Let’s Talk Podcasts: August & September

These days I’m listening to podcasts more than I watch television. I’ve been traveling a lot more and popping on a new podcast can make a 5 or 6 hour drive go by 10x faster. True crime stories really catch my interest so I try to find all that I can. Podcasts these days are really going above and beyond normal storytelling. Some of these investigative journalists are actually solving crimes that might have been cold for years. It’s amazing.

Aside from true crime, I have really gotten into fictional stories. I thought it was a stretch at first, but now that’s what I find myself listening to them the most. Here’s what I’ve been listening to these days:

Knock Knock
This true crime story takes place in Starkville, Mississippi. Two elderly women were killed on Labor Day weekend in the early 90s. Now, the grandson of one of the victims is determined to figure out who committed this obscene crime.

I lived in Starkville for two years during college and had no idea this ever took place. Best of luck to everyone involved in this investigation – I hope you get to the bottom of it!

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In The Dark
Jacob Wetterling was abducted while riding his bike home and never to be seen again more than 20 years ago. This podcast dives into the story, the suspects, and how the law enforcement mishandled information. The bigger picture here is – what questions should we be asking when someone goes missing. It’s hard to hear how easily evidence can fall through the cracks. Truly a great listen!

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Tanis
This story is so hard to wrap my mind around because it’s so well thought out it has me thinking…Is this actually in our world? I really can’t explain “what” Tanis is, you’ll just have to find out for yourself.
Tanis is a truly compelling narrative that I would recommend anyone who is fascinated by lore or urban legend-type stories. Episode after episode I am left wondering. I have so many theories! It’s hard to stop this one.

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Homecoming
Another very convincing fictional story based in a secret military project that went sideways. Soldiers reluctantly took place in an experiment that lead to negative lasting effects. That’s all I can say without giving too much away.
Very in-depth character development with many twists throughout the storyline.
This psychological thriller features a few well-known voices like Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac, David Schwimmer, and Michael Cera!

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xx
kayla

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Bloomin’ Jack-O-Lantern DIY

Fall is here. Finally! September 22 is the day most of us have been waiting for! The leaves are starting to change and the sun isn’t as harsh when it’s shining, but it’s still warm here in Tennessee. These are all things I find beautiful along with the spookiness and crispness of Halloween time.

This year, along with some Pinterest inspiration, I found the easiest and, in my opinion, cutest decor for outside your front door. These pumpkins are easily found at Walmart or any other store that sells Halloween costumes, and they are usually no more than $1. When I was little I only remember them being neon orange though….not pink and green or blue? Oh well. I’m not asking any questions.

I absolutely love plants. I’ve really picked up on my green thumb lately. I would suggest to double check and make sure the plants you choose are made to last during the fall and winter months. I know a lot of stores are still trying to get rid of the leftover summer plants.

This craft is right up my alley, because all together it cost me under $20. The real task is going to be keeping the flowers alive! Wish me luck. I’d like to give a shoutout to my mom for helping me make these. She said she never crafts, but she enjoyed making them with me.

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Things You’ll Need:

  • plastic Jack-O-Lantern candy bucket
  • Primer spray paint* (white)
  • Any fall color spray paint*
  • Fall Plant
  • Extra Potting Soil
  • Hammer + Nails (trust me)

*make sure the spray paint you choose is made for plastic, I used Rust-oleum. It will say if it’s plastic-friendly on the label.

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Step 1:

Pull the handle out of the jack-o-lantern and apply the first coat of primer. Let that dry for about 20 minutes. You’ll probably notice the color still peeking through, so apply a second coat of primer and let that dry completely. About 20 minutes each coat.

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Step 2:

Once the second coat of primer has dried completely, it’s time to apply the color. I actually thought this color was more bronzy but it turned out to be orange, so it’s still actually very appropriate. It’s called Satin Cinnamon if you were wondering.

We also applied 2 coats of the color to ensure complete coverage. It’s pretty much impossible to complete this without getting a little paint on you, so just embrace it! #doitforthecraft Allow the paint to dry completely.

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Step 3:

So the plant will drain properly when watered, turn the dry jack-o-lantern upside down and nail about 4 holes into the bottom.

Step 4:

Now for the fun part!

I chose these gorgeous yellow flowers, they actually match perfectly with the paint color I chose. The label on thesesaid they would last all through the cold seasons too, so we’ll see about that. They were each $6 at Walmart.

Make sure you do a comparison of the flower pot to the pumpkin. We had trouble getting the plant to fit at first. We added soil in the jack-o-lantern to make sure there was enough to touch inside. With a little fluffing and adjustments, we have a completed flower pot to go outside!

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This is the first part to the many, many fall-friendly decor ideas I have. I’d love to see your fall plant or inside decor. Post a photo on Instagram using the hashtag #NFgreenthumb and #NFcrafts !

Keep up with me on social: Insta: @blowfishemoji | snapchat: @kay0

Love,

Alternative Anniversary Gifts You Should Try with Your Significant Other

Max and I just recently celebrated out 2 year 6 month anniversary. Even though it’s not a particularly important landmark in a relationship, it got me thinking of options for our 3 year anniversary. We’ve been known to do things a little differently; it’s kind of been our ongoing  theme throughout our entire relationship.

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Since distance has always been our issue (but not anymore 🙂 ), we usually celebrated in a slightly different way, usually by traveling to a new place. I think I can speak for both of us when I say travel is our favorite gift to one another.

For our two year anniversary, Max surprised me with a weekend trip to Asheville, North Carolina. It was amazing and I had been itching to try a new place!

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Maybe next birthday, anniversary, or whatever you’re celebrating you can find an alternative gift that will surprise the heck out of your boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse!

Make a Meal

An alternative to making reservations and eating in a restaurant is creating the meal together! It’s okay if you don’t actually know how to cook. Cooking classes can be found on Groupon and Whole Foods has a large variety of couples cooking classes and single classes. You can even sign up individually if there aren’t any couples classes available.

Do Something Daring

Have you ever been skydiving or is it something you think would be insane? Perfect. Take a chance and experiment with facing a fear – like heights. Maybe even snorkeling or swimming with dolphins is more your thing.

Since fall is creeping up get each other tickets to a haunted house. That is definitely a fun memory to share with your bae.

Or Do Something Relaxing

Let me be the one to say I love a good massage. Your muscles can get achy and stiff, especially in the cooler months. Many places such as Massage Envy offer couples’ deals.

It’s dark, relaxing, and your favorite person is in the room right next to you.

Travel

There’s a little part in all of us that wonders what all is out there, right? Or is it just me? Definitely not. When Max surprised me with our trip to Asheville, it open new doors for us in the gift giving department. I was completely oblivious!

Stay overnight in a town 1 hour away. Hop in a plane and stay somewhere for the entire week. Explore a new city and find your favorite things about it. Traveling with your best friend makes wherever you go an adventure.

 

The best part about all these gift ideas, is they can be planned together. Look into all your options before your next anniversary and make it a memory you’ll hold tight for years to come.

Love,

 

Getting Ready to Go LIVE on TicketChat!

If you saw my post yesterday, you know I’m holding a discussion on a new social app called TicketChat. It’s free in the app store and let’s you connect with people all around the world.

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At 12pm CST I’ll be talking about some new products I recently purchased, relationship biz, and plant-based eating tips and things I eat on the reg.

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It’s so new to me, I’m just thinking of things I can talk about. Who knows what it’ll evolve into.

See you then!

Love,

Summer ’16 | Products I Can’t Live Without

It’s summer and I’m trying to enjoy it…growing up in the Mississippi heat didn’t make me accustomed to it like you would think, so I always dread the humidity and….sweating. However, this year I’m embracing it. I have a few new products that are basically a summer survival guide. Let me know your summer must-haves in the comment section below! Or what are some products you ended up not liking?

50+ SPF Face Sunscreen

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Honestly, I switch up brands every time but it’s important to keep those cheekies protected. I use a tanning oil on my body that has an SPF of 4, but when it comes to my face I don’t take a chance to get burnt. This is water resistant and doesn’t clog ya pores.

Floral Precious Oil

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Lush(ious) Tea Tree Cleanser

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One of my favorite brands, hands down, is Lush. Their fresh, handmade cosmetics are all natural and cruelty free. Last week, I picked up this Tea Tree Cleanser for my face and it can be used for much more! It eliminates grease  but can also be placed on bug bites or ingrown hairs. It was a great investment and has definitely come in handy when mosquito bites become unbearably itchy.

Cheeky Cherry Dry Shampoo

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I’m still new to the world of dry shampoo – this is only my 2nd bottle ever in my life, and it’s a game changer. When I leave the pool I just spritz down my hair and it’s all fresh! It also makes me feel okay about not washing my hair every.single.day. This product is also cruelty free AND smells like cherries. It’s a great investment fa sho.

No one hired me to write this blog post, so I’m not obliged to write a conclusion. I’ve never felt more free. Thanks for reading!

New Beginnings: Nashville Edition

So it’s official: I’ve transplanted to Nashville, and have gotten used to life outside Mississippi. Spring has been the perfect time to transition because the weather is ideal, classes are over (for now) and I had a chance to do some major Spring Cleaning.

I’ve been planning this move for about 6 months and it didn’t seem real until the morning I moved. I realized I had to leave because I started my new job in a couple days and had nowhere to sleep in my own apartment in Mississippi. It was surreal and made me want to drag my feet to get ready that morning. However, I took an 8am final and hit the road immediately after.

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My new home in Nashville is my favorite. I found it while in Mississippi and it ended up being a keeper! We’ve been here for about 3 weeks and are still looking for the perfect pieces to go in our living room, bedroom and kitchen. It’s a JOB for sure.

The bedroom is so cozy and now that our bedframe is here it actually feels like a bedroom. The first week we had a mattress on the floor. Not ideal. We keep finding the cutest “posters,” they’re actually wrapping paper. At about $3 apiece, they’re super affordable and better than anything we’d find at Urban Outfitters. We find these at craft and paper stores, some from Asheville and others form right here in Nashville.

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There’s a musician’s corner where we have…the drums. I’m glad they have headphones. 🙂 I wasn’t thrilled they were going in our bedroom at first, but it’s really not bad at all! Sometimes I even go over and do my thang with them. We also have some shelves up for candles, vinyl and cameras. Between the two of us, we own 5 cameras. Who needs that many?! IMG_2301

The kitchen is a very important place. Max and and I both love to cook so we had to make sure the kitchen is ready for anything we decide to whip up spur of the moment. We’ve been experimenting with the crock pot and it has been very successful!

I’ve been feeling like a kid in a candy story since we do a lot of our shopping at Trader Joe’s. There aren’t any in Mississippi so they are are really missing out! The fruit and veggies are priced well (as well as everything else in the store) and they’re GMO-free. I love it there.

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Our coffee is probably the most important thing in our daily routine. I refinished this shelf and found those adorable mid century modern legs to hold it up. (Thanks to my stepdad, Les for helping me put those on!) There are so many options for methods of making coffee but I usually stick to regular drip. It gets the job done for me. Max on the other hand takes the time to perfect the Chemex. Bless him.

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Percy has been such a good little traveler! She actually loved being in the car and sat on my shoulders for the majority of the 5 hour ride. Such a relief.

She’s even gotten used to the train that’s directly in our backyard. You can actually see it from our kitchen and bedroom windows! Percy spent the first night in her new home hiding behind the couch, poor thing. Now she’s well adjusted and even has a favorite spot in the windowsill in the bedroom. She hasn’t been idle enough for me to snap a pic yet. She’s always running around the house, being sassy, and playing fetch with her stuffed banana. She rolls around on the floor where the sun hits and lies on top of the couch when we watch television. Shes loves it here, so I guess we can stay.

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I love Nashville, my job, my house, my friends. I’ve said multiple times: it’s like I haven’t even moved anywhere new because I’ve been visiting for more than 2 years so I’m familiar with the city. I’m just having to learn how to get around by myself now.

It’s all worth it and I still can’t believe after 22 years, I’ve moved away from Mississippi. I’m not sad but I miss my family every day. If you ever want to move, I’d suggest it to anyone. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Have a date planned and go for it.

Love,

 

Make It Youself: Curling Wand

 

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I’ve been completely out of luck since my glorious InStyler broke a month ago. It’s been my go-to for curls for the last 5 years and finally bit the dust after getting tossed around in my overnight bag. The traditional curling irons with the clamp bring me back to horrible memories of Jr High when little Kayla was unaware of the dreaded clamp marks they left behind.

I went to Goodwill last week and searched around for one of those traditional curling irons. I found several had no idea what size I needed so I grabbed the medium sized one and tested it before purchasing. It was only $3.99 and works perfectly so don’t go wasting your time buying a brand new one! With my handy drill I was able to turn it into a hip new styling wand.

What you’ll need:
• Curling Iron
• Automatic drill with a Phillips head
(That’s it)

Step 1: Take off the kickstand (?idk what else to call it?)

Mine came right off, there wasn’t anything keeping it attached securely.

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Step 2: Remove the clamp and spring piece

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….that’s it. This is such a simple tutorial and I suggest you all try it. It’s just too good to pass up so I had to share it.

I did my hair after, and here are some awkwardly angled pics of that. No clip marks!

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Love,

 

 

The Journey to Simplicity

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This is the longest I’ve gone without posting in 6 months! THis is also the most stressed out I’ve been in the past 6 months, too. Between my current assignemnts, my new freelance job, my real job, and applying for jobs and internships – I don’t even have time to workout as much. 😦

But hey, it’s all worth it. I just have a lot on my plate right now. BUT since I’ve started this journey to simplicity, I’ve felt better already. Not as many obligations. My room is cleaner. My mind is clearer. We’re makin’ it over here.

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But this is how I feel most days

 

I’ve been reading blogs about minimalist lifestyles for a while now. I’m drawn to all the clean lines and neutral colors that lie in most of the photos. It’s aesthetically pleasing to say the least, but is it real?

I love the idea of having less things and being able to enjoying life more, but I’m definitely aware of being far from that at this point. I’m going to start scaling down my possessions, letting go of my stuff so I don’t feel as weighed down.

IMG_2289.JPGStuff. That’s a good word for the abundance of things I own. From books, clothes, and shoes, appliances, even comforters – I have so many things I don’t use.

Honestly, half my closet could be thrown away and I bet it’d take me 6 months to notice what’s actually missing. I don’t like that at all  so it’s time for a change.

I’m moving in a couple months so now it’s time to really take this seriously! I can already see myself loading up my car with all the “things I might need one day” and items that “I’ve had too long to throw away” and without a place to put them – and I can’t let that happen.FullSizeRender.jpg

It’s gonna be so satisfying to find a new home for my possession that no longer have a use in my life.  My blog is here to hold me accountable and track my process. I feel like it’s the only way I’ll ever get anything done.

 

The items I’d like to minimize are:

  • Clothes
  • Shoes
  • Books
  • * pretties * (vases, wall art, etc)
  • CDs/DVDs
  • Makeup
  • Any item that could be placed in a “junk drawer”

 

I still have a good timeframe to get this done and I’ve already started on my clothes so I’ve got this project moving along. .I’ll be posting my progress and what I’m doing to decrease!

I feel so great about this change and I’m able to get a head start on my spring cleaning 🙂

Love,

 

Simple Looks That Never Go Out of Style (+ Madden Christopher Discount!)

We live in a world where fashion and what’s in style is in constant motion. Last year’s sweater probably won’t get you as much attention now. Hard to keep up with, right?! That may be true, but there are some pieces that are timeless and still beautiful for today’s millennialist.

Let’s think of it like this: these are classy pieces that can be incorporated into any style to make it more interesting! I rely on these

 

Braids

Your grandmother probably taught you and you still do it when you’re running late OR need a pretty hairstyle for a date. Three strand or fishtail, braids are easy and there are many different ways to incorporate them into your hairstyle. I learned French braid and fishtail braid from YouTube, and you can too!

                                          Here’s a Pinterest board I’ve made for braid-spiration!

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Red Lipstick

Ah, the mark of a woman who means business. Red lipstick reminds me of the beauties I’ve looked up to like my mom; but you can make it edgy like Gwen Stefani or classic like Audrey Hepburn. It goes with literally everything and instantly makes you look and feel glamorous.

 

Demin

Jeans, shirts, jackets – demin can do no wrong. We wear it more that another fabric, it’s casual or classy, matches everything. I think a demin jacket is a staple every girl (and guy) need in their closet. I’ve had this for close to five years and I can wear it

 

Simple Jewelry

Every lady needs an accessory or two! They complete a look and add elegance. I used to be a silver girl but have discovered a love for gold pieces like this necklace from Madden Christopher! This a classic circle piece was a gift from the company and I’ve been wearing every day! As a special gift to my readers, use the code NEUTRALFIG20 on their website to get a 20% discount.

 

These are some simple styles that I always keep in my closet! What are some simple staples in your closet?

 

Love,