February Blog Goals

five blog goals for feb

Today marks two weeks of blogging!  While I obviously do not have a large blog following, I do hope to build my blog this year.  I figured I could keep myself more accountable by setting monthly goals and see where I get.  So for February, here are five goals I have for the (short!) month!

  1.  Get 500 total views – Right now, after two weeks, I have about 140 unique page views.  I’d love to increase this to 500 unique views.  My goal is to attract more viewers with Pinterest, something I also want to build up a following on.
  2. Build a Twitter and Facebook presence – I’d love to grow my twitter to 100 followers and Facebook to 100 followers.  Right now, I have 15 followers on Twitter and 9 on Facebook (I know, sad right?).
  3. Blog twice a week – I want to try to continue a consistency in blogging, which leads to more views and comments.
  4. Participate in Blog Hops – I definitely want to start putting my name out and grow a presence within the blogging community. Blog hops and link up parties are a great way to do this.
  5. Respond to comments – I’ve slacked on this the last couple of weeks, but I definitely want to start responding to my viewers who leave me comments.  I think it builds a relationship and that is something I definitely want to do!

Easy Chicken Noodle Casserole + Step-By-Step Photos!

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Tonight’s dinner was this amazing chicken noodle casserole!  This was such a great recipe to tailor to anyone’s taste and is a quick and easy casserole to pop in the oven and out comes dinner! 

Easy Chicken Noodle Casserole + Step-By-Step Photos!
Print Recipe
Creamy and quick chicken noodle casserole! This recipe is great with baked chicken or with a rotisserie chicken.
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Easy Chicken Noodle Casserole + Step-By-Step Photos!
Print Recipe
Creamy and quick chicken noodle casserole! This recipe is great with baked chicken or with a rotisserie chicken.
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. For this recipe, you can use a rotisserie chicken or bake chicken. If you are using a rotisserie chicken, skip to the next step. Otherwise, bake two frozen chicken breasts for 45 minutes at 450 degrees. I cover my chicken breasts in chicken broth before sticking in the oven.
  2. While your chicken is cooking, 8 quarts of water to boil and cook the bag of egg noodles.
  3. When your chicken is cooked through, cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. In a 9 by 13 pan, add the chicken, drained egg noodles, 1/2 cup chicken broth, and 1 cup of frozen carrots and peas.
  4. Add two cans of condensed chicken soup and 1 cup milk (optional) and mix with the ingredients. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove, stir, and enjoy!
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Alabama Travels: Tuscaloosa Barnyard

barnyard

Whew! This weekend was exciting.  My boyfriend and I typically do a “date night” every Friday, but this week, we did a “date day” in Alabama and Mississippi!  We started off our day getting some Chic-Fil-A and headed out to Tuscaloosa Barnyard, a public barn about twenty minutes north of Tuscaloosa (45 minutes west of Birmingham, AL).

This place was AMAZING!  It’s definitely a great family outing (or for two college students) and at only $10 a person, it’s a fantastic deal.  There were so many things to do, including tractor rides, playground, pony rides, a huge bouncing balloon, and of course, animals!  At the barn, they have baby goats, pigs, chicks, cows, bunnies, llamas, and rats.  They are very friendly and can be picked up and fed.  Everything is all-inclusive (including unlimited feed) and is so much fun!

madgoat

eggs

goat

goatbottle

llama

madbunny

Later, we drove an hour and a half west into Mississippi and toured Mississippi State University.  While it has nothing on ‘Bama, MSU was gorgeous.  It was more spread out than I was used to, but the library was amazing as well as the quad.  I was so jealous of the bookstore of MSU – it’s a Barnes & Noble! I would be in heaven everyday (and also not go to class ever).  The stadium is also very aesthetically pleasing. I was so upset that the MSU Cheese Store was closed because I love cheese.  I’ve also heard the vanilla ice cream is amazing, but since it’s closed on Saturdays I couldn’t try that either.  Overall, Mississippi State is an amazing school, but nothing can compare to my Crimson Tide.

 

Nine Layer Bars + printable recipe!

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Nine Layer Bars!
Print Recipe
These nine layer bars are amazing! Nuts and peanut butter chips are optional, but are divine! This receipe is great to make when you have a few hours on your time to make.
Servings Prep Time
12 bars 1
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes 4 hours
Servings Prep Time
12 bars 1
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes 4 hours
Nine Layer Bars!
Print Recipe
These nine layer bars are amazing! Nuts and peanut butter chips are optional, but are divine! This receipe is great to make when you have a few hours on your time to make.
Servings Prep Time
12 bars 1
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes 4 hours
Servings Prep Time
12 bars 1
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes 4 hours
Ingredients
Servings: bars
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. While preheating, crush 12 stick of graham crackers. This best works in a food processor but a zip bloc bag works great too! *Tip: A child would make a great "crusher"!
  2. Melt two unsalted sticks of butter. Make sure there are no chunks of solid butter.
  3. Combine with 3 cups of crushed graham crackers. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
  4. In a 9x13 baking dish, pour the butter and cracker mixture into the pan and press firmly into a crust. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove pan and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  5. While crust is cooling, melt 3 cups of milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate (either will work) until smooth and creamy. Pour liquid chocolate over the graham cracker crust and smooth out into an even layer. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  6. While chocolate is hardening, melt 1 bag of white chocolate chips. Add 2 tbsp. of water or milk to chips and stir until smooth.
  7. Pour melted white chocolate over the hardened milk chocolate and smooth. The chocolates may mix, but that's okay!
  8. Evenly shake peanut butter chips over white chocolate.
  9. Evenly pour 1 can (14oz) of sweetened condensed milk over peanut butter chips.
  10. Cover the sweetened condensed milk with coconut. Top with cashews and pecans. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes or until coconut has started to brown.
  11. Melt 1/2 cup of caramel balls. Add 1/2 tbsp of water to smooth texture. Drizzle over final product.
  12. Refrigerate for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Slice into 12 bars. Serve cold or warm - it's great either way!
Recipe Notes

Try this recipe by replacing the peanut butter chips with butterscotch chips! [recipe][recipe]

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My Maine Bucket List

maine edit

Next up on my state tour – Maine! I’ve always wanted to travel to Maine, but being from Alabama, it’s going to have to be a planned out trip.  A few days ago I mentioned my drunken subscribing to all of the state planning magazines, and Maine showed up in my mailbox a week later.  By the looks of it, a trip to Maine will be in my near future!  Here are some of the fun things I picked out that I want to visit:

  1.  Lenny, the Life-Size Chocolate Moose – Lenny, the 1,700 pound chocolate moose is made from the finest chocolate from Len Libby Chocolatiers in Scarborough, Maine.  I think this is straight-forward – who doesn’t want to take a selfie with 1,700 pounds of pure chocolate? (site)
  2. Visit a distillery – Now that I’m newly 21, visiting a craft distillery is on my bucket list.  Maine boasts over 10 craft distillery such as Sweetgrass Winery & Distillery in Freeport that makes blueberry gin and Northern Maine Distilling Co. that makes America’s most award vodka Twenty 2.
  3. Sightsee the Lighthouses – One of the most unique things about Maine is the over 60 lighthouses that line the shores.  Each lighthouse has it’s own history and views.  Some you can even climb to the top such as Owl’s Head Light near Rockland.  The Pemaquid Point Lighthouse in Bristol is the first lighthouse to be featured on US currency (the Maine state quarter). (site)
  4. See a moose – Okay, this might seem silly, but I’ve never seen a moose before! The best place to see moose is in the Maine Highlands near lake Moosehead.  There are hundreds of miles of trails in this region, including the final stretch of the Appalachian Trail known as the “Hundred-Mile Wilderness, which is known for its abundance of moose.  You can even take a guided canoe expedition on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway or take a Moose Safari. (site)
  5. Stand on the most eastern part of the US – I know this seems silly as well, but Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Lubec is officially the most eastern point of the US. Just like my desire to be in four states at once (New Mexico here I come!), standing here is also on my bucket list.  Try to visit here first thing in the morning as it’s the first to see the sun rise each day. (site)
  6. Visit the Popham Colony park – Popham Colony was a short-lived English colony established on the Kennebec River in 1607.  A park on the colony’s former site is all the remains of it in modern-day Phippsburg, where visitors can see artifacts from the colony and time period.  While here, check out Popham Beach State Park, which is rumored to be Maine’s most scenic beaches. (site)
  7. Take a boat tour through Flagstaff – In 1950, the bustling town of Flagstaff was submerged by water from a local hydroelectric dam. The town, while still underwater, can be toured by boat. The reservoir that now covers the town is Maine’s largest man-made lake. (Site)
  8. Hike the Appalachian Trail – Okay, obviously I don’t want to hike the whole thing.  But I would like say I’ve hiked it (does two or three miles count?).  Over 280 miles of the trail is located in western part of Maine and is home to thousands of different species and fauna, including old-growth forests, bobcats, and lynx. (site)
  9. Tour Casco Bay – Casco Bay in Portland provides a great view of the coast and the city of Portland.  You can tour the bay by lobster boat, kayak or even on an authentic schooner.  Catch the ferry to Peaks Island for a day hike and bring some food with you for a picnic with fantastic views. While you’re in Portland, make sure to see the Pocahontas Lighthouse, the smallest lighthouse registered by the US Coastguard (it’s only 6 feet tall!). (site)
  10. Visit Old Orchard Beach Pier – This famous pier opened in 1898, making it one of the oldest piers in the US.   It boasts over six restaurants and four clubs, making it a bucket list item all on its own. Fun fact: close to 40 million pounds of lobster is caught off of Maine’s coastline, supplying 90% of the US lobster consumption. (site)

Okay well this list turned out to be more than ten things, so maybe I’ll need to add a few more days to my trip.  To order your own Maine magazine go here (no wine required). Have a suggestion to add to the list? Feel free to share in the comments!

5 Ways To Better Your Confidence

5 ways to better your confidence

We’ve all been there.  We walk into a room and feel invisible.  Maybe you’re an introvert and don’t know how to start talking to someone. Or maybe you find yourself shying away from talking to people you know.  The trick is to fake it until you make it.  When you project confidence, people are naturally drawn to communicate and interact with you.  So, stuck on how to accomplish a confident projection?  Here are five quick ways to change your body language into a confident, new you:

  1.  Maintain eye contact.  Keeping a constant focus on what the other person is saying makes the other person feel like you truly are listening and considering what they have to say.  Even if you don’t contribute much to the conversation, steady eye contact can exude a form of leadership and confidence.
  2. Use hand gestures.  Using hand gestures increases your personal space and gives off a welcoming vibe.  Using your hands to illustrate a point gives off a confident stance and makes people want to know more.
  3. Smile and laugh.  Laughing can help you relax, and confident people are relaxed in any situation.  Smiling also gives off a welcoming aura which attracts people to talk to you and increase your likability.  When talking to someone, pay attention to your facial expressions:  you wouldn’t want to talk to someone who looked miserable, would you?  Keep a neutral or smile on your face when conversing and laugh when appropriate.
  4. Look your best.  It’s no secret that when you feel good, you’re more confident.  Wake up ten or fifteen minutes early to style your hair instead of throwing it up in a ponytail.  When we feel good about ourselves, we’re more likely to be outgoing with others.
  5. Be yourself. No one likes to be around someone who thinks they know it all.  Admit when you don’t know the answer and don’t try to make yourself more interesting by telling a fake story.  People love a genuine person, so stick your shoulders back and be yourself!

Do you have any tips to feel more confident? Share them in the comments!

“I don’t know, what do you want to do?”

 

I love being in a relationship. I do, I promise. But one of my biggest pet peeves is turning to my partner or friend, asking what they want to do, and getting the reply “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” It drives me crazy!  Anyone who has ever been in a relationship or had friends (so everyone) has experience this craziness, so here’s what I’ve worked out with my boyfriend to ease our struggles.  I hope it helps you too!

  1. One person has to give three broad categories.  In terms of choosing somewhere to eat, this would be like “Mexican” or “American” or “Sushi”.  If you’re trying to figure out something to do, this could be like “Outdoors” or “Movies”.  Person two has to pick one of the categories.
  2. The second person has give three specific options in that category. So if I chose “American” for dinner, I would then have to give three restaurants who serve American food, such as Applebee’s or Panera.
  3. The first person has to choose from your list.  Voila! You have dinner. Or something to do. (I always choose Panera, I can’t help it.)

Options are a girl’s best friend. So next time your best friend can’t think of a place to eat or shop, try this method out and see if it helps.

What are some of your ways to resolve this annoying question?

Five Unusual Places You Need to Visit in Mississippi

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I’ve been thinking more and more about where to travel, and a few weeks ago, I had one too many glasses of wine and figured, “Hey, wouldn’t it be a great idea to have a travel guide for all 50 states?”  So here I sit, with 27 travel guides from all around the US, just staring at places I would love to travel to.  So to help myself out, I’m going to post a list of places I want to travel to from each state guide and hopefully it will help someone else out too.

  1. Dockery-Gin-enhancedDockery Plantation – Located in Cleveland, MS, the Dockery Plantation is home to blues founder Charley Patton, who lived and worked on the Dockery Plantation in the late 1800’s.  It is commonly known that Charley Patton learned from Dockery resident Henry Sloan, and both influenced Blues music as we know it today.
  2. glenwoodGlenwood Cemetery – Voted “Spookiest Cemetery” in 2012,
    this Yazoo City, MS cemetery lays to rest many Confederate soldiers who died in the local Civil War hospital nearby in town.  The cemetery also lays to rest a notorious witch who, before being executed, swore revenge on Yazoo City. The townspeople chained her casket shut before burying her and placing a large, stone slab on top of her grave.  Days later the town burned to the ground, and upon inspection, the slab was split in two and the chains to her casket broken.
  3. Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum – Built in 1890, this historic site sits claim to the Biedenharn family confectionary and bottling plant for Coca-Cola.  Home of the biedenharn-coca-colafirst bottling site of the famous soda, The Biedenharn Museum in Vicksburg, MS, houses a wide variety of exhibits interpreting the beginnings of Coca-Cola, the history of the Biedenharn family, the process used to first bottle Coca-Cola, a reproduction of the equipment first used to bottle Coke, the history of Coca-Cola advertising, and Coca-Cola memorabilia from past to present.
  4. Dentzel Carousel –  The Dentzel Carousel, located in Meridian, MS, has been in operation since 1909 and
    is the world’s only two-row the-dentzel-carouselstationary Dentzel menagerie in existence. Manufactured between 1892 and 1899 by Gustav Dentzel of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the carousel is listed on th   National Register of Historic Places. All animals are meticulously hand-carved and original oil paintings crown the top of the carousel.   While you’re in Meridian, make sure to see some of the more than 50 hand painted carousel horses located around town.
  5. winterville-artist-rendering-2015Winterville Mounds and Museum – The Winterville Mounds were built between 1200 – 1250 AD and were home to the Natchez Indians.  Over 19 mounds are located on the National Historic Landmark and remains one of the most well-preserved mounds in the US.  The Winterville museum exhibits a large collection of archeological artifacts, including decorated pottery vessels, stone tools, and ornaments from Winterville and other regional sites.

What are some of your favorite things to do in Mississippi?

Hello and Welcome

Hello all!  My name is Maddison and I’m the owner/writer/blogger behind Waves of Pink.  I thought as my first blog post, it’s only fitting to introduce myself!

21 Things About Me

  1. love macaroni and cheese.  If I ever had a Achilles’ heel, this would be it.  I love crunchy, salty, homemade, box, powder, Velveeta – you get the gist. It’s my go-to meal and if you ever need to bribe me with something, this would do it.
  2. I’m an only child.  I’d like to be able to say that I missed out on something without siblings, but to be honest, it was nice not having to deal with some of the horror stories I hear from my friends.  I grew up with my cousins right down the road, so it was like having siblings, except I didn’t have to share my toys and when they get irritating, I just leave and go home. It was nice.
  3. I’ve lived in Montreal, Quebec, Canada for seven months. I was ten and my parents bribed me with cats. See below.
  4. I have a French cat.  His name is Sugar, but I’m not quite sure why I named him that seeing how he’s half black.  When I was in Canada, my parents adopted two cats for me – Sugar and Maple (it’s Canada, what did you expect).  Well, Quebec frowns upon neutering, so two months into my new pet ownership, Maple is pregnant by a manly Sugar and goes to live with someone who knows how to birth cats.  Sugar returned to the US with us, and now spends his days neutered and bird watching in the window, silently cursing us for speaking English.
  5. I love to thrift shop.  I’m currently building my collection of vintage Pyrex and Fiesta Ware, so if you see me staked out at the local Goodwill in the “Homegoods” section, that’s why.
  6. I have a weird obsession with checking my email.  I refresh it practically ever five minutes.
  7. My go to flavor of ice cream is Rocky Road.  It’s the perfect blend of everything I love and I could eat a whole carton in one sitting.  Not that I’ve done that or anything…
  8. I love Wikipedia.  When I’m bored, I love to go onto Wikipedia and click “Random Page” and read about whatever comes up.  I like to think I’ll one day be on Jeopardy and that’s how I’ll make my millions.
  9. My favorite game is Sims.  All different versions. When I was younger, “Motherlode” was my life and my sims barely made it out of childhood.  Today though, I spend most of my time playing Sim City on my iPad and have even gotten my boyfriend hooked on it.
  10. I love taking naps.  I like to boast I could nap anywhere at anytime because it’s probably true and has never failed.
  11. I’m a Nike hoarder.  Currently I have about eight pairs of tennis shoes.  I mean that’s what happens when your shoe size hasn’t changed in ten years.
  12. I love babies.  Not in that creepy, I’m-going-to-steal-your-child way, but I hope to work with children one day, and since I have a natural ability to calm a screaming infant, I babysit a lot.
  13. I have a old obsession with glitter.  There’s something about the shiny, sparkling craft that makes me just want to dump the whole bottle on everything.  Too bad I suck at crafting.
  14. I love to try new recipes.  I’m not awful at cooking, but I’m not the greatest either.  You’ll probably see me occasionally post my attempts at cooking on this blog.  Reader beware.
  15. I prefer Moe’s over Chipolte.  I know, white girls everywhere just gasped.  There’s just something about Moe’s queso that I can’t resist.
  16. I’m in a sorority at school.  I know, you couldn’t tell.
  17. despise heels.  I love the way they make my legs look like a million bucks, but my feet just can’t take it.  I think this is karma from when I was twelve and came home one time from a Charlotte Russe $5 shoe sale with ten pairs of stripper stilettos.  I still have them in my basement even though I’ll never wear them again.  I know, I’m a hoarder.
  18. I love Disney.  You’ll probably read about it from time to time, but I chose to spend my 21st birthday celebrating in Disney and I had the time of my life.
  19. I love to read about anything and everything.  On really rainy days, I can read about two or three good books.  I have a natural ability to read uncannily fast and use it to my best ability.
  20. I love to drive and see new places.  I hope to put up a travel bucket list, but I actually have a map of the US with pins of where I want to go.
  21. I love the color pink (if you couldn’t guess).  If I could, I would have a pink car with a pink house and pink dishes and pink everything.  Unfortunately, I love my boyfriend too much to do that to him and I’ll settle for a pink towel here and there.  A girl can dream.

Well that’s it! I hope to get to know some new friends over the course of this blog and can’t wait to get started!