I have always loved TV for as long as I can remember.  I've even joked in the past that I would make a perfect housewife, because I could find something to watch on TV at any hour of the day.  (Disclaimer: I know housewives actually do work, but like I said, it was a joke!)  Sometimes I wish I could be cool enough to be one of those people who says, "Oh, I don't really watch much TV.  I don't have enough time to watch TV."  Well, I do have a life, and I'm a pretty busy person, but I will make time to watch TV, even if I am way behind.  All this being said, I first subscribed to the wonderful, yet soul sucking, website known as Netflix my freshman year of college.  What college student doesn't love spending their free time on Netflix?  Upcoming freshmen, I highly encourage you to subscribe.  Reality: There will be downtime your freshman year, you will miss home, you will realize college is way harder than high school and you will need comedy television to get you through the rough patches.  Or, at least that's how I coped.  So while thinking about how many series I have become a fan of through Netflix, I decided to round up some of my favorite shows in case anybody is in need of a suggestion of a series to watch or already likes the series and just wants to discuss how awesome it is. :)

1. How I Met Your Mother
I like so many shows, but none can compare to HIMYM.  I started watching it last spring and was addicted.  I particularly go on Netflix binges during study week (the week before finals), which might be really stupid, but I always come out fine.  There's just so much downtime during study week, so I spend all day studying and all night watching Netflix.  I watched this whole series during spring finals and rewatched the entire series during winter finals, probably because it's comforting haha.  So where do I begin with my obsession?  I guess I should start with the main character, Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor).  The title of the show comes from the fact that the show is actually told through flashbacks as Ted is telling all these stories to his two kids in order to get to the point of how he met their mother.  Ted is a hopeless romantic architect who just wants to find his soulmate.  Who I really love on this show, though, is the married couple of the group - kindergarten teacher Lily Aldrin (Alyson Hannigan) and lawyer and Ted's college roommate, Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel).  Jason Segel is my celebrity crush, and his portrayal of Marshall only increases that, because Marshall treats Lily the way every girl wants to be treated.  They started dating the first week of freshman year in college, fell in love and are now living happily ever after with their baby, Marvin.  Their nicknames for each other?  Marshmallow and Lily Pad.  I die.  This is the couple full of cheesy, yet cute, rituals like coming home and telling each other what they ate for lunch and calling each other during lunch breaks just to check in.  Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) is the womanizer full of inappropriate jokes who keeps the group on their toes and is usually the one to get them into crazy situations.  Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders) is a journalist and was also a Canadian teen pop star, Robin Sparkles.  She became friends with the group after a date with Ted.  They later had a relationship and broke up.  She dated Barney twice and is now engaged to him.  The show takes place in New York, and most of it takes place in the gang's regular booth at a bar called MacLaren's.  The creators of the show used to live in New York and spent much of their time at a bar called McGee's Pub, which MacLaren's is based off of.  When I was in New York in March, I had to visit McGee's and get a cocktail called a Robin Sparkles.  It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.  I watch reruns of the show on TV all the time, and still can't say enough about it.  It's going to be really hard for another show to take HIMYM's place.
My experience at McGee's Pub

2. The Office
I watched it all this past spring, and it quickly became a close second to HIMYM.  The show takes place at fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  I've always been a big Steve Carell fan, and watching this Michael Scott character (regional manager of Dunder Mifflin) he made so famous only made me love him more.  He and all the other characters were cast so perfectly, and I don't know that another show has ever made me laugh out loud so frequently.  I also loved that many of the actors/characters were normal people.  They weren't super fit, drop dead gorgeous people.  And that might have been what made the show draw me in so much.  While exaggerated and fictionalized for TV, I feel like this office and these coworkers could exist somewhere.  I do have to say that Pam Beesly Halpert (Jenna Fischer) and Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) are in competition with Lily and Marshall from HIMYM for my favorite TV couple.  Pam was the receptionist, and Jim was a salesman.  Who wouldn't swoon over Jim's complete admiration of her while she was engaged to another guy who was nowhere near good enough for her, office warehouse employee Roy?  There were so many cute little moments and gestures between them before they even started dating that you were always rooting for them to end up together.   Pam kept candy for everybody at her desk, so Jim would constantly walk up and grab some candy just so he could talk to her.  Pam fell asleep on Jim's shoulder during a  meeting.   Pam was caught snooping around Jim's room during a barbecue he hosted, and she became infatuated with his high school yearbook picture.  For one secret Santa gift exchange at an office Christmas party, Jim got Pam's name.  He filled a teapot with little knick knacks that represented their inside jokes (yearbook picture included).  After Roy decided he wanted to leave their office award ceremony, the Dundies, Pam got drunk off Chili's margaritas and kissed Jim after winning an award.  Then, during an office casino night, Jim and Pam snuck up to the office, he kissed her, told her he was in love with her and Pam insisted she was sticking with Roy.  Pam then called her mom to tell her about it, and how she was confused, because he was her best friend.  So, they do eventually get together, get married and have two kids.  There are so many memorable quotes from Jim and Pam about speaking about one another, but this might be my favorite, which occurred at their rehearsal dinner:
Jim: "Four years ago, I was just a guy who had a crush on a girl, who had a boyfriend. And I had to do the hardest thing that I've ever had to do, which was just to... wait. Don't get me wrong, I flirted with her. Pam, I can now admit in front of friends and family, that I do know how to make a photocopy. Didn't need your help that many times. And, uh, do you remember how long it took you to teach me how to drive stick?"
Pam: "Like a year!"
Jim: "I've been driving stick since high school, so... For a really long time that's all I had. Little moments with a girl who saw me as a friend. And, a lot of people told me I was crazy to wait this long for a date with a girl I work with but I think, even then I knew that... I was waiting for my wife."
I mean, honestly, what girl doesn't hope for a guy who pursues and treasures her like that?  Jim Halpert has set the bar high, gentlemen.  I promise there's so many other great parts to the show; I'm just enamored with Jim and Pam.

3. 30 Rock
I just watched this at the beginning of the summer.  I have always loved Tina Fey, and the show takes place in New York at, you guessed it, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, the address of the NBC studios.  Both times I've been to New York, I've toured the NBC studios, so I really enjoyed seeing some of those locations on the show.  Tina Fey plays Liz Lemon, the head writer of a sketch comedy show, The Girlie Show (TGS), which is very similar to Saturday Night Live.  Lorne Michaels, the creator of SNL, was an executive producer for the show.  I read Tina's memoir, Bossypants, and she said that she had originally wanted 30 Rock to go in a different direction, but Lorne encouraged her to write and act about what she knew.  Many of the things that occur behind the scenes on TGS were inspired by Tina's time at SNL, and both 30 Rock and TGS (fictionally) air on NBC.  So, it's almost like a show within a show within a show.  Make sense haha?  Alec Baldwin plays Jack Donaghy, the head of NBC.  After not liking each other at the beginning of the show, he and Liz quickly become friends, and Jack acts as Liz's mentor.  I hadn't seen Alec Baldwin in too many things before, and although irrational, I was never too crazy about him, because of the scandal where he drunkenly called his daughter and left her that voice mail calling her a "rude thoughtless pig," but I quickly forgave him after starting 30 Rock.  I loved his work on the show, and Alec seems to have bettered himself with his new wife, yoga instructor Hilaria, who has inspired him to become more fit, and now they have a baby on the way.  Yay, Alec Baldwin lives happily ever after.  Jane Krakowski plays the star of TGS, Jenna Maroney.  Jenna's a self-absorbed actress/singer who needs people to praise her and pay attention to her at all times.  This is the woman who, after her dressing room mirror was removed at the end of the series, a montage complete with song plays of all the good times Jenna had looking at herself in front of her mirror.  Tracy Morgan plays Tracy Jordan, a character very much based on his controversial self.  After criticism that TGS needs a male actor, Tracy is hired and the show becomes renamed TGS with Tracy Jordan.  Jenna is furious at first, and they butt heads throughout the show, but they love each other at the end of the day.  After all, in a weird way, they're pretty similar since they just both want to be huge stars and have all the attention.  Jack McBrayer plays NBC page Kenneth Parcell.  Once again, I love how each character is basically an over exaggerated version of themselves.  Kenneth is from Georgia and still has his Southern accent and makes references to a country way of life.  Kenneth is too old to be a page (a position normally held right after college - also a job I'd love to have!  NBC, if you're reading this, call me!), and never mentions his true age.  He just can't imagine leaving his job, because he loves TV and serving these people so much.  I just think all his mannerisms and facial expressions are so hilarious and goofy.  He does everything for everybody and is so loyal and gullible, I just love him.  Perhaps what I love most about this show is that I kind of realized I'd describe myself as a mixture between Liz Lemon and Jenna Maroney, which might seem super confusing, since they're so different.  Just hang on with me.  Liz is self-deprecating and so driven that she often puts her career ahead of her love life.  She's a homebody who once declared, “One of my New Year’s resolutions is to say, 'Yes!'  Yes to love, yes to life, yes to staying in more!"  Jenna Maroney is very theatrical.  She bursts into song to depict her emotions and reacts very prominently to any situation that happens.  While conflicting, I tend to possess those Liz and Jenna qualities.

4. Parks and Recreation
I just started this show a couple of weeks ago, and I'm only on the fourth season (the fifth season just concluded), so I'll do my best with what I've seen so far.  Same goes for how I loved Steve Carell (The Office) and Tina Fey (30 Rock) - I loved Amy Poehlor.  I actually created a mental list a few months of ago of the next shows I wanted to watch on Netflix, and it was in that order: The Office, 30 Rock and Parks and Rec.  Should I be embarrassed I've steadily made my way down that list in just the past three months?  I don't care.  I've still maintained an internship and friendships, and the shows make me happy, so I think I'm alright. :)  Parks and Rec has the same creators from The Office and is shot in the same documentary style.  Amy Poehlor plays Leslie Knope, the deputy parks director of the parks and recreation department of fictional Pawnee, Indiana.  She works harder than anybody else in her department, and is all about women in powerful, leadership roles.  Nick Offerman plays her boss, Ron Swanson, a manly man with a great mustache who loves steak, the outdoors, hunting and fishing.  Chris Pratt plays Andy Dwyer, the not-so-smart shoe shiner at the government building who also sings and plays guitar in the band Mouse Rat.  Aubrey Plaza is April Ludgate, Andy's wife and the negative intern who doesn't do anything and rarely smiles.  Rashida Jones plays Ann Perkins, the part time nurse and part time director of public relations for the health department.  She is Andy's ex-girlfriend and Leslie's best friend.  Who do I really love though?  Aziz Ansari who plays parks and recreation department administrator Tom Haverford.  I am really confused, because I've always thought Aziz Ansari was hilarious, but I do not know where I know him from!  I know he had a small part in I Love You, Man, which I've seen, but I swear I have seen him in something else where he had a much bigger part, but after much research, I still can't figure out what it is.  Either I made it up, or it must have been in a past life.  I had always seen things on Tumblr about Tom's most memorable quotes, and actually seeing them on the show is hilarious.

Then he says, "Wait, actually, I'm gonna pick that up real quick." hahaha

The treat yo' self concept is so great, and that cheesy smile makes me laugh every time.

So there you have it - In the past little over a year, I have watched all four of these series on Netflix, and they've become my top favorite shows.  I highly recommend them and would love any other suggestions you have!

I was asked to write an article for the newsletter of the PR firm where I am interning this summer, and I decided to post it on my blog as well. It's about why I chose KVBPR and what I have learned so far.  Here it is:

As a public relations student at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, I am constantly told the importance of gaining internship experience before I graduate.  Most teachers suggest you have at least two to three internships during college in order to obtain a notable amount of experience needed to succeed as a professional.  My teachers have taught many important lessons I am reminded of each day at my internship, but they insist that the lessons learned at an internship are ones that can’t be taught in the classroom and are vital to one’s understanding of the field. 

When thinking about where I wanted to intern this summer, I knew I wanted to intern in my hometown of Nashville, preferably in a public relations firm.  Besides the bonus of being near friends and family, I thought Nashville’s bustling communications industry would interest me.  I love the city and am so proud of how much it has grown.  I knew I would feel fortunate and content to be in the heart of the city while interning.

I knew I wanted to intern at a public relations firm, because I felt that type of setting would allow me to gain experience working with a variety of clients and maximize my skill set.  The public relations field is so vast, and I have many interests.  I thought working in a firm would give me insight into which avenues I truly enjoyed and could pursue upon graduation. 

While researching public relations firms in Nashville, I came across KVBPR (Katcher Vaughn & Bailey Public Relations).  I thoroughly examined the firm’s websiteFacebook page and blog.  Each impressed me and gave me reasons to want to intern with them.  I first browsed the firm’s clients, and ones that particularly interested me were BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission (Metro Arts).  I was fascinated while reading the client successes and seeing the lessons I had learned in class used in a real world setting.  It felt as if everything clicked, and I could tell this firm had a strong backbone in basic public relations principles, while using modern approaches.  The website has a picture and brief bio about each employee, and I enjoyed reading about their diverse backgrounds, talents and specialties.  It appeared that the firm worked hard and played hard.  The Facebook page included pictures from staff holiday and birthday parties, which made me believe that the office had a good rapport and enjoyed getting together to celebrate occasions.  The employees seemed to have a good sense of humor, and I believe it’s important to allow a little bit of laughter to help you make it through the day.  I could also tell the firm supported the Nashville community, particularly the arts in Nashville, which is something close to my heart.

With all of those wonderful realizations floating in my head, I immediately crafted my cover letter and tailored my resume and sent them to the intern coordinator, Melinda.  A few weeks later, Melinda and I had a Skype interview, which lasted about 30 minutes but felt much shorter, because it was a great conversation.  Of course, some typical interview questions were asked, but I actually felt like I was able to connect with Melinda on a more personal level.  I was able to talk about my interests and how those desires and KVBPR’s intern needs could align.  I loved hearing that Melinda’s background was in nonprofit business and social media, two outlets I am deeply interested in.  Melinda called me about a week later to offer me the internship, and I could not have been more thrilled. 

I was so nervous before the first day but felt so welcomed from the second I stepped into the office.  The office itself is very open and inviting, and I soon found the staff was the same way.  Melinda showed me to my office and introduced me to every employee, all of whom were friendly and expressed sentiments of welcoming me and excitement about having me on board.  Melinda showed me some office basics, and I spent the morning trying to navigate the computer, phone and new software programs.  I was so honored to be taken to lunch that day by one of the partners and a few other employees.  It was a good time to step outside of the office and get to know them a bit from the very beginning.

I have completed nine out of my thirteen weeks at KVBPR and have learned so many lessons, both professionally and personally. 

What I’ve learned about work: Confidently take initiative and do the best you can.  One of my biggest concerns coming into the internship was that I complete my tasks up to par.  I’m a people pleaser, Type A, perfectionist who just wanted to be an exemplary intern.  I was worried I didn’t have enough experience to meet the high standard of the firm and just hoped they didn’t think I was unfit.  When asked to complete an assignment I wasn’t entirely sure about, I found I just had to do my best and be ready to receive feedback.  I was so amazed that the feedback was praising me and giving slight suggestions about what I could improve!  All criticism has been constructive, stretched my thinking and taught me something that works a little better than what I was originally doing.

What I’ve learned about myself: I enjoy diversity.  I have been working on accounts for clients in a multitude of industries, including health care, senior living and legal.  I’ve been working on different tasks for these clients, including social media posts, press releases and media training.  It’s been refreshing to allow my brain to switch to these different tasks.  Due to my personality, I did not know I would enjoy bouncing from project to project, but I’ve found out it really improves my work ethic to be able to have something different to do from time to time.

What I’ve learned about this office: The employees here really know what they’re doing.  They work hard.  They all have different talents.  They help one another.   They’re willing to be there for me with whatever I need.  They ask me to complete certain assignments, but they also ask me what I’d like to work on and what I’d like to learn while I’m here.  They want me to succeed as much as I want to succeed. 

I feel so thankful that I have spent this summer interning at KVBPR.  I truly feel I’ve garnered the professional skills and personal wisdom needed to confidently take my next steps into the world.  I will always look back fondly on my time here and hope to stay in contact with the team.  Thank you, KVBPR, for all you’ve done for me so far and will continue to do!

I remember way back in January my friend/Phi Mu sister/neighbor, Caitlin, texting me and saying something along the lines of, "So I just talked with my parents about what I want to do for my 21st birthday, and I need to come to your apartment and tell you about it ASAP!"  I was thinking Okay, your birthday's six months away.  This must be something important and way more exciting than what most of us do for our 21st birthdays.  Come to find out her parents had agreed to take her and a few friends to Las Vegas for a few days.  Oh my goodness, I could not have been more excited!  I went to Vegas when I was 16 and enjoyed it, because my family and I did a lot of typical tourist things, which I always enjoy doing.  However, there's so much you can't do and so many places you can't go in the city unless you're 21, so I had always wanted to return once I reached that age.  I was so thankful Caitlin's parents were making that happen!  In February, we were already choosing the details for our limo rides and clubs we would go to (more on that later), and the countdown began.  Caitlin's 21st birthday finally came on July 3, and we had the most fun Vegas trip that four 21-year-old girls could ask for.  Besides Caitlin, her parents and her two sisters, Emily and Sarah, the group ended up being Rachel (my friend/Phi Mu sister/roommate), Carrie (my friend/Phi Mu sister) and me.

Day 1: Wednesday, July 3

We arrived at the Nashville airport bright and early at 7 a.m., but we didn't care, because we knew we were in for an amazing vacation!  Caitlin, Carrie and I all flew out together.  Poor Rachel had an exam that day and had to fly by herself later that night.

Almost on the plane!

We all had to get separate seats, but it's okay, because I got to sit next to the most adorable father and little son.

Limo that picked us up from the airport

We stopped to take pictures with the famous sign.

Checking in at Caesars Palace

Mine and Ray Ray's bed (Cool mirror pic, I know.)

TV in the bathroom mirror say what?!

We went to lunch across the street at Margaritaville, which gave us a decent view of part of the strip and a great view of Caesars Palace.

Steak taco salad - yum!  Y'all know I'm kind of a foodie and will take pictures of especially delicious meals.  Don't make fun.

After lunch, we walked around The Forum Shops, which is part of Caesars Palace.  They have a good mixture of shops, but of course I loved looking through stores like David Yurman, Tiffany and Louis Vuitton.  

Walking back into the casino

Then, it was time for Caitlin's birthday dinner at Grand Lux Cafe at the Palazzo.

Glasses and sash provided by Caitlin's mom

Beautiful quatrefoil bracelet given to her by her parents that matches her Pandora ring!

 The most amazing birthday cake ever!  One die was chocolate and one was lemon.  It was so good.

 With Caitlin's sisters, Emily and Sarah

From there we went to the Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil show at Mandalay Bay.  All I can say is WOW.  I had never seen a Cirque du Soleil show before, so I had no idea what to expect.  The show was so easy to get into, because I knew all the music, and all the performers were ridiculously talented.  It was pretty emotional and legitimately took my breath away.  I would recommend it to anybody.  It was just phenomenal.

I got cut off haha.  Oh well.

They have a lot of his costumes on display.  Here are his shoes!

Next, it was time to pick up Rachel at the airport!

I wanted to look official.

We were all so tired by the end of the night, so we just stayed in the hotel talking, relaxing and resting up for the celebratory nights ahead.

Day 2: Thursday, July 4

We began the day with eating breakfast at a restaurant in Caesars Palace called Central then headed to the pool.  There are actually five pools that all make up what is known as the Gardens of the Gods Oasis.  We spent most of our time in the main one.

It was pretty majestic I guess ;)

I just had to include this picture of the 21+ pool with swim up black jack, because that's really cool.

That night, we went to an Italian restaurant in Caesars Palace called Rao's.

Then it was time for our first club night.  Caitlin wore a fabulous sign made by Carrie.  Signs must be a Tennessean/Southern thing or something, because we got lots of questions as to what it was.

A limo picked us up from the hotel stocked with our drink and mixers of choice and drove us up and down the strip and to the club.  We went to Tao at the Venetian on the first night.  A lady who worked for whatever party planning company we went through for the limo ride walked us from the limo to the front of the line at the club, and a Tao employee walked us directly to our VIP table.  Hence the title of this blog post.  It was pretty incredible.  We really liked how intimate Tao was, and our waitress was super sweet and personable.  We had bottle service at our table, so we got to pick our drink and mixers, and our waitress actually made our drinks for us.  

Day 3: Friday, July 5

We slept in and went to In-N-Out Burger.  The line was almost out the door, and it took forever to find a table, but it was so good.

Rachel and I love the Kardashians and had been wanting to visit the Kardashian Khaos store at the Mirage, so that's what we went to do next.  Caitlin was still really tired from the night before and decided to stay in and take a nap, but Carrie joined us.

Picture pit stop

In the words of Kourtney and Khloe, "Oh yeah, oh yeah!"

With my girl, Kim

I got a coffee mug to add to my collection, and Rachel got a fan of Kourtney's face haha.

We then walked around The Forum Shops again, and I had to get a picture with this T-shirt, because I love The Hangover, and staying in Caesars Palace constantly made me think of this scene.

Then, it was Carrie's turn to nap, and Caitlin, Rachel and I went the pool for a couple of hours before heading to dinner at one of Emeril Lagasse's restaurants, Table 10 at the Palazzo.  Rachel, Carrie and I all got free sangrias by checking in on Fourquare.  It was so refreshing and a $12 value -- free!  That's enough to excite me.  Then, we all got margherita pizzas and split this banana cream pie.  As a huge dessert fan, I can confidently say that Table 10's desserts are to die for.

Then we went back to Caesars to get ready for our second night of limo rides, VIP tables and bottle service.  (Do you now understand why I gave this post the title it has and how thankful I am for Caitlin's parents doing all of this for us?!)

Outside the hotel waiting for the limo

In the limo!

We went to XS at the Wynn, which was incredibly luxurious.  The inside of the club was beautiful with lots of gold detail.  Above and Beyond was DJing that night.

The outside had a gorgeous pool.

We met a couple of really nice Australian boys who shared their poolside table with us and taught us some hilarious Australian dance moves.

It was the perfect way to spend our last night in Vegas.

Day 4: Saturday, July 6

We packed up and dropped off our luggage with the concierge then headed to Serendipity for brunch.

Picture pit stop with Caesars in the background

I got the hangover omelet (no pun intended..even though everybody laughed at me when I ordered it) and then, of course, I had to get a Frrrozen Hot Chocolate.  I had one a few months ago at the Serendipity in New York and honestly think this one was richer and better!

We only had a couple of hours left before our limo picked us up for the airport, so we spent the time looking around the shops again and doing a little bit of gambling.

Caitlin and her dad being bosses playing craps

A little piece of Tennessee in Vegas.  A Dolly slot, y'all!!

I did not have luck at the slots as you can tell.

Goodbye, Caesar.
Picture taken from the limo to the airport with the strip in the background and lots of cacti in the foreground!  We were so amused to see cacti.  I bet our limo driver thought we were idiots.  Hey, it's not something you see every day in Tennessee!

I got to sit on the plane next to Rachel and Caitlin's sisters, Sarah and Emily.  Rachel gets nervous on planes, and it was a pretty turbulent ride.  It was definitely a ton of fun to torture her during the bumpy parts, although I'm sure she hated us at the time.  We were cracking up, though, and eventually made Rachel laugh too.  I even accidentally jumped so much at one time that I grabbed the man's head in front of me.  It was definitely entertaining and made it really hard to come home.  The man said, "Ooh we got a couple of wild ones back here, do we?"  Whoops.

This trip to Vegas is full of so many fun memories I'll never forget.  I love celebrating occasions and traveling, and this was a perfect combination of the two.  From the time we woke up each morning until we went to bed each night was seriously packed with so many laughs, and we've come back with so many inside jokes/understandings of our habits while there.  (We Can't Stop, #blessed, bachelor parties and so many more.)  The VIP service that Caitlin's parents so graciously got for us was truly appreciated, and I would be lying if I said I didn't miss it now that I'm back to reality.  This vacation was so relaxing and fun that all the stress I had before I went is gone.  I always feel like I come back from vacations with mixed emotions.  In a way, I'm a little depressed that they're over, but I come back with a bit of a high because of how much fun I had and the gratefulness I feel for being able to travel.  I just could not be more thankful for the people I took this vacation with and the experiences we had.  Vegas for a 21st birthday is always a good idea.