Categories
tv

Parks Picks: Binge-Worthy Television

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably realized that I’m a television junkie. Binge-watching is a habit I can’t quite break, and realistically, I don’t want to.

I’ve previously used this space to talk about my recommendations, but seasons change, shows come and go, and with over 500 new shows released last year, it’s time to make some cuts.

Categories
bucket list

2018: Goals & Game Plans

Raise your hand if you have no idea where this year went. Between a new time zone and unlimited warm weather, my internal schedule is off. However, I do have a fresh new planner that starts on Monday, so it’s time to set some goals for 2018.

As I mentioned in the past, I’m not a big fan of resolutions. I do, however, have a few things I need to accomplish in the upcoming year.

Simplify

This was on my list for last year, and I do believe I have started to simplify my life a bit, but there is more work to do. Between decluttering, finishing unpacking and getting ahold on what’s important, this will be a priority starting on January 1.

How? For once, I have a clear cut action plan thanks to Emily Ley’s “A Simplified Life.” Starting on Monday, I’ll work through my pantry (which aligns with another goal for the year), followed by my under-stairs storage and closet.

Focus on a Healthy Lifestyle

I hit a breaking point in early November. I was diagnosed with PCOS, bringing to light what I already knew – I have to take care of myself better.

How? Starting January 2, I’m going to begin Whole30. I did a quick Whole13 in November, but it quickly derailed with visitors and holidays approaching. I got a good sense of the program, though, and will be partnering with neighbors and coworkers to get ideas and support. I also downloaded the Couch to 5K app again. I haven’t signed up for an event, but I need a way to enjoy this beautiful weather while my friends and family suffer through snow and ice.

Invest in my Business

Do I have a business? Maybe. I have a blog. I have a portfolio. I have a business page on Facebook. Most importantly, I have a defined skill set that can benefit others.

How? I set a goal for myself to write 15 blog posts in 2018, in addition to signing 4 new clients. It’s a lofty goal, but a little hustle will go a long way. Plus, I already have 10 topic ideas in a note for myself on my iPhone.

Financial Freedom

Fun fact: moving cross-country isn’t cheap. I have my fair share of credit card debt, but I’m committed to clearing it out this year.

How? To start, I signed up with Trim, a bot that negotiates your bills for you. They saved me $360 over the year in a matter of hours! I am also working a second job, where all income is going directly to my bills. From a savings perspective, I’m obsessed with Digit. The app connects directly to my bank account and pulls out small amounts each day for a separate savings account. You can set goals (such as Christmas gifts or your best friends wedding), which makes it SO easy to prepare for the inevitable.

Be sure to follow along on Facebook and Instagram to see these goals in progress, and share your goals for 2018 in the comments below!

Categories
Getting Personal

Post-Graduation Feels: Lessons in Adulthood

Timehop has quickly entered the running for my favorite app. Every morning, I read the Skimm, check my inbox, and open up the yellow dinosaur to see what it was I did in the past 10 years on this same date. Most of the time, I’ll see a picture of my dog (obviously a great sign), some college shenanigans, and a Facebook status from the days of “Ashley Glatz is…”

This time of year, however, I see the constant reminder that I graduated from the University of Missouri’s award-winning Journalism school, a semester early, and with honors. The Missouri Method lives in newsrooms across the country, while I sit in my less-than-expected sales role. It’s a rude reminder that my hopes and dreams of becoming the next Erin Andrews or leading the charge for Disney’s global advertising remain just that, dreams.

From the moment I turned 13, I jumped at the opportunity to write for the school paper. In high school, I was promoted to Sports Editor, then Layout Editor. I didn’t even apply for another college – I knew I was going to be a Tiger, and thanks to my high ACT scores, I was placed into the program as a freshman. When I first stepped foot on campus in the summer of 2005 for journalism camp, I knew I found my home. Two summers later, I went to campus for Summer Welcome, where I first heard Profession Cyndi Frisby introduce the idea of “Strategic Communications” – a subsection of the program that taught students about the world of public relations and advertising. As someone who watched the Super Bowl for the ads only, I felt this was my best shot in the successful career I was imagining.

The next 3.5 years were some of my best. You can read that later.

After graduation, I took the first job I was offered – an associate media planner role at an agricultural agency in the city. My first day of work saw 2.5 inches of snow, along with my first “I can’t come in” email thanks to my beloved Mitsubishi Eclipse. Overall, I lasted 6 months. Sorry Professor Frisby – media planning was not for me.

The next three years saw a variety of industry-adjacent jobs, with a focus on social media. I landed a job at the top PR firm in St. Louis, a company that was proactively shoved down my throat during my last three semesters of my program, and gave me the best experience I could ask for over the last three years.

Here again, life happened, and we moved across the country. More on that at a later time. (Seriously. I need to write something about it. It was kind of a big deal).

Looking back now, I’m not sure I would have changed anything, but I would have enjoyed the following pieces of advice:

  1. Adulthood is hard. I don’t know if I thought it would be easy, but when I stepped off the stage at graduation I definitely didn’t think it’d be like this. There are amazing things and horrible things that merge together for a crazy intersection of tears, laughs and growth. Appreciate it, but don’t expect it to be simple.
  2. There is no perfect job. Someone once told me “your job will never fill you up,” and I wish they told me sooner. What matters most is your family, your health, your friends, your hobbies. Not your 9-to-5.
  3. Introduce yourself to alumni. Coming home from the grocery store the other night, I saw a car drive by with a familiar looking license plate cover. I got uncomfortably close to the car to realize it indeed said “Missouri Tigers,” before deciding against honking and screaming M-I-Z across the way. However, it brought me great joy to know that 1,315 miles away from Columbia, MO, there was another person who knew the words to Old Missouri. Plus, without it, I’m not sure I would have been hired at two of my previous jobs. The Mizzou Mafia runs strong.
  4. Lean on each other. I’m a firm believer in the quarter-life crisis, and I’m not the only one. This is why happy hours and brunches and text messages were invented – to be able to communicate with others living similar but different lives. Utilize them.
  5. Don’t stop dreaming big. Why do we stop asking “what do you want to be when you grow up?” At 28, I’m still not entirely sure I know the answer. I know what I’m passionate about – I’m just not sure what path will lead me there. Luckily, I’ve got another 37 years until retirement to figure it out.

Cheers to the class of 2017, and an extra *clink* for those who came before them.

Categories
entertainment

Last Minute Christmas Gifts For All

This post contains affiliate links.

Surprise – CHRISTMAS IS IN 10 DAYS. This short timeframe means many retailers have already passed the “guaranteed by Christmas” shipping deadlines, and do you really want to go to the mall this time of year? (Answer: NEVER) Luckily, Amazon still offers two day shipping, which means you can procrastinate  decide between gifts through Friday, Dec. 22.

Now the question becomes, what do you need to add to your cart, why, and who it fits best. Don’t worry – I’ve got you covered.

Taylor Swift, Reputation

I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Because she’s making more amazing music. This album lives up to the hype, with jams like End Game featuring Future and Ed Sheeren, and classics, like the acoustic New Years’ Day. 

WHO DO I GIVE IT TO: Your sister, your best girlfriends, yourself. Every female on your list under the age of 40 should be a Swiftie.  

Emily Ley, A Simplified Life

This book is not only a beautiful coffee table read, but a practical guide for clearing the clutter out of your life, both physically and mentally. Emily Ley, creator of the Simplified Planner, is a god-fearing business woman who tells it like it is, and makes it EASY, which is key heading into the holiday season. Real talk – I’ve bought three of these, including a Kindle version for myself!

“Never, ever feel guilty about taking care of yourself. Whoever told you that self-care was not okay, or that you should prioritize yourself last, lied.” – Emily Ley

WHO DO I GIVE IT TO: Your mom, your grandma, your aunts, your church group.

National Lampoon’s Vacation Box Set on BluRay

There are two guarantees at Christmas: someone will fall asleep after dinner, and we will watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. It’s not only a classic – it’s a part of a larger collection of classics, including National Lampoon’s Vacation (who didn’t want to visit Wally World as a kid?), National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation, and National Lampoon’s European Vacation. Just ignore the fact that Rusty and Audrey change in every single movie.

WHO DO I GIVE IT TO: Your dad, your best guy friend, your older brother

Amazon Echo

Can we admit that voice-activated technology is just the newest version of the clapper? Regardless, it’s pretty damn cool to be able to turn on your Christmas lights, play a Spotify playlist and order another pack of tape just by speaking out loud.

WHO DO I GIVE IT TO: Your husband, your younger brother, anyone who has ever answered a technology question for you

Zippy Paws 

Anyone else have a dog who destroys every toy that touches his mouth? My 20 & 25-pound dachshund mixes absolutely LOVE the Zippy Paws hide and seek collection. The carrier provides an option for interactive play (it’s hilarious to see them stick their snouts in the tree!), the characters are small enough to carry around all day, and have just enough stuffing to keep them happy for the long-run.

WHO DO I GIVE IT TO: Your dog, duh.

Wine Socks

The perfect compliment to an evening of Netflix and Malbec.

WHO DO I GIVE IT TO: Your secret santa, your drinking buddy

What’s on your Christmas list this year? Let me know! 

Categories
tv

Best in Television 2017

This post contains affiliate links.

Moving across the country can sure screw up your calendar. While I’m not entirely convinced it’s December, I am convinced that this was a great year in television. For the most part, it’s the same across the US, which means I can enjoy and talk about shows with my friends in the 7 states I just mailed Christmas cards.

I wouldn’t consider myself a connoisseur per say, but I get around. The shows featured below brought laughs, tears, OMGs and more to my life through my own personal laughs, tears, and OMGs. In no particular order…

Riverdale, The CW

First, let’s take a moment to mourn the loss of my favorite teenage drama, Pretty Little Liars, which came to an anti-climatic climatic end this summer. If you haven’t spent the past 7 years searching for A, AD, Big A, and A-moji, go ahead and close this browser window and stream the first two seasons. Though lackluster, the finale left a 6-foot deep grave-sized hole in my television loving heart.

Enter The CW’s Riverdale.

Riverdale follows comic hero Archie Andrews, the girl-next-door and literal-next-door-neighbor Betty Cooper, hottie transplant Veronica Lodge and resident emo Jughead Jones as they navigate the evolution of their city from “the town with pep!” to a town pep-pered with crime and mystery. The second season of the show premiered to record viewership, thanks in large part to the number of fans who streamed the first season on Netflix (myself included). It has sex, drugs, gangs, murder, and good, old-fashioned high school dances. What else do you need?

Riverdale returns to The CW on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. Catch up on Season 1 on Netflix, and the first half of Season 2 on The CW

Mindhunter, Netflix

Just like my beloved podcast, My Favorite Murder, Mindhunter dives deep into true crime, focusing on the FBI’s first scientific investigation into the psychopathic mindset in the late 70s. Directed by David Fincher (Gone Girl), the show features real-life killers including Dennis Rader (BTK), David Berkowitz (Son of Som) and Ed Kemper (the Co-Ed Killer), who steals every single minute of air time. The hype behind this show is real, but I will warn you – it takes a few episodes to get hooked.

Mindhunter is available to stream on Netflix, and has been renewed for a second season. 

Big Little Lies, HBO

Look. Big Little Lies was shouted from every rooftop for months leading up to the March premiere. And guess what? It was EVERYTHING.

The book its based on, written by Liane Moriarty, follows the lives of three loaded mommas in Monterey, CA and their nutso school where parents think it’s totally normal to host Audrey Hepburn & Elvis Presley fundraisers. It has beautiful people (I really, really appreciate the pairing of Reese Witherspoon and Adam Scott), incredible music (seriously, this soundtrack deserves it’s own article), and murder, which as you can tell, is something I enjoy.

In no surprise to literally anyone who has watched the show, it has been nominated for 6 Golden Globe Awards, including Best Television Limited Series and individual nominations for Reese, Nicole Kidman, Alexander Skarsgård, Laura Dern and Shailene Woodley.

Big Little Lies is available to stream on HBO and Amazon, and has been renewed for a second season.

The Office, NBC/Netflix

“Ashley, The Office has been off the air for four years. Why on earth is this included?” Great question, sarcastic reader. The Office is the greatest sitcom you can re-watch on Netflix (don’t @ me about Friends. It’s old.), and the jokes never get old. Just ask this girl, who asked for a simple yearbook quote and instead got one of the most enjoyable Twitter threads of the season.

I’m not alone either – just ask this guy.

The Office aired on NBC from March 2005 through May 2013, but is available to stream on Netflix

Honorable Mentions:

  • Stranger Things, Netflix
  • Hunt for the Zodiac Killer, History Channel
  • The Crown, Netflix
  • The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu
  • 13 Reasons Why, Netflix

What couldn’t you turn off in 2017? Let me know in the comments below!