Big News-I’m Moving!

Hey Cats!

I’ve been a little MIA on the blog lately. Some of that is because I’ve been busy, but also because I have been working on something BIG…I’M MOVING!! Not physically, virtually. For the past month, I’ve been busy designing my brand new website, and I cannot wait to share it with you!

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The brand new site will be launching Saturday, July 2, so in just NINE short days!! Ahh I still have so much to do, but I’m so excited! I’ll be changing the name of the blog and have an updated, cleaner look, but the sassy, real-life content will remain the same. With this new, more professional design, I’d like to pursue more collaborations and partnerships, but as always, I will only promote products I believe in and give my honest opinion on products I receive to review.

To be honest, I’m a little sad to leave Sweet Cats! behind. This blog has been a part of my life since before I went to college- 5 years! It’s been a hobby, a creative outlet, a great place to learn, and it even helped me land my current job. But, for a long time I’ve known that if I ever want to reach my full potential as a blogger, I needed a more serious and professional space. So after years of debating, I went for it! The great thing is, the name and appearance are the only things that have changed! I’ll still have Friday’s Few, easy recipes, affordable style, and of course the Gif of the Week. In the words of JLo, I’m still Jenny from the block. Except I’m actually Kristen from the suburbs, but you catch my drift.

SO, what does this mean for you, my loyal readers? I would love for you to come with me! I don’t want to lose any of you, so I’m trying to make this transition as simple as possible. All of my old content will be on my new site, so if you’re looking for a favorite recipe, you can find it in my archives! Please make sure you’re following me on social media, especially Twitter since that will be the easiest place to find the link to my new site! If you follow via Bloglovin’, I’m still trying to figure out how to make that transition. I think I can just switch my old site out for my new one, but I’m not sure! If not, I will be making a new Bloglovin’ account and would love to have you all follow along there! Most importantly, once the new site is launched, traffic from Sweet Cats! will be redirected to my new site. So if nothing else, just head over here any time after July 2nd and you’ll be sent straight to the new stuff!

I can’t wait to share what I’ve been working on, but I’ll enjoy these last few days on Sweet Cats!. Thank you so much for reading for all these years, and I would love for you to join me on my new site!

That’s all for meow!

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How To: Quit the Gym

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Hey Cats!

 Happy Wednesday! This week has gotten off to an interesting start. Sunday night and early Monday morning, Houston and the surrounding areas flooded, so Monday I worked from home. Fortunately, it wasn’t terrible in the area I live in, but I have teacher friends who may not be able to go to work at all this week- yikes! We are expecting more rain this week, so please keep Houston and the surrounding areas in your prayers!

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For those of you who are a bit confused by the title of this blog post, let me explain. My last year of college, I was obsessed with going to the gym. I went every day and it  became my favorite pastime, stress relief, and way to avoid homework. I was convinced that it would be a lasting habit. Well, then I started working full time and no longer had the spacious, free rec center filled with courteous individuals, and working out got to be really difficult.

After searching for a gym with an indoor track for weeks, I found none. I refused to use the treadmill in my apartment and after a few weeks without doing my ab circuit or lifting weights, I started to notice a change in my appearance, my energy level, and my mood. So I hastily bought a membership to what I deemed the best replacement, a large local gym that was affordable and close to my office.

And I hated it. It was so crowded at 6 pm that I rarely was able to finish a workout. People were rude and literally told me I was in their way. And don’t get me started on the creepy men that stared all the time. I missed the rec center, the indoor track, and boys that didn’t make me feel uncomfortable. Sometimes I cried about it, not a joke.

I toughed it out for a while, but ended up going to the gym only once or twice a week. I tried Pure Barre but I decided it was for wimps (sorry if you like, love it.). I was so frustrated with how my level of fitness had fallen in the past few months, but I didn’t know what to do. I was tired of paying for a gym I didn’t use, but I didn’t want to have zero options.

My mom had been suggesting for months that I try to find workout videos and use the gym in my apartment complex. I kept telling her that workout videos were for wimpy girls and I only liked to run on the actual ground and lift real weights, so no thank you. But out of desperation, I started searching one day, and came across the Nike Training Club app. I was skeptical, but I perused the workouts and they looked really great! They incorporated cardio and strength training which was perfect. So I did it. I quit the gym. No more monthly fees, no more frustration over unfinished workouts, no more excuses for not getting a workout in.

As much as I loved the gym, it just doesn’t fit into my life anymore. It was a strange transition, but I’m so glad I quit the gym. Here are some tips for those of you who are in a similar situation:

  1. Find a program you love. Whether it’s the Nike Training Club, Blogilates, or a routine from a personal trainer, the possibilities are endless! Actually, since I have someone telling me what to do, I’ve noticed more consistent results, as opposed to when I would just wander around the weight room and say, “oh this looks like something I can do without embarrassing myself!”. Switch it up when you get bored, that’s the beauty of quitting the gym!
  2. Invest in equipment. You’ll have to choose your program first, but I would suggest starting with a yoga mat and a pair of hand weights at the very least. I use the mat for all floor exercises, and the hand weights for a variety of exercises, like lunges, arm presses, and abs. You can expand into a medicine ball and resistance bands, too! At first, I didn’t want to spend the money on these things, but compared to a gym membership it’s pretty reasonable. Plus, they do not have to be expensive- both of mine are from Marshall’s!
  3. Use your resources. Earlier I mentioned that I did not want to use the treadmill in my apartment complex. Well. I had to get over that. Obviously, I can’t go for a run inside my apartment. If your apartment complex has a treadmill, use it-you pay for it! I only use it when it rains or when I want a quick run, because I feel like a hamster on treadmills. I found a small neighborhood behind my apartment complex that I’ve been running through when the weather is nice. It’s full of old people, so it seems pretty safe. But always be mindful of your surroundings!
  4. Do not stop with the coordinated workout outfits. Hi, sometimes the only reason I could convince myself to go to the gym was by wearing my LuluLemon tights. Not a joke. So I still like to look cutie, even if I’m by myself.
  5. Break it up. If you can’t stand the thought of working out at home all the time, consider attending a workout class once a week or so.
  6. Stick to it. It can be difficult to keep yourself accountable to a workout plan when you can literally walk two steps and plant yourself on the couch for the evening. But if I can do it, so can you! I like to make it a challenge for myself. I never turn on the TV until I’ve finished my workout. I also like to have a set time to start. I come home, eat a snack and am ready to go at 5:45. Trying to get back into the routine is extremely difficult, but once you’re used to it again, you start looking forward to it!

So there you have it. Did I convince you to quit the gym? It’s definitely easier than I thought! I don’t think this will be a forever fitness routine for me, but it’s working right now! Do you exercise at home or go to a gym? Which do you prefer? Let me know!

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Hey Cats!

As with most holidays except Christmas, Mother’s Day is sneaking up on me. Luckily, we’ve still got a few weeks, so there will be no scrambling to find a gift here! And for those of you who are like me, this serves as your official reminder: Mother’s Day is May 8. You’re welcome.

Usually, my sister and I team up to get my mom something “big”. I’ve already planned to give my mom one of my Junior League cookbooks, but I think I’m going to still go in with my sister! I just won’t be posting what we’re actually getting her on the blog, because she is a faithful reader (hi mom!). Also, she knows about the cookbook, so it’s fine.

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Yes, this is myself and my mother at my first birthday party. You’re welcome. And I still make that face.

Some moms are hard to shop for. Sometimes my mom has pointed out things she likes, which makes things really easy, but other times it’s like trying to find your glasses in your suitcase after you’ve already taken out your contacts: quite the challenge. To try and make that challenge easier for you all, I’ve put together a little list. Hopefully this helps you find the perfect gift for your mom!

For the Trendy Mom:

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My mom has mentioned several times that she’s been wanting some leopard slip-on sneakers, like this pair from Sperry. How cute are they? I would definitely have to get a matching pair for myself. Is leopard a little too wild for your mom? Try this neutral pair, this rose gold option, or this two-tone snake print!

For the Culinary Queen Mom:

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If your mom loves to be in the kitchen, the possibilities are endless! I love this cookbook holder from Williams Sonoma. It’s a perfect way to display a classic cookbook, but also looks pretty on its own! Another option is this cute cake stand for the mom who loves to bake!

For the Mom On-the-Go:

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Even if your mom doesn’t travel too often, everyone needs a Vera Bradley duffel. They are so great, you can just continue to stuff things inside and it never gets full. If she’s set in the duffel department, try a toiletry bag or a jewelry organizer!

What are you getting your mom for Mother’s Day? Let me know!

That’s all for meow!

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Home Decor How-To: Gallery Wall

Hey Cats!

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a good weekend! On Saturday, I volunteered with the Junior League and then cleaned my apartment, which was much needed, and on Sunday, I went to the Mumford and Sons concert with my friends Ashley & Biz. It was great! I’m not so sure I’m ready for this busy week ahead, but it’s here whether I want it to be or not.

As I’ve mentioned before, one of the things I was most excited about when moving into my own apartment was decorating it. I actually had most of it planned out before I even chose my apartment, my living room gallery wall included. Since then, I have added another in my bedroom above my dresser, and I am obsessed.

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This wall in my living room is a combination of literally every single piece of art I had hanging in my house in college, plus one or two more. I actually painted the cat, the bird, and the Gatsby quote myself!

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My newest gallery wall is above my dresser in my bedroom. I’ve had the prints since Christmas, but I was waiting for the perfect addition (the rhino) before hanging everything!

Before I created the gallery above my couch, I was under the impression that it was a difficult process and you basically had to be an interior decorator for it to look halfway decent. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it is! So today, I’m sharing with you my tips on how to make the perfect gallery wall:

  1. There are no rules. Seriously. It’s like abstract art, so you can basically do whatever you want, and as long as nothing is crooked, it will probably look good. So keep that in mind.
  2. A mixture of size and shape can add interest, but a few pieces of similar size and shape can give some balance. On my living room wall, nothing is the same size, but most pieces are a horizontal rectangle. The straight lines draw the eye up and down from one piece to the next. In my bedroom I have some unique shapes, but the four prints of equal size and shape anchor the collage.
  3. Try to have a general color scheme or theme. For my living room wall, I drew inspiration from the two colorful paintings with the cat and the bird. They gave me lots of options, and while nothing “matches”, they don’t just look like a hodge-podge. In my living room, I went with a more concentrated color scheme of pink, gold, white, and gray.
  4. Play around with layouts before getting hammer happy. A simple way to do this is to just lay everything out on the floor! That way you can be sure you like how it looks before it’s on the wall and get the spacing correct. Once it’s how you want it, snap a picture with your phone for reference. I hung my bedroom wall by myself, and I left each item in the layout on the floor and hung them one-by-one so I could have a good idea of the spacing as I hung everything.
  5. Leave room to grow! As you can see on both of my walls, there is room to expand, but it doesn’t look incomplete. You never know when you may find the perfect addition, and you don’t want to have to take it all down and start from scratch.
  6. Have fun with it! I mean seriously, I have a marble rhinoceros head, a painting of a cat, a painting of a bird, and a glitter quote about partying on my wall. But neither one of those things looks too bizarre because they’re surrounded by normal things. Remember, “in the Southern home, there’s room to display all manner of elegance & eccentricity”. So there: do what you want.

If you have a gallery wall of your own, I would love to see it! I’m always looking for inspiration (even though I’m running out of walls).

That’s all for meow!

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A New Direction

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Hey Cats!

With the exception of the rushed Instagram Round-Up I threw up on the blog a couple of weeks ago, it’s been quite a while since we’ve chatted! And to be honest, I have missed this little blog SO MUCH. I’ve been wanting to get back to it for months, but I couldn’t quite bring myself to write one post and then fall off the face of the Internet again. There are a few reasons I’ve been absent:

Time. I have been way too busy the past few months. Between work, Junior League, friends, family, and just being tired, there wasn’t any time to blog. When I was at home, it was only long enough to sleep and maybe do a load of laundry. However, the crazy has died down some, and I’m confident that this blog is something I’m ready to make a priority again.

I was a little discouraged. To be frank, comparing myself to other bloggers got the best of me for a while. I’ve been blogging since 2011 and have yet to “hit it big”. Granted, this blog is more of a hobby for me, but I felt like I was producing top-notch content and no one was noticing. Not to step on any toes, but it’s almost like blogging has become a competition of who has the prettiest pictures, not the best writing, and that really bothered me. I wanted to work with brands and it just wasn’t happening, and it was frustrating. I forgot that I started Sweet Cats! to share my ideas with the world, not to become Instagram famous. And I had to get over that.

I was in a creative rut. My job now takes the largest chunk of my time, and I also write at least one blog post per week, and run multiple social media accounts. So when I get home, I don’t have any words left. Sure, I write about the healthcare industry all day, but I can only string together witty sentences for so long. Also, I felt like I was outgrowing my niche, “Styling the Single Girl Closet on a College Girl Budget”, but I didn’t know what direction I wanted to take the blog. Did I need to launch a complete re-brand? Can I just change the look of my site? Is this even something I want to do anymore? Basically, Sweet Cats! had an existential crisis and I didn’t know how to handle it.

That’s why it took me a while to come back to blogging. I wanted to be at a place where I’m sure that it’s something I have time to make a priority, something I do because I love it, and something that reflects who I am at this point in my life. And I believe that now I can say with confidence that all of those things are true. So here’s what you can expect from the “new” re-directed Sweet Cats!:

A more grown-up feel. I started this blog when I was 18 and had college-girl taste and an annual income of roughly zero dollars. I feel like in the past year or so, my tastes have changed and there are things I’m more willing and able to invest money into. I’m at a point where I draw more inspiration from Southern Living than I do InStyle. I care about my clothes still (duh), but I’m also interested in home decor, a healthy lifestyle, helping others, and succeeding in the professional world. So you’re going to be seeing more of those types of posts from now on.

A more lifestyle-focused approach. My vision for this blog is to become almost an online magazine, something that captures every aspect of life. Not every aspect of my life, because privacy, but life in general. Like I mentioned above, there’s more to my life now than just school and social events. I want to be able to share things that will resonate with girls in my stage of life, and maybe beyond! That’s why I’ve changed the tagline for my blog to “A Modern Southern Belle: Dressing, Eating, and Living Well”.

The same sass, snark, and Sweet Cats! writing style you love. Well, I don’t know if you love it, but I do. One thing that will never change no matter what is the focus on wording. If we’re being honest, it’s never really been about the crafts, or the outfits, or the inspirational quotes, or the lifestyle. For me, it’s always been about telling a story about those things. I love to write, and that will always be the most important part of this blog. It will always be about the words for me. And I hope you will stick around to read them.

I’m so excited to see where this new direction takes me. That’s all for meow!

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Friday’s Five

Hey Cats!

Happy Friday! It’s been a short week for me, because on Monday, I was at home in Tyler for a doctor’s appointment. It was nice to be at home, but to be honest, I’ve had a hard time getting back into my regular routine at work! Per usual, I’m super excited for the weekend, partly because I finally get to sleep in, but mostly because I’m going to the Garth Brooks concert on Saturday with my bestie Ashley! I love Garth, so I’m beside myself, and obviously I already have my outfit picked out. Even though it was a short week looking forward to the weekend, I still found five things I’m loving this week.

1. A Big Announcement

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I’m so excited to share that I am now a contributing blogger to Marley Lilly‘s blog, The Monogrammed Life! Some of my posts that I share here may also be on their site as well! For years, I’ve been wanting to establish a partnership with a company I love through my blog, but I always felt like my blog wasn’t fancy enough, or that it had too many words and not enough pictures of clothes. However, that wasn’t something I was willing to change, so I decided that it was better to be patient and wait for someone who loved my blog the way it was. I’ve always loved Marley Lilly products, and I’m very happy they love my work as well! Check out my bio on the site, and be sure to follow along to see other great posts from my fellow contributors!

2. Sprinkle Bowls

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I came across these sprinkle bowls on Pinterest, and they are adorable. I love sprinkles on my ice cream, so how fun would it be to eat my ice cream out of a bowl made out of sprinkles? I need to have a party and make these ASAP.

3. A Sassy Mug

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ban.do, the best place for sassy desk accessories has done it again. Like my pencil pouch that lets everyone know that I do not have time for games, this travel mug takes the liberty of saying what I’m thinking all the time. I need it.

4. Kendra Scott Bracelet

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I’ve been wanting some new Kendra for my jewelry collection lately, and I’m loving this Grady bracelet! It’s dainty, but still adds a pop of color to your outfit!

5. Bethenny

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Because without her, RHONY would be literally nothing this season.

That’s all for meow!

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Friday’s Five

Hey Cats!

Yay for Friday! I’m super excited for this weekend, because I get to see my sister and the rest of my family! I only got to see my sister a couple of times the week I was at home before I moved, so I can’t wait to see her and show her my new apartment! She and her husband have a wedding in Houston, so I will see them before, and then I’m riding with them to my dad’s side of the family’s family reunion, where I will see my parents!

It’s been a great first full week of work! Here’s what else I’ve been loving this week:

1. The Pioneer Woman’s Crunchy French Toast

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Well, she’s done it again. Ree Drummond, my culinary hero and fellow Aggie basketball lover posted a picture of this DIVINE-looking French Toast on her Instagram page last week, and I had to know what made it crunchy. GUYS. She breaded her French Toast in Panko bread crumbs and then cooked it in butter. I’m dead. I need it. I don’t know when I’ll use the rest of a loaf of bread, but I have to try it. Maybe Saturday morning? Yes.

2. Monogrammed Wrapping Paper

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Just when I thought we had run out of objects to monogram, they found another one. This monogrammed gift wrap from Ann Page is the only way I will accept gifts from this day forward. Just kidding, I accept gifts in any form. Always. But really, how adorable is this? Just so Southern. Except I do have one question…do you get it with your monogram, or the monogram of the person you’re giving the gift to? If you have any clarification, please share.

3. JCrew Chino Shorts

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Since it’s warm now, I will inevitably buy a new color of JCrew chino shorts. They’re just the best, and they’re always such a good deal during the summer! This year, I have my eye on this vibrant flame pair. How cute would these be with a white eyelet tank? Too cute.

4. What’s Gaby Cooking Instagram

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One of my favorite ways to waste time is by scrolling through the Discover page of Instagram. Mine is typically filled with pictures of food, and I’m not even sorry about it, because this has led to my discovery of multiple delicious Instagram accounts, and blogs too! My latest unearthed treasure? What’s Gaby Cooking. Just look at those delicious burgers, fresh produce, and yummy desserts! She also has a pretty cool blog where she tells you how to make all of these treats. Check it out!

5. Weekend Inspiration

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Eat more tacos. Duh.

I hope you all have a great weekend! That’s all for meow!

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Friday’s Five

Hey Cats!

Happy Friday! I hope all of you are staying warm! I personally am not, because it’s always freezing but never actually snowing here, so the roads are “safe” and we have to go to school. Well, we’re supposed to anyways. I may or may not have opted to conduct an independent Marketing 409 test review from the comfort of my own home yesterday. It’s fine.

Anyways, here’s what I’m loving this week:

1. Lipstick Tricks from Cupcakes & Cashmere

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For the past year or so, I have been sporadically incorporating lipstick into my makeup routine. I’m definitely not the type of girl to wear a bright red lip every day, but occasionally I like to play around with some color. However, makeup techniques are something I’ve never really mastered. But I’ve always wondered how other girls get their lipstick to stay on all day and just generally look great, because sometimes I feel like I look like a five-year old who found her mom’s makeup bag. I stumbled upon these great lipstick tricks from Emily of Cupcakes and Cashmere, and I decided to try my hand at them. It’s a bit of a process, but it definitely made my lipstick look 10x better. I’ll be keeping this in mind the next time I feel like getting all dressed up!

2. Home Decor

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As I’ve mentioned, home decor is one of my latest obsessions. I’m constantly finding things that catch my eye on Pinterest, and they all seem to have the same theme: clean white or neutral walls and furniture with gold and colorful accents. This particular photo, originally from The Pink Pagoda is a great combination of modern and traditional elements. I love the bold patterns on the rug, pillows, and lamp, and the combination of bright blue and hot pink is so happy and girly. But I think my favorite element of this set-up is the Oriental pottery. (I don’t know the proper term for it- I tried to find it on the Google, but found contradictory results) My mom has a few pieces of this, and I’ve always really loved it. I think it adds a vibrant yet timeless touch to any room, but I think it’s showcased especially well in this room. I’m already planning on adding some of this to my design once I have an apartment of my own!

3. The Whisking Kitchen

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I love discovering new blogs to read, and I especially love discovering new recipes, so when I found The Whisking Kitchen I was beside myself. I stumbled upon this piece of the internet through Elizabeth the author’s Instagram. I was scrolling through my “Discover” page and found a photo of a delightful-looking omelette and fresh fruit breakfast in bed, and was instantly captured. She just recently launched her blog, and I’m so excited to try some of the recipes! First on my list? This edamame salad, this Havarti-cheddar-bacon-rosemary grilled cheese (DEAD), and these blueberry muffins. Hop over to Elizabeth’s blog and find a few recipes you love, and then meet me back here for WorkIt Wednesday so we don’t all get fat.

4. Kate Spade for Kids

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I know I don’t have children, and considering the fact that I’m supposed to be in class as I’m writing this, it’s going to be quite a while before that happens. But, Kate Spade has released a line of childrenswear and it’s beyond adorable. Lots of pink, glitter, and floral prints, all of which are absolutely perfect for a haute tot. I want to wear it myself, and to be honest, my sister and I have already talked about how we’re going to try.

5. A Dose of Sass

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If there’s one thing I love, it’s a good sassy face, and through her recent appearances at fashion shows, my girl North West is proving to be quite the little sass queen. I look for great things from this one.

That’s all for meow! Have a wonderful weekend and stay warm!

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100 Doses of Sweet Cats!

Hey Cats!

It’s a big day for Sweet Cats!- this is my 100th blog post! I have loved blogging for the past couple of years, and it’s been fun to watch how my blog has grown and changed. It started as a way to share the things I crafted for my dorm room, but has evolved into a collection of a myriad of my interests. Hopefully you guys love Sweet Cats! as much as I do!

Some of my favorite Sweet Cats! moments include getting to know other bloggers, watching my following grow substantially, partnering with Benevolent Jewels, and being featured on Marley Lilly’s blog, The Monogrammed Life.

Thanks to all of my readers for following along with me for the past couple of years- I really appreciate you! I’m looking forward to the next 100 posts and beyond.

Also, special thanks to my roommate Ashley for reading my blog, even though she usually reads blogs “of people she doesn’t like so she can make fun of them”. And thanks to my roommate Trina for always liking my posts on Facebook, and to my other roommate Kadie for reading along as well. (I hope you guys appreciate your requested shout-outs).

What would you, my readers, like to see in my next 100 posts? Let me know!

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1 Reason I’m Over The “Blog List” Trend

Hey Cats!

It seems every time I check Facebook, there is a different article telling me a certain number of reasons I should do/not do a specific thing. From “23 Things to Do Besides Getting Engaged Before Age 23”, to “16 Must-Have Qualities in a Husband”, to “39 Reasons Leggings Qualify as Pants” (this one I could get behind), everybody has an opinion on everything, and they’re darn sure going to let us all know about it. AND THEN, some passionate soul takes things too seriously, becomes personally offended, and writes a rebuttal that is consequently smeared all over my Facebook timeline as well.

Let’s be real: this is getting old. Exhausting, really. So naturally, I’ve written a list of my own, but I’ve decided to keep it incredibly brief.  Every time I come across “25 Things You Should Consider Before Deciding What Jewelry to Wear Today”, here’s what comes to mind:

1) I’ll do what I want, thanks. I’m confident enough in my own life choices to know that the opinion of someone I don’t know has no effect on me. I’m not saying I’m against taking a stand on something and telling me why you did- I’ve done that before. I’m just saying that the imperatives are unnecessary. You think you’re better off because you got engaged before you hit a quarter of a century? Cool, I’m going to go blog about my new salmon recipe, respect your choices, and not tell you what to do. What you choose to do is your business, and what I choose to do is mine. I can’t wait for the day we all understand this and Facebook can go back to being my source of comic relief.

Thank you for humoring my sass.

That’s all for meow!