Intentions > Goals


“Setting intention, at least according to Buddhist teachings, is quite different than goal making. It is not oriented toward a future outcome. Instead, it is a path or practice that is focused on how you are “being” in the present moment. Your attention is on the ever-present “now” in the constantly changing flow of life. You set your intentions based on understanding what matters most to you and make a commitment to align your worldly actions with your inner values.” (source)

Intentions, to me, are the ideal plan. I love the graphic above because it sums up perfectly how I view setting intentions. They are the IDEAL, but you don’t have to beat yourself up for falling short. Perfection is impossible, so why even try to reach it? Embrace the messiness and “shoot for the stars”, right?! It’s a cliche because it’s true.

So, ever since reading Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map, I’ve been allllll about some intention setting. Not GOAL setting, but intention setting. I read the entire book on New Year’s Eve because I was home alone in Houston with the flu and wanted to do something productive instead of wallowing while my family was celebrating it up in New Orleans.

“What if, first, we got clear on how we actually wanted to feel in our life, and then we laid out our intentions? What if your most desired feelings consciously informed how you plan your day, your year, your career, your holidays — your life?” – from The Desire Map website

Intentions are about FEELING the way you want to FEEL. Not setting rigid goals and beating yourself up when you fail. It’s about saying yes to what matters and turning down that doesn’t set your soul on fire.


On New Year’s Eve, I set these intentions for 2015:

1. New tattoo. Yup! I got a crescent moon tattoo on the inside of my right ankle on April 10th. I’m going to write a post behind it’s meaning one day!

2. Practice yoga regularly. I don’t want to strike this one through, because although I did stretch on my yoga mat every night before bed, I didn’t extend my practice or push myself. I didn’t have motivation to do videos at home and I couldn’t afford a studio membership while paying for Pure Barre. I plan to buy a membership at my yoga studio in Pensacola!

3. Practice meditation regularly. I went about 40 days with this one, but I never fully committed and now I’ve fallen off the practice completely. I am going to keep working on this and am planning on attending a workshop at my yoga studio in Pensacola. 

4. Start blog and write regularly. Oh, hey… :)

5. Find a home and job in Pensacola. WHAT UP! Two huge tasks that were recently accomplished. Now to finish packing up this damn condo….

6. Ask more meaningful questions in my relationships and truly listen. I don’t want to strike this one through, because although I’ve been making a conscious effort to practice it, I’ll never stop trying. 


I’ve decided that since I’m moving in just a couple days and starting a new season of my life, it would be beneficial and fun to set some intentions for the summer! I have some free time before school starts on August 17th (I’m a middle school English teacher!) and I want to make this summer as meaningful as possible and do things that truly honor my desires and serve other people!

Summer 2015 Intentions

1. Practice yoga regularly. I hope to accomplish this one by buying a yoga membership! 

  • Practice yoga on a paddle board. Because I’m living in a beach town and I’ve always wanted to try this. 

2. Practice meditation regularly. I’m going to attend a workshop/do some reading and commit. 

3. Ask more meaningful questions in my relationships and truly listen. Extending this one forever and always.

4. Volunteer. Not sure where yet, but there’s an organization in Pensacola that pairs you with an adult who is learning to read and you meet with him/her twice a week to aid in this effort. I talked with the woman who runs it and I may look into more when I get there. I also plan to do some tutoring and babysitting (which pays, but I’m doing to include it here). 

5. Train for Pensacola Half Marathon [on November 8] I’ve been wanting to do a half for a while. I know I should probably start with a 10k, but with so much time to train, I shooting for the half. I have buddies in Pensacola who are running it as well, so they will hold me accountable (along with y’all?!), I hope!

6. Make it out to the beach at least once a week. Being so close to the beach, it seems crazy not to get out at least once a week! This one definitely contributes to my well-being.

7. Read a book a week [fiction or non] This one is for my own pleasure but also to educate me–I have a lot of teaching books that I want to finish this summer. Professional development, yo!

8. Cook a new-to-me dish at least once a week. I want to expand my cooking skillz! Nuff said. 


Linking up to Amanda for Thinking Out Loud!

What are your summer intentions or goals?

Thoughts on goals vs. intentions? Do you prefer one over the other? I personally like intentions because goals put too much pressure on me and usually set me up to fail!

I’m Employed!!! (And Other Things)

Hi there.

It’s been a week so I thought I’d pop in for some thinking out loud. I’m going to skip this week’s Word of the Week, because honestly, I just wanna spill. It’s been a week since I’ve written (even in my journal), so this is much needed for my sanity.

NOTE: this is no longer a thinking out loud post because it is no longer Thursday. I’ve been out of town since Wednesday so things have been all over the place. Sitting down to actually write a post hasn’t been on the top of my mind–however much I’ve been itching to do it. So like Kelsey said in her post, these are just some Friday ramblings.

Without further ado…

1. Remember this post? Where I talked about opening up, surrendering, trusting, and all that good stuff? Well, I shared with y’all that I signed a lease for my dream space in Pensacola, which happened completely by chance. A couple days after that, I attended a teacher job fair. I figured I’d maybe do a couple interviews, shake some hands, and put some resumes in those hands. I never expected I’d get hired on the spot and sign a contract THAT DAY. But that’s what happened. I’m employed! SAY HELLO TO THIS 8TH GRADE ENGLISH TEACHER! To find a place and a job within 48 hours, especially when I did not see it coming, was truly a miracle. After signing my contract, I ducked into a hallway and just had a moment. God is so good and I am incredibly grateful… I opened myself up, did the work, and trusted. How affirming to experience the payoff. Anyways, for privacy reasons, I’m not going to name the school, but it’s an IB program and four miles from my home! It feels right and my heart is 100% in this career. I can’t wait to jump in.



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Text from my best friend Natalie after I told her about my new job. OH YEAH, look out for my Lifetime movie, y’all. 

2. You may remember I said that I was going to California this week. Well, I’m not there. For reasons I’m not ready to talk about on a public platform just yet (but will one day because I believe honesty is important and that sharing your experience can reach other people in ways you may never know), I ended up not taking the trip. After a missed flight and other mishaps, it was decided that I’ll make the visit at a later date when my life is less transitional and a little more stable.

3. However, I believe everything happens for a reason. When the California plans fell through, I had to come up with another plan since I didn’t want to go back to Oxford so early. I called Katie (my step-mom’s sister–she adopted the kids when my dad and Laura passed away) to see what they were up to this week. A couple minutes later, it was established that I’d come stay with them until Saturday. This means lots of quality time with my little brother and sister who I don’t get to see very often. It also means that I’m seeing TAYLOR SWIFT tonight !!! Katie is taking my little sister Adalee as a surprise and they had an extra ticket. Spending time with my favorite little humans and seeing Tay… Yup, it was written in the stars.

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4. I met Ken Jeong (Chow from The Hangover) last Saturday. After the job fair and the unexpected contract signing in Pensacola, I headed straight over to New Orleans for the Ochsner Alumni Awards Banquet. My father, who was a heart surgeon, trained at Ochsner back in the day. They were awarding the first annual Taylor Pickett, MD Memorial Award and asked my sister and I to do the honors. Well, Ken Jeong also trained at Ochsner before embarking on his comedy and acting career. It was a hilarious, emotional, and surreal night getting to remember my dad and meet this dude. We talked about NBA and I was super chill about it–while inside screaming “omg this is so cool I am so cool he is so cool I love my life.” Probably the only time I’ll ever hang with a celebrity.

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5. Anyone have any packing/moving tips? On Sunday or Monday, I’m heading back to Oxford to begin packing up my life for the move to Pensacola next Friday. This is first “real” post-grad move–not just into a dorm or apartment in the same city, but from one home to another in a different city. My momma is helping me but STILL. I imagine I’ll just throw things into boxes and call it a day. Riley = not an organization whiz. I’m working on it.

6. Speaking of the move, I’ve been brainstorming lots of ideas for my new home. Obviously, that means I’ve been adding to my “home sweet home” Pinterest board. The walls are pale yellow and I recently painted my bedroom set white, so I’m thinking a yellow/grey/white color scheme with pops of color is the direction I want to take. Calling any interior designers… Help me out! The best advice I’ve received is to not do it all at once, but to rather slowly find pieces you love and build the space slowly.


Definitely doing something like this in my kitchen. A million unique mugs + not a ton of space = getting creative. 

7. I’m excited to get back into running and to start biking more! The neighborhood where I’m moving, which also happens to be the area where I grew up, is absolutely ideal for runners and bikers. I have a good friend just next door who is runner and we’ve already made summer plans to train together. There’s a half-marathon on November 8th and I’m up for the challenge! As for biking, my step-dad told me he would buy me one as a graduation present, so upon arrival in Pensacola, I’m going to pick out a casual cruiser to have for rides to the market, my favorite coffee shop, and friend’s houses.


8. And cooking… I’ve made a deal with myself that once I’m in my new place, and have a kitchen all to myself, I WILL start expanding my skillz in the kitchen. In a city with lots of fresh, healthy food and local produce, I’m already feeling inspired. I have the summer to get creative and prepared for the school year, where I’ll be packing all my breakfast and lunches but will be free to create new meals for dinner. I don’t know what it is, but I just have this vision of being in a new city, in a place by myself, and developing all these new skills–ha, I know I’m being idealistic and probably overly hopeful, but at least I have goals, right?!

9. THERE’S JUST SO MUCH I WANT TO DO!!! Garden, bake, take up some new water sports (heeey, beach town)… The list goes on! So much hopeful excitement up in here.

10. Last but not least, I have a lot of hope for this blog. Things have sort of been on hold since I’ve been out of town and in the midst of a big move, but I’ll be grounded in Florida very soon. I move in on June 1st and then my summer begins! Things will probably be a little crazy starting out, but I have so many ideas and projects and I can’t wait to bring them into fruition :)

Have a wonderful Friday! I’ll be over here trying to contain my excitement about finally seeing my GIRL T-Swizzle tonight. Actual tears may happen. If I don’t talk to you before Monday, happy Memorial Day to my American frands and be safe!

^^^ super creepy, weird, amazing animated drawing music video of Tay’s Shake It Off

Word of the Week // Surrender


Yesterday afternoon, I packed up my car and drove down to Pensacola, Florida–my former home of 12 years and soon-to-be home once again. On my way, I listened to about a million different podcasts, but one in particular inspired this week’s word. Jennifer Kass’ last Love Pioneer episode was titled “How to Surrender”. Immediately, I was hooked. Everything she said was everything I’ve been thinking, but still needing to hear at the same time. I know it to be true, but I’ve been having trouble putting the art of surrender into action.

Trying to find a place to live, job searching, leaving Oxford, dealing with “adult” stuff in general… It’s overwhelming. And it would be really easy to let it all drive me mad. I tend to hover between the state of wanting to control everything and wanting to pull my covers over my head and just say, “TAKE OVER UNIVERSE, I’M OVA DIS SHIT.” Extremes are easy. Finding the middle ground, that perfect balance–now that is hard.

Surrendering is the ultimate act of trust.

Surrendering to God, the source of pure love, grace, and wisdom—the pure love the lives inside of us but also all around us. When you surrender to God, you are also surrendering to love because they are one in the same. And love–it lives within us. It’s hard because it feels like you’ve giving up your power and that makes us feel out of control. But really, you’re surrendering to a greater power that lives within you and all around you. Even if you don’t believe in God, you can believe in yourself and trust that love tells us all the truth we need.

Surrendering is a daily practice and it’s one I’m still working on every day. When I find myself wound into a tight ball of anxiety, my body aching and my mind racing, I have to stop and work backwards. I have to ask myself what’s causing my body to freak out. Personally, my anxiety manifests itself in physical symptoms so it’s easy to fixate on my health and ignore whatever emotions I’m suppressing. I’ve found that I have to consciously stop and assess. Writing it out has really helped me. Writing it out, feeling it, and then surrendering. It is the first step to trust. First, like I said, you have to recognize your need for peace. You have to be willing to let go, but also do the work. You have to find that place of stillness–that grounded place within you. You have to locate it, then surrender to that still place that is God and Love. Then comes the action. You can’t expect the universe to do it all. It’s not magic. You still have to do the work. You have to find the middle way of love and balance and do what needs to be done. You can’t be too passive or too controlling. It takes practice and patience and trust. And I’m definitely still a newb. But here’s to at least trying, right?

…Welp, there was my word vomit on surrender. It felt good to write and I hope sharing it just might help you in some way too.

Now for some happy news! Literally right after listening to that podcast on surrender yesterday, I received a text from my friend Melissa, who lives in the neighborhood where I was searching for a place to live. She sent me a picture of a “For Rent” sign in front of a building that had everything I was looking for. I immediately called the number. Long story short, I toured the place right after arriving into town, fell in love, and signed a lease this morning. The whole thing quite literally fell into my lap. It was and still is a Godsend.

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Obviously I made my new landlord document the moment. #BloggerLife

I can’t wait to share more with y’all as the move approaches. I am so excited and feeling extremely grateful.

God is pretty great. The universe is a sneaky little bugger, isn’t she? Things are always working out, even when it feels like all the odds are stacked against you. Funny how that works.



Side note: every Thursday that I can, I plan on thinking out loud about a word that’s inspiring me and shaping my intentions for the week or time in my life. One word can carry so much meaning and open the door to meaningful conversation. I will choose a word then proceed to word vomit on said word. Very eloquent, right? :)

I will end these posts with wise words from someone else, because sometimes they just put it better.

“Always say “yes” to the present moment. What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already is? what could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now? Surrender to what is. Say “yes” to life — and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.” – Eckhart Tolle

In the comments, I’d love to hear your take on the word “surrender” and how it impacts your life! 

Well, I guess I’m officially “adulting”

HAY, FRIENDS. A lot has been happening since we last talked on Wednesday. Over the weekend, my immediate family (mom, step-dad, and step-brother) came into town for my graduation. My step-aunt from Australia also came along, which was so wonderful, and my sister who goes to college here of course celebrated with us too. We had a joint graduation party with my best friend Natalie’s family on Saturday and it was so special to get to share the day with my very best friends and family. I wish more of my extended family could’ve been there, but they all live on the West Coast so it’s a hassle to come for such a short amount of time. Anyways, it’s just fine because I’ll be heading over to California a week from today :)

I actually received my degree in December, but chose to walk in May because symbolism and memories. Cap and gown pictures are a must, right?


Classic grad pic~~*



Couldn’t resist slapping this READ bumper sticker on the top of my cap. As an English teacher and lifelong book lover, I had to represent. 



Natalie. I love this girl with my whole heart and I’m so proud of her. She’s completing her internship in Social Work this summer!



Contents from the “Party in Can” she bought for us. Too much. 



Party food catered by Living Foods in Oxford, MS–an organic cafe and market. We had grass-fed chicken fajitas (non-dairy cashew sour cream was bomb!), a power kale chicken salad, fruit salad, lots of dips, and a ton of cute Ole Miss themed desserts! 



My beautiful mother. I would be (literally) nothing without her. Everything I am is because of her. 



Family photo minus my step-brother because he’s 16 and had wondered off somewhere. Who knows. 


After walking in graduation, I feel like I finally have closure on this season in my life and it’s so bittersweet. Many tears were shed saying goodbye to friends, but we already have reunions planned and many phone dates promised, so my heart is mostly consoled. It’s such a strange and disembodied feeling to watch a chapter of life close and another begin to slowly manifest. I feel so incredibly grateful and full of hopeful energy. I am lucky to be moving to a town I’m already so connected with. I cannot wait to begin my career and live out my passion as an educator. I will also continue to pursue my mission on this blog–my mission to connect with others through authentic and open conversations, while also expanding my passions for real food, physical/mental health, fitness, and education. I love my little space and the people I’ve met through this amazing platform. I look forward to meeting many more people and pretty much just writing my little heart out.

I gotta end this post with this graphic that is just really speaking to me lately…

Frederick Buechner quote

– Frederick Buechner, writer and theologian — my mom loves his work and recently ordered me a couple of his books! 

I’ll be back soon to talk about my Word of the Week :)

P.S. This compilation of Tumblr posts on “adulting” is great. Some of these were more relatable as a college freshman, but still. The one about how agreeing with the parents in Disney movies over the protagonist is the first sign of growing up…MIND-BLOWING.

WIAW // Sunday Edition

If there were hidden cameras following me around 24/7 and you were a major creeper, this is what you might have watched on Sunday. (weirdest/most narcissistic intro ever?)

Me “sleeping in” A.K.A. waking up at barely 8:30 am. Rolling out of bed and putting on pants because who sleeps in pants? Going downstairs with laptop in tow. Making strawberry banana chocolate chip pancakes topped with bananas and coconut peanut butter.

Strawberry Banana Pancakes The Insatiable Word Eater

Because Sunday is pancake day. Of course, I’d be listening to Banana Pancakes by Jack Johnson because tradition. I can’t make my dad’s famous pancakes without listening to the song.

Going on a long walk in the trails while listening to the latest This American Life episode (another Sunday tradition and overall favorite hobby). Walking + podcasting; I highly recommend it.

Avocado Toast The Insatiable Word Eater

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Avocado toast x 2 topped with Jacob’s Raw Spicy Kraut, strawberry/goat cheese/olive oil salad, and La Croix to sip.

Making lunch and eating while simultaneously doing 100 million other things on my computer because I always seem to get busy right when I’m about to eat. I’m working on it.

Packing up my bag with a book, laptop, and bathing suit and driving to my best friend’s house. Lying around and laughing in bed with my friends for hours about who even knows (can’t believe we say goodbye in just a matter of days *sniff*). Never reading my book or getting much of anything accomplished job-search-wise (post-grad struggles).

Losing track of time in the soft, late afternoon sunlight. Throwing a frisbee with neighborhood kids, forcing dogs to swim in kiddie pools, and blowing bubbles like a straight-up 10 year old. Let’s just say my childhood was reignited and nostalgia abounded. Hanging out with 10 years old makes me feel old and immature at the same time–y’all, they didn’t know what NEOPETS was! :'(

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Remembering to eat a snack before the hangry beast came raging in. Btw, these are my favorite bars–especially the cocoa coconut flavor.

Finally leaving to go grocery shopping and make some dinner.

Dinner Bowl

Okay, bear with me: a bed of greens topped with a sweet potato + a Morningstar Chickpea burger + avocado + goat cheese + salsa + dollop of Greek yogurt. 

Wolfing down said dinner. Going on one more short stroll outside because the fading light was beautiful and I wanted to soak up every last bit of that perfect day.

Spontaneously making up a muffin recipe because I had three bananas that were so ripe they were about to completely be unusable. And wasting bananas is NOT. ACCEPTABLE.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ending up with these banana chocolate chip muffins. They are 100 cals each and gluten-free, just sayin’. The recipe needs some tweaking but they aren’t half bad. 

Eating a couple of the said muffins.

…And the grand finale: more chocolate, The Marriage Plot, and an episode of The Office to cap off my night. Yeah, I ended my night with electronics instead of the book but whatever. Sometimes I just like drifting off to Michael Scott in my bed. THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID.

(Linking up to Jenn, as always, for WIAW! And thank you to Laura for hosting today!)

My Favorite Sweet Potato Nachos

I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that I adore sweet potatoes.

I truly love them. I wish you could hear my voice, see the look on my face, and understand the gravity of that statement. I wish you could feel the weight of those words. I know–I’m being dramatic. Sweet potatoes warrant drama. They are one of the few things that I can say I’m not being hyperbolic about. Honestly, I’m surprised my skin isn’t orange. Carotenosis is a real thing, y’all.

Not only are they chockfull of dense nutrients, but they are delicious–both sweet and savory. I eat my sweet potatoes baked, roasted, and microwaved. I eat them with cinnamon and greek yogurt and nut butter. I eat them with lentils and spices and savory add-ons. Sweet potatoes go both ways. They’re wild like that.

White Potatoes vs. Sweet Potatoes


However, when it comes to savory, I’ve discovered my favorite style. It’s so good and so easy that I just have to do a post highlighting it’s beauty. Now, I’ve seen recipes for “Sweet Potato Nachos” all over the blog and Pinterest world. I did not come up with this idea. However, I’ve customized and tweaked this concept into what my taste buds love the most. And hopefully yours.

Crispy on the outside, dense yet soft on the inside, coconut oil roasted sweet potato rounds. The sweet potato rounds are coated in Tony’s Creole seasoning, giving them a much-needed kick. These are nachos, after all. Topped with slightly melty crumbled goat cheese, creamy avocado, and covered in mild (or whatever heat level you prefer) salsa.

Sweet Potato Nachos The Insatiable Word Eater

The goat cheese adds a distinctive tang that contrasts well with the mild avocado. The spices that coat the potato and the bursts of cold, kickin’ salsa bring the dish over the top. With each bite, the multitude of flavors come together and play in your mouth like the beautiful symphony of food love that they are.

^^^ How’s that for some food writing?! I’m learning. #lol

Sweet Potato Nachos

By: Riley Pickett


  • medium sweet potato, sliced
  • crumbled goat cheese
  • coconut oil spray
  • Tony’s Creole seasoning*
  • avocado, cubed
  • salsa of choice


Slice sweet potatoes into rounds about ¼ of an inch. Spray pan with coconut oil, place potato slices on the pan, and spray again. Coat with seasonings. Bake in oven at 400 degrees until soft, about 25 minutes. Arrange on plate and top with avocado, goat, cheese, salsa, and anything else your heart desires! Black beans and a dollop of Greek yogurt would be a great addition. Enjoy!

* any savory seasoning would work here!