Small Business Gift Guide: Small Business Saturday

If you know me, you know I love supporting small business whenever possible, especially when the businesses are right here in Atlanta.

This year, I’ve started Christmas shopping early, so I can hand pick everyone’s gifts from a small business. It’s the best of both worlds really because my loved ones get a really unique & awesome gift and I get to contribute to the happy dance of a small business owner. So, with Small Business Saturday just around the corner, what better time to publish my first gift guide of the season?

Be sure to read about all of the products included below, who I suggest gifting each one to, & if you have a favorite small business, share it with me in the comments so I can check them out!

For the friend who loves to cook

small biz gift 1

“Hey Girl” Bamboo Cutting board $17-$90

Bungalow Boo based out of Vancouver, Washington makes the cutest custom engraved cutting boards, so really, if you can dream it, you can get it on a cutting board, coaster, or ornament. Bungalow Boo uses re-purposed sustainable goods, so you can feel good about the materials used to create your gift.

 

I’d gift this Ryan Gosling cutting board/cheese board to my friend who loves to cook & loves to entertain (and of course, loves Ryan Gosling). It’s cheeky and sure to be a conversation starter at parties.

For the friend that loves whimsy

Waiting on Martha is a lifestyle boutique based right here in Atlanta. They have the

small biz 2

Matte Gold Big Top Balloon Dog Bookend $58

cutest stuff for home, entertaining, & just about everything else you can imagine. There are so many great items in the shop that it was hard to choose just one to feature in my gift guide, but the Big Top Balloon Dog Bookend was too cute to pass up. This adorable bookend would add so much whimsy to any bookshelf, is available in many different colors, and brings the magic of the big top right to your home.

I’d gift this to my friend who loves to read or a friend who loves whimsical decorations for their home.

For the friend that loves to garden

small biz 3.

Felt Bird House $29

Sugarboo & Co. is another lifestyle boutique based right here in Atlanta. This shop is amazing. It’s like stepping into the brain of Joanna Gaines and I want my entire life to look like it. Everything in the shop is locally & ethically sourced and that makes it even easier for me to give them all my money. This felt bird house is one of my new favorite things. They’re perfect for small birds such as wrens, chickadees, titmice, and nuthatches. They’re also 100% wool, naturally waterproof, and made of dirt-resistant, mold-resistant material.

 

For the friend that’s all about self-love

So Worth Loving is an Atlanta-based company that I can 100% get behind, and am kind

small biz 4

So Worth Loving Manifesto Poster $18

of jealous I didn’t start first!  From their website, “So Worth Loving is a community of passionate and original individuals. We exist to embrace your past and empower your future. We believe no matter your history, past mistakes, religion, career choice, or relationship status, you are worthy of love. We focus on living life through the lens of knowing you have value and you have worth.”

This manifesto poster is perfect for any desk, home, or office to serve as a constant reminder to everyone who reads it that they are so worth loving.

For the friend that loves body products

small biz 5

Milky Body Wash $16

Candy Panda is based in Blairsville, Georgia and is my favorite bath and body company out there. Her products are so popular that the ready-to-ship restocks typically sell out within ten minutes, but it’s so worth the trouble. Stephanie’s products range from $4-$16, depending on the product. She has products like whipped sugar scrubs, whipped shaving soap, body spritzers, milky shower gel, aloe body lotion, and wax melts for the home or office.

You can find the scent list for the ready to ship restock and details about the restock on the Candy Panda Facebook group. The next RTS restock is December 8th.

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31 horror movies to watch in October

Tomorrow is officially October. FINALLY! I am so ready for my favorite month. I love horror movies all the time, but especially in October. We have an inflatable screen & a projector, so watching them outside on cool nights is one of my favorite Fall activities.

This list doesn’t have a specific order & I’m counting franchises as one movie because otherwise I’d fill up my list too quickly and wouldn’t be able to share so many movies with you.

Also, please share your favorite horror/Halloween movies with me in the comments! I’d love to find out about other titles that didn’t make my list!

31 horror/Halloween movies to watch in October:

  1. Nightmare on Elm Street (the original)
  2. Halloween (the original) {This is actually one of my favorite movies. I listen to the soundtrack all the time and it freaks people out.}
  3. Friday the 13th
  4. Child’s Play 1-3
  5. Scream 1-3
  6. The Thing (the original)
  7. House of the Devil
  8. The Innkeepers
  9. The Sacrament
  10. VHS
  11. You’re Next
  12. The Guest
  13. It Follows
  14. Paranormal Activity 1, 3, 4, & The Marked Ones
  15. Trick R Treat
  16. Insidious
  17. The Shining
  18. I Know What You Did Last Summer
  19. Ouija: Origin of Evil
  20. The Conjuring
  21. Hocus Pocus
  22. Sinister
  23. Hush
  24. Oculus
  25. Halloweentown
  26. It (the original & the new one!)
  27. Annabelle: Creation
  28. Jeepers Creepers
  29. Sound of My Voice
  30. Saw
  31. Tower of Terror

Like I said above, share your favorite Halloween/October/horror movies with me in the comments!

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Fall TV Guide: What to watch

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, obviously not Christmas. It’s Fall TV premiere week. I work in television now, but even before I did, the week when all the shows come back has always been one of my favorites because I grew up in a family that had one tv & we always sat down to watch our favorite shows together.

There are SO many good shows coming out this Fall. I had to clear out my DVR yesterday to make room for them all. You could tell that TV was in a lull by what’s on my DVR. For the record, it was Lifetime movies with titles like “Give Me Back My Baby” and “His Secret Family Life”. So bad. It was also 90 Day Fiance and all of it’s related spin-off shows.

So here’s my foolproof guide to what to watch this season, because as we all know, there’s bound to be some flops every tv season and nobody wants to waste their time on those.

What to watch

Me, Myself, and I. Season 1, CBS. It has Bobby Moynihan from SNL, so it’s bound to be at least a little bit funny. This will also likely be the only way they’re going to get me to watch CBS again since How I Met Your Mother isn’t on air anymore.

The Good Doctor. Season 1, ABC. Probably going to be a little weird, but we know ABC does medical dramas really well (Grey’s Anatomy, hello) and Freddy Highmore is a really good actor, so I’m willing to chance it.

This Is Us. Season 2, NBC. This is honestly one of the best shows on television right now. If you were a fan of Parenthood on NBC, you’ll love this. Watch with Kleenex in hand though. Trust me.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Season 5, FOX. I’m not always the biggest fan of Andy Samberg, but this show is SO funny. Totally different take on typical police shows.

Law & Order: True Crime: The Menedez Murders. Season 1, NBC. If you’re a true crime junkie like I am, this show is going to be an absolute must watch. Did the world need more Law & Order spinoffs? Probably not, but this one is going to be good.

American Housewife. Season 2, ABC. This show is like if you plucked the family from The Middle and put them into a ritzy neighborhood. I don’t like The Middle, but I love American Housewife. I can’t explain why. It’s hilarious and you should check it out.

Superstore. Season 3, NBC. I cannot get enough of this show. It’s so funny & I love America Ferrera so much. If you haven’t seen season 1 and 2, they’re on Hulu and definitely worth watching before starting season 3!

The Good Place. Season 2, NBC. When I first saw the preview for this show last season, I wasn’t immediately sold, but I gave it a chance and I am so glad I did. Kristen Bell is such a great comedic actor. It’s another where you definitely need to see Season 1 first, because Season 2 picks right back up in the story line.

Grey’s Anatomy. Season 14, ABC. How it possible I’ve been watching Grey’s Anatomy for half my life?! But duh this is on my list. Everyone should always watch Grey’s Anatomy.

Will & Grace: 11 years later. NBC. I am so excited that Will & Grace is back on television!

The Mayor. Season 1, ABC. “Hamilton” breakout Daveed Diggs comes to TV with Yvette Nicole Brown as his mom and I am 100% on board.

The Gifted. Season 1, FOX. I was just on a set visit to this show last week for work. The pilot is a little slow, but from what I saw on set, it’s going to pick up. I’m going to give it another chance, plus it’s Marvel, so they probably know what they’re doing.

What shows are you looking forward to? Let me know if there’s something I should be watching in the comments!

 

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The Girl Power Emmys Speeches Every Girl Needs To Hear

I want to start off by saying, it’s been entirely too long since my last blog post.

Between sickness, hurricanes, work stress, & life in general, I just haven’t had the creative energy to write.

Thankfully, I was inspired by all of the badass acceptance speeches I heard from women at this year’s Emmys. Even though women are still grossly underrepresented in Hollywood, this year’s Emmy awards featured huge wins for women’s stories on and offstage. The remarkable women that created and portrayed the stories in this year’s television shows were given the credit that they were due.

Honestly, most importantly, these stories and these actresses addressed so many important social issues facing the world today.

So apparently, I need to watch The Handmaid’s Tale because it cleaned-up trophy wise. Elizabeth Moss won for her role in THT, while Julia Louis-Dreyfus won for Best Actress in a Comedy for her role in Veep, making her winning-est actor in a single role of all time. I personally was hoping for an Ellie Kemper win for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, but holy shit. What a cool accomplishment for Julia Louis-Dreyfus!

Lena Waithe, writer and star in Netflix’s Masters of None, won for Outstanding Writing For a Comedy Series for the “Thanksgiving” episode, making her the first black woman to win in that category. The episode largely centered around Denise’s struggles with getting her family to accept her identity, and she gave a shout out to the “L-G-B-T-Q-I-A community” at the end of her speech:

“I see each and every one of you. The things that make us different—those are our super powers. Every day, when you walk out the door, put on your imaginary cape and go out there and conquer the world. Because the world would not be as beautiful as it is if we weren’t in it.” My tears were rolling by this point. It was beautiful that Aziz allowed her to have that moment, even if it meant he wasn’t able to speak.

Beyond taking home a big prize for Best Limited Series, it was a huge night for the cast of Big Little Lies, the HBO drama based on the novel by Liane Moriarty. The show was a passion project of Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, who cited their motivations for getting the show made as a means to deliver better roles for women.

Both women starred in and served as executive producers on the show, which placed an intense emphasis on domestic violence and the complex relationships between women.

Kidman won her first Emmy for her portrayal of Celeste Wright, an attorney whose seemingly perfect marriage is laid over a deeply abusive relationship. Kidman was vocal about how difficult the role was for her, and she touched again on the dire importance of continuing to discuss domestic abuse:

“We shined a light on domestic abuse. It is a complicated, insidious disease. It exists far more than we allow ourselves to know. It is filled with shame and secrecy, and by you acknowledging me with this award, it shines a light on it even more.”

 

In another big win for Big Little Lies, Laura Dern came home with her first Emmy after being nominated six times, and despite the celebrated actress’ illustrious career, she was quick to call out why working on a show that placed such an immense focus on the lives of women was so important to her: “I’ve been acting since I was 11 years old, and I think I’ve worked with maybe 12 women.”

“Thank you to Nicole and Reese’s moms for not only giving us extraordinary women, but really well-read women, because that’s how I’m getting parts. …I feel very proud to be reflecting fierce women and mothers finding their voice.”

This last one isn’t girl power, but it’s just as inspiring. Lastly, honorary shoutout to Sterling K. Brown, who won Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his role in The Is Us. He’s the first black actor to win in that category in nearly two decades, and bizarrely, he was cut off mid-speech by the play-off music. As Brown continued to issue his thank-yous over the music that, which as he noted, was louder for him than others, the broadcast promptly cut to commercial.

 

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Making space for a positive mindset

Did you know the average person has an estimated 70,000 thoughts per day! Living with anxiety, I’m almost positive mine is double that, at least.

Take a moment to think about the thoughts that run through your mind.
Are they positive and uplifting? “Today is going to be amazing!” Or negative and self-defeating? “I don’t want to go to work. Today’s gonna suck.”

Positive thoughts boost your mood, spirit, and tend to generate even more positivity and happiness in your life. That’s a no brainer, right? If only it were that easy.

Of course we all know that negative thoughts negatively impact your mood, your day, and your life overall. I feel like I let myself get too caught up in the negative headspace, because to be honest, it’s easier. It’s easier to throw myself a pity party and bask in the negativity. But then, I end up in a cycle. Wake up, bad mood, bad day. I take it out on family, friends, and co-workers. We’ve all been there, right?

The good news is there’s things we can do to break this vicious cycle. Choices we can make and things we can eliminate.

Things to let go of

  • Negative self talk. Bashing yourself on a daily basis takes a toll. Be nice to yourself.
  • Limiting beliefs. Replace beliefs that just aren’t serving you anymore and rework
    them to into self-supporting goals.
  • Resisting change. If you want different results, do something different. Make change small. There’s no need to create chaos in the name of change.
  • Comparing yourself to others. I love to say “Comparison is the thief of joy” and it’s so true. Comparing yourself is like discarding everything you’ve got going for you at this very moment. Using someone else as a benchmark is healthier than
    comparing yourself, so distinguish between comparison and admiring. Shoot for admiration.

Make space for

  • Gratitude. Even when you think you don’t have it all, focus on what you
    have today. Keep a gratitude journal and each day write down five thoughts you are grateful for.
  • Surrounding yourself with like-minded, uplifting people. People who are vibrating on the same positive frequency will keep you grounded, inspired, and connected to your greater life’s purpose. They will help you believe in yourself, too.
  • Reflection. Take time to reflect, meditate, or simply release all thoughts and
    emotions. Create stillness in a quiet space and get back to a neutral state of mind and body.
  • Doing good for someone else. Focus your energy on lifting up someone else and notice how your spirits elevate as well. I volunteer with HeartSupport and it’s amazing how much helping people through their organization builds my spirit. My spirit thrives when I’m pouring happiness into other people. Find an organization that matters to you and spend time volunteering.

What things have you tried that help you get in a more positive mindset? Tell me in the comments below!

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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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