âA few weeks ago, I woke up to a familiar nervousness that I had felt the year before around this time. As I woke up, I put on a nice outfit for work. I stopped for a splash of caffeine (and by that, I mean the Venti) at Starbucks on the way in.
I was in for a long morning of running around feeling a mix of franticness and nervousness. I was about to be face to face with the son of an American hero: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. âHis eldest son, Martin Luther King III, came to the University to speak at our annual spring convocation, which is always dedicated to Black History Month. If youâve been here a while, youâd know that I met Ruby Bridges last year.
âAs an adult, King is living out the legacy of his father by acting as the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and by giving nonviolence training to various groups in the U.S. and in Bosnia-Herzegovina, India, Israel and Palestine, Kenya, and Sri Lanka.
âIt was awe-inspiring to meet King in person. Growing up, Iâd seen photos of his father circulating everywhere. When I saw him in person, it was like seeing what MLK Jr. would have looked like if his life wasnât tragically ripped away from him.
Today, I wanted to share a bit about what I learned from King, and some of the things he said that really stuck with me:
1: GET INVOLVED
I was really involved in the community and on my campus while in college due to my involvement in a number of community service-minded organizations. I lost that after graduation and was content with doing nothing.
However, this opportunity, and things happening at my church, have taught me that being involved is important. God wouldnât want me to stand idly by while help was needed.
2: REFUSE TO LEAVE THE WORLD UNTIL YOUâVE DONE SOMETHING GOODâ
3: INACTION IS PART OF THE PROBLEM
âWhen that happened, I called it out. I called the store after we left and told them what happened. They said they were going to speak with the woman. But I came to realize that I would be more than passionate if something bad had happened to my husband or his family members, especially if evidence pointed to the fact that it was only happening because their skin color is different to mine.
In truth, it is really hard for any of us to know what life is like in the shoes of another person. It is best to see what we can do to help, knowing that racism is absolutely wrong in the site of God and most people in the world today.
âI could probably write on this subject forever, but I was just so honored to meet them. For those that knew me before a few years ago, they likely see the photo I posted with him and roll their eyes. They only remember the times where I argued with them about a police shooting (which I would mostly retract today) and they find it hard to believe that life and God changed me.
I took photos with Bridges and King. I may have been a little struck by who they were, but what mattered to me was what they said and how they communicated it. And, how in a world filled with divisions, they still preach unity and peace.
As a freelance writer, radio voiceover artist, photographer, and graphic designer, I can say that there is always someone, either a client or even a friend or family member, who ends up saying something that is offensive to the freelancing professional.
In today’s article, I figured I would share some of these. If you’re a freelancer, I hope you can relate. If you’re not, please read these four points and try to avoid making these mistakes with your freelancer when you hire one.
1. NOT WANTING TO PAY FOR SERVICES/PRODUCTS
However, nothing is more frustrating as a freelancer when you get an invitation and someone was only inviting you to take photos for them. The best thing a friend or family member can do for a freelancer is support them.
Clients should never ask for discounts on work, especially if they don’t have a good working relationship established with the freelancer. When a client asks for a discount, even though they may just be trying to save some money in their budget, it comes off as devaluing my work as a freelancer! Also, please don’t tell me “you would be supporting my start-up” or “it is an event for charity,” especially if I know nothing about the charity.
I say this because I work on a website for freelancing and have gotten messages like these from total strangers. This isn’t Becky from the Kiwanis club asking for help, this is someone from halfway around the world who could simply be scamming me.
2. TRYING TO CORRECT ME ON SOMETHING THAT ISN'T INCORRECT
“Grapes, bread, and milk are all great items to keep in your fridge.”
The person told me I should have used “is” instead of “are.” They said that they would make the correction, so I did not fight them on it. It just never makes sense to me when people pay for a service, but then want to question stuff like this!
3. NOT BEING CLEAR OR PROVIDING LITTLE INFORMATION
I was under the impression from their messages that they hosted a blog that gave brides-to-be some ideas for their big day. When I turned in one of their articles, they asked me where the “call to action” was.
4. GETTING ANGRY AND LASHING OUT WHEN WE STAND UP FOR OURSELVES
I put my foot down. He actually went out of his way to contact the support team to change his rating on an order he had rated me 5-stars on because I stood up for myself and refused to continue to re-write his orders for him. I launched some pretty harsh emails at the support team for allowing him to do it, but they did not care. They cared more about getting their commission from my sales.
But seriously, don’t do this. It is super unprofessional. Freelancers work for themselves and their clients. They don’t have to put up with your BS!
Now that Christmas has passed, many of us only have a few more days before we have to be back at work for the start of the year. Some of you may already have been to work!
I work in education, so we take breaks at the end of each semester. I had the privilege of having nearly two weeks off of work, which means I've slept in a bit and had nearly no structure to my day for the past two weeks! That's all about to change on January the 2nd.
So, to help myself and others, here is a guide to prepare to go back to work after New Years!
GET BACK ON SCHEDULE
Additionally, follow through with much of your morning and afternoon routines. This means getting dressed, making and eating breakfast, and so on. This will put you back into the right mindset.
CLEAN UP YOUR DANG HOUSE
PICK OUT SOME OUTFITS
CONSIDER AUTOMATING SOME TASKS
College season is upon us. For many of you, this might be the first time you've lived away from home. No matter if you're an experienced traveler or if you've never stayed away from home a day in your life, I've got some tips to make college move-in and room decor easier for you!
1: DON'T NEGLECT DECOR
2: LEARN DECOR POLICIES FOR YOUR RESIDENCE HALL
3: CONSIDER RENTING ITEMS
4: SOME MOVING TIPS TO FOLLOW
5: COORDINATE WITH YOUR ROOMMATE AND START DIYING
If you want a coordinated look, most colleges provide you with information to contact your roommate so you can coordinate!
Start now on your DIY decor. You can have a decor party as a going-away party! Or, you can spend some time with your family and make stuff together. Either way, you'll love having a few pieces that will remind you of home while you're away at college.
CHECK OUT MY "THINGS I WISH I'D KNOWN BEFORE STARTING COLLEGE" BLOG POST FOR MORE TIPS!
Regardless, I'm sure we will still run into some hiccups. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram today to see how the move is going. Since it is the summer and many families move around this time of year before the new school year starts, I wanted to share a few moving tips. Keep reading for more:
1: PUT YOUR ESSENTIALS IN ONE BAG
If you're moving offices, this might be the box or bag containing your pens and planner. If you're moving homes, this might contain a bag with your cellphone chargers, a change of clothes, and your toiletries.
Knowing where these items are when you've first arrived to your new office or home is essential. It will make moving much less stressful and you will be able to easily find your essentials bag since you put it in a differentiated bag or box!
2: YOU DON'T HAVE TO BUY BOXES
Boxes can be rather expensive, especially purchasing enough to transport a house full of stuff!
In fact, it will cost you between $60 and $85 to purchase enough cardboard boxes to pack up a one-bedroom apartment. You can use a number of things for packing, including clothes hampers, bags, and suitcases that you already own. You can also ask local stores like Aldi's, Walmart, or Target if they have any cardboard boxes that they are throwing out. Be sure to get clearance for this first!
Our place of business was able to offer us milk crates and storage tubs to move our things in!
3: TRASH BAG YOUR HANGING CLOTHES
I didn't believe that this hack would really save time until I used it when moving into my first apartment! I wish I would have known about this hack before moving in to college.
Basically, you simply gather several hanging items, maybe 20 hanging items per bag. Put the ends into the bags and fasten the bag shut at the top of the hanger, leaving the hook of the hanger exposed.
4: LABEL BY AREA AND PRIORITY
Label your boxes by area, but also by priority. What's the use in getting your toiletries before you have your shower curtain? What good would it do to have access to cookbooks when you can't find any of your pans or utensils.
This is why labeling by more than just area is a good idea. If need be, you could always label your boxes with a list of everything in them!
I’m going to tell you the price that I found for the product and where else you could find it:
1: NEUTROGENA’S HYDRO BOOST CLEANSING GEL | $10
I’ve raved about this product in my skincare post, but I really love it and want to brag on it. The Hydro Boost face wash is a wiz at removing makeup, but it does what the name implies: increases moisture in the skin.
The product is $10 on Neutrogena’s website, but can also be found in retail stores like Target or Walmart.
2: MORPHE 35M BOSS PALETTE | $24
I have never had a big-name brand palette until this one, so it makes sense that I would be in love with it. I just love how pigmented the colors are.
One thing that drew me to this palette was the lack of blue colors because I have blue eyes and I don’t think blue looks good on my already blue eyes!
There are tons of colors to choose from, and you can find this palette anywhere Morphe is sold. I purchased mine at Ulta!
3: BATH AND BODY WORKS STRESS RELIEF LOTION | $13.50
Bath and Body Works products are very hit and miss for me. Generally, I love all of the scents that the company offers, but I find that some of the body washes dry out my skin and the body sprays don’t tend to last very long.
But, I absolutely love the company’s Aromatherapy Stress Relief lotion. It includes eucalyptus and spearmint essential oil. According to the Bath and Body Works website, eucalyptus clears the mind, and spearmint soothes and uplifts. The best thing is that this particular lotion collection is super hydrating in my experience. I love it!
And, not only does it hydrate, I think it does a lot toward reducing stress as well. I always feel much calmer and relaxed after using this!
4: JOHN FRIEDA FRIZZ EASE TOUCH-UP CRÈME | $7.50
Summer has really taken a toll on my hair. I got a lot of it chopped off last weekend, and I was really hoping that would help. While it helped a little bit, my frizz problem wasn’t completely solved. So, I decided I would reach for a new product to help calm my frizzies.
Frizz can be caused by a number of things including excessive hair washing, genetics, hair chemicals, your brush, or even your blowdryer.
But the good news is that there are several products out there that are specifically used to clear up frizz. I'm glad I got my hands on this one because I really needed it.
This product can be used on dry or wet hair. It adds shine to dull hair and protects hair from UV damage! I love this product, and it smells amazing!
5: JEFFREE STAR’S VELOUR LIQUID LIPSTICK | $18
OK, so if you know me, you know that I love pink/red lipsticks that matte down (for the most part)! I got this lipstick on sale and absolutely love it. It’s made an appearance in a lot of IG posts.
I would say a relatively good dupe would be Ulta’s Matte Liquid Lipstick in the shade Super Charged. I particularly love the doe-foot applicator on that one. But this is about Jeffree’s product.
I love the way the lipstick feels and I’m always happy to add it to my daily makeup routine.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOLY GRAIL PRODUCTS?
Without further ado, here we go!
To begin, you need to pick a theme for your decor. LOL at my head in the left corner of this picture! I decided to stick with the school spirit theme. As some of you know, I work at a college that I happened to attend. I chose to use Gold and Green as my color palette. You should choose a color palette that you're not going to get tired of! Also, avoid bright reds and oranges. Studies show that these colors enhance stress in a space.
DIY 1: DYED CURTAINS & CUSTOM PICTURE FRAMES
So, I couldn't find curtains in the right color green when I was working on this project, so I ended up dying the curtains that I had. The main thing you need to remember is that you have to buy fabric dye that works with your curtain material. I didn't buy the right kind the first time, and the second dye produced a blotchy look, but I kind of liked it.
As for the picture frames and the curtain rod, I spray painted them to all match in color. I got both the curtain rod and the frames at a discount store, so I didn't spend a fortune. Next, I added mostly photos of my family and my husband, my award from the local paper, and some random photos like the green bird, green paint stripes, and the lion (which I took) into the mix!
DIY 2: WINDOW TASSELS
This DIY is super simple. All you have to do is cut long strips of whatever yarn you'd like to use. You then tie another piece of yarn in the center and fold the yarn over. Join them at the fold with some ribbon. I then added five tassels.
I wanted to keep the decor primarily on my wall in case someone else took up the second spot in this area. So, I decided on the window. I really like that it adds something extra to the bland window shade!
DIY 3: CORK BOARD PIN STATION
As someone who loves pictures and is blessed to receive cards and other smaller paper items from coworkers, I wanted to add a cork board area to my office. But, I didn't have a lot of space.
I found these hexagon-shaped corks at a craft store and decided to cover them in a green felt and add on the ribbon stripes for decoration. I did have to attach two corks together because these were kind of thin and would have just gone through the wall.
All you have to do is glue the felt or other fabric to the cork board. Then glue the ends and center of your ribbon to the board and you have yourself a cute, DIY cork board that matches your decor!
DIY 4: CUSTOM-PAINTED SUPPLY JARS
I was so excited when I found some Gold office supplies (tacks and paperclips) at the store, but the tops of them were cork.
I decided I would do a simple DIY and paint the tops of the cork lids green. I then used one of the tacks on the top of each of the lids to act as a handle so I could easily remove the top.
Lastly, I had a ribbon that had the name of my university on it. I added that around the one that I keep in the center. Now, I have functional and cute decor that just called for a quick paint job!
FUNCTIONAL DECOR 1: BUSINESS CARD/NAME PLATE
I decided that I really needed a place to set out my business cards, so I was given this business card holder by my job.
I have it set up with my business card, our social media card, and business cards for my blog! I paired it with a gold name plate with marble and pink details that says "girl boss." My mom found this for me at Hobby Lobby and I was in love.
Lastly, I have a vase which I hope to try and keep filled with flowers this year. I was gifted some flowers by some coworkers, but they unfortunately died before I wrote this post!
FUNCTIONAL DECOR 2: PINEAPPLE OIL DEFUSER
This is a major tip for you! If you work in a high-stress environment, you need to invest in an oil diffuser. I know it may seem silly to some, but aromatherapy really is a real thing, and I use it almost every day.
All you need is water and a few drops of essential oil. I love to use lavender scents. Not only does this little pineapple guy bring some decor to my desk, it also functions as a stress reliever and keeps the office smelling great!
You can find oil diffusers at pretty much any department store. I highly recommend doing this if you want to stay stress-free at work!
FUNCTIONAL DECOR 3: COFFEE/TEA STATION
The coffee is out at the moment, but I wanted to show you that you can make a nice coffee area for your coworkers without spending a ton of money. I already had the Keurig cup organizer to the left. I had a Keurig, but it died after two days on the job. I bought this replacement knock-off for less than $20 at Walmart! I bought the silver tray, gray and white mat, and most of our coffee cups from the dollar store. Everything else is just sugar, creamer, and honey!
- Add a throw blanket to the back of your chair. Not only will it add some decor and color, but it can also be used on particularly cold days. I have a black and gray zebra print throw on the back of mine.
- Add a carpet under your desk to maximize comfort, especially if you slip your shoes off every now and then! I have a gray carpet under my desk and, when I wear particularly pinchy shoes, I like to put my feet on something comfortable!
- Use washi tape to organize your white board. I have been wanting to do this. Specifically, I have a section on my white board where I keep our work study schedule, our social media stats, and our production schedule. I think it would be a lot better and more organized that way!
- Invest in something like an Echo Dot. I really want to purchase one for my office space. I love my Echo Dots at home. I can easily find the weather, use smart features, and listen to music. I think it would be awesome to have one at my desk!
- Grab a comfy pillow for back support. I don't have one of these at my actual office, but I do keep one at my desk chair at home! I love that it makes my time at my computer more comfortable!
Wedding season is just around the corner, and I wanted to share my personal experience. In all, I think Jonathan and I spent around $2,000-$2,500 on our wedding. Not cheap, but a lot cheaper than the staggering $30,000 spent on a more traditional wedding.
Jonathan (the hubby) and I got married only a few months after we were engaged. However, we had been in a relationship for three years before we exchanged our “I dos.”
We both admit that we felt pressured by the church we were attending to hurry our marriage along. We were going to a really strict southern Baptist church at the time. We didn’t have a lot of money.
Because it was in a southern Baptist church, we didn’t share a first dance. That is something that I regret, but that is more because we didn’t have the cash to spring for a nicer venue for the reception. We had the reception in the church’s fellowship hall.
The good thing about this was that it was free and it was easy to reserve the space.
We didn’t spend a lot of money to decorate the inside of the church. Instead, we put to banners with each of our first initials on them on the front door of the church.
On the inside of the church, we hung one of these hearts on each table. I think I got the hearts at a craft store or maybe even the dollar store. Some of the hearts were fabric, as the ones pictured.
Others were made with yellow tulle. I believe I bought both at Walmart.
The real money was spent on decorations for the reception. I had a theme of yellow and blue, so we ended up trying to color match the tablecloths to our first original colors. This meant going to Party City (a more expensive party shop) for better tablecloths.
I bought my wedding dress from Amazon, and it was maybe $30. I didn’t LOVE my dress, but I was on a budget and just needed something. I bought the shoes at a shoe store. I also used Amazon for the ties for Jonathan, his brothers, and his dad. I bought bowties for my brother and Jeremy, my “man of honor” from Amazon as well.
My bridesmaids bought their own dresses, and they were from a cheap store. Can’t remember which one! Jeremy’s suspenders came with his bowtie! I did my own makeup and my mom did my hair.
We went very untraditional for our flowers. We didn’t have a ton of flowers at the wedding because flowers are so expensive! A quick search reveals that many couples spend close to $1,400 just on flowers.
Instead, my mom agreed to painstakingly crochet flowers for the boutonnieres, bridesmaid bouquets, and my bouquet. She decorated them appropriately and I absolutely loved this idea! I just paid for yarn.
I’m not going to complain because it was free and I’m glad I have something!
Yet again, a wonderful friend came through to create the MOST PERFECT wedding cake. This was free as well because she is so awesome and she knew our situation! I feel like the cake was one of the most amazing parts of my wedding.
She also made Jonathan a groom cake that was in the shape of the Batman light (he loves Batman).
I adore my friend for making me this. They also made the trip up to help cut and serve the cake!
The food at my wedding was great, but it all came at a cost. This is probably my biggest regret from my wedding. I spent the night before my wedding peeling potatoes, prepping macaroni, and doing a whole host of other things instead of spending time with my friends and family. We bought chicken from the Walmart deli, and it was good.
I don’t think that exits are all that expensive, but my exit consisted of balloons that we bought from the dollar store being blown up so that people could pelt us with them as we left.
We drove off in Jonathan’s car and went back to our place for a while until the guests were gone. We came back to help clean up!
I will caution you that there are some things you need to change to make sure you can have the moments you deserve. I SO regret the food situation. My mom and brother are so amazing. They, as well as some family friends, were running around that morning doing last minute things for me. However, we missed out on some of the special moments that would have been amazing. I know that now, and I realize (now that I’m older) how special they would have been. But, you live and you learn.
MUCH THANKS TO:
- My mom for helping me plan, making the flowers, and giving up time with me to prepare! Really for helping me with everything!
- My brother for moving a ton of stuff and doing some decorating.
- To my grandparents (love you, Grandy) who came down and helped as best they could!
- Wendy and Katie for the AMAZING cakes and for coming down to see me get hitched.
- To Tracey for her help on the day of with meal prep!
- All of our friends and family who flash mobbed our wedding with an a capella version of "How Great Thou Art," which I love to this day!
- My best friends for putting up with my craziness and coming together so quickly.
I can’t believe that, at this time next week, my college will be graduating another class of students. This year makes five years since I graduated. Even though I’m only 25, it still makes me feel ancient.
But, I imagine that I probably reach a good number of people who are college-aged.
Whether you’re just joining college or in college currently. You may notice those girls with giant wooden letters sitting around a table in your student center encouraging you to sign up for more information on their sorority.
The first really good thing about joining a sorority is, if you join the right one, you are surrounded by a number of like-minded individuals who often care about the same things as you do. I loved that about my sorority!
From that group of women, you will likely have two or three really close friends come out of it. Two of my closest friends, Lauren and Paige, were both in my sorority with me. We actually just met up the other day to catch up. Paige is now in Arkansas, and Lauren lives close to me in the same city. But, we are all grown up and have lives and responsibilities. You know you’ve found a true friend when you can pick up and talk about things like no time has passed.
Speaking of philanthropy, ours was Relay for Life. Relay for Life, if you don’t know, is a cause that helps fund detection and research on cancer. Each year, our sorority would hold different fundraising events to raise money for Relay for Life. We also always tried to get out to the event and have someone walking the entire time. It sometimes fell on exam week!
Lastly, I will say that I think I gained a lot of leadership knowledge when I was in my sorority. I learned that, even if you’re doing what everyone else thinks is best and you have no say in it, it all will fall back on you.
THE BAD AND THE UGLY
The first obvious thing is the fact that you’re always around a bunch of females. Now, while this can be fun, it can also turn in to drama really quickly! This, I believe, is a natural thing that happens when you’re around someone of the same sex 24/7. This can lead to the formation of friend groups within the sorority really quickly.
The other thing is that, no matter what, you always feel like you’re in competition with other sororities.
The point of Greek life is to offer a variety of Greek organizations with different values so that everyone finds a place where they feel at home.
However, Rush Week can quickly become a competition, especially if you’re at a smaller school where your number of pledges determines where you’ll live, how much money your chapter will have, and more.
The last thing I want to mention is that small groups have it pretty bad. This isn’t to deter you from joining a smaller sorority. I loved that my sorority was a bit more intimate and we all felt like we knew one another.
Being a smaller sorority often meant that we didn’t get to live in the Greek village, we didn’t have much representation around campus, we were often left out or forgotten, and we had very little money to work with.
We had less to offer potential girls for this reason, so our size dwindled quickly.
Next is that all sororities aren’t really expensive. My sorority was founded during the Great Depression, so the founders made a point to make sure that the dues would continue to be very cheap. We paid about $40 in chapter dues each year, which is a lot cheaper than many sororities.
My last thought is that you need to shop around and really get to know some of the other sororities. That would not have changed my choice, but you never know, especially at a bigger school!
Do you have any questions about being in a sorority? Ask them in the comments!
But, these 8 Spring cleaning hacks and tips will make things a lot easier this season:
1: BOOT DROP-OFF
2: KEEP THAT KEYBOARD CLEAN
I use my keyboard every single day. That means that the bit of dirt and natural oils on my skin will transfer over to my keyboard. We’ve all seen things like our keyboard or our phone case get dirty, and it isn’t very comforting. Keep your keyboard clean by using an old toothbrush to clean between the keys.
3: ADD BORAX TO NEUTRALIZE SMELLS
4: USE AN OLD, THICK SOCK TO MOP
If you have one of those “Swiffer” mops, you can stop overpaying for those pre-treated cleaning pads and use an old sock from your sock drawer instead. Combine this with a cleaner meant for your floors and mop! Whenever you’re done, you can simply wash the sock and reuse it time and time again to keep your floors clean!
5: KEEP YOUR SHOWER CLEAN
6: TURN CLEANING INTO A GAME FOR YOUR KIDS
I remember when I was young that we would dry the floors with paper towels and pretend we were skating! I’ve seen now where people get fluffy socks or slippers made for dusting while you walk. Put these on your kids and make a game of it. Your floors will look great, and you’ll entertain your kids for a while!
7: CLEAN OFF STUCK-ON FOOD EASILY
We all have that one casserole dish that never wants to let the food go. Food easily sticks in them and it is really hard to get the food unstuck during any hand-washing process. One thing you can do to make dishes like this easier to clean is to fill the dish with water, a dash of dish detergent, and a dryer sheet.
8: KEEP MAKEUP BRUSHES CLEAN WITH A TRIVET
Black History Month
Civil Rights Movement
Drive Electric Week
National Women's Day
Save A Life
Stop The Bleed
The Ingham Family
The Opinionated One
The Pioneer Woman
Things I Love
What I Learned
Year In Review