Happy Halloween!! 🎃👻🎃👻

HAPPY HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!! 🎃 👻 🎃 👻 🎃

It’s my FAVORITE holiday of the year! Wishing you and all your ghouls a spooktacular day/night! Hope you get lots of TREATS 🍫 🍭 🍬 and no TRICKS!



 And don’t forget to…

Happy Halloween everyone! Enjoy your weekend with friends, family, ghosts and goblins! Be safe and have lots of FUN! See you next week.
XoXo

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Happy Halloween Eve! 🎃👻🎃👻

 🎃 👻 🎃 👻 HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVE!!!!  🎃 👻 🎃 👻 

Tomorrow is my favorite holiday of the season!! I LOVE Halloween and look forward to it all year! To get into the mood we watched It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown last night. Such a classic.

Quick preview of my co-workers for our Halloween potluck! Hilarious right?! Next week I will share more ridiculously funny pictures as well as all of our offices decorated. Not to mention the rest of our Halloween weekend fun!


Wishing you all a spooktacular Halloween Eve. Hope you have a fang-tastic one!

XoXo

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I’m Back! Conference Update

Greetings everyone!

I returned from my conference late Tuesday night and going back to work has been a little rough…ugh. Work has been so so busy and I’ve had a hard time just getting back into the swing of things. Anyway I’m here and ready to blog!

Three words…I LOVE DENVER!!! That city is just awesome and I’m almost ready to move there! I got off the plane and was greeted to RAIN and 42* temps. So delightful! No joke, it was such a pleasure to get away from the warm temps in San Jose, CA and be in a place that actually feels like fall. It was pretty easy getting out of the airport and catching my shuttle into downtown. Got all checked into the hotel (only three took three rooms-don’t ask) and then I was off to eat and explore a little.

I headed to Denver early for my conference so that I could attend OPI (Orientation Professional Institute). This was 2.5 day workshop designed for professionals new to orientation and transition services with 0-2 years of experience with direct programmatic oversight. We covered topics such as developing mission and goals; assessing campus realities and politics; program design and planning; staffing, training, and supervision; identifying campus resources; and evaluation and assessment. Since grad school I have always wanted to participate in OPI and I am so glad that I did. It was such a rewarding experience and I got to meet so many fabulous individuals! Not to mention working and talking with some top faculty members that led OPI. These folks are so inspiring and people I hope to aspire to be like.

During one of our long lunch breaks, a few OPI folks and I headed over to the capitol to walk around. Located at the capitol is a step that reads “One Mile Above Sea Level.” So totally cool! We had to take a group picture and individual ones with the sign. Denver is regarded as the Mile High City since its height is one mile – 5,280 feet – above ocean level. Can you believe that? Kinda hard to imagine.

I was so excited once my SJSU peeps and Emily got into town! Friday night (10/23) was our first night out exploring downtown Denver. We walked along the 16th Street Mall which is awesome. The mile-long, pedestrian friendly Mall is packed with shopping, restaurants and attractions.The 16th Street Mall is considered the “heart” of the city. Free electric shuttle buses travel up and down the Mall, stopping on every corner. You can hop on and hop off, or just walk it like we did. Either way this downtown area is really superb!

For dinner, we ate at 5280 Burger Bar. OMG so good and delicious! One of my students suggested we eat there and I’m so glad we did. Hit the spot!

Saturday 10/24 was the last day of OPI. Here is the entire OPI class of 2015 as well as my foundation group. Shout out to Jamie’s group!! Seriously some of the most amazing people I have ever met! It was such a pleasure to spend 2.5 days with these folks! I know that we will stay in touch and I can’t wait to see everyone next year at the OPI reunion! Feeling really thankful to have a good group of colleagues that I can reach out too. Keep doing good work!

After OPI was over I met Emily, Nancy and Lauren and we headed to Red Rocks! Emily rented a car and we headed out of the city. Going to Red Rocks was the BEST.DECISION.EVER! Colorado is beautiful, but OMG Red Rocks was something else!!!!! I was like a kid in a candy store!!! Beyond excited to be visiting and secretly hoping DMB would show up haha.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a huge DMB fan and have always wanted to see them play at Red Rocks. DMB recorded Live at Red Rocks on 8.15.95. It was then released to the public on October 28, 1997. Tim Reynolds was a guest guitarist during this performance (he’s now a full member of the band). Love me some Tim! Live at Red Rocks was the first of many live releases by DMB. Interesting fact…this release has so far been the band’s most successful live release to date!! It’s still on my bucket list to see them play at Red Rocks (the Gorge in WA too) and I know we will make it happen. For a little preview of DMB Live at Red Rocks, check this out!

Red Rocks has an awesome museum that was fun to check out. Of course I was searching for DMB and I found them listed on the wall. I also learned that the Beatles played there in 1964. We had fun walking around the museum and then walking all the way down to the stage. I felt like such a kid being so excited haha! I stood on the stage where so many amazing musicians have played!!!! Ahhhhh!

On our way to the Performing Arts Center for the official conference opening, we walked by the Denver Convention Center and found this big blue bear! This guy is 40 ft. tall and peers into the Convention Center creating a sense of fun and playfulness. The big bear was created by a local artist,  Lawrence Argent and was installed in 2005. Gotta get a picture of the bear!

Saturday night was the opening reception for the annual NODA conference, so we got all dressed up! Looking good ladies! The reception was held downtown at the performing arts center which was really beautiful. There were so many stations of food and fun things to eat. Great way to kick off the start of the conference!

#NODA2015 I’m ready for you!!! Love all the decorations for the conference. The planning committee did a really good job! Everything was so organized and easy to navigate. The conference had 1,000+ attendees, but it was always easy to get around, find your room and attend sessions. I don’t think any of my sessions ever got too full which was really nice. Way to go planning committee!

The first morning of the conference started off with a welcome from Dr. George Kuh. I remember my first semester of grad school in my foundations class we had to do a project on someone who was considered a pillar in the profession…this guy was on the list! I was totally nerding out during his entire talk. Where are my other PASA peeps at?!?!

After Dr. Kuh’s welcome I headed to the first education session which I was actually going to be PRESENTER!! This conference had a few professional bucket list items for me. One was to attend OPI, which I am so glad that I did. Second was to present at a national conference!!! Waaahooooo!

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Emily and I presented on how to effectively serve our out of state students and used SJSU’s first off-site orientation in Hawaii as an example. I was so honored to be representing SJSU, presenting with Emily and feeling so accomplished! Our presentation went really well and we had a great turn out (about 25 people). People also seemed really interested in the work we were doing at SJSU. I hope we can continue to build that off-site orientation and keep going to Hawaii.

Presenting at a national conference is something that I have always wanted to do and I feel so excited and proud of myself for accomplishing this! I hope to continue to attend NODA inthe future and to keep presenting! Nothing can stop me now! Thank you again to my co-presenter Emily, I couldn’t have done it without you!

One thing that I loved about NODA was being able to meet so many new people but also reconnecting with other friends/colleagues! Here I am with my friend Heather who now works that UC Riverside. We first met at UCSB and were on O-Staff together! Small world! It was great seeing/catching up with her. Go Gauchos!

More fun with my SJSU peeps! We loved exploring downtown and just hanging out.

During the conference there were several panel discussions that were really fantastic. The Career Advancement Panel was excellent and featured two OPI faculty members that I got to know earlier (Marcus Langford and Jeanine Ward Roof). I learned so much about career advancement and felt so inspired by these individuals. The big take away was to “do good work” and when you think you have accomplished that then it’s time to move on. So powerful. I also attended the Transition Summit. Wow! This was unbelievable.  This session had key players from across the field of higher education to discuss issues in transition for students on our campuses. The last panel I attended was the Women in Leadership Panel #NODAwomenlead. I loved hearing these women speak about leadership and also their experience as being a women in the field of higher education. It was great that they kept things real and didn’t try to sugar coat anything. Again, I felt so incredibly inspired by these amazing women. I really hope to some day be on a panel like this talking to professionals about my own journey.

For our last night in Denver, Lauren and I ate at 5280 Burger Bar again and then walked all over downtown. We ended up at Union Station which was awesome! The train station has been completely re-done and includes a hotel, bar/restaurant and a few other shops. How cool would it be to stay at a train station?

On our last day in Denver, Lauren and I skipped out of the last education session and headed over to Capitol Hill and Congress Park. We had another gorgeous day so we took advantage of the good weather and explored outside. We both love to take pictures so there was a lot of that. We took a few more pictures on the “one mile above sea level” step and then took a quick tour of the capitol building. After our little outing we headed back to the hotel for the conference brunch/wrap up.


I was sad to see the conference come to an end especially since I had such an amazing time. Participating in OPI was a big highlight, but I still really enjoyed attending the entire conference. Over the 7 days I was there I felt like I learned so much and got reconnected to my profession if that makes sense. I feel so thankful for the opportunity to have checked off a few professional bucket-list items as well! I’m already looking forward to next year’s conference in Indy and staying connect with my new colleagues.

Hope you all have been doing well! TGIF

XoXo

Denver Bound ✈️

Happy Wednesday everyone!! I’m currently at the airport waiting for my flight to Denver and couldn’t be more excited!

I will be attending the NODA conference and also participating in OPI (Orientation Professional Institute) the 2.5 days prior to the actual conference. I have always wanted to participate in OPI so I am really excited to finally participate! This trip includes a lot of my professional “bucket list” items because I will also be PRESENTING at the conference!! Yay! Since graduate school I have always had on my  professional “bucket list” participating in OPI and presenting at a national conference. I’m beyond excited to be able to do BOTH of those things! I’ve come a long way and have worked really hard to get to this point in my career. So excited to be in Denver for the week, meet/connect with other higher education/orientation professionals, present at a national conference, see some old friends and learn a ton! Looking forward to so much and enjoying some cooler temps…it’s going to be chilly in Denver and I can’t wait!

I’m going to be pretty busy this next week, so don’t expect any blog posts. When I get back next week I’ll be sure to post an update. I’m sure I will have lots to share and of course pictures.

Have a great rest of your week! See you later!

XoXo

Pumpkin Patch Fun 🎃

Happy Monday everyone! Hope you all had a lovely weekend and are ready for another work week. I can’t believe there are only 13 more days until HALLOWEEN!

🎃🎃🍃🍁🍂🍃🍁🍂🎃🎃

Saturday I got my hair done (back to having dark hair 🙂 ) and then watched the USC vs. Notre Dame game. USC lost (again) so we were not very excited in our house. Boo.

Things were better on Sunday once we started the day with breakfast at a new place in Campbell called Scrambl’z. Oh my goodness was it delicious! This place is super healthy and uses the freshest fruits and veggies. They also use NO fryers, microwaves or freezers. One thing that I loved (aside from the fresh fruits/veggies) is that they have their own house-made batters, jams and sauces! Yum! Hubby and I both had breakfast burritos and they were absolutely delicious!! I had the veggie burrito which included eggs, caramelized onions, roasted potatoes, seared tofu and feta cheese. My selected side was the fruit plate. Hubby had the chorizo burrito and a yogurt parfait for his side. OMG the yogurt parfait was very tasty! Our burritos came with the best salsa verde I have ever had! We needed more to finish our meal! Not only was the food awesome, but the price was just right! Totally not over priced or too expensive. I can’t wait to go back and try something else. Seriously everything on the menu looks good!

After breakfast we headed to the pumpkin patch and it was awesome! Sunday actually was on the cooler side and I finally got to wear my new plaid shirt!!! I’ve been waiting and waiting to wear this shirt and I was so happy to finally have the chance. Thank you for the cool temps! While wearing it I discovered it has POCKETS!!! Now it’s even more awesome!

This year, since it was just the two of us we went to a local pumpkin patch called Queens. It was pretty small, but still had plenty of pumpkins. They also had activities for kids like a “petting zoo”, hamster balls, tractor ride and a hay bale area. They also had a wide variety of pumpkins…white, green, warty ones, Cinderella, etc. Never knew there were so many different varieties. Check out the different varieties here.

I really loved seeing so much orange and so many pumpkins. As you probably know…I LOVE pumpkins, I LOVE October and I LOVE Halloween! And of course I LOVE taking lots of pictures! Chris is such a good sport and is always willing to pose and put a big smile on his face! They had a giant jack-o-lantern blow up that I really wanted too. How cool is that guy?!

After a little searching we found of 4 pumpkins! Yes, that’s right we get a pumpkin for each member of our family which includes our two furry friends. Emma and Dash of course will need a little help carving their pumpkins hehe. I think we picked out pretty good ones this year!

Usually when we are out doing stuff like this we take turns taking pictures of each other and over the years have perfected the selfie. Luckily a nice lady offered to take our picture. Yay! Love spending time with my favorite guy and doing fun, fall festive things.

What did you all do this weekend? Something fun and festive? I noticed over the weekend lots of pumpkin patch postings on social media. I guess it was a good weekend to go!

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Well here’s to another great week! Mine is going to be short (yay!) because I’m headed to Denver, CO on Wednesday to attend a professional conference! Happy Monday!

XoXo

Office Halloween Decorations 🎃👻🎃

It’s getting spooooooky around the office! 🎃👻🎃👻🎃👻🎃 Watch out!

This year at work we are having a Halloween Office decorating competition. Most people in the office are getting into the spirit and decorating away. Here is what my office looks like. Pretty scary, right? Hehehe

LOVE my candy holder kitty! I FINALLY bought candy and filled this cat up the other day! So far not a SINGLE student has taken a piece of candy! Come on students you gotta help an advisor out! I’m the only one that’s eaten anything yet. I’ll be sure to take pictures of my co-workers offices and share them as well. The offices are really looking good!

On Friday 10/30 my office is having a potluck to celebrate Halloween and we’re also dressing up as a group. Pictures will definitely be posted after that!  Can’t believe how fast October is going by! We still need to finish decorating our house and visit the pumpkin patch! What fun things do you do to get in the Halloween spirit?

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Hope you all are having a great week so far. Who is ready for the weekend?! I AM! I AM! TGIT!

XoXo

Jess & Dan’s Wedding 💕👫💕

CONGRATS JESS & DAN!!!

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This weekend we got to celebrate our favorite couple getting married! It was an absolute BLAST and we had so much fun! Couldn’t be happier for this amazing couple!

Friday night started with a Pre-Wedding S’mores Bonfire! Perfect way to hang out with any out of town guests and just relax before the big day! Dan’s parents gave the happy couple a bottle of wine they purchased in 2001!!!!! They bought it just for this occasion…the day their son would get married. Seriously the sweetest thing ever from such a funny and loving couple! I’m so glad we got up to Marin early so that we could participate and eat a few s’mores! 

Chris and Jess have been friends since PA school and we were so excited to be a part of their big day! Here are a few pics with the hubby before the wedding started. I got a lot of compliments on my dress and necklace. The dress was from Kohls and the best $42 I’ve ever spent!

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for the wedding! Just gorgeous! They had their ceremony and reception at Unity In Marin. A really great venue for a wedding. The outdoor courtyard and fountain were beautiful and the perfect spot to tie the knot! The ceremony was pretty short and even included a reading by my hubby! He did great up there! Their vows were so meaningful and had everyone crying. Dan took his very seriously and promised such beautiful things to Jess that just melted my heart! Jess’ vows were equally touching, but had the perfect comedic touch! These two are clearly meant for each other!

After the ceremony our crowd headed straight for the bar!!! It was a lot of fun hanging out with some pretty cool couples.

Top left: Mariam and Scott. We met these two a few years back at the crazy NYE parties we’ve been going too. Scott and Dan have been friends since they were kids. They are HUGE USC fans so naturally we all get along! It’s always so much fun seeing them.

Top right: Justin and Angela. We met these two through Jess. They are the exact couple opposite of Chris and I. Justin (used too) work in higher education and Angela is a PA. They too have joined us in the NYE party and are great to hang out with.

Bottom left: Heather and my hubby. They also met in PA school and were good friends. For some reason their class also happened to have a lot of redheads haha. Heather lives in Colorado Springs now where she works as a PA in family practice. It was fun spending the weekend with her! We’ll make sure to come visit soon!


And that would be the rock star couple on the ROOF taking a few pictures and waving down at us!

We were lucky to grab a photo with the bride before she headed down the aisle. Don’t they just make the most adorable couple?!?! Jess looked so stunning!

Here are a few snapshots inside the reception hall. Beautiful table decorations and we got to sit at a table with a bunch of other GAUCHOS!!!! Yay for UCSB! I learned that Jess and her friends lived in San Miguel Hall on the 5th floor JUST LIKE ME, but I lived in the other tower. We also had more mutual friends…such a small, small world.

Couple’s first kiss took place at Honor Bar! Waaahoooo.

And this my friends would be three gentlemen who tore up the dance floor all night. Scott, Justin and Chris were dancing machines and had the wives laughing hysterically. Unstoppable these three.

Getting some last minute photos with the new Mr. & Mrs. ❤ ❤ ❤ Such a fun filled wedding! So nice to get away, catch up with good friends and celebrate LOVE!

CONGRATS again Jess & Dan! We are beyond happy and excited for you both! We LOVE you and can’t wait until our next adventure together. Thanks for being such amazing friends, we truly feel lucky to have you in our life. Now go enjoy your honeymoon in VIETNAM!!! Can’t wait to see you guys when you get back and hear all about your travels!


💕👫💕💍👰🏼 10.10.15 #darlindahlins

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend as well. Let’s do this Monday!

XoXo