20 Things that happened to me at 25 years old

1. Got my first apartment by myself It was scary between the financial side of things and watching a Ted Bundy movie after the first week of moving in but I’m doing pretty good for myself.

2. Learned to be emotionally independent I used to be the worst of keeping people in my life because it was convenient and because they were there to hangout with. I stayed in relationships that I wasn’t passionate about and kept friends around who were not good people. I needed to feel wanted and they gave me that. I would get anxiety when I spent nights alone or my phone was all quiet on the western front. I’ve learned to love my time to myself and not feel like if I’m not out doing something I’m being a loser. If I spend time with people now it’s because I genuinely like them and want them to be part of my life and vice versa.

3. started my blog Even though I’ve slacked hard the first quarter of 2015 it’s my favorite hobby and I’m glad to share a piece of me with the world if they know how to find my URL 😉

4. Went to my first Horror Cons
horrorconHalloween is in my top 3 favorite holidays and it used to make me so sad to think it only comes once a year. I was so wrong!!! You can dress up year round hanging out at Horror and Comic Cons. The people are so friendly and creative. It’s exactly what I need in my life. It’s been one of my favorite experiences of my adulthood and I hope I can eventually make it to a Comic Con and completely geek out and squeal at all the costumes. View more pics of the adventure here Support indie horror and like the Facebook page the album belongs to, too.

5. Had my First Article Published It was a local magazine and non-paying gig but I am ecstatic and think it is a wonderful start. I am now a monthly contributing writer.

6. Finished my first solid year at my job Made it my first calendar year at a job in my career

7. Saw my first manatees in the wild Who knew something so fat could be so cute!

8. Saw My First Waterfall There for a month straight I made a point to hike to a new one every weekend.

9. Went floating on the River for the first time My Raft popped and the water was unbearably cold til we made it to the end. Technically it was a complete disaster but I’d take that any day over the perfect trip. I like a challenge and improving.

10. Went to Arizona for the first time It was way too hot. I don’t know how ladies maintain their hair and make up in that heat. Beautiful landscape & cityscape though.

downtown phoenix

11. Bought My First Music Festival Tickets I’ll see you suckas at Big Guava in Tampa just before my 26th birthday. All I can say is Zella Day ❤

12. First Promo Girl Jobs Someone thought I was cute and friendly enough to pay 25 bucks an hour to pass out their product and talk to strangers. Easiest money I ever made and I gotta soak it up now because in just a few years I’ll be too old to pull it off.

13. Climbed a 100 ft Fire Tower

14. Made a painting 

15. Lost My First Uncle george reidelThe single most heartbreaking moment of 25 was losing my Uncle George. I was so heart broken I had physical chest pain and I let out some sort of a scream cry into a pillow. He was very special to me. I have a big family. My mom was 1 of 4 and my dad was 1 of 7. Out of all the aunt’s and uncles I’m only in touch with 3 pairs. The others either have such busy personal lives they aren’t interested in me  (I mean, I guess part of it was the overwhelming amount of nieces and nephews on my dads side. There were close to 20 of us) or they’ve committed such sickening crimes I just can’t have anything to do with them. My Uncle George lived in New Jersey so I didn’t get to see him much but he knew more about me and interacted with me more than Aunts and Uncles that live 5mins away. He lived his life spreading kindness like confetti and had a special talent for bringing people together that I absolutely admired. I hate that my cousins have to cope with losing their dad and my aunt losing her husband of over 40 years. It sucks to see people you love hurt and you can’t instantly make it better. There won’t be a single adventure or party I won’t think of Uncle George and how he inspired me.

16. Got pulled over for my first Speeding Ticket (but got a warning!) It was the first day of my friend Whittney interning with me and I was so excited. I had just got an iced coffee and was dancing and singing along with Marina and the Diamonds when I got clocked doing 16 over. I was completely honest and told the cop I wasn’t paying attention and what I was doing instead and he let me off with a warning.

17. Ate Curry… And lots of it! It’s my favorite food for sure now.

18. Had My First Headshots Taken If you’re curious how they turned out after you finish my blog go here to see the results. And “Like” her Facebook page 😉

19. Realized I Can Not Stay Up Late and Party. Ever Again. Once upon a time I could stay up til four and be at work by 10:30 but now if I do that I sleep half the next day away so then I’m depressed. but now I think I’ll live out life going to bed at a decent hour and waking up early and happy so I can seize the day.

20. Got IDed Twice Because Someone Security at a Convention Center Thought I was under 18 I have a phobia of getting old so it felt great!

I’ve got 2 and a half months left of being 25 so hopefully I can do a part 2 blog with the 5 last experiences of 25 that shaped me or added value to my life.


Flaws are Fine

Practically everyday when I log on to check my social media there’s another woman apologizing or expressing distress over her flaws and it makes me sad. Flaws are fine!

flaws are fine

No one should ever have to apologize for not looking like Kim Kardashian or Jennifer Lawrence nor should they have social anxiety over their looks.

I’m hear to tell all these women they’re gorgeous and more beautiful than they know.

So what you have a mole, cellulite, crooked teeth or a bad haircut? Own it and screw the people who can’t see past it to acknowledge your talents or beautiful soul (you know, the part of you that is kind & funny).

In an effort to see less women complaining about not being perfect and have more fun I’m going to do the unthinkable- I’m exposing 5 of my least favorite flaws. It’s really hard because some of them are embarrassing and bother the hell out of me. Then there’s that weird chance a super cool guy on the fence about me is going to be like “oh no, I didn’t notice that about Sheila. Gross!” But whatever. I’d rather other women feel less messed up than me have hot dates.

It’s the worst when flaws are out of my control and related to genetics. At the same time it’s kind of empowering to let the world know that I know there’s weird things about the way I look and I accept the weird traits that make me different and drop a few points on a hotness scale. The goal is to make up for those with my charm and niceness.  If you don’t get to know someone based on a physical flaw you’re kind of stuck in third grade and you’re going to miss out on a lot of great people in life- not just me.

1. I have bad teeth I had braces from 4th until 7th grade because my teeth were so bad the orthodontist wanted to start working on my teeth asap because it would take years to correct. After having them on for 3 years I had to have them taken off because my parents couldn’t afford to have two children in braces and my sister was in high school so it was her turn. (When I went to do my FAFSA when I started college I learned the actual reason was that my mom couldn’t afford to buy every stupid gadget sold on QVC and HSN and still pay for braces) Regardless I was relieved to get my braces taken off and when my sister had her braces taken off and I could finally start phase 2 of my braces I was 16. Despite having a severe overbite and cross bite I told my parents I was happy with my teeth and didn’t want to go thru braces again because they hurt and I didn’t want braces in my prom or graduation pictures.

2. I have a saggy butt You’ll never see me featured on the “Yeah, she squats” Facebook page. Even when I get super into exercise it’s no where near to perfect.

3. I’m a hairy lady To the point I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on laser hair removal.  I even have anxiety dreams over it. And of course it’s the most easy thing for someone to point out if they’re going to fight with me so I’ve cried over a few times in my puberty years but as an adult I have to laugh it off or else I’d never be able to leave the house. My friends who can go days without shaving their legs don’t even know how lucky they are. I’m pretty sure I get prickly in 12 hours.

4. I’m pale and absolutely do not tan And if I do tan it’s super expensive and completely unnatural looking (spray tan) Last summer I spent 60+ a month on spray tans and I received a record breaking number of Likes on social media and compliments. It was fun, but when I moved into an apartment by myself at the end of 2014 the first thing to get cut from the monthly budget was the spray tans. I miss my glow even if it was orange but at the same time breathing in and dousing myself in chemicals 2-3 times a week can’t be good for my skin and lungs. I’m finally okay with going natural.

5. I’m chubby I make a point to be super active when it’s warm out but even at my fittest I still don’t have abs. I guess I struggle with eating healthy. Well I know I do because I LOVE sweets and eat them way too much. I was also raised to always clean my plate and that’s a hard habit to break.

despite all my weird physical quirks I get out there and have a ton of fun. Sometimes it’s as simple as a bonfire or a date, but then sometimes I’m doing really cool stuff for work hanging out with execs at trade shows. You get one life to live so make the most of it and rest assure no matter how ugly you think you look there’s this silly girl in East Tennessee who’s an absolute mess and still puts herself out there. On top of that she’s going to kick your ass if you don’t see your self worth…. Okay I’m too nice to do that but seriously- own your flaws and have fun. No more apologies, ladies.

7 Qualities & Habits You Develop When You’re 100% Independent

This isn’t my first time living outside of mama and papa bears house. I’ve shared condos and apartments with multiple people and it was a good run but I’ve reached that age where people tend to get serious with their relationships so it’s harder and harder to find roommates. Just a year ago if you would have told me “Sheila, this time next year you’re going to have a one bedroom apartment to yourself” I would have been like “Are you effing high?! I’m not living alone. It’s scary and for losers”. This time last year my plan was to live with my parents and save up money for a downpayment on my own condo by the time I’m 30 but my parents are borderline hoarders and the clutter drove me insane and I REALLY missed having my own space. So here I am in my awesome one bedroom apartment (with a garage so I have so much more room for activities). In the past few weeks here are 7 qualities and habits I’ve Developed since I’ve been 100% independent.

Independent Woman

1. You Buy One of Everything and Use It Until It’s Gone. You have to be way more responsible with your money. You don’t have anyone to share groceries or toiletries with so to budget accordingly you buy one of what you need and use it until it’s gone. When I had roommates or lived at home I would have a shower full of different shampoos and hair products and a wide variety of cereals. “Is it a fruity pebbles or a wheat chex kind of day?” That’s a question you don’t get to ask yourself anymore. You start putting a lot of thought into which cereal you get because it’s the only you’re going to have the next week or two.

2. You Justify Restaurant Meals By Portioning It Out RIP Salmon Ceasar Pasta Salad from Cheddar’s. Actually all restaurant salads. There’s no way I can spend 12 dollars on food in one sitting and not feel guilty about it, and eating second day salad is slimy and gross (Gag!). Now when I go to restaurants with my friends I look for meals I can break up into 2 or 3 servings because then it averages out to about 3-5 dollars a serving so I don’t feel so bad. I still get in my fair share of vegetables and salads but not at restaurants because the prices are insane. For 10 bucks I can get enough vegetables and salad mix to last me like 3-4 days.

3. You are Less Glued to Your Phone and Tough I initially felt sorry for my friends when I moved out because I thought “Oh man, I’m going to be so bored and lonely I’m going to be texting them to death” but I think I text less now than when I lived at home. I guess I’m busier cleaning and making sure my place is Fresh and Clean Outkast style. Since I’m a minimalist I feel like my creative juices flow more than when I was in clutter hell at my parents. Oh, and scary noises in the night you become numb to. With the exception of an incident with my garage door breaking and sending me into level 10 paranoid weird sounds don’t get to me. The car door slams, wind that sounds like taps on the window and weird cracking and popping sounds of whatever- maybe the building settling? Those noise are sooo whatever. If it’s someone breaking in I don’t even care because I will drop kick a mother trucker. I seriously feel so brave and strong I should be a Mortal Kombat character if that game is resurrected.

4. You Watch Your Bank Account I check my bank account more than I check my Twitter. Not only am I making sure my spending is in check and constantly doing math to make sure funds are available when bills come in, but I’m also making sure my cards haven’t been compromised. There’s way too much hacking going on. No one is safe. Hide your cards, hide your passwords- they’re credit raping everyone.

5. You Stop Drinking at Bars Kind of the whole point of me going to bars in the first place was because I didn’t have a place to have people over so it was the perfect place to meet up. Now that I have my own place I have zero desire to go to a bar. If you even mention the word cover charge I’m throwing my hand up saying I’m out- with the exception of birthdays and special events. And paying 6 dollars for a liquor drink when I can get a whole bottle to last me months for like 20- no way! I would rather be at home playing on Pinterest with Friends on the TV in the background. I also wear a lot of flip flops and I’m tired of “beer feet”.

6. Your Internet Browsing History Makes You Look Like Martha Stewart Once upon a time if you went through my history you’d find tons of celebrity articles, memes and Facebook. I was all about finding stuff to make me laugh and entertain me. While I still look up my fair share of funny stuff I primarily look up recipes & healthy eating, coupons, cleaning & decorating tips. I’m in the process of becoming the ultimate homemaker on accident. I just really like my place and me and want to take excellent care of both ;).

7.You Realize How Little You Ever Needed Now that I have to provide everything I need for myself my impulse buys are knocked down to zero. Used to I’d see a coffee tumbler or dog toy and just be like “Oh, ten bucks that’s nothing” and buy it. I was actually sad at first about moving out and not being able to buy what I wanted when I wanted but it’s not so bad. It was a lesson I needed to learn. I was at a marketing breakfast at a trade show in October where they talked about a theory that people are happiest when they make a purchase or in anticipation of an item arriving and I was soon guilty of that. I’d be so excited to buy something and then use it or wear it like once and completely forget I had it. Now I’m all about memories & traveling (which I know I talk about this point in my blog all the time now) so when I see things I want I realize I don’t want it as bad as a concert or plane ticket and put it down and keep walking. I still load up online shopping carts with cool stuff but don’t follow through with payment because as weird as it is that makes me just as happy as buying it? I’m weird and it’s okay because it keeps me from being broke!

Share your experiences and habits you developed your first time living alone below. I LOVE comments!

My thoughts While I Run

Do you want to know who I am? I’m the girl that goes to get frozen yogurt in her running clothes. To be completely honest, I don’t even always workout before I go but I like to trick people into thinking I’m super active so they don’t judge the size of my yogurt cup. However, when I do run I always look down at my Nike Running App and feel good about the 300+ calories burned and immediately wonder if any of my friends are up for ice cream. Can you relate?

Maybe I’m not as weird as I think but just as a test here’s an infographic of my thoughts while I run that somehow lead to ice cream at the finish line.

Oh, and another weird confession- sometimes my thoughts are hashtags!


2014 Fall Foliage Map and Links

So I was driving around yesterday when I realized the leaves here in East Tenn are starting to change (barely). I decided this month will probably be the best time to view the fall foliage so I researched peak viewing times. To make it easier on my fellow friends and fall enthusiasts, I compiled a list of links and a couple of sample maps detailing when you can expect the best autumn views.

Below is the map from stormax.com. Besides this awesome map they have a list of fail foliage hotlines here where you can call with inquiries. Who knew such a thing existed!

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 3.40.20 PM

For my readers who aren’t local to me follow this link to weather.com. By clicking on this link you’ll see the map below which allows you to browse foliage reports and user submitted pictures of the leaves changing based on state and region.

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 3.38.10 PM

If you are local to me learn about Asheville foliage here 

and the Smoky Mountain Foilage here

For an idea on what’s happening on the Blue Ridge Parkway you can view a live update here

Any other suggestions of fall foliage and best viewing or views are highly recommended in the comments! Thank you!

Laurel Falls


I wonder where the trail is?


How to get there: follow this link because if I try to describe it you’ll get lost, super mad and never read my blog again! 

Now, For my adventure narrative

This was first hiking adventure of the Summer of 2014. I had just gone through a break up with a mega douche bag and after a string of unsuccessful relationships I decided I was done and over dating. I’m kind of getting old anyway (I’m 25 but in East Tenn most people are married and have their first kid by 23 so I’m technically an old spinster) I was a nerd and read online about break ups and ways to be positive and I ready one that truly stuck with me. It said something to the effect that you should be happy and take time to yourself to do all the things you want to do because your next relationship maybe your last. Of course, when you’re in a relationship you have to share your time and compromise but being single gives me the ability to do what I want when I want. I’m virtually a Cartman now and it’s fantastic!

Cartman Whatever

While we were at the waterfall I did knock out my good deed of the day by helping a little girl navigate over the rocks. She was there with her mom who also had a baby with her so she was unable to get in the water

helping a little girl

So anyway, this was my first time in nature in a very long time. I mean probably the last time was my freshman year of high school when I did a trail clean up. It felt good to be back and I had a great time hamming it up with my bestie.

IMG_2233 IMG_2238 hidingbehindrock

jesspushup  shecliff1adventurerjess

And an Encore of Laurel Falls!

jess waterfall



South Holston Mountain Fire Tower

How to get there: depending on how old fashioned you are, either get a print out on google maps or put this into GPS: Panhandle Rd, Elizabethton, TN 37643. Once you turn onto this road you will pass blue hole on the left (I’ll save that for a different post) and drive all the way up the road (there is a patch that is not paved. Don’t let the bumpiness scare you) until you get to a rusty gate. Park your car at this gate and it will then be about a half mile hike up a dirt road to the fire tower. 

Fun History

 The Fire Tower was relocated from Mississippi in 1943 and was staffed until 1991. My dad (born in 1957) used to hike up to the fire tower as a young adult as well. In the years it was staffed, the fire tower featured a live in cabin at the top for the forest ranger. There is a hole to climb through in what was once a trap door leading inside the cabin. When my dad would make the hike he said the best part was going when a friendly forest ranger was there because they would let you come up and look out their telescope. Even without a telescope the view is breathtaking!


The Climb:

The climb is scary. I had to stop and breath multiple times. It is in horrible shape and I don’t expect it to be up much longer. It’s rusted all to pieces and missing stairs on the first flight of steps. It’s also missing fencing in places that would normally act as a safety net at the top.

Here’s a view from the bottom and snap shot of one of the missing stairs:





Once we made it up to the top I was initially too scared to stand up or not grab onto the side. When the wind blew I felt like I could blow off!



 sheila top of firetower

Jess was more brave

 jesstower2 jessthinkingfiretower

Don’t Worry- I eventually was brave and let go!

yaytower1 yaytower2


Last but not least, the gorgeous view that made it all worth risking my life on this rickety, old, adult sized, hiking jungle gym.

firetowerview southholstonlakefiretower1


Going back down the fire tower was a breeze. It felt so liberating. I definitely would not recommend children or older people for this adventure. I’m hoping to go one last time to see the leaves changing for fall because this tower is no doubt a ticking time bomb between being officially torn down or someone just getting injured.

Do you have a fire tower you recommend? Don’t worry about it not being local to me I want to see the world. Share your fire tower and experience with me 😀

Elk River Falls

How to get there:  Plug this into your GPS Elk River Road Elk Park NC 28622. You’ll park and walk maybe 50 yards and BAM! you’re at the falls. This isn’t really a hike. You’ll do more exploring and climbing on rocks that anything else. 


hangonjess IMG_2316 IMG_2323 IMG_2327 IMG_2332 IMG_2339 IMG_2340 IMG_2341 IMG_2344 IMG_2345 IMG_2347 IMG_2349 IMG_2350 IMG_2355 jess selfie jessonrock jesspointing jesssittingIMG_2309IMG_2311IMG_2308IMG_2317IMG_2318IMG_2321IMG_2322IMG_2328IMG_2351

Linville Falls, NC

Wanna go to Linville Falls, NC?

While there won’t be a yellow brick road guiding you directly to the waterfall(s), there will be obvious signs pointing you in the right direction for the trails.

GPS the address: Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 316.3 Linville Falls,   NC   28647

Have trouble finding it still? call the visitor center! (828) 765-1045

This week’s adventure tip: Play around with the orientation of your photos. It makes everything much more entertaining.

Check out the comparisons below showcasing how the picture was really taken versus what it looks like rotated.



Nothing to see here. Just a girl on a tree approximately one Kim Kardashian off the ground (that’s about 5 feet)




Whoa!!!!! Suddenly she’s in the danger zone. A true daredevil. She could be 20+feet off the ground on the side of a very steep mountain, for all you know, hanging on for dear life after pure exhaustion from shimmying up the tree.



Just another dude showcasing his strength while gettin’ his swole on mid-hike.




Would you look at that?!? check out the sweet moves he’s busting out on that rustic stripper pole. UNREAL. (P.S. sorry ladies he’s taking by the daredevil mentioned earlier)



What’s this pansy crap?! At least sit up for goodness sake?!



Oh Now I’m cool. Look at me hanging upside down, and gripping the tree with my spidey-like reflexes.



Maybe being silly isn’t your thing and you’re just looking for some pretty pictures of Linnville Falls. These are for you:

10460407_10152618992757174_5811658756813837064_n 10440681_10152619010272174_9132694765727965180_n 10561567_10152619006162174_2107373735157449082_n  10593233_10152619000552174_7151240319837532699_n 10593187_10152618995897174_3594464223997062163_n