Welcome to My Blog!

Hi everyone!! Glad you stopped by and welcome!!

My name is Clara Frances McClure and I am a senior Public Relations and Marketing major at Auburn University. I  initially started this blog as part of a class assignment and ultimately decided to continue the posts in an unstructured and more “me” way.

Every since I was younger I have loved writing- any kind. Creative themes are my favorites but, any type of writing > math, science, tests, etc. (I know all PR majors are nodding right now and accountants are rolling their eyes.) Anyway, I had always toyed with the idea of a blog but never got around to it until I was forced to make one for a grade- funny how these things work!

As a person in general, I would describe myself as a very creative and inventive mind. I love anything that coincides with inspiration- writing, fashion, photography- and want to hopefully work in an environment where I can experience this. I’m also a huge fan of the “multiple interpretations” thought (hence why I hate math). Yes, I have my own ideas, beliefs and moral code, but I am open to hearing, listening and sharing other people’s thoughts.

I grew up in Tallahassee, Florida snd have lived in the South my whole life. However, I personally would consider myself, particularly my fashion sense, less of what you think of when you think of “the South.” Selfishly I consider it, as well as the topics I explore in this blog, a unique blend of multiple different areas of the country including personalities, food, fashion and hopefully destinations.

On this blog I hope you will find an interesting mix of topics that either interest you or at least peak your interest. I have no specific umbrella genre- more of a “hmmm I think this would be a cool post” type deal. Remember, the more unstructured, the better 🙂

Anyway, I really hope you enjoy and pease feel free to comment! The first six posts were ones I completed over the course of the school year, so do with that information what you will. Below is a brief explanation of the techniques and skills I learned while in the process of making this blog. Feel free to read on or skip to the next post- after all, the more creative we get, the better!

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Throughout last semester, I have been writing and posting blog posts via WordPress. The articles are primarily geared towards incoming freshmen and were published over a series of weeks periodically throughout the fall. These posts ranged from helpful tips, to senior spotlights, to upperclassmen advice, to restaurants of Auburn features. As they were being published in WordPress, the blog posts were also submitted and posted to The Auburn Family, a website with many articles written by students which embodies the Spirit of Auburn and its students.
This process of writing and keep track of my own blog taught me several valuable skills that I will use throughout my life as well as in the professional world.

WordPress Usage

During this experience, I was able to create, manage and explore the elements and various tools of my blog. Prior to this, I had had limited experience with publishing with WordPress. It is now an easy and accessible platform to create and showcase many different types of avenues.

Deadlines

I consider myself a time-efficient and time-oriented person. However, working with a blog not only enhanced this quality, but also taught me to work under a major time crunch and deliver clear, well-written and interesting pieces on a regular basis. Rather than writing one paper, I learned to write multiple posts each week and deliver them in a timely manner.

Brevity and Clarity

Each mode of writing has it’s different style. For instance, writing a script versus a novel versus a biography versus a blog. As a writer, my style is very detailed and descriptive. For this particular project, I learned to shorten my descriptions and deliver information in a blunt and straightforward fashion, while still keeping the content interesting

Sausage Dogs and Cream Soda

In the summer, Daddy used to take me to Bradley’s. He’d pull to the front of the house in the black Toyota SUV (though I know he secretly pretended it was his very own truck) and I’d eagerly jump in the back seat. Though it only took about twenty minutes, the drive down Centerville Road seemed to take decades. It was a peculiar drive to me. Our very urban town would gradually melt away as the stores and the restaurants turned to neighborhoods which turned to small, country churches, which turned to tall pines divided ever so often by a quaint house. It was as if our car was a time machine taking us back to an Old North Florida, where the land was untamed and untouched.

Bradley’s Country Store: by Clara Frances McClure

Finally, when the houses had all but disappeared and the trees grew so thick the sun barely peeped through, a lake would peel aside the growth in a glorious mirror. This was on the left side of the road. To the right, directly across from it, was Bradley’s Country Store. A Tallahassee staple since my parents were kids, the small, unobtrusive structure was anything but impressive. Brown steps lead up to a brown, rickety porch with brown rocking chairs and a brown screen door all surrounded by a few brown picnic tables dotting the front lawn. Behind the store, a dark brown slaughter house peeped menacingly towards the road.

Mr. Bradley, a monarch of the community, was rumored to eat liver and eggs every morning for breakfast. He claimed the land and created the now coveted Bradley’s brand far before anyone had dreamed of making that “neck of the woods” their home. And now, his sausage (among other products) is shipped nation-wide.

Though unimpressive to the naked eye, to a little girl, beyond the brown screen door was a treasure trove. Nick-nacks, old-timey candies and tacky ornaments was just about heaven on earth. But best of all, and the reason for the long journey, was the sausage dogs- of course always accompanied by cold Cream Soda.

Daddy and I would pull into the dirt lot out front and walk up the steps, setting the bell off as he opened the creaky door for me. Through the shelves of various pickled items and old southern cookbooks, we’d head straight to the back. There, against the wall, was a glass cooler of sausage. Behind this, on various racks, sausage and other pork products hung in a grizzly display. For me, the borderline grotesque scene was paradise.

Bradley’s Sausage: by Clara Frances McClure

Daddy would get me my sausage dog-mustard, mayo and onions- and him his- mustard and mayo, hold the onions. We’d wind back through the handmade soap isle to the front coolers and gather two cold glass bottles of Cream Soda, then pay at the front. In a matter of moments, we were out on the front lawn, sitting on a moldy, weather-beaten picnic table, with mustard mustaches on both our faces. It was perfect symbiosis- hot dog, cold soda, hot dog, cold soda, and so on, until, alas, it was all gone.

For a while we’d sit in silence and let the hot summer sun warm us to the point of a food coma. Finally, Daddy would look at me, a sleepy, dreamy look in his eyes, and tell me it was time to head home. I’d nod in mute response and we’d both lumber our way to the car. Soon, the tall pines would begin to thin, and the houses thicken, and then the small hidden churches became stores and restaurants and traffic, and we were back in the present.

It’s been a few years since I visited Bradley’s Country Store. Probably around ten or so to be exact. Somehow, you lose time for things like that when you grow up. The world, however, begs to differ when it comes to the sausage. The small, nowhere shack ships Bradley’s Sausage to restaurants all over the country, and I’ll often see if on a brunch menu or two.

Bradley’s: by Clara Frances McClure

And now, senior year of college, Christmas Break, I have found time to take a trip down memory lane. The long winding road seems about the same, with maybe a little bit more houses and a little bit more traffic. But, I still get the giddy, childish twinge when I see the lake dazzling in the distance. Then, there it is, as brown and plain as ever, proudly displaying “Bradley’s Country Store.”

Of course, it’s all decked out and ready for Christmas. Various neon-colored ornaments hang from the tin roof, dangling in strategic places on the front porch. A pig statue sits calmly in the corner sporting his santa hat. And

Bradley’s: taken by Clara Frances McClure

the last touch: different colored lights string the length of the entire porch and frame the front door. Other than the seasonal decor, nothing has changed. I step inside to be greeted by the same shelves of pickled accoutrements, multiple jam variations and old southern cookbooks.

The familiar white cooler gleams proudly against the back wall. After snapping a few pictures and re-living a memory, I reconvene with my family on the front porch. My sister has already attacked the footlong sausage dog in her hand, the familiar mustard stache on her face. Greedily, I reach for the dog. Before she can blink, protest, or snatch it away, I have it in hand. There it is- the mustard, mayo and onions. Just how I like it. But I can’t dive in yet. I give my prize a good, long stare. What if it isn’t as good as I remember? What if it’s just a childhood fantasy I want to relive?

“Just give it back already.”

Time is up. I take the bite.

And it’s still just as good as I remember.

Social Media Release

Welcome to my mock social media release. On this post you will find elements of what is modeled after a real media kit. This release offers details surrounding the proceedings of a real event and the company, however, it was not used in the actual event proceedings. Rather, this provides an idea of what could potentially be used had the owner chosen to pursue this route. I have included several aspects typical of a release like this including a pitch detailing the event, a background of the company, a video tutorial leading to the website for further exploration and several easy-to-read bullet points highlighting aspects of the event. The bulleted section would most likely be used if someone needed a quick idea of the fundamental details surrounding the trunk show.

This is a release for a university course. It is not an official release. This social media release and content is not affiliated with Malick and Grace. Most information included is fictional.

Backgrounder

Malick and Grace is an up and coming jewelry business that specializes in fine jewelry for all occasion. Owner, Keely Sexton, lives and is based out of LA from where she travels around the country hosting trunk shoes to showcase her products. Her jewelry includes

a sorority line for every Greek Panhellenic organization as well as a vintage line and other pieces for special occasions. Keely is hoping to take her business more national and expand her customer base. (above: Malick and Grace logo)

Pitch

As a solo small-business owner, Keely primarily sells her products online and at the trunk shows she has country-wide. On Sunday, November 26, 2017, Keely will be hosting her first trunk show in Auburn Alabama. The trunk show will take place in the Kappa Delta chapter room in The Village residence halls. The chapter room will be open to the public from 1-3 p.m. on that day. Keely will be showcasing pieces from all her different lines, including other sorority apparel.

Basic Highlights

  • Malick and Grace will hold a trunk show at Auburn University in the Kappa Delta Chapter room on Sunday, November 26 from 1-3 p.m.
  • Jewelry from all of different jewelry lines, including vintage and sorority jewelry
  • Malick and Grace’s owner Keely Sexton will be in attendance

Images from the Event

Photos taken by Clara Frances McClure

A Newbies Guide to Auburn Restaurants

The first year of college is a huge adjustment for any freshman. Whether you’re from out of state of forty-five minutes down the road, transitioning from high school can be a daunting and exciting process. On top of new surroundings, new friends and new classes, there’s an entire new town for freshman to navigate as well. The city of Auburn has so much to offer, even though it may seem small compared to other larger college towns. It has a homely and welcoming vibe packed in with boutiques, nail salons, and of course food. In fact, Auburn boasts some amazing dinging options. If you get tired of the Student Center, Wellness Kitchen and Village Dining, here’s a couple of off-campus opportunities that are truly worth the trip downtown.

The Hound

If you’re looking for amazing southern comfort food with some classic twists, this is the place. The Hound’s menu includes delicious entrees including Mama’s Meatloaf, a bison burger, pork and dumplings and fried brussel sprout salad. It also boasts the one of the most popular brunch destinations in Auburn with a line out the door every Saturday and Sunday morning.

Fuji

Feeling some Asian? Fuji serves the classics from Teriyaki to a wide variety of sushi selections. Tucked away in a strip mall of College Street, this is the perfect low-key, casual dining experience. This is a perfect study break for the busy college student who’s craving a

Volcano Roll while wearing anything from sweatpants to workout clothes. (left: Picture of sushi from Pexels)

Tacorita

If tacos are what you want, Tacorita, as the name implies, is the place to be. With a menu that caters to all types of cravings, Tacorita offers amazing and innovative chicken, beef, veggie and seafood selections. Hungry for more? Grad some queso and guacamole on the side! Gluten free? Don’t fret. Ask for a lettuce wrap and still experience the same amazing flavors.

Moe’s Original BBQ

A staple in the heart of downtown Auburn, Moe’s is the perfect game day watching spot. TVs, a casual atmosphere, affordable prices and, of course, amazing food, Moe’s offers a great indoor-outdoor feel. Don’t feel like you have to come in your Sunday best either. Throw on a jersey and you’re good to go. All you have to do is wait for you number to be called and dig in.

Ma Fia’s

If you’re feeling adventurous, and craving some amazing Italian, travel a few minutes down the road to Opelika, Alabama. There are many more hidden gems to discover. A definite must-try is Ma Fia’s Italian restaurant. Fresh, authentic, cozy and sophisticated, this restaurant is immediately inviting and reminiscent of a snap shot of Italy. Start with antipasto or Caprese salad and move into eggplant parmesan or seafood limoncello. Every bite is worth the drive. (above: pizza image from Pexels)

Whether you’re looking for a fancier dining experience of a casual way to escape campus, Auburn has these and so many more dining options for students. This is just another exciting way to explore the city of Auburn.

A Broader Perspective

Studying or even just traveling abroad is a great and worthwhile experience for everyone. It gives you an opportunity to experience new cultures, cuisine and people. However, the thought of being that far away from home in an entirely new culture often deters students from even beginning to think about it.

Meet Miranda Register, a senior majoring in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Montgomery, Alabama. Register had always had dreams of being adventurous and doing study abroad program in Italy. However, coming from a small town and a small school where she knew everyone, the idea initially seemed daunting.

“I remember waiting for the deadline to approach- like there was going to be a sign that I should or shouldn’t go,” recalls Register. “One day, I just decided to go for it and signed up on a whim. It was certainly one of the scarier things I’ve done.”

In the Spring of 2017, her second semester junior year, Register went to Italy for eight weeks with a group from Auburn.

“Leaving my roommates was the hardest part. I knew some people in my group but not nearly as well as the people I was leaving behind. I just had to keep reminding myself how it was temporary and I’d see them soon. And I’d be back with stories to tell!”

While in Italy, Register and her group were able to travel around to so many different cities throughout the weekdays and even different countries on the weekends. In the coming weeks, the group became extremely close as they traveled together and learned about the different cultures they encountered.

“I loved watching how different our lifestyles were. For instance, the people in Europe walked or biked everywhere: to the café, the store- they almost never used cars!” (right: Register on her abroad trip)

Register recalls how each day was a new learning experience and an opportunity to understand other cultures.

“My eyes were so opened to a world beyond Montgomery, Auburn, and even the United States! It’s an experience I wouldn’t have traded for the world.”

Now that she’s back home, Register still keeps in contact with the girls she traveled with for those eight weeks. They periodically grab coffee, catch up and reminisce on their dreamy time in Italy. There is even talk of making another trip back as soon as they can.

“Do not get me wrong, I would not trade my life here for the world, but there is something magical and other-worldly about being in a place with so much history. Every building has a story to tell, every restaurant has fantastic food- and wine. My advice is to jump in if you’re even remotely thinking about it. It’s a memory I will cherish forever.”

Healthy Tips for Surviving College

College is one of the most fun and exciting periods of your life. You meet new people, have new experiences and make amazing memories throughout all four years. However, this is also the first time you are completely independent and on your own- without the help of parents. For some this is a daunting thought, for others it is an exhilarating one. No matter where you stand, there are still major adjustments for everyone. One of these, namely, is staying healthy.

In high school, it was easy for someone to tell you to eat your vegetables and go to bed; but at Auburn, you make your own schedule. Everyone has heard about the dreaded freshman 15. However, such a scenario is easily avoided with a few simple tricks that will hopefully make freshman year that much better.

Take a power nap

Everyone will experience a late night of studying, or maybe even an all-nighter, a some point in college. But when the coffee wears off, sometimes it can be hard to function. That’s where the nap comes into play. Even a quick 20 minutes one can work wonders. It’ll be a nice break for your brain and give you energy to continue about your day. (below: image of a kitten sleeping taken from Pexels)

Eat your veggies

Sometimes a late night pizza craving can only be satisfied with, well, pizza, and maybe some ice cream too. And that’s perfectly fine- every now and then. If you start to feel snacky often on those late nights, opt for some carrots and ranch or an apple. Auburn offers so many places to grab a quick and nutritious snack. Craving something a little more sweet? The village dining offers a Greek yogurt bar with all sorts of delicious toppings including granola, blueberries and chocolate chips! Don’t feel like walking anywhere late at night? Stock up on trail mix and granola bars from the Student Center after class to save for later! They may just come in handy (pictured below: vegetables taken from Pexels).

Use that rec

Honestly, one of the nicest facilities on Auburn’s campus is the Rec Center. With three levels, an indoor track with hills, basketball courts and a rock gym, who wouldn’t want to work out there? Grab a friend and make it a habit! If you’re feeling adventurous or want more variety, sign up for a Groupfit class. Auburn offers so many interesting options from cycling to Pilates to HIIT to water aerobics. You will never be bored!

Go on a walk

If you’re not feeling indoors, or the sunshine is just too pretty to pass up, take a walk! I promise, Auburn’s campus has enough hills to make it just as good as a gym workout. With downtown being so close, you can even venture off campus and explore the city. Fall in Auburn is the perfect walking weather. Or, if you want to be even more adventurous, drive over to Chewacla State park and hike to the waterfall. It’s a relaxing way to be active and detox at the same time.

There are so many simple ways to maintain a (relatively) healthy lifestyle while at the same time keeping up with your busy schedule. Auburn the university and the city offers so many opportunities for students to grow and learn to be healthy on their own without the help of their parents. These simple solutions are perfect and easy to follow no matter what your major or year.

(Ac)counting Down the Days to Graduation

Each major has it’s own unique challenges and obstacles to overcome before graduation. Sometimes, it may seem like the studying and long hours in the library will never end. Though a bad grade every now and then may feel like a major set back, new students should never be defeated. Hard work will certainly pay off eventually.

Meet Lawson Drew, a senior accounting major approaching her last year at Auburn University. Drew’s senior year has been a whirlwind of tests and applying for internships, all the while trying to spend as much time with her fellow seniors as she can. The past three years have been full of fun moments but also riddled with many late nights studying for financial accounting, tax law and other intense classes. Junior year, Drew claims, was certainly her busiest and most intense period at Auburn (below: Lawson Drew, senior, majoring in accounting).

“I remember my first test that year. I started studying three days before the test, which was extremely far in advance for me. When I got to the test, I sadly found out it still wasn’t enough.”

Drew realized quickly she would be pushed to her limits. Often times she would start studying for tests weeks in advance.

“I remember being discouraged one night when all my friends decided to go watch a movie. I just had to tell myself I knew I really wanted this and the hard work would eventually benefit me in the end.”

Finally, all of those late nights did pay off. Drew began interviewing for accounting firms for potential interview opportunities in the spring of her junior year. These interviews included opportunities with the top four accounting firms in the country. That next August, Drew received an offer from PWC, one of the “Big Four” accounting firms in the country.

“I remember getting the call and it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. All that hard work was finally beginning to pay off. I can’t deny I felt a sense of pride- but it was still mostly relief.”

Drew now looks to her last semester, during which she will be interning in Atlanta, with excitement. In this new chapter she is beginning to see the fruits of her labor. These past few years have certainly taught her the meaning of hard work. So for those underclassman feeling overwhelmed, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

“I know it may seem impossible in the moment, but I promise you will get through it. I by no means made straight A’s, but hard work if definitely worth it. If you’re doing what you love, that’s all that matters. Graduation used to be a scary thought for me, but now I’m more than ready and excited- and you will be too!”

A Taste for Success

Being an Auburn student provides so many opportunities for involvement, connections and fun activities to meet new people. However, campus life clubs aren’t made for everyone. It’s easy to feel disconnected if you can’t find your niche, but a new student should never worry. There are so many ways to find a group beyond campus organizations.

Meet Caroline Beasley, a current junior at Auburn University. Beasley is studying chemical engineering, a demanding and challenging major. When Beasley isn’t studying, the last thing she wants is more time spent on campus. However, she has found another outlet that allows for a nice break from school while also providing a way to interact with peers: working in a restaurant.

The Hound, an established Auburn restaurant and local favorite, boasts some of Alabama’s finest southern cuisine. Beasley is a hostess currently and loves the atmosphere, friendships and extra spending money her job provides. (right: Beasley, taken by Lawson Drew)

“I honestly have the best of both worlds: I see my friends I’ve made at the restaurant when I come to work, but I also get to see all my friends who come in to eat. It’s such a great mix of people.”

After studying for hours on end, moving around and interacting with people is just what Beasley needs. The hours, she claims, don’t keep her from studying and when she needs a night off, her fellow employees are more than willing to help her out. “The people who work here are truly amazing. And the management is the best too. It’s like a club at Auburn- but better. It’s a family!”

Beasley also tells how she truly has learned the meaning of hard work at The Hound, more so than she would in a campus organization. “Every day is a learning experience: you learn how to deal with different personalities, how to be polite, how to think on your feet… This job has truly taught me the meaning of hard work and the value of good customer service.”

Every day is a fast pace in the restaurant world, so there’s never a dull moment for Beasley. She also says though, at the end of the day, the people she works with make her laugh, making the work worth it. The Hound is a place where she always feels comfortable, loved and appreciated. An on-the-go college student and restaurateur in the making, Caroline Beasley found her place and is thriving in the Auburn community.

Whether it’s a campus organization, a club or a job off campus, there are so many ways to find a group in Auburn. It doesn’t have to be connected the University or a group of friends you met in class. The city of Auburn provides so many ways to find your niche, your outlet, and your home.

Seven Reasons Why Every Freshman Should Live in a Dorm

Deciding where to live is one of the first basic steps to fully transitioning into college life. Though an apartment may have certain appeals because of the amenities that come along with

it, a residence hall is a much better and more logical choice for incoming freshmen. (right: Helen Keller Hall)

1. Centrally Located

Location, location, location. Living in a residence hall puts you within walking distance of everything a freshman needs. You have classrooms, dining options, and recreational activities just steps away. While an apartment is at best, a fifteen minute walk from campus, residence halls allow you to have that extra fifteen minutes to sleep after some late night studying.

2. It’s Happening

Dorms are where it all happens. It’s where people hang out, do homework and catch up. In and around the dorms is also where the majority of freshman will be and the perfect social scene to meet and mingle.

3. Sharing is Caring

It’s true, you will have to share a bathroom with at least one other person in a residence hall. Even though this is probably the most space you’ve ever had to share with another person, it truly teaches the art of working well with others. Learning to compromise sometimes is a skill that will be incredibly useful later on in life.

4. Apartment life if for the Upper Classmen

After living in both a dorm and an apartment, I can confidently say mostly older students live off campus. Being in the minority, age-wise, on top of not knowing many people would be a difficult way to start college. Thus apartment lifestyle would lend itself to less freshman interaction in general.

5. Parking & traffic: a non-issue

Whenever there is something to go to on campus- a football game, a concert, a meeting- you don’t have to worry about parking. While others are scrambling to look for a spot where they won’t get a ticket or towed, you can easily walk from place to place. Additionally, whenever there’s a big game or a lot of traffic in town, you don’t have to worry about that bumper-to-bumper, helpless feeling.

6. Power Naps

Unfortunately, there will no doubt be some late nights for you throughout college. There may even be some all-nighters, depending on the course. But you’re also going to be a busy freshman with all sorts of social obligations and fun things to do. That’s where the dorm comes in: if you ever even have 30 minutes, your bed is two steps away, which is perfect if you need a little pick-me-up before class.

7. Friendships

Dorms are the perfect place to foster your first friendships as a freshman. There are so many new people living just right outside your door. Asking for homework help, borrowing ketchup and running outside when the fire alarm goes off may truly become an amazing bonding experience. In residence halls, friends are all around you, just seconds away- some that may be life-long!