Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Guest Post: Kenzie is 22!!! by Katie

Hi everyone that reads Mackenzie’s blog!!! I’m not a regular blogger so I’m sorry if this entry is awkward and weird but I thought I would make an exception for a very special girl’s birthday.

This is the first time in four years Mackenzie and I have not been in the same state for her birthday. Albeit, freshmen year Mackenzie still thought my name was Hannah (her birthday was our Preference night our freshmen year so we hadn’t met yet). Anyways, the point is, we have spent very little time apart since then. So this whole being, what feels like MILLIONS OF MILES APART, is feeling extra hard on this day. If Mackenzie hadn’t so rudely abandoned me to pursue her own dreams, I would walk the seven steps from my room to her room, by greeting her with most likely some kind of cheesecake desert, queso and chips and a margarita/glass of wine (Kenzie is definitely drooling by now) at midnight! But, as I mentioned before, because Mackenzie (so rudely) abandoned me by moving 859.25 miles away this blog post will have to suffice...
So Mackenzie your special birthday (turning 22 on the 22nd) I give you 22 things I love about you... (I’ll try and make sure you still have your job by the end of the post). I'm sorry this post is so lengthy but I promise you'll like Mackenzie even more by the end of this post (hopefully :-))

# 1. I love that... you don't care what people think of you (yes people, she went out in public like this and because she knew no one would recognize her, she proceeded to be even more obnoxious than usual... sober)
#2. I love that... you are a freak when it comes to anything about your planner. I'm convinced that some days you would rather spend hours, by yourself, writing/color coding/ decorating your planner. You also write down everything you need to do in your planner (you know what I'm talking about).  

#3. I love that... you make the STRANGEST faces. Even after four years of friendship I'm still sometimes surprised by some of the looks you give me/other people (and believe me people, these pictures are normal compared to some of the faces she makes)
A personal fav of mine

#4. I love that... you are SO southern (even though you try and hide your accent) 

#5. I love that...If I EVER have a bad day, you don't even have to hesitate before you ask me if I want to go get queso and margaritas.  

#6. I love that... You can EAT(and that you get EXTREMELY grumpy if you haven't eaten)

#7. I love that... We ALWAYS laugh when we're together and most times I don't even know about what.

#8. I love that... you cry DAILY (about everything and anything)

#9.  I love that...You are a TERRIBLE swimmer... actually I don't even know if you can be considered a swimmer. You are more like a surviving drowner. Exhibit a: this picture, Exhibit b: Reef and Ritas (no picture necessary) 

#10. I love that...You want to be a Mom so bad you tell everyone what to do...lovingly :) I also love that because you want to be a Mom so badly, we share an equal love for babies and children.

#11. I love that...You can sleep ANYWHERE (and usually with your mouth wide open)

#12. I love that... You go to EXTREME lengths to take Instragram picture... weirdo

#13. I love that... you love Zac Brown Band as much as I do (and you still love me when i cry uncontrollably at their concert)

#14. I love that... you love Kappa Delta (thankfully, since your job kind of depends on it)

#15. I love that... you're sooooo good singing and dancing... If you go out with Kenzie you never have to guess if she'll break into song or dance at some point during the night

#16. I love that... I can convince you to do almost anything (including sliding down a a dress)

#17. I love that...You look strangely similar to the Target Commercial Lady (and at our date party, most people still couldn't guess who you were)

#18. I love that... We are traveling buddies (and always will be!) I also love that you document our travels via twitter... 
“Made is safely to Atlanta... stopped into IHOP for some breakfast before our flight and just saw a legit stripper”
“Roosters do not only crow at sunrise”
“PDA is different than... humping”
“The only thing I like about Florida is the Keys”
“Captain and Beard better be there”
“We just gotta let it go” “But I love Beard!”
“Both secretly looking at the dinner menu for tonight’s restaurant and getting excited for calamari... this is why we’re friends”
“No it was fuller than that. His heard not his person”

#19. I love that...We share a common love for F.R.I.E.N.D.S., How I met Your Mother, The Office, Sister Wives, Downton Abby, and Once Upon a Time. I also love that we HATE when our friends try and interrupt us while watching any of these shows (cough cough... Ashton Davis)

#20. I love that... You love your friends and family unconditionally

21. I love that... you are so loyal to your sister. You can't begin to explain who Mackenzie is without mention of her sister, Lauren. Having two sisters myself, I always could relate to Lauren and Mackenzie's relationship and because my sisters are 8 hours away, I would live vicariously through Mackenzie and Lauren's relationship. They fight, love and laugh just like sisters. They would do absolutely anything for each other and do not hesitate to put the other one in their place. These two compliment each other very well and bring out the best in one another (even when they're driving each other insane).

22. I love that... I know we'll be friends forever. Even though we will probably not live in the same place again (I'm still in denial), I know I'll never have to wonder if you'll be at my graduation, wedding (here's hoping I'll actually get married), baby showers, birthday parties, retirement party and everything else in between. I'm so very blessed to have you in my life.

Freshmen Year
Sophomore Year
Junior Year
Senior year

I love a lot of things about Mackenzie but these are the few that stick out to me (and that I had pictures to go along with). Please text/ call Mackenzie to wish her the happiest birthday!!! You are loved by so many people, Kenz. I hope you feel special today!


Love, Katie (Hannah)

#22.5- She also really loves this little guy and his Mom. But come one, who wouldn't love this guy? Look at that face (Julia, your face is alright too)! Happy Birthday, Auntie Kenzie!!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Things I Love...and Things I Miss

Hello friends! It seems like forever since I last "touched base" with the blog, and now that I have a full hour to kill on campus, it's about time I do!

Before I get into the nitty gritty, I just wanted to mention that my precious friend, Katie, will be doing a surprise guest blog post in honor of my GOLDEN birthday (turning 22 on the 22nd!) tomorrow!!! I have maintained a patient demeanor which if you know me AT ALL, you know this has been incredibly difficult while awaiting my Birthday, the opening of my gifts all stacked in the corner awaiting the actual day and her special post! I am terrified and excited all at the same time - Katie knows me probably better than just about anyone, so who knows what she'll say about me in her blog, but I know that I'll love it, and so will you! Love and miss you lots, Katie!!

Now, onto the main is the August edition of Things I'm Loving Now and the first ever "Things I'm Missing Now"

Things I'm Loving Now...

1. My Big Girl Purchases

As I mentioned here, the transition from being a collegian to a young professional is an investment. Beyond some formal dresses and the occasional splurge at Alter'd State, the most I spent on my day-to-day clothes was the $25 I would drop on a pair of Norts every now and then. It has been quite the shift from wearing oversized T's which, by the way - that trend has yet to hit's hoping I can be a trend setter because I refuse to wear fitted T-shirts....and Norts to "Snappy Casual" and Business Professional. But the good news? I. LOVE. IT. I love putting on heels and a pencil skirt, and as much as I would give my left arm to be at UT another 4 years I love standing out as a Young Professional or "YP" as Hillary calls us in a sea of college students! Beyond the clothing I mentioned in my previous post, I've made some investments in the area of "accessories" as well...

Over the summer, I purchased my very first pair of real-life designer sunglasses, and I could not be more pleased! I got a beautiful pair of tortoise shell RayBans, and they are perfect. I have been past the I-keep-losing-my-sunglasses phase for quite a while, and was stuck in the my-cheap-sunglasses-break-for-no-reason phase, so enough was enough! And off to Sunglasses Hut I went. I made Sees come with me, and together we picked out my fabulous RayBans and over a month later, still no regrets! 
Next in line is my outstanding computer. After training in Memphis, it became abundantly clear to me that my good ole white 13" MacBook from 2008 just wasn't going to cut it this year. So with the help of my rockstar Apple employee cousin, Nathan, I finally decided to bite the bullet and purchased the new 15" MacBook Pro with Retina Display and oh. my. pixels. it is extraordinary. I have never spent so much money on one single item, but I am so incredibly pleased! Every time I watch a movie or Netflix or something I am just blown away by the quality, and I can't believe I was even considering lugging around my heavy ole 13" fingerprinted mess! Shout-out to Nathan for helping me pick this beauty out!! 
And last, but certainly not least, on the recent purchases list, is my new Naked 2 Palette by Urban Decay. Yall....this is a beast of an eyeshadow palette, and I am official obsessed. Maddy (a fellow LDC) taught me all about this baby at training, and I've been hooked ever since. I love it. The end. 

2. Iowa Sunsets and Sunrises

This weekend, Hillary and I made two trips to Des Moines, which is about a 45 minute drive. We headed down on Saturday afternoon to meet up with our AOII consultant friend, Sarah - Hi, Sarah!! We Miss you!!! - and hit Jordan Creek mall for Chickfila for lunch (see below), some shopping, and Cheesecake Factory for dinner!! Oh. My. Yum = the theme of the day. That, however, is not the point of this "Thing I'm Loving Now!" That evening when we were making the drive home, we were so blessed to see the most spectacular sunset! Seeing it first hand gave a whole new meaning to Jason Aldean's "Fly Over States." No filters or effects needed on these babies...just plain gorgeous.  

The next morning, I took Hillary to the Des Moines airport dark-and-early at 4 am for her 6 am flight. While the whole hour drive there was pitch black, the way home for me was nothing short of amazing. Below is the progression of the sunrise on my way home...I just couldn't help but feel so small as I watched the sun peak over all the corn fields...again, no filters...just Jesus. Incredible isn't it!?

3. My Partner, Hillary

This girl....She keeps me sane. Mostly because she is just as much of a crazy lady as I am. I had told some of the Greek women here at ISU that I couldn't remember the exact moment that I knew I wanted Hillary as my partner, but that one day it just clicked, and I knew we were meant to be. *yes, I realize how creepy that sounds...get over it* Hillary quickly told everyone that SHE remembered...all fourteen of us LDCs were crammed into the upstairs kitchenette at KDHQ making lunch one day at training, and Hillary - the clutz she is - spilled a bag of Lays Potato chips all over the counter. As she turned around to pick the chips off the floor, I proceeded to eat all of the chips off the counter. Those of you who know me well are by no means surprised by this. Hillary, however, was quite surprised and just burst out laughing. I, of course, joined her, and so began our Siamese twin-dom. In the first few days here in Iowa when all I wanted to do was go home to my mommy, Hillary was always there to make me laugh, and still is! Love you, Hilly! Right now, she's on the road at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri, and I am so sad to be without her. For the past two weeks we have been attached at the hip, and usually matching, now I'm going it alone, but I know she's doing great things in Missouri! She felt so bad for leaving me alone for my birthday that she left a note for me to open every day of the week! Isn't she just a sweetheart?! 

4. Corn. Fed. Men. 

This is totally inappropriate....but there are many beautiful men in Iowa....Leslie, I know you're reading this....have no fear. I am maintaining an incredibly professional distance. But just cause you're on a diet doesn't mean you can't browse the menu...and drool a bit...right?! ;-)

...Things I'm Missing Now

1. My Friends and Family

I think the pictures speak for themselves....these are some pretty phenomenal people...

2. Football Season and the Color ORANGE!

 Everyone is gearing up for football season here...meanwhile, I'm dying a little bit inside. Red and Yellow just aren't Orange and White. Plus, this stadium is no where near the size of Neyland. AND....These women wear TSHIRTS to games. TSHIRTS I TELL YOU! While this may not seem like a big deal to you Big 12, Big 10, or ACC people...THIS IS A BIG DEAL! I want to wear sundresses and ORANGE! I look terrible in red and this yellow color just does not go well with my hair. I am learning to love Iowa and I'll yell "Go Cyclones!" with the best of 'em, but yall....this just aint the SEC. I want my checkboard and cowboy boots on game day, and that's just not looking like it's in the Big 12 forecast....well...maybe the cowboy is Iowa after all ;-)

3. Chickfila

Daily. And I do mean daily, I crave Chickfila. I swear all the women living in this sorority house with me think I'm an addict. Most of them have not even eaten Chickfila. moment of silence for this horrid and terrifying fact Tonight at dinner, they actually rolled their eyes at me when I said Chickfila was in the Top 5 things I miss most from home....yall....they rolled their eyes! They just don't understand. They have yet to experience the wonder that occurs when breaded chicken connects with peanut oil and is then placed between two buttered buns....*sigh*.....I've had a lot of time to think about this you see. It was literally heaven when I got my Spicy Chicken Sandwich and Waffle Fries with Chickfila Sauce and a Diet Lemonade on Saturday. I wasn't really even hungry, but you better believe I savored every. last. bite. 

4. Southern Accents

 They think it's cute when we say "yall" here. Which I think is cute. Hillary has started to say "you guys" and it is nothing short of a disappointment. still love you hilly I never thought I'd say that I genuinely miss the twang that comes from being raised in the South, but it's true. Every time someone says "pop" instead of "coke," I miss home....

So that's that! Up next....Katie's Golden Birthday Guest Post!! I can't wait to read it and I hope you're as excited as I am!!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Little Insight into my Life

So, I've mentioned many times before mainly here that my job can be pretty difficult to explain, especially if you're not a member of a Greek organization that utilizes consultants. I ran across this article through other consultants, and I wanted to share it with you because it really does give a little insight into the real life of a Greek consultant, so click here to check it out and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Getting Acquainted with the Cyclones...

Hillary and I have been officially in Iowa for ten days now (if you haven't already read about our journey, check it out here), and I still have no idea where I am! It has been such a whirlwind!! I guess I'll just pick up where I left our new home!!

Hillary and I arrived in Ames late last Saturday evening here at The Sigma Sigma Chapter of Kappa Delta (Each chapter across the nation has it's own name, and the chapter here was given the name "Sigma Sigma" because the founding sisters of the ISU chapter were actually in a secret society called "Secret Sisters" before they asked to join the National Organization of Kappa Delta!, huh!?!), unloaded all of our stuff with the help of one of the sweet women here at the house, and went straight to bed as soon as we had sheets on the bed! This took a bit of effort, however, because the amazing House Corps (who left us such sweet welcome baskets!) had just bought brand new incredibly comfortable mattresses, but they were a little too fluffy for the bunk beds, leaving very little space for my not so little Hillary and I slept sleep-over style the first night! the pictures don't really do it justice..but it was a tight squeeze...

We were a little worried about the bed situation, but absolutely should not have been because Sherry, the House Corps Treasurer, stopped by the next day with her husband to check on things, and the minute we expressed our concern, they went to work on getting us a new bed! Within the next hour, we were all set up and ready to go! Thanks so much, yall! We appreciate you!!

Our first full day in Iowa was taken up with all the bed-switching, moving in, and then a delicious dinner at El Azteca, the Mexican restaurant our PIKE consultant friend, and Ames native, Brandon, recommended to us - Thanks, Brandon! We appreciate you answering all our ISU questions! OH! And, by the way, we have a "house dog," Tia - she's our house mom, Nena's sweetheart of a pup...

That Monday was our first day on the job, so Hillary and I got all dolled up in our professional-best and headed to "The MU" -aka the Memorial Union on ISU's campus- to meet with the staff in TOGA -aka The Office of Greek Affairs- yep...that's right. I'm already catching on to the lingo! We had a great time with the TOGA staff and the Panhellenic Recruitment Exec, then we made sure to stop by the book store to get our "Quit Playing Ames with my Heart" get it!? like the Backstreet Boys song!?!? souvenir!!! One of my best friends from college, Katie, gave me the idea of getting a koozie from every school I go to because I have a minor and unwarranted obsession with them so I picked out my first one!! Then it was off to Texas Roadhouse to celebrate our first day, and we just had the most hilarious time...of course, Hillary snapped this lovely photo of me laughing my little patookus find definition here off - she has a strange skill for getting candid pictures of me at the weirdest moments....something she and Katie have in common, unfortunately!

The rest of the week was filled with meetings, trying to get acquainted with Ames and ISU, and...of Hillary and I feel like we have been eating our way through Iowa....I bold that so that the letters can be as chubby as I am beginning to feel! haha! Ames is a pretty small town (at least what we've explored feels that way) so we thought we'd exhausted the obvious restaurant choices, but we keep getting great recommendations from staff and Greek men and women, so we've just made our way through the eateries of Ames...below you can find Valentino's Macaroni and Cheese Pizza yes, you read that correctly, Orange Leaf Fro-Yo the best I have had in as long as I can remember, and 888 Chinese Food strange name, amazing taste. 

Food has certainly not been a disappointment here in Ames, and if you know me at all then you know I am very very thankful for that. If you don't know me, you should know that I eat like a linebacker, and I am very much not ashamed of that. So far my favorite place is "The Cafe." We went there for brunch with an ADPi consultant last week, and again for lunch today with some PIKE
friends of Brandon's and it was phenomenal both times! Today, I got a steak salad that I am already craving again, it was that good! I didn't take a picture, otherwise you would see that too...haha!

Overall, I'm still loving my job, and we're slowly warming up to Ames, but I am suffering from frequent bouts of homesickness, and we are both extremely ready for meals here at the house to start so that we can stop eating out and start eating more fruits and you can see by my tweet to the right, I have felt severely deprived in that area, so at Orange Leaf, I stocked my cup with 4.5 oz worth of strawberries, raspberries, and pineapple. It was JUST what the doctor had ordered!

Other than my current fear of scurvy, we're hanging in here! We've had quite a few meetings, but also lots of downtime which wasn't very good for the whole homesickness thing. This week has been much better, though, because we've gotten to run every morning, observe Formal Recruitment, and hang out with Sarah, the AOPi consultant in town, which keeps us busy and social! All of the Greek women from every chapter, as well as the Rho Gammas Recruitment Counselors have been incredibly welcoming and gracious throughout this whole week, which has been so uplifting! We get to start our actual recruiting process on THURSDAY EVENING which is coming up so quick and keeping us pretty busy and excited, so we haven't had much time for homesickness this week, which I'm glad for!

This Friday/Saturday we will get to meet the whole group of women - 12 total, 11 moving into the house - that are remaining with the chapter this year. Then, Hillary and I are hoping to take the AOPi consultant we've been hanging out with all week with us to Des Moines for some girl time - nails, shopping, dinner, etc. Then, Hillary leaves for her first chapter visit to Alpha Psi at Drury University bright and early Sunday morning, so I have the immense pleasure of waking up at 3:30 am to get her to the Des Moines airport for her 6:30 flight! YAY!! I CAN'T WAIT!!! I hope you can sense my sarcasm here....I'm laying it on pretty thick...I'll be here in Ames until the 24th and then I fly out for my first official chapter visit to Alpha Omicron at Queens University in Charlotte, NC! So many exciting things ahead! For now, goodnight from the women of the corn! ;-) Until next time...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Road to Iowa!

Oh. My. Travels. This has been the craziest week. I left the good ole hills of Tennessee for the plains of the Midwest! and yes, "I'm Proud to be an American," is running through my head right now, thank you for asking. As I mentioned here, I woke up at the crack of dawn on August 2 to head for the airport and fly to Oklahoma! Starbucks in the Memphis airport during my layover was like a beacon from heaven after that bright and early start!

I got to spend a couple days exploring Hillary's home and college towns. for those of you who don't know Hillary, click here Hillary is my LDC partner and will be spending this upcoming year with me in Iowa. She is from Edmond, OK which is just outside of Oklahoma City, and she went to school at Oklahoma State in Stillwater, which she has deemed "an acquired taste," and I love that. It is a teeny tiny little town, but the campus atmosphere is so much fun! We made sure to stop by Eischen's - the oldest bar in Oklahoma, and of course laughed the entire time.

It was such a privilege to stay at Hillary's house with her family. Even though I had to leave my house, I still felt like I was "at home" because Hillary's mom just plain spoiled us! She got us the most adorable send-off cake and made such a scrumptious breakfast the day we hit the road for Stillwater!! Thanks again, Mrs. Yetter!!

After some exploring through Edmond, we headed to Stillwater to check out Oklahoma State! We did more eating, of course, and got to see LDC Tori who was visiting Nu Chapter!! Hillary was a wonderful campus tour guide and let me stop for all the pictures I wanted! =) She is well aware of my blogging needs ;-) That evening, we went to Nu Chapter's Alumnae Skit Preview which was nothing short of incredible, then I got to go out with a bunch of Hillary's Nu Chapter sisters and I tried my very first Limey! any fans of The Copper Penny know what's up...delicious, my Oklahoman friends. deeeeelicious. 

The next morning, with the car packed full, and Braum's in our bellies, we hit the road for America's Heartland! I just could not get over how FFFFLLLLLAAAATTTTT it is throughout this part of the country! It certainly is a change from "the hills of Tennessee" and it is becoming increasingly clear with the lack of hills and the excess of eating that the gym will be a certain necessity in the upcoming year.

We were both so excited about the road trip adventure, and I was exceptionally pumped about crossing items off of my 101 in 1001 list - including #58 - Go on a Road Trip and scratching even more states off my 50 State Scratch Off! Also, fun fact, the Oklahoma City airport provided much disappointment in the signage the Stillwater sign is the best I could do in terms of proof for Oklahoma...Hillary heard me complain about this for days...I might keep that up just to annoy her.

Amazingly enough, we made it through the entire almost-ten hour drive without killing each other, and actually ended up laughing 98% of the time....which in all honesty is pretty typical. We made some wrong turns, but enjoyed a wide variety of musical selections all the way from "Orange Country" aka OSU to the "Fields of Opportunity" aka Iowa. One of the first phrases to leave Hilly's mouth upon crossing the Iowa border was "Oh. My. Corn." and there is just no better way to describe it. I's everywhere, and my agricultural knowledge is expanding by the moment. Apparently, soy beans are the bumper crop for corn....thank you, Ms. Yetter.

As we made our way through Iowa, our appetites begun to get the best of us, but we were determined to make it all the way to West Des Moines so that we could stop at Chickfila! It's the closest one to Ames where I will be until April and it is still about a 45 minute drive away. =( Some of the women at Iowa State have never had Chickfila. Yes. A small piece of my soul did die when I heard these words. It was a sad moment. moment of silence......okay. We also made a stop at Bed Bath and Beyond to purchase pillows because we weren't able to pack any. Adding the pillows to our already packed vehicle made for an interesting 45 minutes from Des Moines to Ames.

We were quite surprised by how pretty the drive between the two cities was! We were instantly in love with Iowa...and my appreciation grew exponentially as we experienced the 76 degree weather....a far cry from the dog's-breath-106-degrees I left in Nash-vegas...and soon enough...we were "HOME!"

pardon the pixelly quality...but a photo of the exact moment of arrival was necessary

We loaded our stuff into our room, set up the bare minimum, and crashed almost instantly....then slept till 11 the next morning...pretty intense sleeping obviously occurred haha! We spent the next day running errands and getting all moved in, settled, and prepared for the week!! I still just cannot believe we are finally here!!!! That's all for now, but many more updates to come...until next time...