Career Profile: Devon Huntly, Extension Consultant at Phi Sigma Sigma

I loved being in a sorority in college. It wasn’t until after I graduated that I realized that there are so many career paths in Greek life. I spoke to Devon to find out more about her experience as an Extension Consultant at Phi Sigma Sigma!

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1. What made you decide to join a sorority? 

My mother was in a local sorority in college and she always talked about her sorority friends and adventures she had with them. Every year her new member class has a reunion – they’ve been doing it for 30 years! Seeing the benefits of joining a sorority, and knowing how many friends my mom gained because of her sorority experience made me want to join. I didn’t really say it when I looked for schools, but a major factor in choosing my college was the Greek life!

2. How did you choose which sorority was right for you?

I didn’t choose my sorority; it chose me! My recruitment story is slightly long and includes lots of tears, but basically I let the stereotypes and superficial parts of Greek life get in the way of truly getting to know the sisters in each party. Although I didn’t think I fit in my chapter and seriously considered disassociating as a new member before initiation, I later realized I fit perfectly. It took getting to know myself more to understand this, but it was definitely the right outcome!

3. Did you hold leadership positions in your chapter?

As a new member I met with my chapter’s treasurer and was immediately interested in the position. I don’t have a background in finance or any interest in accounting, but I am organized and I am good at planning ahead, so I ran for treasurer. I held the position my junior spring semester, and would have continued on until December, but our chapter’s vice president was given a once-in-a-lifetime fellowship opportunity our senior fall semester and took a semester off from school. I was nominated and elected by my chapter to take her position, so for my final semester on the executive board I was vice president and trained the new treasurer as well!

4. What are three things that you learned from your experience as a collegiate?

First, you will not leave college the same person you were when you arrived, and that’s okay. In fact, I think it’s a great thing. Your opinions will change throughout your four years and when you look back at freshman year, you will see a much different person. This is normal! When I look back at freshman year, I see a less confident, more reserved version of myself and I’m happy I’ve grown up.

Second, don’t feel pressured to have a typical college experience. When your parents and their friends reminisce on college and say it was the best four years it’s because they had fun. Don’t do what you think you’re supposed to do, do what you want to. That’s the beauty of college – you get to do pretty much whatever you’re interested in! I am not a huge drinker and probably never will be, and I don’t have many stories from my nights out in college to look back on in a few years, but that’s okay. I do have great memories I will keep forever and can confidently say college was pretty great.

Lastly, take your time to test the waters. The first thing you’ll be asked as a freshman is your name, hometown, and your major. I’d say that half of the friends I met freshman year have changed their majors or at least changed their focus. Maybe chose a department you are interested in, but know you don’t usually have to declare until your sophomore year – so take some time to explore different classes and interests!

5. What made you decide to become a consultant after graduating?

After deciding not pursue medical school senior year (a goal I’d had since middle school) I knew I needed a year off to figure out what I wanted to do next. I only applied for yearlong programs including being an au pair, teaching English abroad, and being a consultant! I was also encouraged to apply after volunteering at my sorority’s annual Leadership Conference. I wanted a position where I could help people but also figure out what I really wanted to do!

6. What is a typical day like for you? Can you walk me through what it means to be a consultant?

My days vary drastically. In the fall, I was in Illinois working as an extension consultant as we colonized a chapter. Days started at 8:30am with a conference call to the office, then moved into tabling, meetings and campus outreach before coming back to the apartment for dinner and more work on our laptops. Working 12 hour days were pretty common! When I have chapter visits I am also nonstop for about 12 hours in meetings, events, workshops and catching up on paperwork. There is time to relax, but you are rarely alone and usually in a common area on campus. Currently the majority of my work is focused on a single chapter and I serve as their advisor. I am on campus nights and weekends and spend my days at home emailing and texting with the sisters. I still work about 50-60 hours a week but it’s broken up and I’m able to sleep in or catch up on personal things much more easily!

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Phi Sigma Sigma IllinoisWomen in the Illinois chapter Devon helped colonize.

7. What is your favorite thing about working for nationals?

My favorite thing working at headquarters has been learning so much about how it operates, the history, and how the individual chapters operate. You get such a good sense of the organization as a whole and are able to meet so many sisters! Networking just comes naturally, and I have made some fabulous connections this year.

8. What is your favorite thing about being a consultant?

My favorite thing about my job is working with the collegians, and I think my fellow consultants would agree with me on this one! Working at HQ is just like any other job with a boss and a team you report to, but then you have the added bonus of making friends and mentoring younger women at each campus! Teaching a treasurer how to use our billing system or supporting a vice president in wanting to take ritual more seriously can be the most rewarding moments on a visit! I’m not only helping my sorority and improving chapters, but I’m helping individuals achieve their goals, which is invaluable.

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Devon with other Phi Sigma Sigma consultants!

9. What advice do you have for women who are interested in becoming a consultant for their sorority? 

Know what you’re getting yourself into. Coming out of college I was eager to jump into work and be the best consultant possible. I wasn’t prepared for the amount of energy (emotional and physical), time or patience my job would require. A 40-hour workweek or 9-5 job just isn’t part of my life. Collegians text me at 3am, and I chaperone date parties and formals less than a year after I was attending my own sorority events as a collegian. The job isn’t easy and it isn’t always glamorous. Going in, hold your head high and know things will probably change without much – or any – notice and you’ll just have to go with the flow! Take things with a grain of salt and focus on the end goal – it’s worth it!

10. What advice would you give to someone who is about to graduate from college?

It’s really okay if you don’t know what you want to do. I’m a year out of college and I’m just figuring it out (kind of). A fellow consultant thought she knew exactly what she wanted to do and is now going in a completely different direction. The year will change you and make you a better person, but it also might change what you are interested in. Keep an open mind and do what you love. This is a time to figure it all out, so take advantage of that! I know this sounds very optimistic, but it’s really how you have to look at it! Getting yourself down about not being ‘on track’ with other graduates won’t help you figure out your next step. Focus on you and think positively!

11. Who is your mentor?

My mentor is my chapter advisor from college! Until I was treasurer I was completely afraid of Megan and thought she was very intense. When I got involved in the chapter I learned she had high standards and expected only the best from her executive board members. Her love for Phi Sig as well as her management skills not only helped my chapter win Chapter of the Year, but also made me a better worker – I find myself expecting only the best from my collegians! Megan is also someone I can go to when I hit a bump in the road or get stuck with something. I think it’s important to have a mentor who will challenge you and push you forward but who is also a good listener and someone you can vent to. Sometimes Megan knows what is best for me before I do, and she isn’t afraid to doubt my thoughts. She keeps me on my toes and has taught me to be confident in what I say.

12. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

If you’re trying to be like someone else, you’re not being yourself. I’m pretty sure my mom was the first to say this to me and I’ve really taken it to heart since I studied abroad in college and realized I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do anymore. When you are trying to figure out what you’re interested in, it’s easy to see someone who is happy and try to emulate them. The problem is that you aren’t that person and doing the same as them won’t necessarily make you perfectly content. The hard part is finding what makes you you, but once you find it you will be happier than you’ve ever tried to be!

13. What advice do you have for other young professional women?

Don’t play the easy card and be passive in the office. It’s much easier for me to joke about my job as a ‘professional sorority woman’ when people ask, but it also brings my confidence down – not to mention it makes my job look basic and unimportant. Stand up for what you do and speak your mind. The professional world can be very competitive and, at the end of the day, you are your only defense. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or speak up, it shows you care.

Isn’t Devon amazing? She has such wonderful advice!

 

It’s Earth Day! 5 Simple Changes You Can Make to be More Green

It’s Earth Day! Here are a few small changes you can make to be more green! I do some of them already but want to pledge to do (almost) all of them this year. I can’t really bike or walk to work but the rest are feasible.

1. Bike or walk to work: If you live close enough to work you can bike or walk to work!

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2. Only run the dishwasher or the washing machine when you have a full load: You are really lucky if you have a dishwasher and/or washing machine in NYC. I am very happy to have a dishwasher! Only run the dishwasher when it is full (my roommate taught me lots of tips for arranging dishes to maximize space). Whether you go to a laundry mat or do your laundry at home, pledge to only do your laundry when you have a full load (even if it means not wearing your favorite pair of jeans the next day.) While you are at it, switch to green detergents – I love the brand Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day.

3. Unplug: Unplug things when you aren’t using them. It saves energy and money. (Recommended Reading:12 Household Appliances You Should Unplug to Save Money) Don’t just shut it down.

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4. Use reusable bags: Use reusable bags for shopping, grocery shopping, and carrying lunch to work. I love using my Lilly Pulitzer market bags. They are cute and so much easier to carry than paper or plastic bags. If you are like me, you don’t always know when you are going to end up wanting to buy something. Carry bags that you can toss in your purse. Baggu has a lot of great options! I also like this Kate Spade NY Reusable Bag. I carry my lunch in a BILT bag

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5. Use a reusable water bottle and thermos: Instead of buying plastic water bottles, switch to a reusable water bottle. I bring my BKR everywhere. It is glass so I don’t get any of the chemicals that plastic bottles have, it is good for the environment, it is small, and they donate to charity! I should start making my own coffee in the morning but I almost always end up at Starbucks. Even if I go to Starbucks, I am going to start bringing my own thermos for my grande soy latte! I want the Lilly Pulitzer Thermal Mug in First Impression!

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P.S. None of these links are affiliate links. I just wanted to recommend products! 

If it’s not moving… monogram it: Two Funny Girls

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Reese Witherpoon was right when she said, “My rule is, if it’s not moving… monogram it.” I was so excited when the team behind Two Funny Girls sent me one of their monogrammed watches! I chose one with a houndstooth background and a bright pink monogram. You can customize your watch and choose different backgrounds and colors. They also have lots of other monogrammed and personalized things ranging from beach bags and wine totes to oxford shirts and pillows. There are so many great options in different price ranges.

I love hearing stories about how female entrepreneurs started their business. The story behind Two Funny Girls is beautiful. After reading you will probably want to call your mom then purchase her one or a few Two Funny Girls products for Mother’s Day!

Their Story:

Out of lemons comes lemonade. That cliche fits the beginning of Two Funny Girls better than any other.

In the Spring of 2000, a funny girl named Kristy received word that her mom, who also happens to be quite funny, had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Five days after that diagnosis, Kristy’s grandma died unexpectedly – if dying at 88 is ever unexpected. Before you get too depressed by this run of tragedy, know later that summer, Mom defeated breast cancer and has since lived as a survivor. Grandma is still missed, but she lived a full life and left a tidy little sum. Mom decided to purchase an embroidery sewing machine with a bit of that inheritance.

With that sewing machine Kristy and Sara – the daughter and mother who comprise Two Funny Girls – began personalizing clothes and other goodies. Kristy must be friends with every girl of a certain age in Texas and has been in all of their weddings and then attended their subsequent five million baby showers. She began hooking up her fertile friends with personalized gifts, stitched by her mom on that sewing machine. Of course, her friends loved the sweet stuff, but when Kristy’s friends had personalization on everything that would sit still, Kristy and Sara decided to try out selling their wares. After selling out of merchandise at several local craft shows, they took their talent to the web and now serve clients all over the country.

Despite their success, neither Kristy nor Sara considers Two Funny Girls their day job. Kristy’s “big girl job” is working as a privacy/data security consultant. Should the most unfortunate crime of identity theft befall you, email Kristy for tips and she’ll point you in the right direction. Sara is an active retiree who enjoys golf and plays bridge. They run the business with the help of friends and family, including Sara’s husband Jim, who serves as an occasional handy man and errand boy for the Two Funny Girls.

Kristy’s dog, a sweet boxer named Pete, wants Two Funny Girls to fail miserably. His walks are often neglected as his dog-mom and dog-grandma spend some nights and weekends in front of the computer or sewing machine. As a compromise, the girls donate a portion of their proceeds to the Boxer Rescue in Dallas. Pete approves.

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My Two Funny Girls Stainless Steel Monogram Watch (c/o)

I only accept and review products that I will use and love. The first image is adapted from a beautiful Glamour UK photoshoot with Reese.

 

Poodles of New York and a Trip to The Constance Billard School for Girls:

This weekend was absolutely beautiful it was filled with brunches and dinners al fresco, coffee, and multiple long walks in Central Park. The weather was so beautiful on Saturday, so instead of going to my regular afternoon gym class I decided to take Camille for a long walk through Central Park. We went from the West Side to the East Side, stopped in Sheep Meadow,  then walked to The Met, Milly, Rebecca Taylor, Lilly Pulitzer, Brooks Brothers, Jack Rogers, and The Guggenheim. I watched every episode of Gossip Girl live when it aired and I remembered that the location where they filmed The Constance Billard School for Girls was in walking distance. Constance Billard was filmed at The Museum of the City of New York. It was really fun to see it and remember some of my favorite scenes that took place there!

The steps of The Met:

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The Guggenheim:

The GuggenhiemLilly Pulitzer: They are previewing the summer collection and it is AMAZING!

Lilly Pulitzer on Madison Avenue

Lilly Pulitzer on Madison Avenue

Beautiful hydrangeas on Park:Hydrangeas

The Constance Billard School for Girls:

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Central Park:

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Looks like there is a new bitch in town, Blair. You know you love me. XOXO, Gossip Girl.

 

Weekend Reading:

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Just a few things I’ve stumbled upon this week!

1. How These Inspiring Women Created Their Own Jobs (Refinery29): I love this article about people who focused on their passions and created their own jobs!

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2. 6 Ways To Get More Done In Less Time (Refinery29): This is a great article about maximizing your energy to increase your productivity.

3. 5 Powerhouse Women Paying It Forward (Refinery29): I loved this article! Read advice from amazing women and learn the best advice they’ve received.

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4. J.Crew’s Best Kept Styling Secrets for Spring (Who What Wear): I loved learning secrets from one of my favorite brands!

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5. Tommy Hilfiger and Zooey Deschanel’s Capsule Collection, Too Tommy from Zooey! My great-great-great grand big sent me this – she always finds the best things! How perfect is this collection? Everything is preppy and affordable – nothing costs over $169.50!

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Images are from the Tommy Hilfiger Lookbook for 2014 shot by Carter Smith

 6. Before and After: Hillary Kerr’s #BOSS Office Transformation (Domaine Home): I love the books, bar cart, and all of the black and white pictures! The gnome adds a touch of whimsy and quirkiness!

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7. Taylor Swift surprised a huge fan by going to her bridal shower!

9. Behind the Scandalabra: Hilarious bloopers from the show! You have to watch. It’s so funny to see them be hilarious since the show is so serious.

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10. The Confidence Gap (The Atlantic): I haven’t read this yet – it is actually my weekend reading. I’m looking forward to reading it because The Confidence Gap is something we discussed at Levo often!

Getting to Know You:

Getting to know you!

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I started this blog as a creative outlet but there have been more benefits than I ever would have imagined! I’ve met people, worked with brands I love, and I’ve even gotten a few job offers from blogging. I’d love to get to know more about the people who stop by and read my posts. I want to learn more about you and I hope that you’ll read through the comments and get to know more about one another! If you also have a blog please leave the link because I’d love to start reading it!

Copy and paste these into the comments section and let me know your answers! I can’t wait to read them and learn more about you!

Last book you read:
Favorite quote:
Not so guilty pleasure:
Favorite spring activity:
Where you live:
Two blogs I’m loving right now:

My answers:

Last book you read: The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
Favorite quote:Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” -Oscar Wilde
Not so guilty pleasure(s): Starbucks Grande Soy Lattes, chocolate (I keep some in my desk at work…), Pinterest
Favorite spring activity: Picnics and long walks in Central Park
Where you live: NYC!
Favorite flower(s): Hydrangeas and peonies
Two blogs I’m loving right now: Kelly in the City & Design Darling

P.S. I got this idea because I love Mackenzie at Design Darling’s So Tell Me About Yourself feature.

 

 

Under $100: Scallops!

It feels like springtime in the city and I couldn’t be happier! I’ve been taking long walks in Central Park and Riverside Park, buying fresh flowers, and stopping to smell the flowers (literally). I’m excited to start biking outside, laying out in the park, and having brunch outside. I’m also really excited for iced coffee.

The change in the weather has made me want to take out spring clothes and possibly pick up a few cute scallop clothes and accessories.

Here are 15 scallop pieces for $100 or less.

Clovelly Peplum Top from Anthropologie ($68): This top comes in two floral patterns, a black and white pattern, green, and black. I love the little cutout.

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Scalloped Brink Pencil Skirt from Anthropologie ($39.95 but was $78!): Wear this skirt to go from cubicle to cocktails or desk to drinks/dinner.

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Embroidered Organza Fit & Flare Dress Gabby Skye: You can’t go wrong with a LWD (Little White Dress). The flower detailing on this dress is beautiful! Wear it to a cocktail party or sorority initiation. Just don’t wear it to a wedding… unless it is your own!

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J. Crew Factory Cotton Lace Mini in Scalloped Floral ($36.99): Wear this skirt to class, dinner, drinks, or a work at a casual workplace. The flower detailing is so pretty!

J. Crew Factory Scalloped Skirt

Marino Baseball Sweater in Scallop Intarsia from J.Crew ($89.50): This sweater is perfect for a weekend outfit. Wear it with shorts or jeans!

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J.Crew Factory Scalloped Shift Dress ($89.50 was $98!): I have this dress and I have a feeling I’ll be wearing this to work quite often now that the weather is warmer. Wear it to an interview at a casual workplace or work! Pair it with pearls or a statement necklace and you are good to go! It comes in navy and bright poppy.

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Scalloped Ballet Flats from J.Crew ($99.99 was $158!): These look like the very expensive shoes from Chloe (here) that I’ve had my eye on for forever. I love these scalloped ballet flats and wish they had them in my size!

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Buttercup Scallop Hem Short from Lilly Pulitzer ($68): These shorts make the outfit. Wear them with a plain t-shirt or Oxford. They come in lots of cute prints!

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January Scallop Hem Skort from Lilly Pulitzer: Looks like a skirt but feels like shorts! Seersucker + Scallops = preppy perfection!

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Chantel Scalloped Mesh Pump La Victoire ($87.50 was $250!): These shoes are so perfect. Wear them to work, a cocktail party, etc.

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J.Crew Factory Scallop-Trim Mini ($29.99 was $99!): WTW. Wear to work. I made that up but I think it works well. This skirt also comes in navy and bright cerise.

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LOFT Beach Scallop Trim Bandeau Bikini ($49.50 top and $44.50 bottom): Beach bound!

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Scalloped Cami from Anthropologie ($38.00): Wear it to work with a blazer or cardigan over it or wear it with jeans or shorts on the weekend! The top also comes in other colors.
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Scallop iPhone 5 Case from Kate Spade ($35): This case has space for your cards! I love the bright and cheery color combo.
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Garnet Hill Signature Embroidered Percale Bedding ($35.00 – $75.00): Monogram it!

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This was only going to be 10 items but I got a bit carried away. I hope you like them!

Interior Design on a Budget: Under $100: Target Threshold Collection Furniture

I love the Target Threshold collection. It is a great resource for decorating on a budget. Here are a few of my favorite pieces of furniture from the collection that cost $100 or less!

Threshold™ X-Base Ottoman – Mango Berry (here): This x-bench would brighten up a living room, study, or bedroom. The white paneling is so cute!

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Threshold™ Woven Wood Bench – Navy/Cream (here): This would be perfect for a foyer! I love the pattern!

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Threshold™ Patterned Storage Bench – Coral Mango Berry (here): I love the pattern plus it is a great small space solution! I hate clutter and love furniture that has a dual purpose.

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Threshold™ Tray Top Table (here): This table is my favorite color! It would be great inbetween two chairs in a living room. The tray is removable so you can use it to serve hor d’oeuvres. It comes in other colors as well. I’d put a lamp on top and either a stack of coffee table books or a few of my favorite books on the bottom. You could also use it as a small space alternative to a bar cart!

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Threshold™ Fretwork Accent Table (here): I love the design! This would be a great dresser and/or entertainment center. Put your TV on the top and DVDs inside the drawers.

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Threshold™ Metal Accent Table – Silver (here): This side table has such a great design. I’d put it inbetween two chairs or next to a couch in a living room.


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Threshold™ Round Metal Honeycomb Accent Table – Gold (here): This table is a bit quirky but I love it. It would be a great side table in a reading nook.

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Threshold™ 24″ Brookline Tufted Counter Stool (here): I love tufted furniture and this chair is a steal. It looks like a much more expensive version from Pottery Barn. The chair also comes in other colors and it would be perfect for a classic and sophisticated kitchen or dining room.


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Threshold™ Round Tufted Storage Ottoman – Blue/White Trellis (here): Another great storage solution! I could imagine filling this with shoes or desk supplies (I don’t have room for a desk so I currently have a box of desk supplies that I take down when I want to write a letter or something).

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Threshold™ Pillar Accent Table – White (here): A simple and sophisticated side table.


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Threshold™ Ottoman – Gray Chevron (here): I love chevron! This cute ottoman would be great for a kids’ room.

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Threshold™ Carson 3-shelf Bookcase (here): Store all of your favorite books! Great for a bedroom, den, or reading nook (according to my Pinterest dream homes, reading nooks are lovely…).

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I hope you like this new series! It was fun finding beautiful furniture that isn’t very expensive!

Seder Anything: Creative Matzo Recipes for Passover

Tonight is the first night of Passover. What is Passover? Here is the Spark Notes version, “Passover, or Pesach in Hebrew, is one of the three major pilgrimage festivals of ancient Israel. Originally a combination of a couple of different spring festivals, it is a commemoration of the Exodus from Egypt–especially the night when G-d “passed over” the houses of the Israelites during the tenth plague–and of the following day, when the Israelites had to leave Egypt hurriedly. Centered on the family or communal celebration of the seder (ritual meal), Passover is one of the most beloved of all Jewish holidays (My Jewish Learning).” If you are interested in learning more, The History Channel has an interesting article!  I have to admit, every year I forget something and learn it again, making the Seder much more interesting. It goes a little something like this, “Oy vey, there was lice? That’s gross.” One thing that I remember every single year is the fact that I’m not supposed to eat leavened bread causing me to have to mix up my grocery list a bit.

Here are a few gourmet matzo recipes for Passover:

Skillet Matzo Brei with Cinnamon, Apple, and Raisins: Recipe here.

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Dark Chocolate Banana Matzo Brei: Recipe here!

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Matzo Brei: Recipe here!

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Everything Matzoh with Lox and Schmear: I think that the Cohen’s from the OC would love this alternative. Recipe here!

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Skinny Passover Matzo Pizza: Recipe here.

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Matzo Nachos: Recipe here!

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Vegetable Matzo Pie: Recipe here!

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Vegan Matzo Ball Soup: Recipe here.

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Matzo Chocolate-Mint Ice Cream Cake: Recipe here!

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Salted Toffee Matzo: Recipe here!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Matzo: Recipe here!
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Chocolate Caramel Matzo Brittle: Recipe here!

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Matzo Bark with Dark Chocolate, Orange and Cranberry: Recipe here!

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P.S. I played Miriam in my preschool Passover play. I went to a Jewish preschool. If you see me on the street feel free to ask for my autograph.