Mixtape Monday: The Solar Eclipse Edition

Today is an abbreviated version of Mixtape Monday, because I can’t resist a pun driven playlist. As you most likely (hopefully!) know, today’s the Solar Eclipse and people are going nuts. I honestly saw a couple set up in a tent on the side of the road selling “eclipse glasses” for $45 a pair & people buying them!

So however you’re choosing to celebrate today’s Solar Eclipse, enjoy this short Solar Eclipse playlist while you watch. Get the playlist here.

  1. It’s The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)– R.E.M
  2. Steal My Sunshine– Len
  3. Total Eclipse of the Heart– Bonnie Tyler
  4. Dancing in the Moonlight- King Harvest
  5. Eclipse– Pink Floyd

Have a magical eclipse!

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Girl Power Fridays: Tara Hamilton of ARRO Comic

We’re back with another Girl Power Friday, where I highlight fellow ladies I look up to that make kickass art, run their own business, or are just all around amazing and wonderful.

Today I’m highlighting Tara Hamilton of ARRO Comic. I first met Tara at MomoCon back in May. Her art work immediately caught my eye & while talking to her, I found out she’s also originally from Chattanooga, so of course that made me like her more.

Her artwork is amazing. I got 2 incredible posters, including one of “American Royalty” featuring Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, and other fierce female pop culture icons. (You can see the poster in the picture below.) I also got the “Everything is ok” poster which hangs in my office and has been quite the conversation piece from people who have stopped by.

Image of Posters

Below is my interview with Tara. Please, please do yourself a favor and check out her work at www.arrocomic.com

Q1: How long have you been creating art & writing comics? What got you started?
I have this really long answer about trying to make comics in high school and failing to connect with a writer three – four times and having to start from scratch with each new person (no one wants to build off of some stranger’s notes). But the end of that story is a chance meeting with a writer, Ali Burke, whose writing style ended up being an amazing match to my art style. We crafted this semi-apocalyptic world (anyone still there? I promise it ain’t like that) that felt unique to our knowledge and built characters around that world. A few characters were able to stick around from high school (Jon ((who was loosely based on my high school crush/later became my husband. It was awkward when we realized I had been drawing him subconsciously years before we started dating)) and Harrison) we started working on it in 2009, took a break for life stuff and knowing there wasn’t a fanbase yes, then started back in 2015.
Q2: Where do you draw your inspiration for ARRO and for your prints?
ARRO: Jesus, at this point, the news? Ali and I send each other notes and news articles all the time about green energy developments, refugee crises, RVs and big rigs, etc etc. The core of the story is the characters, though. We take inspiration from all over for them. Trying to keep them grounded and really understand where they are coming from and why they would willingly go out into the wilds of North America after years of being quarantined off from the rest of the world.
Prints: Dumb stuff that happens, weird trains of thought about the comic, and most importantly: mini stories I come up with in my head while doodling. Most of the rando prints of people not in the comic come from there, haha. Weird.
Q3: If you have one, what is your favorite piece that you’ve ever done?
I spent the longest time on this one, very proud of it: http://fffend.tumblr.com/post/161704338204/full-cast-arrocomiccom-arrocomic
But also this one because I freaking love drawing Jon’s hair: http://fffend.tumblr.com/post/141903158939/arrocomiccom-melissa-makes-her-own-fun
Q4: What advice do you have for other women looking to break into a traditionally male dominated space like comic books?
Collaborate, teach, and make a community. Don’t exclude males, just make a community. Help each other. If you want to get into this world it isn’t for money or fame, you have to believe in your work and find others that can nurture it. I started and co-run a group in Chattanooga Tennessee called Chatt Comix Co-Op, we make anthologies, print them at a local print shop, and are lucky enough to have the support of a local comic shop that is willing to hostus and our bi-weekly meetings. I think anyone can make this happen. If you talk to enough people in your town you’re bound to find people that are into creating comics. We had a lot of people that had never created comics come in and blow us away! We are now making a minicomix con for 2018 because: why not?
Follow ARRO Comic on Tumblr & Instagram

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4 Things I Learned in College

Back-to-School season is in full-swing, and although I’m long graduated from both high school & college, I still feel a familiarity in the air and the urge to buy school supplies.

Both my younger sisters head back for their 2nd and last year (!!!) of college, respectively, today and it got me thinking about my own college experience, what I learned, what I missed, and what I certainly do not miss. (2 jobs, an internship, and 18 credit hours. Never again.) So in the spirit of my sisters not always loving me trying to impart my big sister wisdom on them, I thought I’d share my thoughts with the rest of the free world.

It seems tough, but it gets better 

This is a cliche as old as time, but it’s actually true here. When I first started college, I had no idea what I wanted to major in, no idea how to live on my own, and no idea how to balance my suddenly super unstructured lifestyle. Eventually though, I found my groove. I learned that if I wanted to keep my scholarship, I’d make studying a priority. If I wanted to eat, I’d go to work. If I liked having running water, I’d pay the bills. Your fight or flight instincts will always take over and suddenly you’re wondering what you were so worried about anyway.

Take care of yourself

Of course school and work are important, but so is your health, both physical and mental. So many college students get stressed out & their health really takes a toll. I know mine did. My anxiety was at its height in college. I learned quickly to take advantage of the free counseling services and health clinics that most colleges provide. You can schedule appointments around your school schedule and of course, saving $$$ is always a bonus. Also, FOMO is so real in college. Unlike high school, your course schedules don’t always match up with your friends, so while they’re Snapchatting pictures from the Kendrick Lamar concert, you might be holed up in the library cramming for tomorrow’s history exam. Don’t let the FOMO get you down & make the most of the free time you do have. Quality of free time activities > quantity of activities accomplished.

You actually have to study

In high school, I didn’t really have to study. When I got to college, I quickly realized that I didn’t have any studying skills. For my first semester, I let it panic me. I actually ended up in the free clinic with a caffeine overdose from trying to cram for my biology exam. I had to find things that worked for me, that weren’t going to send me into an early onset heart attack. For me, notecards & highlighters were the move. I probably should have bought stock in Post-It for all the notecards I was going through. Find a study tactic that works for you & use it. It will be your college bff.

You don’t have to be friends with everyone

Speaking of BFF’s, you don’t have to be friends with everyone in college. Not to say you shouldn’t be friendly towards people, but unlike high school, you don’t see the same people every day depending on the size of your university. If there’s a girl who’s mean to you, ignore her. If someone is toxic for you, don’t surround yourself with people like them. In college, I learned it’s best to stay open. Be open to people that may have not been in your clique in high school, be open to forgiving that high school bully should you guys end up at the same university. If you stay open, you never know what friendships you’ll find.


My very proud parents bombarding me with hugs on my college graduation day.

Good luck to everyone starting school this year! And if you’re at KSU, go have a bowl of soft-serve in the Commons for me. Go Owls!

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{Things to do} The Chattanooga Market

If you know me, you’ll know that I L-O-V-E a good farmer’s market and/or craft fair. I’m serious about the craft fairs. The high schools around where I live do them every Fall, in preparation for the holiday season. I get extremely turnt on this. It’s like my Super Bowl. I go to brunch, hit up the craft fair, & then come home and nap. It’s honestly more like I’m 86 than 26.

The Chattanooga Market is a year-round craft fair/farmer’s market/food truck park/dreamland for me. I went for the first time last weekend and I’m already trying to justify another trip up 75 to hit up the market again this weekend. The market takes place every Sunday from 11a-4pm in the First Tennessee Pavilion right in Downtown Chattanooga.

First, we’ll start with the food. There was SO much of it. I got some of the elephant garlic (pictured below) and it’s the most fragrant, fresh garlic I’ve ever worked with. It’s a bit difficult to peel, but well worth the effort.

There were also tons of food trucks, a pop-up boba tea shop, produce vendors, vegan food vendors, German bakery booths, and any kind of food you could possibly think of as far as the eye could see. I stopped by the German bakery booth for pretzel bread & by the Seven Sisters Scone booth to pick up a Bacon, Cheese & Chive scone. So freakin’ good.  I also picked up Mocha Granola from Noke’s Granola (officially my new favorite granola!) &  Strawberry Sage tea from Positiffitea. I’m obsessed. I honestly cannot believe I made it through 26 years of my life without this tea.


Besides the food, another highlight of the market was all of the indie vendors. Some of my favorite purchases were the knitted Groot in a pot, the key necklace (that says “grl pwr” of course!) from Jill of All Trades, the Pocahontas necklace from Thursday Night Jewelry Co.


But my MOST favorite part of the market? The design your own bouquet booth! For $20, you pick a few flowers, hand them over, and they create magical, huge, & heavy bouquets full of fresh goodness. I got the last sunflower in the whole market. I cannot suggest Chattanooga Market enough as an amazing Sunday activity. Be sure to bring some reusable bags to tote around all of your finds & maybe a cooler full of ice to keep your produce fresh if you’re coming from ATL like I am. You can find out more about Chattanooga Market on their website here: http://publicmarkets.us/events/


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Mixtape Monday: The Disney Channel Original Movie Edition

So this week, we’re doing something a bit different. I usually give you guys a Spotify playlist to listen to while you read or on-the-go, making everything super convenient. Speaking of, if you missed last week’s Feelin’ Good playlist, you can listen to it HERE.

Because of the nature of this week’s theme, not all of them are on Spotify, so instead, I’ve included YouTube links. It’s gonna be one big nostalgia fest, so strap in.

This week’s theme is songs from Disney Channel Original Movies aka the soundtrack of my childhood. Just click the song title to open the YouTube link and enjoy.

To get us all in the DCOM mindset, let’s start with this gem.

  1. Supernova Girl: Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century (1999): Zeetus lapedus, this song rules.
  2. Slam Dunk (Da Funk): Smart House (1999): It’s embarrassing how many times I watched and re-watched this scene so I could learn the dance.
  3. What Dreams are made of: The Lizzie McGuire Movie (2003): *screams along* THIS IS WHAT DREEEAAAMMMS ARE MADE OF
  4. Gotta Go My Own Way: High School Musical 2 (2007): I was well past the demographic age for this movie when it came out, but it didn’t stop me from watching it, loving it, and sobbing my eyeballs out when this song played. Troy & Gabriella forever.
  5. This Is Me: Camp Rock (2008): Arguably the most inspirational DCOM song ever.
  6. Get’cha Head In The Game: High School Musical (2006): So, you basketball boys think Troy wanting to do a musical is lame, but you all know a choreographed dance with basketball props…? Seems legit.
  7. Get a Clue: Get a Clue (2002): Tell me this isn’t poetry: “Wake up, who knew. It’s me, it’s you. Get a clue.”
  8. One Girl Revolution: Cadet Kelly (2002): YAS QUEENS. GIRL POWER.
  9. Call Me, Beep Me: Kim Possible: So The Drama (2005): Ugh, so the drama.
  10. My Date With the President’s Daughter theme song: My Date With the President’s Daughter (1998): It’s been 19 years since this movie’s release and I’m still salty that I could never find a pink velvet dress like Hallie’s.
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Recipe: Worst (in a good way!) Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

These are the cookies I didn’t know I needed until I came across the recipe in a Buzzfeed article and knew I had to make them immediately.

I think we can all agree that there’s a rich tapestry of Pinterest-pins claiming they have the “BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD EVER”, but who knows if they really are?

Well, unless they are this exact recipe–I can assure you they aren’t. In two weeks, these cookies have been made 4 times in my house, with my fridge stocked with dough ready to go at all times. It’s also earned me the nickname of “Cookie Queen” among my friends. My mom, the original “Cookie Queen”, has been dethroned. And it’s all thanks to these sugar-y, chocolate-ly, balls of goodness.


The thing that makes these cookies so good? The secret ingredient.

The secret ingredient? Just try and guess.

You won’t ever think of it.

Give up?

It’s maple syrup. You can either go hella fancy with the pure maple syrup from Whole Foods, or you can keep it basic and use good ol’ Great Value brand like I did. They both work the same.

Be prepared for weight gain. Be prepared to become a cookie snob. You will stroll down the aisle at the grocery store, turning your nose up at every Keebler Elf cookie & Chips Ahoy that looks your way. “No thank you,” you’ll say. “My tastebuds have found the love of another. The one, true best cookie in the world.”

One bad thing about these cookies? How easy they are to make. They are hand-stirred. No need to bust out mixers and dough hooks for this one.

Make these cookies. Make them tonight. Be sure to enjoy with a cold glass of milk & don’t blame me if your skinny jeans are too tight in the morning.

Yellow Gold Striped General Recipe Card


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Mixtape Monday: Feelin’ Good Vol. 1

We’re back with another Mixtape Monday! This week, we’re switching it up from the sadness of last week’s playlist & embracing positive vibes with this week’s playlist called “Feelin’ Good. Vol. 1”. If you loved last week’s playlist, listen to it again HERE.

This week’s playlist is made up of my “roll the windows down & sing at the top of my lungs” songs. It’s a mix of genres, but in the end, I think it fits. I hope you enjoy these songs as much as I do.

Mixtape Monday: Feelin’ Good Vol. 1- Listen while you read HERE

  1. “All Night (feat. Knox Fortune) – Chance The Rapper: It’s almost impossible NOT to be happy when listening to Chance The Rapper.
  2. “Welcome to Paradise” – Green Day: This is just a fast, punch of energy song & it gets me hyped for anything. Especially cleaning.
  3. “Maggie May” – Rod Stewart: This definitely isn’t as fast as the rest of the songs on this list, but it’s always going to hold a special place in my heart. I have so many fond memories of riding in the car with my mom with the windows down and singing along to this song on the oldies radio station.
  4. “That’s My Girl” – Fifth Harmony: This song screams girl power to me. Like, “YAS GIRL. That’s my best friend! Keep working it!” I think it’s such a great message to girls.
  5. “Keep Fishin'” – Weezer: I think the biggest reason I associate this with a good mood song is the music video. It features The Muppets & is honestly the instant cure to a bad day.
  6. “Blueside” – Rooney: Rooney is a grossly underrated band. I first found out about them on The Princess Diaries, along with most other girls my age I’m sure. I swindled my grandmother into buying their debut album for me, when I was much too young to be listening to Rooney. I thought I was especially cool because the album had a lyric saying “living hell.” I was living dangerously at 12 years old. I still have that CD by the way.
  7. “Pet Mouse” – A Great Big Pile Of Leaves: Ry got me into this band hardcore a few years ago. Their lyrics are completely goofy and it’s impossible not to laugh when you listen to them. Example: “We got a new pet mouse// It came free with the apartment// Wasn’t too fond of him at first// But we’re starting to get along
    Finally settling// But everyone is moving out// Finally ready for settling
    But everyone is up and moving out// Trying hard to concentrate
    Living below an elephant// Who’s really into aerobics// And trying hard to get fit”
  8. “Underneath It All” – No Doubt & Lady Saw: So my parents were really overprotective when I was younger & there was a good bit of music I wasn’t allowed to listen to. No Doubt was one of those bands. One time I was hanging out at the beach with my friend & her mom (who was my mom’s best friend) and they were listening to this No Doubt song. I loved it instantly. Sadly, my mom’s friend passed away in 2007, and this song always brings back happy memories of her and the beach when I listen to it.
  9. “How’m I Gonna Get Back Home” – He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister: This song is the happiest little folk song. It always makes me think of summer days in Cade’s Cove, Tennessee with my family.
  10. “Free Bird” – Lynyrd Skynrd: I catch so much flack for my love for this song, but honestly, it just makes me in such good mood. I have no idea why. I honestly couldn’t name another Lynyrd Skynrd song, but I just love this one.


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