Flippin’ Flapjacks

One of the best parts of visiting Nashville has to be all the great places to eat. There are so many locally owned restaurants that you literally never have to eat at a chain joint.

This past trip to Nashville was spent hanging out with a childhood bestie, acting like a cliche tourist, and eating all sorts of yummy foods.

For breakfast we hit up this local place called The Pfunky Griddle, which is in this tiny older house with tables and chairs set up in the various rooms.

After about a 30 minute wait for a table, we finally take a seat and look at the menu. Then Lauren tells me that when you order pancakes, the server brings out the pancake mix and some fave toppings.

Perfection is key.

How messed up is it that you have to pay money when they don’t even cook it for you?! Crazy concept, right? But hey, it was kinda (really) cool.

We flipped, flapped, and flopped flapjacks until we couldn’t flip flop no more. (Okay, maybe that was a little too much..)

Main point I’m trying to make here, if you are in the Nashville area and looking for a delicious breakfast stop, I highly recommend The Pfunky Griddle! You won’t be disappointed!

Guess which one was Lauren’s..

Let’s Be Real..

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My latest addiction: teatox.

Over my morning cup of tea, I started reminiscing on my personal blog I created a couple months ago. I thought “Wow! These past two weeks have gone by in a blur… and I haven’t posted anything since the week following BBQ on the River”.

When I first had the idea to create this blog I envisioned posting multiple times a week about the struggle of finding that dream job opportunity. Well.. In the meantime I actually found that amazing job that I’ve only dreamed about.

Therefore, the blog was thrown to the side due to the lack of inspiration and not finding enough time to sit down to write new posts.

So this blog is transitioning from finding that dream job to my everyday life adventures, lessons learned (usually the hard way), throwback clips from my college days that seem forever ago, and the random thoughts of a 23 year old gal.

And I decided I needed to become more realistic with blog posts. Since my job takes up a lot of my time now, posting multiple times a week is completely unrealistic. I’ll try my best to continue to post regularly (once a week or once every two weeks).

So stick with me as I embark on this new journey!!

A Weekend in BBQ Heaven

Every year towards the end of September marks the annual BBQ on the River Festival in Paducah, KY (my hometown). I never was able to attend the festival as much as I would have liked in the past years (usually b/c of soccer). So in the past two years since I’ve graduated college and moved back home, I have really looked forward to a weekend of stuffing my face with BBQ and fried anything foods.

The festival always starts on a Thursday and lasts until Saturday night. Last year, I worked downtown for a newspaper company that is located basically two blocks away, so I went there every day for lunch (which was awesome!). This year I decided to out due myself and went to the festival a total of 4 times within the 3 days. Impressive. I know.

The main thing I crave all year long is BBQ nachos.

Okay, I know they might not sound too appealing, but believe me, they are AMAZING.

Its a little bit of heaven wrapped all up together in the perfect combination of flavorful pork, nacho cheese sauce, sweet BBQ sauce, and chips.

Needless to say, after three straight days of eating pulled pork sandwiches, nachos, fried Oreos, and cheesecake on a stick, my stomach needed a break!

So long BBQ nachos that I love so dearly. Until next year…

How To: Deal with Creepy Coworkers

Okay, so a couple weeks ago I posted about creeps in the workplace. I only skimmed the surface on everything I wanted to share (but I didn’t feel like creating a super long post that no one would have the attention span to read).

So I decided to brake it up into a series of posts. Obviously, this one is the “how to” version on dealing with creepy coworkers.

First of all, you have to establish some distance between you and the creep. I’m all for being nice to people, but you have to realize when you might be too nice. Cut out the small talk and talk strictly about business related topics.

With that being said, don’t discuss anything about your personal life (unless it is about another guy). The more he sees you as another coworker rather than a friend (or potentially something more) the better.

Make it clear that you are not interested by bringing up your boyfriend/husband/random guy friend in conversations. And if you aren’t currently with someone, just make one up. It’s not like he will ever know. But the last thing you want him to believe is that you are in fact available.

Never, I repeat, NEVER let the creep know where you live. That’s just a no brainier.

So here’s my step-by-step guide:

  1. Begin to distance yourself.
  2. Keep all conversations and interactions strictly business related.
  3. Stop carrying on the conversation, even if you might feel like it is rude to let the conversation flatline.
  4. Bring up another guy in random conversations.
  5. Never let them know where you live.

I found that once you distance yourself from the creep, they will eventually take a hint and leave you alone (at least that has always worked for me).

But if that doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to approach someone in HR to let them know what is happening, because the workplace should be the last place you feel uncomfortable.

Bring on Sweater Weather: My Top 10 Things to do This Fall

Call me basic, but I am more than ready for 70 degree, leaves falling, over-sized sweater wearing, Starbucks pumpkin spice latte sippin’ weather.

There is no better feeling than that first real day of fall. No more humid, 100 degree days of summer. No more flaunting what your momma gave ya in tinnie tiny bikinis that we busted our butts for all spring long (bring on the apple pie!).

So in the spirit of big scarfs and hot coffee, here is my top 10 things to do this fall:

  1. Enjoy a cool autumn night by a bonfire all cuddled up under a blanket
  2. Scream as loud as I possibly can while being chased by Michael Meyers in a haunted house
  3. Pick out the perfect pumpkin for carving straight from the patch
  4. Spend a day at the wineries
  5. Drink hot chocolate while freezing my butt off at a football game
  6. Get lost in a corn maze
  7. Watch Halloween (with Jamie Lee Curtis) and Hocus Pocus at least 10 times each
  8. Try to make a homemade apple pie (key word would be try).
  9. Go on a walk to see the changing colors of fall
  10. Incorporate pumpkin anything into my every day life (pumpkin flavored creamer, lattes, pies)

Creeps in the Workplace

Lingering eyes, awkward conversations, and goofy smiles. Lame jokes, annoying laughs, and unwanted Facebook messages.

Yeah, I’m referring to those creepy individuals we are forced to call coworkers.

Being a 23 year old and new to the “working world”, I had already assumed there would be a thing or two I would learn along the way to my ultimate career goal (becoming a marketing coordinator). I have learned so much within the past year that no one can ever sit down and teach you while in school. One of those lessons, unfortunately, is how to deal with creeps in the workplace.

People that know me would describe me as an outgoing, bubbly girl who tries to get along with everyone. So it isn’t out of the blue for me to strike up a conversation with someone I barely know. Also, people that know me would say I tend to get along with just about everyone I meet, and vice versa. I always thought being nice is just something everyone should try to be (especially at work). That is, until I realized what I had thought was being polite and nice lead some guys to believe, “hey, I think I’ve got a chance with her”.

And thus the creepy, unwanted behavior from a coworker begins.

I searched Google for the best descriptions of what I like to refer to as a “creep” and somehow wound up on Urban Dictionary (such a valid source of info, I know).
These are best ones I came across, G-rated version of course:

  1. A dude that tries way too hard with chicks, usually younger chicks.
  2. A creep is a male that a female is not interested in
  3. A man who stares/smiles/waves/stalks/texts/fb a girl who is uninterested. A man that is clearing obsessed and somewhat desperate.
  4. A creep is anyone, male or female, with icky or undesirable behavior

I would have to say that all four of these “definitions” apply to creepy coworkers in my past.

So how does a young woman deal with all of this unwanted behavior from a coworker?

Stay tuned for my personal “how to” guide on dealing with creeps in the workplace (and I promise to post soon!).

Un(wine)ing Down at Beachaven

My friend, Haylie, and me celebrating her birthday.

My friend, Haylie, and me celebrating her birthday.

There is nothing quite like sipping on some sweet, red wine while enjoying a cool August night at the wineries. (If you haven’t noticed by now, I absolutely love wine.)

Whether I’m drinking a glass curled up on the couch watching Sex and the City with my favorite gal pals or going out for a wine tasting event, all you have to do is mention the word “wine” and I’m down.

Two weekends ago I visited one of my best friends for her birthday weekend celebration. For the past couple of weeks, she had been talking about this Jazz on the Lawn event at a local winery in her town and wanted all of us to go check it out. Obviously it wasn’t too hard convincing me to go.

I’ve been to a couple wineries on the Southern Illinois Wine Trail, which usually consisted of small crowds of middle aged women enjoying time away from their significant others. So I was expecting about 40 to 50ish people at the event.

Boy was I wrong.

Jazz on the Lawn event at Beachaven. Photo creds to Beachaven Vineyard & Wineries Facebook page.

It seemed like everyone in the entire town showed up, from toddlers to teenagers to young adults to retirees. Everyone was either sitting in lawn chairs, sprawled out on blankets, standing up chatting with friends, or displaying their moves on the dance floor.

After tasting almost every wine selection on the menu, the group unanimously voted to buy a bottle of Blackberry.

So we joined the hundreds of other people at the event, talking, dancing, sippin’ on Blackberry wine (my idea of a perfect night).

“Is this the FIRST picture?”

I could have stayed at Beachaven for the rest of my life and been perfectly okay with it. Something about that atmosphere makes all of your worries disappear. You can’t help but feel relaxed, calm, and just happy.

Last Second Major Change (literally)

A complete state of panic took over my entire being. I was a train wreck full of nervousness and anxiety. Every morning I woke up with the lingering question on my mind, “What do I want to do for the rest of my life?”

It all began the fall semester of my junior year when I went into a complete freak out, mid-life crisis, “what do I want to do for the rest of my life” mode. And let me tell you, the feeling came out of nowhere. One day I was an excited middle school education major, ready to take over my own classroom with all my own students. The next moment I found myself freaking out about if teaching was the right career path for me.

From the time I was little, it was engraved into my brain that I would grow up, attend college, and become a teacher. Everyone always beat it into my head about how I would be such a great teacher blah blah blah… So what did I do? I closed myself off to all other career paths and solely focused on teaching. Great hours, a respectful career, awesome benefits, plus I really did enjoy the school atmosphere. It didn’t become real to me until my first “real” teaching class in college. As part of an assignment, we had to create “lesson plans” based on core content the instructor picked out for us. This is when a red flag went up for me.

“Why am in this classroom?”…”Do I have a passion for teaching?”… “I don’t want to be here anymore.”

In this moment, I had officially entered the beginning of my mid-college crisis (like a mid-life crisis, only decades earlier than expected).

I woke up every day stressed out on what I wanted to do with my life. As a junior in college, this wasn’t the most ideal time to be changing majors (especially if I planned on graduating on time). A couple weeks prior to the crisis, I had planned on graduating with a B.S. in Middle School Education, hopeful to find a job teaching 6th grade math. And now, completely out of nowhere, I was unsure about everything.

I found comfort in some of my close friends through this crazy transition. You would be surprised how venting to a friend, them giving you feedback and support, really changes what you might believe to be a catastrophe into a somewhat bearable situation.

And when all else fails, make a pro and con list (it works every time!).

As some of you know, I decided to take a leap of faith and change my major to Communication Arts with an emphasis in PR and Advertising. With a little miracle work from my favorite adviser, Dr. Vogt, I was still able to graduate on time.

What I learned from all of this is you have to become the person you want to be. Family members, friends, mentors, and teachers will all try to guide you in the “right” direction (and don’t get me wrong, they will have good intentions), but at the end of the day you have to do what is going to make you happy. No one can live this life for you, so stop letting others mold you into the individual they “think” you should be.

I also learned that, hey, I’m only 20 years old (at the time). I have my entire life ahead of me to decide what exactly I want to do with my life. If a major career change happens later on down the road, then so be it.

Why yes, that is Chad Michael Murray.

chadmichaelmurrayGrowing up I had an excuse for everything. In high school, I would rarely hang out in big groups of friends outside of actually being in school or some type of sporting event. I was a homebody, never willing to leave my comfort zone. But then, something amazing happened: college. Those four years really taught me how to leave my comfort zone and gave me the confidence to try new things.

It wasn’t until this past year when a mentor once gave me some of the best advice I have literally ever received in my entire life. It went something like this (I more than likely butchered the exact quote but you’ll get the meaning).

“If there is something you really want to do and have the means/money to do it, go for it. Life goes by way too fast to skip out on things you want to do or places you want to go”.

Believe me when I say I took that advice to heart and went a little overboard at the beginning. I visited friends from college every weekend and planned numerous summer trips (Six Flags with family, getaways at KY Lake, Miner’s game with my dad and brother). However, the one trip that I probably wouldn’t have gone on without that advice would have been the weekend trip to Wilmington, NC for a One Tree Hill Convention.

I know what you are thinking.. a convention based on a television show sounds ridiculous. Like, who would want to use up vacay days to meet with other fans to obsess about the show? But let me tell you, it was beyond worth it.

But this isn’t about my AMAZING trip to One Tree Hill. No, this is so much more than that. I actually did something I have always wanted to do and didn’t make a thousand excuses on why I shouldn’t go on the trip. Sure, it cost quite a bit of money to attend the convention, picture with the celebs, party at Tric (OTH fans know that significance), hotel stay, food, gas, etc. but at the end of the day I knew this was something I really wanted to do and it would be worth every penny.

Meeting Chad Michael Murray has been on my bucket list since the first time I watched the movie A Cinderella Story with CMM and Hilary Duff (if you don’t know what movie I am referring to we can no longer be friends).

And now I can officially say I HAVE MET CHAD MICHAEL MURRAY! He even shook my hand, not trying to brag or anything…

Most of the regrets I have in my life are because I didn’t try something new, go on that spontaneous road trip, and visit some places that I would have really enjoyed. So take it from someone who once made excuses to skip out on life, if there is something you really want to do, just go for it.

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Pics from the OTH Trip…

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Same old bills, just another month

So it goes like this…

Open up my mailbox and what do I find? Bills. Check my phone to discover a new email notification, open it to find an alert that says my student loan bill is due 5 days. Month after month we pay the same old bills. Month after month our paychecks disappear in the blink of an eye.

We go to college, have a great time, earn a bachelor’s degree, and then end up with thousands of dollars’ worth of student debt. We want to move out of mom and dad’s house because we want to do things all on our own. So we move out. Oh look! It’s the first of the month, which means the rent payment is due!

Writing a check for rent, writing another one for student loan, then there’s the electric bill, and you just can’t forget about the internet bill (b/c how are you supposed to stay in touch with the world without it?).

Look what day it is, its PAY DAY!! Oh happy day! Just in time to pay off some.. wait for it.. more bills (are you catching on yet?).

Remember the days when a $20 dollar bill in your wallet basically meant you won the lotto? Nowadays, I spend at least twenty dollars (actually, add about $100 to that) every time I step foot in Walmart.

And what ever happened to the days when you looked forward to getting a birthday card or party invite through the US Postal Service? Back in the 90s, I remember running out to the mailbox to see if any of the mail was addressed to me. Nowadays, a trip to the mailbox is associated with a lovely stack of bills and unwanted advertisements.

You know, the truth is adulthood is filled with all sorts of responsibilities (such as bills) that we have to take on. No one ever said it was going to be easy.

Isn’t being independent worth it though? Not having to check in with your parents to see if you can have company over, staying out as late as you want, and drinking a glass of wine without judging eyes.

Of course, it’s worth every penny.

And for those of you that spot the Ace Hood reference, I applaud you.