Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Reflecting on 2014

I've been thinking about this post for about a month now. I'm pretty sure I drafted it up over Thanksgiving break. Maybe that makes me a crazy person. Or maybe I'm just deep. Who knows. But this year has definitely been a learning experience in just about every way possible. And as far as I'm concerned, that's what life is really all about. 

But I can also say this is was quite possibly one of my best years yet. Through the ups and downs, I've really embraced what life handed me and it's made me a better person today. 

So. Here's what 2014 taught me:

Family can be a mess, but at the end of the day, they're all you've got.
With everything that happened this year with my wonderful grandmother, I've seen the tearing apart and repair of an amazing family. We tend to take a families for granted because they are always there. But we shouldn't. We should embrace that together-ness and realize that we are blessed with people who have no other option but to love you.

Hard work and dedication can get you anywhere.
My internship in the spring seems like it was eons ago. But those five months really taught me a lot about who I am, where I'm going, and how much hard work it takes to get where you want to go. As exhausted as I have been most of 2014, it has always been worth the struggles.

When you feel like you've lost everything, another door will open.
This year I've had several doors slammed in my face. And I've always, always found another way, another path, or turned around and tried again. There was a point in mid-April where I thought my whole life was crashing down around me. But I got up, dusted myself off, and took off in a different direction full speed ahead. I've completely changed my life path and now I'm on my way to achieving completely different goals than I had coming into this year.

"Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead
This quote has always stuck for me. But this year I've been a part of a group of people that really proved it to be true. I've spent 6 years of my life dedicated to UGA HEROs and it has been worth every second of it. If only because of this moment:

Friends are all around you, you just have to let them in.
I'm the queen of accidentally turning people away from me. I tend to get some serious tunnel vision in certain situations and shut people out for no good reason. In May it seemed like all of my friends graduated and left me in Athens all alone. I was worried that because I'd spent the past four years content with my group of friends, I would suddenly be a loner in Athens. But after I finally opened my eyes to the wonderful people that were surrounding me, I made some of the greatest friends I could have ever asked for, and developed better relationships with the people I already loved. Sometimes I've just got to look up and take it all in to realize what I've got.

The future will always seem uncertain.
This one is something that I've always known, but never wanted to accept. Once you get to college, you pretty much have the next four years of your life planned out for you. You've simply got to find a major, pass your classes, make friends, and get out. That's really all that's required of you. But what happens after that is all a mystery. And I'm starting to really accept and embrace that. I'm excited for what lies ahead of me in 2015... uncertainty and all!

Happy New Years, y'all!

xoxo, jgp

Friday, December 26, 2014

Alive & Well

Surprise! I'm still here, despite what my lack of posts says. 

Because you know what nobody tells you? College graduation is quite the process. You think it's all smoke and mirrors and that it's all just over. But no, no, no. Three ceremonies later and here I am. Officially a college graduate. 

It was a weekend of wonderfulness actually. Then Christmas came and suddenly it was December 26th and I hadn't blogged in what seemed like a month. But I just wanted to reassure you that I'm still kicking over here. 

Through this whole "being an adult" thing I'm experiencing right now, I've learned a lot about my blogging habits. 

When I have ample amounts of time for it, I don't. When I'm so busy I think I'm drowning, blogging is first priority. I've got to get it together.

I can't stay that busy forever or it will actually kill me. 

So. New Years resolution #1: blog when I've got time.

I'm getting a head start on that now and churning out some material for the rest of the year and the beginning of 2015. Look at me. Planning ahead and getting my life together.

I guess that's what happens when you turn into a real person and can't count on college as your "I'm a mess all the time, sorry 'bout it" crutch every day. 

Oh. That's another that happened since we talked last, I have a plan for the future now. But that will have to wait until tomorrow. Because I'm sharing all the fun festive things I've been up tomorrow. Brace yourselves. 

So. Now that I've left you with yet another annoying post about nothing, I'm going to leave now. 

xoxo, jgp

Monday, December 15, 2014

Week(end) Update

As I so eloquently reminded y'all yesterday, I've been a terrible blogger lady lately. So here I am with an update on the strange things that have been happening around here.

Last weekend, things got weird. But outside of the strange drama that reared it's ugly head, I did win Best Dressed at the Tacky Christmas party I attended. For the second year in a year. Because I'm a boss.

This long-sleeve tacky sweater T-shirt actually is the best investment I've made in a while. The worst thing about tacky sweaters is how hot they are, amiright? So sweaty. T-shirt for the win.

And on that note, I need this. 100%. Johnny Manziel is the definition of tacky. So it wins.

Then Sunday was the greatest day ever because HERO things happened and I cried. Because for the first time since I've been on the HEROs Exec Board, we reached a fall fundraising goal. And then exceeded it by TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS.

Here's all the pictures of us crying and celebrating and all of the things:

Sorry for the photo overload. I'm just so proud. And LOL at me sobbing uncontrollably in that one picture. And because life got boring after that... Finals. So here we are. 

This week sucked. Then this weekend I had a friend in town and had one more grand celebration with my HEROs people. And some drama was resolved. So I'm normally back to being my normal, happy self. Ignoring the final I have on Wednesday. Because graduation is lingering in my mind and motivation is not. And my dresses just got here for graduation, so I also knocked another one off my 101 in 1001 list! 

I'm on a roll, y'all! 
Look out world, here comes Caley Beacham!

xoxo, jgp

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Don't You Forget About Me

Quite obviously, I've been MIA over here lately. I hate apology posts, so I'll do my best to avoid this being one. 

But I've got three excuses for my behavior.

1. Fun times.
2. School things.
3. Personal issues.

I'm pretty sure all three of these things will be discussed in detail in this week's posts, so I won't elaborate on my struggles. We'll just leave it at this...



So. Yeah. I'm excited and terrifying and happy and sad and everything else. 

But I've finally got something that resembles a life path ahead of me. So that's nice. And for another post. 

I'm promising a lot of posts here... 

But I'm going to make a dramatic return tomorrow. You. Just. Wait. 

I hope y'all have had a great week. And I hope that you've missed me dearly while I've been dealing with the world spinning around me. It's been a relatively grand time since we last spoke. For the most part. So get excited. Because I am.

Happy almost holidays, y'all!!

xoxo, jgp

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Oh. Hey...

Good Lord this past week has been absolute madness. I don't know about y'all that are still in school, but Thanksgiving break honestly gives me more anxiety than relaxation. I may also just be a crazy person. 

But I've been trying to recover from my week off all. week. long. And I think I may be finally getting my life together a tiny bit. So I thought I should stop by and say hello, since I've been MIA for a week now. 

Here's what you've missed:

FRIDAY | I returned to Athens to watch the Arkansas vs. Mizzou game which was nothing but a huge let down. Thanks for that, Arkansas...

SATURDAY | My final game day as a student in Sanford Stadium. And we decided it was a good idea to lose to Tech. We almost pulled it out, then blew it. So, yeah. That stung. *I'm funny* 

Because the Dawgs never lose a party, we obviously went out again that night. Which ended with my former roommate and another friend (all of which still live in Athens) crashing at my place. SLEEPOVER, y'all! 4am doesn't treat me well anymore...

SUNDAY | After peeling everyone in the house out of bed, some Advil and a lot of water we brunched. Because brunch is a way of life. Then the feeling of "oh my God, I've wasted my life away" kicked in and I started to panic. Spent the remaining 12 hours of that day writing a paper. Kill me now.

Ya big stupid...

MONDAY | World AIDS Day! << This is important to me because the organization I've served on the exec board for the last 3 years is an HIV/AIDS philanthropy. This was also the last exec board meeting I would ever have. Lawddddddd. It was also squat day. I actually thought I was going to die. #EveryDayIsLegDay

My attempt at walking Monday night:

TUESDAY | Group paper presentation. Kill me now. I also couldn't walk very well because Monday did me in. But I worked out again because, duh. I pretended to get my life together after that. It didn't really happen.

Walking Tuesday...

WEDNESDAY | Really can't walk. Plus my whole body hurts now from yesterday's workout. But of course I still go to the gym. #GAINZ. 

Getting down the stairs Wednesday...

Once again attempting to get my life together. Failing as usual. All I want to do is watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix and sit. But no. Way too much happening in life. Pretty sure I'm going to completely give up on school before graduation actually comes around.

How I feel about school right now:

Now that I've rambled on about my life and you probably don't care that much, I guess I'm done here. I'm just ready for the weekend. So, you know, I can waste it away and panic all over again because, well, finals. But in the meantime I'll be doing one of these:

Graduation Countdown: 14 days!

How are y'all holding up right now?

xoxo, jgp

Friday, November 28, 2014

What I'm Thankful For

Yes, I'm fully aware that it is the day after Thanksgiving. But I'm also aware that yesterday was a day about family and friends and football. So now I can sit back and reflect on all of the wonderful things that I am thankful for in 2014. And it's a lot.

My Grandmother
I've detailed on here everything that's going on with my grandmother right now. It's taken quite a toll on the entire family and we're starting to see how much we've taken for granted over the years. This was our first year having an unconventional holiday of sorts, and it's definitely a reminder of how things used to be. They always say nothing makes you appreciate something quite like the fear of losing it. And that couldn't be more true here. My grandmother is one of the greatest people to ever grace this planet. And I've been blessed to have her as a part of my life for the past 22 years. And we tend to under appreciate the most deserving people sometimes. It's easy to be thankful for Gamma, and I'm so glad we got to spend yesterday with her.

My Grandfather
God bless this man. He's been by my grandmother's side for over 50 years. And now is no different. He's my grandmother's caretaker. He's keeping the family together. He's being a beacon of strength when everyone else can't. And I can't be thankful enough for having him there for her and for us. He's working his butt off to make Gamma happy and I wish we could all do a little bit more to help. I'm thankful he's healthy for now and I hope we can keep him and Gamma that way for a long time to come.

My Family
This is the last of the semi-sad stuff, I promise. But it's something I think we are all thankful for. It's just become extremely apparent through this whole thing with Gamma. I hate that it's taken something as terrible as this for our family to come together like we have, but I'm glad it's happened. I feel closer than ever to my family and I think we've grown together through this. Having a family that's always there for you, especially in a time of need, is something we all tend to take for granted. I love these crazy people and I'm proud to call them mine.

This Blog
In the past, I've really neglected this little place of mine. But this past year I've definitely paid it a lot more love and nurtured it a bit more. And now I'm learning to love it again. So thank you for reading the strange things I write from time to time. 

The University of Georgia
I had a totally over-emotional post about this last week, but it's still something I'm so thankful for. It may seem to dramatic to say that UGA has changed my life. But it has. It was the greatest decision I ever could have made and it's the thing I'm the proudest of in life. I'm sad to be ending my time as a student here in less than a month, but I'm eternally grateful for the things I've gained here.

Team Strength
Last Christmas break I made the decision to give CrossFit a try. And I've never looked back. I loved every second at the box I went to during that break, and when I returned to Athens I was determined to continue down that path. Team Strength isn't a CF affiliate, but it's the place I call home. And it's been one of the greatest decisions I've ever made. I'm mentally and physically a stronger person than I was a year ago because of this gym and these people. And I thank God every day that I get a chance to workout there.

New Friends
Isn't funny how you always meet or bond with people right as y'all are leaving each other? Or does that only happen to me? Towards the end of last semester I ended up becoming really great friends with a bunch of people that were about to graduate and leave. Then all of my old friends went with them and I was left feeling like I was the only soul left in Athens. But friends of friends turned into best friends and I couldn't be happier. I'm so thankful for the people I've been able to surround myself with in 2014 and I look forward to those people being something I'm thankful for forever.

What are you thankful for this year?

xoxo, jgp

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Nordstrom Giftcard Giveaway!

We all need a little extra money for the holidays, amiright? And Nordstrom has everything you need. Really. So, you'd just be dumb not to enter this giveaway!

:::Brought to you by:::
 Becca // Shane // Nicole // Mary
Jamie // Samm // Magen // Kippy
Morgan // Katie // Cat // Lauren
Caley // Sarah  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

xoxo, jgp

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What's Next?

As graduation approaches, I'm finding myself reflecting on my life a lot more. And this past week something dawned on me...

My whole life has revolved around the University of Georgia and that will soon be something of my past. My whole childhood I was raised to believe the end-all-be-all of colleges was UGA. Then as I got old enough to realize what that meant, we got football season tickets. Then I fell in love with this place. And then the only goal was getting into school there. Then that happened. And then I spent four years here. And now it's all ending.

And I'm left wondering what's next.

Yes, I know that there is life after college. I'm not delusional. But UGA has been the center of my life for as long as I can remember. And I'm starting to feel like I'm lost in space... in this weird limbo between the dream life I had been leading and the uncertain future.

I'm not a fan of uncertainty either. Although, I'm not sure anyone really is. I've just pretty much always had a plan. And I've reached the last stage of the definite life plan: Graduate from UGA.

I realize that everyone essentially goes through something like this. But for most people, it hasn't been their entire life goal to attend a certain school. So here I sit. Wondering where I go from here: the top. As far as my life goals are concerned, I've reached my peak. Which terrifies me.

So while I figure all of that out, I'll be here. (Looking like that.) Just trying to play it cool and float through life. Per usual. So stick with me here as I try my best not to panic about this whole process of the future.

xoxo, jgp

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Favorites: Cold Weather Edition

I'm pretty sure the entire US has been going through some un-naturally cold weather lately. I know we certainly have been in the south. And it's taken a toll on me in about a million different ways. I'm not scared of the cold like most Southerners. I actually love it. Mainly because that usually means I'm not sweating. Sorry 'bout it.

But this past week I've had to bust out some serious cold-weather gear in just about every department of life. So I figured I should share the things that have been helping me through this crazy weather.

Funny story about this stuff. It comes in this handy dandy glass container. And I have this handy dandy tile floor in my bathroom. The two met and it wasn't pretty. We're talking a full container of this stuff. I somehow managed to salvage most of the remains... Thank God. Because I'm pretty sure my skin would be falling off my face by now without it. It's so thick and creamy and wonderful. It's totally been the difference in having cracking winter skin and semi-managable skin this month.

Barbour Jacket
Yup. That's me. Rockin' this guy in the freezing cold last weekend tailgating. I had on about 4 layers under that thing. But I was warmish. So that's what counts. I've got the men's version because my arms and torso were too long for the women's. Go figure. #TallPeopleProbs 

Since my Accutane experience my entire sophomore year of college, my skin is constantly dry. All over my body. Hence the reason I need intense facial moisturizer. Same goes for my hands. Between the hours I spend in the gym lifting and the cold weather, my hands are actually ashy. If that's even possible. But they are gross. And cracky. So this stuff right here has been saving my soul. You can find it at any drug store. 

This stuff is technically a men's product and brand, but it's been saving my soul for a while now. I got a small sample of this stuff over the summer in a package from Sephora. I then went and purchased a full-size version immediately. It's the only stuff that keeps my lips from chapping (also an Accutane thing... it never ends.)

Sudafed 12 Hour
Okay. Let's just take a minute here. This Sudafed is an absolute life saver. This isn't the stuff available on the shelf. It's behind the counter, but you just have to ask the pharmacist for it. It works so much better than the standard 24-hour. I've been sick for about three weeks now, and it's been the only thing keeping me alive. Although now I'm starting to think this is more of a sinus infection than a cold. So that's always fun. But. Thanks to Sudafed, I can still function in society. 

What are your must-haves for crazy cold weather?

xoxo, jgp

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Weekend Update

Yup. On a Tuesday. Because I'm so bad. *Whips hair*

But meanwhile, back in Athens... I had one heck of a weekend. 

Thursday (which is the weekend because college) was one of my bestie's birthday. So we spent the evening at Terrapin, our favorite restaurant, and the Corey Smith concert at the Georgia Theatre. It was an absolutely amazing night, and I'm so glad I got to see Corey one more time in Athens before I depart into the land unknown. 

Friday I did nothing other than eat to prepare my body for the debauchery that would occur on Saturday. But. I did eat some delicious food. We're talking fire roared pimento cheese, bacon mac and cheese, and a cheese steak made with cheese whiz. So yeah. My fat girl came out. 

Then Saturday. Game Day. My happy place. 
Even my daddy was in town! 
But I'll let these pictures say everything else.

Well. One other thing... 
Bye TigersEaglesPlainsmen... 
Pick a freakin' mascot already. I mean. Come on. 

How was your weekend?

Happy Tuesday!

xoxo, jgp