Monday, September 29, 2014

A Grandmother's Love

This time last week I was proclaiming loud and proud that I was coming back to this little nook of the world that I call mine. And then my world flipped upside down overnight. Not in the "oh my goodness I have so much to do" way that it normally does. None of those things seem to matter anymore. There are more important things in life. That's what this week has taught me.

On Wednesday morning my grandmother had an appointment with a neurosurgeon to determine the severity of the tumor on her brain that was only discovered 5 days earlier. 

In two weeks time, my grandmother was told that the nerves in her back were all tangled up, causing her right leg to not work. Then she started losing strength in her right hand, so she was sent to a neurologist to see what was happening. In 24-hours time she went from planning back surgery, to being told she probably had a stroke and only needed some rehabilitation, to having an MRI that showed she had a golf ball-sized tumor on the back-left side of her brain. 

After that was discovered, she was sent to a neurosurgeon to really determine the next step. And what the surgeon found was our worst nightmare. She had what is called a "Glioma," which is a rapidly-growing malignant tumor. Long story short, they could remove as much of it as possible, but it would grow back-- quickly-- and eventually kill her. 

But we all kept our hopes up. She's Gamma after all. She fights all the odds. 

This was all discovered on Wednesday morning. My mom told me that afternoon. And surgery was scheduled for Friday morning. 

So I put my life on hold for about 5 days to be there for the world's greatest grandmother. 

I spent all day Thursday at her house with my mom, my grandfather, and just about every person in the city of Kennesaw. And I'm not really exaggerating that much. The woman had a stack of cards on the coffee table at least 100 cards thick. The phone was ringing constantly. And the living room looked like Grand Central Station. That's a lot of love. And for someone that's worthy of all of it, and then some. 

My grandmother spent her whole life trying to make everyone else's lives the best possible. She would do just about anything for someone she loves. She's made an impact on the life of every person she's ever encountered. And that's a fact. I've never met anyone else like her, and I don't think there is another grandmother quite like my Gamma. 

Friday morning she had surgery scheduled for 7:30AM. She had to get there at 5:30, so the rest of the family did as well. We all paid her a visit then the best neurosurgeon in the state went to work on my beloved grandmother. Two hours later the doctor came out to the waiting room to find over 30 people waiting for her. He took my grandfather, mom, and uncle into a consultation room and nothing was the same. 

My grandfather came out to tell us that it was the "worst possible situation." My mom and uncle clarified what that meant: she had about 6 months left. The doctor got as much of the tumor as he could, but it will grow back just as quickly as it grew before and continue to attack her brain. 

Half of the waiting room were people there for my grandmother. And every single one of them was completely torn apart by this news. She's only 74, how could this be happening? She was perfectly healthy three months ago. What could God be trying to do here? Is there anything we could do? Where do we go from here?

I can't really put into words how it felt, or what happened that day, or how I'm dealing with it all. I just know that I've been living in a shell of myself for 5 days now. I'm not sure what to do with myself. And I wish I could be home to help in some way. But I know my Gamma. And I know she wants me to resume life as normally as possible. 

And I'll try to do that. While saying my prayers for her every night and day. May God look over her and give her the best chance at enjoying the life she has left while sharing all the love she's got left in her. 

We love you Gamma! Just keep fighting, we've got your back.

xoxo, jgp

Monday, September 22, 2014


After a week of purse madness and exhaustion, I am finally back to being a normal person again. I can finally stop ignoring the mess in the kitchen, the trash piling up, and my room slowly becoming a disaster zone. Oh, and this place. I'm coming back, and with a vengeance!

I've actually got some great content lined up, and I'm in the process of getting a total blog makeover! Big things are happening.

But since I left you last, some other fun things have happened.

I knocked No. 78 off my 101 in 1001 list during my trip to Columbia, SC for the UGA football game last weekend. I only have one picture to prove that I actually did it, but it happened...

I also hate Columbia more than I thought I would. Never going back. Athens forever.

I also finally took all 3408739229157 of my UGA t-shirts I don't wear anymore and got a t-shirt quilt made. And it is beautiful. And perfect. And there will be a post all about that process this week! (This was also on my 101 in 1001 list... Look at me go!)

I just started working on grad school applications. Not scary. At all. Lies I tell myself. Kind of freaking out. So I'm sure you'll all be hearing much more about that in the coming months.

Oh. And one last thing that I'm super excited about. I'm finally (after about 6 months of work) starting the process of getting rid of all of the clothes I don't wear. There's been a mountain of clothes in the floor of my closet at home for quite some time now, so I'm hoping that I've finally got it under control. PRAISE! 
Updates to follow.

I'm pumped for all the fun things happening around these parts, and I can't wait to share! 

Happy Monday, y'all!

xoxo, jgp 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Currently Reading: My Conference Can Beat Your Conference

It's been a while since I've done a book update. I've been reading as much as humanly possible, but school likes to interfere with the fun sometimes. But now that football season is in full swing, I had to grab one of the football books off my shelf. And the obvious choice was Paul Finebaum, duh.

I started this book two days ago and I'm so obsessed with it, it's a miracle I haven't already finished the thing. Paul Finebaum may be my new hero in life. And, no, I haven't lost my mind.

Reasons to read this book:
1. You are a fan of an SEC school.
2. You have respect for the SEC as the powerhouse conference it is.
3. You are/were an aspiring journalist.
4. You want a good laugh.
5. You just love you some football.

Reasons NOT to read this book:
1. You hate the SEC.
2. You are a fan of an ACC school.
3. You don't like football.
4. You hate people.
5. You have no soul.

I can honestly say this is one of the best books I've picked up in quite some time. The opening chapter was absolutely hilarious. Nothing like getting a good laugh making fun of SEC schools, including your own. Finebaum's insights, experiences, and opinions are definitely laid out there, and as crazy as he seems on the radio and TV, he's actually very down-to-earth. The chapter I read last night actually brought me to tears. 

When I gave up on my career in journalism last spring, I literally went running as fast as possible in the opposite direction. But this book reminds me of the humanity and joy that comes with being a journalist, and just a good human being for that matter.

Finebaum really does love what he does and what be brings to fans of the SEC, and I'm so glad that the whole world can see him on the SEC Network now, instead of just his old home in Birmingham.

Linking up with Venus Trapped in Mars for some Fan Friday action today, because this book makes me an even better football fan I've decided. 

Go Dawgs. Beat the chickens. 

xoxo, jgp

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Suki Skincare

Online shopping is a way of life for me. Which means I spend a lot of time tracking packages online and staring at the door waiting for packages to arrive. This morning's package made me happier than the average. I actually considered jumping up and down with joy.

No, it wasn't clothes. Or shoes. Or anything that normal people get excited about. It was skin care products. Specifically, my new favorite brand of skin care products: Suki.

I got a trial size of the exfoliate foaming cleanser in a Birchbox a couple of months ago, and I absolutely fell in love with it. But sadly it was gone in about a week. Then I started on a wild goose chase to find this stuff, but you have to buy it online, and it's not cheap. So I spent a while trying to convince myself that I didn't need it. That it wasn't that great. That other scrubs would work just as well. Lies. All lies.

*Heaven on Earth*

Then, as if a sign from God, it appeared on Hautelook a few weeks ago and I couldn't help myself. I ended up buying two buckets of the exfoliate foaming cleanser (it was on sale, like $20 off sale, and you have to save when you can, right?), exfoliate foaming body cleanser, a toner, and a clay masque. 

I've already tried most of the products today because I tend to do that when I get really excited, and I'm even more obsessed. I honestly can't rave about this cleanser any more. It smells like heaven, the combination of the scrub and the cleansing foam feels awesome on your skin, and when you rinse it off, you feel refreshed and like you have a new face. No, I'm not exaggerating. 

You feel like dancing... Like this guy:

Suki is also awesome because you can take a quick little quiz and the website will give you a customized list of products for your skin type. This may be my new beauty splurge in the future. 

The website also sells sample sizes so you can test out different products before decided to splurge on a new product. But I'm not the only one obsessed with this stuff, the reviews on website are preaching the same thing I am:

Take it from a girl who has tried just about every single name-brand face wash/toner/scrub on the market... This stuff is worth it. Go get some. Right now. Before I buy some for you.

Have you ever tried Suki?

xoxo, jgp

Friday, September 5, 2014


Am I the only one who doesn't like short weeks? Don't get me wrong, I love the long weekends, I just always feel like I don't have enough time in a short week to accomplish everything. And it stresses me out. But I digress.

This week also had it's fair share of ups and downs and I'm just trying to stay on top of things before the semester really takes off and leaves me in the dust. With all that said, I feel like this week flew by and I now I'm scrambling to get my life together before I take off to a lake house for a retreat this weekend.

But some light reading/viewing for the weekend first.

ONE // This is definitely an interesting read, because 99% of girls probably feel like they fall into the "sort-of-pretty" category. 

TWO // Literally died laughing at this Buzzfeed article. Nothing cracks me up quite like awkward kids. 

THREE // I feel like we tend to get bogged down trying to keep up with all of the overachievers around us, running around like chickens with our heads cut off. This is the perfect reminder that all of these "issues" we have are actually signs of great things.

FOUR // This is almost two years old, but I just now saw it. And my mind is totally blown. This chick is impressive!
FIVE // There have been plenty of tributes to the life of Joan Rivers in the past 24 hours, including Fallon remembering Joan on Late Night. Her Campus' compilation of 10 of the best Joan Rivers quotes of all time is great. I also plan on watching "A Piece of Work" (her documentary) on Netflix at some point this weekend. Rest in peace Joan. 

What are your big plans for the weekend?

xoxo, jgp

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

No. 12: Caley Does a Juice Cleanse

Oh lawd. This is going to be a good one, y'all. So get comfy and stick around. 

I would like to preface this post by saying that I did this to myself. I did not do this to lose weight, I did not do this because a doctor told me to, I did this because it sounded like a great idea when I wrote my 101 in 1001 list in July of 2013. That now seems like a very questionable decision. 

But it's over now and I'm stuffing my face again.

And just for everyone's information, I did the three day Seasonal Reset Cleanse (with 3 Shreds) from Ritual Wellness. I found it on RueLaLa and used a coupon code. Juice is very expensive, my friends. I'd looked at a bunch of other options along the way, but just made the gut decision to go with this one. I've really got nothing to compare this to, so none of these opinions/thoughts are a direct reflection on Ritual Wellness, but of my first ever cleansing experience. 

So as I reflected back on my three days of holding my nose and chugging bottles of green crap, I can easily think of five lessons learned/things I wish I knew/odd experiences from this juice cleanse.

JGP Juice Cleanse Lessons

ONE // Green juice is yucky. I've made some smoothies with spinach and kale in my day, but the taste is always masked by all the tasty stuff. Not the case when your juice has three pounds of produce in it. All three of my daily "green" juices had some combination of kale, romaine, spinach, green apple, and celery. And lots of it. I thought I liked these things... until now. I think I'll just eat them from now on. 

TWO // You aren't going to be on the potty all day. When I imagined how this was going to go down, I had these terrible images of spending countless hours in the bathroom hating my life. But nothing of that sort happened. Like, at all. So that was a relief. 

THREE // It's okay to eat. When you first start something like this, it's hard to tell yourself that it's okay to "cheat." But on day one, I thought I was going to starve to death. (I also think all of the juices tasted the worst to me the first day, making me hungrier.) So I had a small snack that afternoon. On night two, I had a complete meltdown and ate a breakfast sandwich. And on the final day I had a baby snack mid-afternoon. I originally got very upset with myself for eating and not fully committing to the cleanse. But I also know my body and I normally eat about 5 times the amount of protein I was getting from the juice. Food was necessary to function essentially. 

FOUR // There's a proper way to prep. And I didn't do it. Ritual Wellness sent me an email telling me all of these important things I should be doing leading up to the cleanse. Things like no caffeine, no meat, all raw, organic foods. The day before I was tailgating with beer, all the food, and a mountain of pizza at the end of the day. So, yeah, prepping might make the transition to just juice a little easier. 

FIVE // I really love food. Like, a lot. You don't realize how much time in the day you spend thinking about food, prepping food, and eating food until you don't do it for three days. I definitely learned that I could never voluntarily go a whole day without food. Maybe I have no self control, but oh well. I love food. End of story. I also don't deal well with being hungry. 

So as far as my juice cleanse experience goes, I would not suggest it to people who spend as much time in the gym as I do (5-7 days a week doing CrossFit workouts.) I would suggest it to people who already don't eat a ton of food, don't love food, and don't eat mountains of protein on a regular basis. 

It wasn't an absolutely terrible experience, and I definitely learned to control my eating habits and cravings a little bit. So I gained something from the whole experience. And if you were wondering, yes, I did lose about 2 pounds from the whole thing. 

If y'all have ever done a juice cleanse, I'd like to hear your stories! I'm also open for questions about the whole thing as well, so send them my way!

xoxo, jgp