One To Nothin'

10 Ways You Can Help Orlando Pulse Victims (Including Cute Merch You Can Buy)

When horrible, awful, inexplicable things happen, it leaves us feeling helpless. Orlando is very close to my hometown, and it's absolutely heartbreaking looking on Facebook one morning and seeing so many lives taken in one place over one weekend. I saw dozens of friends sharing their stories of dancing the night away at Pulse nightclub so many other, insignificant nights before and checking in as "safe" because they live in the area and were simply lucky enough to not be at the wrong place at the wrong time. It just plain sucks, guys. I don't know how to explain it, and maybe there's not an immediate solution, but there are things we can do to help. I promise you that no matter what your political stance on anything is, division is not the answer. We have to come together, be there for each other and accentuate the good. Be open, kind, understanding, listen, argue less and try one of the following 10 ways to help the victims of the Orlando Pulse shooting.
1. Buy this beautiful hand-illustrated coloring book through the end of July.
2. Grab one of these super fun t-shirts or these or these or these. If you're into sports, buy one of these shirts,
3. If you're in Florida, donate blood. There are still so many victims in the hospital and blood donations save lives.

4. Donate to this GoFundMe page for families of victims.

5. Contribute to the OneOrlando fund here.

6. This Crowdrise goes to funeral costs and medical bills, and this one provides direct relief for victims, the LGBQT community and organizations focused on gun safety regulations.

7. Volunteer your time. I know you're not all in a place where you can help financially, but volunteering your time is equally important. Find an LBGQT group in your area to volunteer for here.
8. Share articles like this that honor all of the lives tragically lost instead of arguing with someone on a Facebook status about guns or whether or not the shooter was gay (it doesn't matter!).

9. Verizon customers can text the word ORLANDO to 501501 to donate $10 (straight from your phone bill) to the OneOrlando fund.

10. Host a dinner or little get together with friends and friends of friends to talk about your feelings. A friend of mine recently posted a video on FB inviting friends over to just talk about it. I remember for weeks after 9/11 our teachers gathered us into big or small groups to talk, cry, ask questions and feel safe. We're too old for that now, so let's be that support system for each other. This is not a time to argue about guns or send out hate, it's a time to talk about fear, how we can effect change, what we will do to be strong, how we can come together, how to provide extra support to the LBGQT community and why we won't live in fear. You can also just comment below so we can talk about our feelings in a private email chain (make sure you're not a no-reply blogger). I'm here for you.

I love you all. Here's to the hope that one day articles like this will no longer need to be posted. 
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Things you may not know about me


Here are a few things you might not know about me:

I keep a record of "brilliant" blog post ideas in the notes section of my phone, which I usually let Siri dictate for me. None of them are even the slightest bit legible, which leads me to writing blog posts like this when the time comes.

I have a highly sensitive personality type, which means things like: I cry a lot when I'm happy/sad/scared/excited; loud or conflicting noises, scary movies, sad news and other people's moods deeply affect me; my feelings get hurt very easily and tend to stay that way for a stupid long time; and music (especially concerts or theater) moves me like no other.

I have three siblings, one of which is 15 years older, and one of my nephews is only 11 years younger than I am. Almost my entire family (immediate and extended) live in Central Florida.

I hate the way my voice sounds on camera, which is why I rarely speak on Snapchat -- ironic considering..

As a child I often wrote my own songs and pretended to host a radio show where I recorded myself on a tiny tape recorder interviewing the band aka myself. I even made up commercials. (I swear I had friends).

I graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism in 2011, but once upon a time I tried going back for physical therapy school (lolz).

I have, like, 12 grey hairs that I know about and I pull them all out around the same time, so every few months I have a bunch of short, wiry grey hairs that stick straight out of my head. Way cuter than just embracing them, no?

Before hiking Mount Whitney (the highest point in the contiguous United States), I'd never really camped or climbed a mountain before.

Aside from my childhood home in Florida, my Oakland apartment is the most permanent place I've called home.

I've never broken a bone, smoked a cigarette, gotten a tattoo or gone skydiving, and I use all of these every time I play "Never Have I Ever."

I've made a playlist for just about every occasion/emotion that's ever existed. Seriously. Let me know if you need one.

Tell me something I don't know about you! Or ask me anything you want to know in the comments. 

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Lately


I haven't done much blogging lately, but here are the things I've been doing instead.

- Purging the cabinets, my closet, the fridge, the freezer, the porch. Everywhere that there is junk, I want it gone. I've never been one for doing things early, so maybe this is my version of spring cleaning. I even bought a vacuum I can't afford and was psyched about it.

- Enjoying my new car. From its (temporary) dog hair-free interior to its backup camera to its Sirius xm trial subscription, I freakin' love it. I can't wait to fit tents into the trunk, take long road trips this summer (LA? Portland?) and charge my phone on the way (I always said the most exciting thing about getting a new car would be the USB port).

- Exploring my city. Oakland is rad. The best days are the ones where you set out to just try a new brunch place and end up with a new pedicure, cute (half off) sandals, photos of cute succulents and a bevy of stores to add to your "local favorites" list. I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to afford this place, so I'm trying to take it all in while I can.

- Cooking! I'm finally getting back into the kitchen and I feel like I'm starting to find my food styling groove. I never thought I could be so stoked on a well lit photo of lasagna, but the excitement is real. See the progression so far here.

- Nannying the cutest baby in the world (except maybe her brother because he was adorable too). So far we've been swimming, to a mini water park, gotten froyo together and tomorrow we're even going to a photoshoot. All that to say, I'm not missing my office job.

- Snapchatting. This where a lot of my cooking goes down, but it's also where I like to put face filters on my nanny baby and cuddle with the sausage dog. Username: marymackensie

- Writing other things. Like this and this and this (see them all here), as well as content for my new site.

- Running. Marathon training has not technically started yet since the race is not until mid-November, but I've been doing it up stay-at-home-mom style and giving my jogging stroller all I've got. I also joined a real gym because Classpass got waaay too expensive for me, so I'm trying to remember how to workout on my own without being intimidated by all the 'roided dudes in the free weights section.

- Reflecting and looking forward. On my time in California, my time traveling in the past few years, Florida, relationships, family, friendships and how far I've come. I have no idea what my future looks like and while that's scary, it's also exhilarating. I've been through enough to know I can get through anything. Freedom was right.

What have you been up to?

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Bottlerock 2016

You guys probably know I like music by now. One of my favorite things about living so close to San Francisco is the plethora of bands that perform here any day of the week. If I had more money, I could look online right now and find five concerts I'd be legitimately stoked to see in the next two weeks. BUT luckily the Bay Area also likes to throw giant music festivals where all the bands come to one place for several days and make my heart happy. A one-time click of the mouse while cringing over the price tag and boom, I have the next half a year to be excited (and make more money). This past weekend was my second time experiencing all three days of Bottlerock in Napa Valley. I documented it all on Snapchat (username: marymackensie), so I kind of neglected the camera, but y'all don't love concert recaps anyway. In lieu of a real overview, here are some selfies that don't accurately depict the massive amounts of wine consumed over those 72 hours.

And for those interested, here's who I saw perform:

Friday
Houndmouth (so good!), Cold War Kids, Grouplove (they're my fave always), Stevie Wonder, Andy Grammer (he was terrible so I ran away shortly after I arrived)

Saturday
Florence + The Machine (she's incredible), Death Cab For Cutie, Walk The Moon (they're so fun), Atlas Genius, The Struts, Mike Stud (lol), San Fermin (we went to their after show, meaning we stayed out until 2am and did it all over again on Sunday - I almost fell asleep on the dance floor)

Sunday
Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Lumineers, X Ambassadors, Andrew McMahon and The Wilderness (I had no idea this was the dude from Something Corporate and Jack's Mannequin, so naturally I was VERY excited to hear "Woke Up In A Car"), Coleman Hell, Waters

Check out the rest of the lineup here. There were plenty of others I wanted to see, but they were at conflicting times.

How do you like these weekend recaps halfway through the week? #Killingit

How was your weekend?

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Studs & Tarot Cards


Last Sunday the only things on the agenda were brunch and tarot cards because these gals and I have a running Bay Area Bucket List. Since I'd never paid a stranger to tell me things I probably could have told myself, I had to give it a try. It was probably helpful in some ways, but then again so was afternoon wine, sweet potato chips and sushi with the ladies. I sort of pretended to care about basketball at The Brick Yard, but mainly I admired these studs sent by VDazzled Etsy shop in between sips of Pinot Gris. I love me some handmade jewelry -- check out the shop here (use the code "MacKensie" to get free shipping within the U.S.).
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