117. Visit My Sisters in Boston

When I first graduated, most of my friends still lived in the Rochester area. Now that it’s been a few years, my friends have scattered themselves all over the country. A few of my sorority sisters, including my best friend Ariel, are currently living in Boston. I love the city of Boston and I hadn’t seen Ariel in nearly two years, so I was really excited when Jackie, Ariel, and I started planning this trip in December!

Ariel and I five years ago.

Ariel and I five years ago.

The Good?

Fajitas and ‘Ritas! Fajitas and ‘Ritas is a Tex-Mex restaurant in Boston that specializes in fajitas and margaritas. Ariel, Jackie, and I met my friend Sam there and had a very filling lunch that started in typical us-fashion by spilling half a pitcher of margarita all over our table. Next time I go to Boston, I’m definitely parking my butt there for a few hours.

This is why we can't have nice things.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

Going Out I don’t really go out much in Reading. I like staying home and hanging out with my best friend aka my free-loader roommate aka my dog. Ariel and Jackie are on the same page as me, but we planned one staying in night and one going out night. We had so much fun on our going out night AND Ariel had an Uber coupon so we basically got home for free. I really liked the place we went (I unfortunately cannot remember the name), mostly because I was with my friends, it wasn’t too crowded, and they were playing good music.

Freezing our butts off at the bus stop!

Freezing our butts off at the bus stop!

Sunday Brunch On Sunday morning, we found ourselves sitting in the living room debating between going to a diner or driving a little further to this farm with a restaurant on it. We chose the farm-restaurant. The restaurant itself was tiny and there was a long wait, but it was SO worth it! I was going to get my usual (eggs benedict) but then saw that they had lobster eggs benedict. When in Rome Boston!

Breakfast of champions.

Breakfast of champions.

Reunited and it feels so goooodJust being in the same place at the same time was enough for me! I’ve noticed that whenever I’m on adventures with my sorority sisters, we manage to turn wherever we’re staying into a mini-version of our sorority house. Ariel’s apartment was no different. With our arrival, there was suddenly an abundance of monogrammed shirts, purple everything, Disney princess cups, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, and clothes everywhere. Some of my favorite moments of the trip were just sitting around talking.

IMG_3813

The Not-So-Good?

Craft Show Ariel purchased tickets to this major craft show for us to go to over the weekend. It was actually a lot smaller than we expected it to be and everything that was there was SUPER expensive – furniture, glass sculptures, other stuff we could never dream of affording or creating ourselves. Probably the only reason we somewhat enjoyed it was that we went straight there from Fajitas and ‘Ritas.

We didn’t see our other sisters. Plans fell through with the two other sisters we were supposed to see that weekend. I actually haven’t seen Laurel and Kadley since I graduated, so that was kind of crummy. It didn’t help that our “plans” consisted of “let’s text each other later” which is literally my least favorite way to make plans. Luckily our sorority’s big twenty year celebration is next year, so I’m sure I’ll be seeing them (and everybody else) next spring.

Sebbie’s “special treat”. Ariel has a GIANT dog named Sebastian. He is unaware that he is giant and will try to sit in your lap. He is especially a fan of looking you in the eye, meaning he puts his paws on your shoulders and gives you a good stare down. The first night we were there, Ariel, Jackie, and I went to the store to get some things to make dinner. Jackie and I both are dog owners, so we took the normal precautions – zip everything or put it where the dog can’t get it. Apparently Sebbie knows how to use a zipper and we came home to find tampons EVERYWHERE. Hope those tasted good, Seb!

I can't imagine that they tasted very good.

I can’t imagine that they tasted very good.

 

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend and MUCH too short! Jackie is coming down for the Lilly Pulitzer warehouse sale in June and I think both Ariel and Jackie are going to come down once I’m in my new apartment. Here’s hoping my sisters and friends continue moving cool places so I can do some more traveling!

Looking at the List #11

137. Go on a New York Times “36 Hour” trip.

The New York times has been publishing 36 hour trip itineraries since 2002. Recently, they’ve compiled the columns into books by region. I bought the USA version as a graduation gift for someone and I bought myself the Northeast edition. I do want to travel more and I like that these trips can be done with limited vacation time. Maybe I’ll use my copy of the book to explore a city right here in Pennsylvania!

 

140. Donate to RIT.

This picture is from 007. It was on RIT’s website until very, very recently.

About once a week, I get a phone call from RIT’s Telefund Office asking me to donate money. Well, at least that’s what I assume they are asking, I’ve personally never picked up. I know, I know, it makes me kind of sound like a jerk, but I really hate talking on the phone. I really did enjoy my time at RIT and at some point I do want to give back. I’ve helped in the past with different volunteer events, but hopefully in the next few years I’ll be at the place where I can support the school financially. My plan is to donate to a specific department or organization…maybe I can get together with some of my sisters to do something really great for the house!

142. Do the whole tropical vacation thing.

There was a period of two or three weeks this winter where EVERYBODY I knew was on some awesome tropical vacation. The only thing that kept me sane during that time was that I got to go on vacation as well…to Missouri. I’m not the biggest fan of tropical vacations, but in the middle of this crazy, snowy winter, the idea of laying on a beach doing nothing for a week sounded FABULOUS. I added this to the list during that time and since then I found out that one of my cousins might be planning a destination wedding…so this goal might be a bit easier to accomplish than I imagined!

It’s Not Going to Happen

(Slightly over) Six months ago, I came up with this crazy idea to try 300 new-ish things before I turned thirty. The list itself is still under construction, but I find myself constantly coming up with new ideas. Some of these make it to the list, some of them don’t. I’m trying to keep everything on the list somewhat realistic and possible.

Even though I’m only six months in, I already know that there are some things that are just not going to happen. In fact, I knew it somewhat at the beginning and included #29, donating $5 for every task NOT completed to charity. I’ve already had to amend the amount I’m saving – $30 per task was a little too much on my meager income.

Going through my list recently, I saw another one that I just don’t think is going to happen – #78, use all my tanning credits. No, no, it’s not because tanning is bad for you. I KNOW that it is, but I’m also super pale. I have trouble buying foundation because no company manufactures a shade called “Casper” which is probably the only thing that would match my white face. I usually go once every week or two so when I moved to Reading, I looked for a place that would let me buy a package of sessions rather than paying a monthly rate. As usual, things kept coming up and I didn’t use up my sessions before they expired.

I’m sure there will be other things on this list that I won’t be able to cross off and perfectionist-me needs to be okay with that!

119. Meet all the Littles I Haven’t Met Yet

I write about my sorority occasionally every single chance I get. Clearly I enjoyed my experience. A lot of people that aren’t involved in Greek Life question how a fraternity or sorority differs from any group of friends. There are a lot of ways that the Greek experience is different, but few of them are tangible. There’s really no way to explain exactly what is brotherhood or sisterhood. One thing that’s NOT standard in most friend groups is the idea of Bigs and Littles. And like plenty of sorority women, I think that my big is the smartest human being on the face of the planet and that my little is perfect.

Look at that perfection right there!

Look at that perfection right there!

Thanks to the ever-continuing tradition of Bigs and Littles, I now have a sizable family tree. My aging, post-grad brain can’t handle learning the name of every single new member, but I always get excited for a new addition to the family line. I would love to be able to meet all of them as they are welcomed to the family, but, you know, post-grad problems, I have a job and stuff. The next thing I knew, I had multiple generations of littles down the chain that I hadn’t met yet!

Big Little Night with the fam in 2011

Big Little Night with the fam in 2011

In March, I made it back to Rochester for the first time in ages and was able to meet all of the littles during multiple events throughout the weekend. I felt crazy old…I’m a big to the 5th! (And yes, I just had to count down the chain on my fingers.)

My L4 Jenna, me, my L5 Amanda, and the original little Heather

My L4 Jenna, me, my L5 Amanda, and the original little Heather

RML!

RML!

I hope to see more of my littles (all the littles) throughout this project and include them on some of my goals!

102. Print out pictures that I’ve taken and display them.

I might be dating myself here, but some of my favorite days in middle school were the days after a field trip. Why the day after? Because everybody would have taken their rolls of film to get developed and a good portion of the day would be spent passing around those little envelopes filled with pictures. I remember spending HOURS organizing my photo album so my favorite pictures were all in there.

Unfortunately with the invention of Facebook, my favorite one hour photo place took a major hit. Instead of passing around a pile of pictures, now you could click through them while not paying attention during an Art History lecture. Now there are even MORE ways to share pictures. I swear, I have like eight different accounts just to see people’s pictures.

And then came Shutterfly. For those of you not familiar with Shutterfly, it’s a company that lets you upload and print pictures and photo gifts like mugs and calendars and cell phone cases. I’ve used them to print photos for YEARS, but I’ve also made photo books and Christmas cards. My two favorite things about the company is the frequency that they send me coupons and the ability to print to Target. I’ve gotten some AWESOME coupons since I’ve signed up as a Shutterfly member. I printed a photo book for last year’s Joplin trip and shortly after Christmas, they sent me a coupon for 101 free prints…hence this entry.

So with that coupon, I was able to print some pictures from the past few years. The next step was figuring out how to display them. I have quite a few pictures in frames in my living room, but with all the effort I spent hanging them, they’re not coming down until I move out. I wanted something cute, but also easy so I could change the pictures frequently…maybe that will encourage me to print more!

I wound up creating a display above my bed, as my bedroom didn’t have very much decoration. I’ve got some colored twine taped up with hair bows clipped at the end to disguise the tape. The pictures are clipped to the twine with clothes pins. Very Pinterest!

My newest picture display!!

My newest picture display!!

In other decorating news, I did attempt to fix the gallery wall in my living room, and the frame that holds my concert tickets promptly fell down. Again. I also thing I can do more with my bedroom. With as much as I’ve moved around, I always feel like once I have “finished” decorating, it’s time to packet it all up and move again!

Looking at the List #10

It’s been nearly a month since I wrote a “Looking at the List” post. I should probably get these posted…you know, before I actually accomplish these things! I’m cutting it close with one of these…

124. Create a display for my nail polish.

I love nail polish. It might be fair to say I have an obsession. I used to hate painting my nails because it would look terrible from the start and then chip and look even worse. As I got older, I started buying nicer polish and became more patient when actually painting my nails. Now, my nails are painted almost 99% of the time! Of course this means that I have a rather extensive nail polish collection…currently they live in a box in my bathroom, but I would love to be able to showcase them in a creative (but functional) way.

131. Test drive a car.

I’ve never owned a new car. I’ve never even had the chance to look at cars…all have mine have come from family members, co-workers, and family friends. The only time I have ever “test driven” a car was when I was sixteen. My parents were about to purchase a third car and were going to buy one off from one of their friends. It was his mother’s car and she was no longer able to drive. The car was in decent shape and we met up with them at a local catering hall (the Amber Room for you Connecticut folks) and because the original idea was for me to drive the used car, they let me test drive it around the neighborhood. Clearly I was a cool sixteen year old. Right now, I’m hoping I WON’T need to buy a new car before I’m thirty. I drive a Corolla right now and those things seem to run forever. I do think it would be fun to visit a car lot and take something fancy out for a test drive…but I don’t even know how that process works! 

133. Volunteer with Art Feeds again.

Last year I traveled to Joplin, Missouri with an Alternative Spring Break group. We volunteered with two organizations – Art Feeds and Rebuild Joplin. I absolutely loved my trip there and I especially loved working with Art Feeds. I would love to someday start a chapter wherever I am living. When I was coming up with my list, I knew that I wanted to go back and help out again some day – I just didn’t think that day was going to come so soon! Shortly after I added #133 to my list, I was approached by students asking me to be a trip advisor for Spring Break 2014. I’m so excited to head back and I can’t wait to see what we will work on this year!!

An Update on #97

97. Get my hair back to its healthy pre-bleach state.

The last time I saw my hair in it’s natural state was sometime in the early 2000s. It was red and very curly. Annnndddd I hated it. My mom (along with Baz Lurhmann) always warned me that I was going to kill my hair if I kept doing so much to it, and while I really hate to admit it, she was right.

For the longest time, I didn’t do TOO much to it. I used non-permanent dye to dye it darker and I would straighten it occasionally. then I started straightening it more. And then I started bleaching it. Eventually I noticed that it didn’t look as healthy as it once had. It seemed really thin and what really scared me was that my hair no longer curled.

I decided last spring that I really needed to start taking better care of my hair. I went through a six week period where I stopped straightening my hair. Since my hair didn’t curl properly anymore, I just wore it up a lot. It wasn’t attractive. I’ve since gone back to straightening it, but I haven’t bleached it since last March. I am still dying it, but I’m back to using a non-permanent dye that’s just slightly darker than my normal hair color. People ask why dye it at all – if I didn’t I’d have this HUGE line between bleach-blonde and my dark red hair. Then people ask why I don’t just do it once permanently instead of dyeing it once instead of every two – three months – I was given this big explanation by a hairdresser once that I can’t fully remember but apparently permanent dye still has some bleaching agent in it.

In the past month I’ve noticed that my hair has looked healthier. It feels thicker and less damaged. I’m not ready to say that it’s back to its original state, but I’m getting there!! I’m really bad about getting regular trims because I’m always afraid they’ll take too much off, but I think the next step is to get a trim…yikes! Hopefully a year from now I’ll be posting saying that my hair is MUCH healthier!

This was four years ago…I think this was the best my hair ever looked!!

With a D and an E…

It’s Formal Recruitment Week at Albright! As much as I dread this week each year, I also love it. Nothing makes me happier than to see everybody jumping around on Bid Day and making memories that will last a lifetime. Recently I’ve had a bit more involvement with my sorority sisters – I’m going to be seeing some in a few weeks for Formal AND I was assigned a new member pen pal!! To continue my “everything sorority” obsession, I just finished the book “Sorority Sisters” by Claudia Welch and LOVE LOVE LOVED IT. It reminded me not only of my friends that I made through my sorority, but my friends that I made from the music department and still keep in touch with to this day. I seriously wanted to call every single person once I finished that book. Since I don’t exactly have the time to write an entirely new post, I’ve taken bits and pieces from a post I wrote for another site back in the day! Enjoy!

Why I THINK I Joined a Sorority

It’s no secret that I was in a sorority during my time at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Unlike some of the people I joined with, I haven’t “outgrown” it. I still try to get back for larger events and while I don’t keep in touch with everybody, I do my best to keep in touch with those I was closest with. One of my friends from Junior League said that she goes on a trip with her entire pledge class every year. Eighteen women. Ten years. That’s kind of awesome.

Probably my favorite picture from the trip!

Me, my big, and my little in Disney World. We’re trying to make an annual trip a thing.

People frequently asked why I joined a sorority. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that it was never my intention to join a sorority. In fact, I spent most of my first year hating the sororities at RIT because one put a bad taste in my mouth. I’ve found that my answer to that question has changed over the past few years, probably because my feelings towards my sorority have changed. I’m not saying there was ever a point where I didn’t like it, not at all! It’s just that being active is very different that being an alum.

(Some of) my wonderful boys! The closest thing I had to a sorority…before joining and sorority.

I think I first joined because I really didn’t have any female friends. I am still super close with the guys I spent most of undergrad with (we have yearly vacations!) but let me tell you, things get awkward FAST when you’re on a day trip with all guys and realize that you need a tampon. There was only so much that I could talk about with my guy friends, especially if (when) it involved GUY DRAMA… #awkwardcollegeproblems.

Bid Day!

As I got closer to my last preference night ritual, I realized that I was going to have to tell all these potential new members about why I joined my sorority. This was towards the end of my senior year and I had been reflecting on the past four years, including my rough transition from high school to college. Something that one of my home friends said to me that first year seemed to apply to my joining a sorority…I was a fish that was always looking for a bigger pond. Once I got comfortable with being at college, I needed to find a new challenge. That challenge was joining a sorority and thrusting myself into a new group of people that I had never met before….because you know, that hadn’t happened enough my freshman year. So at that last ritual, I told all these girls that I joined to take on something new…and let me tell you, my sorority let me try TONS of new things!

I was Mr. RIT Chair and even wound up on the news!

Now that I have been out for a few years, I think I joined because I NEEDED sisters. I’m an only child and very recently had to see my mother and her siblings care for their aging mother. They struggled. There’s only one of me. It terrifies me to know that some day I will have to take care of my parents without any help. Not to mention the mere idea of not having parents…at least if you have siblings you have SOMEBODY. I have tons of close friends, but at the end of the day they have their siblings. Heck, even most of my sisters have actual sisters. I know that my sorority sisters will always have my back, but I still always wanted somebody that was just mine…and then I met my big. My big is also an only child. She has cousins that she is close with, but while many people go to older siblings for advice and to talk about important stuff, my big and I have each other. She’s put up with me hating…just about everything and I’ve helped her navigate surviving life after college ends (side note – that would be an AMAZING book title…just saying) and we bounce ideas back and forth constantly.

My big and I at her graduation party. Sometimes, we wear our hair the same way.

Just like I didn’t (and still don’t) have a set reason for joining a sorority, there are MANY reasons to go Greek. There are still so many negative perceptions out there and I nearly fell for them! I always encourage students to check it out…the worst that is going to happen is you won’t like it. If any of my lovely sisters are reading this, please comment below so I know you’re out there! If you’re a student reading this, check out the Greek Life at your college!!

Hamming it up at 15 Year.

Twist-a-thon!

My unplanned attendance at a Cops and Robbers social.

 

 

 

 

 

A Haunting in Pennsylvania

I read the Wikipedia article for “The Haunting in Connecticut” after I typed the title. That was probably a poor idea.

My apartment is haunted. I’m sure everybody says that their place of living is haunted at one point or another. You misplace something or hear a strange noise and BAM! Haunted! I think I’ve even made jokes about my apartment being haunted before. Just as recently as last week, I referred to the strange noise that the fridge makes as “the aliens in the kitchen” (okay, so not ghosts, but still paranormal).

Before we get into the good stuff, a bit of necessary back story. About five months after my roommate Lilly moved in, one of my neighbors complained that she barked a lot. This surprised me because Lilly’s rather quiet, considering what she’s mixed with. My mom actually thought that something might be wrong with her because she didn’t bark for the first three weeks I had her. She’s since become a bit more vocal and barks at normal dog things, like when the doorbell rings on a TV show, but I was certain that she did not spend all day barking. I was told that I needed to do something about it, so I wound up buying the Dog Monitor app. My iPad sits in the kitchen watching the door and I can check in on her via my iPhone. I’ve had the app for a few months now, so I’ve gotten pretty good about recognizing certain sounds and knowing where they are coming from. (Oh and in case you were wondering, the dog doesn’t spend all day barking.)

Lilly in her cage during the day. This is what the Dog Monitor app shows me.

Recently, I had an incident where somebody entered the apartment without my knowledge. I was at work and heard someone knocking on the door, followed by someone keying in and yelling, “Hello?” It was just a man from the alarm company, but it scared Lilly and she became not the biggest fan of cage time after that incident. However, I would have never known that it had happened had it not been for my trusty Dog Monitor.

This is Lilly doing her best impersonation of Dobby the House Elf.

Last week, something even more disturbing happened. I was at work when all of the sudden I started hearing this music. It wasn’t a song or tune that I recognized. My co-worker Melissa described it best – she said it sounded like a music box. It was also rather loud. My first thought was that some link I had clicked had music on auto-play. I checked my browser real quick, but nothing there. Then I noticed that my phone was lit up. I picked it up and sure enough the music was coming from my phone through the Dog Monitor app. (I know it sounds absolutely crazy and I’m glad that Liz and Melissa heard it as well otherwise I’d probably have myself committed.) The music lasted about a minute. I’ve tried to come up with some rational explanation for it, but I can’t. It was too long to be someone’s cell phone and the monitor wouldn’t have picked up on it unless it was in the apartment. I don’t know how it could have been an electronic in my apartment – the TV would have needed to turn itself on and then off. I tried to put it out of my mind and carry on with my day.

When I got home from work, I decided to straighten my hair. When I sat down at my dressing table, I noticed that there was a crack in the glass on my jewelry box. I sit at that table every day to do my hair and makeup and had not noticed the crack that morning. I remembered that I had taken a picture of my table a few days prior, so I checked the picture. No crack. I looked around the jewelry box. Nothing had fallen on it, at least nothing that was still out of place. I remembered the strange music from earlier in the day and called my friends. And then, instead of straightening my hair at my apartment, I shoved my stuff into a bag and got ready at a friend’s house. I did not want to be in that apartment!

They say bad things come in threes and the third is what made me finally call security. Before my shower last night, I went to put my earrings into my jewelry box. Yes, the one with the broken glass. When I opened the box, I saw that all of the contents had shifted as if someone had picked it up and tilted it. I normally don’t go into this box, so contents should have been organized instead of laying in a heap. The only logical explanation that I could think of was that someone entered my apartment while I was at work…and seriously at this point I prefer the idea of a burglar to a ghost!

So then I had to send the weirdest email of my life…how exactly do you tell someone that your apartment was either broken into (but nothing was taken) or a supernatural being has taken up residence without coming off as crazy?? Luckily security thought it was just as weird as I did and they sent someone over to make sure that my door wasn’t busted or anything. But seriously how crazy is that?! Melissa invited me to sleep over her apartment, but I decided to be brave lazy and stay in my own bed. Lilly’s at my parents’ for the week, so I was a bit nervous that I wouldn’t have her to protect me, but I survived the night! Too bad “having a totally freaky experience” wasn’t on The List…could have crossed one more off!

Snow Day!

We’ve had two snow days and a delayed opening this week! The last time I missed this much school because of snow, it was 2001!

RIT was notorious for NEVER CLOSING. My freshman year, the first day of fall quarter was Labor Day and the last day of the quarter was Veteran’s Day. You know, days that my high-school-self was used to having off. After awhile, I accepted never having holidays off. But you know what I really missed? Snow days. There was something special about a snow day. A snow day was always such a nice, unexpected surprise.

But RIT was in Western New York. On average, the city gets over 90 inches of snow each winter. Plus the area around campus was pretty flat, so it was much easier to drive around than my neighborhood in Connecticut. I quickly got used to walking to school in all sorts of weather. I also became a pro at layering! Pro tip? Wear sweatpants OVER your jeans/leggings/normal pants so that if you want to take a layer off, it’s the outer one.

Bye Pam, don’t get lost in a blizzard!

One Martin Luther King Day, I woke up to my roommate Tiffany crouched next to the side of my bed. “School’s closed!” she said. “No it’s not,” I said as I rolled away from her. She explained that there was an ice storm and Monroe County made us close down. I still didn’t believe her, but I reached for my laptop, checked my email, and sure enough, RIT was closed. The next thing I checked was Facebook, which of course was filled with…wait I’m not even sure statuses were a thing. But you know what I mean! I remembered that I set an away message about my day off, to which my non-RIT friends replied, “Of course you have today off, it’s Martin Luther King Day.” Sigh.

 

Found this bad boy on Facebook. Oh the glory days!

Since it was technically an ICE day and not a SNOW day, we didn’t get to do any of the fun things like go sledding, have snowball fights, or build inappropriate snow sculptures. I remember being able to enjoy the day with my roommates. The other thing I remember about that day was meeting our weird neighbors. They set the fire alarm off, so our whole row had to wait outside in the ice storm. Lovely. Luckily one of us was parked nearby, so we waited inside a car.

This is probably the only reason I have pictures of our ice day.

During the rest of my time at RIT, I remember there being a few times that afternoon/evening classes were cancelled, but no whole day events. I’ve been enjoying these past few days, but I’m hoping the weather stops being so crazy in time for recruitment and my upcoming trip to Rochester!