October 30, 2016

I was not a big fan of Halloween growing up. I can count on maybe one hand how many times I went trick or treating. I usually spent the evening at home handing out candy to other kids, and I was okay with that. After a few years though, even that got a little old, so we’d be that family with their porch lights turned off.

I love Fall, so any excuse to celebrate that? I am in!

Here is my recipe for a perfect (adult) Halloween night!

1. ANYTHING Pumpkin!
Carving pumpkins, roasting pumpkin seeds, making pumpkin pies, drinking pumpkin coffee, just include ALL the pumpkin!

2. Bake Halloween cookies!
Include icing, sprinkles, candy - just go crazy!

3. Make a slow-cooker meal!
Any excuse to eat that hearty chili or soup, or maybe some barbecue pork.

4. Have friends over for a toasty bonfire!
Now, we have had the temps in the 80s, so I won’t be doing this one, but if you can stand the heat, do it!

5. Watch all of the Halloween movies!
I am not a big horror movie fan, but I will watch those that aren’t really scary. Let’s be honest, there are a lot that aren’t!

How will you spend your Halloween?


October 27, 2016

I haven’t done a Coffee Talk post in a while, so I thought I’d go ahead and share. LET’S DO THIS!

Thankful For: I am thankful for true friends, pumpkin spice coffee, and cooler weather. I know all of that sounds so cliche or insignificant, but all of these things are making my life right now. I also love the weekend, and lookie there, here it is!

Thinking About: All of the course work I have to do, but also how fast this term is going. I am really liking my classes and learning something new everyday. I am also thinking about the holidays and whether or not it’s too soon to Christmas shop.

Feeling: I have been feeling kinda down lately. I have talked about my struggle with anxiety and depression before. I think there are seasons where things are easier and things are more difficult. I won’t say things are easy or difficult, because there is always the undercurrent of struggle, but I do fight hard everyday. I fight hard to not sink when I feel like just giving up and I also fight hard to calm down and rest when I am overly anxious. I think it’s all within a healthy balance though. I understand how ironic that sounds, but I do think I manage and cope with these times better than I have in the past. It’s amazing how much counseling can really instill in me the tools I need to make healthier choices and cope in healthier ways.

Listening To: I have been listening to a lot of Jazz at work to help me focus, but I have also been keeping it country with the country playlists on Spotify. I have yet to listen to the new Christmas albums that have come out, but the time is soon approaching! I cannot wait! I always listen to my Bobby Bones Show in the morning, of course!

Eating: I have been eating better the last couple of weeks. I had been having some pain on my right side, and it was worrying me, so I headed to the doctor. I was convinced I had a problem with my gall bladder, but nothing has shown on the tests. I do think it could be my posture...I know that sounds silly, but I have horrible posture. I did have a kidney stone discovered however, so bring on the water!

Reading: I finished Girl on the Train and saw the movie, so I am ready for my next book! I am reading a lot for my classes, so leisure reading has been happening less. I would like another thriller though. Any recommendations??

Loving: I have been loving sleep lately. I know that sounds weird, but at night I have really been working to get a good night’s sleep, and it’s been going well. I do need to get to bed earlier though. I have also been loving the cooler temps in the morning and evening. My favorite thing now is to open my windows for a little while before bed. I find the open fresh air helps me sleep more soundly, plus it’s just the right temperature!


October 24, 2016

This weekend was filled with fun and delicious food. My mom came down to see me Friday night, and I wanted to take her to 11th and Bay Southern Table. It’s a restaurant right next to the river and it has an awesome atmosphere. The meals are a little pricey, but we split our meal, so it ended up not being so bad. I don’t know if you heard or not, but Cole Swindell was in Phenix City, AL on Friday night. He was right across the river, so my mom and I walked down a took in the last little bit of his show. Didn’t even have to purchase tickets!

Before dinner we had quite a wait, so we went outside with our drinks and took in the cooler temps and amazing lounge area. Perfect for people watching and listening to the guy playing the tambourine and singing albeit painfully.

My mom and I love to take silly photos and I must have said something funny here...That’s so like me. 

After a late night, we slept in and went to brunch at First Watch. I haven’t tried it since it was the Egg and I, so I thought we’d give it a shot. My breakfast was below. It’s called the Tri-athelete. Its an egg-white omelet with mushrooms, onions, and peppers, served with fresh pico de gallo, fruit, and brioche toast with preserves. It was YUM!

Sunday is my day to relax, get household chores done, and work on some homework that is due. Before I got started I made me a hearty serving of french toast. I opened the windows, let the fresh air in, and enjoyed my breakfast. Of course, there was coffee (not pictured).

So, how was your weekend? Anything fun happen?


October 21, 2016

So, you want to know more about online dating, huh? View this video below to learn more about one of the most popular dating apps, Tinder.

So, as you can gather, even celebrities like Chelsea Handler use Tinder. Who knew? First of all, before we move forward, why would Chelsea of all people need Tinder? She is rich, funny, very pretty, and successful. Let’s just say if she is on Tinder, it can’t be all that bad, right?

Let me be clear. I do not condone one night stands. What I am referring to, is online dating for the intention to create a relationship. Now, if it never happens for me, that is fine. I have done my part. If online dating apps are what you use to get a little somethin’ somethin’, then this post will probably bore the pants off of you. Pun intended (winky face).

Online dating sites such as Match, eHarmony, OKCupid, and others are there for a purpose - to connect you with others. How meaningful that connection is, is up to you, and that other person. Here are some statistics that were provided on a website called, Reviews.com. This website reviewed and researched several online dating sites, including Match, eHarmony, and OKCupid. If you want to learn more go to, http://www.reviews.com/online-dating-sites/.

1. eHarmony is the most expensive online dating subscription at $40 per month.
2. Match.com and eHarmony have very close success rates in creating long-term relationships or marriages. eHarmony beat Match by 0.7 of a percentage point.
3. When it comes to algorithms and successful matches, OKCupid was rated the best. There were more connections made such as matches and more meaningful connections made using the message portion of the site.
4. There are three categories of messages - Good, Bad, and Mediocre. The percentage of good messages over bad were better on sites such as OKCupid and Match. The remainder of messages were mediocre, non-specific, and seemed to originate from spam or bots.
5. There are significant differences in the types of connections made on dating sites versus dating apps. Dating apps tend to be free, cultivate a “hookup culture”, and generally put men in the drivers seat. Apps such as Bumble, Coffee and Bagel, and Hinge are working to reverse that culture, and Hinge is considering starting a paid subscription for serious daters only.

So, here is some background info.

Good, Bad, and Mediocre Messages (from www.reviews.com/online-dating-sites/.

Bad Messages:
  • Spam or scam
  • Harassing or threatening
  • Obscene
  • Extremely short, “Hi beautiful”
  • Generic copy & paste: “I found your profile interesting”
  • A neg: “I like your big nose”
  • From someone who acknowledges their out of your age range, but decides to message you anyway
  • Passive-aggressive or guilt trip: “I know you probably won’t respond, but I had to message you anyway”
  • Obviously from a bot because it’s so generic and comes from a sparse profile
Mediocre Messages: 
  • Suggestive, but not outright obscene
  • Only talks about your physical appearance
  • Impersonal, but only starts conversations with “Any plans for the weekend?”
  • An attempt to be personal, but falls flat: “I see you like playing scrabble. I like mountain biking.”
Good Messages:
  • Highlights something you both have in common
  • Respectful
  • Asks about something specific about your profile
  • Talks about things that are specific to your profile, but doesn’t only talk about physical appearance
  • No glaring spelling or grammar errors
  • Funny
When it comes to dating sites, here are the main factors: 
  • Usability of the site. Is it easy to use, or too buggy (referring to site bugs)? 
  • Cost isn’t everything, but price point does matter.  Is the paid subscription costly, or does it match what you can contribute on a month-by-month, or multi-monthly basis?
  • Intuitiveness of the site. Does the site understand what you’re looking for? Is it realistic to use?
When it comes to online dating, you want the site to work for you, but there is work associated with online dating as well. For example, the more messages, likes, winks, or specific connections you make with others, the more successful your experience will be. Match encourages users to send an average of 4 messages per day. Granted, they all must be good messages (see above), they need to be with other users whom you have things in common with, and you need to be sure that you are sending messages to a paid subscriber. If the user him or herself claims up front that they are not a paid subscriber, I wouldn’t even waste your breath, or your fingers typing on your keyboard.

I think for the most part, online dating can be useful, and it has been shown to be successful. Time will tell about how successful those marriages are, after all, marriages are meant to last till death to us part. I know several couples who met online, and one recently married who actually met on Tinder. Go figure? 

If you are in the market to try online dating, I suggest doing your research, find what works and doesn’t work, and don’t be afraid to take some risks. Every site comes with it’s own risk, successes, and failures. 

Here are some tips to stay safe, but also to enjoy your online dating experience!
  • Never give out your home address, work address, or specific contact information while messaging another user. 
  • Never give financial information to another user. 
  • If another user asks for money, immediately stop communicating and block this person from contacting you. 
  • Do not respond to message that seem vague or spammy.
  • Do not meet with the other user in a secluded, personal, or private place. Always arrange to meet in a public place. 
  • While exchanging your personal phone number is a next step after messaging another user for a while, you can use the paid phone subscription service on the dating site, or you can create a burner number that can be disconnected if things don’t work out. I suggest an app that creates a phone number for you, but isn’t your actual number.
  • Do not respond to messages that are vulgar, offensive, or obscene. Chances are, they are a creep, or are spam. No need to waste your time.
  • If another user makes you feel uncomfortable or attempts to contact you after being told you are not interested, block the user or report the user to the site administrative staff. 
I hope this information and these tips are helpful. Online dating can be very rewarding, as long as you use your head. Again, for more information and reviews, visit www.reviews.com/online-dating-sites/. 

Thank you to Reviews.com for reaching out and providing the information above. 


October 19, 2016

I love the coziness of Fall. Each night it has started to get darker earlier, which means, daylight savings time is about to end. I find myself drawn to watching more movies in the Fall and Winter months, and I have some favorites I wanted to share with you. So, get your blanket, popcorn, and your favorite soda or wine, and join me in watching some awesome movies!

1. You’ve Got Mail
My favorite quote from this movie-
“Don’t you just love New York in the Fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has it’s charms”.
Don’t you just love that?! By the way, for a blast from the past, head on over to www.youvegotmail.warnerbros.com. You will feel like you have been sent straight back to the 90s. Dial up tone and all!

2. The Big Short (available on Netflix)
I saw this movie pop up over and over again on my Netflix, so I decided to watch. It has two of my favorite people in it, Ryan Gosling and Steve Carrell (the pair also worked on Crazy Stupid Love together). It’s a little over 2 hours long, but it’s a great, intense, comedic, yet true story set during the housing market crash of 2008. The jargon may be a little over your head (it was mine), but luckily, they have bits of the movie where a famous actor/actress explains the complicated terms. I was in college during the housing market crash, so I wasn’t completely exposed. I didn’t quite understand what caused it, but now it makes much more sense. I just hope America has learned it’s lesson.

3. IRIS (available on Netflix)
I did not know who Iris Apfel was until I watched this movie, then I recalled several times that I saw her on different ads. She is quite the character and her fashion sense is both unique, if not stunning at times. She basically has made fashion and collecting her empire. Great documentary if you are into fashion.

4. Amanda Knox (available on Netflix)
Another title that can be found on Netflix. Amanda Knox was accused of murdering her British roommate while living abroad in Italy. Amanda endured four trials, while the Italian police did all they could to pin the murder on her. Do I think she’s guilty? I don’t know, but you can definitely see the faults of the Italian police and to what lengths they went to make her “appear” guilty. Amanda is different, if not strange. Her demeanor can be off-putting, but I don’t think that makes her a murderer. All in all, a very interesting documentary.

5. Audrie & Daisy (available on Netflix)
This movie was extremely eye-opening. I could honestly feel myself wanting to scream at the TV. Two teenage girls are found in a compromising situation and have fallen victim to sexual assault. These girls explain their experience and the effects it had on their family and community. I was honestly beyond frustrated. On the one hand, you have two teenage girls who were doing things at 14 they should not have been doing, but on the other hand, that is no excuse for the boys to sexual assault them. My motherly instincts came out on this one, and I am not even a mother yet.

I hope you find these movies as interesting and delightful as I do!


October 14, 2016

I am not going to lie. One of my favorite things to do is sleep...when I can! Right now, I am in graduate school, so that calls for some late nights. I also love going to sleep early (around 10:00 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.) because I just feel so much better the next day.
Lately, I have been obsessed with morning/night routines, so I thought I would share mine here!

1. Unwind 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. 
Typically, I try and leave work around 5:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. so my 45 minute commute doesn't cause me to get home too late in the evening. I try and unwind in the car, but of course, I am driving so I can only unwind so much. When I get home, I like to cook dinner and just enjoy eating while I play some music in the background. I use to be a 'eat in front of the TV' kind of girl, but lately, I have tried to enjoy my meals with less distractions. Plus, the jazz music makes me feel like I am in a restaurant (but I don't have to tip!). After eating dinner I will do some things around the house and then I'll take my hour break. I will read, scroll through social media, read blogs, or just lay there while the music is playing. I feel like this time is just allowing my mind and body to calm before I start my bedtime routine.

2. Shower 8:00 - 8:15 p.m.
I love to take two showers a day. My morning shower helps me wake up in the morning and my nightly shower helps me to wind down. I cannot go to bed without taking a shower or bubble bath. It just helps me wash the day away, and it makes my sheets feel so much better. I generally take a more leisurely shower in the evening, and try to shave and do the things that would take extra time in the morning.

3. Face Mask 8:15 - 8:25 p.m. (optional)
I don't do a mask every night (bummer), but if I do, I try and only leave it on for 10 minutes. It's typically a mud mask by Mary Kay, and it makes my skin much less oily throughout the week. My skin texture is about to change with the impending colder weather, but I still enjoy a mask a few times a month even in Fall and Winter.
4. Catch up on TV 8:30 - 9:30 p.m. 
 I don't have cable, but I do have Hulu and Netflix. I like being able to catch up on my shows when I have the time, so if I am able I will watch an episode or two.

5. Graduate work 8:30 - 10:00 p.m. 
Right now, I am in graduate school so I will need to do nightly reading/study/assignments. This way I can keep on top of my class so I don't get too far behind. If I do school work at night, sometimes it will take me some additional time to wind back down.

6. Reading 10:00 - falling asleep
The one thing that can definitely knock me out is reading (even a page turner). Reading helps me to calm my mind, and reading the words helps my eyes to get heavy. I may only be a few paragraphs in and it's lights out!
What is your nightly routine? If you don't have one, I suggest starting one! It will make you and your sleep much better!


October 12, 2016

Growing up, I always had an idealistic, perfectionist approach to life. Even now in my adulthood, I still want things to be perfect. The problem with perfection is...

1. It isn't realistic.
2. It does not give way to grace, mercy, or human error.
3. It makes you feel bad when perfection isn't met.

There was one point this year that I just accepted that not everything can be perfect, and as long as it’s done, or as long as I am trying, perfection is no longer the goal.

I am my worst critic. I know people all around who know me just gasped! But, it’s true. No one has to tell me what I’ve done wrong, or how I messed up because I am already saying 100 obscenities in my mind about what I did wrong. Being a screw up isn’t really my thing. I want to appear put together, like I have life beat. But, can I tell you something? I DON’T!

When you’re going through life trying to keep this “I got this” persona, it can be exhausting. If something is broken, I want to fix it. If something isn’t working, I try to find out why, and I try with all of my might to change it. The truth is, I am not in the restoration business, nor am I a fairy godmother. I had to learn the hard way (especially this year), that no one, nothing, is perfect. Nothing can be perfect because in our humanness, we can’t be perfect. I have had to learn to trust God to fix things. And guess what? God only fixes what we want Him to. God only intervenes and changes things when we ask Him to. If I am all, “I got this”, God can’t do His work. Why would I not want to give up the things in my life to the Creator? Maybe I am a control freak? (Okay, that is a whole other post, Melissa!)

I have this innate ability to love, care for, and fix things that are broken. Can you imagine my dating life? Yeah, it’s pretty hilarious! But, I don’t want someone based on their potential. I want someone based on their reality. I am done trying to fix things and make things perfect. The only perfect One is Jesus.

So, if you are like me, tired of always trying to be perfect, can I help you out? Break up with perfection! Send it a Dear John letter, send it down the river, or even buy it a pizza that says, “I’m breaking up with you” spelled out in pepperonis. Whatever you have to do to let go, do it!

Here are some tips to get your started!

1. Journal about your need to be perfect and then read it to yourself.
It may sound silly, or feel awkward, but it may reveal a lot about why you want things to be perfect. Is it because you feel like you won’t be good enough? Is it because you want to keep control? Is it because you feel like it’s the one thing you got going for you? Let me tell you something, you don’t have to be perfect to be worth it. You don’t need this cookie cutter perfect life because it’s boring! There is beauty in the colorful messes we make!

2. Write a "break up letter" to perfection.
This is my go-to. Tell perfection to take a hike and be specific on why. This may reveal more than you think!

3. When something gets done, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
It just needs to be done. I had to learn this in my professional life. I am not saying to make mistakes on purpose, or to not pay attention to detail. I am saying, don’t get so caught up in making each detail perfect, that you lose the ability to finish things. Striving for perfection can be feel paralyzing, when perfection isn’t the goal. Just getting done and finishing needs to be the goal.

4. Take it to God and leave it there.
I am a Christian, so my life revolves around one person - Jesus Christ. When things in life are hard for me, my savior is there for me. He loves me despite my humanness. He loves me despite my imperfections. A central theme in Christianity is to give all we have to God. We worship Him at church, yes, but we also worship Him with our lives. We cannot be whole without Jesus. We cannot be redeemed without Jesus. So, for me, to be able to function through life healthy and joyful, I have to constantly surrender things to the Lord. One of those things is my need to be perfect, and my need to make things in life how I want them.

5. Symbolize this break up with perfection in a meaningful way.
I regularly see a counselor (No shame, people! I whole-heartedly believe in counseling/therapy. It was my major!). Dealing with anxiety and depression has made me take a hard look at how my mind works and how my perspective affects my behavior. One of the first things I had to do in counseling was destroy my perfect life that I had built in my head. Growing up, this was my escape. I saw things in how they should be lenses, rather than how they are lenses. This has been daunting to break through. In the near future, I really want to symbolize this new-found break up in a good, meaningful, healthy way. I haven’t decided how yet, but I will soon! If you are making the same move, I suggest doing this too!

Life is too short to worry about being perfect. Be who you are. Be bold enough to be real with yourself. Be kind enough to accept you. There is nothing wrong about loving yourself right where you are. So much of my life has been spent being hard on myself, and honestly not being kind. I do think there’s something to be said about loving yourself. Giving yourself a break.

Can you relate? I would love to hear about your story in the comments! 


October 11, 2016

I am in graduate school (yay!) for the second time to finish up some requirements so I can teach undergraduate courses. Right now, I am taking two courses online at Liberty University. The course loan isn't unbearable, but I wouldn't say it's super easy either. I have some tips for those of you who are in Graduate school.

I am taking classes online, so I know it's much different if you are attending in-seat classes, but some of the same principles can apply! Graduate school can be REALLY overwhelming. Especially if you work full-time or part-time, have a wife/husband, family, etc. It can be hard to juggle all of your responsibilities, on top of being a student. You may also be required to do an internship or fellowship. In that case, you have a whole other set of responsibilities. If you are like me, these tips can help!

The first trick may be difficult, especially with little ones.

1. Keep a Schedule
I like to schedule out my study and assignment time. I work all day so I have to schedule it for evenings and weekends. If I have a packed schedule during the work day/week, then I may push some things around, but for the most part I try and read and complete assignments during the evenings and weekends. Weekends are good because they are primarily free. This weekend I have homecoming at my University, so I will be busy most of the weekend. That just means I need to cram in more reading and assignment time during this week.

2. Write out all of Your Deadlines
I like to write out my assignments due on the due dates in my Simplified Planner. That way I can work around my homework schedule. The frustrating part about being on the other side of this, is that a lot of students think the school should work around their life and schedule. When you choose to go to school, on top of other priorities, you have to make it work. It’s not up to my professor to make it easier for me. Graduate school is and should be a challenge.

3. Keep a Healthy Routine
One thing I had to really think about was my health. If I don’t keep my body in tip-top shape, then the rest of my life will suffer. This means getting plenty of sleep (this is a struggle), eating healthy, and getting exercise. For me, I have a hard time balancing work out time. When I get home I am usually pretty tired, so I try and go and get as much homework done as I can.

4. Ask for Help
Sometimes it is worth it to ask for help. That can mean help academically, or with any of your other responsibilities. This may sound silly, but even someone cleaning up your house could be a time and life saver. Ask for a babysitter. Ask someone in your class for help with studying or a project. You can definitely get others to help you with whatever you need. Just ask!

5. Find Time to Decompress
It may be a really hectic time, but there has to be time for decompression. If you enjoy a long walk or hanging out with friends, do it! Being in grad school may mean less free time, but it’s important to still do the things you love! Don’t hold back in my opinion!

Did you find these tips helpful? Do you have any more tips? Let me know below!

Happy Tuesday, xx!


October 10, 2016

I have already checked off one of my Fall bucket list items, and its still early in October! I was so excited when my dad, sister, and the kids wanted to plan an apple picking adventure. Down here in the South, it is still very much in the 80s-90s each day, so when we picked a date, we knew it would still be relatively warm.

If you follow along on Instagram, you may have already seen the pictures below, but I couldn't resist posting them here for you!

My dad and I stopped at Farmview Market on the way to Ellijay, Georgia. I believe it is a part of the UGA system to promote local farmers, meats, and produce. There is also a restaurant inside. If you do go by there in Eatonton, Georgia, be sure to get the chicken biscuit. It was fantastic!

Hillcrest Orchards had pretty good reviews online and included pony rides, jumping pillow, big slides, petting zoo, and apple picking all for $10 per person. I would definitely recommend it. The crowd was crazy though!

Enjoy this little video of our day!

More adventures to come!

Also, if you want to subscribe to my NEW YouTube Channel, feel free to Subscribe here!

Happy Monday, xx!