay not in the sense of your attitude or the way you treat others, but do something this summer you used to love doing when you were younger. Go camping, jump on a trampoline, play laser tag, go to an interactive museum, shoot squirt guns, play dress up or eat an ice cream flavor named after a super hero. Whatever it is; do it, laugh and enjoy yourself.


Soul revived

I have been MIA for several days, but I have a good excuse – promise. I spent the past week soaking up the sun while laying on the beach, wandering around Tampa Bay, Fla. and snapping photographs with my cousin.

We celebrated her 26th birthday by visiting Anna Maria Island, Treasure Island, a fun winery featuring several different types of fruit-based wine, Kate Spade outlet (I found love in a purse), participated in a pub crawl and how could I forget the food. I had some of the best food I’ve ever had through Datz, Dough, Bella’s, Holy Hog and Colonnade while overlooking Bayshore Drive.

Not to mention this was my first paid vacation from work. I knew I was going to have a great time visiting with family but the experience was relaxing, fun and quite literally soul-reviving.

Here’s a look at some of the photographs. I hope to add more as I continue to travel in 2013.








A conversation with CTM


Have you ever wanted to take off work, travel and do something really fun but work, daily obligations got in the way? Well now you can; sort of.

Adam Hoffmeister and Madelyn Hille, two awesome twenty somethings, are quitting their jobs, and taking a 70+ day trip to canoe the entire Mississippi. Along the way, Madelyn will be documenting the trip by taking photographs, which will end up being published in a photographic journal depicting life along the Mississippi River. The photo book, titled Capturing the Mississippi (CTM) will allow others to see and experience the trip every step of the way.

On June 8, Hoffmeister and Hille will begin the 2,300-mile journey in their 18-foot Nova Craft Canoe. They will begin paddling in South Clearwater, Minn., at Lake Itasca and travel all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico in New Orleans, La.

Hille will choose a photograph at the end of each day that best sums up each day. It might be a group shot of people they meet along the way or a glimpse of a gorgeous sunset. The photographs will tell the complete story, quite literally, capturing the Mississippi.

“A year ago, I was going through a time when I was deciding what I wanted to do the rest of my life,” Hille said. “I’ve always loved photography, and Adam and I have both wanted to canoe the Mississippi. It’s an awesome opportunity.”

For Hoffmeister, the timing was right. Hoffmeister said they began talking about canoeing the Mississippi two years ago, but took a mission trip to Zimbabwe in 2011 instead.

“Mostly the timing is right and we’ve had this in the works for years,” Hoffmeister said. “Our lease is up in June, we don’t have plans for the summer, Madelyn just finished school and we both have jobs that are expendable. It’s all about the timing.”

Both Hille and Hoffmeister, who are in their 20s, are quitting their jobs to canoe the Mississippi. After the trip, they will be moving to Miami, Fla.

Hille said the 20-something concept is one of the reasons they decided to go through with the trip. She said she is obsessed with her generation because they are different.

“I’ve always been a little bit ashamed of our generation because we’ve been told we’re spoiled and our grandparents, parents worked harder than us,” Hille said. “But people our age are trying to go outside the conventional mold we used to fit into and try to do something unique, different to make ourselves happy.”


What began as an idea to canoe the entire Mississippi became a decision to create the daily photo book and while they’re on the river, they will also be raising money for the Flat Rock River YMCA Camp, a summer camp in St Paul, Ind., which teaches outdoor education among other things.

“We would have gone on the trip regardless but now we’re able to raise money for a good cause,” Hoffmeister said.

On May 2, they began a Kickstarter, an online pledge system for funding creative projects. They have until June 2 to reach their goal of $3,000 and if they don’t reach the goal, they don’t receive any of the money.

They will take the trip whether or not they reach their goal. The funding raised will go toward producing the photo book and excess be used for food, toiletry costs and travel expenses.

People who want to donate can visit and type “Capturing the Mississippi” in the search bar. They can then click on the project, watch the video to learn more and donate. As people donate, they can receive really cool prizes based on money donated. Some of those prizes are post cards with a personal message, copies of photographs or a hardback copy of the photo book.

“Everyone has been amazingly generous,” Hille said. “Our canoe, paddles and life jackets were donated to us.”

Besides those items, they will be taking basic necessities like light-weight clothes, camping equipment and food, Hille said.

Both Hille and Hoffmeister have planned for risks they might face, such as weather. If there is a large rainstorm, they plan to seek shelter for those days then resume paddling.

“The main thing through this entire project is it is fun,” Hille said. “Adam and I are taking the opportunity we have now and trying to make our lives fun and adventurous. By producing the book and documenting the experience, we are bringing along others with us.”

Learn more and donate:


Read other conversations from the series here.

Kindle Fire: the one-night stand of ‘books’


During my senior year of college I decided I wanted/needed a Kindle Fire. It is a cool device, but I’ve found the only time I use it is to connect to the Internet or play Fruit Ninja. I’ve even downloaded books, but haven’t read them using my Kindle yet.

I prefer reading an actual book. Since I bought the Kindle, I’ve purchased at least five physical books. It’s a preference thing; just like some people prefer to write by hand and some prefer to type. Therefore I’ve decided the Kindle Fire is the one-night stand of books.

No, but really. If a Kindle Fire and similar e-readers were people, they would be the boy with the aviators, smiling displaying dimples and white teeth or the girl with flowing hair and rose lips strolling with a coffee cup in one hand and a yoga mat in the other.

Both would be attractive, inviting you in.

They would be the people you text at 2 a.m. claiming you simply want to watch a movie and hang out. They would be the person you meet at a dim-lit bar and spend the evening with before you wake up, slip your clothes on and sneak out the door; only washing the night away with a hot shower, work out and coffee.

A book would be the person who surprises you with witty humor and quick responses; attractive but not arrogant and intelligent but not patronizing.

You would find you want to go on dates with them and spend more time hanging out during the day, instead of the after-midnight hours. You would listen when they spoke without staring at their lips, thinking you would like to rip their clothes off (okay, you would still think about that).

A book would be the one you take to meet your parents. The Kindle Fire would stay hidden away in a different area, and might as well be a different world.

The Kindle Fire is great to get on to Facebook for the 208th time and play Angry Birds, but, turning the pages of a book and getting to know the characters until you shut the book with a sigh, is more satisfying than any Kindle quickie.*

*In no way is this post an exaggeration or this footnote sarcastic. 😉

People make living, really living, possible

Every so often I have a moment of panic. A moment where I question what I’m doing in life. At the risk of being cheesy and borrowing John Mayer’s lyrics from the song Why Georgia, I wonder if “I’m living it right.”

No one will come out and say it point blank, but most of what you learn in high school and college is pointless. I spent hours taking classes that were hard to pass- statistics, astronomy, poly sci- and had nothing to do with my major and for what? To forget it the week the class ended? Yes of course the things that I learned about my major were very important, and in my job now what I learned in journalism class keeps me from getting yelled at by my editor. 🙂

But one of the most important things I’ve learned with my internship is the REAL importance of college. There were times that I would be worried over a grade and stressed out because I was working two jobs on top of 18 credit hours. I thought I didn’t have time to have fun, but trust me I did.

The importance of my IU experience was watching basketball at Brothers Bar, skipping class (not THAT often) to have a long island at Roys, listening to Main Squeeze at the Bluebird on 15 cent beer night, spending time with my roommates watching Harry Potter movies, using weird accents and drinking ungodly amounts of Polar Pops (the gas attendants knew us), meeting people in class, meeting people at work, going out on a Tuesday or weeknight, and waking up at 8 a.m. on a Saturday to tailgate, even with a horrible football program. The importance of my college experience was meeting the people who can be contacts for my future careers and meeting people who I call my best friends.

Before I left for my internship my editor and I met for coffee. My editor, Gena, is a wonderful woman that is a genius with all things journalism. She told me a story of when she first began working at a newspaper and how she got yelled at for the first time and it stayed with her for 25 years. Every time I’m having a bad day at work I think of her and her story and all of the wonderful advice that she has given me over the past year.

I also turn to my mother. The other day I got an expensive parking ticket and had a long day of reporting and I texted my mom and told her to tell me that everything was okay. She responded and told me that everything was okay, then she told me “Amie, sometimes you just have to say f*** it. In the grand scheme of things, a parking ticket is no big deal.”

Then I turn to my father. He always makes me feel better. He’ll give me advice and then tell me about a similar experience that he went through that will make me feel better. My brother pulls me out of a rut by making me laugh, even when I don’t want to laugh. He makes me laugh when I’m mad, sad, or any other emotion possible.

Growing up is hard. Living in a strange place in a job that you spent four years of class preparing for is hard.  The point of my twenty-something ramblings is that It’s the people that I’ve grown up with and grown to know that help carry me through all of the uncertainty.

When that panic moment hits and I don’t think I’m doing anything right, I turn to my best girl friends from college, my parents, brother, cousins and editor. I turn to the people that remind me why I’m doing what I’m doing. I turn to the people who let me know that working hard will get me there. I turn to the people who help me live right.

“Not all those who wander are lost”

After ten or more hours of driving my mother and I made it to Hazleton, Pennsylvania. It took two atlases, a GPS we sometimes listened to, numerous cups of coffee/coke/diet coke, a cooler full of snacks, and many stops along the way- but I loved every minute of it. Here are some of the pictures that I snapped along the way, and yes some are blurry- I blame the caffeine overload.

Note from my mother, it reads:

“To: A.E. Sites
RE: Travel
Per our agreement, we shall continue our journey. Please provide coffee soon.

J. Sites, Head Cheese”

And coffee she received! Image

Mountains in the distance…getting closer.


Before we realized they were just tucked in we thought they gave us two small pillows


One of the stops we made for food: Dutch Pantry


We finally made it. “Smile. You’re in Pennsylvania. State of Independence.”