Head into the weekend with my current playlist

My weekend playlist

So confession time… I usually mooch off of two of my best friends’ Spotify playlists. Why make my own when Paul has the perfect country and going out playlists and Lo has everything I need when I want to drive with the windows down or cry over a boy with a giant container of chocolate icing?

However, I finally decided to make my own playlist for going out in the summer and I can’t.stop.listening.to.it. Even if I’m not going out, whether it’s in the car, the shower, or going for a run, I’m blasting this playlist!

I’ve added and adjusted to it, making it the perfect playlist for you to jam out to this weekend when you’re getting ready to go out with all of your friends (shoutout to everyone who’s back at school with their friends, I’m having serious graduate FOMO).

Here are some of my top picks for your pre-game playlist this weekend:

Closer by The Chainsmokers and Halsey // Girls Like by Tinie Tempah // My PYT by Wale //

How I Want Ya – Dawin Remix by Hudson Thomas // Bad Intentions by Niykee Heaton //

Does Ya Mama Know? (Dance Like That) #HEYNOW by 99 Percent // Sex by Cheat Codes 

Grove St. Party by Waka Flocka Flame // Say My Name by ODESZA //

R U Crazy – Radio Edit by Conor Maynard // Cold Water by Major Lazer and Justin Bieber //

I Can’t Stop Drinking About You – Chainsmokers Remix by Bebe Rexha //

Don’t Mind by Kent Jones // Mamacita by Travi$ Scott // White Girl by Shy Glizzy //

And of course my go-to jams that I’ve talked about in the past.

Check out the rest of the playlist here.

What songs can you not stop listening to this right now? Comment below and let me know!

 

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Lose weight and never step foot inside the gym…

So like every college kid this summer, I came home and realized that all those nights of drunk eating, sugar-filled drinks, and easy-to-grab chicken finger meals from the cafe really added to my waistline. And like every other college kid, I decided I wanted to make a change.

Except, I wanted to do more than just lose the weight I gained, then fall back into the old habits. I was now a college graduate and had my whole life staring back at me (which is like, really freakin scary). I ultimately won’t be going back to two AM diner trips after all night studying, tour de Franzias, or living life without a full kitchen. So much was going to change about my lifestyle, why not make fitness more of a priority?

At school, I would go to the gym a few times a week (well, I’d try to), but was always guaranteed one day a week because of a set Tuesday spin class with my GG-little, Taylor (who is now teaching! Go Tay!). I was never a fan of the gym because whether it was true or not, I feel like everyone always stared at you, peek over at how fast you were going on your machine, or judged you. In spin class, I liked how everyone seemed to be so focused on getting the most out of their own 45 minutes and listening to the instructor, that everyone was pretty much in their own little world with the instructor.

But now that I graduated, spin classes aren’t free….. unless you have a gym membership. I was always self-conscious at the gym, so why waste money on a gym membership? Or even worse, drop ten dollars per spin class? No, thank you! There had to be free, fun ways to work towards being healthier and avoid the gym.

So, I spent my summer rounding up great ways to get fit, lose weight, and avoid a gym! And after months, and weight loss and muscle gained, I’m sharing with you my fun ways to workout and never step foot inside a gym…

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Get off the couch and go for a run! // Trust me, I know it’s easier said then done. But I’m not talking easy, I’m talking free and easy right now.

The fall season is quickly approaching (buh-bye humidity, my hair can’t wait to see you leave), so the weather will be perfect for a morning run or after dinner to relieve stress from work. Put your earbuds in, relieve some stress, and get some fresh air!

If you aren’t currently a runner, there are tons of different apps to help you change your ways. If this past sentence described you more than you would like to admit, then the C25K app is definitely for you! All it takes is 3 days a week, 30 minutes each day, and in 8 weeks, the app will have you ready to run in your first 5k.

But if you are going to start running, you will need to download the free Nike+ Running app. It will monitor the distance you ran, how far you ran, and your average pace rate. Plus, another great feature is that the app will let you sync up your Spotify playlist! You can’t workout with a good playlist, am I right?

Count your steps // This one goes hand-in-hand with the last tip, but you don’t need to run to count your steps. Even better, you don’t need any fancy technology to do so, either. Before I bought my FitBit, I had the Pacer app (free, of course- can you tell I don’t get an app unless it’s free?). My entire family had it and we were able to add each other as friends and make a group, where we could all see who had the most steps per day. It created a competition between us- who had the most, who could reach their goal the fastest, etc. It added fuel to my fire to help me find ways to get extra steps – taking the stairs instead of the elevator at the mall, parking my car farther away when doing errands, and even marching in place when I would brush my teeth. I never realized I was supposed to be aiming for 10,000 steps a day. Before I started counting my steps, I wasn’t even close to getting this number. Now, I make sure I hit 10,000 steps every night before I go to bed. It was such a great step in kicking off my fitness journey.

Free fitness videos on YouTube // In high school, once I quit swimming, I would do Zumba Fitness on the Wii to stay in shape (despite my lack of rhythm..thanks mom and dad). However, as four years has now gone by, I knew most of the songs and dances already. I figured to take to YouTube one day to try to find routines. There were tons of videos and playlists put together for different levels of workout, different time lengths, and more. There were so many options!

After a few days of this, I got to thinking that there had to be some dances out there to some of the Billboard Top 100 songs. I searched “Cardio Fitness” and came across two fitness vloggers that I now do everyday…

The Fitness Marshall

As soon as I found Caleb on YouTube, I was obsessed with his channel. His personality comes through in each video, leaving me laughing as I work up a sweat. Caleb has dances to not only current hits, but as well as some of Britney Spears’ greatest hits – which can always get anyone dancing!

 

Dance Fitness with Jessica

One day in the car, an Ariana Grande song came on and I found myself moving along to The Fitness Marshall’s moves. I decided I wanted to switch it up and found Jessica, by going through my recommended stations. Jessica always kicks my butt, whether it’s a workout at home with her kids, a class routine, or a cell-phone recorded video (like my personal fave down below!)

Lastly // To kick off my fitness journey, after hearing a ton of positive reviews from many of my sorority sisters and vloggers, I decided to take the 28-day Advocare challenge. Though this wasn’t free, it definitely helped put me in a better mindset to start this journey. It helped rid my body of the different toxins that would weigh me down, help me feel more energized, and helped me learn more about what I should and should not be eating. For an extra jumpstart, I highly recommend Advocare!

I’d love to hear how you workout without the gym! Comment below and let me know. PLUS, if you decide to try any of these methods, I want to hear! I promise to respond back to all comments on this post and Instagram!

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Red Solo Cup, I fill you up! {Toby Keith Concert}

Happy Tuesday, babes!

This past weekend, I got to head back to my college stomping grounds (4o days post grad and I feel like it’s been forever) to see some of my best friends and then go to the Toby Keith concert at the Xfinity center in Hartford, CT.

After creating my first ever vlog of our annual country concert last year, I wanted to try again this year…..and in the excitement of seeing all of them since my graduation, I completely forgot to even record. I barely even posted a snap story of the concert cause I was just so excited to see them and be back together with them.

However, thanks to my little’s unlimited use of phone storage, we managed to take tons of pictures! Check them out below: 

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Make sure to go and check out the pictures on my Instagram – here’s the silly group shot and here’s my favorite of me and Paul! I’ll be commenting back on YOUR pictures if you stop by my Instagram TODAY!

Time to look into tickets for another concert – who do you recommend seeing live?

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It really isn’t just four years, it’s for life….

Hello, hello!

Ever go on one of those runs when you do SO much thinking that you feel like your brain may explode? Well, that was how I spent yesterday morning. One of those thoughts (when I wasn’t thinking about which Kylie lip kit to purchase, what I should wear to see Toby Keith this weekend, or my future wedding to Animal Kingdom star Finn Cole) was about how Greek life has impacted my life in the past month since graduating school.

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This whole thought process started when I received a text message about writing a letter of recommendation for someone who is looking to go rush Alpha Delta Pi at USC.

Whenever someone in ADPi gets a little butterfly feeling about remembering why they chose to come home to ADPi, we call it an “ADPi moment.” Some of mine included getting my big and little, when all my sisters supported me at my first Relay for Life to honor my father, and when I realized that one of my sisters, Lauren, is pretty much my soulmate. I’ve heard some alum sisters talk about how they get these ADPi moments as alums and our advisors say that this moments continue, but I wasn’t really sure when I would experience my first one.

Then, I got that text. It came from a girl who I used to work on our school’s television station with who was transferring. Knowing my involvement with Alpha Delta Pi, she said she would be “honored” for me to write her a letter of recommendation. Completely ecstatic, I said yes. I figured I would plan out everything I wanted to say in that letter when I went for a run.

As my mind went through everything I wanted to say, I started to think about the true impact ADPi has had on me. I’m one month out of college (gag), but still see so many ties to the organization.

I think the fact that my sisters are a majority of those that I am still deeply in contact with speaks volumes about the bonds I have made within my chapter. Every girl in my Snapchat best friends list, except for my hometown best friend, is a sister. I don’t go a day without being in contact with someone from ADPi. I recently needed some fitness advice – I texted a sister. I recently got tagged in a super funny meme on Instagram – it was from a sister. I’m getting a FaceTime call – it’s from a sister. I didn’t graduate and become just some face on a composite.

And this is all because the bonds I have with these women aren’t just for four years, they’re for life and it’s during post-grad that I’m finding out how true this statement really is.

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Interested in going Greek? Check out some of my recent posts about Greek life:

Story time with Sami: That time I ran a match-making service for my sisters

My last Alpha Delta Pi formal {pictures & senior superlative}

Hey sorority gals, The Collegiate Standard is having a give away!

An Open Letter to my Little as she becomes a Grand-Big

How I asked my date to sorority semi & cute ways you can ask, too!

ALSO, have you seen my new Instagram theme? Just one of the exciting things happening for Sparkle and Shine! Make sure to stay around to see what else is coming.

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My latest Netflix binge…

T.G.I.F, am I right?

What better way to relax this weekend by laying by the pool watching Netflix OR for those of you are #indoorsy, lay in bed with the A.C. blasting while watching the good ole ‘flix.

We all know I’m addicted to Netflix, so here’s some of the shows that I have binge watched in the past few months…..

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Wow wow wow…babes, I haven’t done a Netflix binge post in years! Heck, the graphic still has .wordpress.com on it!

Parks and RecreationThe hilarious seven season show, known as Parks and Rec, revolves around Leslie Knope and her team at an Indiana Parks and Recreation Department. Leslie has big dreams for furthering herself in the political world, but as for the rest of her team…..they would prefer to be anywhere but there. The show begins with Knope helping local nurse, Ann Perkins, turn the abandoned construction site that injured her boyfriend Andy Dwyer, into a community park. Leslie hopes that her team, including  her underachieving co-worker Tom Haverford, her government – opposing boss Ron Swanson, and the uninterested department intern, Aubrey Plaza. With the show using the same filming style as The Office, with the same implication of a documentary crew filming everything, the cast’s side commentary is as hilarious as the show’s actual hijinx.

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 New Girl: Quirky teacher Jessica Day returns to her boyfriends’ home one day to find him with another women. She immediately breaks up with him, leaves and begins to look for a new place to live. She answers an ad on Craigslist and moves in with three single men: Nick, a grumpy law school drop-out, Schmidt, an uptight womanizer who used to be overweight, and Coach, a former professional athlete turned personal trainer. (However, for anyone who starts to watch the show from this post, I feel it is important to note that Coach moves out after the pilot and the loft’s former roommate, Winston, moves back in.) The men, Jess, and Jess’ childhood best friend and fashion model, CeCe, form a bond to create a dysfunctional family. Together, the group discovers more about themselves, their careers, love, and more. Not all seasons of New Girl are on Netflix, since the show is currently airing on Fox.
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Image via Giphy

Orange is the New Black:  Like any true OITNB fan, I began to watch the newest season, season four, as soon as it premiered last month. As the most watched Netflix series, most of you know by now that the show follows Piper Chapman, who is sentenced to 15 months in Litchfield Penitentiary, a minimum-security women’s federal prison. The show also allows for viewers to get to know more about the other inmates, both through flashbacks and their current lives at Litchfield. This shocking season (no spoilers, don’t worry!) shows many characters in more-detail, has a surprising death, includes one character being released early, and so, so much more!
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Image via Giphy

Gossip Girl:  High school just got a lot more dramatic for a group of privileged Upper East Siders. Gossip Girl, an anonymous blogger, sends text-message blasts with the group’s deepest secrets and scandals. Once the group, featuring frenemies Blair and Serena, Nate, Dan, and Chuck, graduate from high school, they hope Gossip Girl’s reign will end. But as the scandals continue and hearts continue to break, Gossip Girl continues to share all of their secrets.
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Image via WiffleGif.com

Currently, my mom and I just started the Netflix-original Between, about a town that has been struck with a mysterious disease that has killed anybody over the age of 22. While under quarantine, the 21-year-olds and younger are now left to fend for themselves.
However, I am looking for something to watch when I am at the gym! So if you have any recommendations, let me know!

What are you currently binge watching on Netflix? Let me know by commenting below!

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Why I don’t have a blog-only Instagram and I don’t want one…

Why I don't have a blog Instagram - and why I don't want one

Hey loves!

Recently, I’ve been asked a lot about my social media habits and how they are any different because of having a blog. This may just be the communications major in me, but social media is at outlet used to brand yourself and who you are. I am Sparkle and Shine Sami, a 22-year-old who loves to sparkles and to make life shine. I believe life won’t sparkle unless you do and through every tweet and Instagram, I am doing just that. I’ll mix in my sass and humor into my tweets and what you are seeing is the real me.

Many bloggers I know seem to be okay with only having one Twitter account- used for both their personal tweets and promotional tweets for their blog. However, not many seem to have a combined Instagram and that is where I seem to stray from the rest.

My Instagram account features me and my friends out on the weekend to posts promoting a blog post, from sorority family pictures to sponsored ads. And the thing is, I wouldn’t change anything about it.

My Instagram is a look into who I really am. As a blogger you put a lot of yourself out there for the world to see and often open up about personal struggles, what’s going on in your life,  and insecurities. So why not continue to be transparent and show what you’re doing when you aren’t behind on a computer screen typing or filming a new video blog?

I also love it when people who follow Sparkle and Shine will recognize my best friends, such as my sorority family, Paul, and Brandon. These faces you recognize often from pictures and posts on the blog, so why not see more about their personalities, whether its a retweet from them or a picture from an adventure not blogged about. Just like me, as the author of Sparkle and Shine, they are more than just faces on the screen.

So, follow me on Instagram to learn more about how I make sure to add some sparkle to my life, even if I don’t post about it!

Make sure to add me on Snapchat because I will be talking more about Katy Perry’s matte lipstick from Walmart, Katy Kat matte, that I’ve been rocking!

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AND make sure to interact with me on social media! I love when followers send me snaps, tweet at me, and more! Just yesterday, I got a snap about Sparkle and Shine inspired them to buy the Primula iced coffee brewer. So awesome!

 

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Story time with Sami: That time I ran a match-making service for my sisters

Happy Thursday, babes!

I don’t know if it’s because I am a blogger or because I’m addicted to social media, but I love when bloggers are transparent – whether this means on their Twitter, Instagram, or sharing personal stories for their readers. Some of my favorite YouTubers often post “story time” videos about crazy events that happen to them or weird memories they made with their friends.

And if you know me in real life, then you know that I have a tooooon of stories. This is why I decided to create a series called “Story time with Sami” where I share some funny stories about things that I’ve done. So for the first edition, I decided to share about Sami’s Sexy Singles, my match making service.

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Now, Sami’s Sexy Singles originally started as a joke my sophomore year at Quinnipiac. One of our sisters, Tammy, was the sweetheart of SigEp and would always try to match make sisters with her brother – I mean, she made Google spreadsheets and PowerPoints. I would have a lot to live up to! When she graduated, that left someone to try and arrange sisters with dates for all of our events. Somehow, I don’t even know how, the position fell into my lap. I joked about Sami’s Sexy Singles but nothing ever came of it.

All of a sudden, for a grab-a-date last semester, Sami’s Sexy Singles re-appeared. I’m friends with a lot of affiliated men who wanted to come to our grab-a-date, so I thought I would jokingly bring back Sami’s Sexy Singles. Unknowing to me, a lot of my sisters were interested in being matched. So in true senioritis/lack of motivation fashion, I decided to pour my all into Sami’s Sexy Singles – even staying up until 3 AM one night to make a professional Google Drive through the official Sami’s Sexy Singles e-mail account!

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I even had my friends Kristina, Courtney, and Dale get involved! We would send out e-mails to those who were matched and even to our entire chapter reminding them to e-mail us if they wanted dates and the “rules” for the match-making service (including no liability and about customer satisfaction). We would try to keep the e-mails as professional as possible, to add to the humor of the entire situation. Our dates also received e-mails, to help them realize how serious we took our match0making responsibilities that night.

We weren’t the only people taking Sami’s Sexy Singles serious…. We had people tweeting about us with the hashtag “#samissexysingles” and e-mailing us about getting matched. Guys were coming up to us and e-mailing us asking to be added to the list of eligible bachelors! We were a hit.

One day I was getting lunch in a Greek-life populated area and I had some fraternity men that I wasn’t friends with come ask to me and ask if I could match them for their formal. People that Kristina, Courtney, Dale, and I weren’t friends with even knew about Sami’s Sexy Singles and were interested. I bet that’s like what Kim K. felt the first time someone recognized her as more than just Paris’ BFF….

The day the grab-a-date rolled around, we had over 15 couples – that’s more than 30 people who were coming to the event because of Sami’s Sexy Singles. Our phones were blowing up with questions and e-mails, I felt like a real life C.E.O!

In the end, I had a blast at the event, Kristina, Courtney, Dale and their dates had fun, and so did our sisters and their dates!

Here’s my date and I at the event. His little was one of our eligible bachelors who came to the event! Gotta keep it in the family, you know? –

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Here is me and my date, Justin, from the event. All the seniors celebrated the event in a duck-hunting themed (aka my dream theme due to my “Duck Dynasty” obsession). Recognize this picture? If you follow me on Instagram, it’s the picture I posted that night!

Now, I’m not saying Sami’s Sexy Singles was extremely successful (I haven’t finished our customer satisfaction survey yet, but I’ll say it was pretty dang successful), but I am saying that many sisters asked what would happen to it once I graduated. Since Kristina is a year younger, I passed down Sami’s Sexy Singles to her in my senior will, so my legacy will live on.

I would love to know how you feel about Story time with Sami!! Comment below & tell me some different types of stories you would want to hear or tweet them to me @sparkleshinesam!

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