For All Those Halloweenies Like Me

Alyssa Ramsey - Delta Chi Chapter, University of Central Oklahoma
Alyssa Ramsey – Delta Chi Chapter, University of Central Oklahoma

So October may be my favorite month, but Halloween has to be my least favorite holiday… why? Because I am the biggest scaredy cat known to man. Just ask any of my friends or family. Scary movies? No. Creepy costumes? No. Haunted houses? NO. I can’t do anything scary or I will be sleeping with my lights on for weeks. So what is an October baby to do to enjoy this holiday?

Here’s ways I enjoy the holiday season without the scariness!

  1. Pumpkin Patches – No matter how old I get I will always be a sucker for a good pumpkin patch. These pictures were taken at the Boone Hall Plantation Pumpkin Patch! They even have “fright nights” but of course you wouldn’t catch me dead there after dark.
    Some of the College of Charleston colony members wanted to make sure I didn't take on Boone Hall alone
    Some of the College of Charleston colony members wanted to make sure I didn’t take on Boone Hall alone.

    I may or may not have waited behind a 2 year old to have my picture taken on the tractor
    I may or may not have waited behind a 2 year old to have my picture taken on the tractor.
  2. Hocus Pocus – No sane child of the 90’s doesn’t LOVE this movie. I could watch it everyday if possible. I may or may not be guilty of watching this even in the summer time. No shame.Hocus Pocus
  3. Family Traditions – This has to be my favorite part of the season. Every year since I was born, my family takes a trip to Branson, Missouri to Silver Dollar City. It makes for a great few days in a beautiful place with amazing food, fun roller coasters, AND nothing scary in sight! In fact when we make the trip they are already transitioning to Christmas decorations. The best part? The long weekend spent with family, because no matter what holiday it may be, every holiday is better with family by your side.
    Two of my cousins cuddled up at Silver Dollar City
    With two of my cousins cuddled up at Silver Dollar City
    The BEST food known to man. An apple dumpling with cinnamon ice cream and caramel drizzle. It's to die for.
    The BEST food known to man. An apple dumpling with cinnamon ice cream and caramel drizzle, it’s to die for!

    There really was more family there, but the ladies man had us under his spell
    There really was more family there, but the ladies man had us under his spell

So whether you love the thrills and scares that come with the Halloween season, or you’re a Halloweenie like me, I hope you all have a Happy Halloween!

-xoxo- Alyssa

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So You Love to Binge Watch TV Shows?

Bianca Pino - Kappa Omicron Chapter, Florida International University
Bianca Pino – Kappa Omicron Chapter, Florida International University

Well so do I! I mean, who doesn’t love to lay in bed and pop open their laptop to that wonderful red screen that is Netflix? Honestly, I like to consider myself an expert television show watcher. I collect television series on DVD and I watch about 20 shows at a time – I promise I really do have a life.

So if you’re a TV lover and are thinking of having a good ol’ binge watching session, here are a few essential items you will need:

Popcorn…and lots of it. Best kind is Orville’s Pop Up Bowl Movie Theater Butter. It’s just the right amount and if you love chocolate, I suggest you through some M&M’s inside!

 

It’s all about the lighting. It can’t be pitch dark because then you’ll just knock out and there goes that. It can’t be too bright because then your eyes might burn and you’ll get a headache. It has to be a nice dim lighting! (This is key if you are about to watch a scary television show like American Horror Story, because if it’s pitch dark, you might be paranoid for quite a while).

A large fuzzy blanket. My favorite blanket is the Threshold Fuzzy Throw from Target (no surprise). It’s huge, keeps me warm and snug, and is the perfect thing to keep me comfy.

Grab your favorite tumbler and fill it with some water. When on a binge watching session, you need to stay hydrated! This is like running a marathon, except you’re watching.

These four essentials will help you survive a long binge watching session. If you want to know what shows you should watch, check out this video from my YouTube Channel

Happy TV watching and adios,

Bianca

A Weekend in Seattle

Dana Finley - Delta Chapter, Boston University
Dana Finley – Delta Chapter, Boston University

Before heading off to assist with our colonization at the University of Oregon, I spent a weekend in Seattle, Washington with my BFF and fellow consultant Cora Johnson, Kappa Phi. Our weekend was full of great food, plenty of walking and of course, copious amounts of coffee. Here are some nuggets of knowledge that we gleaned from our visit (as told mostly through Snapchat screenshots):

  • Accept that you’re going to do some touristy stuff. Don’t let people make you feel bad about it. Cora and I had some pretty condescending Lyft drivers who tried to make us feel like losers for wanting to go to the Pike Place Market and the original Starbucks storefront. To which I say, goodbye haters. It’s our vacation, we will do what we want–am I right?!
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The famous Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle!
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Me and all my tourist friends at the original Starbucks storefront.
  • Take advantage of the locals. We opted to stay in an Airbnb rather than a hotel so that we could get a better feel for Seattle since we were only there for three nights. We stayed with an awesome local named Cody (if you ever find yourself in Seattle and you need a place to stay, do yourself a favor and check him out!) and it turned out to be one of the best decisions we made while in Seattle. He gave us a personal tour of the city, complete with a trip to the chic waterfront hotel, the Edgewater, for one of the best brunches I’ve ever had and then on to the historic Ballard Locks. We would have never found either of those spots had we not stayed with a Seattlite.
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Cora and I on the balcony at the Edgewater after brunch–the most beautiful view of the Seattle waterfront.
  • Always have a business card on you. Besides being a cardinal rule of being a consultant, you’ll never know when you need to leave your mark!

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  • Make sure the gum you buy is actually bubble gum and not just chewing gum. Because it’s really hard to blow bubbles with chewing gum, it turns out. And it gets awkward when you’re asking a stranger to take your photo and it takes a really long time for you to get a bubble going.
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Does anybody kind of see the heart in the gum behind us or is it just me?
  • Compare packing lists with your travel companion before you depart. Or you’ll end up looking like dorks in public like Cora and I did.
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Not pictured: our matching leggings and sneakers.
  • You don’t need to pack a blow dryer when you go to Seattle, Mother Nature takes care of that for you. See Exhibit A below.
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On Pier 66 in downtown Seattle.
  • Have fun and enjoy your personal time so you can return to work #likeaboss! 
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Back in Eugene with fellow consultant Jessica! #yas

Until next time,

DF

 

 

 

Save it for a rainy day!

Lindy Luchowski, Gamma Zeta, Northern Illinois University
Lindy Luchowski, Gamma Zeta, Northern Illinois University

Despite pretty much every person’s opinion on the face of the earth, cold and rainy days are my absolute favorite! I feel so happy and productive on rainy days. I could literally sit at a desk and work all day as long as I have a window looking out to stormy clouds and rain.

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Rainy days always make me feel inspired, like we are getting a fresh start. The rain washes away all the stress and chaos that goes on and it makes everyone slow down from the crazy, fast-paced lives we all lead. Everything gets a little quieter when it rains, giving us the opportunity to refocus ourselves for the next crazy day we have coming up.

It has been raining non-stop for the past 4 days here in Memphis and I absolutely LOVE IT. Everyone has heard that saying “save it for a rainy day,” so as I am sitting in the Starbucks at the University of Memphis I have decided to make a list of all the things you should accomplish the next rainy day you experience. So the next rainy day you have, fight the urge to stay in bed and watch Netflix all day and take advantage of the fact that you can still stay inside with no make-up on and be productive at the same time!

  1. Catch up with an old friend. On days when you are forced to be inside all day, take advantage of those cell phone things we have and take some time to call, text or email a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. This can help you feel reconnected to the people you love and care about but don’t always take the time to tell them. You could also write someone a cute “thinking of you” card and send it in the mail to brighten their day!
  2. Try a new recipe. Let’s put all of those hours we (well, I) spend on Pinterest to use! On warm days when it’s nice outside, we don’t always want to turn on our ovens and heat up the house. Take advantage of the chilliness outside and try a new baking recipe! It will not only warm up your living space, but also make it smell good! (Unless you are me and set off the fire alarm EVERY single time you try and use the oven….) fail
  3. Start a new book. We all have those lists of books we have heard about that we always think “Hmm…I would like to read that one day.” Well today is the day! Even just reading one chapter in a new book is an accomplishment. Reading books is one of those activities that I love doing but always think “I am too busy for that.” Reading really can help give you new ideas and solutions to problems in your life, make you grateful for the things you have or give you some food for thought to improve your intellectual health. readingblog
  4. Journal. Take just a half hour out of your day to focus on yourself, your goals and how you want to get there. Jot down how you’ve been feeling recently, things you have enjoyed doing recently and analyze anything you would like to change about your currently daily, busy routine!blog
  5. Start……. ANYTHING! A race? A trip? An event? Just because you don’t have a deadline doesn’t mean you can’t start something new you enjoy right now! Identify something that you want to do for YOU and not because you HAVE to do it. I personally have always wanted to make a scrapbook but I always think “That’s too big of a task to accomplish in one day.” So start on this rainy day and take it one page at a time, one step at a time or one check mark off a “to-do” list at a time! Rome wasn’t built in one day but the plans for the first building probably started inside at someone’s desk on a day they weren’t running around outside and actually had time to plan out what they wanted to do. bloggg

Lessons Learned at Camp

Christian Feagans, Zeta Pi, Colorado School of Mines
Christian Feagans, Zeta Pi, Colorado School of Mines

Anyone who has talked to me for an extended period of time has probably heard the word Wapiyapi come out of my mouth. While it may sound and like look like a random mix of syllables, it means so much more to me! When I think of Wapiyapi, I think of bright colors, smiling faces, campfires, water fights and kiddos that have honestly changed my life.

So what is Wapiyapi?

It is a Lakota Sioux word meaning health and healing. It is a camp in Estes Park, Colorado where children who have been diagnosed with cancer and their brothers and sisters can escape to be kids. To people familiar with Wapiyapi, it is also known as the “best week of the year.”

Through my time at camp, I have learned some important life lessons that I would like to share with all of you.

Dance like nobody is watching! Each year at camp there is a dance, and various crazy outfits are worn. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best dancer or have the cutest dress, you’ll probably have more fun if you’re wearing an afro and flailing around anyways.20130606_003806275_iOS

Tired? Doesn’t matter! You can push through! So many times we find ourselves stuck or not wanting to do something because we would rather take a nap or watch Netflix. There’s not much time for this at camp when you could be zip lining or kayaking instead. You may be tired, but when you look back at the week and realize what you have accomplished or the fun that you have had, it is always worth it.

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Smile! If you start your morning off with a big smile and sense of excitement, it is hard to have a bad day! Smiles spread like wildfire and can easily help to brighten anyone’s day!

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Cheer the loudest! You may get the honor of getting dinner first, or you may give someone that extra bit of encouragement to do their best and hit the target on the dunk tank. Either way, make whatever you are cheering for worth it!

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Life can be a bit messy! We’re all faced with challenges, and we all have the choice on how we will handle those challenges. We can get down on ourselves or laugh it off and take a picture with the ones going through the same thing.

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These have been some of my biggest takeaways from the kids who have been through it all. Wapiyapi isn’t about cancer, it’s about allowing children to have fun and be themselves, if only for a week. It is hard to really explain to someone what camp means to me unless they too have experienced the joys of Wapiyapi. If you are interested in learning more, please visit wapiyapi.org or watch the promotional video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIZ0If9fJ1Y.

“SMART” Goal Setting

Madison Clark, Theta Xi, Auburn University
Madison Clark, Theta Xi, Auburn University

One of my favorite parts of LC training was learning about S.M.A.R.T. goals. As a goal-setting person myself, I found learning about S.M.A.R.T. goals not only helpful, but fun! Each letter represents a different aspect of creating, planning and achieving specific goals a person may have. S.M.A.R.T. stands for specific, measurable, attainable, result-oriented and timely. This is a great tool for helping to plan and achieve any goals with school, work, and even in your personal life.

Specific: Goals should be specific and clearly define what you want to do.

Measurable: One should establish concrete criteria to have tangible evidence that the goal has been reached. Questions to ask are “How much?,” “How many?” and “How will I know when it is accomplished?”

Attainable: When setting a goal you want it to be challenging yet realistic and achievable.

Results-Oriented: Specify an outcome you will be excited to achieve.

Timely: There should be a time frame linked with your goal. Set a specific date or time for when you want to accomplish it by.

Use this tool to plan and achieve your goals! The next thing you know, you’ve done it!

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Good Luck!

Madison

I love me!

Annie Forrest, Theta Zeta, University of Virginia
Annie Forrest, Theta Zeta, University of Virginia

Heard the new song called Love Myself by Hailee Steinfeld? If not, check it out, because it’s the inspiration behind my blog post!

The song talks all about loving yourself, which reminds me of one of the most important phrases I learned in college–self-care.

I never knew how much of an impact that one, simple phrase could have then and will continue to have for the rest of my existence.

Why is self-care so important, you may ask?

Because it is the necessary means by which each of us maintains our physical, emotional and mental health. Without taking care of ourselves, we cannot function as the amazing human beings who we are. The one “body-mind-heart-soul” combo we have been blessed with is the only one we will ever have, so we might as well take care of it!

I’ve compiled a list of ways to care for yourself–whether you’re traveling all over the country for your job like me, still in college, living at home or anywhere and everywhere in between!

  • Let yourself cry.Seriously, just let it happen. Crying can be extremely cathartic and good for the soul. There is nothing wrong with you if you cry every day, every week or only every now and then. Crying is healthy, so don’t let anyone try to tell you otherwise.
  • Let yourself feel.Here’s a novel idea that I wish more people expressed to one another: whatever someone is feeling is completely valid, simply because he or she is feeling it. If you feel angry, it’s okay. If you feel sad, down, and depressed, it’s okay. If you feel exuberantly happy and want the world to know, it’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with feeling any particular way and expressing it just as you feel it.
  • Let yourself off the hook.

If you are feeling a little less than chipper or didn’t do so hot on a test, let yourself off the hook. No one is expecting you to feel incredible or be incredible 100% of the time. That’s unrealistic, and if you need a reminder to let yourself grovel and wallow in self-pity occasionally, then here it is. Of course, if you’re groveling and wallowing more than you’re feeling like yourself, then you might need to seek professional help. But just so you know, that’s okay, too.

  • Let yourself indulge.Thanks to Parks and Recreation, we all know the age-old adage of “treat yo’self.” It’s true, though, because when you practice self-care, sometimes you need to indulge in whatever makes you most happy. For me, it’s a donut, a hot cup of coffee and a nice afternoon nap. For you, it probably looks completely different. Whatever floats your boat, though, do it. Life’s too short to not treat yourself kindly.
  • Let yourself say no.This last piece is hard for the motivated person I know you are, but it’s a necessary component of self-care as well. Always saying yes leads to always being stressed and self-care is literally the opposite of being stressed. If adding one more thing to your plate will create undue pressure, then it’s not worth it.

Here are a few ways these tips can manifest themselves in daily life:

Just remember that you are worth taking care of yourself!