Dear Future Little,

First of all, welcome to the chapter. Being a new member is a fantastic time. Now that the excitement of bid day has settled, it's time for the hunt to begin. Everyone in my new member class is looking for the perfect little. We've been looking forward to this since our own reveal and we can't wait to spoil you with gifts and sister dates. I've already spent the summer crafting for you! There's a few things you should know before you become my little. 

You have a pretty great family. If there ever comes a time when I can't be by your side, keep this in mind. Your grandbig and great-grandbig are incredible women. They helped me survive freshman year, and they will always look out for you as well. Trust me, they are just as excited for you to join the family as I am. But wait, there's more. You also get a super cool aunt and great-aunt. This family will be your rock when you need it, and we are always down to get Taco Bell. Don't be afraid to reach out and bond with everyone.

My room is your room. Come over to study, craft, or watch movies. Some of my favorite memories with my big were formed on nights in. And while you're here, my closet is always open. You'll never run out of things to wear.

Whatever bad decisions you're going to make, I've already made them (and probably more than once). I will never judge you for your actions. Trust me when I say that the older girls in this chapter are not as put together as they appear. Nobody is. Please don't be afraid to tell me anything and everything. I'm here to listen and offer the best advice I possibly can. I'll even bring ice cream when necessary.

I can't wait to see you learn all about this organization. This chapter will change you for good. You're about to learn more than you imagined possible about our values, traditions, missions and even ritual. I'll always be there to guide you. Don't be afraid to ask questions. You're now apart of something so much bigger than yourself. It's going to be daunting at first, but I'm here to explain things and answer questions.

I'll be your cheerleader in everything you do. You took on a leadership role in a campus organization? We're getting tacos to celebrate. You went on a date with a new boy? You're telling me all about it (over tacos). I really like tacos.


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Where to Eat in Springfield

If there's one thing I prioritize above academics, it's food. Missouri State has plenty of options on campus, from Chick Fil A to Panda Express, but sometimes you need a little more. When family is visiting, you need somewhere nice to take them. Show them that Springfield has more to offer on a Saturday morning than crushed cans of Natty on the sidewalk. So, here's a little collection of the best places to go out to eat in Springfield.

Aviary Cafe - The Aviary is known for it's crepes and is the perfect spot for breakfast or brunch. I haven't made it here yet but I've heard many great things.
Location: Downtown

Big Whiskey's American Bar & Grill - I love their wings and their buffalo chicken dip. The downtown location is essentially a bar with some extra tables but the outdoor seating is great when the weather is nice.
Location: Battlefield & Downtown

Cheddar's - Two words: comfort food. This is where you'll find all the typical American foods, and is my best reccomendation for when you are missing home cooked meals.
Location: Primrose

El Maguey - This is every Missouri State student's favorite when you need some chips and queso. Also their a la carte menu is great for when you are ballin' on a budget. 
Location: Glenstone

Jose Loco's - Another Mexican restaurant? Yes. Always. They have Taco Tuesdays at Jose Loco's, which means cheap tacos and cheap tacos are good tacos.
Location: Glenstone

Springfield Brewing Company - I ate here with my parents when they came down for family weekend last fall. Their macaroni and cheese was everything I could have wanted in a bowl of pasta. You can also see where they make the beer.
Location: Market

Bambinos Cafe - Bambinos is really close to campus and the perfect spot for lunch. Their bread is absolutely amazing and they never stop bringing it out. I recommend getting a lunch sized plate if you get pasta, so you can save room for bread.
Location: Battlefield & Delmar

Lambert's Cafe - The famous home of the throwed rolls. I don't think you can say you went to Springfield (or Branson) without visiting Lambert's. The atmosphere is great and the portions are gigantic, so you will always have leftovers. 
Location: Ozark

Hurt's Donuts - Much like Strange Donuts, in Saint Louis, Hurt's has some very interesting and creative donut choices. You can get a dozen or half dozen and let them choose the donuts if you feel like taking a risk!
Location: Downtown

Insomnia Cookies - What's better than cookies? Fresh cookies, delivered until 3am. They also do a lot of fundraisers with Missouri State campus organizations. 
Location: Downtown

Pineapple Whip - As long as someone is listening, I will never stop talking about how much I love pineapple whip. Be sure to check the flavors of the week on their social media before choosing which location to visit. The classic pineapple is always good!
Location: Battlefield, Glenstone, & Campbell

Andy's Frozen Custard - I know that there are other Andy's but the original is here in Springfield. I like to fill my ice cream cravings here with a cookie dough or cheesecake concrete, personally. 
Location: Battlefield, Glenstone, Campbell & Sunshine 

Elle's Patisserie - I went here on a sister date, and tried macaroons for the first time. They were so so good! Elle's also has coffee, ice cream, and other treats. The building is a tiny purple shop and is easy to miss.
Location: Cherry Street

The Potter's House - Located right across from campus, this is a popular study spot for Missouri State students. All the workers are volunteers and they have plenty of non-coffee options if you prefer hot chocolate, like me.
Location: National 

Bon Appetit!

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The Truth about Dorm Life

If you're going to be a college freshman this year, you're probably moving into a university residence hall of some kind. I actually really enjoyed living in the dorms at Missouri State. Being so close to classes and food on campus was incredibly convenient. Second semester, I lived with an amazing group of girls and I was genuinely upset about leaving in May. I was the last one to move out, and it was pretty sad watching everyone and all their things disappear slowly. Living in the dorms is an important part of your college experience, so today I'm sharing a few things I learned during my freshman year.

No matter how organized you are, it's not going to be clean all the time. When you move in, you'll make sure everything looks neat. Your new under bed storage and plastic drawers will be full and placed perfectly. Once you've actually lived in this tiny room for a month, you'll find that it's going to be a bit of a mess. Your books won't be stacked perfectly and you'll probably leave your laundry basket full for way too long. And, if you are a super clean and neat person, your roommate may not reciprocate. As long as they keep their mess on their side, it should be fine. You can't be their mother and make them clean up.

Your RA either cares too much or not at all. Some schools have different names for them, but this is the older student that lives on your floor and is somewhat responsible for their residents. I moved into a different building after my first semester and both of my RAs were really chill each semester. They were friendly enough, but not overbearing. That being said, no matter what type of RA you end up with, you have to respect them. This is their job, so go to some of the events they plan for your floor and be polite.

Community style bathrooms are actually better than suites. This is one of the only times in your life when you'll be sharing a bathroom with fifty people. I lived suite style all of my freshman year, and I didn't know many people outside of my suite. Girls that I knew living community style were friendly with their whole floor. This is honestly a better way to make friends and you won't spend as much time shut in your own room. Also, you probably don't have to clean that bathroom.

If you live with friends (especially sorority sisters), expect to find people asleep in your living room on Saturday morning. During my second semester, I moved into a six person suite, and three of us were in the same sorority. We also had a lot of the same friends, which resulted in unexpected visits. Our building was attached to one of the dining halls, so we often had friends follow us upstairs after eating. Although sometimes it can be hard to kick people out, it's nice to always have friends coming and going. At the end of the year, you're all going to miss that dorm room. 

Don't always study in your room. Make time to go to the library, or another spot on campus. There are way too many distractions in your dorm. Sure, you can write a paper from your bed, but you won't be as productive. When it gets late, I know it's convenient not to walk across campus to study or work on a project. Your residence hall probably has a common area in the lobby that you can use. My floor even had a study spot, so definitely look for these resources and take advantage of them. 

Make the most of your time living in the dorms, because you'll probably only do it once. There's not going to be another time in your life that you live that close to all your friends - even if they're not on your floor, they're on campus. Someone will always be down to order late night pizza, even though neither of you can really afford it. I hope this post was helpful! If you have questions that go beyond what I covered, please leave a comment and I'll do my best to answer!

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Omaha Recap

We left Saint Louis early on Thursday and headed straight to Omaha. After checking into our hotel, our first destination was the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. This 3,000 foot long bridge connects Nebraska and Iowa across the Missouri River. We walked to the state line and back, since there wasn't necessarily anything for us to do on the Iowa side. Then, we headed to the Heartland of America Park to see the fountain and explore some more. We grabbed Jimmy Johns for dinner and went back to the park after dark to see the fountain lit up.

What I Wore:
Top // Bralette (sold out - similar) // Shorts // Sandals (sold out - similar)

Day two was spent at my main destination - Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. As someone who generally has a lot to say about Zoos, I was very impressed by this one. Many of the habitats were much more than a simple enclosure. Specifically, the Desert Dome and the Lied Jungle were designed to make you feel as though you had left the Zoo and traveled to these environments. Many parts of the Zoo are still under construction to become bigger, better and more interactive. I would honestly love to go back in a few years and see the improvements. If you visit, make sure you take a trip on the Skyfari to get a unique view of the Zoo.

What I Wore:
Tank // Cardigan // Shorts (last year - similar) // Sandals (sold out - similar)

Our final day in Omaha was a short one. After eating breakfast at our hotel, we headed downtown to see the Markets that take place every Saturday. There were plenty of local artisans and farm fresh foods. I bought some sunflowers, mostly just for the 'gram but I have absolutely no shame. Then, the six hour drive home began. We stopped for lunch and made it back in time to pick up our dog from the kennel that night.

What I Wore:
Tank (similar) // Shorts (ON SALE - $6.99) // Flip Flops

I haven't been up to a whole lot this summer, but I'm glad my family got to take this short vacation and visit a new city. Let me know what you've been up to this summer by leaving a comment down below!

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6 Apps Every College Student Needs

We live in a society where nobody can go an hour without looking at their phone. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as there are many benefits to modern technology. There are so many things on my phone and laptop that help me survive college. Today, I'm sharing my most helpful apps for college students! This doesn't include any social media, as that is usually more of a distraction than an aid!

Quizlet - This is one of my favorite study tools. There is also a website for when you are on a computer. You can create and study flashcards. Quizlet also helps you learn material by making you type out one side of your flashcard. You can also create tests and matching games.

Wunderlist - Create a variety of to-do lists and check everything off with one app. You can also connect to your Facebook, Google, or Hotmail account and create collaborative lists. If you love being able to cross things off a list, like me, then you definitely need this app in your life.

Cartwheel - It's no secret that college students have basically no extra money. However, I also like to spend as much time at Target as possible. You can easily save money on each shopping trip with this app. All you have to do is scan the bar codes of your items. If there is a discount, add it to your list! When you checkout, you'll have one bar code for the cashier to scan.

Calm - Stress is a constant thing in college. This app offers meditation and relaxation methods. You can even just use it for relaxing background noise if you want. There are different options for guided and unguided meditation. Although there are several free options within the app, there are also many extras that you would have to purchase. 

Spotify - If there is a time when Spotify is not running on my phone or laptop, I'm in class or sleeping. I've made different playlists for almost every mood I have. There's also a student option if you want Spotify Premium. You can pay only $4.99 each month instead of $9.99!

Amazon - Amazon offers a 6 month free trial of Amazon Prime for students. Take advantage of this! You get free two day shipping on eligible items and access to their Prime content. Don't forget to cancel your membership before the trial is over, if you don't want to be charged though! I used the app for shopping on the go and tracking orders.

BONUS: Missouri State University has an app that lets you see your schedule, grades, meal plan balances, and more. Definitely find out if your school has a similar app! It's so so helpful to have access to everything at your fingertips.

What are your favorite apps? Let me know by leaving a comment!

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