Tuesday, June 21, 2011

100 Days to a Better You!

1. For the next 100 days do one kind deed for someone everyday, however small, even if its just sending a silent blessing their way.
2. For the next 100 days, practice active listening. When someone is talking to you, remain focused on what they’re saying, instead of rehearsing in your head what you’re going to say next. Paraphrase what you think you heard them say to make sure that you haven’t misinterpreted them, and encourage them to elaborate on any points you’re still not clear about.
3. For the next 100 days, get at least twenty minutes of daily exercise.
4. For the next 100 days, every time that you switch to a new activity throughout the day stop and ask yourself, “Is this the best use of my time at this moment?”
5. For the next 100 days, spend a few minutes at the end of each day organizing your desk, filing papers, and making sure that your work area is clean and orderly, so that you can walk in to a neat desk the next day.
6. For the next 100 days, pay for everything with paper money and keep any change that you receive. Then, put all of your change in a jar and see how much money you can accumulate in 100 days.
7. Set your alarm a minute earlier every day for the next 100 days. Then make sure that you get out of bed as soon as your alarm rings, open the windows to let in some sunlight, and do some light stretching. In 100 days you’ll be waking up an hour and forty minutes earlier than you’re waking up now.
8. Make a list of 20 small things that you enjoy doing, and make sure that you do at least one of these things every day for the next 100 days. Your list can include things such as the following:
Eating lunch outside
Calling your best friend to chat
Taking the time to sit down and read a novel by your favorite author for a few minutes
9. Live by the mantra: a place for everything and everything in its place. For the next 100 days follow these four rules to keep your house in order:
If you take it out, put it back
If you open it, close it
If you throw it down, pick it up
If you take it off, hang it up

Sunday, June 19, 2011

champagne cupcakes

champagne cupcakes... with a dash of sparkle

Happy New Year's Eve! Try making these Sparkle Champagne Cupcakes to take to your New Year's party this year! My cousin, Jessie, sent me over the recipe (see below) and I was instantly smitten with the idea! I had to try them for myself and they turned out pretty yummy! I made a few changes, like adding more champagne to the frosting, filling the middle with frosting and undercooking the cupcakes so it wouldn't come out dry. I find everything tastes a little better and more moist when you undercook it ;) The cupcake batter isn't very sweet, but when you fill it and top it with the Champagne frosting it all comes together well. If you have a vanilla cake recipe you absolutely love, I bet you can use that and just add in 3/4 cup Champagne! Oh and also, I would love some new vanilla cake recipes to try... so whoever wants to share... pretty-please do!! Happy New Year's everyone! I hope it's going to be a blessed year for all of us ;)

Cut a hole in the middle of the cupcake and then pipe some frosting inside! YUM!

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup champagne (sweet not dry, look for moscato or asti)
6 egg whites
Champagne buttercream:
3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons champagne, at room temperature
Edible glitter for garnish (I used clear crystal sprinkles from a cooking store)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Prepare a cupcake pan with liners.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together, and then blend into creamed mixture alternately with champagne.
In another large clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whites into batter to lighten it, then fold in remaining egg whites. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full. My note: If I were to make them again I would make minis, instead of full-size. I really enjoy mini cupcakes because I think they are just the right size for sweetness and they are much easier to eat.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. My note: I only cooked them for about 12 minutes. They were still a little doughy inside, but they will continue to cook even when you pull them out of the oven.
To make frosting, cream sugar and butter with an electric mixer. Mix on low until well blended, and then on medium for another two minutes. Add vanilla and champagne, beating on medium for another minute. Spread or pipe directly onto cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with edible glitter if desired.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

20 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Sorority Recruitment

Sorority life can be fun, no doubt about it. But before you jump at the sorority recruitment opportunity, take a few minutes to make sure you are prepared for the decisions that lay in front of you.

Remember, sorority recruitment is a mutual selection process. You are also choosing what chapter you feel will be the best fit for you. Be sure to know what is expected of you and how each sorority will enhance your college experience.

Here are two lists of questions you must ask yourself to help you get ready for making the big decision.

  1. Have my interactions with all members been comfortable and friendly? Do I feel I had meaningful conversations with the women in the chapters I’m considering?
  2. Do I feel I have a lot in common with the women?
  3. What am I basing my decision upon? Have I had interaction with these women or observed them on campus, in class, etc? Am I listening too much to other people’s opinions or rumors?
  4. Can I feel at home with the members socially?
  5. What is expected of me financially? Can I afford to make this investment? What if something happens in the future and I cannot afford the financial commitment?
  6. Do I fully understand the academic expectations of membership? Are there GPA requirements?
  7. Do the women live together in a designated property or house? Will I be expected to live in the house? What if I am a commuter? Do I like the environment of the chapter house?
  8. Are there requirements for involvement? For example, will I be asked to complete community service with the chapter? Am I capable of, and comfortable with, doing the tasks for which I would be responsible?
  9. Will I be able to offer a valuable contribution?
  10. What values does the chapter hold as a priority? How do they exemplify these values? Do they match my values?

Once you’ve answered these, you’re ready. Right?

Almost. This second list of questions to ask yourself assumes you are committed to the idea of sorority life.

  1. Did I register? On many campuses there is a registration form and a fee. Register ahead of time to take advantage of preparation tools and resources.
  2. Do I have a calendar of events? Do I know which events are mandatory?Understand the obligations that come along with sorority recruitment and how missing events can impact your results.
  3. Do I have my recruitment counselor’s contact information? She is your primary connection with real sorority life and your advocate during the recruitment process. Working closely with your recruitment counselor is the best way to ensure your experience meets your expectations.
  4. Do I know what is considered appropriate clothing for each event? Do I have my outfits chosen? Although you’ve likely been provided examples of suitable attire, you may have struggled with deciding what to wear. Be prepared and have a back-up option. Lacking clothes that make you look your best may affect your self-confidence.
  5. Do I have my recommendation letters? If yours campus chapters accept or require recommendation letters, plan well in advance to contact sorority members. Remember they need time to submit the proper paperwork. Add a buffer of two weeks for possible hiccups.
  6. Do I know a woman at my university who is a sorority member? Reach out to her to find out more about her sorority experience. You’ll probably see her during recruitment but don’t be offended if she is unable to talk to you much outside of recruitment events. It is not uncommon for Panhellenic rules to limit her communications with you, even through email or Facebook.
  7. Do I have my resume updated? Even if a resume not required at registration, you would be wise to know what accomplishments and strengths you want to talk about during recruitment. An updated resume can also help your recommenders write about why you would make a good sorority member.
  8. Do I need a photograph of myself? You may need a photograph. If a headshot is requested, make sure it is a picture of only you from the shoulders up. Chapter members want to be able to put a face with a name when they are making decisions.
  9. Are there any potential challenges in my communication skills? If so, how will I avoid them and/or overcome them? Practice a conversation under pressure without biting your nails or twirling your hair. Practice diplomatically moving to a different conversation subject. Practice making eye contact, avoiding interrupting, and allowing the other person to contribute.
  10. Am I a good listener? Practice more; this time concentrate on listening to the person with whom you are speaking. Many times recruitment events can be crowded and loud. It can be difficult to concentrate on your conversation and really listen to the sorority women.

What’s left? Purse? Phone? Keys? Mints? Notebook and pen to make notes about chapters so you can make informed decisions later? Make sure you have everything you need to be able to put your best foot forward and enjoy the experience.

Let the fun begin!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Top Five Tips for Fall Formal Recruitment

1.) Go into recruitment with an open mind: Forget anything and everything you have previously heard about the chapters. Each chapter is made up of a diverse group of women so no one stereotype fits a chapter. Keeping an open mind will give you the best opportunity of finding a group of people that you feel comfortable with.

2.) Be yourself: As cliché as it may sound, you want to find a chapter that fits your personality and you can’t do this if you’re pretending to be someone else.

3.) Do what feels right for you: Don’t let your friends or family decide which chapter is best for you. You are the one that will be spending time with the women of your chapter, and you want them to be people you enjoy being around. If you are having a difficult time and need someone outside of your friends or family to confide in, talk to your gamma chis. They will offer you guidance from an unbiased viewpoint.

4.) Participate in the conversations: When visiting the chapters, don’t make the chapter members do all the work in the conversation. Ask them what you want to know about their chapter, so you can make a decision as to whether or not the chapter is right for you.

5.) Have fun: While recruitment is stressful and overwhelming 3/4ths of the time, don’t forget to relax and enjoy yourself. Recruitment is a great way to meet new people and make your first friends. Talk to the person sitting by you on the bus, strike up a conversation with someone waiting outside of the recruitment venue, and get to know the women in your group. Having normal interaction outside of the actual recruitment process and taking time to relax will help make the recruitment process more exciting!