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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