Friday, January 30, 2015

Super Bowl Drinking Game

Okay ladies, the biggest day in sports in right around the corner. Okay well it might not be the biggest day, but it is a pretty big deal. Wether you love the NFL or not, the Super Bowl is a huge event. Personally I'm not a big professional sports fan so I really just watch for the half time show and commercials and that's totally fine. I really have zero interest in watching this year because I don't care for either team, can they both lose?, so I really need something fun to help me get through the night. Enter the Super Bowl drinking game. This game is great for a watch party or for just watching at home alone. Just please remember to drink responsibly!

Take 1 sip for each
Mention of "Deflategate"
"I'm only here so I don't get fined" joke
Beer commercial
Commercial featuring a cute animal
Commercial featuring a girl in a bikini
Time the quarterback gets sacked
Time the ball is intercepted

Chug for each
Time either team leads by 20 or more points
Time a team "goes for two"
Fan shown wearing excessive face/body paint
Time Gisele is shown in the stands
Mention of last year's Richard Sherman's rant
Mention of Katy Perry's College Game Day appearance

Finish your drink if
A kickoff is ran back for a touchdown
Someone streaks across the field
A political commercial airs
The electricity goes out
Someone says they're going to Disney World

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

1. Lately I've kinda been thinking about doing a complete blog rebranding, as in I have a list of possible new blog names on my phone. I still like From Mississippi With Love, but I seriously don't like having to type it in each time I log into Instagram. I think I'd go for something shorter and more universally appealing. At some point this year I plan on making my blogging habit known to those who know me in real life so as to legitimize my hobby. I want it to be as professional and have as big a following as possible before that and I think a rebranding could be helpful. Am I totally crazy? Anyone have any experience with it? Any advice?

2. I know I joke about it, but Valentine's Day is seriously stressing me out this year. I've been talking to this guy for what seems like forever and in my mind he's totally my Valentine but I don't have any idea what he's thinking. Luckily I don't have to worry about if he's going to take me out that day, and not just because I'm working, but because he's 2 plane rides away. So instead I'm just stressing about if I should text him Happy Valentine's Day (insert kissyface cat emoji) or just pretend like the day doesn't exist. And to make matters even more complicated I refer to him as my boyfriend at work because (1) it's not like they'd ever meet him and it'd be awkward (2) it stops guys from hitting on me (3) it stops people from trying to set me up (4) it's really freaking difficult to explain that you've been talking to a guy for this long without being in an actual relationship. So what do I do when they ask me what he's bought me? Buy myself something and say it's from him?

3. How do you tell your best friend you're not going to her wedding? I think I've mentioned it before but my best friend from college is getting married in July. It's a 7 day Caribbean cruise which sounds great until you realize it'd suck up all my vacation time and cost close to $1000 before you even factor in my plane ticket, island excursions, alcohol, a wedding gift, etc. Plus it's during my birthday and honestly being on a cruise where I know 3 other people just isn't really my idea of a good time. She keeps saying that they picked a destination wedding because they didn't want people to feel like they had to come to the wedding, but I just feel so guilty about not going.

4. I am extremely unhappy in my job. I know I'm probably breaking 5 million rules of job etiquette by saying that, but honestly it's become too much of a burden to keep secret anymore. I know most people don't love their jobs, especially their first job, but this is much more intense than just not loving it. At the risk of sounding over dramatic I feel like I'm in a toxic relationship with it; if I had these feelings about a boyfriend people would make me get out of that relationship. It's not that I have a bad job or I work with bad people; I'm just not happy doing what I do. I feel like this unhappiness is poisoning the rest of my life and I just don't know how much more I can take. If anyone knows of anyone with an opening for someone with a journalism degree and experience in PR/Marketing please send me their way!

Okay so now that I've told you everything that's going on in my life, what's going on in yours?
PS: Don't forget to enter my giveaway

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Winter Blues Giveaway

Today's post has been in the works for a while now and I'm so excited to finally get to share it with you! The post Christmas, "why is it so cold outside", "am I ever going to be able to wear sandals again" part of winter is upon us, and honestly it sucks. Maybe if you live in some cute little ski town that comes to life during the dead of winter you're loving life right now, but other wise probably not. Maybe it's the early sunsets and lack of neon in everyone's wardrobes but this part of winter seriously gives me the blues. So I thought maybe I wasn't alone and you're feeling a little down during this frigid part of the year and could use something to cheer you up. Well today you're in luck because I'm hosting a Beating the Winter Blues Giveaway!

The winner will receive this cute little box filled with all things blue!
2 pairs of Baublebar statement earrings (you have no idea how hard it is to not keep them myself!)
pair of spa socks
Breakfast at Tiffany's inspired sleep mask
bath poof
Ashley Brooke Designs mug

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Valentine's Day gifts for your girlfriends

Valentine's Day is just a few weeks away. I hate to be the barer of bad news, but if you don't already have a date, chances of finding one between now and then are slim. Don't worry, I'll be right there along with all you other single gals; just remember we're only alone because we won't settle for less than the best. But just because you don't have a guy, or girl if that's your thing, to spend that overhyped commercialized night with doesn't mean you don't have other people to celebrate with. I'm not talking Anti Valentine's Day all men suck type celebrations; I mean positive "Girlfriends are our soul mates and men are just people to have fun with" type celebrations.

So forget the silly boys and get a gift for your real soul mate this year. Here are a few gifts that any girl, especially this single one, would love to get come February 14.

Things to stay clear of: anything monogramed, because you don't want to remind her that's not changing any time soon, and a copy of He's Just Not that Into You

Monday, January 26, 2015

the work playlist

Most people probably have some sort of background music playing at their work. My office is no exception. For the most part the music they play at my office is pretty decent. There have been the occasional times when I've heard a Taylor Swift song every 45 minutes or the day they played Let's Get It On not once, but twice. But for the most part I enjoy most the songs that play. The biggest complaint is the songs are so random; it'll go from Backstreet Boys straight into Elvis. The other day I wrote down every song that played for an hour and today I'm sharing that playlist with you

See, good songs, just totally random. Any idea what station it could have been on this day?
What type of music do they play at your office?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Kendra Scott Spring 2015

Yesterday Kendra Scott introduced her new Spring 2015 line, Avant Garden. Inspired by her home garden of natural crystals and organic plants this collection is filled with beautiful soft hues. I'm especially loving the new Blue Lace Agate and Aqua Kyocera Opal shades. These small pieces pack a big punch and will instantly update your wardrobe. It's easy to see why this brand is quickly jumping to the front of everyone's must have lists. Here are a few of my favorite pieces from the new collection!

They're currently offering free shipping on all orders until Sunday at midnight, meaning it's a great time to jump on some of her other pieces I'm sure you've seen all over Instagram like these neon yellow sky earrings (on sale!) or the Kylie drusy ring. What pieces are you loving? Any other Spring 2015 collections killing it?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

How To: make and stick to a budget

I suck at sticking to a budget. Luckily this isn't a skill I've had to be great at so far in my life, but hopefully within the next few months that'll change. Whether you're like me and enjoying life with mom and dad paying most of your bills or you're a college student with a small monthly stipend or a new grad trying to figure out life on your own for the first time, being able to stick to a budget is a great life skill.

Last week I wrote a post about ways to build your savings account and mentioned one of the best ways to achieve that is by sticking to a budget. Today I wanted to share how I make and stick to my budget. Usually How To posts are written by people claiming to be experts or at least really really good at the thing they're teaching, but I'm not. This is more of a share and learn type post. I'll share what I'm currently doing and hopefully you'll leave me a comment with what you're currently doing. The idea of this post is to help everyone become better at this essential life skill.

Currently I make my monthly budget using 3 steps:
1. Realization - Spend a month keeping meticulous records of everything you spend. This will allow you to have the most accurate picture of how and when you're spending money. For me the easiest way to do this is to use my debt card to pay for everything and then using my online billing to look at my detailed statement at the end of the month. It's really an eye opening experience to see how all your small purchases you've probably forgotten about add up at the end.

2. Organization - Once you have a detailed list of your spending you'll need to divide your expenses into different categories. Some of these will probably include: rent, groceries, gas, utilities, entertainment. But you might also want to include categories for savings, donations, or small happys such as fresh flowers and funny cards to send to a friend who lives across the county. My budget is broken into: food, necessary shopping (shampoo, tooth paste, etc), splurge shopping (those new boots that I just have to have), donations, and savings account.

3. Prioritize - What is most important to you? These things are going to deserve a larger portion of your budget. Obviously there are going to have to be exceptions for set things like rent, insurance, and utilities. But if the one thing that brings you the most joy in life is happy hour with the girls from your office, you need to make sure to give enough in your budget to it. At the end of the day your budget has to be something you can stick to, and if you're miserable with life because your favorite things are gone you'll have trouble with that.

It's important to remember that you shouldn't place all your income into a budget. You need to leave a little extra for emergencies. This cushion is probably the most important part of your budget. Ideally you don't have to touch this and after a few months to a year you can move it into your savings or use it towards a fabulous vacation or similar splurge. I'm hoping to take 2 trips this year, one in April and one closer to my July birthday, in addition to adding the $5000 to my savings account. This extra cushion is where I'm hoping to be able to pay for my trips.

Once I've made my budget I find the easiest way for me to not over spend in areas is by using cash. I'll stop by the ATM and withdraw the amount that I've set aside; obviously this doesn't work for everything but I've found it's especially helpful for eating out. My debt card is only for online purchases (always try to go through Ebates to get the percentage back!) or over $40 shopping trips, and my credit card is only used for gas. Another trick that I've found to work well is delaying large purchases by at least 24 hours. I'm really bad about impulse online shopping; usually after waiting till the next day I suddenly don't want that must have item so much.

Okay so spill it. What are your tricks to sticking to a budget?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

10 post ideas for fashion bloggers

I'm no fashion blogger, but I am a 23 year old female who enjoys reading fashion blogs. Sometimes though I just can't handle them. Nothing personal but I don't really want to scroll through 22 photos of you awkwardly fake laughing/looking off into the distance only to find 3 sentences worth of text with approximately 45 affiliate links. To be clear I have no problem with affiliate links (as long as you're disclosing them!) or these types of photos; just make sure you put some effort into the text at the bottom. I want to read something that explains why those jeans will make me look a foot taller or some funny story about the awkwardness that ensued while taking those photos. Without the witty text your blog is nothing more than a narcissistic Pinterest page, and nobody wants to read that.

So dear fashion blogger, what posts should you be writing you ask? Today I've come up with 10 posts that I'd love to read. Love to read so much that I'd probably tweet the links, pin every photo, and save it as a favorite post. I promise if I want to read these posts there are so many other girls out there who'd love to too. So now do what you claim to want to do and write helpful content so we can all help make the world a more fashionable place.

1. Pinterest looks that don't work in real life
2. How to properly roll jeans for booties
3. 3 favorite items that weren't gifted to you
4. How to hold your phone to take the perfect OOTD Instagram picture
5. Weekend worth of outfits for under $200
6. Must have basics for every closet
7. How to layer without looking like a snowman
8. The best transition pieces
9. What jewelry to wear with different necklines/hair styles
10. trendy pieces that have a good chance of coming back into style

Friday, January 16, 2015

Stop Loop Giveaways 2015

Today I want to talk about a very serious problem that's recently infiltrated my favorite form of social media: the loop giveaway. If you follow small boutiques or bloggers I'm willing to bet your Instagram feed has lately been filled with these posts too. I've thought about unfollowing every account I see post one but I'm afraid that before too long I'll be left with only a handful to follow. The idea of possibly winning $700 to your favorite store is very appealing and before you know it you've fallen down the rabbit hole. Halfway into following the required 53 accounts you realize maybe you don't really want that gift card this much, but you're too far in to stop now. It's okay though because unfollowing all those unwanted accounts will give you something to do while waiting in the Starbucks line.

In all seriousness I understand the appeal of loop giveaways for sponsors. It's an easy way to get a ton of exposure and followers who'll hopefully stick around. But unfortunately, except for the one winner, they aren't as beneficial for the 2500 people who enter. When you want me to follow, like, comment, and tag a friend over 30 times that 1 in 2500 chance of winning doesn't seem worth it. This doesn't have to be the case, with just a few tweaks loop giveaways can be a fun and beneficial experience for everyone involved.

1. Limit the number of sponsors in the giveaway - more than 15 is pushing it
2. Make sure all the sponsors are similar in appeal
3. Clearly state how many sponsors are involved
4. Clearly state how long the giveaway lasts - ideally no more than 48 hours
5. Clearly state how and when the winner will be announced
6. Don't make people tag friends for entries, that's just annoying
7. Make sure all sponsors post at the same time - hint keeping the number small greatly helps with this
8. Don't post about the giveaway more than once - this creates confusion
9. Don't take advantage of your new followers by spamming them with 100s of dumb posts a day
10. Make sure the winner is notified and receives the prize in a timely manner

Am I just being bitter that I've yet to win one of these, or do they annoy you too? I'm planning on hosting my own giveaway (of the non loop variety) soonish and I'd love to hear what you think makes a good giveaway vs a bad one.

PS Follow me on Instagram!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

4 easy ways to build your savings account

I mentioned that one of my 2015 goals is to add $5000 to my savings account. Unless some unknown distant relative dies this goal is not going to be an easy one, but just because it's going to be difficult doesn't mean it has to be impossible. I'm not saving particularly for retirement, or a house downpayment, or to have a baby, or send someone to college, or to travel. I'm just saving to build my savings account. I'm only 23, so I figure the more I invest into my rainy day fund now the better. Somewhere down the road I'll be thankful that I put that $100 in my savings account instead of spending it on a pair of shoes.

First let's break that $5000 down into a more reasonable sum; every month I need to deposit $417. See that already seems more manageable! I think that's the first big thing you need to do when facing any large amount of money, simply break it down. I've come up with 4 main ways to work towards building my savings account. None of these alone would make a very large dent, but when you add up all the small amounts I think it'll be enough to get me to my goal.

1. Direct Deposit - This is probably the easiest way to save money; you can't spend what you don't have. My job allows you to get your check direct deposited into more than one account, meaning I can put money straight into my savings account without it ever touching my checking account. This is great because if I never see it in that account in my mind it's like I've never had it to spend. I recently received a small pay raise, this plus a little bit more I have direct deposited into my savings account. It's a small amount that I won't miss each pay period but when you multiply it by the 26 times I'll get paid this year it's enough to add up.

2. Stick to a budget - You won't be able to add to your savings if your checking account is going to 0 each month and you're in major credit card debt. While you never want to go over your budget, you also don't want to be tempted to feel the need to spend up to your budget. Maybe the weather sucked all month and you never wanted to leave the house on weekends so you only spend half of what you budgeted for entertainment, there is no reason for that extra to sit in your checking account to be spent on something silly. As long as you've left yourself a cushion each month you can put any extra of your budgeted money into savings.

3. Alternative earnings - There are so many extra ways to gain a small additional source of income each month that can be used to build your savings account. Open an Etsy shop, sell unused items, pick up an extra job like babysitting or dog walking; these are all great options that allow you the freedom to decide how much time and energy you want to put into each. Two other options I'm currently using are Swagbucks and Ebates. With Swagbucks you do little things like watch videos (download the mobile app and let them play while you're in the shower or getting ready in the morning) or answer daily polls and earn points that you use for gift cards to places like Target or WholeFoods. Ebates is a website that you go through when shopping online at a ton of stores like Nordstrom and BaubleBar that gives you back a percentage of your purchase as a check or paypal payment. Both are seriously so easy to use; in just the couple of months I've been using them sparingly I've earned over $50.

4. Miscellaneous -
    A. Every penny counts - With the exception of Sonic Happy Hour you'll probably never pay for anything exclusively in all change. So while I love my pineapple print coin purse as much as the next girl I've realized there will never come a point when I'd use those 40 nickels hiding inside. But you know what could use those, my savings account because 40 nickels is what it takes to make a complete roll and an extra $2 in my account. In your mind/budget you've already spent this money anyway so it's like a little trick that you're playing on yourself. You could try to use cash more often to help build up your coin pile, but I think you'll really be surprised how much you'll find if you simply clean our your purses and car.
    B. Ask for it - When someone asks what you want for your birthday or Christmas or Easter or whatever other random holiday you get gifts for, tell them you want cash or gift cards for things like gas or groceries. I know people usually don't love giving these because they're seen as "lame" gifts but if you explain that you're really trying to build up your savings account I think they'll be more willing. This will especially work well with older relatives because it shows you're responsible, and you may even get lucky and they'll throw in a little extra because of it.
    C. Cut back - This is such a no brainer I think we all just forget about it. Cut back on a few things each month and use those savings to build your savings account. Some great examples are: only order water when dinning out (approximately $2 per trip) or skip your morning coffee stop and drink whatever's in the pot at the office (approximately $4 per trip). These small costs really add up over time; in an average month doing just these two things would result in my being able to deposit $40.

What are your tips to build your savings account
Want more advice on how to manage your finances? Check out this guest post I recently shared from Koryn!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

ISO: a Valentine

Ladies, Valentine's day is one month away. I just thought I'd give you that little reminder incase you somehow missed all the candy displays and gift guides floating around out there. I'm really not bitter about being single on Valentine's Day, but I am a little bitter that I'm no longer in elementary school and get to buy valentines to pass out to all my friends. Valentine's Day back then was the absolute best, your biggest stress was if you should get the Lisa Frank or the Disney Princess valentines. Now we have to stress out over if we're at the point in the relationship with whatever boy we're currently talking to where it's awkward to even send a "Happy Valentine's Day" text. And if you do send him that text do you include an emoji? Which one, the kissy face cat, the lips, the red heart?

This will be the 23rd February 14th that I spend without a date, but who's counting. Some people would take this to mean that I'm unlovable, but really I just know it's because I'm picky. I'm determined to remain Valentineless until I find a guy who fits this description:

Someone who'll help me with the science and obscure art and sports Trivia Crack questions

Someone who won't judge when my restaurant of choice is always mexican

Someone who'll give me his Netfix password and never question how many hours I watch

Someone who shares my idea of a perfect date: feed me and tell me you like my shoes

Someone who understands that fountain Diet Coke is way better than can or bottled

Someone who doesn't talk while watching my shows but doesn't get mad when I talk during his

If you know a guy who fits this description please feel free to send him my way

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Hoping.... zombi killing Ashley gets another rose next week because she's great tv

Missing.... warm weather and suntans

Obsessing over.... the gray hair I found yesterday; I'm only 23 I'm too young for that!

Listening to.... seriously it's impossible for me to hear this without dancing
Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson Feat Bruno Mars on Grooveshark

Loving.... how simply this sums up love

Trying to avoid.... the Valentine's Day candy that's already in the stores

Wanting.... some clarity and direction about some big decisions in my life

Monday, January 12, 2015

Spinach, bacon, and cheese stuffed mushrooms

My dad was recently diagnosed with diabetes; it runs in his family so it didn't come as a shock. This new diagnoses means we're all making changes to how we eat: no more cookies sitting in the cookie jar, no more random baking cupcakes just because, no more constant eating out. We're being smarter eaters and hopefully that'll pay off in the long run, not just for my dad but for us all. Obviously we haven't gone as strict in our diets as he is, but we are trying really hard to make more foods that he can enjoy. One of those foods are stuffed mushrooms.

I'm a huge fan of mushrooms. I'm not always the biggest fan of meat so mushrooms are a good meat substitute because they're filling. Our grocery store sells these large portobello mushroom caps stuffed in different varieties. After buying the store prepared ones a few times I thought I'd give it a try making them myself. After looking through a few different recipes via pinterest and not finding exactly what I wanted I decided to just make one up with an oysters Rockefeller vibe.

Take 3 large mushroom caps (you'll notice I started with 4 but then realized that was too many for my stuffing) and with a damp paper towel gently wipe down. Mushrooms are fragile and absorb water like a sponge, so you need to take a little bit of time doing this. Lightly spray each side of each cap with an olive oil cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the caps on a baking pan with a little bit of an edge and lined with foil. It doesn't really matter which way you place them because they're going to cook in the oven on 375 for 4 minutes on each side.

In a saute pan over medium heat you're going to put a couple of pats of butter, (this is the one time in your cooking life when more butter is not good because you don't want the filling to be soggy), and a pinch or two of minced garlic. Next add 12 ounces thawed and drained spinach. Mix it around and let the spinach soak up all the butter.

Add a couple of handfuls of bacon bits or if you're really invested you could precook some slices and crumble it yourself - clearly I wasn't that invested. Now add your shredded parmesan cheese. I think a good rule of thumb is to add what you added of bacon plus an extra handful. The cheese is what's going to help it all stick together so you want to be generous but not so generous that it's oozing out everywhere.

By now your mushroom caps should be done in the oven. When you take them out, I bet you noticed the bottom of your tray has a bit of liquid. This is totally normal, because like I said mushrooms are like sponges so as they cook they're expelling their liquid. I suggest taking a paper towel or 5 and gently soaking up this liquid. If the individual caps look very liquidy you can also gently soak some of that up too. This will help make sure you're mushrooms don't get too soggy. You can also gently cut the stems away if you wish.

Now fill each mushroom cap with your spinach mixture. For good measure I added an extra little bit of bacon and cheese to the top of each stuffed mushroom. Now put them back into the oven to finish cooking. I put mine in for 8 minutes, but you could put it in for a little less because all you're really trying to do is get all the cheese to melt; everything is already cooked.

These make a great side dish or an entree served with a salad. Do you have a great healthy recipe you love to make? I'd love if you'd share it so I could expand my glossary of healthy dishes.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Advice for a first time bridesmaid

The other weekend I had the honor of being in my first wedding. My sorority little sister, who I actually went to high school with, married her high school sweet heart. After the day started with a minor crisis involving a missing necklace, high/drunk makeup artist, and gloomy cold sideways rain, it turned into a beautiful ceremony made even more special because I've seen the couple from the very beginning of their relationship to now.
a little too much cleavage for Insta

Hopefully this won't be my last time being in a wedding party. As a 23 year old I'm right at the beginning of the "all your friends are getting engaged and married" years. One of my best friends from Ole Miss got engaged last month and is planning her July wedding and as you may have seen from my twitter I had another friend announce her engagement on Facebook yesterday. As Allison, of Because I said so, pointed out the other day, it's engagement season.

Today I'm sharing my advice for a first time bridesmaid. These are things I wish someone had told me when I first agreed to being in the wedding party because no matter how many times I've watched 27 Dresses or the Wedding Planner they weren't realistic preparation for this experience.

  • Being in the wedding party comes with a much larger cost than just attending a wedding. When I was first asked the only real expenses I was thinking about were for my dress and a gift. I didn't consider needing outfits for each shower, bridesmaid luncheon, and the rehearsal. I also didn't realize as part of the bridal party I would be invited to so many showers where I'd need to bring a gift each time. I got lucky in that the wedding and the bachelorette weekend were local so I didn't have to travel, but for most bridesmaids that's a cost you'll have to consider. And don't forget to factor in the cost of getting your nails, hair, or makeup done for the big day. When everything was over I ended up spending substantially more than I had originally thought, luckily I have a steady income with very few expenses so it was a cost I was able to handle without having to worry about how I was going to pay for groceries one week.
  • Being in the wedding party also comes with a time cost. I work weekends which meant I had to save up all my vacation days for a year to have enough PTO for the bachelorette weekend and the wedding. This wedding fell during our most busy time at work, luckily I put in my time off request super early and my supervisor likes me so I was able to get the days off I needed. You need to consider the time the wedding falls during. If you're still in school does it fall during finals or sorority recruitment? These aren't necessarily reasons to say no to being a bridesmaid, but they are things you'll need to plan for early.
  • My bride had 7 bridesmaids: 2 cousins, 2 childhood friends, and 3 sorority sisters. Luckily we all mashed well together and I look forward to a reunion at her first babyshower down the road. But I feel like every wedding party isn't going to be so lucky. Even if you hate the other girls, you must make an effort to be friendly. If they're important to your bride they can't be all bad. If nothing else they've probably got some funny stories about the bride that you've never heard.
  • Not being asked to be a bridesmaid doesn't mean the bride doesn't value your friendship. Picking bridesmaids is a stressful process not that I'd know from experience. Maybe she wants a small wedding party. Maybe she wants only family members. Maybe she wants only people both she and the groom know well. Maybe she wants everyone to live in the same town to make dress appointments easier. I've had weekly wedding planning conversations with my friend planning her July wedding and was starting to feel a little hurt that she hadn't yet asked me to be a bridesmaid. Then yesterday she mentioned that they'd decided to not have any bridesmaids or groomsmen because they're doing a destination wedding and didn't want to add anymore stress for anyone. Bottom line is there are a million and one reasons why your bride did not ask you that don't include not valuing your friendship. The same goes for being asked to be maid of honor. 
  • Know that being a bridesmaid at times will be stressful and not that fun. You might find yourself thinking it's a lot of effort for a day that's not even about you. Just trust that the bride isn't asking anything of you that she won't be willing to do in return when it's your turn.

When it's all over make sure to grab a glass of champs and cheers!

What advice do you have for future bridesmaids? I'd love to hear about your experiences being a bridesmaid.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Bachelor Recap

In typical 20something, hopeless romantic, girl fashion I watched the new season opener of The Bachelor last night. The episode was a little bit too long, but that was fine because it meant more bonding time with my sister. I think it'll be interesting to see how they portray Prince Farming this season, I feel like ABC needs him to be the total opposite of the last disaster of a Bachelor, Juan Pablo.  After 3 long hours, the most awkward cocktail party, and a few WTF rose choices, he finally narrowed his 30 women down to 22. I think his final rose is going to go to the woman that he can most see fitting into his Iowa farm life. That means she has to either have a profession that will easily translate into a tiny town or be open to the idea of being a homemaker, which we all know will eventually turn into a mommy blogger.

Girls I like
Kelsey - I was iffy about her widow story line when first introduced to us and I think it'll be interesting to see how she tells him about it. But she seems normal and I feel like they'll have a real connection
Megan - He immediately complimented her blue eyes, something he didn't do for anyone else. I don't see her making it all the way, but I think she'll stick around as eye candy for a while

Becca - I can't remember why, but I like her. I marked her name in my notes, yes I took notes while I watched #embarrassing, and just wrote good early connection. 
Allisa - I didn't like her first little video thing, but her first impression out of the limo was adorable. If she were a little bit older I think she might be my front runner to go home with the final rose. 

Carly- I think she could be a serious dark horse contender. She seems like that sweet, all American, girl next door that would marry a farmer.
Tracy - The letter from her student saying to pick her so she wouldn't be a lonely cat lady, OMG I died too cute.

Girls I can't wait to see leave
Britt - Seriously this girl made me sooo uncomfortable. I've nicknamed her the intense hugger
Tara - I'm not one to penalize someone for having one too many drinks, because been there done that, but there was just too much wrong with this girl. I get the feeling that she mistakenly thought she was applying to be on The Real World and ended up here instead
Mackenzie - I'm sorry but you're like 12, next! 
Ashley S - She started off so great and then quickly jumped off the deep end. I don't know if she was seriously drunk, high, or just plain crazy but she has got to go
Kaitlyn - absolute least favorite girl of the bunch. The awkward sexual jokes were just too much

Other girls
Whitney - she seems borderline desperate and needy but I also feel like they'll be compatible
Ashley I
Nikki - She screams next Bachelorette to me instead of farmer's wife
Jordan - I'm predicting she turns into the biggest party girl of the group

Who did you like, who did you hate? Any predictions on a final rose winner?

Monday, January 5, 2015

January Goals

Last year's system of having monthly goals worked really well for me, so I've decided to continue that trend into 2015. Each goal I accomplish means $10 into my "Me Jar" to be spent however I want at the end of the year. PS I'm still not 100% decided on what to do with my money from last year. Any suggestions?

But I am tweaking my system a little this year. I'm not requiring myself to have 5 goals each month. Honestly sometimes it was a stretch to find 5 goals for a month and I'd end up picking dumb things. Other times I had more than 5 things I wanted to accomplish that month. And other times a goal was so big it really needed to be the only thing I focused on that month. So like I said last week, I'm all about flexibility this year.

Here are the 3 things I'm working towards this month.

1. Drink more water - ideally I'd like to drink half a gallon a day, but I'd also like to not have to go to the bathroom 15 million times. I genuinely really like water so this won't be that difficult for me; I just have to remember to keep my tumbler filled and around me. Staying better hydrated will hopefully make me feel healthier and more refreshed and keep me from mindless eating of junk.
2. Better skin care - I am literally the worst when it comes to taking care of my skin. God blessed me with good skin that stayed breakout free throughout my teenage years. But I think I've finally reached me limit and my complexion is finally rebelling. I think it's a combination of wearing makeup WAY more than I did when I wasn't working, all the smoke at work, and my pretty steady diet of chocolate since Thanksgiving, but I've never been so broken out in my life. Hopefully drinking more water will help, but I also want to be more diligent in washing my face. I'm going to take off my makeup and wash my face each night before bed.
3. Better posture - I'm stealing this one from Amanda of Strawberry Chic. Thanks to years of ballet when I was little I use to have the best posture, but sadly I've lost it. I walk around all day at my job and  when I first started people constantly asked me if I had done pageants before because my posture was so good. This drawing of attention to myself make me super uncomfortable and I started slouching. I really need to get that "don't look at me" attitude out of my head, because bad posture now will only lead to back problems as I age.

What are your January goals?

Friday, January 2, 2015

Hello 2015

I was not at all sad to see 2014 go and 2015 come on in. I got off work last night at 10:30 and made it home just in time to watch the ball drop in Times Square, something I hope I never get too old to enjoy. I rang in the new year in pajamas with wet hair and a champagne toast with my brother. It was very low key but exactly how I wanted to spend the night. The other day I mentioned my dislike for 2014, but I have big hopes for 2015. Life all comes down to what you make of it, and I'm determined to make 2015 a great year.

As I was thinking about how I was going to really make that needed change for this year I kept coming back to a few simple things. I think it's great to have specific resolutions but one thing I've learned in the past few years is how much I can change within the course of a year. Something I think is really important in January suddenly becomes totally insignificant by June. For this reason having specific detailed resolutions misses the point of having a great year. So my resolution for 2015 is very simple "Be Happy. Be Healthy. Be Hillary." I have a few ideas of how I think I want to live that this year like I'd like to take an actual vacation and go somewhere new and I'd like to lose and keep off 15 pounds. But if along the way I realize these aren't really how I want to achieve my resolution than no big deal. I'd also like to add $5000 to my savings account which will go a long way to helping me meet my big savings goal for my 25th birthday next year. I'm all about flexibility this year, it's not about how I get there, just about getting to the final destination.

Instead of a single word for 2015 I'm using a phrase: remember your worth. I think remembering this will single handedly make a major difference from last year. I'm very much a people pleaser, I always have been and I probably always will be. While it's great to be that person that others know they can count on always it comes with the price of constantly putting myself 2nd. This is something I have got to stop doing. I'm not talking turn into a self-centered diva, but rather remembering to take myself into consideration too. I'm applying this to my personal, blog, and professional life. I am a person of tremendous value and I need to start living like it. No more doing things I don't really want to do just because someone else asks it of me. I'm going to "lean in" to life if you will, when I think I deserve more I'm asking for it. When I sponsor another blog and that author doesn't hold up their end I'm asking for what I paid for. When a friend stops acting like a friend unless there's something in it for them, I'm calling them on their BS. I will not just sit around in a job where I'm miserable and be strung along with promises of a promotion. I will remember and ask for my worth this year.

PS: sorry for the lack of photos in posts recently, if you want a photo heavy post go check out this one