Seersucker Sass: October 2016

Monday, October 24, 2016

Pet Adoption Gift Basket Tutorial

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser.  All opinions are mine alone.  #StickItToLint #CollectiveBias

Happy Monday, y'all!  If you've been following along with me for awhile, you may remember that I graduated from a leadership program in my community this May.  One of the graduation requirements is to complete a Community Impact Project, and I was assigned a project on the sustainability of our local animal shelters.  I've always been an advocate for adopting animals from shelters, but that project made me even more of an advocate.  Learning the way that an animal shelter operates and seeing the conditions that animals were living in due to lack of funding made me even more passionate about seeing these sweet animals find homes and families that love them.

After shouting from the rooftops about the importance of supporting our local animal shelters, a few of my friends have adopted from shelters recently, and I've been making them these fun gift baskets to celebrate that milestone.  I'm really excited to share my pet adoption gift basket tutorial with y'all today!  

Step One • Visit your local Walmart to purchase the following materials:

If you are unfamiliar with where to find any Scotch-Brite™ products at Walmart, they're available in the cleaning aisle, closet/laundry aisle, and the sewing/notions area.

Step Two • Assemble all goodies in a basket (or a dog bowl if you want to get really cute with it!)

Step Three • Write a sweet congratulatory note to go along with your gift.  (I like to jokingly include all of the places they can look forward to finding dog hair now that they're a pet owner!)

Step Four • Deliver said gift basket in person as an excuse to get all of the puppy cuddles!

I know what y'all are probably thinking... Wow, that is a year's supply of lint rollers!  Why would anyone ever need that many?!  I've never met a dog that sheds like Francis.  Sometimes I joke that I take a piece of her with me everywhere I go because I always end up with dog hair on me.  And it's not just on me - dog hair accumulates on my furniture, my curtains, you name it.  So having a variety of lint rollers on hand is a necessity.

I typically use a Scotch-Brite ™ Lint Roller for my clothing.  Aside from having one stashed right before I head out the door, I keep them in my work bag, my car, and my toiletries bag for travel.  They're perfect for keeping clothes lint, hair, and fuzz free and for use on pants, coats, suits, dresses, sweaters, and formal wear.

For surfaces that tend to collect more dog hair, I prefer the Scotch-Brite™ 50% Stickier Lint Roller, as it contains 50% more adhesive for grabbing more than just lint and hair.  It's perfect for my couch, the bottom of my curtains, the fabric on my desk chair, and the seat in my car.  This lint roller was designed to pick up larger debris like pet hair, crumbs, sand, and even glitter!(I say attempt because if you have ever tried to vacuum your couch, you know exactly what I'm talking about!)  I love that this lint roller comes with bonus sheets, because I need all of the dog hair removal help I can get!

If you want to see the lint roller in action, check out this video.  (Also check it out if you love cute puppies, because this is 23 seconds of pure adorableness.)

Now I want to hear from y'all - tell me about your four legged friend!  Do they shed like crazy?!  Are you a lint roller hoarder like me?  Be sure to check out this website for more #StickItToLint inspiration.  I can't wait to hear from ya!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Nutrition On-the-Go

If you follow along with me on social media, you know that I not so lovingly dubbed summer '16 as "summer of sickness."  I caught some kind of viral infection in early June, and it caused my chronic illness to flare up.  One of the biggest concerns for me when having a flare up is continuing to get the vitamins and nutrients that I need and staying hydrated.  Eating is difficult because digestion causes major stomach cramps, so I rely heavily nutritional drinks to replenish the nutrients in my body.  But it can't just be any nutritional drink, as certain things (in my case sugar and dairy) can be hard on your body.

Enter ProNourish, a nutritional drink great for those on a low FODMAP (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharieds and Polyols) diet.  Low FODMAP diets are great for individuals with digestive issues like IBS.  ProNourish is also gluten-free, only has six grams of sugar, and is suitable for lactose intolerance.

At only 170 calories, ProNourish makes the perfect snack or mini-meal.  I personally enjoy having one as part of my breakfast, along with some oatmeal or fresh fruit like strawberries, blueberries, and mandarin oranges.  The best part is that it works well with my on-the-go schedule.  Just grab it out of the fridge and go!

ProNourish is available at Kroger in the nutrition aisle.  $2 off coupons are available here, just type "ProNourish" into the search bar!

What do you think?  Will you be giving ProNourish a try?

Monday, October 17, 2016

My Career Story

While browsing on Twitter, I came across a blog post by Kayla Hollatz about her career story.  (Seriously, read it!)  In the article, Kayla talks about all of the steps that took her to where she is in her career today.  And because I thought it was such a brilliant idea, I wanted to do the same.

As bloggers, we're able to control what parts of our lives we share.  But I'm always so curious about those parts of life that we don't talk about.  What do we do from 9-5?  What makes us tick?  What are our struggles?  What are our accomplishments?  What got us to where we are?  What makes us who we are today?  So. Many. Questions.  So today, I'm going to start by telling you about my career, and how I got here.

Growing Up

Despite the five minutes that I wanted to be a veterinarian and the one time I told someone I wanted to be a fire fighter when I grew up, I always thought I would go into a career in the arts.  I was an active child, and I loved to create.  I was fortunate because my parents encouraged this behavior.  I took piano and ballet, and I loved to read.  As I got older and into my middle school, my career paths became more focused.  For the longest time, I wanted to be a Radio City Rockette, as I studied dance under a former Rockette.  I was involved in my school's daily news production, and I fell in love with broadcasting.  Following broadcasting, I decided that I wanted to be an actress.

There was never a point in my elementary or middle school days where I was considered "cool" or popular.  Eventually, I stopped trying to fit in.

High School

Right before my freshman year of high school, I started working with an agency.  The coaching that I received was extremely beneficial.  I learned how to control my strong Southern accent, I learned body language, and I learned how to communicate with people.  When I was going to have my headshots taken, my agency decided that I should shoot an actual portfolio.  I immediately felt like modeling was a better fit for me than acting, and while I never really viewed modeling as a career path, I viewed it as something that would take me to the next step in my career.  I eventually signed with a Miami based agency, and I was so fascinated by my agent.  She was fiery and feisty, had bright red hair, and spoke with a thick Italian accent.  I knew I wanted to be just like her when I grew up, so much so that when I was accepted into a high school leadership program, I submitted "talent agent" as my career choice.  (There were none of those in my area to job shadow, so I job shadowed someone in HR... and quickly realized I had no desire to be in HR.)

The summer before my senior year of highschool, I became extremely ill, eventually learning that I had a chronic illness.  This experience really inspired me to want to go into the medical field.  Science was never my strong point, but I was determined to be good at it so that I could help others the way my specialist and nurses had taken care of me.  I eventually decided that I wanted to be a nurse with goals of becoming nurse practitioner.


But then I took an A&P class in college and realized really quickly that nursing was not my path.  I still wanted to be in the medical field, so I studied Special Education with the intent of becoming an Occupational Therapist.  But I had a horrible teacher who taught all of the special ed classes, and I knew it just wasn't going to work out for me.

At the end of my sophomore year of college, I was so depressed because I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.  I had always had huge aspirations and wanted to save the world, but I was lost.  I went to the career center, took aptitude tests, you name it. My parents even suggested that maybe I take a little time off from school and work retail full time until I figured it out.  I started having this overwhelming desire to be a lawyer.  So my dad came into town, we sat down at a Starbucks, and we charted out my course schedule of pre-law classes for the next two years.  I declared business as a major with a concentration in legal studies, and I loved it, y'all!  I had never felt as passionate about something as I had my legal studies classes.  I would talk about torts with anyone who would listen.  When I was diagnosed with cancer, I made the decision to stay in school because I was so focused on getting to law school.  When I think about things that really helped me through my battle with cancer, legal studies was one of those things because it was the perfect distraction and something concrete in a very abstract time in my life.

While in college, a sorority sister of mine helped me get an events internship at my local Chamber of Commerce.  It was absolutely perfect because I graduated in December, would start the internship at the end of December, and would intern for about six weeks.  I planned to start law school in the fall, so the internship was the perfect opportunity to save a little money!


I loved being an intern so much that it wasn't even funny.  When my events internship was over, I was asked to stay on as an intern for another department, and I jumped at the opportunity.  The thing I loved most about being an intern was learning.  Sure, it wasn't fun to constantly clean up catering or cover switchboard on occasion, but then there were moments where I had opportunities that I never would have had otherwise, and those made it worth it.

While I was working my second internship, a job position became available, and I was encouraged to apply for it.  At this point, I had been rejected by my top law school, realized my second choice wasn't going to give me a dime, and had missed out on a full ride to my third choice by one point on the LSAT.  After lots of thought and prayer, I decided that if offered the job, I would accept it and put law school off for a bit.  I was offered the job in small business development, and I took it.

To be really honest, I didn't love my job at first.  There was a learning curve, and I was terrified of my boss.  I kept telling myself I just had to make it a year.  But six months in, I hit my stride.  By the time I hit the one year mark at my job, my boss trusted me enough to handle all aspects of the business trainings we offered.  I also helped small business owners with social media strategies.  I had been attracted to medicine and law because I saw jobs in those career fields as ways to help people.  When I started to form relationships and see results with small business owners, I realized just how rewarding my job was, and I truly fell in love with it.  I come from a long line of small business owners - my family that came over from Italy had a farm, my great grandfather owned a blacksmith shop, my papaw owns a welding business, and my mom and mamaw owned a preschool - and that really fueled my passion, as well.

In the middle of one of our training sessions, I received a call from the CEO of an economic development organization in our area.  He had a job opening, and he wanted to interview me.  While I was absolutely in love with my job, I took the interview out of respect.  I had no intention of leaving my job.  But after the interview, I knew I had to take it.  I finished out one last event, took the LSAT on a Monday, and submitted my two weeks that Tuesday.  While I was terrified to leave, I knew that I had to do so in order to continue growing and learning.


Which leads to where I am now - I work in marketing for the economic development organization (sometimes called an EDO) that represents the county I live in and a neighboring county.  All EDO's are different, but we focus on recruiting primary jobs to our community and supporting our existing industries.  The marketing that I do is pretty broad - I handle internal communications, work to promote the positive things going on in the communities I represent, and also work to promote my organization so that companies are aware that we exist and will send us leads.

I had no idea just how hard it would be working in economic development, but knowing that I'm helping to put food on the table for families in my communities makes it all worth it.  I truly think that economic development is what I will spend the rest of my career doing.  If you're unsure of what you want to do and enjoy a fast-paced environment, doing something a little different every day, traveling on occasion, and feeling like you're making a difference, I highly encourage you to do a little digging into careers in economic development.

Shew, that was a long post, so if you read all the way through, I applaud you!  If you have any questions or want to talk about anything you read in this post, leave me a comment or shoot me an email... I'm always happy to talk career with y'all!

And now it's time for my favorite part - I'd love to hear from you!  Tell me about your job (or about the career field that you hope to go into) in the comments!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Smiling Fearlessly with Smile Brilliant

I've come to terms with the fact that this season of my life is pure chaos.  As we kick off quarter four at work, I know that things aren't slowing down.  In my world, long days with less sleep than usual equal lots of coffee and diet soda consumption.  While that's great for keeping me going, it's not so great for my teeth.  It's never fun feeling self conscious about something, especially when it's your smile.

Enter Smile Brilliant, an at home teeth whitening system with lab direct, custom-fitted teeth whitening trays and whitening gel.  Unlike similar programs, Smile Brilliant requires no initial dentist visit.  I want to share my Smile Brilliant experience with y'all so that you will know just what to expect.

After ordering and receiving your Smile Brilliant package, you will make your own molds.  While it sounds intimidating, it's actually pretty fun, and you will feel so impressed with yourself afterward!


You'll prepare to make your mold by brushing and flossing your teeth thoroughly.  Clean teeth are essential to the process!  From there, you'll thoroughly mix the one catalyst (white) paste with one base (blue) paste.  Mixing is easy!  Just stack the pastes then continually fold them in half until the mixture is blue with no streaks.  (It shouldn't take more than 60 seconds.)  Pop the putty into the tray, then line the tray up with your upper teeth and push it up, creating the impression.  

Don't wiggle the tray or bite down.  This takes less than three minutes to set.  When the top impression is completed, set it off to the side and repeat the steps for the bottom impression.  Leave both impressions in trays and let them set for about thirty minutes.  From there, you'll rinse the trays lightly then put them in the envelope and send them back to the lab.  Be sure to include the return card!  You'll receive an email when your impressions have been received.


Your impressions will arrive in a hard plastic case, and it's really cool to see what the result of your earlier "science experiment" of making trays.  I was a little nervous that my trays would be wonky, but the fit was absolute perfection.  If I can do it, I know you can too.

I don't whiten my teeth until I'm done eating for the night, because I don't want to do anything that might counteract the whitening.  Because of this, I typically start my whitening process before jumping in the shower.  I brush my teeth with water and floss, then put a thin ribbon of the whitening gel in each of my trays and pop them in.  (The gel is really easy to apply, as the packaging is similar to a syringe.)  You can whiten anywhere from 45 minutes to three hours, but I tend to stay closer to the 45 minute end of the spectrum.  (This is because I tend to go to bed after showering.  The trays fit so comfortably that I could easily leave them in longer.)  When my 45 minutes are up, I brush my teeth like I normally would, and rinse out my trays.  From there, I put a thin ribbon of the desensitizing gel into my tray and wear it for twenty minutes.  I rinse my trays out again, but I leave the extra gel on my teeth.

One thing I want to warn you about - when I started whitening, I would get this weird white strip on my teeth immediately after whitening.  It looked like calcium deposits, and it freaked me out.  So in my state of panic, I contacted the company.  It's totally normal, and the desensitizing gel balances everything back out.  When I woke up the next morning, the weird strip was gone, and my teeth were whiter.  I just wanted to give everyone the head's up that its totally normal!  (My friend Jenny is also testing out the product and had a similar experience, and there's even an article on Smile Brilliant's site about it.)

Another secret I want to let you in on - I have extremely sensitive teeth.  If I drink water that's too cold, my teeth will just ache, and it's miserable.  I'm always nervous to try whitening products because of this, but I can honestly say that I've had no issues with Smile Brilliant.  I know a picture's worth a thousand words, so I wanted to share my before & after shots with y'all:

If you're interested in trying out Smile Brilliant products, I highly recommend checking out this article or watching this Youtube video.  If you like discounts (who doesn't?!), you can get five percent off of your order by using code "seersuckersass05".

And hey, if you like free things, Smile Brilliant was generous enough to partner with me to give one of y'all a free whitening kit!!  All you have to do is click here and submit your first name and email address.  Does it get any better?!

If you have any questions about Smile Brilliant, feel free to shoot me an email or ask away in the comments!  And again, a big thank you to Smile Brilliant for partnering with me on this post and providing one of y'all with a free whitening kit.

Full disclosure:  I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  Thank you for supporting brands that support Seersucker Sass.

Professional Teeth Whitening

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A Little Reintroduction

After my post a couple of weeks ago about the new direction I'm taking with this blog + some inspiration from this post by Helene, I felt like this would be a good opportunity to reintroduce myself to y'all and hopefully get to know everyone a little better in the process!

I'm in love with industrial cities.  I love the culture of industrial cities, and I especially love repurposed buildings and spaces.  Cities that are industrial tend to have such rich and interesting histories, and I'm just completely fascinated by it.  There's nothing like visiting a business that's pretty cool on it's own and learning that the building used to be something completely different.

I have a serious case of wanderlust.  This month alone I'll have visited a small, lake front town in South Carolina, Raleigh, and Nashville.  I've explored more cities this year than I have any other year of my life, and since I've started traveling alone more frequently, my travel style is changing.  I'm hoping to integrate more travel content onto the blog in the coming months!

My little burro friend & I in Mexico!

I've started to actually enjoy photography.  I think this relates to my serious case of wanderlust!  Haha.  I used to get so stressed out about capturing the perfect shot, but now that I'm traveling more (and also trying to live a lifestyle that's not so attached to my phone), I actually enjoy snapping photos of things.  It's amazing how much more enjoyable it is (and how much better my photos are!) now that I'm not so obsessed with capturing the "perfect shot."

I took dance lessons for 15 years.  I wasn't always the best or the most talented, but I truly loved dance.  Taking dance for that amount of time really shaped who I am as a person.  I learned discipline, I learned when to rest versus when to suck it up and keep moving, and I learned that in show business and in life, the show must go on.

I'm a firm believer that numbers do not define a person.  It's so easy to become obsessive when numbers are involved, so I do what I can to avoid fixating on them.  I don't have a scale in my home, and I couldn't tell you the last time that I weighed myself.  I check my bank account every few days instead of every day.  I try to relax when it comes to Instagram instead of getting wrapped up in a follower count or the likes on a photo.  The only number that I let define me is five.  I've been cancer free for five years, which is the point where you can breathe a little bit and let go of a lot of fear.  Whenever I start to get wrapped up in a numbers game, I remember what I've overcome and that it's okay that my story is a little different because of that.

I have two rescue pets - a dog & a cockatiel.  I write and tweet about Franny so much that she might as well have her own blog, but I rarely talk about my pet bird, Pearl.  Pearl belonged to my co-worker that moved to Montana when her husband joined the military.  She had to move earlier than expected and finding a home for Pearl was one of her biggest sources of stress, so I just adopted her.  She's old and cranky, but her singing makes her endearing.  (She's also beautiful, but extremely hard to photograph because she's so non-cooperative!  Haha.  I'll try to do a Snapchat video with her tonight for y'all!!)

Enough about me - I want to know about you!  Tell me something about yourself in the comments!  If you aren't sure where to start, tell me about your pets, the city you've been dying to visit, or a mantra that you live your life by.  (Or if you have any questions for a future Q&A post, leave those too!)  I can't wait to hear from you!