How Free Agency is the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me.

I have mentioned before that I've had a job since I was 15 years old + that I've had a job in baseball since I was 16 years old. In high school + college, I worked through the summers with the Rome Braves. I graduated college early + moved across the country to work in baseball. Baseball has taken me so many amazing places + I'm in absolutely no way done with it. Hopefully this summer I'll be working in a gameday staff capacity + a team will realize I'm exactly what their staff is missing for the 2015 season. 
why yes -- I am in the mascot costume.
I have also never been the one to sit around + feel sorry for myself. It's probably tied into the fact that I feel like I have so much to be thankful for regardless of my current situation. That's always been my drive to give back to the community + baseball has always been my vehicle for that. Recently, though, I've been melancholy + constantly having to remind myself that I'm blessed + everything happens for a reason. I've recently started managing my dad's office -- which it turns out pays pretty well. I say pretty well because I've been living off of baseball salaries for so long that I didn't know what it was like to make a "real person" salary. The times I've spent reminding myself that I have so much to be thankful for is actually reason #1 that Free Agency has been the best thing to happen to me. 
Since my office is in my backyard, I'm saving a ton on the cost of driving to work, eating out all the time, + happy hours. I'm working to have more happy hours -- but with all of the money I'm saving I have time for adventures. So far I have half of March booked -- a trip to Raleigh to see my lovely sisters, a trip to Orlando for Braves Spring Training games, hiking the mountains near me. I also have long term trips planned -- thanks to EF College Break I have planned my first ever trip to Europe. Yes, it's New Years Eve + 305 days away -- but I am leaving the country. I have never left the country! I'm going to Chicago in June for Cubs games at Wrigley -- knocking another MLB park off of my bucket list. 
Amsterdam AKA where I'll be spending NYE.
So these are the positives I'm finally seeing with my Free Agency. It took me a little while -- but I landed on my feet + I know this isn't the end of my baseball career -- just a vacation. Also -- today is day 2 of my 100 Happy Days Challenge! I didn't take a picture of anything yesterday because I started so late -- but follow me on Instagram to keep up with my progress!

Four Reasons Snowboarders Should Be My Valentines

So, Shaun White may not have medaled in Sochi (which was probably the most heartbreaking thing to know while watching him do interviews before the finals) he's still a winner in my eyes. Which is why today we're talking about why snowboarders are, to quote Ben Franklin, put on the Earth because God loves us + he wants us to be happy. Since Buzzfeed already did Reasons Why Greg Bretz Should Be Your Valentine --- I'm just giving you the extra reasons you should love them all.

one :: they do incredible, gravity defying things like this:
 + this:
two :: they look incredibly handsome. Just all the time. Part of it totally has to be the whole "bad boy" thing that goes with the sport. Oh man. Just. Just look:

Richard Bord/Getty Images
Image via UT San Diego
three :: they're adorably sweet + spending time with kids who survived cancer. Shaun White jumped the barricades to meet these kids. HE JUMPED INTO THE STANDS TO MEET THESE KIDS. Athletes always get a lot of press for being sweet to kids -- but usually they require some kind of encouragement. I'm gathering [from this article] that he saw those kids + knew they were the Make-A-Wish kids + took it upon himself to just hope up + head on over there. It was only mentioned that he should pass by on his side of the barricades -- but nope -- little nugget that he is hopped the barricades + went over there. OH he gave them snobowboards.
four :: they clean up really well. Have you seen Shaun White looking all dapper on Letterman? 
So really -- I want Shaun White to be my Valentine -- I can probably share the rest of them with y'all. Happy Valentine's Day!! Linking up with Venus + Helene for Valentines day + adding some jams with Whitney.
Thunderstruck by AC/DC on Grooveshark

The Cover Letter I Want To Write

I'm applying for somewhere around 10 jobs a day at this point -- very few of those allow me to reach out to the actual hiring manager. I hear back from maybe 1 out of every 30 I apply for. Sometimes I wonder if they're even reading my resume + cover letter because I know I could blow that job out of the water. So here is the cover letter I want to write:

Dear Hiring Manager,
     I'm know that your time is valuable and you may not even waste time reading my cover letter. I feel like my resume speaks for itself and that sometimes a cover letter is superfluous. It's supposed to be used as a tool to highlight my accomplishments and demonstrate my qualifications for the job you're hiring for. What my resume doesn't tell you is the important stuff. I have what coworkers have called an infectious personality, I've never met a stranger, and I make a mean margarita. I know all of the words to every Ludacris song, I like to ride with the windows down in my car even if it's not quite warm enough outside, I'm passionate, and I have a way of getting other people pumped about whatever project it is we have to tackle. I know it will be worth your time to speak with me and I would be an outstanding addition to your organization.
Thank you!

Also -- here is a picture of our puppy watching the dog show. Obviously snow days mean pictures of the dogs doing silly things.

Dottie -- on the other hand -- could not possibly care less.

Linking up with Whitney + Liz because how cute is that button?

The Hump Day Blog Hop

Kickin' Buffalo Chicken Dip

I have a lot of tailgate related things that I'm proud of -- one of my top things is my Buffalo Chicken Dip. My aunt made it for a family function once, gave me the recipe, I improved on it a little to my taste, + now I'm going to share it with everyone else! Obviously -- if you're coming to my tailgate -- you should just let me make it.

What you'll need:
- 1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 lb (two boxes) of cream cheese -- set these out so that they are easier to mix.
- 1 cup of buffalo wing sauce (I use Texas Pete + usually the "hot buffalo")
- 2 cups (1 bag) of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 15" x 20" casserole baking dish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

First -- in a large pot, boil your chicken breast. I usually let it boil for about 15 minutes (remember -- chicken keeps cooking after you take it off the heat + we're going to put this in the oven later for about 30 minutes) Strain the chicken + let it cool.
Second -- in a separate bowl combine two blocks of cream cheese, one cup of buffalo wing sauce, one cup (half the bag) of shredded cheddar. I have a Kitchen-Aid mixer -- so I use my resources. You absolutely do not need a stand mixer or hand mixer -- it just makes the process a little quicker.
Third -- once the chicken has cooled, tear it into small pieces + mix in with the sauce + cheese. I also use the mixer to shred the chicken a little more. I keep it set at "stir" + add the chicken in little by little. This part is to your own taste -- you can shred the chicken more or less depending on how large you want the pieces of chicken to be. I also like it a little spicier -- but Kroger was out of the hot buffalo sauce (+ bread + milk + eggs --snowmageedon..) -- so I added 3 tablespoons of hot sauce to the mix!
Fourth -- once you have everything mixed together spread it evenly in your casserole dish. Sprinkle the remainder of the cheese on top of the mix + bake at 375 for 30 - 45 minutes or until it is deliciously golden brown.

Fifth -- grab some tortilla chips (I'm a fan of the corn variety), a cold beer, + some friends. Enjoy! Let me know how yours turns out!

Weekly Wishes :: Two + Motivational Monday

As the state of Georgia is preparing for the second snowstorm in as many weeks -- I am doing everything I can to pretend it's just going to be almost in the 60's all week like it was this weekend. I'm really just ready for spring. Baseball games, sundresses, + longer days -- bring it on.
First -- how did I do last week? I crushed those goals. This might be the most accomplished I've felt during free agency. First of all, it didn't take me that long to clean my room -- cleaning out my closet definitely helped. Second -- I have no idea why I've been putting off my passport. It took more time to get my picture made than it did for anything else. I was inside the courthouse for maybe ten minutes. I even left the house every single day. Once to get coffee + a new book, the rest to be a real productive person. 

So -- week two:

one :: get to the new kickboxing gym I found. The first class is free -- so I can decide if that's my gym to join in February. They have flexible membership options but no website. The lack of website really gives me pause -- but they have so many positive reviews on their Facebook page. What's the harm in taking a free class anyways?

two :: drink three of my big Tervis tumblers full of water every day. Hand-in-hand with my February goal for no cokes all month -- more water is always important. I need to get in the habit before it gets to be summer because I always forget to hydrate in the summer. 

three :: read through + figure out the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan. I really want to commit to this -- but even as I write this goal I start to back out of it. Everyone raves about this + I need to check it out. 

I have a little bit of a rant for your Monday Motivation. Why do you feel bad on Valentine's Day being a single person? Why should you? Valentine's Day seems like it's a lot of pressure for those in a relationship -- but it shouldn't be if you're not. Why not take Valentine's + celebrate yourself? Love yourself. How can you love someone else if you don't love yourself? You are awesome. Just ask Kid President. Take Valentine's Day + be your own reason to dance! Get a manicure, make yourself some coffee, buy that pair of shoes you wanted -- whatever you do -- just take the day to celebrate yourself. 
The Nectar Collective

Fan Friday: Freddie Freeman

The huggingst first baseman in Major League Baseball just signed the longest contract in Atlanta Braves history + I don't think that anyone could be mad about that. He's going to make an absurd $135 MILLION. I don't even know what I would do with $1 million. Like, I could pay off my student loans, credit cards, buy that Jeep Wrangler I want, pay the insurance on it for a year, + still have money to burn. So the salary numbers for professional athletes always make my head spin.

Forget how incredible he is at first base (I mean, he could make me look like an All Star second baseman out there -- all you have to do is get the ball within like 10 feet of him) + forget how awesome his offense is (which Braves Country did a little bit with all of Justin Upton's home runs in April last year)  the biggest thing Freddie brings to our Atlanta Braves is the hugs. They're like -- great hugs man. I mean look at the joy on his face up there! Our creative department even made a commercial about it -- the overbro:

There are tumblrs dedicated to Freddie Freeman hugging people. When I started google searching images for him -- google automatically suggested "Freddie Freeman hugging" I think Fox Sports South even did a segment on his hugs. He doesn't give them out all willy nilly, no you have to earn yourself a Freddie hug. Last year we even got him to the All-Star Game via fan vote with #HugsOverHype. 
Please ignore my Instagram enhanced sunburn..
I -- for one -- am super excited that we'll be taking Freddie + his hugs with us to the new ballpark. I think he was an excellent choice for the face of the franchise + I cannot wait for Spring Training games to start. 2014 is going to be a good season for my Bravos, I can feel it. 

Linking up with Venus -- because I'm a fan of Freddie's Hugs -- obviously.

10 Things That Matter This Thursday

Free agency has given me [entirely too much] free time to do + realize just all sorts of things. One of those things is that I have somehow picked up the phrase "x matters" from one of my friends. I'm not talking about like "feeding the homeless matters" in the use of the phrase. More along the lines of "birthdays matter" or "cheeseburgers matter" -- so really just ridiculous things. That's a lie, cheeseburgers aren't ridiculous + they absolutely matter.

one:: NAPS. Y'all. Naps are important. Naps matter. I don't know why we waste naps on kindergarteners who don't appreciate them, they should be saved for those of us who realize how amazing they are. Sign me up for a job where naps are part of the day -- preferably right after lunch. 

two:: coffee. That probably goes hand-in-hand with the need for naps. Except sometimes coffee matters at 4 pm in the afternoon when you have a brand new book + bakery treat. Oh man. I love coffee. A large hazelnut with sugar in the raw please. 

three:: compression leggings/yoga pants. I'm not quite coordinated enough for yoga (I pretend to be when I use my Chromecast to stream yoga videos -- but obviously where no one can see me) Those pants are so damn comfortable + they make me feel skinny + they make other people think that I work out more than I really do. 

four:: lap desks. My grandmother got me one of those "as seen on tv!" lap desks + I didn't know what I was missing out on. I don't know about yours, but my laptop gets super hot on my legs. Now I don't have to worry about and kind of burns plus it sits higher + it's really just awesome. It has this LED light that I don't know what to do with though, it's like if I wanted to read a book in secret...

five:: lists. Duh.

six:: Netflix instant streaming. Like I mentioned, I have that cool Chromecast thing + somehow in the past three weeks I've watched all 8 seasons of How I Met Your Mother. I don't know how it happened. The only beef I have with Netflix is that literally every movie I want to watch is not on instant stream. bummer. 

seven:: these pictures with quotes on top of them. I even made a couple myself. Not this one at the top + not the one below. That's not important. I'm thinking of making a bunch of them on canvas + opening an etsy store. I'm sure there's some kind of copyright or something that I'd have to deal with, but they're important too.

eight:: spotify's never ending catalog of Disney music. I already know all of the words to every song from  Frozen + I'm not even a little ashamed. I just need someone to go with me to the sing-a-long showing. Anyone? Anyone? 

nine:: mimosas. Or as I like to make them "champagne with a tiny splash of orange juice sometimes not even any orange juice" mimosas are a great addition to any breakfast meal + I recommend them for other meals as well. Champagne never goes out of style.
see? they matter.
ten:: a good sense of humor. Lots of jokes man. all the jokes. they matter the most. 

So, there you go. Ten things that matter today. I forgot to put beer club on the list. Beer club matters because it's Taco Mac Thursdays + that means beer club with my aunt, grandmother, + free pint glasses! That being said. I'm going to go ahead + take advantage of how much naps matter.

Image Map

Weekly Wishes :: One

I have stopped counting my days of Free Agency because it just makes me sad. Instead I'm trying everything I can to stay positive about everything else. So I'm joining what seems to be the most uplifting community link up there could be -- The Nectar Collective's Weekly Wishes

The Nectar Collective

Since it's the first Monday of the month, I'm going to do weekly wishes + monthly goals. Let's start with the wishes!

wish one:: get out of the house -- I spend so much time sitting in the living room job hunting. I probably go a couple of days without leaving the house in a row. It can't be healthy + it makes me feel like a crazy person. So even if it's just driving to Starbucks up the road to apply for jobs from there --  I'm going to leave the house every day this week + weekend. 

wish two:: clean my room -- I have absolutely no excuse for my room to be so messy because I've rarely been leaving the house. I cleaned out my closet last week -- but that process made my room messy. It's a super small room so it doesn't take anything for it to be messy. 

wish three:: get to the courthouse + drop off my passport paperwork. I keep putting this off + I was given enough money to pay for it for my birthday -- all I need to do is get my picture made at walgreens + hang out at the courthouse. I even have all of the paperwork put together, copied, + in my car. 

goal one:: don't drink any soft drinks. I have a serious caffeine addiction -- but I'm not worried about it. I really just want to see if I can do no cokes for an entire month. Obviously starting today since I had about four yesterday... 

goal two:: find + join a gym. This will also help with the whole "get out of the house" wish. As I've said before, I have no excuse to be lazy + I'm trying out the whole Tone It Up lifestyle. So I'm combining those goals. Paying for that membership should also motivate me a little bit to get to the gym. 

goal three:: attempt + document a few more pinterest projects. Since I pinned my "DIY Cork Shadowbox" entry -- I've had a lot of traffic to that post. Apparently it's actually helping people with their own shadow box projects. So I should obviously do more fun crafts.