Monday, September 25, 2017

fall playlist

As I've been getting back into the habit of blogging more often I've started to get back into the habit of making playlists. Today I'm heading to Vegas so I didn't have a ton of time to get a post written so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to share my fall playlist with you!

And can I just say thank goodness Taylor Swift music is back on Spotify!

What's on your fall playlist?

Friday, September 22, 2017

five things you may not know about me

I feel like being an over sharer today, so I'm going to talk about the one subject upon which I'm an expert, myself. Remember way back in the beginning of blogging when we had Friday Introductions and Friday Five posts? Today I'm throwing it back and doing a Friday Five, Friday Introduction post!

1. I would love to one day write a children's book. Reading was such a huge part of my life growing up and is still one of my favorite pastimes. I attribute this to my mom being a kindergarten teacher and reading to us constantly. It would be the ultimate accomplishment to write the next Amelia Bedelia or Junie B. Jones.

2. I've never broken a bone, but I have dislocated my knee cap. I did it in 5th grade playing soccer and had to sit out the entire season. I refer to it as my career ending injury so people think I was better than I actually was. I've also twisted my ankle a few times, including the time in middle school when I tripped over my backpack.

3. Washington DC is my favorite city and I've always been interested in politics. I interned on Capitol Hill one summer and also had the chance to lobby as part of a PAC in college. For a long time I thought I wanted to work in political communications and being the White House Press Secretary was my dream job. Those are obviously no longer my dreams, but I do think I'll always have an interest in politics.

4. I started college as an elementary education major and really thought I wanted to teach kindergarten. I made the change two days before I was supposed to register for sophomore year classes. Thanks to spending that summer on campus working as a camp counselor and taking classes I was still able to graduate on time. Why journalism? It was my pick because the building was centrally located on campus and full of brand new computer labs.

5. I hate olives. Just the thought of eating one makes me gag. When I was little I ate 3 pieces of Popeyes spicy fried chicken followed by one black olive and threw up. Still to this day I'm convinced it was from the olive and not the overload of chicken.

I'd love to hear a random fact about you!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Cowboy Casserole

This casserole is one of my favorite fall meals. It's really easy, but comforting and hearty. With the temperatures dropping I'm starting to crave hot comforting hearty meals. A salad just isn't something I crave in September haha. This cowboy casserole is perfect for a chilly fall night.

Cook ground beef like you would for tacos. I just add a little taco seasoning and salsa. Drain and fill the bottom of a greased baking pan. Add a handful of grated cheddar or taco mix cheese.

Mix a box of cornbread exactly as it instructs on the box. Spread on top of the beef mixture.

Generously top with more cheese. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, uncover and bake for an additional 5 minutes

This serves well with a black bean and corn salad or a bowl of tortilla soup.

What's one of your favorite fall meals?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

3 alternative ways to donate after a natural disaster

Following Hurricane Harvey I shared my personal hurricane story. I thought that would be the last time I'd have to think about this type of natural disaster until next year. The fact that there would be two major storms in a year just wasn't even a thought in my mind. Maybe that's why even all the way here in my tiny mountain town across the country Irma is giving me anxiety.

Florida is a special place for my family. My great grandparents owned a Key and my dad spent his summers growing up down there. The Florida Keys are truly my dad's happy place. We spent the Christmas after Katrina down there in an effort to forget that our new home was a tiny apartment in north Alabama. That vacation was the first time I was able to almost forget how non-normal my life had become. I also have family still in the Keys. Thankfully most of them were able to evacuate safely and are staying with my parents in Mississippi. But I do still have some relatives acting as first responders down there. Please keep them in your prayers.

With big disasters there is always push to donate to big national organizations, but they often aren't the most helpful. Yes it's easy to text a number and donate $10, but out of that $10 you donate probably only $2 is actually going to people in need. Here are 3 alternative ways to donate after a natural disaster.

1. Organizations you have a connection to - Look toward your alma mater donating to alumni chapters in the destroyed areas or scholarship funds that benefit students from affected areas. Large national organizations may be doing the same thing for local chapters. My sorority has a fund specifically for sisters going through extreme distress due to natural disasters.

2. Local organizations - Look for organizations based in the devastated areas. Not only are you guaranteed your donation is going to the people in need, but these organizations often fill unique needs. Think diaper banks, schools, churches, etc.

3. Ask locals - If you know people in the areas ask them what they need. This is especially true for people who evacuated and aren't able to return. After Katrina friends of family furnished our apartment in Birmingham and provided school supplies, things we desperately needed in order to try and move onto a normal life again. If you have friends who didn't need to evacuate or were able to return, ask them where you should donate. They are the ones actually there seeing who is helping and how much.

What other ways have you heard of to help after a natural disaster?

Friday, September 8, 2017

My thoughts on the newest Bachelor

The news dropped yesterday that ABC was finally ready to announce the next bachelor. While I personally was hoping for Eric from this last season I kinda had a feeling that wasn't going to happen. I don't think ABC was ready to have back to back minority stars, but that's a discussion I'm not trying to start here. The rest of the world wanted Peter or Dean, but I never saw the appeal in either of them.

I'm actually thrilled in their picking Arie. For the first time in a long time I'm actually looking forward to this season and here's why

1. Emily not giving the final rose to Arie is still the biggest surprise in Bachelor history. Like I'm still surprised it happened. For those of you who don't remember Emily was all about Arie, like all about him. She was already talking about home towns on like week 3. But in the most dramatic moment in Bachelor history Emily sent Arie home and gave the final rose to Jef with one F. I don't know who was the bachelor the next season, but it should have been Arie. (edited to say I just looked it up and it was Sean Lowe, so now I understand why they didn't pick him the first go round)

2. Arie is 35 which is an appropriate age to use alternative means of finding love. I feel like so many contestants are so young, way too young to go on a reality show to find love. When you're 22 and on the Bachelor you're not there to find love, you're there to become famous. An older Bachelor gives me hope for older contestants all around and more looking for real love.

3. Emily Maynard's season was the first whole season of the Bachelor franchise I watched. My younger sister and I watched together every week; it was our thing. So I guess you could say having Arie as the newest Bachelor makes me nostalgic.

What are your thoughts on the newest Bachelor?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

September Goals

It's been a long time since I've done one of these posts, but I'm feeling inspired to make September great. Can you believe 2017 is almost over!? Seriously where has the year gone? I was looking back at my goals for this year and realized I've accomplished almost none of them. I don't want to say that's because I haven't been doing these monthly goals list, but I certainly think it's contributed to the problem.

1. Blog Consistently - Honestly I've been a terrible blogger the first half of this year, hopefully I can turn that around in the last bit of the year. I'm trying to be better about writing ideas for posts down so that when I have time to write I have a list of topics to pick from.

2. Eat Healthy - My roommate is doing weight watchers and has had great success with it and it's inspiring me to eat healthy. I'm not thinking of it as a diet, more being conscious of what I'm putting in my body. We've gotten rid of almost all the junk food in the house and replaced it with fresh fruits and veggies and healthy snacks. My current go to meal is a spinach salad with strawberries, sunflower seeds, boiled egg, and bacon with a oil and vinegar dressing.

3. Read a Book - It's been way too long since I've finished a book. I keep borrowing from the library and then lose interest in it before I can finish. But this month I'm determined to finish one. I picked up a new one from the new and recommended section of my library and I'm hoping this will be the one to get me out of my reading funk.

4. Get Enough Sleep - This is the first time in my life I've had a mostly 9-5 job and my body doesn't exactly know how to handle it. I was either use to being up super early so I'd fall asleep early or working till late and being able to sleep in with no alarm. I'm trying to be better about getting in bed and turning off the lights at a reasonable hour.

5. Don't Put Things Off - By things I mostly mean laundry. I've been absolutely horrible with laundry the past couple of months. I've been putting it off until its overflowing from the basket and I'm down to my last pair of clean underwear. I want to do it every week wether I feel I need to or not.

What are your goals this month?

Friday, September 1, 2017

What I'd do if I won the lottery

You're not allowed to sell lottery tickets in Mississippi so ever since I was young I've been fascinated by it. It was always big excitement when we'd visit my grandparents in New Orleans to get a scratch off ticket. We were little so $2 seemed like a fortune! I still like to try my luck and buy a scratch off ticket from the grocery store every now and then. I've never won but I'm hopeful.

I saw someone won $759 million in the Powerball last week. Whenever that happens I always think about what I'd do if I won that much money.

1. I would take it in a lump sum. I trust my ability to manage money more than the people at Powerball. I also wouldn't want a press conference announcing I'd won.
2. I'd pay off all my debt and my parents debt. My parents have always stressed the importance of living within your means so this wouldn't be much, but I think is the obvious first thing to do
3. I'd buy a house in Vail. I don't know that I'll always live in Vail but even if I move this would be a good investment. I'd love to buy a place like this one and put all those hours of watching HGTV to good use.
4. I'd hire a financial advisor and invest, invest, invest. I'll be the first to admit I didn't learn near enough in my semester economics class in high school. When I try to read articles about investing in stocks I feel like I'm reading Russian, so I know I'd need to hire someone to help.
5. I'd take a fun trip. Nothing too extravagant, because with that kind of money I'll be taking vacations for years. I think I'd go to Ireland because I always thought I'd go somewhere in Europe for my 25th birthday but I just didn't have the money or time. Which brings me to the 6th thing I'd do
6. I'd finish out the season and then quit my job. I am so lucky to truly be working my dream job, but I wouldn't want to work 40 hours a week and mine just isn't something that would work part time.
7. Because I wasn't working full time I'd need to find something to fill my time with. I'd want to go back to school to get my masters. I don't know exactly what I'd want to get it in or where, but I loved school and would jump at the chance to go back and continue learning.
8. After that I'd want to go back to working part time. Call it cheesy but there is just something so fulfilling about getting a pay check. I'm not saying I'd work forever, but the retired lifestyle seems like it'd be lonely at 26.

And that's about all I've figured out. I've always said it says a lot about a person by what they'd do with that much money. What would you do if you won that much money?
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