Tips from Real Life 101

information to help you become more successful in life.

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Sorority Recruitment Experience

leave a comment »


A few short years ago, I found myself walking into an unknown building and entering a classroom that was full of unfamiliar faces. With no family members or friends that had “gone Greek” I had no idea what to expect on my first day of recruitment (informally often referred to as rush). While scheduling, numbers, and logistics can vary, the week is hectic, a little stressful, and exciting at any school.

If you’re rushing a sorority, read ahead to learn about my experience of rush, joining a sorority, and check out some tips for a successful week!

Before rush even begins, it is imperative to find the dates and requirements for your specific school. University websites should have this information posted months in advance, along with addresses for each sorority. These addresses should be used to send in resumes, pictures, and recommendation letters to each Greek organization. Although you are not required to send in resumes, pictures, and letters, these are easy ways to ensure that the sororities will recognize your face and know a little bit about you before you even walk in the door.

  • I recommend talking with family friends to find women who can write recommendation letters. It is also important to notify a sorority if you are a legacy. A legacy is a woman who is closely related to an active or alumni member of a given sorority; although each sorority has its own definition of “legacy”, typically a legacy means you have a sister, mother, or grandmother who is a member of said sorority. Being a legacy can have advantages during rush, but I was not a legacy of any sorority and that did not hinder my experience.

The first day of rush, we were required to wear Panhellenic t-shirts and plain shorts. I took this opportunity to wear my favorite gladiator sandals and a fabulous pair of earrings to stand out from the hundreds of girls wearing the exact same outfit.

  • Since every girl will wear the same thing on the first day, this is an excellent opportunity to wear jewelry or shoes that will make you stand out from the crowd. Make sure your accessories are classy and subtle.

I met my Rho Gammas and my rush group.

  • The Rho Gammas are disaffiliated from their sorority, so they are an excellent source of impartial advice if you are having trouble making decisions throughout the week; they are also often called Rho Chis or Recruitment Guides.

On the first day of rush I visited each sorority for twenty minutes. Active members of the sororities sat and talked to me about my hometown, my interests, and my experiences at my new school. Each sorority has a different system, so sometimes I talked to one girl for twenty minutes, and at other houses I talked to multiple girls for just a few moments each. 

  • Remember that the girls you are speaking with in each house are nervous too, so if there is a short lull in the conversation-don’t worry!

The time in each house was so brief on the first day; I used the provided booklets to jot down a few notes about each sorority so I could remember what I liked (and didn’t like) throughout the day. At the end of the day, I chose seven of the eleven houses I wanted to visit again the following day. That night, each sorority was selecting a list of girls that they wanted to meet again on the second day as well.

The second and third days of rush were similar; in the morning I met with my group and received my schedule for the day. The schedule is decided based on the selections made by PNMs (Potential New Members-that’s you!) and by the sororities. On the second day I wore a simple sundress and a pair of comfortable flats.

  • Depending on your school, you may be walking blocks between each house; stylish shoes that you are able to walk in are imperative (I know those Steven Madden pumps are adorable, but you will be miserable wobbling around all day)!

The second day I visited seven sororities, and the third day I went back to five sororities. On the third day I wore a nicer dress (think along the lines of a classy evening dinner or a graduation party) with comfortable heels. I loved these days of rush because each sorority performed songs and skits to teach PNMs about sisterhood, philanthropies, and social life. I continued to write my thoughts about the sororities; there were so many different songs and skits that it was hard to remember some specifics when it came time to select my preferences.

The final day is called Preference Round, and this round is significantly different than the previous days of rush. I wore a Michael Kors cocktail dress that I wore to my high school commencement dinner with a pair of brown wedges. 

  • While this day is certainly a little fancier, don’t wear a floor length prom gown or formal dress!

On Pref Round I returned to three houses and spent an hour in each house. There were no skits or songs performed on this day; some of the seniors in each house read poems and shared stories about their memories and experiences after joining the sororities; don’t be intimidated if many of the girls in the houses are crying!  I spoke with girls that I had already met on the previous days, and at some houses I was hotboxed, which means more than one girl was allowed to talk to me at the same time. After the rounds, I made my final selection!

  • This is the only day on which you will actually rank the houses you attended. On the first, second, and third days, I simply marked the sororities that I wanted to revisit in no specific order; however, after Pref Round I actually ranked the three sororities with a 1, 2, or 3 depending on my preference. Many girls are extremely overwhelmed and torn between sororities, so again, I recommend speaking with your Rho Gammas if you are confused or conflicted. 

Bid Day is absolutely thrilling, nerve-wracking, and can be potentially heartbreaking. At my school, we sat in a big stadium with our rush groups and were instructed to physically sit on our bid card. All the Rho Gammas sang every sorority song, and each Rho Gamma jumped forward during the songs to reveal her sorority! After the ceremony, all the girls ripped open their bid cards and ran to the sorority house shown on their cards. Each sorority had painted signs and posters and held balloons to welcome their new pledge class. I was ecstatic to have received a bid to the house that I ranked #1 after Pref Round, but it is important to remember that some girls may be disappointed. 


  • No matter the result, it is imperative to give any sorority a shot; you may think you were destined to be a member of one specific sorority, but you may find that you absolutely love the girls in another sorority. You always have the opportunity to drop out if you decide the sorority is not for you, so you might as well attend bid day activities and give your new sorority a chance no matter what.

Written by Real Life 101, Inc.

July 31, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Finding the Right Roommate

leave a comment »

Whether you find a roommate on Facebook, decide to go “potluck”, or choose to live with a good friend, living with a roommate for the first time can present a few trials and tribulations. Freshman year of college is an exciting time of making friends, taking new classes, and getting involved on campus; roommate woes shouldn’t plague your college experience.


We’ve put together a list of a few questions to keep in mind when discussing living arrangements with your future roommate:

  • Are you a night owl or an early riser?
  • Do you consider yourself sloppy or organized?
  • What room temperature do you think is comfortable?
  • Do you watch a lot of TV? When?
  • Do you have any allergies?
  • Do you like to talk a lot or prefer to keep to yourself?
  • Do you plan on drinking alcohol/smoking?*

You might also want to ask potential roommates what activities they enjoy, what kind of music they love, and if they plan on joining any organizations on campus to establish common interests. If both you and your roommate compromise and determine general agreements, someone you thought was just your freshman year roommate could end up being a close friend for years to come. Many colleges and universities have Facebook groups where you can talk with possible roommates, and websites like RoomSurf can connect you with hundreds of new students! It’s likely that you will have the occasional tiff with anyone you live with, but finding a compatible roommie and communicating about important boundaries will ease these quarrels and guarantee a fantastic year for you both! 

*Real Life 101 does not condone underage drinking and reminds you to always drink and act responsibly. 

Written by Real Life 101, Inc.

June 13, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

How to Write a Proper Thank-You Note

with 4 comments

Whether you’re thanking family friends for their hospitality at their lake home one weekend, or simply thanking Grandma for a birthday present, writing a thank-you note is an important and polite gesture. Unfortunately, those fill-in-the-blank cards are only appropriate until about age seven, and technological advances have lead us to believe that shooting a quick email will suffice. Writing a genuine thank-you note is still in vogue and much more respectful than a call or email. Follow our easy steps to write a genuine thank-you.

  • Send notes in a timely manner. Various occasions have differing guidelines, but the best bet is to send a thank-you card as soon as you have time to sit down and write one.
  • Use appropriate stationary. You don’t have to buy any fancy or expensive note cards, but ripping a piece of paper out of your notebook is unacceptable. Simply designed cards are perfect and allow you to set your own tone through wording. We love this simple and sophisticated folded card from Paper Source:
  • Greet the gift-giver. The beginning of your thank you note should be addressed to the individual(s) who signed the card. Elders should be referred to by their formal titles (e.g. Mr. and Mrs. Jones), unless they have previously given you permission to call them otherwise.
  •  Express your gratitude. Simply thank the individual for his or her gift, and be sure to express this gratitude in the politest way possible. Don’t directly mention money, but rather thank the individual for his or her generosity. You can also give an example of how you plan to use the item or cash to your advantage (again, discretion and overall courtesy is key!).
  • Show interest in the individual. Don’t write a novel about your relationship with the individual, but politely mention how great it was to see them recently or how you hope to cross paths soon.


Here’s a quick example of a thank-you note one may send after receiving money for graduation:


Dear Aunt Michelle,

Thank you very much for your generous gift! Your kindness is certainly appreciated, and will surely be a huge help when I purchase a bedspread for my new dorm room. It was fantastic seeing you at Lauren’s birthday party last weekend, and I hope to see you when I am home for Thanksgiving break. I hope things are well; you are in my thoughts! Thanks again for your gift.

With Love,


Thank-you notes don’t need to be lengthy, but simply show appreciation and thanks for someone’s kindness. 

Written by Real Life 101, Inc.

December 29, 2011 at 11:45 am

Posted in Living, Uncategorized

Andrea’s Gift Guide for College Students

leave a comment »

For Him:

1. One for One. That is Toms’s motto. For every pair of shoes sold they give a pair to a child in need. What could be better than that? Get a little give a little.

For Her:

1. No one likes walking to class – or anywhere else for that matter – in shoes that get your feet soaked. Hunter boots are a necessity for icky weather. Best of all they will last for years!

2. Queen’s Poppy King created these lipstick shades for Kate Spade New York. They are bold,  and most of all, fun.

For Both:

1. This little gadget boils water in about 30 seconds. This watched pot will boil! It is also energy efficient for your green gift-getter. Got an avid tea-drinker on your list? This is the perfect solution!!

2. Wallpaper City Guides are the best travel guides around. They offer the most up to date information on over 80 cities written by both magazine editors and residents. Whether visiting for 48 hours or 2 weeks, these guides will ensure a trip nothing short of fulfilling.

                                 3. Music, apps, T.V., movies and more. Everyone can use this iTunes gift card!!

Written by Real Life 101, Inc.

December 22, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Save that Shirt! Stain Removal Tips

with 3 comments

If you have ever spilled on your favorite shirt, you know the disappointment that ensues when you take the shirt out of the washing machine and a huge stain still remains. However, there are steps you can take to treat a stain before washing to aid the removal and make certain that you will wear your favorite shirt once again!

  • Treat stains as soon as possible! The longer a stain sets, the harder the stain will be to remove.
  • Don’t immediately run to the bathroom and start scrubbing with a bar of soap; basic soap and rubbing will only drive the stain further into the fabric.
  • If you are rinsing a stain, stick to cold water since warm water can also make certain stains permanent.
  • Gently blot with a sponge when treating stains since scrubbing or vigorously rubbing could also set the stain.
  • Check all garment instructions and tags before you bleach, launder, or treat any article of clothing.
  • Keep a Tide-To-Go pen in your purse or car to pretreat any stains that might occur when you are out and about.

Here are a few remedies for common stains:

Beer or Soda: Mix liquid detergent and white vinegar and apply to the stain.

Berries/grape juice: Mix liquid detergent and 5% diluted ammonia and apply to the stain.

Blood (dry): Mix liquid detergent and 5% diluted ammonia and apply to the stain.

Butter: Butter is a protein so try using acetone on the stained item. Do not use warm water on these stains, and check the laundered item before throwing it into the dryer; you may need to treat the stain again, and heat from the dryer may set the stain permanently.

Coffee: Mix liquid detergent and white vinegar and apply to the stain.

Grass: Pretreat the stained area with detergent, and then bleach the stain. BE SURE to read garment instructions fully to be sure the item can be bleached.

Ink: Try acetone then detergent on ink stains. If the ink is stubborn, you can also try paint remover.

Nail Polish: Acetone is a key ingredient in nail-polish remover, so it’s no wonder acetone is the stain-remover of choice if you happen to spill nail polish on your clothes!

Wine: Mix liquid detergent and 5% diluted ammonia and apply to the stain.

Emergency Beauty Kit: Date

leave a comment »

The Date Kit:

By Andrea Lara

There is a lot of thought and speculation about what goes into the perfect “Emergency Beauty Kit.”  Most of this pertains to a kit that will come in handy on a red carpet. Well, I’m not sure about you, but I am not in the habit of frequenting awards shows and movie premieres – much to my chagrin. Nevertheless I do need an Emergency Beauty Kit with me on a date, at the gym, and at work. It is only partially about vanity, these kits help keep me comfortable. 

We need to think about the essentials here, and what is absolutely necessary, since the bag you will be carrying is going to be small. Whatever lip color you have on you are going to want to bring with you – on most dates food is involved, which means sayonara lipgloss. I am a fan of the Buxom glosses, they are highly pigmented, have great staying power, and a minty scent – excellent for those upclose and personal moments. Bonus – they have mini sizes sold in sets of four.

Keeping with the mini theme, Altoids Smalls. The tin is tiny as well as the mints inside of it, this makes it easy to sneak one under your tongue in a flash and not annoy the heck out of you. I enjoy gum as much as the next girl, but I have an unfortunate habit of smacking it – not so sexy – a mini mint is much safer for me.

Floss. I like to think that I have good dental hygiene but this is not the primary reason for the floss pick in my clutch. Ever get a piece of spinach or steak stuck in between your teeth and have it be so distracting and uncomfortable that you can’t stand it – or worse yet – have it be visible? Story of my life. The floss picks are small and versatile – floss on one side, tooth pick on the other. What’s not to like?

Fragrance always makes me feel sexy or flirty depending on which one I choose to wear. Tucking a roller ball fragrance in my bag is a great way to revive how I want to feel on my date. It’s an easy way to freshen up in the ladies room after dinner. My latest favorite is Citron de Vigne by Fresh: summery, light, and sexy.

Hopefully now we can keep the emergencies to a minimum and the troubleshooting to a maximum. We’re savvy, we can do it.

Happy shopping!

Written by Real Life 101, Inc.

June 14, 2011 at 10:27 am

Beating the Winter Blues

with 3 comments

by Andrea Lara, style expert, for Real Life 101

If you are as sick of the snow, ice, wind, and the general winter ick, as I am, take a look at some of my favorite things to combat these winter blues. Not only will these products help perk you up, they will help revive and protect your skin and hair to keep you looking as fresh and rosy as Lindsay Vonn, instead of some poor soul who is on day 6 of their climb up Mount Everest.

First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Cream is a life saver for dry, flaky, dehydrated skin. We are in the middle of winter and unless you are extremely oily – meaning oil on your entire face not just your T-zone – you are dehydrated, and you need a product like this, guaranteed. It has a creamy texture, but it absorbs into the skin right away. It is gentle enough to use on your face, but it can also be used on the body. It has a great price, $15-$28, but best of all, it hydrates and protects your skin without clogging it. Hallelujah!

We often forget that our lips need at little t.l.c., and not just the latest color-of-the-moment. Who can live without Fresh’s Sugar Lip Treatment? It has a cult following, has won countless awards, and it really works! It moisturizes your lips with brown sugar not petroleum which is a barrier product – no moisture out, but none in either.  It has an SPF of 15 which is vital as the sun can directly contribute to chapping, and it comes in three fabulous colors: Sugar Rose, a beautiful pink, Sugar Plum, the newest of the trio and the deepest shade, and just plain Sugar which is clear – perfect for bedtime. I am addicted to the Sugar Rose at the moment, but tomorrow, who knows, maybe Sugar Plum.

Something that is sure to put a smile on your face, or at least make everyone else think that you are in a great mood despite the fact that you feel like you are living in a frozen tundra, is Vintage Peach blush by Bare Escentuals. This color is out-of-this-world gorgeous. It is peachy without being too orange with beautiful, almost microscopic flecks of gold in it. I like to apply it directly to the apple of the cheek and sweep it up along the cheek bone.  Just a bit, though; we don’t want to get too Joan Collins with it. Love does not begin to explain how I feel about this color.

P.S. If you want a great angled brush for applying Vintage Peach, try this one from MAC:

Staying comfy and cozy isn’t always the most stylish, though completely necessary in winter weather. I have a thing for “bedtime” socks, so you can imagine my joy when I discovered these adorable, springy, and shea butter infused socks from Bath and Body Works. They come in a variety of colors, but the pink, white, and orange pair conjure up dreams of warmer days to come. Slip these babies on, and be prepared for warmth, comfort, and softer piggies.


The shower is often my winter escape, or maybe my escape from life in general. Tropical scents in the shower transport me to my fondest vacation memory; Hawaii 2007 – wow that seems like a long time ago. This Coconut Milk Shampoo by Organix is to die for! Not only is the coconut smell heavenly, it has just the right amount of lather and gives my hair a boat-load of moisture. Yum.

Happy shopping kids, and here’s to warmer days.