Facebook: My Bad Habit

I’m a recent college graduate. Not only did I obtain my bachelor’s in English, but I also obtained a Master’s in Procrastination. Every college graduate has one, I’m nothing special.

Unfortunately, my career in Procrastination is just beginning. It pops up in different forms: cleaning my house, procrastibaking (my personal favorite), checking Facebook and Reddit, and playing a game on my phone.
Procrastination is supposedly our reaction to pain. Yes, pain.

Think of an action you’ve been avoiding. It could be any of the examples we’ve given or something that’s specific to your life. Imagine yourself starting to take that action. You’re going to feel something unpleasant. Concentrate on what you feel.

No matter what you call it, that unpleasant feeling is a kind of pain. Under this broad definition, fear, shame, vulnerability, and so on are all forms of pain.

Procrastination is our reaction to this pain, this fear, and retreating to our comfort zone.
I’ve been out of my comfort zone for a little over a month now. I haven’t had a set schedule of classes or work. And I’m trying to get back into a work schedule, but my procrastination habits are rearing their ugly heads once again.

I’m combating one comfort zone today: Facebook. Especially on my cell phone.
I’ve faced this habit many times. I’ve deleted the app off of my phone several times. Why do I keep downloading it again?
Well, Facebook is kind of handy sometimes. But at other times, it’s very annoying and detrimental to me accomplishing tasks.

Here is my goal: To keep the Facebook app off of my phone for the next week.
Here are my intended outcomes: Gain at least an hour a day, where I can spend it on reading, writing, and applying to jobs, instead of mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. I will face this discomfort, this fear, slowly but surely.

What is your comfort zone? What things do you do when you’re experiencing that discomfort of facing a new challenge?

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Oh hello there

A few things have changed since my last post!

1. I graduated college. Yay!
2. I moved to a new city. Yay!
3. I’ve began searching for a job. Yay!
4. I turned 24. Yay!

Graduating college was surreal. I felt like I wasn’t really there for the ceremony. I was also apprehensive as I hadn’t gotten all of my grades back yet. Until I had all of my grades on my transcript, I wasn’t officially done with school.
Needless to say, I made all B’s.
Two days after the ceremony, one day after we threw a fantastic going-away/graduation party, we had movers come and pack up everything into a truck.
It was very bittersweet.
But now, I am finally living in a city that I’ve wanted to live in my entire life: Atlanta.
There’s many reasons for this.
Outside of Atlanta, Macon, or Savannah, there isn’t much to do. I grew up an hour away from Atlanta, so it was the cool place to go for shopping or going to shows.
Luckily, I went to college in Savannah. It was a brand-new city to me, with a fantastic community-based downtown with a thriving art, bar and outdoor scene. Needless to say, it’s the best city to go to college in.
Unfortunately, Savannah is lacking in some aspects. While it is very small-business friendly, it lacks larger businesses that are tech-based. There are a few, and of course I can’t forget Gulfstream Aerospace in Pooler (a small city outside of Savannah).
Regardless, Atlanta is the top city to be in, in Georgia.
I’m hopeful that I’ll find the right job match soon. I’m excited to get my career started! I want to pay off my student loan debt and buy a house and go on a trip this summer. And somewhere along the way, become an adult (maybe).

-From a new city, but the same Katie

Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins

Summertime here in Georgia means two things: hot sticky weather, and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.

I have a garden for the first time here in Savannah, filled with ripening tomatoes. But that’s not all!

My boyfriend’s mother lives out in the country and has old blueberry bushes, a fig, plum, and pear tree! We visited them a weekend ago, and got to pick some sweet, organic blueberries. There is nothing better than eating warm-from-the-sun blueberries right off the bush.

Well, except for eating Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins!!

I used this recipe and it turned out great. The only change I made was instead of baking it in a loaf pan, I used a muffin pan and adjusted the baking time.

I used eggs fresh from our own chickens! Look at those orange yolks

I used eggs fresh from our own chickens! Look at those orange yolks

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My helpers waiting for some crumbs to fall.

My helpers waiting for some crumbs to fall.

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So go pick some blueberries. Eat them raw, sprinkled in your cereal, or make this delicious, somewhat healthy coffee cake!

 

It’s Sushi Time!

I love eating sushi. I put the wasabi undiluted on each bite, and eat every piece of ginger. I love the spicy tuna roll, the masago on top, and especially the tempura rolls. My favorite sushi place here in Savannah is Sakura, a hole-in-the-wall that could use a good sweeping, but they always serve this delicious fried bread with a syrupy dipping sauce.

I’ve been wanting to make sushi at home for a very long time. Luckily we already had some mats for rolling, so all I had to do was buy some vegetables, cream cheese, sushi rice, and some imitation crab meat. More on that later.

I followed this recipe to prepare the sushi rice, and cut up carrots, cucumbers, avocado, cream cheese, and the crab meat.

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I had also bought fresh salmon, but forgot to get “sushi-grade” meat, so the only other option was to freeze the salmon for seven days and then consume it.

As for actually rolling the rolls, it was kind of difficult. The rice is sticky and hard to maneuver.  My suggestion is to chop it up with a fork to separate it, and then use a plastic nonstick spatula to spread it out onto the nori.

DSC_0161Then, layer the vegetables and the meat into the very middle of the roll, and then roll it up!

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The first time I put too much rice and not enough vegetables, but the second time I got it just right.

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Our second attempt:

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I highly encourage y’all to try it for yourself! It was cheaper overall than eating out, and only took around an hour and a half total, including cooking the rice.

 

Pictures of the Grand Canyon, Carlsbad, Zion and more!

A small part of the Grand Canyon

A small part of the Grand Canyon

We hiked down to Indian Garden, 4.8 miles. It was 115 degrees.

We hiked down to Indian Garden, 4.8 miles. It was 115 degrees.

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"Aliens." Meteor Crater in AZ

“Aliens.”
Meteor Crater in AZ

Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico

Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico

Carlsbad Caverns, NM

Carlsbad Caverns, NM

Carlsbad Caverns, NM

Carlsbad Caverns, NM

After hundreds and hundreds of miles of boring flatlands, we finally saw the mountains in Colorado.

After hundreds and hundreds of miles of boring flatlands, we finally saw the mountains in Colorado.

Mesa Verde, CO!

Mesa Verde, CO!

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An overlook above Mesa Verde

Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park, Utah

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Zion National Park

Zion National Park

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Do you see the chipmunk?

The final part of Angel's Landing Trail in Zion. We didn't attempt it.

The final part of Angel’s Landing Trail in Zion. We didn’t attempt it.

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Sean taking a picture of me taking a picture.

Sean taking a picture of me taking a picture.

More Grand Canyon :)

More Grand Canyon 🙂

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My Bucket List Roadtrip, part two

This is the second part of our adventure, beginning at Las Vegas, a wonderful town in the middle of nowhere.

We drove to Vegas from Zion National Park in Utah, so that meant our drive was all through the desert. It was a hot,  quiet drive with barely any cell phone service. Then the city began to grow closer, and I could start seeing just how big it was. Fighter jets, at least five, zoomed above the billboards advertising casinos, clubs, women and accident lawyers.
Our first stop was In ‘N Out, a west coast burger chain specializing in burgers, fries and shakes.

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They handcut the fries in the kitchen. The beef isn’t frozen. The shakes are made with real milk. Needless to say, it was one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. What also makes their food stand out it the sauce on the burgers: they put a Thousand Island-like “spread” on every burger. I got mine “Animal Style”, a secret menu staple, which meant extra spread and grilled onions on my burger.
We ate there three times. The first and second day in Vegas, and stopped in Dallas, Texas on our way back home.
We stayed at Treasure Island with a view of the Strip. The most surprising thing I discovered about Vegas was that you can smoke in the casinos there. It smelled awful. I don’t know if you can smoke in every building, but I hope that’s not the case.
That night, we ate at the Eiffel Tower restaraunt. I think it was the most expensive restaurant I’ve ever eaten at. It was also one of the best.
We ate a fresh salmon appetizer, with brioche, some type of cream, onions and capers.
For the main entree, I ate veal medallions over snow peas and carrots. It was my first time having veal. I thought it tasted like a lighter version of beef.

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This was the view from our table. We were opposite the Bellagio. It was a wonderful dinner.

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Next up, we bought tickets to go see Blue Man Group at the Monte Carlo. It was a very funny and entertaining show. They used two people from the audience, had several funny skits, and the music was wonderful. Toward the end we got to bounce some balls around, too.

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The next day we tried to find the old strip. We didn’t have time to walk around it, but I’m glad we got to see a part of it.

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We also accidentally found the pawn shop featured in the show Pawn Stars! We went in and looked at all of their wares, but none of the original guys were there.

On our drive out of Vegas, we stopped at the Hoover Dam. It was it’s own exit off the highway. There was a security checkpoint where an officer asked you to roll down your window, and he would peek in your car and ask how you’re doing. Our car was packed full of camping stuff, so he asked for me to roll down the back window.
“Did y’all (he probably didn’t say y’all, but oh well) pack this up yourselves?”
I think that is the most useless security question to ask. The recipient of that question obviously knows to answer that with a Yes.
Anyway, the dam was pretty cool.

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And we continued on through the desert to: The Grand Canyon!!

We got there around 7:30 local time (9:30 GA time…our bedtimes were so messed up), which meant sunset was minutes away. I was so excited, I begged my boyfriend to drive us to the lookout at the Visitor’s Center. I didn’t want to sleep there our first night without seeing it!
We finally figured out where the center was, so I jumped out of the car and ran closer to the outlook, with everyone else giving me some slightly odd looks.
I decided that I didn’t want to catch a glimpse of if before seeing it full on, so I asked Sean to lead me with my eyes closed to the edge. I was so excited.
He led me, and when I opened my eyes my brain took a few seconds to comprehend exactly how big the canyon was.
It was dark, so I couldn’t see all of the details further in the canyon, but what I could see was amazing. The Canyon is so wide and deep. I could see so many rock layers, each with their own color.
It was (is) beautiful.

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When I finally saw it during the day, it was even more beautiful!

Next up: our grueling hikes in the Grand Canyon, and Carlsbad Caverns!

My bucket list roadtrip

At 11:00 a.m. on May 7, I finished my final with a sigh of relief and got in the packed car with my boyfriend Sean. Our first destination was ten hours away in Memphis, Tennessee from Savannah, Georgia. We left our two dogs and house behind (who were taken care of by my dad) with our last destination in mind: the Grand Canyon.

It was a trip of many firsts.

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Mesa Verde: This National Park in Colorado was like taking a step through time. Our campsite was so quiet. The only sounds I heard were the birds chirping in the morning.
Mesa Verde, Spanish for Green Table, is an ancienct site dating from 1200, where Ancestral Puebloans built amazing cliff dwellings straight from the rock.

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To get to it, we had to climb down then back up via three ladders up the cliff face. It was only occupied for a generation or two.

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Zion National Park: Located in southwestern Utah, this park is surrounded by desert but the looming cliffs were ironically carved out by the Virgin River. Different rock layers painted the cliffs, making it easy to see how the passing of time shaped the towers. The red sandstone combined with whites and browns were a dark contrast against the green trees that lined the river. Early Mormon pioneers loaned Biblical names to major landmarks, such as the Three Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

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We hiked up the Emerald Pools Trail, one of the contributers to the river in the valley. It was one of the popular, easier trails in the park.

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The harder, less popular trail in the park is Angels Landing. It was a grueling 4-mile hike consisting of steep switchbacks up to a ravine. From there, we hiked further into the ravine away from the valley, then up MORE switchbacks up to the top of a ridge. This trail gained 1,440 feet in elevation.
The views were incredible. We could see on either side straight down. The Visitors Center and shuttle busses looked like children’s toys.

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The trail continued further, on the top of the ridge. All we had to hold on to was the rocks and a chain. We scrambled across for maybe 200 feet, then made it to another outlook.
But we weren’t there yet.

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There was another half mile of trail, where hikers only had a chain to protect you from the sheer dropoffs on either side of the trail. Did I mention that six people have died on this trail since 2004?
We didn’t go any farther past the second outlook.
This was one of the switchbacks down, once you get out of the ravine:

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Next up: Las Vegas!

Newspapers lose, websites win: Journalism ethics in “House of Cards”

If you’re an avid viewer of Netflix’s “House of Cards” and have already watched Season 1 (who hasn’t though??) then keep reading. If you haven’t, this post contains some spoilers. 

This show revolves around a politician and everything that he does on his quest for power. He chooses to divulge certain secrets to a newspaper journalist, Zoe. He gives her the “inside scoop,” one that nobody else in the media will get. As the story-line develops, Zoe leaves the newspaper and finds a job at a quickly growing, more modern news website. 

Poynter published an article today examining the journalism ethics of Zoe and this news site in “House of Cards”. 

“While at the Herald, Zoe pushed her bosses to let her post news more quickly and resisted the layers of editing that slowed the process. But at Slugline, she is surprised when her new boss says, “You don’t have to send me things before you post. The goal here is for everyone to post things faster than I have a chance to read ‘em. If you’re satisfied with the article, just put it up. … Whatever hoops the Herald made you jump through, let them go.”

This editing process, or lack thereof,  is either dangerous, or the best thing to happen to news teams ever. 

My current job is news editor at The Inkwell, a student-run newspaper at Armstrong. When a writer gives me a story, I edit it and double check their quotes and sources. It then goes to the copy editor, and he does the same thing. Then the editor-in-chief goes through it a third time. 

This process, says Zoe and her new boss in “Cards”, is what is keeping newspapers and other types of “old” media behind. In order to publish more stories more quickly, the only editing a piece gets at Zoe’s new employer is by the writer. 

This process is dangerous because there is no second person questioning everything that the writer is claiming in their piece. There could be bias, wrong quotes and attributions, or blatant lies. 

It’s simultaneously a great idea, because news can be published much more quickly. The audience gets the info that they need. They don’t have to dig through a 700 word story to find what they need. 

I agree with Zoe’s view that newspapers like the Herald will struggle,and websites like Slugline will flourish in this news environment. 

However, I believe that one other person, an editor of some type, should read through a story once before it is published. 

If no editor reads through a published piece, every mistake would fall onto the journalism’s head. There is still responsibility that falls directly onto the journalist’s head. 

Poynter closes with an open-ended sentence, but it is true. Nobody knows what the next big thing in news is yet.

 “What was new becomes old. And the next new thing will certainly take its place.”

 

Minimum wage hike: good or bad idea?

The American public and Congress are already divided over this issue.
Many politicians against a wage raise say that it could actually hurt the economy, instead of helping it.
Others say that a raise will have the opposite effect, by pumping more money into workers pockets and therefore the economy.
Most people make up their mind about a debate like this by reading news online. Others look up statistics. Most of us just listen to what the political party we like best is saying.
Where are some of these politicians getting their information?
It’s most likely from the Employment Policies Institute. This is a non-profit organization.
However, one of their prime backers “is a public relations firm that also represents the restaurant industry.”
Waiters and waitresses work in restaurants. Guess how much they get paid? $2.13 an hour.
The proposed minimum wage hike is set at $10.10 an hour.
Obviously, all of the data that this non-profit collects is going to be biased.
In the NY Times article, the reporter reveals this important information.
Please read it here.
Be informed about where your information is coming from.
You can never know too much.

Snowpacalypse, Georgia-style.

When it snows in Georgia, everything comes to a stop. The only thing that remained open here in Savannah was Wal-mart (do they close, ever?), Waffle House and Starbucks. 

Schools, daycare centers, and small businesses all shut their doors, because all of their customers did the exact same thing. The City Manager and Governor warned all Georgia citizens to stay indoors and not to drive for anything less than a dire emergency. 

Regardless of these warnings, on Tuesday Atlanta experienced their normal traffic conditions, plus a couple handfuls of ice and snow. What happened when all of the schools and businesses were let out at the same time was unbelievable gridlock, an untold amount of traffic accidents, and many angry people just wanting to get home. 

Governor Deal said yesterday that he didn’t want to play the “blame game,” but today he accepted full responsibility for the chaos and confusion. Poor guy. 

It’s not entirely his fault, though. Us Georgians should have been more prepared for the ice. Businesses should have let their employees go a little earlier. Either way, these words aren’t going to fix anything. What needs to happen now is that we learn from these mistakes, stay home when a winter storm is coming, and be nice to the stuck drivers (like many Atlantians did).