Sunday, January 30, 2011

1,000 Faces

Sunday mornings are pure bliss. I actually sleep in (well, until about 9:30am) and will typically lay in bed for up to an hour reading, watching TV, or just gathering my thoughts for the week while soaking in the feeling of staying in bed and doing the most glorious thing...nothing.

After this I'll get myself together and get out the door. I head to the same Starbucks, where I typically order the same drink (a grande soy, sugar-free, vanilla latte of course), sit at the same table and setup my work station. Before I actually get to doing any work I peruse my favorite news (and gossip) sites, and then open up iTunes.

Until this year I never took advantage of the free singles that the iTunes store has posted every week. As I've been beginning to discover some awesome artists and fabulous new songs, I've added this to my ritual. Additionally I grab the fun little card at the Starbucks counter for another free musical snack. 

One of this week's singles is from Randy Montana who I think might be coming up in country music's new big stars. His father was also in country music and wrote songs for Sara Evans, Jo Dee Messina and even Garth Brooks. He just finished up touring with Sugarland and Little Big Town. His newest single "1,000 Faces" is available for downloading on iTunes this week, and I'd encourage you to check him out and see what you think. I can be a little obsessive with new music and have been listening to it on repeat since downloading. I may go back and get his whole album.

Hope you enjoy this musical treat and beautiful Sunday--temps are supposed to hit 71* here in Columbia, SC and I couldn't be more thrilled to be wearing short sleeves and sandals on one of the last days of January!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Top 5...Things I'm Looking Forward To

In an effort to keep my blog up to date I've picked a simple task for Tuesdays, top fives! I love a top five list, especially because I am extremely indecisive and can never pick a favorite anything.

This week's Top 5 Tuesday is the Top 5 things I'm looking forward to this Spring. With the first few weeks of class and work already wearing me out, I have to keep reminding myself of many of the wonderful things I have to look forward to. So with no further adieu, here we go...

1. Knowing where I'll be and what I'll be doing this summer

I'm currently in the process of interviewing for internships which has been chaotic to say the least. Luckily I'm having the chance to interview with some really great institutions and programs, but having so many interviews in such a short amount of time is starting to get to me. If I get an offer through the first round then I should hopefully know something by February 10th. My only hints so far of where I could be is that every school is west of the Mississippi river! Keep your fingers crossed!

2. Carolina Cup
Carolina Cup is a fabulous event that I enjoyed in college. It's a wonderful chance to wear my Lilly Pulitzer dresses, my big derby hat (that comes out once a year), spend the day with friends and mimosas, and soak in the view of many guys in pastels and bow ties. There's also some horse races to be watched. I was sad to look at pictures and hear stories of my friends who went last Spring while I was still working and in Illinois at the time. Now I'm even closer to the races being in Columbia this year, maybe I'll even paint another cooler?

3. My sister's decision on where to go to college
My little sister, also AMT (yes, she stole my initials), is a senior in high school and currently in the college search. She's applied to and been accepted to several places and now is in the stage to start making some decisions. Unlike myself she obtained some fabulous math & science genes (although I'm not sure from which of my parents) and will go on to do something cool like engineering or math. But it's cool because I'm the one that can write and is crafty & creative. She'll be coming down in two weeks to tour USC and I'm itching to find out where she'll end up being!

4. Sky Diving

Yes, you read that right. Sometime this Spring I will be going sky diving just up the road here in SC! Last semester there was a great deal on Groupon (which is awesome and please check it out if you haven't yet heard of this wonderful service) and one of my grad school friends and I purchased a voucher to use sometime before June. Now that we have our schedules for the semester we're going to sit down and pick a date and I couldn't be more excited!

5. Spending Tri Sigma Founder's Day at my chapter
BLP & me at our founder's day lunch 2008 at Bridgetender in Wrightsville Beach, NC

I.Can't.Wait. First of all I barely ever seem to make it back to Wilmington, and until this Spring I'll have missed every alumnae event that's happened since I graduated in May 2009. I've had the date on my calendar since I saw it in a newsletter last Fall and have the day blocked off from anything in my schedule. Tri Sigma's founder's day is on April 20th and my chapter, Epsilon Phi, will be celebrating it the weekend before. I'm looking forward to getting to meet new women in the chapter, catch up with good friends that will be there, hear about the wonderful things the chapter is doing, and of course celebrate 113 years of friendship, character & conduct!

What are you looking forward to this Spring? Make a list of things you can't wait for, decorate the days with fun pens in your planner, and when these weeks are long (and freezing) think ahead to all of the amazing things  that are yet to come!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Let Go of the Wheel

"I believe we write our own stories. And each time we think we know the end - we don't. Perhaps luck exists somewhere between the world of planning, the world of chance, and in peace that comes from knowing that you just can't know it all. You know, life's funny that way. Once you let go of the wheel, you might end up right where you belong." 
-Little Black Book

Monday, January 17, 2011

Reasons to Smile

This post is dedicated to (and made possible by) one of my best girlfriends, MBW. 

Back on an early August day in 2005, MBW came over to my house on the eve of my big move to UNC Wilmington to start college. She brought with her my senior yearbook which she had finally signed, and another gift for me to take down to college. It was a tissue box with a label reading "Reasons to Smile."

She had taken out all of the tissues in this box, and (very carefully) wrote on each one with a marker. Each tissue had some sort of inside joke, memory together, or something else uplifting and inspirational. While they didn't pull out of the box with the functionality of a regular box of tissues, I was able to pull out the stack and read through them.

This was one of the most wonderful and thoughtful gifts I have ever received in my life. Not only was it such a touching and heart warming idea, but if you knew my friend you'd know MBW doesn't have too many arts & crafts kind of skills. But she's in law school right now, so she's got bigger things going for her!

As I was getting ready this morning I was looking at all of the things on the bookshelf in my room, and when my eyes hit this special box I stopped for a few minutes to read through each sentiment. While some are silly high school inside jokes long forgotten, each one made me smile even more and reminded me that I have some absolutely amazing people in my life.

MBW & I in Las Vegas, Sept. 2010

Do you make sure to let those important people in your life realize their many blessings? What are your reasons to smile?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Meaning of "Balance"

This new year has brought on a new routine, new lifestyle, and new level of balance. Although as much as I think I need myself to be balanced and look to achieve it, I'm not quite sure I really know what that would be. From the minute I've been back in Columbia I have been compulsively keeping my apartment clean, doing laundry, making to-do lists and keeping up with school & work tasks. I've been living trying not to get behind.

It's worked out well so far as I feel pretty at ease with things in life and well prepared for my classes this semester and the work I've been doing in my offices. I've been taking more time for myself to do things I enjoy, and spend time with people I enjoy. However, I'm starting to fear that I'm trying to keep things so regimented that I may be missing out as well.

I think I've become so invested in the need to get the right amount of sleep, not sleep into late and have everything done by a deadline that I'm losing my sense of spontaneity and frivolous yet responsible nature. When we're looking for a sense of balance I think we need to make sure that we look at balancing fun as well. Yes you can go out with friends, stay out late, and maybe sleep in a little too far so that you can't go to bed at a routine time every night.

To sum things up I think this is still the adjustment to growing up. To not being in college and constantly be hanging out with friends, going out a couple nights a week, sometimes having a few too drinks on the weekend and then starting the days with breakfast at noon,. It's an adjustment to finding your routine, finding a lifestyle that works for you so that you can be productive and efficient but still maintain a social life and level of fun.

I'm beginning to think that balance is something that may never quite be achieved. You're always close, but once in a while you'll do something that will throw you off your tracks. And that's alright, as long as it doesn't throw you too far.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Who is a Woman of Character?

She is a Tri Sigma.
She embodies responsibility, trustworthiness, respect, fairness, citizenship and is caring.

Spent this weekend near Atlanta, GA serving as a coach for Tri Sigma's Officer Training Academy. Presidents, VP's, Recruitment & Education Directors came from the southern regions of our chapters to learn about their positions, how to be an effective leader, what their strengths are and define a woman of character.

It was an amazing weekend of reuniting with good friends, meeting new sisters, impacting others, and imprinting on the future of our sorority. Many laughs, ah-ha moments and good conversations had all around. I am grateful to be a part of such an awesome organization that provides great opportunities like this for her members.

Also realized how wonderful it is to be able to pursue something professionally that I am so passionate about. While for a while I have been hesitant on whether or not I'd like look into working in Greek life, this weekend charged me back up and reminded me of what I loved about consultant days. Looking forward to keeping in touch with new friends, seeing some again at South Carolina state days in February, and some potential plans in the works with my Sigma bestie :)

Members from my recruitment session doing some SPAM brainstorming

Officer Academy PIC miss Tfay

Chapter bff, we have the same life

With the officers from our chapter, Epsilon Phi--so proud of them!

My fabulous small group members at "graduation"

Theta Alpha officers from HPU, my little babies!

My awesome co-facilitator/collegiate intern Kelly

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2010 In a Nutshell

2011. Wow, yep, it's definitely here. Sounds so futuristic doesn't it? I was still writing 2009 on things so now I'm really going to be challenged. I can still remember the turn of this last decade celebrating the end of 1999 as a 7th grader watching the Austin Powers movies. That was probably inappropriate for the time but whatever. But really, I just lived through an entire decade that I can remember? Must really be getting old.

With lots of driving and "me" time in the past few days I've give some thought to 2010 and it was a pretty big year. Looking back a lot happened, I had a lot of great new experiences, opportunities and people come into my life. Let's take a travel back in time beginning at last New Years and see where 2010 took me...

Spent New Years Eve in Baltimore with my three best girlfriends from home. Ate a whole large onion pizza together after midnight, our tradition.

State Count: MD, VA, NY, NC, IL, MI, SC, MN, WA, UT, ID, CO, TX, GA, WI, FL, NV, AZ, PA, TN, NJ & Washington DC

Saw the Broadway shows Jersey Boys, Wicked & Billy Elliot. Visited NYC three times.

Helped colonize and install two new chapters of Tri Sigma, Theta Alpha at High Point University and Theta Beta at the University of Michigan Flint.

Other shows I saw were Glee live on tour, Dave Matthews Band & Zac Brown Band, Corey Smith and the Beatles LOVE Cirque Du Soleil.

Was accepted to the HESA program at USC in January, visited and interviewed for GA's in March and began school this past fall.

Lived by myself in an apartment for the first time.

Spent the summer back and forth from MD to my bff's beach house in NC, doing some traveling and spending most weekends in Baltimore and Washington DC. Spent two weeks straight at the beach and got a killer tan.

Visited Harry Potter World in Universal on the 12th day it was opened.

Went to Las Vegas, enough said.

Went to and helped to host my first bachelorette party and two weddings.

Went to my first (of hopefully many) Tri Sigma Conventions in Minneapolis, became a volunteer on the National Extension Committee.

Added countless shoes, accessories and clothes to my wardrobe.
Opened up a second credit card.

Went to a handful of Carolina football games, had my first college team to cheer for. Got to watch the Gamecocks defeat #1 Alabama at Williams-Brice and see them take the SEC East title over UF during my birthday weekend.

Earned the highest GPA I've had in school ever, and kept up with almost all of my reading.

Read countless books, saw a number of movies, and discovered a plethora of new music. Probably listened to Train's "Hey Soul Sister" once a day and over 500 times.

Bought a new car.

Survived through Snowpocalypse 2010 in NYC.

It was certainly quite a year and I owe a big shout out to the many friends and family I was able to share it with and have fun with along the way. It was definitely one for the books with a lot of travel and new "firsts". I'd like to say it's my first real year of adulthood, and I guess it wasn't too bad. I had a blast, but 2011 is already shaping up to top the last. Keep your eyes peeled soon for my New Years resolutions!