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:

Spring Cleaning My Life

The first day of spring was March 20. This season change is synonymous with spring cleaning. However, spring cleaning isn’t just for your closets. I read somewhere that spring is the perfect time to recreate ourselves and blossom into the potential we envision for our lives. That’s pretty powerful. I know most people make their resolutions for the year in January, but I have decided that this spring I’m going to clean myself up – renew my mind and soul.

Spring Cleaning My Life -- The Palmetto Peaches

Spring Cleaning To-Do List

  • To declutter is to de-stress.  I know that this post is supposed to be about spring cleaning life, but traditional spring cleaning is important as well.  A beautiful, clean living space is inspiring and it eliminates stress. I’ve looked up some natural DIY cleaning products that I’m making and I’m going to thoroughly clean my apartment, top to bottom. I’ve decided to feng shui my living space by my rearranging my living room and changing up the color scheme. I’ve also planned out a gallery wall with inspiring pictures. I want the space I live in to energize me and stimulate my creativity. I also plan to go through all of my clothes and give away everything that doesn’t fit.
  • Getting rid of clothes. Here’s what I think: clothes are unfortunately tied to self-esteem. There’s nothing wrong with holding on to a pair of jeans you want to fit in again, but realistically you have to ask yourself why you’re holding on to items that you can’t wear. For example, I have a few bodycon dresses I used to wear out to Five Points back in undergrad.  When I put them on now there are dimples in places that were not visible previously. Why am I holding on to them? I am not as small as I was four years ago. Also, I’m pretty sure I’m almost to the point where bodycon dresses are not an acceptable outfit to go out in. I’m declaring to myself right now as I type, that I’m ok with not ever being 110 pounds again. I don’t need to be! My weight does not correlate with happiness or self-confidence. My only concern should be is becoming healthier.
  • Being a healthier me. No, I’m not going on a diet.  Would I like to lose a few pounds? Sure. I went from dancing every day for a minimum of three hours a day in high school, to being a very active college and graduate student – taking dance classes and walking to classes on humongous campuses in famously hot weather. I could eat whatever I wanted and I would dance/walk it off.  Now I sit at a desk for 60+ hours a week and my choice to go to Wendy’s and McDonald’s for lunch just sits in my thighs.  So I’ve decided to make healthier decisions when it comes to food. Will I still eat a few slices of Dominoes’ pizza… absolutely.  However, if you’ve been following me on Instagram (do it, you know you want to), you’ve seen I’ve ventured into the world of meal prepping. I’m picking some delicious yet healthy options to eat during the week. Meal prepping helps me avoid those lunch time trips to Burger King. I’ve also vowed to experiment with foods I’ve never tasted, try new recipes, and to drink more water. Did you know eating healthy foods can actually improve our happiness.
  • Being a happier me. I’m by no means, unhappy. I think sometimes I just let myself get overwhelmed with work or this vision I had of my career. In my head, I thought I would go get my master’s degree and immediately start working at a PR firm where I would travel across the country dazzling clients with amazing strategic plans. FYI: My other dream was to be a script writer for a soap opera. Hence, my lofty post-graduation dream. Reality: I’m a slightly underpaid media relations specialist, who spends her day chained to a desk, looking out of the window across the hall. I am doing some amazing work on important health issues and there are days that are so fulfilling. Then someone posts a picture on Instagram of their weekly jet set to our nation’s capital and subsequent flight to LA with the hashtag #worklife. Commence the eye-rollling. As Ace mentioned in her last post (Food for Thought), we attended a lunch and learn with some inspiring speakers. One of my main takeaways: Do not to judge yourself on the accomplishments of others. I needed to hear that. Why am I looking at someone else’s career journey as a path for my own? I may not be where I thought I would be, but I’m in a great place. I’m a 25-year- old with a master’s degree. I had multiple job offers out of both undergrad and graduate school. My current employer is giving me opportunities to grow and take on additional responsibilities. Very soon, I’ll be taking classes for a new certificate in social media and my company is paying for my tuition. Outside of work, I have so much to be happy about and thankful for: I have an amazing, supportive family, weirdly awesome friends, a roof over my head, a full pantry, a super cute puppy, and good health. That’s a good life.
  • Dust off my talents. One of my friends tagged me in this picture last week and it could not have come at a better time. Spring Cleaning My Life - The Palmetto PeachesThis is sooo true. I may not always be a ballerina, but I’ll always be a dancer. I’m going to be honest with myself. My schedule is crazy and it’s just not possible for me to take three dance classes a week to get me back to the point where I used to be. Not unless one of you fabulous readers have discovered a way to add a few hours in the day.  However, I am going to make time to immerse myself in dance. I will try to take a few classes regularly and I am going to start seeing some of the productions of the amazing dance companies here in Atlanta. Dance has always made me feel better. No matter what kind of horrible day I had, some good choreography could erase it all. It’s time to freshen up my tap shoes and use some syncopated beats to put a smile on my face.
  • Straighten my finances. If only I could tell 18-year-old Donni to step away from the credit card application. On top of credit cards and student loans, I’m vowing to get rid of lifestyle clutter. Every month, I sit down and make a budget. I actually stick to it, but I have some items I can trim down. I’m talking to you Starbucks. Y’all I actually budget $30 a month for Starbucks. That’s $360 a year for coffee. That’s money I could add to my savings or invest. Moving forward, I will assess some areas that I can cut down and come up with a plan to be debt free.
  • Clean-up my relationships. I think this one is pretty much complete.  However, I added it because in general I think it can’t hurt to be reminded of the importance of ridding ourselves of any toxic relationships in our lives. Clean house on those “friends” that bring you down.  I have had let go of a few people that I thought I would be friends with until I was old and gray because of the negativity they brought into my life. I’ve also had to learn to let go of old relationships. It didn’t work for a reason. Y’all the annual happy birthday text or Instagram like isn’t worth the drama.

As I work on my to-do list, I’ll share my progress and any tips I think might be beneficial for others. Also, I’d love to hear some of the ways you want to spring clean your life.

donni-siggy

The Palmetto Peaches’ Guide to March Madness

Is everyone in your office/class talking about March Madness? The upsets? The odds?  Are you lost?

Last week for the kickoff of March Madness, I starting drafting a post where I would talk about my bracket picks and give you a cheat guide to the tournament. Then Thursday happened and my entire bracket was ruined by some major upsets. Way to bust my bracket UAB and GA State! And C’mon Kansas! Now that the Sweet Sixteen is beginning tomorrow, I thought I’d try another post. I’m not an expert by any means, and you may know that in terms of college sports, I rank football number one. However, I try to keep up with NCAA basketball and for those of you who need to fake your way through the tournament – I got your your back with this guide.

But first let’s start at the beginning…

So How Does March Madness Work?

Games are played round-by-round over a three week period where one champion emerges.

March Madness - The Palmetto Peaches

After the “first-four” which is a bit much to explain for this basic overview, the 64-team bracket is established.  Each winner advances into the next round.

  • After Round 2 – 32 teams remain
  • After Round 3 – 16 teams remain ( This is called the Sweet 16)
  • After Round 4 – 8 Teams remain (aka the Elite Eight)
  • After Round 5 – 4 Teams remain (Hello Final Four) ; Fun fact 2008 was the only year all the #1 seeds made it to the final four)
  • After Round 5 – Yup, you guessed it two teams remain and some is the national champion and gets to cut down the net.

March Madness - The Palmetto Peaches

Why is it called March Madness?

That’s just the way it is.  No, that’s not true, but I had to do some research on this one. Apparently, “March Madness” traces back to Illinois’ statewide high-school basketball tournament, which began in 1908. In 1939, an official with the Illinois High School Association, Henry V. Porter, penned an article called “March Madness” for the organization’s in-house magazine. “A little March madness may complement and contribute to sanity and help keep society on an even keel,” he wrote. Three years later, he followed up with a poem, “Basketball Ides of March,” which read in part: “A sharp-shooting mite is king tonight/ The Madness of March is running.” The phrase was confined to Illinois high-school ball until 1982, when CBS broadcaster  Brent Musburger used it during his network’s NCAA tournament coverage. Read more here.

What is a seed?

So you keep hearing about those #1 seeds, eh? Nope, they have nothing to do with gardens. Seeds refer to the placement of a team in one of four regions (East, Midwest, South, and West).  Each region has between 16 and 18 teams, which are assigned a seed number of 1 through 18, with the best team in the region awarded the No. 1 seed. Usually, the highest seeds (Nos. 1 through 8) have more success than the lower seeds (Nos. 9 through 16) in the tournament, but there are some Cinderellas.

Cinderella? Like the movie?

No, I’m not talking about Disney’s new Cinderella movie.  A “Cinderella” is a team that unexpectedly achieves success in the tournament. Just like Cinderella’s chariot turns back into a pumpkin at midnight, most of the Cinderella teams turn back before reaching the Final Four.  But there have been some Cinderella teams in the Final Four (VCU, George Mason, Butler and Wichita State). However, this year doesn’t really have a Cinderella. The lowest-seeded team in the Sweet 16 is No. 11 UCLA and SPOILER ALERT- this school has the most national titles in history. Actually, there are 10 programs still playing that have won national titles. Seven of them have won multiple national titles. Write these down for trivia night.

So I think that’s the basics. Now that we’re caught up you can read my breakdown of the Sweet 16 by clicking more below.

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Empire vs. Scandal: Primetime’s Heavyweight Bout

As I was waiting for my Thursday night love affair with Shonda Rhimes to begin last night, I casually scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed and realized that there was an Empire vs. Scandal battle going on that I was unaware of. This is nothing like the upcoming Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight, but the interwebs is trying to pretend it is.

Empire vs. Scandal -- The Palmetto Peaches

If you’ve been living under a rock or are allergic to FOX, you may not know that Empire has quickly become the number one new series of the season in all the key demographics. According to Nielsen, 61% of the show’s audience is African-American — a figure that no other prime time show, new or old, even comes close to matching. Additionally, Empire is shattering Nielsen records as the only series to rise in the ratings for seven consecutive weeks since its premiere, climbing steadily from 9.9 million same-day viewers for its Jan. 7 opener to 13.9 million last week.

In comparison, Scandal first landed on ABC with eight episodes and the ratings were okay, but nothing like the Empire phenomenon. However, because of Scandal‘s ridiculous Twitter engagement, ABC saw its potential. Shonda Rhimes has since become Thursday night’s queen.

The basic argument was that Empire is led by an all-black cast (Andre’s wife is a minor character) and has continued to break Nielsen records. Beyond this, the show addresses issues that plague the African American community, but are sometimes ignored (e.g. homophobia and mental illness). In addition, the show is ultimately a celebration of a family rising from poverty to an – for lack of a better word – “empire”.

Empire vs. Scandal -- The Palmetto Peaches

Pro-Empire viewers chastised Scandal for not addressing serious issues and basically saying it was a dramatic story of who “other woman/ sidepiece” Olivia  should be with. (For the record, I’m #TeamJake whom, I refer to as Pillow Lips). Don’t get me wrong, I roll my eyes and sip my wine whenever the Olitz music plays and they have a brief and highly dramatic encounter. However, Scandal, in fact, has taken up an insane number of social issues. Abby’s storyline that raised awareness about domestic violence. The issue of gun control was weaved into the storyline via a speech by Fitz. Who can forget the end of Season 3 when Daddy Pope called Fitz a “boy” reading him to filth with the eloquence and dynamics of a preacher giving a sermon on First Sunday. This wasn’t just about Fitz’s rude and childish comment, but about the achievements and struggles of the black community and a commentary on white privilege. Also, we can’t leave out Rowan’s “You have to be twice as good as them to get half of what they have” speech.

I also can’t address that criticism without talking about last night’s episode “The Lawn Chair,”  which echoed what occurred with Michael Brown in Ferguson, Eric Garner in New York and other countless incidents across the country. (P.S. Can we have a round of applause for Courtney B. Vance?) While the protesters weren’t chanting “black lives matter,” Shonda Rhimes and co. had them chant “Stand up, fight back, no more black men under attack.”  – still effective in my opinion. I’m usually pretty active on Twitter during episodes, but last night I was pretty quiet. I stayed engaged with the characters and I may have cried a little because the episode was just that powerful.

Empire vs. Scandal

My question is why do we have to choose?

I think both shows play an important role in today’s TV landscape. Scandal is the kind of show that will have Olivia Pope kidnapped one day and then take on institutionalized racism the next. Empire is opening people’s eyes to taboo topics like mental illness. Both are showing Hollywood the power of not only Black actors and actresses (and producers), but black audiences. Shonda Rhimes tweeted about the importance of Empire’s record-breaking numbers:

If boss lady Shonda can dance for joy about Empire’s success, why do we have to be Team Empire or Team Scandal?

Tweet me your thoughts. Do you watch both? Are you a Cookie Monster or a Gladiator? Or are you just sipping your tea while on Team Mary Jane Paul? (FYI – I love them all and equally on their corresponding nights!)

donni-siggy

 

Whisper Challenge

The Palmetto Peaches heard about the Whisper Challenge that people are doing and thought it would be fun to give it a try.

Hey little mama, let me whisper in your ear…

No, no, Palmettos and Peaches, that’s the Whisper Song…not quite the same thing. The Whisper Challenge works like this: One person wears headphones blaring loud music and tries to lip-read the phrase spoken by the other person. Blake Shelton and Jimmy Fallon were our inspirations, but there are so many funny videos out there.

How did I interpret the phrase: “The bigger the hoop the bigger the ho”? Where did Mary Poppins come from? The things Ace thinks I’m saying by far takes the cake. Do you want to build a snowman turned into “crystal meth” wait what?! Expect barking (not from my puppy), dancing and a lot of laughter. I’m pretty sure Ace cheated, but enough spoilers, here’s our attempt at the whisper challenge:

 

We want to see you join in on the fun! Complete your own whisper challenge and use the hashtag #PalmsInATL to share it with us. Or feel free to just tweet us and tell us how ridiculous we are. We won’t mind!

donni-siggy

Snow Day Essentials

Last year, Atlanta experienced a “Snowpocalypse” and the city looked like the title card from The Walking Dead.

The Palmetto Peaches - Snow Day

For any readers up north, don’t laugh too hard at us Southerners. We’re not built for snow and neither is our city.

 

Welp, it’s officially another snow day here, although I haven’t seen snow fall (and almost immediately melt) on my side of town since yesterday morning. Basically, a snow day for me means I get to work from the comfort of my couch (in my jammies). I’m actually writing this blog curled up on my couch in my Gamecock onesie and sipping a mint hot chocolate out of my favorite mug.  While I may not be able to build a snowman, it doesn’t look like Elsa and the cold weather are headed anywhere any time soon, so I thought I’d share some of my snow day essentials.

The Palmetto Peaches - Snow Day Essentials

Sweater | Mug | Socks |  Slippers | Candle | Blanket

  1. Sweater –  An oversized hoodie is usually my go to, but this year I am trying to up my style game. This batwing cardigan is perfect for a lazy day in the house or for quick errands around town.
  2. Mug – Whether you’re a tea, hot cocoa or coffee drinker, pour yourself something delicious in your favorite mug and turn on some Netflix. I fully support a good binge watching session.
  3. Fuzzy socks – I don’t think any explanation is necessary. Keep your toesies warm, people!
  4. Slippers – If you aren’t a fuzzy sock lover, I would suggest a fantastic pair of slippers. I love these Minnetonka faux fur-lined moccasin slippers.
  5. Candle –  Snow days are the perfect excuse to light a few candles. Bath & Body Works has the yummiest scents, but I’m a fan of canvassing the shelves of Ross or Marshall’s for candles that are super marked down. A few days ago, I scored an awesome Yankee Candle for about $3.
  6. Sherpa Throw Blanket –  I went sports-themed here, but find a super soft sherpa throw blanket that matches your décor/ team preference for the ultimate level of snow day coziness.

Basically comfort is the name of the game. What are some of your favorite items for cozying up at home? Tweet me at @donnicakelsey.

Stay warm and safe, Palmettos and Peaches!

donni-siggy

And We’re Jammin’ (Giveaway)

Next month, I will officially have been an ATLien for two years. Although, one can argue that I wasn’t really official until I got my GA drivers license (December 2014). One of the things I love about this city is there is always something to do. However, sometimes you just need a girls night in with some wine/beer and ice cream, or if you’re like the Palmetto Peaches, sometimes you combine the two and treat yourself to Frozen Pints — the Honey IPA is my personal favorite.

For a recent girls night in, we decided to a little jammin’ with Jamberry Nail Wraps, a DIY, at-home application, vinyl nail product. Jamberry nail wraps last up to two weeks on fingers and six weeks on toes. They have over 350 designs that won’t chip and require no drying time.

And We're Jammin' - Jamberry Nail Wraps -- The Palmetto Peaches

My good friend and fellow Seminole, Katie, is a Jamberry Nails Independent Consultant, and provided Ace and I each a set of nail wraps to try.  I opted for Mixed Signals (left) and Ace chose Over It (right).Jamberry Nail Wraps - The Palmetto Peaches

How cool are they? While I consider myself pretty crafty, my nail painting process goes something like this:

  1. Look at nails in horror.
  2. Decide whether or not to use a base coat (or if I have time/patience).
  3. Apply one coat before bed. Try to sleep with my hands hanging off the bed.
  4. Wake up in the morning to find nail polish on my face and sheets.
  5. Try to fix all the nails I messed up while sleeping with a  2nd coat, all while eating grits and watching the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on my DVR.
  6. End up with 2 -3 super thick and janky looking nails.

 Final Results

Donni Jamberry Nail Wraps --- The Palmetto Peaches

Ace Jamberry Nail Wraps - The Palmetto Peaches

 

 

 

 

 

 

All things considered, this was substantially easier with a much better outcome. To apply you just need: rubbing alcohol, a nail file, manicure scissors (we used some regular scissors), a cuticle pusher (we suck at directions and didn’t use it) and a hair dryer. These are great anytime, but I forsee myself ordering them for vacations or busy weeks when I can’t paint my nails, and need them to still look nice.

 

Giveaway

To celebrate the one week-a-versary of our launch, The Palmetto Peaches and Katie are giving away a set of Jamberry Nail wraps to one of our readers. Find a pair you like or give them as a gift to your friend/ significant other. Contest instructions are below:

 

Want to order your own?

Please check out Katie’s Jamberry site. She’s been a consultant since September, but has been a fan of having cute nails for forever. She’s super friendly and can answer all of your Jamberry questions. Also, you can try a sample by filling out this form. Bonus: Katie’s using the commission on her sales to pay for her upcoming wedding! So let’s help her out!! Please note the current catalog is retiring several designs effective March 1st, so any current designs you see will only be there through the end of the month. Additionally, anyone who orders during the time the retiring wraps are still active is eligible to win a $25 Jamberry gift certificate.

Good luck to all of our Palmettos and Peaches!

 

donni-siggy