A Simple Idea, Not A Small One

November 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

It’s been 8 flights, 6 cities and 5 rental cars since I last blogged. I’ve officially fallen prey to “not having enough time” and I’m sick of it. It is a terrible excuse. SO here I go again, re-starting my mission to blog regularly without big gaps… to make time for this pastime I just so happen to love. Personal challenge accepted.

To catch you up, here are some recent highlights of my life:

    • My favorite season [autumn] officially arrived!
    • I met the largest Rice Krispie treat on the planet
    • The Voice Season 7 began
    • I finished what is now my favorite book (I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson)
    • I stole Sadie’s identity at Christopher Newport University
    • I tried [& enjoyed] Strawberry Phosphate
    • I was upgraded to First Class
    • The Panera employees in Rome, GA learned my order so I can now say “the usual”
    • I had my first (and second and third) Sheetz experience with ADPi at Allegheny
    • Theta Upsilon was officially installed at Shorter University
    • I went to a Mask and Wig show and went on an impromptu “dessert tour” at UPenn
    • I discovered my new favorite coffee shop (Swift & Finch)
    • I was on the receiving end of the coolest barista creation (Katniss AND Olaf!)
    • MY SISTER GOT MARRIED! 
    • I had a “selfie photo shoot” with Alan Cumming

bootsrice krispie

starbucks great

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alan cumming

 

 

 

 

In between each of these monumental events, I was able to grab coffee with old friends or make new ones and encounter many of the nicest strangers! From flight attendants and people around me in airport security lines to NYC cab drivers and street florists, I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by great people. These people and moments have reminded me, once again, to find the payoff in every situation. If you always look for the positive, not only will you find it but it will likely come looking for you!

If you know me at all, you know that I am a firm believer in small things and their power to make the biggest differences. I remind myself of that daily, and I try my best to encourage others to adopt that perspective. Never let anything distract from the importance of appreciating, acknowledging and creating little victories for ourselves and those around us.

On one of my recent visits an ADPi sister and I got to talking about our mutual love for this mentality. As a result, she shared with me a TED talk which she had used in a chapter workshop and I have now shared on every chapter visit since. The speaker in the video, Drew Dudley, does an excellent job helping the audience understand the idea that we are all change agents and we are all capable of making a difference in this world simply by making a difference in the lives around us.

Watch Dudley’s TED talk here:

(Big thanks to Katey Barley (ΘΝ) for sharing this video, therefore creating a “lollipop moment” for me.)

I hope Dudley’s talk resonates with you and helps you begin to expect lollipop moments every day– to create them and to acknowledge them. Using this mentality we can come one step closer to making this world a little happier.

As Dudley said it best, “It’s a simple idea but I don’t think it’s a small one.”

 

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

September 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

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.

brit im sad

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

September 8, 2014 § Leave a comment

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

August 30, 2014 § 1 Comment

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

August 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

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

July 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

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

July 22, 2014 § Leave a comment

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.

THIS

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

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