I’ve Discovered the Secret to Blogger Success

I’m not joking guys……

This is a top secret classified bit of information that only the best of the best in blogland know and I’m here to share it with you right now!

And no I’m not talking about taking or finding the perfect photo from above with your hand, laptop, and cool phone case all visible. Clearly this is a very important step in the process, but every third grader who dreams of internet fame knows this one. Keep reading for the juicy stuff.

Blogger Success

It’s no secret that I haven’t been writing……….well really anything since the Holidays.

I posted that I got engaged….

And y’all responded with all the happiness and well-wishes.

I posted about the extremely difficult problem of not knowing what to hashtag my wedding…..

And y’all gave me all the best ideas non-stop until I picked one I loved. (#SomethingBarros in case you wanted to stalk me, but like in a non-threatening manner)

Then I had my Life Guru Jess post about making friends in your 20s…..

And y’all ate it up!

So what’s the secret to blogger success then?

Um, duh, it’s YOU! Community.

The Secret to Blogger Success = Community

Cliche maybe, but it’s the truth. I don’t care how wonderful your life is or how well you can craft the perfect post or how much blogging advice you have, without people to read your blog your blog would be just bunch of gibberish posted on the internet.

I mean if we’re all really honest with ourselves, blogs really are just gibberish posted on the internet. But we are Bloggers and we shall not givein to such nonsensical thinking.

Back to the secrets.

If you’re still with me at this point then I know you truly care and aren’t actually looking for the secret to blogging success and therefore proving my point. Sure making side money, or having a full-time blog is cool. I’ve made money off this thing, it’s a pretty cool feeling to be sent free stuff. In full disclosure I just bought a ton of wedding stuff from blog money just chillin in my Paypal account.

But what makes me come back time and again.

The friends and connections I’ve made while writing, not the money made.

So whether you agree with me or not, thank you for reading my words and connecting with me even when I’m not around as often as I used to be. I promise I’m still around and trying to connect with y’all.

What do you think? What’s the secret sauce?

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How to Make Friends in Your 20’s

I have such a fun post for y’all today!

Remember Jess? You know, my uber cool friend who somehow still likes me despite my homebody grandma personality? She also wrote here before about Treating Your Self, which if you’re not doing already you need to start Immediately!

Also to answer the wedding questions, no we don’t have a date (but possibly our venue so it’s tbd very soon, eek!) also no I haven’t looked at dresses or caterers or wedding favors or anything else you want to ask me about. Wedding planning is awesome and fun but choosing is hard. First world problems yo….

Anyway, without further ado, take it away Jess!

How to make friends in 20s

Hey Everyone!
It’s been a while since I have written for Kelsey, and to be honest, she asked me to do this in August but I’m such a procrastinator that I didn’t get it done…hence the reason I will never be a real blogger. But anyways, since you’ve last heard from me (a year ago) I have gone from traveling job that had me hopping place to place, to permanent job at an amazing hospital in Seattle, WA. I could not be happier with my decision to land in this city, even with it being so far away from my New England home. Which is what brings us to today’s topic: tips for making new friends in your 20s and beyond.  This can be a hard thing to do, but it is possible, and hopefully this will help!

Disclaimer: I am an extrovert, and kind of pride myself on bringing introverts out of their shells when I can. So if you are an extrovert, these will be tips on how to work it, and for all you introverts, hopefully this will help you feel more comfortable out of your shell.

Focus on your interests

By the time you are 24, most people know what things they are interested in whether it be fitness, reading, outdoor adventures, board games, computer games, dancing, and general debauchery. You at least have an idea of what makes you happy and like to do. And if you like it, I can guarantee that there is someone else out there who likes those things too.  So do your research online, talk about the things you like to do with coworkers, if you see someone doing something you like, go talk to them (if they give you a weird look, who cares, you are just being friendly) Also, I highly recommend the website meetup.com for groups that get together to do said interests.

Say yes

This is my number one go to rule. It’s the most proven (personally at least) way to meet cool people and form amazing friendships. If you get an invitation that sounds interesting, just say yes. Whether it be an invite to a party full of people you may not know, out to a drink with someone you’ve only had a few conversations with before, or for a walk on a nice day (or in the rain too!) just say yes.
Simple right? ( the answer is YES!)

Be yourself

How do you expect to make authentic friendships if you aren’t being your authentic self? This is also a simple one.

Get out there!

Go! Out of your house! Grab someone and go somewhere, or go by yourself. Sit at the bar, eavesdrop and butt into interesting conversations (you know you are listening anyways). Go for a walk or run and stop to pet someone’s dog, social interaction is important. Even if these random encounters don’t go anywhere, they will get you more comfortable with talking to people, I’m looking at you introverts! Even if it’s out of your comfort zone, set a goal for even 1 time a week to get out of the house and do something social.

Use Connections

A friend of a friend could be your next BFF and you just don’t even know it yet. If there’s someone who you think you would hit it off with, don’t be afraid to use you connections, personal or digital, to reach out. I mean come on, I know you are Facebook and Instagram stalking them anyways.

Routine

Did you make a new friend that you want to make sure sticks around? Make dates, see each other, plan things, and then use each other to make even more awesome friends!

Give Zero Craps

Not to be rude here, which I am also not saying you should be, but seriously, the less you stress about what you are doing, or what you look like or are perceived as to other people, the easier it will be to complete any of the other steps. Know that you as you are right now, is an Awesome person, and go share that with the world. If you meet someone and they don’t see it, then it’s their loss.

So those are the general rules, I have been using these a lot recently, and have formed an amazing variety and strong groups of friends in Seattle, in just 7 months. So take the plunge, get yourself out there, and surround yourself with people as amazing as you!

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Wedding Hashtag Ideas

Welcome back to another Wedding Wednesday Lovelies!

Posting only on a Wednesday is kinda cool. Ya know like on Wednesday we wear pink kinda cool.

Maybe one day another day will make it in the rotation but it’s a case of baby steps….

Down to business.

I don’t stress…about anything. Seriously, I keep it cool as a cucumber in any given situation that doesn’t involve open water or a shark attack. Or unwarranted confrontation. I don’t enjoy that at all…..

Post-engagement however, I started to stress about the most important part.

No not the dress, venue, or guest list. All of that pales in comparison to the official Wedding Hashtag.

Wedding Hashtags

The wedding hashtag totally sets the mood of your entire marriage. Have a lame hashtag and you might as well sign the divorce papers now. I’m not making this stuff up people, it’s science!

The only thing I could come up with that I thought was truly original and clever was : #IfYouLikeItThenYouBarrosPutaRingOnIt

…..

It’s kinda long right?

Before I even called my family to tell them the good news, I was online trying to craft the perfect hashtag. I found the hashtag generator on Wedding Wire and had to share a few of my options.

#TakeMetoBarrosTown (and we have a winner)

#BecomingaBarros

#HappilyEverBarros

#KelseyHeartsJohn

#ItsBarrosTime

#BarrosPartyof2 (cliche?)

#TheBarrosesSayIDo (predictable?)

#SheronBarrosMashup (Is this a sorority mixer?)

#StokedToBeaBarros (this one might be bending the truth a little much)

#LiveLaughBarros (What are we a beach?)

#Kelseyand JohnSittinginaTree (I’ve never climbed a tree so this would be false advertising)

#JohnLovesKelsey (good luck getting him to admit it in public!)

#YouHadMeAtSheron (except that I’m the bride….)

#HereComeTheBarroses (it’s growin on me…..)

So those are my options. I need your help. Are you more clever than the Wedding Wire? Give me a Hashtag or I’ll never sleep again!

But seriously share with me what your wedding hashtag was in the comments below!

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5 Things You NEED To Know Before Grad School

Good Monday Morning Friends!

Are you on your way to work? At work? Just home from work?

I’m sitting in my apartment, sippin hot tea and catching up on Survivor and Vampire Diaries. I think you can tell a lot about a person by the television shows they choose to watch. I like to think mine say something like, “I walk on the edge” or “I laugh in the face of danger!” Meh, more likely “I watch dangerous and adventurous shows because I prefer to stay in bed and read a book.”

Anyway……

Can I have your attention for a minute? I graduated with my Master’s degree last May. In case you hadn’t heard….

Yeesh, how did this happen? Where did the time go? How did I survive? And why am I still not impressed?

Anyone tired of hearing about it yet? Well then what the heck you doin on a blog written by a girl who just graduated with her Master’s degree!?!

We’ll forget about that last question, however, because I’m a giver and I like you. I’m gonna let you in on a few things you should know before Grad School if you so choose to torture yourself.

Thinking about going to Graduate School? here's 5 things you NEED to know before you even apply!

Grad School Applications are circulating right about now and I’ve seen a few of y’all are caught up in their midst.

Well don’t worry, I’ve been there, done that and I learned a thing or two along the way.

Not everyone’s journey will look the same of course, the way I got there won’t be the exact way you’ll get there, but there are some basic things you can do to hopefully make your grad school life a little bit more bearable.

So let’s get started!

#1 Find Someone To Pay For It

This was the single best advice anyone every gave me before I went back to school. Still being drowned by undergrad loans, the thought of increasing that sea of debt wasn’t exactly as high on my list as pursuing higher education. So if there’s one thing I say that you listen to, let it be this, FIND SOMEONE TO PAY FOR YOUR GRAD DEGREE!!!

It’s not as hard, and yet just as hard as it sounds. Find an Assistantship in your program. TA, RA, GA, doesn’t matter, but find and apply for them early. Next, find any assistantships even remotely related to your program. For example, my degree Kinesiology & Health Promotion meant I applied for everything under wellness; fitness, nutrition, research studies, any TA position in KHP, and HR. The positions are out there if only you put in the effort to find them.

University of Kentucky gave the sweet, sweet deal of not only paying my tuition, but also giving me a small, but liveable, stipend during the 9 months of each academic year.

If I can do it, you can do it!

I also suggest looking into PT jobs to supplement your income if you’re not already working as you go through school.

#2 Know Your Loans 

Now that you’ve got someone else to pay for your graduate degree, make sure you’ve taken care of your undergraduate loans (if you don’t have them skip to #3 you lucky B)

Mine was the simple process of having UK fill out my deferment paperwork and sending it off to the loan people. However, know the lingo in your loan agreement and whether you need to be a full-time student or not. They tricked me my last semester when I dropped down to half-time, so don’t make that mistake. You’re still poor and can’t afford the payments.

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#3 Craigslist Isn’t So Scary.

If you’re like me and went to school out of state where you don’t know a single soul but also can’t afford rent on your own, Craigslist is your best friend and your frenemy. Some schools have a roommate seeking type website but if it’s anything like UK’s then it blows and won’t be helpful in the slightest.

A few tips to make sure you don’t land yourself your very own Dexter for a roommate.

  • Make sure to get a tour of the place if you can.
  • Don’t sign anything until you’re in person.
  • Deal with the Landlord over the potential roommate whenever possible.
  • Meet-up in person, friend on facebook, whatever you can to vet this person a little bit and them you.
  • Ask for references. I never did this but not a bad idea.

I was always out-of-state right up until I needed a place (think MA to KY) so I had to make-do with photos. I did get burned this past Fall and ended up being homeless for a few weeks. I don’t recommend that…..

So start looking in advance, ask all the questions, and don’t be afraid to speak up!

Also after your first year, you’ll know people and can potentially live with them the following year.

#4 Network Before You Get There

Now this is a big one!

Shoot an email to your advisor asking to get in touch with current students in your program. Talk to them, see what it’s really like.

They can sometimes help you with finding housing as well. Better still, they’ll give you the layout of the land and city!

Assuming they’re nice like me anyway. Whenever my advisor sent my email addresses of potential students I always responded. When I was that potential student I didn’t get the same response though.

So note for when you’re in the program, be nice and helpful to the newbs!

#5 It’s MUCH Harder Than Undergrad

Seriously….And this is coming from someone who has never had to try in school before. Not humble bragging here, just letting you know what you’re signing up for. Of course it depends on the program, mine was writing and project heavy with very little testing. No matter what though, it will be tougher than you’ve ever dealt with before so now is the time to mentally prepare yourself.

On the bright side, grades don’t really matter as much in Grad School unless you have a professor with a stick up their butt.

Perhaps if you plan on continuing for you PhD, but even then your thesis and networking is more important than what grade you got in Grad level statistics….

So anyone considering grad school in their future?

What about applying right now?

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The Best Fall Soups

Soups, wonderful soups.

And by soups I clearly mean those made in the crock-pot. Or is it slow-cooker? Are those the same thing? Whatever….

Since I make soup in my crock-pot/slow-cooker at least once a week, but usually twice I thought I should share my favorites.

Seriously though, I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to soups….my love is deep rooted.

Best Fall Soups

Now these are all tried and true recipes I’ve made myself. So don’t worry, an idiot could get these right!

The first is my absolute favorite that I make several times throughout the season.

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

chicken pot pie soup

 

This is actually one of my recipes. I was supposed to be making just chicken noodle soup that night when I decided to see if I could turn it into the Progresso pot pie soups JB loves so much.

I’m happy to say mine turned out better then the canned version. Make this soup now. You’re welcome.

I actually just recently used cream of mushroom and added different veggies to switch it up a bit and it still turned out bomb.

Lasagna Soup

Lasagna soup

via Jenn’s Yummy Fun

Oh my yum guys. I don’t adhere to the whole low carb thing obviously. And while I normally don’t eat red meta all that often, I do like to venture from chicken every now and then. JB thanks me for it.

This soup is so delicious and warm and you need it in your belly right now. Such a filling soup too, no sides needed.

It’s also another good one to sneak extra veggies into.

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Zuppa Toscano

Slow-Cooker-Zuppa-Toscana-6

via The Chunky Chef

This was my, I’m trying to be fancy soup.

I don’t even really know how to say it correctly. I do know how to eat it though. Eating food is something I excel at…..

Anyway, despite the fancy name, this soup is so Fall it’s ridiculous.

Again, another red meat soup, but when you’re dating a Portuguese man who loves all the spicy foods you give him all the spicy foods.

Correction, you make the food how you like them, with only a little black pepper, and then he adds Sriracha, hot sauce, and any other number of spices to burn his taste buds off.

To each their own right?

Chicken Parm Soup

Slow-Cooker-Chicken-Parmesan-Soup21

via Foxes Love Lemons

I made this one purely because one time a very long time ago, long enough that he doesn’t remember it, JB told me Chicken Parm was his favorite meal.

I have since then made approximately 72 versions of it. And each time I proudly proclaim, I made your favorite meal and he says, “what?”

But even if he doesn’t remember telling me these things I still hold on to it like it’s the gospel truth and make his things like chicken parm soup.

It’s amazing so neither of us are complaining.

Corn and Potato Chowder

Crockpot-Corn-and-Potato-Chowder-3-680x1024

via Crockpot Gourmet

Who doesn’t love chowder?

I love corn and JB loves potatoes so of course this one was a no-brainer.

Again, I always add extra veggies to kick up the nutritional value. Plus unless I trick him JB is like a child and doesn’t eat his veggies.

So there ya have some of my very favorite soups to make!

And by make I mean toss into a crock-pot/slow-cooker and come home to dinner. I’ll make an awesome wife one day 🙂

Do you have any favorite fall staples for dinner?

Are you in a relationship with a kitchen appliance?

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What I Read: October

Goodbye October!

I’ll be sad to see you go. Mostly because October is the perfect month and November is only here to tease me with it’s cold New England days. No snow yet though so I shouldn’t be complaining.

I also had an awesome month of books!

I’m currently at 87/100 for my yearly goal. Which for you non-math nerds that means only 13 books to go and with 2 months before the New Year, I think I can do it.

So last month I told you I forayed into the world of audio books and wasn’t much of  a fan because it took me seven thousand years to finish a book. I guess since I only listened while working-out that makes me a pretty lazy person, but I swear while I was listening to the book I went to the gym an hour every morning!! I wanted to finish the dadgum book! I had to “check” it out three times for 2 weeks before it was done though, whoops.

What I Read October

 

This month I decided to skip the audio and try the kindle check out. Again, if you didn’t know this was a thing it’s awesome. You can check out ebooks from your library. I happen to have the kindle app on my ipad so thats the version I download. But once you’re done reading, simply delete from your device and it “sends” it back? At least that’s how my tiny brain understands it.

Another good thing about going the ebook checkout route is that you can be a bit more choosey in your picks. My library is large but it seems like all the books I’m looking for are always checked out! And ain’t nobody got time to be put on the waiting list. Actually I have no idea if there even is a waiting list, that just seems like a very library thing to do. With the ebooks though there’s a really easy waiting list, if you even need it. Plus once your number comes up, it’s automatically downloaded to your device…sups easy ya know.

So let’s get to the books!

WHAT I READ: OCTOBER

Insatiable by Meg Cabot 4 stars. I can’t help it, I love vampire books. And yes I did enjoy the Twilight series #TeamEdward. More than that though, I enjoy the element of fantasy that they bring. My head is in the clouds half the time anyway, so why not let it fly while I’m reading. Of course it was a little ironic that the main character hates the idea of vampires and the women that fall for them in stories, but once she finds out vampires do exist falls in love with one. I won’t ruin the ending though. If you like vampires, you’ll love this book. Hint, there’s  a war between vampire factions.

The Memory Thief by Emily Colin 5 stars. Love this book. It’s a crazy plot but perhaps more believable than the vampires. It was such a sweet story of love, but I gotta say I was team best friend guy the entire time. But to each their own I suppose. It’s the story of a guy who dies and his memories end up in some other guy who now feels the compulsion to find dead guys family. Make sense? It’s actually kinda creepy when I say it that way. More murder thriller than lvoe story, but I swear it comes across like an epic love not a newbie serial killer.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio 5 stars. Am I the last person on Earth to read this? I’m pretty sure I’m the only one to read it and not cry. I certainly felt all the feels, but cry? Sadly my stone cold heart couldn’t manage even a tear. Maybe there’s something wrong with me, or maybe I just didn’t feel a connection to the characters like everyone else. Either way it’s still a cute story with some sad parts. I think the author did a great job of showing all different emotions from all the characters and how complex the issue can really be for everyone involved. Also I love any book that writes from various points of view. Check it out.

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Hate List by Jennifer Brown 5 stars. Ok this may seem like a twisted opinion, but just like any Jodi Picoult book (think The Pact, Nineteen Minutes) it’s a story that will make you think. It does involve a school shooting so if that’s not something you’re comfortable in reading about I suggest you skip it. However if you like books that deeply examine the psyche of humans put through horrendous circumstances then you should pick it up. It’s one of those, there’s more to it then originally shows kinda books.

Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own by Kate Bolick 2 stars. Maybe because I’ve never wanted to be alone or because I know how to be in a relationship without losing my own identity, or it could be because the author has a habit of adding in all the words making her sentences really, really long (kinda like this one). No matter the reason, this was a struggle to get through. I wanted to like it. I just didn’t. I’d avoid if I were you.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn 5 stars! I have been waiting to read this book every since I read Gone Girl forever ago. I like deep and twisty novels because I can never guess what’s coming next and usually can’t relate. In case you missed it, that was my subtle way of saying my soul is all rainbows and sunshine. 😉 But my golden angel status aside, this was such a good read I immediately started reading Dark Places as well. I didn’t finish this month though so you’ll havtea wait until next month to read about it. Sorry!

So those were my October reads. All ebooks which is so crazy to me as I even write this sentence.

Read anything good lately?

Let me know in the comments below!

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DIY Forrest Gump And Jenny Costumes

Have you decided what to be for Halloween this year?

Um, you might want to think about it, it’s today……

I realize I’m a bit late on this one, so let’s pretend it’s more of a reveal, like “Hey, everyone, look how good looking I am!”

No? Ok, well fine 😛

Forrest Gump And jenny Costumes

So Halloween…..

I’m the first to admit that I’m not a fan. Not of the dressing up part, because besides all the candy that’s the only good part. I hate being scared, I hate being out past dark, and I really hate being super uncomfortable having to be around all the girls showing off every inch of skin and leaving nothing to the imagination in sub-par weather in the most ridiculous costumes of all time. I’m lookin at you “sexy ebola virus” Ah college, how I don’t miss you.

Since I’m an adult now and everything I won’t have to worry about the sea of flesh parading itself around the various Halloween parties this year. (How are you not cold!!)

Of course we can’t forget that my purse strings are tighter than trying to fit into spandex two sizes too small, so I’m all about thrifting.

Hippie Costume

 

And because I force JB to do cute things with me against his will with the promise of pumpkin treats and doing his laundry, he placates me sometimes. He did shoot down several of my ideas before agreeing to this couple’s costume. Ideas that in my mind were golden with Danny and Sandy from Grease, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, and Fred and Wilma Flintstone among them.

Honestly though, I think we settled on the best possible idea. Forrest Gump and Jenny. Not only is it one of my favorite movies ever, but seeing JB in tiny red running shorts is too awesome to pass up.

 

So how did we get our costumes together? Thrift Shop, duh! “Saving my money and I’m happy it’s a bargain” Macklemore anyone?

I dragged JB to Goodwill with me first where I usually have tons of luck finding exactly what I went in looking for.

I’ll be honest, it took me 4 trips to Goodwill to finally find the dress that was perfect for my costume, so I suggest starting a bit early if you’re a single-track mind like me and won’t change their vision of what they want to look like.

Because when one is a hippie they frolic in fields right?

Because when one is a hippie they frolic in fields right?

FORREST GUMP COSTUME

JB was easy, all he needed was a white shirt and tiny red shorts. Plus a beard and wig duo we got from Party City. Easy, Peasy, he’s done.

Sure he could have bought one to be have exact replicas but those are so boring (and expensive!) However, this is the look we were going for…

So the beard cost quite a bit at $22, but the rest clocked in at $2 so not horrible. He already had the Harvard hat, red shorts, and tall white socks.

I got the yellow shirt (1) at Goodwill for $2

Total = $24

Forrest Gump Costume

JENNY COSTUME

Mine was a bit more challenging. Now obviously Jenny goes through, like a billion looks so lots to choose from. I went for the classic hippie look, that way even without JB I looked dressed up. Plus who doesn’t want to be a hippie sometimes.

So I wanted a white lace and/or flowy dress, fringe vest, and flower crown. I was already planning on wearing my tall brown boots so that was all set.

hippie costume

JB actually bought me a flower crown (3) at Party City for $5 but I wanted to DIY it to make it cuter. Michaels was having a sale on Fall flowers so I got $3 worth of flowers plus $2 flower tape. Had JB not gotten me the flower crown which I used as a base, this project would have been a total of $5.

I got the dress (1) and vest (3) at Goodwill for a total of $7 and $2 respectively.

The vest is actually a man’s large brown shirt with the picture of a whooly mammoth on the front which I chopped up and turned inside out and I am so in love with how it turned out! Yay me!

Total = $14

Jenny Costume

So there ya have it folks. Pretty cheap and extremely easy DIY Halloween costumes!

I’m becoming more of a Halloween person as I get older, I mean the whole couples costume thing is pretty fun. I would have loved to do the whole DIY girl group thing back in the day but not having friends kinda puts a damper on that kinda thing. Kidding, I wasn’t as cool in college as I am now. Obvi.

And one more photo of me becasue getting JB to take as many photos as I want is rare. Yay Holidays!

And I’m a bit conceited about the whole look…I mean, I look good 😉 And that flower crown, watch out world, you’ve got another flower child on the loose!

hippie costume

Are you dressing up for Halloween this year?

What’s been your best DIY costume ever?

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