My Week with Theta Rho, aka “Katie Who?”

September 9th brought with it a new set of butterflies in my tummy as it was the day of my first visit outside of Georgia. That means the first visit I would fly to, the first visit when I would worry if all my bags would make it to claim, and the first visit when I would walk out of the airport doors and look for a car with ADPi letters, not knowing who would be inside and how they would react to me.

My nerves quickly subsided when my plane landed smoothly, my bags were the first on the conveyer belt and I walked outside to meet Jenna & Gab. They welcomed me with big hugs and bright smiles and didn’t skip a beat before asking me how much I loved Britney Spears. As we were reminiscing about the days when Brit & Justin were the poster children for denim and true love, I knew I was going to love Theta Rho.   brit i love it

Once I arrived on campus I looked at my schedule and realized that over the next three days I would be meeting with 8 different sisters named Katie. That made my job of remembering names extremely easy, but explaining which one I was actually with presented a whole new challenge.

One of the very few non-Katies that I got to spend time with was my roomie Snicks (fun fact: she doesn’t even like Snickers)! Snicks and her roommates showered me with goodies including a lifetime supply of hummus, a stuffed baby Alphie and a face mask so we could #treatourselves the night before recruitment.

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Just to add another Katie to the mix, I got to have lunch with KATIE B! For those of you who don’t know Katie B., she is the best friend/soul sister of my consultant sister, Meg Hoffay, and basically became a celebrity during LC training. Katie B. showed me around New Haven, introduced me to yummy mexican food & took me to Quinnipiac to visit her old stomping grounds, meet the Theta Theta chapter president and of course take some pics to make Meg jealous. We love you girlfriend!

Katie B. was only the beginning of the special visitors… I got to spend a little time with the lovely parents of my best friend and big diamond sister, Kat. The Shidlers stepped in as my second family for the night, treating me to a delicious dinner complete with lots of laughter. It was so nice to be around such a happy couple who remind me so much of my own parents.

The next day, President Katie Tuohy took me on an excursion to the fanciest two-story Target where we got to use the cart escalator. That’s a real thing, people! We took a break from all the craziness by taking a quick breather on the floor of the drink dispenser aisle, because anything goes during recruitment!

I would be remiss not to mention all the fabulous and iconic dining establishments the Theta Rho sisters introduced me to. If you’re ever in Fairfield/Bridgeport (the line is blurred) you should go to Chips for breakfast, Colony for dinner and Galaxy basically anytime. If you’re in dire need of some late night eats you absolutely MUST make a quick visit to Merritt Canteen to try their infamous Mac & Cheese bites. They taste even better than they sound!

Selfie with the chapter!

Recruitment went by in the blink of an eye– so much hard work, so little sleep. It all payed off and we welcomed 46 new Alphas home on bid night. SO proud! ADPi really does pick the best! Shout out to International Officers, Katherine Levasseur and Cassie Sherry for making the trip to Sacred Heart. They are both excellent resources and gave off the perfect energy to add into the recruitment mix. Plus, it’s always nice to see familiar faces!

Before I knew it, bid night turned into travel morning and it was time for me to jump in the car with Jill Gray and head to the airport, which nearly turned into a trip to the Cheesecake Factory instead. As luck would have it, the stars aligned for dramatic effect and Sam Smith’s Stay With Me blared through the speakers as we approached the Delta terminal, nearly causing me to shed a tear.

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As tempting as Jill’s sing-along was, it was time for me to check my bags, hop on a plane and head back to the peach state!

Ladies of Theta Rho– I feel so lucky to call y’all my sisters. I’m so glad I got the opportunity to work with you and I’m excited to watch as you continue to grow. Thanks for all the memories. Hopefully we can sing Oops I Did It Again together someday in the future!

xoxo

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10 Reasons to Smile A Little Bigger

It is important to make time for happy things no matter how long or stressful your day may be. That is what I told myself just over a year ago and it has since led me to wonderful stories, videos and organizations such as SoulPancake, UpWorthy and TED Talks. It has opened my eyes to the beautiful things going on in the world around us and has allowed me at least a moment of “warm & fuzzy” every single day. Today I felt like sharing a few of my finds. Some are the most recent and others from long ago but they will all give you your daily dose of rainbows and sunshine. Enjoy! 

1. Here you can watch this adorable little boy get a foul ball at Fenway Park and selflessly give it away to the little girl behind him. 

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2. Read the uplifting message Taylor Swift sent to a fan who was getting bullied here.

3. Watch this video promoting the Always “#LikeAGirl” campaign, centered around empowering women and redefining what it means to do something like a girl in a beautiful way.

4. In this video SoulPancake encourages people on the street to take a moment and write themselves a love letter.

5. In this video “The Impression Guys” pretend to be celebrities and make phone calls to random people to brighten their day.

6. Watch 13 year-old Logan Laplante as he wows the TEDx audience by sharing his perspective on education.

7. Let your heart smile while you watch Kid President throw a surprise party for the most deserving retiring teacher.

8. Listen to how this lesbian woman responded to a 4 year-old who asked if she was a boy. I promise, this will apply to you regardless of your sexual identity.

9. Check out this prankster as he pretends to be a homeless person but actually gives back to everyone who gives to him.

10. Last but not least, I will leave you with this masterpiece, a throwback, from the one and only Justin Timberlake. You are a genius, sir. I have yet to see a day that couldn’t be fixed by watching this: 

BONUS: This song & this scene. Enjoy! 

When in Rome

I may not have visited the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain or the Sistine chapel, but my time in Rome has been full of both history and beauty.

Just over two weeks ago I began working with the women of the Shorter Colony of Alpha Delta Pi. Up until this past Spring, these women were members of a local sorority by the name of Epsilon Sigma. These women courageously decided to affiliate with an NPC

my favorite scenery on the Shorter campus

my favorite scenery on the Shorter campus

organization and lucky for us, they chose ADPi. The women received their bids in May and spent the summer learning all about the history of our wonderful sisterhood which originated as the Adelphean Society back in 1851.

When I first had the pleasure of meeting the ladies of Shorter Colony, we recapped what they’d learned in their new member education sessions. Not long after, we did a little role reversal where I became the student. These women didn’t skip a beat before teaching me a history lesson of my own.

Here are a few fast facts that I learned:

  • Ep Sig was founded on St. Patricks day in the late 1860s
  • Due to their founding date, they adopted green and white as their colors and a shamrock as their symbol
  • Ep Sig began as the Eunomian Society
  • The Eunomian Society was originally a literary society and published “The Chimes” magazine which Shorter still publishes today

I was very intrigued by all of this new information, but I couldn’t help but wonder how exactly they chose ADPi out of the 26 sororities in the National Panhellenic Conference. I can’t say I was surprised they chose us, because way back when I was a PNM going through recruitment, it was a no-brainer! But there is always an aha-moment (or even a few) when you realize ADPi is the right fit for you. For me, it was Kat Shidler and a glass of pomegranate lemonade. I wanted to know theirs.

The reason Epsilon Sigma decided to affiliate with Alpha Delta Pi is because, while researching, they found that the two organizations share very similar values and history… exactly why everyone should choose which house they want to belong to! (I promise, that was all a big part of it for me too, but Kat, the drink and maybe even a Lion King reference definitely sealed the deal.)

Initiation celebration!

Initiation celebration!

After a few fun days of spirit and bonding, the women of Shorter University were initiated into Alpha Delta Pi at Executive Office by our International President, Tammie Pinkston. The collegiate women were joined by eight alumnae members of Epsilon Sigma who were also initiated into Alpha Delta Pi. Talk about a special day… I had goosebumps!

That day, August 17, 2014, has officially taken the cake as my favorite experience as an Alpha Delta Pi thus far.

Not only did I get the opportunity to be a part of such an incredible experience for our new sisters, but I was also able to observe an outstanding support network of sisters far and wide who all rallied to celebrate the Shorter Colony.

After the initiation celebrations commenced, I drove to Rome, GA where I’ve spent the last two weeks working with the women and watching as they recruited an amazing Alpha class which has nearly doubled the colony in size!

 It has been such a joy learning about where these ladies come from and I feel so privileged to have the opportunity to help point them in the direction they are headed, preserving the history of the old while eagerly adapting to and appreciating the new. That’s what life is all about and these women are shining examples of that.

Bid day with the Alphas!

Bid day with the Alphas!

Now that it’s time for me to say ciao to Rome, I will have you know that I’m leaving with great appreciation for a few things that are new to me; wide, slanted parking spaces, the phrase “might could” and 1 in 3 women I meet being named Hannah.

Thanks for all the memories, ladies… I reckon’ I’ll be back soon! :)

My First Visit

It’s been one week.

(side bar: I like you a lot if you just started singing One Week by Bare Naked Ladies)

It’s been one week since I sniffled my way through my teary-eyed goodbyes to my fellow Leadership Consultants and drove away from Executive Office to begin my travels (which is a big feat for me since I don’t drive, even if “hypothetically” Annie eventually took over).

First stop: Zeta Iota chapter at Georgia College and State University

The whole way to Milledgeville consisted of me talking to Annie, our mama bear/boss lady, about anything and everything that would get my mind off the butterflies in my stomach. I had just left the eight women I’d been constantly surrounded by for three weeks, unsure of when we’ll see each other next, and was about to walk into a house full of women who had absolutely no idea who I was. Not to mention, these same women would be about two parties into recruitment at the time of my arrival. (For you non-sorority folk: recruitment is the most stressful time of year with very little to no time for conversations with anyone other than a Potential New Member).

IMG_9602Now, I wouldn’t expect anyone to help me carry my thousand pound luggage up a hefty flight of stairs on a normal day, nevermind in between two parties (breaks are literally 10 minutes). But the women of Zeta Iota didn’t skip a beat. They welcomed me with big smiles and helping hands, hardly allowing me to lift a finger. I walked upstairs to see a comfy bed, complete with stuffed Alphie and a welcome basket awaiting my arrival.

It didn’t take long before I jumped into the action and spent lots of time laughing and learning with the beauties behind the scenes, Bradleigh and Erin, and their advisors, Kristin and Amy. I was able to spend time with many other officers and sisters throughout the week, too!

All of the women made me feel so instantly comfortable at the first of many “homes away from home” I will encounter this year. It was so refreshing to bond with a group of women who support each other so much and are there to help one another long before they are asked.

My visit would not have been the same without the heart, energy and gardening expertise of Zeta Iota president, Alexa. Nor would it have been the same without my coffee date to Blackbird with Ashley, or the fact that I was the first person to sign Falon’s cast. I even got to taste my very first petit four!

It’s the little things, my friends.

It makes my heart so warm knowing that I walked into a house of strangers and left just four days later with a chapter full of new friends. It really showed me the power of Alpha Delta Pi and how special it is to have that shared bond, because no matter how unique we may be as individuals, we are all cut from the same azure blue & white cloth.

Gardening with Alexa

Gardening with Alexa

Falon & I

Falon & I

About to try my first petit four!

About to try my first petit four!

Stay tuned for a glimpse inside my life with the women of Shorter Colony, coming at you soon!

My View From The Top Bunk

A week has passed since we first called dibs on our bunks in Executive Office. Just one week in my top bunk and I’ve already thrown my phone to the ground in my sleep, slid down my ladder from top to bottom and hit my head on the guardrail while attempting to make my bed… twice.

1386 Ponce de Leon Ave NE  Atlanta, GA 30306 (Feel free to send me mail!)

1386 Ponce de Leon Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30306 (Feel free to send me mail!)

In other news, I never imagined I would so instantly click with eight girls who are all fighting for the same things; closet space, mirror time and a shower. I used the word fighting for lack of a better term but our interactions have been anything but. With (almost) all of us being self-described planners we have come up with alternate plans of action in order to avoid any conflict. We have learned that it is effective to play Tetris with suitcases to maximize closet space and that PhotoBooth is a decent substitute for a mirror, among other things.

Aside from our personal lives and blossoming friendships, we have actually accomplished a lot of work. We have been training long hours every day and have been lucky enough to work with and learn from many fabulous International Officers and Executive Office staff members. We have spent a lot of time learning about paperwork, Pi Portal, recruitment, and total membership education. Although I know it’s hard to believe based on our Instagram posts, we have been doing much more than cheering on the Braves at Turner Field, throwing birthday parties, driving bright red minivans and getting pedicures (#treatyoself). We’ve just learned how to maximize our free time!

My Consultant Sister Rachel and I at the Braves game, because diamonds are a girls best friend!

My Consultant Sister Rachel and I at the Braves game, because diamonds are a girls best friend!

One of my favorite parts of training has been finding ways to incorporate our “spirit breaks” into chapter programming. We have watched plenty of Kid President and other SoulPancake videos and I’m hoping we’ll recreate one all together pretty soon, so stay tuned!

If you didn’t already know, I am DYING to work for SoulPancake or an uplifting, smile-inducing company similar to it. Something about working with the sole purpose of making people happy really makes ME happy (I’m sure you’re not shocked). I met my spirit animal/future me, Megan Carter, Total Membership Education Director and Chair, and we were able to talk about our shared love for everything SoulPancake and come up with a few ideas to use on chapter visits. I can’t wait!

We got some doodle paper from Megan and the wonderful Cindy Voris to express our creativity!

We got some doodle paper from Megan and the wonderful Cindy Voris to express our creativity!

Let me know if there are any SoulPancake videos you would like to see the ADPi Leadership Consultants re-create, or if there are any you’d like to see happen with a chapter on a college campus near you!

In the meantime, you can find me on the top bunk or in the training room with the eight girls who have most recently crept into my heart. We’ll probably be eating fruit loops, swapping outfits, attempting to navigate our new Windows tablets or laughing to the point of tears, all with Starbucks or Diet Coke in hand. Healthy, I know, but don’t worry we joined hot yoga.

Don’t forget to follow @ADPiLCs on Instagram and Twitter! You don’t want to miss out on our adventures!

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Love Letter to Charleston: My Goodbye Tour

I am a huge sap. I cry whenever I see cute puppies, Hallmark movies and elderly couples holding hands… so you can only imagine how I felt when I realized I was about to part with so many incredible people & places that have so positively impacted my life over the past four years. I knew if I used my words to express how much I would miss them I would be an absolute train wreck.

So instead, I decided to put my words on paper. That way my only struggle would be to successfully hold back tears rather than that in addition to forming coherent sentences. I decided to write a short but sweet love letter to Charleston and leave a copy in all of my favorite places around the peninsula. Attached to each letter I left something of mine that was specific to each place, complete with a little description.

unnamed-6unnamed-8For those of you who saw a glimpse of what I was doing and asked for a copy of the letter, I have included a picture below.

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Thanks to all of the spots that made my list and the people in them for leaving such a lasting footprint on my heart. I’m glad I was able to leave a little piece of mine with you in return!

If you’re reading this and you either live in Charleston or get a chance to visit, read the list below of all of the places I left my love letters. Check them out- you won’t be disappointed.

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I left a good read at Colonial Lake, pom poms at Stern Student Center, $5 for a coffee at Kudu & my loyaly card (with lots of points) at Kickin’ Chicken!

Special thanks to Persimmon's fabulous Rob Cassi for the "going away" basil limeade & cookie! :)

Special thanks to Persimmon’s fabulous Rob Cassi for the “going away” basil limeade & cookie! :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My favorites: Marion SquareKuduCistern YardStern CenterKickin ChickenCourtyard Charleston Historic DistrictNew Student ProgramsBoone’sADPi HouseColonial LakePersimmon CafeKing Street CookiesWaterfront Park

Remember Big

If the next year of my life is anything like the last 22 (and I expect that it will be, only magnified), it is going to be overflowing with flight cancellations, invalid boarding passes, pilot protests and of course, lost luggage. It would not be a year in the life of Kara Cronin if it wasn’t made up of every travel casualty known to man.

Call me crazy, but that is music to my ears. Why? Because unexpected adventures make the best stories.

Now, if you know me at all then you know full well that I believe the only thing better than a good story is telling a good story. You probably also know that I can’t tell any good story without including every little detail (thanks Mom)… but hey, I think the little things are the most important. Audrey Snead sums up my storytelling habits perfectly in her quote, “Some folks never exaggerate, they just remember big.”

I am proud to admit I am a big rememberer.

In the past, I have used social media in the form of “Kara Cronin travel day live tweets” to help me remember my little details. Unfortunately, my Twitter feed won’t go back far enough to show my rants about the time my luggage was lost and flown out to sea three days into the trip or that time the toddler sitting next to me PEED the airplane seat OR the time I got the chicken pox as soon as I arrived in Mexico. I kid you not, you can’t make this stuff up. But here are a few gems I was able to find, just to get you excited for the year to come.

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As you can see, I have been blessed with thick-skin, patience and the ability to laugh in the face of adversity. Laugh and then tweet about it of course… and then tell my elaborate stories in much more detail as soon as I encounter people to communicate with using more than 160 characters. I mean, what fun would life be without people to share it with?

That’s why I’m writing this. I want to introduce all of my newly accumulated friends to my riveting world of adventure and to invite those of you who have been following along for years to continue on the ride. For your own sake I would advise that you all follow my journey from afar (on this blog), rather than with me on a plane or something…

I look forward to sharing this year of excitement with all of you and I hope to bring you much entertainment as I make new friends, grow as an individual and become a master traveler extraordinaire. I can’t wait to visit and learn from ADPi chapters all across the USA and Canada and share with them my good stories while making memories that are sure to last a lifetime. I don’t want to forget a thing, so follow along and help me “remember big” my journey as an Alpha Delta Pi Leadership Consultant.

Coming to (and probably getting stuck in) an airport near you,

Kara

Sleeping at the airport in a wheelchair, sunburnt, with McDonalds during an overnight delay.

Sleeping at the airport in a wheelchair, sunburnt, with McDonalds during an overnight delay in 2009.

 

 

Happy Birthday Kaleigh: an open letter to my best friend

Because no photo collage or Facebook status could ever sum up how much I love you and treasure your friendship today and every day. Happy happy birthday to you! 

Kaleigh,

Many things have occurred over the past few months that had me realizing how lucky and fortunate I am to have a sister, but I must be extra special to have a sister as fabulous as you. I almost feel guilty that no one else gets to experience the relationship that we have. It’s pretty amazing that I can count the number of fights we have ever had on just one hand and can actually look back on each of them with laughter (especially the debacle that ended in a broken reed and severed bow strings!).

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I couldn’t dream up a cooler human being to share my laughs, tears, frustrations, smiles and ridiculous stories with. I would definitely not be sane without you and I’ve probably escaped trouble on a few occasions all thanks to you. You always have my best interest and well-being in mind, but you’ve never kept me from making my own decisions and mistakes. For that I am forever grateful. You will always entertain my ideas of idiocy, yet you know exactly what to say in every situation. You make me want to be better in all that I do, but you’ve never pressured me to do so.

I love knowing that I have someone I can always call, depend on and trust. I am so proud to know you and to be your other half. One of my favorite things to do is brag about how funny, smart, beautiful and, of course, talented you are. You are seriously like every perfect person rolled into one, yet you’re probably rolling your eyes reading this because of how humble you are.

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Everyone who has ever met you either wants to be you or falls in love with you (probably a little of both). Every single person who has ever been graced with your presence is so impressed by your strength and maturity and taken by your wit and charm. Seriously, some rando even painted a MURAL of you in his pizza shop. Who ARE you?!

Sometimes I feel as though you are talented to a fault, like people are so overwhelmed by your immense talent that they don’t focus enough on what lies beneath the surface. Lucky for me, I know all about that stuff. You have always been an inspiration to me. I remember the first time someone asked me who my role model was, and all my friends answered the question with the names of famous athletes and pop stars, and I said “my big sister.” Not one day has passed when I’ve ever traded you out of that spot. You are the one person in my life who has always believed in me, supported me, challenged me and empowered me. You are a constant reminder that it is possible to be kind, sassy, genuine, talented, confident, humble and downright hilarious all at the same time. I swear you aren’t human.

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At this time in my life, when I’m nearing the end of college and life as I know it, I’ve been spending a lot of my time reminiscing. As I look back on my life you are the person beside me in all of my most treasured memories. You were the one rubbing my back when I couldn’t fall asleep, the one telling me stories when I couldn’t dream, the one building walls out of pillows so I wouldn’t see the lightning. You have always been there, always. You are an incredible talent and an even better person, sister and friend. In my eyes you are a superstar, yet you’ve never been anything but grounded.

You are a force to be reckoned with, Kaleigh Cronin. I couldn’t be prouder to call you my sister and my very best friend. Thank you for putting a smile on my face 22 years ago and never letting it fade. I love you the most and I sincerely could not live without you.

Love always,

           Kara, President of the Kaleigh Cronin Fan Club

The Glass Half-Full People

You know how it is often said that momma knows best? Well it’s true. For the last project I was a part of, we went around asking people to answer the question “What do you think the world needs more of?” We received many answers, some cliche and some outlandish. However, out of the many people who answered the question, it was my mother’s response which resonated with me most. I told her about the project and she responded, “I think the world needs more people who see the glass half-full.” Not only do I agree with her, but her saying that reminded me to try my best to be a glass half-full kind of girl myself. While I’m typically an optimistic person, it crossed my mind that I might need a little something extra to keep me on track with my positivity.

Enter Maddie Mello, a friend of mine since the very beginning of my freshman year. She (ironically) sent me a text message the very next day that contained a link and told me to check it out because she thought I’d enjoy it. That is how I discovered #100happydays.

#100happydays is a self-enlisted challenge you can sign up for online and all you have to do is submit one picture of something that makes you happy each day for 100 days in a row. Sounds simple enough, right? Well 71% of the people who have tried to complete the challenge have failed, citing lack of time as the main reason. Isn’t that sad? Not having enough time to be happy?

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Well I’m on a mission to defy the odds and complete the challenge. It has only been a week since I began, but I already find myself feeling more fulfilled than I have in a long time. It has given me a reason to find something good in every day. Yes, some days are more challenging than others, but those are the days we must spend finding joy in the little things, or even the things we might normally allow to drag us down. Don’t let them.

I challenge you to sign up for #100happydays not only to enrich your own life, but so we can work together to change the statistic that 71% of participants couldn’t find the time to be happy. 

I’ll be the first to admit that it won’t always be easy and we’ll all have our crazy days where the challenge may momentarily slip our minds before the clock strikes midnight, but it would be a shame if we didn’t all at least try. It’s amazing what a little encouragement from friends and family can do to help you stay on track. So what do you say? Let’s do this together. Let’s give the world what my mom thinks it needs more of and find at least one reason every day that proves we are the glass half-full people. I promise, you’ll be glad you’re one of us.

You can see some of my favorite “happies” from the past week below:

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If you want to see more pictures (and descriptions) from my happiness journey, follow me on Instagram: @karacronin

To Beautiful Mistakes and Big Pay-Offs

Happy New Year! I feel as though every blogger is obligated to write a post about why they’re grateful for the year that has passed and hopeful for the new one, so here goes. For cheesy yet appropriate background music, press play on the video below and listen while you read :)

The past year has been one of the most eye-opening, opportunistic and memorable years of my life. I have met so many fantastic people and done so many exciting things. I’ve seen what the power of good people coming together can do. I’ve learned to focus on the little things and to step out of my comfort zone. I’ve realized that the first half of 2014 will be my last as a “kid” and the second half will be the beginning of my life as a REAL person. 

That being said, I’ve deemed this new year the year of making mistakes and taking chances, because what time better than the present? I am a firm believer that learning from experiences will get you much farther than learning from a text book. How are you supposed to survive in this big, bad world when you don’t know how to live? And I mean really live. It’s important to screw up every now and then because mistakes are synonymous with lessons, and personally I’d like to learn as many lessons as possible before I’m thrown out into reality. 

If you know me just a little bit, you’ll probably laugh when I tell you I have a very shy, timid side. If you know me well, you completely understand. I tend to play it safe. So this year I’m telling myself to say yes in [most] cases when I’d normally say no. There’s no way of telling if something will totally pay off or completely blow up in your face, so live life on the wild side. Don’t over think things, just do them. Don’t wait until tomorrow, seize the day.  I’m not only going to take opportunities as they come, but I’m going to create them. If I succeed, I succeed. If I fail, I’ll start over and try things a little differently. You’ll never know what could be if you’re too scared to put yourself out there. So if I can fall asleep every night with the knowledge that at least I tried, I’ll be happy.

As my girl Oprah Winfrey once said, “Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”

As cliche as it sounds, I’m looking forward to a year of no regrets. When I look back on 2014 I want to feel as though I lived and dreamed big. I would love for you to join me.

 Cheers to a happy, healthy year full of beautiful mistakes and big pay-offs! 

xoxo