Saturday, August 3, 2013

Technical Difficulties...

Hello all!

I am so sad that I have not been able to blog lately! I have so much to share, but unfortunately my computer is broken, and I cannot upload any photos!! It's a travesty. And let's be honest, the photos are the best part of the blog entries. I am hoping to get it fixed up this week, so I can catch yall up on everything!

I am, however, pleased to announce that I will be hitting the road again soon for some more travel!! So keep checking back, and hopefully you'll be greeted with a mass of new entries soon!
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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Celebrating Mr. & Mrs. Flint!

Memorial Day weekend was such a blast! After months of waiting, it was finally time to head up to DC for Julia's wedding!! I spent Friday night pulling my life together so that I could catch my butt-crack-of-dawn flight Saturday morning. Though I was not thrilled to get up at 3:30 am, I do love watching the sunrise when I have super early flights!

So, it was off to Baltimore - gotta love those cheap flights - where Katie was waiting for me like a champ, and we made the drive out to the Georgetown area, which I just love. Everything is so pretty and it's the perfect place to walk around and kill time. We did some "window shopping," during which I just could not help but purchase my first lululemon top because it was supremely on sale and feels like cashmere. And of course we went to Serendipity! Like always, we ordered their signature frozen hot chocolate, and it was obviously delicious. Both Katie and I ordered the three decker grilled cheese, and like most food, it changed my life. I mean just look at these incredible layers of cheese!


In case you're unaware, I consider myself a huge foodie. I simply love food. If you've seen Julie & Julia, then you know the opening scene where Meryl Streep's character, the infamous Julia Child, cries when she tastes a fantastic dish. Yep...that's me. As I have put it many times, while most people eat to live, I live to eat. I am almost ashamed to admit that my table talked about food the entire rehearsal dinner...but only almost...and more on that later!

After lunch, Katie and I headed into the heart of DC to check out some monuments while we waited for Ashton to arrive. I haven't been to the monuments in over ten years, so I was a giddy tourist! We checked out the Washington Monument (which Katie refuses to call anything other than "the pencil"), the World War II Memorial (where I made sure to take pictures with my two states of residency), and the Lincoln Memorial. It was all so fantastic and patriotic - especially because it was Memorial Day weekend, and we were so lucky to have such a beautiful day to walk around!


After the monuments, we picked up Ashton and headed back to Katie's to rest up before the big events! Sunday morning we woke up and got ready, headed back up to Baltimore to grab Anna, enjoyed a quick and delicious lunch at Katie's, then it was off to the rehearsal! Lots of intros, a few walks down the makeshift aisle, then the bridal party got to hangout and lounge by the pool before the dinner. It was so fun to catch up with everyone I knew, and get to know everyone I didn't! And I must say, I often caught myself staring at Julia because she just radiated beauty and happiness the whole weekend!


As I was saying above, at the rehearsal dinner my table talked about food pretty much the entire time. I embarrassed myself heavily by eating the remnants of my fellow bridesmaids' plates. And everyone became well aware of my food obsession. The dinner was spectacular - there was this fantastic crab dip during the cocktail hour that I could have eaten with a spoon, the salad was a fantastic summer salad with strawberries and goat cheese, and then we had such great chicken and potatoes for the main course. The wine was abundant and delectable, and to top the whole evening off, dessert was a flourless chocolate cake with raspberry drizzle that made me want to lick my plate. I'm genuinely upset that I didn't get pictures of any of the food from any of the wedding festivities...I have no idea what I was thinking. Ironically enough, upon my return from this incredible weekend, Thought Catalog published this article about "Signs You Love Food More Than People," and while I do identify with many of the signs, I would have to say I still love people more...but enough about that...BACK TO THE FESTIVITES!


After the rehearsal dinner, all the bridesmaids went back to Julia's for a slumber party...needless to say, we were all zonked out by about 10:30pm...and before we knew it, it was time for the bridesmaids' brunch! We enjoyed good food and fun conversation before it was time to get ready. During the brunch, Julia gave each of us Toms that she had hand-painted for us as our bridesmaids gifts, and it is safe to say that I am obsessed with them! We wore them through the reception, and I wore mine the whole next day, too!


After the brunch, everyone but myself, Katie, Anna, and Ashton left to get their hair done. We Tennessee gals thought we'd just do our own, and I was thrilled with our choice because it gave me time to cuddle with this little guy! He's such a little ham :)


Just a short few hours later, we were all dolled up and off to The Winery at Bull Run! It was time for final touchups, getting Jules in her dress, and lots and lots of pictures! Below is Julia's something borrowed - Anna's Kappa Delta pin - and something old - her grandmother's ring, wore behind her own. So many beautiful touches throughout the day!


And then it was time for Julia and Sean's first look! The two photos on the left below are from their wedding photographer - Katie Nesbitt - check out her blog here for more pictures coming soon! Pardon the poor quality of my shot next to these two stunning photos!


Next, we were walking down the aisle, watching these two get hitched, and headed back down the aisle again!! I, like the true sap that I am, sobbed like a child. Katie even turned and gave me a "PULL IT TOGETHER" look mid-ceremony because I couldn't control my sniffling.


My favorite moments: when Mr. Peck kissed Julia and shook Sean's hand as he gave her away, the look on Sean's face as he said his vows (like he was speaking to Julia's soul, yall, it was so beautiful), and obviously this outstanding moment under the sabers: *another photo by Katie Nesbitt*


After the ceremony, the new couple took family photos while the rest of us enjoyed the most wonderful cocktail hour that I have ever had the pleasure of attending. Great wine and outstanding food!! BBQ sliders, chicken tacos, and the most glorious sweet potato pastry puffs that you could possibly imagine. Again....food obsessed here. Seriously, the cocktail waitress lady knew me by the end of the hour....sad fate, my friends, but worth it. And the reception? A total and complete blast. The music was fantastic, and very intentional - Rocky Top, Man in the Mirror, all of the good stuff. And Julia and Sean were literally glowing. We all had so much fun together. I was so sad when it all ended.


And off they went, through a tunnel of sparklers into Sean's truck and off to their honeymoon. The end to a fantastic day and the beginning of a crazy, beautiful life ahead. To the happy couple: I felt so blessed to be a part of your day, and I wish you a lifetime of love, laughter, and happiness. Fingers crossed I get to see yall in July! I love you!
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Thursday, May 23, 2013

I Make a Difference, Now What About You

I love Pinterest. I think it's spectacular. I think whoever made it is probably swimming in a vault of dolla-dolla-bills yall as if he/she is Mr. Scrooge. And you know what? I hope that is the case, because he/she deserves it for creating something that blows my mind and occupies my time and sequesters my bordem all at once. My dear brother, Kevin, wants to find out how to invest in Pinterest because he wants a cut of that cash, and if he finds it - I want in, too.

All this to say, I came across this video on Pinterest today, and I couldn't help but share it. Working in the field of education, and having so many friends as teachers, this video made me want to give a standing ovation. Go ahead, watch it while I hop on my soap box....


The opening line is this:

"You see, the problem with teachers is
what is a kid gonna learn from someone
who decided his best option in life
was to become a teacher?"

And you know what, I have had some really crappy teachers. We all have. Teachers who broke me down to build themselves up, teachers who could have cared less. Teachers who shouldn't teach because they don't care about kids. We've all been there, and it's the pits.

But...

You know what else? I have had some outstanding teachers too. Teachers who challenged me. Teachers who taught me more than math or history, but who taught me about life. Teachers who shaped and molded the person I am today, simply by being teachers. There was Mrs. Wayman who taught me not to give up when she said it was okay to stumble when I read aloud. And Mrs. Sanders who molded my literary mind when she made me love to read. And there was Mr. Adams who challenged me not to be mediocre by teaching me multiplication tables. And Mrs. Constantine who taught me not to act dumb to appear less intimidating to boys while teaching me American history. And Mr. Harlin who showed me that good things come to those who wait when he taught me how to write DBQs. And Ms. Stice who taught me to open my eyes to others opinions when she handed me a pocket Constitution. And that's just elementary through high school - don't even get me started on how Laura Stansell and Sally Parish and Kathy Jones changed my life in college - that's a soap box of I'll never get off!

I have had some amazing teachers. Men and women I am so thrilled chose to become educators when they could have been doctors or lawyers or CEOs and bringing home better bacon. One of those fantastic teachers who shall rename unidentified told me senior year of high school that I was "too smart to be a teacher." And I will never forget that. I'm sure it was meant to be a compliment, and I appreciated that teacher saying I'm intelligent. But it's devastating to me that that mindset is what educators are up against. We should be doing cartwheels into schools knowing that we are learning from men and women who are smart enough to be doing anything else.....

So. Thank a teacher today - academic or otherwise. Without them, you wouldn't know how to read, write, count, share, or really, be you! I'd like to say a special "thank you" to all of the wonderful teachers listed above, and to Katie and Julia for braving this mindset - I envy the students you will teach! I am so proud of you both!! You know I'd quadruple your salary if I could :)

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The Keys with The Katies

So...two months to the date without a post...basically I'm the worst blogger ever. My sincerest apologies to whoever may actually read this (what up, Hilly). So let's play catch up...first on the agenda? My vacation to The Keys with Katie and Katie and the first Katie's family...yep...this will get confusing. 

My college roommate, Katie, has two close friends from high school - both also named Katie. So, two Katies and I went down to The Keys for "Spring Break" (they're both teachers and actually have Spring Break....I just have vacation days haha). And of course there was no shortage of food or cocktails...


We honestly just spent the entire week laying by the pool at the fantastic house where we stayed on Key Colony Beach. We enjoyed time with each other, and Katie's family came down for their Spring Break and we loved spending time with all of them, too! Lots of sun, good food, great cocktails, and amazing friends :-)


We took one night and got all dolled up and drove down to my favorite restaurant ever - The Southern Most Cafe in Key West. Last year, Katie and I ate there and I had the most fantastic fish just smothered in the most dreamy lobster hollandaise sauce that you could ever imagine. When I say dreamy, I mean it - I literally dream about this meal. When we returned this year, there was no hollandaise in sight. I was disappointed that I couldn't revisit my all time favorite meal, but the lobster mac and cheese I got instead was just about as dreamy. And the truffle fries with parmesan? Honey...those babies will change you. If you haven't noticed yet, I am a huge foodie....and yes, I realize I have a problem.


The Keys are just incredible. It is simply the most beautiful place I have ever seen. I'm sure like anywhere, if I lived there full time, it would lose it's wonder after a while, but I just love love love love that place....check out some of the views...


I also discovered the Vine App during this trip...for those of you who are unaware, it's basically Instagram, but for videos, and it's fantastic! So you can check out some of our videos here, just click on the image if it's not already playing and make sure it's not muted by scrolling over the top left corner of the video....complicated I know...sorry folks....

Just enjoying the view...



And the nighttime view...




Katie getting excited for dinner...



Katie and I dancing the night away! It really is a shame we didn't get the Footloose dance on film. For those of you who know me well, I love to dance to "Footloose." And it is a workout, my friends. Footloose aint for pansies. Katie will tell ya....



One night, all of us girls hung out laughing and talking and having so much fun! I honestly was sobbing from laughing so hard. And then the impressions began, and that's when I just about stopped breathing. Megan did a spot-on imitation of the girl in the newest Pixar film, "Brave:"


And then Kelly had us rolling in laughter by impersonating a woman on her Long Island campus who was discussing "The South" with her before her flight down to The Keys...



That night was not complete, however, until some intense games of Spoons! I kid you not, we played at least twenty rounds, and I'm honestly surprised there were no injuries! And, yes, I'm aware of how unattractive my spoon-stealing face is...


We had the best time! I just hate how quickly the time flew by. Before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye to The Keys...that is, until next year....


Special thanks to the Hubbell family for being so all-around spectacular and allowing me to crash your vacation - I love yall to the moon and back! 

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Ermahgerd! I love Providence, RI!

Oh, Providence....I can't believe I'm saying this, but I miss it! I had so much fun being with the girls up in our tiniest state, in our cramped little apartment....I even kind of...sort of...miss my air mattress on the floor! I just had such a blast at Brown University, and I am so thankful I had the opportunity to go up to Rhode Island for two weeks! Honestly...how many people have actually been to Rhode Island?! It's definitely not the first vacation destination that comes to mind, but yall...it is gorgeous. And the food? Spectacular. I'm still craving Antonio's pizza...I think I will till my dying day! Whenever I get "homesick" for Rhode Island, however, I just remind myself of how much I hated the snow...


...as you can tell from the center photo, winter is not my favorite season. After a full day of trekking all throughout campus, to the apartment, and back, my hair was SOAKED! I was shivering and crabby, and I had a meeting with a potential new member in about five minutes. My solution? The hand drier in the public restroom. Judge all you want, ladies and gentlemen, but I pulled it together and put the "P" back in "P.A.C.E!" for those of you non-Kappa Deltas out there, the "P" stand for Personal Presence. 

One of the best parts of my time in Providence was Hilly's Birthday! Now in the Yetter family, birthdays are no joke. They are monumental opportunities for extreme celebration. Becoming one year older is not to be taken lightly. Knowing this, and hearing Hillary worry for a week that her first birthday away from home was going to be the worst ever, I knew we had to put a plan in place. With my clever partners in crime, Kim and Sarah, we devised an extravagant ruse to surprise Hillary. The morning before the big day, on our daily errand run, I broke away from the group to collect and purchase birthday items while Kim and Sarah took Hillary to look in every department Target had to offer. That afternoon, Sarah and I filled 23 balloons with helium and hid them in a closet just awaiting out perfect moment. And that night, I lured Hillary out of the apartment so that Kim and Sarah could deck it out with birthday cheer. After about an hour walk around campus and tons of girl talk, we returned to an apartment filled with balloons, pink streamers, and red velvet cupcakes - Hillary's fave! 


One of the things Hillary wanted so badly was to see fish thrown while we were sea-side. She'd seen it on The Bachelor when Sean went to Catherine's hometown of Seattle, and thought we might get lucky and find a fish-throwing venue in Providence. Unfortunately, we were just plain on the wrong coast for this sort of entertainment, so we improvised, and bought Swedish Fish to throw at Hillary for her birthday fun! Kim and I even rapped for her at midnight....it was truly a night full of entertainment, and she was so surprised and elated, it made all the secrets more than worthwhile!


After Hillary's birthday, Recruitment Weekend was just around the corner! My two weeks in Providence simply flew by and we were already picking the founding members of the Theta Gamma Chapter at Brown! Special thanks to Margaret, Stacy, and Danielle, as well as the women of Theta Alpha and Eta Kappa for all of your help and support during the weekend! Here are some pictures of the team throughout the weekend: pardon the less-than-stellar quality...not sure what happened there...


Although we worked hard those two weeks, we also had so much fun! We enjoyed exploring Providence, outstanding food, fabulous people, lots of Gossip Girl, and tons of good laughs!  

[left to right] Team Brown at The Bear...Team Brown imitating LDC Shelby's go-to photo pose...and Me and Hillary enjoying an evening out with the girls
[clockwise from top left] Team Brown out for Hillary's Birthday Dinner...Me and Hillary at The Bear on International Badge Day...and Me and Hill at Mt. Fuji
[left to right] Kim and I with all our Bid Day supplies...Hillary and I on the way to her Birthday Dinner...and Kim and I dancing like fools in the apartment :) 

On Hillary and I's last day in Rhode Island, we all drove out to Newport to explore the sea-side city and get some pictures. It was the perfect way to wrap up our trip to the coast! I am just ecstatic to say I will be venturing back to good ole Providence for Theta Beta's Initiation and Installation at the end of April, and I am so ready to experience one of my favorite places when it's a little warmer!! Antonio's...I'm coming for you!!


Until next time...
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Monday, March 4, 2013

BEST. PIZZA. EVER.

So...I've been in Rhode Island since Friday evening, and it has been a blast spending time with these ladies in our smallest state! We spent Saturday and Sunday running errands and preparing for the big recruitment weekend coming up - so exciting! Last night, we rounded out the weekend with some delicious Hibachi as a team of four. It was a blast, but it was not Antonio's pizza by the slice. So please, allow me to tell you about Antonio's pizza by the slice. 

This pizza is so spectacular, so awe-inspiring, that I literally finished eating it no more than ten minutes ago, and I am already telling you about it. So lavish, so delectable that I made Hillary stop talking to me so that I could savor every bite in silence. So tasty, causing so much happiness, that I couldn't bear to eat the last bite because I simply could not come to terms with the ending of said pizza. So, my dear, sweet friends, if you ever find yourselves in Providence, Rhode Island, you simply MUST venture down to Thayer Street and have yourself some Antonio's pizza by the slice. I wholly recommend, with no reservations, the tomato basil (aka caprese salad on a pizza) or the white pizza (featuring the most pure ricotta that has ever touched my tongue). AH! I will definitely be hitting up this joint again ladies and gents. 

P.S. I just read this to Hillary, and she said it sounded like I was writing a love letter to this pizza. And you know what? I'm okay with that. Because while you may eat to live (yes, Daddy, I'm talking to you), I live to eat my friends. I LIVE to EAT. 


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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Exciting News - and lots of it!!

Sincerely could not be more thrilled to share that 13 wonderful, talented women have been selected as the new 2013-2014 Leadership Development Consultants for Kappa Delta Sorority! You lucky ladies have no idea how much your lives will change for the better in the upcoming year!! I am also so happy for Tori Close to be selected as the very first Senior Consultant! Such exciting news!!! 

Click here for more info

I just cannot believe that my time as a consultant is wrapping up! March is my last month traveling as a consultant, and I am thrilled to say that I am leaving tomorrow for Providence, Rhode Island to work with Kim, Sarah, and Hillary to colonize a new chapter at Brown University!! Although I am terrified of the cold weather as you all know, I am a pansy when it comes to the cold, I am so excited to see the gorgeous campus, experience our smallest state, and be reunited with some of my favorite ladies while colonizing another chapter!!

Click here for more info

Wish me luck in the frozen tundra! Until next time...

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The Big Move!

It was a couple weeks ago that I made the big move to Memphis! I trekked it from the western most corner of the state - Memphis, back to Nashville, then up to Knoxville which is in the upper east corner of the state...not all the way to Bristol, but it's up there! I took that Friday off work so Daddy and I could make the trip to Knoxville to get all of my stuff. We'd stored it there after graduation because I had no clue what I would be doing after my time as a consultant. We woke up early, made the 3-hour drive, picked up the Uhaul, and headed to storage. About two hours later, that sucker was empty, and we were on our way back to Nashville! I wish we'd had time to see some friends and my old stomping grounds yep...I used that phrase...judge me but we had a long weekend ahead of us!


After the 3-hour drive back, we spent the night in Nashville enjoying the regular Van Dam family tradition of Friday night pizza, and I packed up more of my things from my bedroom at home. Then bright and early the next morning, Daddy hopped in the Yukon, Momma and I jumped into Bessy my precious Chevy and it was off to Memphis! The drive between Nashville and Memphis is pretty boring - not too much to look at - but it was fun spending time with Momma, taking pictures of Daddy, and group texting with the whole family...even if my brothers were mocking my need for a UHaul...


 It was a long day moving furniture upstairs to the apartment, putting the furniture together, setting it all up, errands...the works. But by the end of the night, we were enjoying some dinner and taking pictures of the almost finished product.

My goal for my "grown up" spaces was simple, elegant, and classic with a dash of shabby chic. I'd spent the past two months scouring pinterest and all my favorite stores to find quality pieces that would last a while, despite the trends or wear & tear. This is what I came up with - I hope you love it as much as I do!

BATHROOM


BEDROOM


Still lots of details to work out...pictures to hang and such, but I am really loving my new apartment - and my roommate, Kirstin :) Memphis is great so far!! Hopefully it's only going to get better! Until next time...

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Boston: Take Two

As a consultant, I had the pleasure of heading up to tour chapter at Boston University twice in my travel year. Unfortunately, my first trip to our Eta Phi chapter in December was picture-less, which is no one's fault but my own. I made up for this in spades when I returned in January to help prepare the chapter for Recruitment! I was in Boston for about ten days, and loved getting to know the chapter members and advisors so much better - especially after pulling two all-nighters! Such is Recruitment, right!? :-) We spent the first couple of days on campus practicing before the week began - look at those lines!!


Then it was off to the Marriot Copley for the actual Recruitment Week! I just couldn't get enough of my view!


I must admit, it was heaven staying in a hotel on a big fluffy bed for those few nights. It doesn't happen often on the road, and it was a luxury that I made sure to appreciate! Plus, it was fun spending time with the Recruitment team and advisor those late nights!!


The first round of Recruitment was Open House style, and the theme was "Go Greek, Go KD!" The decorations were incredible - there was so much cute Kappa Delta paraphernalia everywhere! The lettering you see above the green tables is created from posters on which a sister hand-drew the Kappa Delta Lilly Pulitzer print - talk about talent!! There was also a huge t-shirt quilt that I sorrowfully didn't get a picture of - it was a fabulous collection of Eta Phi sisters' favorite t-shirts and a huge statement piece in the room. Such a great first round!


The next day was Philanthropy Round where we taught all the potential new members about Kappa Delta's national platform of CONFIDENCE! They wrote confidence inspiring messages on balloons, talked about our work with the Girl Scouts, and the KD Block Party on campus that raises money for the prevention of child abuse throughout the country. The decor was, again, fantastic with the blown up pictures draped throughout the room and the sparkly mason jars filled with flowers and balloons - so stinkin' cute!


The last round before Preference was Sisterhood and Eta Phi's theme was "How Sweet it is to be a KD!" and oh-my-sugar, there were more sweets than you can imagine throughout the room! This spectacular table-scape was my very favorite - so shabby chic! It was so fun to hear all the girls share their favorite pieces of Kappa Delta sisterhood throughout the day, and they showed an adorable video each round that always put a smile on my face!

I am so sad to say that I didn't snap a single picture of the Preference room because it was GORGEOUS! The walls were lined with black linens, lights, and tulle - it looked like a dream! There was a "wishing well" fountain bubbling water and white roses everywhere. Simply stunning. And the Eta Phi women finished out Recruitment with a bang. Before we knew it, we were welcoming 43 new members on Bid Day!! So proud of your success, Eta Phi!! Miss yall!!



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