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When I started this blog, it had no real direction or theme. In fact, I did not expect anyone to read it because it was going to be a place to synthesize my thoughts. I never expected to “meet” other bloggers and be moved by their words, laugh with them or feel badly when they were experiencing the tough side of life.
I also did not expect to post my thoughts on books in a public forum for others to read. I was content with posting my thoughts on Amazon or Goodreads, but the blog gave me the opportunity to add more personal comments that I did not feel were appropriate on Amazon or Goodreads. Ultimately, this led to the reorganization of the blog.
My life has been in a state of transition for the past four years and some things are still unsettled. I feel that everyone that has flowed in and out of my life, has helped me move in the right direction. Some have moved into my life for a brief period to demonstrate what I want or do not want out of friendships and some have helped me along my blogging journey. So today, I am recognizing Michelle from Ms. Romantic Reads, Anna from Herding Cats & Burning Soup, Becca from Lady or Not…Here I Come, The Chicks from Chick Swagger and Suzie from Suzie81 Speaks. All of these bloggers have encouraged me, stopped by to chat and inspired me with their words. May you all continue to brighten other people’s days with your wit, snark and spirited discussions.
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Hope you have a wonderful day, everyone. Whether you “celebrate” Valentine’s Day or not, it is a great reminder to practice self-care and be kind to ourselves and each other.
Here is my favorite Valentine’s Day memory:
Followers of this blog, know I am a PASSIONATE supporter of sorority life for college women. In fact, one of my favorite topics to discuss with parents of college-aged women is membership in Greek Letter Organizations and all its benefits. I am excited whenever a young woman finds her sorority home away from home and creates lifelong friendship. I enjoy submitting recruitment information forms (RIFs) for potential new members as they start their sorority journey. And, I love writing letters of recommendation for graduate school and new jobs for women I watched grow though into themselves through sorority life.
My personal college experience was enriched the day I accepted my Bid in 1989. I joined a group of women who accepted me as I was, but also pushed me to be the best version of myself. Since I attended a large commuter University, Greek Life was my touchstone with extracurricular activities that enhanced my years at college. There were socials, study parties, basketball games and all-night float-building marathons, and yes, keggers, where I learned more about myself and my fellow Sisters.
Together we supported each other through the good and bad times. We were our Sisters’ keepers and responsible not only for following the rules and regulations of the organization and the University, but ensuring that our Sisters did as well. The rules were in place to make sure we had a complete academic, leadership, philanthropic, fun, balanced and safe sorority program. We knew that one bad apple could certainly spoil the bunch, and were cognizant of the greater level of scrutiny placed on sorority women by society – both by folks who wanted us to succeed and those who expected us to fail and take on the worst characteristics of the stereotypical “sorority girl gone wrong.”
Today, the actions of a few bad apples culminated in harsh consequences for the larger group, as the Chi Omega Chapter at the University of Pennsylvania was closed. The investigation of this Chapter was prompted by a series of poor decisions, that were exposed by a deeply offensive event. I was disappointed in these women, not only as their Sister, but as a Latina and a woman. As a former volunteer Sorority Adviser, I can attest to the fact that the collegiate leaders of this group were provided with close, one-on-one mentoring by older Alumnae members who were selected for their professional expertise and trained in how to supervise the activities of a college sorority. These Alumnae very likely advised (and scolded) them repeatedly about appropriate party topics among other teachable moments in the management of risk for a group of collegiate women. This advice was accompanied by sanctions, repercussions and intense education by the National organization, along with a timeline for successful completion of the sanctions and re-education. It was the college women’s decision to follow sage advice, but, as a self-governing groups of adults, they did not have to.
Unfortunately, they chose the worst possible outcome and started the chain reaction that led the National organization to close the Chapter. While I was sadden by the news, I fully supported the difficult decision made by the Governing Council (national executive officers). National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) groups have no tolerance for behavior that demeans, ridicules, or hurts other people and these have been articulated in the Unanimous Agreements, as well as the Fraternity’s Bylaws and Constitution. The governance documents are how we hold ourselves, and each other, accountable. Our goal is to uphold our ideals as we continually prepare women for life after college. In short , we strive to build women up and it is not by accident that so many female leaders are members of NPC groups. We have been doing it for over a hundred years, successfully, because we maintain the highest standards.
My sincerest wish for the women who lost their Chapter, by their own actions, is that they learned the lessons. My heart breaks for those women who tried, in vain, to steer the group, back to a place of honor and class, because I know they did not deserve to lose their Chapter. However, I am a proud sorority woman because we police ourselves. It is these events that remind me why I pledged to honor my Fraternity’s creed and support fellow Sisters. Sisterhood is for a lifetime, not just for the four years of college.
Nutella has always been a part of my food vocabulary. Growing up overseas, we were exposed to international foods from an early age and items that might have seemed “exotic” to some, were commonplace to us. Nutella, was one of those treats. My great-grandmother would spread it on toast, as a dessert with tea. Since it was a memory I associated with childhood, I always assumed it was tastier than it actually was. The same way camp cabins seemed so enormous, when we were younger, but grew smaller as we aged.
I was wrong. Nutella was not only as delicious I remembered, it was even better incorporated into “adult” desserts.
Imagine my surprise when I moved to the U.S. and there was NO NUTELLA, anywhere. Some Italian specialty markets carried Nutella, but it was expensive and would fly off the shelves as soon as they were stocked. In some cases, it was like watching a small version of Black Friday sales crowds, before the mayhem and murder.
Fortunately, American fans demanded that Nutella be available and we prevailed! Now, Nutella is available in our local grocery store and a few American food corporations have created their very own versions, of the luscious hazelnut spread. I wish them luck, but I am a loyal Nuella woman.
Eight years ago, blogger Sara Rosso created World Nutella Day to extol its wonders. Other food bloggers soon caught the bug and World Nutella Day became a grassroots success. Unfortunately, the “holiday” met with some early legal challenges from Ferrero, the Italian company that produced Nutella. Once they realized that World Nutella Day was not only a celebration of the product, but an opportunity to gain new fans, they relented and joined the fun. Today, Ms. Rosso and Michelle Fabio are the coordinators of the festivities, with the blessings of Ferrero.
If you have not tried Nutella, today is the perfect day for your first taste! To all the other Nutella fans out there, I high-five you with my spoon!