Radiating Sunshine: July 2013

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Reunited and the O's



Finally after two months I got to see my two greatest friends from the Mount, Hannah and Alex! It was so nice being reunited with these lovely ladies! I missed them so much while I was gone and we had a great time watching the O's beat Houston. 

But, we weren't alone! Alex's bf, Jimmy, Hannah's bf, Matt and his brothers plus a friend were there to cheer on the O's win against the Astros. We bought our $9 tickets, headed up to the nose-bleeds, and had a great time. 




Special shout out to these two guys... Will and Mark! Y'all are great :)






























I'm so thankful for these two! Alex and Hannah, y'all are truly amazing people and I can't wait for the many adventures we have ahead of us. You make me continually strive to a better person and I wouldn't trade y'all for anything. See you both later tonight for our big sleepover!! 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Goodbye College Station

I'm currently sitting in the tiny College Station airport while writing this post and as I wait for my flight (which is delayed... Shocker ;p), I cannot believe that my time in Texas is over! I had such a great experience working at Duke TIP's TAMU's campus and I have met so many amazing people. 

This has been an incredible learning experience and I am so excited to hopefully return next summer! I learned how to work with gifted and talented High Schoolers who are incredibly motivated to learn! I learned all about Texas A&M and so many of the cool traditions they have. I have learned how to deal with copious amounts of stress and how to function on little to no sleep. I learned how to wobble properly and how to line dance! I also learned what my strengths and weakened are. Looking back at this experience I can't think of a better way to spend my summer.

Also, the picture above features my great friend Danielle who made my TIP experience amazing! We got so close and I'm gonna miss her so much! Hopefully, I'll see you again :) 

So, here is to safe travels and being reunited with my family! I am definitely a family girl so these two months have been hard regarding them, but I know I will see them in a few hours! Also, here is to not unpacking because I'll be leaving for AC training in a week too! 

This has been such a great adventure and thank you to all who have made this a wonderful summer! Hope our paths cross again! 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Fuego

 Fuego, Fuego, Fuego!

Fuego is a Tortilla Restaurant that is exclusive to College Station! When I arrived into College Station two months ago, returning RCs were raving about Fuego and how amazing it is... and not gonna lie I kind of just brushed them off. But, boy were they correct!

Fuego is amazingggg. Not only is it open for 24 hours a day, but the food and service is great too! The employees are so friendly and the tacos are so fresh.

My favorite taco is the potato and egg... only I add their
delicious queso, rice, and pico! So yummy :) Plus, it is only
$3 so its pretty much the college student's dream. 
I can't even give y'all a number for how many times I have eaten at Fuego over the past two months. It is cheap and delicious... and totally contributed to my Texas A&M/College Station experience.

If I were to ever come back to College Station (maybe next Summer for TIP again) I know where I'm going to have my first meal!

So, farewell Fuego until next time! I will for sure miss you and will definitely suffer some withdrawal!






Do y'all have any delicious small town restaurants that you can't live with out? If so comment below! :)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

24 Hour Baylor Student

My last Tuesday and my last day off of the Summer with TIP was spent in Waco, Texas with my usual crew, Danielle, JP, and Brandon. We had an excellent 24 hour block away from College Station and we did so much! Including a tour of Waco and Baylor, laid out by the pool, Goodwill shopped, ate tons of food, drank delicious sweet tea, made brownies, watched movies, and enjoyed the great company of Jin (Danielle's wonderful roommate)


Pretending to be a Baylor student!


And getting an informal tour of Baylor University. This picture 
was taken in one of Baylor's libraries and the sketcher who drew
the Great Hall in the Beauty and the Beast... SO COOL.


also checking out Baylor's football stadium. 


and getting a full Texas breakfast experience with some kolaches
and donuts from Shipley Do-Nuts!


Thanks Jin for making us the best cookies ever. 
Also, on a side note Baylor 
University is beautiful for all of you high schoolers. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

One Full Kind of Day

My girls get so many packages. I'm
so glad they are loved... and that they share
their treats :)
Thursday through Sunday is the longest day of the week. Yes, I know it is technically four days but, this week it felt like just one giant day of exhausted fun.

Whether it was the 4 of 5 hour 'naps' that I got a night or constant flow of work needing to be done... it was just a long day. However, even though my eyes have burned every morning I have put my contacts in and really late at night I get into giggle fits that I can not suppress, I have had the greatest time.

So, lets do a little bit of recapping for how this weekend went:


Thursday, I have transport duty which is an 8am-4pm shift... Usually transport duty doesn't go all day... but, this Thursday the other RC and I had one long to-do list!

We went everywhere from Hobby Lobby, to the Post Office, to Target. We got supplies for events and activities for the weekend and even made it back in time for our 3pm staff meeting.

Later Thursday night, the Scavenger Hunt committee got together and began preparing the packages for all the RCs to hold while on the hunt. It was A LOT of work... We didn't realize that by glueing all the clues on to the cards and stuffing all of them in the envelopes and then making sure they were all numbered correctly, would be such a process, but boy were we pleasantly surprised. Thankfully, we finished the last packet around 2am and we could finally call it a night.


On Friday, I started my day off with Breakfast Duty... Breakfast Duty is from 7:30am-9am and normally can be really boring, however I discovered that instead of just standing in place and watching the Tipsters go to breakfast, I can just walk back and forth on the path and get a good workout in. It can be a little tedious just walking back and forth, but it also helps me monitor all the tipsters which is great.

After, breakfast duty I did some committee work and took a cat nap. Then, had lunch with some tipsters. Went on a transport run and the rest was just one task after another after another.

We had a great time with Scavenger Hunt on Friday night. The kids loved the clues and the riddles! My girls and I actually ran the majority of the time from place to place, which was crazy. But, my girls all did a great job! The only activity that stumped them was the human knot!


After the Scavenger Hunt my night did not even come close to ending. I went on a transport run to get supplies for Saturday's activity, State Fair and ended up at Walmart for the second time that day and than at the ER with a tipster who had dehydration and a migraine! After, the tipster was discharged I came back to TAMU and then went on another transport run to WALMART with another RC to pick up some last minute things for his tipsters! I'm pretty sure the Walmart employees started recognizing me, especially since I was wearing my TIP ME tank!





Hello 4 hours of sleep and
5 dozen donuts!
After all transport runs were complete I started filling up water balloons with some staff members. It was a blast and we silently laughed pretty much the entire time! Then, we all did some final preparations and finally at 4am I got to go to sleep...

But, not for long! 8am came quickly when another RC, JP and I went on a mission for 5 dozen donuts. At State Fair there is an event were the Tipsters eat a donut off a string, so we had to go out early to secure a decent amount of donuts. I'm Glad we did because we cleared out the H.E.B of their donut supply! Sorry, to anyone who wanted some glazed donuts that day :(


State Fair was GREAT! Even though I was sleepy and supervised the water balloon toss station, which sounds awesome... totally isn't though (they all just wanted to cheat and take tickets, it was terrible) I still had a phenomenal time.


My girls even did really well and placed 4th in State Fair! I am so proud of them!! For their prize, they took a lucky guess on a Mystery Prize and ended up getting a Panda Express Feast which I'm not mad about... that means one night I won't have to eat cafeteria food, hip hip hurray.

After State Fair ended we all got ready for the dance! If your curious to why I have a "Twerk Free Zone" sign the tipster or really any kids their age think its attractive to twerk with and or on each other. Well, Duke TiP's policy says no inappropriate dancing and last term we had a really hard time policing it, so this term we decided to just nip it in the bud early! The kids all actually respected it and were really great at the dance! Definitely made my job a heck of a lot easier, because then I could just dance with the tipsters without necessarily having to be that chaperone that is constantly telling kids to watch their behavior!

Sunday morning couldn't have come soon enough. I got 6 hours of sleep, which was a new high for the past few days and got to go to church! Some RCs and I escorted 13 Tipsters to a service at Grace Bible Church! The message focused around communication and the good and bad ways to do it! The pastor discussed a lot about how to communicate with a friend or significant other and in doing so always strengthening your relationship with God. Its so easy with this job to forget to take the time to find grace in God and that service really helped me focus and set my priorities straight.




After church it was time for Roll Call prep and Roll Call! My girls got the song 
"Tainted Love" and it is still stuck in my head as I right this post for y'all. Sorry it is so 
long... there was just so much that happened this weekend that I though 
combining it all into one GIANT post would be better than forgetting things and (or) a
bunch of little posts! 

Stay dry College Station (Yes, its actually raining) 
and stay lovely readers :) 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

2am Recap... Why Not?

Today was a great day... Actually a terrific day*.

Not only did I get to spend time with my RC group before my day off... I also managed to squeeze in an hour nap, mailed the pile of letters that had been waiting weeks to be sent, had a great lunch, spent time in the sun, had a girls night which consisted of painting nails and sharing stories. Today, I hung out with some pretty amazing people and had some pretty amazing conversation and all of that translates into a terrific day in my book!

So, as I sit here at my computer at 2:00am thinking about how sleep should be on my mind and its not... and currently wondering why the heck it isn't on my mind; I can't help but look back on my day and just feel blessed.

I am blessed for this day. I am blessed for my family and friends. I am blessed that my friend Pat drove 100 miles just to spend the day with me at this crazy-awesome nerd camp. I am blessed that I know what it means to live a comfortable and fortunate life, where my biggest concern right now is that the cafeteria food won't be up to par. I am blessed for my health and for my faith. I am blessed to have been given so many cool opportunities and that I have so much to be thankful for.

Hopefully, this post will be inspire some of y'all to think about the blessings in your own life... whether they be little things like a friend who you can talk to for hours, good health, or that paycheck coming in at the end of the month. And if you're really stumped, be thankful that you can even read this post. Because so many others in the world cannot, and the ability to read is a blessing that I almost always forget to think about.

And now, I'm going to attempt to count my blessings instead of sheep tonight. So I'll leave y'all with this...

"Be thankful for this moment. This moment, is your life." 


Goodnight Y'all... 2:15am / totally didn't proofread this! Will do it tomorrow :) Love, Alex


Sunday, July 7, 2013

4th of July in T-E-X-A-S


I know this post is 3 days over due, but I just did not have any time to write a post while going from different trainings and prepping for the Tipsters to arrive! It was a chaotic 3 days, but now that the Tipsters are here and I had a few minutes to just relax, I thought it would be good to update y'all on my 4th of July.

So, this was the first year in I think about 5 years that I hadn't had my toes in the sand while watching the fireworks in OBX, North Carolina. I felt kind of bittersweet about knowing my family was miles away being goofy on the beach and chasing sand crabs and I was standing on the roof of a parking garage waiting for College Station's firework show! However, the 4th of July was a great day and I had an excellent time.

Danielle and I 'twinning' it up like normal.





For most of the day I just relaxed with fellow staff members! A good portion of us just hung out and chatted. Then, my boss hosted a cook out and we had an assortment of cookout related foods like burgers and chicken breast etc.

Then, the new staff members and the old staff members combined for a giant trip to Sonic on Duke TIP's dime! After 8pm Sonic has half priced milkshakes and it was awesome going with a big group and getting to meet more people.


As far as milkshakes go, my ultimate favorite is the Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge... like seriously SO GOOD! Its like a Reese's Cup in milkshake form!
My day off buddies, plus Sarah! Definitely gonna
miss Sarah when she goes home to Michigan :)

More ladies :) 
It was great bonding with my staff over Sonic's half priced milkshakes and the fireworks! The fireworks were provided by the George Bush Presidential Library. It was great standing on top of a parking garage surrounded by Aggies. One, Aggie was even handing out flags to everyone (see first picture). Oh, and I can't forget to note that someone who was informally DJ'ing the whole event played the classic Aggie song, "We Bleed Maroon." I felt so included because I actually knew most of the words!




The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays because I love when all of us Americans come together and celebrate our independence! I can't help but love seeing all the red, white, and blue... and people singing songs and celebrating and remembering everyone who fought to get us to where we are today. I love the unity that the 4th of July brings to Americans, especially when I watch the fireworks go off and I know that so many others are watching the same thing and are thankful for our freedom.





I hope y'all had a wonderful 4th of July! 
Thanks for stopping by :)

And for all of those who are serving our country, 
thank you for everything you do and all the sacrifices you 
have made. I admire your bravery, loyalty, and dedication so much!

Ready for the Next Batch

I got the minion bunting idea from
Despicable Me 2! It came out pretty
well, so I think I may save it and use it
for a bulletin board in the future :)
Its Move In Day here at Duke TIP's TAMU site! I can't wait to meet the next group of kids, particularly my next set of lovely ladies and or possible lovely minions ;)! This term I'm lucky enough to get a little bit of a new experience... I'll be working with 4th Year Girls, which is totally awesome and exciting! For a tipster, you can only come to TIP for 4 years so the final year is known to be the best *saddest* year, especially since you get privileges!

The 4th Year Girls will offer a new and wide set of benefits and challenges! I have already met a few of my girls and they all seem so sweet! Now, all I really need to work on is learning all the 4th Year Traditions and make sure I am always on my A-Game so that these Tipsters have the best experience!


I decided to continue with the Minion theme, I love the minions (already saw Despicable Me 2 and loved it)! And since I'm sticking with the same theme, I decided I would just re-do my bulletin board in addition to making more door decorations, to give a new look to my fellow staff members and the new Tipsters!


I can't believe that Move In Day is already here! These
next three weeks will fly by and I'll be back in Maryland
prepping to move back to the Mount! Crazy how this Summer
has just flown by.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

StrengthsQuest

Thanks to Duke TIP, today I got to take the StengthsQuest Analysis! The Gallup Organization has prepared a Strengths Finder that is focused on highlighting individuals' strengths so that they can develop strategies and meet demands in life. 

The StrengthsQuest isn't free... so if you work for an organization that is interested in team building
check out this site! The site is really easy to use and the results are fairly accurate. 

My Results/ Themes: 

1) Developer- "You see the potential and the good in others.When you interact with others, your goal is to help them experience success. Over time many will seek you out for help and encouragement because on some level they know that your helpfulness is both genuine and fulfilling to you." 

2) Positivity- "You are generous with praise, quick to smile, and always on the lookout for the positive in the situation. You celebrate every achievement. You find ways to make everything more exciting and more vital. Somehow you can't quite escape your condition that it is good to be a life, that work can be fun, and that no matter what the setbacks, one more never lose one's sense of humor"  

3) Discipline- "Your world needs to predictable, ordered, and planned. You set up routines and focus on deadlines. Faced with the inherent messiness of life, you want to feel in control. The routines, structures, and timelines help create the feeling of control."

4) Responsibility- "Your Responsibility theme forces you to take psychological ownership for anything you commit to, and whether large or small, you feel emotionally bound to follow it through to completion. If for some reason you cannot deliver, you automatically start to look for ways to make it up to the other person"

5) Empathy- "You can sense the emotions of those around you. You can feel what they are feeling as though their feelings are your own. Intuitively, you are able to see the world through their eyes and share their perspective. 

So, for those of you who know me personally... I would say those describe me pretty accurately. I love having an orderly way of life and responsibilities. I also love people and seeing the good in people, in the world, and in life in general. Can't wait to debrief this exercise and learn what all the other staff members' strengths are! Thanks Duke for providing me with this excellent opportunity. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Texas Won't Let Me Go

So, I should be writing this post in a beach house in OBX... but instead I'm here in my dorm room in College Station, TX. How can that be? Well, its well known with Duke TIP that no plans during Intersession really work out the way they should, and that's sort of what happened on Sunday.

Instead of boarding a plane to fly to be with family and friends, I was road tripping to San Antonio for a few days! But, why?

Well, on Sunday morning the plane that was suppose to take me to Dallas broke! They had no guaranteed departing time and I was already going to miss my connection from Dallas to Norfolk. So, while at the counter talking with the American Airlines representatives about what I could do and weighing the costs of each plan, I decided to get my tickets refunded and just stay in Texas for break.

The decision killed me because I was so excited to see my family and family friends. It has only been a month since I left Maryland. But, knowing that I have another 4 weeks until I can see my family... and even then I will only have a week before I leave for AC training just felt very overwhelming.

But, God always has a plan... so if I'm suppose to be in Texas than I'm suppose to be in Texas. Now, being the little planner that I am, I definitely wasn't gonna stay in Texas and do nothing. So, on Sunday afternoon a few TIP friends and I were at the pool and we decided to take a trip to San Antonio and go to Schlitterbahn, a water park! So, around 5:30pm we picked up some Sonic drinks and hit the road!

Sunday night at the River Walk

Now, luckily for us Duke TIP has a program at Trinity University in San Antonio and we were so thankful to stay there. The Residence Halls at Trinity are awesome, just a little side note for y'all!

Sunday night we hit up the River Walk which was so cool! The River Walk is basically the San Antonio river flowing in between a network of different restaurants and shops. It was really incredible and beautiful. We had dinner around 10:30pm, which has become a usual thing since all the Tipsters have left and we are no longer forced to eat at 5pm, and we ate at a Mexican restaurant called The Original. After dinner, we called it a night and prepared for our fun day at Schlitterbahn.

The 'TIP Me' tanks are great! They even say "howdy"
on the back!

On Monday, we spent the majority of the day at the water park! The water park was really nice and the weather was decent too. Half way through the day the sun just disappeared so we were freezing walking between the different slides. It was just a really fun and relaxing day. After, spending the whole day at Schlitterbahn we all went back and went to dinner at Dick's Last Resort on the River Walk. At Dick's Last Resort they try to insult you and give you attitude. I wasn't very impressed with the restaurant in general, but I'm glad I got to see what all the hype was about!

We also checked out the Alamo while in San Antonio and that was pretty cool too. The Alamo is definitely something you can't spend a day on, but it was interesting to walk by and at night there weren't a lot of people there so we got the full experience.



I am definitely missing my family and friends, but we are constantly sending each other pictures/ snap chats of what we are doing so its like I'm there even though I'm in Texas.



So, maybe my real intersession plans got ruined... but in reality they were replaced 
by some pretty great new plans with some really great people. Here is to the rest
of Intersession being a-w-e-s-o-m-e!!
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