About Donnica Smalls

http://www.donnicakelsey.com

Resident Palmetto Peach expert on glitter, baking and why football is the 5th season. Pragmatic dreamer. “I might bend a little bit, but I don’t fold.”

Posts by Donnica Smalls:

5 Tips For a Fun Thanksgiving Gathering

This is not a drill, people. We are less than one week away from Thanksgiving! Some of you may be headed to a traditional family gathering. While others of you may opt for a celebration with your friends – Friendsgiving. There may even be you  greedy lucky few, that fill their bellies at both occasions. Whether you’re having a traditional Thanksgiving dinner or planning a Friendsgiving, I’ve got some tips for a fantastic holiday gathering.

 

5 Tips For a Fun Thanksgiving Gathering - The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.com

1. Don’t waste your life away in the kitchen.

It can get easy to get stuck in the kitchen as your friends play or our family gathers around the TV. You can make a few items in advance and still get stuck in the kitchen preparing food. Here’s my solution: share the responsibility. As the host, you can’t get out of making the turkey, but you can relieve yourself of some of the work by letting guests contribute a few sides and desserts. My parents are driving up to Atlanta, so I’m not making them bring anything. However, my pops always brings extra sweet potatoes for pies and will grab drinks,napkins, aluminum foil and plastic bags upon arrival.  Honestly, I think she still fully doesn’t trust me with the turkey so she supervises with that as her contribution. 

Feel free to ask your guests what they’d like to contribute or assign them a dish. This is important because you don’t want too many of the same dish or someone to feel bad when no one touches their cornbread dressing.  Note, not everyone can make the macaroni and cheese. And Ms. “All I eat is zucchini noodles” probably shouldn’t be attempting to touch the greens. Like if  you don’t know what hamhock is — DON’T DO IT! Also, if you’re a guest and can’t cook, maybe just pick up drinks or one of Miss Patti’s Pies. 

 

Apologies for the language, but this video is still funny to me two years later.

2. Play a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade drinking game

Maybe save this one for Friendsgiving, but if your family likes to throw a few back I say go for it. Lay out the rules, and then get ready to do some pre-dinner drinking.  You could also watch  “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”. Take two sips (or a shot) every time Peppermint Patty invites someone to to Charlie’s dinner, or when she yells. Or just drink – that’s fine.

3. Remember what you’re thankful for.

Take time to go around the table with your friends or family and share what you’re thankful for this year. Your gathering should be about reconnecting and catching up over a great meal.  

4. Have a signature drink.

You could just go with the basics: wine, beer, and non-alcoholic beverages on hand, but consider  having a  signature drink. A signature drink is a nice way to add something special and seasonal to the mix. Check out Ace’s fall cocktails for some ideas.

5. Break Culinary Traditions

My second year in ATL (me thinks) Ace and I had a two person Friendsgiving. Sure, I made sweet potato pies, but there was no way I was cooking a turkey for two,  so we broke tradition and made some bomb Turkey Tacos with Cranberry Salsa and a Thanksgiving sides cake. Still one of my favorite meals – EVER! P.S. We subbed out out their spinach layer for greens. 

5 Tips For a Fun Thanksgiving Gathering - The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.com

Image Credit: Huffington Post

If you’re looking for decor ideas or recipes check out this Pinterest board:

 

What are some of your tips for a fun Thanksgiving gathering? Leave your comments below!

Donni Siggy--The Palmetto Peaches

7 Healthy Changes to Make Today

Healthy living doesn’t have to be be hard.

Well at least that’s what I’m repeating to myself until I am 100% living it. There are plenty of healthy changes you can easily implement. In my ongoing journey to live a healthier lifestyle, I’ve failed at making huge changes right away. Setting a goal to go to the gym five days out the week was a little ambitious right out the gate. However, I discovered that little changes can make a huge impact. Here are seven healthy changes you can make today to live a healthier lifestyle:

7 Healthy Changes to Make Today - The Palmetto Peaches -palmsinatl.com

P.S. I’m leaving out drink more water because just do it people.

7 Healthy Changes to Make Today

1.Don’t skip breakfast.

They call it the most important meal of the day for a reason! By eating breakfast, you’ll start off your day right, and you’ll also be less likely to have cravings later in the day. Enjoy a nutritious, light breakfast every morning.

2. Spend more time walking.

I love a good princess parking spot. But a simple way to get in some more steps is to park further away from your destination. According to the American Heart Association: Walking at least 30 minutes a day can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and some cancers. Break it down into three 10 minute increments if you need to.

3. Make time for self-care and prioritize your mental health.

I’ve written about self-care and mental health a few times. I plan to continue to do so because both are very crucial. Mental health is just as important as physical health.Seek help if you feel like you need it. I stress the importance of self-care because our mental health and overall happiness depend on it. Whatever self-care looks like to you make sure you make time for it

4.  Listen to your body

Look I’m not an expert, but listen to your own body. What works well for your favorite celeb or blogger may not be for you. Just because your best friend dropped 20 pounds when she became vegan doesn’t mean that you should now become vegan. Your healthy living should be determined by what you need and works best for you.

5. More LOLs

Seriously (haha) laugh more. Laughter reduces stress. It also burns calories and helps prevent heart disease. So just do it. Laugh more.

6. Don’t go grocery shopping hungry.

I have two rules I have to follow when I walk into Publix so that I won’t end up with a cart full of brownies and breads. I have to make a list and I have to have a full stomach. When you’re in the grocery store and your stomach is empty, you’ll likely make impulse buys of unhealthy foods. Think about it when you’re hungry every things sounds good and I’d be willing to bet it’s not veggies that have you salivating.

7. Discover the fountain of youth

Okay not a real fountain of youth, but if you incorporate more fruits and veggies into your diet the effects would be as if you discovered a fountain of youth.  Fruits and veggies are rich in vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, fiber, and water – all the good stuff. So indulge in seasonal produce; sneak a serving or two in your breakfast; get your juice on smoothie on; or experiment with meatless Mondays. Get those fruits and veggies in!

 

What are some little things you do that make a big impact? Leave a comment below!

Donni Siggy--The Palmetto Peaches

Happy Howl-o-ween – Barkbox Review

Happy Howl-o-ween, peeps! This year, I’m totally unprepared for Halloween. However, Sgt. Pepper has a costume. He’s going to be Reptar. Well to be fair, I purchased a $3 dinosaur costume for Target, but I’m going to tell everyone he’s Reptar. P.S. Did you know Reptar bars are now real? In honor of Pep’s Howl-o-ween, I am sharing this month’s Halloween themed BarkBox.

What is BarkBox?

BarkBox is a monthly subscription box for dogs of all sizes. Each box comes with two bags of treats, one chew, and two toys. Everything is tied together with a theme. All the treats are natural and made in the US or Canada. BarkBox is billed monthly. Additionally, the prices decrease if you commit to a 6 or 12 month plan. I pay $25 a month for a six month plan. You also have the option to join the Extra Toy Club for an additional $9 per month. The first box ships right away and subsequent boxes ship on the 15th of each month.

Happy Howl-o-ween: Barkbox Review - The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.com

Happy Howl-o-ween – Barkbox Review

This month’s theme was: Household Horrors. I love getting this subscription box for Sgt. Pepper. The box genuinely gets him so excited. He sticks his little nose in the box and starts pulling things out. It’s too cute!

Items in October’s Box

Happy Howl-o-ween: Barkbox Review - The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.com

The treats usually match the theme and this month they didn’t. I reached out to Barkbox about this and they are actually sending Sgt. Pepper some Halloween themed treats for free!

  • Scare Dryer – ($8)  – Pep actually used to be pretty afraid of the hair dyer. So it’s hilarious he’s been dragging this around.
  • Rain of Terror – ($14) Sgt. Pepper is obsessed with the little raindrops that are hidden inside. He’s been carrying them around and napping with them since he found them.

Overall, I’m super pleased with this subscription service. I originally thought I’d cancel after the first month, but it’s been fun to open with Pep. I’m also saving money on treats and toys.

Interested in BarkBox?

You can get your first month free using my referral link: https://www.barkbox.com/r/HNK071JMMF.

Customize Your Pup’s Barkbox

You can choose from 3 sizes based on how big your dog is. This helps Barkbox send goodies that are the right size for your pup.

  • “small and cute” for smaller dogs in the 0-20 lb range
  • “just right” for medium dogs in the 20-50 lb range
  • “big and bold” for big dogs 50 lbs and up

Happy Howl-o-ween: Barkbox Review - The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.com

 Every barkbox is wheat, corn, and soy free, and there’s even a special allergy-friendly barkbox for dogs allergic to beef, chicken, and turkey. You just have to send them an email telling them about your dog’s allergies and you’ll get the allergy-friendly barkbox for no extra charge. 

And if a subscription box isn’t your thing you can always make some homemade treats.

Are you dressing your fur baby up for howl-o-ween? Feel free to leave pictures in the comments below or tweet us!

Donni Siggy--The Palmetto Peaches

5 TED Talks For Your Playlist

I’m trying to be more intentional about how I waste my time. Stick with me for a moment. While I like to spend time reading, there are too many times when I waste time trying to beat a really hard level of Cookie Jam.  I’ve decided that in those moments where I’m just wasting time I’d prefer to do something more productive. I decided to start listening to more TED Talks.

What are TED Talks?

A TED Talk is a showcase for speakers presenting great ideas. Usually, the format calls for presentations on the shorter side. Think about all of the lectures we’ve all (almost) fallen asleep listening to. The talks are thought-provoking and stimulate conversation. They can be inspirational, funny, or mind-blowing and they cover almost all topics — from science to business to global issues.

One of my favorite TED Talks even ended up in a Beyonce song: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists.

Here are a few of my favorite TED Talks that you may want to add to your playlist.

5 TED Talks For Your Playlist - The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.com

5 TED Talks For Your Playlist

MANOUSH ZOMORODI

How boredom can lead to your most brilliant ideas

Description: Do you sometimes have your most creative ideas while folding laundry, washing dishes or doing nothing in particular? It’s because when your body goes on autopilot, your brain gets busy forming new neural connections that connect ideas and solve problems. Zomorodi explains the connection between spacing out and creativity.

 

ELIZABETH GILBERT

Your Elusive Creative Genius

Description: Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person “being” a genius, all of us “have” a genius.

 

SARAH LEWIS

Embrace the near win

Description: At her first museum job, art historian Sarah Lewis noticed something important about an artist she was studying: Not every artwork was a total masterpiece. She asks us to consider the role of the almost-failure, the near win, in our own lives.

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#Latergram: Put Your Phone Down

Whatever happened to living in the moment?

At Hangout this year, I watched a friend get super frustrated that she couldn’t get a good video of Mumford and Sons on Snapchat. To be fair, she was drunk, but her bad mood from not being able to get amazing footage killed my vibe. I just wanted to jump and dance around to “Little Lion Man”. But to be fair, I’ve be I’ve been that person too. A few weeks ago at Music Midtown, I watched a lot of Bruno Mars’ set through the iPhone screens in front of me. I was trying really hard to record “Versace on the Floor” and “When I Was Your Man”. But all I (and countless others) really got was a low quality version of a performance we could’ve been experiencing.

#Latergram: Put Your Phone Down - The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.com

Why?

Because we’ve become so obsessed with recording our lives. Too many people are too busy “doing it for the ‘Gram” (wait, do people still say that) trying to get likes and followers rather than living in the present. When I finally put my phone down, I danced and sang screeched my way through Bruno’s set.  At the end of the night my feet and back hurt. We kinda lost two of our friends who left to get us water. But I had the time of my life and I enjoyed the hell out of that concert.

Let me share another story with you:

Pulling out the parking lot at Starbucks the other day, I was the witness to a pretty remarkable scene. With the exception of one table, everyone was sitting with a group or at least one other person. However, everyone was on their phone. The next thing I saw was a young woman with a little toddler. Juice box in hand, the little girl stopped at the curb and put her hand out to be held as they walked into the parking lot area. Here’s the thing, her mom/sister/babysitter was too busy looking at her phone to notice the little girl had stopped and extended her hand. I became extremely annoyed with all of those strangers. I don’t know why it bothered me so much that particular day, but I told myself I was being a hypocrite. In that moment I vowed to step back and not partake in this madness (as much) and that I’d put my phone down more. I’m encouraging you to do the same.

You may need to put your phone down if:

  • You’ve almost injured yourself because you were walking and looking at your phone.
  • If you’re Instagramming your food and not paying attention to your date.
  • You’re too busy live-tweeting Scandal you missed most of Olivia’s monument or asterisk monologue.
  • You’re in a room full of people and not engaging in the conversation or at the very least doing some people watching.

We’re so involved in this race to capture everything that’s going on around us that we’re only getting a diluted form of the actual experience. So in the next few weeks try to:

  • Limit what makes it in your Snapchat story. You don’t need to take a snap of every song during your favorite artists show. At the next concert you attend, maybe take a quick video at the beginning and then put your phone away and enjoy the show.
  • Talk to a stranger. Now I’m not saying go find a creep, but have a little social interaction instead of resorting through scrolling through your Instagram feed.
  • Enjoy your meal, don’t Instagram it. Look some of your brunch pics are mouthwatering, but bite into that eggs benedict and get all that hollandaise sauce.  Order two baskets of duck fat fries and enjoy. No one has to know you’re on your 3rd cheat meal of the week.
  • Do it IRL. Yes, in real life. Instead of browsing through Pinterest for hours, grab a friend and hit up an antique store, craft shop, or mall and browse IRL.

Go have some experiences and if you take a picture or two make it a #latergram and keep living in the moment. Or just put your phone down and make a conscious effort to go screen free because real life is out there waiting for you to experience it.

What about you? Are you good about putting your phone down and getting the full experience? Leave a comment below!

Donni Siggy--The Palmetto Peaches

Fallin’ into Health and Fitness

While the first day of fall was last month, fall is finally beginning to creep into Atlanta. I do, however, mean creep. The mornings are cool, but by lunchtime it’s back 80°. Leaves are starting to change and fall. Pumpkins are popping up everywhere and football rules the weekends.

The shorter days and longer nights are on the way. Typically fall is the time of year I exercise less. I tend to hibernate all fall and winter, perfectly comfortable spending my time on the couch. Whether watching football or TGIT. However, when I think about it fall is really the perfect excuse to slow down and take extra time to really look after yourself. Below are four tips to fit in health and fitness this fall. 

Fallin’ into Health and Fitness - The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.com

Fallin’ into Health and Fitness

Savor seasonal produce.  

Nourish your body this season with seasonal foods. Shopping for seasonal produce will also save you some precious coins. Apples, cabbage, cranberries,  eggplant, kale, pears, persimmons (hey, Charleston folks), pomegranates, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and winter squash. Basically think fall colors when you’re cruising by the produce: deep greens, dark yellow and oranges.  Fall is the perfect time to crank out some hearty and healthy soups and stews. Remember the crock-pot is your friend.

Work out at home.

I get it the days feel shorter and maybe fitting a workout into your routine feels a little harder. I try to tell myself that even 15 or 20 minutes is enough time to get in a quick workout. I use walking my dog around my complex as my warm up and am not above a living room workout. I bought a set of resistance bands I could set up on my door for full body workouts turning my living room into my own personal home gym. However, figure out what works best for you:  fitness DVDs, Youtube videos, Nike Training Club, or the Tone It Up program.

Protect ya neck!

Well literally, but also just layer up. I started sniffling last night and realized I probably should have thrown on another layer to walk my pup. The change in season brings about a change in climate. I know some people are already feeling the change in weather and in some places it’s basically 90° everyday. No matter where you live, be prepared when the temperatures do start to dip and keep this in mind as you plan outdoor activities.

Indulge

As much as I support eating healthy and finding times to fit in fitness. I think you should also make time for yourself and indulge. Whatever that looks like to you. Spend time relaxing at home, wrap up in your favorite blanket, wear your favorite hoodie and enjoy some early nights in. Binge watch Stranger Things and drink a spiked cider. Go and get the PSL with the whole milk and extra syrup. Now I’m not saying drink three a day, but bat an eye at the mention of calories and savor that latte.  

Do you plan on fitting in more health and fitness into your fall? Leave a comment below and tell me how. 

Donni Siggy--The Palmetto Peaches