New Year, New Blog

I want to thank all of you for following Hammers and Pearls. This blog was a lot of fun, but it's been hard for me to find the purpose of it lately. It's origional purpose was for my family and friends to follow along my journeys back in 2009 as the Olde Canal Days Festival Queen.

But no fear, I am starting a new blog - The Darling Prepster! I am very excited for this new adventure in the blogosphere and I hope you join me on my new blog!


With Love,


Fashion Blog!

Hey friends! I am staring a fashion blog in 2013! Finally! I am so excited for this new project and where it will take me! Feel free to go follow that blog!


With Love,



Change. That is the word of semester and I could not be anymore excited about some of the changes happening this semester! It's incredible how small changes can make such a huge impact. A positive outlook and taking everyday a day at a time can make all the difference.

Something different that I did this year was post my goals around the mirror in my room. Every morning, I am reminded of these goals and to push myself a little harder everyday to reach them. Some of my goals for this semester are:
-Start a savings account and save at least $500. It hit me that I'll only be in college for about 2 more years and then I'll be on my own. I should start saving up for my future - weddings, children, a house, etc.
-Lose 5 pounds
-Do 50 hours of community service...at least. I usually do roughly 75-100 hours of service every semester but this semester is very busy and I want to make sure I continue to give back to my community.
-Find an internship for next summer - I really want to find an internship abroad, in either Australia or England. I really enjoyed studying in Costa Rica and I might as well see as much of the world as possible while I'm young!
-Compete in a pageant - The last pageant I competed in was Miss North Coast 2011, more than a year ago! After taking a year off and taking time to develop myself, I feel ready to compete again.
-Start a fashion blog - yes, you read that right! I plan to start posting Outfit of the Day posts as soon as recruitment is over and I'll have time to focus on blogging and gaining some fashion journalism experience!

With Love,


Reflecting on Alpha Phi

It finally hit me the other day that I will be entering my junior year of college this year. JUNIOR YEAR. What?! Where did time go?! I know I still have my senior year before I graduate but I like to take time to reflect on my campus involvement and college life as I enter each year - what I learned and what I need to improve.

I remember my freshman year like it was yesterday. After graduating in 2009 and then taking a year off, I was so excited to attend Ashland University. I was excited to make many new friends, go through sorority recruitment, expand my knowledge of the world around me, and live independently. One of my favorite memories from my freshman year was becoming good friends with the girls on the floor in my dorm. I convinced all of them to sign up for sorority recruitment, and then on Bid day, we found ourselves not just as friends, but as sisters in Alpha Phi. At the time, I didn't realize how much of an impact Alpha Phi would have on my life.

2010 Alpha Phi - Epsilon Alpha New Member Class

Reminiscing over the past few years, I have been able to experience so many opportunities I wouldn't have had, had I not joined Greek Life and Alpha Phi. Because of Alpha Phi (and ultimately, Greek Life), I have been able to reflect and grow through service, sisterhood, and leadership. I've been placed in so many different circumstances (good and bad) that have allowed me to learn more about myself, grow as a leader and person, as well as how to work with others. Alpha Phi has taught me so many different skills from event planning and budgeting to marketing a consistent image and conflict management and everything in between.

As many of you know, I am currently serving the Epsilon Alpha chapter as the Vice President of Member Recruitment. I have already learned so much through this position and I am SO excited for recruitment this fall. I've been working all summer strategizing, crafting, and planning with my department and advisors. We've made a lot of changes this year and I'm so excited to see how my Recruitment department has improved our chapter, which, I believe is one of the most important aspects of Greek life. Leaving an organization better than how it was when you joined - to leave a legacy.

Chanting in the suite to welcome our new members
-Bid Day 2011

So to my Alpha Phi sisters, remember that we only have 4 years to make a difference in the chapter before we become Alumnae members. Really use Alpha Phi to your fullest this semester. Get to know a sister you don't know as well. Take advantage of all the opportunities to learn and grow within your current leadership position. Take time to reflect on your experiences. It's amazing how much we learn from each other and change over the course of our years together.

And if you're an incoming freshman who has somehow come across this blog, sign up for recruitment! Going Greek is one of the best organizations you can join during your college years. Greek life will help you grow as a person, as a leader, and even as a professional. The opportunities are limitless as Greek life is the one organization where you can find everything - your social life, community service and leadership opportunities,  and a home away from home. Go Greek!

With Love,


Sweet Summertime Treat

Tonight I was a little bored sitting around the house with Christian and his Phi Psi brothers so what did I do? Decided to bake these little treats! The cake is a lemonade inspired cake with a raspberry icing and the boys raved about them!

Personally, I thought the cake was pretty good but I think next time I make them I'll use less sugar than the recipe calls. Also, I wasn't a huge fan of the icing. Next time I'll make the icing whipped cream based rather than using confectioner's sugar like this recipe calls for.

Here's the recipe!

Lemonade Cupcakes:
1 cup Butter
2 cups Sugar*
4 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3 cups Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 cup Milk
1 lemon - grate for zest and squeeze lemon juice

Preheat over to 375 degrees.
In large bowl mix butter, sugar, and lemon zest using an electric mixer until light and fully. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract. 
In a second bowl combine flour and baking soda. Add to butter mixture alternating with the milk and lemon juice. Beat until combined.
Put paper cupcake cups into a muffin tray and fill the tins a little more than half way. Bake for 20 minutes.
Cool completely before frosting.

*You might be able to get away with just 1 cup of sugar.

Pink Raspberry Icing:
1 cup Fresh Raspberries
1 cup Butter
3 cups Confectioner's Sugar

Use a blender to puree the raspberries until smooth.
In a bowl, beat the butter and half of the sugar until smooth.
Add raspberries then more sugar until fluffy. 
Spread onto cupcakes.


What's your favorite cupcake recipe?

With love,


Pura Vida!

What a month it has been! I just recently returned from my trip to Costa Rica where I spent a month in paradise, while, of course, improving my Spanish-speaking skills!

Costa Rica was an incredible experience as not only did I get to see beautiful sights that I thought could only exist on a postcard, but I also learned so much about the world and all the various cultures it has to offer. I can't wait for my next opportunity to explore another country.

While in Costa Rica I was able to see the beautiful beaches and rainforest at Manuel Antonio National Park, snorkel and dance salsa and merengue in Cahuita, and take a boat tour to view Arenal Volcano. 

Manuel Antonio National Park Beach

While at Manuel Antonio, a sloth came into one of the restaurants we were eating at at hung above us in the rafters! If I didn't love sloths before, I definitely am obsessed with them now!

Brain Coral at the coral reefs in Cahuita

Experiencing the Caribbean side of Costa Rica was like experiencing culture shock all over again! Costa Ricans actually consider this side of the country to be "the other Costa Rica" because it is so different from the rest of the country! While incredibly beautiful, the Caribbean side lived up to every stereotype you've ever heard about the Caribbean. Just about all the locals had dread locks, every business blasted reggae music, and Bob Marley was considered a god. 

Arenal Volcano

I am so fortunate to have been able to study abroad in such a beautiful country and will treasure my time there for the rest of my life. I can't wait to see where my next adventure will take me!

Pura Vida!

With Love,