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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A Day at Kimpton Aerston Hotel

One of Kimpton’s newest hotels recently opened here in Nashville. The interior is to die for with its classic look and modern, industrial details. I got to spend some time exploring it – now I just need to treat myself to a staycation. Every detail is so effortless but creates a polished feel overall. They incorporate art in ways I’d never imagine. The details at the entrance incorporate metal and earth – those are rocks hanging down. Genius. Beautiful. I love it.

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I highly suggest a cocktail from Henley, the Aertson’s artisan restaurant. The restaurant kindly tucked in the first floor of the hotel.

You can’t miss Bette Davis’ inviting eyes as she leads you to the bar. This is by far my favorite art. The books and couches make Henley so cozy. I can definitely see myself snuggling up with a book this winter with a cup of coffee. Is that allowed?

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I fell in love with the bold details and colors everywhere. This is such a gorgeous place.

I can’t wait to come back and bring my girlfriends for a drink soon. Or maybe a date night. Definitely can’t go wrong.

xx
kayla

All photos by Brendan Lowry

Bridge Nine Candle Co. | Pineapple Sage

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Living in the South has always been such a blessing I take for granted. The weather is pretty much always warm. We truly don’t know what a real winter’s like here (I experienced it first hand in NYC back in December and it was more than I expected). Okay, we have our sold spells but it’s really nothing compared to the winter ‘up there’.
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However, down here we get a taste of the sun’s warmth sporadically through the winter months so it’s pretty tempting to begin gardening and spring cleaning a little early every year. After all, it allows more time to actually stop and smell the flowers once they decide to make their appearance.
For spring this year I want to incorporate more plants in my home (hopefully I won’t kill them), flowers, and everything else that makes a home feel alive and bright but still sink-in-the-couch-and-binge-Golden Girls-comfortable. I absolutely cannot wait until the warm weather is a constant and friends are in and out of the house all the time. I’m at my happiest when I host a group in my home. That’s why it’s so important for the living space and kitchen to be warm and inviting.
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One thing that never fails to add coziness to a space are candles. I usually keep a mixture of all different scents I use anytime throughout the year – I just put away a pumpkin spice candle I’ve been burning since September. No shame.
The scent filling up my home currently is Pineapple Sage from Bridge Nine Candle Co. These soy candles are  sourced from American farmers, which makes this product worth every penny. It’s fruitiness intertwined with the earthy sage has great depth. I really love that the sage cuts the sweetness of the pineapple that creates such a happy blend. The scent coats my entire living room as soon as I light it up and even comes with a book of matches! Adorable. It’s the little things.
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 Bridge Nine Candle Co. is offering all of my readers a 20% discount off all orders – simple use the code ‘neutralfig’ when purchasing. Make sure you follow me on Instagram to stay updated with the latest blog posts and special offers.
Image credits: Max Palmer 

I Attended Nashville’s Women’s March on Washington & These are the Thoughts Going Through My Mind

On Saturday, January 21, 2017, two friends and I marched with 15,000 men and women in downtown nashville to support women’s right and that means women of all races and transgender individuals, too. In a world where there is so much hate and judgement it’s especially important to be confident in what you believe in.

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While at the march I felt such an overwhelming sense of pride and freedom “I’m an American. I have the freedom to do this,” wouldn’t leave my mind. I saw people of all ages and races walking, singing, and laughing together. We were all there supporting each other. I do have a voice and in this free country we live in we are able to express that.

The Women’s March on Washington is not solely a march about abortion. That has something to do with it, yes we all know that. But I can guarantee there were many people in that crowd who personally do not believe abortion is right.

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As a Christian, this has been a conflicting topic for me. I know God does not see it as okay, ever. However, I do not believe Christians should steer the reigns on how the general public lives their lives. Not everyone in America is part of the Christian religion. Therefore, we should not force people to live by those standards.

So a bunch of people who call themselves ‘feminists’ go shout and protest with their signs downtown. But what exactly is a feminist?

Feminist (n) : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
***equality of the sexes***

Please now feminists are not all:
– Man-haters
Liberal
Full of hate
Non-religious or Anti-Christian
Pro-choice

There will always be individuals who make a group look bad. Always. Those who are hateful, disrespectful, or just outright unpleasant. Do not associate all feminists with those who are spreading hate. Feminists are regular men and women who think we should all be treated the same.

In an article on The Odyssey by Gina Davis titled “I Am A Female And I Am So Over Feminists,” she goes on about how she doesn’t appreciate the way ‘feminists’ put men down for being nice…or just simply for being a man in society. Davis mentions feminists are infuriated when a date pays for their check which definitely an over exaggeration. I can just go ahead and say if you’re giving me free food, I will never say no. The females who would reject a date paying for her meal, in the name of feminism, probably has the wrong attitude towards it. Chivalry is still a thing and we do appreciate it. 

As a feminist (remember that means someone who believes in being treated equally), I take pride in taking my boyfriend on dates and paying for his meal from time to time. That is equality. That is feminism. My boyfriend still takes care of me and I would never tear him down for doing so. Davis is not speaking about actual feminists, but speaking of those who label themselves as feminists but are in fact giving us a bad name. 

When you do not agree with a certain opinion, such as the idea as feminism (or your warped perception), it’s easy to find a million things wrong with it. I get that.

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Which leads me to start talking about the man who we now call president. 

This walk was not a pro-Trump event, either. So automatically, if you are pro-Trump, you’re probably anti Women’s March on Washington and the word ‘feminism’ anyway. He has degraded women and that alone was enough reason to march on Saturday. I’m not going to go into political mumbo jumbo, but he is scary. He might “Make America Great Again,” and I honestly doubt he will, but as the president I hope he does. America has voted in a TV reality star to guide this country. This is a JOKE

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At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what your (or my) political perspective is. What I do care about is kindness, and I do not support anyone who is disrespectful when it comes to accepting difference of opinion. Whether we have the same views or not, if you cannot accept someone thinks differently than you, please sit back and evaluate your attitude. We do live in America, a free country, and it’s important to understand why someone thinks the way they do.

Coming from a conservative family, I’d like to give a shoutout to my dad for teaching me that difference of opinion is okay. My parents listen to me and I listen to them. We agree to disagree. At the end of the day, they still love their liberal daughter who isn’t scared to stand up for what she believes in. 

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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,

Find Me on TicketChat!

Happy Saturday!

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Tomorrow I’m having fun with a new app called Ticketchat. It’s a new mobile messaging app which enables you to participate in a conversation marketplace. I love the idea and I’ve been super interested in app startups since I work for one myself.

I’ll talk about some products I purchased recently, relationship stuff, and being vegetarian!

So go into the App Store and search for “TicketChat” then find me! NeutralFig is myusername! (who would’ve guessed that)

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Yes, I don’t have any friends yet. It’s brand spankin’ new!

I’m going to update you guys on what time I’ll go live – it’ll be around 12 or 1 (in the afternoon duh).

So please tune in tomorrow with all your questions! I’d love to know what’ been on your mind, not trying to sound like a creep.

You can keep with with TicketChat here: Twitter: @TicketChat and Instagram: @TicketChat.app

 

Love,

 

Rocksbox Subscription Review + A Gift for YOU :)

The Cost: $19 per month with free shipping both ways

COUPON: Get your first month free with code imkaylacollinsxoxo

The Products: 3 pieces of jewelry tailored to your personal style in every shipment

I love monthly subscription boxes! It’s something to look forward to once a month – a little treat yo self. This company works with designer jewelry at a discounted price.Plus, they give you a monthly $10 credit.

My first box arrived to my house about a week after I signed up – much sooner than I expected. The packaging is adorable and everything inside is personalized just for me, which is also a nice touch. Sadly, I forgot to snap many photos of the packaging of the boxes. 😦 Rookie mistake.

As I mentioned in my unboxing video, there’s a quiz you take so they know your taste. They’re pretty spot on, too. Now, if there are any pieces you were given the you aren’t too fancy of you have the option to pack it back up in the box and send it back. You don’t have to buy a new bag to ship it in OR pay for any postage. Very impressed by this feature.

If you are interested in trying out Rocksbox you can get your first month FOR FREE if you use my code imkaylacollinsxoxo at checkout!

For more unboxing videos are product review feel free to subscribe to my YouTube Channel!

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,

 

Simple Muesli

Museli
ˈmyo͞ozlē,ˈmyo͞oslē/
noun
a mixture of cereals (especially rolled oats), dried fruit, and nuts, typically eaten with milk at breakfast.

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That’s exactly what my breakfast usually consists of! I fell in love with muesli when I ordered my first one from Crema in Nashville. This is something I make in bulk and store in a jar so it’s a quick meal on busy mornings.

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This recipe is more of a guideline because you can throw anything in it! I love adding seeds, dried fruits, nuts, and fresh fruit. I usually eat about half a cup, but I don’t measure it. Another reason it’s my favorite, it’s so filling!

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What you’ll need:
Old Fashioned Oats
Cinnamon
A jar
Milk or yogurt

What to add (fixin’s):
Nuts – almonds, cashews, pecans
Seeds – pumpkin, chia, sunflower
Dried fruit – apricots, cranberries, raisins, goji berries

TOP WITH ANY FRESH FRUIT

Mix old fashioned oats and fixin’s in a bowl, then store in a jar. Whenever you’re ready to eat it, pour about half a cup in your bowl with about 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon. Add milk, like you would to cereal, or yogurt. Top with fresh fruit.

General instructions: make this your own!

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