The confetti has been thrown, friends! Today marked the launch of Chapter 12, an online community that’s dedicated to helping high school seniors and their parents survive and thrive during senior year. I just pressed “send” on my first love note to group members, which included a short introduction, five organizational tips to make senior year a breeze, and a FREE college resume template.
Ever since transitioning my photography business to focus exclusively on high school seniors, I’ve noticed that senior year has this incredible way of turning everyday moms into high-powered Mom-agers—mom/manager blends that are capable of packing lunches, scheduling tutors, funding prom tickets, and mailing sorority recruitment packets all at the same time. Let’s face it: Senior year can be stressful. But it’s also such a sweet, special time filled with opportunities for connection. That’s why my goal for Chapter 12 is to answer as many questions as possible + help members maximize every meaningful moment on the horizon!
If that sounds right up your alley—and if you’d like to snag that free resume template I mentioned earlier—go ahead and click the button below. By doing so, you’ll instantly receive the template and automatically become a Chapter 12 member!
[After clicking this button and entering your information you will be navigated to a download link. Click, then check your downloads folder and save template to your computer.]
With the first (official) day of fall right around the corner, I’m dreaming of the days when the temperature drops enough for me to pull out my scarves and boots and curl up with a hot chai. Until then, I’m getting into the swing of things by diving into my fall portrait schedule!
I have LOVED jumping back into sessions and getting to know the senior class of 2017. I’ve already started sharing sneak peeks on Instagram, and trust me…there are many more to come! For those of you who have an upcoming session, I thought I’d share a quick look at some of my favorite portraits from last year’s fall season. Steal some inspiration from the look, location, and style of these sessions and be sure to bookmark any favorites so that you can share them with me during our pre-session consultation!
By the way, if you haven’t scheduled your senior portraits yet but find yourself suddenly drawn to the idea of sporting cashmere and corduroy during your session, you’ll be happy to know that I just added a few extra slots to my live calendar! Learn more about LMP’s booking process and check out available dates here– I would love nothing more than to capture the you-est part of you via a senior portrait session!
Pssst: Here are a few more fall-centric posts for you!
I had a stopped-in-my-tracks moment while on Twitterthe other day, and it had everything to do with the dorm rooms you’re about to “ooh” and “ahh” over below. You guys…these dorms (I hesitate to even call them that because they look more like adorable apartments) are approximately 1,000 times cuter than the spaces I inhabited while in college.
Once I picked my jaw up off the floor, I got in touch with a few class of 2016 seniors who graciously agreed to share their spaces + top decorating tips here on the blog. Whether you just moved into your dorm and are still putting the final touches on your decor, or you’re a 2017 senior doing a little advance research, take a few cues from these ladies and you’re sure to fall head over heels in love with your ultra-cozy college nest!
“Plan things out pretty early, like your color scheme, and make sure that you see the layout of your dorm in advance. This will ensure that you don’t end up lacking the right amount of decorations or necessities. And I’d also say to get a full size comforter instead of a twin size because it just adds coziness!”
“Because I went to a school six hours away from my home I tried to make my dorm as homey as possible. I used Command strips to attach brick wallpaper to the back wall of my dorm room, and I added a big rug just to make it look more like a room that could be part of a house (and way less like a dorm room). I also bought a Wallflowerfrom Bath & Body Works that made our room smell pretty fabulous and adds to that homey feel!”
“To add more space to the room itself my roommate and I both lofted our beds so we had more space…which we then proceeded to fill with refrigerators, a microwave, and mini cabinets filled with food. This for sure made it feel more like home, having food right there when you need it! And of course, bring pictures! I have three cork boards throughout my room and filled them all with pictures of my closest friends and family from back home which I think really helps. Finally, throw pillows and blankets help a lot too, and having cute storage options ensures that everything has a place and opens up space in your room for other things.”
Pssst: See Maddy’s amazing prom-inspired shoot here!
MADELINE + ISABEL
1.) A nice rug makes a big difference and warms the room.
2.) Your decorations don’t have to be expensive to be cute. We went to Hobby Lobby together and found decorations that we thought represented us the best.
3.) Curtains, rugs, and lamps definitely make the room feel more homey.
PS: Want to see your dorm featured on this blog post? Send me a photo + your top tips via text or Twitter (@lovemephoto) and I’ll add your room to the list!
PSS: To have more information just like this sent straight to your inbox, be sure to join Chapter 12, an online community dedicated to helping you survive + thrive during senior year (and beyond)!
Happy back-to-school season! I know that many of you are just beginning your junior or senior year of high school, but today I’m going to ask you to peek into the future and start thinking like a college student. Why?
Because, believe it or not, your college journey doesn’t start in a year or two. It starts right now! There will be many stops along the way – AP classes and ACTs, resumes and essays, volunteer hours and senior award banquets – and they all revolve around one important event: College Application Day!
To help you on your journey I’ve worked with an expert (AKA, a stellar momma) to create a comprehensive timeline that’s sure to get you to and through your college applications. From scheduling your SATs, to compiling a standout college resume, to sending off your Recruitment Information Packets, we’ve got you covered. Get all the goods below!
Download our College Application Timeline to learn how and when to apply to college. Hint hint: our timeline starts in the fall of junior year! [Click button to download]
Create a completely custom, totally professional College Resume. [Click button to navigate]
Design a Recruitment Information Packet that matches your style. [Click button to navigate]
Thanks for taking a quick peek at the future with me today! Now go ahead and get back to enjoying every second of this present moment knowing that you’re as prepared as possible for all that’s to come!
It’s finally here (for most universities, at least): sorority recruitment week! Over the past few months I’ve been sending out every last bit of information I can think of + sharing inside tips from current sorority members via my Sorority Scoop group, and now the time has finally come for you guys to put that info into action and discover the process for yourselves!
If you’re still feeling unprepared at this point, have no fear. Study up on today’s Rush 101 crash course and snag my free download, and you’ll be reciting the Greek alphabet by heart in no time! (Or, you know, just feel a little more comfortable with recruitment terminology.) Work your way through the links below then download my Rush 101 Guide as soon as you’ve finished. Consider it your “Certificate of Excellence” degree for finishing up on your required reading!
Even though I’ve been sharing sorority recruitment tips with members of my Sorority Scoop group since early spring, it’s difficult for me to believe that rush week is just weeks away at this point! With that in mind, I figured that a few of you girls might be in the midst of pulling looks together for each round of recruitment. Although the specific rounds of recruitment may vary from campus to campus, the list below will provide you with a fabulous starting point if and when you find yourself waist-deep in summer sale racks.
OPEN HOUSE: One of the most casual days of sorority recruitment. Some campuses will give each PNM a t-shirt to wear. Otherwise, stick to something in the casual-cute family. A sun dress, slim pants and a flowy top, gladiators or flats, and a stack of bangles will do the trick.
PHILANTHROPY DAY: A cute dress topped off by a denim jacket and paired with wedges will fit the bill nicely. Come prepared to listen and learn about which organization is closest to each sorority’s heart!
SKIT NIGHT: Semi-formal is the name of the game. Not quite a cocktail dress, not quite what you’d wear to church on Sunday, but somewhere in between. A more structured dress, a chic romper, or a pair of patterned billowy pants accented by heels would both be great.
PREFERENCE: Break out the cocktail wear! A cute LBD, LWD, colorful frock paired with statement heels, or a dress accented by an understated pattern will work well. Avoid ultra-formal wear, i.e. anything with too many feathers, sparkles, or a floor-length hemline.
BID DAY: Today’s the day! You’re finally receiving your bid card, and most likely a t-shirt from your chapter! Put on your favorite denim shorts to ensure a perfect match when you exchange your top for your new sorority colors.
PS: If you love wearing heels, don’t be afraid to rock them during recruitment! Just make sure to follow the advice below…
“Depending on how big the campus is, I would bring comfy sandals to walk from house to house and a bag full of makeup and other things you may need throughout the day!” -Nicole, Delta Delta Delta, University of Texas at Austin (via Sorority Scoop)
“I made the awful mistake of thinking that I could make it through the whole day in my heels and I was very quickly humbled. Just pack whatever shoes you find the most comfy to walk in, and you can throw on your heels before you go in the house!” -Ashtyn, Alpha Chi Omega at The University of Texas at Austin (via Sorority Scoop)
If you’re saying “it’s all Greek to me” more often than not these days, be sure to download my FREE Rush 101 guide. It’s filled with recruitment tips + terminology that you’ll hear throughout recruitment week!
I’ve created a Pinterest-ready graphic for you below so that you can easily reference these suggestions when selecting outfits. Pin away, and cheers to looking and feeling your best during recruitment week!
Because many of you have already sent off your Recruitment Information Packets—and because I’m betting that you’re also up to your eyeballs in graduation gifts—I thought today would be the perfect time to discuss thank you note protocol! While I’m not an etiquette expert like Emily Post, I am an alum who frequently writes Letters of Recommendation for girls going through sorority recruitment. Based on that experience, here are a few tips to keep in mind when it’s time to show your appreciation:
1. INCLUDE A SHORT + PERSONAL NOTE OF THANKS VIA YOUR COVER LETTER
Your cover letter is your first opportunity to tell the alumna writing your Rec Letter just how much her time means to you. If you’re modeling your cover letter off of my free download, you can include a handwritten note of thanks at the bottom of your typed (generic) letter. I also recommend including your university’s deadline for receiving recruitment materials!
2. SHOW YOUR THANKS STRATEGICALLY
I’ll admit it. I have received a Recruitment Information Packet(or two) well in advance, and have still almost missed the deadline for forwarding the packet on to the appropriate sorority house along with my carefully-crafted Rec Letter. This is by no means intentional—it’s just that as a working momma of two girls, l have lots of opportunities to be distracted over the course of any given week! Because many of the alumnae writing your Rec Letters will be juggling a similar schedule, I recommend strategically sending a thank you card to each woman’s home address two weeks in advance of your university’s deadline. If she has already mailed your packet, she’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness. If she hasn’t, she’ll be reminded to do so…as quickly as possible!
3. CONSIDER INCLUDING A SMALL TOKEN OF APPRECIATION
Along with her Recruitment Information Packet,one of my sweet clients recently sent me a $5 gift card to Starbucks as a way of saying thanks! This is one of those above-and-beyond gestures that is by no means mandatory, but from personal experience, is highly appreciated. If you happen to know that one of the alumnae on your list is extra busy, but still agreed to write you a Rec Letter, this is a great way to acknowledge the time she’s investing on your behalf.
I hope today’s blog post will prove helpful when it’s time to send out your thank you notes! And on that, ahem, note (couldn’t resist), I JUST launched a line of folded note cards that are available for purchase via my shop—you can take a peek at four of the designs below! Order an extra set that matches your Recruitment Information Packet, or create a custom set using yourfavorite senior portrait.You can browse all of the options right here!
Our Rush 101 series continues today with a short little how-to on printing a social resume! Whether you purchased one of our custom recruitment information packets in digital form, or you decided to tweak our free resume template to fit your style, or you went totally DIY and designed your own letterhead, OR you want to turn the digital files that came with your printed packet into a personal stationery set post-recruitment (we’ll talk more about this later), the following instructions are for you:
How to Merge Your Resume + Cover Letter Verbiage With Your Custom Letterhead
How to Merge a Word Document and a PDF
Step 1: Open Letterhead in Adobe Acrobat
Step 2: Add Text Box and Text
To open the editing toolbar showcased below, go to View>Tools>Edit PDF>Open
Select the “Add Text” button on the toolbar. Click and drag the cursor to create a text box. This is where you will insert your resume information.
Select a text size around 12 point and utilize a standard, streamlined font (such as Minion Pro or Calibri).
Type or copy and paste your resume information into the text box. Then, use the text formatting tools on the right-hand column of your screen to give your text the look you want. (I recommend using the same font throughout the document and emphasizing different sections by utilizing bolding, italics, or varied capitalization. You can also experiment with the text alignment!)
Step 3: Align Your Textbox to the Center of the Document
Click on the edge of the text box and drag to position the alignment of your text. Your text box should be centered beneath your name, and there should be an even margin on either side of the box.
Step 4: Save and Print
Save your resume or cover letter for printing by clicking File>Save As.
And there you have it! You have officially merged your resume verbiage with adorable, customized letterhead.
PS: If this all sounds like a big headache, don’t forget that we can print your packets for you if you choose to purchase one of our designs!If you do not have Adobe Acrobat, I recommend taking your letterhead and cover letter + resume files to FedEx Office for printing. Most stores will be able to receive the Word Document or PDF containing your resume and cover letter verbiage via email, but to be on the safe side, I recommend bringing both documents with you on a thumb drive as well.
It’s time for another installment of Rush 101! This blog post is specifically for those of you who are still in the process of gathering Letters of Recommendation/Letters of Support. While I know that a lot of you registered with your local alumnae Panhellenic organization in order to obtain Rec Letters, I’m also guessing that several of you are managing the process + sending out yourRecruitment Information Packets entirely on your own this summer. With that in mind, I thought I’d share a few tips for rounding up recommendations!
First things first…let’s break down the difference between a few commonly-confused terms: Letter of Support (LOS), Letter of Recommendation (Rec Letter), and Recruitment Information Form (RIF).
LETTER OF SUPPORT: A personal letter written by a current collegian or an alumnae endorsing you for membership in their sorority house. These letters are also sometimes called a…
LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION: Simply put, the terminology just varies state to state! The main thing to keep in mind is that a LOS or a Rec Letter is not the same as a…
RECRUITMENT INFORMATION FORM: This is a “fill-in-the-blank” type of document that can be found on each sorority’s website, and can be accessed by a current collegian or an alumnae. In other words, each woman that you approach with a request for a recommendation will log on to her sorority’s website, and will download her sorority’s unique endorsement form in order to meet your request. A LOS or Rec Letter is typically a complement to, rather than a replacement of, a standard RIF.
Now let’s talk about where to find the lovely women who will be submitting these items on your behalf! I recommend beginning with your innermost circle, then moving outward. That means you should start by approaching…
FAMILY: Identify if you are considered a “legacy” of any of the sororities on your campus. Keep in mind that mom’s affiliation isn’t the only one that matters—many houses will consider you a legacy if your sister, grandmother, aunt, or cousin was a member. Request a LOS/Rec Letter and a RIF from as many sorority members as you can identify! Next, speak with…
FRIENDS: Do you know a current member of a sorority that’s represented on your campus? Ask her if she would be willing to submit a LOS/RIF on your behalf! If you’re still lacking a few letters, move on to…
FRIENDS OF FRIENDS: Sororities constantly attend “mixers” not only with fraternities, but with other sororities as well. If you’re having trouble rounding up a letter from a particular house on your campus, reach out to friends and family members and ask if they know anyone who is currently, or was formerly, a member of the house(es) in question. Although these friends-of-friends may not know you personally, your Recruitment Information Packet will provide your letter-writer(s) with everything they need to submit an informed LOS/RIF on your behalf.
PS: If you feel like doing a little extra reading, this article has a lot of additional tips and terminology! If you’re looking for more helpful recruitment information, be sure to join my Sorority Scoop group—I send out must-know information, fabulous articles, free resources, and more via a once-a-week email to my group members.
After five weeks of being home, I flew back to Pittsburgh, feeling as if I was starting completely over again. The same gut-wrenching pain crept in, taking over my ability to try to think positively. I hoped that being reunited with my friends would overpower my doubtful attitude, but unfortunately this was not the case. It was a huge sign that things weren’t how they should be when my uneasiness and unhappiness grew stronger than my love for friends.
A true advantage, however, was being able to learn from some of the most outstanding artists with so much knowledge and experience in my new dance classes. I knew how great of an advantage this was, and yet still felt unhappy while in class. When I found that my goals and dreams started to frustrate me, when I lost my peace and wasn’t enjoying myself, that was a sign something needed to change.
“When I lost my peace and wasn’t enjoying myself, that was a sign something needed to change.”
I stood there in class thinking, “I don’t want to be a professional dancer. I don’t want to be with a professional company when I’m older. So why am I even here? Am I wasting my time?” At this point in the year, I could tell the difference between feeling homesick and feeling uncertain about my future. Dance wasn’t just about doing it for fun anymore, it was about making it a career. After much thought, I decided this route was not for me. This is not what I want to do the rest of my life. I was only back from break for three days when I made the call to my parents that I was done. So my parents got a flight, I packed up all my stuff, withdrew from the school, said goodbye to my closest friends, and was out of there in two days. I hope you believe me when I say it wasn’t easy.
Ever since I’ve been home, I’ve felt like a million bricks have been lifted off my shoulders. Right now, I am happier than I have been in a very long time. When I left Pittsburgh, my plan was to come home to attend Texas Christian University for fashion merchandising. I patiently waited for months to receive an acceptance letter, and finally, after many prayers and wishes, I got it. I don’t think you could have seen anyone else in this world happier than I was at that moment. Not only did I get into the school that feels like home in my heart, but it was confirmed that my plan was finally going to work.
Yes, I miss dance greatly. It was my life! I chose it because for me at the time, there was no other option. I will always consider myself a dancer because it is what made me who I am. Dance taught me how to take rejection and instruction, how to be who I want to be, and how to be confident and strong both physically and mentally. Do I regret my decision? Not at all. Would I have regrets if I hadn’t gone to Point Park in the first place? Definitely. I would have always wondered what I could have been missing out on. I would have seen my friends there and thought, “That could be me.” Now that I have experienced it for myself, I know the answer and I can stand strong in knowing what I truly want to pursue as a career. Leaving home, although I’m not good at it, taught me a lot as well. I became more mature and independent because of it. I had to learn things and figure out things by myself. Would I want to do it again? No, but I am glad I grew from the experience.
“I would have always wondered what I could have been missing out on.”
If I had the choice to go back and change everything leading up to this point—fifteen years of dance, Booker T. Washington, Point Park University—I wouldn’t change a thing. In fact, no matter the struggles, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. All I can really say is I am beyond lucky to have parents that support me and my decisions 100 percent. Not only did I receive great support from them, but from my friends as well. I am thankful for true friends who loved me at my worst, and acted as a spark of light in my darkest moments. Most of all, I am thankful for my God. I am not the ruler of my fate. He has a plan and a purpose for all who trust completely in Him. I quickly found that His plans are always better than mine and, without that, I couldn’t have been so sure about what’s best for me. So to those out there who don’t know the answers, I’m letting you know that it is okay to change your mind. Sometimes quitting is okay! It might not come easy, but the ending result may be a blessing greater than you could have ever imagined. And that’s where I am today.
“So to those out there who don’t know the answers, I’m letting you know that it is okay to change your mind.”
Aubrey, I don’t think you know just how many of us (of all ages!) can relate to your college journey thus far. Thank you a hundred times for sharing your beautiful, inspiring, hope-filled story of pursuing dreams in the face of obstacles, and being open to experiencing growth—however painful—in the process. It’s a skill that will always prove useful, and your faith and confidence will continue to grow every time you use it. “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25
If you missed it, you can read part 1 of Aubrey’s story here.