Atlanta Wall Crawl | The Beltline

Okay so, I wouldn't exactly call this a wall crawl because I only have time to go to one mural, but I've been wanting to go to Atlanta and find cool murals for the longest time. Last week one of my best friends since forever, Marina, texted me and asked me if I was interested to do a "wall crawl" with her. I immediately said yes, and I knew exactly where I wanted to go - the Beltline. If y'all don't know, the Beltline is this path around the the city of Atlanta, and it used to be a railroad track, but now it's a walking/biking path. It's really cool, but unfortunately the development of the Beltline and the stuff around it has gentrified the Old Fourth Ward/Midtown area. However, that's another post for another day.

Marina and I didn't go too far around the Beltline because the weather started getting iffy and we ran into Ponce City Market to explore before it started raining, but we found this really cool mural that's on the back on one of the Paris on Ponce buildings. I think it's a relatively new mural too. (Warning: There are a lot of pictures)

That's Marina! She's been one of my best friends since first grade. She goes to university in Scotland, so we don't get to see each other a ton, but she's basically the coolest person I know. 

Like I said, we ran into Ponce City Market to do some exploring and we spent most of our time in Citizen Supply. I had never been before, and it's the coolest store. Everything they sell is either handmade or small-batch goods, a local brand, or a small business, which I think is amazing. They sell one of my favorite print companies, Old Try, so I knew I was in the right place. A lot the stuff that sell is Atlanta specific too, and I think between the two of us Marina and I wanted everything in the store.

Happy Friday!!
xx, jKm


College Advice + Tips

Y'all, my sophomore year starts in a little over a month... I can't believe it because it kind of feels like I am going for my freshman year and I need to start preparing for rush. Luckily, despite what my brain thinks, I am going back to Alabama as a sophomore and not a freshman. Speaking of freshman year, today I am sharing with y'all seven pieces of advice/tips/things I wished I had known. I loved my freshman year, and hopefully this advice and these tips can help you have a great first year too!

1. It's okay if you don't meet your best friends right away. I think when you join a sorority you expect to find your lifelong best friends on Bid Day/New Member Retreat. Of course that does happen for some people, but it doesn't happen for others. It took me about a week to become friends with Emma, and that happened because I didn't want to sit at lunch by myself. Then it took me another month to become friends with Katielynn, Catherine, and Julia. Then if you don't join a sorority, this might take a little bit longer too until you get settled in classes and find organizations to join. Don't be discouraged if on the first day of class you haven't found your best friend yet.

2. Get out of your dorm as much as possible. The people I know who didn't like school didn't do anything besides go to class and sit in their dorm. College is of course about getting good grades, but it's also about doing something, anything. This is the time to get involved in something you are passionate about because you have so much time outside of classes. Also most universities offer a ton of welcome back activities for freshmen during the first week of school. At Alabama they have movies on the Quad and a welcome back concert, which is where I got to see Ludacris last year.

3. Take at least one humanities course even if you don't have to. Last semester I took Southern Studies because I thought I was going to be an American Studies minor for a hot second, and it turned out to be one of my favorite classes. While I ended up not needing the classes because I already had my humanities credits covered, and I am no longer going to be an AMS minor, I thought it was one of the more useful classes I've taken. Humanities classes are all about thinking critically and looking at subject matters through different lenses, which I think is a super important skill to learn. These courses are also super interesting, and there are a wide range of topics, so you will probably find something that piques your interest.

4. Don't shy away from hard classes. Everyone I know always looks up professors on RateMyProfessor and wants the professor who gives no homework, grades easily, and doesn't take attendance. While I have definitely taken those classes in the last year, my favorite classes were the ones with "hard" professors. My Intro to PR class only had one professor, and everyone complained about him, but in the end he ended up being one of my favorite professors. Yeah, I had to work really hard in that class, but I learned a lot even because I struggled sometimes. Definitely balance out hard classes with easy classes, but don't be afraid to try something a little bit harder.

5. It's okay to change your mind about everything. I think this is something I learn every year, and it's something I think I have to relearn every year. If you know me, you know that I am the person with the five year plan who has everything planned out, and it colored coded. I talked about what changed for me in the last year in my Freshman Year Reflection post, but surprisingly an Odyssey article summed it up in the perfect way. During your freshman year, you are going to fall in and out of love with just about everything, and that's okay. You're under no obligation to keep doing things exactly the same way all the time. Your life is too short to spend it doing things you don't like and being around people you don't like.

6. Find a place to study that isn't the library or your dorm. Personally I don't love studying the library, and I can't hard core study in my dorm, especially if my roommates are there. The library is too sad for me honestly, and I only go there if it's exam season, and I need to crack down on everything. I have three go-to spaces to study at school. My #1 place to study is the Theta house mostly because I am there all the time. It can be super loud during meal times, but once lunch is over, the house is actually pretty quiet, and I just put in headphones and do homework. The other two places are the balcony of the communications building, which is actually my favorite place on campus, and then the student center. Having options is the best because you will go to your "go-to" place at some point, and it will either be too crowded or too loud.

7. Figure out who you like going out with. Okay, I don't go out a ton, but when I did, I learned very quickly that your experience will be defined by who you go out with. If you don't like drinking, going out with people who do may not be the most fun. If you like staying at one place/fraternity/bar, your friends who like to party hop may not be the right choice. I love all my friends, but I know there are certain friends that I can't go out with because our "going out" vibes don't match.

xx, jKm


2017-2018 Agendas

If you talk to me for more than 30 minutes, I'll probably bring up agendas at some point. During the school year, my agenda is my best friend, my go-to, my lifeline, and honestly, I would be so lost without it. I've about a million posts about how I've organized my agendas over the years.

Since my freshman year of high school, I've used a Lilly Pulitzer agenda, but this upcoming year I've decided to change it up because I fell in love with these agendas from 1canoe2. The bookstore at Alabama sold them last year, and I could not stop staring at them because they are so beautiful. Then when I saw the 2017-2017 collection, I knew I had to get the floral design. I mean, periwinkle, coral, and gold? Right up my alley.

Even though I've known what agenda I was going to use for the upcoming year since May, I've still been pouring over new arrivals because I love agendas that much, and the new arrivals make even more excited for fall. (It always reminds me of this scene in You've Got Mail.) I even texted my roommate an agenda and told her it was perfect for her. I seriously spend most of my time looking at agendas and organization tips. It's a little ridiculous.

xx, jKm


Friday Favorites | 7/7

I'm in Indiana for the weekend! I am at a leadership conference hosted by Theta, and it's been a great time already.

HAIM's new album is out today!!! *immediately adds to my Summer 2017 vibes playlist*

I think I want to get a thrifted jean jacket and add a ton of patches on it, and these ones from Ban.do would be a good place to start. Also this Dolly Parton Vibes pin would go perfectly.

This post from Gabby about the transition to college is so spot on!

Also Kesha is releasing a new album next month, and summer 2017 continues to be good to me music wise.

While I don't love Hamilton like everyone else, I love the mixtape, and the music video from Immigrants (We Get the Job Done) was released last week. So good, y'all.

Sorry for the short post today! This week has been absolutely hectic with the holiday and then traveling, but I hope y'all have a wonderful Friday. 
xx, jKm


Three Days in Asheville

Last week my mom, my dad, and I went to Asheville, North Carolina for a three-day getaway. It was my mom's birthday week, and my dad was off work for the week, so it was the perfect time to a mini family vacation. Asheville is a classic Kearney family vacation spot, but I haven't been since my freshman year of high school when we were passing through North Carolina on our way home from Philadelphia. However, my parents actually spent a week in February in Asheville, so I was excited that I got to go with them this time.

If you've never been to Asheville, it's a weird place, and they like it that way. It's a super liberal, hippie, outdoorsy city. A lot of the food in the restaurants is locally grown, and a lot of the clothing that stores sell is fair trade or American made.

Day 1
Tuesday night we went to see Alan Alda speak as a part of a book festival, so we spent the night in Atlanta to make the drive a little bit easier. After we finished the drive Wednesday morning, the first thing we did was grab lunch at Tupelo Honey. My parents went here back in February, and my mom was so excited to go back for her birthday lunch. Y'all, it was so good. I am a super picky eater, and I wasn't sure if I would love the grilled chicken sandwich I ordered because it had avocado on it. But 100% I would eat it again. The best part of the meal, however, was the biscuits that came out before. My dad was super pumped about the biscuit, which is how I know it was going to be a good one. 

After we ate, we headed to downtown Asheville to shop because I forgot to bring shoes to hike in. The first place we went was the Mast General Store, which is HUGE. It reminded me of a Cracker Barrel store but with a ton more stuff. The top part has clothes, t-shirts, candy, car games, home supplies, and camping stuff while the bottom floor is more outdoorsy equipment. I got my new Chacos and KAVU here. I could have spent another two hours just looking at everything. Next we went to Malaprops, which is an independent bookstore that my mom loves, and then we walked around some more before going to check into our cabin. 

Day 2

On Thursday morning we went hiking at DuPont State Forest, which is about an hour outside of Asheville. We hiked to Triple Falls, and it was absolutely love beautiful. It was a little bit hillier than I prefer my hikes, but that's what you get when you go hiking in the mountains compared to the flat part of Georgia. It was about a mile hike to the falls, and then a mile back, so it is definitely not a terrible hike, and the view is so worth it. Once we finished our hike, we went to Brevard and ate at Mayberry's, a sandwich shop. 

After a nice nap, my dad and I went to an Asheville Tourists baseball game. I think this was my favorite part of the whole trip because it was so much fun. I love minor league baseball so much, and the atmosphere was surprisingly amazing. They play at McCormick Field, which has been there for forever basically, and learning the history of the team and the field was great too. 

Day 4
Friday was our last day in Asheville, and we took it as a pretty chill day because we were all tired and hadn't been sleeping great. For lunch we went to Early Girl Eatery, which we go to basically every time we are in Asheville. It's a popular spot, and it can be a little crowded, but the food is amazing. I got the French toast with blueberries and chocolate, and it was so good. After lunch, we walked around downtown a little bit more. 

We went back to the cabin and napped and watched TV. While it was a child day, it was exactly what we needed after a busy three days. 

Happy Wednesday!
xx, jKm


5 Tips for Sorority Recruitment

Hey y'all! I know a lot of girls are getting ready to prepare for sorority recruitment, and as someone who went through the largest sorority recruitment in the country, I feel like I have a few pieces of advice to offer. If you want to read about my experience during recruitment, you can check that out here. 

Oh my goodness. Recruitment week is so stressful, at least for me it was. Emotions are running high. If it's in the fall, you just left home for the first time, and you might be in a place where you don't know a ton of people. Then you have to go impress these girls in hopes that you can join their house. I loved and hated recruitment all at the same time. My excitement definitely outweighed my stress, but I still was really stressed out for the entire week. I would watch the Olympics and would start randomly crying during any of the events. I even cried to my Rho Chi multiple times, and I wasn't even upset with my houses that I had left. I just started crying when I got my schedule back because I was so stressed out from the week. I even cried during preference round at one of the houses. Yikes...

Since it is such a stressful week, you need to stay positive to balance out the anxiety. The best thing for me was to remind myself that I didn't need all 16 houses to like me; I just needed one house to love me. If a house drops you, you shouldn't want to be in that house anyway. They're actually helping you out in a way because they realized that you probably fit in better somewhere else. For me I didn't realize Theta was my "perfect" house until I actually started meeting people and finding out more about the house. I didn't realize this during recruitment, and the houses that I thought were the perfect ones for me turned out to not be that right fit. 

My Rho Chi was the absolute best, and every day after I was done, she told me to go distract myself. She knew that I was overthinking everything a ton, and going back to my dorm and sitting by myself was not going to help me at all. I would go back to my dorm and watch the Olympics or Netflix. When more people started moving in, I would go hang out with them when I had time after parties. I even hung out with my Rho Chi group one night, and we got popsicles. Do anything to not being thinking about recruitment because once you vote, there's literally nothing you can do once you leave the Row. 

Like I said, my Rho Chi was amazing. I cried to her so many times, and she really did help me when my emotions were everywhere. She reassured me that it was all going to be okay and that I needed to be in a place that wanted me. Recruitment is such a crazy process, and having someone who 1. understands because she has been in your place, and 2. is trained to deal with all your emotions is so nice. Obviously, I called my mom and sister every day, but having my Rho Chi when I broke down looking at my schedule was a God send. 

That's what they are there for. Rho Chis go through training to help you make the best decision. They've been through the process as a new member and as a member in the sorority, so they know what it's like on both sides. I know it can be hard to talk to someone about your emotions when you barely know her, but once you get over your fear, your Rho Chi can be one of your biggest supporters during recruitment. I wished I had talked to her even more because I think my experience would have been different if I had opened up to her about what I was feeling. 

It can be hard to keep all the houses straight by the end of the day, so my biggest tip is to take notes after you visit each house. Having these notes will save you when you are going to vote at night, especially if you are stuck between two houses. I would write down who I talked to, what we talked about, and my immediate reaction when I walked out of the house. I went through my notes after recruitment, and I saw that I always wrote down positive things about Theta, which obviously shows that I am in the right house.

I think everyone says this, but it's 100% true. For me I thought I had figured out the system, but in reality I hadn't. The system is in place because it works. Trust me, I know. Theta wasn't always my dream house, but now it's absolutely the perfect place for me, and I couldn't be happier with my decision. I am not in the right house because of my own doing, believe me. I am in it because the system has a way of working out for the best. If it didn't work, they wouldn't use it.

xx, jKm