Another Birthday in the Drez

Happy Sunday, Readers!

Hopefully your weekend has been great! I just wanted to give you a little glimpse of what I’ve been up to this weekend. (To give you a hint, birthday’s in the Drez (my house name is VanDrezer, aka the Drez) are fantastic!)

So this weekend was my friend and housemate’s birthday! My other housemates and I wanted to do something special for her, so we spent last week devising something that would catch her off-guard, since she’s a planner and likes to be aware of what’s going on. We were so excited to surprise her!

The idea we came up with was to “kidnap” her, where we say we’re going one place, but then we end up going another place. So she and I had originally planned to go to The Brewery downtown for a late dinner, but instead, my friends met us on our way to The Brewery and surprised her to take her to Buffalo Wild Wings. So where she thought it would be just the two of us for dinner, our whole house got to go and celebrate her birthday with her at midnight! It was so fun seeing her surprised, but the fun didn’t stop there!

I’m not sure if I’ve told you all this before, but my house is chock full of crafty cooks. Our house is always full of homemade cookies, homemade cakes, and yummy dinners made from scratch… Betty Crocker would be very proud. So what we decided to do to continue our friends birthday is make her a home cooked dinner of spaghetti (cooked to perfection in the crock pot – a college student’s best friend) and raspberry vinaigrette salad, complete with baguette bread. As I write this, I can smell the sauce cooking and see my housemates chopping the lettuce and it makes me excited to eat the food we’ve worked on together to prepare! Here’s a pic of our delicious meal:

SO MUCH GOOD FOOD! And it was so fun to make with our house, too. :)
SO MUCH GOOD FOOD! And it was so fun to make with our house, too. 🙂

And what’s a birthday without a cake?! We are made a yellow cake with fresh fruit on the bottom and a homemade whipped cream – it’s one of her favorites. Check it out:

This cake was so simple, but so delicious!
This cake was so simple, but so delicious!

It’s the best celebrating birthday’s, but especially with food and friends that you love!

Until next time!

My 22nd Birthday!!

Woohooo, it’s finally March! Besides the fact that it means that spring is almost here, it’s also my birthday month. It’s actually today, so I thought I would dedicate this blog to the awesome friends that have made today absolutely amazing!

Let me first begin with last night! My apartment as well as a few other friends and I went out to dinner at Crazy Horse here in Holland, and that was one of the greatest meals I have ever had. It has become a tradition to go there for my birthday because I celebrated my 21st there last year and thought the atmosphere and food were to die for. After regretting eating so much, I was able to Skype with my parents for a while, which was a nice treat because that doesn’t happen a whole lot. A lot of stories and catching up took place, which was much needed! At this point it was close to midnight and so I decided to hit the hay. However, a few friends thought it was necessary to keep me up because I got texts at midnight as well as a phone call. Regardless of how tired I was, it was such a great way to start off my birthday!

This morning was filled with a ton of excitement. First of all, my roommate and I went to the Dow and ran for a bit before going to chapel and classes. I’ve never had so many people come up to me to wish me a happy birthday in such a short window of time! I guess that just reflects on Hope College because everybody is so close to one another that everybody is aware of when birthdays are and reach out to people, even if you don’t know them very well. After going to class and having people sing to me during class, I was able to have some down-time with my friend and just laugh for a good amount of time before finally working on some homework.

The celebration doesn’t end there though! Tonight I have Foundations for Fitness (check out my other blog if you don’t know what this is), which should be super fun and then I’m planning on hanging out with some close friends and grabbing dessert before my birthday comes to a close. I feel like this birthday has been superior to others in the sense that I really saw how much people reached out to me for simply living another year. It’s also fun just blasting Taylor Swift’s song “22” an annoying amount of times, just because it’s my only opportunity to do so.

Well, that pretty much sums up my birthday! Thank you to all of those who wished me a great day and those of you who are prospective students, know that Hope is such a welcoming place where nearly everyone makes you feel special, especially on your birthday! Have a great rest of your week!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @hopeleslie15.

I Don’t Know About You, but I’m Feelin’ 20 Without the Extra Two

I turned twenty on the twenty-third.

I’ve been taking the past few days to think about my journey– all of the experiences that have led me to where I am today. And with that in mind, I’d like to share with you a snapshot of each age (or groups of ages) that have shaped me to become the “Sophie” that you know.

Age 1: It’s okay to look goofy.

This is me, at age 1, with a snarky smile, crazy curly hair, and giant ears (Luckily, I eventually grew into them.)
This is me, at age 1, with a snarky smile, crazy curly hair, and giant ears (Luckily, I eventually grew into them.)

Age 2: Sharing is fun… most of the time.  My brother was born just before I turned two, which changed everything for me– no longer was I an only child, but instead, I was blessed by a kid who has taught me, supported me, and loved me through it all… and I was given the opportunity to give that same love and support back to him.

Age 3: Looking at other people with love is powerful.

Here's Harrison, my younger brother, and I. We've been besties from the beginning.
Here’s Harrison, my younger brother, and me. We’ve been besties from the beginning.

Age 4: Smiling is good for your soul. Not only can fake smiling cause real happiness, but it can also cause other people to smile, too.

Here's my dad and I, just hanging out.
Here’s my Dad and I, with smiles from ear to ear.

Age 5: School is scary. And that’s okay. You’ll get through it, make friends, and learn how to swing on the swings by yourself eventually. (Note: beginning college is like starting kindergarten. You got through it then, and you can get through it now, too.)

Age 6: Having amazing teachers in your life can change everything. Having role models and mentors can transform your life– do not take them for granted, nor miss the opportunity to let them shape you in your journey.

Age 7: You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. Don’t worry about not wanting to play kickball at recess. By sitting on the tire swing instead, you might just meet a new friend.

Age 8: Not getting to have a popsicle because you couldn’t remember the answer to 8 x 6 isn’t the end of the world. (This incident was one of the first times I felt full motivation to complete something I had previously failed. Now, I have forgotten most other multiplication, but I remember that 8 x 6 is definitely 48.) Working toward success after failure can be so powerful.

Age 9: Math isn’t easy, and it will never be easy, but there are other talents to acquire and nurture. The concept of long division still escapes me… but this realization led me to realize that although I will never be a veterinarian, I make for a great Communication major.

I might not succeed at math, but I love to read, and Harrison and I loved to read together when we were little.
I might not succeed at math, but I love to read, and Harrison and I loved to read together when we were little.

Ages 10-13: Embrace your inner self, because your outer self might not be lookin’ so great. I was blessed with glasses, braces, and crazy curly hair all at once. I loved my bright pink zip-up Adidas sweatsuit, Crocs, and pigtails. I wish I had a picture to show you this, but unfortunately (or fortunately) my high school self voluntarily misplaced most of the pictures associated with this experience.

Ages 14-18: High school will not be the best experience of your life, but it will not be the worst, either. For the first time, you have new freedom to pick and choose your battles and pick and choose your values. You can do every extracurricular activity or focus simply on your studies. Your friends are great, but your family is better. Wearing the same shirt that your brother did to school is less of a big deal now than it was in middle school. Who you are will continue to change, and you will grow and discern your truth as your journey continues.

Having it look like your brother might be your prom date is also okay... just for the record, we both had other dates, it was simply a coincidence we both wore pink. Here's our mom and dad with us, too!
Having it look like your brother might be your prom date senior year is also okay… just for the record, we both had other dates, it was simply a coincidence we both wore pink. Here’s our mom and dad with us, too!

Age 19: Faith. Wow. For the first time, the words “grace” and “faith” had real meaning for me. I learned to trust in God, love Jesus, and follow the Spirit. That changed my life. Never before had I relied on Him the way I do now. And not only do I have faith in God, but I have faith in myself, and faith in other people– a confidence in knowing that for me, hope in the unseen is one of the most powerful experiences I will encounter in my life.

Dimnent Chapel, Hope College
Dimnent Chapel, Hope College

Age 20: It’s okay to not have your life totally together. I still live in a college dorm. I don’t have my career/life plan totally mapped out. No longer being a teenager does not magically create more maturity nor does it provide an ability to know every plan for your life. It does, however, provide one step closer to the reality of real life. And that, my friends, is super cool.


What’s your most significant life experience that has shaped you to become the person you are today? Comment below or tweet at me @hopesophie17.Questions or comments can be sent to me at Have a great week!

Everyone’s Favorite Day!

Despite many exams, assignments, and projects being due on Friday, everyone still loves Friday. I can guarantee it is everyone’s favorite day (in the weekday of course!) If you’re reading this, give yourself a pat on the back. You made it through this week. I know for some, it was just such a draining week. I know it was for me. This week, I didn’t have any big exams, but I had so much busy work. Talk about redundant. Anyway, with all of that said, I’m glad I made it to Friday. Maybe I’ll play “Friday” by Rebecca Black…

Anyways, I’m so glad this week is over. All of my assignments are done, I took care of myself, and I didn’t get sick! I feel like everyone is coming down with something. I ran twice this week, which also made me feel great despite my heavy load of work!


On Tuesday, I ran 7 miles, because I could. It was such a nice day for a run because it was beautiful, warm, and sunny. I also beat a PR of mine, which was even more encouraging. I know this sounds CRAZY but the following day, I ran 3.22 miles with a friend.

3.22 Miles!
3.22 Miles!

So all in all, I ran a little more than 10 miles this week! And on top of that, I wake up early to workout in the mornings. Seriously though, I recommend just getting active and moving around. You’ll feel great, be more energized, and less stressed! Speaking of which, if you haven’t read my blog on stress, you should! CLICK HERE! Anyways, today is a very special day for three reasons. 1) IT’S NOVEMBER! 2) IT’S CHELSEA’S 22nd BIRTHDAY and 3) IT’S NATE’S BIRTHDAY! Ok, so I am a little biased, they’re some of my amazing friends, but today is going to be all about them! You might know Chelsea because she is a fellow blogger! CLICK HERE to go to her blog page! It’s got great content, I definitely recommend it! Anyways, I can’t wait until my classes are done because we are going to spend some time together celebrating.

It's Chelsea and me!
It’s Chelsea and me!
Nate and me, and this sums up our friendship!
Nate and me, and this sums up our friendship!

I’m so thankful it’s Friday. If you want to read more about other Hope College students, make sure you check out the Life in Orange and Blue Blog Page. There are some great posts and college advice and life. Time for me to get ready so I can tackle the day. If you get a chance today, make sure you just stop, breathe, and think for a moment. Be thankful for life, family, and friends. Count your blessings, and give thanks for the little things! That really get’s me motivated! If you haven’t done so already read some of my other blogs! Follow me on TWITTER! Feel free to ask questions about anything. I’m here to help! Also, spread the word about this post! Have a great Friday!

Birthday x4

Well, this past week was crazy, because in my cottage there were four birthdays! This means many parties with a lot of people and food. We began the birthday celebration on Tuesday night at midnight going to Steak ‘N Shake. Amy and Jenna wanted milkshakes on their 21st birthday. On Wednesday morning Grace and I went to Biggby to pick up drinks for two of the birthday girls in our house. The owner of Biggby gave us their drinks free, plus mine and Grace’s drink, too!

Then, on Wednesday night, five of the girls in my house went out to dinner at an excellent Italian restaurant on 7th Street called Serafina’s Italian Bar and Grille. We couldn’t eat too much at dinner because we were planning to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings later that night with a large group of people.

Of course, when a mass email is sent out to celebrate multiple birthdays at B-dubs, a flock of people show. Our group took up so much space and B-dubs, but it was a lot of fun to walk around and talk with a bunch of different people. I think there was at least 50 people from Hope who attended the birthday celebration. 

After B-dubs my roommate and I stayed up till 3 AM talking. I love living with her and enjoy our late night talks. I think it’s those late night talks that I will remember the most about college. The friendships I have made are incredible, and I am extremely grateful!

Birthday, Birthday, So much Birthday!

Hello Everyone!

I hope all is well. This past weekend was packed with fun. I’ll fill you more on what I did later this week, but today I’m going to highlight Grace’s 20th birthday. Her birthday was on Sunday. My roommate Amy and I woke up and drove to Grandville to bring Grace Biggby coffee, because she absolutely loves Biggby. When we arrived at her dorm with coffee she was so excited! Then we ate in Phelps with her. While we were eating some of the guys in her dorm decorated her room with streamers and balloons.

In the afternoon, Grace and I ran for a long time and enjoyed the most beautiful weather. It was sunny and in the 70’s. We also had a great running discussion. I love our talks when we run. We are right now in training for a half marathon in Nashville on November 12. I love running with Grace and training together, it helps the time pass by much faster.

City Vu in downtown. We all enjoyed an absolutely delicious meal. The meal even came with a free carrot cake dessert for her birthday!

Hope you all have wonderful weeks!


Roomie’s Birthday!!!

Hey Everyone!

I hope you are all having wonderful weeks. It is almost the weekend. I only have one more class left before I leave to go skiing with my dad and sister. They are currently driving through Indiana on their way to Hope. I can’t wait to see them! Anyway, yesterday was my wonderful roommate’s birthday. We celebrated by eating dinner with her family. They drove from Plainwell, Michigan to visit her. We ate at 84 East in downtown Holland. The food tasted delicious. I ate left over spaghetti for breakfast this morning. (Note: Always save your leftovers in college!)

After dinner, we kind of just goofed off together and she opened her birthday gifts. She received a lot of candy, some tea, and more candy. My friend Sarah and I gave her a bag of candy and a pedicure gift certificate. So expect a story about our pedicures together to come very soon. We want to have beautiful feet before Spring Break, which starts next Friday! Everyone on campus is starting to become very anxious for this must needed break. I am sure it will be here before we know it. Time is flying!

Well I hope you all enjoy your weekends!


Crazy Neighbors!

Love her!

Our door decorated =]