So about this Election Season…

Hey There!

I’m feeling the need for a little honesty regarding this little thing happening in November… you may have heard but our country has this tiny event approaching called the PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. In this media-driven age we live in, basically all I see from my friends on “either side” is negativity, criticism, and downright hate. Here’s my little vent session, basically so I can get it off my chest and feel better:

First- My Beliefs:

  • I believe that it is our civic duty to vote, and all eligible should exercise that right.
  • I lean socially more liberal, but conservative in basically all other areas, so picking a candidate requires I educate myself rather than just “pick a side.”

Vote for the Perfect Best Candidate who’s views align most closely with yours.

NO CANDIDATE is going to make everyone happy. Realistically, no candidate is going to meet 100% of your needs in their platform. This is why we operate on a system of checks and balances. People are seriously hung up on the “extremist” views of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders but in reality, should either of them be our next President, they will have to jump through serious hoops to try and make their more radical plans a reality. So take a breath, people! For example, if Bernie Sanders gets elected, the wealthiest 2%’s taxes aren’t going to skyrocket the next day…

Reality Check:

With advances in technology, there is more Presidential scrutiny every year. Y’all, these Presidents’ serve in 4-year terms… Our current one is at the end of his 2nd term. Think about technology 8 years ago… When I voted in the 2008 election, I was a college freshman with a LG En-V 3 maroon flip phone, a baby pink digital camera, and an active MySpace page. Of course President Obama is harshly criticized, and of course he is being challenged on decisions he has made similar to presidents before him who did not get the same blow back. And OF COURSE republican’s have deemed him the “worst President ever” because- DUH- conservative people obviously don’t agree with his liberal views & decisions! That’s how this two-party system we have works. This would be happening in some capacity no matter who our current President is, or what party they represent.

Reality- EVERY President from here on out will continue to be painstakingly scrutinized by society thanks to our advances in technology, “bandwagon” mindset, and quick nature to make posts “viral” without doing our research and collecting factual data.

As a Nation, I am afraid we will never be 100% happy with any President. Unfortunately, I believe if our brutal nature continues, serving two-terms will become a thing of the past, because each President will be “such a disgrace” that we “have to” get someone new in the White House. Candidates will also continue to flip back and forth between parties because when one is “the worst President ever,” some people will be encouraged to vote in the other direction, or people who regularly don’t vote will hit the polls. You also have to keep our young voters in mind… Whoever can captivate the 18-24 year old audience will always have an advantage for sure.

How we can Make a Difference:

  • Rather than obsessively bash whichever candidate(s) you’re unhappy with, instead highlight why you’re preferred candidate is the best choice. “Kill ’em with kindness” as they say, and truly educate your friends and family in the process. Because seriously- ain’t nobody got time to read through a war zone every day on their Facebook feed… Less Trump meme’s and more cat videos, please!
  • If you’re concerned about extremists, understand that whatever happens, we are still a democracy and there are many, many people who will keep our next President “in-line.” Checks and balances, my friends.
  • Quit comparing our Presidents and/or Presidential candidates to those of the past… technology and media is a whole different ball game now, and continuously getting more aggressive. I’m willing to bet every President has had plenty of poor decision-making and “dirty laundry” that just never got out…

ogjrg

Five Things- Survey!

I found this on my friend’s blog –> The Lunchbox Diaries and
had to share for this weeks Five Things!

Five Places I’m Dying to Visit:
Santorini, Greece
Tahiti, French Polynesian Islands
Hawaii (anywhere- I just want a lei and a coconut with a straw in it)
San Francisco (Alcatraz Island + Painted Ladies on a trolley)
Atlanta, Georgia Aquarium

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Tahiti- French Polynesian

Five Foods I Eat Every Day:
Coffee
Oikos Greek Yogurt
Some sort of bread/carbs (<3)
Some sort of fruit
Water

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YUM.

Five Talents I Wish I Had:
Contortionism
Wake Boarding (I try so hard but I’m terrible)
Accessorizing my Outfits (seriously… SOS!)
Bargain Shopping (sorry, future husband LOL)
Tumbling (gymnastics)

Five Celebrities I Want To Be Friends With:
Sophia Bush
Hayden Panettiere
Kristen Bell + Dax Shepard
Ellen Degeneres
Jenna Dewan Tatum (think about it, ladies…)

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Me & My Girls Sophia & Kristen (sorry, Hillarie Burton…)

Five Instagram Accounts I Love:
The Fat Jewish (@thefatjewish): Don’t bother if you’re easily offended
Afrobrutality (@afrobrutality): Combination of brutally honest advice/quotes and weightlifting (i.e. everything I love)
Laura Prepon (@lauraprepon): Because between That 70’s Show and Orange Is The New Black, I’m obsessed with her.
Ellen Degeneres (@theellenshow): She’s hilarious, enough said.
Gray Gaulding (@graygaulding): My favorite NASCAR driver [who just happens to be my 18-year old cousin…] seriously give him a follow!

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Gray Gaulding at Daytona International Speedway February 2016

Five Things I Wear (Almost) Every Day:
Two rings
Apple Watch
Hair tie on wrist
Contacts
“Comfy pants” (after work/obligations… I rarely stay in my “normal clothes” when I’m home)

Five Songs I Could Listen To On Repeat:
Thinking Out Loud– Ed Sheeran
Little Einsteins Remix (because this literally happens…)
[You Drive Me] Crazy– Britney Spears
Semi-Charmed Life– Third Eye Blind
Rap God– Eminem

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Queen B

Five Beauty Products I Use Every Day:
Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer + Powder
Eyeshadow- whatever is cheap at the pharmacy… *still dreaming about a Naked 3 Palette*
Covergirl Mascara for Blue Eyes
TRESemme Make Waves Shaping Gel Cream
Aveno Clear Complexion Cream + Aveno Clear Complexion Moisturizer

Five TV Shows I’m Emotionally Invested In:
One Tree Hill
Parenthood
Prison Break
Sons of Anarchy
Grey’s Anatomy
(I could name several more… limiting this to 5 is just ludicrous)

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If you haven’t watched all 4 seasons of Prison Break, please do so immediately.

Anyone out there have similar lists?! Let me know in the comments!

Emotional Control

Do you ever want to take on someone else’s feelings- whether it’s pain, sadness, anger, grief, etc.- so they don’t have to experience it? That’s how I feel for my boyfriend anytime he’s experiencing anything other than happiness.

Now don’t get me wrong, looking at the “big picture” we’ve got a pretty great life… but there are a lot of moving pieces and we’ve faced our fair share of struggles. I’ve told you about our recent losses… that’s just a glimpse at how this year is going. Between new changes at his work, selling a house, court, lawyers, etc. it can just be overwhelming at times. He has a great support system outside of me as well, but damn, can’t we just catch a break every now and then?!

More than anything, I hate that 100% of any negative emotions he ever feels are due to one crazy person. One person who cannot take responsibility for their own actions, and who constantly places blame instead of accepting the role they plays in it all. I hate that there’s not a “de-friend and block” feature in real life like there is on Facebook (lol). I’m confident this could solve everything.

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When it gets hard, all I want to do is take it all on and let him just be at peace. Why is that too much to ask?! I know he feels the same for me when I am down. Why can’t we just help each other in this capacity?

Just a little mid-week vent. Oh, blended families…

“The Girls”

18 things about the girls that make me happy, that I love, or that I just think are so cute it’s selfish of me not to share:

How excited they get to see me and their dad (especially their dad).

When the 3 year old sings in the car (and demands that no one else sing along with her).

The fact that the 1 year old now talks all.the.time.

How the 3 year old loves when I give her “butterfly kisses.”

Watching their dad play with them, whether he’s playing with toys, talking to Mickey Mouse on a fake cell phone, or acting like a ninja while having one of their blankets tied around his head.

When the 1 year old will typically only go to me and no one else (even though I know I have to put a stop to this… and even though it can be really inconvenient… and even though this sometimes means she stands their crying while I clean/cook/use the bathroom/ do my makeup, etc.) It’s still my favorite.

That the 1 year old eats better than the 3 year old.

When their dad puts the “special filters” on either of them via Snapchat…

When the 1 year old refuses to take off her shoes and/or jacket.

How the 3 year old is so sweet and thoughtful and is constantly checking in with us… i.e. if I cough she will say, “Ashley, are you sick?! I have medicine if you need some!”

That they both love purses and hair bows.

When the 3 year old- without prompting- tells me that she loves me, and/or tells me that I’m her best friend.

That the 3 year old tries to be the best, most loving big sister, and the 1 year old just isn’t having it.

That the 1 year old would rather “fight” than get the baby talk/ticking/cute things done to her.

That they love The Little Mermaid.

That the 3 year old can tell you that jeans are “not comfy.” (duh)

How they look up to their daddy so much, even though he doesn’t always realize it because they like hanging with “the girls” a lot.

They give the best hugs and kisses in the whole world.

I’m so lucky to have such amazing little girls in my life… I’d love to hear about your family! Let me know what your kids do that you just love.

A “Snow Day” as a Res-Life Professional

Wake up early to receive the on-call phone (Happy Monday, it’s your week again!).

Shower on-time, because contacts are necessary and you just can’t put those in without a shower…

Coffee + Yogurt.

Remote desktop in to your office computer (even though it’s in the same building and you could just walk there)… work all the way through lunch without realizing it.

Grab a quick snack and head to your office for a 2pm meeting (thanks to ALL of us living in the same building and many upcoming endeavors, my RAs still got the pleasure of meeting today if they were scheduled).

More work in between meetings.

Another meeting at 3pm.

Talk to your boyfriend on the phone and listen to a good vent session about life.

3 on-call call’s throughout the day (and it’s only 5:30pm).

Realize you haven’t drank any water today.

Realize you need to eat dinner but your car is snowed in and the dining hall is just too far away.

Realize you should leave since it’s after 5pm, the University is closed anyway, and you need to go to the bathroom!

Write this blog instead.

Decide you’re going to hit “submit” and maybe send one more email before you head out…

*Addition- on-call phone rings again just before hitting submit…*

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What does your snow day look like?! Let me know in the comments!

-Ashley

Five Things- Valentines Day

What a week it’s been!

ONE: I only worked 3 days this week. I spent the later part of the week at 2 viewings and the funeral for my boyfriends little cousin. What an emotional week… but so much inspiration was found in hearing the kind words of his family and friends, and through the absolutely beautiful funeral service. Even in tragedy, it was a renewed faith sort of week for many, despite the circumstances.

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TWO: After my recently found obsession with ancestry.com, my boyfriend and I have begun looking into different facets of my wildly non-traditional family and events that have occurred. I know they say “every family has a secret,” but I need to know where the other families like mine are, who have about 300? I’m sure some of these findings will inspire a later post(s).

THREE: We got the girls Minion plates, silverware, and water bottles and they are in love with them. My boyfriend wasn’t in love with the price, but I consider it a small price to pay to break up all of the princess/Minnie/Sophia the First nonsense throughout the house. Now, if we can only teach the baby she doesn’t need to tilt the cup up (since it has a straw)…

FOUR: [Lots of posts about my boyfriend this week, but can I just say] My boyfriend ROCKS. I am always so proud of him, but have been exceptionally proud of him this week. Through dealing with the loss this week, and dealing with all the moving piece of selling a house, upcoming court, etc. plus continuing to work his crazy job [and date me, his crazy girlfriend], he has continued to show how loving and caring he is. I am impressed with his daddy and girlfriend skills every day.

FIVE: Several weeks ago, we decided we weren’t doing Valentines Day gifts. A couple of weeks ago, and last week, we again confirmed this was our plan. A few days ago, I let him know I said truly stuck to our plan and had nothing for him but a card. Valentines Day morning, the first words he said to me when we woke up was, “Do you want your gift now?” Of course, he got me something. Even thought I felt guilty for actually not getting him anything, I still am so thankful that he is so thoughtful, charming, and romantic.

I guess this was nothing but a bunch of mushy boyfriend stuff but hey, tis the season, right?! 

Have a good week, folks!

– Ashley

Large-Scale Event Planning

Last night, I hosted a collaborative event with another department, which was essentially a big tailgate + basketball game with a competitive aspect to see which living community could get the highest attendance. I’m going to use this platform to do a little public reflection (in #SAPro world we love reflection). Here’s my crash-course in the nitty-gritty of planning a campus-wide competitive & collaborative event in Residence Life:

  • Start planning way in advance, and ask questions from people who have been involved with the event [or similar events] before.
  • If you know this is an event that has been done in the past but have no materials from the previous years(s), ask for them.
  • If a colleague warns you not to put too much faith or energy into a person involved, trust their advice.
  • Work your hardest to make sure that everyone involved is fully bought in to the event. Give incentives and model “the hype” to ensure that the staff is excited to get their residents involved.
  • Know that regardless of how much you have planned, things will never go exactly as anticipated.
  • Be okay with the fact that not every aspect will go as anticipated.
  • Rely on your colleagues to vent a little about your frustrations, then use them to help reflect and brainstorm ways to make the event better in the future.
  • View every small misstep as a learning experience, and push yourself to do better next time.
  • Remember that when you see things going not-as-planned, there’s a pretty good chance the participants do not. Just take a breath and know that the event will be wildly successful to the outsiders.

For those reading this who attended, please know that the event *actually* was a huge success! I’m so lucky to have supportive colleagues and student-staff members who helped make this event great, and look forward to seeing how it builds on this campus in the future.

Als0- totally not rigged, but the community I work in WON and had the highest attendance, so that was a bonus.

Also- I got brought out in between 3rd and 4th quarter for an “alumni competition” sponsored by our conference and won $50… so that was also a plus.

Any other “bare-bones” pieces of advice for this type of venture? Let me know in the comments.