Sweet Southern Comfort

Kristin Ramey
Kristin Ramey

At the end of my first semester of traveling, I declared that this semester would be different. Between strep and mono, I was definitely thrown some curveballs that I had not prepared for. (No worries collegians, I promise I wasn’t contagious!) After spending my holiday break getting healthy, I am so excited to see what is in store for me this semester.

The consultant team started off the semester getting back together at national headquarters! Although we did not arrive when we planned due to winter storm Ion, it was still amazing to see the women that have so immensely impacted my life in just a short eight months. After leaving the arctic tundra which was Indianapolis, I made my way to the wonderful state of Alabama. Leaving the 13 inches of snow behind me, I was thrilled to be in a warm, hospitable state with some amazing people.

Being from Kentucky, I am sometimes considered a southerner. I would like to set the record straight- you have not experienced the South until you’ve been to Alabama. In Alabama, the tea and the people are SO sweet! Having been here for almost the entire month of January, I have gained a new appreciation for the phrase southern hospitality.

After spending my first visit of the semester with Theta Xi at Auburn University and heading to Spring Hill College in Mobile to prepare for colonization, I have been filled with love for the South! Although I’ve been told that I have a mix between a southern and northern accent, I hope that I can portray all the characteristics of a southern belle. Although I will be shortly heading out of this fabulous state and into the north, I have a great feeling that I will continue to meet some amazing women.

Cheers to Spring 2014!

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I Get By With a Little Help From My (New) Friends

Devon, Epsilon Delta
Devon, Epsilon Delta
Jacqueline Newell
Jacqueline Newell

While on the phone with a fellow Sigma Kappa the other day, I admitted to her that one of my favorite moments about being on the road last semester was when she sent me a text. It wasn’t long, but it changed everything. That one quick message gave me enough confidence to believe I could take on any challenge.

Emily, Collegiate Service Specialist
Emily, Collegiate Service Specialist

Being a traveling consultant is a genuinely strange experience. No one day resembles those that came before it, and the majority of our daily meetings are with people we’ve never met. But, as my dad says, strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet. At each of my visits, I’ve met Sigma Kappas, both collegians and alumnae, who help make each day a little bit more fun.

Epsilon Zeta recruitment advisors
Epsilon Zeta recruitment advisors

I am a completely different person as a result of being a member of the Sigma Kappa LC team. I speak in acronyms, I can pack a suitcase in about 20 minutes, I have a sixth sense for anything remotely resembling ice cream, and I have gained so many new friends.

Brooke Dailey, Director of Specialized Recruitment
Brooke Dailey, Director of Specialized Recruitment

When you’re away from home and your suitcase becomes your life, it’s the little things that help when you least expect them. It may not always be a familiar face, but getting to spend time with those who are passionate about the same thing as you can make all the difference!

Thanks for taking me in, friends!

Erica, Epsilon Zeta VPM advisor and Brenna, Beta Theta
Erica, Epsilon Zeta VPM advisor and Brenna, Beta Theta

Pinterest

Jaynie Levinson
Jaynie Levinson

As we enter the new year, I’m sure most of us have a New Year’s resolution for the start of 2014. Maybe some of our resolutions are to get better grades, hit the gym more often, or stay in contact with friends and family on a regular basis.

But I don’t know how many of us, including myself, ever went back to look at our resolution for the start of 2013. Did we actually resolve it? As I started my travels again, I happened to be searching through my iPad notes. I opened one that I titled future goals that was last edited on Jan. 23 ,2013.

I will share with you some of my goals or resolutions. Some are weird, I must admit:

1. Find a role model
2. Impact someone’s life in a positive way -Hopefully be in a relationship with someone who makes me laugh…a lot!
3. Be a Sigma Kappa leadership consultant -Travel through Europe with my friends after graduation -Cut my online shopping habits to a minimum…those shipping costs add up!
4. Be happy with my GPA at the end of the year -Do not get senioritis

Well I have good news. Out of those eight main goals, I can put a check mark next to more than half of them! Two months later, I started dating my current boyfriend, and yes, he does make me laugh. I had the chance to travel through Europe with not my friends, but my family, which was amazing. And of course, becoming an LC was one of the greatest successes! I can tell you I still shopped online. And I might have had some senioritis here and there, but my grades were up to my standards!

I encourage all of you to make a list of goals or resolutions for 2014. I think it’s going to be a great year to remember!!

XOXO-Jaynie

Let’s go to the Movies!

Taryn Mantta
Taryn Mantta

One of my favorite things in the whole world of entertainment are book to movie adaptations. Now, before you tell me how bad they can be, yes, I know that some don’t go all that well. Think back, though. As bad as some of these movies can be, when they go well, the results are magical.

mockingbirdFirst up is not only my favorite book, but a great movie as well: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Many movie adaptations do a good job, but this one does a GREAT job. It takes me right into Maycomb Co., Ala. during the dramatic early years of Scout Finch’s life. It also perfectly portrays Atticus Finch, Scout’s father, who is one of my favorite characters ever written. In addition to being a great screenplay, the actors and actresses could not have been chosen better. Fun fact: Author Harper Lee loved Gregory Peck’s (Atticus) performance so much that after her father died, she gave Peck her father’s pocket watch.

MV5BNTEyMjAwMDU1OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDQyNTkxMw@@._V1_SY317_CR1,0,214,317_Next, we have a trilogy of epic proportions, at least that’s what the nerd in me would say. The one and only: Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien.

Part of the reason I have to include this adaptation in this post is that they are just so awesomely impressive. The movies do a great job of taking the books and making them easily understandable in 11.3 hours (well, that’s how long the extended versions take) If you don’t trust me and haven’t seen them, this video gives a great summary in 99 seconds.

c520cffcb82abde59eefae249a2851bdThis next one is one that I’m trusting people on because I haven’t yet been able to see the movie (it’s only been in theaters a couple weeks): The Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell.

I have very high hopes for this movie because this book had me feeling 900 emotions all at one time. Multiple times I caught myself sobbing, laughing and smiling all at the same time. It’s an eyewitness account of the training and wartime operations of Navy SEALs. The title of the book should serve as a warning to your emotions. Tip of the Day: Don’t read on an airplane unless you find sobbing uncontrollably on an airplane to be fun.

Divergent_(book)_by_Veronica_Roth_US_Hardcover_2011Here’s my prediction for the next big book to movie adaptation: Divergent by Veronica Roth.

The first time I read this book, I said it was going to be big and the movie is now on its way. I would place it in the same genre of The Hunger Games with a little bit of The Giver thrown in for a bit of fun. The movie comes out March 21, 2014, and I don’t know if it will be good, but I know my fingers are crossed.

Vampire_AcademyNow this one I know someone will think is funny, but I am unreasonably excited for this adaptation: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead.

Now let me premise this by saying these books are much more well-written than a certain series that I won’t name. I know the cover doesn’t make it seem that way, but there’s a lot more emotion behind them. I read them as they came out (which always makes them more dear to my heart). These are not books I read to learn something new, but rather when my head was so full of school that I needed a quick, easy read. The movie has the potential to be awful, but you never know until you see it 🙂

That would be the end of my list, but let’s not forget J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter. I don’t think I need to explain what it is, but I couldn’t make this list without mentioning it.

If you haven’t read or seen these, I’d suggest checking them out. If they don’t seem like your cup of tea, that’s okay too!

Additional fun fact: If you read Molly’s blog last week, she mentioned Gone Girl, which has a movie adaptation coming out near the end of this year.

-T

Sweet Home Bama BBQ

Hannah Villa
Hannah Villa

Never have I ever been so entranced, so captivated, so incredibly in awe over a single meal. Now I’ve had some great food in my life, that’s what happens when your grandpa is a world-class chef and you’re a self-proclaimed fat kid at heart. But I must say friends, this one takes the cake.

I’ve always been a sucker for barbeque. There is something about pulled pork that gets me every time. Something about the gingham tablecloths, something about the roll of paper towels on the table, something about being covered in barbecue sauce up to your elbows. I love it all. I love corn on the cob, baked beans, ribs, cole slaw, fried okra, chicken, green beans, banana pudding…well, you get it.

So naturally, when I moved to Alabama I was over the moon to have some good ol’ down home Alabama barbeque. I have never tried real Southern barbecue, being a fan of Kansas City barbecue myself, so I was anxious to sink my teeth into the closest barbecue I could find.

Low and behold – The Brick Pit.

Headed by pit master Jerry Edwards, The Brick Pit is home to some of the best barbecue I have ever tasted in my whole entire life. With pulled pork that is smoked for 36 hours, it isn’t hard to see why. The Brick Pit is located in Mobile, Ala., and is by far one of the cutest little locations. Customers walk in and are engulfed by the intoxicating aroma of sweet and tangy barbecue sauce. Kristin and I quickly made friends with Jerry while visiting and know that we will be back before the week is through.

Love from AL,

H

Winter Not-so-Wonderland

Amy Gallagher
Amy Gallagher

Depending on where you are in the country, late winter can be a pretty bummer time of year. Up here in Boston, we are lucky if it is forecasted to break 35 degrees. The wind can cut to the bone. The scenery is void of any greenery. The sidewalks are soiled with sand and salt from a previous snowfall. And it is twilight before the clock hits 5 p.m. Sometimes, I find it a little difficult to get that pep in my step. But, for those of you who know what I am talking about, I have found that switching up my routine a little can make a big difference. Here are a few simple ways you can do it.

1. Switch up your morning buzz.

I definitely find comfort in warm drinks during the winter months. But I don’t always need the caffeine of a big cup of coffee. Sometimes I even consciously avoid them to save my tolerance for ultra-long days. Try swapping out your coffee for a hot tea with milk and honey. If you don’t like plain ol’ black or green tea, try a chai or fruity variety. There are tons on the shelf! If you don’t want to commit to a whole supply you may not enjoy, find a tea shop that does samples, or even better, experiment with a friend or five! If you just can’t give up the coffee bean, try stirring in a spoonful of cocoa or a bit of a flavored creamer and cozy up to that cup!

2. Go outside.

I know it’s cold. I know it’s windy. I know it gets dark early. But cycling between home, office, school, store, restaurant, coffee shop and gym air day after day just isn’t good for the soul. Fresh air can be so energizing, not to mention you may be able to get the tiniest dose of vitamin D from the sunshine. So put on a hat, two sets of gloves, some long underwear, wrap a scarf around your neck, and stroll (or hustle) around the block, sit on a bench in the sun, whatever you can do. Take some deep breaths of fresh air!

3. Get moving.

The limited sunlight can make it hard to find that energy. It’s easy to make excuses. I think we’ve covered quite a few already. But sometimes the energy you need to get moving comes from getting a move on! If you want to resist exercising outside (see voided excuses above), you can make your house, dorm or apartment a place to get the blood flowing. Do some jumping jacks. Put on a favorite song and dance around. Drop and give yourself five, then 10, and then 40 by springtime.

4. Create something.

Whether it is a craft project you’ve been meaning to start, a gift you have been meaning to make, a hobby you’ve wanted to take up like crocheting, get down to it! It’s a great feeling to see something you’ve created yourself, and a better feeling to gift that piece of your personality to someone else. Just because the holidays are over doesn’t mean you can’t give gifts just because!

5. Find a new nom.

For example, I always try to stay away from chain restaurants. But when you fall into a routine it becomes easy to stick with what you know instead of trying something new. Yesterday, I decided to detour Panera and try a new sandwich place. I set the stakes high by ordering a prosciutto and fig panini I had heard good things about. It was delicious, and now I am motivated to try more on the menu! Your tastes change over time, and you will never know what you’re missing if you don’t take a bite!

I am sure you see the trend. Switching up even the smallest habits can bring happiness in some big ways. Find what is manageable for you and see what happens! Keep warm – and if you don’t need to, I am profoundly jealous.

Until next time,
Amy

Winter Book List

Molly Kenney
Molly Kenney

I hope everyone had a wonderful winter break filled with time to relax, hanging out with family and friends, and (if you’re like me) time to sit curled up with a good book. Over the past several years, I have begun to enjoy reading so much more. I think it’s because I don’t associate reading with those long boring textbooks anymore.

One thing I did for myself about a year ago was start a book club. I realized after I graduated I was not taking time to stay in touch with some of my close friends. This was a great way for me to stay connected with them through all of our crazy life schedules.

Here are my top five favorite book club books we have read so far:

1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. This book will for sure keep you on the edge of your seat. When a woman goes missing on her fifth wedding anniversary, her diary reveals hidden turmoil in her marriage. Meanwhile, her husband, desperate to clear himself of suspicion, realizes that something more disturbing than murder may have occurred.

2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. This story is about a young girl named Hazel, who happens to have cancer. She attends a support group and it is there that she meets Augustus Waters, a beautiful and complex young man with whom she falls deeply in love.

3. Where’d you Go Bernadette by Maria Semple. Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect; and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, mom. Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle–and people in general–has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic. To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence–creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.

4. The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes. In Depression-era Chicago, Harper Curtis finds a key to a house that opens on to other times. But it comes at a cost. He has to kill the shining girls: bright young women burning with potential. He stalks them through their lives across different eras until, in 1989, one of his victims, Kirby Mazrachi, survives and starts hunting him back. Working with an ex-homicide reporter who is falling for her, Kirby has to unravel an impossible mystery.

5. The Outlander by Diane Gabaldon. Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century, and a lover in another. In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon—when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly, she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”–in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our Lord…1743. Hurled back in time by forces she can’t understand, Claire’s destiny is soon inextricably intertwined with Clan MacKenzie and the forbidden Castle Leoch. She is catapulted without warning into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life …and shatter her heart. For her, James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire…and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

 

Let me know what you all think of these books. If you have not read them, I encourage you to. Also, I highly recommend the website Shelfari to keep track of all the books you want to read, are reading, and plan to read…you should even follow me! Comment and let me know what your favorite books are. Finally, remember to take time for yourself every day by doing something you enjoy

Dove love,

Molly