I graduated…..now what?

Well, I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Quinnipiac University on Sunday (despite being scared out of my mind to do so).

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And what has post grad life given me so far? A lot primetime The Price is Right specials, naps, and trying to get a hold of this adult thing.

To save some breathe for when everyone asks “what are you ACTUALLY doing post grad?” I decided to just share it with the whole wide world on Sparkle and Shine. 

Starting on Monday, I began my online Master’s courses for Interactive Digital Design from Quinnipiac. I’m excited to dive more into learning coding, Adobe programs, and different multimedia techniques. It’s definitely going to be harder than any of my other classes from my Undergrad years at QU, but I’m very excited to get started. Plus, I’m lucky to have my mom, grandparents, aunts, and best friends as an amazing support system for whenever the going gets tough.

I’ve been in love for the past three years – with Sparkle and Shine. I’ve loved coming up with what I want to write about, putting the piece together by creating graphics and typing the story, sharing it on social media, and watching everything come together. I’m hoping that with my Master’s in IDD and my undergrad degree, I will be able to further my professional career and Sparkle and Shine.

More importantly, since I will be living at home, I will not have as many responsibilities on my plate. As you readers know, I was constantly boggled down with Res Life, my sorority, my school television station, a full-time course load, and so much more. Now, I will have so much more spare time to focus on the Sparkle and Shine blog and video blog. I’m hoping that with my spare time and my new Master’s courses, I will be able to continue Sparkle and Shine and all of its contents.

In the meantime, here’s to sparkling through the next few months as I begin this post-grad journey!!

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5 Ways to End the Semester Right

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To be honest readers, I’m writing this post as one of my many tasks to procrastinate writing my thirty page research paper on how journalists impact the human rights movement. I’m usually not a procrastinator, but with the scary g-word looming in the near future, it has become a new way of life. Push everything off and pretend the days aren’t counting down to that day fateful day, right?

But as the semester- and my undergraduate career – end, I realize that I always end the semester the same way. I’ve developed a routine of what I do to properly end each semester and I just needed to share it with you.

  1. Write “thank you” notes to your professors

    You wouldn’t have truly survived the semester without your professors – if you didn’t have them, there would be no classes to attend! Yes, they may have caused you late nights in the library and additional stress, but they took time out of their children’s soccer games to grade your papers and missed dinner with their family to meet with you. I always make sure to thank my professors for their time and effort. An act of kindness, like a hand written thank you card, goes along way! Be appreciative.

  2. Take some time to focus on yourself 

    High School Musical 2 and other movies left me with an unrealistic expectations of what the summer should be. For my undergrad years, they always were focused around going back to my summer job, interning, attempting to get back on a fitness routine, and cross as many books off my “to read” list as possible. This left me with little time to actually destress from the semester. That’s why I always make sure to take a night at school to put my phone away, focus on my affair with Netflix, and do an at home spa night. Nothing will ever compare to a proper massage, but a deep exfoliating drug store face mask, a glass of wine, and a good night’s sleep can come pretty close if you let it. You deserve some “you” time.

  3. Return/sell your textbooks

    After the semester comes to a close, it is time to put myself on a budget because I am tight on cash. Those bar tabs, big/little hibachi dates, and twice-a-day Dunkin runs really seem to be unnecessary once you realize how much they take out of your bank account. You don’t want to have more money taken out due to fees and fines for not returning your books on time, so make sure you return them as soon as you are done with the final. Plus, you may even be able to make some extra money through your school bookstore, Amazon, or from my previous sponsor, CampusBookRentals.com.

  4. Get rid of anything you no longer need

    This could be your notecards from your Gen Ed history final, the sweatshirt from the cute boy in your science class, or a just the Starbucks receipts and gum wrappers at the bottom of your backpack. The semester is officially over, so no need to be a packrat. Only having necessities will make life easier once you start to move out of your dorm room.

  5. Say your goodbyes

    I used to feel like Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana when I would go home for summer break. My “fake” life at Quinnipiac with my “school friends” was not the same as my “home friends.” At college, you are used to having the same people constantly around you, within a mile or two of you at all times and all hours. It gets weird not seeing these familiar faces so often. It’s just like saying bye to your mom when she drops you off for the semester. Make sure you say goodbye to everyone you want to-once you are hours away at home, you won’t have the chance! 

    Do you always end your semester a certain way? Let me know!

     

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Sometimes, life just hits you…

And it hits you hard, like a s-h-i-t ton of bricks.

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Many of you may follow along on my adventures on my Instagram or Twitter, but many have been very basic recently, like formal, birthday, or my typical ‘I love my sisters‘ posts. Why? Cause life hit me and I’m about to get a bit personal with you all.

A lot of times we live in a bubble. We get used to the routine of our lives, sometimes spiced up with a little love-life drama or hard decisions that need to be made. After loosing my father in high school, I am well aware that one day can rock your entire world, not to sweat the small stuff, and the importance of processing your own thoughts.

But sometimes, events that can rock your world hit you all at once….

I am sure you heard about the Belgium attacks on the news, maybe even listened to the Quinnipiac University students who were there talk about what they went through – what they were lucky enough to live through.

The pretty, skinny blonde in the pictures? Yeah, that’s my grand little, one of the people I hold closest to my heart. She’s a best friend, a partner in crime, and one of the women who will beside me at my (one day, far away) wedding. And she was fifty feet away from a bomb that went off in Brussels from a terrorist attack.

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That morning, I woke up to a text message from her to our sorority family saying that she was safe, but the airport she was leaving out of today for spring break was the one that was bombed. She informed us she was safe and that she loved us. And then we didn’t get to talk to her for many, many hours.

I woke up to this before I even knew that there was a bombing, before my Twitter feed was flooded with news outlets sharing about the event, and before my school let us know that it was three of our own that were there.

And I was then forced to continue on my day – classes, spinning with my great-great grand little, homework, etc. Going about my normal day, while everyone else was talking about, gossiping about it, while my sorority family realized our lives could have drastically changed.

And now this was something I needed to process and take this all in. Sudden emotions – the shock, the fear, the sadness – aside, I needed to think this all through.

But before I got to completely process this, one of my other sorority sisters was diagnosed with metastatic cancer. I was supposed to see Corey, my rush crush, days before we got the news at a local St. Patrick’s Day parade. Now, she was not going to be back for the rest of the semester to focus on her health and go through chemotherapy.

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From the moment I spoke to her at recruitment, I knew she was a perfect Alpha Delta Pi and someone who was meant to be a special part of my life. She’s as beautiful on the inside and she is outside and can always make me laugh. Someone who has so much going for her should never have to go through this and thinking about her illness was a lot to process.

She was someone my age and her whole life had been flipped upside down.

Please think about donating to Corey’s GoFundMe. Over $20k was raised in 6 days and you can help make even more of a difference!

So here I was, within two weeks, thinking about two things that twenty-two year olds, or even anyone, should not have to be thinking about. Ever. And now they were both on my plate to process.

And that didn’t even conclude the stress of graduating next month and finding a job because trust me, I think I have a quarter-life crisis everyday about this. Just ask my best friend Paul….I’m always hyperventilating about this.

Plus, class, Greek Week, being an RA, and everything in between… life just hit me. I had a lot to think about, a lot to take in, and a longer to do list than ever before. And if you have ever had a lot going on with a long to-do list, you know it would take super powers to truly focus to the best of your ability.

Here’s to the good days that remind us that there’s more than just the bad. Here’s to Lauren’s safety and here’s to Corey being one of the strongest women I know. Here’s to the future, the unknown, and the support system I have to get me through it. Importantly, here’s to this crazy thing called life.

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What time is it? SUMMERTIME!

What time is it?
Summertime, it’s our vacation
What time is it?
Party time, that’s right, say it loud

What time is it?
The time of our lives, anticipation
What time is it?
Summertime, school’s out scream and shout!!

So no, readers, I am, unfortunately, not staring in a new High School Musical.

I am, however, just excited to be able to finally start my summer vacation!!

I have been done with finals for about two weeks now, but I didn’t get to completely come home for the summer until the start of this week.

Every year, Quinnipiac hosts a “Senior Week” for it’s graduating class. It’s one last goodbye party for the seniors – a booze-filled week, jamming in as many last minute memories (or stories, if you don’t remember) as possible.So, it’s pretty much heaven.

But to make sure those senior devils stay alive until graduation, heaven need a few junior angels to babysit them. Myself and 29 other juniors were selected to go as Junior Crew to chaperon and execute the events. Based on that description, it may not sound like fun. However, it was by far one of the most fun weekends I had at Quinnipiac.

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But following this meant facing reality and the dreaded g-word…..graduation. Some of my best friends just graduated – a handful of people who helped me fall in love with Quinnipiac, Alpha Delta Pi, journalism, and myself. I watched people who I couldn’t imagine my college career without take their diploma that they have worked so hard for. At times, it was even a punch in the gut that there is more to life outside of the Quinnipiac bubble and that life, is the real world.

BUT MY BIG COMES BACK NEXT YEAR TO COMPLETE HER M.B.A! So I am still lucky enough to have my partner in crime in Hamden and don’t have to worry just yet about saying that goodbye. (Even though I have cried a handful of times as people remind me that Katherine is coming back. It’s just the whole principal and concept of graduation, you know? It got me.)

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Now, I’m back home in the most perfect state of New Jersey. Between continuing to intern for TheCelebrityCafe.com and work at CVS, I will be really focusing on Sparkle and Shine this summer.

Somehow this summer, my baby turns two. I’ve seen so much progress since I first sat down behind my laptop and created it. This summer, I want to continue expanding and continue to create my opportunities for myself. I have tons of e-mails to go through of sponsored post opportunities, different partnerships, and more. Through these e-mails, I will continue to build up Sparkle and Shine – and nothing makes me happier than watching my baby grow.

Stay with me, readers, as Sparkle and Shine shines as bright as the summer sun.
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Mixing Cute & Comfort for the Day After

Happy Friday, readers!

It’s no longer a secret that college weekends now start on Thursday nights, which makes Fridays on campus look like zombies rose from the dead. Since it’s syllabus week, I wanted to make sure I definitely seized the Thursday opportunity. So, my little and I went out last night!

I don’t have classes on Fridays, but I’m still out and about on campus all day long. I woke up this morning with a busy schedule: an audition for my school’s television station, a meeting for my sorority, a meeting for my school’s television station, blog e-mails to answer, this post to write, and some how find time to eat, go to the gym, and socialize in between. While running all over campus, and to Dunkin Donuts for my medium iced caramel swirl with skim, I try to still dress cute.

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No matter how much your head is pounding or you may want to go back to bed, there are days when you need to just keep moving and cross items off your color coordinated to-do list! Just because you want to look comfortable, doesn’t mean you have to just throw in the towel and throw on a baggy sweatshirt.

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My go-to for these types of situations are always leggings! Leggings dress up an outfit a little bit more than yoga pants, but are still just as comfortable. To continue to add comfort, I always will put on my favorite sweater. To continue to mix the comfort and cute aspects together, I added a scarf and a vest.

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To my sparkling readers, a scarf is always my go-to accessory to dress up an outfit! You can almost always catch me in a scarf in the winter. Gap is one of my favorite stores for winter scarves, which is where I got the one that I am wearing today.

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Vest: Gap | Sweater: American Eagle | Scarf: Gap | Leggings: Victoria’s Secret PINK

Boots: Ugg Australia | Sunglasses: Icing | Backpack: Coach

Keep this easy, cute, and comfortable combo in mind the next time you want to dress to impress, but don’t want to get out of bed. Check out more of outfits on my Instagram!

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Top Instagrams of the Month: July & August

Happy September, everybody! Hope you all enjoyed your Labor Day yesterday. Mine was spent in the library doing homework and sucking down the largest iced coffee Dunkin Donuts has to offer.

Now that it’s the start of the month, it’s time to share with you all the top Instagrams of the month. August was just way too busy that the start of the month passed before I shared with you all about my top Instagrams. Lucky you, that just means that you get to hear all about July and August in the same post.

Double the months, double the fun right?

 July:

 

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My Instagram picture with the most likes was one from when my mom and I went on a mother daughter date to Joe’s Crab Shack for the first time.  The restaurant serves your choice of crab legs in a large bucket with corn and potatoes. The food was just so delicious!

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My Instagram with the second most likes from July is when my little diamond, Amber, came to visit me for the weekend in New Jersey! Amber came up for a fun filled weekend, which included my first ever trip to “Carlo’s Bakery”! The cupcake I ate was just way too delicious – but nothing was more exciting than having Amber came to NJ for the first time!

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One of my favorite adventures from the summer was seeing Rogers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella on Broadway! This was the image that had my third most likes on Instagram. The show was absolutely amazing. For anyone going to NYC and looking for a Broadway show to see, this was my favorite that I have seen and I would recommend to everyone.

August:

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With close to 100 likes, my Instagram with the most likes is one of me and all my residents! As our second group meeting, I decided to show the girls around campus the day before classes to make sure that they knew where to go. Then, to test their knowledge, we stood in the quad and as I would say the building, they would have to point. Becoming an RA has by far the greatest task I have ever taken on in my life.

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After going through my ten day resident assistant training, we had a banquet to celebrate the end of training and the start of our residents moving in. There was a beautiful fountain in North Haven, Connecticut, where our banquet was, to take photos in front of! Nice scenery equals perfect Instagram photo. Out of all the photos taken, I uploaded a candid laughing photo of my friend Chris and I. The funny thing about my friendship with Chris is that we became friends because of our obsession with a local diner near our school.

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This past weekend, we celebrated the 19th birthday of my little diamond, Amber! Saturday night we took on the town. Before we went out, we took this adorable photo, which is now my profile picture. Our weekend celebrations continued Sunday and ended yesterday. Yesterday was Amber’s actual birthday, where we finished off the celebrations.

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Amber seems to be a common theme in my Instagram photos that recieve the most likes. Finishing off this long list is the photo Amber and I took while filming our sorority’s recruitment video. A few weeks prior to school starting, a few sisters met at Quinnipiac to film Alpha Delta Pi’s recruitment video. In the video, Amber and I talk about how we are so thankful for Alpha Delta Pi because it gave us each other. Another reason I am thankful for my sorority is because it gave me my big diamond sister, Katherine, who was unable to make it to the photo shoot.

 

Now that is is September, my Instagram will be filled with even more photos. You can follow my Instagram HERE and check out my top Instagram posts from January, February, March, April, May, and June!

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Top 3 Instagrams of the Month: May 2014

Happy June, readers!

Those April showers brought more than just May flowers, it brought you my monthly edition of Top 3 Instagrams of the month!

May wasn’t as busy for me – once I finished tackling finals, I came home for the summer and immediately started working 40 hour work weeks. Though I haven’t been having much time as I would have wanted to spend blogging so far, don’t worry, readers! Now that I have a handle on how my schedule is going to be, I’ve already been filling my Lilly planner with post ideas and publishing dates.

Now, enough about the blog, check out my May Instagrams with the top likes!


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On May 15, 1851 Alpha Delta Pi became the first sorority on the scene! I celebrated my love for the first and finest sorority by posting a picture of my chapter by posting a picture of my beautiful Theta Theta sisters and I on May 15! The photo was taken outside on our lovely quad during our Diamond Dash philanthropy event. The greatest decision I have made while being in college has been joining a sorority. I couldn’t be more thankful for our founders who created ADPi 163 years ado and I couldn’t be more blessed to live out the ritual those women created as an Alpha Delta Pi sister.

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The most exciting event that occurred during May was my trip to the New York City Makeup Show with my little diamond, Amber, courtesty of press for Seventeen Magazine! In the post, which you can read HERE, Amber and I traveled to New York City to learn about makeup from some of the best in the business! Going to the makeup show, and getting to experience it with my little diamond, is just one of the many perks having a contract with Seventeen Magazine has given me!

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The Instagram with the third most likes for May was a collage of some of the highlights from my second semester of sophomore year at Quinnipiac. Second semester of sophomore year held many great achievements – I was appointed the Director of Social Enrichment for my sorority, became my school’s weather girl for our news station, gained a contract with Seventeen Magazine, officially became an adult by turning 20, completed my second ever Relay for Life in honor of my father, made Dean’s List for the fourth time in a row, and just so much more. The laughs, the memories, and the friendships made during this semester will live long in my heart. It was quite a semester for the books!!

I can’t wait to see what the month of June will have for me – and what Instagram pictures I will be flooding your feed with. You can check out my top Instagrams from January, February, March, and April or follow me on Instagram to stay up to date on my life.

Enjoy June!

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