I love this storyso much that a chapter sister one time gave me a book about Christian the Lion.
I apologize profusely for the lack of updates. I'm on the second-to-last day of my last weekend of ADPi District Leadership Conference in Baltimore(hellooo my beloved East Coast chapters!), and then I'll update you on DLC in Detroit and Cavs Country/UVA. And maybe then I'll eat something besides M&M's and Starbucks and sleep regularly. Maybe.
But for now, I shall hence remind everyone that I adore lions--from Aslan to Alphie. And the amount of lion paraphernalia I'm surrounded by is ridiculously awesome this weekend. And I'll update ASAP. Promisecrossmyheart.
How do you people at palm-tree-climate universities ever go to class?
Yesterday I caught a 5 a.m. flight outta the sunny south, and this mornin', I'm missing my Gamma Iota sisters as I sit here in Detroit! I'm always reeeal quiet about my "favorite visits," but I'll go ahead and admit this one is on up there at the top. I fell for this chapter and University of Florida. Shhhh...
University of Florida
Gamma Iota Chapter
Highlights/breaks in the 11-hour work day:
The Swamp: Every school I go to, I either ask to see the football stadium or sneak in myself and run stadiums. If I didn't ask you to see your stadium, well, uh, put it this way: I wouldn't necessarily take you to Samford's Seibert Stadium. "Ashlyn, when's your next meeting," Sam-the-pres asked. "Uhh, 12:30. How come?" "Come on. Wanna go see our stadium?" And then a ginormous man with a ginormous championship ring chillin' on the bleachers with his wifey snapped our pic. UF's Ben Hill Griffin Stadium? Check.
Sam was so patient with me being a total tourist.
ΑΤΩ-ΑΔΠ Strawberries and Champagne Mixer:Every now and then, I give in to the persuasive begging of the collegians: "PLEASE come tonight to our social! It's gonna be so fun. It won't be weird we promise! Come on--you're basically our age!" (I mean, I am their age). Plus, this historical mixer used to be held between Florida Alpha Tau Omega's and FSU ADPi's until UF went co-ed and Alpha Delt came on in '42...
Stinkin' adorable Gamma Iota girls + good 'ole tradition +
the little black party dress and stilettos I travel with = I went to a frat party.
Wednesday, we headed over to Gainesville's precious downtown and 101. I think the boys were excited to meet "nationals" and I was quickly labeled Miss Alabama. Dear precious sophomore frat boys, nice try. Excellent job convincing me that you were a second-year UF law student. NOT. But y'all were just so cute.
And then I laughed so much I didn't even think to the the Cam--oh, I mean, Heisman--pose.
Oh, and there's that little last name, "Tebow." So I stalked the halls and found these guys. Oh, I see you my girls. Because I do not care that he cried on national television, I would marry Tim Tebow tomorrow. You wanna shout Jesus' name all day, I'm gonna fall for ya. And they say he's gotta marry an Alpha Dee, right? Right. :)
Get itttt, Social Chair.
All apologies, Daddy, but I indeed loved UF. And bought the t-shirt.
Please whip up an Alabama watercolor for your Wander the States collection on Etsy stat. We have won 2 back-to-back college football national championships and gave America the Bed Intruder Song(and before that, we housed the Leprechaun), thus feel that at least we should be bumped up on the list at least maybe before Rhode Island and Idaho.
Hard to believe I get to go through the rush of opening my monthly schedule uno mos time before this job wraps and I'm workin' in THE srat house (ADPi Headquarters) for the very merry month of May. Yeah, don't ask me what I'm doing after this stint. I dunno yet. Like, at all. But I'm honestly not worried; things always work out, huh?
Anyway, I squealed a lot when I opened this one. Without further ado, here's the March list:
I always email Mama and Pops the schedule so they know what city their darling eldest daughter is on any given day. Dad's email back: "Good for you. Do not get me a Tennessee shirt either. Love you." Ah, thank you, Daddy. He told me this week to pass on getting him a UF shirt, too. (He gets a shirt from every school I go to except here and UGA). I mean, I did grow being told not to say "Roll Tide" because it is a bad word...
Even then I always knew how much I love that white and blue. Gamma Iota chapter house.
University of Florida
Gamma Iota chapter
Today, I emailed my boss that there were "major operational problems" (Yeah, no. Not at all.) in Florida and that it looks like it's best for me to stay shipped here until April.
Verbatim email back from The Boss:
"Uhh... I'm gonna go with a 'no.' Sorry, Charlie. Nice effort though."
Porch swing sitting between meetings, Spanish moss on a live oak is my jam.
Sigh. I just can't help it! I'm finally rid--well, for 4 days--of pesky peacoats and scarves and gloves and tights anad Under Armour. Today? Sundress and sandals. Get at me. I was born under a Southern sun for good reason: Throw me my Lilly bathing suit and gimme a little tanning oil and I'm set for a good six hours. Really. I love outside. I even started popping Vitamin D pills with this job because I am severely worried that I'm not outdoors enough...
Obviously then, I'm all about UF. The part of me that had a dorm, tons of Noles paraphernalia, and everything set for freshman year at Florida State University(reeeeal long story) still sees a mossy live oak next to a palmetto tree next to an old gothic style building and absolutely swoons. I'm having excellent running adventures through campus this week.
Precious basket (note the koozie--chyessss), the random love offering of roses.
I lug my 124 lbs. of luggage into my room to find an adorable welcome basket, and they promptly got a vase for my roses. Wait, roses, you ask? Sigh again. Weird things happen to me at airports. I met some guy in terminal D at Hartsfield-Jackson International and by the time we were at baggage claim in Gainesville, he'd run up to me and given me a dozen roses. Baha. And I don't even know his name... Thanks, dude!
So yeah. More to come, but for now suffice it to say:
I love the Southeast and don't ever wanna leave.
They speaka my native language down hurr.
p.s. Oh, and the Tebow girls (Tim's mama and sis) were ADPi's here. No worries--I'm stalking the composites in the hall tomorrow. I shall report back.
DISCLAIMER: I've been thinking. And I should probably be more vulnerable in life. Because I'm more the type to not show all my cards at once and try to be Little Miss Perfect. But after all, C.S. Lewis said to love at all is to be vulnerable, and he is in my Top 5 Favorite Humans Ever.
So here I go.
It's Valentines or whatever, and I pretty sure the going trend for bloggers is do something Valentines-y on your blog. But I'm not in love. Never have been. Don't really wanna be right now. So this is my post about love.
This story starts two summers ago, when I got a little rocked--slight rejection by a guy (okay. Whatever. Rejection.), an internship at a well-known magazine that I couldn't figure out why I hated, etc. In my "Ohmigosh-it's-FINE-I-totally-always-can-fix-everything" mindset, I kept trying to repair situations. Band-aid it. But nothing. Was. Working.
At church, David Platt announces a 4-part series on what else, love. Awesome. TotesmyfavoritesubjectthissummerNOT. But the Lord led us as a church through a book named Ruth. A chapter a week for a month. Step by step...
And after each sermon, my songbird girl-crush Mandi Mapes would sing over us a song she'd written to correspond with that chapter. Fast forward: Week 2. She climbs up on her stool, and the guitar starts this haunting, rolling tune. Held captive, I could feel God speak: "Ashlyn. Listen to me." Tears started falling (I don't cry much, but I cry 2/10 church services I go to, I think). Every lyric pierced me. And still does, because this weekend driving back from Birmingham, I blared it and there I was cryin' all over again in the left lane on I-65.
You see, the first time I heard the chorus, I was thinking of the earthly love story I was certain God had in store for me. As in, guy-meets-girl. Maybe it's going to be written, but my Father tells me if he doesn't want to write that, whoa baby--his plan is even better. But the second time it all clicked. No one's ever gonna love this weird, stubborn, impatient, flighty, joyful soul more than the One who loved it so much that he chose me before my feet lighted on planet earth.
Just trust me and go listen to the song, or series of songs, or even series of sermons. They're spectacular. Because how cool is it that our heart can be won by a poor man born a baby refugee in the rough-and-tumble Nazareen neighborhood, who wandered his entire life, was murdered to display His love for His people and ultimately to rise back to life. And they have proof. I mean, who does that? Why'd he do all that? Oh, you know. Just for His glory. Just to show His power over literally every single thing we think is strong in this world: Death. Sin. Nations. Rulers. Romantic love, if we're honest...
I don't have it all figured out. I write to get things off my chest and to sleep better and always freak out about pressing "Publish Post." So I'm not saying I remember all this every minute of my life because I don't. But I know it to be true. I know Him to be true.
So yeah, maybe I am in love.
And if every girl Taylor Swift jammin' girl wants her love story, I already got mine.
This may be controversial to post? I dunno. But I read this line a few days ago in a book (thanks for the recommendation, Emi!). My heart skipped 2 beats. And for once, my mind was quiet. Whoa baby. This quote is literally haunting me because I've been working through this notion for a few weeks now:
"You guys are all into that born again thing, which is great. We do need to be born again, since Jesus said that to a guy named Nicodemus. But if you tell me I have to be born again to enter the kingdom of God, I can tell you that you have to sell everything you have and give it to the poor, because Jesus said that to one guy too... But I guess that's why God invented highlighters, so we can highlight the parts we like and ignore the rest."
"In the South, we have a tendency to be possessive of our hometowns. A Memphis girl can marry a Birmingham boy, raise her family there, and live out the rest of her days in Alabama. But when her obituary runs in the Birmingham Post-Herald, it will still claim Memphis as her home."
- Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter by Lisa Patton
I'm home and get to jam 48 hours with fam and friends and Samford Step Sing until the road beckons again.
Have I ever mentioned that I love my hometown?
I so do.
I guess I'm always gonna be a Montgomery girl, huh...
Dream come true. But next time I'm here, I want a hat and julep.
If you follow my little story, you recall I was last in the icy glacier that was University of Maryland. I'd like to report that the Beta Phi women did a gorgeous job with recruitment! After the advisory board treated Megan and me to a little toast at a real-live speakeasy called Gibson in D.C.'s U-Street district (Legit prohibition style. As in, the door isn't marked, there is a waitlist, my drank put me back 20 bucks--'erything.), my blondie and I waved so long and I hopped a plane to Kentucky...
University of Louisville
More snow. Whirlwind of notes, memorizing lines, and BAM--you're on stage. Multiple meetings with deans, administrators, and Panhellenic members. 1.5-hour-long presentation. Crackin' jokes in the middle of my part of the presentation (you gotta make 'em smile). Greek row tour. "Don't step on the cardinals!" Q&A. "Hi!MynameisAshlynStallingsandIserveasaLeadershipConsultantforAlphaDeltaPi." Visit from UK's Beta Psi sisters. Mini-tour of Louisville. Dinner at Bristol. Sweet tea for the first time in a month. (Then I got reeaal sick. Go figure.)Hanging out with CBG, ADPi's International President herself. Expansion trips work like bidding, so when the university has room for a new chapter, the word hits the National Panhellenic Council street... Fingers crossed, this would be a cool one for Alpha Delt!
Eta Omega chapter
Tuesday and Wednesday I spent officer-training style down the snowy, antebellum mansion-lined roads of little Danville, Kentucky! Check it: Centre is so small that the girls said other students spied me hanging out with them and knew I was an outsider. So much for fitting in... But this school is bumpin' with tradition (streaking, no class cancellation since before the Civil War...) and a pretty sweet chappy of precious ADPi's. You craft me a sign for the door, and I'm putty in your hands, collegians. Sold.
Scenes from the Eta Omega house.
Wish we had more than two days, because we sure "clicked" fast, Eta Omega girls! I coulda spent cozy nights in PJ's giggling over rediculous YouTube videos in the chapter room while the snow poured down for another day...
Dinner with the girls. Danville's eating establishments aren't too shabby...
Daughters of Alabama don't exactly get a professional sports education; they raise us mostly on a diet of college ball with some Braves baseball thrown in. And then I took this job. And when the collegians catch on that I wasn't "raised" on a team, they try to convert me. And consequently I sortakinda like pro sports now...
Says the girl who sang "are you ready for some FOOTBALL" every Monday night as a 2-year-old with her father.
Black and yellow.
I've spent a ton of months in Steeler country this year.
(Meg, aren't you proud of me?!)
Blog post title: "Black and Yellow" by Wiz Khalifa.
Good thing I don't have a macnificently abnormally large sweet tooth or anything... This was better than my usual Sour Patch Kids.
Heard of it? Yeah. We had too. And overrated/hyped/touristy/long line or not, if a shop has it's own showon TLC, you go and you enjoy every minute of that gorgeous, surprisingly-well-priced-at-$2.45-a-cupcake cupcake.
Today, Megan learned that all good things must come to an end.
Now, they've given out their Chocolate Ganache Cupcake recipe, but I'm a red velvet girl. A red velvet girl who's pouting because they won't reveal their red velvet recipe. But I did find the icing recipe they top those puppies with (Puppies/icing? Is that a gross euphamism? Whatever.), and it's going live here:
Whatever. I was gonna save this for a Valentine's post, but a) omigosh, that's waaaay cheesy, and b) I have the patience of a 5-year-old the day before her fiesta themed birthday party (which ruled 17 years ago, by the way. All my Trinity Presbyterian friends totally loved it, even though mom says I bossed everyone. Me? Bossy in elementary school? Pssh.).
If you're an American collegiate-aged, sorority woman, don't even act like you haven't looked at a good wedding blog, photography website, engagement album. Don't even. You know you have, even if it was for 3 clicks.
Never fear, I'm here to give you some good ones. You're welcome.
STOP! READ THE FOLLOWING.
RULES/PERSONAL DISCLAIMER: Do not be all weird and girly and plan your wedding if you do not have grounds to. You know who you are. I allow myself to peak time to time because I plan recruitment parties for a living, which essentially look like weddings and some days I consider going into event planning because, again, I plan recruitment parties for a living. Just sayin'.
1. My ADPi little's engagement pics slideshow. Check out how gorgeous and stylish Em is! Her good-lookin' fiance is the golf coach at UGA and they're huge fans of the dawgs. Of course, the golf course shots are my favorite, handsdownnoquestion. Oh, littleton. You're so amazing and I can't wait for this wedding. It's gonna shout Jesus' name all over it.
2. The album of Michelle that I promised her I'd put on here. What do I miss about my home chapter? White candles. They're just not the same if you don't know the ADPi involved. Hate I missed yours, Misch, but I sho' do love you. And they call Samford a "ring school..." Dunno where they get that crazy notion.
Omgosh. I crumbled. And when I say crumbled, I crumbled so hard.
University of Maryland
Beta Phi Chapter
College Park, Md.
Yesterday, Megan and I ran into D.C. to do a little shopping/remind ourselves that people live lives without wearing adorable lion nametags and chanting "Boom Boom I wanna go ADPi" in people's faces. And then I accidentally bought these.
But they're not just Toms shoes. They're gold glitteryToms.
I dunno what I was thinking.
But I woke up and saw them this morning layin' on the floor and sleepily grinned.
It doesn't help that we all know the company's mission statement rules. It doesn't help that Kenzie has a pair in pink glitter, so I thought, "Ashlyn. If Kenz thinks they're cool, they must be cool." And it also doesn't help that Courtney has been pressuring me for years to convert to her beloved brand. This from the girl who made the Spring Break srat house call her "Princess Granola-Chic Diva" and would only answer to that. (The only explanation you need on that is that it was Spring Break. And we were in college.)
This is Court and I at a tailgate. Note the cornhole. I dunno why I'm growling, dunno why she isn't squinting both eyes as usual.
So Court: Are these granola-chic enough for you? Imma go with a "yes."