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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Tips for making the best iced coffee at home

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Home for school forever means no more iced coffee on my meal plan and being a post-grad means being responsible enough to not waste big bucks at Dunkin Donuts everyday (#adulting, right?). Well, for someone who hates hot coffee, this leaves me in quite the tizzy.

Brewing a coffee in the Keurig and then pouring in ice never worked right, which led me on a mission to find a way to make iced coffee at home, without going for broke. This led me to finding the Primula 50 oz. cold brew iced coffee maker at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

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It’s super easy to use the Primula iced coffee maker…..

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First, you fill the middle container with any coffee grinds of your choice.

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Then, mix in water until the coffee grounds are damp.

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Fill the rest of the pitcher with cold water. This will allow for all of the coffee grounds to mix in properly.

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Refrigerate the pitcher for 12-14 hours. I always make my coffee when I am cleaning up the kitchen after dinnertime. That way, when I finish my nightly routine, I don’t have to worry. Then, in the morning, I already have my coffee ready!

All I need to do is pull the pitcher out of the fridge, add ice cubes, my favorite Dunkin Donuts creamer, and Sweet and Low.

Super easy right? 

Plus it was only $29.99 and with all the coupons Bed, Bath, and Beyond always has out – it’s even cheaper. I was able to use a 20% off coupon on it.

But what else makes this product so great? Let’s say you wake up to a text message from your co-worker saying that she wants to meet you at Starbucks to go over talking points for your big meeting that day. No worries! Your coffee is good for 14 days! Ev

Now go drink up, my coffee lovers, drink up…..

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Image via Tech Times

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Kicking off Memorial Day Weekend tomorrow with Lilly Pulitzer

As a Jersey girl, Memorial Day Weekend is as much of a holiday as Christmas or Thanksgiving. We set our apps to countdown to MDW, buy bathing suits months in advance, and load up on the hot dogs and hamburgers for the BBQs.

And tomorrow, it’s finally here! Sorority queen Lilly Pulitzer is also getting in on the summer fun. From May 27th to May 30th, gifts are included with every purchase!

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Spend $200 and receive a fringe bracelet set, $500 for an oversized beach towel set, $800 for a beach umbrella, $1,200 for a beach chair set, and $3,000 for a hammock. Not looking to spend too much money because you haven’t gotten your first summer paycheck yet? No worries, because with any purchase, you receive a beach ball. With each monetary amount spent, you get not only the gift within the current limit you reached- but the one before. So say you spent $600, you’ll receive the beach towel set, the bracelet set, and the free beach ball. How awesome!!

Now this isn’t my first Lily sale, so I’ve learned some tricks. My biggest secret – load your tote up the night before. That way, as soon as you wake up tomorrow, you can check out! You won’t need to waste time searching for what you want to buy or going back through the website to search for it if it already in your online tote.

To help you decide what you want to add to your tote, here are my top five picks from Lily’s newest arrivals.

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Emery Shift Dress Deanna Tank Top Romper Larina Halter Top

5” Buttercup Scallop Hem Short (shown in Resort White in a Pinch) |Shay Dress

To find out more about this long weekend special, click here.

Once you purchase your items, comment below and let me know what you decided to buy!

Happy shopping!!

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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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My best friend’s fraternity formal – pictures, what I wore, & more!

Happy, Tuesday readers!

So this past weekend was action-packed with Greek life events, between my “Easy as ABC” Grab-a-Date (where I went as my favorite show – Duck Dynasty), best friend’s Delta Tau Delta formal, and going through Pi ceremony to become an alumni sister of Alpha Delta Pi. I don’t think I have ever needed a foot massage, my bed, and a Parks and Rec binge session more than I did right now!

If you avidly Sparkle and Shine, you’ll know that I always share posts about the formals, semi formals, and fancy date parties I attend. So without further ado, here are pictures from the Iota Mu chapter of Delta Tau Delta’s 2016 Bethany Ball!

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And of course, a saved Snapchat for good measure. I’m obsessed with the first filter that makes your skin look so smooth, so I had to save (and share) this selfie.-

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I ended up having only a 10 second story that night cause I was just too busy dancing the night away! As for my little’s Snapchat story, well, those were too embarrassing to share. (I’m totally regretting not taking a Snapchat selfie with the cute puppy filter!!)

Besides good friends, good music, and having a good time, I had an amazing time because I was in love with my dress. I felt like a Kardashian with the sleek, classic Little Black Dress that featured strong silver and gold embellishments.

I got it from my favorite store – Dressbarn! Many people I know expect this store to be full of soccer mom-like dresses or work clothes, but I have found everything from formal dresses to going out clothes at the store. Knowing I wanted a LBD for the Bethany Ball made it easier to search for during New Year’s Eve dress season, when the stores were overflowing with black dresses. After finding the dress I was in love with, then waiting for an after-NYE sale, I was able to get it for so cheap. BOOM! I then paired it with strappy black lace-up heels.

Stay tuned to see how to prep and decorate a fraternity cooler, as well as how I get my teeth as white and can be for all these big events without ever happening to leave my dorm room. Plus, make sure you don’t miss out on anything Sparkle and Shine by following along on both Instagram and Twitter!

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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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MY GUY BFF DOES MY MAKEUP {NEWEST VIDEO BLOG}

Happy Saturday, readers!

If you don’t subscribe to my YouTube channel (which you totally should do like, right now), you may not know that I recently released my newest YouTube video blog.

Check it out: 

My guy friends always complain that I am always late whenever we go somewhere.

The reason? I am doing my makeup!

Give me ten minutes or two hours and either way I’ll be 15 minutes late cause I am doing my makeup. They never understand why it takes so long or what goes into a makeup routine (like helllllo…that ‘no makeup look’ took about 20 minutes), so I decided it was time for them to see what it takes. And then share it with the Internet…

Watch the hilarious new video of Brandon doing my makeup, then comment on the video and let me know what you think!

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The Wishlist of a Netflix Addict

Hi, my name is Sami and  I have an addiction…..to Netflix.

This past summer summer alone, I finished Greek, Grey’s Anatomy and Orange is the New Black. , now finding any spare chance I get to watch Gossip Girl. And as soon as I’m done with Gossip Girl, I’ll be starting Fuller House.

Some of the greatest shows have stopped releasing new episodes – and some have stopped being shown on television all together. Yes, I may be able to catch a good Sex and the City marathon on a Thursday on E!, but with so many episodes that teach me about adulting, boys, and friendship – I want to watch them on my own time.

Dear Netflix, if you are reading this – these are the shows I wish you would add:

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1. Sex and the City

Knowing if someone is a Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, or Charlotte can tell you more about them than any social media stalking could ever do. Sex and the City is what taught me about my friendship, adulting, and everything in between as these women tackled life as a female in the beautiful NYC. They tackle feminism in a way that wasn’t discussed before – from motherhood, to being a successful woman, to expressing your sexuality.With each designer shoe-step and cosmopolitan, these women were there for each other. They weren’t perfect, but they were real.

2. Lizzie McGuire

Before there was Sex and the City to teach me about life, there was Lizzie McGuire. Lizzie talked first kisses and first bras with her parents and best friends at the same time that I was. She showed pre-teen girls in a real way, not as secret rockstars. Lizzie faced the struggles that we all do growing up and Disney Channel portrayed these obstacles in a very real well. For this, the show will always have a special place within my heart. All 90’s girl grew up with Lizzie and I would love nothing than to sit back and watch the Lizzie-Gordo love unfold.

3. The O.C.

Moving down my wishlist list, I can’t help but wish that the most dramatic television show in the history of teen show history, The O.C., was on Netflix. Everyone was dating-and sleeping- with everyone, everyone seemed to be an alcoholic, and everyone seemed to struggle with some very serious hardship. If your mouth didn’t drop to the floor during every episode, where you really watching The O.C.? But I don’t think I bawled my eyes out harder then when Ryan carried Marissa’s lifeless body away from a burning car or when I realized that Seth and Summer were the most perfect couple.

4. Laguna Beach

I don’t know if I’ll even love my husband as much as I love Laguna Beach, L.C., and the lessons that I learned from the show. My obsession with Laguna Beach will never be “dunzo.” Before Sex and the City, Laguna Beach is where I learned about high school boys, friendships, and the importance of a good eye roll. The cast taught us that both boys and friends can break your heart and through these moments, you’ll realize who really matters. I learned that Lauren Conrad is the definition of #goals and what happens in Cabo does not stay in Cabo, my friends….

5. Jersey Shore

Call it my biggest guilty pleasure ever, but I love Jersey Shore.  I don’t think I would binge anything more than some Season 1 antics from my favorite guidos. I teased my hair, bought a tanning membership to GTL, and would have “t-shirt time” before going to teen nights at Karma, thanks to my favorite Italians. Also, we need to remember that no show has every had any better set of quotes come out of the “diary room” like chats. Even past all of this, to re-live the hook ups, the drunken mishaps, and realize why the ocean is actually salty sounds like the best way to avoid doing homework.

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What’s on your Netflix wishlist? Comment below and let me know!

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Disclaimer: All gifs were found on Giphy.com

My must have songs for the weekend, TIDAL + your chance to see Lil Wayne

This post is sponsored by TIDAL and Her Campus Media. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Sparkle and Shine possible!

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Happy Thursday, readers!

Someone please tell me how it is already the weekend? As the weeks fly by and I get closer and closer to graduation, I live for those weekend nights of getting ready to go out with my best friends. It’s these nights, the nights I count down to starting on Sunday, that I will think back to myself, smile, and laugh about when I am in the scary real world in a few months. Which is why, to prepare for your nights of slapping the bag and dancing on table tops, I am sharing my top five pregame songs.

Jordan Belfort by Wes Walker // I’m Okay/Drinking Rum & Redbull by Beenie Man //

 Too F**cked Up To Call by 2AM Club// Doses & Mimosas by Cherub //

All Night Longer by Sammy Adams

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And to continue to aid your music needs for the weekend, I want to introduce you all to TIDAL! TIDAL, often vocally supported by Kanye, is a global music and entertainment platform. The modern, easy to use music streaming service offers a wide variety of artists, genres, and videos. TIDAL also includes live-streaming, granting uses access to celebrity-only events that Spotify and Pandora users don’t have the option of seeing. How else was I able to watch Kanye, Kim, and the rest of the Kardashian klan at the Yeezy Season three show? Plus, any true Kanye fan knows that one can only hear The Life of Pablo album on TIDAL. Need more incentive to start using TIDAL? Well, I have just that.

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TIDAL has partnered with Lil Wayne to promote community service among college students. Sparkle and Shine is joining them, too!

Until February 29th, all undergrad college students at a four-year university can participate in TIDAL’s Social Wave for Change competition. Students must publicly post a photo or video of them completing any type of community service act (such as one participating in QTHON or your school’s version of the dance marathon) on their Instagram page or onto TIDAL’s Facebook wall. In the post, each student must include #TIDALXChange, their school name, and tag a friend.

From there, a panel of judges selected by TIDAL will check out all the submissions to determine the finalists. Finalists will receive a silent disco event for their school. The winner will receive a Lil Wayne concert near his/her school! How cool?! Can you imagine listening to middle-school dance anthem Lollipop in person?

All participants are eligible for a 3-month complimentary subscription to TIDAL.

Find out more on the competition’s FAQ page.

I’d love to see your posts, so make sure to tag @sparkleshinesam on your Instagram posts and @Sparkle and Shine on your Facebook posts.

Enjoy the weekend!

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Thank you, Seventeen!

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After two years of working with my dream company, I am now passing on my Seventeen Social Club torch to other social media mavens and bloggers. My contract with the company has wrapped up, there is now an end-date listed next to Seventeen Magazine on my LinkedIn, and the chapter in my life has ended.

My favorite memory was during my first year with the company. My little and I got to attend the 2014 New York City Makeup Show. We skipped a day of studying for finals to go gallivanting around the beautiful Big Apple. It was the first time I got to introduce myself as press at a big event, leaving me with butterflies that I could certainly get used to. Once inside the Metropolitan Pavilion, Amber I got to talk to different vendors, sit through tutorials, test our new beauty products, and of course, make some purchases! To find out more about that incredible experience, make sure to check out the post from May of 2014.

Besides being able to attend the New York City Makeup Show, I was exposed to a lot of different companies that I may not have gotten the opportunity to contact otherwise. Maybelline and Milani cosmetics became staples in my makeup bag after receiving so many awesome products from them. I also got hooked on ABC Family’s one-season show “Chasing Life” after ABC Family and Seventeen helped me host a season premiere party for “Chasing Life” and “Pretty Little Liars.”

While working for Seventeen over the past two years, I have gotten to experience so much and realize how much I truly love the media industry. Here’s to hoping I continue to reach more goals, continue to fall in love with this industry, and more as graduation (eeeeek!) keeps creeping up on me.

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