Making Lemonade out of Life’s Lemons

I know we have all heard the mega cliche “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. For those of you who haven’t (or maybe sayings just aren’t your strong point), it basically means taking a bad situation and turning it into a good situation.I’d be lying if I said that that phrase is my mantra– typically I prefer to complain and whine about the lemons I am given and just drive to the store for lemonade (I hope we are all still following the metaphor here…)

Whining and complaining was pretty much my go to, though the past year I have been making more of an effort to come to terms with life’s little setbacks, and see them just as that: little setbacks. I tried to view “bad” things as little setbacks– things that temporarily interrupted the flow of everyday life but things that would be resolved.

This approach to senior year had worked pretty well for me –but don’t get me wrong, I still complained from time to time. I used the past tense (had worked) because around the end of February, life dealt me a colossal lemon.

In February my mom was diagnosed with Lupus. Actually, when I first found out I was dealing with one of life’s setbacks– I had ran over a screw with my car and subsequently need to have my tire replaced. While dealing with the tire center at Costco I got a call from my dad saying that my mom found out she had Lupus. Immediately I hung up with my dad and called my mom, she said that she didn’t tell me herself because she didn’t want me to worry while I was away at school (that’s my mom for you– always putting others before herself).

Now, I’m not sure if you all know anything about Lupus but I definitely didn’t. All the knowledge I had in regards to Lupus was derived from the television show House, and even that wasn’t all that informative.

lupusSO, I took this colossal lemon that life threw at my family and made a colossal amount of lemonade. I started researching Lupus. I found out as much as I could. Lupus is a chronic (meaning there is no cure) autoimmune disease where your body attacks and destroys its healthy tissues. They don’t know what causes Lupus and anyone can develop Lupus. I started sending links to my mom regarding Lupus — what a Lupus diagnosis means, what to expect, how to talk to your family about Lupus. I found that by comforting my mom I ended up comforting myself.

During all my research I found out that there are Lupus Walks (not all that surprising because there are walks for practically everything these days). I found a walk that wasn’t too far away from my house and invited all my friends and family to join my team.

The walk is May 19th– just one more thing to look forward too besides graduation!

That’s all for now, until next time!


“Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young”: A reflection on my Bellarmine Experience

In my senior IDC (taught by the lovely Julie Armstrong-Binnix) our first assignment of the year was to write a 3-5 page paper on our time here at Bellarmine. It was really an enlightening assignment so I figured I would post my paper here

I haven’t really taken the time to reflect on my Bellarmine experience – typically I am running around keeping myself busy balancing everything, so I haven’t actually looked back at my time here. Reflecting back though, it is remarkable how much I have changed. A lot of people talk about how college is a critical point in your life and how you’ll make memories and friends that will last a life time. As a twenty something and always receiving advice from older people, it is easy to neglect their words of wisdom and instead view them as one of those cautionary tales your parents used to tell you when you were younger, like “don’t make a funny face like that or it will get stuck that way.” While my face never got stuck in a funny position, they were right about college. It was a life changing experience, I have made memories and friends that I will never forget and it went by WAY too fast.

When I arrived at Bellarmine as a freshman I didn’t know what to expect. I was hundreds of miles away from home, in a city I knew nothing about without any friends or family. However, I don’t actually remember being scared. I think if anything I was excited at the new adventure that lay before me. A few hours into the Crossroads experience though I realized there were some distinct differences between the Northwest suburbs of Chicago and the state of Kentucky. For example, when I would ask people where they were from they would say their county instead of their town or geographical location. At first I just thought there were a lot of towns with strange names until I realized the trend (forgive me for being a naïve 18-year-old). Also, people would tell me what high school they went to. I still don’t fully understand the high school competitiveness deal that extends throughout a person’s lifetime but I’ve learned embrace it. As they say, “when in Rome…”

Another thing that threw me off guard at Crossroads was the food, particularly the concept of biscuits and gravy. I’m not sure how, but I managed to go through my life up until Bellarmine without ever encountering the dish, so when I saw a tray of white stuff next to biscuits I was (justifiably) confused. I remember asking someone what it was and they kind of laughed and explained. I did get some heat for not knowing the delicacy of biscuits and gravy and I was playfully teased as being the “girl who didn’t know what gravy was,” but oh well, life lessons.

In regards my journey at Bellarmine I feel like I did experience a metamorphosis of sorts. I don’t think much has changed in terms of “Ailise as a student” but I think a great deal of change has occurred in regards to “Ailise as a person”. Throughout my four years here I have pretty much stuck with the same study techniques that I started with. I tend to be very focused on the task at hand and I make sure that I plan accordingly in order to accomplish my goals (which is the main reason I am able to graduate with a double major/double minor on time and I only had to take 24 hours my senior year).

I feel like the most impactful experiences I had were the ones that were uncomfortable or adverse situations. For example, I attended a retreat with the Brown Scholars where I helped catch then slaughter a rooster. It was a bit scaring and I couldn’t eat any poultry for a couple months afterwards but it made me more appreciative of life and how everything is connect to one another. Never before had I seen an animal that humans use for food die. It was really eye opening experience.

While there have been defining moments for me during my time here at Bellarmine, I feel like the entire Bellarmine experience has influenced me. It has exposed me to situations and events I never thought I would encounter. I have been able to form strong relationships with my peers as well as my teachers. When I first started here, I felt out of place and confused, however now I consider Louisville to be my home and the people at Bellarmine my family. I have no idea the person I would be if I didn’t attend Bellarmine. Sometimes I contemplate what would have happened if I didn’t come here and I realize how many great opportunities, experiences and friends I would have missed out on.

Looking back, it makes me think about one of my favorite articles which was published in the Chicago Tribune over a decade ago. The title of the piece really sums the whole thing up, “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young.” This article actually went on to be a somewhat popular song “Everybody’s Free (to wear sunscreen)” by Baz Luhrman.  Truth be told, I heard that song when I was in middle school and similar to the advice about college I brushed it off as inconsequential to my position in life. As I’ve matured though, I’ve realized the significance, and while some people may think that advice and youth are wasted on the young, I wholeheartedly disagree. While I may not have followed all the advice I was given and I made some mistakes along the way I feel like I have taken a lot away from each experience I have had. If everyone followed someone else’s advice no one would learn or grow.

What are some of your favorite memories from Bellarmine?

My Old Kentucky Home….

Yesterday I drove back to school to start my last semester at Bellarmine University. I was really lucky to have a friend who was kind enough to sacrifice her Wednesday and sleep (she had to wake up at 4:30 am to catch a flight home on Thursday!), just to ride with me to Louisville so I didn’t have to make the six hour trek alone. The company was fantastic and the scenery was beautiful, making the drive a hundred times better.
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It hasn’t fully sunk in that I in four short months I will be leaving Louisville to embark on a new journey. Everyone tells you to enjoy college because it goes by faster than you think, and boy, were they right. I look forward to jam packing my last semester here with as many memories as I can. I hope everyone had a good first day of class!

Gaining Wisdom by Losing Wisdom

One of my dogs, Lillie, giving me love on my first night after surgery.

One of my dogs, Lillie, giving me love on my first night after surgery.

This semester was a rollercoaster full of thrills and challenges, and I’m proud to say that I survived and received my first 4.0! Now that the semester is over, I’m so happy to be home for a little while. Once finals were over last week, I went in for my first surgery ever. I got my wisdom teeth removed and it sure led to an interesting weekend. For not knowing how I was going to react to anything since it was my first time, I was anxious to see how it turned out. Luckily, my only complication was a bad reaction to the pain medication. It left me really, really sick until it got out of my system. Being stuck in bed for a couple days gave me some time to think, making me realize that there have been many life lessons I’ve learned through this semester, giving me much insight into what life is all about. Check out some of the things I’ve learned.

There is so much out there to explore.
My intercultural class, combined with my volunteer shifts at Ronald McDonald House, afforded me the opportunity to work with so many people from all walks of life that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to. Through my field work, I helped a Somali woman prepare for her naturalization test, a Chinese father and daughter strengthen their bond, a Vietnamese woman simply practice her conversation skills, an Uzbekistan woman share her love of American reality television, and an Iraqi man transition into a new culture. Every session was incredible and unique, as I was always encountering a new situation and having to adapt to different cultures, and I am incredibly thankful for this experience.

Doing good creates good.

I am the first recipient of the Dan R. Ison scholarship. I was able to meet with him today and give him and his family some Christmas goodies!

I am the first recipient of the Dan R. Ison scholarship. I was able to meet with him today and give him and his family some Christmas goodies!

This holiday season has been full of warm feelings for me. I volunteered my December shift at Ronald McDonald House and loved getting to help out the families. Also, my hard work truly paid off as I got my first 4.0 this semester, despite an 18-hour courseload, my internship, and my extracurricular activities. My internship even asked me to stay through next semester, so I will have been there over a year! I gave Christmas cards to my teachers, thanking them for such a great semester, and also sent more out to other deserving people. In fact, I got to meet with my scholarship donor, Mr. Dan Ison, today and bring him and his family a Christmas card and some of my homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Especially at this time of year, it’s important to me to show those around me that I truly care for them.

It’s always nice to be with your family.
Sometimes I find myself so caught up with college life that I get overwhelmed, and it’s nice to know that my family is always willing to welcome me home with open arms.  I love living in the Phi Mu suite with a bunch of great girls, but sometimes it’s nice to just go home and be with my family. I couldn’t be more thankful for all of the help and support they have given me not only though this semester, but in the past week as I have been healing from the surgery. To me, Christmas isn’t really about the tree, or presents, but getting to spend much-cherished time with my loved ones.

Well, that just about wraps up my blog post! (Haha, get it, wrap, like Christmas presents? ;) ) My agenda for next semester is to continue to intern at the Foundation, to enjoy some fun classes, like Marketing and Writing for New Media, and to plan for some awesome Phi Mu events. Stay tuned!

Song of the day: Take Back The City by Snow Patrol. It’s been stuck in my head today!

Holiday Tradition: Putting Up the Tree

So somewhere along the line, my family adopted an unusual (at least to me) tradition regarding our Christmas tree — mainly, they refuse to put it up and instead “save the honor for me”. I suppose this is my fault since I was over zealous with Christmas decorating growing up — I would frequently wake up before everyone, dig the Christmas tree out of the crawl space and have everything up and running before anyone else was awake. I was like my family’s own Christmas elf haha.

Despite winter break starting a week later than normal, my family was paitent and waited for me until they started the Christmas decorating. This year I even had help with the tree — my younger brother decided to help me figure out the rather frustrating pre-lit tree deal (our tree is pre-lit, so after you put it together you spend the next hour trying match up the plugs so the entire thing will light up… yeah…) Perhaps this is the start of a new family tradition? Fingers crossed.

Do you all have any family traditions around the holidays or, I guess, just in general?

Happy Holidays! Until next time!


Happy Birthday!!


Tatum and I last night! :)

I would like wish a Happy Birthday to my best friend at Bellarmine University. Tatum Daugherty is now 21. I hope she had a blast last night! And does fantastic on her finals this upcoming week. I do not know where I would be without her.

Just in honor of Tatum’s birthday I am going to add some quotes about best friends that make me think of her and of the last two and a half years we have spent together! :)

“We are best friends. Always remember that if you fall, I will pick you up…after I finish laughing.” – Anonymous
“You’re just jealous because we act stupid in public and people still love us.” – Anonymous


“Good friends will bail you out of jail, best friends will be sitting next to you saying that was awesome!” – Anonymous
“A true friend is someone who never gets tired of listening to your own pointless dramas over and over again.” – Unknown

These are just a few things that I think represent our friendship!! Happy Birthday Tatum Daugherty!

Studying For Finals?


The three of us walking around the zoo.

So today while I was studying for my finals and writing papers due this week. One of my best friends asked me to go to the zoo today. Without thinking about what the consequences I agreed and went to the zoo. Ann Marie, Amanda, and I had a blast at the Zoo. This was my first time going to the Louisville Zoo. Not really sure why I have not ever been to the zoo here and I have lived here for two and a half years. But it was so much fun.

We went at the perfect time. The animals were being fed, the zoo was not packed at all, and it wasn’t too hot or too cold. While there we saw so many cool animals. So instead of just talking about it, I want to put as many up as I can to show you all.


Here is a really cool, extremely poisonous Komodo Dragon.


One of my favorite exhibits. It was so cool to see the seals and the polar bears!!


I thought this was Albert Einstein at first. But then we read the description of this Cotton-Top Monkey!


The King of Pride Rock himself. This was the best part. The lions were roaring and being so vocal. I have never seen something like it before. It kinda made my want to watch the Lion King.

And that is how I spend my Sunday afternoon during finals week. I cannot believe that I have still not really started to crack down and get to studying for tomorrow or the rest of the week. But this are the moments that I am going to remember when I have graduated. Yes, I want to do well on my exams, but when it comes to five years from now, the grade I have on my finals isn’t going to be what matters. It will be the time spent with the people that mean the world to me. I had such a great day.

To end this blog I would like to say good luck to any college students studying for finals. Happy Hanukkah to anyone who is celebrating the first day of Hanukkah today.

Peace and Blessings to everyone as the year comes to a close!

Christmas Time is Here!!! :)


The Christmas Tree in the Quad is finally lit up. Glowing in the night on my walk home!

Where did the semester go. I have had such a long semester taking 18 hours and working two jobs and losing so much time that I could have been here posting. I had to take a step back today and see what was important. And it isn’t spending all of this time stressing out it is appreciating what I have. I know I am a week late, but I am just now seeing what I am thankful for. And I saw it as I was walking home from school today.

This is what it is all about during this time. Sitting back and enjoying the season, the people, and the lives we live. No from here on out I just need to keep focus on the important things while being able to do the things that aren’t as fun. There is only one full week of classes left. Then next week three days of classes, Study day. And then finals begin. Christmas break is just around the corner!!!


The Christmas Tree in the University Dining Hall tonight at the Christmas Tree Lightening!!! So many people coming together to prepare for the holidays!

One thing that really help me get through the day and is a Bellarmine tradition is our annual Christmas Tree Lightening Ceremony. Tonight Bellarmine University along with the Student Government Association put on this event. It was a time for the community and for Bellarmine to come together and begin celebrating this wondrous season.

There was so much going on in UDH. From crafts for children to pictures with Mr. and Mrs. Claus and delicious food to eat.  It was a fantastic night!

I want to apologize, I went to blog today and realized that I hadn’t sent this blog in like two weeks ago when I began writing it. I hope everyone’s Christmas season has started off going well.

Finals Week Around the Corner… Need a Good Laugh?

Thanksgiving Break was absolutely wonderful, but way too short. I truly loved being able to spend some time with my family, enjoy several lunches and dinners worth of Thanksgiving leftovers, bake a double batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, catch up on my favorite tv shows (speeding through commercials thanks to Mom’s DVR) and getting to help out around the house. It was so nice simply being with my family and getting to sleep in my own bed that it was hard to leave, especially knowing that there’s a lot of really difficult school work to do between now and when I can go home again after Finals.

It seems like this has been a tough semester all across the board from everyone I’ve heard. With that said, I know we can all get through this and finish the semester out strong! To help you do that, here are some of my favorite study break YouTube videos, that are sure to make you laugh. Enjoy!

My Absolute FAVORITE For The Holidays: Stefon on SNL

or in better quality at

Corgi Flop

Lamb Saying Yeah

Screaming Goat

Kittens Inspired By Kittens

Good luck and hope these videos help bring some laughter to your day! :)

Chance made us friends, choice made us Sisters.

Phi Mu Rho Zeta Big Little Reveal 2012This weekend was full of great memories. On Friday, we had our Sisterhood Retreat, which was exactly what I needed. Our Sisterhood Committee did an absolutely amazing job planning plenty of activities and exercises to strengthen our chapter’s bond, from having us decorate paper bags for us to all write “warm and fuzzy” notes to each other, to crafting mason jar lanterns to show how bright we shine. It was a very deep and meaningful night and it reminded me of exactly how special it is to be in this organization. These girls are my sisters and mean so much to me, and I am so thankful for their love and support.

Yesterday, we finally had our Big/Little Reveal! After weeks of anxious waiting, I was finally able to tell my girls who I was. I gave them gifts every day of the week, from stuffed animal lions, to blankets, to tote bags, and even a special box of all of their favorite things plus a couple of my favorite goodies thrown in, too! My favorite part was making them two mix-cd’s: one of all of my fun, party music, and another of my chill, studying music. I feel like I can best explain myself through my taste in music and they’ve told me how much they loved it, too!

Our Reveal was very special: All of the Bigs decorated candles for our Littles to bring to the event and, once they got there, all of the active members stood in a circle where they would walk in one at a time and pass their candle around for the Big to blow their candle out. We made it very exciting by passing the candle in different directions and also tricking the girls by starting to blow out their candle, then passing it to another sister. I loved getting to see my Littles’ reactions when I blew out their candle. The smiles and hugs that I got from them made me so happy! And yes, that’s right, I got TWO! Meet Quinlan and Kayla :)

Phi Mu Rho Zeta Big Little Reveal 2012Not only do we consider the relationship between big sisters and little sisters important, but we also find the “family” important as well. Our Houndstooth family loves spending time with each other, even when we are out of school, and we all support one another too. We just went from four girls to TEN!

Phi Mu Rho Zeta Family Tree

Now that all of the excitement of recruitment and big/little week is over, it’s time to get back to the real world! We have initiation in November, so more information to come on that! I hope you all have enjoyed getting a look into our sorority life at Bellarmine through my blog posts. I feel as though it’s something that many people don’t know much about, but should. Phi Mu is a wonderful organization that has truly made me a better person. :)

Song of the day: A Drop in the Ocean by Ron Pope. This song was played at our Sisterhood Retreat and it makes me think of my sisters.