From Pinterest to Reality

Francesca Gomes
Francesca Gomes

Hello, friends!

So here is my take on Pinterest. When Pinterest was first becoming popular, I was pretty skeptical. How in the world would things that look that good be possible for anyone to make easily? After a few months, my crafting/foodie sides kicked in, and I decided that some of these things were ones that I had to try.

Some of my first Pinterest creations:

After mastering those creations, I decided to move forward and try a few harder ones:

Since I have moved into my own apartment in Boca Raton, Pinterest has taught me how to cook (well, some beginning stages at least). After cooking dinner tonight, I realized that without Pinterest, I would probably starve because all I knew how to make was pasta, ramen (yes, that’s a type of pasta), sandwiches and rice (thanks, Mom!). Yes, me, the biggest Food Network fan has no idea how to cook. I can watch as many episodes of Giada cooking as humanly possible, but I still don’t know how to cook. But because of Pinterest, I have made some of these creations, allowing me to channel my inner Bobby Flay:

Not only have I found Pinterest to be great for my personal needs, such as eating, but it is also a wonderful resource for chapters to use for everything from event themes to decorations to favors. I hope you find the courage to try some Pinterest creations – you will not regret it!

Until next time…

xoxo,

Francesca

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Flying Faux Pas

Kristin Ramey
Kristin Ramey

After a month and a half of traveling, I have officially been on 18 planes. In my mind, this qualifies me as a professional flyer. Being the frequent flyer that I am, I have gained lots of flyer knowledge as well as some pretty funny stories. I figured I should share this knowledge with you; my top five flying faux pas.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a faux pas is “a socially awkward act that violates accepted social norms or rules of etiquette. A faux pas is a false step or misstep; a social blunder.”

As a flyer, you must prepare yourself for the many faux pas that you will come across; you must be ready for anything! My top five faux pas are as follows:

1. Security

Personal Experience: In the Atlanta airport, I happened to be behind a woman that had 6 carry-ons. I kid you not.

– Recommendation: When attempting to go through security, you should be knowledgeable and prepared. Don’t be afraid to ask questions prior to arrival!

2.       Fountain Drinks

Personal Experience: I think the airport is trying to starve my addiction to Diet Coke. Each time I travel, I am either faced with Pepsi products or bottled soft drinks. Somehow, I strive to find one before each flight – and apparently others do as well. During take off, I looked at the seat next to me (which is vacant with the exception of a sleeping gentleman’s infamous fountain drink) and the drink is toppled over and is spilling all over the seat… and my pants. Oops.

Recommendation: If you are also a fan of fountain drinks, make sure to find what you want, but be careful with your placement once you’ve boarded the plane.

3.       Airplane Slumber

Personal Experience: On a flight to North Carolina, I was seated next to someone who wanted to take a nap. Throughout this nap, they began to snore- loudly.

Recommendation: If you are a snorer, consider staying awake on your next flight. I’m now terrified to ever fall asleep on an airplane, just in case.

4.       Keep your food close

Personal Experience: Waiting at a layover, my stomach decided it was time for lunch. After selecting my meal and heading back to my assigned gate (which was empty), I decided to sit my lunch in one seat and take a phone call. Much to my surprise, a little boy decided that the only open seat he wanted to sit in was the one with my food in it. *Squish* Food was no longer edible.

Recommendation: Guard your food! Make sure to not set it down because you never know when you will have a small friend joining you for lunch.

5.       Personal belongings

Personal Story: When asked to watch someone’s luggage “really quick,” I signed under a verbal contract to babysit it for 45 minutes.

Recommendation: If you are going to ask someone to watch your luggage while you run to the restroom, make sure to come back quickly!

I have learned so much throughout the last 18 planes rides, and I expect to continue to have funny stories as my travels continue. If anything, I am learning what the flying faux pas are and how to combat them from becoming trademarks of my own!

If you have stories from your own travel experience, please share them in the comment box below!

Happy traveling!

Kristin

Find One Good Thing

Jacqueline Newell
Jacqueline Newell

I don’t remember the first moment she said it, but my mom has always encouraged me to find at least one good thing that happens every single day. Whether is has been a stellar day or one that was a little cloudy, I have always followed my mother’s advice and tried to Momtake advantage of the good things – both big and small. From mom’s enthusiasm for the pickle on her sandwich to my chance to go ice skating, anything and everything can make a day better. Highlighting the positives in your day can completely turn around your day and change your attitude in less than a minute.Madison

JackieAfter a little while of reflecting on my own, I realized that it just wasn’t enough to ask myself “what’s at least one good thing that happened to you today?” As a Jacob 2result, I started asking my friends about Samtheir days but, more specifically, what their one thing is. Not only have I received more insight to what my friends LynchMollyare doing with their lives, I’ve slowly started spreading my mother’s inspiration further. By helping others see KatieGabbysomething positive in their day, I have been able to make something positive in my day.

And although this may seem like a plug for how great my mom is [it is], what I want readers to take away from this is how easy it is to drive your life in the direction you want it to go. Additionally, I hope everyone realizes how easy it can be to help someone else change their day around.

The best thing that happened to me today was getting the chance to talk to my family and  remembering that this picture exists.

My family practicing their poses
My family practicing their poses

JacquelineNewell

Jaynie Levinson
Jaynie Levinson

On Sept. 11, the Upsilon Chapter at Oregon State University lost one of their loved sisters, and we as Sigma Kappa women lost one of our sisters. As I was on the plane heading to the Upsilon Chapter for the first time, I didn’t know what to expect. What I saw on Sept. 16, minutes after walking into the house, changed my life in the most positive way. I want to share with you all my experience at the Upsilon Chapter. What you might think is a completely upsetting topic, in return uplifted me and the women around me. Here’s the story of a sister, Tatiana Ofa, who is being remembered in a beautiful way.

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I, not being a member of the Upsilon Chapter, felt a connection with these women. A memorial service was held in the chapter house, and all of the Panhellenic community was invited. The turnout was great; so much support was present. The memorial service did include some tears, but they were absolutely joyous tears. To be honest, there were more laughs that filled the room than tears at one point, which turned the service into a celebration of a wonderful life.

Telling stories reminds us of the good memories. The Upsilon sisters all sat in their formal living room taking turns sharing stories. These stories were HAPPY, funny, cheerful, heartwarming and inspiring. The story telling was great; surprisingly, they were the simplest stories, topics that come up in our daily lives. Her love for family, her love for friendship, and how she was a great team player in any sports activity for philanthropic events or just for fun!

photo1Making a scrapbook became a memorable sisterhood experience. In the Upsilon Chapter recreation room, lay pages and pages of scrapbook designed paper, markers, scissors, and of course, pictures of memories. The scrapbook had a special component, the messages and the stories that filled pages written about experiences that women had shared with Tatiana. Once the scrapbook is finally complete, the Upsilon Chapter will pass the scrapbook on to her family, because a sympathy card saying how much Tatiana touched each and every one of their lives wouldn’t do justice.

The chapter women piled into a bus, and headed to the funeral in Portland. The women wore an aqua ribbon with a pearl pin. “Light blue was Tatiana’s favorite color,” a chapter member said. “We wore them because she would have wanted it that way.”

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Concluding the memorial of Tatiana, the entire Greek Community at Oregon State University arrived at 8 p.m. sharp to the Sigma Kappa house for a candlelight walk around the community. Ladies, I can’t begin to tell you how beautiful and memorable this ceremony was. It wasn’t extraordinary for the words that were spoken, or the amount of flowers presented to the chapter, but the silence and the hundreds, I mean hundreds of fraternity men and sorority women that made a path for every Sigma Kappa woman to walk through to show their support. Beautiful is an understatement. It was a life-changing experience I, and the women of the Upsilon Chapter, will never forget.

Lastly, several women came up to me and said they were sorry I had to visit the chapter on this sad occasion, and I replied, “I am honored to be surrounded by such an amazing sisterhood that I would have been sad if I never got to meet.”

Forever and always, one heart one way.

Smitten with the Mitten

Erica Lagos
Erica Lagos

Being born and raised in Michigan, I never understood the commotion behind having a Michigan accent. I will say that I always loved to travel and hear the accents that people had in different states I would visit, and it is something I still enjoy to this day. Over my time traveling, it has been made very aware to me that I have a terrible Michigan accent! Those of you who know me are probably nodding your head in agreement. Those of you from Michigan are probably still denying this, but hey, that’s okay, I deny it sometimes too!

Throughout my exploration of what this Michigan accent is all about and what makes it stand out so much, I have found a few pieces to solve the puzzle.

1. Fast talking– I can attest that sometimes when I am done speaking people look at me like I am a crazy person, or I get a lot of “Huh?” expressions coming my way. I have learned that it is necessary to slow down my speech and be cautious of whether I am speaking too quickly…especially when I get excited!

2. Slurring words together– True. My mom and dad used to always tell me when I was little that I sounded like I was mumbling, and they could not understand me over the phone because I was slurring all of my words together and never taking the time to enunciate what I was saying. I often find myself ending one word at the start of another! This may be a telltale sign that you are talking with someone from the mitten.

3. T’s that sound like D’s– Whenever I hear this generalization, I always think to myself, “that’s not true, I definitely say my T’s!” Well I, like many Michiganders, am guilty of this change to words. I can say that if you ask me to say a word with a T in it, it will probably sound like I am pronouncing it correctly, but once I get into a conversation all those T’s sound much more D-like. The best example of this would be the word City; rather than pronouncing the ‘t’ in this word, it would sound more like cidy.

4. The infamous A- Overall the biggest identifier that I am from Michigan is the way that I pronounce my ‘A’ while speaking. Like many of the people who are from the Great Lake state, my ‘A’ is between a short ă for the rest of the country, and a short ĕ (or so I’ve been told). Basically, plug your nose and say anything that has an ‘A’ in it and you’ve mastered the Michigan A! I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I’m not sure I will ever be able to change this in my speech. I just don’t hear a difference between how I say things with an ‘A’ and how my friends across the country say words with an ‘A’- maybe one day it will hit me!

Should you find yourself in Michigan, embrace the accent. We have definitely created something to talk about…whether it sounds pretty or not! At the end of the day though friends, I am guilty as charged, the curse and blessing that is the Michigan accent is deep within me and probably will not be going away any time soon!

Xo. Erica

Moments Frozen in Time

Hannah Villa
Hannah Villa

There is something about the fall. Something that lingers in the air and stays within every breath I take. Something that provides all the subtle but illustrious hints. Something that takes me back to such vivid moments, moments in time that have changed my life.

Autumn has always been my favorite time of year. And looking back, there are several moments, still so poignant, that always stick out to me. Moments that seem to be frozen in time; moments that I hold so dear to my heart. Moments that, for me, seem to have shaped the course of my life.

It is September 2004, my freshman year in high school. Never had I ever been so scared in my life to enter into a new school. For me, this was my first year going to a public school. I was leaving the safe little nest of the Catholic schools that raised me. I was entering into a brave, new world, full of school buses and non-uniform wearing students. I can still remember it, clear as day, sitting on my “off-block” in my high school’s lobby, with my then newfound friend. We were hanging out, like all high school girls do, talking about the cutest new Hollilster t-shirt and raving about the joys of high school. And then there he was, walking toward us, one of the most handsome boys I had ever seen. I was twitterpated from the moment I set eyes on him, and devastated when that same friend of mine and he started dating. Lucky for me, that relationship lasted all but three days, and come 2005, that handsome young boy (while, a year older than me) had become my boyfriend. I was swept off my feet and never looked back.

Jump to August 2008 and I enter into my freshman year 2.0, only now as a spiffy 18-year-old, just getting her college-legs. It is during this August that I first met Sigma Kappa. Signing up for fall formal recruitment at the University of Kansas was an absolute no-brainer for me. I had come out wanting needing to be in a sorority. I was what you would call your “always joiner.” From the moment I signed my bid card, I was a lifelong member. I immersed myself in all things sorority. I drank the kool-aid. Every last drop.

Now jump to August 2012. My first recruitment visit as a tried and true Sigma Kappa leadership consultant. Terrified, excited, and all the emotions in between, I boarded my first flight and started this journey that has shaped me, challenged me, taught me, and bettered me. During this first fall as a LC, I encountered moments that took my breath away, met women who became my absolute best friends, and really, truly, 100% became my best self. I tasted moments that set my heart free.

And now to today, an ordinary day in mid-September. A day that I will probably come to forget, but a day nevertheless that is a day in my journey. A day for me to reflect on moments that I hold untinged in my heart. A day for me to center myself, to muse on the beauty of my life, to touch all of these moments that will never be forgotten.

As I remind myself of all these moments, I am also propelled to think of all the moments that have yet to come, of all the people I have left to meet, and all the lives still to touch mine. Often I hear that looking back on the past elicits unwelcome emotions. However, I beg to differ. The past, for me, gives me hope. It reminds me of the luck cast upon my lot, and reminds me what a life I have to celebrate.

So, dear friends, I charge you to take the time to consider those few precious moments that you hold forever in your heart. Study the sights, the smells, the sounds that these moments provide. Soak in the glory of your history. And carry the good feelings in your heart.

All my love and more- H

Ease on Down the Road

Amy Gallagher
Amy Gallagher

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

Whether you are starting a new journey or taking a step to redirect your journey, change can be intimidating. When you can sense those thousand miles in front of you, that first step is daunting. For some, it’s because they know that once they start, they have to finish. They don’t want to be known as a quitter. For some, it’s because they’re afraid of how they will be seen for taking that step. For others, maybe it’s because they don’t think they have the time or the patience for the entire journey.

We live in such a fast-paced society that it’s easy to want to see results quickly. We enjoy instant gratification. So we justify not taking the journey of a thousand miles because there is a five-mile journey that seems 9,995 miles less risky, less intimidating. But in return, that journey may only be 0.5% as rewarding and you may only get 0.5% of the outcome, result or reward.

I recently read that it takes 300 muscles in your body to balance yourself standing still, but only 200 muscles to take a step forward. (I read it on the Internet, and we all know everything posted on the Internet is true, right?) So even if your current state seems pretty manageable, a step forward may actually take less energy than you may think.

So, as the seasons change, it can be a great time for motivating change in your own life and perhaps in the lives of your chapter members. Take a chance. Remember, you only have to take the journey one step at a time.