Friday, December 30, 2016

The stories we all talked about in 2016

How does one even begin to describe 2016. The world definitely got shaken up a little, or a lot. Lets take some time to take a walk down (recent) memory lane and recap the events and themes that gripped 2016. Shall we?

Before we begin, I always add that these are the events that stood out to me. I'm an American who consumes primarily American news. I'm sure there are stories you'd add or even remove if this were your list. Let's talk about those in the comments below! Until then, please reflect with me on the biggest stories of 2016. 

My 2016 in a nutshell - Parts 3 and 4

I already covered parts 1 and 2 on the blog. Parts 3 and 4 feel so recent. The second half of 2016 flew! I started my 2nd year of teaching (score)! And boy, everything feels so much easier this time around. I enjoyed the best teacher summer anyone could ask for by taking a road trip across the country and spending tons of time at the lake (score)! Finally, Chris and I spent our first Christmas together with our own tree and everything (score)!

Below is a month by month break down, illustrated by Instagram.


July was my first full month off of school, but it didn't slow down any. We moved from Hyde Park to Streeterville and took a massive road trip across the country.

We started July at our buddy's lake house. What a perfect place to spend 4th of July!

A photo posted by Heather Otto (@xoheatherotto) on

Long story short, we embarked on an impromptu road trip after 4th of July weekend. That road trip took us from Chicago to Posey Lake to Ohio to DC to Philadelphia to Hershey to Pittsburg to Ann Arbor back to Chicago. To top it off, we had just moved into our apartment before we left and came home to an unpacked apartment. Phew!

A photo posted by Heather Otto (@xoheatherotto) on

A photo posted by Heather Otto (@xoheatherotto) on

A photo posted by Heather Otto (@xoheatherotto) on

Thursday, December 29, 2016

My 2016 in a nutshell - Parts 1 and 2

What a year! 2016 has been a whirlwind to say the least. Though 2016 wasn't so kind to us politically and culturally, it is still important to reflect on your own personal accomplishments, landmarks, and growth throughout the year. So what happened in the winter and spring of 2016? Well, I finished my first year of teaching (score)! Chris moved to Chicago, and we moved in together (score)! My friendships here blossomed (score)!

Below is a month by month breakdown for the first 6 months of 2016.


I started off the year in the best way possible - with a trip to Disney World! I had never been, and Chris surprised me with a trip for Christmas. Disney World was just as magical (if not more magical) than everyone said it would be. Now, I can't stop thinking about when I can return!

A photo posted by Heather Otto (@xoheatherotto) on

A photo posted by Heather Otto (@xoheatherotto) on

A photo posted by Heather Otto (@xoheatherotto) on

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The 5 brands that you should be supporting RIGHT NOW

As I grow older, I find it more important to truly put my money where my mouth (or heart) is and support brands that align with my values. Let's be honest, I love "supporting brands" AKA "shopping," so having the opportunity to purchase something that I truly want and engage with a brand that I support is one of my favorite things. Just the other day, I literally said to Chris - "I love them. I'll give them money any day!" By carefully selecting the brands that we support, we truly can have a measurable impact on the world around us.

So what are the brands that I support? Below are my top 5.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Favorite lines from Walt Disney World Park Attractions

Walt Disney World is truly something else. The way that attractions, people, and environment can actually bring you into a fairy tale is awe inspiring. I've only been the parks once, but after visiting, I've done research into the backstories of the rides and other "Disneyisms" that exist in the park world. Part of what makes the attractions so magical is the immersive nature of the experience - from the story, the music, to the dialogue or script. Something that has stood out to me as of late is the script. What a job it must be to craft the words that hundreds of thousands of people will hear over time at the parks!

Here are some of my favorite lines from the attractions:

Monday, November 14, 2016

Monday updates + a cute new jacket

Happy Monday, everyone! 

I have to be honest, today was a rough day. I went to bed WAY too late and hardly got any sleep. Plus, there were several stressful incidents at our school today. The good news? I made it. Life is sort of uninteresting in that way. No matter how your day goes - the ending is the same. It ends. To me, that is so comforting. Your bad day won't go on forever. Just keep your chin up and some light will come. 

Now that I have that off my chest, I can focus on the good stuff. I booked it out of school early and made it home before traffic! AND I got to put on this new, adorable coat as I left the building. I stopped by Nordstrom Rack over the weekend and found this lone coat sitting on a hanger. I searched the store to compare sizes, but only found this one. I decided it was meant to be! Chris is a reluctant photographer, but he almost always obliges. We were grilling vegetables on our apartment sundeck which is my favorite spot to grab a few quick pics. 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Top 5 places to visit for a long weekend + some tips

I'm a huge lover of long weekends. I've found that they're just the antidote for that extra boost of energy we need to keep us going. One of the main reasons that I love long, holiday weekends is that they're the perfect excuse for a mini getaway. Planning a full on vacation is a lot of work, and even more so - a lot of money. Taking a trip over a long weekend is a more affordable way to get out of town and see somewhere new.

Read on for tips + my top 5 recommendations for a long weekend trip.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The top 5 podcasts you need in your life

Podcasts are the best, ya'll. I'm not sure where the ya'll just came from considering I was born and raised in the Midwest, but it felt right. Roll with it.

Podcasts are my favorite for when I get ready in the morning, drive to work, organize my desk in the morning, drive home from work, take a shower, wind down with a glass of wine... you get the gist. It is nice to take what could have been silence and turn it into productive time. If you listen to the right stuff, you could actually be getting smarter by the second! Or at least gaining a new perspective. Or having a good laugh. All time well spent to me.

Read on to find out what I'm listening to + some tips for a better experience: 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Two minute fall flavored iced coffee

Click play if you'd like to listen along. If not, just read below

An iced coffee a day keeps the grouchies away. Wait.. that's not how the idiom goes? Either way, I truly love having a coffee beverage in the morning. Sometimes, though, I want something with a little more flavor. Don't get me wrong - I love plain coffee, but every once in a while I crave extra flavor with my morning caffeine fix. This recipe takes about 2 minutes for me to make in the morning and honestly tastes more delicious than anything I could buy at my local Starbucks.

Speaking of Starbucks... Anyone that sees me between the hours of 7 and 9 AM is used to seeing me with a Starbucks beverage in hand. (Just check my Instagram). My colleagues and students have come to expect it. While I do use my plastic tumblr mug (venti of course) from Starbucks, I haven't actually been to one in over 2 weeks since I started making this. Honestly, a miracle if I've ever seen one.

So what is this magical beverage? A pumpkin chai cold brew! What you'll get is a smooth flavor with a hint of sweetness. I like to make mine creamy by diluting the cold brew with milk for a cafe au lait sort of concoction, but you could easily dilute the iced coffee with water and add a splash of cream for something a little less rich.

Read on for the magic recipe! 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

October 2016 Playlist

Happy October, everyone! These are the songs that have been making my ears the happiest this month. Access it from the playlist included in the post or on the Spotify web player here. PS: I've been running on the treadmill to this playlist, too. :)

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Coastal inspired apartment inspiration

Chris and I have officially been in our new apartment for over a month now and the place still doesn't have an identity. While Chris and I have aesthetics that are just about as opposite as could be, we do agree on one thing - classic coastal.

Coastal can turn into a nautical nightmare if you get carried away, so Chris and I spent a lot of time discussing our vision. I don't want our tiny convertible apartment to feel like a south Florida beach house or the carbon copy of a Connecticut cottage. I want it to feel like a sunny, laid back, hideaway in the city. I want a place that blends luxe with practical and feminine with masculine. Is it asking too much? Maybe. The only way to find out is to join me on my journey to see how this all shapes out.

One factor complicating things is color. Last year, I bought beautiful chairs that are a bit, well... bold. They're a bright, rusty orange color - very a la 1970s. They totally worked in the apartment that I lived in alone last year which had a funky retro theme. Chris isn't as into the funk as I am, so we needed to figure out how to work them into the new aesthetic. Pinterest has several great color wheels that display several colors that coordinate together and work for a coastal theme. Below are a few of the colors that we like and think will work well with the rust colored chairs that I already own as well as fit into the coastal vibe.

Read on to see how we are planning on incorporating coastal into our Chicago high rise! 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Celebrating the end of summer

Over the weekend, a few friends and myself threw an "end of summer" celebration. The main event? renting a pontoon boat! We found a Groupon deal that was surprisingly affordable for the 2 hour rental. When split amongst 5 people, it was less than we would have paid to sit down for dinner and drinks! I'll take cruising down the Chicago river over sitting at a restaurant any day. 

Captain Heather at your service! 

So it's Captain Heather here with my review of the experience and tips for you if you decide to rent a pontoon as well. First and foremost, pontoons are incredibly easy to drive. I didn't spend much time behind the wheel (I prefer snacking and sipping), but the boys were more than happy to take the lead. Our rental company gave everyone a 5 minute safety and instructional briefing. They do, of course, ask that the driver refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages. 

So where do you take the boat? Up and down the Chicago river! We had just enough time to explore both branches and make it back in our 2 hour rental window. Because the lake has larger wakes, you are only allowed to take the boat on the river. Plus - the sights on the river are better anyways.

While Chris and I didn't go out on the boat for a date, this would be an AWESOME date night. It would be an even better double date so the couples could switch off driving. The boats can hold between 8 and 12 people depending on the rental. Ours was an 8 person boat, and we had 5 people on board total with more than enough room. 

Everyone dressed casual and comfortable, but you could really wear just about anything on a pontoon. For my outfit, I wore a Vineyard Vines shep shirt and Lilly Pulitzer "luxletic" shorts. Not pictured on my feet were comfortable flip flops made by Jack Rogers. 

A big shout out to Greg for being our main driver. Also I love this shot because Julia and Greg look like they were caught in a celebrity sighting. Killin' it. 

You'll notice at the bottom right of the picture above is a full size cooler. I painted this for Chris in college and we use it all the time. It came in super handy for the pontoon trip, though admittedly 5 people don't need a cooler this large for casual drinking. 

The pontoon company asks that you don't bring any glass on board so we made sure to bring plastic cups and no glass bottles. Julia LOVES wine (I prefer beers and ciders myself) so she found some wine "cartons" that were actually pretty good quality. 

We accidentally matched! 

Friends let friends wear loud, patterned shorts

Overall, this was an awesome memory and a great way to celebrate the end of an amazing summer. All 3 ladies on board are teachers in Chicago public schools, so we were truly celebrating our "summer" officially ending as the kids were headed back to school the next week. I'd recommend anyone renting a pontoon in Chicago. When split amongst several people, it is incredibly affordable. The boat was easy to drive, and it was an awesome memory. Who doesn't want to hang out with their friends on a floating living room?!

Until next time...     ;)

Monday, August 22, 2016

What I've been eating

My go to breakfast the past few weeks has been plain greek yogurt mixed with lots of strawberries and blueberries plus Truvia or honey to taste. The reason this was something special to me was because I went with PLAIN Greek yogurt. When I realized how much sugar was in flavored yogurt, I decided to give plain a shot. Mixing in a packet of Truvia or honey totally transforms the flavor from something bitter and bland to subtle and sweet! I definitely recommend making the switch to plain yogurt if you're trying to cut down on unnecessary sugar.

My go to lunch has been making a simple salad with whatever veggies I have on hand. Most recently it has been cherry tomatoes, avocado, red onion, feta cheese, a dollop of hummus, a splash of lemon juice, a drizzling of olive oil, and finally cracked salt and pepper. I've been really enjoying the texture and flavor hummus gives to salad.

Dinners are all over the place because Chris and I enjoy trying out new recipes together. One easy go to is a flatbread pizza on naan bread. I got this stonefire garlic naan and covered it in olive oil, pizza sauce, cheese, and chicken. Chris does the same thing but on a gluten free pizza crust. We baked them for about 7 minutes on 400 and they were totally delicious!

ANDDD for the junk food. Because honestly, I eat junk way more than I'd like to admit. I like going to fun places and eating and drinking fun things. One treat Chris and I indulge in is the "craft soda" section of our local grocer. It's only $3.99 for a 4 pack, so we usually pick up 4 new sodas each week!

That's all, folks! I hope you enjoyed my current go to meals. Until next time... :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A trip to the Wisconsin state fair + my tips for a successful day at any fair

I've always loved state fairs. When I was a kid, I considered the day my mom took off of work to take me to the fair a legitimate holiday. That love hasn't died as I've grown to adulthood. If anything, it's grown. So much so that since I missed the state fair in my childhood home, Chris and I drove from Chicago to Wisconsin to go to their state fair instead. On a related note - how lucky am I to have a boyfriend that loves state fairs as much as me loves me enough to drive across the state to go to a state fair?! 

What is it that I love about state fairs (besides everything)? It's the little things. I love the colors. I love the smells and the tastes. I love the feelings. State fairs are a quintessential summer experience for me. 

Sometimes I get overwhelmed, though, because I want to see and hear and taste everything there is to offer. Because I consider myself somewhat of a state fair visiting pro, I want to offer my tips for an awesome experience as well as share a bit of my experience from this year. 

The food. Let's be real. Most of the reason why people go to state fairs is to eat. At that, most people go to eat ridiculously unhealthy food. I'm not here to tell you to eat healthy or provide healthy eating tips for a fair (which if that's important to you, all the power to ya). It just isn't important to me. I'm all about going to the fair to indulge in whatever strikes my fancy. And that's my tip. Eat whatever strikes your fancy! However, don't spend all your money in one place. Half of the fun is exploring different stands and getting a sampling taste from as many places as you want. Make sure that you try the local favorite at the festival that you're visiting. From the research (limited albeit) that I performed, I picked up that Wisconsin is known for their cream puffs and cheese curds. Fried veggies are a personal favorite of mine that are a "must" at every festival. I also like to get ice cream from the dairy barn as well as roasted corn on the cob. 

The experience. Of course, there is more to a state fair than food (believe it or not). For a lot of people, that may just be people watching and strolling. Especially as I've gotten older, that's been a lot of the draw. Still, there are a few things that I believe are not to be missed. One is walking the ride midway. Marvel at the adorable baby rides, the thrilling big kid rides, or just how those things are legal being pieced together with zip ties and cinder blocks. Chris and I rode the flying bob sled ride, went through a fun house, and played the game where you choose a rubber ducky. Classics. I think that stopping in the agriculture, crafting, 4H, animal, and commercial pavilions are important, too! I make it a priority to see at least one pig and cow at each fair I visit. What can I say, I'm a city girl! It's fun to visit the agriculture building to learn a thing or too about farming and sustaining the environment. The commercial building is a great way to beat the heat in mid afternoon as well as see all of the late night informercial products live and in person (thrill of a lifetime, I know). Most of my snapshots from this fair are from the ride midway. The colors were just so appealing! PS: Ferris wheels, merry go rounds, and giant swings are some of my favorite things in life. Aren't the swings just beautiful? However, I was too scared to ride them this year. Those things are held up by only four, thin, metal chains! 

Finally, I figured I should address what to wear. I'm a goof and was having too much fun to pose for pictures to get a snapshot of my outfit. By the time I got home, I was too sweaty and dusty to be photographed. The only thing on my mind was getting a shower - STAT. Can that be a tip? Shower the second you get home. Your tired and dirty legs will need it. Anyways, the picture below gives you a bit of an idea of what was on my body. Chris wore a light weight, woven shirt and comfortable blue walking shorts. He isn't one to wear tennis shoes with a woven shirt usually, but didn't want to get his casual loafers dirty or consider his flip flops good enough walking shoes. I went with a pair of Tevas for my feet (I've worn these things CONSTANTLY this summer. They are a great price point and SO comfortable. At first I thought they were ironically cute. Now that they've grown on me, I think they are pretty legitimately cute). I wore a comfortable shift dress. I think wearing a dress to a fair is fine, especially if you aren't climbing on and off any rides with kids or anything. Most of the day is spent walking around or sitting at a table or bench. I wore this terry dress from Vineyard Vines. Beware - it runs VERY big. Size down one or even two sizes.

Jelly Belly was sponsoring this day and giving away free jelly beans. I'm aware that this picture is ridiculous and makes us look like Katniss and Peeta about to eat the berries in the Hunger Games. 
Well, there it is! The conglomerate recap + tips for an awesome fair experience. Are there any experiences that are traditional, summer "musts" for you? Do you have any favorite state fair traditions? Let me know down below in the comments! If you want more constant updates of my summer adventures, follow me on Instagram at xoheatherotto. Thanks for reading, friends! 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Things I loved in JULY

I have to say, July was AWESOME. I took a week long road trip (a post to come on that later), moved to a new apartment, and enjoyed an entire month off of teaching. What more can you ask for?

Truth be told, I love a "favorites" post no matter how stereotypical they may be. When I'm reading them, it gives me a glimpse into someone else's life and helps me to discover new things. Plus, I've been itching to write, and what better way to get back into it than with a favorites post? 

So here it is: Things I've been loving in July!

I've worn it as a cover up at the lake house, a casual top with shorts, and a dressed up top with nice jeans. It is made out of Vineyard Vine's performance material, so it is super cool to wear outside on a hot day but still provides coverage on the arms. Most of all it is just so comfortable. I love the breezy shoulder detail and the color is super flattering. It's just a great staple to have in your closet! *Full disclosure - I bought this during the "Whale of a Sale" so I got an extra 50% off the sale price. 

My mom was kind enough to gift this to me for my birthday and I've been carrying it nonstop. Dooney and Bourke is a brand I've loved since high school for quality leather and cute designs. The pebble leather is durable enough for me to not feel bad taking it out on everyday adventures, and it has an adorable red interior. I keep my phone and a lip gloss in the front pocket for easy access. *Full disclosure - My mom got this on super sale at Macy's and payed significantly less than the full price. Score! 

Lush is awesome. I go to Lush every few months to update my beauty regimen, and every single time I go in they try to sell me on Ultrabland. I know that this stuff is a cult classic, but I've always avoided it thinking that it was too oily or too heavy. It feels thick and greasy to the touch, but on the skin it is light and soothing. The Lush people have assured me that skin is rebalanced by the soothing oils in Ultrabland, and I have finally come to believe them. It takes my makeup off like a breeze and leaves my skin feeling clean without feeling that dreaded "squeaky" clean. 

Truth be told, I really don't know what I'm doing with my eyebrows. I used to use the Gimme Brow gel which I loved, until the friendliest Ulta employee ever suggested this to me. It is a super waxy, yet pigmented pencil that makes filling in your brows easy enough that anyone, including me, can do it. My makeup routine has been paired down to tinted moisturizer, under eye concealer, setting powder, blush, mascara, and this eyebrow pencil. *Thinking about doing a post on my summer makeup routine soon!! :)

How I Met Your Mother

Now that I'm finished binging Gilmore Girls, I needed a new tv show. Despite its popularity in the past few years, I somehow missed the How I Met Your Mother train. Something about the show never struck my appeal, but boy was I wrong. It's intelligent, thought-provoking, endearing, and overall entertaining. If you need something to watch with your morning cereal or during your in-between from after work to dinner - this is your new show. 

Have you tried any of these things? Did you have any extra special favorites of July? Let me know! :) Until next time... 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Thoughts I have during a Pure Barre class

So I went to Pure Barre today. It's been a while since I've been, and I've never consistently attended. I have a Classpass in Chicago instead of picking one studio (I'm happy to write about my Classpass experience later). Event though I love Classpass, I've officially decided to become a Pure Barre convert. Nothing works me the way those carpeted floors do. Anyways, I went to Pure Barre in Columbus today while I'm home for the week on my spring break. I was starting to go crazy hanging out in Chris's fraternity house all day long.

Here are the top 10 thoughts that went through my head during today's (and most days for that matter) Pure Barre. 

1. What alternate universe am I in where this is only 20 seconds. This is a million years. Time changes inside of these doors.

2. Who is Cassandra and why does the instructor keep telling her how great she is doing? I don't think Cassandra is real.

3. I figured out who Cassandra is and she is most certainly not human. How is her body doing this and how does she look so pleasant doing it?

4. My body most certainly can not "tuck" in this position.

5. I think this is supposed to be working my right bum, but why does my left bum burn even more and why do my thighs and arms feel like they are going to fall off?!

6. Is it possible to blend into the carpet so I don't have to move?

7. No! I want to move! I chose this! I'm doing this to be healthy!

8. Who am I kidding, I'm doing this so that I can have a rockin' bod. Bikini Instagram post here I come.

9. I want Panera. And because of this, I deserve to eat the baguette.

10. Actually, I always deserve the baguette. Bread is a right, not a reward. *Sorry to all the gluten free peeps. Chris can't eat gluten so I can sympathize.

11. Wait, what are we doing? Focus, Heather. Focus.

12. I want to be Cassandra.

13. Or just a better me. I'm making myself into a better me. That's cool.

14. Damnit, Heather. Focus! Are you tucking or lifting? Look at Cassandra to figure it out.

15. Aw, Cassandra just smiled at me sympathetically. I bet this was hard for her once too. People are nice here.

16. I'm glad I came. I did something good for my body and that's pretty cool.

17. When is the soonest I can be back?

These thoughts genuinely run through my head, along with a million more. Additionally, several expletives are included... but I decided to keep those out. ;) Are there any things that sneak into your head during a fitness class? What are your favorite fitness classes? Let me know below!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Why posting on Instagram is good for your health

This week, I am going to make it my goal to post on Instagram once a day. I'm guessing you're thinking - good for her, she wants to up her social media presence! While that is true, that isn't what this post is about.

I really think that posting on Instagram once a day can be good for your health. Hear me out on this one.

At least for me, a casual blogger (who wants to get more serious, I really do) - Instagram does't stress me out. I understand that for some more serious bloggers, the pressure to post on Instagram is real (Taylor from thedailytay talks about this in a really lighthearted but pointed way). Anyways, back to me.

I recently realized that when I am posting on Instagram, my life is together. While some people see social media as a way to cover up the bad stuff in their life, when my life isn't going well I just disappear altogether. When I am happy and doing what I need to make me happy, I'm all over Instagram. Taking walks to capture the sunset, going to a new coffee shop with a friend, or wearing a cute outfit that I want to post are all indicators that I am happy.

Above you'll see examples of me taking sunset walks, going to a new coffee shop, and capturing a cute outfit.

So if posting on Instagram is a natural output of my happiness, why wouldn't it work the other way around? Of course, posting on Instagram in and of itself will not make me happy. Doing the things that I want to post on Instagram likely will. This isn't to say that taking a walk or getting coffee will make me happy on their own, but it sure will contribute to more happiness than coming home from work and crawling right into bed (which I've been doing way too much lately).

Making a goal to post on Instagram once a day will make sure that I am up and moving. It will give me something to pour a little bit of passion to, which get my passion flowing into the other, less fun areas of my life. Is Instagram going to solve all of our problems? No, definitely not. Can it get us out of a funk? It sure can.

I'll let you know how it goes, but stay tuned throughout the week by following me here - xoheatherotto. I can promise you'll get some pretty, uplifting, and REAL posts about my life. Let me know what you think about my Instagram theory and comment with your Instagram name so I can follow anyone reading this too!


Monday, January 25, 2016

Why I think sororities are empowering for women

It's Monday night, and I have a to-do list as tall as I am. Despite the laundry list of things to do, I can't help but reminisce on one of my favorite college memories - sorority bid day. Bid day is when the thousands of girls going through recruitment are presented with their "bid" to join your chapter. It's a day that now represents to me the silliness you get in college that is harder to find in adult life. Even more, it lets me beam with pride of how well the chapter that I started and my sisters are continuing is doing.

That's not the reason for this post though. I stopped my half hearted "working," put away my phone where I was "lurking" on social media, and ran to my computer. The reason I am writing is because of how overwhelming inspired I was by what I saw in my sisters. What I saw is Gamma Phi Beta inspiring them to be the best versions of themselves - young women that are thriving in their own skin. 

Greek life gets a bad rep. While I won't dispute some of the claims made against Greek life, I will argue that the other side of the story is rarely told. That being said, this isn't a post about the good side versus the bad side of Greek life. They both exist. 'Nuff said. I want to talk about how sororities empower women. 

sororities are empowering to women
Let me paint you the visual I saw on my social media feed just now. A sorority house was filled to capacity with 200 women celebrating one another without a care in the world. Everyone was decked out in the theme "Cirque de Gamma Phi," but each girl had her own individual twist. One sister I can think of HATES pink, so she dressed like a mime. At the same time, other sisters were wearing bows as big as their heads covered in glitter. They were dancing like no one was watching and exhibiting some of the most genuine joyfulness I've ever seen. I know, because I experienced this myself in person only last year. 

While the early 00s hip hop throw back tunes were blasting, I saw women being shamelessly themselves. The new members looking around wide eyed and excited, the prospect of over 100 women this excited about their presence being somewhat baffling. It is a crazy concept, that your entering of an organization would deserve such fanfare, but it is one of the most fulfilling experiences that you could ever ask for in the entire world. 

I can't speak for every Greek organization in the world, but I can speak for the experience I had in my chapter. Today's bid day reminded me of how sororities (the Beta Xi chapter of Gamma Phi Beta specifically for me) can empower women in a remarkable way. To be celebrated for your unique values provides a type of empowerment that I truly do not believe can be found anywhere else. If almost 200 other women believe in you, then how on earth could you not believe in yourself? 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

13 things I still ask my mom *at the age of 22*

Two truths must be accepted before I write this list. The first is that there is a difference between an adult an a grown up. For example, I may legally be an adult, but I am sure not a grown up yet. The second truth is that no matter where you are in life, you need a mom (or someone like a mom). Mom's/mom figures are the coolest people in the world. With these truths accepted, below is a list of things that at the age of 22, I still ask my mom.

  1. Does this outfit look good on me? 
  2. (Followed by #1) - Is this too much cleavage?
  3. My leftovers were on the counter overnight. Are they still good?
  4. (Followed by #3) - How long do I heat up my leftovers?
  5. My car is making a funny noise. What does that mean?
  6. It's 2 AM and I hear something outside my door. Is it the wind, or is it a murderer?
  7. What is a 401k?
  8. What is a W-2?
  9. What should I have for dinner?
  10. I don't feel good. Do I have yellow fever/the plague/swine/chicken pox?
  11. Why am I so tired all the time? (The answer to this one is always - that's life).
  12. Quick! I need a good excuse to get out of work.
  13. *tells 10 minute story* - Was that guy flirting, or was he just being nice? 
things i still ask my mom

Above is a picture of my fabulous mother and I. Isn't she the cutest? My mom's birthday is in just a few days. She deserves the world.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Top 10 favorite Disney memories from my first visit

Let's clear the air before we begin - Walt Disney World really is the happiest place on earth. After 22 years of being obsessed with princesses, I finally made my way to Orlando to experience all that the Disney parks have to offer. Chris finally decided that enough was enough, and we had to go. He booked a Disney resort, bought tickets, and wrapped up our Magic Bands (the wristband that Disney resorts use for payment and reservations in the parks) for Christmas. What a keeper, am I right? Anyways, I'm actually quite pleased that I experienced Disney for the first time as an adult because very few things in life can truly make you feel like a kid again. Below are 10 of my favorite memories from my first time visit.

Number ten: Walking into Epcot for the first time 
first visit at epcot

Number nine: Walking into Animal Kingdom for the first time 
first visit at animal kingdom

Number eight: Walking into Hollywood Studios for the first time
first visit at Hollywood Studios

Number seven: Walking into Magic Kingdom for the first time (I mean honestly it doesn't get more magical than this)
first visit at Magic Kingdom

Number six: Roller coaster butterflies 

Number five: Dancing with Goofy (seriously, one of the most underrated Disney characters) 

Number four: Meeting your signature princess (especially when Rapunzel "tangles" him) 

Number three: Seeing the castle at night (along with seeing the Electric Parade, Wishes, and Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios) 

Number 2: Disney hugs

Number 1: Disney kisses

I hope you enjoyed these very gratuitous pictures of myself enjoying some of these experiences at the parks. I'm thinking about posting some tips and tricks that I picked up for the Disney beginner. While the Disney blogosphere is amazing in their depth and thoroughness, it was a little bit overwhelming for me as a first timer. Regardless, thank you for sharing my Disney experience with me through this post! If you have any questions or favorite Disney memories of your own, comment them below.

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