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17 in 2017

I'll admit that 2016 had some pretty big highs and some nasty lows; days where I was so happy with myself and the life I had created around me and then days where I was filled with anxiety, anger, or sadness that made me take a step back and look at what I was really doing.  I don't really agree with the bandwagon of everyone saying #2016wastheworst, because there was good in the year too.  Nobody really cares when you complain so it's better to focus on the positive, ya know?

This year I plan on making a better effort with my little blog, Always a Blogsmaid.  I don't know if I should still use this title due to my bridesmaid days ending soon, but I think I still have a lot of life left in this little part of the internet.  I read blogs every day and hope to always love sharing my life and reading about others.  So without further ado, here are my goals for 2017. 

* Go back and read my "30 before 30" list and see how many I can actually obtain before May 2, 2017.  Maybe do a blog post to show which ones I've done. 

* Read 17 books in 2017.

* Completely pay off my student loan debt by December 31, 2017. 

* Be involved and finish at least 2 bible studies: one at the church and one with friends.

* Buy a vitamin case and begin taking probiotics every day.

* On weekends that I am at home, begin cleaning out one dresser drawer or part of my closet at a time - and put some things away in my "hope chest."

* Go to the library at least once a month. 

* Be more consistent with blogging - not sure what that looks like yet, but I'm gonna try.

* Continue being an active member of the #PTLOLetterProject, founded by Whitney.

* Sign up for the CPM program through work and begin working towards that certification.

* Set aside money to be able to take a summer lake trip and possibly a fall trip to Disneyworld.

* Have the best possible time in Vegas in March - and possibly see Britney Spears if she is still in concert there!

* No social media after 9 pm the month of February and see the difference that it has on me.

* Begin searching homes/condos and begin talking to real estate agents to know what the ins/outs of home buying is. 

* Continue using BeautyCounter and making sure I take care of my skin - including sunscreen and yearly skin checks.

* Subscribe to a new podcast each month.  And finally listen to Serial. :)

* Be more encouraging/consistent on social media.  Respond to each Instagram comment and make an effort to comment on others.  Spread happiness.

And if nothing else, I just want to make a lot of memories with my people.
If that's all i do, that's all that matters this year.


The Delayed Report: October

October was all about traditions and new experiences, from bridal showers to a new city to taking a picture with a giant peanut (keep scrolling below to see that one).  I know everyone overuses that phrase, "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers,"​ but I truly am glad.  

October was just a wonderful month and my recap is below

1.  First Shower to begin #JoiningTheJoes

On October 2nd, almost all of Kaylee's bridesmaids helped host her first bridal shower at the Matron of Honor's parents house.  Their house is already beautiful so we just needed to add a few flowers and a couple decorations and we were set for the entire day.  Everyone brought a side dish and the bride had plenty of gifts to open.  I made another basket with the help of my mom and the day was an overall success.  I guess I could do a full post on this shower soon, maybe. :)

2.  Finally Purchased New Tires

The next Thursday, I arrived at Firestone to finally buy some new tires.  The lady at the counter couldn't believe I had driven over 76,000 miles in the tires from the dealership.  I have 6 months to pay the bill off without any interest and opened up a Firestone credit card so I could get a rebate back in the mail.  This may be the most #adulting paragraph I've ever written. 

3.  Second Suite Level Game

On the 8th, Kaylee invited me to join them for another football game at Davis Wade Stadium.  Mississippi State played Auburn that day and lost again.  We made our way back to her fiancĂ©'s family's tent by halftime and enjoyed spending the rest of the afternoon eating tailgate food and listening to music on the road trip back home. 

4. Peanut Photo-Op

The next day, Brooke and I took Brailyn and one of her friends to church, lunch and then the Pumpkin Patch.  We had a full day and I am so glad we have this tradition.  I don't know how many more years Bray is going to want to go to the Pumpkin Patch so this year, I really tried to soak all the memories in.  This random photo-op with a stranger dressed as a huge peanut will remind me when I forget. 

5.  Miss Sass and Miss Peregrine

The next night, we went to the movies and watched Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.  We ended up at the 3d version, but it wasn't terrible.  I wouldn't suggest letting little kids watch it, I even closed my eyes at one point.  I also could have done without the monsters eating eyeballs, but overall it was a really good movie. 

6.  Second Anniversary = Cotton

October 11 was my younger sister and her husband's second anniversary.  I read that the second anniversary is cotton so I made sure to run in to CVS and purchase some cotton balls (practical and a pun).  I also made sure to run into the Great American Cookie store before dinner that night because it's the bride's favorite cookies. 

7.  Birthday/Baby Shower Dinner

4 days later, I spent the evening at Iron Horse Grill with three of my close gals.  We celebrated Sarah's belated birthday but also threw her a mini baby shower.  She will be having her second baby girl in the next few months and all she wanted was diapers but I threw in a couple custom onesies (from one of my friends, Kara).  

I can't wait to see this new little one come December.  I also drank two margaritas (one for me and one for Sarah - I'm just a good friend like that).   

8.  Giveaway Goodies

Snapchat: blogsmaidcass

A while back, Audrey emailed me to let me know I had won a giveaway! On October 20, I came home to the ones I had ordered.  I am in love and am currently using the marble one.  Cannot wait to put the flamingos on come Spring. 

9.  #LeaveItToWeaver

October 21, 5 of us loaded up the Matron of Honor's car and headed north to somewhere none of us had never been: NASHVILLE, TN.  I planned all the bachelorette bag goodies and will make another blog post of all the vendors used.  There was so much that went into that weekend and I can honestly say we all had a wonderful time.  I don't know when I'll be back to Nashville, but it's a weekend I'll never forget.

10.  My First Massage at 29

If you know me at all, you know that I love being pampered in the areas of getting my hair and nails done.  29 years on Earth and I had never had a massage.  Well, the Bride wanted to go to one of the best salons in Nashville and so we booked appointments at Escape Day Spa and Salon.  

After never having a massage, I decided to go with a 90 minute Swedish massage.  I informed my massage therapist that this was my first massage ever and that I am very ticklish.  I came back to our private locker room and announced to everyone that I FINALLY GET IT.  That may have been my first massage, but it will not be my last. 

11.  An (Almost) Week at the Beach

The Wednesday after Nashville, Mom and I packed our bags and headed to our favorite vacation spot: Perdido Key, Florida for an (almost) week.  We stayed until Tuesday at lunch and came back feeling refreshed and relaxed.  We decided that from now on (if it's just the two of us) we will stay a max of 5 days.  

I am so thankful Joseph drove from Destin to spend the day with mom and I.  It helped break up the routine a bit and I missed him the minute he left.  We ate at our favorite places and even watched all of Stranger Things.  The last week of October was extremely successful and I have a little bit of color to welcome November with. 

What was on your report for October?

The Report is a series I post once a month to list things and events that are currently happening in my life.  Please feel free to tell me your monthly report in the comment section below.  
To read September's report, click here


The Delayed Report: September

September was a month full of sweetness, sports and then....sickness.  I would say that I am sad to see September go, but I'm feeling very Green Day right now...wake me up when it ends.  

While I enjoyed most of the month, there was a week or so in there where I had absolutely no energy and missed out on a lot of events.  Read below about what I was able to do and unfortunately, what I was not able to do.

1. SUITE Pass

On the second day of September, one of my close friends took the out to the ball game.  It was through her work and they had a suite booked for us at the local Mississippi Braves Stadium.  We were in Suite 23 and there was only 5 of us there.  It was an absolute blast filling up on hot dogs, mac and cheese, cookies, cracker jack, and of course an unlimited supply of carbonated drinks.  

I am at my best self at a sporting event where I am not bitten by bugs and surrounded by air conditioning.  It was a winning night in my book - and I think the home team won as well. 

2. SUITE Life

The next morning, I woke up and headed out to Mississippi State University to cheer on the MSU Bulldogs.  The reason I agreed to go to such a hot game is because once again: air conditioning.  My friend and her family have season passes to the Suite Level at MSU and you can literally get anything you want: unlimited drink refills, huge make your own nacho bar, a different menu of foods and you can go outside and watch the game or stay inside to not get overheated.  

State lost 21-20 that day, but I always feel like I'm a winner when I hang out with the Weaver family.

3.  Labor Day with Bae

On the 5th, I spent my holiday with my best friend and her baby.  Nothing really got accomplished that day, but I spent it with my best friend and my bae, Kennedy so it was still pretty wonderful.  I love this picture of her little feet and monogrammed burp cloth.  I cannot wait to see both of them again real soon.

4.  Jicama and a Janky Waitress

That following Wednesday night, I got to finally meet one of Kaylee's bridesmaids, Fran, in real life instead of just email.  Fran lives in North Carolina and was down here visiting her family and we were able to take some time to have dinner one night at a local Mexican restaurant, Sombra.  Our waitress started off completely wonderful just like our meal, but by the time the tickets came around she was singing a different tune.  

Oh well, we still had a wonderful time: we realized we had a lot of things in common and tried a new food: jicama (which is extremely interesting considering it tastes like a flavorless apple slice by itself but is somehow spicy when you dip it in guacamole).

5.   Annual Football Tradition

The night after Sombra, Bridget and I made our annual trip out to Raymond to watch the Hinds football game; however, I would be lying if our real reason wasn't football at all - it's the Hinds Community College Hi-Steppers that we really go to see.  

Each time the drummers start playing their cadences I am brought back to how much I love and miss my college years, and it's always sweet to take this annual selfie and show ourselves that no matter what happens the other 364 days a year, we have this one to remember and reminisce.

6.  A Month + 1 Day

I am known to meet almost all of my friend's babies on their one month birthday; it is not planned, it just always works out that way.  Well meeting Harper was almost another one of those, just a day later.  Mandy had her second child on August 11 and I got to take the same picture that I took with her sister (a year or so ago) on September 12.  

It was so surreal and so sweet that she was wearing the same outfit I had gifted her sister as well.  I cherish anytime I can see my friend's babes; and this matron of honor is doing an absolutely fabulous job with her 2 under 2.

7.  A Kitchen Floor Lesson

That same night, Mandy took a picture I'm sure I will cherish forever.  Savannah wanted to "read" me a book and even though it did not last long; the memory of it will last forever.  "You're never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child."  - Dr. Seuss

8.  My favorite Skin line at Target

Midway through September, I stopped in Target and noticed my favorite skin care line is now available at Target.  Not all the items are there, but some of my favorites are like this rosewater misting spray.  I use it as a Toner after I cleanse my face at night and it's makes my skin so soft even before the nightly moisturizer goes on.  I only left with this one product that night, but I'm sure I'll be back soon to buy some more of the items. 

9.  The Calm Before the Storm

Sunday, September 18, I got my uniform on as a trial run to take our Annual Hi-Stepper Alumni pictures not knowing it would be the only time I wore it this year.  I am so glad Bridget was able to tease my hair and make me semi presentable.  I will cherish these photos for a long time and I'm so thankful I was able to practice with these girlsif only for a little while. 

10.  Viral Gastritis

Late Tuesday afternoon, I did my normal routine of getting off work and going to eat with a friend and when I got home I asked my mom for a particular pair of socks.  I never ask for socks, so I knew something was wrong.  I went to bed praying for whatever was going on to go away, but it didn't.  I woke up at 3 am and took my temperature and it was 101.4.  It got up to 102.4 and after throwing up a couple times, I knew I wasn't going anywhere.  

The next day was even worse, but I made my way to the doctor and was diagnosed with Viral Gastritis; which my nurse sister just said it's a fancy name for the stomach flu.  It took me out for the rest of the week and made me completely miss Hi-Stepper Alumni practice with the band and our performance the next night at Hinds Homecoming.  I also missed another important event: Bray's 8th Birthday.

11.  #GreatToBeEight

Brailyn Belle was the first babe to ever call me Aunt Cassie.  She was born on September 24, 2008 and I hate that I missed her 8th birthday celebration.  She has brought so much joy and sassy-ness to my life and I am so blessed to know this special gal.  I have plans to take her to dinner and shopping for her to pick out her birthday present next week and I can't wait to see what she chooses.

The Report is a series I post once a month to list things and events that are currently happening in my life.  Please feel free to tell me your monthly report in the comment section below.  
To read August's report, click here


The Delayed Report: August

I'm not sure what I was expecting when August started, but I can officially say that this month was even sweeter (and sweatier) than July.  I tried new things, went to some new places, celebrated a lot of birthdays, and spent time with the ones I love most so it was a very successful month. 

Each month I like to re-cap what happened and thank goodness for a date stamp on the photos in my camera roll or I would be completely lost.  Put any of your monthly accomplishments in the comments below or link your blog and I'll come visit! :)

1.  Bachelorette Swag Bag Arrivals

The packages have started coming in for the bachelorette bags I am currently making for the #LeaveItToWeaver attendees.  I really appreciated how quick some of the Etsy shops have been getting these items to me.  I cannot wait to put the finishing touches on the bags this month so I won't have to worry about it once October rolls around.  If you run an Etsy shop, please leave your shop name below - I am in need of a few more goodies!

2.  Bible Study Blues

Snapchat: blogsmaidcass

On August 2nd, our weekly bible study ended and it was very bittersweet.  I knew it was ending soon, but I didn't want to let our time together go.  I learned so much from our study, The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee.  I would recommend it to anyone who feels like they must prove something or do certain things to be a Christian (read their bible more, pray more, etc). 

I learned that it's really about your heart and your relationship with Jesus.  Going to church and reading your bible shouldn't just be tasks we check off of our daily to do list, it's all about a relationship with Him.  Jesus died for us, his grace is enough and his blood paid it all - everything we have done or ever will do has already been paid for, justified and forgiven.  Our significance is in Jesus alone and that's just a really great reminder on the really tough days.

3.  Bible Study Birthdays

Two of the girls in the bible study had birthdays the next day, Kaylee and Caitlin.  I both gave them separate birthday cards and birthday collages on Facebook and a separate post on Instagram.  Because are you really friends if you didn't use each social media network + a text + a Snapchat?  As Gretchen Weiners would say on Mean Girls... "I'm such a good friend."

4.  My First SuperShake & First Quarter Note

SuperShake is a type of smoothie place where it doesn't have all the added sugars/preservatives in it.  It's good for your body and tastes delicious.  I have gotten the Butterfinger twice and the Malibu once.  The only thing I find ironic is that I've gotten the same bible verse all three times.  I am starting to wonder if God is trying to tell me something - but I'm not fully understanding what it could be from just that verse alone. 

After that, I signed up to run 6.2 miles when I don't run at all.  The Mississippi Blues Marathon is held every January and I decided to get my life together and what better way than with a race on the horizon?  All of this is said with sincere sarcasm, but I hope it will keep me accountable about working out consistently.  I am currently on week 2 of my c25k plan - so miracles are happening.

5.  Baby Snuggles & The Importance of Being Earnest

The next couple of days I spent time staring and laughing.  I got to hang out with my bestie and hog her baby for a few hours - which she said I can do anytime.  I love the nights I can go over there and just hold her little one and catch up on life with her.  The night after that, I went to a small play in my town and it reminded me how much I love plays.  I love the ridiculousness of most of them and I love how much I laugh and just let go of the daily things that stress me out when I get there. 

6. Jewelry & Taylor's Birthday 


The next Friday night, I attended a jewelry party and ended up buying something very uncommon for me.  I'm more of a dainty necklace person, but I couldn't pass this one up.  I've seen other girls wear big necklaces and once the girl said "this necklace goes perfect with black" I knew it was going home with me.

The rest of the weekend was spent celebrating Taylor's birthday.  We had dinner at Outback and saw Suicide Squad in 3D.  I usually can't watch movies in 3D because I get motion sickness, but this wasn't bad at all.  I also have a prediction that a lot of girls will be dressed up as Harley Quinn this halloween.

7.  Dad's Retirement Party

Since last October things have been a little different at our house, but Dad officially had his retirement party on Friday, August 19th.  It was nice to see where my dad worked for 34 years and I hope he knows how proud we are of him.  It's not often that you see grown men say sweet things to other grown men in the corporate world, so it will be a time that I will always remember with smiles. 

I've began to notice I'm more and more like my dad: don't like to shop, hard worker, but also don't like to be the center of attention and would rather crack a joke to make everyone laugh.  That's exactly what he did at his retirement party and it was nice to see how much his coworkers appreciated him. 

8. Spiderman Birthday

Right after the retirement party, I got in my car and headed south.  It was officially time to kick off Bentley's third birthday.  When I got there it was time to bring in presents, see the kids to sleep and then head out with the girls for some dinner and to see how many items we could fit in Meredith's car. 

Saturday morning was bright and early to start Bentley's SPIDERMAN birthday party - Spiderman even showed up to save the world with the kids.  Even though it was hot, it was a blast and I'm so glad I got to spend time with my Coast family.  Nobody throws parties better than the Clark/Allen family and I come home with notes/sweet memories every time.

9.  Mug face @ McAlister's

My best friend who lives at the beach came home for a week so I was able to sneak in a little dinner with him last Monday night.  We ended up talking for a few hours and they almost turned the lights off on us.  It was such a good time to catch up with him and find out what he has been up to.  Can't wait to see him again in October when I come down to his part of town.

10. 24 hours in New Orleans

Early Friday morning, my mom and I set out to Nola.   A few weeks prior, we decided to attend our second pre-season Saints game.  I don't think we could ever afford real tickets during the actual season - we have found a nice section we like to sit in - and we have already become used to the couple that sits in front of us.  We arrived in Nola around lunchtime and I had to find a certain spot that my friend Lila had been mentioning for delicious Mexican food: La Casita.  Once we arrived - it was about a mile from the hotel - we ordered chips and salsa, guacamole, tacos and margaritas.  It was so good but the best part was that we were not stuffed like I usually am with Mexican food - it was just enough fuel to get back to our hotel and relax before the game. 

The Saints lost that night, but the memories we made were so much fun.  The next morning we walked to The Ruby Slipper on Canal Street and enjoyed a truly southern breakfast.  I still haven't tried a Bloody Mary, but I was real tempted to get one - however, we were leaving Nola within the hour and I needed to have my wits about me for an engagement party that night.

11.  Engagement party that turned into a Wedding

Around 6 pm, I got ready to head to an engagement party for a couple of my best guy friends: Jeremy and Jonathan.  This whole time they have been telling everyone that it's an engagement party and that they are eloping in Tennessee later on this year.  About an hour into the party, the music changes and the preacher comes down the backyard in front of the lake and all of a sudden the grooms do too.  It was such a surprise and it was such a sweet moment.  I am so happy for these two and I hope they enjoyed my gift.  I realized what do you get the guys that have everything? A Target gift card. 

12.  Alumni Appearance

Every year, I look forward to going to dance practice to perform at Homecoming with the Alumni Hi-Steppers.  However, this year has been off due to the fact that they put homecoming in September instead of October aka REAL SOON.  I didn't go to the first two practices, so our coach sent me an email the Sunday I got home from the Spiderman party and said "I will see you next Sunday at practice - no excuses." 

So this past Sunday I showed up and kicked my legs as high as I could.  From not working out at all, it was a disaster, but it was really sweet to see everyone excited that I was there.  If there was ever a time to prove that I'm a dancer and can get it together under pressure, this is it.  Everyone come out to the Hinds football game on September 22nd, I promise you are not gonna want to miss this.

13.  Booked a flight to VEGAS

I'm not going to Vegas until March 2017, but I am so so so excited that this is finally getting marked off my bucket list.  It's also on my 30 before 30 list and that works out perfectly before my next birthday.  If you have ever been to Vegas, please leave comments below.  I haven't flown in ten years, so I need to know all the details about everything.  

What was on your report for the month of August?

The Report is a series I post once a month to list things and events that are currently happening in my life.  Please feel free to tell me your monthly report in the comment section below.  
To read July's report, click here