Support Your Local Girl Gang

“Whether you’re throwing up or breaking up, you want your girlfriend right there! I don’t trust women who don’t go to their girlfriends.”     ~Drew Barrymore

It’s so important for women everywhere to have a group of girls they can turn to no matter what. These girls teach you about life, love, and how to connect with people around you. They’re essential throughout life for guidance, confidence, perspective, etc… the list goes on and on. And I think that importance continues to grow as you age and mature.

I have a group of high school besties that I cherish dearly. Marta has been my best friend since 8th grade (wow we’re old HA!) and she’s never afraid to put me in my place and tell me when I’m just being stupid. I also met Carley in 8th grade and in high school she became a spiritual accountability partner for me. She’s also my long lost cousin, we’re just sure of it. 😉

If you’re from the South, you’ve heard someone call another person a pistol; and my friend Savanna is a pistol for sure! A “pistol” is a person with a lot of verve and personality, and the sort you don’t forget.  Savanna is loud, fun, and apologetically herself; I admire her for that.

Victoria is the first of our besties to get married!!! EEK! V and I became friends in high school through Carley and just clicked right away. I can’t wait to celebrate her and Matt this December.

Last, but certainly not least, is my BFF, Amanda. Amanda and I have SO much in common I sometimes wonder if soulmates can be girlfriends too. We’ve been through heart break, fun times, growth & development, and the occasional football rivalry (she’s a Saints fan, but I try not to hold that against her 😉 ).

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Over the past 10 years I have developed such a strong bond with these beautiful women. We all may be in very different places in our lives but when we get together it’s as if we’ve never been apart.

When I started at Kennesaw State I never imagined I would find yet another group of girlfriends like the ones I had in high school. But God knew what He was doing when He placed these ladies in my life.

Courtney was my very first Roomie at KSU and she’s a straight shooter. She tells it like it is and I love that about her.

Sonam was one of the very first people I met after move-in. I will always remember walking into the common space of our dorm to ask about the WiFi and there sat a cute little Indian girl that helped me connect my laptop to the internet. She’s a fun little bundle of joy and we ALWAYS have the best time when we’re together.

The twins, Charnaye and Charneyce, look just alike but are two very different people. Charnaye is one of the only girl I know that I can talk sports with; and Charneyce is my go-to fashionista. She’s always down for a good sushi and shopping date.

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Jhaphia and I became friends INSTANTLY. The first time we really had a chance to hangout was at a friends lake house and I knew from then on she and I were kindred spirits. We can talk about literally any and everything.

Rachael, Rochelle, Horsey, etc. is a firecracker and Is always up for an adventure. When my parents announced their divorce last year, she became one of my closest confidantes and shoulder to cry on. She went through a similar experience and through that sad time, I gained a deeper friendship with her.

Sonam and Rach

Each and everyone of these girls has influenced and shaped me into the person I am today. Most of us met freshman year in the Suites 4th floor common room and the friendships have grown from there. I honestly don’t know if I would have been able to make it through my college years without these fierce, beautiful (inside & out), smart, spunky ladies.

Last year was really hard, and each of these girls supported and encouraged me in one way or another; and I definitely wouldn’t have gotten through it without my girls by my side.

SO, to celebrate all these wonderful ladies, I decided to throw a ‘Happy Galentine’s Day’ dinner as a way to say thank you. Unfortunately, my high school besties couldn’t make it but the KSU girls all came!

So for dinner I made spicy and sweet, bacon wrapped chicken tenders with homemade garlic mashed potatoes.

I also made cute “salads in a jar” which may be my new favorite way to make salads on the go. Bradley’s mom gave me a nice olive oil and balsamic vinegar set for Christmas so I made a honey lemon ginger vinaigrette to pair with this yummy mixed greens salad.

And what dinner is complete without a cocktail!? Prosecco Punch is super easy to make and even more delicious to drink. To make the cocktail mix 1 bottle of Prosecco with a bottle of cranberry juice (I found cran-mango juice at my local Kroger and used that) then added Ginger Ale for extra bubbliness.

Dinner was a success and I had a blast getting to catch up and have girl talk with some of my besties.

Audrey Hepburn once said “the best thing to hold onto in life is each other” and I plan to hold on to these girls for a long, longtime. Find your girl gang and hold on to them too.

XOXO,

Jess

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Two years ago I went on my very first international mission trip. A group of about 20 members from my home church traveled to Ecuador to serve with the missionaries from our church, the Nichols. I was SO excited not only because I would be traveling and serving God in the process but I was also going to experience my first mission trip with my dad by my side.

While in Ecuador, I had my life truly change. I saw poverty like never before but I also saw God’s love like never before.

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One of the main projects we worked on while there was a VBS (vacation Bible school) for the children on the United Methodist Church in Santo Domingo. I became close with a few of the girls there and every single day when the kids were eating their snacks they also colored coloring pages we brought that pertained to the Bible story we taught that day. And without fail, every single day these sweet little girls gave me their pages as a gift just because they wanted US to have something from them.

Continue reading “Returning to the Place that Stole a Piece of My Heart”

Grandma Eva

Oh how I have heard SO many wonderful stories about my great Grandma Eva. She is my dad’s grandma and based on the picture to the left, my grandmother is a spitting image of her.

Eva Taylor was what I imagine the epitome of a “mother”. She had a house full of children whom she cooked for every single day. She loved baking just as much as she did cooking; she was famous for her chocolate cake and apple stack cake. Not only did she enjoy cooking but she also loved teaching her daughters how to cook. My grandmother and my great aunt both learned most of their cooking skills from her.

In addition for cooking, Grandma Eva also enjoyed canning. She would can fruits and vegetables from the garden and keep them all winter long.

Grandma Eva was motherly and resourceful. I sure do wish I had met her. But I can ‘t wait to try her recipes; cakes are one of my favorite things to make and it seems like they were hers too.

The recipe I’m doing for Grandma Eva is her famous chocolate cake with “topping”.

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For the cake, you will need: Continue reading “Grandma Eva”