Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Power In Putting Your Phone Down

We are guilty.

We have an addiction to our phones. Somehow, getting the perfect angle, the perfect lighting, the perfect shot has taken away from living in the moment. That's more perfect.

If you were to gather around with your friends and family, chances are your phone is on the table or hiding in your lap so it appears like you're giving undivided attention when we all know you're not {haha}! What happened to an authentic experience where you would much rather live in the moment and capture your favorite scenes of the day in your memory bank?

Don't get us wrong, we LOVE taking pictures. Pictures help to capture the moments forever, however, it is important to experience the moment with you and your loved ones or your company before the whole world needs to see it on your Twitter feed or Instagram and Facebook feed every second of the day. 

Here are some tips to help you live in the moment in a world of social media narcissism:
  • Put your phone in the backseat. This way, you won't try to reach for it when you're driving with friends or family.
  • Leave your phone in your room or purse while at the dinner table. Think "out of sight, out of mind".
  • Choose one moment to snap a picture or two. Not everyone likes taking pictures so be cognizant of your audience and choose one moment to take pictures then put your pretty little phone away.
  • Have a reasonable picture cap. This is pretty self explanatory.
  • Make eye contact. Unless you are an awesome "look away" texter or photographer, chances are you can't look someone in the eyes while doing that. When you look into someone's eyes while conversing with them it leaves you no choice but to neglect your phone.
Ask yourself, am I taking this picture for the sake of making my social media wall look cool, or is it really to capture the moment? Our advice is to just be more present. Your company will appreciate it so much more, and trust us, you will too.

What are some ways you think are helpful to help ween off of the "constant picture taking" disease most of us have inherited? Leave your comments below!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

We Love Disneyland

2nd Picture: Co-Founders Ali & Karen at Candy Palace.  3rd Picture: World Of Color show at California Adventure.

It's a fact: we love Disneyland.  We have loved it since we were little, and nothing has changed to this day!  Sure, Space Mountain may not be as scary as it once was now that we're "grown ups," but we're still just as excited to blast off on one of our favorite rides.  In fact, Disneyland is a totally new experience now that we're old enough (and tall enough) to go on all of the fun rides!  So, how do you make your trip to the happiest place on Earth as happy as possible?  We've put together our favorite tips & tricks!

Buy tickets in advance.
To maximize as much time for fun as possible (and wait in one less line) buy your tickets online before heading to Disneyland.  It's more convenient, and can save money as well!  Disneyland tickets are pricey, but there are also some Disney authorized websites such as aRes Travel that offer discounted rates.  Discounted rates are also sometimes available for corporate companies, students, teachers, and youth groups.  There are special military rates as well, available select dates.

Dress for fun!
Comfort is key while spending the day at Disneyland!  Sneakers are ideal, with either shorts or jeans (depending on the weather).  Think footwear that you can walk around in easily, without having to worry about tripping or getting stepped on.  Plus, a little traction doesn't hurt for water rides!  During the hot summer months, shorts are ideal... it can get toasty!  Sunscreen is a must.  Bring a small purse or bag that you can hang on to or tuck away easily during rides.  Crossbody bags work great as well!  Make sure you have room to tuck your phone, wallet, and sunglasses away inside your bag... otherwise, pack light.  Hats & Mickey ears can fly off during rides, so put them away before hopping on.  A little extra safe spot to store your Disneyland ticket is ideal too!

Use the Fastpass.
Why is easy access to your Disneyland ticket important?  So you can get a Fastpass!  Fastpasses are used throughout the park on the most popular rides, and help so there's less waiting time.  Simply bring your Disneyland ticket to the Fastpass machine, and it will give you the Fastpass (free of charge) with a time to return to the ride later that day.  It's pretty simple, but there's a strategy to getting the most out of your Fastpass:

  • You can only get one Fastpass at a time.  Don't run and grab the first Fastpass you see; think ahead!  Go to the most popular ride you're excited to go on first, and get the Fastpass there.  Each ride only allows for a certain number of Fastpasses each day... once they run out, they run out.
  • As soon as your window opens up to get the next Fastpass, go get the next Fastpass immediately!  Don't wait around, since Fastpasses can run out for the day.
  • When the lines are long for the busy rides (such as Space Mountain, Indiana Jones, and Splash Mountain), this is the prime chance to go to the other rides.  When the big rides have long lines, the others (such as Haunted Mansion) usually have shorter lines under 15 minutes.  Go to these rides while waiting in between getting your next Fastpass.
  • Put each ride you want to go on the most on your list of Fastpasses to get, and strategically go to the next one as soon as the window opens up.  That way, you'll get a chance to go on everything you want!
  • Strategize with friends and family.  If you're waiting in a line together, have one person in the group go get Fastpasses for everyone while you wait.  Just make sure they take each of your Disneyland tickets with them first!
Capture the moments.
Disneyland has professional photographers at all of the landmarks (such as Sleeping Beauty's Castle) that can snap a photo for you.  Sign up for a PhotoPass account before you go, and you can view & purchase all of the pictures taken during your trip for up to 30 days!  All of the details for PhotoPass can be found on the Disneyland website.

Experience the highlights.
For us, a trip to Disneyland isn't complete without a churro.  They are just SO delicious!  Be sure to make a stop and grab one of your childhood favorite snacks while you're there.  A few of our favorite stops:
  • Candy Palace, Main Street: our favorite spot for handmade candy, chocolates, cookies, and treats.
  • Redd Rocket's Pizza Port: over by Tomorrowland (and right next to Space Mountain) you can conveniently grab a slice of pizza!
  • World Of Color, California Adventure: this nighttime show is nothing short of spectacular.  Located in Paradise Park inside California Adventure, get ready for a beautiful show of water, light effects, and your favorite Disney movie moments.  
  • 21 years old?  Head over to California Adventure for a cocktail.  They have beer, wine (there's even a winery!), and mixed drinks.
  • Get a souvenir.  Purchase those mouse ears when you get to the park, so you can enjoy them all day while you walk around!  Save the other purchases that are harder to carry around for when you leave.
  • Ride the classics.  Teacups, It's A Small World, Peter Pan... be sure to make a stop at these memorable locations!
The necessities.
When going with a big group, plan out a meeting spot in case everyone gets lost.  Go with a fully charged phone.  Bring a hair tie.  Stay hydrated... you can even bring your own bottle of water into the park when you arrive, as long as it's unopened.  And most of all, get ready for a day filled with happiness!!

Where are your favorite rides & places to go in Disneyland?  We would love to hear!

Monday, August 18, 2014

TSS Favorite Things {August}

Sakura - Shoes | Power Card | Ring

Holy moly... is September really only less than two weeks away?  It feels like it was just yesterday that we were jumping for joy for the first day of Summer!  Well we're here to kick off the week with our monthly TSS Favorite Things!  Here's some of our favorite items of the month!

TOPSHOP: Espadrilles - I've been obsessing over espadrilles lately!  There's nothing better than shoes that are cute & comfy!

J.Crew: Power Card - I'm constantly on my phone and I'm always stressing that my phone is going to die!  Luckily I have this adorable power card to charge anything with a USB power cord.

Adia Kibur: Band Ring - I really like the look of simple band rings.  These really go with anything!

J.Brand: Black Distressed Jeans - I've been looking everywhere for black skinny jeans with distressed details.  These are the perfect look!

Anastasia: Brow Pomade Eyebrows are everything.  This pomade lasts all day, and applies easily!

MAC: Perfume - My signature fragrance... the scent makes me feel happy!

Minimergency: Emergency Kit - This little pouch carries everything from a mouth refresher, a band-aid, clear nail polish, nail polish remover, deodorant, stain remover, lip balm, shemergency tape (double-sided tape), safety pin, and more! Yup... all in this little pouch that's smaller than the size of your palm!

Converse: Sneakers - You can never go wrong with the classic white Chuck Taylors! They're the perfect sneakers to dress cute & casual!

Baggu: Tote - If you've never had a Baggu tote, you're missing out.  These totes are really inexpensive and you can practically use it for everything and anything!  

Have a wonderful Monday, everyone!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Back to School with Target x BRITA

Back To School Shopping with Target x Brita from The Sorority Secrets on Vimeo.
*Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Brita, however, all views and opinions are solely that of The Sorority Secrets.

With the new semester coming up fast and recruitment being around the corner for many of you,  we wanted to help you with your back to school shopping spree that you're about to embark on by sharing some cool and helpful items. You can mark these items off of your checklist in this stressful time! We worked with BRITA to go on a shopping spree at Target to purchase the below Back-To-School items. These items are must-haves and will make living on campus so much easier!
  1. Brita Space Saver (6 cups)
We love everything about the Brita Space Saver. You can get great-tasting tap water anytime with the Brita Space Saver. The Brita Space Saver is made to fit efficiently into small spaces--perfect for your dorm room! You can maximize your refrigerator or counter space with this BPA-free pitcher while still enjoying 6 cups of cleaner water before your next refill. This pitcher features a round carafe design with an electronic filter indicator to let you know when it's time to change the filter. The flip-top lid and comfort grip handle make filling and pouring easy

   2.    Clorox Disinfecting Wipes

Keeping your small dorm space nice and tidy amidst writing school papers, studying for exams, and hanging out with friends is tough to balance. Luckily, keeping your container spaces clean is as easy as swiping with Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. This was one of our favorite items when living on campus and really helped to clean up stains here and there. 

  3.      Glad Food Storage Containers

Pulling all-nighters or having back-to-back classes throughout the week can leave you really hungry. If you are anything like us, we got super busy during school that often times we would forget to eat! That's why getting your hands on some Glad Food Storage Containers is so essential because you can pack your meals. If nothing else, you can consolidate space by storing your food in the containers.

 4.      Brita Hard-Sided Water Bottle (23.7 oz.)

Going to school in the desert {Go SUNDEVILS} meant we had to always stay hydrated by drinking water. Walking from class to class or simply working out can really break a sweat so it's really smart to invest in a water bottle like the Brita Hard-Sided Water Bottle. Similar to the Brita Space Saver it helps to filter the water so that you're consuming fresh water.

 5.     Glad Trash Bags

It's all about being proactive when it comes to keeping a clean dorm space. That means keeping trash bags like the Glad Trash Bags handy. With as many visitors and events we had in our living space, we found ourselves always piling up trash. Rather than having the trash all over, actively dumping it into our Glad Trash Bags just made the place look less messy and clustered.

Lucky for one reader, we are going to help you check off some of these items from your back-to-school checklist by offering (1) $25 Target gift card. To enter, simply mention below the first thing you would buy from our list above. A winner will be chosen at random on Friday, August 22nd. 

Good luck!

P.S. Remember, all BRITA items are available at Target!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What You Probably Don't Know About Mental Illness

With the sudden passing of Robin Williams we can't help but wonder how many people don't fully understand mental illness. We know that suicide is a choice, but what if your brain cannot mentally understand the value between living on this Earth or not? Where you would much rather stop this war in your head because you really see it as the only way out. Someone you know out there is smiling on the outside and dying on the inside. Take the time to look past that smile and understand what is going on deep down inside. It starts with picking up the phone and simply saying, "How is everything going?" Being in a sorority we were exposed to a lot of different women with different backgrounds and different issues they were dealing with. Mental illness was one that was very new to us. A common misconception about mental illness is that it is a choice. mental illness (also referred to as a "mental disorder" or "psychiatric disorder") is a mental or behavioral pattern that causes either suffering or an impaired ability to function in ordinary life, and which is not developmentally or socially normative

Mental disorders are generally defined by a combination of how a person feelsactsthinks or perceives. This may be associated with particular regions or functions of the brain or rest of the nervous system, often in a social contextKaren had a sorority sister who she felt seemed a little off in her behavior so one day she started to inquire about her well being until eventually this sorority sister broke down and told her she was fighting a lot of depression and feelings of self hate that she couldn't explain. It turns out that she had a hereditary mental illness and through much trials and tribulations she got on the right medications to work through her mental illness. 

What you probably don't know about mental illness is that the person suffering from it can still function in society. Meaning, while dying within, they are able to blend in. That is why things like suicide from mental illness catch people off guard, especially those seeing them on the exterior as okay. 

What you probably also don't know about mental illness is that for those suffering from it, it is hard for them to ask for help. Society treats people with mental illnesses like outcasts. Often times we hear things like, "You're crazy!" and "You're psycho!" in a way to put someone down, therefore, actually being those things is seen to be negative.

What you probably also don't know about mental illness is that YOU can help. Though diagnosing and treating mental illness is a long journey, it can be treated to some extents like psychotherapy and psychiatric medicationsocial interventions, peer support and self-helpInvest in your friends/family members going through it by constantly checking up on them and making them feel safe in your presence as they go through the difficult time of handling their disorder.

At the end of the day, don't be a surface friend. Have deeper meaningful relationships with people to uncover what demons they are fighting within. You will find comfort in knowing that you did everything you could to help save someone's life.

Need help in identifying mental illness or are you suffering from it? We recommend checking out NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness for more help. They have valuable education and help on dealing with mental illness. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Why it's OK to be Single in College

Whether you’re in a relationship or not, we all have a “timeline”.  You know, the timeline that we magically came up with one day that determines when we’re getting engaged, married, and having little mini me’s running around. Well, we’re here to tell you to throw that timeline away!  This is your life; not a book, and life is unpredictable.  Just because all of your friends are getting boyfriends doesn’t mean that you have to suddenly get a boyfriend!  Today's post is for all of you single ladies… we’re here to tell you why it’s okay to be single during college!

1. Build amazing friendships
College is the best time to build life-long friendships. Experience things with your friends and make great memories during your college years.  Once you’re out in the real world, it’s a little more difficult to find time to hang out with girlfriends! Your friends are your support group and the people that will always be by your side.

2. Career girl
Not that having a boyfriend disables you from pursuing your career, but your “life changing” decisions may be affected by your relationship- such as graduating, getting a job, and moving! This is your life. Work hard and put extra hours for that dream job of yours!

3. I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T
Being independent isn’t a “pride” thing- it’s knowing how to be on your own, being comfortable with who you are, and learning how to deal with things without anyone’s help.  In your twenties, it’s especially important to learn about independence because it’s the decade of personal growth.  Enjoy a Friday night alone… it’s rejuvenating!

4. Be selfish
Once you are married and have kids, you have to make decisions depending on other people’s best interests. This is the one time in your life where you can make decisions for yourself and no one else’s. Take advantage of this time and be selfish and focus on achieving your wants and needs!

5. The world is your oyster
This is your life! Do what you want, whenever you want!  Take the opportunities that life has to offer and make sure to live life with no regrets! Oh... and TRAVEL!

6. Go on dates!
Just because we’re all for being single during college, doesn’t mean we’re anti-boys! We encourage you to go on dates, have fun, and take this time to figure out what qualities you want in your future significant other!  It’s all about trial and error!

Monday, August 11, 2014

10 Essentials: Recruitment Videos

The trend of recruitment videos is on the rise.  Chapters nationwide are taking part, and creating videos to share in the excitement of recruitment season!  They can be a great tool for recruitment as well.  We posted some favorites a while back, to check out for inspiration!  Our first video has some great ideas too.  But what exactly makes for a great recruitment video?  What tips can your chapter use to set your video apart from the rest?  We've compiled 10 essentials to help make your video the best it can be!

1. Music
Music sets the tone and mood for the video.  Go with something energetic to amp it up (check out our Summer Playlist & EDM Workout Playlist for ideas), and infuse it with more mellow tracks to add emphasis to sentimental parts.  Your videographer can often mix songs together to do this, to transition from mood to mood.  Adding a small break in the video (such as fading the screen to white and then coming back on again) can help to make the shift in moods easier between segments.  Or, pick one song the whole way through and stick with it.  There are plenty of great songs out there, so you can pick one that's uniquely yours!  Pay attention to the lyrics in the songs to make sure they fit the tone you're trying to get across.  At the end of the video, you can add credits to the songs you chose.

2. Lighting
Lighting is everything!  If you're going for outdoor shots, lighting is best either in the morning or mid to late afternoon.  Direct sunlight during lunchtime hours (from 11:30am until about 1:30pm) can be harsh, and can create unwanted shadows.  Plus, you don't want to be squinting from the sun!  Shoot outdoors during prime lighting hours, and you will capture the natural "glow" that makes everything look magical.

3. Showcase Your Sisterhood
Who are you?  What is your chapter all about?  Be sure to include this in the video, and capture the essence of who you are as a sisterhood.  Being in a sorority isn't all about perfectly staged glamour shots either, so be sure to include shots of simply being yourselves-- who you are on a daily basis.  This adds personality and authenticity to the video.

4. Add Interviews
Adding a message from the president or recruitment chair, even a few sentences, makes for a personal touch.  This can be accomplished as either a voiceover (paired with different footage while she's talking) or as a direct interview where she's seen talking to the camera.  She can also look slightly away from the camera, to give the look like she's talking to someone else.  Not all of the interview needs to be shown; your videographer can edit the interview to include the best highlights.  Other chapter members can also be interviewed, and pairing sisters off (such as a big/little duo) to show their personalities is great too!  The background music can fade down during these parts, so it's not completely off while you listen to people speaking.

5. Tidy Up
If you're shooting inside your chapter house, make sure things are looking as clean as possible.  Be mindful of any eyesores (such as garbage cans, trash, or messy piles) laying around, so you can move them out of the shots.  Think of the little details too, such as clean nails.  Not everyone needs to run out and get a manicure, but make sure that your nails are dirt-free!

6. Get Creative
Videos are a great time to show your creativity.  Think of shots that are outside the box... not everything needs to show smiling faces.  Think close up "moving picture" shots; such as things hanging on the walls, t-shirts you have created, accessories, arms linked together from behind, you get the idea.  You can also infuse black & white footage, or "Instagram" like filters or colors in certain scenes.  Put together some sort of storyline, so the video has a clear concept from beginning to end.

7. Have Fun & Be Yourself
Capture the moments, get candid.  Be silly.  Adding some "behind the scenes" footage or "bloopers" can add an element of fun to the video!  It shows who you are, and that you don't take yourselves too seriously.  

8. Smile
Laugh, smile, feel the happiness that is your sisterhood.  There's nothing like true happiness... and when it's captured on film, it's pure magic.

9. Get Styled
Plan out any looks or outfits prior to shooting the video, so you're not racing to put outfits together last minute.  Go for a color scheme, or similar accessories.  Not everyone needs to look like an identical cookie cutter either... your sisters can showcase their own personal style, while still looking visually cohesive with the group in the video.  Take a bohemian theme for example; flowy tops, jeans, shorts, maxi dresses, kimonos, floppy hats, turquoise jewelry, flower crowns... it all works!

10. Time It Right
Videos should be just long enough, but not too long.  Keep it under 3-4 minutes, so you keep your audience's attention.  Even better, keep it under 2 minutes, and you'll leave your viewers wanting more!  Edit the scenes, so you're left with only the footage that truly is the best.

Do you have any tips for a great recruitment video?  Share with us below, and also be sure to share your videos with us as well!  We would love to see!
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