Monday, April 23, 2012

My "Last" Undergraduate All-Nighter

So, I accomplished #3 on my 101 in 1001 List!!

#3. Pull One Last All-Nighter in Hodges

...But it didn't happen in Hodges...Last week Wednesday, around 9 p.m, me and a bunch of my Ambassador aka tour guide friends (Lauren - our resident wanna-be Mexican, Laura - my brunette mini-me, and Grant - el capitan) trailed through Hodges aka the library on campus looking for a lovely study area for our group, but left unsatisfied. Luckily, my precious friend Grant is a smart little boy, so we got into Melrose aka the honors building, and found a huge study room to enjoy. At first, we had to share with some obnoxiously intelligent folks, but they eventually got sick of us and left, so we had the place to ourselves. Throughout the night, we were joined by other Ambassador friends (Sammy - the player of loud obnoxious music, Ben - my go-to "that's what she said" tour partner, and Will - the bringer of gummy bears and the buyer of late night coffee) and it was nothing short of a study party.

Now, for me, this semester has been mostly stress-free in terms of school. I've only pulled one almost-all-nighter while working on a 20-page paper, but other than that it's been pretty light on the school work. professors just thought they'd be hilarious and pile on all the work at the end of the semester. typical So the night of the all-nighter, I was looking at attempt to tackle the upcoming weeks of assignments: 6 papers (one of which was due the next day), 4 quizzes (two the next day), 2 tests (one the next day), and a creative project (which I still have yet to begin). Sounds super fun, right!?! WRONG. But, with the help of some wonderful friends, lots of coffee, plenty of tweets, midnight McDonald's, and one hilarious game of Ninja, I made it through! Here's a picture of us playing four a.m....clearly I sucked....

Clockwise from the top: Will, Grant, Me, Lauren, Laura, and Ben...picture captured and tweeted by Sammy.
Our little wanna-be Mexican, Lauren, is about to graduate with me, and had NEVER pulled an all-nighter before - can you believe it!?

But in the end...she couldn't handle it! hahahahahahaha So, she, Sammy, and Ben packed up and left around 5 that morning, leaving us hardcore students to our studying. I ended up accomplishing a five-page paper, two online quizzes, and a long study session for my test the next day. So much done...yet so much still to do...

I honestly felt fine when 7 a.m. rolled around and we all started packing up. Even when I laid in bed, I couldn't sleep! My most-wonderful roommate, Katie, even brought me a delicious Caramel Latte before our morning classes! Luckily, my first one got cancelled, so I got to chill at home that morning and study even more! yippee....then the Thursday shenanigans began....and we all crashed:

Needless to say, it was a typical all-nighter. The entirety of Thursday was spent complaining about how little we really accomplished, how poorly we did on our tests, and how we wished we had just gone to bed. So, I definitely achieved the classic all-nighter experience one last time before graduation...and I was fast asleep by 7:30 Thursday evening....and for the next 12 hours to come...

And that's that! Until next hard and sleep tight! ;-)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I'm Starting with the Man in the Mirror

You may be wondering why I have titled this post with some of Michael Jackson's classic lyrics. I shall tell you my dear! The following post is dedicated to four lovely ladies with whom I share an undying (mostly drunken) love for the song "Man in the Mirror." It has become our go-to song when we're in the mood for windows down, music blaring, and screaming at the top of our lungs (or if we've all had a few and feel like bringing down the house with our incredible vocals...not). I realize that this song is incredibly depressing, and unfortunately I cannot enlighten you on why we have become obsessed with it because not even I can pinpoint a moment when it became "our song." But despite all of this, I am pleased to post about...


Katie, Me (Mackenzie), Anna, Julia, and Ashton - Football Season Junior Year

Four years ago, I never would have guessed how much these women would mean to me. Brought together by the bonds of sisterhood in Kappa Delta Sorority, we have dealt with literally anything and everything a college girl would ever face, and I am proud to say, we've survived it all. 

"Power T" Mixer Freshman Year - Tiffany & Co. Boxes
Rockstar Date Party Sophomore Year

These four ladies have taught me some valuable life lessons - how best to curl my hair, how to paint my nails by myself, how to be a good friend, and most importantly, how to take a tequila shot. (NO SALT FOR ME!)

Fall Formal Sophomore Year
Bid Day (and my 20th Birthday!) Junior Year

I cannot imagine life without them! It has been so strange this year while we've all been beginning new phases of our lives, and it will be even more stranger when we're all in separate cities just a few short weeks from now. And for those of you reading, it might seem strange that all of these pictures are in the exact same pose...but too bad. It's just one of our little things =) I am so proud to call each of these beautiful women my friends, and no matter where we end up, I know we will always be close! I love you all!!


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Things I'm Loving Right Now

I got this lovely little idea from my beautiful friend Rachael Daughtrey when she posted her own list on her blog the other day! I thought it was so positive and fun, and we all know how much I love list-making, so here we go:

1. The Ellen Show

This woman...she is just phenomenal. Regardless of your feelings toward the LGBT population, Ellen DeGeneres is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most wonderful people on the planet. Despite the fact that plenty of people have some not-so-nice things to say about her, she is incredible positive and loving to all people! She does some outstanding philanthropic work, giving exceptionally large amounts of money to charities and people who need it. And not to even mention, she is HILARIOUS!!! I mean...just check out the above video and see for yourself!

2. Instagram and PicStitch Apps

OF COURSE, as soon as I get my new iPhone, this awesome app spreads its wings into the Android world....typical. But regardless I have thoroughly enjoyed my Photo-A-Day challenges and all the fun effects you can add to your pictures! The PicStitch app is what allows you to have multiple pictures in one frame, so be sure to download it! My username is mackenzievandam (creative, I know) if you want to follow! Let me know if you're on Instagram, so that I can follow you too!

3. Friday Night Lights

SUCH A GOOD TV SERIES! I've been watching it on Netflix after my good friend, Will, nagged me about watching it for literally years, and now I'm obsessed. Any free moments I have, I'm watching Friday Night Lights! Will keeps telling me that the character Tammy Taylor is me, and it's been so funny watching her personality unfold throughout the series and roll my eyes at the countless mannerisms that make the two of us quite similar. But beyond that, the plot line is great, the characters are wonderful, and overall it is just a wonderful show that I would highly recommend to you all!

4. My Newfound Love of Coffee...and it's Effects

For years and years and years and years...basically since I started high school, my precious mother has been trying to get me to try and enjoy [decaf] coffee. With every new creamer, I was forced to try a sip, but despite her best efforts, I blatantly refused to enjoy this beverage. Upon reading a recent article in one of my many fitness magazines, I have changed my behaviors! I mean, you don't get this fit and buff body without the help of Self, Shape, and Women's Health!...I hope you are laughing at this CLEARLY SARCASTIC statement. What I mean by it is: you feel better about being a total lazy ace when you read about working out...even if you don't do it...ever. SO! This article was all about the positive effects of caffeine on your metabolism...WELL WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY SO!?! With a new determination and desperate hopes of a smaller waistline without lifting a finger, a coffee drinker I became. "Coffee" up until recently, however, has been a very loose term. The "non-fat, no-whip, white mocha" or the "skinny caramel machiatto with an extra pump" was all I could handle. But, my friends, I persevered. I can now handle a regular ole cup of coffee with cream and sugar like a champ! I even CRAVE IT! Look at me and my adult life! And I absolutely love the caffeine jolt and I do, in fact, fine that I am less hungry on days I drink it. So there you go! Above pictures depict my coffee of choice and current favorite creamers =)

5. Twitter Anons

Aka.. anonymous twitter accounts. They usually have certain thematic elements to them, but I'm obsessed with them. And yes, I am pathetic. But my favorite twitter anons are "Southern Gentlemen" who tweet lovely things about the South, Conservative values, treating women with respect, etc. and the hopeless romantic in me just finds them all quite lovely. My favorites are @BowtieGentleman, @CharmOfTheSouth, and @DixieGentAL. I also enjoy the "Southern Ladies" who tweet about traditional southern/female attitudes and behaviors (example: baking) that I can relate to like @DixieDarlin615@SouthernStandards, @ItsTheSouth, and @ClassyProbs, or sarcastic tweets from @CondescendingWonka, or tweets about how much it sucks to be out of undergrad from @PostGradProblem, or just some great country song lyrics from @CountryWords....I know it's dumb, and clearly I follow WAY TOO MANY, but anons just makes me smile! I just think there's just something wonderful and fascinating to all of us about being anonymous, but maybe that's just me.

6. Eric Church's Springsteen 

I am thoroughly in love with this song. There's just no other way to say it. It's fabulous in my personal opinion. I hope that you enjoy it as well.

So that's what I'm loving right now! =) Let me know what you're loving too! Until next time...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Why Should I Worry When Your Love Surrounds Me?

Happy Easter, Everyone!
I hope you all had a wonderful day with family and friends celebrating our Risen Lord!

I don't know about your Easter Service, but mine was literally a God-send. It is amazing how mysteriously the Lord works, placing us in just the right place, at the right time, to hear the right message!

As we were waiting for the service to start, I was people-watching, and I found myself literally coveting (yes, in church...this is why I need a Savior) the precious women with their wonderful husbands and their adorable children and/or precious pregnant bellies. While I am in absolutely no rush to get married and start a family, I know that those are things that I want later in life, and I am desperately afraid that they will not happen! I don't know what it is about being in church, but I always feel this sense of urgency to move this plan along! I was sitting there thinking, "God, my whole life, the only thing I've known for certain is that I want a family of my own. When is it going to be my turn?!" *keep in mind the previous "I'm in no rush" statement....I'm telling you: I need a Saviour!* And, just moments later, as our wonderful worship set is finishing up, and we are seated for the offertory, God just laughed right in the face of my plans.

You know the Lord has a sense of humor when, as you're sulking in your loneliness and the fact that life isn't what you expected, your high school boyfriend's new wife sings the offertory song. Now this might not seem ironic in any way to those of you who don't know me, but let me tell you: for me, there couldn't be anything more humbling, no better way to shut me up with a classic "My will be done" from our Lord than to have that beautiful woman with her spectacular voice sing Natalie Grant's "Alive" in that very moment. It was an instant reality check for me that, no matter how detailed my planner may be, or how many dreams and schemes I come up with for my own life, God is in control, and it is not my will, but HIS WILL BE DONE! With this new mindset, we began to listen to the sermon.

The theme for today's sermon was "Do Not Be Afraid: The First Post-Resurrection Command," and it focused on how, in Christ's Death and Resurrection, we need not fear ANYTHING for Christ has overcome it all - even death! How appropriate!!

The main passage of Scripture was Matthew 28:1-10, and the focus of this "First Post-Resurrection Command" came specifically from versus 5-6a:

"The angel said to the women, 'Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.'"

Pastor Scotty Smith made the whole congregation laugh when he said, "God could have sent that angel to say 'See!? I told you so! Now, go get your act together!'" But instead, his First Post-Resurrection Command was DO NOT BE AFRAID! The Lord commands us not to fear 366 times throughout the Bible in multiple different ways - one for everyday of the year - even Leap Day! So what do we still have to fear?! Well, Pastor Scotty went on focusing his message on some of the most popular fears, and how, through the Gospel, we can accept the commandment of "do not be afraid:"
  1. Death - Hebrews 2:14-15
    Jesus conquered death to give us life, so do not live it in fear!
  2. Judgement - 1 John 4:16-18
    Jesus died to give us grace - we are pure and blameless in the eyes of the Lord!
  3. People - Proverbs 29:25
    Now this was the big one for me. Scotty said, "Some of you are afraid of being with people, and others are afraid of being without people - of loneliness. Of being seventy-years-old and unmarried, of not having kids, of feeling like your life didn't count because you didn't share it with someone else." Um...insta-tears. This hit home, and not in a small way. My biggest fear in the world is being alone! *See above rant about husbands and babies* But the truth of the matter is, as Scotty pointed out, I have no reason to be afraid because the Lord will never leave me nor forsake me! And his plan for my life is far greater than anything I could ever plan on my own - praise Him! 
  4. Suffering - 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
    Do not be afraid to hurt! Struggle brings perseverance! And God is with you no matter what!
  5. Not Having Enough - Hebrews 13:5-6
    Jesus is enough!
  6. Not Being Enough - 2 Corinthians 4:7-10
    We should not be preoccupied by what we see in the mirror, but focus instead on who we are in Jesus!
  7. Not Mattering Enough - Luke 12:32
    We are "little flock," and that is all we will ever be! But the Father is pleased to give us the Kingdom! Hallelujah!! WE ARE ENOUGH!! 
Like I said, I just felt like Scotty was speaking straight to me, and it was just undeniable that God wanted me to hear just that: YOU ARE ENOUGH! I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU! DO NOT BE AFRAID! I DIED TO TAKE AWAY YOUR FEARS! It was just such an amazing Easter morning, and I left feeling alive and rejuvenated - ready for the brand new opportunities ahead! It was the perfect way to start a new week! I hope you are feeling renewed and refreshed as well! God Bless You All!!

blog title courtesy of Andy Cherry's Nothing to Fear...another incredible song that gave me chills in worship this morning!

My 1st Mission Accomplished!

I came home for the Easter weekend looking forward to a lovely relaxing time, and I have thoroughly enjoyed all the time with my wonderful family. But, unlike most trips home, I had the opportunity to grab drinks with some wonderful friends that I rarely ever see! It was so good to see Meaghan, Addie, and Matt! We were all sitting at Dan McGuiness Pub catching up, and the topic of my 101 in 1001 list came up in conversation. Matt was just certain that we MUST accomplish at least one thing on my list that night. Well, many of the things on my list are not just get-out-and-do-it sort of things, but this one was.....

73. Put bubbles in a fountain

So, after saying some goodbyes, Matt and I go to Walmart for the cheapest dish soap available, grab a cup from the gas station on the corner, and we head over to Thoroughbred Movie Theatre. Now, at the good ole Thoroughbred, the po-pos aka the police are constantly on the look-out for hooligans like me trying to dump soap and create bubbles. Luckily, however, Matt and I are late-night hooligans who showed up after the last movie had started. AKA - the place was deserted. Despite this, we wanted to be sure to be sly. it's more fun that way anyways! So, we dump a bunch of AJAX into the cup, pop a squat on the fountain, stealthily knock the cup into the fountain while attempting to appear like an innocent couple-o-friends, and then we headed back to the car to wait it out! We went back to the fountain to check progress about thirty minutes later, and there was a definite layer of bubbles!! Of course, in just a half hour, bubbles don't get super fluffy in a fountain this large, but by 1:00 am, a simple layer was more than enough excitement to warrant crossing #73 off the list!! Thanks to Matt for helping with the mission, and I hope yall enjoy the pictures! :-)

AJAX in the Cup
Innocently placed on Fountain
Dumped...and we wait.


Thanks for reading! Until the next mission...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Funny How a Melody Sounds Like a Memory

Today is another one of those days when I just cannot believe that I am a 21 year old, almost-college-graduate, less than two months away from beginning my dream job. Tonight, I am headed home to the beautiful Franklin, TN with my first load of boxes, moving out of my precious yellow house here in Knoxville. I will be taking my last load out of my college home in just thirty-five days, and all this packing creates so much undeniable, and unavoidable nostalgia. It feels like just yesterday, Ashton and I were climbing up six flights of stairs over and over with massive arm-fulls of all the stuff we could think to cram into our teeny tiny dorm room...

I mean...look at that haircut...I was just a mere child! And to think, when that picture was taken, I hadn't even begun Panhellenic Recruitment - the week that would change my life FOREVER! Shout out to Michelle Thomas, my wonderful cousin, who first instilled in me a desire to "Go Greek!" I honestly would not be the person I am today, with the resume I have today, without my involvement in the Greek community, and specifically in Kappa Delta Sorority! Here's a picture from my very first bid day - my first tiny glimpse into the amazingness of KD. Little did I know, on that bright and early Sunday morning, that four years down the line I would be a confident woman, involved chapter member and student leader on campus, a self-proclaimed ritual geek, and about to begin a full year of actually WORKING for Kappa Delta Sorority, travelling to chapters all over the country to share my love for KD and potentially colonizing a new chapter! It is outstanding the way that God works in your life, placing specific people in the right place, at the right time, planting seeds that will blossom into incredible opportunities!

I'll end the nostalgia for now, I am supposedly listening in class after all...I'd hate to burst into tears in the middle of a class discussion of Frankenstein. *Deep Breath* Only 6 hours till I hit I-40 for Franklin, 35 days till Graduation, and 59 days till my LDC Training begins! I can't wait! In the meantime...thanks for reading!

post title courtesy of Eric Church's Springsteen....aka my current most favorite song.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Photo-A-Day Challenge Photos

One of the things on my 101 in 1001 list is to complete 365 Days of the Photo A Day Challenge...clearly I'm in a challengey kind of mood! haha! I started this when I got my iPhone and the Instagram app, and I thought I'd share the photos so far! 



Not the most exciting assortment, but each day has a different "topic" that you follow for the picture of the day. The topics for the above photos were keys, name, trash, feet, toy, where you relax, reflection, and color. It has been so fun to try to be as artsy as possible with these! Obviously, I'm not the most artsy person, but maybe a year from now I will be! If you are interested in starting your own Photo a Day Challenge, check out Fat Mum Slim's version - that's what I'm doing! Let me know if you start! I'd love to follow you on Instagram! Enjoy my friends!