My Girls – Partnering with Elaine Turner for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 18, 2017

I consider myself extremely fortunate: I have multiple groups of girlfriends from all from different points in my life.

In high school, I hung out with four other ladies. We bonded over our love of school (we were nerds), reading (particularly Harry Potter) and world events. We participated in Model UN and hung out on the weekends going to skating rinks and shopping malls. Each Christmas, we get together for brunch and swap gifts and life stories. We live all across the globe but when we’re together, it’s like no time has passed.

In college, I joined a sorority and quickly bonded with a handful of girls in my new member class. We experienced things alongside each other from our days of living in the freshmen dorm on campus to crush parties to mountain retreats. The years went on and we remained close. Now we text each other almost every day, go on yearly mountain trips together, and have welcomed a total of 5 little boys and one soon-to-be born little girl into our circle.

When I moved to Houston, I met the most incredible group of women through blogging. We kept up with each other through social media (and still do) but met up for monthly brunches, blogger events, and conferences. They supported me when I was missing my other girls who were over a thousand miles away (or more). I try to see these women at least once a year since I moved back to the Carolinas.

Lately I’ve been thinking about these women in terms of our experiences. We’ve laughed together, cried together, gotten into (mild) trouble together, attended each other’s weddings and baby showers. We’ve had our fair share of ups and downs.

Then I start to think about my friends in terms of statistics.

Out of these fifteen women, including me, it’s likely that two of us will be diagnosed with breast cancer in our lifetime.

Breast cancer is something that we have heard about for years. I won’t spout facts or figures off because I know we’re well-aware of the effect it has on women all over the world.

Today I wanted to share with you about a brand that I love, Elaine Turner, and their fundraiser this month. 20% of all proceeds from two custom jewelry pieces purchased online, in stores or with your Elaine Turner Elite Stylist will benefit National Breast Cancer Foundation’s mission of providing help and inspiring hope to those affected by breast cancer through early detection, education, and support services. Through partner and donor support, NBCF provides free mammograms across the country. Elaine has decided to take on this cause because of her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis, so it’s something close to her heart.

I’m wearing the Peggy Bracelets, and wore them to see one of my high school friends get married just last weekend. It was a reminder to embrace the moments we have together, however fleeting they may be.

I received this bracelet as part of a partnership with Elaine Turner. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog!

One Room Challenge –
Master Bedroom: Week 1

October 5, 2017

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you’ll likely know that I don’t have a shred of interior design savvy in my body. My mom is one of the best people I know who can bring a room together and, unfortunately, I didn’t inherit that trait from her.

When we moved into our new house last November, moving from a 1400 sq. ft. apartment to a 2100 sq. ft. house and having to undertake the challenge of pulling it all together into a cohesive look was quite the task. With the help of my mom and husband, we have been mostly successful in setting up the entire house. Only a few rooms remain, and one of them is a room we use every day: the master bedroom.

Thankfully, many of my blog friends have undertaken the One Room Challenge in the past, so I decided this year was MY YEAR. (If you aren’t familiar with the challenge, hop on over to Calling It Home and learn more.) So, over the next six Thursdays, I’ll update you on what progress has been made.

Let’s jump right in! Here’s what the room looks like currently:

The bedroom set we have currently, we bought in 2014 from Ashley Furniture. We don’t have plans to replace it anytime soon. I also just bought this bedding set after getting some inspiration from Pinterest. Prior to that we had just a plain white down comforter with *gasp* no fancy pillows. I’m still trying to convince my husband that the additional six pillows on the bed do serve a purpose, but I think that’s going to take a while.

My current inspiration on Pinterest can be found by visiting my “master bedroom” board. Here are a few of my biggest inspirational photos:

(Pinterest link)

(credit)

(Pinterest link)

(Pinterest link)

The biggest things that need to happen in our current room are paint, curtains, maybe something above the headboard, lamps on each nightstand, and decorative items on the walls.

Stay tuned for the next updates coming next Thursday!

2017 Fall Bucket List

October 4, 2017

Every year, Nick and I have grand plans of having the quintessential autumn experience. We talk about making the trip to Columbia for the annual State Fair for rides and elephant ears, carving spooky pumpkins and picking apples on a crisp fall morning. Unfortunately, most of that never happens. This year, I’m putting our plans out in the universe in hopes that it will help these plans actually come to fruition.

Here’s what’s on our list this year:

1. Go to the State Fair

State fairs, or fairs in general, is a typical October outing for anyone. When I was younger, we would go to the Piedmont Interstate Fair in Spartanburg once or twice a year and ride rides, eat candy apples, and check out the blue ribbon winners for everything from paintings to canned vegetables. Nick and I have only ever been to the State Fair in Columbia once but we want to go again this year. It reminds me a lot of the Rodeo in Houston, with the carnival foods and rides. I love seeing all of the animals too! This year, the South Carolina State Fair runs from Oct. 11-22, and they have great concerts like Chris Young, Brothers Osborne, and ZZ Top.

2. Have a Halloween party

Back in the day, my family used to have some killer Halloween parties. We would get all dressed up, set up the garage with a black light and crank up the tunes. My dad and uncle would even chase us around the woods behind our house for a “haunted hike.” This year, Nick and I are having our own adult Halloween party and I’m already counting down the days!

3. Watch Hocus Pocus on Halloween

This is a tradition that happens almost every year. It’s not Halloween without Hocus Pocus! Luckily, Freeform is doing a Hocus Pocus marathon on Halloween starting at noon. YES!!

4. Go to an apple orchard

Another family tradition that I had as a kid was visiting the local apple orchard to pick apples, have a picnic, and eventually select our pumpkin for the porch. I have so many great memories as a kid visiting the apple farm, but unfortunately they closed the local farm down two years ago. There’s another farm about 25 minutes from our house now, and they’re having a fall festival later on in October. They also brew cider (that’s a thing right?) and it’s so good! My mouth is watering for the apple cider donuts…

5. Make pumpkin bread

This is a fairly simple task that I hope I can make time for in the next few weeks. I saw someone (I cannot for the life of me remember who it was) who made chocolate chip pumpkin bread on Instastories and I’m thinking that may be just the ticket…

6. Pick out the perfect couples costume

Going back to #2, Nick and I are in desperate need of a good costume idea for the party! I suggested Han and Leia since he is such a big Star Wars fan, but I think he wants to do something else… stay tuned for updates.

7. Carve pumpkins

The first time I ever carved a pumpkin was two years ago and we actually did a darn good job! Now that we actually have a porch to display them on, I hope we can come up with something impressive.

8. Complete a successful “Shocktober”

For the past 3 or 4 years, Nick and I have made it a mission to watch at least one scary movie every might in October. So far this year, we’re 3 for 3! Nick wrote an entire blog post about our annual movie-watching experience, so hop on over and read more!

9. Greet Trick’r’Treaters

This is by far my favorite part of Halloween! Now that we live in a neighborhood with a lot of kids, I’m hoping for a busy Halloween night. No raisins here, we’re handing out the good stuff… and saving a few for ourselves!

What’s on your fall bucket list this year? Share in the comments!

 

Friday Five: What I’m Reading This Week

September 29, 2017

It’s been a long week, and next week will be even longer. Work is picking up, I have my grad class next weekend, and two weddings to attend in the span of 72 hours. I am definitely counting down the days to that 4-day weekend.

Today’s post isn’t super long, but just a collection of things I’ve read from some of my favorite women on the internet over the past week or so!

1. “Please Don’t Call Me Mama” – a short plea from my good friend and fellow blogger Betsy detailing her aversion to being called “mama” by other women. It’s a sensitive point for a lot of people, but I do agree with Betsy. In fact, I’ve noticed that one of the fitness coaches at my gym calls me and other women “mama” and it rubs me the wrong way. I’m not a mother, and it’s a bit presumptuous to do so. What if I was a woman grieving the loss of a recent miscarriage or struggling to get pregnant at all? It seems a bit insensitive.

2. “Here’s What Sorority Recruitment Is Really Like” – September 16 marked ten years since I accepted my bid to join my sorority. I love this article for multiple reasons: first, it’s the most comprehensive guide to what goes on behind the scenes during recruitment. Second, even at a small school with only five chapters, this is almost exactly my experience on both sides (as a PNM and as a chapter member.) I do take issue with the assumption that all sororities in the South are racist, because that was not my experience at all, as I had sisters of all different races. However, I do understand that my experience was probably unusual for Greek Life in the South and recognize that the Greek System continues to be a very segregated thing.

3. “Women Aren’t Nags – We’re Just Fed Up” – I’ve read a similar article to this in the past that asserted that women carry around emotional labor that men do not. I almost cried when I read it. Yes, my husband is a huge help around the house, don’t let me give you the wrong impression. This week alone he has made dinner multiple times, gone to the grocery store for me, and done other household chores, including 3 hours of yard work on Saturday. However, this article resonated with me particularly with the part about praise: while I may cook dinner (and breakfast and lunch) every day, as well as do laundry, clean bathrooms, etc. I may not often receive praise, while my husband may cook one or two dinners a week and expect praise for it. I don’t want this to come off as complaining, just a comment on life and my experiences.

4. “Choosing Not to Breastfeed Adelaide” – My good friend Elisabeth, who was married just a few weeks after me, has two beautiful children, Lincoln and Adelaide. Having never had children, I don’t know much first-hand about the experience of breastfeeding, but I found this post to be a refreshing change of pace from the other articles I’ve read insisting that breastfeeding is the only way. While I do plan to breastfeed my future children if I’m able to, I appreciate Elisabeth’s candor about choosing her sanity and happiness over potential judgement.

5. “How Mike Pence’s Boundaries Hold Women Back Professionally” – I’ve been following Brita on social media for a long time because I love the hard work and effort that she puts into her articles. While we may not always see eye to eye on certain issues, she does a great job of researching and clearly explaining her positions and why. The fact that boundaries are being brought up indicates to me that without these boundaries, someone wouldn’t be able to sexually control themselves around someone of the opposite (or even same) sex. Much like rape culture and teaching men to not rape instead of women how to avoid being raped, we should deal with the root of the issue (controlling sexual urges and being professional) instead of instating boundaries. I was, however, pleasantly surprised to see how some congressmen are already handling the issue in a gender-neutral way.

That’s all I have for today! What are you reading this week?

Fall 2017 TV Preview

September 22, 2017

I’m back again with my Fall TV Preview. I can’t call it an annual thing yet since this is only the second year, but I definitely plan to make this a yearly thing. As usual, note that this list is all kinds of biased/sarcastic and may not include everything you’re looking for! It’s just my take on things. If you’re looking for more, visit Rotten Tomatoes. Just a note that these are organized by network, then chronologically by premiere date.

ABC – 

The Good Doctor
Premieres Monday, Sept. 25 at 10 p.m.

Marvel’s Inhumans
Premieres Thursday, Sept. 28 at 8 p.m.

Ten Days in the Valley
Premieres Sunday, Oct. 1 at 10 p.m.

The Mayor
Premieres Tuesday, Oct. 3 at 9:30 p.m.
(my pick)

Kevin (Probably) Saves the World
Premieres Tuesday, Oct. 3 at 10 p.m.

Verdict: I was so excited about “Marvel’s Inhumans” but after the initial reactions, I’m afraid this will be a flop. I so wanted to see Ramsay Bolton as a mutant! Instead, my pick is “The Mayor,” which looks like a fun and youthful political comedy.

 

Amazon – 

Lore
Premieres Friday, Oct. 13

Verdict: There’s only one show to pick from here, but this looks like it could be a spooky thrill right in time for Halloween.

 

CBS –

Star Trek: Discovery
Premieres Sunday, Sept. 24 at 8:30 p.m.
(my pick)

Me, Myself & I 
Premieres Monday, Sept. 25 at 9:30 p.m.

SEAL Team 
Premieres Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 9 p.m.

Wisdom of the Crowd 
Premieres Sunday, Oct. 1 at 8:30 p.m.

9JKL 
Premieres Monday, Oct. 2 at 8:30 p.m.

Young Sheldon (why why why)
Premieres Thursday, Nov. 2 at 8:30 p.m.

S.W.A.T.
Premieres Thursday, Nov. 2 at 10 p.m.

Verdict: I’m not a fan of “The Big Bang Theory,” so this whole “Young Sheldon” thing is just weird to me. “Wisdom of the Crowd” looks pretty much just like the concept of the movie “The Circle.” Could be interesting though, and possibly better than the movie. “SEAL Team” and “S.W.A.T.” are just two of the bunch of new military/police shows premiering this fall. My pick is “Star Trek: Discovery” because the buzz has been good so far and because (hello to) Jason Isaacs has a special place in my heart.

 

The CW –

Valor
Premieres Monday, Oct. 9 at 9 p.m.

Dynasty
Premieres Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 9 p.m.

Verdict: Another military show and a trashy drama. “Dynasty” comes on right after “Riverdale,” which I love, so there’s a good chance I’ll watch the first episode. I haven’t had a good trashy drama in my life in a while, so I’m in need of one. (I miss Gossip Girl.)

 

Fox –

The Orville
Premieres Sunday, Sept. 10 at 8 p.m. /Moves to Thursdays at 9 p.m. on Sept. 21

Ghosted
Premieres Sunday, Oct. 1 at 8:30 p.m.

The Gifted
Premieres Monday, Oct. 2 at 9 p.m.

Verdict: I haven’t seen “The Orville” yet, but I’m not a fan of Seth MacFarlane so I doubt it would do it for me. My pick, however, is split between “Ghosted” and “The Gifted.” I love Adam Scott and Craig Robinson so “Ghosted” definitely has an upper hand there, but “The Gifted” has Stephen Moyer and Amy Acker PLUS an X-Men related plot. We’ll see which one withstands this fall (or will both be cancelled?)

 

HBO –

The Deuce
Premiered Sunday, Sept. 10 at 9 p.m.

Verdict: I’ve heard nothing but great things about this show so far, and the previews for it that played before every episode of “Game of Thrones” this summer definitely did it’s job to intrigue me. The cast looks great (Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Franco) and the premise is pretty interesting. I’ll give it a try!

 

Hulu –

I Love You, America
Premieres Thursday, Oct. 12

Future Man
Premieres Tuesday, Nov. 14

Marvel’s Runaways
Premieres Tuesday, Nov. 21

Verdict: Well, the verdict is that there’s isn’t much information out there about any of these shows. They all seem pretty interesting, especially “Future Man,” but there are no trailers or much promotional material floating around. So, only time will tell!

 

NBC –

The Brave
Premieres Monday, Sept. 25 at 10 p.m.

Law and Order: True Crime: The Menendez Murders
Premieres Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 10 p.m.

Will & Grace
Premieres Thursday, Sept. 28 at 9 p.m.

Verdict: Okay, so *technically* “Will & Grace” isn’t a new show. But I did want to include it since it’s new for this season. I haven’t ever seen the show but now that Hulu has added the first 8 seasons, I plan to watch! Everyone always goes crazy over these True Crime things so I’m sure the L&O version will be a hit.

 

Netflix –

American Vandal
Premieres Friday, Sept. 15

Neo Yokio
Premieres Friday, Sept. 22

Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father
Premieres Friday, Sept. 22

Big Mouth
Premieres Friday, Sept. 29

Suburra
Premieres Friday, Oct. 6

Mindhunter
Premieres Friday, Oct. 13

She’s Gotta Have It
Premieres Thursday, Nov. 23

Marvel’s The Punisher
Premieres December (actual release date unknown)

Verdict: Netflix seems to have the most promising lineup of all the networks/streaming services this fall for new shows. I’m particularly interested in “Big Mouth” and “American Vandal,” both of which look hilarious. I’ve never been a fan of “The Punisher” so it’s not really on my to-watch list, plus I’m super behind on all Netflix/Marvel shows. And I would be remiss if I didn’t say a big “Awesome. Wow.” shout out to King George the III the II Jonathan Groff in “Mindhunter.” (Any other Hamil-fans out there?)

What’s on your list to watch this fall? Any returning shows you’re excited about?