Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday Goals for the Week!

1. Finish my senior seminar paper. This is a VERY lofty goal, but I would like to have it finished before going into my oral presentation. (Not even a chance, maybe I can finish it by Wednesday....)
2. Spend one hour every day doing something fun (either on pinterest or playing a video game to relax and decompress) (Yes!)
3. Finish my rough draft of Spanish paper. (Almost!)
4. Catch up on all late work in Literature. This is SHAMEFUL. I am soooo far behind in this class. (Yes!)
5. Remove all items from my room that I am giving away/throwing out. It sounds icky, but I just decided to throw away some books that are falling apart and some old craft things that were just cluttering up my life. I throw away A LOT of stuff that I don't need/want and isn't suitable for donation.  (Yes!)
6. Take mom to see Thor 2. She really wants to go and I'm not being a good daughter lately. (Tried...failed)
7. Go to all classes clean/dressed/made-up (Yes!)

So I got some, not all, accomplished. I'm definitely going to do better this week.
1. Be on time to every single class (and attend every single class)
2. Get items from home together for Formal Recruitment Charm Checks! Can't wait! I love recruitment so, so much.
3. Decide what I will be making for Thanksgiving. My first thanksgiving with a significant other's family. eeeeep.
5. Celebrate finishing senior sem (if applicable)
6. Complete all scheduled blog posts this week.
7. Get car serviced! (Groupon for Jiffy Lube)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Obsession of the Week!

Black Friday Ads leaked online! That has taken up an inordinate amount of time this week. I really love the energy of Black Friday shopping and excitement of getting great deals!

First: I review the ads that have leaked ahead of time, but then review them again on Thanksgiving when I get the newspaper. (I always get both local newspapers, because sometimes one has ads the other does not. Typically this only applies to grocery ads. Also useful when you need multiples of the same coupon like $1 off something since it can't double.)

Second: I plan out my basic attack strategy. What time does which store open? Who has items I need v. want? Prioritize where, when, and why.

Third: Put all of this into writing. Keeping it in your head is how you get confused, flustered, and end up missing out on stuff.

Black Friday 2013 Shopping
Time Store Item Price  Discount  Notes
Walmart World of Warcraft Expansion $10.00          $19.99
  Walmart Supercenter (approx travel time 12min)
  Cisco N600 Router $44.97          $35.00
  11181 Lee Hwy
  Pyrex Set $19.99  
   Fairfax, VA 22030
Target Westinghouse 40" Television $199.99        $429.99
  Target (approx travel time 14min)
  Sony Wifi BluRay Player $54.99          $104.99
  13047 Fair Lakes Shopping Center
  Aero Bed $64.00 $129.99
  Fairfax, VA 22033
  Ninja Master Prep $29.00 $49.00
  Contigo Water Bottles
Look at pots and pan sets*
$15.00           $24.99

Here is my basic spreadsheet. I plan to print out a copy of this as well as a copy of directions to both stores. I will be spending Thanksgiving with my boyfriend and his family, so I needed to familiarize myself with the things that are around there and how to get to them.

How do you plan your Black Friday shopping? 

Monday, November 11, 2013

I'm still alive!

I am still here! Amazingly enough, senior year has not killed me just yet. However, it has kept me extremely busy. I'm planning to get back into blogging full force starting today. I'm challenging myself to one post per day. So, bear with me and send me your comments and suggestions! I'm ready to get back in the full swing of things!
So what has been happening? I'm waist deep in my senior seminar (senior thesis) paper as well as 2 other papers I am highly invested in. 
I am working as hard as I have ever worked before, and therefore have not had any time to myself to do the things that I want to do. 
Blog Schedule (tentative..feel free to share ideas!)
Monday: Goals (old and new)
Tuesday: Obsession of the Week
Wednesday: Television Review (I love TV shows so I will comment on a different one every Wednesday)
Thursday: Fashion cheat sheet. (Easy ways to get ready or get good deals)
Friday: Weekend Update!

I am setting goals for this week, seven goals to complete by next Monday November 18.
1. Finish my senior seminar paper. This is a VERY lofty goal, but I would like to have it finished before going into my oral presentation.
2. Spend one hour every day doing something fun (either on pinterest or playing a video game to relax and decompress)
3. Finish my rough draft of Spanish paper.
4. Catch up on all late work in Literature. This is SHAMEFUL. I am soooo far behind in this class.
5. Remove all items from my room that I am giving away/throwing out. It sounds icky, but I just decided to throw away some books that are falling apart and some old craft things that were just cluttering up my life. I throw away A LOT of stuff that I don't need/want and isn't suitable for donation. 
6. Take mom to see Thor 2. She really wants to go and I'm not being a good daughter lately. 
7. Go to all classes clean/dressed/made-up

These are all reasonable goals, I think. Let's get it done!

Monday, September 30, 2013

It's Monday!

I love that every Monday +Lindsey Mart motivates me to get my weekly goals together. It's like starting off the week with a purpose. We evaluate last weeks goals, set new ones for this week. And throw in any helpful information, or ask for some! EVERYONE should do this, bloggers or non-bloggers!
Last week....
1. Dinner with Dad. No excuses. OHMYGOD no.
2. Pack lunches. not really...
3. Get transmission fluid changed. nope.
4. Write a good article for Sorority Stylista complete with photos YES
5. Pack up a fair amount of clothes to keep at Yorktown house so I don't keep driving back and forth for clothes and donate what I don't need at all YES

1. Begin outlining my thesis paper and draft questions for the interviews. {20 days to COSTA RICA!}
2. Spend 2 nights at home in Williamsburg to manage stress appropriately
3. Start a journal
4. Repeat goals 1 & 3 of last week....
5. Clean out room in has become family storage AGAIN.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Budget Management

Hey y'all! I've been promising to post about how I have started keeping my budget in line, and it has really worked for me.
I am terrible with money. I swear every single month I say the same thing "Where did all my money go??" After a few really scary credit card bills, my mom says to me: "Just make a budget and stick to it."
So I did. I went to and read what Toni had to say about budgeting. She is the organizing, budgeting, cleaning, and blogging queen, so I trust her advice implicitly. Follow her blog, follow her pinterest, like her on facebook, I promise you won't regret it.
I had an extra binder laying around the house because I found one at Big Lots for $3 with the zipper pouch already included!

Then I bought $.97 dividers from Walmart and labeled each section. The first is Monthly Budget, then Monthly Expenses, then Weekly Expenses. This way I am not only adding up how much I spend per month, but also per week easily.

So I planned out a budget. This is my FIRST one, so there's a lot of notes on it of what did work and didn't.

 Next I record every expense onto the Monthly Expenses sheet
And then Weekly Expenses. A $0 day is a GOOD day.

And last but not least, SAVE ALL RECEIPTS. Gas receipts for commuter students are tax write-offs, so are school supplies. Clothing receipts are always good to have in case something gets messed up or needs to be returned.

This whole binder cost about $5 to make and has been a lifesaver in organizing my life. Once I see all my silly expenses on paper, I realize how much I would have if I didn't buy stupid things. My Target trips are usually my weakness.
Next month I may take another tip from ABFOL (A bowl full of lemons) and color code with highlights or colored pens so it will be less writing. All green is gas, all blue is food, all pink is spending money, and all orange is bills or something like that.
How do you keep your budget?
*figures based off of an income of approximately $250 per week with the hopes of having savings*

Monday, September 23, 2013

5 for 5

Progress Report! Old goals.
1. Pack my lunch 3 out of 5 days this week. It's not realistic to think that I can actually do it all 5 days. um no.
2. Re-do 3, 4, 5 from last week.
         YES to one. I took hearing loss documentation to the office.
3. Order my face lotion and new coat (Mom's treat) new coat check. face lotion is coming.
4. Record every expense in my new handy-dandy budget binder! (new blog on that to come with FREE printables) YES!
5. Clean out fall/winter wardrobe and remnants of summer and take donations to Goodwill no.

Well. I managed one and 1/3 goal. That's SAD. Might be my worst week yet.
1. Dinner with Dad. No excuses.
2. Pack lunches.
3. Get transmission fluid changed.
4. Write a good article for Sorority Stylista complete with photos
5. Pack up a fair amount of clothes to keep at Yorktown house so I don't keep driving back and forth for clothes and donate what I don't need at all

1. I am stupidly stressed, and I really do have enough time to get it all done...just keep wasting it.
2. I'm incredibly excited for the season premiere of NCIS, but insanely bummed that Cote de Pablo left the show
3. I'm spreading out the watching of Downton Abbey as much as possible so that I am not on a Downton Hangover for a month out of sadness for the loss of the two characters I know are going to die.
4. I still haven't read most of the books I'm using for senior sem paper.
5. I haven't written a good article YET for sorority stylista :(

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Preppy 101: USG Style

All right ladies and gents, I grew up with the ORIGINAL prepsters. My grandfather was King Prep in his KA days. (That's the Kappa Alpha Order, also known as "The Order.") And my grandma was a Tri-Delt. These were the top houses on campus. Legendary for their parties and overall prepping.
My mom tended to have a bit more edge to her style, but everyone needs the fashion-forward mind.
One day, I discovered this little gem in my family's library.
When I was a teenager, I decided that this would be my life. And for years, I spent a great deal of time trying to perfect my prepster lifestyle. The first step was to master the preppy wardrobe. With my grandfather's careful guidance, I was able to learn the ways of the classic prep. He was careful to distinguish which is the "classic" prep style, and which is the "faking it" prep style. 
He went on to explain that at any informal gathering, Top Siders are the shoe of choice. Sandals could be worn by women depending on the occasion. That is how we discovered "Jacks" aka Jack Rogers Navajo Sandals
He also went on to explain the polo shirt or golf shirt. He had more golf shirts than the average Vineyard Vines store. His favorite were the "Crab" shirt aka Jimmy and Sook Pique Crab Polo Shirt. My favorites will always be Vineyard Vines or Ralph Lauren. Same for button downs.
Every man should own several pair of well-fitting chinos. Khaki and Navy. Depending on your specific style, Black is also useful.
NEVER wear a polo tucked in unless you're wearing a belt. Big preppy-no-no.
Ladies. A good baseball cap can hide many a bad hair day. My favorite happens to be the one I'm planning on sporting all fall/winter long. The Plaid Frat Hat. +Lindsey Mart and I are obsessed after seeing it on College Prepster. 
Boots. NECESSARY objects. My personal favorite are Frye or Ariat.
The book goes on to talk about preppy activities such as golf, tennis, tailgating, and to drink like a classy prepster. G&T's without getting...what is it they call it now..."white girl wasted." That's gin and tonic by the way. 
If anyone has ever wondered why I march to my own drum, it's because no one seems to follow the rules set forth in this book by the letter anymore. My grandfather taught me at a young age what it means to be a classic prep.
So now I've ordered the sequel to this book, True Prep. But if you haven't read this one...READ it! The Official Preppy Handbook. My style guide at ALL time.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Balancing the work-flow/fun-flow during senior year

If I were to make a meme about my current life it would look something like... 
What I think senior year should look like: (show pictures of sisters hanging out having lunch, girls out living it up at our last few frat parties before graduating into the real world, and tons of photo ops) 
What senior year actually looks like: (show me hidden behind a stack of books, my hair up in a messy bun, and yoga pants for days)
That's about what this semester is shaping up to be like. And I this research assignment is no great shock to me. I have dreaded and anticipated it for 4 years, but for some reason once it's upon you it's a whole knew feeling. First, if you're anything like me, you feel compelled to not only do well but knock it out of the park. In fact, you want to knock it into the next county. I have this romanticized view in my mind of when I finish my thesis (or as CNU calls it, senior seminar) I will be recognized for my insight and dedication as well as invited to present at our annual research panel in the Spring. I've never been satisfied with "good enough" which is not as great of an attribute as it sounds.
My challenge is not missing out on those moments that I will remember for a lifetime, only for a few more sources that I may end up tossing out anyways. This coming weekend is Fall Fest presented by CNU's Campus Activities Board. There are typically inflatable amusement things (whatever they're called) and all of the Student Organizations set up a table and feature a game or give out information about their organization in some fun way.  These are moments to bond with your sisters or teammates or with whomever you share your fraternal bonds. This is a time for which you should prepare by completing your library hours or any work ahead of time and focusing on unforgettable memories.
The PR photo ops, the funzies photo ops, and the silly laughs playing with all of the new puppies that seem to be joining the Greek family at CNU, are almost just as important. I have learned the hard lesson of placing enough value in sisterhood time as well as academic time when budgeting my time. We will sleep when we are dead. (Just kidding...6-8 hours of sleep per night and plenty of Vitamin C, it is cold and flu season after all.)
I just encourage all students, seniors or freshmen, to place enough value in time with sisters as well as academic success. This balance is vital in order to lead a healthy and successful college life. Learn when it is OK to put down the books and go run around like a crazy person on an inflatable moon bounce at Fall Fest, or go to a festival in town,I personally REALLY want a sisterhood lazer tag outing. 
The only way this thesis thing will kill me, is if I let it take all of the fun out of my senior year. Sisterhood may be for life, but the 4 years you are together lays the foundation for those lifelong bonds.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

5 for 5 plus confessions!

I call it "5 for 5" because of +Lindsey Mart and The Sticky Note Addict, but it always ends up that I do these every Saturday so...5 for 7...?

Progress Report: old goals!
1. Most important: develop a topic for my senior seminar paper. (Other schools may call that your senior "thesis") YES! It's on the hybrid culture of nicaraguan immigrants in costa rica and the changes in costa rican society as they have "welcomed" the nicas. :) so excited.
2. Pay credit card bill. I CAN I just haven't. YES! finally!
3. Watch 2 movies on the list for my Hispanic Visual Arts paper. NO... i haven't been home near my Roku... i need to bring the wii to my parent's house so we have netflix...
4. Take hearing loss documentation to disabilities office at school! NO... omg. Get. It. Together.
5. Make an effort to have lunch/dinner with my Dad who I haven't seen in weeks. Effort made, success, no.

New goals!
1. Pack my lunch 3 out of 5 days this week. It's not realistic to think that I can actually do it all 5 days.
2. Re-do 3, 4, 5 from last week.
3. Order my face lotion and new coat (Mom's treat)
4. Record every expense in my new handy-dandy budget binder! (new blog on that to come with FREE printables)
5. Clean out fall/winter wardrobe and remnants of summer and take donations to Goodwill

1. I have no social skills thanks to homework. All I seem to have time to do is work.
2. I'm obsessed with +College Prepster
3. I've been seeing a school therapist to deal with stress at home and at school.
4. The crazier my life gets, the more organized I become.
5. Retail therapy seems to be the BEST medicine :)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Blogtember Day 6

Wednesday, September 11: Share links to your favorite online shops, preferably with a few photos of your favorite items in each shop.

My favorite online I really want to share my secrets?? 

1. is one of my absolute favorites. I find just about all of my favorite brands and labels at great prices. OR those moments where you say: I really need navy wedges for this dress! You can go on and select Women's>Shoes>Wedges>Navy>7.5 and have a nice selection of only shoes in your size that you like!!

2. Ruelala, Gilt, Hautelook are also definite faves but they are really hit and miss. Some days you go on and everything is BARELY discounted from retailer prices so it isn't worth it.

3. And last but never, ever least is my true standby: eBay. I can find almost anything that I want on eBay and with eBay Buyer Protection, if it isn't the real thing, then send it back!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Blogtember Day 6

Tuesday, September 10: Describe a distinct moment when your life took a turn.
I suppose this pays homage to the saying "life isn't about the destination, it's about the journey."
My life has taken countless unexpected turns. The most powerful, because of the effect it had on me emotionally as well as my worldview following it, was losing my grandfather. I completely changed everything about my life. I broke up with the boyfriend he had hated. I quit the job he felt I was wasting my life with, joined a sorority and raised my GPA from a 2.7 to a 2.94 in two semesters. I realized that since he wasn't here to tell me what I was doing wrong, that I should follow the advice and criticisms he had been giving me for years that I hadn't taken. I managed to take it all within the span of about 6 months. I realized I had to turn one of the worst experiences in my life into the catalyst for the best change of my life.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Blogtember day 5

Monday, September 9: Take this short personality test and respond to your results. (at the end, find the detailed profile of your personality account - click "click to view" under "You" and "self awareness and personal growth." You can even google your type and find more info on it!)

This was fantastic because I have taken a similar test before and both times I'm ENFJ. Extroverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Judging. I believe in following your intuition 100% because it so rarely steers you wrong. Extroversion usually gets me into WAY more issues than out of them. But my boyfriend can get OUT of any issues with his extroversion... Feelings also get you in lots of trouble. 

What's yours?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

5 for 5 plus confessions!

Old goals!
1. Color code closet. I didn't get that far, and it's an involved process with a tiny closet. Still has not happened. We've been staying at my grandmother's house so pretty much nothing has been done at my house.
2. Limit my grocery trips to once per week. This means making a real list, not a "this is what I'm in the mood for right now" list. I feel like I'm always at a grocery store. I actually made it a whole 5 days without going to a grocery store. Granted, I probably REALLY need to.
3. Gym 3x a week. I was out of town for 2 days, so that didn't work out.
4. Come up with a thesis/annotated bibliography for my Hispanic Visual Arts class. HAH. I have gotten some sources, but that's about it.
5. Go an entire week without a hitting snooze on my alarm. I think I actually have done this...

New goals!
1. Most important: develop a topic for my senior seminar paper. (Other schools may call that your senior "thesis")
2. Pay credit card bill. I CAN I just haven't.
3. Watch 2 movies on the list for my Hispanic Visual Arts paper.
4. Take hearing loss documentation to disabilities office at school!
5. Make an effort to have lunch/dinner with my Dad who I haven't seen in weeks.

1. I don't really want to have dinner with my Dad. We never have anything to talk about except how well he is going to "start" doing at work.
2. I'm TERRIFIED of this senior sem paper.
3. Sophie and I tried to stay in bed ALL DAY today, but it didn't work. (Sophie is my dachshund snuggle buddy)
4. The only thing that has really helped me improve my mood amidst all this stress is shopping.
5. I find myself wishing I didn't have to speak English...ever. Spanish is so much easier.

Day 5: A story about a time you were very afraid.

Technically this is not a day late since there are no blog assignments on weekends for the blogtember challenge!!
Friday, September 6: A story about a time you were very afraid.
I can tell you I have a lot of quirks and a few of them are odd fears. It isn't so odd to be afraid of spiders, so I'm allowed that one as a freebie. If the spider is big enough, I'm paralyzed with fear completely.
I have always had a fear of the house catching fire because you always hear about people who are trapped saving their family members (that includes pets.) I could never live with myself if I survived because I didn't try to save them. Plus being burned alive is a rational fear.
Nothing to me matches the absolutely awful fear of almost getting into a car accident. Luckily, I've only had one while I was driving and two when I was a passenger. But everything flashes before your eyes when you think you're about to hit something. What if I hurt someone? What if I'm hurt? What if we involve other cars? And of course, my mom is going to kill me! That is a fear I've never been able to get over. That second in which you truly think that you are going to wreck and wonder what damage would ensue upon yourself and others.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Blogtember day 3 Advice!

3: Thursday, September 5: Pass on some useful advice or information you learned and always remembered. 

I get and give a lot of advice. But I think my #1 hands down best advice I've ever heard was from Sweet Home Alabama (the movie) when Reese Witherspoon's father said: "You can't ride two horses with one ass." While he was referring to her predicament of inadvertently having two husbands, it is simply a more crass approach to "you can't have your cake and eat it too." I love this expression. Life truly isn't fair, and while I'm all for living it to the is impossible to have it all. It's not fair to yourself to assume that you can have it all, so prioritize! 
I tried for a long time to have my cake and eat it too, and let me tell you it is EXHAUSTING. Pick a horse, decide whether or not to eat the cake or keep it...but don't torture yourself!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Blogtember Day 2: 3 months off from your current life

Day 2: Wednesday, September 4: If you could take three months off from your current life and do anything in the world, what would you do? 
Three months off of my current life would give me plenty of time to travel. I want to go to Peru, Costa Rica, back to Mexico and to Argentina. These travels would greatly help my current life as I am studying Latin American culture and arts in college. I would see as many plays in Costa Rica as I could, as I have studied Costa Rican emergent theatre in detail. I would see the Incan ruins in Peru. I would visit Mayan and Aztec ruins in Mexico. I would spend time on the Gulf of Mexico beaches in Mexico as that is my FAVORITE place in the world. I would learn more about Argentinian culture and take advantage of the beautiful sights to see in Buenos Aires. I do believe if done right, those four locations would take 3 months.

If only time would continue when I take those 3 months off so I would be that much closer to graduation...

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

5 for 5!

5 Confessions
1. I have been having video game withdrawals from being so busy.
2. The more stressed I get, the less I actually want to get done.
3. I frequently have dreams that I am Ziva from NCIS.
4. Sometimes I'm equally as excited to see my boyfriend's roommate's dog as I am to see the boyfriend.
5. Lately, all I really want to do is crawl into my bed with a book that isn't school related and hide.

How did I do on my goals?
1. Remember hearing aids every day. This is ridiculous. They are expensive and necessary, stop forgetting!!! Not so much.
2. Don't fall behind in any class. YAY! So far so good.
3. Try to write one blog article every day (this is a try not...definite) Hasn't really worked out. But the Blogtember challenge might.
4. Organize closet. When I have extra time. DID IT TODAY!
5. Make a study schedule that is realistic and easy to follow. Haven't made a schedule, but the studying has worked out ok.

New goals!
1. Color code closet. I didn't get that far, and it's an involved process with a tiny closet.
2. Limit my grocery trips to once per week. This means making a real list, not a "this is what I'm in the mood for right now" list. I feel like I'm always at a grocery store.
3. Gym 3x a week.
4. Come up with a thesis/annotated bibliography for my Hispanic Visual Arts class.
5. Go an entire week without a hitting snooze on my alarm.

Blogtember: Day 1

Day 1: Tuesday, Sept. 3: Describe where or what you come from. The people, the places, and/or the factors that make up who you are.

I grew up in Yorktown, Virginia in the heart of the Historic Triangle. For 20 years, I've told people who have asked that I am from Yorktown. They actually ask me if I mean Pennsylvania. I have to fight the urge to say "Did you FAIL US history?" When I was 8, my mom got married and we moved to Alexandria, Virginia just outside of DC. After two years there, we moved to Williamsburg, Virginia which is the other leg of the Historic Triangle. I went to High School in Yorktown though because my family wasn't excited about Williamsburg Public Schools. 
I didn't go beyond Newport News (30min away from my Williamsburg home) for college because not only was I blessed with a very good local school, but my very small and very close family was hard to leave.
My heart is in our summer house though in Anna Maria, Florida. We spend holidays there because it was my grandfather's favorite place too. When people ask, I always tell them I'm a Florida girl because that island made the greatest impact on my life. 
I have lived all over the socio-economic spectrum. My mom has never wanted me to be sheltered or intolerant of others. 
Now I'm itching to start the next chapter in my life away from Historic Virginia and move on to bigger and brighter things such as Nashville (Vanderbilt) or Maryland (College Park.)

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Bucket List

Tonight, my mom and I were talking about our bucket lists. We lost my grandfather very unexpectedly in May of 2012 and we have been doing our best to live life as much as possible. Today we were deciding all of the things we wanted to do before we die.
Most of these involved travel, but it got me thinking that I need to make a Bucket list that I can keep adding to as I learn of new things to do or places to go.
1. Go to Peru. A friend and I have talked about this in great detail, but it hasn't happened and I want it to.
2. Go to Costa Rica and meet Mabel Marin, a playwright whose work I have analyzed and admired in great detail.
3. Shop in Harrod's
4. See Dave Matthews at Red Rocks
5. Hike someplace super exciting (but not dangerous...please)
6. Ride in a hot air balloon
7. Shop on Rodeo Drive just like Vivian in Pretty Woman. (I use this reference because they wouldn't want to help me either.)
8. Ride a horse on a trail without a single fence in sight.
9. Live abroad
10. Drink wine in France, either in Bordeaux or Champagne.
11. Visit the Grand Ole Opry again.
12. Watch every movie on my "to watch" list
13. Learn to make macarons the French way
14. Visit the Caribbean islands
15. Learn Russian
16. Become an expert in something
17. Write a novel (even if no one ever reads it)
18. Have an article published in a scholarly journal
19. Marry my best friend
20. Become a doctor

What is on your bucket list?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

5 for 5 and Confessions!

I'm playing a little bit of catch up this week. I have really, really slacked on blogging since I've traveled so much this summer and haven't been around my computer 24/7. Then school started and things got equally crazy. So now I'm back, and working on awesome stuff for Sorority Stylista. I will be posting ALL of my articles on this blog, but I will start having some things published on Sorority Stylista. So excited for that.
As I play catch up I'm trying to get my bearings for what this semester is going to look like. Let's start with confessions.

1. I procrastinate like its my job. I cannot deny that my bed is my happy place. It is so comfortable and inviting. I say I'm going to just have a quick rest then get to work...and two hours later it's time to move on to the next task and no work is done.
2. I am addicted to Krispy Kreme Krispy Juniors Mini Crullers. I'd like this addiction to go away...but it hasn't happened yet.
3. I'm drowning in trying to get a handle on two internships, four classes, keeping up with the household, and planning out my future.
4. I haven't remembered my hearing aids in about 10 days...EPIC FAIL.

Next...goals! I'm supposed to tell you how I did on the last ones, but I don't even remember them if that tells you how I did.
1. Remember hearing aids every day. This is ridiculous. They are expensive and necessary, stop forgetting!!!
2. Don't fall behind in any class.
3. Try to write one blog article every day (this is a try not...definite)
4. Organize closet. When I have extra time.
5. Make a study schedule that is realistic and easy to follow.

What are your goals and challenges lately?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Old Goals, New Goals

So last week my goals were pretty straightforward.
1. Pack for Chicago, check. I was quite successful. I did end up going home early and missing the Detroit trip because of a cold. Colds are miserable when you have vertigo or ear issues.
2. Start recording expenses, sorta check. I keep all receipts now, but I haven't been logging each expense in a notebook like I had wanted to
3. Make and stick to grocery lists, n/a. I haven't been home, and didn't want to get groceries before I left!
4. Go to bed earlier with time to read, big time no. I pass out the second my head hits the pillow lately.
5. Remember hearing aids every day, check!

This week will be a little different
1. Fix dent in back bumper of the silver bullet (aka. my Kia)
2. Read as much of the book for senior seminar as I can so I will be prepared. It's a total snore.
3. Get my guest room cleaned out and handicap accessible for my aunt to visit :) she is still in a wheelchair from a traumatic car accident, so I want her to feel welcome.
4. Get a present for Dad's 40th birthday. And make his favorite: german chocolate cake!
5. Finish putting together boyfriend's birthday surprise.
*Bonus* - try to get more than 1 blog a week in ;)
Are you keeping up with your goals??

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Goals for the Week!

This is my first time ever publishing my goals for the week, but many of the bloggers I follow every day share their goals with the world. +Lindsey Mart's goals always motivate me, so do +Carly A. Heitlinger's. So here it goes.
1. Pack for Chicago/Detroit Trip. I'm really nervous about this as it is the first time I've ever been up North for longer than a day or so. It will be quite a culture shock with native Michiganders (my boyfriend's family.) AND a 4.5 hour car ride with his dad and his dad's girlfriend from Chicago to Detroit. I always say that if you look your best, you will feel your best so packing is very stressful.

2. Start recording expenses. Target has this fantastic expense tracker made by Fivestar I always have this "Where did all my money go??" feeling at the end of a month, so I want to get a better handle of where it's going. There's also a free app I've become obsessed with: Receipt Hog available through iTunes and the Play Store. You just take pictures of your receipts and it saves the amounts and locations for quick reference.

3. Make and stick to grocery lists! I waste so much money on spur-of-the-moment purchases at the grocery store because it "looked good."

4. Go to bed earlier with time to read before bed. I buy books and REALLY want to read them, but I am so busy or get caught up in a stupid movie and stay up too late. 

5. REMEMBER hearing aids every single day. I have total deaf days because I leave them on a table at home or in the case somewhere in my house and spend the whole day saying "huh?" "what?" because I couldn't remember to stick them in!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

USG Book Club

What do the most well-known blogs all have in common? A Bowl Full of Lemons, The College Prepster, Sticky Note Addict....just to name my favorites. BOOK CLUBS! So here is the Unconventional Sorority Girl's FIRST book recommendation. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll want to cook. Then you'll call me if you can't cook....
A good friend of mine lent me this book a few weeks ago and it sat on my night stand for a while. One sleepless night, I decided to pick it up. She said that she thought I would like it, and that there was a recipe for Pomegranate Baklava that I would just be dying to try.
She was right. At first, I though "Oh, god. Not another romance novel." Then I dug deeper. The protagonist, Elena Alvarez, suffered a massive car accident which left her body mangled. She is followed by the ghosts of her sister and boyfriend who died in the crash and finds solace only in cooking. She ends a tryst with an angry Russian chef and moves to Aspen to re-open a restaurant with a famous and rich horror movie director/writer turned restaurateur.
Then I realized why she recommended it: I have always wanted to be a chef, and the handsome restaurateur is named Julian...same name as my boyfriend. So, I gave in and decided to read it.
Little did I know...I'd be sucked in to a vortex of an amazing story. After bawling my eyes out, I called Kathryn and thanked her for recommending the book and she said: "I knew you'd like it. She reminded me of you." I said: "Well, a chef who speaks Spanish that ends up with a guy named Julian sounds pretty familiar." She said: "No, it's because you are like her; one of the strongest people I know." And then I cried again.
It is a truly moving story. This woman lost everything that she held dear to her and had to make her own life; very different from the one she had imagined before her accident. She broke her back in 4 places, shattered her hip, lost the love of her life, and her sister all at once. She was the sole survivor of the crash.
Her ghosts keep her from finding happiness until she meets Julian. Things don't just change in books and movies when you meet your soul mate, they change in real life as well.

Can't wait to see what my little thinks of it!

Friday, July 26, 2013

the death of a laptop

I'm currently struggling in the world of technology. My beloved Sony Vaio died this morning a violent and explosive death. I knew his final moments were approaching when the battery was no longer detectable but today it began sparking and smoking in my lap and I knew that quite obviously it was toast. Literally... Burnt, smelly toast.

Now begins the great laptop search. The Vaio was bought in haste when my truly beloved MacBook drowned at work. Future NOT bring your personal computers to work unless it is ABSOLUTELY necessary. If so, make sure you have extra protection!! It never worked very well to start, especially compared to Mac but prices are far too steep for a college student. I really only use the internet and Microsoft office programs anyways. My video game days are far less now that my free time is so limited. I spend more time pinteresting and reading my bloglovin' feed than I would gaming. would be nice to have a laptop that could successfully run League of Legends when I'm hanging out with my boyfriend's gamer friends.

Currently I know what I do and do not want in a computer. Now the question is....what computer fits these specifications?
1. Metal casing. Plastic is flimsy and while it may be lighter and easier to isn't worth it! Metal unibody casing with removable battery is definitely the way to go as far as durability goes.
2. AMD processor or at last an i5 Intel. Anything less than the i5 is a waste for gaming.
3. I don't want to rule out the possibility of running windows 7 or at least windows 7 shell.
4. Definitely and ASUS
5. Less than $800. I think that anything more than that is silly for someone like me who doesn't use creative suites or any scientific stuffs. I used garage band a lot on my MacBook but not on the Vaio.
6. 15.2" or less to make it portable
7. Backlit keyboard

Not too much to ask right??

bloglovin: the new pinterest

<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

I am pleased to announce that I'm finally going to join bloglovin'! Bloglovin' is like the pinterest of blogs. You create an account at then follow your favorite blogs just as you would follow someone on pinterest. Each day you will get an email of your "Daily Feed from Bloglovin.'" Some intellectuals sit and read the newspaper either in print or on their tablets in the morning, I read my bloglovin' feed in the morning with my redbull.

Check it out!!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

God, Sweet Tea, and the SEC

I have lived most of my life in Virginia, where we live on the cusp of Northern and Southern traditions. We are all united by many East Coast traditions and cultural conventions, but there's some things that Virginia goes either way on.
1. Iced Tea - there are some restaurants in VA that actually say, "We just have unsweet, may I offer you some sweetener?" Umm, I'll just have water, thanks.

2. God - We aren't exactly in the Bible belt, which can be as good as it is bad. Kids are growing up without ever setting foot in a church and that's perfectly acceptable. BUT Church isn't as central in the community and therefore we can be a bit more liberal in terms of abortion, sex education, divorce, etc.

3. Accent - I'm constantly asked where I'm from when I'm in Virginia. I always tell them that I grew up here and in Florida, but no one believes me. They all assume I'm from the Carolinas or Tennessee or Georgia. There are worse places to be accused of, but it's still kind of amazing to me. I know how to conceal the twang when necessary, but most of the time I'm loud and proud. People hear a Southern accent and they either assume you're stupid or assume you're friendly. Both can be used to your advantage. So if I feel the need to use a simile or metaphor to explain things properly, use the ladies' room instead of the restroom, eat biscuits instead of rolls, and say ma'am and sir then you can just assume that I'm from the South. Specific location is not relevant.

4. Fashion - (doesn't fit in to the expression either) people here are so lost it seems. In Florida, we wear Lilly, Lilly and more Lilly. Oh yeah and Vineyard Vines, Southern Tide, etc. Even non-Greeks wear Frat Collection and EVERYTHING is monogrammed. Here, people seem to be a little more relaxed on that...which becomes quite annoying when its time to go shopping. I do 95% of my shopping online when I'm stuck in VA. Although, Monkee's of FredericksburgOcean Palm in Williamsburg and VA Beach, and my newest obsession: The Silver Box Gloucester, Virginia.

5. NCAA Sports - I get FIRED UP when my teams play. Tailgates are premier social events at which women are expected to be well-accessorized and full of spirit. Luke Bryan wasn't kidding when he said Adpis wear their sundresses for game day. Up North, it's much more common to see girls in jeans and team sweatshirts than a sundress and coordinating accessories. This tends to confuse me when we have to go to away games north of the Mason Dixon line. There also seems to be a much stronger alliance with professional sports teams than NCAA teams. I am not sure why that is, given that there's pretty much equal distribution of pro teams in the North as in the South. Northerners do not lack entirely in their fanaticism; when Michigan wins (GO BLUE) my wonderful boyfriend will wear his University of Michigan pajama pants, tshirt/sweatshirt, and hat around campus to celebrate the victory. He will also do the same when his beloved Colts win. I think I still own a pair of Washington Redskins earrings that were given to me as a gift, but I can assure you that my William and Mary Feathers Forever earrings get much more wear. In Virginia, it seems like people are pretty neutral on college sports. Those who are loyal to their team typically aren't Virginia Natives from my experience. The VT Hokies are a different kettle of fish entirely, and they are so close to West Virginia we can just count them out of the running.
My peers make fun of me for making the decision for grad school not entirely unrelated to their athletics program. I <3 Vandy. I think that the school spirit that comes out of that school is amazing. People get incredibly excited to talk about it, let alone attend a game.
CNU doesn't have that yet, as we are still babies in the world of collegiate sports. For a school that is only 52 years old, D3 is something to be proud of. ODU didn't even GET a football program until a few years ago. Just so happens that we are more interested in the academic success of our athletes than ODU. Oops. I didn't say that.
I love Vandy because that is a TOUGH school, and despite their success, athletes still have to survive the rigorous curriculum.
My whole family is obsessed with William & Mary. I mean, they bleed green and gold. Most people don't follow Tribe Athletics because the CAA isn't really that exciting of a conference compared to ACC, SEC, Big 10, etc.
If I had a choice between lifetime season tickets to my choice of professional team, and lifetime season tickets to my choice of college team, it would be no contest that I would pick my college team.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

trip of a lifetime. The grand ole opry.

I got to tour Vanderbilt university to check out their audiology program and spent the weekend in Nashville, Tennessee. This is one of the most memorable trips of my life as a lifelong fan of country music.
My sisters will not hesitate to tell you that I'm "country." I remember the first time hunting came up in conversation with one of my sisters from Fairfax county, Virginia. She looked at me and said "stop you're joking."
I grew up in a house in which fuzzy little creatures were varmints that needed to be shot. Girls learned how to cook and clean and be good southern girls. Boys learned to hunt, fish, and work hard. And drinking wasn't exciting or forbidden...just part of life. 
At the center of all of these traditions is good ol' classic country music. If you don't know all the words to "sweet home Alabama" and "a country boy can survive" you lead a deprived life. Country music is a cornerstone to the southern way of living. Respect for God, country, and mothers. 
Many of the most successful country stars came from absolutely nothing such as Loretta Lynn. Music was their escape, but most never forgot their roots. 
Country music truly speaks to your soul if you let it. There's no way you can listen to Johnny cash at Folsom prison and not be amazed by his talent. When that fiddle gets to going in an Alabama song, if you don't have the urge to dance you might just be crazy. 
Ill never forget standing in the opry house and imagining all of my heros standing in that iconic circle on WSM radio; to gst to celebrate the music that got me through so many hard times and helped me celebrate so many good times. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Fool proof packing methods

On Friday I will be going to Nashville, Tennessee to visit Vanderbilt University! I am so excited because I've never been to Nashville AND Vandy is #1 in the country for Doctor of Audiology program. It is definitely a lofty goal, but you always need at least one big goal to motivate you.
The first thing that I do when I'm planning a trip is check the weather where I'm going. July is rather pointless as it is hot no matter where you go. It hit 100 in New York today. I'm going out on a limb to say it will be super hot. 

The next is check with the airline (if applicable) to see what their specific restrictions are for carry-ons. I do NOT like checking bags. It's expensive, it's time consuming when you are taking connecting flights, and risky. I don't always trust TSA agents who check my bags when I cannot see them do it. 
Now I decide what to pack based on my itinerary. The key to packing efficiently is making the most of each piece that you pack. I always try to find a day outfit that transitions quickly and easily into night. 
Friday - We arrive in Nashville at 11pm local time, pick up our rental car, and head off to the hotel to pass out. Room service, anyone?
Saturday - Sight seeing! We are meeting up with some friends and seeing what Music City has to offer. You can't come all this way without seeing the touristy things! AND SHOPPING. Opry Mills Mall and Green Hills. Tory Burch... Off Saks 5th... Etc.  
Sunday - More touristy things. Opryland, Country Music Hall of Fame, etc. 
Monday - VANDERBILT! Meeting at 9am and then touring the campus. ADPi house is definitely on my list

The act of packing. Obviously you want to put your soap and liquidy items in a ziploc to make TSA a breeze and don't end up with conditioner in your shoes...been there. 
This spreadsheet SAVED me. Instead of standing in front of my closet thinking, "I'll just pack one of everything" then ending up having to go shopping when I get there because nothing goes together. 
I hope that this helped you think of your next vacation as a streamlined procedure rather than complete chaos. 
And see my Levo mentor, Carly Heitlinger's blog for a GREAT carry on packing tutorial! 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

That nasty little thing called insecurities...

When you ask a 20-something-year-old girl what their insecurities are, she may say that the extra weight she gained in college or small chest size may be the first things she says. What she doesn't tell you is her REAL insecurities. Things that actually reveal something more about her than her physique. 
I will confess my biggest insecurity is my intelligence. I have never made really great grades and have never been super at retaining information. I just go with the flow and get by as best I can. I study an appropriate amount, but will never be magma cum laude.
This is something that I struggle with constantly. I pretend I listen to NPR and read nonfiction books for fun, but I honestly would probably rather watch the food network and read a fantasy novel.
My friends call it "appreciating the simpler things in life."
This notion got me thinking. What are people's REAL insecurities? I mean we all could stand to exercise and eat well or whiten our teeth, but what is the hidden truth you wish you could improve?
Is it emotional independence?
Stress management?
A disability?
Lets stop calling physical preoccupations "insecurities" and focus on the things that make a huge difference in our lives.
There is always a salon, gym, spa or whatever that can fix the other things. Lets shine a light on things that matter more and inspire change. And if you need inspiration...find a deafie. They will tell you all about overcoming insecurities. Speech therapy. The first time you wear your hair up with your hearing aids or cochlear implant showing. People asking if you're special needs because you talk "funny."

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Not-So-Guilty Television Pleasure

For those of you who are not familiar with the after-school-special like plots of ABC Family shows, Switched at Birth is the story of two girls who were quite obviously switched at birth. A science project leads Bay Kennish (right) (who is April Nardini from Gilmore Girls) to a surprising conclusion. Her parents are not biologically her parents. [GG fans will remember that April found out that Luke was her dad through a science project as fact.] Bay and her parents arrange to meet the other girl...the girl who is really their daughter...and her family. Daphne Vasquez (left) and her mother live in the same area as the Kennishes, just on the lower-income side of town. Daphne is deaf due to a complication with meningitis when she was three. The two families unite and live on the Kennish property.

Thing #1: I like this show because I loved April from Gilmore Girls

Thing #2: I too have hearing loss and wear bright purple Phonak Naida hearing aids. I'm going to study Audiology when I go to graduate school. Katie LeClerc (actress who plays Daphne) suffers from Meniere's Disease which causes hearing loss. She feels very strongly about advocacy for the deaf and hard of hearing community. The show does follow the lives of the two girls and their families following being switched and reunited, but there is a great deal of deaf awareness that can be gleaned from the show.
Famous deaf actress Marlee Matlin plays the mother of one of Daphne's deaf friends. Matlin has proven to the world that deaf people can do absolutely anything they set their minds to, especially act.
This show is not only amazing for its silly dramatic content that is not violent or--thank god--about teen pregnancy or girls lying about things. It is quite accurate about deaf culture and inspiring.

I decided to become more involved in the deaf/hoh community. PS. If you want the politically correct term for someone with hearing loss- "hard of hearing." I joined the Hearing Loss Association of America and became completely inspired by Shanna Groves, author of "Confessions of a Lipreading Mom." Her #showmeyourears and #stophearinglossbullying campaigns have made incredible differences in the lives of many deaf/hoh.

One simple television show, that I NEVER miss an episode of, inspired at least one person to advocate for my deaf/hoh brothers and sisters who may not be as at peace with their hearing loss as I am.

Tune in ABC Family Mondays at 8/7c

Saturday, July 6, 2013

So close to a new school year!

This isn't so unconventional but still important...
I get so excited over new school supplies. #nerdproblems but as soon as PS Paperie in Port Warwick, Newport News posted on their Facebook page that the new Lilly agendas were in...I had to make sure I got one before they sold out!
PS Paperie is always very well-stocked in their Lilly Pulitzer and Vera Bradley items, but hell hath no fury like sorority girls seeking Lilly!! 
No collegiate woman can be successful without a good agenda or day planner. No ladies, your phone is not sufficient to schedule your life. And if you are anything like have to have every second planned out in order not to be stressed. Plus the boyfriend doesn't keep an agenda so I keep important dates for him in mine such as concerts.
Time to be a typical sorority girl for a moment... I love my Lilly but really I'm so excited to get my things in order for school next semester because then I'll be back with my sisters again :)
The Unconventional Sorority Girl 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Birthday List

My birthday is in just over a month and my mother and grandmother are already asking me what I want for my birthday. I realized I was a grownup when I started asking for [slightly] practical things that I simply didn't want to buy for myself.

1. My CNU parking decal. Those things are $250 and needed about 5 days after my perfect timing
2. A new Lilly Pulitzer Agenda for the school year; like this one :)
3. Backup iPhone Battery because my phone is literally always dead...which makes parents and boyfriend worry
4. Lilly Pulitzer earbuds and holder thank you Carly for making me want these!!
5. iTunes gift card...I hate buying those for myself...

First post as The Unconventional Sorority Girl

Hey y'all! I'm "The Unconventional Sorority Girl" and my name is Ashley Young. I am a rising senior at Christopher Newport University in Virginia, and I am a member of Alpha Delta Pi. I love my family, my sisters, and my dachshunds more than absolutely anything and post a superfluous amount of pictures of my dachshunds on the have been warned!

I want to be an audiologist and plan to attend graduate school in the Fall of 2014 for a Doctor of Audiology degree. I am hard of hearing and wear bilateral snazzy purple Phonak Naida hearing aids. My hearing loss affects a lot of my sorority life, but my amazing sisters always make sure that I know what is going on.

What makes me "unconventional"? It certainly is not how I dress. I am very taken with the "preppy" style and can usually be found in J.Crew as it is classic and always appropriate. I volunteer for absolutely every non-profit I come across. Right now I am an intern at The Arc of Greater Williamsburg and help serve about 100 clients with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I love each of my clients and can tell you something about all of them. That is where the "conventional" sorority girl stops in me.

1. On a Saturday night it is not uncommon to find my little and my boyfriend and I playing video games and/or watching a Harry Potter movie that we have all seen a zillion times.
2. I rarely pass up the opportunity to help my dad hunt raccoons, opossums or groundhogs on our farm. (The best is to go around midnight and shine spotlights into the brush so that their eyes glow. My mom and I hold the spotlight while Dad shoots.)
3. I live at home and have never lived in a dorm. My mom owns her own construction company and an online clothing store, so I stay pretty busy here.
4. I'm an organizing fiend! And keep the house as clean as possible with 3 dogs and 2 parents.
5. I have a mouth like a sailor, and try as I might to overcome this....I have not been successful. I blame my mother for letting me on construction sites when I was a teenager.
6. It is an act of God to get me to go to the gym. I will never be one of those peppy girls on the treadmill at school with a ribbon in my hair and reading the latest "must read" book club book. And "diet" is a four-letter-word that is NOT permitted in my house!
7. I am incapable of keeping my opinions to myself...and if you read #5 you can imagine that this is not always well-received in the Greek community from a little blonde in a Lilly dress.
8. I am also incapable of paying full price for anything. Not because I can't pay it, but because I am convinced I can get it cheaper with a coupon or research.
9. If I had a choice between hanging out with friends or my mom, I'd almost always pick my mom.
10. I don't "party." Sometimes some of my boyfriend's fraternity brothers get together, or some friends and there may be alcohol involved...ok I'm lying...there's ALWAYS alcohol involved when more than 3 Kappa Sigmas are together. But you will never, ever see me "wasted." It isn't because I'm morally above that, because I am definitely having a good time...just not that way. So take that TSM! (Total Sorority Movement...aka lies about sorority life.)