Thursday, August 17, 2017

Will College Change Me?



I'm three years out of college. I actually started this blog in my last year of school, and it definitely feels like this blog has grown up with me. As such, I really haven't written anything student-wise or really anything relating to college life, just because it's not something I'm a part of now.

One of my younger cousins actually started college this week. I remember holding her the day after she was born, and she's like a little sister to me. Since she's going to college in my home state, she's actually spent a lot of time with us as of late, and it's been good getting to see her during her transition into college life.

All this said, this has gotten me thinking about a question I remember having back when I was starting college, and I'm sure a lot of my collegiate readers have thought this as well...will college change me?

Short answer? Yes.

Long answer? It depends on what you mean by change.

If I'm completely honest, I don't really like unknowns. And when I was about to start college, I was terrified of them. So, when I was told that I was probably going to change in college, I didn't know what to think.

Now, I can say that in hindsight, I did change. And change is good.

This change mainly came from faith. I made friends in college who were of like-minded faith. I grew closer to God in that I was the one calling the shots as to whether or not I would make the effort to go to church if I had the time to do so.

I also changed in that I got to pursue talents that I had, as well as opportunities I didn't know I would have. I got to be editor-in-chief of the school newspaper at the end of my college career, as well as dabble in the news department at a radio station.

Then, I changed in that I appreciated where I came from. I appreciated my hometown, as well as my home church, so much more than before I started college. And now that I'm out of school, that appreciation is definitely still there.

I say all this to say that as a college student, you should not be afraid of change. If anything, you should embrace it. Embrace every opportunity, every good and bad moment, and every peak and valley. You are there for a reason. Trust and walk with God through it all, because He loves you. Lean on family and friends.

This change will turn out good in the end. :)



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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

How to Pack the Perfect Weekend Bag



I. love. weekend. trips.

I just went on one recently. And I have a feeling I'll be going on many more. But the reason why I love weekend trips so much is that they are a fantastic way to get a vacation in without interrupting your routine in real life so much.

Packing for these kinds of trips can be very tricky, though. However, I think I finally have a system down, and I want to share it with you guys.

Step 1: Make a list with specifics.

Whether it’s on your phone, an iPad, or even some kind of bullet journal or planner, making a list will definitely help you keep your items straight. You can wing it, sure, but you’re more likely to leave necessities that you didn’t remember while throwing things in your bag.

Also, since a weekend is pretty short as far as trips go, you may actually do well to pack by outfit. I normally don’t like doing this (I like options!), but if your space is limited, you may want to, say, plan on packing three shirts, a dress (you never know if you’ll be going to a nice dinner, and it’s good to have one on hand for Sundays if you’re attending church during your trip), and a couple pairs of shorts or jeans. That’s what I did for my weekend in Montgomery.

Step 2: Double-check your weather. 

This is a must! It’s not fun to pack for a sunny weekend when it winds up raining the whole time. That being said, be prepared for inclement weather just in case; pack shoes with some tread and an umbrella at the very least. Keep it minimal, since it’s just a weekend trip, but it’s better safe than sorry.

Also, it helps to bring layers. That way, if it does wind up being warmer where you are, you won’t have to worry. And if it’s colder, you’re prepared. It’s a win-win.

Step 3: Never underestimate the power of a great bag. 

I love my Ace Hotel duffel bag I got for Christmas. It’s huge and perfect for weekend trips because it has tons of space while still having the ability to fit in car trunks easily. But if you prefer a hard-sided case, a carry-on size would be a great fit.

Step 4: Also, never underestimate the power of packing cubes.

My mom and I have been using packing cubes for awhile now. Even for short weekend trips, packing cubes are a great way to keep your bag clutter-free and organized by clothing type. For a weekend, I categorize my clothing into two cubes, and then pack a laundry bag. This pack from Amazon comes with a set of cubes and a laundry bag, and it’s my favorite.

Step 5: Roll. Those. Clothes. 

Packing cubes or not, rolling your clothes is a great way to utilize all the space you have, especially if your bag is on the smaller side.

Of course, I wouldn’t roll things like dresses that wrinkle easily, but I’d at least roll shirts and even jeans to save space.

Step 6: Travel sized items!

Let’s be honest…you really won’t need a whole tube of toothpaste or that entire bottle of shower gel for two days. Don’t get me wrong, you can still pack toothpaste and shower gel, just don’t pack enough to last a month when you only need it for a fraction of a week.

That being said...

Step 7: When in doubt about toiletries, pack them.

For example: are you wondering if there will be a hair dryer where you are staying? If so, go ahead and pack it. The reason why is that you may be the only one who brings it, and it’s better to be the one who shares the hair dryer with everyone else than to be the one who’s constantly asking for it.

Also, if you are sharing a hotel room with a few people, it’s a lot better to pack extra soap, just because amenities will be limited to the tiny travel sizes provided at the hotels. I packed extra goodies and soaps when I went to Hawaii, and though that was a longer trip than a weekend, I’m so happy I did.

Worst comes to worse, you can just pick up any extras at nearby drugstores.


What do you like to pack for weekend trips?

Quick disclaimer before I go. I am not being paid for any specific products linked or mentioned. I just wanted to share what I love with you guys. :)
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Monday, August 14, 2017

Montgomery Weekend!

I took a short weekend trip that’s become a routine for me these days.

It goes without saying that I love to go visit my long-distance boyfriend. But it’s so much fun when such visits involve new and fun adventures.

So, here’s what all we did this weekend.

Montgomery Biscuits!




I had been dying to go to a Montgomery Biscuits game, mainly because - fun fact for those who don’t know me in real life - I say “biscuits” as an exclamatory phrase (i. e. “Aw, biscuits! I stubbed my toe!”).

Plus, who doesn’t want to root for a team whose mascot is food?

So, when Cody surprised us with tickets - for him, me, and my dad - we were excited. The stadium itself is a converted train depot, which is cool. And, yes, they serve biscuits at the game (why not?).

It was such a fun atmosphere, and the Biscuits won!


The Rest of the Weekend



The rest of the weekend involved various and sundry lunches, dinners, and a game of golf. It had been awhile since I'd set foot on a golf course, but I was a caddy/driver for Dad and Cody, and it was fun.



I already can't wait until the next time I go down there! This trip was so fun, and the company was even better. :)


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Friday, August 11, 2017

Friday Five | 8/11/17

I’m kind of playing catch-up this week (since I didn’t feel like I had enough to constitute a Friday Five last week), but I have quite a bit to share with you guys!

The Little Mermaid



The girls and I went and saw a production of “The Little Mermaid” on stage at TPAC last week. It was so, so cute! I am a little biased towards the movie (I did grow up on Disney, after all), but it was still a lot of fun.

Jamba Juice Acai Bowls

I briefly mentioned these when I talked about Pure Barre, but after that workout…peanut butter, yogurt, and strawberries in an acai bowl never tasted so good. (I ordered a Chunky Strawberry bowl, for the curious.)

Haircut!



I got my hair cut this week! Nothing too crazy, but it was definitely time to take at least an inch and a half off for the rest of this summer.

Orange Julius

Post-haircut, I picked up some Dairy Queen and Orange Julius for my mom and I on the way home. Nothing truly beats an orange creamsicle-flavored beverage (or at least something frozen and orange). If I can’t get a Frozen Orange at the Varsity, this works (as well as the Orange Dream Machine from Jamba Juice).

The Great State of Alabama!


This weekend, I’m going to see my boyfriend! He goes to school down there (if you want to know more about that and how we handle long-distance, click here), and any opportunity I have to visit him always excites me to no end.

What all have you been doing or loving this week? 
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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

I Tried Pure Barre.

It’s been a good while since I’ve worked out.

I used to do Zumba a ton in college, but ever since they quit offering it (and I graduated a few years ago), I’ve been kinda off the workout bandwagon. 

So when my friend Kinsey invited me to a Pure Barre class with her this week, I was intrigued. I decided to go for it.

Would I recommend it? Well, yes…but it depends on your experience. I would definitely try to go to a “foundations” or some kind of beginner class first. While it was good to get thrown into the midst of it, so to speak, I would have liked to learn some of the techniques they use beforehand. That way, you know what kind of intensity is ahead.

And, y’all, it’s intense.

This is a full-body workout with trace elements of yoga and other exercise programs. Plus, weights, exercise balls, stretching tubes, and mats are involved (for some of the yoga bits). And it is very fast-paced, too…kind of like Zumba, where you follow the teacher without stopping, but with more intensity and no dancing. 

Plus, when it’s your first class, they work with you to make sure you at least know basic terminology before you get started. As such, it’s important to get there early. (Also, as there is a lot of floor exercising, I’d recommend leggings. Plus, they ask you to wear socks during the class, so make sure you have those.)

Afterwards, Kinsey and I went out for Jamba Juice. Because, why not?



If you want to try Barre for yourself, I’d recommend signing up for the free trial using their app. Then, that way, you have a full week to try the class out. Plus, I recommend going with a friend, too. (That's a good idea for any fitness class, just so it doesn't feel as intimidating.)

Will I be going back? Maybe someday. As I'm typing this, I'm pretty sore, so I may wait on going until later. But am I glad I tried it? Yes. :)

Have you ever tried Pure Barre or similar? What did you think of it?
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Monday, August 7, 2017

What I'm Looking Forward To This Fall


I’m aware that it’s August, and not even close to Fall yet…especially since August is quite possibly one of the hottest months of the year in my home state of Tennessee.

But I’ve been thinking about Fall a lot. Not just because my birthday is almost 2 months away, but because I just love what Fall brings.

What does it bring?

1.Beanies. And sweaters, and scarves, and bundling up in general.

Ever since college, I’ve loved “Fall” clothes. Extra accessories - especially functional ones - can really pull an outfit together. Plus, given the cooler weather coming later (which will probably be closer to late October/November), it’ll help having those layers.

In the meantime, I’ll just rock utility jackets when it gets to the sixties.

2.Family gatherings.

I’ve always loved family gatherings, but now that I’m older, I truly appreciate them so much more. I mostly appreciate two things: getting to actually see family members I don’t see so often, and the little traditions we have (like various recipes and singing on the phone as a family to members for their birthdays).

3.Pumpkin Spice Lattes

Y’all know me well enough by now to know that seasonal drinks are my jam. Pumpkin Spice Lattes are absolutely no exception.

4.Boots!

I was actually just thinking about this the other day, but I love boots. Boots are the very best in the Fall, not only for the style aspect, but also for layering. And, when it gets to be winter, a little tread on your boots goes a long way.

5.Holidays

This kind of ties in with family gatherings, but I love Fall holidays, too. Halloween and Thanksgiving are the very best. Also, with holidays come festivals. My hometown puts on a wonderful Pumpkinfest that’s a ton of fun. Not to mention that there's a Trunk or Treat we do every year at my church. :)

My girls and I were the Queen of Hearts, Alice, and the Cheshire Cat last year to pass out candy for the kids. :)


What are you looking forward to this Fall?
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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Tasty Recipe Roundup

For a long time, I'd been eyeballing Buzzfeed's "Tasty" recipes on YouTube and Facebook. When my boyfriend and I started cooking when we started dating, those recipes were finally put to use. The recipes themselves are actually pretty easy to use. And they've also been pretty easy to modify. 

So, what recipes have we tried?

1.Chicken Bacon Ranch Bake


I've made this twice: once by myself and once with my boyfriend. Both times turned out awesome! (I will say that the chicken did cook better with cheese, and we did broil the top in the last five minutes just to get the bacon to cook. Also, try this with applewood-smoked bacon...you'll be glad you did.)

2.Roasted Honey Carrots


For this one, Cody added cinnamon, and we chopped the carrots. They were a big hit. 

3. Scalloped Potatoes


My dad loved when Cody and I made this delightful side dish. It’s part of a "steak dinner for two" post, but there’s so many great ideas in it that you can separate out for other meals.

4. Mason Jar Salad Dressings


These are fun! We've made the Balsalmic Dijon, Caesar, and Catalina dressings. And yes, they taste great.

5. Churro Bowls


What’s cooking without experimentation, right? These take some trial and error, but man, do they taste amazing once they’re done. 

6. Rainbow Cookies!

These were the happiest little cookies to ever cookie. I mean, they're sugary rainbow emojis. (Protip: use gel food coloring so it doesn't stain your hands, and use all-purpose flour.)

7. Baked Eggs Benedict Cups


When we were at the river, I was scrolling through Pinterest and had this recipe backlogged on my food board. Cody was looking over my shoulder as I was browsing, and he saw how excited I got over these. "Wanna make that?" he asked. Of course I said yes. And, of course, they were amazing.

The eggs are oven-poached (which, by the way, we kept the eggs in five minutes longer than called for because the whites were not opaque at all after ten).

Have you ever cooked with “Tasty” recipes? If so, which ones have you tried?


Quick disclaimer before I go: I am not sponsored by Buzzfeed or their “Tasty” division. I’m just here to share what I love with you guys!
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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Summer Favorites | 2017

Oh boy oh wow, what a Summer it’s been…and that’s a good thing. : )

It’s been an epic summer filled with adventures and new experiences, including a mission trip, two vacations (one in June and the other in July), and a whole lot of cooking (a post on that will be going up very soon). 

I can’t wait to share what I’ve been loving these past few months with you guys!

Beauty

Not much has changed on the beauty front lately…except I’ve been wearing Lipsense a lot more. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still love specific actual lipsticks (Bite Beauty, you're still awesome). However, it’s awesome when I can just apply a color once in the morning while traveling and only just apply a lip gloss to keep my lips hydrated.

I’ve also been dabbling in a little bit of contouring with Benefit’s Hoola Lite bronzer. That particular shade is a good fit because it’s looks and feels a lot more natural than a darker bronzer would be. If I could pick absolute favorite bronzers to recommend, I’d say that one or Too Faced’s Milk Chocolate Soleil bronzer. Both are lighter shades with a matte finish.

Music

Pretty much the main albums I’ve been listening to this summer have been “Evolve” by Imagine Dragons and “Wild World” by Bastille, especially considering I finally saw them in concert a few months ago AND was within a couple feet of the lead singer at one point.

Oh, I guess I’d better tell y’all about that…but I think it’s better if I show you.



And here's some more Atlanta photos for good measure (because this trip really was that awesome):






Travel

Speaking of travel, here’s where all I’ve been this summer:
  • Atlanta, GA (The Varsity, Bastille concert, College Football Hall of Fame, Coke Museum, Georgia Aquarium...an epic adventure with Cody to say the least)
  • Grayton Beach, FL (in which I basically got to show Cody where I grew up…it was a fun trip with my family, too!)
  • Spencer, TN/The River (with Cody and his family)
  • Vienna, GA (mission trip with our church)

I honestly can’t pick an overall favorite because the adventures were all great.

Bible Verses

"We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” - Romans 8:28

"Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?...But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” - 1 Corinthians 15:55, 57

What have been your favorite things lately? Let me know in the comments!


Quick disclaimer before I go: the products I mentioned today are not sponsored in any way, nor was I sent any of the items mentioned for review. I just wanted to share what I love with you guys.
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