Married, Mom and 19

In the United States, as of 2015, the average age of first marriages is 28 years old. That makes sense right? Out of college, financially stable, ready to “settle down,” so to speak.

However, that isn’t the case for everyone and it certainly wasn’t the case for me.

Cue: William C. Hill

 

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Me and then-fiancee Branden, with my step-son, William. (2014)

During my freshman year, we were blessed with William.

Raising a baby while in college was never a part of “the plan” but it has been one of the most rewarding parts of my life.

It certainly wasn’t easy. There were so many nights dragging myself to school after waking up every two hours to a fussy infant. But William was a light in what was sometimes a very dark place. He was a constant reminder that I could never give up, as long as I had him smiling back at me.

So, I continued. I pushed through school and kept working hard.

We decided that if we were going to raise this baby together anyway, we might as well all have the same last name!

Thus, 10 days after his first birthday, I, too, became a Hill.

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Our wedding day in 2015.

Marriage itself isn’t easy. There’s a meshing of personalities and a whole new realm of responsibility. There’s financial obligations, and finding a place to live, dealing with cars and work and school.

It’s a lot, but there’s also some peace in having a partner to walk hand-in-hand with you into the fire.

 

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Our 2 year anniversary date in 2017.

We celebrated 2 years together this fall and it’s been one heck of a wild ride. We celebrated with dinner and ice cream before rushing back to real life.

There’s this constant balancing act that comes with being a full time student, a full time home-maker, a full time care taker, and a still maturing human being.

Some people thought it was crazy, but it’s a very special kind of crazy. The kind of crazy that requires dedication and passion, a desire to stay strong in the face of challenges.

People say that I’m too young, or too immature, but I think I’m a better person because of my little family. I’m stronger, more focused, and more determined than I have ever been.

Motherhood and marriage are not for everyone. And definitely not for everyone while in college, but I think that it’s going to be a beautiful day when I walk across the stage at commencement in December and my beautiful step-son is waiting to meet me.

Every sleepless night, every tear I’ve cried, every moment of doubt will be worth it.

That’s my motivation. That’s what keeps me going.

Cheers, ya’ll.

Local Artist Making A Splash in Cosplay

Amanda Haas is an out of this world costumer and performer that is slowly becoming a household name in the world of cosplay.

Haas got her start at the University of Louisville where she began as a fine arts major. She started dabbling in sewing and fashion and fell in love with the idea of bringing her art to life.

She spent some time working for the Louisville Ballet as a costume designer and seamstress for the shows that passed through Louisville. She fell in love with creating things with her own two hands.

She soon discovered that there was more than just ready-to-wear fashion after attending Derby City Comic Con in 2011. Her eyes were opened to an entirely new world, a world in which she could create and be anything she wanted to.

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With yards of fabric under her arm and a needle in her hand, she decided to begin crafting her own costumes.

She quickly learned that she had a knack for re-creating film accurate pieces as the compliments and admiration rolled in.

She’s even started competing, bringing home awards and accolades from the tycoons of the cosplay world. Most recently, she received 1st Place in the Professional category and Best in Show at GenCon, two major awards in cosplay competitions.

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When Haas isn’t competing or prepping for competition, she’s an average girl that loves enjoying the local food Louisville has to offer.

She also works part time as a Social Media Manager at Haas Cabinets and a wig maker for Custom Wig Company.

The sky truly is the limit for this homegrown artist.

For more information about this artist, check out JediManda.com.

 

Party Planning on a Budget

While planning a birthday party for my now three year old son, I came to the realization that planning parties is very expensive.

So,  I have come up with my three top suggestions for saving money and having a great birthday party.  (Though I have also used similar wallet-friendly methods for planning my wedding.)

1.  Use your resources.

Don’t be afraid to ask family and friends for help. My aunt owns a small business using her Cricut to make shirts and home decor. I enlisted her help, and for the bargain price of materials (a whopping $4), my son had a very cute shirt.

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Pride is never an excuse for spending in excess. Ask for help; the worst thing that can happen is they say no.

2. Do it yourself.

Most of the time, kids don’t care too much what things look like. So, don’t waste the money!

For example, the average batch of 18 cupcakes with plastic toppers costs about $16.99. For two boxes of cake mix at $.99 each, some ingredients for icing out of the pantry, and $5 worth of paper, I had 48 colorful cupcakes that tasted great. FB_IMG_1504448637251

(And as a disclaimer, I am far from a professional baker. That icing was a total mess.)

3. Mix and Match.

Contrary to popular belief, branding really isn’t everything. While it may not be much, branded decorations cost on average a $1-2 more.

My advice is to take some materials that have your theme on them and mix them with plain materials in a color that complements your theme.

My main point is to work smarter, not harder. Your dollar can stretch further if you don’t overthink it.

The money I saved went toward a bouncy house for my son, which was the highlight of the party.

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His laughter was well worth every penny spent.

T-Swift slithers back into the limelight

 

Taylor Swift shocked the world when all of her social media accounts when dark, except for the recurring videos of snakes. Snakes that do in fact look rather annoyed.

Hmm.

It had the whole world thinking, WHERE ARE THE CATS?!

Oh, and what on earth is she doing now?!

The singer dropped a brand new single this past week that made many scratch their heads.

The song ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ definitely seems like a giant middle finger to the critics and nay-sayers of the starlet. With thinly veiled accusations and a very electro-type feel, it is definitely a version of pop that we haven’t seen from the star before.

The song has garnered mixed reviews from fans and critics alike. Swift is known for her constant evolution as a singer from country to pop and now, angst? Some think that maybe she has gone way too far this time.

And that leads into one of the most iconic moments of the song, is the Taylor Swift persona that so many knew and loved really dead?

It has been confirmed that the music video will be released at the VMA’s tonight which seems like a smart move for the singer whom hasn’t released an album in 3 years. Aside from her single with Zayn Malik for “50 Shades Darker”, new music has been a long time coming.

Swift has still been nearly radio silent as far as the nature of the single and the world is holding their breath for what she’ll do next.