Sunday, September 11, 2016

Halo Top Ice Cream

As y'all know from various social media posts and my recent Friday Favorites, I have been sick for the past few days with pink eye and all other sorts of fun stuff. That fun stuff, as of today, includes strep throat! I can't catch a break, y'all. I'm not having a fun time being bedridden and missing classes for doctor appointments, but I am managing!

I am resorting to all kinds of soothing remedies for my aching body. I've been reading my Book of the Month (loving it so far!), meditating, and with the newly diagnosed strep throat, my favorite guilty treat has been ice cream because it makes my throat feel better. Obviously, ice cream isn't a "healthy" treat, which is why I am so happy that Halo Top exists, because its low calorie count makes me feel even just a little bit better about indulging in a treat! I mean, don't get me wrong - I haven't been sitting down to an entire pint, but allow me to share that the entire pint is 240-280 calories, which is wild considering that is usually a simple serving size of a half cup of regular ice cream!

I've tried a few flavors from the Halo Top library of flavor selections and I can personally attest to all of the ones I have tried being great. I tried the Vanilla Bean, Strawberry, and Lemon Cake and they all don't even taste like they have a largely different calorie count than regular ice cream! (In fact, they're definitely yummier than "regular" ice cream!) Also important to note is that every flavor is certified gluten-free! (I know those words make any Celiac-striken person's heart sing, and I was sure happy to find that out!) Even the Birthday Cake flavor and the Mint Chip flavors that I have my eye on to try next are GF, and those flavors aren't usually GF with any other ice cream brands! I haven't seen either of those flavors in my local Whole Foods, though, so I am going to have to wait until I come across them to try them!

I'm such a sucker for a cute product and company design, which is part of what sold me on Halo Top before I even tried the ice cream. (Check out their adorable and yummy Instagram account!) It's the perfect, adorable, guilt-free treat for anyone with a sweet tooth for ice cream!! (Like myself!) I am stocking my freezer up with this ice cream and none other from here on out! Go run and try a Halo Top flavor and let me know which one is y'all's favorite!

I hope y'all are doing well! Enjoy the beginning of your week!
Thank you, Halo Top, for the opportunity to write this post!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Friday Favorites x 09.09.16

Happy freakin' Friday, y'all! This week started out so long and then it got really short because guess who got pink eye yesterday!? This chick! And guess who woke up with double pink eye this morning!? Also this chick. Man, between that and my head cold earlier on this week, (which still hasn't gone away!), I have just been a capital M, Mess. The only good thing about all of this bed-ridden sickness junk is that I have caught up on so much blog work!! I'm obviously hoping to heal soon but let me tell ya, it is no fun skipping class and not being able to do anything but be exiled to your room for fear that you'll give your illness to other people! Ugh.

Anyway, since I have had plenty of time on my hands, I have picked out a bunch of Friday Favorites for y'all today. After all, it's my first one in a while, so it's good to be back!
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one // Ellen & Britney Spears at the Mall: Talk about a fantastic duo! I love these two and this video is just too great. I can't even imagine how much Ellen apologized to all of these people after this video because I know she is not like this at all! It's still funny to watch, though. (Also, Britney looks AMAZING.)

two // iPhone 7: Thoughts?? Do we love it, do we hate it? I'm gonna go with the "don't knock it 'til ya try it" philosophy, but I'm apprehensive about this earphone business!

three // Grease Conspiracy Theory: Not sure how I feel about this... It kind of messed with my head! Not just me, right? It'd be way too trippy for my liking to heavily consider the possibility of this theory.

four // Dramatic America's Got Talent Audition: If you need a pick-me-up, this should do it. I have watched this video an embarrassing amount of times this week, but oh my goodness it is so funny.

five // Shatter the Stigma: I am ending my Friday Favorites on a more solemn note here. This video was created, filmed, and shared by a girl at my school and I think it is a very touching video that everyone should see. Far too many people are affected by mental illness that you would have no clue about and I really do believe that people should be more cognizant of the dangers surrounding all of these mental illnesses. It's a heartbreaking reality but if we are all accepting and aware of the presence of these awful illnesses, we can help more and more people overcome them!

aaaaaand that's all I've got for y'all. Today, I'm nursing myself back to health, in hopes that I am better for tomorrow. I have an audition workshop and I also want to get out at some point this weekend! I have been cooped up for what seems like forever and I'm not a happy camper! Send me healthy vibes, y'all!

Enjoy your weekend!!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Book of the Month: September 2016

Yes, you read the title correctly. I am back and ready to attack my Book of the Month series with a fervor I never committed to last year! Truth be told, I have been itching to read recently! I have a stack of books on my desk in my room right now, just waiting to be picked up and explored... so, guess what!? Y'all are coming along for the ride with me on this one! I am choosing one book each month that I will read and y'all can read along with me!

My best friend/big sister/mentor, Caroline, lent me some of her books at the end of the school year and I left them in Charleston, so I didn't get the opportunity to read them over the summer, but two of these gems are Mindy Kaling's books. One of these is going to be this month's book of the month and the other may just make it onto next month's list, or I may just finish it this month, too! We shall see! That being said, I'll be reading Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns) this month!

I am so excited to read this book. First of all, the title already has me in a fit of laughter because it resonates so well with me, and second of all, I loved Mindy's character work in The Office, so I know I am in for a treat!

As far as the future of my overall book journey is concerned, I want y'all to know that I re-joined GoodReads and am slowly, but surely, updating my "Want to Read" list, so if y'all have any recommendations at all, I'd be thrilled to hear and accept them! Until then, hopefully you are reading along with me this month! I'll have a post up at the beginning of October with my personal sentiments about the book, as well as my announcement as to what my October Book of the Month will be!

Side note: What happened to The Girl on the Train, you may ask? Well, I didn't finish it; not because it wasn't good or anything, but because I seriously had self-application issues where I just couldn't sit down and read a book! Now that I am really in a "book mood," I can definitely see myself finishing the book either this month or using it in the future as a Book of the Month!

Happy reading, y'all!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

September 2016 Bucket List

The monthly bucket lists are back! I figure since I am back in Charleston, it's time to be proactive and make the best out of this year I have ahead of me, and what better way to do that than to motivate myself with a list of fun things to do!?

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one // Go to the farmer's market: Charleston has the most darling farmer's market downtown and I have yet to be since I have moved back down here! It seems almost a sin to me since I loved going so much last year, but I have just had so much going on! I'll make it back sometime in the next few Saturdays!

two // Get a job: Fairly self-explanatory, but also imperative right now! I didn't have a job last year and it really did a number on me! I could have definitely used one and I am already on the lookout for one this year!

three // Try a new place in Charleston: I have a list that keeps growing of places I want to go and try in the city so bad! There are so many that I want and can't wait to share with y'all!

four // Bake something: Preferably something gluten-free and fall-themed!

five // Decorate for fall: Hmmm definitely a fall theme here! It's my favorite season and I'm hoping to decorate with candles and warm colors galore around the house and in my room!

six // Commit to a workout regimen: I have something in mind that I'm excited to share with y'all! I gave a little sneak peek on my Instagram last week! 😉

seven // Practice meditation: Last year, this was so important to me and I regret to say that it has lost precedence to me and needs to make a comeback. I had the worst anxiety attack that happened out of nowhere the other day and I remembered to meditate and I felt so much better afterwards!

I hope this list serves as inspiration for y'all to accomplish some fun things this month! What is on your bucket list for September? I'd love to hear!!

Take care, y'all!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Monthly Recap: August 2016

Y'all. It's the last day of August. Where did the time go!? This month was very, very busy and y'all were most certainly along for the ride! While I did make posts about everything that happened over the past month, it's still fun in a retrospective way to look back and see how things went down!

The month started out with some post-internship blues, but quickly transitioned into a special visit from one of my best friends from school, Marae! The entire trip involved a bunch of fun NYC adventures including trying out new places I had my eye on forever (like Ralph's Coffee, below!), and of course, the many NYC tourist traps to please my South Carolina tourist friend!

During Marae's visit, I got to see my favorite Broadway crush performer, Andy Mientus, live, front row, and then meet him afterwards. I am ashamed to admit that I was shaking the whole time and seriously broke down into tears afterwards! My teenage heart is fragile, y'all!

{on Instagram}

In the blink of an eye, I found myself moved into my brand new house down in Charleston, back at school. The move happened so fast and I cannot believe it has almost already been a month down here and since I have last seen my family. Time flies, y'all. No joke!

Very shortly after my move, Formal Recruitment began and I found myself with little to no spare time or energy in my days, swamped with workshops and then long days of recruiting! This was my very first Formal Recruitment on the "business" side of things and I've gotta say that the days are nothing but long, however they are extremely rewarding once bid day comes and you get to see the amazing new girls you get to call your sisters!

I captured absolutely no footage regarding the first few days of classes, but they began last week and I'm already neck-deep in work! It wasn't too long before I got my first little escape because my friends and I took a trip to Charlotte last weekend! It was my very first time in the city (and definitely not my last) but I was ultimately underwhelmed and certainly need to plan more, going into my next visit!

August had so many random, large events and milestones, but it was super fun and went by so fast! Now that I am really in the swing of things at school and have gotten a good taste for the new set up of where I am living, what my classes are, who I'll be hanging out with, etc., I can confidently say that I am very pumped for the months to come!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina

If any of y'all follow me on Snapchat or Instagram, (@emdoublekay), you saw that I spent the weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina! This was my first time ever in that city and we had the whole trip planned for months for my friend's birthday!

We stayed at the Hyatt House which was more than accommodating for a college kids' weekend trip. I completely forgot to take any pictures of our room or the lobby, but this picture below shows the adorable outdoor pool they had. Plus, I've gotta say that their free breakfast is really good! (I loved the omelette I had both mornings!)

We got into town pretty late on Friday but were able to head out to explore the city's night life. We found an adorable Mexican restaurant called Vida Vida where we had the most amazing dinner. We all are guilty of loving Mexican so we appreciated every bit of our chips, guac, queso, and tacos meal. Everything was so yummy and I definitely recommend their chips and guac/queso apps, as well as any of their tacos and fun fishbowl drinks! We were so hungry and probably could have eaten anything and thought it was amazing, but this place definitely hit the spot! Check it out if you're ever in downtown Charlotte! (It's located in the Epicentre.)

This top I am wearing will be on the blog soon! {on Instagram}

Saturday, our only full day in the city was spent just walking around and exploring! We were pretty blind going into the trip about anything related to the city, so we decided to just explore. While that was fun and all, I have to say that I will go back to Charlotte next time with a structured plan of attack and more knowledge of what there is to do! We got bored quickly and ended up back in the hotel earlier than we had to.

I loved the little pockets of greatness in the city, though. This picture below was from a walkway at the train station and was so cute, I had to get a picture of it!

Pretty much the main reason why we came to Charlotte was to see Darius Rucker in concert at the PNC venue a little outside of the city, Saturday night. So we did what we do best and got ready to belt our brains out to some country music. Darius was so good in concert and we all really had so much fun on the lawn just fooling around and singing his awesome music together!

Like I said, I want to go back to Charlotte again real bad, but I need to have such a better plan going into it than this past weekend! I feel like I didn't really see all that the city has to offer, but we still had so much fun! If y'all have any recommendations for the next time I make it to Charlotte, I'd be happy to hear them! Comment below! Love y'all!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Monday Meeting x Letting People In

I'm officially done being M.I.A, y'all. Recruitment ended, classes began, and I'm officially in the swing of things for my sophomore year. I have to work on my time management a tad, obviously, but that's a process and I'm getting there! Hopefully by this time next week, I will have worked out a more consistent and sensible schedule to work off of on a weekly basis and my life will be in order. (Operative word: "hopefully." 😉 )

In my absence, I have been rediscovering my life in Charleston and it is much prettier than last year's picture. My housing situation has been great, I have been extra involved in my sorority, and I have been busy, busy, busy, overall. I've gotta say, as premature as it sounds, I'm already an entirely different girl at school this year than I was last year and it's the best thing that could have happened to me.

The biggest change in me has been in an outlook from my past that was pretty fatal to my wellbeing, in all literal senses. One of my tragic flaws last year was my preference towards being alone and seclusive rather than being around people. I would go to and from class, rehearsal, and chapter meetings, and practically not partake in anything else. I spent more time in my bed than outside, and I would go days without talking to people on a social level. (Yes, actual days without texting people, and I would ignore people I know while walking in the streets on my way home from class, etc.! It got so bad that I stopped going to class, at all.)

Thank God, something happened to me this year, and I have become entirely changed. Ever since I have had a series of forced involvement due to a position I held during formal recruitment for my sorority, I have done an entire 180 and now feed off of the energy of being with other people. I reach out to people and make plans, I hang out in the living room with my roommates, I go out to parties, and I do everyday things that I used to do alone, with other people now, and I am the happiest I have ever been.

For so long, I was closed off to the idea of letting people in and allowing them to hurt me or help me, for that matter. While that concept of letting people in entirely is still scary daunting and a thought very present in my mind on the daily, I am much more in favor of the uncertainty surrounding loyalty and trust than the uncertainty of feeling worthless and like I have no value to anyone, only consequential from my inability to let people in to show they care anyway.

It has only been about three weeks back down here in Charleston, and I can already confidently say that these three weeks are proving to be indicative of a much brighter school year for me than my previous one, which is certainly something I was worried would not happen. I am very grateful to be feeling this way and proud of myself for adapting this attitude when I thought it was never going to be possible for me.

A picture from a beach picnic I had with one of my best friends this past week! Funny enough, she and I only just became close within the past few weeks, but since then, we have been inseparable! We are making it a point to get to the beach once a week to sit and talk; one of the perks I am loving since really letting people in!

So, here's where this relates to all y'all! I beg of y'all that you trust the power of being with other people and the good energy it can and will send your way if you just allow it in! It has worked absolute wonders for me in every corner of my life and I am starting to worry that I am getting a tad too social, at this point! 😉  I promise, I'm only kidding, but it's true that this is the happiest I have been in a while and it has affected me on so many levels. I care so much more about my self-presentation and my confidence, while still not spectacular, is remarkably better than last year because of the positive interactions I am having with other people. It is empowering and uplifting, and I actually feel like I am doing college correctly and making the memories I am supposed to be making. Funny how that works, huh?

It's good to be back with y'all! Check back tomorrow for the full coverage on my trip to Charlotte this past weekend! Much love, y'all!
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