A Jackpot Thursday Rundown

I replied to someone’s tweet a little over a week ago that questioned when is it not okay to say “Happy New Year” any longer. I think January 14 serves as a great day for the cutoff. Let’s get to the Thursday Rundown…

Powerball – I think I might have been the only person not to come down with a case of Powerball fever over the past week. As I witnessed lines at gas stations that were insane in length, I was immune to the virus even when I was standing right in the middle of them with my six-pack of beer. I did enjoy watching Sidney get excited about the Powerball as she entered into a work pool with her fellow teachers, but personally I was never tempted to buy a ticket. As I wrote extensively about a couple years ago, I understand the allure of these games but my rationality prevents me from playing.

Obama Through the Years – One year ago, I reflected on a past school project by writing this: My junior year of high school I was in an honors humanities class. The major culminating project of the class called on us to prove a thesis that we were to present to the community. Teamed up with two of my classmates, we presented and proved our thesis that the Office of the Presidency greatly accelerates aging. Besides all the research, science, and writing that went into our project, we built a walk-through replica of the White House that included before and after portraits of the Presidents from the time they started their term in office to when they ended it. Below is a two image graphic that shows President Obama during his first State of the Union Address and his last. I definitely think the Presidency has aged him but maybe not as much as I thought a year ago.

This graphic shows President Obama during his first and last State of the Union addresses.

This graphic shows President Obama during his first and last State of the Union addresses.

Gas Prices – As the price of gas plummets across the country, I would like my western friends to know that down south we have enjoyed sub $2 fuel for a very long time now. In fact, at this point, $2 gas seems expensive to me! Just take a look below to see what I filled up for last night. Yep, this is a reality in Myrtle Beach.

The price of gas in Myrtle Beach is a pretty good deal.

The price of gas in Myrtle Beach is a pretty good deal.

FOOTBALL Talk – The National Championship game on Monday was terrific. Not only was it a good game, but the level of ability by both teams was more apparent to me than any other college football contest I have ever watched. I kept telling myself that these really were the two best teams in the land.

But what I really want to talk about are the Seattle Seahawks! The ending to this past Sunday’s game against the Vikings was shocking. I went from despair to joy. You see, it just isn’t about my favorite team winning or losing. It is also about having another week to get excited about and follow a cause that is special to me. When Seattle takes on the Carolina Panthers just a couple hours from where I live this weekend, I will once again be pulling hard for Coach Pete and his team.

I can't wait to cheer on the Seahawks again this weekend.

I can’t wait to cheer on the Seahawks again this weekend.

Wedding Update #15 – Earlier this week, Sidney put three cloths of different colors in front of me and asked which one I liked best. I picked wrong. She was showing me colors of bridesmaid dresses (unbeknownst to me at the time) and I don’t think I exactly chose what she was hoping I would. It is all good, Sidney has more intelligence than to ever take my advice on fashion anyway.

After announcing last week that we had two finalists for the resort we will stay at for our honeymoon, we decided over the weekend our ultimate choice. Booking will take place very soon.


With it no longer appropriate to say “Happy New Year,” perhaps some of you might be thinking about letting your guard down on your resolutions. Don’t do it! Stay strong and keep focused. Have a great weekend. Don’t Blink.

The Two Female Musical Artists I Enjoy the Most

After last night’s blog post about my top casual dining restaurants, I thought it would be appropriate to probably lay off writing about food for the rest of the week. However, I do want to keep the “Brent’s Favorites” theme going.

I am not someone who obsesses over music. I know many people who couldn’t live without it. Although I don’t need music buzzing every second of every day to keep me happy, I still do enjoy it. So, in the spirit of what some call “the universal language,” I want to identify my current two favorite female musical artists.

Hanging out with my two favorite female musical artists.

Hanging out with my two favorite female musical artists.

When it comes to purely voice, there is no other person (male or female) I like more right now than Ellie Goulding. To me, her voice is heavenly. It is distinctive and meaningful. I have never said this about any other artist before, but I also sense a bit of mystery in her voice. To me, I think her music just keeps getting better. I was never a big fan of her first huge hit, “Lights,” but since then I think she has kept improving. Songs like “Goodness Gracious,” “Anything Could Happen,” “Burn,” and “Love Me Like You Do” are melodies I never tire of hearing. But like I said, I think she keeps raising the bar. I really enjoyed her first single off her new album, “On My Mind.” However, when Sidney let me watch the Victoria Secret Fashion Show I immediately gravitated to the song that Goulding performed live, “Army.” Once it starts getting radio play you probably will too.

I am not the only Ellie fan…Sidney loves her too. Most likely, one of the first dances at our wedding reception will be to an Ellie Goulding song. I should have used “romantic” up above when I was describing her voice.

The other artist I am pretty high on is Demi Lovato. Sure her voice is above average but I just like her style and attitude. I also find her the most attractive female performer out of them all. To me, she just looks real and healthy. I know using “real” and “healthy” to describe attractiveness might sound strange but that is the best I can come up with to explain it.

I became a fan of Demi’s when I first heard “Give Your Heart A Break” because she belted out a couple verses that made me really recognize her. Since then I have continued to follow her music. A year and a half ago I wrote about another single she released that I enjoyed enough to mention in my blog. Since then, her music has become a little sexier but she still sounds really good.

If I wanted to end this blog post in a creative way I would have mashed up Ellie and Demi lyrics. Instead, I think I will just go purchase more of their music to my phone. Don’t Blink.

My Top Ten Casual Dining Restaurants

The other night, Sidney and I sat across from each other at Outback. As we waited for our food to come, we discussed what national corporate restaurants we would choose to work at if we had no other choice. It all started when I asked her if she would rather wait on tables at Outback or Olive Garden.

Well, this discussion sparked a blog post in my head. Because I haven’t written enough about food and eating over the years, I figured you would be interested in hearing my top ten casual dining chain restaurants. When compiling this list, I kept in mind my own criterion for what a “casual dining chain restaurant” is:

– Not a glorified fast food place such as Waffle House or Fuddruckers
– A place that would be acceptable to go for a birthday dinner. Thus, the restaurant puts in enough effort to sing “Happy Birthday” or an equivalent song for guests on their special day.
– A place that is “national” enough so that my friends on both the east coast and west coast know what I am talking about.

Here is my list…

10. Applebees – I use to despise this place on the same level as Red Robin but over the past couple years my attitude has changed. I have come to tolerate and mildly appreciate the theme. Having traveled to a bunch of them now, I do appreciate that each location tailors the “junk” that it keeps based on the community it is in. While I don’t care for the main entrees, I do enjoy the appetizer sampler and the yummy milkshakes.

9. Texas Roadhouse – I love that Texas Roadhouse restaurants offer peanuts. I also enjoy the large portions that they give out. Conversely, I also hate the large portions that they give out. No, that is not a typo.

A meal I had (the closest plate to the camera) at Texas Roadhouse about four years back.

A meal I had (the closest plate to the camera) at Texas Roadhouse about four years back.

8. Hooters – While I am not a big fan of the signature item at Hooters (just to clarify, I am talking about the wings), I do love their burgers. There might not be anything better than ordering a western BBQ burger and a cold Blue Moon. I just wish the restaurant wasn’t as tacky as the slogan happily brags about.

7. Olive Garden – This is another restaurant I didn’t always care for. I will still go to my deathbed saying that the breadsticks are completely overrated. But over the years I have warmed up a little more to the Olive Garden. A couple of experiences with outstanding service and a couple others with pretty good food when I was really hungry has helped to change my tune.

6. Outback Steakhouse – I really enjoyed my dinner with Sid the other night. I had a 12 ounce steak that was cooked perfectly and topped with blue cheese crumbles. Food is always pretty decent but I do think items are a bit overpriced and I have never been too impressed with a blooming onion.

Enjoying dinner at Outback on this past Saturday night.

Enjoying dinner at Outback on this past Saturday night.

5. P.F. Changs – When I think of P.F. Changs, I think of special dinners with my family. The five of us would go out on occasion to the restaurant and we would each order an entrée. We would then pass them around and share. The white and brown rice that comes before the main course is nice and the show the server puts on while mixing the sauce is cool too. Also, the lettuce wraps are completely legit.

My family loving life at P.F. Chang's in November of 2011.

My family loving life at P.F. Chang’s in November of 2011.

4. Carino’s Italian – This is probably the most obscure restaurant on the list but it is a national chain. Wikipedia says it has 130 restaurants. Carino’s is an Olive Garden competitor with a similar menu. In my mind, however, Carino’s is quite a bit better than its more well-known opponent. In my opinion the food is less expensive, but better, than the Olive Garden. I also would say that the bread offered at Carino’s is 5X superior to that of OG. Last but not least, I find the restaurants at Carino’s quite cozy, a far cry from what you find at Olive Garden.

3. Longhorn Steakhouse – I apologize because this restaurant violates the final condition of my criteria. You see, I am pretty positive most people out west don’t know about Longhorn Steakhouse even though the chain has almost 400 restaurants in 35 states. In fact, I actually had never heard of such a restaurant until I moved to Myrtle Beach. Good thing I did though because I love the place. The steaks are better here than at Outback and I think the value is a step up too. I also don’t eat that much salad but at Longhorn I will gladly chomp away because their mix is always so fresh and light. Also, I enjoy the fact that Longhorn is a well-lit restaurant. Many steakhouses like to dim all the lights and I don’t particularly care for that. Don’t get me started on their fantastic desserts.

2. Buffalo Wild Wings – I am a Buffalo Wild Wings fanatic. You know what? I never really even liked wings until I tried out BWW. It doesn’t matter what location you go to, the food always tastes great. My favorite thing to do is go to the restaurant with Sidney or my brother and split 20 boneless wings divided up among four different sauces. However, if for some reason I am not feeling wings that day I have no problem ordering a burger as I think the chain does a great job at creating delicious and unique selections. Of course BWW does the sports theme better than any other casual dining restaurant and the beer selection at the bar is always vast. I will never turn down an invitation to go to Buffalo Wild Wings.

1. The Cheesecake Factory – I have always enjoyed the Cheesecake Factory. In fact, without any influences the restaurant would be highly rated on this list. However, I think Sidney and her family helped me decide to catapult it to the top spot. When the Mathis family goes to a town that has a Cheesecake Factory, they are going to eat there no matter what. When we were in Atlanta together this past summer the first Cheesecake Factory location we went to had a two hour wait. Instead of going to another nearby restaurant, we drove to the other Cheesecake Factory location across the city and dined there. But you see, the food really is that good.

Sidney and I enjoying the Cheesecake Factory in Baltimore

Sidney and I enjoying the Cheesecake Factory in Baltimore

You sit down and receive different types of bread to munch on while you look through the most expansive menu in the restaurant business. You then enjoy an entrée that tickles your taste buds and makes you think it must be coated in butter. Next comes the signature dish, a decision where you can’t go wrong no matter how many different types of cheesecake you have to choose from. Plain and simple, the Cheesecake Factory is just delicious and fun.


This isn’t the first nor will it be the last time I make myself hungry while writing a blog post. If only there was a Cheesecake Factory in Myrtle Beach. Don’t Blink.

Why You Should Watch “Making A Murderer”

I had not watched a television series with as much anticipation and concentration as the one I watched last week. As someone who doesn’t care too much for sitcoms and dramas, it probably comes as no surprise that this particular series I consumed with giddy excitement was a documentary. I am talking about the Netflix masterpiece, “Making A Murderer.”

"Making A Murderer" is an extremely well-done documentary.

“Making A Murderer” is an extremely well-done documentary.

Real quickly let me address two items. First, those folks who haven’t heard of “Making A Murderer” might want a bare bones explanation of the plot. A man belonging to an outcast family in a Wisconsin town is accused and convicted of rape. After 18 years, Steven Avery is exonerated and set free. Not too long afterwards, he is accused of murder. “Making A Murderer” covers Avery’s trials and tribulations through the justice system.

Second item I want to address is that you can feel the same way I do about sitcoms when it comes to documentaries and still like “Making A Murderer.” How so? Let me explain.

The best writers in Hollywood could not have penned a better script than the real life story that revolves around Steven Avery. The twists and turns that abound in the ten episodes will leave you dumbfounded. Of course a major reason why the story is so incredible centers right on the people the documentary covers. Everyone starting with Avery leaves an impression. You have the arrogant prosecuting attorney, the old school law enforcement officers, the stern judge, the conflicted community members, the dialed in members of the local media, the tortured family members, etc. “Making A Murder” offers a gripping tale with complex and colorful characters.

Besides the heart of the story itself, you will like “Making A Murderer” just because of its completeness. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, the documentary covers 35 years (1980-2015) without seemingly missing a thing. Complete action from court, hundreds of jailhouse phone calls, interrogations, countless family interviews, local newscasts throughout the years, and anything else you can think of are all preserved and reflected in the documentary. It is absolutely incredible. I kept looking over at Sidney and wondering aloud how long it must have taken to compile all this information and then sort through it to put together a powerful product that made sense.

Any good story makes you think. “Making A Murderer” is so impactful because it will make you question some societal givens. Many people will watch the documentary and question law enforcement. Many will question the judicial system. Many will question the caste system that so many communities seem to establish. You won’t watch “Making A Murderer” and not reflect on what you saw.

But besides the great story, thoroughness, and thought-provoking themes, there is something that I enjoyed about “Making A Murderer” most of all. Hands down, I loved watching the attorneys for Steven Avery in the second murder case mount his defense. The documentary gives a candid, behind the scenes look at Avery’s two high profile lawyers as they fight for his innocence. In one scene, Avery’s counsel will be engaged in a heated press conference; the next they will be sitting on a couch cheerfully discussing the case. In another scene, they will be in a stuffy room talking with Avery’s family as the dad offers his own “legal advice”; the next they will be driving in a car discussing the day’s action in court, giving credit to the prosecution for making a good strategic move. The analysis and reasoning offered by these two men is just so honest and clear that it is superb television. They break it down in a way that a football coach would a game, dissecting the big plays and exposing what went right/wrong.

My favorite part of the whole documentary is the last piece of advice given by one of Avery’s lawyers to the family moments before the verdict is read. Outside the courthouse before walking inside to hear their son’s fate, the attorney tells the Averys to be careful in the event of a not guilty verdict. He cautions them to not let anyone follow them home. If they feel that someone is tailing them, he advises the family, drive directly to the police station. Basic, yet impactful.

Having the opportunity to see that type of last minute advice in a totally raw fashion is something that I really enjoy.


So how easy is it to watch “Making A Murderer”? Well, anyone will be able to enjoy it and comprehend it. It just comes down to how long you want to take to view it all. Sidney and I watched two episodes (60 minutes each episode) over the course of five nights. Sidney said she could have binge-watched the whole thing. Personally, I would not have been able to. The later episodes are heavily focused on litigation and while it is all very interesting, I couldn’t do it hour upon hour. However you watch it though, you will enjoy it.

In closing, as with any documentary, there is an agenda that the filmmakers push. As you watch “Making A Murderer” it will become clear.

Agenda or no agenda, I highly recommend “Making A Murderer.” It provided Sidney and I with five nights of suspenseful television. Give it a chance and wrap your mind around some powerful themes. Don’t Blink.

A Quirky and Romantic Tradition

NOTE: After a holiday break, Brent’s fiance, Sidney, takes over Don’t Blink for a Sunday. Enjoy today’s post where Sidney reveals a special tradition that Brent has started.

Happy New Year! It is my pleasure to be back writing for www.brentreser.com again in 2016. Some of you (let’s be honest – probably none of you) may have noticed that I took a brief hiatus from my monthly blog-spots during the month of December. Though you may not have noticed my absence, I certainly hope that all of you were able to keep up with me (and Brent) as we celebrated the winter season. In lieu of writing, I was soaking in time with my “other family” on the west coast and basking in all the GLORIOUSNESS that is SNOW! (A true southern-bumpkin, I couldn’t help but love spending two whole weeks in the powdery stuff.) Last Christmas Day, Brent and I weren’t even in the same time zone, much less within arm’s reach of one another. So to say that the past holiday season was memorable would be a vast understatement.

I had a wonderful time with Brent in Spokane.

I had a wonderful time with Brent in Spokane.

Could I go on for pages and pages recounting all the fantastic things I did over the Christmas holiday? You bet-your-bottom-dollar I could. But thanks to Brent’s vigilant writing and updating about our winter ventures, most of the good material has already been written. But lucky for all you Don’t Blink readers there is one little “Christmas tradition” that has not been addressed. The very last little nugget of Christmas cheer that Brent has yet to write about is his affinity for Christmas cards.

Yes, that’s right, Christmas Cards. Well, wait…let me be clear….Brent has an affinity for greeting cards in general. But he takes Christmas Cards to a WHOLE NEW LEVEL. As you all probably know, Brent likes to be a little “over-the-top” sometimes. Don’t be fooled, Christmas is no different. His most over the top gesture to date is sending Christmas cards. I know he probably sends a card to many people during the season of cheer, but Brent sends a Christmas card to me EVERYDAY during this special time.

When you send a card on a daily basis, they start to add up.

When you send a card on a daily basis, they start to add up.

Need some clarification?? Here you go!: during the month of December, Brent sends me a Christmas card…in the mail….EVERYDAY. So this means that each date in December…when I check my mail…I can guarantee there will be a red/green/gold colored envelope shoved inside and addressed to me.

He started doing this for me during the Christmas season of 2014. This year he continued with the tradition. I have to admit, at first I thought he was being a little ridiculous, but as the time went on, I found myself looking forward to checking the mail every afternoon. There were some days when the mail would get a little wonky, and I might get two cards in one day, and the next day get none. But all in all, every card sent is dated and proves that there is one for each day leading up to Christmas.

The cards hold special meaning to me.

The cards hold special meaning to me.

Some of you are wondering, what had he written in these 50 some-odd cards? Well, the answer varies.

Some of the cards were filled with line upon line of sweet nothings. You know, a bunch of mushy-gushy stuff that no one would appreciate but me.

On other occasions, he would send an additional card in the mail that accompanied that romantic one. This alternate card had lines upon lines of the same friggin word. (My theory is that these cards were Brent’s attempt to extract a dramatic eye-roll from me…he succeeded).

There is nothing better to me than opening up the mailbox and seeing a card addressed to me.

There is nothing better to me than opening up the mailbox and seeing a card addressed to me.

Then there were a few cards that just give a brief rundown of what the two of us did that day and what he enjoyed most.

Brent would also put inside the cards one of his (obnoxious) Don’t Blink business cards. On the back he would scrawl some type of question for me. At his request, I would have to text the answer of the question to him. Most of the questions he asked on the back of his card were centered on the theme of Christmas…such as: What is your favorite Christmas movie? What was your favorite gift from Santa?

Then, of course, Brent would send an off the wall question too. My favorite odd ball question from this year: What is your favorite flavor of Gatorade? (Like seriously….WHAT?…..so random!)

Throughout the entirety of our relationship, Brent has sent me dozens and dozens of greeting cards…137 cards to be exact. My two sisters joke that Brent single-handedly keeps Hallmark in business. Is it a little quirky to get a card in the mail from the man I see each day?? Yeah. Are some of the cards a little silly and pointless…well duh. It wouldn’t be in true Brent-fashion if they weren’t. But it’s also thoughtful because I know there was a great deal of effort put into sending me these cards.

It takes a box to put these 137 cards in.

It takes a box to put these 137 cards in.

These cards are a trove a treasures. Nothing cheers me up on a bad day more than re-reading some of the cards he has sent me. It’s also fun to read the cards and follow the evolution of our relationship. There are some cards from the beginning, where he calls me a “great friend”, and cards from a couple weeks ago where he tells me he can’t wait to call me his wife.

Although I give Brent a hard time about his quirks, this is the one that I love the most. I hope that he never stops sending me cards so that I can have a lifetime of memories set out on cardstock. I can’t wait to see how 2016’s Christmas card tradition will play out, seeing as though we’ll be living under the same roof. Knowing Brent, I am sure he will come up with something. Stay tuned to find out what he does. Oh, and don’t let me forget….until then…..Don’t Blink

First Thursday Rundown of 2016

Good evening to you all. This year I decided not to do Thursday Rundowns.

Just kidding!! I present to you my first Rudown of 2016…

Experiencing Uber: It took me long enough, but I finally took an Uber ride. On New Year’s Eve, Sidney, my brother, his girlfriend, and I took advantage of a promo deal for a free pickup. When we identified the vehicle in the parking lot we hopped in and I immediately thought one thing: Man, this car is really clean. The driver was probably in his 40’s or 50’s and made no attempt to talk to us. As we had just finished celebrating the new year, we didn’t mind picking up the slack. We chatted happily with him but only received one word answers. It didn’t matter though, it was a safe and free ride. I would ride Uber again.

From the Archives: Two years ago today, I sat down with Bryden Vukasin, a former contestant and key player on “The Bachelorette.” To this day it is still one of my favorite blog posts because he painted such a vivid picture of what a high profile reality show is really like. The day after I met with him at a Missoula bar, I wrote this post. For your behind the scenes look at what truly goes on during the course of shooting, I encourage you to give it a read.

Bryden Vukasin and I exactly two years ago on January 7, 2014.

Bryden Vukasin and I exactly two years ago on January 7, 2014.

Making A Murderer: The Netflix documentary “Making A Murderer” is all the rage right now. I must say that the hype is justified. Sidney and I started watching the documentary series on Monday night. Watching two episodes per night since then, we have now viewed six of the 10 episodes. I don’t even want to explain the plot because what I detail might not even come out as the truth when we finish it up. Just know that the series focuses on a man who is accused of heinous crimes and spotlights his tribulations through the justice system. What stands out to me the most about “Making A Murderer” is just how much research and time must have been devoted to making it. It seems there is not a single jailhouse telephone call, evening newscast, courtroom confrontation, or attorney press conference that is left out. It is very, very thorough. When we finish watching “Making A Murderer”, I might devote a whole blog post to it.

NFL Playoffs/College Football National Championship – Big football weekend coming up! The NFL Playoffs will start this Saturday but I could care less until Sunday rolls around. My Seattle Seahawks will travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings. The fact that the Seahawks already beat the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium this year makes some Seattle fans confident and others nervous. In my case, it makes me a little nervous. However, I really hope they pull it out and give me plenty of entertainment throughout the rest of January.

As for the national championship on Monday night, I am “All-In” for the Clemson Tigers. Sidney’s sister and brother-in-law (both Clemson alums) will be in Arizona for the game and I want them to leave happy. Also, I have really grown to admire Dabo Swinney this week as the stories chronicling his amazing life have swirled around. Talk about a guy who is easy to root for!

Sidney and I will be ready to cheer the Seahawks on.

Sidney and I will be ready to cheer the Seahawks on.

Wedding Update #14 – We are now just five months out from the wedding! I have narrowed my choice of our Mexican honeymoon location to two resorts (thanks everyone for the suggestions). I hope to book by mid-month. As for the rehearsal dinner venue, I am still struggling on that front. You would think that in a town of over 1,000 restaurants it would be easier. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, our initial desired location did not work out. On a lighter note, Sidney’s dress arrived this week!


This completes my first week on my normal blogging schedule since my holiday vacation. Please excuse me if my writing seems a little rusty. You will have Sidney on Sunday with her latest blog takeover. We will chat again on Monday. Don’t Blink.

The Major Change Coming to Twitter

I learned last night that Twitter will soon completely change its identity. I am not talking a logo makeover though, I am referring instead to a move that will completely transform the service.

Very soon, perhaps by the end of the month, Twitter will increase its tweet limit from 140 characters to 10,000 characters. So much for micro blogging, right?

I admit that when I first heard about the impending change I was shocked. I never really considered Twitter going away from 140 characters, let alone increasing it by over 70X. But when you are a social media professional you can’t stay shocked for long. You also can’t feel bitter or angry. Change is a constant in the social media world and people like me must embrace it.

So while I am pumping myself up for the major move I have a couple questions in the back of my head: What exactly will the new Twitter look like? How do I want to use the new capabilities for the Coastal Carolina Twitter account?

The reality is that I won’t know the answer to the two questions above until after the reveal. Of course once the change is made I will immediately know the answer to my first inquiry but it will take more time for the second. I will have to become very familiar with how the new version works, analyze how the longer tweets look on the timeline (both from a desktop and mobile standpoint), and investigate how features such as tagging/retweeting/replying are impacted. Although I will need to step back and digest these changes, I can’t take forever. Twitter users are going to be freaking out when the switch occurs and they will be looking to accounts they know and trust to lead the way in demonstrating how to effectively master the new way to tweet. If I am on my game, Coastal Carolina University will help pave that road.

As I said above, my strategy for the new Twitter will not be completely formulated until the updated version is released. However, I don’t feel like I will be one for using the whole allotment of 10,000 characters for every tweet (if any). General information and updates will still be brief in nature. With the reputation that Twitter has built for almost a decade, I just don’t see users wanting to read what will amount to be a 10K character blog post. Will I ever tweet out a press release in its entirety? Heck no, I think the #CCU account would lose half its followers after a couple times of doing that. I will still summarize and leave a link. I mean let’s be honest here, this new change isn’t revolutionary in the idea that users will now be able to cram more text into a tweet. With the current 140 character version of Twitter, people already post large amounts of text; they just utilize hyperlinks and JPEGs to do it.

I am more interested in finding out if the new version will allow for multiple higher quality photos to be tweeted out at once. I am also curious to see if I will be able to mention our whole incoming freshmen class in a single tweet. Will Twitter also lengthen the character limit for profile bios?

I think the new Twitter will impact other people more than your typical university social media manager. I think sports reporters will love the luxury of sending out more detailed messages when they are live tweeting games. I think comedians who distinguished themselves by typing out hilarious 140 character jokes will lose steam to less Twitter-inclined comedians who now have more space to hit their punchline. Politicians will take advantage of more space to explain their policies and views. Speaking of politicians, Donald Trump’s Twitter insults are already vicious, can you imagine giving him 10,000 characters to really let loose on the people he looks down on?

One thing is for sure, Coastal Carolina University is preparing for and anticipating this big social media development. As for my personal Twitter account, I could definitely use a few extra characters when tweeting out my blog post teasers. Don’t Blink.

My Motivation in 2016

This is not a New Year’s resolution post. To me, what I am about to write about doesn’t really fit that realm. Besides, I have written before that I am not a big fan of airing out resolutions on social media/blogs. So please just agree with me.

When 2016 hit, the alarm went off in me that said it is now time to really focus on my eating habits. I then hit the snooze button on that alarm for a couple days until after I returned from Spokane. No one wants to stop eating sweets and guzzling beer while on vacation, right?

Most know that I am religious about working out. I never miss my early morning gym session. Those close to me also know that lately I am religious about eating too much. I never miss seconds at dinner and never refuse constant snacking during the weekend. Over the past year or so I have allowed my eating to counteract my work in the gym.

Not that this would ordinarily stress me out. I am not that obsessed with my body image. But, when the ball dropped in Times Square a few days ago a reality set in…I am getting married this year!!!

Of course I could not have asked for a sweeter thought to usher in the new year for me. It is a given that 2016 will be the best year of my life thus far. But behind the euphoria and excitement of the quickly approaching date is the determination to look good for it.

With a wedding and honeymoon only five months away, the dawning of the new year was the major jolt I needed to tell me it is time to quit my snacking and overeating. If I treat my body better with what I put in it, my time in the gym should tighten it up.

There will never be a better time for me to lose weight. How can I ignore the motivation of a wedding and tropical honeymoon? I want to seize the opportunity I have in front of me and make Sidney and everyone else proud. Writing this blog post and declaring my goal in front of all my readers just solidifies my drive even more. Time to get ready for June 11. Don’t Blink.

Sidney’s Spokane Bucket List

When Sidney arrived in Spokane a few days after I did this past month, she had a list. Now I know the term “bucket list” is very much overused and misapplied in our society but we don’t know what else to call it. During our time in Washington, we kept referring to Sidney’s northwest goals as her “Spokane Bucket List.”

Upon her arrival, we quickly started checking items off. Since Sidney is a southern girl and since it was a winter Spokane Bucket List, you could imagine that most items centered on the weather. Thanks to Spokane for delivering on a certain type of precipitation that Sidney really wanted to see, we completed most of the items with ease. How about we take a look at how she fulfilled the items on her list?

Shoveling Snow – We will start with the most mundane item on the list that also happened to be the first one completed. Sid wanted to experience the “joy” of shoveling snow. Arriving in Spokane a little past midnight on December 22, she was out shoveling with us several short hours later that morning. She woke up to the sounds of my mom and I hastily shoveling out my neighbor who had massive amounts of snow and ice at the foot of her driveway courtesy of the county snow plow. Sidney watched us do the heavy work from our living room window and then joined in on the fun when we came back over to our house to do our own driveway. After a few swipes with the shovel, Sid was a pro.

Unfortunately I don't have a photo of Sidney shoveling snow. However, I do have this photo of a snowman we built!

Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of Sidney shoveling snow. However, I do have this photo of a snowman we built!

Sledding – I grew up sledding with my friends. Since we lived across the street from a park with big hills (and plenty of snow), the entertainment was endless. Never once in her life had Sidney enjoyed this winter activity that I took for granted. Last week my sister let us borrow her sleds and Sidney and I ventured over to the park that I had so much fun in as a kid. We spent time in our traditional and saucer sleds going down the hills that didn’t seem as big to me as I remembered them. Sid learned that sledding is a tiring activity! Soaring down the hills head first is exhilarating but running back up the hill in the deep snow is not. However, the cardiovascular workout was well worth the thrills we both got as we had the whole park to ourselves.

I had a wonderful time taking Sidney sledding.

I had a wonderful time taking Sidney sledding.

Ice Skating – This item on the bucket list goes back quite a bit. It seems like since we first started dating, Sidney has expressed her desire to go ice skating. On a night downtown with my brother and his girlfriend, we made it happen. After drinks at a River Park Square restaurant and a walk through the Riverfront Park light display, Sidney had her chance on the pavilion ice rink. Since I am a terrible ice skater and my brother isn’t much better, we sat in the stands and took photos while Sidney and Ashley (my brother’s girlfriend) skated around the winter wonderland. Sid picked up the skill extremely quickly and looked great making circles around the rink. When she got off the ice I could tell she was so happy to have had the opportunity to ice skate…it was very cute.

Sidney ice skating with Ashley to her right.

Sidney ice skating with Ashley to her right.

Gondola Ride – This was Sidney’s third visit to Spokane. The prior times she had eyed the gondola cars hovering over the Spokane Falls. Because of time constraints, we never made it to the attraction. However, this time around with an open schedule and the city covered in beautiful white snow, we knew there wouldn’t be a better opportunity to do it. We went back to downtown Spokane, purchased tickets, and jumped in a gondola car. We went across the falls while Sidney got to Facetime her dad for a portion of it. Although I got a little queasy right at the beginning because our car/cage was rocking back and forth so much, I loosened up and we both enjoyed the ride and spectacular views.

Here is a gondola collage I posted to Instagram. The photo on top is of us inside the gondola car. The image on the lower left is a view of the falls from the gondola. The image on the bottom right is just of Riverfront Park not taken from the gondolas.

Here is a gondola collage I posted to Instagram. The photo on top is of us inside the gondola car. The image on the lower left is a view of the falls from the gondola. The image on the bottom right is just of Riverfront Park not taken from the gondolas.

White Christmas – This was the big one. All Sidney wanted was a white Christmas and she definitely got it. I didn’t even have to sweat it out either. It snowed the whole time we were in Spokane and it was guaranteed days before that Christmas would be white. She enjoyed the traditional conditions in Spokane while her family in Myrtle Beach celebrated the holiday in 80 degree temperatures. We went out and took photos in front of the deep snow and Sid gleefully posted one to her Facebook account. Snow on Christmas isn’t always a sure thing so I was happy that Mother Nature pulled though.

Sidney and I posing in front of the snow on Christmas Day.

Sidney and I posing in front of the snow on Christmas Day.

Check, check, check, check and…….check! Sidney satisfactorily completed her Spokane Bucket List and I was honored to be along for the ride. Because of Sid’s motivation, some simple planning by me, and a little bit of luck with the weather everything went smoothly. Don’t Blink.

A Holiday Trip Home Where I Really Felt the Spirit

After a day of travel, I am back in Myrtle Beach. Bright and early tomorrow morning I will resume my normal routine at Coastal Carolina University. As is the case with most vacations, it is always a little hard to get back on the saddle after having such a fun and carefree time.

I had an incredible stay in Spokane. I could recap the hundred different things I did over the past two plus weeks or I could just briefly describe what made my time at home so memorable. I choose the latter.

I can't thank my parents enough for providing me with such a great time while I was in Spokane.

I can’t thank my parents enough for providing me with such a great time while I was in Spokane.

This trip I stayed within Spokane limits the whole time. I didn’t pack the schedule with mini trips or Pacific Northwest sightseeing adventures. Instead, majority of my time was spent in my comfy childhood home on Guinevere Drive sitting by the fireplace with my loved ones. We chatted, we played games, we sipped hot chocolate, and we enjoyed each other’s company.

It just really felt like Christmas in Spokane.

It just really felt like Christmas in Spokane.

This trip I got to do the small but meaningful tasks with my family members. I worked out with my dad at 4:30 a.m. on several mornings. I ran errands all over town with my mom. I went to story time at the local library with my sister and niece. I went “Christmas shopping” with my brother as we visited a couple bars to pick up gift cards (and a drink or two).

I even had the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with my parents. This photo was taken at a restaurant in downtown Spokane.

I even had the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with my parents. This photo was taken at a restaurant in downtown Spokane.

This trip I welcomed my fiance to enjoy the holidays with my family. Sidney arrived in town on December 21 and did everything with us that incorporates our Reser family traditions. The whole time Sidney was right in the middle of our celebrations from making gingerbread houses to attending Christmas Eve mass to finding the pickle in the tree to opening gifts to watching our traditional Christmas Day movie at the theater to enjoying our New Year’s Day meal.

Sidney got to enjoy the holidays with my family. In this photo she is with my mom, my niece, and my sister.

Sidney got to enjoy the holidays with my family. In this photo she is with my mom, my niece, and my sister.

This trip I got to spend a significant amount of time with my niece. Babies grow so fast and it is tough that I don’t get to see Mikayla that often but we did all we could to make up for lost time. Every single day during the second full week I was there, my sister brought Mikayla over to my mom’s. I got to play with her, hold her, and talk to her. She warmed up to me throughout the trip and I became very attached. It was tough to say goodbye to her last night.

I really enjoyed hanging out with my niece.

I really enjoyed hanging out with my niece.

This trip I soaked in the special feeling of the holidays. Everything seemed so right. Spokane was covered in snow. Everyone I needed was underneath one roof. All of us Reser siblings had our significant others around. The Christmas spirit seemed to swirl throughout my parents’ household. It was nice.

It was a big deal to have all of us Reser siblings and our significant others together.

It was a big deal to have all of us Reser siblings and our significant others together.

Thanks a million to my wonderful family for making my 2015/2016 holiday trip so memorable. I am very thankful for your love and support. Sidney and I will see you in five months at our wedding. Don’t Blink.