5 Game Day Traditions at Florida State University

5 Game Day Traditions at Florida State University

F-L-O-R-ID-A  S-T-A-T-E! FLORIDA STATE! FLORIDA STATE! FLORIDA STATE! WOO!

Florida State football is well known for their game day traditions. As a full-fledged Florida State fan myself, I grew up doing the Tomahawk Chop and listening to the War Chant. Watching Chief Osceola spear the field while riding Renegade last Sunday meant college football was back, baby! In order to start football season off right, here are my favorite, some perhaps lesser-known, Florida State football traditions.

Watch the Skull Session

Two hours before kickoff, music spanning from today’s hits to classic jams can be heard from the Florida State baseball stadium. The Marching Chiefs warm up in front of a small crowd on the Mike Martin Field before every home game. Each section warms up with a different song before they come together. It’s free to watch and is the perfect way to get in the game day mood!

Visit the Sod Cemetery

The Sod Cemetery is my favorite Florida State Football tradition. Next to the Dick Howser Stadium is a small fenced “graveyard” containing soil from other colleges’ football fields. This spooky yet spirited tradition started in 1962. When the football team plays an away game in which they are the underdog, they are only slightly favored, or they are against a big rival, the players rip a chunk of grass and dirt from the field after a victory. The small piece of sod travels back home to Tallahassee to be joyfully buried in the legendary Sod Cemetery. When one of the conquered teams visit Doak Campbell Stadium, the cemetery-keeper lays flowers down on their respective graves. Last week, FSU played Notre Dame. I stopped by to pay my respects to the Sod Cemetery and saw a couple of blue and yellow bouquets on headstones.

Say Hello to Chief Osceola and Renegade

Chief Osceola and Renegade are Florida State’s most beloved mascots! Florida State is closely partnered with the Seminole Tribe of Florida to ensure genuine and respectful presentations of the Seminole culture. To honor the only Native American tribe to never be conquered by the U.S. Government, FSU selects a well-rounded student to represent Chief Osceola at football games. This student wears traditional clothing sewn by the women of the Seminole Tribe. He rides the Appaloosa horse named Renegade on the field during the pregame show. Osceola carries a burning spear while riding around the field, inspiring awe in the stands. The entire stadium shakes as Osceola spears the middle of the field before the game starts. I get chills every single time!

But did you know you can visit them before the pregame starts? Walk around the first floor of the stadium to the north side and you can watch Renegade being prepped for his legendary ride. As a young child, it was so much fun seeing him before he took the field. It felt like I was a part of the FSU tradition.

Take a Picture With the Garnet and Gold Guys

If you see two college guys walking around the stadium covered head to toe in red and yellow glitter, don’t be alarmed. For Florida State, this is completely normal. The Garnet and Gold Guys are a Florida State tradition started in 1998 by the Baptist Collegiate Ministry. If you’re sitting in the student section, make sure to get a picture with them during the game! They stand the entire game at the front of the student section. Keep an eye for them on ESPN as they watch the game; they have the funniest reactions. As a member of the Baptist Collegiate Ministry, I have had the honor of befriending several of the Garnet and Gold Guys during the past couple of years. They are incredibly kind! Getting your picture with the Garnet and Gold Guys is a must as an FSU football fan. You might even see them riding to the game on their tandem bicycle. Wave and tell them I said hello!

High Five and Sing the Fight Song With the Players

After a Florida State victory, make your way toward the south end zone. The players pray and jovially congratulate each other after the game. They sing the Fight Song with the fans and give them high-fives over the railing. This is my mom’s favorite tradition! It is a great way to feel connected with the team. If you’re special (or just a super adorable little kid) a player might even give his gloves to you.

Even if you’re not a Florida State fan, I encourage you to partake in these traditions if you’re in town. American football is incredibly unique in how it brings people of all backgrounds together. Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Notre Dame football game (where we almost won). It was my first in-person football game in a long, long time. Doak Campbell Stadium was filled to the top during every quarter. The stadium shook with noise and movement. The feeling of excitement and hope in all the fans was indescribable. The energy in the student section is unparalleled. I’m not necessarily a huge football fan in general, but I love how football brings people together. The adventure at college football games isn’t the game itself: it’s being a small part of something big. These traditions are dear to my heart, and I hope that one day that will be dear to yours, too.

The student section at Doak Campbell Stadium.

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6 Book Recommendations for 6 Different Genres

6 Book Recommendations for 6 Different Genres

Here are my book recommendations for six different genres, spanning from romantic comedy to historical fiction and everything in between. There’s a book here for everyone.

Mystery: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing is a popular novel set in the 1950s – 1960s marshlands of North Carolina. The story twists and turns to uncover the murder of the small town’s golden boy, Chase Andrews. Every finger points to the infamous “Marsh Girl,” Kya. She was shunned and overlooked by society when she was a child. Kya learned independence, survival, and love while living apart from people – so why would she be responsible for killing Chase? This novel is especially unique due to the amount of detail and authenticity poured into the setting. Before she became an author, Owens was a zoologist who predominantly focused on marshland habitat. Owens writes a slow burning and captivating mystery that touches on racism, sexism, and classism in the southern United States. This novel is full of intense anticipation, everything honing down to the last page – literally.

Literary Fiction: Normal People by Sally Rooney

Rooney’s second novel is as if someone took a great romantic comedy and flipped it on its head. Normal People follows the story of two lovers, Connell and Marianne, and how they navigate their tumultuous on again off again relationship over the course of several years. It’s gritty, brash, and uncomfortable. Connell and Marianne are the weirdest “normal people” you will ever meet – but aren’t we all? This novel is incredibly real, which is the main reason I fell in love with it. Rooney’s quirky writing style makes this novel stand out from others. Normal People isn’t just about their relationship, but it focuses on who they are as individuals and how their past experiences have shaped them as people. Also, Normal People was adapted into Hulu show in 2020. If you’re a hopeless romantic, this book is not for you. But if you’re sick of the happily-ever-after’s and want a sharp taste of reality, go read Normal People right now.

Romantic Comedy: People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

Rom-com lovers, this one’s for you! If you are on the bookish side of Tik-Tok, you have probably seen this book on your for-you-page. And for good reason. People We Meet on Vacation is based on the legendary romantic comedy, When Harry Met Sally. It is about two college best friends, Alex and Poppy, and their close friendship turned into something new – something witty and awkward and heartwarming. The novel flips back and forth between the past and present. It’s loving, earnest, hilarious, and most of all entertaining. I read this book on vacation in North Captiva and absolutely fell in love with it! Are Alex and Poppy meant to be together? Read it and find out!

Psychological Thriller: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Everything I Never Told You would be best described as if a crime/murder show and a touching family movie had a love child. Lydia Lee, the perfect Chinese American daughter of the Lee family, has gone mysteriously missing. Her mother and father are distraught, her brother is desperate for her return, and her little sister is in tears. Or are they? Are the Lee’s really what they seem? When Lydia’s body is found, no one has the answers. This novel is a family exposé that makes us reflect on the lies we want to believe about our loved ones. Everything I Never Told You is a fantastic example of the stress caused by xenophobia, homophobia, and sexism. It acknowledges the rigid gender and race identities set in the 1970s (that unfortunately still prevail today) and tackles them with the force of twenty-first century courage. This is a book that lingers in your mind for months. Emotionally thrilling!

Fantasy: Throne of Glass Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass is a riveting fantasy series full of magic, mischief, and adventure. It’s my favorite fantasy series of all time, which is not recognition I give lightly. There are eight books in total. Despite their daunting sizes, each book is a page turner – which isn’t something you can say about every fantasy series. The story follows legendary Celaena Sardothien, a young assassin living in the wicked country of Adarlan. There are evil kings, powerful fae warriors, blood thirsty assassins, and even a ruthless pirate. Sarah J. Maas does an incredible job with this series from start to finish. Throne of Glass takes the mystical bravado of classic fantasy and transforms it into a girl-powered, unstoppable force. I have yet to read a fantasy series that surpasses this level of excellence. If you love fantasy, you need to read it!

Historical Fiction: Circe by Madelline Miller

Circe is historical fiction with a twist. Miller takes the Greek legend of Circe, a sorceress and daughter of Helios (the sun god), and gives it a new life. This narrative retelling is heart wrenching and deeply inspiring. The novel is heavy with feminist and self-empowerment themes. Circe is about chosen family, ambition, identity, and love. Circe’s growth from a small and beaten down young girl to a strong and powerful woman is inspiring. Her journey is something I think everyone can relate to. Circe faces serious challenges most women face today and learns how to stick up for herself and be strong in the face of adversity. I strongly recommend all women and men to read this book!  

Beach Read by Emily Henry is another great romance!

I encourage you to purchase these books from your local indie bookstore or borrow them from your local library! If you’re in Tallahassee, FL, you should check out Midtown Reader AKA my favorite bookstore. If you have read any of these books, comment your opinions down below! I would love to know what you think about them. Happy reading!

Five Things I Wish I Knew as an Incoming College Freshman

Five Things I Wish I Knew as an Incoming College Freshman

Welcome to this amazing, stressful, wonderful journey called college! Buckle up for the next four (or more) years.

  1. Don’t buy your textbooks before the first day of class. You won’t need them until the second week at the earliest. And never pay the full price! Check Chegg, Amazon, or your campus bookstore for used or rentable copies. During my previous semester I bought one used textbook. That was it. Some professors will pressure you into buying them – especially if they wrote them. Other professors will be more relaxed, emailing you a (possibly illegal) PDF copy of the textbook. A lot of classes are lecture heavy, so don’t buy the book before you get a feel of the class. Trust me on this one!
  2. Get involved in SOMETHING on campus. This will make or break your college experience. There are plenty of ways to get involved in a campus organization. To find organizations you are interested in, I recommend walking around campus during the week before classes start. A lot of campus organizations and clubs refer to this as “Go Week” or “Welcome Week.” Don’t be nervous – they want you to take interest in their organization! As a student leader of a campus organization myself, my day is totally made when eager freshmen approach me with interest in joining my RSO (registered student organization). I joined the FSU Baptist Collegiate Ministry my first year at Florida State. Now, as a senior, I am the Vice President (where has the time gone?). I met several lifelong friends through BCM (including my roommates of two years and counting!) and have learned so many lessons about life, people, and Christ. If you’re an incoming freshman, I encourage you to get involved with a campus ministry, with Greek life (sororities and fraternities), student government, and other clubs (if you’re an FSU freshman, I’ll link some ways to get connected down below – GO NOLES!).
  3. Prepare yourself for parking on a college campus. Parking for my 11 AM Psychology class was the biggest test of my patience. This is a warning for all freshmen or students new to campus: PARKING IS AWFUL. If you’re living on campus, finding a parking space late at night after having dinner with your friends can be difficult. The designated overnight parking fills up fast. And yes, before you think about parking in that nice, open spot meant for day-time parking, you will get a citation. For students that are living off campus, like I do, I suggest scheduling that dreaded 8 AM class. I know it’s early. Limited parking makes you a morning person. The parking garages are going to be empty and you’ll find a parking spot quickly. I remember driving around Pensacola garage at 10 AM my freshmen year, calling my grandma on the phone and asking her to talk me down a metaphorical cliff. I’m dramatic but looking for parking sucks. There’s no way around it. Prepare yourself.
  4. Join a FIG – a Freshman Interest Group. This is the best decision I made as a college freshman! In order to get into a class I needed, my advisor recommended I join a Freshman Interest Group. A FIG is a one-hour class led by a senior or a graduate student. They give you a run-down of college life and things on campus. Your fellow FIG classmates are in at least two of your other classes, making FIGs a great way to establish friendships and find study groups. Plus, seeing a friendly face three to five times a week makes you feel less alone and more a part of the university. I met some of my best friends in my FIG! Even though we aren’t in the same classes anymore, we still make time to see each other and study.
  5. Work hard to maintain balance in your life. You’re on your own for possibly the first time in your life. Everything is exciting – you’re going out and exploring a new city with your new friends, you made a pact with your roommate to be each other’s maid-of-honor, you accidentally stayed up until 6 AM watching conspiring theory videos with people you just met, you slept through your Tuesday 8AM again, etc. Life is moves faster, the world looks brighter, and everything is yours for the taking. But don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. Your new friends aren’t going to leave you if you decide to stay in. They will most likely join you at the library if you need to study for an upcoming exam. Go out, have fun, but remember to make some time in your busy schedule to reflect on yourself. To sleep. To pray. To eat – this couldn’t be more important. Fight hard to stay in the middle of the college diet spectrum. Eat healthy, balanced meals throughout the day. Visit your campus counseling services if you need professional guidance or someone to talk to (if you’re an FSU student I will link these down below). They’re here to help you! Participate in campus intramural sports or sign up for a spin class (my personal favorite). Read a book on your campus green (Landis is lovely come October). Call your parents. They miss you. And you miss them, too. Your life at college is going to be amazing and full of adventure. But make sure you stop and take the time to live it.
Check out my WELCOME TO COLLEGE Spotify playlist!

How to Get Connected at Florida State University

I’m praying for you as you start this new adventure! Cherish every moment!

Completely Captivating: Vacationing in North Captiva Island, FL

Completely Captivating: Vacationing in North Captiva Island, FL

Looking for a vacation destination that is stylishly off-the-grid but not entirely separate from civilization? North Captiva Island is the perfect place. 

In late July I had the opportunity to travel to North Captiva Island, FL, with some amazing friends. This wasn’t my first visit and I can surely write that it won’t be my last. I previously visited the island six years ago and was in desperate need of a North Captiva Island reset.

My vacation started with a short and peaceful ferry ride across the Pine Island Sound. One of the unique things about North Captiva Island is the lack of cars. Golf carts are the main method of transportation on the island dirt roads. It almost felt like a tribute to The Villages, a retirement community next to my hometown where many of the residents drive golf carts instead of cars.

Riding around on a six-seater golf cart is not only fun (or maybe dangerous – depends on who is driving!) time, but it is also a special way to see the tropical foliage, blooming hibiscus flowers, and brightly painted vacation houses. Keep an eye out for gopher tortoises as they cross the road. The houses are almost as vibrant as the island itself. Each one has a splash of tropical color and a catchy name. We stayed in a blue house named Manatee Manor. Having been inside several of the houses, I can safely say they are quirky and inviting – one of them even had an old elevator!

The sunset on a boat ride through Pine Island Sound.

We saw over eight manatees on our trip. If you aren’t familiar with manatees, they are sweet and gentle ocean mammals that frequent Florida’s coastline. You can often find them lingering around marinas in search of fresh water. On the last day of our trip, we saw dolphins, sea urchins, and starfish.

If you are planning to vacation in North Captiva, I strongly recommend bringing your own boat (or renting one). One of our favorite things to do was to go island hopping. We rode the pontoon boat (a luxurious, relaxed boat style) to Cabbage Key, Cayo Costa, Captiva Island, and Boca Grande. One day, we grabbed lunch at the historic Cabbage Key Inn and Restaurant, which offers quaint island charm. As a Floridian, I would classify the restaurant as a tourist trap. The prices are a little higher than a normal bar and grille, but it was a cute stop nonetheless. Cayo Costa is a remote barrier island with lush greenery and an abundance of wildlife including shorebirds, gopher tortoises, raccoons, bobcats, and even feral pigs. I recommend anchoring on Cayo Costa’s shore and lounging beachside or floating on a tube in the pristine blue waters.  This is also a perfect place to search for seashells.

If you don’t have a boat, don’t worry. North Captiva Island has plenty of beautiful beaches! Manatee Manor was a beachfront property, allowing us private beach access, but there are multiple public beaches around the four-mile-long island. Bring a chair, an umbrella, a book, and you’re set!

Captiva Island, not to be confused with North Captiva Island, is only a short boat ride away. It is home to several island restaurants, shops, and bars – some with live music. I strongly recommend having dinner at the Bubble Room, which is a bizarre and enchanting three-story restaurant. The Bubble Room is based on Old Hollywood, Christmas, and everything fantastical. The food and drinks there are amazing! If you’re claustrophobic, I suggest walking through the restaurant before committing to dine there. The rooms and seating are very tight, but each one has its own unique and dazzling theme. The Bubble Room is a must-see!

Em’s Adventure: Making new friends in beautiful places. North Captiva Island is the perfect place to unplug and focus on what is most important: family and friends. The most beautiful thing about vacation is that no matter where you go, the memories made and the laughter shared among friends and family is what you will remember most. I am so grateful for the wonderful people I stayed with and the new friends I made. It was an amazing trip that I will never forget!

Welcome to Adventures With Em!

Welcome to Adventures With Em!

Hi, I’m Emilee Bryce Perdue. I am a daughter, a writer, and a friend. Like any sane person, I love dogs and Friends and coffee. I prefer sunrises over sunsets. I use too many exclamation points in my emails. I can’t decide whether I can live without ketchup or peanut butter. Please don’t force me to make that decision. Little Women is both my favorite book and movie, respectively (it goes unsaid that I am referencing the 2019 Greta Gerwig adaption). I am earning two bachelor’s degrees not because I am overly studious, but rather because I am overly indecisive.

One of my favorite things to do is ask my friends (and sometimes strangers) very random, very specific questions. I find it helps me get a good idea of who they are. To properly introduce myself to you, I am going to ask myself eight very random, very specific questions.

  1. What is the best place you have ever visited? I believe that each destination I travel to makes its mark on me in some way. I hold each of my travels dear to my heart, but I think the best place I have visited (so far) is Exuma, Bahamas. I went to the island during a spring break trip in high school and I fell in love with it. Exuma had the prettiest waters and the kindest people. Exuma isn’t a tourist resort style island; it is a lush and authentic tropical fairytale. A close second to Exuma would be Chinatown in New York City. Very different but thrilling just the same! I mean, I watched a man light a fake Louis Vuitton bag on fire – and it didn’t burn. I can’t tell you why. I still think about it. Where else can I get this quality of entertainment?
  2. Who is your favorite person? My mom! Annie P is the best person on this planet. She’s my best friend. I tell her anything and everything. She is the most supportive, honest, and caring person I know. She exudes strength and showers me with love every day. Not to say we don’t have our fights, like every mother and daughter, but we always laugh it off and make up within the hour. People have told us we remind them of Lorelai and Rory from Gilmore Girls.
  3. If you could witness one moment in history, what would it be? When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace for standing up for their beliefs. I would give anything to see them not burn, much to everyone else’s disbelief. And to see God in the fire with them? That is such a testament to Christianity! This was my favorite story while I was growing up in church. Even when I read it now, as an adult, I still get chills.
  4. What is your favorite thing about you? I like my nose. I can balance pencils on it.
  5. What is your go-to movie theater snack? When I was twelve years old, my dad taught me how to achieve the perfect movie-theater snack. Order Milk Duds and heavily buttered popcorn. Place a handful of popcorn and a Milk Dud in your mouth and voila! The Milk Dud melts and all you taste is chocolate-y, caramel-y, butter-y goodness. Good for the soul, maybe not so much for the body.
  6. If you could only go to one more concert for the rest of your life, who would you see? Kenny Chesney. Without a doubt. I have an incredibly odd obsession with the country singer, Kenny Chesney. It’s okay because I can admit that it is an incredibly odd and unhealthy obsession. I have seen him in concert twice now and his energy never gets old. “When the Sun Goes Down” was the first song I ever knew by heart. During the hardest time of my life, the only music I had with me was Kenny Chesney’s CD Greatest Hits II. Kenny and I really bonded.
  7. What was your best birthday? It’s a tie between my tenth birthday and my twenty-first birthday. Very different birthdays. For my eighth birthday, my mom hosted a pool party with all of my friends. We had water guns and a cannon-ball contest and a slip-n-slide. It was ten-year-old heaven. Some close family friends bought me my first diving tank (hot pink, of course) and my mom made a life-sized beach ball cake. It was amazing. For my twenty-first, we threw like three separate parties (or at least it felt like it!). On the night of my birthday my best friends threw me a surprise picnic at Cascades Park, in Tallahassee, Florida. It was straight from Pinterest. They even blindfolded me on the drive over (now that wasn’t especially enjoyable, but the selfie we took was worth the confusion.). I had never experienced so many people wanting to truly celebrate me and show their love for me. I’m so grateful for them.  
  8. What is the last life-changing book you read? Ah, life-changing? For an avid reader like me, it’s hard to pin down the last life-changing book I read. Some novels that have stuck around my subconscious lately are Daisy Jones and the Six (Taylor Jenkins Reid), People We Meet on Vacation (Emily Henry), Circe (Madeline Miller), Normal People (Sally Rooney), Everything I Never Told You (Celeste Ng), and Where the Crawdads Sing (Delia Owens). But if I had to choose one, I would say The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green has refreshed my outlook on life. Green writes several essays – or reviews – on humanity. He starts with random, pointless facts that will rattle in my brain forever and turns them into poetic and heartfelt lessons, all in a way only Green could manage. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who feels like the world has turned into a dark and ugly place, especially in the past two years. This book doesn’t change that, but it does make the good things shine a little brighter.

I understand that this “Introduction to Me” article might have been one of the most chaotic things you have ever read.  If you liked it despite the chaos, good. If you didn’t, even better. I think these little facts about people give a better look at the bigger picture of who they are. As if these seemingly meaningless questions are little pieces in the mosaic that is me.

And the best thing is this: if you ask me these same questions in a couple of months, in a year, in a decade, the answers will most likely change. People are constantly changing, constantly reacting to their lives, and constantly shaping themselves to match what they have learned. It’s beautiful. It’s multifaceted, it’s freeing, and it’s beautiful.

I’m writing this as a somewhat fresh twenty-one-year-old. I have more freckles this summer than I did the last. I have read more books and spent more hours scrolling on Tik-Tok. I’ve lost friends in the past year, but I have also gained some of the highest caliber. I have sipped the most delicious coffee and seen the most beautiful rainbows. I’ve laughed more than I ever have, and I have also cried more, too.

I feel more myself today than I ever have.

And I hope that when I revisit this article, I can say the same.

I can’t wait to share my adventures, both big and small, with you all. Thank you for taking a chance on Adventures With Em. Let’s go see more of the world, together!