The Importance of Storytelling

Hi. I’m sorry. I’ve been kind of MIA, and to be honest my last blog post was a little lackluster (tbh I hate that word, but there’s not other word for it).

Two weeks ago, I went to a conference put on by Lee University’s PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) club in Chattanooga, TN. Their Social Innovation conference was so enlightening and educational. It was targeted towards professionals in the social media landscape, but going as a student on the brink of adulthood was incredible.

The conference was just a one-day event, and as I mentioned above it was in Chattanooga, so me and a few lovely ladies from my school’s PRSSA group got up early and drove there for the 8a.m. check-in, so by the end of the day, we were pretty much dead.

I went to several different sessions, and each one was better than the last. Until we got to Google Adwords because I feel like it takes a special kind of person to understand a 45-minute accelerated session on that. My biggest takeaway was something that I already know and something that I am passionate about in all aspects of life, which is the art of storytelling. No matter what industry you work in, the content that you create and share needs to tell a consistent story that is true to your brand and the brand of your company.

The first session I went into was Instagram Accelerated where a few ladies from a local social media marketing firm talked to us about the ins and outs of using Instagram for your company. Storytelling is especially important for Instagram because there are so many themed feeds. If your page is a cluster of random pictures without a common thread or identity, it will feel less connected. And for a company, this can mean careless or even ingenuine.

“Social media is ephemeral.”

Basically, it is fleeting. You have only a few seconds to catch someone’s attention before they scroll on past and forget about you. This is why it is much more important to create quality content over a large quantity of content. You could post 10 times a day, but if that content isn’t saying something or adding to your story, it is essentially meaningless.

Another great session was called “Brand-Building Through Social Media.”

Branding is “any perception your audience has of your organization” or what your audience notices. A brand is not defined by just a logo or a catchy tagline; it is your content, your photography, or even the smallest of details like the kind of font you use or whether you broadcast hashtags as opposed to hiding them in the comments. Representation is key.

No matter what you do, make sure you find your focus and stay consistent because at the end of the day, we are wired through storytelling. So make sure your story is a good one.

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Monthly Reading: March

I kind of fell off the literary wagon this month. I only read one book. And the thing is, I had plenty of time to read two, but after I finished the first one, I felt a sort of “reader’s block” where I didn’t know what I wanted to read next.

So I just didn’t read anything.

However, the book that I did read this month was amazing. Seriously, so good.

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I read Final Girls by Riley Sager, and GUYS (as if there are multiple people reading this) IT IS AMAZING. I literally gasped out loud while reading because I was that SHOOK. It has everything: murder, mystery, romance, female empowerment–what more could you want out of a novel?

You know how in horror movies there is always that girl who survives this horrific massacre even though she seems like the person who would totally die first? Final Girls is about those girls–the final girls. I mean, how can you not already be intrigued?

I seriously can not recommend this more. I haven’t felt this impressed and excited about a book since Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll (who, by the way, has another book coming out soon).

So there you go. I failed this month, but I will just blame it on Final Girls being so amazing that I just couldn’t follow it up with something that might be mediocre.

I Met with a Nutritionist

I don’t usually get too personal on here, but I want to document my progress with my goals. One of those goals is to cultivate a healthier lifestyle. So, to me that means being more open about my feelings and the steps I am taking to accomplish that goal.

Last week, I met with a nutritionist about how to change my eating habits. The meeting ended up being a lot more emotionally draining than I thought it would, because not only did we discuss healthy foods, but we went over my current eating habits and dipped a little bit into why I have those habits.

Meeting with someone is already a huge step for me because a year ago, I never talked to anyone about my weight except for my mom. And even with her, any time I had to talk about my health I ended up breaking down and crying. Because, I’ve learned, it is something I hold a lot of shame about internally. I am not proud of where I am, health-wise. It’s not something I enjoy discussing—in fact, I avoid the conversation whenever possible.

So, I’ve come a long way. I am taking intentional steps towards bettering myself this year. One of which happened to be meeting with a professional nutritionist.

One of the things I talked about with the nutritionist was to come up with a list of healthy alternatives to snacking when I feel stressed. This was hard because I found that I most wanted to eat when I was bored, not stressed—although that happens to. So instead, I decided to come up with things to do instead of snacking when I get bored.

Real talk: when I am alone, I eat everything. It’s a problem that a professional should probably examine, but for now all I have is this list.

  • Read.

    • Not only is this an excellent alternative, it will also help me meet one of my other goals which is to read 24 books this year.
  • Sing.

    • It’s kind of hard to shove things into your mouth when you’re belting musical theater songs.
  • Journal.

    • This was a suggestion from my nutritionist, that I should become more in tune with my body and what it really wants, which she said, is not to eat more.
  • Drink water.

    • We’ve all heard that thing about how when you think you are hungry, you’re probably just thirsty. Plus it can’t hurt to drink more water.
  • Watch Trisha Paytas Mukbangs.

    • For those who are perhaps unaware, Trish is a YouTuber who spends a lot of time crying on her kitchen floor and filming herself eat copious amounts of food. Now, this may seem counter intuitive, but I have found that when I am really craving something, watching her shove her face full of chicken tenders somehow makes my own craving dissipate. It’s weird, I know, but I’m not about to question it if it works.

The most disappointing thing about the meeting was that she didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. I know how to take care of my body. Eat nutrient-filled foods, avoid over consumption of sugary, starchy and fatty foods, and exercise. We all know it; it’s just a matter of doing it.

So I’m just going to do it. And I’ll provide updates as things move along.

If you want to see what I am typically eating in a day, you can follow along on Instagram @catastropheandkale

A Night at the Theatre


One of my favorite places in Atlanta is the Fox Theatre. It never ceases to amaze me with its beauty and regality. Every time I walk through those doors, I am reminded of when I was a young girl seeing Annie for the first time at the Fox. My mom curled my hair and I wore a sparkly red dress just like Annie did in the movie, which I watched over and over throughout my childhood.


This week, my dad and I went to see The King and I, which was amazing. I am always blown away by live theater. It is so special to me, and I hope it is something I can cherish for years to come. As I sat up in the gallery, I imagined taking my niece to shows just like my mom took me. My college career is finally coming to an end, and I am constantly thinking of what is next, where I should go, who I should be, so it’s nice to be grounded every once in a while by the things that are happening here and now. The Fox does that for me.

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If I have my history right, the Fox was originally built by the shriners–you know, those guys in the tall red hats with gold tassles–but because of how ornate the building plans were, they couldn’t finish, so a man named William Fox took over. He had a plan to build beautiful theaters for movies–at the time, it was silent films. But all over the country, he was building these incredible theaters or “movie palaces” as he referred to them. The Fox opened Christmas Day in 1929 to a sold out audience.

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In the 60’s, these movie palaces were going out of fashion, so a lot of them were being torn down. Luckily, the community in Atlanta was able to save the Fox and preserve it to be the place we know today. A few of the theaters that were part of the “movie palace” movement are still around today. One in Virginia still plays movies, too, for a whopping $1.99. For my friends reading this (because who else is reading this?), it is the Byrd Theater in Richmond, VA. Just take the Red Line and you’ll end up right at the doorstep.

I don’t know if I will ever get over my love of the Fox, because it is so trans-generational. When I go to the Fox, I am 7 years old again. It’s timeless.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane. It’s kind of just my thoughts–something I would probably journal, but after leaving the Fox on Wednesday, I wanted to shout my love for it from the rooftops, so here I am on my metaphorical rooftop, proclaiming my deep love of this old, beautiful, historical place.

13 Reasons Why: A Review

This isn’t really going to be a review; my title lied. It is part review, part rant…

13 Reasons Why: A Rant

I recently (binge) watched 13 Reasons Why on Netflix this past week. To be honest, I didn’t have high expectations because all of the promos made it look like another stupid teen drama. I was only slightly tempted since I had read the book in high school, but if Cassandra hadn’t started it with me, I probably wouldn’t have watched it for a long time, if ever. After a few episodes, I was hooked. Mostly because of nostalgia– I really loved the book when I was younger.

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This show is probably one of the only instances in my life where the book just didn’t measure up to the show. Now, I have not read the book since high school, so I could be wrong, but the show was just so much more nuanced. There are a lot of changes from the book, but it made the whole thing so much more connected and intense. Plus, the acting was incredible. Watching the show was truly an experience and I can’t wait to watch it again.

I wasn’t originally going to do a review, because the show had been given so much praise already that there wasn’t anything I felt I could add to the conversation. But recently on Facebook, I’ve seen a lot of posts talking negatively about the show because of how graphic and “triggering” it was. So since I am passive-aggressive af, I’ve decided to throw in my 2 cents, plus I really loved the show.

I will be discussing generalized plot points, so if you have not finished and do not want any light spoilers, click away.

In the Facebook post that started this whole blog post, it was basically saying that the entire show needed a warning because the whole show was graphic and insensitive to people who have gone through similar experiences.

First of all, putting a warning on the whole show, telling exactly what is going to go down throughout the entirety of it is (for lack of a better word) stupid. Who would watch a show, knowing exactly what is going to happen? Also, everyone has been talking about this show, everyone knows the premise. So, if you know that you are sensitive to suicide or bullying, then don’t watch a show about suicide and bullying.

Another point that was made in a different Facebook post was that 13 Reasons Why was glorifying and romanticizing suicide. This one was coming from someone who hadn’t even watched the show, and yet they felt entitled to write a whole novel on her Facebook about it. This show, in no way, makes suicide look enticing. If anything, it shows the raw, painful, frightening, and depressing truth of taking your own life.

I don’t think there is anyone out there who read the book or watched the show and then thought, Wow, I could really go for a nice suicide right about now. I was more inclined to buy a tape recorder and tell all the assholes I knew how much of an asshole they were than to take my life. In the final episode when we actually see Hannah commit suicide, it was the darkest thing I’d ever seen in my life. I kept expecting the camera to cut away, but it didn’t. It stayed with her until she died. I stayed with her until she died.

I can’t say that I’ve never thought about killing myself, but it was more like “If I was dead right now, I wouldn’t have to go through this shit” than actual self-hatred and loneliness. But watching that scene was like a sharp slap in the face, waking me up. We always hear about people who kill themselves, but seeing it happen and it’s direct affect around everyone around them is unnerving.

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This show is supposed to make you uncomfortable. You are supposed to feel sick to your stomach. You are supposed to want to look away but fail. Yes, this show is graphic and “triggering” but that is because it needs to be. People aren’t going to talk about it if it isn’t right in their face. That is why the book was so important when it came out 10 years ago. It was all anyone talked about in the hallways at school, and now it is all anyone can post about online. It opens discussion, which in turn instills change.

Thank you for reading!

 

Formal Lookbook

So this past Saturday was my sorority’s spring formal. It was a lot of fun, but I mean, anytime I get to hang out with Amberlyn and Cassandra is a good time. We got all dolled up and took tons of pictures, so here is a bunch of pictures that I took before we left.

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I really love this one because it looks like we are at prom!
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Here is the beautiful Cassandra, who is so photogenic that it should be a crime
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And the lovely Amberlyn! I like to imagine that she is thinking of me 🙂 but she’s probably thinking about her adorable new puppy!

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This is me and my friend, Darby.

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My absolute favorite picture of MAC 
So there you go! I hope you enjoyed these pictures. It was a lot of fun to capture these snapshots of my life, and I hope to continue with photography.

I know I haven’t been posting as frequently, but I’m trying to get back into the groove of things. As always, thanks for reading (or in this case, viewing)!

I Have A Lot of Feelings About This Episode Of Girls

I just finished watching this week’s episode of Girls, and I have so many emotions right now that I felt the urge to write a post. Just be aware, there are definitely spoilers, so continue at your own risk.

Let me just start from the beginning. I have been watching Girls on and off since I was 18 (I am now 22), but I have really become obsessed with it in the last year or so. The fact that I have a very unhealthy obsession addiction to Adam Driver has not helped this. Anyway, from the very beginning, I have loved Adam and Hannah’s relationship. Yes, they had their issues, but I felt like they had both grown so much since the beginning, that maybe they could finally live happily ever after. But of course, we can’t always get what we want.

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Ever since I first saw the teaser last week for this week’s episode, I’ve been thinking about how they could possibly resolve the show. Because, let’s face it, we only have two more episodes left. To be honest, I was completely under the impression that Adam and Hannah would end up together, but when Lena was doing press before the season started, she made some comments about Hannah and Adam’s relationship. Basically, she said that she was surprised that so many people wanted them back together because that meant she hadn’t done a good enough job of showing how messed up their relationship was. From that moment, I had been mentally preparing myself for complete and utter heartbreak. Instead, I found myself very conflicted.

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This week’s episode starts with Adam telling Jessa that he wants to raise Hannah’s baby with her, and Jessa is seemingly okay about the whole thing, which was unsettling to me. Because, like everything about them is so explosive especially when it involves Hannah. But whatever. Then, the rest of the episode is like one big happy montage of Hannah and Adam being in love. I thought I would be ecstatic, but there was something in the pit of my stomach that knew it wasn’t going to last. They had been too far gone.

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What really shocked me was how guilty I felt for wanting Adam and Hannah to be together when it was obvious that Jessa needed Adam. Seeing her go back to her old ways of hooking up with random men in bars really hurt me. There was also a very strong parallel to Jessa walking into bar, and it was later confirmed in the “Inside the Episode”. The shot of Jessa walking down the street into the bar was the same shot they did in the first season when Jessa decided to go into a bar instead of have her abortion. It was obvious that her way of dealing with her feelings made her revert to her old ways, but she couldn’t just disappear into her old vices. When she said “I don’t want you” to the guy she was hooking up with, my heart broke for her. But then, seeing Adam and Hannah together again was so satisfying, which made me feel even more conflicted.

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In a way, Adam making that movie about him and Hannah was a self-proclaiming prophesy. Because when he was filming he mentioned something about even though they wanted to be together, the relationship was too intense to survive. And once they find themselves sitting in a diner, planning out their lives as parents, it becomes obvious to them that they can’t be together. Watching them cry reminded me of the end of season 4 (which is both my favorite and least favorite season finale) when they are faced with the reality of being back together, but know that it just won’t work. Throughout the show, they have tried and tried again, but they just aren’t good together. I think it was hardest for me to come to this conclusion (haha).


I can’t believe, though, that Jessa would just let Adam come back knowing that she is essentially his second choice. It’s sad. But at least she knows that being with him makes her happy. I feel like a part of her always considered herself this lone-wolf, but once she found herself actually alone, she realized that she wanted more. Also, she thought she was pregnant in season 1 when she went into that bar and hooked up with someone, and this season there was a scene of her throwing up and then going into the bar just like before. Seeing those parallels made me realize how much Jessa has also grown throughout the years, and she deserves to be with the person she loves. I feel like Jessa in the first season would have been too prideful to admit that she needed somebody; at least she is strong enough to make a decision based on her overall happiness rather than “winning”.

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I have to admit, if Hannah wasn’t going to be with Adam, I would have wanted her to be alone anyway, because she is a strong, independent woman who don’t need no man!

This show makes me so happy and so sad all at the same time, but I will never tire of these characters. This is a show that I will re-watch over and over again. And I will fight anyone who thinks that Girls is anything short of genius.

Luckiest Girl Alive: A Review

I haven’t been doing so well with my resolution to read more. Since January, I’ve only read two books. This past week, I read Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll, and it is so beautiful. I can already tell that it will be one of those books that you pick up year after year to read again.

I first heard of this book through a weekly newsletter that I am subscribed to. For those who don’t know, I am OBSESSED with Lena Dunham (blog post to come, I’m sure). She and one of the producers of Girls, Jenni Konner, started an online newsletter called Lenny Letter. Knoll wrote a piece in one of the issues a year ago today about her book. In the Lenny Letter, Knoll talked openly about how her personal experience with sexual assault led to the idea of her novel (you can read her piece here). She was so open and raw in her piece that, without even knowing anything else about her book, I had to read it. And on one fine day, I found myself once again strolling the aisles of Target when a familiar book cover caught my eye. I’m so glad it did, because I instantly fell in love.

The novel follows the soon-to-be Ani Harrison (formerly TifAni FaNelli), who strives to recreate herself in an attempt to alter people’s perception of who she was. She is a senior editor at The Women’s Magazine which is most comparable to our Cosmopolitan, and is engaged to the attractive, blue-blooded Luke Harrison. It would appear as though she has the perfect life, but very quickly you can tell that there is something unnerving about her. Throughout most of the novel, the reader is left in the dark about Ani’s past, but through small glimpses and memories, we slowly begin to understand the dark and twisted person that we’ve been unapologetically subjected to. Knoll creates a very realistic mindset that we get to experience throughout the entirety of the book.

Personally, I felt an instant (yet frightening) connection with Ani because her internal monologue mirrored my own in a dark way. Perhaps it is just a testament to Knoll’s writing that her readers can understand her character so well, or perhaps I should seek professional help. Either way, I definitely miss Ani’s quick wit and dark humor.

It is beautiful, inspiring, and suspenseful. I have told all (two) of my friends about this novel, and now I urge all of you to do the same.

3 Reasons Why You Should Have a “Staycation”

For my spring break this year, I decided to have a “staycation” right here in Atlanta, Georgia. I probably spent as much money as I would have anywhere else, but it was all worth it. In fact, I highly recommend a staycation to everyone, and here is why:

Housing is Free

You don’t have the hassle of booking a hotel room or an Airbnb, and it also means you get to sleep in the comfort of your own bed (or air mattress, in my case). I spent most of the week in Kennesaw with my friend, Cassandra (check out what she’s been up to these past couple of weeks here!), which meant I spent most of the week on my air mattress, but it’s pretty comfortable compared to sleeping on the floor.

You Get to Experience New Things

We all have a list of things we’ve been meaning to do or see in the city that we live in, but we never get around to doing it. With a staycation, you can check off all of the things on your list. I hardly ever explore Atlanta because I hate driving in the city, but thankfully I had Cassandra and Phoenix (may she rest in peace) who graciously drove us everywhere. One of my favorite places I went to was Cinnaholic, which serves gourmet (vegan friendly) cinnamon rolls. You can pretty much have it made with whatever toppings you want. I got cream cheese icing with Oreo crumbles and cookie dough.

You Can Also Hit Up Your Favorite Places

Sometimes, when you are on vacation, you can be underwhelmed by certain attractions or maybe an experience wasn’t everything you thought it would be. With a staycation, you already know what to expect when you go to your favorite mall or amusement park. One of my favorite places in Atlanta is Ponce City Market, and during my staycation, I went there with a few friends. Going during the week was such a strange, but fun, experience because no one was there. There weren’t any crazy lines or packed boutiques. It was kind of refreshing.

I had such a wonderful spring break, and it was a treat to experience Atlanta as a tourist. If only it hadn’t been 30 DEGREES OUTSIDE, I would have enjoyed it more.

Real quick story time:

Just because you are familiar with a place doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be cautious. One of my days of spring break, we went to the Marietta Square to walk around. While I was taking some pictures of my friends on one of the park benches, I heard footsteps quickly approaching. As I looked up, an old man (who appeared to be under the influence of alcohol, or maybe even Satan) fell flat on his face as he was sprinting towards me. He stood up and claimed he was just coming to offer to take a picture of all of us together. As he said this, he reached out towards my phone. I told him I was fine because I just had my own little photoshoot a few minutes prior, but he was really insistent. I was about to just hand it over to get him to leave us alone, when the thought came to me that he might run off with my phone. So, I slid my phone into my purse and told him no once again. He finally walked away, saying something like, “I was just trying to do my one good deed for the day”. It was a very unsettling experience, but I’m glad everyone involved was okay, even him because he definitely took a dive.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you all have/had a great spring break!

Beauty Favorites

I am far from a “beauty-guru”, but I do like to dabble every so often into makeup products. My most recent obsession is nail polish. I have always been a nail-biter (gross, I know), but I have made it a priority to grow out my nails. This also apparently means that I am physically incapable of resisting to buy every nail polish I come in contact with. If you want a great deal, check out the Sinful Colors Professional line available at Target (only $1.99!!!). I have three already  so far!

Eyes

If I had to get rid of everything and keep only one makeup product, it would be my Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette. I still think back fondly on the day I first bought it. I’ve had it for over a year and I absolutely love it.

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Another go-to for me is the Wet N Wild black liquid eyeliner. The brush is very stiff so its easy to get straight, dark lines. The only issue I currently face is that it is a huge pain to remove at night, leaving me with odd black marks along my eyelid. But no other eyeliner has come close to its accuracy, plus its super affordable. I know it’s technically water proof, but not even Holy Water from Heaven above could get this stuff off.

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Lips

A few months ago, I went to Atlanta with Cassandra. While there, I went to Sephora for the first time in my life (sad, I know). I was pretty overwhelmed at first and kept thinking that we would get in trouble for playing with the makeup. Somewhere between Cassandra doing my eyebrows and giving myself a manicure, I fell in love with the Kat Von B. Everlasting Liquid Lipstick (in the shade Lolita). It is such a beautiful color, but sometimes a little dark for everyday wear. However, Cassandra told me that they are almost never in stock, so I snagged it.

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Face

I’ve added a few new products to my (previously non-existent) skin care routine. The first is the Shea Moisture African Black Soap Clarifying Mud Mask which I’ve never really done before but now I’m obsessed with. I feel like a whole new person afterwards.

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I also recently purchased St. Ives new oil scrub. I use it at night to wash my face. Because it is an oil scrub, it can tend to make my already oil-prone face more oily, but I like the way it leaves me feeling refreshed. So I use it mostly as a way to wash my face after I remove my makeup. Side note: my friends would be so proud of the effort I’ve made to make sure my makeup is off before I go to bed.

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My next skin care product is e.l.f.’s Illuminating Eye Cream. It is supposed to get rid of those dark bags that accompany me throughout the day. I just bought it (like today) so I guess I can’t really call it a “favorite”, but I’m really excited to use it, so it counts!

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Body

My final beauty (?) product is this body wash that Cassandra has me hooked on. It is the Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap in the scent Tea Tree. When we lived together, I hated this stuff because it smelled like twigs, but it’s kind of grown on me, mostly because it leaves me feeling SO CLEAN. Seriously, my entire shower experience has changed. Whenever this one runs out (which will probably be when I’m 87), I want to try the lavender one.

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I hope you beauties enjoyed this post! Hopefully, this awakening I’ve had with beauty products will lead to more informed posts in the future.
***ALL IMAGES ARE FROM GOOGLE