May 28, 2014

I will be back next week with all new content. For now, I am enjoying time with my family and trying to prevent any further burnout. I hope you guys had a great Memorial Day weekend and week thus far!

 See ya next week!


May 22, 2014

So, as of now I am at a conference for financial aid counselors (Wooo!). This is why I have been rather MIA this week. Also, after this conference starts my first vacation in three years (Wooo again!). You know that tightness in your chest you get when you're overwhelmed and stressed? Yeah, I have that right now. I think its good I am taking a vacation. I feel like my body is telling me something, so I should probably listen.

Today, I am joining up with The Grits Blog for Little Friday Link Up! Be sure to link any post you like below, just be sure to follow along with the hosts! Also, grab that super cute button at the bottom and place it on the post you linked up.

Have a great rest of your week, guys!

    The Grits Blog (Follow Here!)   Treats and Travels (Follow Here!)  Melissa Faye (Follow Here!)

Rules are there are no rules!

Please link-up to whatever you like! 

All that we ask is, if you wish, please follow us via the links above and that you link back to this blog - so that other's can join in and mingle! 

Happy Little Friday Everyone!
The Grits Blog


May 19, 2014

No, it's not my birthday. I was just thinking recently that I am going to be 30...in 2 years. Yeah, I know I am wasting my time worrying about it now. In my 20s I have achieved much more than I anticipated, but at the same time there are still things I have yet to accomplish. The biggest disappointment I have right now is that I don't have the family I assumed I'd have right now. It's no secret that there are quite a few pregnant mommas-to-be out there. Must have been a cold winter, huh? It seems as though my newsfeed is covered from top to bottom with pregnancy announcements and baby bump updates. Am I happy for these ladies and gents? Absolutely! It's an exciting time and I am ecstatic that so many couples and families are growing. But there's still a sting in my heart. There's still a twinge of sadness that washes over me when I see a new pregnant announcement or a baby bump update...

I know I am not the only woman in this world aching for a family. I know that someday this will become a reality for me, but it seems to be a recurring theme in my life that things don't happen when I want them to. Others' plans may work out, but mine never do. I think God is teaching me to loosen the reigns of control in my life. I can't have the things I want when I want them because obviously the timing is off right now. For one, I don't have a husband right now, so baby making is impossible...For two, I am still healing from the divorce and moving onto another (potentially wrong) relationship isn't the best thing for my heart. For three, I need to decide what I want right now, rather than the future.

My dad always tells me that there's a guy out there praying for me and hoping for me to come along, but our paths just haven't crossed yet. The first time he said that I wanted to burst into tears. I always think about myself wanting that "right guy" for me without thinking that maybe there's a guy out there hoping and praying for me too. That gives me hope and in some way gives me peace. I will have what my heart desires in the right time. I just have to trust God and keep focusing on me and what He wants for my life right now. This time will be precious to me looking back someday, and I certainly don't want to take it for granted.

30 may only be a couple of years away, but I still have time to accomplish some wonderful things. 


May 15, 2014

There are times when there seems to be endless tragedy. I cannot tell you how many heartbreaking stories I have heard in the last week related to loss, injury, death, and sickness. We are all affected by tragedy at some point in our lives. The hardest part is to live life knowing you will never know why these things happen. Why does someone lose a parent or a child unexpectedly? Why does someone get cancer? Why do we have to deal with so much unimaginable heartbreak? The truth is, I don't know. I don't have the answers. These things bothered me less when I was younger, but entering into adulthood has made me realize just how precious life is. It's only a breath or a blink and then all of the sudden you're almost 30, or turning 40, or 75. Life is short and life is meant to be appreciated and lived. I have had my fair share of tragedy in my life as well. I used to feel as though it was a normal part of life, and in no way did it shake my faith. Now, things seem to shake me to my core. I cannot understand why God would allow people to go through such things.

I do know that God is a loving God, that I am not alone, and that He is here in the midst of the most horrible tragedies. I know that in the end people are good and want to help. I know that my family and friends are there to support me no matter what happens. I do know that life is less than fair and that there is more good than bad. I do know that despite how we feel at times, we are living a life of purpose for a God who is great and powerful. He is the ultimate healer. Time allows us to move on, but God uses the time to teach our hearts to love, show grace, and embrace hope.

If you are experiencing loss, death, or just feel hopeless, please know that I am thinking and praying for you. Life can be hard sometimes. I know it seems like it will never get better, but it will, and it does. My heart goes out to all of those suffering right now, xx.


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May 14, 2014

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May 13, 2014

I seriously cannot get enough of these dresses from Ann Taylor Loft. I think the colors are so classic and elegant together. These dresses are perfect for work, brunch, church, vacation, anything. You can dress them up or down, which I love. As a girl on a budget I need to have clothing I can wear multiple ways for increased versatility. And hello? Vertical stripes do wonders for my mid-section and ba-donk-a-donk. What do you think?! Not to mention these dresses are 40% off right now!

Source from left to right: dots, maxi, patterns, stripes.

There are no affiliate links in this post. Ann Taylor Loft has no idea who I am.


May 12, 2014

I am in no way an expert on blogging. I enjoy love it and the connections I have made, and hope to grow my business through blogging. We all start somewhere and trust me, I am still very much a "starter blog". I am still managing all of the pieces and working hard to get my blog's name out there (even if it happens to be my own name). I think in this industry, there are good bloggers and great bloggers. Being a great blogger is about putting in time and effort, but most of all, being yourself. Choose methods that maintain who you are without compromising your integrity or the intention of your blog.

Reach Out
I would have never made some of the connections I have if I hadn't made the first move. If I read a blog post that inspires me (especially if I use their content - properly cited) I send the blogger an email or a tweet letting them know that I enjoyed reading their post. I find inspiration all of the time when reading blogs and I want the blogger to know I appreciate them. It's important that we connect with other bloggers when we get started. You never know where it could lead. 

Embrace Social Media 
When I first started blogging seriously I couldn't quite understand the relationship between blog and social media. What does Twitter have to do with my blog? Or Facebook? Or Instagram? Answer: everything. Readers like to read content whenever they see it. For the most part, a reader will read your blog when they see a tweet or Facebook post that interests them. If I see a catchy post title or a beautiful photo along with "New blog post is up!", I am most likely going to click right then and there. Its very rarely we don't click a pin we like on Pinterest, right? So Pin those posts as well! The more exposure on social media, the more readers. 

Write What You Know
It can be a struggle to figure out what you want to post everyday or whatever your post schedule may be. The most inspiring place I pull from is my life. I write what I know. If you are a mother of two looking to help other mothers balance out their life, offer tips. If you are a lover of food, write about your favorite dishes at restaurants. If you are the next Rachel Zoe, write about fashion. Writing what you know is the best and easiest way to create quality content. Heck, even crazy cat ladies get love in the blogosphere. 

Join Groups and Blog Societies
There are several groups you can join that will allow for more exposure and readership. I joined one recently for southern bloggers and the results have been astonishing. You can link your posts and allow for the other members to comment, click, pin, like and tweet. You will most likely have to request to join, but I haven't met a group yet that didn't allow me in. I have also read some great new blogs I had no idea were out there! 

I know this advice is rather common, but I honestly didn't pay much attention until recently. I read several blogs a day and would rarely comment, and then I wondered why I wasn't making very many connections. I LOVE to read the comments of my readers. I find it to be fulfilling in that I can see that they have actually read and enjoyed my post. I also love to reply to your comments and most bloggers do too. If you feel compelled to start a conversation, start with a comment. Again, you never know where it could lead.

I hope you find some of these tips to be useful! If you need any further advice, please feel free to comment below. 


May 10, 2014

Now that I am single, there are several things I learned about budgeting that may help you single girls out there! If you live on your own, or are now living on your own {again}, these tips may be useful to you!

1. Ditch Cable: Trust me, I get it. I love watching The Bachelor (seriously) every week without having to wait for the spoilers the next day, but is it worth paying upwards of $50 or more? The truth is, internet is just as useful as cable. I am able to watch all of my shows, as well as some ones I missed on Netflix. You can also opt for a Blue Ray player or Roku that has Netflix and Hulu already installed. You can also watch most shows on the network's website.
2. Limit the Miscellaneous Purchases: I had a really hard time with this one (and still do). Miscellaneous includes a coffee purchase here, fast food there, Redbox purchases, gossip magazine purchases, etc. It's the purchases we don't think about, but they add up SO quickly. Give yourself an allowance each week or two weeks and don't go over that! Once your allowance is gone, you're done.
3. Buy groceries: As paaaainful and dramatic it is to now be cooking for one, its much cheaper than going out every meal (and a lot healthier). Give yourself the benefit of eating at home and bringing your lunch to work and you might can score those cute shoes you've been eyeing. Trust me, it saves tons!
4. Don't underestimate the power of savings: We aren't talking hundreds of dollars per month here. My savings consists of $10 increments, but that's what I can afford to save right now. You'll definitely be thanking yourself twenty $10 later...
5. Write it down: No one can do their budget in their head, even if they claim to be a math wizard. These things have to be recorded - so do that, or risk forgetting...Trust me, if I don't keep record of my budget or spending I go cray.
6. Don't rely on credit: I learned how easy it is to rack up credit card debt after my divorce. I went from two incomes to one and it quickly added up. Set a budget first and give yourself a couple of months to adjust. You may find yourself grabbing the credit card less.

Do you have any budgeting tips for single women? Share them below!


May 9, 2014

It is no surprise that the dating game has changed in the last decade or so. Online dating has become more prevalent, as are dating apps for the smart phone. I never thought I would see the day that I would subscribe to a service, such as Match.com, but oh, it happened. By golly, it sure did. I encountered quite the interesting fellas from time to time. Here is a summary of these encounters...

At First Site_Marriage Proposal
Yeah, I am not kidding. A guy from Las Vegas (shoulda known) messaged me and told me that my hips looked fruitful and he wanted to put a baby inside me. So cliche, right? I was shocked. Not only did he message me (and wink the living life outta me), but he messaged me more than once. He told me I looked sweet, innocent, with just the right amount of "naughty". I feel gross just typing this. Needless to say, he was blocked soon after. 

The Judgment_Impending Block
Then there was the judgment from a fellow Christian brother that I should be ashamed for being a Christian and being divorced. I'm sorry...What was that part about judging again? 

The Fizzler_Sizzler
There was one guy I had a pleasant few conversations with online. We talked about our jobs, families, and growing up. We even exchanged numbers and talked on the phone a few times. Then, all of the sudden, it just stopped. I didn't really care which made me realize I didn't really like the guy. No harm done. 

The Snoozer_Boozer
If this guy wasn't drinking himself into a stupor every night (which he openly admitted to) then he was boring the pants off of me. It all started fine. He was polite, asked good questions, but then a switch was flipped. He couldn't come up with a thing to say, but he would still message me. "Hi, how are you? Hi, what are you up to? Hi, Hi, Hiiii". Eventually, I stopped responding because it was really leading to nowhere. 

The Tinderizer
So, this Tinder app. I don't know about that. I downloaded the app after seeing it mentioned on "The Mindy Project" (LOVE that show by the way). At first, I was so confused. How am I supposed to like someone based on a couple of pictures? Answer: Exactly. I am not exactly sure how it all works, but I am guessing they have found a way to pump an addictive substance out of the app because after I started using it I couldn't stop. Oh, yes I could stop. When I started seeing guys I knew...Including my ex! Awesome. 

So, for all of you non-single people out there. Be grateful. It ain't getting any better out here, I'll tell ya! 


May 8, 2014

It's safe to say that southern culture is an American subculture in itself. We have our own past times (watermelon seed spittin' contest) and our own jokes ("You might be a redneck if..."), but we also have our own phrases. These are called for when specific things occur and here they are without further adieu.

Now, I would never promote violence, especially violence against mothers, but when yo' mama cooks up something so good, you can't help but slap her? Well, then its a compliment. It is reserved for homemade foods such as country fried steak, peach cobbler, and cornbread, but really any southern dish will do.
This is another fun phrase that implies the weather being warmer than "poo". Down here in the south the humidity is just wretched. If you're not careful, you could literally melt away like a dog's hearty morning poo. When this happens, the above statement is slurred and well, its serious.
This phrase is rather common and well-known, but it can mean several different things.
1. You're an idiot.
2. You're a fool.
3. Honey, I feel sorry for you.
4. I don't care, but I am going to pretend I do.
It's diverse. It's well-meaning. It's southern.
Double negatives are daily part of the southerner's repertoire. To really send the point home you have to say things like, "won't do nothin'", "can't see nothin'", and "don't do anything'". If you can't say it twice negative, don't say it all. 
Peaches are delectable and they are also the signature trade of Georgia. If someone is as pretty as a peach, that's a compliment. It means you are pretty, attractive, favored.
This phrase implies that a person once could do something, but no longer can. Rather than saying, "I used to be able to hoe my yard all day long" it is said, "I used to could hoe my yard all day long". They could and now they can't, so they used to could. Simple.
The clicker in the south may also be known to the common man as the remote. We down here like to say clicker because that's what it does...It clicks to different channels.

These phrases might not have graced your lips, but give 'em a shot! You may surprise yourself. See y'all later, ya hear?

+Linking up with Lovely Thursdays!

image:created by Melissa Faye  


May 7, 2014

I know I am not the first person to ever get divorced and unfortunately, I won't be the last. Divorce has taught my heart so many things. Things that I didn't know I wanted to learn. Divorce still has a stigma attached to it. My fear when the news first broke was judgement. I was afraid people would think I wasn't trying, or that I was a horrible person, or that I was a bad wife, or damaged. Being under 30 and divorced came with its own challenges. I wasn't quite settled into married life and then I had to figure out how to live on my own, in a different state than my family, for the first time in my life. So many changes occurred in a three year span, but I have to say the hardest adjustment was getting divorced.

I had so many feelings and emotions running through my being. I couldn't decide if I was more sad than angry, or more hurt than sad. I just felt lost. Feeling lost is the worst part. I couldn't decide which direction to go. Every decision I made involved another person, but no longer was he here with me. Every fear, doubt, concern with discussed with another person, but no longer was he available to listen. How does someone bounce back from that? How does one cope? I have a few lessons that you or someone you know may find useful. I am in no way an expert, but I feel as though my experience may benefit someone else who is or has gone through the same thing.

It Does Get Easier
I know it can seem like life will be horrible forever, but that isn't so. I dealt with several bouts of depression and there were days I couldn't grasp the thought of ever getting through it. This isn't something I shared on a regular basis with anyone, but now that some time has passed I feel like it would be beneficial for others to know that yes, I was depressed. I had never felt so low, sad, or hopeless in my life. I would cry out to God, call my mom, pray, read the Bible, cry some more. Whatever I had to do, I did it. I had to let the emotions flow so that I could begin to recover and heal. I think there is something about loss that opens up your soul and makes you feel pain in places you didn't know existed. I often find that after these times the heart is stronger and any joy you feel is that much sweeter.

People Will Understand 
I had to accept the fact that I wasn't alone in my struggle. So many people had experienced divorce and when they offered their advice or told their story, I listened. I wanted to feel a kinship with these people because it made me feel less alone, less afraid, and more hopeful. They got through it and so can I. So can you!

Being Alone Will Feel Okay
I am not going to lie, at first, it was really hard to live alone. I missed the presence of another. I wanted to cook for two, clean for two, do laundry for two, anything to feel normal. After a while, I embraced living alone and having time to sleep in, relax, do things my own way, establish a comfortable routine, and learn who I was again. Being married gives you another identity and I felt for a while like I wasn't quite myself. The truth is, that's normal when you're first married because your identity is now linked with another person. Once my ex-husband and I were separated, I had to learn who I was again. I have to admit, I kind of like who I am now. I feel like myself - most days. 

Don't Rush
I cannot tell you how many people asked me when I was going to start dating again (that story for another post). I had to be honest with them and myself and say that I wasn't ready for a relationship. It's been about 8 years since I have "dated" someone. I am a serial monogamist and I will openly admit that (okay, I just did). I was in a long-term relationship before I met my ex-husband and I didn't waste anytime jumping into something with him. I feel as though this is a great time to do all of the things I have wanted to do, but never had the chance. If the time comes, and the right person comes along, I will be open to it, but I don't see that happening for a while anyway.

Make the Move 
No one is going to be there to kick you in the pants and tell you when to start living again. You will have to make that decision on your own. For me, it took me several months to really "live". I was just doing my best to get through each and every day and at the time people were graceful enough to allow me to do that. Now that it's been a year, it's time for me to make some decisions in my life. I have a career, family, and my own personal well-being to consider. I can't wait around for life to happen. I have to make it happen for me. 

Do you have any advice, or want to chat? Leave a comment or send me an email

Original Image Heart of Gold 


May 6, 2014

The dryer is an appliance that is essential in my life. I honestly think I wash and dry clothes about as much as a family of 4. That's bad, right?

Well, the dryer I have was bought when I first got married. It was bought at a used appliance store for cheap, and has been a good and faithful dryer for about 4 years.

The other day I woke up after my dryer had been running through the night to damp, smelly clothes. Um. That is not what I was going for. I was panicking. I had nearly all of my work clothes in the dryer (I know - all of my business clothes are dry-able). So, I did what any self-respecting woman would do. I freaked out. Expletives were said, clothes were thrown, it was a full-on meltdown.

Then, I thought, Come on Melissa. What can you do to solve this very real problem? Well, a few ideas came to mind.

One. Drive around fast with my windows down and the clothes hanging in the back.
Two. Wear damp clothes. Who would notice?
Three. Wear something else...Yikes. I think I would have had to wear gym shorts.
Four. Hang them outside in the sun and be four and half hours late to work.

So, what did I do? I turned on the dryer and dried the clothes (I THOUGHT I HAD DRIED THE NIGHT BEFORE). Moral of the story? Get. More. Sleep. I obviously need it.


May 5, 2014

I have never set blog goals before, but since I want to take this blogging thing more seriously, I want to go ahead and set some goals for myself. Blogging takes effort, but I enjoy it a lot. I enjoy the writing, socializing, and connecting. I think that these goals will be a way for me to see real results with both readership and engagement.

1. Create an Editorial Calendar
2. Create a Media Kit
3. Post more original photos
4. Follow 20 new bloggers both on Bloglovin' and social media.
5. Gain 10 more followers via Bloglovin' and social media.
Feel free to Pin the above image. These goals are great for any blogger looking to get serious about blogging!

What are your blogging goals?


May 3, 2014

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May 2, 2014

Today there is no actual "post", but I did want to share some things today.

1. I plan to take today (and really the weekend) to gather inspiration and create quality content. Posts have been rolling out like toilet paper the last few days, but I feel like its time to really hone in on what my voice is and what I want to share on this little space of the internet. I have been pinning some helpful things that may help spark some new content in a fresh, new way.

2. I am working on setting some monthly blogging goals. Now, I don't want to get too hung up on numbers, i.e. followers, views, likes, and re-tweets, but it is important that my blog attract readers. I want to create content that is inspiring, thoughtful, meaningful, moving, hilarious - not all at once. Although, that would be awesome! This means I will be more focused on sponsorships, exposure, and forming relationships with you. I know I won't have it all figured out in one day, but I am open to suggestions if you have any.

3. This blog is important to me. Its a place for me to share things about my life. I have thoughts and I have opinions, but I also want to inspire and bring people back here daily.

4. This may mean I post more or less often. Let's be real. Not every blog post is 100% perfect or life shattering. I typically blog when I have something to say. If what I want to say coincides with the above mentioned then its a go. If not, then its a no. Cool?

Thank you guys for reading. For taking this blogging thing and running with it. My heart appreciates you.


May 1, 2014

I'm on the left.
Third from the left with the short blonde hair.
1. Dating: I wasn't really dating anyone specifically, but I did have crushes on a few different guys.
2. Eating: I would say my diet was the same as it is now. I loved Chick-Fil-A, Applebee's, and Chili's. I went to the above places all the time!
3. On the weekends...I would go to the movies with friends, go to football games, basketball games, and the mall...Oh, the mall. The Mall of Georgia was the place to be!
4. Doing: A lot of PSAT prep, volunteering in theatre, talking in class, taking photos on a disposable camera, and cheering.
5. Feeling: A million different things. My grandmother was diagnosed with cancer, I was recovering from a tough break up (freshman year), I was always cheering, or doing things for my dad's church (I was a PK).
6. Dancing: In my room, at cheer practice, at cheer camp, in the car, at high school dances. Boy bands and Britney Spears were ruling the air waves!
7. Driving: Sometimes...I was terrified to learn to drive and was just starting to learn at the end of my Sophomore year. I drove a stick, though. I couldn't quite figure it out.
8. Trying: My best not to get off track. My friends were starting to experiment with different things and friendship drama was constant. I was trying my best to stay out of it.
9. Dreaming: About Junior year. I don't know why, but being a Junior seemed so grown up to me. It was my most fun year!
10. Forgetting: That I would have to be done with high school in two years. I wasn't quite ready to leave home yet, in fact, I ended up going to a community college for three years after high school.

Feel free to post your own, "In 10th Grade..." post and leave a comment below! I'd love to read!