Monday, December 14, 2015

Gift Guide : Stocking Stuffers

Stocking stuffers are my very favorite type of Christmas gift. My stocking is abnormally large, something I've always taken great joy in reminding the rest of my family. A wrapped present under the tree is great, but there is just something so exciting about thinking you've finished opening all your gifts only to discover the treasures still in your stocking. As a general rule I think stocking stuffers should be some of the least expensive gifts you get, but sometimes they're the most exciting.





Do you love stocking stuffers too? Or am I just weird?


This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on one of these links I will receive a small payment in exchange for sending you to a website where the product can be purchased. If you prefer not to click on a link for this reason and still want to know more about a product please feel free to email me. All opinions are my own.

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Monday, November 30, 2015

Gift Guide : the Girly Girl

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving weekend, ate way too much turkey, and enjoyed your loved ones. It was a little strange to spend the day without my family, but I was thankful to have friends to celebrate with and then actually did get to see some family on Friday for the day.

With Thanksgiving coming and going it is now officially Christmas season! When I was little we would always put our tree up Thanksgiving night so in my mind that'll always be the official kickoff. With that said, I'm feeling way less shameful to be sharing today's gift guide than my first one. Today's gift guide is for the girly girl, to me that means lots of pink and gold.



The great thing about these gifts is that most come in other colors. So maybe the girly girl in your life is more about the yellow than the pink; you've got her covered.

PS: That watch is only $125 and those sunglasses are $12!

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Feeling the Forest for the Trees

Life is funny. You can be so totally happy, yet things still aren't perfect. And then other times everything can be perfect, yet you still aren't happy. Thankfully I'm currently experiencing that first feeling.

This is the second Monday in a row that my post idea just didn't work and I was left trying to put something together at the last minute. I hate not keeping to my 3 times a week posting schedule so starting the week off without a post just kills my blogging vibe. I brainstorm all the time for post ideas and mentally plan them out sometimes weeks in advance but usually only sit down to write them the night before

I've been wanting popcorn for the past few days, but by the time I get home I'm so tired I just want to sleep. Last night I finally had time to make my popcorn. I burned the bag. Actually calling it burnt is an understatement. The bag was so black I'm a little surprised it didn't catch fire.

I don't have a car here in Colorado. There isn't employee parking at work and honestly I'd be too nervous to drive in snow. So I use the bus, which is actually not bad. The stops are really convenient and they have free wifi. What isn't great is that I can only go places depending on the schedule. So Saturday I was gone for 11 hours and all I did was go to work and back home. Needless to say by the time I walked back in my door I was exhausted.

But you know what? I'm the happiest I've been in years. Even with all these little things that just can't go right I'm okay. I guess you could say I'm feeling the forest for the trees, or however that saying goes. And at the end of the day that's all that really matters.



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Friday, November 20, 2015

Guest Post : What my Sorority Experience Taught Me

I'm so excited to share my last guest post of the month with y'all! I seriously could not have made it through this hectic month without the help of these fabulous ladies. I seriously love guest posts, so if you're ever interested in collaborating just let me know! When Megan told me what she was going to share with y'all today I was too excited because it's an idea I've wanted to share but could never find the words to express exactly how I felt. But she totally hit the nail on the head and said exactly what I couldn't.



Hey there! My name is Megan and I blog over at Chasing Pradas and PR about navigating this wild ride ride we call "adulthood" while hustling after your career dreams and enjoying the occasional glass of wine. I'm ecstatic to be sharing something with Hillary's readers that we both have in common, but don't talk about much on our blogs - being proud sorority women.



+ I was always wearing my letters, and I could never take them off. From the moment I joined, I began representing my organization and what others thought of my sorority would be a direct reflection of my actions. The same goes for your career. It's heavy, but your choices matter. 

+ The relationships I made in and out of my own house were invaluable. When you spend time cultivating relationships with your chapter's alumnae or getting to know leaders from other houses, you build a contact list that you can utilize once you graduate. 

+ No matter who you are, you can inspire change. From the time my pledge class joined my sorority to when I graduated, the campus' perception of my chapter shifted. We were passionate about changing the tune about our sorority on campus and making positive progress. It goes to show that David always wins against Goliath! 

+ I learned that not everyone is going to like me, and that's okay. My chapter had close to 200 members and I would be lying if I said that every single one of them was someone I considered to be my best friend or that there weren't girls whom I disliked. In every facet of our lives there are going to people we don't mesh with, my sorority experience prepared me for collaborating with more of them in the future. 

+ The true value of friendship. Until I walked through the doors of that Southern sorority house, I had truly never known the meaning of friendship. 


Want more Megan? 









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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Out West Wednesday : Things that surprised me about Colorado

For those of you new around here, I've been living in Colorado for about 2 and a half weeks now. And if you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you know I absolutely love it here! There have been a few things though that weren't exactly like I was expecting.




1. Everyone is so nice - Maybe because I haven't had the best experiences with people from Colorado, or maybe because I'm Southern and think we own the manners game, but I really didn't expect everyone to be so nice. I now realize that was really dumb on my part because this entire area relies on tourism so obviously people would be hospitable. I seriously haven't met a single person that wasn't willing to help give directions or share advice on a place to go or simply offer a warm hello.

2. It's not as cold as I expected - Don't get me wrong, it's cold. But when I think of these temperatures I just always imagined they'd be colder. I think it's partially a mental thing, I know it has to be cold for snow and I need snow for my job. I think it's also partially thanks to my super warm Patagonia jacket haha.

3. Everyone smokes - Okay so maybe not everyone, but it certainly seems that way. As a nonsmoker this has been one of the strangest things to me. Sometimes you'll walk in somewhere and there will be an overwhelming smell of weed, which is just so bizarre. People talk about being 4/20 friendly like it's no big deal. I know it's legal in Colorado, but it's still so strange to me how chill everyone is about it.

4. Altitude isn't difficult to adjust to - Maybe I've just been very very lucky but I seriously haven't felt the altitude. I'm careful to drink tons of water so I really think that's why I haven't had problems. I'm not running around so maybe once I start skiing (wish me luck!) it'll be different. It's kinda funny because I was convinced that I could never live in high altitudes and here I am 8150 feet in the air.


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Monday, November 16, 2015

Gift Guide : Hostess

I'm a little ashamed that Thanksgiving is still over a week away and I'm already doing a gift guide, but my original post idea didn't work out so here we are. I've titled this gift guide for the hostess, but these are also great gifts for someone who has just moved into a new place like me.






Those coasters are number one on my wish list. I've been in love since the first time I saw them. They come in a bunch of colors so you'll be able to find something to fit the rest of your decor. A Gray Malin would be the ultimate gift. These pieces aren't cheap, but truly make a statement. If I remember correctly he had a good Black Friday sale last year on his website, so if you want one of these beauties keep your eye on the website.



This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on one of these links I will receive a small payment in exchange for sending you to a website where the product can be purchased. If you prefer not to click on a link for this reason and still want to know more about a product please feel free to email me. All opinions are my own.


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Friday, November 13, 2015

10 Favorite Things in Colorado : Guest Post

I'm so excited to share another guest post with y'all today! I first connected with Sarah Elizabeth because she's a sorority sister from another chapter, which is such a cool example of how Greek Life is bigger than just your chapter. Sarah is a newly wed, but before that she lived in Colorado! I can't wait to check a few of these things off my list over the next 6 months.

Good Morning friends of Hillary!

My name is Sarah Elizabeth and I'm guest posting today while Hillary moves and gets settled into her new adventure in Colorado!

I just moved away from Colorado at the end of March, so I thought I would share with Hillary (and you!) my 10 favorite things to do in Colorado!

1. Living in Colorado, you become a fan of the Broncos, the Rockies, the Nuggets & the Avalanche because it's way more fun to live somewhere when these teams are doing well & it's a way of bonding with everyone you meet! I highly recommend attending a game for whichever sport is in season - I've been to a game for each team except the Nuggets & they've all been so much fun!

2. Visit the Air Force Academy! Your campus and the visitor center, do some hiking and catch a sporting event if you're in town. There is a large Air Force population in Colorado Springs with several military bases and many retirees, so the spirit at these games is contagious and the pride is from families and individuals that served with the Air Force for years if not several generations.

3. Hike the Incline in Manitou Springs and then spend time in Manitou Springs & Old Colorado City. The Incline is HARD but so worth it! Manitou is full of colorful people & th celebrate every holiday with fun traditions - like coffin races.

4. Explore Garden of the Gods. I adore Garden of the Gods - it's beautiful! Every Easter there is a nondenominational sunrise service in the park and my brother took his senior prom pictures there. It's great for shirt hikes, there are people on horseback every time I've been, races are always running through the park and they have a great visitor center. As a kid, I attended a summer camp in Garden of the Gods where we went mud sliding - it was a blast!

5. Take the COG railway to the top of Pikes Peak. The COG is a guided tour up and back down Pikes Peak - the inspiration point for America the Beautiful. At the top, there are tasty donuts to try and I know many friends and even my dad who have hiked up the peak. Living in Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak is your center for directions and the first day you see her covered in snow for the season is magical!

6. Visit Santa at the North Pole. No matter the time of year, Santa is there for you to visit in his log cabin. If you have kids or are a kid at heart, the North Pole is a fun place to spend the day!

7. Take a tour of the Celestial Seasonings tea factory in Boulder. I love tea and so this tour is right up my alley. The tour is free and you can have as many free tea samples as your taste buds desire - and no matter the time of year, they have your favorite holiday teas in their store.

8. Spend the day in Old Town Fort Collins. Fort Collins is one of my favorite Colorado towns along with Buena Vista & Colorado Springs. Supposedly, Main Street USA at Disney is based around Old Town FoCo - how cool is that?! There is great shopping, delicious dining and always a fun event going on!

9. Tour New Belgium brewery. This tour is SO much fun - there's even a slide at the end. Bonus if you can tour the brewery in conjunction with Tour de Fat - a costumed bike ride through Fort Collins.

10. Drive into the mountains when the Aspens change color in September. This is magical! The leaves are golden against the light trunks and Aspens leaves are always shaking. This is quintessential Colorado in the autumn and something I missed this year.

Those are my 10 recommendations for people visiting or living in Colorado. There is nothing quite like that Rocky Mountain high and I hope Hillary falls in love with Colorado the way that I did growing up there. What would be your recommendations for visiting Colorado?


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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Out West Wednesday : FAQs

Since announcing my big news last week I've received nothing but support from everyone and honestly that means the world to me. Picking up and moving to a new town is always a little scary no matter how many times you've been the "new girl" in your life, but with every kind message I'm filled with more excitement and confidence that I've made the right choice.

I thought it'd be fun to start a new series here called Out West Wednesday, where I'll be talking about my life in Colorado. Being a 'lifestyle blogger" means I can write about my life any day, but I like the idea of keeping those Colorado specific posts to a certain day. Sharing my blog with friends and family is something I plan to do soon and I think it'll make it easiest for those just wanting to read life updates this way.

Today I thought I'd do a little FAQs post. Announcing that you're moving across the country understandably comes with a lot of questions from everyone and these are some of the most common ones I'm asked by everyone.




1. Are you serious?
yes, I am. I'll be living in Avon, Colorado for at least the next 6 months; I've only been here a little over a week but I can already tell this is going to be really good for me. I was so miserable where I was, and honestly had been for a while, so I'm ready for this adventure.

2. Have you ever been to Colorado?
Nope. This is my first time in Colorado or living in the mountains. It's actually only the second time I've been west of Louisiana. It's a little funny because I always said I could never live in Denver because of the altitude, so instead I moved to someplace approximately 2000 feet higher.

3. Why Vail?
Why not Vail? Long term I really want to work within luxury tourism and hospitality so Vail makes sense. I've never lived in the mountains so it just seems like a set of experiences and a new way of life that will benefit me long term. I never thought I'd want to live in a city smaller than my hometown, but it reminds me a lot of Oxford in that most everyone is here for the same reason and that reason bonds everyone together. And we all know how much I loved living in Oxford for four years.

4. Do you know anyone there?
yes, and no. I know my roommate, who I met on Craigslist. And I also know Ashliegh from blogging. But there are so many young people here that I know I'll make friends easily. Plus I've found that my story really isn't that different for most people here. Almost everyone I've met has a degree in something that after working in for a while realized wasn't their passion and made the move out here.

5. So is this forever?
Honestly I don't know. My job is guaranteed until ski season ends in April, but the hotel I'll be working at is open year round, so there's always the option of applying to stay longer. Plus they're owned by a larger company who owns a bunch of other resorts. In the next few years I think I'd like to work with marketing or special events at a resort before eventually becoming a freelance travel writer, but who knows what the future holds. All I know for sure is that I have a 6 month lease so I won't really start to think about what's next until January.


Have any other questions about my big adventure? Leave me a comment and I'll answer them in a future post!


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Friday, November 6, 2015

Guest Post: 10 ways to make your blog a welcoming space

I'm very excited to share a guest post with y'all today from Anne. When I decided to move to Colorado I knew it'd mean really great content for this space. With so many new experiences I know I'm going to be inspired to share so much here. But I also knew that keeping to my posting schedule would be very difficult at first. I put out the call for guest bloggers willing to help me out, and I'm so thankful Anne reached out and agreed to share this post with my readers today! It's full of so much great advice that I know I personally plan to implement here.

Hi there Salsa readers! My name is Anne and I am the blogger behind Love the Here and Now. When I heard that Hillary was in need of some guest bloggers I hopped at the chance. Getting to know others and helping other bloggers out is a great way to make your blogging experience that much better.
The blogging community is a wonderful thing. Together we share our stories, encourage each other, and support each other. We want our blogs to be spaces that we not only love but ones that encourage others to come back and feel a sense of community. This got me to thinking. How can I make my blog a space where readers want to return to and at the same time, how can I make readers feel welcomed and valued? Today I thought I would share with you 10 ways to make your blog a welcoming space.


10 Ways to Make Your Blog a Welcoming Space www.lovethehereandnow.com


1. Aesthetics

Your blog design says a lot about you and your taste and it's the first impression your readers receive. It is and should be a reflection of your personality. Having said that though, you do not want your design to distract your readers from the content. Too many colors, too many fonts, type that is too light to read can all lead to a negative impression. If you are one that loves bold and bright colors perhaps think about choosing 2-3 and using them in your graphics. Try to keep your fonts in graphics to 2-3 as well. As for the body of your posts, use a font that is easy to read and dark enough for readers to see without squinting.

2. Introduce Yourself!

Most blogs have a photo of the blogger but I have come across a few that do not even list the bloggers name. In cases like that, I find myself scrolling down to the end of the post hoping to find a post signature or hitting their About page. Perhaps it's just me, but I like to know who the blogger is behind the blog. Let your readers know who you are and you can even go a step further and give a short little intro of what you and your blog are about. I recently updated my intro picture so upon landing on my blog new readers have a feel for what Love the Here and Now is all about.
Intro Picture

3. Update Your About Page

Your About page may one of the first places a new reader ventures to. Let your readers know more about you. I love finding bloggers that I can relate to and often find that I can see what I have in common with bloggers through their About pages.

4. Make Navigation Easy

When I get to a new blog I like to see that everything is laid out nicely. I love being able to navigate easily throughout a blogger's pages. Many blog designs and themes come with the option to customize the site's navigation.
Navigation bar
Using a static navigation bar (one that stays at the top of the page as you scroll through the web page insures that your readers can quickly navigate from one page to another, no matter where they are on your blog.
Static Navigation Bar
Having categories on your blog is key. It lets your readers know what you often blog about. A search bar is also a must. It will save your readers from having to scroll through post after post trying to find a post that they want to reread.

5. Popular Posts

Having your top or popular posts readily available showcases you and your blog. Take advantage of this and share the posts that drove the most traffic to your site. Perhaps you would rather ignore the stats and just share the posts that mean the most to you. Either way is fine but dedicate a spot where readers can keep reading.

6. Link to Posts Within Your Posts

You want your readers to stay on your blog. Make it easier for them to do so by linking to other posts of yours. By doing this you will keep your readers engaged and present. Another great option is to add related posts to your blog's footer. If a reader enjoys a post of yours and sees that there are other similar posts readily available with a click of the mouse they may click through the suggested posts and stay on your blog a bit longer.

7. Reply to Comments!

When a reader takes the time to comment on your blog it only seems fair that you reply and it shows them that you appreciate the time they took to comment. When I first started blogging on the Blogger platform I used their commenting system. A reader would comment and I would email them a reply. I have since added Disqus to my site and have never regretted that decision. I love Disqus for the sheer fact that it allows not only myself to respond to a comment but anyone can join in on a conversation. It's a great way to encourage a sense of community and discussion. Responding to comments via email limits the conversation to two people only. Why not encourage others to chime in and share their thoughts?

8. Branding

Your brand allows your readers to recognize you and your blog. Incorporating your header or elements of your header (fonts or colors) across your social media platforms will help you stand out to your readers. Your branding will help readers easily recognize you and your blog. If done well and properly across the board your blog's brand will readily come to mind. This is something that I am just starting to work on myself. I use the same font (if applicable) and the same color throughout social media.
My Twitter header: Twitter Header   My Facebook Header: Facebook Header My Pinterest account: Pinterest Account  

9. Add Widgets to Your Blog

Adding a Pinterest and Instagram widget to your blog gives readers a deeper sense of what you are about. To me, Instagram is a glimpse into one's daily life. Why not showcase that on your blog and give your readers a better sense of the blogger behind the blog? Adding Pinterest to your blog's sidebar is also a great way to share interests of yours. Let your readers see your latest pins and perhaps they will follow you and it will be another way to engage your readers. Perhaps you share some common interests.

10. Content

Tips 1-9 won't mean much unless you keep providing your readers with content that engages them and interests them. Not every post will be everyone's cup of tea and that's ok. I blog because I want to share my thoughts, opinions, and views. Perhaps you may not agree with a blogger on everything but if done well, it will engage your readers and create a respectful discussion. Cassie did that beautifully with this post. Your content should be authentic and genuine and shared because it is something you believe in, not because of numbers and stats only. If it's not heartfelt and something that you enjoy sharing it will come across to your readers.

How do you engage readers on your blog? Any tips to share on how to make your blog a welcoming space?

   

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Monday, November 2, 2015

one way ticket

I left on a one way ticket to Denver this morning. Yes, you read that correctly; I Hillary Elizabeth Goodfellow am moving to Colorado. By the time this posts I'll be sitting in Dallas Love waiting for my connecting flight, and hopefully not having a panic attack. I don't do impulsive. I don't do outside my comfort zone. I don't do adventure. Except this time I am.



For the next 6 months I will be working in Vail for a ski resort. I'm very excited for this epic adventure, and I think it's exactly the change I need desperately in my life right now. Be sure to follow me on snapchat (hill_goodfellow)Instagram and twitter so you don't miss any of the excitement! And if anyone has any tips on life in the mountains please send them my way!


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Friday, October 30, 2015

IN vs. Out October

Raise your hand if you can't believe October is over. I think I blinked and just totally missed the entire month. It feels like just yesterday I was writing my first In vs. Out post to link up with Allison. But October has absolutely flown by and here are again. October has been jam packed with things so I'm excited to recap.



IN
Quitting my job
Fun new Snap Chat filters (PS make sure to follow me hill_goodfellow)
Endless to-do lists


OUT
Christmas music, I tried and it just felt wrong
Saving money, the shopping bug bit me hard
Responding to comments, y'all I'm so sorry I epically sucked this month


Make sure to go linkup your own posts!

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

the first day

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. Yesterday was my last day of work at the job I've held for the past 23 months. I swiped my badge at 2am and walked out that employee entrance for the last time. I had planned for this post to go up yesterday but I just couldn't make myself write it in time. It's funny because I've imagined writing it for so long, drafted so many versions in my head, and yet I just couldn't figure out what to say. A day I'd been anxiously anticipating for so long was finally here, and I was speechless.

It's no secret I was unhappy in that job for a while, but at the end of almost 2 years I am thankful for it. It was my first job out of college and really did teach me a few things. All my job hunting and interview prepping paid off and I'm off to a new opportunity. I'll be sharing a little more about what my next plans are next week, but for now I wanted to focus on the positive and end this chapter of my life remembering the good. So today I thought I'd share the two biggest takeaways from this experience in an effort to try and be optimistic for anyone else who might be struggling in a job they don't love anymore.

1. You have to be at work one way or another, so you might as well be there with a smile on your face. Earlier this month I was nominated for Crew Member of the Quarter and when they read my nomination letter the thing that really stuck with me was that I was "eternally optimistic," and not to toot my own horn, but I totally am. I'm convinced that if you act happy and like you're glad to be there there's a higher chance that it'll come true. If you're mopping around unhappy about being there you're never going to have an enjoyable day.

2. Listen to your heart and know when it's time to move on. On the total flip side of that first fact, sometimes you have to realize you just can't grin and bare it anymore. I'm not saying you have to be over the moon happy every day, but when you leave on Friday already dreading having to come back on Monday you should take that as a sign. That's what happened to me. Even though I had the realization that my job mattered, it just didn't make me happy and it wasn't worth it anymore. I'm very thankful I have a great mom who reminded me of that and encouraged me to turn in my notice even before my next plans were completely finalized.

I'll be sharing more about what my next plans are next week. But be sure to follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat (hill_goodfellow) for some sneak peaks before the news officially hits the blog.
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Monday, October 26, 2015

fall shopping round up

I know I already did a shopping post this month, but I'm really loving all the fall fashions out right now so I decided it'd be okay to do a second. I promise I'm not turning into a fashion blogger, mostly because I have nobody to take photos of me.

Today I thought it'd be fun to do a bit of a fall shopping roundup. I feel like with so many bloggers posting links to different products on Twitter or Instagram or directly on blogs it's so difficult to know what's actually cute and what's just trying to post for the clicks. I actually own each of these items below and they're products that I'd recommend to my sisters or girl friends so you know I like them.




Dress - This is hands down my favorite dress I've bought this year. I was really torn about if I should order it or not because I was worried the cream colored background wouldn't work in fall, but Koryn of Pick Your Beau talked me into it and I'm so glad she did. I've worn it with brown booties so far and I know it'll work with tights and tall boots as it gets colder.
Hat - Y'all come on, how could I pass up a hat with a giant pom pom? This is just so fun and I can't wait to wear it all winter! It also comes in a couple of other color combinations, but I really liked these classic colors.
Sunglasses - I bought $350 sunglasses. LOL JK, I did not hit the jackpot playing at the casino last week. I actually bought $6 sunglasses which is my ideal price. Once again I own major thanks to Koryn for letting me know these Prada dupes exist in my price range.
Earrings - Okay so I guess I technically bought these in the summer, but the USPS look forever to deliver them so I'm counting them as a fall purchase. I've wanted something in the abalone shell from Kendra Scott since I first went on her website, but was always too nervous because each piece is unique. I'm so so happy I finally was brave enough to order these because I'm seriously in love. Also don't forget I'm giving a pair of these away!
Socks - A friend recently introduced me to SmartWool and I seriously don't know how I've lived my entire life without these. They make a variety of socks in different thicknesses and levels of support so you can really find the perfect pair for your needs. I ordered these margarita socks (because duh) plus 5 more pairs.
Boots - I actually order two pairs of boots this fall, these snow boots plus Bean Boots. The Bean Boots I ordered are actually not back ordered in a few sizes, but they're not your classic looking Bean Boot so I know some people might not be into them. I can't wait for snow so I can wear these all the time. I was really worried they'd be too heavy and I'd feel like Big Foot, but they're actually really normal feeling.
Sweater - You know I love a good leopard print. This sweater is so fun yet classic yet contemporary if that's possible. It's also really soft and cozy. I would recommend going up a size though so you get a slightly more oversized/longer look because it is junior sizing.

What have you bought and loved this fall? Any early winter purchases you're dying to use?


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Friday, October 23, 2015

50 in 500 update

I have a little over 9 months left to complete the items on my 50 in 500 list, and honestly I thought I'd have more items checked off by now. You can always follow along with my progress through that little tab at the top; as I complete something I cross it out and leave a date. But today I wanted to highlight a few of the things I've accomplished and a share the next few things I'm going to focus on in the next couple of months. I'm probably do one more update before my 500 days are over in July.

So far I've completed 14 items totally with progress on an additional two. Checking anything off is exciting but a few items have been especially exciting to get to mark off
Number 8: own a real piece of art - I've lusted after Evelyn Henson's artwork for months and was so thrilled when I won a gift card to finally purchase one of her adorable elephant canvases. Elephants are smart and luck ( I don't really know why, but I remember hearing that when I was young and I've believed it since) plus they're my second favorite animal so being able to have this orignial piece on my wall is a real treat.
Number 32: write a sponsored post - writing a sponsored post was a big blogging goal of mine for this year and being approached by a brand I love made it even better. I was so happy to have the opportunity to share about Wrenn Jewelry in a creative way while checking something off my list.

There were a few items I'm actually surprised I haven't checked off yet that I thought I would have done by now. I guess these all just seemed like such simple ones I didn't make them a priority.
Number 6: join a book club
Number 18: better organize my Pinterest boards
Number 28: donate my hair.

I also thought I would have made more progress on a couple items
Number 1: visit 3 new states - As I've mentioned before I had a couple of potential trips planned for this past summer that fell through but would have taken me to these 3 new states.
Number 24: watch 10 Academy Award winning films - Finding 10 award winning films that I haven't already seen is actually a lot more difficult that I anticipated; if anyone has a favorite please share it!

At this point I think I'm able to predict which items will be the most difficult to mark off.
Number 2: visit somewhere outside the US - my original plan was Europe next summer for my 25th birthday but that's looking more and more unlikely.
Number 13: reconnect with Theta as an alum - not living in a big city with a large young alumni population makes this one pretty much impossible.
Number 47: have $20,000 in savings - I was doing so so well on this one and was actually ahead of track to reach it, but new exciting life changes mean I'm soon not going to be able to devote as much to savings.

So what items do I predict I'll be checking off next?
Number 1: visit 3 new states (at least making progress on it)
Number 31: share my blog with friends
Number 43: have a job I love
Number 44: move out of my parents house
Stay tuned for more on these in the next few weeks because they'll be being checked off rather quickly!



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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Saltwater

Fishing is in my blood. Not only have I spent the majority of my life on our Mississippi Gulf Coast, but I also come from a long line of distinguished anglers, three of whom hold Mississippi State Fishing Records. I grew up around old fish tales and convinced every fish dinner my mom prepared was from a fish I had caught. I could cast my own rod before I knew how to ride a bike and knew the difference between port and starboard before left or right. Some children have to endure long car rides before being able to enjoy a vacation; I simply had to endure the walk to the dock and climb into the boat.

Sometime in my early teen years I took this for granted. Call it teenage rebellion or simple jealousy that I’d never hooked the “big one”, but I simply wanted no part of fishing. Every time my dad asked if I wanted to come along on the boat I’d make up an excuse. It was too early. I had too much homework. It was too hot. Any reason I could think of to do something different seemed like a good reason to skip a trip. I grew up, moved away for college, and never thought I’d miss the fishing. I never thought I’d miss that bright orange life jacket or the slight layer of dirt that always seems to coat your body after being on the water all day. But after a few months away I realized I did miss it, or more accurately I missed being on the water. I missed the way the sun reflected off the water and how saltwater just seemed to smell like home. I missed the sense of peace that can only be found sitting in the middle of a body of water with nothing but nature and your thoughts to distract you. I missed the feeling of community you get when stopping to grab bait and hearing tales of what was biting where the day before or proudly displaying your day’s catch back at the dock.


Saltwater is in my veins no matter how much I try to deny it. I am a child of the Coast and always will be no matter where life takes me. Now when I go fishing I’m not so much hoping to hook the biggest one as I’ve accepted the fishing gene is one I simply did not get. I’m going fishing instead to enjoy and appreciate this place that I’m so lucky to call mine.




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Monday, October 19, 2015

Kendra Scott Mirror Mirror Collection + Giveaway

Kendra Scott introduced her new winter 2015 collection last week. With a name like Mirror Mirror, a tribute to my favorite fictional character of all time, you know I was anxiously awaiting the debut. I don't know that I'd call this collection my favorite, but I am really digging the new darker neutral hues. It really shows that dark doesn't have to mean dull. I've linked a few of my favorites from the new Mirror Mirror collection below.




I think my favorite piece is probably that last bracelet. It comes in a few different color/metal combinations so I totally wouldn't judge if you ordered more than one.

And now for the reason I'm sure half of you probably clicked on this post, a Kendra Scott Giveaway! If you follow me on twitter or instagram or snapchat (username: hill_goodfellow) you already know the background on these earrings so I won't rehash it here. But long story short I'm giving away a pair of Kendra Scott Kay Stud earrings in Abalone Shell. I have these exact earrings and am so in love with them; I know you will be too! Enter using the Rafflecopter below so I can send them to someone who'll love them as much as I love my pair.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

the story of my high school prom

Let's flash back to Spring of 2009. It's my senior year of high school, and I'm loving life. I'm all set to head to Ole Miss in a few months. I'm doing great in all my classes, enjoying all my clubs. I was just named to the Hall of Fame. Basically life is great.

So when the date of prom is announced everyone starts worrying about who they'll go with, because nobody wants to go alone. Except for me. Yes, you read that right I wanted to go to my Senior Prom alone. What's even weirder about this is that it's not like I'd been to a bunch of proms before and just wanted to do my own thing at this last one. I had never been to a prom before. (I didn't want to go Junior year because I had just moved to the school and didn't know anyone, and my father wouldn't let me go to either of the two separate proms I was asked to sophomore year, and yes, I am still bitter about that)

So I convince a couple of other girlfriends who don't have boyfriends that we should just go together. Don't worry about finding dates. Let's just go and have a good time and celebrate this last time we'll all be together. So my mom books the limo and we all agree that we'll stay at my house that night. Everyone carefully picks out dresses making sure nobody will clash.

It would have been absolutely perfect if only *John hadn't decided to ask me to go as his date. Now John was perfectly nice. We had a few classes together, he was smart and nice, and the type of guy that wouldn't have my parents up worried until I came home. Really he would have been the perfect date, except I didn't want a date. So standing there in the middle of the Urban Outfitters where he asked I told him no. Was it incredibly awkward for the next 2 days of the class trip we were on? Yes. Do I regret my decision? No.

So what does this have to do with anything in life? Well it's a good lesson that sometimes you have to put yourself first even if it means breaking the heart of a very nice high school classmate.


*name has been changed to protect the innocent

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Monday, October 12, 2015

Operation Skinny Minny

Raise your hand if you've been eating healthy lately? Oh, no hands? Not surprised. Maybe it's the knowledge that I have months until I'll be in a bathing suit again, but lately I've been eating like there's no tomorrow. Honestly this post has been sitting in my drafts folder for about a month if that tells you anything about my attitude towards eating healthy right now. But I've decided it's time to change. I saw a quote on Pinterest that said "bikini bodies are made when the temperatures drop" and that's so true. If you're being realistic it's obvious that you can't just start to eat right the middle of May and have a perfect body by summer after months of eating crap. So while this is sweater weather I'm also deeming it #OperationSkinnyMinny time.

The hardest part of eating healthy for me is getting over the idea of "dieting." I've never been skinny so I guess you could say I have a bad relationship with food and body image in general, but for some reason "dieting" just turns me off. Maybe it's because I feel like it's a personal choice, but I feel so awkward when people make any comments about it, even if they're being positive. When I first became president of my sorority we had fried chicken one day at lunch and instead I got a salad instead. One of the older girls saw and made a big deal asking if I was dieting because I felt like I needed to be skinny to be a good president. Now I'm weird and don't really like food on a bone so that salad was the only thing being served that I liked, it wasn't me consciously making the healthy choice. She was trying to be nice and tell me I was fine the way I was, but it just made me feel so awkward. So awkward that for the next week I didn't go near the salad bar and ate every meal being served by our kitchen no matter if I liked it or not. I say all that to show that "diet" food is not a solution for me. I have to find other ways to eat healthy that don't involve some fad meal plan.


easy ways to eat healthy without dieting



I've come up with my top 3 ways to eat healthy without going on a diet.

1. Cut fast food out of your budget - I feel like the last time I really ate healthy was in June when I did my no spend month. I wasn't allowing myself to stop and grab a Whataburger patty melt after running errands or stop for my beloved strawberry frosted Dunkin Donut on the way into work. If it's not in your budget you won't eat it, plan and simple.

2. Have a realistic goal - In my opinion this is the hardest part. We all want to drop 10 pounds in a week or get back to that same weight we were senior year of high school, but honestly that's not realistic. When I first started this post my goal was to drop a dress size by January so I could justify buying a new dress for Mardi Gras ball season. But since then plans have changed and I'm not going to need a dress after all. So now my goal is to be the weight on my driver's license by my birthday in July. It's less than 5 pounds a month which seems doable if I'm diligent about keeping off what I lose.

3. Make simple changes - Unless you have the best will power in the entire world there is no way you're going to be able to cut out all your unhealthy favorite foods. Finding little things to switch out and really looking at what I enjoy eating most verse what I'm just eating to eat is important. A good example is Chick-fil-A; I love their spicy chicken sandwich but honestly am not a big fan of the fries, so instead I'll order the fruit cup and be just as happy while saving a ton of calories. Another example is guacamole, if I'm at home eating it as a snack I'll substitute raw veggies (sliced cucumbers are my favorite) for chips. I'm really eating it for the dip; I could care less about what I'm dipping into it to eat.


What are you're favorite tips to eating healthy?


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Friday, October 9, 2015

booties booties booties rocking everywhere

Yeah I know I'm probably the tenth blogger to use that title this fall, but I just couldn't help myself. Mississippi finally got the message and it's starting to feel like fall around here. It happened seemingly overnight but one morning I woke up went out the door for work and had to double back to grab a sweater. Weather wise fall is probably my favorite season. We don't get any color changing leaves here, but we do get a fresh crispness in the air that is so appreciated after months of temps in the high 90s.

Last year I first really got into the booties trend and this year it's no different. At one point I hated booties because I thought they'd make me look shorter than I already am, but I think they're the perfect fall shoe to pair with dresses. If only I had a need for all these in my fall wardrobe.






1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5


PS: If you forgot to order your bean boots in August and don't want to wait until January, that pair in the middle are a great similar choice


This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on one of these links I will receive a small payment in exchange for sending you to a website where the product can be purchased. If you prefer not to click on a link for this reason and still want to know more about a product please feel free to email me. All opinions are my own. 

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Friday, October 2, 2015

fall playlist

Y'all this week. I felt like I was drowning in things to get done since it started. Anyone else have one of those weeks? I 100% deserve the bottle glass of wine I'm drinking tonight. I missed posting Wednesday because honestly I was just too busy to get anything up. And today's post isn't much, but it is something. And I majorly slacked off on my Instagram postings, something I only do when I'm really swamped. Honestly I think it was about 2pm yesterday before I even checked my email for the day. But I got everything accomplished and actually got some really great exciting news that I'll be sharing soon! So maybe being a terrible blogger paid off in other areas of my life.

Anyway today I'm sharing my fall playlist. These are the songs that have been powering me through my to-do list this week. So grab a PSL and enjoy these songs all season, or at least until it's socially acceptable to transition to Christmas songs 




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Monday, September 28, 2015

Why Blogging Webinars Rock

A few weeks back I saw a tweet for a free blogging webinar about how to better optimize social media for your blog. Not wanting to be left out I signed up to see what it was all about and I'm so glad I did. I've now watched 3 blogging webinars; I'm totally sold on their worth and looking for more. I never thought I'd like webinars because I get bored with podcasts and thought the experience would be the same. Clearly I'm a visual learner because I had no problem following along and staying engaged until the end. Webinars are such a great resource that I can't believe I wan't taking advantage of before. So why should you watch blogging webinars? Here's 3 reasons why blogging webinars rock

3 reasons every blogger and creative needs to participate in webinars



1. Great Tips - This is probably the most obvious reason to watch these blogging webinars. They're hosted by really successful bloggers and business owners who are sharing their tips and tricks for success. Everything they share might not be something you're interested in doing, but I promise you'll come away with at least one really great new idea to try. Keep a notebook and jot down notes of anything that sounds like it could work for you and your audience. Then use these ideas to brain storm how to make them your own.

2. Great Community - The blogging webinars I've watched have included a live chat feature plus a hashtag to use on social media so you get an interactive experience with others watching. Use these interactions to make a connection and network with other bloggers. I'm always looking for new people to add to my "tribe" and blogging webinars are great places to find these people.

3. Great Motivation - Blogging webinars are hosted by people who want you to succeed. In an industry that is so saturated by people trying to make it big it's awesome to find someone who wants to help you grow and kick butt. After watching these webinars I've been left on a total blogging high and felt like I can totally become the next big blogger. Like anything in life no matter how much we love something sometimes we get discouraged and need a little pick me up, blogging webinars totally give me that.


Want to give webinars a try? Helene is offering a free one this Wednesday night! And the best part is if you sign up she'll send you a free replay so even if you can't make it live you can still participate. So go sign up, you have no excuse not to.

What blogging webinars do you love?

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Friday, September 25, 2015

In VS Out linkup

I'm so excited to linkup today with Allison of Because I Said So! Every Friday she recaps what's In vs Out for the week and it's one of my favorite posts all week. She's decided to let everyone join in the fun and is now making it into a linkup the last Friday of every month!



IN
Pumpkin flavored everything! #basic
Taking a leap of faith and doing things outside my comfort zone
The Acoustic Covers Spotify playlist; I'm not even a little ashamed how much I love it
Being a blogger, I just really feel like I'm getting my act together this month and it's showing
This most popular Instagram post of all time




OUT
Going to bed at a reasonable time; when Zenon comes on you watch it no matter what time it is
Eating healthy. Y'all I've been so so bad this month and it has got to stop
Reading other blogs, I'm a couple of days away from having to hit read all and call it a total loss
Alabama football. Did you hear they lost to Ole Miss last week? Hotty Toddy!
Buying work clothes. I keep starting out to buy black pants and end up with a fall dress instead




Go link up your In vs Out too to join the fun!


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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

3 tips for your first credit card

One of my 50 in 500 goals was to get a credit card with benefits I'll actually use. I've had a credit card in some form or fashion since high school, but up until July it was only for emergencies and my parents always paid that bill. But in July I gave that up as I try to become more of an adult. Since I was now paying the bill and money doesn't grow on trees I wanted to make sure I was taking advantage of every perk I could. Even though my financial obligations are minimal I find that I spend a ton of my time thinking about money. My most popular post of all time is a financial post, so this is clearly something you're thinking about too. I know I had so many questions when I was trying to decide which card to apply for and I just couldn't find any information that I felt applied to me. In the end I realized there were 3 essential questions I had to ask myself before I could decide on one.



1. What fees are associated with this credit card? - I knew I absolutely did not want a card with an annual fee ever. You have to be careful because some cards waive the annual fee for your first year, but then charge you close to $100 a year. You want me to pay a fee so that I can pay you money each month? No thank you. Also it's important to know if you'll be charged an inactive fee or a canceling fee.

2. What type of rewards will this credit card give me? - This is when it's really important to be honest with yourself and what you'll actually use. A card that allows you to earn a million travel miles does you no good if you don't travel much. The card I had before this one was a Disney Visa that gave really generous points, however you could only use those points at Disney World/Land or in a Disney Store. It was great when my family went to Disney World and was able to cash in all those points to eat in the parks each day, but since that the points were just sitting there until being spent on random things in the Disney Store.

3. Will I actually qualify for this credit card? - Being young with a very limited credit history means not just anyone was going to give me a credit card. I was lucky in that I didn't have bad credit, I just didn't have much history to be based upon. Most major credit card companies offer a "student" credit card that is fairly easy to qualify for because it is designed to be for young 20 somethings either still in school or who have recently graduated. Also my bank has a student credit card, so that's a good option to look into as well.



Ultimately I decided to go with the DiscoverIt card because I felt like it met all my needs. I've been using it since June and I couldn't be happier. I've yet to find a place that didn't accept it, I'll never be charged an annual fee, and the rewards are really great (either statement credit or gift cards to places I actually got). Every quarter there is a special category that gives you 5% back and you receive 1% back on everything else. Plus they have something called Discover Deals which functions a lot like Ebates. They have a great app, easy to use website that let's you view your balance and pay, and even give you your credit score with each statement. Plus they have a refer a friend bonus! If you click this link to apply and are approved you and I both get a $50 bonus after your first purchase.


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Monday, September 21, 2015

Tweet Responsibly

Did you watch the Emmy's last night? I totally forgot they were coming on until the last award of the night so I clearly missed out. I did see Viola Davis' acceptance speech this morning and yes what she said was very powerful, but can we just talk about how really beautiful she looked. Annalise Keating isn't exactly a glamour girl, so it was really nice to see her looking so effortlessly elegant.

Speaking of television, today I want to talk about something that's been on my chest for awhile. A ton of fall TV is starting back this week and I could not be more excited! I'm excited for the returns of Nashville, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder and looking forward to the new shows Scream Queen and Muppets. But you know what I'm not excited about, having to stay off social media while these shows run for fear of seeing a spoiler.

You see, not everyone gets to watch shows when they first come on. Thanks to my new work schedule I'm finally able to watch a couple of my shows as they air, but for all of last season I lived in fear of seeing a spoiler. I realize that sounds a little dramatic, but it really isn't. Nothing is worse than to be casually scrolling Twitter minding your own business and see a major spoiler. You're already mad you're not watching your show and now you know who died, or came back from the dead, or slept with whom, or whatever other plot twist they're throwing you that week.




So this is just my little reminder to tweet responsibly and don't share spoilers.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Top 3 Wednesday

Becca does a post on Tuesdays called "Top 3 Tuesday" where she shares the top 3 things that are making her happy that week. I really love and look forward to these posts because they're filled with nothing but positivity. I'm really trying to be a more positive person and have decided that for the rest of the month I'm not going to snapchat a single negative thing. I realized I was using it as my main outlet of complaining and as such certain friends were having my negativity thrust upon them, and that's just not fair.

I don't post on Tuesdays so I decided to make this Top 3 Wednesday and share the 3 things making me happy this week!


1. The tremendous growth I've seen in all my blog accounts lately. I now have over 600 Instagram followers and last week had my first post to reach over 150 likes! If you aren't already, go follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin now!


2. I finally got my Kendra Scott Kay Stud earrings! I ordered them a month ago, FedEx/USPS lost them, and last week they were finally resent to me arriving on Monday. I am absolutely in love with them and don't mind the extra long wait time now.

3. Spotify's Acoustic Covers playlist is my current favorite playlist. It's the perfect mixture for when I need to get some writing done. Speaking of writing, today my first post of my free-lance writing was published and I'm so excited this new venture is officially real!


So there's my top 3, well really 4 things from this week. Share your top 3 with me down below!

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