Friday, February 27, 2015

short breaks to help focus

With February nearing to a close I wanted to talk about my one goal for the month, to hustle. If you've been a frequent reader of this blog you can probably guess what I've been hustling on since it obviously wasn't writing blog posts. I decided early this month that posting 3 times a week was what I needed to do in order to devote more time and energy to something more important. The cut back in number of postings has paid off because I've really been able to hustle in other parts of my life.

So how did I manage to stay motivated all month? Honestly it wasn't always easy; I found myself having to pull out some of my old study/homework tricks. I've never been able to work long hours straight without some sort of break to give my mind a rest. When I don't schedule breaks my mind will start to wander and there goes all my motivation. In college I really struggled with taking short breaks. I knew I needed to do something to give my mind a break, but if I wasn't careful that short 5 minute break would turn into an hour. A quick 5 minute scroll through twitter would spiral completely out of control more often than not. In order to power through my endless to-do lists I found a few things that helped give my mind the needed break but wouldn't allow me to get totally sidetracked. Here are my short breaks to help focus.

1. get a snack - I can't do anything when I'm hungry plus eating will help you feel more energized
2. listen to a pump you up song - ideally you'll be able to crank the volume up and have a mini dance party
3. tidy up your work space - whether it's picking up the candy wrappers from your snack, straightening your pens and sticky notes, or picking up the clothes that didn't make it to your hamper or closet making your space clean not only serves as a break but also helps eliminate distractions
4. brush your teeth - bonus points is you also floss
5. read a news article - go to your favorite news site and pick an article off the homepage. It's a break and you'll learn something new
6. do a quick workout video - I'm not talking some intense Jillian Micheals, but a quick yoga video will help you feel relaxed and ready to tackle the rest of your projects

PS: this will be my last post until I complete my rebrand! Fingers crossed I'll have everything ready to go live some time next week. It should redirect you to the new site, but just incase things don't work like I think they will, make sure you're following me on Twitter and Instagram because those will have the new domain name so you won't miss any of the excitement

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

what song was number one

Last night I came across this really fun website that features the number one song from every day back to the early 1900s. The idea is so that you can find the number one song from the day you were born. What a great idea! It's no secret that I love music so I thought it'd be fun to pick a few dates and make a playlist with the number one songs from them. Warning, these songs are totally random!

my birthday
my mom's birthday
my dad's birthday
my older sister's birthday
my brother's birthday
my younger sister's birthday
my 21st birthday
my 16th birthday
the day I graduated from Ole Miss
the day I graduated high school
the day I started my current job
the day I started this blog

What song was number one on the day you were born?

Monday, February 23, 2015

naming a blog

You might have seen recently on my twitter that I'm considering a blog rebrand. If you didn't than you should probably follow me on twitter!

I've mentioned before that people in my real life don't know about this blog, but I've decided it's time to change that. I've reached a point where I spend so much time on this hobby it seems silly to keep it a secret anymore. In order to not share my secret with the world and become the next laughing stock of my Facebook feed I really want this space to look and feel as professional as possible, one of the first ways I want to do that is buying my .com domain name. In my mind this is one of the easiest ways to make a blog look more polished. It's kinda like someone who takes up golf finally buying their own set of clubs instead of just borrowing a set from a friend.

Physically buying a domain name is really simple, but picking which name to buy isn't so easy. It costs less than $15 to buy the name for the year, but even with that little bit of money you want to make sure you're investing in a name you love. I really like my blog name; I feel it's a good representation of who I am and isn't too similar to anyone else. But I'm beginning to worry that when I'm no longer writing it in Mississippi people will be confused. I have no concrete plans yet, but unless something drastic changes if I'm still living here by July I'll be shocked and disappointed. In order to avoid the eventual confusion I'm planning a total blog rebrand.

I've basically narrowed my choices down to two ideas but can't decide on one over the other. One is a little generic sounding, but I haven't been able to locate another blog with the same name. The other I'm worried might cause confusion in an entirely different way. And then of course there is always the option to just stick with what I'm doing and hope I'm over thinking people's confusion.

So my question to you is how did you know when you picked the right name? Anything in a blog name particularly turn you off from reading it? Anyone recently do a rebrand and have any advice? Anyone want to let me bounce a couple of name choices off your head and give some input?

Friday, February 20, 2015

M&M Cookies

I took one for the team last weekend and worked Friday and Saturday night, something that's never fun but especially so on a holiday weekend. When you're working until 2am all weekend sometimes you just need fresh baked cookies. Working late meant I had basically all day at home which was the perfect time to spend in the kitchen. These M&M cookies are great because you can customize them for each holiday with the special colored ones or just use the regular M&Ms for anytime. I don't like to brag but these honestly were probably the best cookies I've ever made.

Makes 22 medium sized thick and chewy cookies.

Preheat oven to 325.
Mix together 1.5 sticks melted and cooled butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk (yes just the yolk from the second egg), and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Does it look like gross brown goop? Then you did it right.

Now slowly add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 2 generous cups of all purpose flour. If you add too much at a time you won't ruin anything, your hand will just get tired from mixing. This is the step where your dough goes from brown goop to its doughy consistency. You'll think you've messed up and there's no way this confection in your bowl will turn into dough, but it will.

Once that's all mixed gently fold in 1 generous cup of M&Ms. Again you'll want to do this a few at a time to save energy. Then drop the dough in spooned balls onto a baking sheet and place in the oven for 11 - 14 minutes. Mine took 13. 5 minutes but halfway through I switched the pans around because they wouldn't both fit on the top rack.

Seriously so simple and so good! Yum!!

What are your favorite cookie recipes?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

40 days of prayer

Today is Ash Wednesday, the official start to the Lenten season. I thought I'd share what I'm doing for Lent this year. I really wasn't going to post about this, and in fact wrote a completely different blog post for today, because I really feel like religion is private. But I changed my mind because I thought it might help inspire someone looking to do a similar thing this season, and if nothing else it'll help me stay accountable.

Traditionally people give up something for Lent, but I'll never forget when my 4th grade teacher told us that Jesus didn't really care if we gave up the cafeteria ice cream or watching Mary Kate and Ashley movies. So as much of a sacrifice as it'd be to give up my beloved Dunkin or boys because there are so many who want to be in my life that really doesn't do anything for my relationship with Christ. I usually try to do something instead, one year every time I complained I had to say a prayer of thanksgiving for a blessing in my life and another year I prayed for Britney Spears all season. The whole point is to do something to bring me closer to the Lord. Last year I did an online Daily Devotional and really felt like it helped me, so this year I wanted to try something similar.

I'll be spending at least an hour each day in prayer for a different petition. That means comes Easter I'll have spent 40 hours praying about 40 different things. I've made out a list of topics, each of my family members, my future husband, world peace, old friends, etc. , and each day I'll pick one. I still have a few spots so if you have a special prayer request send it my way and I'd love to include it! I fully believe in the power of prayer, and I know God listens even when he does not provide an immediate response. I may not have my bikini body by the end of this like everyone giving up chocolate or Diet Coke, but I will hopefully have a stronger relationship with God. And at the end of the day, that's what really matters in life.

Monday, February 16, 2015

what's your sign

In 8th grade we had to take a computer discovery class where we were supposed to learn how to do basic things like Excel, Powerpoint, and typing. Because everyone was at different levels it was a really relaxed class and we just kinda got to do our own thing. The teacher would give us all the assignments for a certain skill and a due date and just let us go. This meant more often than not we were left with a tremendous amount of free time, and one of our favorite ways to fill that time was by looking up our horoscopes. Now I don't really believe in horoscopes but I do think they're fun. I'm a Leo which means I'm a generous and loyal leader, or so they say. One trend I'm really into lately is wearing my zodiac sign. I think it's a great little way to remind myself of these personality traits that I hope to portray. They're also a fun little conversation starter. Today I've rounded up a few of my favorite zodiac sign pieces.

one / two / three / four / five / six

What zodiac pieces are you loving? Number 5 is currently on sale and I think I'm going to have to make it mine.

Friday, February 13, 2015

5 Romantic Movies to watch on Valentine's Day

The Notebook is not the most romantic movie of all time. Okay I already feel better just saying that. I mean it's an okay movie and I'll cry 4 out of 5 times watching it, but it just isn't as great as so many people make it out to be. If you're planning on forgoing a fancy night out and instead spending this Valentine's Day at home chances are you're going to be watching a movie with wine and popcorn or ice cream straight out of the container, depending on who you're watching with. Instead of watching Allie and Noah fall in love again, try one of these other romantic movies.

1. Love Story - Warning, this movie will make you cry! After one watch it's easy to see why this 1970 Best Picture nominee is still a classic today. It gave us the classic line "love means never having to say you're sorry" which I don't really agree with but instantly love anyone who'll quote it to me. This is the tragic love story that Romeo and Juliet just never could be for me. If you've never seen it you seriously need to watch it on Valentine's Day or otherwise.

2. Sweet Home Alabama - Probably my second favorite movie of all time. If any guy ever told me he wanted to marry me so he could kiss me any time he wants, I'd marry him right there on the spot no questions asked. I know this movie is supposed to teach us to never forget our roots and not be ashamed of where we're from but I think it also has an important love lesson: people deserve a 2nd chance.

3. Valentine's Day - I know a lot of people don't like movies like this where it's many different story lines that all kinda intersect at the end, but I think this movie does it the best way I've seen. I love that this shows so many different versions of love. Love is personal, yet all kinda the same and this movie shows that.

4. Grease - This might seem like a strange pick to some, but if you over look the corny cheesy songs this musical is a good love story. Love doesn't always make sense and more often than not there will be obstacles before you can be together. Plus it gives us the important lesson that some people are worth changing for, but only if they're willing to change for you too.

5. Gone With the Wind - Most people would consider this an epic romantic movie, and I agree but for other reasons. How any woman wouldn't fall instantly and madly in love with Rhett Butler I'll never know so he alone is reason to watch this. But it also shows that maybe you don't need another person in your life. The real love of Scarlett's life is herself, her land her money her power, and that's okay.

What are your favorite romantic movies?

Venus Trapped in Mars

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

the anti love playlist

Okay so maybe Monday's playlist wasn't for you. Maybe you just broke up with your boyfriend or maybe your best friend just broke up with hers and you've given up men for the month in solidarity. For one reason or another you're spending this February 14 as the Cupid Scrooge. I think it's important that you have a playlist devoted to your feelings of anti love this holiday. Throw on this playlist and paint your nails while you read the latest Glamour in your favorite PJs and be thankful that you'll be wearing the most comfy outfit this year. And don't forget to take part in one of the best parts of the holiday, all the half price candy the next day.

Any other songs you'd include?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Valentine's Day playlist

I'm devoting this week to love. Even if you don't have a special someone to spend Saturday night with, chances are you're feeling the love this week anyway. Something about all the pink and hearts everywhere just always fills me with the warm fuzzies every year. So today I'm sharing my ultimate Valentine's Day playlist. These songs are perfect for getting ready on Saturday night or just for baking brownies to share with your girlfriends

What songs just scream "love" to you?

Friday, February 6, 2015

a lazy kinda post

Some weeks life just gets in the way of blogging, and this week is one of those weeks. You might have seen on my Insta that February is dedicated to the hustle and unfortunately this week that hustle is not blog related. But because I really enjoy coming to this little space and sharing my thoughts with this community I didn't want to just not blog all week. So instead I decided I'd try just posting Monday, Wednesday, Friday; this turned out to be a good schedule so I might try it out for a little while and see how it works. Today I'm sharing this kinda lazy post inspired by Erin.

1. Something you will...
refuse to do for the rest of your life: become a smoker. Never once in my life has the idea of smoking been appealing and I don't see that ever changing

always do forever: insist on taking "throw what you know" pictures with my sorority sisters

2. Something you think is...
certifiably disgusting: olives

absolutely amazing: the #likeagirl Super Bowl commercial. I totally cried when I first saw it

3. A Song you Always...
turn off immediately: Rude. Like it's just rude of you to insist on playing it on the radio

belt out the lyrics to: Party in the USA or anything from this list if we're being really honest

4. Something people say about you that...
you know isn't true: that I'm a stuck up snob. I have the terrible misfortune of resting bitch face and extreme shyness around people I don't know; that means that more often than not when you first meet me you're going to hate me. If I had a dollar for every person who has told me that at first they really didn't like me, I could easily buy a new Lilly dress.

you think is absolutely on point: that I have really pretty eyes. I know that sounds vain, but God seriously hit it out of the park when He decided to bless me with these. The combination of blue eyes and dark hair just intensifies them.

5. A name you...
are thankful your parents didn't give you: something difficult to pronounce or spell. They gave me the traditional spelling of Hillary and it still throws some people off so I can't imagine the frustration of having a truly unique name

absolutely adore: Zoe Margaret, Elizabeth Jane, and Charlotte Eloise. If you steal any of my baby names I will kill you! Just kidding kinda

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

7 classic books everyone should read

You've probably read the news that AP broke yesterday morning about the upcoming sequel of To Kill a Mockingbird. The novel to be released this summer already has a ton of buzz and rightly so; this is the only other novel written by Harper Lee to be published. It tells the story of the adult Scout; when editors first read it when originally written they were more interested in reading Scout's childhood story, which Lee then wrote and is what we know as To Kill a Mockingbird today. Not everyone is excited about the new release though. Some feel that the aging and very private Lee might have been bullied into agreeing to publish the story following the death of her sister a few months ago. I hate to think that anyone would ever take advantage of a person that way, so instead I think that someone was just finally able to give Lee the needed confidence to publish some of her other work. Hopefully Go Set a Watchman will be well received and she'll agree to publish some of the other works I'm sure she's privately written over the years.

But back to the original point of this post. This news made me think about all the classic books we were assigned to read in school. I really love to read, something I'm so thankful my mom instilled in me at a young age, but I'll be the first to admit that sometimes I didn't love reading these assigned books. The only way I got through reading some books was by telling myself that some books you just HAVE to read.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird - The book that shows that even when you know you won't win, some fights are still worth fighting. I can distinctly remember reading this book for the first time, and I didn't love it. This is one I think you have to be a little older to truly appreciate, so I'd recommend rereading it now later in life.

2. The Great Gatsby - This has been one of my favorites long before Leo graced the silver screen with his portrayal of Jay Gatsby. While I think the newest movie adaptation was wonderful it really can't even begin to touch the actual novel. It's such a short read you really have no excuse for not reading it.

3. Pride and Prejudice - "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, but be in want of a wife." is arguably the most famous first line in literature. Even if you've never read the book you know the story and understand if someone is referred to as a Mr Darcy.

4. Romeo and Juliet - I hate Romeo and Juliet, absolutely hate it. But I can recognize what a classic story it is and how important it is to read. In my opinion it isn't a story about love, but rather a story about the importance of having some common sense. Never agree to marry someone you just met, especially if you're like 14 and the reason they even came to your party originally was to meet another girl.

5. Fahrenheit 451 - This is one that always surprises me when people haven't read it, but I feel like it's the most obscure of this group. It's difficult to explain why this one is so important without ruining the story, so I'll just say that of all the assigned readings I've been given this ranks in the top of most likely to willingly read again.

6. Night - I attended 4 different high schools, in every single one of them I was assigned to read this book, plus it was assigned in a college class. It that doesn't speak to the universal praise of a book, I don't what does. Plus I've heard the author speak, so maybe I'm a little biased.

7. the Harry Potter series - Okay so technically not yet considered a classic, but I really think one day it will be. If for no other reason, you need to read all 7 of these books because they are such a huge part of pop culture. On the surface they might just seem to be about a boy wizard, but if you delve in deeper you'll discover they're about much more.

What classic books do you think everyone should read? Any old favorites from school assigned reading that you'd pick up again?

Monday, February 2, 2015


Last Friday I celebrated my half birthday and didn't receive a single gift. At first I thought how rude of nobody to gift me anything to celebrate my turning 23 and a half, but then I realized how rude of me to not tell anybody what they should get me. Half birthdays are tricky because obviously they should be celebrated but you don't want to go so overboard that people start calling you a diva. There is a fine line that needs to be walked. Just call yourself the Man in Black (yes that is a Johnny Cash reference) and pick up one of these items

Okay in all seriousness I don't really expect gifts on my half birthday. Although it was a day we celebrated with half a cake and half a wrapped locker in middle school. As the only friend with a summer birthday they never wanted me to feel left out of our little school celebrations. But let's be real, we probably all did something lately that deserves celebrating, even if it was just making it to work on time for an entire month or not having a total emotional breakdown when you realized you only have 18 more months until you turn 25.