Lazy Weekend in the Books, Busy Week on Tap

Sorry to those readers who look to my Sunday evening blog posts as ones that might have a little more substance than the other ones during the week. Quite frankly, this one is pretty straight forward and simple.

I have not had a more low-key weekend for a long time than the one that is just getting over right now. Yesterday I got to enjoy the pool on an 80-degree day in late October…that there is enough to validate my move to Myrtle Beach. Then in the evening I just watched football. No frills, no trips, no amazing stories. Just relaxation.

The major event from today was going to a small South Carolina town called Marion. I went with Sidney to her grandma’s house for the Mathis family’s monthly birthday gathering. About 22 people gathered to recognize the family members who celebrated October birthdays. I got to enjoy a delicious chicken bog, eat yummy cake, and meet some more members of the Mathis Clan. It was a nice little outing.

Sidney and I on our way to Marion, South Carolina, today.

Sidney and I on our way to Marion, South Carolina, today.

This evening I went to campus and covered the Miss CCU Pageant. The kick off to Homecoming week, the pageant had fifteen young ladies competing for the 2014-15 Miss CCU Pageant title. I enjoyed watching our talented students battle it out in front of a packed house for the coveted title. A student by the name of Natalie Francis Harris was picked by the judges as the winner.

The pageant got started off with a group dance number.

The pageant got started off with a group dance number.

As I just mentioned, Homecoming Week is now underway. This marks the start of a very busy week for me that will ultimately culminate in the Homecoming football game on Saturday. Lots of events to cover and some late nights to come. But it is my first Homecoming at Coastal Carolina and I am excited! GO CHANTS!

Hope everyone had a great weekend. Have an awesome week as we inch closer to the big holiday at the end of the month. One thing is for sure, I got the itch to do a lot of Halloween activities this year. Haunted houses, ghost walks, dressing up, passing out candy, and having fun…I want to do it all! Trick or treat. Don’t Blink.

Ordering Off a Handwritten Menu

Yesterday for Boss’s Day our office went out to lunch at a very eclectic restaurant. In fact, I found more charm in this distinctively southern restaurant than the all-you-can-eat country home cooking buffet we went to last week. I am going to have fun telling this story.

Once again, we went deep into Conway, South Carolina, for our meal. This time though, we were headed in the direction of a place called Donzelle’s. Tucked away in a dusty mini strip mall was our lunch spot for the day. Parking was a goat rope but somehow the four vehicles we brought inside the disorganized parking lot managed to fit. I was literally rubbing my hands with excitement as we walked in because I knew I was going to get a real kick out of what I saw.

Walking into the restaurant!

Walking into the restaurant!

I was not disappointed. We walked into a complete blast from the past. A non-alcoholic bar greeted you as you walked in to your right. Basic tables and chairs covered the majority of the restaurant floor to the left. There were some booths on the sides. Old, crooked photos covered the walls. Because they didn’t have a table that could accommodate the 14 of us, I sat at a four-person table with three of our graphic artists.

First cool/eccentric thing I noticed? We had pieces of cake waiting for us at our tables. Donzelle’s had a sign that read “Life is too short, eat dessert first.” Next incredibly cool thing? The lunch menu was handwritten on a sheet of paper. I had never ordered off a piece of computer paper before. Take a look at that menu though…kind of a cool combination/variety to choose from, huh? (And I am not being sarcastic. I love how you can choose a main entrée and then choose three side items). I ended up getting the chicken bog with butter beans and rice & gravy. I decided not to venture for any of the bottom four choices.

The famous handwritten menu. What will you have?

The famous handwritten menu. What will you have?

Regis, one of our graphic designers, ordered the same combination I did. However, the waitress asked him if he wanted any onion rings or French fries thrown on the side. How random is that? I couldn’t help but smile. He opted for the onion rings. As we were ordering I sat back and watched as loads of people entered the restaurant. It didn’t take long for that place to fill up.

Speaking of not taking long, our food was out in no time. The waitress put in front of me a big plate of great-looking food. After our table was served she asked if we would like any corn bread or rolls to compliment our meal (free of charge). We said “yes please” to the corn bread.

This food was delicious

This food was delicious

How was the food, you ask? The best southern food I have had so far! It beat out the place we ate at last week, Radd Dew’s, by a long shot. That chicken bog was absolutely incredible as it definitely stuck to your ribs. Corn bread was very tasty and the rice and gravy hit the spot. I demolished my plate, eating every morsel of food in front of me.

Speaking of plates, I mentioned in last night’s blog post that we presented our boss with a plate with his face on it. His name is Bill Plate and surprisingly no one had ever given him a similar gag gift in his life. The reason why I bring this story up is because when we gave him his Boss’s Day gift we were all laughing like hyenas that the entire restaurant stopped what they were doing/eating and stared at us.

Some of the photos on the wall.

Some of the photos on the wall.

After chatting about the random photos and discussing the smothered beef liver that was on the menu we got up to pay. One-by-one we went to the cash register where the owner asked us what we had and then charged us accordingly. Don’t ever think about paying with a credit or debit card at Donzelle’s. As we walked out into the South Carolina sun I had the same smile on my face that I had when I walked in. Don’t Blink.

Shortest Thursday Blog Post Ever

It has been a long day and it is late so how about I speed through my run down Thursday blog post in record time? Five random topics are coming at you right now!

Subway Flatizza Review – I never thought I would break down and get something at Subway other than a sandwich but yesterday it happened. I forgot my peanut butter sandwich at home so I went to our campus Subway to get lunch. The menu seemed to grab me by the throat and force me to order the buffalo chicken Flatizza. I obeyed and paid the consequences. Although it looks delicious in the picture below, I would have been much happier with a cold cut combo.

I won't be eating a flatizza again.

I won’t be eating a flatizza again.

Sweet Plantains – Today at Coastal it was our Hispanic Celebration Day. The various student clubs of Hispanic origin came out to Prince Lawn, our center of campus, to showcase their heritage. Available for all to taste were appropriate delicacies. One of these tasty food items was a treat called sweet plantains. To describe it simply, think fried bananas covered in cinnamon and sugar. It was my new food item for the day and I have to give it two thumbs up.

Me with a sweet plantain today and then on the right is the pan filled with the tasty treat.

Me with a sweet plantain today and then on the right is the pan filled with the tasty treat.

No Plan Weekend – After several weekends of traveling and action-packed adventures, I have no plans this weekend. Check that, I have one plan: Watch football. I am psyched for the Notre Dame vs. Florida State unbeaten clash and you can bet I will be cheering on the Fighting Irish. I am so sick and tired of hearing about Jameis Wilson that I hope he has a terrible game and Florida State is handed an overwhelming defeat.

Boss’s Day – Today it was Boss’s Day. My office celebrated by taking our boss, Vice President of University Communication Bill Plate, out to lunch. Tomorrow I will write about the doozy of a restaurant we went to but for now I just want to wish Bill a Happy Boss’s Day. He is a great person to work for and I am very thankful to him for hiring me.

For Boss's Day, our graphics guys gave Bill a "Bill Plate".....get it?!

For Boss’s Day, our graphics guys gave Bill a “Bill Plate”…..get it?!

Another One of Those Niece Updates – Mikayla is now six weeks old. The one development I should note is that she is starting to lose her hair! I don’t know the exact reason why but my girlfriend pointed it out to me (by looking at photos) and my mom confirmed it. However, she is still as precious as can be. Without ever even meeting her I miss that little peanut.

My niece, Mikayla, at six weeks old (my parents with her on the bottom left photo).

My niece, Mikayla, at six weeks old (my parents with her on the bottom left photo).

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Did I make good on my promise or what?! I told you this would be a short blog post. Have a great night everyone and close out your work weeks on high notes tomorrow. Don’t Blink.

Opportunities at Work

Today at work was one of those days where I got to do what I like most: Interact with students. Two specific instances provided me with this joy.

At noon today I had the opportunity to speak to a room full of business students about mobile media and how Coastal Carolina University utilizes it. Our business school is called the Wall College of Business so each year they host an appropriately named event called “Wall Connections.” No classes are held on this day to allow the students the chance to attend the festivities that include speakers, presentations, and panels. As this year’s theme was mobile media I hosted my own breakout session titled “Coastal Carolina Social Media + Mobile Media.”

I am not the best presenter so it was not like I was chomping at the bit to get up in front of the students and talk for 50 minutes straight. But I took a lot of time to prepare and the moment I knew my technology was working I didn’t have as many butterflies as usual. Once I started talking everything went smoothly. Throughout the presentation I tried to keep it as interactive as possible so I received a lot of feedback from the students. It was asking them questions and hearing their input that I enjoyed the most. A faculty member came up to me after my breakout session and told me he would like to have me back in the future so at least I knew I didn’t totally bomb it.

Presenting today gave me the excuse to dress up in a suit.

Presenting today gave me the excuse to dress up in a suit.

Later that afternoon I got to meet a student who I will have the chance to mentor for the duration of this academic year. I accepted an opportunity to join a new program at Coastal Carolina University called CINO Legacy. This endeavor matches a staff member with a student. From now until May twice per month, the staff member is to meet with the student on a variety of subjects ranging from resume building to job searching to interviewing. Matches were made based on questionnaires that both the mentor and mentee filled out.

I am matched with a senior from Philadelphia named Lauren. A communication major, she has a strong interest in social media and marketing in general. Today we just got to know each other as we talked about our backgrounds and interests. She likes social media AND sports (she loves the Philly pro teams) so we will get along just fine. I look forward to updating all my readers on how this rewarding opportunity for me progresses.

It seems like each day at Coastal I am afforded the chance to engage in experiences that will make me a better professional. Who knows what tomorrow will hold. Don’t Blink.

Our Hotel Nightmare

Out of all the hotels/motels/inns I have stayed in during my now 28 years on this planet, I have never had such a disgusting experience as I did on Saturday night. It marked the first time that I have ever got up and left a hotel before even giving it a one night chance.

As with any college town that holds large football games, lodging inside the city limits is scarce. To try to make a reservation just a week beforehand is near to impossible. When Sidney and I went to Clemson the first time a week ago we stayed in a little town called Simpsonville. About 50 miles away from Clemson, we stayed in a Comfort Suites. It was a very pleasant, modern hotel with nice rooms. When we checked in that night I tried to reserve a room for the following week. No such luck. Everything was booked.

When I returned to Myrtle Beach that Sunday I tried calling other hotels in the Simpsonville area to get a room for the next Saturday. As I wrote about last night, Sidney and I were traveling that way again for the Clemson-Louisville game. Everything from the Holiday Inn to the Hampton to the Quality Inn had no vacancy. I only had one option: The Motel 6. With rooms available I made a reservation. Hey, I didn’t need anything fancy, I just needed something that had a bed and was clean.

After the 3.5 hour game, the brutal traffic, and the drive itself, we arrived at the Motel 6 in Simpsonville at around 10 p.m. The building looked okay from the outside. We walked in the lobby and I checked in as a seemingly mentally ill rando stood at the counter looking at us while the employee had me sign papers. We went down the hallway past a wide open door that led to the guts of the building and further down to our room door. I opened it up and we walked inside…

The only way I could describe it would be a prison cell. It was uncarpeted, the limited furniture was plastic cheap, the bed wasn’t even a bed (it was basically a mattress with pillows), and the bathroom was scary. However, we were starving and we just threw our bags down and left to go eat at Applebee’s. Throughout our meal I had a slight sense of dread. I knew our hotel room was a hell hole but I had hope that it would be adequate enough for me to fall asleep immediately upon my head hitting the pillow. I thought I could do it.

We returned to the room a little before midnight and that was when our eyes were really opened to the filth that surrounded us. First thing I noticed was that the toilet seat had human feces still on it. As I almost vomited Sidney called me out to look at the comforter. It was covered in dark hair which Sidney said was most likely from a dog. I showed her the scene in the bathroom and while in there we noticed that the shower was full of hair, the bathroom drain was rotted, there was dirt in all the corners, and the toilet paper roll had not even been replaced from the previous guest.

This was the toilet scene.

This was the toilet scene.

I returned to the main room area and pulled back the sheets. They looked about fifty years old and were no longer white…they had taken on a brownish color. With the exhaustion from the 4 a.m. morning, the long day in the sun, the emotionally draining game, and the heavy traffic, I made the mistake of attempting to see if I would fall asleep if I hopped in the bed. Big mistake. You know the feeling of clean sheets you should get when you go to a hotel? Well, I got the complete opposite. I felt absolutely dirty with those sheets touching my skin. It gets worse though…

Sidney was by the curtain putting stuff into her bag when she called my name in disgust. Crawling on the curtain was a bug! I can do snakes, spiders, and rats but I can’t do bugs. I started calling every single hotel in the Simpsonville/Greenville area to see if any hotel rooms had opened up last minute. While I was doing this, I had to go to our door two different times because it sounded as if someone was banging on it. False alarms on both occasions. After I made it through the whole list of hotels I shook my head in helplessness…there was not one room available.

Sorry for the low quality/blurriness of this photo but I was too chicken to get close to it.

Sorry for the low quality/blurriness of this photo but I was too chicken to get close to it.

We started going through our options. We could somehow try to stay the night in our nightmare hotel room, drive all the way back to Myrtle Beach, or sleep in the car. I asked Sidney to truthfully tell me if she would be able to sleep at all if we stayed. She said no. We picked up our bags and exited the room. Sidney went to the car while I went to the front desk.

As anyone will tell you, I usually eat money before I complain but in this instance something needed to be said. In a respectful and bashful manner, I addressed the hotel clerk who looked like the greasy haired guy from “Hardcore Pawn.” I told him the room was not working out for us and we would be checking out. I showed him the bug photo…he said it was “the season” for them. I showed him the feces on the toilet…he asked me if it was actual shit or if it was just chipped paint. Despite his horrendous and insulting excuses, he went back to his little office which was in plain view of me and texted on his old model phone for about five minutes. He then came back to the counter and asked for my card. He swiped it and refunded my $80. He gave me a genuine apology as I thanked him for the refund. At least it ended on a good note.

 

I got in the car with Sidney and she informed me that she had called around in Columbia and that the Hampton Inn there had vacancy. I called the hotel back in a heartbeat and made a reservation. We drove the 90 minutes to Columbia and felt completely relieved when we walked into a large, clean hotel room at around 1:45 a.m.

That was the first and only time I will ever stay at a Motel 6…even if there are absolutely no other options. Driving an hour and a half longer and paying $50 extra dollars is well worth it. It was truly a disgusting experience. Thank you to Sidney for being patient and to the Motel 6 employee for apologizing. It helped make the hotel nightmare not as bad. Don’t Blink.

Standing on the Sidelines for Clemson-Louisville

This weekend it was round two of making the trip back over to Death Valley for some Clemson football. Although this time around there were a couple of major differences. First off, I was no longer cheering for the home team. Secondly, instead of sitting in the stands at Memorial Stadium, I was standing on the sidelines. Let me tell you about my Saturday…

Yesterday started off much in the same way that the previous Saturday had began. Sidney and I got up super early and hit the road at 5:30 a.m. We made it to Clemson by 11 a.m. and after a quick stroll downtown, we started to tailgate. About an hour into our tailgating I received a text from my great friend Kenny Dow telling me that he would be on campus soon. He had flown all the way from Seattle to Clemson to watch his uncle’s Louisville team take on the Tigers (Yes, his uncle as in Bobby Petrino). Sidney and I started walking so that by the time he had arrived with the Louisville team’s police escort, we could greet him right away.

When Sidney and I met up with Kenny at around 12:45 p.m. at one of the parking lots it was a cool deal for me. It marked the first time I had seen someone I knew prior to my move to Myrtle Beach six months ago. Him and I jabbered the whole way from the lot to Sidney’s family’s tailgate spot. Keeping Sidney company while Kenny and I caught up with each other was his cousin and the head coach’s son, Bobby Petrino Jr. A student himself at Louisville, Bobby Jr. was extremely nice and genuinely interested in the Clemson culture.

Kenny and I at Papa Stanley's Clemson tailgate.

Kenny and I at Papa Stanley’s Clemson tailgate.

When we arrived at the tailgate, Papa Stanley warmly welcomed Kenny and Bobby and we all had a nice time visiting and getting amped up for some football. About an hour before kickoff, Kenny, Bobby, and myself headed to the stadium. You see, I was very fortunate to have received a sideline credential from Kenny. Although I have been on the sidelines for numerous football games in my life I had never been on one in a non-working role in an 80,000 seat stadium. It was so cool to watch these huge FBS players warm up right in front of my eyes and then witness the pregame show right from ground level.

Kenny and I after we arrived inside the stadium for warm ups.

Kenny and I after we arrived inside the stadium for warm ups.

The game started and let me say this: It was loud! Not to say that last weekend wasn’t loud but this weekend it was at a whole new level. The fact that the game was close, the stadium was packed, and I was on the sidelines (you hear more than when you are in the stands) helped make it a truly rocking place. Depending on what side of the field the action was on, you could find me on that side’s 25-yard line. I really enjoyed observing the sideline organization. When players came off the field they knew exactly where to go and coaches had everything down to a science. When a drunk Clemson fan jumped over the wall right in front of a Louisville sideline meeting, the assistant coaches immediately started screaming out for security. The fan was promptly arrested. They kept all student-athletes inside the player’s box as if they had erected invisible electric fences. Even when Louisville just about scored a game-winning 90-yard touchdown, coaches kept jubilant players from jumping outside the box.

I  enjoyed watching the players on the sideline.

I enjoyed watching the players on the sideline.

Favorite of all for me though was watching Bobby Petrino work the sideline. I got to hear what he really says to the officials and I also got to hear what officials say back. It was so cool to enjoy that type of an all-access experience.

Bobby Petrino on the sidelines yesterday.

Bobby Petrino on the sidelines yesterday.

During halftime another special thing happened. I was able to bring Sidney down on the sidelines. Kenny very kindly slipped me an additional sideline credential to let her use. Even kinder, he left the stadium with me at halftime to make the long hike to his rental car to retrieve a Louisville football t-shirt for Sidney to wear (she was wearing orange). Kenny is a die hard sports marketer so probably all he wanted to do was watch that halftime show and see how Clemson engages their fans but he sacrificed that opportunity to help Sidney and myself out. What a selfless and great guy!

Sidney and I had a great time on the sideline.

Sidney and I had a great time on the sideline.

Sidney had a spectacular time with me down on the field. Although she had urges to cheer for Clemson, she was very professional and helped keep the integrity of the Louisville sideline. Her parents saw us on television and her friends and family in the stadium got to see her standing so close to the action. She too commented on how much louder it was on the field than on the sideline.

Sidney and I got to see a great ACC football game up close.

Sidney and I got to see a great ACC football game up close.

In the end, Louisville lost a heartbreaker, 23-17. The Cardinals had the ball first and goal with a minute remaining but came up just short. I felt bad for Kenny. For him to travel all this way and to come so close to seeing his team steal one in Death Valley it definitely wasn’t the way I wanted it to end. I also felt bad for Bobby Jr. He is such a nice guy and he is incredibly invested in the team. After a few minutes of cooling down time, Sidney and I went outside the Louisville locker room where Kenny and Bobby Jr. were sitting and said our goodbyes.

It was so great to see Kenny yesterday. I am thankful that he afforded me such a great experience.

It was so great to see Kenny yesterday. I am thankful that he afforded me such a great experience.

Despite the less than ideal outcome, I had a great time yesterday. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to see Kenny and incredibly appreciative for the experience he afforded Sidney and I. You bet that I will be rooting for the Louisville Cardinals the rest of the season. Don’t Blink.

Eating at a Southern BBQ Buffet

All week I had looked forward to today. In celebration of the October birthdays in our office, we had decided to go eat at a very local restaurant. Much to my excitement, this certain restaurant was an all-you-can-eat BBQ/country cooking buffet. Needless to say, you can’t get much more southern than that.

We all piled into a few vehicles and drove deep into the heart of Conway, South Carolina, until we came to a modest joint called Radd Dew’s Bar-B-Que Pit. With a big pig out in the restaurant’s lawn, I knew this place was going to be an adventure.

Welcome to Radd Dew's Bar-B-Que Pit!

Welcome to Radd Dew’s Bar-B-Que Pit!

We walked in and It was honestly a blast from the past. The place looked like a diner from the 1960’s or 1970’s. The tables, chairs, floor tiling, buffet setup, and the memorabilia resting on shelves made it feel like a complete time warp. We went up in line to pay first. For under $10 you got access to all the delicious southern food you wanted plus a drink. Since it was a lunch for the October birthdays, my wonderful boss paid for me.

Here is a look inside of Radd Dew's.

Here is a look inside of Radd Dew’s.

Our table was already reserved for us so we hit the buffet right away. Taking a Styrofoam plate, I looked up and down the roughly 20 items in front of me. I then got in line and loaded my plate with BBQ pulled pork, fried chicken, chicken bog, green beans, macaroni and cheese, and a dish called Brunswick Stew. I went to our table and dug in. The BBQ pork and the chicken bog were both really good. The macaroni and cheese was so-so, my girlfriend and mom both make it much better. The green beans were green beans. The Brunswick Stew wasn’t bad. But what really made my taste buds delight was the fried chicken. It was the absolute best piece of chicken I had enjoyed since moving to South Carolina. You could literally taste the grease and the butter.

My first plate is on the left and my second plate is on the right.

My first plate is on the left and my second plate is on the right.

I was guilty of going up for a second plate. Although the buffet also contained cat fish, pork chops, French fries, rice, potato salad, and other things I couldn’t come close to identifying, I stuck primarily to my favorite items from the first trip. In addition to my second helpings of fried chicken, chicken bog, and pulled pork, I also got a biscuit. My co-workers told me it was straight lard…I enjoyed it.

The start of the buffet line.

The start of the buffet line.

Throughout the meal, people from my office kept asking me what I thought of the different items. They enjoyed watching me dig into the southern fare. They laughed at me pretty hard because of my former misguided western belief that “BBQ” was throwing hamburgers and hot dogs on a grill. It was a fun meal and even though I didn’t want to do it to myself, I was stuffed when it was time to go.

The three birthday boys next to a pink pig. Our student graphic worker in the middle is Daniel "Scoops" Mableton and our Director of Creative Services, Rob Wyeth, is on the right.

The three birthday boys next to a pink pig. Our student graphic worker in the middle is Daniel “Scoops” Mableton and our Director of Creative Services, Rob Wyeth, is on the right.

But while the food was good, it was the experience itself that made the trip to Radd Dew’s Bar-B-Que Pit so enjoyable. Eating off Styrofoam plates, using plastic utensils, observing the locals, admiring the quirky decorations, indulging in a dining concept that I had never enjoyed before, and having a good time with my co-workers made the lunch hour a lot of fun. I felt like a real South Carolinian today and I wouldn’t shy away from taking any of my western friends to Radd Dew’s for some soul food and culture. Don’t Blink.

The Random Ramblings of a 28-Year Old

Well friends, this is my first Thursday since turning a year older. However, I am not going to let my senior status get in the way of my weekly tradition of running down random topics. So since I am not getting any younger, how about we get right to this Thursday’s wild menu?

Birthday Recap - Yesterday I celebrated my 28th birthday. After a nice day at work where my co-workers recognized my day of birth, I hustled home to get the evening festivities started. Sidney and I went to an Italian restaurant called Ciao for dinner. Just a little hole-in-the-wall joint on Kings Highway that requires you to make reservations, we arrived for our birthday date at 7:30 p.m. I had chicken limone while Sidney had fettuccine alfredo. We then went back to her place and I opened up my gifts. Next I Skyped with my family as they sang “Happy Birthday” to me right before I blew out the candles on my cake. Ah yes, my cake…Sidney baked what she called a “Candy Bar Cake.” Chocolate with a white frosting mixed with Hershey bars, I had two big slices. I had a very pleasant birthday.

Sidney and I with the Candy Bar Birthday Cake she made me.

Sidney and I with the Candy Bar Birthday Cake she made me.

Licensed - I am now an official licensed driver of the state of South Carolina! After jumping through some hoops and making three different trips to the DMV, I was finally presented with my South Carolina license plate on Monday. Notice how I just said “plate.” In this state you are only required to have a plate in the back, thus allowing you to have pretty much anything you want in the front. After flirting with the idea of having a custom front plate displaying my social media handle and my blog address, I decided to support my school instead and I purchased a cool looking Coastal Carolina University plate. Although a great conversation starter with total strangers who had never seen Washington state license plates before, I finally removed them on Monday night.

I am not a licensed driver of South Carolina.

I am now a licensed driver of South Carolina.

Weekend Plans - I am ecstatic to return to Clemson this weekend. Just like last Saturday I will be watching a big football game in Memorial Stadium. However, things will be just a tad different. Instead of rocking the Clemson orange again, I will be wearing red as I cheer on the Louisville Cardinals. I have the honor of watching the game with my good friend Kenny Dow. It just so happens that his uncle is Bobby Petrino, the head football coach of Louisville. Kenny is coming to Clemson all the way from Seattle to watch this game! When we meet on Saturday it will be the first time that I have seen someone I actually know since before I made the move to Myrtle Beach. After almost six months living here in the South, it will be nice to see the face of someone familiar.

I purchased this shirt online to wear on Saturday.

I purchased this shirt online to wear on Saturday.

Candy Corn M&Ms - On Sunday morning, Sidney and I ate at a Cracker Barrel in Simpsonville, South Carolina. Because of my sweet tooth, I had to purchase a new kind of M&M’s that I spotted in the restaurant’s store. Although I have never liked candy corn, it didn’t stop me from buying a bag of Candy Corn M&M’s. I am happy to report that the candies tasted nothing like candy corn. Instead, it tasted exactly like white chocolate. Although not bad, I still prefer peanut or peanut butter M&M’s.

The package of Candy Corn M&M's that I purchased.

The package of Candy Corn M&M’s that I purchased.

Niece Update - Mikayla is now five weeks old. After work today I got to Skype her and my sister. The whole time she made cute noises as she laid on her back and moved her little arms all around. Although her grandma reported that she wasn’t very cooperative when she went to get her month old photos taken this past Saturday, she acted like a little angel during our Skype session. Here are some of the most recent images of Mikayla.

Mikayla gets cuter and cuter each week.

Mikayla gets cuter and cuter each week.

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Age is just a number, right? Got to keep telling myself that. I am excited for my first major adventure as a 28-year old this Saturday. Thanks for all the birthday wishes and have a great weekend! Don’t Blink.

A Birthday Tradition at Work

The Office of University Communication at Coastal Carolina University is a great place to work. One of the many reasons why I enjoy it so much is because of our fun traditions. We hold premiere parties for new shows/videos we release, we go out to lunch each month to celebrate birthdays, and quite often people bring in yummy breakfast items on Fridays. However, there is one tradition that I like the best of all.

Whenever someone in our office has a birthday, our graphics department takes it upon themselves to create a card for that person. I am not talking about a basic piece of paper folded together with some text on it. Rather, I am talking about an elaborate, creative, funny masterpiece.

This was the card made for our Media Coordinator, Mona. As you can tell, it is a play on her name.

This was the card made for our Media Coordinator, Mona. As you can tell, it is a play on her name.

Rob, Regis, J.D., and Ron go out of their way to make cards that look awesome and that will make you laugh out loud. Their creations always speak to the birthday celebrant’s personality. If you are lucky enough to work in University Communication, on your birthday you will receive the best card of your life.

This was the card that our Vice President of University Communication (my boss) received. It is a Twitter timeline with tweets from people in the office. There are two other parts to this card with more tweet birthday wishes.

This was the card that our Vice President of University Communication (my boss) received. It is a Twitter timeline with tweets from people in the office. There are two other parts to this card with more tweet birthday wishes.

Once printed out, the card is secretly shuffled through our various offices in a red proofing folder for everyone to sign. When everyone has signed it and the time is right, the whole communication team will go to the birthday boy’s/girl’s desk and present the card. The crowd will huddle around the person’s desk and stare. The VIP of the day will then inspect the card, usually busting out in laughter.

Some of my bosses and co-workers waiting for me to open my card.

Some of my bosses and co-workers waiting for me to open my card.

Today my 28th birthday was made even brighter when I was presented with my card from the “Social Misfits” (aka the graphics department…their words not mine). With the whole office watching my every move it took me two lines of the card before I hollered out in hysteria. Rob and his team came up with a parody of Darius Rucker’s “Homegrown Honey” that was all about me. Piggybacking off of my brief cameo in Rucker’s music video, the card was very timely and appropriate. Please take a minute to read the front.

Here is the front of my card. So funny and creative.

Here is the front of my card. So funny and creative.

I then opened the card and filling up the whole left fold was a jar of “Homegrown” honey with my face plastered on it. To the right was space where my co-workers and bosses had signed. Even though I knew a card of some sort would be coming my way, I was so ecstatic and honored with what they had come up with.

The inside of my card.

The inside of my card.

Things like this make Coastal Carolina University such a great place to work at. The effort, creativity, and time that goes into something like this makes you feel special. I will keep this card for as long as it doesn’t get destroyed in a fire. Thank you so much to the graphics team for such a neat gift. Don’t Blink.

My Top Five Emoticon Faces

On more than one occasion I have written about my affinity for emoticons (here and here). While my love and heavy use for these cartoonish images run deep, there is a subcategory that I am obsessed with the most…the faces! I completely litter my text messages with the fun and silly expressions on yellow circles. Ahhh, the small lengths it takes to entertain me.

I use a wide variety of the faces. However, some particular ones I absolutely abuse. In tonight’s blog post I would like to recognize the five emoticon faces that I use way too much (presented in no particular order):

I am a real big fan of emoticon faces.

I am a real big fan of emoticon faces.

The Classic Smiley

Who doesn't love the classic smiley?

Who doesn’t love the classic smiley?

Let me start my list off with the most boring face to dominate my text messages. Even though it is the most prevalent and cliché emoticon, it is a classic and I love what it stands for. You can pretty much say whatever nasty thing you want in a text but if you stick in the classic smiley at the end you are good to go. But that is not the way I utilize it. Rather, I stick in the face to say “okay” or I use it in response to something funny that my texting partner wrote. I will use it if I write something that might sound hostile over text but really isn’t or I will use it at the very end of a texting conversation. You just can’t go wrong with it no matter how you use it.

 

Tongue Out Winking Smiley 

This is a great emoticon for when you are in a silly mood.

This is a great emoticon for when you are in a silly mood.

I enjoy using this face because I think it is a sillier upgrade on the winky face without the smile. If I am making an especially outrageous joke this is my go-to emoticon. If I want to lighten the mood with someone I also might send a few of these my recipient’s way. I mean how do you dislike this emoticon? It is cute, simple, and fun.

 

The Scream 

The Scream emoticon is my absolute favorite.

The Scream emoticon is my absolute favorite.

Without a doubt, this is by far my most favorite emoticon face. I love the way it looks and I love how it is so dramatic. I really think it carries with it a lot of power. Sometimes I abuse this power and overuse it way too much just because I think it is hilarious to do. But in normal conversation if someone says something surprising or if I drop some breaking news I am sticking it in. With Halloween coming up I will be using It more than usual because it fits the holiday perfectly. If you are reading this right now and you text me The Scream emoticon you will make me smile ear-to-ear.

 

Mouth Zipped Shut

I am not saying a word.

I am not saying a word.

I find myself using this one quite a bit. Usually I select the mouth zipped shut emoticon face in three situations:
1. I don’t know what to say back to what you said.
2. I am not 100% positive what you said was the truth.
3. I want to end the conversation.

But if I send it your way don’t automatically think I am doing it to be negative. Sometimes I just send it to mess with the other person.

 

Overdramatic Pouty Face

I get a kick out of the overdramatic faces.

I get a kick out of the overdramatic faces.

This is another face that I like to use because of its dramatic nature. One glance at it and you can immediately sense hysteria and disappointment. If someone denies me or if they report that something bad happened to them, I like to respond with the overdramatic pouty face. When people send it my way, I always immediately visualize what that face would look like on them if they were actually doing it while sending it off.

 

Honorable Mention:
Sunglasses Smiley Face

Sunglasses

Sunglasses

I have taken a real liking to this emoticon. I will send it completely out of the blue during conversations just because I think it looks cool. This explains the reason why I didn’t place it in my top five; I don’t have a specific use for it, I just send it off because I dig the sunglasses look.

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So there you have it. Please know that it is always acceptable to use emoticons, especially the emoticon faces, with me. Earlier I encouraged you to text me the Scream face. How about we broaden this a little more: If you liked this blog post, send me an emoticon face. If you did not like this blog post, send me the thumbs down emoticon! Oh how I love reader interaction. Don’t Blink.