2015 in Review

Thursday, December 31, 2015

I didn't exactly think that I would feel any different when I woke up this morning. New Year's Eve/New Year's has never been much of a holiday to me, a celebratory and reflecting time of sorts. I always just bypassed it, chilling with friends while we watch the ball drop on television and not really thinking much of the fact that we just transitioned into a new year of our lives. But for some unknown reason, this year decided to be unlike the others. 

I woke up reflecting, going back through all the experiences in my head, both the good and the bad, and especially the ones that changed my life. Compared to previous years, I definitely had many. In February, I started this blog. In May, I graduated high school and in August gave up the people and things that were toxic in my life, no longer caring for treating them better than I did myself. August was my turning point; I went off to the school I've been dreaming of attending for years and met so many amazing people as well as participated in many different organizations that I know will better me as a person over these next few years. I opened myself up to a new positive attitude and way of life that I had been trying to incorporate for so long into who I was, and it finally became real.

I read a post on Tumblr the other day that said, "2015 definitely had a part one and a part two." Up to this point, I had never read anything more accurate in reference to my year in my entire life. 2015 may not have started off as my year, but as soon as I graduated high school and took hold of my own life and happiness, it did easily become the best year. My part two trumped my part one so much that part one just feels nonexistent; I left everything I needed to behind and focused on myself. 2015 taught me the true value of putting myself and the people who actually treated me right first, and I believe that's the most important lesson a person could ever learn on their journey through life.

2016 already has a lot to offer me, and I'm ready to welcome it with open arms. I'm walking into this year a very changed person, the happiest and most optimistic I've ever been. I received countless blessings in 2015 in the forms of opportunities, lessons, and relationships and I just know this new year will be one of great prosperity. It was the best year yet, and I know there is better to come. Something to remember going into the year though: If 2016 doesn't start off as your year, that doesn't mean it won't be - it's okay to have a part two.

Believe in your future self, and you will go far.
See you all in 2016, all my love.

Hot Chocolate Recipes

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Yesterday may have marked the first official day of the winter season, but it definitely doesn't feel that way down here in the Sunshine State. It may still be summer here in Florida, but I do my best to make it feel like Christmas in everything I doThis time of year, it seems like I'm snuggled up in bed with my dog watching a Christmas special on television just about every single night, hot cocoa in hand and chocolate in the other. I'm one of those people who likes variety and am always trying new things, and food is no exception. Hot chocolate is my best friend whether it's cold out or not; it's fitting for all occasions, but is obviously the most perfect during this special season - and it's easy to make, too! Time to cozy up readers, here are some of my personal favorite hot cocoa recipes that I found floating around Pinterest and the Internet...


1. White Hot Chocolate
2. Nutella Hot Chocolate
3. S'mores Hot Chocolate
4. Peppermint White Hot Chocolate
5. Cookies and Cream Hot Chocolate
6. Frozen Hot Chocolate
7. Gingerbread Hot Chocolate
8. Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate
9. Mexican Hot Chocolate
10. Strawberry Hot Chocolate

What's your favorite type of hot chocolate?
I will personally always be a fan of anything s'mores-related. Merry brewing, lovelies!

ICE! at Gaylord Palms

Monday, December 21, 2015

It's hard to get that true Christmas feeling when you're living in Florida because you still sweat every time you walk outside due to the 85+ degree weather... (#FloridaProbs) Thankfully, Orlando offers some nice holiday traditions at local venues that remind the residents what time of year it truly is. One of these many attractions is something that I have attended multiple years in a row now: ICE! at the Gaylord Palms. ICE! takes you from Florida heatwave to chilly northern cold - it's a lovely 9 degrees inside. You're required to wear a special parka that keeps you (somewhat) warm while walking through the attraction; this is because absolutely everything is made of pure ice!


The theme this year was The Night Before Christmas, and it really did feel like it was. The setting was both inside and outside a house, walking you through the story - literally, the actual story was told on the walls of every new section you walked in to!

  

  

The sculptures looked amazing and very colorful this year, and there were even ice slides that you could go down! I was extremely scared - I slid way faster than I thought I was going to. But it was still a fun and exciting experience to slide down a slide made entirely of ice!

  

 

Santa riding away at the end had to be my favorite sculpture of all for sure; it filled an entire walk-through section all on it's own, and it was so intricate and large. I'm sure it was one of the more difficult pieces to create, and the sculptors definitely succeeded in making it tell the story perfectly! If only I could have had the chance to sit in the sleigh with Santa or on one of his reindeer. (My butt would have probably been freezing by this point anyway though!)

  


In the Frostbite Factory following the actual story attraction, there were opportunities for many pictures with more icy creations as well as playing around with the ice; a few couples even had the chance to play around with a huge ice ring and take hilariously adorable "engagement" pictures. The best part of the whole experience in my opinion was definitely when we got to watch the ice being carved; it's such an interesting process to see come to life right in front of you! All in all, ICE! proved itself to be a fun activity not just for children, but grown adults as well.

  

We had such a great time and although my Christmas cold feeling was short-lived, at least I can say I got to have it! If you're ever in the Orlando area, I definitely recommend putting aside some time to experience what a Florida Christmas is like - attending special holiday parties at theme parks, seeing ballets and plays, getting to see amazing ice sculptures, and so much more. Even in the heat of the Sunshine State, there's still plenty to do to get you in that (almost) Christmas mood!


What icetastic things have you done so far this break?

Update: Freshman Year Goals

Friday, December 18, 2015

As my first semester of college officially comes to a close, I can't help but reflect on the last few months of my life. I am so very thankful for all the people I have met and all the memories I have made thus far; I can honestly say my first semester was absolutely perfect.

Back in August, I put together a list of my top ten goals that I wanted to achieve during my freshman year. Now that I am halfway done since the fall semester has ended, I wanted to check back and do an update to see how I was doing.


1. Rush and be recruited to a sorority. {ACCOMPLISHED}
As many of you already know, I did rush and was recruited to Gamma Phi Beta! All my love in ΠKE to any sisters reading this right now.


2. Be officially accepted into the Business program. {ACCOMPLISHED}
Plot twist on this goal... I switched majors. My ultimate academic goal is to major in Higher Education for my master's degree, but I refuse to major in Education for my bachelor's because I don't want to teach. If for some reason I end up not attending grad school, I want to have a bachelor's degree in a field I know I will be happy working in, and teaching just isn't the field for me. Thus, I am now majoring in Human Communications which offers me a broad variety of subjects to choose from after I graduate and move on - including Higher Education. I am minoring in Business still, and I have been officially accepted into both programs - so in a sense, I guess you could say this goal was accomplished.

3. Make the Dean's List both semesters.
This goal is halfway complete because I did manage to earn the required GPA to make it on the Dean's List for my university this semester! While I do not have an official number yet to offer you all, I can for sure tell you that I know the GPA I will be receiving is far above what was required of me as well as good enough to qualify me for a First-Year Scholars Program award as well.


4. Find a part-time job on-campus or close by.
The search for a part-time job has been very rough as there are many students and only so many places to work, but I still have another semester to accomplish this goal!


5. Become a Student Ambassador for Leader in a club/organization. {ACCOMPLISHED}
Looking back, I am unsure as to what I meant when I said I wanted to be a Student Ambassador of a club or organization... In terms of leadership however, I was appointed as the Assistant Financial Vice President for my sorority for the new year, so I guess we'll count that!


6. Follow a set workout schedule. {ACCOMPLISHED}
Shockingly, I did accomplish this goal - I run at least two to three times a week now. I'm hoping to incorporate more exercising options into my schedule so that I'm not just on the treadmill all the time, let me know if you have any potential workouts for me that work for you!


7. Be accepted as an Orientation Leader or Rho Gamma for the summer of 2016.
So it turns out, I am not qualified to be a Rho Gamma until after I have gone through formal fall recruitment from both sides at least once. Therefore, I am unable to apply until after next fall for the summer of 2017 to be one... That leaves us with the option of becoming an Orientation Leader. I did apply to become one and was accepted to the group interview process, which is a great accomplishment! However, I was unfortunately not invited to move on to the individual interview process. Even though I did not manage to complete this goal, I am still very proud of myself for making it as far in the process as I did as just a freshman. At least there's always next year!


8. Make a new close/best friend (or two, maybe three!). {ACCOMPLISHED}
I did not expect to meet as many amazing people as I did this first semester. I have made so many new friends through my sorority and managed to get so close to my roommates that we're even rooming together again next year - but this time in an apartment! I am so blessed to have such supportive and caring new friends to join me on my journey through life now over these next few years (and maybe even longer) and I'm looking forward to the future with every single one of them!


9. Get at least one scholarship ("at least" because more is obviously always better).
I was unable to apply for any scholarships until I completed my first semester, so once I get my official GPA next week I will be on this goal like crazy!


10. Join and write articles for my university's Her Campus chapter. {ACCOMPLISHED}
At the beginning of the semester, I applied for my university's Her Campus chapter and was accepted! If anyone would like to read any of my articles, you can click here. There aren't very many (it has been a very hectic first semester for me), but in the spring I will be committed to getting articles submitted way more often!

How are your yearly goals coming along so far?

Semi-Formal: Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party 2015

Friday, December 11, 2015

The winter season is upon us, readers! As some of you may know, I became a sister of Gamma Phi Beta this semester at my university and it has been nothing but fun and unexpected surprises - including a trip to Walt Disney World. Instead of having a fancy Semi-Formal, we went to Magic Kingdom to attend Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party; as a big Disney person already, you could probably imagine my excitement when I found out this would be happening. I took along my boyfriend as my date and he was pumped to get to meet a few of my sisters.


{My handsome boyfriend who decided to go Gamma for a night.}
{#sistergoals}
Our night started out with tons of rides - the lines to all of the attractions are really short during the Christmas Party! (#blessed) We also stopped for complimentary hot chocolate and cookies throughout the night many times (mainly because my boyfriend was a teensy bit obsessed... he may have had about 5 cups). After all of that, we watched Celebrate the Magic!, a nightly show that features projections on the castle - and this time, there were special Christmas features! The Holiday Wishes fireworks followed, and it was an amazing show filled with holiday classics and beautiful lights.

{Two people who have made my Gamma Phi experience such a great one so far!}
{My Big and I}

My boyfriend and I didn't mean to end up watching the Christmas Parade, but we're extremely glad we did get stuck in the crowds and have to wait! It was definitely my favorite part of the entire Party; I would recommend not skipping out on it if you go. All the floats were spectacular and featured Disney characters as well as the big man himself (children were extremely excited to see him, of course).






I had such a wonderful night and I'm so grateful to have been able to not only go to the Christmas Party, but also be a part of a sisterhood that gives me more love and support than I could have ever imagined it would. It has been an absolutely wonderful semester, and I'm extremely excited for what's to come in the future. I would for sure recommend attending the Very Merry Christmas Party if you ever consider going, it is such a great and memorable holiday experience that you will never forget with people near and dear to your heart!


What are some of your plans for the upcoming winter break?

Holiday Playlist

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

My favorite thing about this time of year is the music. There's just something about the songs that give you a warm feeling inside, and you can listen to them literally doing anything and everything. Unfortunately, it's only makes sense and is socially acceptable to listen to holiday-type music during the actual season it is featured in. Since this specific time of year's music is the best kind in my book, I have compiled this Holiday Playlist of my personal favorite songs; a majority of them are very poppy and upbeat, which fits my personality and what I believe is this time of year very well!


What are some of your favorite holiday songs not on this list?
I know there are so many out there, and I personally am always looking for more good ones. Merry listening, readers!

Tips for Acing Those Finals

Monday, December 7, 2015

December is a very merry month filled with a genuine happy feeling that blows through the cool air. It seems like the most perfect month of the whole year... until finals week comes around (*cue booing*).

As I wrap up my first semester in college, I find myself extremely anxious and nervous for what this week will hold. Luckily, I don't take most of my final exams until next week and this is just more of a study week for me. However, others are not as blessed to have the opportunity to buckle down in the library with their Starbucks espressos every day for almost a whole extra week. Seeing how many people are stressed over their exams makes me feel sad, thus I have decided to present my tips for acing those finals this semester (and every one after that)!

(Shout out to my roommate Kaulene at Napa Valley Sunshine for having such a beautiful desk that I couldn't resist using for this post's picture.)

1. Have a schedule laid out.
If you plan your time prior to your exams out ahead of time, you will know when and how much time you have to prepare yourself and you can also sort out which of your classes gets which time/day available to you. This will leave you a lot less stressed and provide you with an idea of when is the best time to do what during the time you have.

2. Use study guides and attend any review sessions.
A majority of my professors provide collective study guides for big exams such as the mid-term and final. I would hope everyone has professors that do this as well or at least provide the topics they will be incorporating into the questions on the exams, but if not then try to touch base with your professors through email or office hours and get an idea of what the exam will consist of/be like. In addition, if your professors offer any review sessions, GO. I know they can be lengthy and boring and involve putting in extra time on your part, but these sessions may contain valuable information about the exam and really help you understand concepts you may still be having trouble with. I attended one two hour session this morning and I'm going to be attending another 3 hour session later - all it takes is some motivation to get yourself up and out!

3. Find your "zone".
For many people, the zone they feel the most focused in is their school's library or their own dorm/apartment room. If you are in a place where you know you can be kept from distractions and stay concentrated on what you need to do as well as feel comfortable, that is your zone of where you should study. Feel free to turn on some music or do anything that will help you study better - a zone does not technically have to be quiet, it just has to be a place with an atmosphere that you know you will get things done in.

4. Take breaks and be aware of how you feel.
I cannot stress how important it is to give yourself some free time to just take a deep breath and do something that relaxes you for a few minutes, whether that's watching one episode of your favorite television show or simply scrolling through social media networks on your phone. Also, be aware of how you feel - make sure there are snacks nearby in case you get hungry, water to keep you awake and hydrated, etc. Even though you are trying to help your brain by cramming new knowledge into it, you still need to take good care of yourself in order to help it focus.

5. Be prepared.
Do what you feel works best for you in order to pass. Make a million flash cards, highlight entire pages, write down every definition in the textbook; nothing is too extreme if you know it is going to benefit you! In the end, you will feel prepared if you study your way. Know when everything is going to happen as well and what you will need; I am required to pick up my own scan trons prior to my tests at my school. Don't be that person scrambling over studying and your exams because you don't know when they are (refer back to tip #1 about scheduling).

Good luck to everyone on their finals these next few days!
Do you have any finals tips and tricks?

Hello, November

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

November. There has always been something about this month for me - it's just the one that really "clicks", the one I truly take it in. I wake up, and I feel fall all around me. There doesn't have to be the sound of birds chirping in place of an alarm clock or the smell of candles wafting in from the kitchen where my mother is cooking something delicious as always, but it's instantly what I think of. These are the little things that make me the happiest. And there's also just something about fall that makes a person feel so fresh, so new. Reborn with another chance to really get it right this time, to start over if they so choose.

I think of love when I wake up on the first day of this month. Of family, the people who matter the most to me, the ones I would do anything for. I think of Thanksgiving, what I am  thankful for that I don't sit around to think of every day of the year. I think of who I am, who I want to be, if I am truly being the person I aspire to be, if I am actually inspired by myself - if not, then there's a problem.

I reflect. I think of problems, issues facing myself or even the world. I'm grateful to say I didn't really have any - but I did have opportunities. Opportunities for change, for improvement, for motivation, for a chance to really expand upon myself as a person and citizen. To look back at everything I have always wanted to do and be and finally do and be those things.

In my Cinema Survey course, I learned that water signifies the beginning of the protagonist's transition to the new world in films, a concept in The Hero's Journey. This is the start of their journey towards a new world that will cause them to come back to their former a changed person. There's always some sort of water, whether it's an ocean or a bathtub or rain... or a fountain. In my case, it was a fountain.

On this lovely November day, I decided that this was the day I would start over. I went outside and sat by my university's fountain. I reflected, I evaluated, I devised. I accepted my informal invitation for rebirth, my chance to begin a new. I decided it was time to become the person I always wanted to be, and for some reason I let today be that day. Today was that day.


In fall, the leaves disappear with the wind from trees every day. Think of it as the amount of people who decided to start new that day. Take it as inspiration, as a chance for not only others, but yourself. You have a new day every day to be the person you know in the back of your head that you've always wanted to be, for your leaf to fall.

Why not today?

The 7 Best Things About Fall

Friday, September 25, 2015

Well, it's official! As of this past Wednesday, it's finally FALL. Personally, I find the fall season to be the best one of them all - there's something about this time of year that makes getting up in the morning feel so refreshing and lovely. When I woke up on the 23rd to a calendar that told me it was the first day of autumn, I was stoked. I believe that there's just so much to love about fall, despite the fact that I live in a place where fall doesn't necessarily mean that the weather will be any less hot (#FloridaProbs). Here's what I think are the best things about fall...


1. The Warm, Cozy Feeling in the Air
You can't deny that there's just something totally different about fall that makes life feel so much more worth getting out and enjoying every day. As the weather begins to shift and autumn truly approaches, that feeling of warmth starts to settle in. The happiness and desire to just cuddle up and get cozy or take a nice long walk through the crisp morning air takes over, and the positivity can be seen radiating from every person you see.

2. The Changing Leaves and Cool Breeze
Although the weather in Florida unfortunately doesn't change as intensely as the weather further up north during this time of year, we still get some changes when it comes to the colors of the leaves and a few breezes here and there. Surprisingly, it has actually been a bit cooler than expected lately - either way, all we Floridians can ever do down here is hope fall doesn't wait until the end of the season to finally make an appearance.

3. Fall Fashion
Over-sized sweaters and leggings? There is no better combination! (Well unless you were to throw in some cute booties, then it's perfect.)

4. The Social Vibe
The fall semester in college is always the more fast-paced semester it seems. At the beginning of the school year, everyone is just so much more in-the-zone and ready to get out there - they don't call it Social Season for nothing. Also, this time of year it's neither too hot nor too cold, so you can do just about anything in this kind of weather without a real interference due to weather!

5. The Bath and Body Works Scents
Time to stock up on candles and soap again!

6. The Holidays
Fall holidays are all about spending time with your family and really being grateful for what you have, which is a big reason why this season is such a favorite for me... And the amount of amazing food I get to eat.

7. Pumpkin Everything
From pumpkin foods to pumpkin drinks to just flat out pumpkins in general - everyone loves a good pumpkin this time of year! You can totally sit out on your front porch and drink your Starbucks pumpkin spice latte while you eat delicious pumpkin bread and carve a silly face in a pumpkin that you picked up at a pumpkin patch or your local supermarket and NOT look like a completely obsessed freak.

What's your favorite thing about fall? Here's to a wonderful season filled with dancing leaves, comfy sweaters, and pumpkin spice everything!

How to Be an Optimist

Friday, September 18, 2015

A few months back, I stood up against my personal attitude of life. Listening to the way other people felt about their lives and even reflecting on how I would react to situations in my own life made me realize that I didn't want to live with even a smudge of a negative outlook. Looking back now, becoming an optimist was the best decision I could have ever made. I noticed many differences in the way I acted socially and mentally, and I even felt like a healthier and more sane person when undergoing tough circumstances. I adopted this positive outlook on life and I'm writing today to inform you of how you too can easily be an optimist...


  • Think Positive
This is the most obvious tip of all, but what I would believe is the hardest one for people to live by. Be aware that the road to thinking positive can either be short or long depending on how negative you already think now. But you can get there, and you will eventually.
  • Accept Your Feelings and Reflect upon Them
Being an optimist does not mean you need to feel happy ALL the time. An optimist is someone with a positive outlook on life. Bad storms will still come your way and clouds may even cover the sun's rays for extensive periods of time every now and then, and you are allowed to feel sad. Always accept the way you feel and reflect upon it: What can I do in order to fix the current problem? What can I learn from this situation/experience in order to keep it from happening again? Don't just look for the quick way out, but rather for the educational way out - and don't forget to continue to think positive!
  • Don't Compare, Aspire
Jealousy is the ugliest emotion in the family. It causes you to feel bad about yourself and your personal accomplishments, small or big, simply because someone else may have achieved something seemingly better than you. NEVER allow jealousy to stand in the way of how you feel and how you treat others. I have watched it ruin my own personal close friendships with people because they would believe they deserved achievement or excelment over others. If they weren't achieving something, than you shouldn't have been - does that sound like the kind of person you want people to see you as? Someone who can't congratulate and be happy for someone in what could potentially be one of the proudest moments in their life thus far? Support others and instead aspire to live up to them and who they are and what they've earned rather than ridicule and break them (and yourself) down.
  • Surround Yourself with People Who Care
If someone in your life treats you poorly and won't change, then simply get rid of them. It's a lot easier to cut the string than people realize; the reason it's viewed as difficult is because they worry for the reaction of the other person or the potential empty void they may feel afterward. Know that this isn't their life, their sanity, and their health both physically and mentally on the line every day - it's YOURS. And if there is an empty feeling after they're gone, know that it doesn't last forever as you adjust to life without them in it. You were breathing just fine before they were offered a spot in your life, and you'll be breathing even better after you remove their privilege. Take it from my own personal experience, you will be so much happier and have way less stress after you walk away from someone who ruins your life. The people around you should actually show that they care about you, support you, truly love you and cherish your presence.
  • Show Kindness in Everything You Do and Say
Remember that all anyone wants in life is to be respected. You should always be kind towards every person you encounter, whether you've known them for 5 minutes or 5 years, and handle any issues with a classy demeanor. This includes people you dislike also. You're going to deal with many unreasonable people in your life at school, work, and just in general, and it's important to always be the bigger person. Actions affect attitude.
  • Have Gratitude for Both the Good and the Bad
Everything happens in this life because it was meant to happen. You should be thankful for every little thing, good or bad, because there is a lesson to be taken from it. Incorporate those lessons into the way you live and look at life and your future will surely benefit from your new-found knowledge. On your worst days, remind yourself that there is always something to be thankful for.



What other tips do you have to offer to others about gaining an optimistic attitude?
Hope everyone has a happy Friday and a great weekend!

5 Seconds of Summer Concert 09/12/2015

Monday, September 14, 2015

I am currently suffering two different post-depression phases. The first is post-summer depression - despite that here in Florida, summer actually never really leaves.. but you get what I mean. The second is post-concert depression, what I personally believe to be is the best kind of depression. My roommate/best friend and I bought tickets to see 5 Seconds of Summer more than a year ago, and finally seeing them in concert yesterday felt so surreal.


The concert was outdoors, and Florida actually decided to not be too nice to us on this specific day of the year - frequent short cold rain showers would hit us every now and then as we were waiting to get in to the Amphitheatre. Eventually we did make it in, and the location of our seats made everything better. This was the second to last show of the tour, and you could feel the excitement in the air from all the girls who had been waiting months to get to this day just like us.

{My roomie and I! Click here to check out her blog, Napa Valley Sunshine.}
I decided to go for a cute but laid-back look - had to be prepared in case I met one of the boys, am I right ladies? I wore this lacy black romper that I picked up from a local boutique (the boutique is actually on my school's campus and is exclusive to students that attend!) and paired it with some black high-top Converse. I added a long gold necklace and a few Alex and Ani bangles to give my outfit that final touch without being too much.



Seeing 5 Seconds of Summer perform live was amazing, and they are one of those acts that sound even better in person. I'm glad that I kicked off my fall concert line-up with such a great show! Next up: All Time Low and Taylor Swift in October - so pumped! What artists will you be seeing soon?

Sorority Recruitment Misconceptions

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

As some of you may already know from reading my most recent post, I underwent Sorority Recruitment a few days back. It was one of the craziest weeks of my life thus far, but I don't regret going through the process one bit. Being a part of a group of amazing women who share my same values and make me feel like I have a home away from home is truly a blessing and was worth every minute I spent suffering through long days in the hot sun during Rush Week. I was very scared and nervous to be going through Recruitment for a long list of reasons, and looking back now I realize that I was just psyching myself out based on beliefs that I had gathered from the other girls around me and articles that I had read online. So, I'm posting today to clear up these common misconceptions that I had throughout the week for all the readers out there who are considering, currently, or will be undergoing Recruitment in the future...

Gamma Phi Beta UCF's Pledge Class of Fall 2015 (I'm all the way on the left!)
"If you're an upperclassman, you have very little chance of getting into a sorority."
I met many other potential new members that were juniors who ended up having full schedules every day of Recruitment and ran home on Bid Day. There may be some sororities at your school who won't be willing to invite you back simply because you are late to the game, but that just means you were meant for a different house that was willing to accept that you are not entering their home as a freshman.

"You need a recommendation letter/legacy to really guarantee your spot."
Recommendation letters and legacies are obviously nice to say you have, but you shouldn't be worried if you didn't bother to get any letters or if you're the first in your family to go Greek (like me!). Just because someone talks well of you on paper or because your mother was a member of that sorority does not mean the girls in that sorority will automatically feel you fit in with them.

"The girl talking to you is the one who does all the work."
You can't always count on the girl you're speaking to to continue the conversation. They want to get to know you, and sometimes that means that you need to be the one to initiate topics. The member you're talking to will eventually run out of questions and things to talk about if you don't, and they want to get a feel for how you converse also. Occasionally, they're just as nervous as you are, so participate and keep the conversation going as much as you can to make sure you both feel comfortable!

"How you look is everything."
The girls you will be talking to are looking for someone who can hold a conversation with them along with make them feel like themselves, not someone who can show off how much money they have through their designer dresses or shoes. Obviously you should look presentable, but don't worry too much about the brand of the clothing you're wearing. I wore a lot of clothing and accessories that I already had in my closet thanks to different functions and events I attended throughout high school. The girls rushing you just want to see your personality shine through!

"You'll just know where you want to be by Preference Night."
I talked to so many other Potential New Members who told me they still had no idea where they wanted to be prior to voting on the last night. By the end of the whole process you may not know, but that's completely okay. Don't stress too much if this happens to you and just really consider every aspect when it comes down to the end of the night.

Any other common misconceptions to Recruitment that I missed? Leave them in the comments below as advice to other current or future Potential New Members!
Good luck to all of my fellow Rushers this semester!

MAJOR LIFE UPDATE

Friday, August 28, 2015

Greetings Internet! Now, I know what you're thinking: "A post from A SOUTHERN SUNSHINE? She's still ALIVE?!" Yes, I am indeed still alive and also breathing quite well, if I might add.

I expected this month to be a great one for this blog, but as well all know, sometimes the things we expect to happen aren't what actually do. Life has this way of changing our sails, and this past month was full of high waves and rough seas. But I am back now, and I am back for good this time. I'm still adjusting to my new life, so I don't know for sure just how many posts will be up each week this next month, but I'm going to try to jump back into my typical Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule as soon as possible.

To ease my way back into blogging, I thought I would fill everyone in on some major events that have happened recently. I figured it was important to keep you all up to date so that you are not only informed, but so that my future posts make sense (because yes, the points that follow will be incorporated into topics of discussion very soon!).

1. I moved into college!
I moved into my dorm way before my other roommates (a whole week ahead of time) so that I could go through Recruitment. Since my half of the room is still under construction, you will have to wait to see pictures - however, I will let you in on my theme... it is Nautical/Lilly Pulitzer based with focuses on the colors pink, navy, and gold!

2. I went through Recruitment... and came out a Gamma Phi Beta!
Fall Recruitment Week was definitely the most stressful yet fun week of my life. I had the absolute best time going through Recruitment and I feel like I came out a more social person afterwards, a great quality that is never bad to improve upon. I am extremely blessed to say that I did receive a bid and was able to run home to my top choice sorority, Gamma Phi Beta! It feels so good to be around a group of women who make me feel comfortable and share the same values as me. I can honestly say that after one week, I already truly feel at home when I am with them. I am really looking forward to a very exciting first semester as a member of this sorority!

3. I just finished my first week of classes.
And let me tell you, it was not an easy week at all due to many unforeseen circumstances... But hey, that's life right? Stay tuned for a post next week all about it.

4. I just celebrated the 6-month anniversary of this blog!
It's crazy to think that I have been blogging for 6 months already - it only feels like I started this blog just last week! I'm really looking to get serious with A Southern Sunshine, which actually brings me to my last point...

5. I'm looking into re-branding this blog before the end of the year.
I'm starting to have more of an idea of the types of posts that I want to be writing and therefore the blog style that I want to show the world. Be prepared for some changes to the website these next few months - big or small, I will keep you updated on them all!

It's great to officially be back in the blogging game, and I can't wait for everyone to see what is in store these next few months. Get strapped in people, it's about to be one wild ride!

Game Day Outfit Ideas

Friday, August 7, 2015

If I had to pick the thing that I'm most excited about college for, it would without a doubt be the football games. I never really showed much school spirit while I was in high school, and in my four years actually only attended one football game. However, I was always ready to cheer my heart out for NFL games on TV (How about them cowboys, anyone?). I've seen a few college football games on TV and even attended one, and I just believe that there is such a different atmosphere and feeling of excitement between college and high school football. Bottom line, I'm pumped to get to spend my Fridays and Saturdays yelling chants and singing fight songs with my fellow students (and it'll even be for a team that is well-known for how good they are - a major plus). And I'm also thrilled to get the chance to try out new outfits that I had in mind! Read on for some game day outfit ideas for all types of weather...

(Picture Source: LC Design)
  • It's super hot out...
I actually love when it's hot on a game day, simply because there's so many outfit options to choose from. To start, you can never go wrong with a t-shirt that has your school logo and/or color(s) on it with a nice pair of patterned or colored shorts. I personally love the logo t-shirt with bright colored shorts look! But dresses and rompers are also a major plus to this kind of weather when you're feeling a bit more dressy; a nice plain color with some coordinating colored jewelry can go a long way. Statement necklaces really complete a look if it's a little plain, so remember those when you're feeling like you need a real pop of color! Finally, comfy flats are obviously your best bet in this type of weather.
  • It's starting to get a bit chilly...
Just so that we all have a general definition of the time of year I'm getting at here, we'll say deep fall when the leaves have fallen and the temperature is slowly making it's way down from maybe 60ish degrees. I recommend breaking out the leggings and cute little booties for this type of weather since it's not really cold enough for jeans or furry boots just yet. Throw on an over-sized t-shirt with your school's color(s) and/or logo on it and add a thin scarf or statement necklace to finish off your look. If you think you can handle the chill, feel free to switch it up by wearing a long-sleeved dress, maxi dress or skirt - you can just throw on a cardigan if you think you'll get a bit cold!
  • OK, now it's freezing...
Just because it's 30 degrees (or maybe even less depending on where you live) outside now doesn't mean you can't still look cute for that game! To start, you're obviously going to need some comfy jeans and a pair of snugly boots. You can even add leg warmers for an extra touch of color and comfort if you'd like also! Now it's time to bring out those over-sized sweaters and hoodies - they're your best bet to staying warm. If you need a little extra warmth, feel free to throw on a puffy vest or jacket over that layer. Finally, nothing completes an outfit like the accessories, and during this type of weather they are really going to be your best friend! Fuzzy or woolly scarves and hats with your school logo and/or colors add major spirit and color to your outfit, all while keeping you cozy.

What does your favorite game-day outfit consist of? Can't wait for college football to start!

Freshman Year Goals

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

I leave for college on the 16th of this month and I am beyond psyched! Despite this year being my first actual year in college, I won't be considered a freshman academically due to the fact that I received a large amount of accelerated credits in high school that transferred into college credit. The amount of credits I have deem me a sophomore for classification purposes, but I am still what is considered an FTIC, otherwise known as a First-Time In College student. The way I look at it, this is technically my first year in college so for post purposes, I will still refer to this list as my freshman year goals. Here are the ten goals that I hope will achieve by the end of this first year in college...


1. Rush and be recruited to a sorority.

2. Be officially accepted into the Business program.

3. Make the Dean's List both semesters.

4. Find a part-time job on-campus or close by.

5. Become a Student Ambassador for a club/organization.

6. Follow a set workout schedule.

7. Be accepted as an Orientation Leader or Rho Gamma for the summer of 2016.

8. Make a new close/best friend (or two, maybe three!).

9. Get at least one scholarship ("at least" because more is obviously always better).

10. Join and write articles for my university's Her Campus chapter.

What are your goals for this school year? Remember that if you work hard, you can achieve anything!

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