8 Questions God Wants Me To Ask Myself While The World Goes Mad


We know the news had a hidden agenda. We know conspiracy theories get mixed into the media. There are credible threats and non-credible threats and it’s hard to tell the difference. We know there are major changes in place for our country and that is scary.

We feel like we have to look over our shoulder constantly. Sometimes it feels like neighbor vs. neighbor with this war on racism, terrorism, violence, equality, international matters… who can you trust? We turn to prayer and news, news then prayer, prayer, rumor, fear. We want to validate this using that, explain that using this. Coincidence or God? There’ so much room for fear and speculation.

Someone close to me recently opened the door to this fear and doubt. In their mind, the End is coming. In fact, “God actually told him” and every scary news report is just confirmation. For the first time, I looked up the types of “prophecies being fulfilled” that he and millions of others have bought into. It’s scary stuff – I don’t believe it, but it is truly scary.

Here’s what I learned though. I can’t be Afraid. I can’t. We just can’t. We don’t have time to be consumed with what might happen next weekend. Why that happened last month. What could happen at the end of the year. Do Not Be Afraid. I’m not here to debunk the number of times it’s actually written in the Bible, but I know it’s implied with every word. And if Jesus said it once, that’s good enough for me. I can’t fear ISIS. I can’t fear being this race or that (or both in my case). I can’t fear a flag. I can’t fear the repercussions of two people in love.

There’s so much better ways I could spend this day God provided me. Here’s the things I feel God wants me to ask myself at the end of the day.

1. Did I choose Faith over fear today?

2. God gave me a heart Bursting with love and joy. Did I withhold it from anyone?

3. Did I allow preparedness to become panic?

4. In speaking with someone who disagrees with my opinion, was I kind or unkind? 

5. Did I speak as though I knew God’s plan (when I know it exceeds anything I can imagine?)

6. Am I trying to validate something scary to pretend I have control, or did I remember God has the control?

7. Knowing it’s hard to let go, Did I redirect my natural desire for control in a positive way or a negative way?

8. Did I talk with God about my concerns? 

These are not questions I ask, but they are questions I need to start asking. I feel myself slipping into a state of Why’s and What If’s, and I see others around me going there too. God doesn’t want us to be afraid, but that doesn’t mean he wants us making assumptions about his plan either. The only fear I want to have is Did I relish in this day God made with all the joy, love, and faith in my heart? Yes or No?

[Artwork: Banksy]

Branding Win: Marriott


I have been working for Marriott since September of 2014. We’re challenged every day to uphold the standard of excellence – Brilliance, we call it. Make it brilliant. Because exceeding expectations is the name of the game – and when we don’t meet expectations, every front desk agent is responsible for ensure that guest leaves pleased. I’ve loved working for Marriott, but today it really hit home.

See, today we received a call from a high level Elite guest. We’re talking, 150+ nights a year level guest. Basically family. I answered the call and spoke to a very concerned parent. He informed me that his daughter was involved in a car accident nearby, with no serious injury. He wanted her to be taken to the nearest Marriott hotel – which happened to be my hotel.

I assured him that as soon as his daughter came in the door, I would personally greet her. I would have a ice packs just in case, snacks and drinks to help calm her nerves, on the house. My house. She will be very shaken in an unfamiliar city… well this is my specialty. There’s nothing more comforting than hometown Southern Hospitality.

I don’t love that she got in a wreck – not at all! But I love that the Marriott has provided this family such outstanding service that he prefers she be taken to one of our locations. If I were in his shoes, I would want her in a safe, secure, comfortable place where she can gather her nerves. We get to provide that for this family in need. You know your company has done a good job when you have that kind of respect from your clients. That is successful branding.

7 Hurdles to Overcome When Your Best Friend Moves Away


A couple days ago, my Snapchat lit up with my sweet Sierra’s face plastered on an official Florida Driver’s License. I know she was thrilled, but honestly this milestone was big for me. I survived a year without my best friend and there counting down on my screen was proof of the finish line. Victory was mine. It seemed like yesterday, I was standing in her driveway at 8am watching her drive off in her new car packed with her new plates and appliances. Off to Florida –  I can’t begin to describe how proud I am of her. 10 hours from home, only one friend in Orlando to call her own, two very demanding jobs, her first apartment – my girl did what every small town girl dreams of.

It’s a mystery to me how I survived, but I did want to share the 7 big hurdles I had to overcome going from being separated by 10 minutes to being separated by 10 hours. This is the brutally honest list of what to expect if your best friend is moving away – and how to cope.

1. Time Difference – This could be literal time difference. Or it could be life doing what life does. There was a SOLID chunk of time when Si was working till 2 and 3 in the morning. Back to back. For weeks in a row. It was really hard at first remembering she wasn’t living with her parents like I was. She was busting ass – working hard to pay bills, and spending her precious free time the most effective way possible. Frankly, catching up on the latest hometown gossip isn’t the most relaxing way to end a rough day. Can’t be selfish. Gotta be supportive. That was a major growth moment for me.

2. Feeling Replaced – This is a problem every childhood friend goes through. Personally, I’ve ALWAYS struggled with jealousy. I used to be very protective of my friends. At first, it was hard to imagine other people having all these amazing adventures with one of my closest friends. However, I KNOW I would have been hurting for her if she hadn’t made any friends. Plus, I know the new people in her life are amazing and smart and really care for her. She trusts them and she loves them. Had some growing up to do there too

3. Not being the First to Know – I wasn’t the last to know when my friend quit her second job (the primary inspiration for the move). But I wasn’t the first. Alright, no biggie. But it was definitely a reminder that we aren’t 14 anymore. There was once a time when I couldn’t paint my nails a different color without telling her. When your best friend moves away, you’ve got to adjust your mind and respect their new life and priorities. It won’t matter if you’re the first to know, because they already know you have their back in the decisions. No matter what.

4. Not Having that Hug on Bad Days  –  My friend living so far away forced me to wear my big girl panties sometimes. I had to handle my own drama. I had to make my own choices first. She was so extremely supportive whenever we could connect – and I could tell she was proud of me. You know you’ve got an unbreakable friendship when your friend stops her world to comfort you when she can’t be there beside you.

5. Fighting Other Hometown Friends When She Comes Home –  We were chatting one night before the holidays when she spilled the beans – she was flying home the next day to surprise everyone.  I only had a window of a few hours off work during her short stay – and this was her first trip home. So I was RIGHT there on her couch waiting for her… waiting for her Other friend to bring her home after afternoon of catching up. Well, they were late… and they kept talking in the driveway. And all I wanted to do was punch them and kidnap her. But I had to remember, they had missed her just as much as I had. It’s so easy to become selfish – so easy. Can’t do that.

6. Approving potential Boyfriends – In the best friend manual, this is bolded and underlined as rule #4. All potential boyfriends must be approved. (and properly threatened). But, this is also written as rule #3 of being a parent. So I’ll just have to wait patiently with her family for a guy she deems worthy of bringing home. #judgementdayiscoming #consideryourselfwarned

7. Missing out on “Firsts” – She missed my first attempt at moving into an apartment. I missed her buying her first car. That being said, I am emotionally prepared for our 21st birthdays. I highly doubt she’ll be home for my fist wasted stupor (I’m not a drinker) and if she hasn’t gotten White Girl Wasted(those are her words, not mine) yet… I doubt I’ll be present and accounted for.

BUT I WILL LIVE. SHE WILL LIVE. AND OUR CHILDREN WILL BE PENPALS. Because true friendship knows no borders. This experience taught me what a selfish, preoccupied, jealous, wacko I can be sometimes. And somehow she loves me for it.

My Internship Broke My Life’s Plan.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of accompanying my team in a real life client meeting. In fact, for a few minutes, I was seated with our the Director of our client company to my left, and a very important C-Suiter to my right. (Don’t worry – this is not another internship fail story!)

Being the team’s charming millennial viewpoint, I got hit with all the questions during the coffee break. Where do you go to school? How is it going? What do you see yourself doing in the future?
My answer, Well, I’m a UT student, just wrapped up an excellent sophomore year, looking forward to entering the advertising industry where I can put to use the design and media elements I’ve had the privilege of practicing during this experience. (Alright, so I didn’t say it quite like that – I was a little more awkward than that.)

After some commendation, my Director chimed in, “Phoebe doesn’t know it yet, but she’s actually going to become a Marketing expert…” In my mind, I was all like, Suuuuuure. Because my commercials can Totally be featured in the Super Bowl if I enter the Marketing industry instead of Advertising. That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works, you crazy!


Here’s part two of the story.

I ran into an old friend at the grocery store who got my marketing wheels turning. Although her daughter, a former best friend of mine, is not opening her own bakery, she definitely gave me some inspiration. First words out of my mouth – Ms. R, your daughter NEEDS to open a bakery. The city of Knoxville is being deprived of her talent every day she is not actively owning a bakery. I would support her 100%. I would use every talent I have (aka Social Media Marketing) to help Knoxville find and fall for her.


I was still noodling on my friend’s future bakery’s Social Media Marketing campaign. Oh, it’s going to be beautiful. My mind is flipping through all this vocabulary I’ve learned from my internship. Alpha Audience, Content Saturation, Social Proof, Distribution, Shareability, Authority… Forget the commercials – unless they’re being shared via YouTube to her loving audience.  Melina, Girl, if you ever open a bakery, you need to call me. #bakedbyrussel #SweetRussels #bakersgonnabake


What’s happened to me? Can I just become a Social Media Marketing Expert and help small businesses connect with local-loving consumers? Because while that niche is booming, Knoxville will NEVER stop loving our scruffy small businesses. This is my home – I know what’s it was and what it’s becoming and what the people WANT! And everyday with this internship, I’m learning HOW they want to see it online. Do I want to do this? Have they converted me to a marketer?

Has anyone been inspired by an internship? Any lightbulb moments that just screamed YASS?

Dear Charleston


Dear Charleston.

My heart is boiling over for you. Not with anger, but with an overflowing love and concern. The morning after a man opened fire in my own church, I woke up with this nightmare replaying over and over in my head. It was like reality was drained right out of life and this alternate universe had taken over.

I can’t imagine knowing the doors swung open and the car drove off.
That makes my heart hurt so deeply – not having that sense of “it’s over now”.

Charleston. Where there is fear, there is twice as much love. You wait, in the coming days, you will see an outpouring like you’ve never imagined. It can’t return to you what was lost – all it can do is wrap tightly around you and hold you close. But you will be safe, warm, and loved, and you can heal.

God’s plan will completely astound you. Sometimes you want to turn away. Sometimes you want to plead for answers. Why Why Why. But if you save some room in your heart for faith, even when it seems consumed with fear, your walk with God will take you farther than you dreamed.

You have never been less alone.

Knoxville, TN

Tierra says, “Screw What Everyone Thinks”

I adore nothing more than when my friends share a growth moment. This particularly inspiring blurb came in the form of a 4am Facebook Status that showed up on my wall this morning.

“This is just a little something that’s on my heart. If there’s anything being a young adult has taught me so far, it’s that it is the worst feeling to feel lonely, lost, confused, and like you’re the only one who doesn’t have their stuff together when it seems like everyone else your age does (when in reality their just trying to figure out life just as you are). I’ve come to realize it’s okay not to know exactly who I am yet. Life is about figuring out who you are and for some people it happens faster than others. Life is a short, but beautiful journey when you decide to stop letting all the bad parts drag you down. Happiness is everything and at the end of the day it’s up to you to decide to do what makes YOU happy and be with who makes you happy. Otherwise, you’re just letting people in society tell you how they think you should be regardless of whether or not it makes you happy. Screw what everyone thinks and be who you are. Love who you are whoever you may be…”


3 Adventure Investments That Just Aren’t For Me

In a recent conversation with my guy, I came to the conclusion that while I’d love for my Instagram to reflect me in an adventurous, stylish and hip-with-the-times kinda girl, I just can’t afford it. My feeds are literally blowing up with my cool friends and their cool adventure supplies and frankly, I’m over here still discovering Clif Bars. I even bought a bicycle to seem cool, active, and adventurous. But in the spirit of being honest, the following is a expose on why I don’t belong in that life.


As much as I want to adventure out into the world to some quiet alone place, hang up my hammock, and take a #myviewrightnow foot selfie… I can’t picture myself diving that deep into an adventure just to stop and set up camp. I’m sorry, but when I adventure, I must ramble on. It’s not you, it’s me. While you’re probably the most at peace human on the planet right now, my soul just can’t sit still. If anything, I would set up for a 3 minute photo shoot, get bored, and find a butterfly to chase.

Not an investment for me. You look great though!

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“#NeverHadAChacoTan” tweeted nobody ever. Who would admit to such a thing. I’m definitely not a Chaco wearer, but you can fully blame my pride and my budget. See, when you have a size 12.5 foot and you’re a woman, you don’t even bother looking at shoes. That means this girl has had no Sperries, no Toms, no Uggs, and no Beanboots. And especially no Chacos. Now I know – I could always just order Men’s shoes. But frankly, I’ve been wearing ugly men’s sneakers and sandals for years. I’m not going to pay TBP* for men’s shoes. No.

Not an investment for me. You look great though!

*Trending Brand Price

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Never Say Never, but I will need to amp up my coolness scale about 100 times before this investment would be worth it to me. We can’t all be Vitaliy*. I mean C’mon. When your biggest (regular) adventures is beginning a new Netflix season to binge on and trekking out into the great Kroger to buy more catfood… You just aren’t cool enough for the GoPro Life. (Although I travel often, if you know me, you know I have a knack for loosing expensive things. So even if I was cool enough, I’m not retentive enough!)

Not an investment for me. You look great though.

*This is Vitaliy

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Listen. If you are cool enough for these, please share your story. I need to know it’s worth it for someone. Unfortunately, that someone isn’t me.

P.S. #StayTrueToYou

P.P.S. This has nothing to do with my recent trips to Mast General Store and REI.

Logo-to-Advertisement Intern Assignment

For the sake of practice, my internship director asked me to try my hand at a real world logo. He had me take a logo and turn it into a advertisement worthy of his award-winning blog and RSS feed. So, I did just that! Our attention was redirected towards a new project once I completed my assignment, so we decided not to run the advertisement. But HEY. I did it. I made it. With my own brain and computer. Call to action and EVERYTHING! So with his kind permission, I wanted to share it here!

Before: (Not my work, don’t let me mislead you. Whoever designed this has T-A-L-E-N-T)

event lion


lion try 4 (Caps)

#ProudMom #ImadeDis

I know it’s not much, but believe it or not, I trashed maybe 6 or 7 designs before this. Thanks to the guidance of my Director and my own personal firing squad at my other job (shout out to Marissa and Ciara), we landed on this Beaut. They should really call it Trial. Error. Ask. Criticism. Here-We-Go-Again.

(That doesn’t spell out Teach by the way.) (I just lied.)

9 Answers to the Question: “What’s So Great About Scalloping?”

It first began with a coworker and a sale. We were looking through the Kate Spade sale items at work when we happened upon a Scalloped Wallet that naturally made us squeak, squeal, and skip about.


With a look of concern, (or maybe it was skepticism) our coworker Steve cautiously approached us to see what had caused us to react. He proceeded to ask us what was so great about scalloping? He just couldn’t wrap his mind around it. Peculiarly enough, my guy Mr.S had a similar reaction when I jokingly told him about my future scalloped wedding dress. He just didn’t understand. So for all you guys out there who can’t see the sheer beauty in scalloped details, let me break it down for you.

1. You can dress it up.


2. You can dress it down.


3. You ALWAYS look classy wearing Scallops


4. You can sleep classy.


5. You can step classy.


6. Even your windows have pizzazz.


7. Even your tanlines are glamorous.


8. Have you ever seen a more delicate lamp?


9. A seat fit for a queen.


Any Questions?

I didn’t think so.