Sunday, December 31, 2017

101 Things to Do in 2017

I've never been much of a "New Years Resolution, #newyearnewme" person.  If there is something I want to change, or a habit I want to break, I don't like the thought of having to wait for a new year to do it.  I feel like that is basically saying, "well, if you fail you have to wait a whole 'nother year to try again!" which is stressful and puts a lot of pressure on people!  Considering that 80% of people give up on their NYR within the first month, it makes sense that I feel that way.

Since 2013, I've made a list of (roughly) 101 things I wanted to try and accomplish that year. I can't always come up with 101 things, and I've never actually accomplished them all, but that is okay! I go into the new year knowing I have a list of things I would love to do that year, with the complete understanding that I may not complete them all. For the most part, everything on my lists have been things that I can do at anytime throughout the year, rather than something that I have to be conscious of every second of every day in order to be successful at it. I guess its more of a yearly "bucket list." So with that, here is my list of the 101 things I wanted to try and check off my list in 2017. (Stay tuned for my 2018 list!)

#5 Go to a Predators game

    #18 Finish my Masters

  1. Learn the dance to Copperhead Road
  2. Have a Netflix/Hulu binge session  
  3. Try a new food
  4. Go to Mardi Gras
  5. Go to a Predators game
  6. See 25+ artists in concert

    • Adam Wakefield*
    • Runaway June (x2)
    • Russell Dickerson
    • Ryan Follese*
    • Raelynn
    • The Bellamy Brothers*
    • Chuck Wicks
    • Collin Raye*
    • Ricky Traywick*
    • Allison Krauss*
    • Jamey Johnson
    • Montgomery Gentry*
    • Ben Haggard*
    • Kane Brown*
    • Randy Travis*
    • Chris Janson*
    • Rodney Atkins
    • Joe Nichols
    • Kenny Rodgers*
    • William Michael Morgan
    • Tanya Tucker*
    • Neal McCoy
    • Phil Vassar
    • Ricky Skaggs (x2)
    • Alabama*
    • Mark Chesnutt*
    • Daryle Singletary*
    • Josh Turner*
    • Travis Tritt
    • Chip Esten*
    • Wynonna*
    • Scotty McCreery* (x2)
    • Michael Ray*
    • Chris Young
    • Paul Overstreet*
    • Garth Brooks*
    • The Brothers Osbourne (x2)
    • Kelsey Ballerini (x2)
    • Jason Aldean
    • Kelleigh Bannon*
    • Jeannie Seely
    • Joe Diffie*
    • Mike Snider
    • Connie Smith
    • Riders in the Sky*
    • Jackie Lee*
    • LoCash (x2)
    • Steve Wariner*
    • Jesse McReynolds*
    • Billy Ray Cyrus*
    • Walker Hayes*
    • Clare Dunn
    • Jamie Lynn Spears*
    • Brett Young*
    • Lady Antebellum
    • The Steel Woods*
    • Dwight Yoakam*
    • Simple Plan
  7. Go to the movies 
    • Annabelle:Creation
    • Fifty Shades Darker
    • Beauty and the Beast
    • Kong: Skull Island
    • Live by Night
    • Murder on the Orient Express
  8. Read 24 books (Read my reviews here)
    • Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham
    • Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
    • The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
    • Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
    • The Whistler by John Grisham
    • My Husband's Wife by Jane Corry
    • Took by Mary Downing Hahn
    • Making Bombs for Hitler by Marsha Forchuk Skaypuch
    • Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
    • Etched in Sand by Regina Calcaterra
    • Camino Island by John Grisham
    • Once and For All by Sarah Dessen
    • The Mascot by Mark Kurzem
    • Columbine by Dave Cullen
    • The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
    • This Star Won't Go Out by Esther Earl
    • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
    • Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight
    • Closure by Randall Wood
    • Lifestyle Blogging Basics by Laura Lynn
    • Unsweetined by Jodie Sweetin
    • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
    • All American Girl by Meg Cabot
    • Wonder by R. J. Palacio 
    • Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
    • The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
    • The Rooster Bar by John Grisham
    • The Devil in the White City  by Eric Larson
    • A Corner of the Universe by Ann M. Martin
    • Maybe by Brent Runyon
    • I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
    • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
    • Stained by Carol Rainfield
    • The Company of Demons by Michael Jordan
  9. Get my Alabama teaching license
  10. Move to Alabama
  11. Play in the snow
  12.  Lay on the beach
  13. Get a massage
  14. Donate to a charity
  15. Learn to play guitar
  16. Get a pet
  17. Run a 5k
  18. Finish my Masters
  19. Meet someone famous

    • Raelynn
    • Maddie & Tae
    • Cowboy Troy
    • Brandy Clark
    • Ryan Follese
    • Russell Dickerson
    • #28 Go on a hike
    • Easton Corbin
    • Simple Plan
  20. Go camping
  21. Have a bonfire
  22. Make s’mores
  23. Sleep under the stars
  24. Ride a motorcycle
  25. Go ice skating
  26. Watch the sunrise
  27. Ride a rollercoaster
  28. Go on a hike

    • Starved Rock State Park (Oglesby, IL)
    • Cloudland Canyon State Park (Rising Fawn, GA)
    • Dismals Canyon (Phil Campbell, AL)
  29. Finish all my paper scrapbooks
  30. See a play
  31. #30 See a play

    • Grease
    • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
  32. Drive a tractor
  33. Mow the lawn (for the first time ever!)
  34. Celebrate a random holiday
  35. #33 Celebrate a random holiday

    • National Cheeseburger Day
    • National Taco Day
  36. Go to a major or minor league baseball game
    • Chattanooga Lookouts
  37. Visit a waterfall

    • #35 Visit a waterfall

    • Cloudland Canyon State Park
    • Dismals Canyon
    • Minnehaha Falls
  38. Fly in an airplane
  39. Watch the sunset
  40. Win something. Anything.
    • 8 Goodreads book giveaways
    • Together Live tickets
    • Free Blogging Class
  41. Go to a yoga class
  42. Cook something new
    • homemade chili
    • honey lime tacos
    • buffalo chicken pasta bake
    • million dollar baked penne
    • peach cobbler
    • buffalo chicken ring
    • Nutella wreath
  43. Run a mile
  44. Have a picnic
  45. Go to CMA Fest
  46. Watch a parade
    • Steamboat Days
  47. Learn how to waterfall braid
  48. Finish a SMASH book
  49. Sing karaoke
  50. Go on a road trip
    • New Orleans, LA
    • Ames, IA
    • Minnesota (x4)
  51. Visit 10 random Roadside Attractions
    • Pink Elephant (Guthrie, KY)
    • Jesse Owens Park and Museum (Danville, AL)
    • Eggbeater Jesus (Huntsville, AL)
    • Saturn 1B Rocket (Elkmont, AL)
    • Ruby Falls (Chattanooga, TN)
    • Nuts and Bolts Pizza Man (Chattanooga, TN)
    • Adolf Hitler's Typewriter (Bessemer, AL)
    • One-Millionth Pullman-Standard Freight Car (Bessemer, AL)
    • National Corvette Museum (Bowling Green, KY)
    • Extruded Heads of 1930s Sports Stars (Russellville, KY)
    • America's Largest Cross (Effingham, IL)
    • U.S. Space & Rocket Center (Huntsville, AL)
    • World's Largest Motorcycle Museum (Birmingham, AL)
  52. Send Christmas cards
  53. Go sailing
  54. Collect sea shells
  55. Buy flowers from a Farmer's Market
  56. Start selling on Poshmark
  57. Be an extra in a movie/TV show
  58. Leave coupons I'm not going to use next to their products at the store
  59. Get a manicure
  60. Write a children's book
    #62 Attend a Halloween party
  61. Go to an apple orchard
  62. Go to a pumpkin patch
  63. Get scared at a haunted house
  64. Attend a Halloween party
  65. Attend a Christmas/Holiday party
  66. Visit my favorite 4th grader
  67. Try all the taco places in Nashville 
  68. Try all the taco places in Huntsville
  69. Make Christmas cookies
  70. Decorate a gingerbread house
  71. Carve a pumpkin
  72. Find a cure for my headaches...finally
  73. Learn to swing dance
  74. Finally finish watching The OC
  75. Watch seasons 1-5 of Nashville
  76. Get my craft room put together
  77. Surprise someone
  78. Go to a fashion show
  79. Take a picture of all of the murals in Nashville
  80. Eat rolled ice cream
  81. Get a library card in Alabama
  82. Attend a concert at the Opry
  83. Attend a concert at the Ryman
  84. Make my own bath bombs
  85. Visit a distillery
  86. See the total solar eclipse
  87. Visit Opryland at Christmastime 
  88. See an artist get inducted into the oprty
  89. See an artist get inducted into the Country Music Walk of Fame
  90. Make the drive from AL to MN (or back) without any caffeine
  91. Learn to knit
  92. Learn to crochet 
  93. Be comfortable driving a manual vehicle
  94. Use up my stash of samples
  95. Publish a short story via Amazon ebooks
  96. Do my own taxes
  97. See a show at the Bluebird Cafe
  98. Go to a Predators vs. Wild game
  99. Finish all of my Flashback Friday posts
  100. Go to a Huntsville Havoc hockey game
  101. Go to a University of Alabama- Huntsville hockey game
  102. Pin all the places I want to go onto my Google maps
  103. Learn to make my own essential oil blends

# complete 56 / 101 (55%)

Completed over half of my "to do" list- now I know what to add to 2018's list!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

My Year in Travel - 2017

As I scrolled through my BlogLovin' feed, I came across Leigh's post about her year in travel and I LOVED the idea.  When I began this blog (and again when I continued it), I asked myself what my purpose was, and one of the bullet points on that list was to encourage people to get out and explore the world around them, whether it is their own hometown, a neighboring state, or a foreign country on another continent.  With that, I wanted to share a quick recap of 2017's travel excursions in hopes of sparking the travel bug in y'all!


Lynchburg, TN
  • Jack Daniel's Distillery

Birmingham, AL
  • Barber Motorsports Museum
  • SAWs Juke Joint
  • Railroad Park
  • Trim Tab Brewing
  • Babalu Tacos and Tapas
  • Mountain Brook Creamery

MARCH 2017

Bowling Green, KY
  • Corvette Museum and Factory
  • Chainey's Dairy Barn

Chattanooga, TN
  • Tennessee Aquarium
  • The Hair of the Dog Pub

APRIL 2017

  • WWII Museum
  • The French Quarters
  • The Spud Spot
  • Blue Oak BBQ
  • crawfish broil
  • Jean Lafitte Historical Park and Preserve

JUNE 2017

  • This is a harder detination to bulletpoint because I went up there twice this month.  Once for my brothers wedding, and once just for fun.  Instead I have linked my post about all the awesome things to do there!


Chattanooga, TN
  • Ruby Falls
  • Chattanooga Lookouts game

Rising Fawn, GA
  • Cloudland Canyon State Park


  • The Dixie Fish Co.
  • Ft. Myers Beach
  • Capone's
  • Bowman's Beach
  • Captiva Cruise
  • Love Boat Ice Cream
  • sailing
  • Island Hoppers Singer Songwriter Festival
  • Doc Ford's


Winona, MN
  • Headed back up to MN for the third time this year to go bridesmaids' dress shopping for my best friends wedding!


  • Headed up to MN for Christmas festivities with friends and family
  • Minnehaha Falls

I didn't realize how much exploring 2017 held until I just went back and made this post.  I didn't even share all the new activities (and food!) I got to experience in both Nashville and Huntsville, nor all the random stops I made throughout the length of Illinois!! As of now I only have one trip planned in 2018, but I'm crossing my fingers that others will come up as we enter the new year. I'm hoping to explore a lot more of my new state of residency this coming year, so if you have any recommendations in Alabama (especially in Birmingham), please shoot me an email or comment below!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

DIY Dreamsicle Bath Bombs

My favorite way to relax is by taking a soothing bath with either a bath bomb, Epsom salts, bubble bath, or some combination of the three. Unfortunately, a trip to Lush is at least an hour and a half drive to either Birmingham or Nashville, and more money than I should be spending on something that is just going to get washed down the drain after an hour of use.

I decided to problem solve by browsing various bath bomb recipes on Pinterest, and experimented with the common ingredients to find a recipe that worked for me. Dreamsicle has been a favorite scent/flavor of mine since I was in middle school, so I wanted to make a recipe that incorporated that.  The same recipe can be used with any essential oils- just switch out the orange/vanilla for your favorite scent!

The following recipe makes approx. 8-10 medium sized bath bombs.

You will need:


Step 1: In each bowl, whisk together the following dry ingredients:
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup epsom salts
  • 1/2 cup citric acid

Step 2: In bowl #1, add 2 tbsp of liquid coconut oil and 1/4 tsp vanilla essential oil and mix thoroughly

Step 3: In bowl #2, add 2 tbsp of liquid coconut oil, 1/4 tsp orange essential oil, and red and yellow gel food coloring (amount depends on shade of orange that you want to use) and mix thoroughly

Step 4: Scoop mix into bath bomb molds using one of the designs mentioned below, or create your own.
  • Design 1: Use a spoon to scoop one scoop of the white mixture into the bath bomb mold, followed by one scoop of the orange mixture.  Make sure to pack the mixture in, and repeat until both halves of the mold are packed overflowing. Put the mold halves together and twist lightly over the bowl of orange mix until packed tightly, releasing extra mix back into the bowl.
  • Design 2: Pack one half of the bath bomb mold with white mix, and the other half with orange mix.  Make sure to pack the mixture into both halves as much as possible until they are overflowing.  Put the mold halves together and twist lightly over the bowl of orange mix until packed tightly, releasing extra mix back into the bowl.

Step 5: Carefully remove one half of the bath bomb mold from the bath bomb, and lightly release the bath bomb out of the mold onto the wax paper. Let the bath bombs sit and dry for 24 hours before completing the last step.

Step 6: After 24-hours of drying, you can use your new bath bombs, or wrap tightly in shrink wrap (or airtight container).

Orange essential oil has many great benefits including helping with body spasms and inflammation, preventing infections, and being a a natural sedative.  Vanilla essential oil has antioxidant properties, fights infection and depression, and is also a calming natural sedative.  As soothing as the dreamsicle bath bomb is, there is one more thing I love to add to bath time to make it the ultimate relaxation experience- music.

Now, when I take a bath its usually at the end of a long day and my phone battery (and music source) is nearly dead. Luckily, products like AncordWorks Bluetooth shower speaker exist. I can plug my phone into its charger in the bedroom, put on whatever music I want to hear in the tub, and it connects to the speaker via Bluetooth.  Its waterproof feature allows you to have the speaker attached to the wall of the tub/shower via a suction cup. Another bonus- when connected to your phone via bluetooth, you can answer phone calls (just in case you're waiting on a call put can't put relaxation on hold)..

The speaker is so versatile, that it can go anywhere you go.  It is heavy duty, sand/dust proof, and comes with a caribeaner so it can accompany you on camping trips, hikes, boat rides, or to the beach.  Don't want to burn your phone battery by using the bluetooth function when you are on the go? There is an included memory card that holds approx. 1,000 songs, or a USB port that you can utilize to play your music.  The speaker comes in three colors: orange, green, and black. If you're looking for any last minute Christmas gifts, this speaker is the way to go! 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

7 Water Infusions You Have To Try (Plus the Perfect Water Bottle to Try Them In)

As a kid, the only thing I would drink was water. I hated milk, lemonade, and anything with the word "juice" in it. As an adult, I'm still not a fan of juice or milk, but I no longer naturally drink enough water in a day. I knew I needed to drink more water, but I had such a difficult time trying to force myself to. I decided to try infusing fruit into my water to give it a little flavor in hopes that I would naturally drink more of it, and I wanted to share some of my favorite infusion combinations!

The only downside to infusing my water was the fruit bits floating around. I especially love citrusy fruits in my water, but I am not a fan of the floating seeds or pulp that come with it. Lucky for me, the Mami Wata Fruit Infuser Water Bottle was invented! This water bottle was a game changer for me because it has a specific space for storing the fruit so that you don't get all the little floaties, but still get all of the flavor! As another bonus floatie blocker, there is a strainer at the top of the water bottle too, so if you wanted to let your fruit just free float, instead of putting it in the designated space you could, and you still wouldn't have to worry about swallowing seeds! The water bottle locks when you're not using it so that it won't spill or leak if it tips over, and it comes with a fitting sleeve to help keep your water cold longer.

Do you have any favorite infusions? I would love it if you would share them with me in the comments!