Wanderlust.

5

Wanderlust.

A strong desire to travel the world.

 I have an itch that I just can not scratch. A thirst that will never be quenched and a hunger that is never satisfied. I sit on the couch in my house writing this post, but my mind is elsewhere….on a beach one minute, roaming the streets of a European city the next. I close my eyes and I am anywhere but here.

Some people are like parakeets, or any other domesticized bird. They are content in their cage; that small box of wire that they rely on for comfort, and if they are like my family’s parakeet, there are some who never wish to leave. Then in opposition there are the free birds. Birds who have wings and don’t stay in one place for too long, but can always fly home. I would put myself in the latter category.

It is hard when photos or even just my memories cease to remind me that this time three years ago I stepped foot in Florence, Italy for the first time. Two years ago I was exploring three of the best cities in Europe. One year ago I had one of the best times of my life on a cruise where I left all worries behind. I see people traveling and posting pictures on their trips, including my parents who are in Italy as I speak…..(and sadly didn’t invite me!) It is only human to be envious. I have never had such a burning desire to travel before, and I feel like a free bird who has just been caged.

You always want what you can’t have. Telling myself that I can’t travel as freely as before, is only fueling my desire to be irrational and book a flight out of here (most likely a one-way ticket to Florence!) Being stationary for this long is unsettling. This feeling is especially prominent because it is spring break season. As hard as this “adulthood” reality is to face at times, I am thankful for the experiences I have had; I have been to more places in my 22 years of life than some people will ever experience in their lifetime. I know as difficult as this new adjustment may be, my love for traveling will endure throughout the years.

Wanderlust is a beautiful thing to suffer from. Knowing there are endless places to be explored and to create memories, gives me something to look forward to. I have plenty of years ahead of me to venture out of my small cage door and spread my wings. You just can’t keep some birds from flying.

Mommy Boot Camp.

photo-16 People always say moms have one of the hardest jobs, and I’ve always been a firm believer in that. I know growing up that I wasn’t always the perfect child (even though I am now, right mom?). My brothers and I were involved in extracurriculars that required mom to be our chauffer. She packed countless lunches into our lunchboxes before school and made us a nice meal every night and helped us fight every cold and kiss every boo-boo away. After spending three days and being the interim head of household at my second cousin’s, I got a glimpse into what this beautiful thing called motherhood is.

I arrived while both girls were still at school. I received the list of duties- what to feed the dogs and cat and when to feed them, what the girls like to eat and dinners they enjoy, what time to wake them up for school, when to wait at the bus stop, etc. I was perfectly ready to sort of play the role of a mom for the next few days. Little did I know the laughs and joy it would bring. After walking both the dogs, and making an unsaid but understood truce with the cat (who taught me if I don’t feed him when he says so, he will trick me by rubbing lovingly on me then taking an unexpected bite into my leg…..), I headed out to the bus stop promptly at 2:05pm to wait for the girls. I stood there with two other moms, and chatted with them as if I did this every day. They got off the bus, all smiles and eager for a hug after a long day of school. We walked home and I got to reminisce in their elementary school gossip- what boys in class annoyed them the most, how Caitlyn dreaded the practice EOG coming up, and how messy the inside of their desks are. I let them enjoy their after school snack, and after letting me know they didn’t have any homework due the next day we ventured out to the trampoline- they showed me a routine they made up full of flips and dance moves and I couldn’t help but give a standing ovation. They even convinced me that I could still do a front flip- which I learned I can, but my body is not as small as it once was, and well, I ended up on my face, but at least it made them laugh.

The girls had Tumble at 4:45pm. But what even is Tumble? It sounds like doing flips or something, but does it involve dancing? Or is it Cheerleading? Maybe it’s gymnastics. It was a foreign concept to a person who is as graceful as an elephant. After making sure both girls were buckled up safely in the backseat and after a jam session to some “oldies” that had the girls cracking up, we arrived, and I quickly learned what Tumble is. It is just floor stunts- cartwheels, handstands, backbends, all on cushioned mats. I’m sitting against the wall with moms who are all chatting with each other, or yelling at their daughter to please be careful so as to not break their arm yet again…I sat watching the girls and smiled everytime they did something because they really were the best ones there. I felt terrible for laughing to myself at all the other kids there who were falling on their faces, but my kids were the best. Wait that’s right, I don’t have any kids….but you know what I mean. My heart lit up when a Meghan Trainor song came on, and both girls looked at me in excitement from across the room and laughed. Our own little joke about how they think I look like Meghan Trainor (personally I think it’s just the blonde hair and that we share the same name, even though adding an “H” is totally the wrong way to spell it). I also made sure to give them a thumbs up when they looked my direction to make sure I gave them my undivided attention. I heard a girl angrily accusing her mom, the woman beside me, of not paying attention to her, and I heard the hurt in her voice. I made sure never to look away from the floor, to give the girls the time they deserve. Afterwards we enjoyed a healthy dinner, I made sure the girls had showered, and we watched a chick flick on tv while Leah taught me to play a card game. I spent longer than anticipated packing two well balanced, nutritious lunches, and put a surprise note from “Meghan Trainor” in each. I made sure to see how the girls like their sandwiches cut- in half? In fourths? With or without the crust? It really does matter at this age. After getting them to bed, and tucking them in tight, it was lights out after Day 1 of mommy bootcamp. But it didn’t end there….since I wokeup at 2am and was paranoid about not locking the front door, so I double checked.

I awoke at an ungodly hour to feed the dogs and let the puppy out, and turned on the news. Union County schools were closed. The girls wokeup and the mention of the word snowday lit their eyes up, and I couldn’t help but feel excited for them. Nothing is more glorious than waking up to seeing the earth colored white and realizing you are free for the day. That morning half the neighborhood was in the backyard sliding down the slide, jumping on the fluff covered trampoline and sledding down a mere 10ft hill. Oh to be young again. The day was full of movies, alternating snow gear in the dryer, and never getting out of pajamas. Leah had homework due the next day, so we sat at the kitchen table before dinner working on it- and let me tell you, 3rd grade English is a lot harder than I expected. Long –EA words vs Short –EA words, things I obviously understand but are foreign to me at the same time. Afterwards we attempted to make butterscotch pudding as a treat, which somehow didn’t come out that great, but I’m not surprised, I’m no Betty Crocker. Atleast we had fun making it. We then spent the evening watching The Goonies and it was off to bed to conclude Day 2.

I was abruptly woken up to the puppy’s wailing way earlier than expected, and let him out and unfortunately had to clean puke, pee (twice) and poop all before the hour of 8am. I also suffered another wound inflicted by the cat. Today was off to a great start! Union County had a 2hr delay…..growing up in CMS, I don’t recall ever having a 2hr delay. What do I do? When will the bus come, when does the first bell ring? So many questions. It’s pretty obvious to just add 2 to the regular first bell time, so we adjusted our morning schedule accordingly. I decided to drive them to school so that they were warm and toasty. All the other parents and school staff were staring at me a little longer than normal in the carpool lane, since all other cars were moms in minivans. I said goodbye to the girls, wished them a good day at school and headed home to coffee cup number two.

At 2:05pm I was standing at the bus stop again, and after greeting the girls we had our “How was school today?” chat. We rode bikes to the neighborhood park, where I had to race the girls down the slides (who beat me everytime, since my rear-end is a little larger than it accounted for). We played tag, went on the swings and swung on the monkey bars. We rode home, and the girls reunited with their real mom. Interim duty had ended.

This post was long. It was me just rambling and giving an overview of the little moments of the past few days that may not matter to anyone, or to you who is reading this right now. I am not a mother. But I will be one day. I learned, it is the small and tender moments that don’t have any sort of life lasting impact on you, but it will on them. We sometimes tend to forget that when we grew up, our parents love and attention to our lives, interest in what happened in our school days, and attendance to all our after school activities, all amounted to preparing us for the most important job we have- to be a parent.

If my mother wasn’t as loving, compassionate and caring as she was, I would have been lost. It was as if I had an unwritten script on what to say when the girls stepped off the bus, or to make sure to ask how they want their sandwich cut, or even telling them to brush their teeth before bed- all because I had someone there to do that for me. If you are as fortunate as I am to have the best mom ever, then you can feel her love for you pulsing through your veins; I am imprinted with my mother’s affection, and it is in our nature to share that feeling with the world. This week was eye-opening to me, it was confusing and hectic at times, and so extremely rewarding. Thank you mom. I know this was just a practice run, but I know when it is the real deal, and I have my own kids, that I am prepared because of you.

PGL.

photo-15

I would like to start this post out by saying, yes, I haven’t written a blog in almost half a year. The reason why: Life got complicated.

My last posts were about an early job experience, and from the summer when I accepted my first job. This is one of the biggest moments you have waited for your entire life. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” they’d all ask when you were young, with nothing but endless possibilities ahead. Answers varied from fashion designer, to veterinarian to a princess (sadly the last one never worked out for me). I had stars in my eyes and fireworks going off in my head when I was offered my first “big girl job”. I couldn’t wait to have a paycheck, a closet full of cute professional attire, and be a successful, working woman. It seemed to good to be true- and of course, as most things in life are, it was.

I believe that television and movies portray post-grad life, or what our generation has duly given the acronym “PGL”, to be glamorous, fun and exciting. You will love your job, feel invincible and also look great while doing it (in your colorful pencil skirt with high heels). You will make friends in your office and go out for drinks afterwards and all gossip about how much you hate your boss or how annoying your clients are. A prime example for me was Katherine Heigl in 27 Dresses. She had the perfect apartment in NYC, the fun wedding planning job, the cute outfits. Of course she was also unhappy about being single, but hey aren’t we all? I would always watch that movie and say, “That makes graduating not seem so bad- I can be like her.” Fast forward to my life the past 6 months and on the outside, yes I achieved my “Katherine Heigl 27 Dresses status”. I had the perfect job, the perfect chic apartment, and I was on top of the world.

But that is a lie that was painted to people who don’t actually know me. I was absolutely miserable. I hated my job so much, that I would wake up each day feeling sick. I have cried enough tears to fill an entire swimming pool. Panic attacks were basically penciled into my schedule each week. I was in denial that this was happening to me. Sixteen years of school, endless papers and projects and presentations, all lead up to that “dream job” that you land after college. I never once imagined a realistic scenario that many people are faced with, including myself: “What if I hate my job?” It was a lot of pressure and build-up, but I ended up quitting my job after 6 months, right before Christmas. I felt immediate relief.

Fast forward to now, and all relief is gone. I am still job searching. The other day I had an “interview” which ended up being somewhat of a scam and a huge let down. Lately, it is so hard to stay positive. I was so relieved once I quit my job, and now it’s all overshadowed with the immense pressure to find a new job. And not only that, but I am so scared of having to go through that same experience again. The pressure is on to find a job that I enjoy and won’t take me back to what I refer to as “the dark ages”. I am starting completely from scratch, and honestly have no clue what I even want to do now. It’s absolutely terrifying to me. It’s also hard when I keep comparing my life to my friend’s lives. It’s a terrible trait of human nature, to always compare your life to others and it’s crippling. I’m letting their lives dictate the direction I want my life to go in- I see them making friends at work, having fun company get-togethers, and overall just enjoying what they do. In the grand scheme of things, a lot of people don’t like their job, but in my close social circle, the majority of people I know like their jobs.

I have a long road ahead of me. I have had a lot of hard days, with a lot more to come. It is hard, but I have to keep perspective and keep pushing forward. Ironically, over the summer while preparing my big move to my apartment, I painted a quote from Harry Potter onto a large canvas to put above my bed. A wise man *Albus Dumbledore* once said, “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” I had painted this in a time full of excitement and happiness. To me then, the quote was just a cool quote from one of my favorite book series. Now, from this new vantage point, I look at it almost as my daily pep-talk and pick-me-up. It really is up to me to take the pressure off, and make the best of my situation.

PGL hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows. It definitely hasn’t been a cakewalk either. It has been some of the hardest, darkest months of my life- the complete opposite of the picture painted to me by television shows and movies. You wait your whole life for this time it seems, but in retrospect, I have the rest of my life to live. “Post-grad life” is over for me, and now it’s just life. I have a lot of life left, and it’s time to focus on moving forward towards a happier place.

The Destination.

Screen shot 2014-08-29 at 5.45.12 PMI had a connecting flight experience from hell yesterday. The absurdness of the entire situation is still infuriating, even 24 hours later. But you know what is funny- the entire situation, as frustrating as it was, taught me a lesson; let me explain, bear with me this is long, but very entertaining if you are bored.

First you need the story- so my company booked me a flight out of Nashville, that connected in DETROIT, and then down to Charlotte. The first point I’d like to make is who on earth thought “Hey, let’s make people’s lives so difficult by making them go extremely out of the way to go home”, and the second point I’d like to make is I swore I’d never, ever step foot in Detroit in my entire life, yet I broke that promise, and trust me I won’t do it again.

My connecting flight landed 10 minutes late in Detroit. Thank God the one thing that went right was that the flight attendants allowed people connecting to exit the plane first. So I had approximately 30 minutes until the doors closed for my next flight. I’m power-walking at the speed of light/borderline jogging to get to the gate which was listed on the screen as C25. I got off my plane at A1. Well, there are SEVENTY-FOUR gates in terminal A…..I’d like to know who designed this airport because they easily make it to numero uno on my hit-list. So I panicked, and asked a security officer how to get to terminal C, because there was no way I would make it if I had to run the entire 2 miles that was terminal A. “Oh it’s just down that escalator over there!” Oh thank you sir, thank you for making me think it was just a couple steps away. No- it was down an escalator, through a half a mile long tunnel and up another escalator. By this point I was full on running. I reach the top, dripping sweat, panting and thrilled because I made it in time, with 15 minutes left!

No, of course not, that would be too good to be true, wouldn’t it? Thank God I decided to look at the screen to double check because what do you know? IT CHANGED…..TO A74, THE FARTHEST GATE FROM ME! And even worse, it was boarding. So down the escalator, back down the tunnel, up the escalator and I’m back where I started. People kept asking me if I was okay because I was honest to goodness choking on air because I couldn’t breathe. Some nice people cheered me on, which even though I was stressed, it was really nice. So, I am at A 18….only 56 gates to go! I had approximately 10 minutes to get to my gate or I was stuck in that god-forsaken city. Want to know what was going through my head the entire time I sprinted to my gate? Someone shoot me now- that’s what I was thinking. There was no time to be polite as I shoved people out of the way and ran over a few innocent toes in the process…I feel bad today about that of course.

By some miracle, I made it, and with just TWO minutes to spare. I get on the plane- everyone was staring at me as I had tears in my eyes, I was actually soaked in sweat by this point, and by how hard I was breathing you would have though I was in labor about to pop a kid out at any moment. I also was so shaky from having only had one meal that day, so I was struggling to get my carry on into the stowing compartment- did anyone help me? Nope, of course not. And wouldn’t you just know it, my seat is beside a man the size of Hagrid from Harry Potter (he even had the same beard and frizzy long hair…oh the irony!) As friendly as this fellow was, he took over half of my seat, and kept trying to chat with me as I am gasping for air. I ask the stewardess if I could please have a cup of water before taking off as I have a heart condition and was feeling ill, well she was a complete *insert any rude, name calling, curse word here* and she said no. Well gee Delta, if I die it’s on you and your crappy attendants.

So- I bet most of you are wondering, what lesson could you possibly gain from this horrendous experience? Well, as I was sitting there, rethinking the entire ordeal that was the past 30 minutes of my life, I couldn’t stop smiling because I made it. I was on the flight home. I didn’t even care that this large human being was all up in my space. I didn’t really care that people were staring at me. I didn’t care that my legs were so shaky, and my feet were bleeding from the blisters that were rubbed raw. I had made it.

It makes me think, in the grand scheme of things, that the journey to achieve your goals can be rough. You can go through absolute hell and back, but if you land on your feet, you will be okay. It makes all the negative aspects shrink into the background, and all you can focus on is the fact you have made it, and you are going to be okay. A girl who has a bad breakup, cries herself to sleep every night and can’t eat because she is so depressed- that girl will meet the man of her dreams, and then she will soon forget about where she was before, because she is now whole again. That man who got laid off at work, and goes to interview after interview- all those long hours working odd jobs while sending out his resume, will all amount to the success he has in his job he finally scores. That college student who can’t seem to scrap a good grade to save their life, and is failing some courses- after sleepless nights spent studying and drinking lethal amounts of coffee will all be replaced by the feeling of contentment once they get that A. Or in my case, just having terrible airport experiences and physically feeling like you are going to die, but you make it….with just two minutes to spare. If you are happy at the end of whatever journey you are on, that is all that matters- not the pain and suffering you went through to get there.

Just remember, there really is truth in the phrase, “The journey is the destination”.

The Unexpected.


The word “unexpected” usually seems negative or scary, am I right? We think of unexpected pregnancies, unexpected deaths of friends or family, or something even as trivial as an unexpected pop quiz at the beginning of class. The sudden unknown is terrifying- it sends you into a tailspin of panic. I feel very justified in saying that whatever is unexpected or unknown is intimidating to most people, especially when it’s not being anticipated.

IMG_2071I graduated with a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications, with my focus in Graphic Design. I interviewed with companies that I’d never expect to really work for. Companies that want me to do marketing, or in this case with the company I am going to be working for, helping with corporate sales and client management. This was an unexpected job choice for me and I feel like I am in unchartered area.

Two days ago I got my official job offer. The headquarters for the company is in Raleigh, NC. I 100% believed I would be in Raleigh for at least a year from what I had gathered, so I decided to fill out paperwork for an awesome apartment with 2 of my best friends from home. This may sound stupid to those reading, and yes maybe it was rushed but we had a short time crunch and we were excited and I had zero doubts that I’d be anywhere but Raleigh. Well, you know what they say, “If it seems too good to be true it probably is.”

There was a .01% doubt in my mind that I would be somewhere else, but what do you know? I am to be located in Charlotte because they split the position differently. This was extremely unexpected. I was sent into instant panic, but after calming myself down I realized this is happening for a reason. I am actually thrilled to be able to live in my home city and be near my family. My job requires me to travel to Nashville and Columbia frequently- how much more perfect could that be?! Though this job and the location both took me by surprise, I am trying not to be scared of the future.

I have always pictured myself doing a job in an office everyday, with people my age doing something creative. That was what I expected. This job, while unexpected, seems to be a good fit and people keep telling me they think I can be really good at it. So I’m going to try to have a little more faith in this process. So, I guess the moral of this story, or of life in general is to really “expect the unexpected,” but learn to embrace it.

 

The Art of Goodbye.

IMG_1904

One of the hardest things to do in life, for a sentimental sap like me, is say goodbye. Whether it be for a few weeks or months, or if the time span is unknown, goodbyes always suck. I’ve had my fair share of goodbyes, as I’m sure everyone has, but today’s goodbye taught me how far I’ve come with my mentality of what a goodbye is.

Leaving for college in the summer of 2010 was my first real goodbye, and it was the most dramatic thing to have ever happened to me, seriously- mascara running, endless hugs, writing long letters to 12 of my friends, and sobfests on each other’s shoulders. This goodbye could have triumphed over some breakdowns on Laguna Beach for Pete’s sakes. We were sad to say goodbye to our high school friendships and move on with our lives, that our goodbye felt so pivotal. Little did we know at that time that we’d all return home frequently and for holidays and everything was as it should be.

Freshman year I said goodbye to my beloved Pop-Pop who lost his battle with cancer. This goodbye was so final and hurt so much that crying was all I could do. Move on forward to saying goodbye to my friends my sophomore year who were basically my family in South Quad. We did everything together that when we moved out of our sacred 4th floor it seemed this goodbye was necessary, yet we still see each other from time to time and it’s all the same. Saying goodbye to my friends before I left for Italy, and saying goodbye to those friends I made in Italy were equally as hard, but they’re all still there and continue to bless me with their friendships everyday. Graduation was hard, but only a few tears were shed. My best friends and I focused more on the future and good times to be had rather than to dwell on what we were leaving behind- and now I will see them in less than a week!

Today I said goodbye to my best friend Kelly who is embarking on her Au Pair adventure in Germany for a year (you go girl!) and even though I was sad, I didn’t cry. This is the first goodbye that no tears were shed, even though they were stinging at the corners of my eyes. I look back on all the other goodbyes and realized a lot of tears were unnecessary because the people who mean the most to you, even if they are gone for a little while, will return to you if they love you and care about you. Kelly is gone for a year, which seems like an eternity, but is really just a crumb in the cookie of life (cheesy I know, but I love cookies and this seemed appropriate). I know I will talk to her frequently and see her in a year!

In the grand scheme of things, goodbyes are far and few in between depending on how many people you let into your life and how many leave, whether permanently or temporarily. I’ve only had a few goodbyes that always came in what seems like life-changing events, but what I’ve learned is there is really a good in goodbye. As hard as goodbye is, everything that follows after is okay and life goes on and continues to be great. Embrace goodbye with a smile, not tears. Those whose lives have been touched by you and see you as significant will be around for the long haul, so goodbye isn’t ever really goodbye, it’s always a “see you later.”

Tag! You’ve been nominated!

photo-7

My friend and wonderfully talented kappa sister Makena Cummings has nominated me for a Liebster Award, which is for little blogs (like me!) who have 200 or less followers so that we can gain a little more recognition! HOW COOL so I get to tell all of ya’ll 11 fun facts about myself and then answer the 11 questions Makena has for me, and then pass the love along to a few of my blogger friends (it’s like playing tag I LOVE it!)

 

Here we go!

1. I am a bookworm- my favorite place in the whole world is Barnes & Noble (because the smell of new books mixed with coffee smells like heaven). I love to spend a lot of free time with my nose in a good book.

2. Speaking of coffee, I am a coffee addict. The thing I look forward to most everyday is waking up and making a big mug of it.

3. I have a black belt in karate. Most people don’t believe me, but I really did the whole “karate-chopping wooden boards in half” thing.

4. My family and I had a goldfish (named Goldy of course….) who lived to be almost 10 years old, that should be a world record, am I right?

5. I LOVE Disney movies, and still watch them on a regular basis. Maybe it’s because I’m nostalgic, but it really brings me back in time to when I was a kid and we had no worries (Hakuna Matata!)

6. I have lived in Matthews, NC my entire life and I could probably live here the rest of my life. It’s the cutest town right outside Charlotte and everyone knows everyone here. It’s got great weather, food, events and it’s close to the mountains and beach, so basically it’s perfect.

7. I am 110% a dog person; I have a hard time trusting all you cat-lovers.

8. I randomly burst into song using my “broadway voice”, much to my roommates/friends/college neighbor’s annoyance….my songs of choice are “Let it Go” from Frozen, Christmas songs, and pretty much anything from The Sound of Music.

9. My favorite season is fall. I like the cool weather, pumpkin spice lattes (so “common white girl” it hurts), big sweaters and FOOTBALL FOOTBALL FOOTBALL.

10. I have an addiction to Instagram. I love filter applications and spend hours editing photos that I plan to frame and hang in my apartment…whenever I get a big-girl job and move out that is.

11. My favorite location in the entire world is San Miniato al Monte in Florence, Italy.

 

Okay now time to answer Makena’s questions for me!

 1. Coffee or tea? COFFEE 100%.

 2. Favorite magazine? InStyle…it’s massive so it keeps me occupied for a while, and it’s good for outfit and hair tips!

3. What was the last movie you watched and what did you think of it? I watched Catching Fire with my best friend Kelly and I could watch that movie a million more times. I’m a Hunger Games fanatic.

 4. What is your guilty pleasure? I don’t know if this really counts but I love to make any excuse to get really dressed up (full hair, full makeup, dress and heels the whole shebang!). Oh, and chocolate of course.

5. If you could tell your middle school self one thing, what would you say? I would tell my awkward self that the boys will grow taller… I was always one of the taller girls in middle school and now I’m a mere 5’5”.

6. Most recent awkward moment? Oh jeeze, I have too many to count. I guess today when I was shopping in LOFT and I dropped everything I was holding and knocked over a bunch of stacked clothes….woops!

7. What is your cocktail of choice? Captain and coke (older brother influence).

8. What is your favorite new music discovery? Matthew Koma.

9. If you could wear one item of jewelry for the rest of your life, what would it be? I would have to say the gold fleur-de-lis ring my parents bought for me while visiting me in Florence. I wear it almost every day, and it reminds me of how much I love and miss Italy.

10. What is the cosmetic/beauty product you can’t live without? Loreal’s Magic Perfecting Base- it really is magic. I have shiny and oily skin, and one little scoop of this erases shine.

11. You can take three items to a deserted island….what would you take? Oh gosh this one’s always hard…I’d bring books (geeky I know but I need to pass the time), I’d pray to God I could use electricity so I could bring my Keurig to make coffee, and I’d bring Cola, my stuffed dog who goes everywhere with me.

 My questions for my nominees:

1. Dogs or cats? (choose wisely)

2. If you could go hop on a plane right now where would you go?

3. Would you rather go sky diving or scuba diving?

4. What is your favorite childhood memory?

5. If you could pick a different university to go to than the one you attended, where would you want to go?

6. If you could be a boy for a day, what would you want to do the most?

7. Chocolate, vanilla, strawberry or flavor of choice?

8. What is the number one played song in your itunes?

9. Favorite sport to watch?

10. Who is your celebrity crush?

11. If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

Now drumroll please………………I would like to nominate:

 He Leads: Melissa Borden (http://embracingadventure.wordpress.com)

Forever Fascinated: Courtney Charroux (http://charroux10.wordpress.com)

 This Beautiful Life: Jordan Carmichael (http://jordancarmichael.wordpress.com)

 You should all also follow Makena Cummings at http://makenagranger.blogspot.com, she has some awesome posts/fashion/photography, she basically rocks LUV YOU XOXO.

Here’s to the Tears You Knew You’d Cry.

IMG_8254

I am an emotional person, this is a known fact by most of you reading this. I was surprised that I didn’t cry during graduation, or the whole day (minus the happy tears from Natalie flying in from Paris to surprise us!) but it took until saying good-bye to one of my equally emotional and sappy friends, Tayler, that night. Then I held it together while leaving apartment 2902, and during my last Groucho’s run with the “group chat”, but then when saying good-bye to 6 of my best friends I lost it (in the Groucho’s parking lot by the way, where food truck men were unloading boxes so they got a show), and continued to cry the entire hour and a half drive home. To make matters worse, all these sentimental songs kept popping on my itunes shuffle.

I really truly was in pain when leaving that at points I thought I may need to pull over because I could barely see through the tears- I wish I was exaggerating but I’m not. And it hit me- If you leave something behind and don’t feel any sort of sadness, then it didn’t really mean anything did it? The things in life that mean the most, if they are worth it and really truly mean something to you, are going to hurt when you leave them behind. I know Columbia changed me and I did the whole college right because leaving was so painful, and saying goodbye to my friends was too emotional.

This is the time that true friendship is tested to see if it can withstand the passing years. Although it scares me that I don’t know when I will see most of my friends next, I am not worried. I know we will always be in touch. I’ve been molded by each and every friend I made throughout college, and each person has a special place in my heart. I’ll miss not having Courtney 5 steps away in the next room and having her walk into my room to snuggle and laugh hysterically about our adventures in 5 points the night before. I’ll miss having Tsunami dates with Paula any day of the week, Mary and her pep talks and always being down to watch a movie, and nights that Tayler and I would cry in Pinch while reminiscing about our time together in Florence. These are just little things, but they really made my college experience what it was, and thinking about moving forward without these people at my side is nerve-wracking. The uncertainty of where we will all end up makes it terrifying, but I know we will all get together soon. It hurt saying bye to each and every friend that mattered, and that’s how I know I want to make the effort to keep them in my life.

We will make memories post-college that will be just as impactful and twice as much fun. The song that made me think about why sobbing my eyes out was a good sign was “Here’s to the Night” by Eve 6. It popped on my ipod shuffle and the words just made sense. “Here’s to the nights we felt alive, here’s to the tears you knew you’d cry, here’s to goodbye, tomorrow’s gunna come too soon.” We had the best times together in college, and I will never forget my forever friends, I will see you soon and I love you all!

(To view a video taken by the wonderful Ashley Pullen of when Natalie surprised us click this link!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-95shVye10&feature=youtu.be

 

Here’s A Health Carolina.

IMG_8212 copy 2

I can still remember the drive to Columbia as I started my college experience. Of course it was hot as hades as my family and I lugged all my belongings up to the 6th floor of Columbia Hall. I was feeling all sorts of things- excitement, anxiety, nervousness and sadness all at the same time. It was the first big step in growing up. When my parents left (after not shedding one tear, not even ONE!) I realized “this is it….here come the best 4 years of my life.”

I hated Columbia. Between roommate issues, sketchy homeless men hitting on me or saying rude things, to the casual 100 degree weather and 100% humidity, to the musty smell of the J-school I was not happy. I was the .01% of the freshmen class who didn’t have a fake ID so I didn’t go downtown and have those “regrettable nights”. I had friends, but I constantly missed my high school friends and went home a little too often. I even started to fill out a transfer application to NC State, which many people don’t even know, but I just couldn’t go through with it. I’m not a quitter; I wasn’t brought up that way. Once I commit to something, I find a way to make it work. Writing this the day before my graduation (dun dun dunnnnnn) I realize that staying was the best decision I made.

I know now how wonderful this university is. I can’t imagine any other school’s game days being as awesome as ours (we do have the hardest stadium in the entire country to win a game in- just my little bragging point). Endless amounts of memories were made on Saturdays in South Carolina. Tailgating in little black dresses became a ritual, and there is truly nothing that gives you goosebumps like entering Williams-Brice Stadium and jumping to the first Sandstorm of the game. And don’t get me started on how awesome the USC-Clemson games are. I learned that while walking from the BA to Greek Village is a hike, especially when it’s hot, it’s worth the walk. I appreciate this historic campus and the mix of yellow stucco and brick buildings. The Horseshoe is the heart of the school, and walking through there on foggy mornings at 8am are unforgettable, even through sleep deprived eyes. I was skeptical of greek life (as stated in a previous post) but nothing can compare to USC’s Greek Village. To people on the outside, it’s a cul-de-sac of brick mansions full of obnoxious, rowdy, spoiled kids. But to me, it was a home away from home. The Kappa house provided me with endless amounts of laughter, “yellow-room vibes”, and memories with the people I love the most. Nights spent studying in the dreadful T-Coop, to Saturday brunch with friends in Russell House, coffee dates in Colloquium, to an un-godly amount of hours spent in the J-School computer lab, to tripping on bricks all around campus, to the “snow days”, and nights spent frolicking through 5points in all my 21 bliss- every little moment, every little memory all adds up to the college experience.

USC taught me that you will bleed Garnet and Black for the rest of your life and that it’s okay to be a crazy obsessed football fan. It also taught me that hard work pays off, but it’s okay to get a bad grade once in awhile-it’s not the end of the world. I learned that classes can actually be fun if you put your phone down and actually listen. USC also taught me how to branch out and make friends wherever I went. USC taught me a lot of things- but what is most important is what USC gave to me. It gave me some of my best friends, who I know will really and truly be there for a lifetime. Friends that I’ll go on weekend getaway trips with, friends that will continue to go to Carolina games in the fall (I’ll be Sandstorming till I’m 90), and friends who I can just call up once in awhile to talk on the phone or send Christmas cards to. And USC really did give me the best 4 years of my life.

It seems like just yesterday that I was donning a silver cap and gown at the Butler High School graduation, and it’s so hard to really believe tomorrow is the big day. Sixteen years of school all leading up to a five second walk and a firm handshake across the stage (let’s hope I’m not “that girl” who trips and falls….). It leads up to the simple gesture of moving your tassel from right to left. This defining moment in everyone’s life is just a few seconds long, and most of us will be too excited to even be able to remember it. I wish there was a way to freeze frame every step, but it makes this moment even more bittersweet. I will cherish those steps across that stage for the rest of my life- it’s the defining moment that years of hard work led up to.

“College is the best 4 years of your life”, as I am constantly reminded by people who have already graduated. So hearing, “I would give my right arm to be back in college” or “You better cherish it, because you won’t ever have that much fun again” isn’t exactly the most reassuring thing to hear going into the real world. Thankfully, I’m looking at it optimistically and think there is plenty of good times to come! I know I won’t ever forget my time here at the University of South Carolina, and I will never take for granted what it taught me, and especially what it gave me. I am always proud to be a Gamecock and will forever be grateful for my experience here. I’m raising my glass to you- Here’s a health Carolina, forever to thee.

IMG_8149 copy

On the Heart of Each Sister

kappa

I came into college very closed-minded on the topic of joining a sorority. I always pictured Elle Woods-barbie doll looking girls, endless amounts of Jack Rogers and nauseating amounts of Lilly dresses. I thought being in a sorority was conformity. Therefore, I did not go through recruitment fall of my freshman year. In the spring when offered the chance to spring rush for Kappa Kappa Gamma, I didn’t realize what a huge decision I had made when I went against my beliefs and said “YES!” to accept my bid on the phone.

Kappa girls, all my sistah-frands, you are wonderful. Yes, some of you are Barbie-dolls, and some of you have every single Jack Roger’s sandal and every season’s new Lilly Dress, but you know what, that’s okay. You have shown me that being in a sorority isn’t all that it may seem to those on the outside. I have two brothers and growing up I went to my mom for all my boy issues or girl talk. I never got to swap clothes, have someone do my makeup (or fake eyelashes, thanks Courtney), get to do someone else’s hair for a big event, or have that person to lay awake with all night just to talk about life. Don’t get me wrong- two brothers are great, but some part of me always did wonder what having a sister would be like.

Kappa gave me sisterhood. Yes, that’s cliché, but I couldn’t have asked for a better sisterhood. These past three and a half years with Kappa have completely shaped and molded myself and my college experience. Kappa has given me everything- opportunities, involvement, lots of nights to remember with functions and most of all sisters (300 something of them!). I can truly say I didn’t make best friends, but I gained sisters. The girls I have grown close to know me like the back of my hand. They’ve been there for me through everything- When I ace that hard test they’re there to congratulate me, when I foundout that boy I liked was a scumbag they’re there to uplift me with kind words and ice cream, and when I make stupid jokes they actually laugh at them. I have sisters who swap clothes with me, let me curl their hair, and who will help me with my makeup. I have sisters who will sit around just to talk about nothing and everything all at the same time. They will always be down to have a fun night out on the town or to stay in and snuggle with chick flicks and wine. When I’m sick they bring me cards and hot soup, directly to my doorstep. I got my first apartment with my sisters, and a sister even lived with me in Italy while we studied abroad. They have been there for all the small and huge steps in my life, not because they had to, but because they wanted to.

These girls aren’t what people perceive as the stereotypical “cookie-cutter” sorority girls. They have the most genuine and kind hearts of anyone I have ever known. I have been accepted for the person I am into this beautiful organization. I have never been more proud to wear a shirt than the ones that have those three letters, KKG, on them. These girls have changed the way I viewed sororities from the moment I joined, and have continued to make me love sorority life as the years progressed. Monday was my very last formal chapter as an active member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, and I was emotionally moved to tears at the end of ritual. Yes, I know I cry easily, but actual tears flooded out of my eyes and it was physical evidence of the love I have felt and will cherish throughout the rest of my years. I no longer have that desire to know what having a sister is like because Kappa has fulfilled it. People always say that sisterhood lasts forever, and it really resonates with me now- I will forever hold these memories in my heart, and I will be forever grateful to Kappa for proving me wrong and showing me what sisterhood is like. I will always remember my dear Kappa days.

“On the heart of each sister, lies one key that binds us.”

DSC_0392773773

(shout out to Makena Cummings, our wonderful sister who took this photo for us! LYLAS GURL)