Mount Hood

Dynamite Designs adds shopping variety

Caity Healy | Lifestyle Editor

In a small town, such as Monmouth, when it comes to going on shopping sprees, options are limited. However, the list is slowly growing, as new locations have begun popping up. On April 8, a petite boutique named Dynamite Designs had its grand opening on the corner of Monmouth Avenue and Main Street.

Offering a plethora of different items and unique jewelry, the store sells almost everything at a range of $4 to $8. Under these prices lies several different items to browse through. While they do primarily sell jewelry, they also have other products. Things such as vintage or knitted hats are sold, as well as a few items of clothing and a few colorful pillows. They have handmade cards on sale as well.

Items that begin getting more expensive are the ones created by Jo Meza, the silversmith who designs her jewelry using real gemstones. She’s the owner of the store, and this is her third location; the others are in Salem and Albany.

While they do offer a range of different products, they also provide different services and events. They are planning to occasionally host paint nights, which will typically occur on Friday nights. They will also host VIP parties that are special invitation only. At these parties, they’ll help prepare you for any event you have coming up.

“If you want to go out on the town, you can come in here and we can help dress you up.” Meza commented on how they use their jewelry and other items to add to your look. They’ll also do your makeup for you, or help pick out your outfits. “You can bring in your own clothes, or you can purchase clothes here.”

On top of their regular items sold, they also sell jewelry which is marked with an animal tag, and the proceeds go towards a project called Global Possibilities. All of these products were brought in by a woman named Adelia, a veterinary student at Oregon State University who travels around the world to continue her project of helping locations that take in rescue animals and teaching them proper care.

While jewelry can oftentimes get expensive, Beza noted that she recognizes that students oftentimes can’t afford these high prices.

“We’re just here to help people out,” she added. “We know college students don’t have a lot of funding. With just $15 you can come in and get a couple pieces of jewelry, or some low-cost gifts.”

As of now, their hours are not permanent. However, currently, you can stop in anytime Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to come take a look at what the location has to offer.

Contact the author at

Photo by: Paul F. Davis

Overcoming new struggles

Caity Healy | Lifestyle Editor

This last term has been both an incredible struggle and a valuable 10 weeks of learning about who I am and what I’m capable of. My winter term was introduced by my roommates telling me they were leaving within the first few weeks and me having to find a new place. It wasn’t exactly a warm welcome to the new season but, luckily, I found a new place quickly, moved in and started my new term. That was what prefaced my next 10 weeks.

I wasn’t taking many credits; I had three classes in person and one online. It didn’t seem like the workload would be all that daunting. What I didn’t realize was just how time consuming all of my classes would be.

If I was only a student, then this would’ve been doable. However, I also work two jobs. During winter term, I worked anywhere between 45-65 hours a week. When you factor this in with the workload I had with school, I’d leave every week feeling exhausted and struggling to find energy. It quickly took a toll on my mental health. I was sleep deprived, I wasn’t eating well enough, and I would have frequent breakdowns. Constant stress kept me from feeling like myself. By the end of the term, I felt proud of what I had overcome but I wasn’t happy with where it had left me.

To manage and get through this term of hardships, I found myself looking to those around me for support. I had my key group of people who would always be there for me, whether it be for a spa day or a midnight run to get food. Whenever it became too much, I chose my health over my work; this wasn’t an easy decision to make. I found myself occasionally having to miss classes because I had surpassed my limit, and I’d use that time for myself and to destress. My health was my priority.

This spring, I’m making it my goal to reduce the time I spend on work, make sure I get enough sleep, make sure I’m eating well and find time for myself. Ultimately, my health is the most important thing and it has to be my focus. Had I continued to repeat that schedule that I was following in winter, I know my health would’ve rapidly declined — both mentally and physically. By learning a mixture of time management skills and an understanding of my limits, I know I’ll be far more successful this term, and I will finish the year out in a way I can truly be proud of.

Contact the author at

Photo by: Paul F. Davis

DIY Tea and Beyond surpasses expectations

Caity Healy | Lifestyle Editor

Sitting off of Monmouth Avenue and Main Street is a small, contemporary styled restaurant: DIY Tea & Beyond. Serving a variety of different teas and snack-sized foods, the eatery makes an ideal location for studying, or just a place to sit back and relax for awhile.

Upon hearing of its opening, I was immediately thrilled; I grew up near Portland, Oregon which was full of tea bars, so I’ve always loved milk teas. Of course, I had to try DIY and see if it could bring me the same enjoyment that I used to get from bubble tea shops around my hometown.

Once you arrive, you walk into a modern looking room designed with large windows, charging stations around the walls, stools, couches, tables — even bean bag chairs. The dark wood used throughout the location contrasts sharply with the natural light flooding the room, creating a pleasant environment. I wanted to try a few different things, so my friend and I ordered the lavender milk tea with tapioca balls, as this was my favorite at home, the passion fruit tea with passion fruit jellies, cuttlefish balls, french fries and egg pudding.

The two teas were amazing; since we ordered them for there, it was served in a cute Mason Jar with light ice. Honestly, I’ve been craving the lavender milk tea everyday since originally ordering it. One thing I did learn the hard way, though, is while it may be tempting, do not drink it too fast as you will end up with an awful stomachache. The passion fruit tea was sweet and satisfying, as well.

As for the food, the cuttlefish balls were delicious. I loved every single bite. The french fries were pretty good, but nothing too special. I had never tried egg pudding before so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but I actually really enjoyed it.

While we were eating, the worker brought us out some rose petal tea to try, and I drank the entire pot. It was sweet, but not too sweet, and every sip was as good as the last. He kept coming back to make sure that we were satisfied; the service was top-notch and you could tell they genuinely cared about their customers.

This restaurant is something I’d definitely recommend to anyone. Perhaps you aren’t familiar with the type of food on the menu, or you don’t like tea — they have options for you. It’s a chance to branch out and try something new, or stick with something you know you’d like. Whatever you choose, I’m almost certain that you will enjoy it.

Contact the author at

Photo by: Paul F. Davis

Attaining fitness goals through IIFYM


Caity Healy | Lifestyle Editor

A recent trend that has been gaining more visibility is a type of dieting called IIFYM — if it fits your macros. Seen and often advertised by fitness enthusiasts and professional athletes, it’s a diet that revolves around providing the right amount of nutrients that your body needs, down to the exact gram.

Often displayed by fitness accounts on Instagram, the diet for many is regarded as the one that finally worked for them — it’s the flexible eating that allowed many to see the results they want in and out of the gym. It can be adjusted to match any need and will help you get to where you want to be.

Essentially, this dieting revolves around three main macronutrients: your protein intake, your carbohydrate intake and your fat intake. By calculating your fat percentage and describing your fitness goals, which is either to lose, maintain or gain body fat and muscle, you can determine what your macros should be. You can also determine how many calories you should be consuming a day. In other words, you’re figuring out how to reach the appropriate amount of each macro, and the amount of calories you should be aiming for in your consumption of these macronutrients.

IIFYM is an ideal option for those who are serious about trying to attain specific goals in the gym. “It can work for anyone who wants to use that mode of motivation to reach their goals,” commented sophomore exercise science major Mikaela Wong. “If your goal is to become more aware of what you’re eating and what you’re putting in your body, macro counting is an option to do that.” You break down the food you’re eating and know the ways that each type of nutrient affects your body. It allows you to be more flexible in your eating and can also make meal prepping a simple task, as you know exactly what you should be consuming.

That being said, it’s also a difficult diet for many to follow. As a student at Western, if your only option is Valsetz, prepping for this type of diet will take far more planning and time than if you were shopping for yourself.

Speaking from my own experience, I tried planning meals for a while under the IIFYM diet, and I struggled greatly. It was a lot more work than I had anticipated, and I truly just didn’t have the time or the resources to eat like that. Instead, I just focus on aiming for what would be the right amount of protein, carbs and fats for myself. I don’t focus on hitting an exact mark, I just eat in a way that hits close to where I should be.

Ultimately, this diet is meant for those who have the time and resources to be dedicated to it.  If you have those options, then this diet is an effective one that is tailored to your needs and your body’s composition. But if you’re someone who lacks the ability to follow through, or you simply don’t have the right tools to do it, then you might want to consider another nutritional path. “If you want to have a successful macro-counting diet, then I’d say go for it, but set realistic goals.” Wong added. “And if you’re going to do it, think long-term. Because if you only go through a three-week dedicated phase, it could potentially hurt your body by going into extremes. Just choose something realistic for you.”

Contact the author at

Photo by:

Keeping your body hydrated

Caity Healy | Lifestyle Editor

As you make your way through campus and notice endless amounts of Hydro Flasks in the hands of students, note that it’s for a good reason; making sure that you are consuming the right amount of water everyday is a necessary component of good health. Upping your daily intake of water can do several beneficial things for your body: improving digestion, preventing fatigue, helping your metabolism, supporting the detoxification of your kidneys and simply just making your skin glow — these are some of the infinite things it can do for you.

If you’re anything like me, this can be a little difficult because at any given moment, I’d rather have a cup of coffee in my hand than a bottle of water. However, there are some small ways that you can start slowly upping the amount of water you drink daily. They may seem minor, but they will actually eventually add up. If you struggle with getting enough hydration, follow some of these tips to make sure that you get the water that your body needs.


Infused Water

Taking your filtered water and infusing it with your favorite mixtures can change the flavor of your beverage drastically. When it seems more appealing to drink, you may find yourself pouring a glass more often than you’d think. My favorite infusion is adding strawberries, lemon and basil.


Drink before eating

Make it a habit to drink a glass of water 20 minutes before you have each meal. Not only will it help you reach your daily water requirement, but it will also help prevent you from overeating, as water helps curb any unnecessary cravings.


Have it ready

Make water convenient and readily available by keeping a bottle of water with you at all times. Even if you aren’t all that thirsty, you’ll likely find yourself sipping on it as the day goes by.


Set a reminder

If you’re consistently forgetting, put a reminder on your phone that will force you to get up and fill a water bottle every so often. That way, you don’t get to use the excuse that you “forgot.”


Set a goal

Setting a goal for how much water you need to consume a day will help you hold yourself accountable. Figure out what you need and write it down somewhere that you’ll see it constantly.


Contact the author at


Photo by: Paul F. Davis

Finding hikes near Monmouth

Caity Healy | Lifestyle Editor

If you’re looking for an alternative to your regular routine workout, or just want a chance to get some fresh air, now’s the perfect time to take your workout from inside to outdoors. One of the best ways to do so is through hiking; it offers scenic views and vigorous exercise, making it the ideal way to get moving while making it as enjoyable as possible.

Luckily, the areas surrounding Monmouth offer a large number of hiking destinations all within a short drive’s reach. These spots can take you out of your regular workout routine and land you in some of the best spots that the area has to offer.
By talking with people from the area and through my own experiences, I rounded the list down to four of my favorite hiking spots. So, put on your hiking shoes, grab your water bottle and get a camera ready for some of the many views the Pacific Northwest has to offer and a guaranteed unforgettable experience.

Bald Hill Natural Area Loop
A hike meant for all skill levels, this walk offers you 3.8 miles of beautiful wild flowers and memorable views. While it can get a little bit muddy, it will never cease to provide a good time and adventure for you and whoever you choose to go with.

Mary’s Peak
The highest point in Oregon’s Coast Range, this hike can be started from lower on the mountain or from the parking area you can hike several different trails. Displaying beautiful meadows and, if you’re lucky, incredible views on a clear day, this hike will not disappoint. Categorized by as an “easy hike”, it loops around and offers you 1.5 miles of gorgeous sights.

Peavy Arboretum
A simple hike with three short loops to choose from make this an ideal spot for many. With a beautiful lake to picnic next to, easy dog-friendly trails to follow and rich history to learn about, this option makes for a quick day-hike to take when you have a few hours to spare.

Drift Creek Falls
If you’re looking to travel a little bit further for an amazing hike, find your way down to this spot and take this moderate, three-mile hike. This hike includes a suspension bridge, a waterfall and an unforgettable view, so make sure you have your camera so you can share this memory with everyone.

Contact the author at

Photo by: Caity Healy

Brightening up your decor

Caity Healy | Lifestyle Editor

Birds are chirping, the weather goes from downpour to blue skies in a matter of hours, flowers are blooming and there’s a sense of optimism in the air. Spring has finally sprung, and with it comes the brightness and beauty of the season.

While this time of the year can offer you endless opportunities for pairing your outfits with either rain boots or sandals depending on the time of day, it can also offer an opportunity to brighten up your home with spring décor.
Of course, the option is always there to purchase your decorations, but instead I urge you to get crafty and make them yourself. It can offer a rainy-day activity to help liven up the space around you. So, get your art supplies out and get started on some of these projects.

Bright Chalkboard
Do some searching and purchase or find an old cheap mirror — I found mine at Goodwill for only $3. Apply tape to the border to make sure you don’t get paint on anything other than the glass. Use chalkboard paint and paint the surface. Apply two coats, and make sure to leave a good amount of time for it to dry in between coats. After this dries completely, paint the border of the mirror with a bright spring color, which can be any pastel. Once this dries, use colorful chalk to write fun messages on the board for your roommates or guests to see.

Ombre Vase
Find a cheap vase that you can paint on — I found mine at JoAnn’s Craft Store for $3. Find a bright acrylic paint, and mix it with white several times to create six different shades of the same color. With your vase, paint stripes on it one by one, but quickly enough as to not let them dry completely and letting the two blend together. You can stop the design at any point or carry it to the top. However, if you want to stop it, use tape to make sure you get an even line. Fill with flowers, real or fake, that match the color you painted on the vase.

Spring Garland
On white cardstock, cut into six separate squares, spell out “spring” using bold, large letters. Using separate colored cardstock, which can be of any bright spring hue, cut it into six larger squares. Paste the letters onto these squares. Using six separate clothespins, paint them a different shade that will match well with the colored paper you used previously. With a long piece of twine — which can be any size depending on how long you want the garland to be — pin the letters onto the string.

Contact the author at

Photo by: Caity Healy