Monday, April 10, 2017

A Saturday on the Beltline

The Beltline is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Atlanta. It's full of art, culture, music... everything that Atlanta represents! The Beltline was originally a senior thesis project by a student at Georgia Tech in the late 1990's... and now 20 years later, it's becoming reality!

My parents and I decided to spend Saturday walking on the Beltline to the Dogwood Festival in Piedmont Park, and then exploring the new Skyline Park on top of Ponce City Market. It was a beautiful day, so walking the Beltline was super nice, and I got a chance to try out the new camera I just got!


We started at Ponce City Market which is the midpoint on the East Side Beltline. I love PCM!! I work right around the corner so it's an easy walk if I need a break, and it's full of AMAAAAZING restaurants and stores. 

From there we walked toward Piedmont Park which usually takes about 10 minutes, but I was stopping every few feet to take some pictures!

 

We meandered through the festival for a little bit before deciding that it was time for happy hour!


I had to take a picture with some of the art on the Beltline too! S/O to the random girl who saw me struggling while telling my dad how to take the picture and stepping in! You rock.

Getting up to Skyline Park costs $10, which is kind of lame... but once you're up on the roof you technically don't have to buy anything else! However there is a bar, several games, and a restaurant for your entertainment pleasure. Not to mention the view!


We secured a table where we had a great view of the park and of the skyline, got some drinks, and settled in!


I got the Ponce Cup Punch and it was super yummy. My mom got a frozen mojito and my dad chose a beer from their long list of local brews. And since we were already up there... we decided to get two drinks before heading to dinner.

All in all it was a great day, and let me tell you... I slept GREAT that night! 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Weekly Recap

What a week! It was pretty good for me, but I'm excited for the weekend! I'm going to Columbia for the annual St. Patrick's Day festival... I was always working or out of town on the weekend while I was in college, so now that I'm graduated I'm excited to finally go!


This is Victor // Despite this week being pretty good, I still felt a little discouraged. I've kind of felt for a while that somebody needs to do more good in this world... this story is the perfect reminder that I am somebody and I can do something. This story truly warmed my heart - I hope it touches you in the same way.

Proposal Under the Northern Lights // UM. THIS IS GOALS. That's all I have to say about that!

Guy Races Subway and Wins // Sorry for the spoiler, but this video is awesome. I was definitely cheering out loud for the guy running! I've also always wondered if it was possible to do this - good to know that it is.

Cheerios is Saving the Bees // I don't like bees, but I'm all for saving them!!! Honeybees provide SO much benefit for the planet I'm all for it. SAVE THE BEES!!!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Documentary: Somm

I had the house to myself on Saturday so I spent most of the night watching Netflix. I have a goal on my 101 to 1001 list to watch 20 documentaries... so far I've watched one, so I really need to get better.

Enter: Somm.

My cousin had recommended it and I was getting tired of Gilmore Girls (I can't stand Dean!!!) so I decided to watch it. And OMG it's so good.


Somm follows 4 people as they prepare for their Master Sommelier exam, which is one of the hardest exams in the world. In the 40 years that the Master Somm exam has been around, only 197 people have passed it... and some of them have taken the test over and over and over again.

I know next to nothing about wine - I'm perfectly fine with drinking the cheapest one with my dinner because honestly I can't tell the difference. But the people that Somm follows... it's unreal. They can smell and taste so many different things that I didn't even know were possible to smell in a wine!

I definitely would recommend this documentary... if nothing else, you will at least root for the four taking the exam because you've seen all they have to do to prepare for it!

Somm is available on Netflix, and so is part 2, Somm: Into the Bottle, which hopefully I'll be able to watch soon!

Let me know if you've seen Somm, or have any documentary recommendations for me!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Weekly Recap

I had such a busy week! I meant to post three times but ended up getting too busy to put the amount of time and effort into Wednesday's post that I wanted to... it's a big one! (Stay tuned for it on Monday!) Then I tried to replace it with another post I had scheduled... until I realized I had already done the exact post in August! Ahhhh story of my week, my brain has been all over the place! But more on that later.


Here's what was on my radar this week:

One Secret to a Fulfilling Life // I loved reading this article. I don't want to give it away... but reading this has definitely solidified the way I want to see the world and interact with those around me!

50 Badass Quotes from 50 Badass Women // How did you all celebrate International Women's Day on Wednesday? I spent it reflecting on all the awesome women I have in my life! And reflecting on the fact that when my mom and I went to the Women's March on Washington we didn't think to take a single picture together! OOPS. At least we'll always have the memories, right?

Trade Used Cameras // I realized after starting my new internship this week that I'm in the market for a new DSLR! I got a Nikon D3000 when I was 15, but it doesn't take videos (and... in all my moves... I lost the charger) which is something I really need moving forward. But since I'm not a professional photographer I'm willing to get a used/less expensive camera. I was doing research and stumbled upon this website - it was exactly what I needed, because you can trade in your equipment for new stuff! I had to share with you all!

Missing Richard Simmons // Finally... if you haven't listened to Missing Richard Simmons yet you better start!! I honestly didn't know anything about Richard Simmons (I didn't even know he had disappeared) before starting to listen to the podcast and I'm totally hooked! Definitely recommend.

Starbucks Spring Cups // This is one I saw this morning and had to add! Starbucks is releasing spring themed cups! I always love "red cup season" so I'm very excited for the spring cups!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Updated Reading Wishlist

Is it just me, or are there so many good movies coming out soon? And the best part is that SO MANY of them are based on books! I love reading books before seeing the movie version and deciding which version I like more... usually it's a tie!

Here are some books at the top of my list:


The Shack // This book has actually been in the back of my mind for a while, but I was reminded when I saw the preview recently at the movies. My church has actually had a Sunday School class on this book for years, and we have a copy at my house so I'll be able to start reading it once I'm done with my current book!



The Zookeeper's Wife // This is a preview I saw too, and I immediately knew I had to read the book. I love reading World War II stories, ESPECIALLY when they have a strong, bad ass female lead. ;)


The Lilac Girls // This is another WWII story that I actually head about at the bottom of a Skimm email. They always have the best book recommendations, and from the reviews of this one... it won't disappoint.

The Circle // Every summer, my university assigned a book for the incoming freshman class to read. This was the book from the year after me, and it's being made into a movie starring Emma Watson and Tom Hanks! I can't wait to read this one.

I'm currently trying to finish You are a Bad Ass, and I also still need to read All the Light We Cannot See. I had The Ramblers on my previous reading wishlist but I couldn't get into it and ever get past the first few chapters. Same, actually, with Go Set a Watchman and Where'd Ya Go Bernadette? ...oops! Hopefully I'll do better this time.

What are you currently reading?

Friday, March 3, 2017

Weekly Recap

Happy Friday!!! The beginning of this week seriously seemed to drag on, but the end of it actually went by pretty quickly. I had my last full week at one of my part time jobs, and I'm so excited to start a new internship next week!

This weekend I'm dogsitting for my aunt and uncle this weekend so I'm hopefully going to get a lot of reading and relaxing done!


26 Time-Management Tricks // I've been really struggling with my time management skills recently! My one job requires me to stare at a computer full of excel sheets all day... not very exciting (but totally necessary and I'm more than happy to be doing it - but still, not exciting). I liked this article because it was so relatable... some days I conquer the world and other days... I don't get past one sheet! What are some time-management tricks you use?

Copenhagen Restaurant Names New Partner // This is today's feel good story. I loved reading about this - it's so special and nice. A great reminder of what's most important in the world.

BFFs Get Haircut to Prank Teacher // Scratch that... this might be today's feel good story. This pair of best friends in kindergarten got matching haircuts in an attempt to prank their teacher, looking over a detail that most people might immediately notice! SO CUTE. I honestly pray that this friendship lasts forever!!

DISC Profile // My internship wanted me to take this "test." It's 15 minutes long to determine what drives you... I really learned a lot from my results! Altruism is my highest motivator, which means that I'm driven by humanitarian efforts, and least driven by economics and practical returns. It's really cool!

Alex Trebek Rapping // This is from a couple of weeks ago, but my mom and I watch Jeopardy! every night after dinner... and Monday's episode might have been THE BEST episode ever! It's college championship week which is always more fun to watch (in my opinion) because the categories are easier and there's always a couple of pop culture ones... this time just happened to be rap lyrics!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March Goals

How is it already March?! Luckily for me, things really began to pick up toward the end of February. During the second half of the month, I had multiple job interviews, started at one, went on a date (lol what??), visited my friends in Columbia one weekend, and started to brainstorm more about the blog!

I did not, however, do very well on my goals for February. I didn't read any books, I didn't join a gym (though I did get into a better routine at home!), I journaled a few times but not a lot, and I definitely didn't get back into a regular posting schedule. SOO I'm carrying most of those over to March... but I am adding a couple.


Figure out my blogging niche // This is such a huge one for me... and also the hardest goal I've ever set out for myself. I would love love love love to be a travel blogger and explore beautiful cities and cafes and museums and everything that comes with that for the rest of my life... but it's not really plausible right now. This month I want to narrow down the things that I post about - and right now I'm leaning toward life experiences (who doesn't love to read the details about a stranger's life?) but I'm still brainstorming. If you have any suggestions - things you've really liked reading from me, things you liked the one time I did it and wish there were more posts like it - please let me know in the comments!

Take time to reflect // I started this blog in April of last year after a really really difficult March. When I was thinking about this upcoming month, I couldn't help but be reminded of the terrible place I was last year and how far I've come in just 365 days. This month I really want to take some time to reflect on it all - the good, the bad, the ugly tear stained nights... it truly has been one heck of a year.

What are your goals for this month?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Favorite At-Home Workout Videos

I can't believe we are almost done with February! This month has been pretty good to me, but I still can't believe how quickly it's gone by!

I started the Kayla Itsines BBG 12-week challenge... but those workouts are so challenging to do at home with no real gym equipment. Some of the weeks require multiple benches and multiple sets of weights... and I have two hand weights that I got at Walmart and a chair from my dining room table. SO I've had to improvise!

I still do the scheduled out days from BBG (Mondays - Legs, Tuesday - low impact cardio, Wednesday - Arms/Abs, Thursday - high impact cardio, and Friday - full body), but instead of the four 7 minute circuits I've been following along with videos on Youtube. Today I've rounded up my favorites to share with y'all!

LEGS:

Victoria's Secret Model Workout (10 minutes) // I'll pretty much do any workout with "Victoria's Secret Model" in the title. This one is solely focused on legs, is low impact, and (hello!!!) is only 10 minutes long.


Lazy Girl Booty Workout (15 minutes) // I did this workout on Monday and really felt the burn!! This trainer is awesome too, which is always a bonus in online videos!


Legs and Arms with Sadie Lincoln (10 minutes) // Sadie Lincoln founded barre3, which is one of my allll time favorite exercises. Barre3 is all about small, isolated but repetitive movements that really makes you shake all over... but it works! This video is harder than it looks, I promise!

ARMS:


Total Arm Workout (10 minutes) // Arms are easily my least favorite thing to workout, but they're also where I want to see change! This is a short workout with a great and energetic trainer, so the 10 minutes go by pretty quickly.


Lazy Girl's Arm Workout (5 minutes) // I tried this the other day and I totally felt the burn without even leaving my seat! Bonus points for anything I can do in my PJs, extra bonus points for only being 5 minutes long!!

ABS:

Butt and Abs Pilates Workout (30 minutes) // This one is a little longer, and has a few wide-range motions (like high kicks) so might not work in every space, but I'm willing to workout longer for a flat stomach and lifted butt!


Victoria's Secret Abs (10 minutes) // I haven't tried this video yet, but like I said... anything with Victoria's Secret in the title and I'm game. Plus, everyone in the comments LOVE this trainer and some even say that by doing this every day they've lost 10 pounds!!! I'm not sure if we should believe that, but hey... that's motivating for sure!


Barre Abs (10 minutes) // SURPRISE it's the same guy trainer that I love so much! Barre abs BURN! I did this video yesterday and couldn't even make it all 10 minutes without having to stop!


No More Muffin Top (10 minutes) // I did this last week and I was sore for DAYS! I can't wait to do this one again. I also love how this video has the exercises and times listed out so you can easily save them on a note in your phone and do them anywhere without having to watch the video.

FULL BODY:

Total Body Tone Up (15 minutes) // This is a full video that really burns, but I love the positivity. I felt this in my abs, legs, arms... all over! Truly full body and super short.


30 Day Shred Level 1 (28 minutes) // I love Jillian Michaels' workouts. She has a killer body and is obviously great at what she does! My mom and I actually do this on a DVD sometimes and it is SO hard but successfully completing it feels AMAZING! This is the first level, but the second and third are also available on Youtube!


Victoria's Secret Model Workout (20 minutes) // One last VS workout to round out the post! The main trainer in this video trains Alessandra Ambrosio, who looks AMAZING after two kids (!!!), so a workout that is good enough for her is definitely good enough for me!

So there you go! These are some of my favorite videos that allow me to feel like I'm in the middle of a group exercise class from the comfort of my living room floor! The next thing I have to figure out is how to get in some high-intensity cardio without leaving too! I might never step foot inside a gym again ;)

If you try (or have tried, or want to try!) any of these videos, or have favorites of your own that I should try out, please let me know!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Clear Eyes, Full Heart

I have to be honest with you all... the past week truly got the best of me. Attitude wise, confidence wise... I was struggling. Job searching is tough. It's demoralizing, it's mentally taxing, especially when you feel like despite having the experience needed for a job you're just not good enough to actually get it.

So... I ran away from it all.


I gotta tell you, there's nothing quite like the rocky mountains to clear your head. (The fact that you can't really apply for jobs on a ski lift definitely helped too.)

Bring it on, Monday.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Weekly Recap

Was it just me, or did this week seriously fly by?! Someone asked me on Wednesday what I did over the weekend and I just couldn't even remember, it felt like so much had happened since then! (I remembered later on that I went to see Hidden Figures... 10/10 would recommend to anybody!)

This weekend I'm looking forward to doing a little bit of shopping and relaxing on Saturday, and then preparing for the Super Bowl on Sunday! RISE UP!

 

The Cutest Falcons Fan // If you only watch/read/click/pretend to click one of the links I share today... make it this one. I saw this picture on Facebook and thought it was so precious, and now I think so even more after learning the back story. I'm so nervous for the game on Sunday, but I hope the Falcons can pull it out for Wyatt! (...and me)

How to Get Rid of Dark Circles // I'm trying to get back into a good skincare routine. Now that I'm living at home, I don't have the "college excuse" (going out, studying late, being extremely tired) to not take care of my skin! One thing I've really noticed is that I have dark circles under my eyes, even though I definitely get enough sleep, hydrate all day, hardly drink alcohol, and generally stay away from salty foods. I'm definitely going to try some of these concealers and creams mentioned in this article... but do y'all have any advice??

Budweiser Super Bowl Ad // I usually try not to watch Super Bowl commercials until the night of, but Ellen DeGeneres shared this one and I gave in. I love it. I think it's timely and well-made, and I seriously applaud Budweiser for creating it.

NFL Bad Lip Reading 2017 // And to finish it off... the NFL bad lip reading is here! These videos always crack me up. This year's is no different.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

February Goals

I can't believe February is already here! This year is already flying by. Today is also Groundhog Day... here in Georgia, our groundhog didn't see his shadow so spring is coming early, which is fitting since the highs for the rest of the week are in the upper 60s, some even in the low 70s.


I have a lot of goals for February!

Read new books // I spent the month of January re-reading my Harry Potter books... oops! Technically, that means that I read 7 books in one month. On the other hand, I've read all of the books multiple times so I don't know if it really counts! I need to start reading new books in 2017, which won't be hard because when I was cleaning out my wallet I found an unused Barnes and Noble gift card! Now I just need to go and browse!

Join a gym // I'm working on a post now about my favorite at-home workout videos, and I'm so excited to finish it and share it with y'all. However, as I was trying out all the videos... I realize how much I missed having and going to a gym! Working out at home is hard for me since I live with my parents, who each have their own routine, and have to do it in my room... which means no jumping and I'm always a foot away from my bed... which is so cozy and warm! And honestly, I miss the treadmill and being able to RUN! (My neighborhood is extremely hilly... no thank you!) This month I'm going to start looking for an inexpensive gym to join in my neighborhood.

Get back into regular posting // I really want to get back into the swing of things with posts! Since my schedule was so crazy last semester I let the blog suffer... one of my goals for February is to post more consistently. I've also been toying with the idea of adding a vlog feature or even a newsletter... I'll definitely be brainstorming about those ideas more this month too.

Journal more often // Journaling was one of the things that I wanted to do more of this year... and so far I haven't been all that great at it. I'm trying to slowly get in the habit of journaling before bed each night to clear my head before going to sleep.

Do more outfit posts // Ok this is the last goal for the month, and it's also the goal I'm not 100% set on. In Columbia I had roommates and sorority sisters and other friends to take pictures of me for the blog... and now I have my mom (who doesn't even really know how to take pictures on her phone!). Hopefully I can at least brainstorm on how to start posting outfit pictures again this month, and then actually do it in March.

What are your goals for the month?

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

GIRL TALK #2

If there's one thing graduating early has made me realize... it's how much I miss my college friends!!! Seeing them all together while I'm at home (still) looking for a job is SO HARD. Especially on the weekends!

I'm in desperate need of some girl talk, so I decided to bring back a post I did a while ago that got so much positive feedback. I'll write some questions below, answer them, and then it's up to you answer them in the comments below!


Starbucks order: In the fall I only order pumpkin spice lattes (I'm obsessed with pumpkin EVERYTHING), and the rest of the year I just get regular iced coffee! If it's warm in the fall (which it usually is where I live) I'll sometimes get iced pumpkin spice lattes.... SO. GOOD.
(Appropriate) guilty pleasure: Keeping Up With The Kardashians... both the TV show and stalking each and every social media account the sisters have!
Which Disney Princess you'd like to be: Definitely Elsa. I love snow!
Pet Peeve: People not responding to my emails/text messages. Just let me know you read it, I know you're always on your phone!
All-time favorite food: Buffalo Chicken Tacos from Cantina 76. I'm having serious withdrawals!

Alright, it's your turn! I can't wait to read your responses!

Starbucks order:
(Appropriate) guilty pleasure:
Which Disney Princess you'd like to be:
Pet Peeve:
All-time favorite food:

P.S. Read (and answer!) Girl Talk #1 here!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Chicken + Pasta (Less than 400 calories!)

This is one of my all time favorite meals. It's super quick, super easy, and super filling. When you're trying to eat healthy, a lot of the time you hear about "no-carb" diets, but a world without pasta is just not a world that I'm interested in living in. (And don't get me started on zoodles!!!!)'

This dinner takes 30 minutes and can be modified however you like! It also makes amaaaazing leftovers.

What you'll need:

2 chicken breasts
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 small zucchini
cherry tomatoes
whole-grain pasta
seasoning of your choice (I used Italian seasoning)


Season your chicken and then slice it into cubes. Cook over a medium-high heat until no longer pink. Remove from heat and set aside.



While your chicken is cooking, bring water to a boil and slice your zucchini and tomatoes. Once the chicken is done, begin to cook your zucchini on a medium-low heat. Once the zucchini is a little browned, add olive oil and tomatoes.




























When your pasta is almost done, and the tomatoes are sautéing nicely in the pan, add the chicken to the zucchini and tomatoes. Add more olive oil if necessary.


Scoop out some of the pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta and mix it all together. If it looks a little dry, add a little of the water to help. Finish off with a little more olive oil and voila! 


A delicious and healthy dinner that doesn't sacrifice any of the good things life has to offer (carbs).

Serves 2. Calories per serving: 385; Protein: 30g

Friday, January 27, 2017

Weekly Recap

I feel like this week flew by! I spent a lot of it applying for jobs (I hit the big 5-0 mark this week... yikes), but I scored a couple of interviews with amazing companies so hopefully something will work out!

As I'm sure you all noticed, social media this week was pretty wild. Amongst all of the political debates, there were still some great articles and videos that I found and wanted to share!


(Speaking of social media this week... it has really made me want a margarita the size of my head, just like this one I had during finals week last year!)

Aziz Ansari SNL Monologue // It's not exactly a secret that in the past couple of years, SNL has really lost its fire. People were skeptical of the new cast and unwilling to let go of the "glory years" of Tina, Amy, Kristen, Andy... etc. During election season SNL got a lot better and I'm really excited for the future of the show. Aziz Ansari is one of my favorite comedians and he NAILED it with this monologue.

This Is Us Renewed // If you haven't started watching This is Us... better start now!! This is one of my new favorite shows. It truly has it all: every episode makes me laugh and cry and feel good and think about every aspect of my life. SO GOOD. And the episodes are only getting better as the season goes on!! I can't wait for what seasons 2 and 3 have in store.

Parks and Rec Jokes // I think I've mentioned on here a few times that Parks and Recreation is my all-time favorite TV show. If you didn't know that, well you do now! I just finished it on Netflix (for like the 10th time) and I'm pretty close to just starting it over again!

Crock Pot Queso Blanco // I was brainstorming with my mom yesterday about what to make for the Super Bowl party she hosts annually. This year will be fun because not only will I be home for it, but my hometown Atlanta Falcons are playing!! I'm so excited and actually cried when they secured their spot in the game! This cheese dip looks amazing, and really, what is a Super Bowl party without queso?!

I hope you all had a great week, and an even better weekend!

P.S.: Read about my experience at the Women's March in D.C. here!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

My Experience at the Women's March on Washington

When I won tickets in a lottery to go to the president's inauguration, I accepted right away. Regardless of policy differences, it was a part of history that I decided I would never forget. I also hold the American democratic system in high regard, and wanted to support the peaceful transition of power that is so special to this country.


My mom and I decided to make a trip of it: we left Atlanta on Wednesday and drove to Richmond, went into D.C. on Thursday to pick up the tickets and walk around and watch preparations, went to the inauguration on Friday, and then stayed for the Women's March on Saturday.

If there's one thing that I value more than American democracy, it's the First Amendment of the Constitution. I believe that they go hand in hand, and one cannot exist without the other. So I wrote it out on my sign and held it proudly, exercising my constitutional right to peaceably assemble.



I had read on a website to purchase our metro tickets ahead of time and I'm SO glad we listened to that advice. We filled them back up after returning from the inauguration, which allowed us to skip ahead in a line that stretched from the parking garage at the metro station to the ticketing machines.

Then we got on the train for D.C., which was packed full of women in pink hats holding signs and cheering. And when I say packed... we could not move. The train was so crowded that it ended up being delayed as more and more people headed to the march tried to cram in.

Once we finally arrived downtown, we could feel the energy in the air and I knew that we were in for something special. What I didn't expect was the complete lack of cell phone service. We arrived just in time to hear Gloria Steinem speak at about 10:30, with the planned march scheduled for 1:15. Little did we know... the march had grown so unexpectedly huge that the formal march had been delayed. So after listening to speaker after speaker after speaker... a large group of us decided that it was time to go and began pushing back against the crowd to get out. (Like I said... we just thought the programming had run over... we had no idea that the streets were already full of people who had been marching for hours already!)




Making our way from the Smithsonian to the White House was amazing. There were people as far as the eye could see... the majority of whom were in bright pink hats. We talked with people from all over the country about why they were marching and what was important to them. We saw signs about the environment, about immigrants, about education, about being a kinder and more loving country. We saw complete strangers coming together for the same causes.

When we decided to return to our car and begin the 10 hour drive back to Atlanta, I finally had service again and we finally realized how huge the march had become, not only in Washington, but around the country and around the world.

I'm so glad that my mom and I were able to go to the march, and I'm super glad about the discussion that it sparked on social media... even though I wish critics and supporters were kinder in the way that they speak to each other.

Regardless of political affiliation however, I think it is incredibly cool that we will all be able to look back on this past weekend and realize that in some way, shape, or form... history was made. And we were there to witness it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

What Happens Now.

By the end of this week, America will have a new President.

I'm sure you all know that, but I have to repeat it to myself quite often so it actually sinks in. I'm actually going to the Inauguration in Washington D.C. on Friday, but more on that tomorrow. 

The election season was really strange for me, for multiple reasons.

First, I was in my wanna-be political journalist phase so I followed it really closely from just about every angle. I mean, seriously, I watched every major news channel, followed every single poll, watched (and live tweeted) every debate, analyzed everything and what it all meant... and then at the end of it, like most journalists, I was wrong. I watched the election results pour in and I just couldn't believe what was happening. Election night, the day (week) after, and still to this day... I can't wrap my head around how so many people who were paid to conduct polls and research got it all wrong.

Second, I do not support Donald Trump. And it's really, really hard for me to personally know so many people who do. I really try to surround myself with positive, loving, accepting people and it's really... heartbreaking to know that so many of them supported a candidate who built his campaign off of hate. I cried on election night. I couldn't sleep. I just laid there and kept thinking about the results of the election and how many people were scared to live in America. A country that is based on freedom, and a haven from tyrannical governments and oppressive leaders. We had become everything that we dislike in other countries. I stayed up until about 3AM that night thinking about what came next. For me, for the country, for the world.

I keep thinking about my trip to the Middle East. We focused a lot of our time on the media culture since it was so different from everything we Americans know. They arrest bloggers in Oman. For writing this post I would be handcuffed in the psych ward of a hospital. Journalism is all controlled by the government. Nothing is published without complete approval from the Sultan. The freedom of the press does not exist. I came back from those two weeks fired up and ready to start defending the First Amendment by going to law school and making sure that nobody every took away our right to speak out against our government.

And then our President-Elect held a press conference and refused to take a question from a CNN reporter because CNN had published a negative article about him. By doing that, Donald Trump undermined one of the defining characteristics of our country: freedom of the press.

The First Amendment is what separates America and other democratic nations from everything else. It protects the right to speak out against corrupt governments, to publish whatever you want, to freely speak your mind about it. When it is undermined as it was at the press conference, democracy fails.

There is no democracy without freedom of the press. Democracy doesn't exist when the leader refuses to answer questions.

So... what happens now? The election results were finalized and everything is set in stone. The Inauguration will happen on Friday, January 20, and the United States will enter a new era of government.

I respect our democratic system, and I respect the peaceful transition of power, But if you're like me, the future seems really bleak. So here's what happens now:

I'm going to speak out. I'm going to write and call my Senators and Representatives. I'm going to let them know when I disagree with what they do.

I'll donate to non-profits (one that directly affects me, and one that affects another group of people). I will let my friends, especially my minority friends, know that they are loved and appreciated and welcomed in this country.

I will protest, because it is my Constitutional right to do so.

What happens now is that the country moves forward. We fight for justice and we speak up for those who don't have a voice. We keep moving together. We will stay hopeful.

Afterall... in just a few short months, campaigns for the 2020 Election will begin. ;)

Friday, January 13, 2017

Weekly Recap

These past few weeks have honestly been crazy. I haven't had a moment to myself since Christmas (at least that's how it feels). We had a family emergency a couple of days after the holiday which lead to my entire 15 person family going down to Florida for a few days, then I went over to Tuscaloosa to watch the National Championship football game (really disappointed at the outcome!), and now I'm finally in one place for a few days so I can start to re-focus on finding a job and getting started in the real world!

I only have a few links that I've been wanting to share for a while today. All of them are videos, and ALL of them are amazing and deserve your view!!


Michelle Obama Thank You Notes // Ok, I love the Tonight Show. I love Jimmy Fallon and his humor. I also LOVE the Obamas. Politics aside, I have loved how funny and graceful they have been for the past 8 years, especially in the face of such hate and terrible circumstances. Michelle Obama shined so brightly on the Tonight Show, but this was my favorite segment of the night!

Obama Surprises Joe Biden with the Medal of Freedom // Can we all just agree that Obama and Biden are friendship GOALS? I'm a big fan of Joe Biden. He has overcome so much, and has tasted the sourest lemons life has to offer, and still manages to be good natured and full of hope. His lifetime of service has impacted countless lives. This surprise is so, so sweet and makes me even more sad to see the duo leave the White House.

The Person You Need to Marry (TED Talk) // This is an oldie but a goodie. Since the New Year is starting out I really wanted to share it with everyone. Let's make 2017 the year where we all commit to loving ourselves before expecting anybody else to love us too.

UofSC Rhodes Scholar // Everyone who has ever won the Rhodes Scholarship is so amazing. This year, a student at my Alma Mater won the scholarship! Although I don't know Jory personally, I have seen him around campus and have heard stories about his amazing personality and all of the obstacles he has overcome and couldn't be more proud that we attended the same school.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Hong Kong: Part Two

Welcome back for part two of our trip to Hong Kong! I left off with my family getting ready to board a ferry to the island of Macau... catch up with the first part of our trip here!

DAY ONE IN MACHAU:

We took a mid-morning ferry from Hong Kong Island to the island of Macau. Macau was past of the Portuguese Empire from the mid-16th century to December 1999 when it was signed back over to China.  However, it is still an autonomous country until 2049, when it will be fully governed by the Chinese government. Because of that, Macau has its own currency. Macau is also the most densely populated region in the world, and has the highest per capita earnings of any other country!


Unfortunately when we got to Macau it was raining really hard. The ferry from Macau is about an hour long, so we braved the rain to go out and search for lunch... which ended up being even more challenging than finding food our first night in Hong Kong! I swear we went down so many side streets before finally finding a tiny restaurant, once again with a few people running it who spoke no English. Luckily by then we knew what to expect! I got wonton soup with noodles and it was perfect for such a rainy day!


The rain continued for most of the day, but we can't choose the weather so we carried on with our plans. We walked over to the ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral. On the way, my parents spotted a bakery selling Belem cream pastries, which they had had a lot in Portugal in September. The best way I can describe these is that they taste like warm, liquid scrambled eggs in a pie crust. I wasn't a fan!

The Macau Museum was free that day so we got out of the rain for a little bit and wandered around. it was interesting seeing where the East China culture met the Western Portugal side.


After taking a brief recess in the afternoon, we got ready to hit the town. Macau is known as the Las Vegas of China! We went over and saw the light show at the Wynn Casino before going to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. No regrets... my burger was good!!!

DAY TWO IN MACAU: 

Our second day in Macau was sunny and hot! We were all happy because we were taking a late afternoon ferry back to HK! We spent the morning walking around the Old Town, which has a lot of Portuguese influence in the architecture, as well as churches and theaters and houses.


For lunch we decided to go to The Venetian. Like Las Vegas, Macau is home to several lavish and incredible hotels. We walked around the Wynn, Venetian, and the Parisian. All of these hotels are home to luxury malls. It's kind of amazing... I saw three Tiffany's and multiple Givenchy and Versace stores. We had lunch in The Venetian in the hopes of finding pizza (again)... but instead got lost in the Grand Canal. (Don't worry... we ended up finding pizza!)


We had to leave pretty soon after getting lunch for our afternoon ferry back to Hong Kong. We had an early night and flew home the next day!

To wrap up these posts, I'm thinking of doing an expectations vs. reality type post, or an accumulation of everything I observed in Hong Kong. Would y'all be interested in reading something like that? Let me know!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2017 Like-To-Dos

I'm never good at making resolutions. I usually tell people that my New Year's resolution is to stay awesome. ;) So instead of making a list of things that I'll be so upset if (when) I don't accomplish them, this year I'm making a list of things that I would like to do!


Journal more // I'm generally pretty terrible at journaling. I do it off and on, sometimes more than others, or whenever I have a lot swimming around in my head. Journaling is something that I want to do more of this year! (Mostly because I have about 3 empty journals lying around... they're so cute I can't help it.)

DRINK MORE WATER // This one is in all caps because it's something that I DESPERATELY need to do. I drink a fair amount, but I tend to always choose a cup of coffee or a Coke Zero above it. This leads me to my next point...

Exercise more // DUH. This is on almost everyone's list. I'm putting it on mine because I'm trying to lose all of the extra weight I put on in college. What can I say, I loved (and still love) pizza and Sonic and Cookout. Not to mention... tailgating with (warm) beer! I'm actually going to join a gym for the month today, and I signed up for a six-week program yesterday, so this goal is actually going pretty well so far. (Three days in, but still.)

Cook more // I'm so excited about this one. I was on a meal plan all through college so I didn't get the chance to really flex my cooking muscles. Now that I'm on my own, I'm so excited to get the chance to try out recipes. Stay tuned for the ones that are Tori-approved! (Decently healthy but still make you want to go back for more.)

Say yes // This is a big one I've been trying to do more of recently but want to bring over into 2017. I always feel better when I say yes. It's lead to amazing stories and friendships and adventures. Hopefully saying yes to opportunities in 2017 will lead to more of the same!

What are your "like to dos" or resolutions for 2017?

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