Staying Strong

Spring Break was absolutely wonderful. I spent the week at home with my family, celebrating my mom’s 50th birthday. For her birthday, I gave her a bracelet engraved with the words from one of our favorite books, Love You Forever.loveyouforeverbracelet.jpg Being home was such a nice break from the business of the semester. Now, I’m back and ready to finish strong! Between writing an industry analysis paper for Business Entrepreneurship, and staying on top of my Accounting homework…I had my hands full this week!
One of my friends, Kelly, went to Guatemala over Spring Break. After hearing her stores and seeing her pictures, it’s all I can do to keep from hopping on a plane and heading there! She actually went on a mission trip and spent several hours each day working on building a hospital for citizens in Santiago Atitlan. While they were in Guatemala, her mission team visited an Occupational Therapy/Phisical Therapy clinic. Since the Occupational Therapy Doctorate degree program requires students to complete a semester of fieldwork prior to graduation, I’m looking into spending some time working in that clinic! What a wonderful opportunity that would be.
As I plan my classes for my senior year, it’s hard to believe that I am SO close to graduation! Just 26 more hours, and I’ll be done with my undergraduate work. I’m definitely ready to graduate, but I’m not ready to leave Belmont! Hopefully I will be accepted into the OTD program here, and will get to stay for at least three more years. :)

Ready…Break!

Last Thursday I went to the Eric Church concert. It was my first time ever going to Wildhorse Saloon, and I was thoroughly impressed. medium_eric-church-clutch.jpg Before the concert, I only knew one of Eric’s songs (“Love Your Love the Most”), but my friend Cassie assured me that I would have a great time. And…she was right! There were actually three singer/songwriters who performed before him, and they were really entertaining as well.
Since Thursday was such a late night, I was relieved that my Friday 9 am class was cancelled. However, my friend Kelly and I ended up going to Chik-fil-a that morning (she had never had breakfast there before) so I was still up well before 9. Over the weekend I spent time with friends and caught up on homework. It was a busy weekend, but in a good way. Several of my friends live off campus now, so we have to be more intentional about finding time to hangout on a regular basis.
This week shouldn’t be too terribly stressful, but I’m sure it’s going to go by slowly because Spring Break starts on Friday! I can’t wait to spend some time at home with my family and celebrate my mom’s 50th birthday. It doesn’t feel like the semester should be halfway over yet, but I guess it is! Hopefully it will be downhill from here…so far Accounting has proved to be quite a challenge for me, but I’m still determined to make an A!

Sweet CeCe’s

Currently, my favorite place in Nashville has to be Sweet CeCe’s. Located a few miles from Belmont’s campus, Sweet CeCe’s is a frozen yogurt shop that serves the most delicious treats in Nashville.n149747802794_4275.jpgThe frozen yogurt tastes just like ice cream (possibly better), but it’s fat-free! There are always really interesting flavors, from Boysenberry, to Cookies ‘n’ Cream, to Hershey’s Chocolate Kiss, to Kiwi Strawberry Sorbet to Snickerdoodle, to Irish Mint, to Georgia Peach, to Dulce de Leche…it’s always so hard to decide what I want! After you’ve selected a flavor, you can top the yogurt with anything you like. There’s hot fudge, whipped cream, marshmallows, an array of candies, cookie dough chunks, cheesecake bites, and fresh fruit. The possibilities are endless! Once your masterpiece is complete, you pay for it according to how much it weights (that’s one of the reasons why marshmallows and whipped cream are always good topping selections). Sweet CeCe’s also gives out “punch cards,” so that after you’ve bought 9 treats, you receive the 10th one for free! It’s such a great deal. On “Two-Punch Tuesdays,” you get an extra punch for whatever you purchase – so it’s always a great excuse to go (not that I ever need one). My most recent creation was a combination of Boysenberry and Country Vanilla, topped with marshmallows, whipped cream, blueberries, blackberries, and cheesecake bites. It was delicious!!
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When I’m not at Sweet CeCe’s, I stay pretty busy keeping up with homework, catching up with friends and family, and cooking in my Hillside apartment! I actually haven’t cooked nearly as often as I thought I would. Tonight I made Velveeta mac & cheese with broccoli…pretty gourmet, right? I’m trying to get better about cooking more and eating out less. Chick-fil-A always makes that harder to do. ;)
This weekend I’m volunteering as a translator for the Nashville Symphony’s performance of Peter and the Wolf. There will be one performance with narration in English and one with narration in Spanish. I cannot WAIT to help out at this event! I’ve been looking for ways to keep practicing my Spanish – this should be a great opportunity.

Love at Belmont

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SO, one of my best friends got the surprise of her lifetime this Valentine’s Day.
Craig proposed to Laura!
However, what she didn’t know what that I knew the whole time! Craig approached me in early January and asked me if I would *mind* helping him pick out a ring. (Would I mind? What kind of a question is that?) With a big smile and a childlike squeal I said yes!
So, after asking around, Craig made the decision to go to Shane & Co. in Cool Springs.
Craig knew Laura wanted a white gold ring, but other than that, he didn’t have any direction. Thankfully, I was crafty and found out what she liked and we told the oh-so-helpful Brian who pointed us in the right direction.
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(Turns out he was born in the same hospital as me! Yay Aurora, Colorado!)
After looking at several rings that fit under the guidelines, Craig spotted THE one. And this one came with a matching wedding band (when I heard them say “wedding band” it really hit me they’re getting married not just getting engaged!) Next we picked out the diamond and the halo to go around it.
This was the end result:
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I was so surprised how quickly the whole process went! We were probably only there for two hours, but with all of the help we got and a good idea of what we wanted it wasn’t hard. I was so pleased because this ring felt “very Laura.”
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Craig was pleased too :)
So after purchasing it came the wait…
Craig emailed me and called me a lot over the next few weeks. He was nervous and the toll of keeping this secret from Laura was really hard on him (precious). We planned that Laura and I would get our nails done the day before so she could have nice looking nails for the pictures and a few other things. While getting our nails done, Laura told me that she hoped that Craig wasn’t going to get her anything “too big” because she got him the This Is It DVD for Valentine’s Day. I just nodded and smiled and said, “Yeah, I’m sure he won’t make a big deal out of it either.” Muahaha :)
So here’s how the proposal went down:
On Valentine’s Day Craig picked up Laura around 2 o’clock to take her over to his house to “hang out.” Once they got to his place they exchanged gifts. Laura gave him her gift and, being very nervous, Craig said ‘thanks’ really quickly and kind of threw it aside. Then he pulled out the scrapbook he had been working on to give to her. Laura actually started this scrapbook and gave it to Craig on their first Christmas together documenting their relationship up to that point. This time, however, Craig had finished it and filled it with pictures of their adventures over the past two and a half years.
However, on the last page, Craig wrote something to the effect of “And then Craig knew he couldn’t spend another day without her ever again…” and he got down on one knee and proposed.
She said yes and the rest is history! I’m so happy for them!

The Best Semester Ever

Well, this semester is turning out to be the best one yet. I’ve only been back at Belmont for three weeks, yet it feels like it’s been much longer that that. One of the things I worried about in spending a semester abroad was that I would miss out on too much. While it certainly has taken some time to catch up with everyone, I haven’t missed too much. I am, however, beginning to miss Spain. There are moments where I long to go back – to walk the streets of the city that became my home, and to be reunited with the people who became my family there. I love keeping in touch with my friend Kindall (who is currently in Spain). Last night I actually had a dream that I went to visit her. It’d be great if I could make that dream a reality!
On Monday, I went to the Commercial Music Showcase here at Belmont. I always love going to the showcases because the artists that sing are absolutely phenomenal…and they’re all Belmont students! The four artists that sang at this particular showcase included Noel Barefoot, Joshua Eric Wright, Aashley Morgan, and John Flanagan. They were all incredible, but my personal favorite was Aashley Morgan. :) CommercialMusicShowcase2010.jpg
This week has been very busy for me ~ I’m looking forward to spending a relaxing weekend with my friends. Tonight, my friend Kelly and I are having dinner together and tomorrow night I’m going to the First Saturday “Art Crawl” with my friend Cassie. I’ve never been before, but have always wanted to go. As a photography major, I’m sure that Cassie will really enjoy it. To be honest, I’m mostly interested in going because a new local chocolate company, Olive and Sinclair will be there, offering samples! Then, on Sunday, I’m going to watch the Super Bowl with my friends. It should be a wonderful weekend.

ASCAP WRITER’S NIGHT!

This week has been crazy! My boyfriend, J. L. Phillips is a Songwriting major and was selected to play in the ASCAP Writer’s Night. The Curb Cafe was PACKED (they had to kick people out because they were over maximum capacity!) Several of our friends showed up to support J. L. and we were all excited not only to hear him play, but local celebrity/singer/songwriter Matt Wertz was also playing!
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Here are a few of us before the show.
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Here are the songwriters and the President of ASCAP before the show.
Each writer played 3 songs and they were all truly wonderful. My favorite one was the one J. L. wrote for me in while I was in France this past summer. In fact you can download it for FREE by clicking here:
Free Download of Anytime
also check out his myspace here!
It was a great night and helped me remember yet another reason why I love Belmont so much :)
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Things Are Sweeter in Tennessee

I’m back! Although the semester has just begun, I can already tell that it’s going to be my best one yet. My class load is fairly light, I’m living in an on-campus apartment (which is conveniently located just down the hill from my best friends’ apartments), and I’ve been going non-stop ever since I returned to Nashville. There is so much to do, and so many people to catch up with! I am absolutely loving reunions with old friends and making new friends, as well.
One of my good friends, Kindall, is actually in Spain right now. She’s even staying with my host mom…in my old room! I was so excited about her arrival that I decorated a bulletin board with pictures of her that I printed off from Facebook (see photo). I love being able to read her blog and look at her photos – they brings back such good memories. kindallbulletinboard.jpg
My toughest class this semester is, hands-down, Integrated Accounting. It even sounds daunting, doesn’t it? Fortunately, I have a great professor. On the first day of class, she told us, “This class will not be nearly as difficult as you think it is going to be. As long as you put forth effort and ask me when you don’t understand the material, you will do just fine.” As simple as that statement sounds, it brought me so much peace. She continually expresses her desire to do as much as she possibly can to help us succeed in the class. That’s a pretty consistent theme with Belmont professors. It also helps that even in Accounting, an entry-level business class, there are only 20 other students.
This weekend is Academic Options Day, and I will have the honor of speaking at the opening session! I can’t wait to meet lots of new prospective students and their families; AO Day is one of the highlights of the semester for me because I love sharing my academic experiences that I’ve had here at Belmont with anyone who will listen. :)

“All good things must come to an end…”

Two weeks from tomorrow I will be on my way home. I can’t believe how fast my time here in Spain has flown by! When I first got here, I remember thinking how far away the month of December seemed; at times, I felt like I couldn’t make it through 15 weeks of being halfway across the world from my family and friends.
Looking back, this semester has been – by FAR – the most challenging and most rewarding that I’ve had thus far in my college career. colosseum.jpg
Not only has my Spanish improved tremendously, but I’ve also learned a whole host of invaluable life lessons. I would say my study abroad experience, as a whole, has helped me become more flexible, more assertive, more independent, and more decisive. It hasn’t been a completely blissful journey, but I truly believe that every bump in the road has made me stronger.
Last weekend my friends and I went to ITALY! It was everything I dreamed it would be…and so much more. When you look at the Colosseum or the Roman ruins, you can’t help but stand in awe of just how much history those monuments hold. rome.jpg
They are unfathomably beautiful. When we weren’t taking in the sights of Rome, we were enjoying the homemade pasta, gelato, pizza, and panini. I think we ate gelato five times in 2 days…yikes! :)
I still have one more trip: Portugal. I’m leaving on Monday and returning on Tuesday (no classes on those days because December 8th is Day of the Immaculate Conception – Spain celebrates it as a national holiday). Getting from Santiago to Porto is very simple: 3 hours by bus and you’re there! I have a feeling that next weekend will be a little crazy between packing, souvenir/Christmas shopping and enjoying my favorite things before I head home. I can’t believe the time has passed so quickly, but I’m getting excited about seeing my family and friends, and (of course) returning to Belmont!

Giving Thanks

I am so thankful to have God in my life, He has blessed me in countless ways…
He has allowed me to attend an amazing school where I have met so many inspiring people who have trulyDSCF0039.jpg
changed me. The opportunities that I have had at this school are one of a kind, I am glad He has guided me here.
I am thankful for all of the friendships that I have made this year, all of the people who have challenged, inspired, and have simply been a good friend to me. You all know who you are! Thank You.
I am thankful for my family; they are my support and comfort. If it weren’t for them who knows where I would be DSCF0032.jpg
right now. Thank You for providing a place of peace, where I am always welcome with open arms. Thank You for supporting me in all of my decisions, for your continous love and affection and the constant friends.
Because of all of this I am truly blessed…
This past weekend I drove home for the Thanskgiving weekend. It was nice getting away from all of the school work and to have a time of peace. We had around 17 family members drive in from the east coast for the weekend. It was nice being in their company, hearing their stories, and reconnecting with family members I haven’t seen in a while. My weekend consisted of competive games of scrabble, watching television, and sharing memories with each other. The thanksgiving dinner was amazing. Sweet potatoes, Collard greens, Ham, and of course TurkeyDSCF0018.jpg
were just a few items I got indulge in over the break. It was sad to see my family leave yesterday, but I look forward to finishing up these last couple of weeks of school and coming home for Winter Break.

A Look Into Silence

One of my favorite classes that I have taken this semester is my Music History class. Now, usually I am not a history person. I would rather take a math or science class. This Music History class has really drawn me in, and I have taken a strong interest in what we are studying. Currently in the class we are discussing experimentation and modernism while looking at composers such as Dmitri Shostakovich. Just last week, though I was spending hours in the library working on a large research paper for this class. Now this may sound weird, but I actually enjoyed doing this because I learned so much about my topic. In the class there is only one paper due the entire semester, but it is quite lenghty. The good thing about this is you can choose any topic, as long as it relates to music history in some way. My paper was entitled “A Look Into Silence: From Past to Present,” and here are some of the things that I have learned from studying this:
Now my entire paper was about silence. In the paper I define silence in music and compare the similarities and differences between how silence was used in the classical era and the modern era. For the classical era I looked at Joesph Haydn’s works and for the modern era i concentrated on John Cage.
The first I talked about was the function of silence in each era. Silence in the classical era was used primarily for structure. The silences between each movement of a Haydn Symphony kept the listener aware of where they were in the piece. The lack of silence in Haydn’s “Creation” allows the listen to not have as much musical clarity of the music. It keeps the listener on edge and uncertain of where they are in the piece. In John Cage’s modern work, he also uses silence as a form of structure. An example of this would be in his piece “Music of Changes.”Music of Changes.jpg The picture shows how Cage showed duration of times through measurement markings above each note. The measurements where centimeter markings and were to represent approx. how long each note was suppose to be held.
Another use of silence that I discovered is that it can be humerous. Haydn used silences in his string quartets to catcha listener off guard and to make them laugh at the melody. He would have his quartet play the entire melody through once, and then they would play it again with pauses. John Cage also used silence in his music, in fact he has a piece that is entirely silent called “4’33.” Cage did not mean for this piece to be humerous, instead he trying to prove that all noise is music.
Overall, this paper was very interesting to write. If you are interested in silence found in music you should look up “4’33″ (Four Minutes-Thirty Three Seconds) by John Cage and “String Quartet in Eb Major, Opus 33″ by Joseph Haydn.