Pizza, Instagram, Comparison and what I’ve learned

This past weekend I packed my bags and went to hang out with my long time friend Brandon and his family—  They live Niceville, Fl.  The change of scenery was just what I needed.  Who knew there was such a place.  Ok, Ok! I know what you’re thinking because I thought it too… “Are the people of Niceville really nice?” I mean, they not mean. LOL

During my 4-day adventure, we spent a lot of time eating— Pizza, Hibachi, seafood, and even Chick Fil A. I’m stuffed thinking about it. By the way, If you’re in the area, you have to try the buffalo chicken pizza from Domonics. SO YUMMY! We even threw in some Alabama football too (he’s a HUGE fan). Y’all know I could care less, but I watched with a smile. You’re welcome, Brandon. But I think what I loved most about my time there was our conversations. It’s always fun to catch up and reminisce on old times, but it’s also fun to meet new people.

Greyson, Brandon and Amy

While in Niceville, almost as soon as I arrived, I met this sweet gal that attends their church. The following day we met again and it was as if we had been friends for years. Ok, not years, but months. Haha. She introduced me to her group of friends, but it was the way she introduced me that made me stop and think. “This is Evan. He has 5,000 followers on Instagram and a Youtube Channel.”  At first I laughed, thought it was comical and cute, but the more I thought about it, I couldn’t help but think, “is this what our world has come too?” Living in what people call the “Millennial Generation (myself included), we too often define our lives by the number of followers we have or the amount of likes we get.

Social Media has created this idea that “it’s okay to pretend to be okay.” We post only the pretty stuff.  The stuff that makes us look good. The stuff that makes people think we’re living a perfect life, but the reality of it is, we aren’t. We’re humans. We struggle. We hurt and most days we don’t have it all together.

As most of you know, over the last few years, I have been through some pretty rough patches in life. I never in a million years thought I would see the day my parents called it quits on their marriage. It hurt and it hurt deep. I’m known as the funny guy, the guy who makes people laugh, the life of the party if you will. It was during the darkest hours of my life, I lied to people. I pretended to happy, but deep inside I was hurting. I needed someone to talk to, but instead, I turned to the internet where I pretended to be ok.

During that time period of my life, one of the most important things I learned was that “Comparison is the Enemy of Self-Worth”. I realized that I was too worried about what others thought of me. I used social media (“Likes” and “Followers”) to validate who I was. I was more focused on my image being tarnished.  I learned the hard way that comparing myself to others and their accomplishments made me feel inferior. I let the disease comparison burry itself in me.  It destroyed who I was— my self-worth and my confidence.

Comparison will eat you alive if you let it, yet so many of us do. We compare our success, talents, job titles, relationships, looks and even our cars and house.  Genesis 1:27 says, “God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”  No one can take this away from us. We were created in the image of God and that alone is something to be proud of. Be who God created you to be.

 

The Ultimate Tailgate Party

After months and months of waiting, the wait finally over. Football season is here! If you’re from the South you know just how big of a deal college football is. As most of you know, I could care less about football. I still don’t fully understand how the game is played. But that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t stop me from throwing one heck of a tailgate party.

Last week I was invited on WSFA’s Alabama Live for a quick segment on how to plan the Ultimate Tailgate Party. If you missed it, you can watch it HERE. We could talk all day long about how to throw a party, but some many people are visual learners like myself, so I decided to style a mock tailgate party. I called my friend Lauren at Milly Photography to capture it all.  2016-09-25_0007 When planning any event, wedding or party there are always a few MUST-HAVES. A tailgate party is no exception. We’ve come up with 3 things that are essential for any tailgate party. The first, You can’t have the proper tailgate party without Entertainment. Wether that’s a game of corn hole, tossing the football on the lawn or cranking up the music. It’s a must! 2016-09-26_0001 Next, you can’t have a tailgate party without you team spirit. Bring you shakers, table clothes, flags and foam fingers. It certainly adds to the festive table decor.  2016-09-25_0002 2016-09-25_0016 2016-09-25_0001 I’m the type of person that will spend extra money on fancy paper plates or cute striped straws, but I’ll buy a cheap lawn chair to save a few bucks. I’m a party planner, don’t judge me! That’s exactly what I did here– We picked up a $6.00 chair from Wal-Mart instead of purchasing one of those fancy $50.00 legit team chairs. I found these inexpensive pillows from the “Dollar Spot” at Target and with a little iron on transfer, I created a custom pillow for under $10.00. Super easy! ANYONE can do it.  2016-09-25_0014 Last but not least. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to throw a tailgate party without the proper food and drink. BBQ sliders, wings and chicken fingers are a few of my favorite easy pick-up foods. But I was recently introduced to a quick and easy sausage dip that is TO DIE FOR. You HAVE to try it. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Sausage Dip

(2) 8 Ounce Cream Cheese | 1 Cup Sour Cream | 2 Cups grated cheddar cheese | 1lb of Ground Sausage | 1 can of Diced Green Chiles

*Brown and drain sausage. Mix with all other ingredients. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

If you choose to wash it down with a cocktail, we suggest doing it with a little team spirit, of course. Our friend and one of our favorite past brides, Jean helped us round up a few recipes that are sure to impress your tailgating guests. For the Auburn Fan….

Aubie Palmer Cocktail:

1.5 Old Forester Bourbon  | 1.5 Lemonade | Top off w/ Milos Sweet Tea

2016-09-26_0002 and of course, we can’t leave the Alabama fan out. A yummy fruity drink fits them properly, I think.

Yellowhammer Cocktail:

3/4 oz. White Rum | 3/4 oz. Coconut Rum | 1/2 oz. amaretto | 2 oz. orange juice | 2 oz. pineapple juice

2016-09-26_0003 and for those that choose to have a classic game soda, barqs glass bottle root beer will hit the spot.  2016-09-25_0008 2016-09-25_0005 After all those yummy eats and drinks, you have to have a quick sweet treat before entering the stadium. We stopped by Liger’s bakery for those. You can’t go wrong with THE BEST petite fours in town. Their also famous for those mint thumbprint cookies, too, but my personal fave….the Iced Sugar Cookies.  2016-09-25_0012 2016-09-26_0004 As promised on WSFA’s Alabama Live, I’m giving away a pair of tickets to the AUBURN vs. ALABAMA A&M Homecoming game. It’s super easy to win– all you have to do is comment this post. We’ll select a winner Saturday, October 8th. Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. A for making this giveaway possible.  2016-09-25_0009 HUGE thanks to Joyce Hubbard for letting us borrow her Auburn Orange truck. It was PERFECT! And of course, my Granny. Those Liger’s goodies wouldn’t have brought themselves. You’re the BEST!

It’s Not Ok to Pretend to be Ok

View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/chooperchristmas

For those of you that know me personally, you know that the last several months to a year of my life have been pretty hectic on a personal level. Depending on the day, it’s sometimes hard express my feelings to those around me. Not because I am afraid of what people will say, but because we live in a world where it’s not cool to not be ok. The sad truth is today’s generation is only about showing the “good stuff”— They don’t want people to know they don’t have it all together. It’s ok to hurt. It’s ok to be stressed out. But it’s not ok to Pretend to be Ok.

In dealing with hurt, pain and a lot of unanswered questions the last year of my life, there are 3 things I’ve learned and I want to share with you.

  1.  It’s Ok to Not Understand—Trust Me this is something I know all to well. There will be somethings in life that will not come with an answer. There will always be things that we aren’t going to understand but it’s ok to not understand. My grandmother told me recently “It’s ok to not understand, sometimes that the first step to becoming ok”. It’s not wrong to admit you don’t understand.
  2.  Cry— It’s not just for babies. There is nothing wrong with crying. End of story. Let it out!
  3. Stress— It’s a part of life. If you don’t get stressed you should probably see a doctor. I’m not saying it’s ok for stress to consume your every thought and every move, but it’s gonna happen. I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned recently is that stress will only last as long as you allow it to. Don’t let stress control you.

Remember, It’s Not Ok to Pretend to be Ok.

-EGC

Evan’s Favorite Things– Day 5

2015-12-14_0004 I know, I know. I’m a couple days behind in posting this. My deepest apologies. My trip to New Orleans was much more fast paced than I expected. Friday (the original day this post was scheduled for) was go, go go with a full day of site seeing, eating and a fancy wedding.

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Speaking of New Orleans…Today’s Favorite Thing is one that I took with me on my trip. Every southern gentleman needs a monogrammed duffle bag, right? I LOVE my chocolate brown rolling duffle from You Name It! Their located in Montgomery, Alabama across from Faulkner University. The bag retails for $78.00. View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/egcchristmas Last but not least, and Possibly my most Favorite Thing… Greater by Steven Furtick, lead pastor of Elevation Church in North Carolina. Steven states that “most believers aren’t in danger of ruining their lives. They’re facing a danger far greater: wasting them”.  I couldn’t agree more. Often times we find ourselves getting stuck in boring, powerless life ruts and are mislead lead into thinking that’s what Christ has called us too. Thankfully that’s not the case.  “Baseline living is not okay. Not for a believer in Jesus. There’s a price to pay for Christian complacency” say Furtrick. The book expands the the biblical story of Elisha to give you the confidence to know that nothing is impossible with God, the clarity to see what step is next.

This book is a quick and easy read. It’s almost impossible not to read through the book in a couple of day. I had to pace myself so I could really think about the points and arguments he was making. If you’re looking for a book with some instant take home points that you can apply the moment you open this book, than this is the one for you. As I was reading it, I thought of several folks I know would benefit from the read.  View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/egcchristmas To enter the last day of Evan’s Favorite Things is simple. Subscribe to my blog (on the right hand side of the blog homepage under the “Video” section), make sure you click the confirmation email or it doesn’t count. Once you’ve done that pop back on over here and leave a comment in the post.

We’ll be posting the winners of Evan’s Favorite Things on Wednesday. Don’t forget to share, share share. If you post on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and use the hashtags #evangcooper #evansfavoritethings, it just might increase your chances.

If you’re just joining in on the Favorite Things fun there’s still time to enter. Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3  | Day 4