Saturday, December 31, 2016

Two Thousand and Sixteen



Today is New Years' Eve. And I can't believe 2016 is almost over.

2016 was a crazy good year, but honestly, it was crazy in the best way. Like other years in my life, it had its ups and downs, sure. Here's a few ups:


  • I accepted a full-time position as an editor for the magazine/publishing company I write for!
  • On that note, I celebrated two years writing in the magazine, and one year writing for our companion blog.
  • I said "yes" to a ten-day-long trip to Hawaii with my friends in about two and a half weeks' notice, and it wound up being one of the best trips I've ever taken in my life.
  • I committed to writing thirty short stories in November for the second year in a row.
  • I turned 25 years old. Twenty-five.

But amidst the bigger things, there were the small and happy moments, whether they were spent with family or friends, and I cherish them all greatly.

And like any year, it had its downs, too. As many of you know, I have two dogs who I love so, so dearly. They're like siblings to me, as much fur babies can be. They are fourteen years old, and since they have gotten so much older, they have become restless in their age. As hard as that been for us as a family, we're making sure that they are loved and well cared for.

2016 has been a whirlwind year for many of us for many reasons. But I have some high hopes for 2017, and I'm optimistic about the future. No matter what, though, I know the Lord has these next three hundred and sixty-five days in His hands.

Happy New Year, everyone!
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Monday, December 26, 2016

Crosleys, Manual Music, and Memories



I was given a record player for Christmas...a turquoise portable Crosley turntable, to be precise. And I LOVE it.

The records that my parents gave me to go with my Crosley were two albums from my favorite band, Bastille. I can't tell you how much I listened to both albums on Christmas Day, and I'm sure the record-playing will only continue.
But the thing is, if you're new to records, you must know that they must be handled with care. I'm not brand-new to records, but I had forgotten how much care must be taken to actually play a record (i.e. do not scratch that record with that needle, especially if you're needle isn't automatic! Keep your hand steady!).

It's actually been nice to play music on something so...manual. I don't have as much control over it; I don't have the ability to rewind a track in a matter of seconds, I can't skip five tracks in less time than that, and I can't access the whole album on one side of the record. But are these deal-breakers in the way I listen to my favorite bands? Absolutely not.

I mentioned earlier that this is not my first rodeo with a record player. I actually got my first taste of records when I was little and visited my grandparents on my mom's side in Georgia. I LOVED playing Disney and the Sound of Music soundtrack records on my mom's old stereo. And that was back in the time of cassettes (which, by the way, I find it kind of funny that they're coming back), where you had to rewind tape and guess where your favorite songs were.

So, why am I sharing a post about my little blue Crosley?

Honestly, it's made me appreciate things that are more "manual." I've learned I can appreciate something without it having a screen, and I feel like this is an important lesson at the age of 25, especially as a Millennial at the tail-end of 2016. And it's made me appreciate the way my parents listened to music, too.

Long story short: I'm thankful for this little blue Crosley this Christmas season, and I hope to keep up this record hobby for years to come. :)
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Monday, December 5, 2016

A Few of My Favorite [Winter] Things

The one, the only...Cinnamon Red-Hot Apple Cider.

It's December. It doesn't always feel like it where I am (the forecast is a high of 51 degrees and rainy), but it's December, and I love this time of year.

Winter, for me, pretty much begins either on or the day after Thanksgiving, because that's the day the "holiday" season really kicks into high gear. And then, it just gets better: it typically snows in January in Tennessee, not to mention the family birthdays that happen between now and when Spring starts in March.

So, what are my top 5 favorite things this time of year?

  1. My family's cinnamon red-hot apple cider. This cider is a longtime tradition, and I get so excited any time it's brought out. Who'd have thunk that apple cider boiled with Cinnamon Red Hots candy could be so amazing?
  2. Starbucks' caramel brûlée lattes. Again, another drink, but this drink brings back memories of grabbing coffee with my friends as early as high school, when I really got into coffee in the first place. Also, they put candy pieces on top of the whipped cream. That enough is a selling point for me.
  3. Snow. We don't get much snow where I'm from - the most I've ever been in at home is maybe 5-8 inches, tops (I can already hear my Northern readers - but I still love it. Whether I stayed cosy inside and enjoyed the snow from there, or whether I go outside with Dad to try and sled, I adore snow. It's pretty. And it makes me super happy. Not to mention there's an almost magical quality about the way it falls.
  4. Christmas music. We always have Christmas music playing somewhere in the house during the Holiday season, whether we're playing it on Spotify or just playing the local radio station that plays it non-stop. It's all great.
  5. Spending time with family. Getting to celebrate birthdays with family during winter - along with spending time with family during the holidays - will always be special in my book.

What are your top 5 favorite things this time of year? 
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Saturday, December 3, 2016

My November Short Story Project, AKA Why I Didn't Blog This November


Hey, dear reader! How have you been? It's definitely been awhile, and I apologize for my longer-than-intended absence from blogging. However, I've been incredibly busy, both with work and a special little project I worked on during the entire month of November.

The project was this: I completed thirty short stories, ranging anywhere from 500-1200 words, one for each day of the month. This was my second year doing this, and it was nothing short of a great time.

I've attempted NaNoWriMo (writing an entire novel in a month) before, but I was in college and I had a harder time trying to fit writing into my schedule as a student. I did this project last year as an alternative to NaNoWriMo because I wanted to 1) have a portfolio of completed short stories, and 2) I didn't want to worry about word count, but instead, I wanted to focus on creating concise, but cohesive plots. And this year, I was determined to do it again.

As a writer, this project has let me explore writing about the genres I love, as well as stretching myself to write genres I'd never written before. And it had me working towards a very specific deadline, too; I finished the project at precisely 11:59 PM on November 30th.

So, what did I use to get this project done?

  • Scrivener - This software is absolutely fantastic, and is a must if you're a writer. (Seriously, I recommend this to any and all of my writer friends.) It was so easy to use this software to organize all of the stories as part of one anthology.
  • Pinterest - I get a ton of my writing ideas from Pinterest, and this month, Pinterest was a valuable resource. I also used other sources to get ideas, but Pinterest was a great jumping-off point for me.
  • My Bullet Journal - This year, I decided to use a bullet journal to keep track of my writing and my stories (see the image above). I was very much inspired by Kara at Boho Berry's NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal, and I collected a ton of reference material for use in my anthology. Plus, I considered it a huge help to have my short stories outlined and my plots ready before I started writing each story. It definitely helped me to focus on crafting each plot, not just coming up with one.

So, why am I blogging about this project?

I wanted to share this in case any of you readers wanted to try it next year (or for any month). If you're wanting to dip your toes in writing, this is a great way to do so, and it's a great way to expand your body of work. Plus, there are plenty of places out there where you can submit your finished works, too. And, hey, you may want to turn your short story into a full-fledged novel or series. :)

Have you ever done NaNoWriMo before? Would you want to try NaNoWriMo or a project like this? Feel free to let me know in the comments!
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Friday, October 21, 2016

Fried Egg + Avocado on Toast

I've been trying to experiment with cooking lately.

Cooking in general is an important life skill, and now that I've been out of college for a few years, I know I'll never take having free access to a kitchen for granted (as opposed to having to sign up for a kitchen, limited fridge space, having to label your food so people don't steal it, etc.).

But regardless, I've been wanting to try out something new with a classic recipe I love to make. And when I had avocados in the house, I jumped at the opportunity.

So, dear readers, here is a quick and easy recipe for fried egg and avocado on toast. :)



For one serving, you will need:

  • One avocado half
  • One piece of your favorite bread for toast
  • One egg
  • Cracked sea salt (to taste)

1. Toast your toast.
2. While your toast is toasting (how many times can I say toast in this post? ha!), go ahead and prepare your avocado. Wash the avocado first, then cut off the end, cut around the edges (making sure the knife goes in pretty deep, touching the pit inside even), and twist the halves so that they pop off (don't be afraid to use your knife to help the process). Once you have two halves, remove the avocado pit and scoop out the delicious avocado inside (or peel the skin away...whichever is easier for you).
3. Your toast should be ready by now, so go ahead and place your fresh avocado on your toasted toast. Set the avocado and toast aside.
4. Now, start frying your egg like you normally would: on medium heat, melt 1 tbsp of butter on a skillet first, then crack your egg directly onto the skillet surface. Flip the egg over when the egg whites are opaque, then flip again after a minute or so. Be careful of your skillet as sometimes the butter can pop and be very, very hot.
5. Once your egg is fried how you want it, go ahead and place it on top of your avocado and toast, add salt to taste, and you're done!

You can easily double this recipe since it's best to use up a full avocado once you cut into it, and you can also try out other seasonings, too, like Sriracha! This is a great and easy brunch recipe, and it's quick to make on your busy days.

I hope you enjoyed this little recipe post! :) What is your favorite quick recipe? Let me know in the comments!
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Monday, October 17, 2016

10 Things You Didn't Know About Me


I've been blogging in this space for over 2 years (this blog turns 3 in January next year!), and it's hard to think of what I haven't told you guys about. It's my goal to be open about my faith and what I believe in, as well as my passions, when I blog.

But I also want you to get to know me, the blogger, so I've used all kinds of tag posts to let you do just that. This isn't exactly a tag post, but I thought it'd be fun to share some super-random things that you may not have known about me. :)

1. I spent one year as a Studio Art major in college. Art school was an interesting as well as fun experience, and my favorite class I took as an art major was Color Theory.

2. I've only lived in one state, but a few cities. I've lived in Franklin, Nashville, and Henderson, Tennessee.

3. Harry Potter has and always will be one of my favorite series. Confession time: I haven't read all of the books, but I've seen all of the movies. Plus, a related fun fact: I saw the Daniel Radcliffe run of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" on broadway in New York City. That was a crazy fun experience, I tell you what.

4. I actually didn't seriously start drinking coffee until late in high school. As much as I love coffee now, this may come as a shock. ;)

5. On another food-related note, I didn't eat my first Twinkie until freshman year of high school. Needless to say, I prefer coffee.

6. I'm kind of a photography nerd. I took a photography seminar class in college, and I actually maintained a photography blog as part of that class. While I prefer to use my cell phone these days, I did learn a lot about taking photos, and I still use some of what I've learned today.

7. I'm also a big fan of superheroes. My favorite DC superhero is Superman, and my favorite Marvel superhero has to be Hawkeye.

8. Back when I was a kid, I was into both Barbies and Legos. I also wanted to be an architect as a child, too. (Does world-building in writing count as being an architect? Ha!)

9. Back when I learned to drive, one of the first places my parents taught me to drive to well (besides church) was our local taco shop.

10. Finally, I have been a born-again Christian for ten years as of last January 12th. I am so thankful for the decade I've had to grow in Christ, and am excited for the next ten years and beyond!

I hope you liked this quick little post! Thanks for reading. :)


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Saturday, October 15, 2016

My 25th Birthday Week + Weekend

One week ago today, I turned 25 years old. That day (and the days prior) were some of the most fun I've had in a long while.

So, let's cut to the chase: here's what I did during my birthday week and weekend. :)

Tuesday, October 3: Nashville with Family

In the days before my birthday, Mom and Dad and I went to Nashville to the Hermitage Hotel for early birthday breakfast. I had been years before, but I had forgotten how phenomenal the breakfast actually was.



After breakfast, Mom and I ventured into 12 South (a district in East Nashville), where we found the "I Believe in Nashville" sign again, as well as some cute boutiques and the Franklin Juice Company (which was great, by the way).

Friday, October 7: Nashville with Friends

During this weekend, we were also celebrating my friend Amy's birthday, which was on the 5th. So, my friends from Franklin, Florence, and I went back to 12 South because one, we love the area, and two, we wanted to get some good food.

When Mom and I were in 12 South, we came across this restaurant called The Flip Side that looked like it could be a cool place. So, the girls and I went and visited, and...y'all. It's SO good.



The place is inspired by a 60's diner, but their specialty is simple: you can order a pounded and breaded (or grilled) chicken breast with any toppings you want. I ordered the "Pollo Ranchero" chicken, which came with black beans, a fried egg, cheddar cheese, and red and green salsa. It was phenomenal, and I highly recommend this dish (and the restaurant in general) if you're in the area.


Then, we went to Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. There's a few locations in Nashville, but this ice cream shop was right on 12th Avenue South within walking distance of The Flip Side. They have unconventional flavors, but they're delicious. For example, I got the Goat Cheese and Dried Cherries ice cream, which at a glance sounds questionable, but it was amazing, I promise! :)

That night, we ate dinner with my friends and their family, and all in all, a great time was had.

Saturday, October 8: My Birthday! + The Farmer's Market + Cheesecake

On Saturday, we decided to visit the Franklin Farmer's Market. I LOVE my hometown's farmer's market because of all the great food and wares, but my favorite part has to be the homemade lemonade stand. They make some great homemade lemonade, and depending on the day, they will add in different fruits, herbs, or other flavors. That day, it was ginger. I personally didn't try it, but my friends who did said it was great.



That night, I returned home and had cheesecake for dessert. :) Because, why not?



So, how do I feel about being 25 so far, after one week?

Well, it's been a lot of fun. :) Granted, it's just another age; I'm not suddenly wiser just because I'm a year older, or even because I've hit the milestone of my mid-twenties. I'm just excited to see where God leads me, and I know that no matter what happens - good or bad - I have God, my friends, and my family by my side.
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Monday, October 3, 2016

Car Talk

Growing up, Mom and I used to listen to a radio show on NPR called "Car Talk." On it, two seasoned mechanics - who happened to be brothers - nicknamed Click and Clack took calls about any and all car questions that listeners had to ask. Click and Clack were fantastic radio personalities, and it didn't take long before Mom and I were rolling with laughter. The show ran for several years until one of the brothers sadly passed away, but I still have fond memories of listening to that show with my Mom in the car.

However, that's not what today's post is about.

I've been trying to make a habit of talking to God while I'm in the car. I drive by myself quite often, whether that's to work or to hang out with friends. And, lately, I'm glad to say that it's been incredibly beneficial in my walk with God.

Here are some of the things and people I've prayed about/for:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Safe and productive work weeks for all
  • Healing for anybody I know who's sick (or don't know)
  • My future husband
  • That whatever I/my family/my friends do for work that day (or for any occasion), we do for the glory of God
  • That my drive is safe
  • Thanks for various things (especially for my Savior)
If you ever want to try praying in the car, I highly recommend it, because for one thing, it's definitely put me more at ease when I do pray than when I don't, no matter what time it is or what I'm doing. But all that being said, I pray because God loves me and He wants me to come to Him for everything.

And He wants the same for you.


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Friday, September 16, 2016

Last Weekend in the Smoky Mountains



Last weekend, my Mom and I visited the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee.

We originally attended for my college friends' wedding, and we decided to just make a full long weekend out of it. Boy, I'm glad we did.

So, here's what we did each day. :)

Saturday

This was my friends' wedding day! It was so good to see my college friends and get to touch base with the friends I don't see that often.



Also, the venue was GORGEOUS.





Sunday

Sunday mainly comprised of three things: running errands, eating thai food in Sevierville, and relaxing.

Relaxing was the theme of this little trip. It's fun to go explore, but it's also nice to turn off the accelerator and just chill for a while.

Plus, the gorgeous scenery never hurts. :)






Monday

We relaxed. In the mountains.

I guess I'll take this opportunity to describe where we were. Our cabin was situated amongst lots of trees, and when night fell, it got so dark that the only light you could see was the moonlight through the leaves above. It was a gorgeous setting, and it truly felt like we were in our own little world in the woods and mountains.






Tuesday

Tuesday, we headed home, back to the real world.

But nevertheless, I'm so glad and thankful that my mom and I got to spend this past weekend together. :)


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Monday, September 12, 2016

Mondays are for Music: A Bastille Starter Guide

photo from here

Hey hey! :)

I want to try something different with today's "Mondays are for Music." Instead of curating a few random songs I've liked lately, I want to share one of my favorite bands (and by favorite, I mean Top 3, easily) with you. So, let's talk a little bit about Bastille.

I've been a fan of this band since college, when one of my good friends introduced it to me. Then, once their first album came out, I practically dove into it headfirst, and the rest is history.

"Pompeii" is a favorite, hands-down, and I think that's the first song of theirs you should start with. I have the happiest memories of listening to this song on road trips.


From there, I recommend these three tracks: "Bad Blood," "Flaws," and "Of the Night."


And that's my brief starter guide to Bastille! Have you listened to this band before? Got any song recommendations? Please leave them in the comments! :)
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Monday, September 5, 2016

Why Did I Start Blogging?



[Savannah] in Wonderland has been my corner of the internet for over two and a half years. I can still remember the day I created the blog on my dad's birthday (January 7), 2014, and I'm so, so happy that I did. I guess you could say that today's post is this year's belated anniversary post, since at the time my blog turned 2 years old, I was in the throes of starting new (at the time) full-time work.

So, why did I start blogging at all? Why did I choose this outlet to share my thoughts and adventures with you?

Let's talk about that. :)

I chose to blog because I wanted to talk about stuff on my mind.
I was in college at the time this blog was created, and I was wrapping up my senior year. I consider it Providential timing that one of my assignments in one of my media classes was to write a blog post pertaining to an issue young/college-aged adults could face. Also, my professor said yes, I could use my existing blog. So, I wrote a post about chivalry that had been burning in my mind for quite some time (so much so that I actually adapted the experience/that post to a magazine article for work). You can read that post on chivalry here.

I wanted to keep on talking, so I proceeded to talk about things that I was either dealing with, learned, or otherwise wanted to express to y'all.

I chose to blog because I wanted to share my passions.
If you look at the top of this blog, you'll find several categories. These are things I like to talk about or enjoy in my spare time, so why not talk about them on this blog?

Back in my Tumblr days, I created several separate blogs for each passion - for example, I can remember having personal, travel-related, book-related, and writing-related Tumblr blogs going at various intervals. A good thing about this format I'm on now is that I can keep those passions in one corner of the Internet so I can express them whenever I want in one place. It's convenient and I love it.

Finally, I chose to blog so I can share my faith.
I've shared some very faith-related posts with you guys, like how I was baptized, and most recently, how I related my study/thoughts on patience to pumpkin spice lattes.

I want to let you know that my faith is of paramount importance to me, so I'm always more than happy to share or relate something to my faith in Jesus Christ. It's an absolute blessing to have this personal outlet to share such a big part of my life with others, and I'm so thankful to God for giving me the ability to write not only for work or leisure, but also to write to you.

Anyway, y'all, that's why I blog. Thank y'all so much for reading, whether you've just visited or have been here since the beginning. I love you guys! :)
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Friday, September 2, 2016

Patience and Pumpkin Spice Lattes

We're officially in September. Isn't that crazy? It doesn't seem like we should be nearly done with 2016.

With September comes the excitement of the coming Fall season. And with the Fall season comes one of my favorite things about Fall (besides the colors and the gentle temperature drop): Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I know that might be a typical Fall favorite for most, but there's something comforting about the flavor to me.

It seems like tons of people are eagerly waiting for Fall and the Pumpkin Spice season. With images like this, it's hard not to notice the impatience brewing (pun maybe intended):

image found via Google Images, particularly here

Speaking of impatience, there's something I want to talk to you about: patience.

Since I've been in my twenties, I feel like there's been a lot of waiting in my life: I waited for May 17, 2014 so I could graduate college, I couldn't wait to get a job after graduating, I waited for writing opportunities after college, I'm currently waiting to potentially meet the man who will be my future husband...things like that. And all that waiting can be tiresome, honestly.

It's a good thing to know that I'm never alone, though.

God's assured me in His Word that He will be with me through it all (particularly in verses like Deuteronomy 7:9 and Romans 8:28), and if I cling to what's good - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control - it's beneficial in the long run, because "against such things, there is no law."

But here's the cool part: God's already strengthened me in the waiting, and He continues to do so. Plus, it never hurts to pray and bring your concerns to God. In fact, that's what He wants us to do; He wants us to come to Him with everything. In fact, He's already blessed me in ways that I could have never imagined or come up with on my own - in fact fulfilling many of those "waits" I mentioned earlier - so why should I worry about waiting?

So, just like there's a season for Pumpkin Spice Lattes, there's a season for everything. There'll be a time to wait, and there'll be a time to act, and there'll be a time to step out of my comfort zone and see what's out there.

And y'all, it'll all be worth it.


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Monday, August 29, 2016

How I Get Ideas for Short Stories & Creative Writing


Hey, y'all! I'm back from a brief blogging break because of work. I've been busy with blogging and magazine-article writing, and it's all been fun. Hope you guys had a wonderful week last week! :)

Now, let's get down to business.

My passion is writing, plain and simple. I adore the written word, and I love being able to use the written word to create stories. I work with both non-fiction and fiction mediums, and I love both.

Sometimes, I have no problem finding story ideas...other times, it feels like I've got a bad case of writer's block and have no idea where to even start. Either way, it's becoming easier and easier to find inspiration for short stories and longer writing projects, and I love it.

So, regardless of if you're a seasoned writer, someone who writes on and off, or a curious reader stopping by, I want to share some of the ways I've been finding ideas for stories.

Real Life Experience

What would I categorize as real life experience?
  • Stories and favorite moments from your childhood/growing up
  • Places you've been
  • Places you dream of going
  • Things you've done
  • Things you wish you could do or experience (for example, having some kind of superpower)
  • People you know
  • Things you've learned
  • And so on :)
I've been able to get a ton of writing inspiration from real life, and I honestly believe it's the best place to start when I'm trying to figure out what to write next, creative or not.

Then, I usually supplement experience with...


The Internet!

The internet has a treasure trove of information anyway, so it comes as no surprise that there's quite a bit of inspiration out there for the writer, too.

I mainly use Pinterest to gather writing ideas - and tips, too! - but there's a treasure trove of resources out there. I also use Pinterest to find ways to help with the technical side of creative writing, which includes stuff like character development, setting development, descriptions, and so on.

Reading

It is said that you become a better writer when you read...and that can't be more true. Not only have I learned from the best novels, but I've also learned how not to write, handle a plot twist, develop a character, etc.

Now, I'm not saying to blatantly copy what you do like from books. We have enough copies of Twilight and Harry Potter, it seems like. I'm just suggesting that you take a second look at the books you've read as far as the writing is concerned: What did you like the best? What didn't you like? How would you handle that twist or that character arc differently?

Finally, let's talk about another medium that might be a surprisingly good help...

Video Games

Believe it or not, video games are actually another great source of inspiration as far as writing goes. The typical "guy saves the girl from the big evil dragon" storyline can fit both a book (re: Sleeping Beauty) and a video game (re: Super Mario Bros.), and well, too.

In fact, I was playing a video game recently, and I was getting frustrated with the way pacing was handled. The characters really didn't do a whole lot of showing, just a lot of telling...scenes in the game where characters just stood around and talked about what was going on or about to happen took about twenty minutes.

Doesn't that sound a lot like something you'd be frustrated with in a movie or a book?

Now, I'm not a HUGE gamer, but I do know that video games give players the chance to interact with a story as opposed to just being an observer or spectator. Sometimes, interacting with a setting or certain characters has given me ideas for how I want to handle a setting or my own characters in my own work.

So, what do you do to find inspiration, whether it's in writing or any other kind of work? Let me know down in the comments! :) Thanks for reading, y'all.
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Friday, August 19, 2016

The "Get to Know Me" Tag


Boy howdy, it's been awhile since I've done a tag.

Let's change that. TODAY.

So I happened upon this tag as presented here, and I thought it would be a fantastic one to share with you. I did modify this tag slightly, but I wanted to answer as many questions as I could and share them with you in hopes that you can get to know the girl behind the blog a bit better. :)

Let's get to it!


1. Are you named after someone?
Yes! I am actually named after the city of Savannah, Georgia - based on the sequel to Gone with the Wind - and my mom's "Aunt" Kate. Hence, Savannah Kate.

2. Do you have kids?
Not yet, but I'd love to have a family of my own someday!

3. If you were another person, would you be a friend of yourself?
I try to be friends with everyone, so yes, I would do my best to befriend myself.

4. Do you have a guilty pleasure?
I've always loved anime, and I got really, REALLY excited when I found out they were remaking Sailor Moon a year or so ago. That, and retro video games. And the Starbucks secret menu. And collecting candles.

So, make that guilty pleasures. Ha!

5. Do you like handwriting?
Yes, I do! I dabble in it whenever I can.


6. What is your favorite cereal?
I have a few: Lucky Charms, Frosted Flakes, Frosted Cheerios, and Cookie Crisp.

7. What is the first thing you notice about people?
Their attitudes.

8. What color are your eyes?
Blue...specifically, slate/grayish blue with a navy ring on the outside. :)

9. Scary movies or happy endings?
Happy endings, because I hate jumpscares.

10. Favorite TV show?
Doctor Who!

11. Summer or winter?
Summer!

12. What’s the furthest you’ve been from home?
Furthest East? Austria.
Furthest West? Hawaii.

13. Do you have special talents?
I can decipher letters backwards?

14. Where were you born?
Franklin, Tennessee!

15. What are your hobbies?
Writing, reading, listening to music, crafting, and the odd video game or two.

16. Do you have any pets?
Yes! I have two: Harvey and Azalea, my miniature schnauzers.



17. Favorite movie?
Legally Blonde

18. What color is your car?
Electric blue with racing stripes!



19. What did you want to be when you grow up?
This is a bit all over the place, but when I was a little little girl, I always said I wanted to be a builder, like an architect or engineer. Then, as I grew up, I wrote stories ALL the time, and I drew, too. So, that changed from art to eventually writing. Now, I'm a writer, and I absolutely love it. I think it all stemmed from my desire to create things on paper, because the extent of my "building" was planning out the blueprint for a time machine when I was a child. :)

Welp, that wraps this tag up! Thanks for hanging out with me for a bit and listening to a few fun facts!
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Monday, August 15, 2016

Mondays are for Music: My Late Summer Jams

Hey, y'all! :)

I know it's the middle of August now, but I can't believe we're in August, y'all. I remember when 2016 just started. But it's been a great year so far, both life-wise and music-wise, in my opinion.

Speaking of music, I want to share some recent discoveries with you today. One is pop, two are electronic, and another is from a band I've loved since college, but all of them are ones I've kept coming back to. So, let's get into the Spotify links!




What have you been listening to lately?
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Friday, August 12, 2016

Packing for Quick Trips


My 2016 has had some quick little trips, ranging from three to five days or even less. Quick trips are fun - they are trips, after all - but sometimes, I find that they're tricky to pack for, since while you know what you may be doing when you travel, it's not like you'll have the time to do laundry or even spend much time shopping if you have a tight schedule, like during a business trip.

So, what do you pack when you have a quick trip, and how do you do it?

Check the weather for the days you'll be traveling
It's become easier than ever to get an idea of what the weather at your destination will be like. Not only can you check weather forecast websites or apps, but you can also look to Pinterest and other blogs to get a local, recent, or frequent visitor's perspective on how the weather will be. Knowing the weather will prevent overpacking unnecessary items; for example, you don't want to pack a heavy jacket in a tropical climate.

Packing by outfit works, but sometimes, it helps to have extras of certain items.
It helps to pack by outfit if you want to worry less about deciding what to wear during your trip, and it can help keep you from packing for a fourteen-day trip when you're only going to be gone for three. But it's also not a bad idea to make sure you have replacement items not only for weather purposes, but in case a more formal event comes up (or if you need a Sunday dress/clothing for church), or if you happen to stay a few extra days. This is where making a list comes in handy.

Speaking of packing extras, pack extra items if you know there'll be rain, or if you'll be swimming, or anything else
You don't want to be caught without a change of clothes if you happen to get wet, or if you happen to spill something on yourself. This can apply if you're traveling somewhere with frequent rain, or someplace like the beach or an amusement park. Accidents happen, and it's better to be prepared with a few extra clothes than underpack.

You can re-wear certain items, and pack less of those items
Some items you can wait to wash again, like denim jeans and shorts. As such, you can pack less of them - or even pack one each - to save space.

Pack items that roll up easily
The items that roll up the tightest are usually light layers, like t-shirts and leggings. Also, dresses are the easiest to pack because they are a whole day's outfit in one piece of clothing.

Invest in packing cubes and a laundry bag
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: these are the BEST for keeping clothes in your suitcase as well as keep track of your clean and dirty clothing. Sometimes, organization can help keep you focused on your travel and your trip and keep you from being stressed over your luggage, especially when you're traveling for such a short amount of time. You can find packing cubes online...I found mine off Amazon, and the set came with a laundry bag of its own. Beyond packing cubes, it helps to put shoes and jewelry in bags as well, just so things stay clean and uncluttered.

How do you pack for a quick trip? Let me know in the comments! :)
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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

National Book Lover's Day

This is my favorite reading spot at my grandparents' house :)

Today is National Book Lover's Day. I absolutely love random holidays, and today is absolutely no exception. I've been a book lover my whole life. There's just something about cracking open the pages of a new book and diving into a new story. I'm also a writer, and I adore writing my own stories as well.

How in the world do you celebrate the hard-bound, written word?
  • Open up a brand-new novel, or continue one you've already started. Or, read your Bible. Basically, if it's written and published, go read it.
  • Go read in a favorite spot, or try someplace new, like a local bookstore or even a new chair in your living room.
  • Speaking of local bookstores, pay your favorite one a visit. Local bookstores love visitors, and they'll be absolutely happy to give you recommendations. One of my favorites in Nashville has a huge selection of signed copies!
  • Visit a local bookstore in a new place if you happen to be traveling, or visit one near your extended family, whether you grew up visiting it or not.
  • Or, if you're closer to a bigger-name bookstore chain, that's also fine.
  • Encourage reading; it beats screen time any day of the week, and I've found that I'm less stressed when I put down my phone or put away my laptop for a few minutes to an hour or so, depending on how busy my day happens to be.
  • Also, encourage writing. Nothing makes this writer happier than seeing people interested in creating stories of their own.
How will you celebrate National Book Lover's Day?
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Friday, August 5, 2016

California Dreamin': A Story in Instagrams

Hey, y'all!

Last weekend, my mom and I took a quick trip to California.

These are the photos I posted to Instagram while I was there. :)


Before I left for California from the airport, some Pokémon Go happened. (In fact, a LOT of Pokémon Go happened this trip...let's just say I spent a lot of time on the app whilst riding in the back of Uber rides with Mom.) (Another side note, if you want my thoughts on Pokémon Go, check out my post here.)

But this guy is a Weedle, and because I caught him at the airport, I named him "Airport."

I think that was before I had my coffee, ha!


Once we got to LA, we made a few stops. The first was Sage Goddess, a rock and crystal store, and then we made our way to Little Tokyo, where we partook in the ramen you see above.

Orochon Ramen is the very first legitimate ramen shop I'd ever been to (barring Wagamama in Windsor, England). This place is incredibly special to me, and their ramen - pork with a soy base and boiled eggs with spice - is my favorite.


After ramen, we made a quick stop through Bottega Louie for macarons.

Y'all, they're as magical and delicious as they look.


The next day was Saturday, and Mom and I headed to downtown Pasadena for a planner meetup...specifically, Marion Smith's Southern California Planner Lover's Retreat. It was a fun time all around!


And this was the dress I wore. :)


Finally, on Sunday, we swung by the Grove - one of my favorite shopping centers ever - for some shopping at Topshop, along with checking out the nearby farmer's market.

I didn't realize that the CBS network building was nearby, but it was within walking distance of the Grove. So, consequently, I took a selfie with it for good measure. ;)

And that, my friends, was my weekend trip to California!

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Friday, July 22, 2016

An Instagram Roundup of Independence Day Shenanigans, Tea, Pink Drinks, Cars, and More. This May Be the Longest Title Yet.


1. This is one of my best friends and I at our church's fireworks' show for this year's July 4th fireworks. Much ice cream was enjoyed.

2. Speaking of ice cream, me and my girls grabbed frozen yogurt from a new frozen yogurt place in town called Whit's. It was my first time there, and I have to say, it was pretty good! I got the caramel apple flavor, which was vanilla ice cream with apple pieces and caramel sauce. It was basically like eating apple pie with ice cream.


3. This was a particularly good lunch from Meridee's, a café and bakery right in Franklin. It's a childhood favorite place of mine, and nothing beats a good peanut butter and honey sandwich with chips and a London Fog. :)

4. Herbie, my car, winks. No, really, every time you open my car door, he winks from my spedometer. Many "awww"s and iPhone snaps ensued that day I discovered this important and adorable instance.



5. I read and drank an Iced Raspberry Chai Latte at Barnes n' Noble. By the way, this book I'm reading is HILARIOUS.

6. Speaking of beverages, I got a Pink Drink. Ever since I discovered this phenomenon via Instagram, I HAD to try it. This particular Pink Drink was definitely not my first, but it was maybe the second I'd had with blackberries instead of strawberries. It was delightful.


7. This is what my workspace typically looks like. There are at least three items that one can definitely find in said workspace: laptop, planner, and brightly-colored pens.

8. And this is my laptop case. I bought it off of Society6 when they were having a sale. It's a fantastic case, and it's been fantastic to use when I commute to and from work. I can't wait to use it when I travel soon!
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Monday, July 18, 2016

Thoughts on [and Pros and Cons of] Pokémon Go

How cute is this pattern?! I got it here.

There's a craze that's quite literally swept the globe, and that craze is a little app called Pokémon Go, available for Apple and Android as of my writing this post.

Pokémon Go takes a video game that's beloved by many and steps up its game mechanics. This app uses technology called Augmented Reality to simulate actually "catching" Pokémon in the real world as opposed to on a GameBoy screen.

While I applaud Nintendo for actually stepping outside of the video game console box, it's certainly not the story-driven game I grew up with as a child. Nevertheless, I can think of quite a few pros and cons with this game, especially after having played it for a few days now.

My character near some designated Pokéstops

Pro: It encourages actually "going" places.
Pokémon Go uses Google Maps' GPS system to run, so you can find Pokémon from quite literally anywhere on the map (provided your country supports the game). While it is possible to "catch" Pokémon critters in your bedroom, it's actually better (and more cost-efficient, as lures to draw the characters to you can cost real-life dollars) if you go outside and explore for yourself.

The cool thing is that the locations that are supposedly prime spots to hunt Pokémon are actual landmarks. And the app actually encourages you to walk to these locations, as some of them are inaccessible otherwise. This is a great way to get out and get exercise, and it's also a great way to actually see what's in your hometown that you might not have known about otherwise.

Con: It doesn't encourage being aware of one's surroundings nearly enough.
While it is fantastic that people are actually getting out and exploring cities and towns, it's not necessarily a good thing that common sense is seemingly being placed on the back burner. Though there is a warning (pictured below), I personally don't feel like it's enough.


For starters, simply looking up from your phone and being aware of people and even cars around you is something that's not being done if you're, well, looking at your phone and are only aware of the Pidgey or other pixellated Pokémon on your phone's screen. And you do have to point your phone in a certain direction to "catch" these Pokémon, so that doesn't help if you're in a particularly crowded place or busy street,

Then, there's the landmark thing. While I mentioned earlier that this is a good thing, the Pokéstops (which are little predetermined spots on your map where you can get goodies like extra Pokéballs and other items for your digital quest) are no respecters of historical significance. For example, the app has received backlash when users attempted to "catch" Pokémon at the Holocaust Museum. And where I live, the Pokéstops are mainly around Civil War battleground sites. So it's not just being physically aware that's important and needing to be addressed further, but also mentally and emotionally aware, too.

Finally, there's the thing with the Pokéstops being at any and all churches. It seems like every church in my area has been highlighted on my map as a place to get goodies. This is a cause of concern, especially as someone who is a member of the church. Make sure that small children know that churches, especially the one you might attend, are for worship, not for collecting digital items. Us millennials need to remember that, too.

Pro: It at least highlights where churches are.
While I don't agree with the fact that churches are highlighted as places to farm items, there is a bright side. If I were hypothetically looking for a church after just moving to a new city, this app might actually help me find where they are. And if Pokémon Go can help other millennials my age find churches as opposed to a Google search - and it's actually making people aware of churches - that's fine by me.

Con: It's being used by people driving.
Guys, don't text and drive, and definitely don't play games and drive (See above regarding common sense seemingly being put on the back burner).

Some of my Pokémon, nickamed and such: Goldie the Goldeen, Bacon the Charmander (my starter), and Christopher the Pidgey (named after Christopher Robin from Winnie the Pooh)

So, what are my thoughts on Pokémon Go (besides the pros and cons mentioned above)?

It's just a fun little game. I'm not consumed by it; I'm not frantically running around town just to catch Pokémon. If I'm sitting as a passenger in a car (key word: passenger), or if I happen to be in an area where I might catch something and give it a goofy and/or adorable nickname (see above), I'll open the app. Then again, I'm also a young adult with a lot on my work plate, and I don't have time to frolic just for Pokémon. In other words, my usage of the app is incredibly casual. I enjoy playing it because of the nostalgia and as a game in general.

All in all, if this game is used with respect and common sense in mind, and if it's treated as that - a game - I say it's fine.

What do you think of Pokémon Go? Let me know down in the comments! :)
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