Monday, May 23, 2011

Alpha Chi Omega Recruitment Weekend

I spent the weekend in Atlanta helping Alpha Chi Omega with a fantastic Recruitment Training. This was the first of three workshops that will be held this summer and it was jammed packed full of valuable information and real life skills we hope chapters will help their members develop. I thought it would be fun to share all the photos tweeted from the event, so here they are in chronological order. 

Thursday, we had training for the Recruitment Specialists, facilitators, and other volunteers. Here are Bonnie and Jenn taking a minute away from their lunch to pose for a picture: 

Here I am, explaining how to use one of my favorite tools, survey monkey, to handle large quantities of data:

"The Jens" taking care of the registration desk - from left to right: Jenny, Jenn and Jen

A small group session in action:

A whole group session in action. That's Allison presenting on Leadership and Change
Yes, we are ready for change! @fostera @AXOrecruitment #axort... on Twitpic

Door prizes were chosen from among the attendees who tweeted about the event and those who checked in on foursquare. Nicole from Iota Psi chapter won this great Alpha Chi Omega tiara from Sorority Spirit:

Recruitment Specialists relaxing after a long day of volunteering - left to right: Elise, Jenn, Jodi and Katie

And finally (at the airport on their way home) our amazing Alpha Chi Omega Headquarters staff who planned and executed an incredible weekend!! Thank you all so much! From left to right: Jen, Amber, Allison and Jenny
Owly Images

Check out all the weekend's tweets at #AXORT2011 and be sure to follow @AXORecruitment on Twitter!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Wickliffe Main: More Living, Less Driving

Love this great sustainable green community project in Wickliffe, Ohio (just outside Cleveland) and a shout out to my high school classmate, Roger, who you'll hear narrating the video. Kudos to him and his partners for working to bring this sort of community-strengthening project to life!

Learn more at

Dear 16 Year Old Me

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Our Visit to Vintage Bar & Bistro

Last Friday night, hubs and I enjoyed a nice dinner at the new Vintage Bar & Bistro in Tallahassee. For those of you keeping score at home, we have very few truly new places here; Vintage used to be Cafe Cabernet. It has a whole new menu and new vibe, both of which impressed us. 

We were seated right away when we arrived, and had our section almost to ourselves (it was an early date). Our server was helpful and knowledgeable about the wine list and the details about menu items. We each had a glass of wine and started off with the flatbread of the day, which had braised short rib meat, asparagus and other goodies on it. Tasty, as were the wines. 

For dinner I had the grouper: 
warm corn salsa, garlic sautéed spinach
& cumin tomato béchamel

and hubs had the Southern burger - he couldn't pass up the chance to have the pimento cheese - olive - pepper jam combo which was just how the server described it: a great combination of smooth, salty and sweet.
with pimento cheese, green olives, 3 pepper marmalade

We both wanted to try the blue cheese grits, so we ordered them as a side. Even though white on white in a white bowl doesn't make the best photo, here it is:

My fish and hubs' burger were both prepared just right. The warm corn salsa was really good - a little sweet but with just enough heat to keep to keep it tangy too. As the evening progressed, the restaurant got busier (especially the outside patio which our server was also covering) so it took awhile to get our check, but we weren't in a hurry so it wasn't a big deal. We'll definitely be back - there are other items on the menu (see it here) that we want to try... and I really enjoyed the background music (doesn't happen often in restaurants). 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Great New Documentary Short Film

Saw the trailer for this great project from Edge of Seven on The Girl Effect's facebook page:

In case you're not familiar with The Girl Effect, this video tells their story:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fun Gift for Your Favorite NumberHead

Last week etsy devoted one of their daily email updates to all things geeky. There were a lot of cute things, but I just love these distribution plushies. They would be great gifts for your favorite methodologist, statistician, researcher or graduate student who aspires to be any of the above.

from the description:
Light Green Standard Normal Distribution
Baby Blue t Distribution
Light Yellow Chi-Square Distribution
Light Pink Log Normal Distribution
Lilac Continuous Uniform Distribution
Tan Weibull Distribution
Olive Green Cauchy Distribution
Slate Blue Poisson Distribution
Maroon Gumbel Distribution
Gray Erlang Distribution
Plushies are approximately 10" wide by 6.5" tall, but do vary from distribution to distribution.
Check out everything in Nicole's cute "uber-nerd" etsy shop at Nausicaa Distribution

Monday, May 16, 2011

Another Shout-out to Team Data Driven

In follow-up to last week's post (see here), check out this great video of Chris' team at The Relay:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Steve Ellis Memorial Scholarship 5k

A quick reminder for all my Tallahassee running friends that the Steve Ellis Memorial 5k is next Saturday, May 21st on the campus of Florida State University. Sign up at

More about the race here or on the facebook group here.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cute AXO Stationery

Love these two designs from Erin Condren (thanks Britain for sharing her site!)

see all the lyre options here

see all the peacock options here

For our Panhellenic friends, Erin also has anchors, arrows, crowns, dolphins, etc.! Check out all sorority gift labels here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Kentucky Derby Gala Recap

Even though I didn't take any photos myself, I thought I'd recap one of our favorite annual events: the Leon Advocacy & Resource Center "LARC" Kentucky Derby Gala. See the photographer's photos of the event and of us from the Gala here. The group picture there is of us with our friends Bruce, Jeanine, Mike and Maureen.
As it sounds, the event centers around the Derby and all things Kentucky. We started out with complimentary mint juleps and the chance to choose our favorite horses. $5 a ticket (or 3/$10) lets you place your "bet" on any of the horses in the field - your ticket goes into a box with the number of your horse and then after the race, a raffle winner is pulled from that horse's box. For the winning horse this year the raffle winner received an all-expenses paid weekend in Panama City; the "Place Horse" raffle winner took home a weekend at Wild Adventures in Valdosta; and the Show Horse winner got a $200 gift certificate to Gem Collection. 

Usually we do a pretty good job of choosing the winners but this year we were almost completely out of the running, having only one horse show. After the big drawing, all the tickets go into one barrel from which door prizes are pulled all evening. We ended up with a nice stash of goodies, including $25 to Applebee's, $25 to Quarter Moon Imports and $25 to Wharf Express on North Monroe.

They served a buffet dinner of Kentucky favorites (biscuits, grits, top round, chicken, it was all really good) along with homemade desserts. Dancing this time was not to the Tallahassee Swing Band but to the Dan Cole Band which was geared toward a younger (as in 80s music instead of 40s music) crowd. Chris and I had a ball dancing - so much so that the woman in charge of door prizes gave us an extra gift card for never leaving the dance floor! (Thank you!) The music was a little random (Tom Petty, Steve Miller Band, Michael Jackson, Johnny Cash (I was surprised to find that you can dance to Folsom Prison Blues)) but the band played really well. 

Leon ARC is a great cause: "a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit who has served people with disabilities for over 50 years. Our mission is to provide services and supports to enhance the efforts of our community in creating a place where all persons are valued and contributing citizens. Our purpose is to end the segregation and de-valuing of persons with developmental and other disabilities by helping them live, work, and fully participate in their community." All in all it was a great evening with good friends and good fun!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Congrats Team Data Driven!

All the way back in September, I posted about a race Chris and some friends wanted to run in California (see post here). They were undeterred by the semi-scary video I found of The Relay on youtube, trained for many long months and successfully completed the April 30/May 1 event in 34 hours.

Not only did they run the whole race faster than they expected, they also were one of the top fundraisers - bringing in over $3400 for organ donation! Way to go guys!!

Here are some photos from the weekend - check out their team blog chronicling the event: Data Driven.

gorgeous scenery along the route


Chris at the start of one of his 3 legs

more beautiful scenery

getting their medals at the finish line!

Thanks Sara for taking and posting so many great photos along the way (while also running and navigating!!).

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers Day!

Sending some love out to Mom and the (no longer little) guy who made me a Mom:
The 3 of us at Grandparents Day at school last fall.

A little food for thought for Mothers Day from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: A Connection Between Mothers Day and Foreign Policy? 

Quote of the Week

from larainy on etsy

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Favorite Kindle Books - Year 2

May 7, 2009 I became a kindle owner. It's hard to believe it's been 2 years! On May 7, 2010 (my first kindle-versary) I shared a list of my favorites I had read in my first year (see it here); consider it a tradition as I share some stand-outs from year 2.

I've done a much better job this year of writing reviews as I go along so you'll be able to learn more about each book listed.

Favorite New (to me) Author
My college AXO bff Maura recommended Sarah Addison Allen's novel The Girl Who Chased the Moon (which I reviewed here). I've subsequently read all three of her other books and loved them all. As usual, if Maura offers you a recipe or a book recommendation, don't pass it up!
The Girl Who Chased the Moon: A Novel The Peach Keeper: A NovelGarden Spells (Bantam Discovery)The Sugar Queen (Random House Reader's Circle)

I Want All my Mom-friends to Read...
For mothers of school-aged daughters, I recommend Girls on the Edge (reviewed here) about the hidden dangers in being a teenager in a new world/the new millennium.

Best Memoirs 
Too tough to choose just one as I read so many great ones this year (all completely diverse) that I really enjoyed. In chronological order: Pat Benatar's Between a Rock and Heart Place (review here), Nancy Brinker's Promise Me (review here), Condoleezza Rice's Extraordinary Ordinary People (review here), John Kralik's 365 Days of Thank Yous by (review here) and Elin Stebbins Waldal's Tornado Warning (review here).

Between a Heart and a Rock Place: A Memoir Promise Me: How a Sister's Love Launched the Global Movement to End Breast Cancer Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life Tornado Warning: A Memoir of Teen Dating Violence and Its Effect On A Woman's Life

A Book That Will Change Your Life
I cannot say enough good things about Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. It will give you a clear picture of the international issues affecting women and give you both hope and concrete ways to make a difference. See also my review here, more about Circle of Sisterhood here and a report on Nick Kristof's visit to Tallahassee here.
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide 

There are so many other books I'd award Honorable Mentions, but I'll keep this brief. Thanks again to everyone who recommended books this year - please continue to send great ideas my way!

Happy Reading!
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