Fall Activities: Keeneland

Fall 2017, lifestyle

Welcome back to the next installment of Fall Activities!

Going to the Keeneland horse races is something I look forward to every October. My family has been going for years, so I have many fond memories of tailgating in the parking lot, ice-cold beer, and spending all of my money on $2 bets and over-priced cocktails. Plus, Lexington is beautiful, so you almost don’t even realize that you’re quickly losing all of your spending money.

This time was no exception.


Keeneland’s fall races go from October 2-28, every Thursday through Sunday. We typically go the second weekend of October and meet up with my extended family from North Carolina. We left Thursday and got their around 1:30 a.m. My sister and I both brought friends, so the four of us had our own room. I, of course, brought my friend, Cassandra and we had such a great time.

 

We woke up at 8 in the morning so that we could make it to the hotel’s breakfast that ended at 9 and ended up bringing plates full of food up to our suite so that we could eat while we got ready.

 

Then we went to a local grocery store, Meijer’s, to get some drinks for tailgating. Meijer’s is basically like a Wal-Mart but less sketchy. My dad was pretty obsessed with it, actually, and made us return the next day for lunch. After picking up some much needed beverages, we grabbed lunch from Subway to take to the tracks.



Next is tailgating–the fun part! I always enjoy sitting around and chatting with my family, especially since I don’t get to spend that much time with my extended family outside of the holidays.

Once inside, my family tends to stick to a specific routine. First, you go out to the paddock where they bring the horses before each race. Since I’m not a seasoned horse race expert, I tend to rely on this part to place my bets because I get a chance to really look at the horses and the jockeys up close. Then we go inside to place our bets before proceeding to the front of of the track to actually watch the race.


This pretty much repeats over and over for each race, with the exception of a few bathroom breaks and beer breaks.


When all 10 races are done, we go back out to the parking lot to tailgate once more while the parking lot clears out and then we go grab something to eat and tailgate some more in the hotel lobby.

And then you do it all over again the next day.

If you are ever in Lexington (or not! Road trips are fun!) during the month of October or April (they do spring races, too), you need to spend a day at the Keeneland horse races. It is so beautiful and such a great place to be.

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Fall Activities: Burt’s Pumpkin Farm

Fall 2017, lifestyle

The fall is one of my favorite times of year. The weather gets cooler, you can wear scarves and boots, and most importantly, there is just so much fun stuff to do.

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Personally, I’m not a huge fan of summer.  Unless it involves a body of water and an ice-cold mixed drink, I’m out. So when the leaves start to change and the weathe drops a few degrees, I’m here for it.

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I’ve got a whole list of fun October/fall things to do coming your way and the first thing I’m going to share is Burt’s Pumpkin Farm in Dawsonville.

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You can also partake in a hay ride through the pumpkin patch. I’ve yet to actually do this because I’m into doing things that are free haha but I’ve heard great things about it.

And before you leave, you’ll definitely want to check out the gift shop to get some delicious baked goods and other souvenirs. I recommend the apple bread and their pumpkin rolls.

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Despite the weather clearly not knowing that it is fall, it was a beautiful afternoon. There were so many people there and so many pumpkins that were lined up perfectly for as far as the eye could see which made it the perfect spot for a little photo shoot.

I hope you enjoyed this post and keep an eye out for another post later this week about the Keeneland horse races!

13 Reasons Why: A Review

Movie Reviews, Uncategorized

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!

 

I Have A Lot of Feelings About This Episode Of Girls

lifestyle, Uncategorized

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

Book Reviews, Uncategorized

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.

We’re the Ladies: Female Friendships

lifestyle, Uncategorized

Good evening!

I have been reflecting and reminiscing on my friendships through the years and just wanted to share how much I love my two best friends for a little post-galentine’s post.

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Friendships have always been a struggle for me, especially ones with girls.  I’m not really sure why other than maybe my crippling insecurity and social awkwardness. Whatever the reason, it didn’t start out this way.

I made my first friend at just 5 years old. When I walked into my kindergarten class, I was very nervous. I remember being told to walk over to the reading area, which consisted of one bookshelf and one of those rugs that had roads twisting and curving all across it. I stood in the middle of the rug as the other students joined me, and then a little girl with short blonde pigtails walked right up to me. She stuck out her hand, and said, “Hi, I’m Ashley. Do you want to be my friend?” It seemed so easy. My dumb, naive mind thought that was enough, but as fate would have it, I moved away and I never saw Ashley again.

Making friends from that point on proved to be much more difficult. I was good at being friendly with people, and when I was in high school, it never occurred to me that I didn’t have real friends, because I was casual-friends with everyone. I always had someone to talk to in my classes and a table to sit at during lunch.

By the time I got to college, I was yearning for something more, something deeper. I joined a sorority and in what felt like no time at all, I was welcomed into a close-knit group of girls who loved me for who I was.

Here, I met my best friends.

Amberlyn is my Big Sister in my sorority, and because of this, our bond is both unbreakable and undeniable. When I first met her, I felt like I always do when put in an unfamiliar situation, which is awkward and shy. I thought she was the coolest girl there, so witty and sarcastic, and I needed her to be my friend. In the first few months of our friendship, I was in awe of her. She is such a selfless person and will go out of her way for the people that she cares about. Not only that, but she is brilliant and hilarious and beautiful, and by knowing her I feel like I am some of these things, too. She is dedicated and independent and will do amazing things with her life. I count myself lucky that I get a glimpse at all of the incredible things she will accomplish. No matter how far away she goes, I will follow (Sorry, but you’re stuck with me).

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Cassandra is my ex-roommate, but forever-friend. She is my partner in crime at school, and we will (hopefully) finish next May (for real, fingers crossed). I feel like we are opposites in every way (she is classy and refined, whereas I am…not) and yet we have also formed this bond that I am so lucky to have in my life. She is beautiful and charismatic and just so amazing. She is also someone who I desperately wanted to be friends with from the moment I met her. She is so open, fun, and caring. Living with her was one of the best decisions of my life, because I honestly feel that we would not be as close if we hadn’t had that experience.

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They are both so important to me–more than I could ever put into words. I know, without a doubt, that I could talk to them about anything and everything. I accept them for their (sometimes brutal) honesty and they accept me for my many, many flaws. While our college careers are coming to a close (some sooner than others), I am reflecting on these relationships with admiration and nostalgia. I am sad for the things that will end (late night chats, fits of laughter, and sleep-overs), but I look forward to the things to come, like visiting each other in different, exciting cities across the states, or even abroad.

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Female friendships are odd, but they can also be some of the strongest bonds you ever form. I am so glad I found these girls to live and learn with through this most tumultuous time in our lives–our twenties!–and for many years to come.

Thank you.