Thursday, July 25, 2013

Everything Happens For A Reason

In November 2011 I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 28. While this was a very shocking and devastating time for me, I pulled a lot of my strength from my family, close friends, Delta Gamma sisters, and also Giuliana Rancic; whose battle was very similar to mine. It was a dream of mine to meet and talk to her to share our stories of survival & strength.

One of my best DG sisters, Ashley, informed me that Giuliana would be speaking at the Lectureship at OU. Knowing how important it was for me to meet Giuliana, Ashley graciously arranged our trip to attend the lectureship. The ladies of Alpha Iota did not disappoint and the reception & lectureship was beautiful. Giuliana arrived in a whirlwind of smiles, laughter and cameras. We were allowed a few brief minutes to chat and I will never forget those fleeting moments; my heart was so content. She genuinely cared about how I was doing and was very sympathetic to all that I'd been through. I felt like I could've sat and talked to her for hours over coffee!   

Even though our conversation was short yet sweet, I will never forget our time together and the quick bond we shared. Giuliana was so graceful and down to earth. Beautiful inside just as much as she is outside; her compassionate soul radiated the entire time we spoke. I am forever grateful for this experience-- to Ashley and to my other Delta Gamma sisters for making my dream become a reality!

Anne Embry, Gamma Tau-Texas Christian is an Air Force wife and stay-at-home-mom to a spunky preschooler. She dedicates her free time to raising awareness for early detection of breast cancer; it saved her own life. She can be reached at or her blog at

Thursday, July 18, 2013

For our DGs who are retired or are considering it

“The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off.”
– Abe Lemons

When I was asked to do a blog post about retirement, I wasn’t sure if I was up to the task because I’m not retired. Upon more contemplation on the issue, I decided it would be exciting to do some research on the topic. In my doctoral studies, I focused primarily on interviewing for research. Interviews are wonderful, especially when one wants to get a glimpse of how someone got to be where they are. Retirement is also an appropriate topic for me because I get along with older individuals since I am an only child and am used to being around people at least 30 years older than me. For this post, I decided to interview a few people about their experiences with retirement, and I’ll share what I learned from them with you.

Why They Retired
The women I spoke with about retirement are in their sixties and worked in education and the nonprofit sectors. One of the women decided to retire because her father was in poor health and she wanted to care for him. Another was laid off from her teaching position, and after examining her finances, she realized that she could retire comfortably. One of the other women had a high-profile position with a local nonprofit and decided to retire after she had become burned out after working for so many years.

How They Keep Themselves Busy
Even the women who retired a few years ago are still getting adjusted to retirement since it is a significant life change. In fact, one of the women is thinking about going back to work part-time, probably as a substitute teacher since she loves being part of a learning community. She and the other women keep their ears to the ground about activities such as volunteering for nonprofit groups. Some other things that were brought up to keep the mind and body strong were getting involved in yoga, gardening and fencing, as well as adopting a dog that enjoys walks.

Words of Wisdom
One of the women interviewed said if retirement feels right, then go for it! It is extremely important to stay connected with friends and it takes real effort. Some great ways to do this are through email, phone and Facebook. If you’re finding the adjustment to retirement to be difficult, seek counseling or support groups. Although retirement allows freedom through a flexible schedule, it is important to have some purpose in your life and a reason to get up each day.

Dr. Margaret Moodian, Zeta Iota-Chapman, and her husband, Dr. Michael Moodian, live in Orange County, California with their rescue dog, Manny, and chinchilla, Marshall. You can reach Margaret at or follow her on Twitter @mminni100

Monday, July 15, 2013

Carly Speaks: Taking a Bite Out of the Big Apple, Sunday Brunch

If I have learned anything since moving to New York City, it is that Sunday brunch is one of the best meals of the entire week. Sure, I look forward to maybe going out to dinner or ordering my food from Seamless (online ordering website for food delivery!) at some point during my week, but it is going out to brunch on Sunday that I really look forward to.

I'm extremely lucky in the sense that I live close to a multitude of amazing restaurants that serve phenomenal brunches and I'm in the never ending process of trying them all. The first to mention is a place called Good Enough to Eat. With a name like that, it is understandable to have high expectations. "Is this place really 'good enough to eat' like the name suggests?" After my first time eating there, I wasn't sure if I was going to rush to go back. The food was good (I got the BLT omelette (sans lettuce) and a Bloody Mary) but wasn't unforgettable. I decided to give it a second try and got the Deep South (three scrambled eggs and biscuits and sausage gravy). The second trip was much better, the biscuits were nice and fluffy and the sausage gravy wasn't a thick glob of bland nothingness. My only gripe about this place is that they don't have Eggs Benedict, which forced me to have to find something else. My mom got the scones with strawberry butter and they didn't look like your typical rock hard, dry as the desert type of scone either. All in all, I can see why there is a ton of hype about this place (and the line out the door proves that as well).
One of my favorite local brunch spots is a place called Fred's. My roommate has been telling me to try out this place for a while, and when my cousin Kelly was in town we decided to give it a shot. They have plenty of sidewalk seating (a major plus) and it is a dog friendly restaurant, which is a perfect way of curing my homesickness of my yellow lab back in Portland. Just when I thought the sidewalk seating was going to be a major perk, I looked at the menu. They have a breakfast special where you choose any breakfast entree and either a Bloody Mary or a Mimosa for $16.95! That is a steal in NYC. At most restaurants, you will pay that much just for the entree and close to $10 for the Bloody Mary. Breakfast even comes with delicious little muffins and strawberry butter (I'm sensing a trend here...). In true Carly Stiles fashion, I ordered Eggs Benedict and a Bloody Mary (I live a predictable life) and it was divine!

But the one place I've been dying to get brunch for two years now is Sarabeth's. Known to be one of the best brunches in all of New York City, getting a reservation at this place on a weekend is near impossible. I was getting frustrated because the Sarabeth's West location is a block and a half away from my apartment and I really wanted to try the food. My boss gave me a simple piece of advice: "Just walk in and see if they have a table." Duh, why didn't I think of that. I was so caught up in the fact that reservations are as rare as a unicorn that I didn't even consider that there still could be tables available. Low and behold, my mom and I walk up to Sarabeth's around 9:00 am and they seated us right away. Around 11:30, the line was out the door. Timing is everything!

One would think I would live up to my stereotypical brunch life and order Eggs Benedict, but I decided to what Sarabeth's is known for, their Lemon Ricotta Pancakes and a Pickled Bloody Mary (complete with tons of different pickled veggies!). The pancakes were divine! I could really taste the tart lemon and the ricotta made the pancakes very light compared to your average buttermilk style. Butter, maple syrup and berries accompanied the pancakes; the dish was a simple classic with a modern touch. My mom ordered the Pumpkin Waffle with sour cream, maple syrup and various nuts and seeds on top. I thought for sure it was going to be a dense sort of waffle and sour cream? Really? I was wrong on all accounts, the waffle was light and fluffy and the sour cream was a great substitute for butter. Two amazing dishes, and neither one of them was Eggs Benedict. If my experience at Sarabeth's has taught me anything, it is that I shouldn't be afraid to stray away from my usual dish and I should branch out and look at the rest of the menu, I could find a new favorite!