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.)