Living in a Winter Wonderland

The first week of 2018 has been freezing here in Jersey. For those of you who live under a rock, we experienced a “Bomb Cyclone” or a “Bombogenesis” on Thursday which has buried a lot of states in some snow. Once we were dug out, it was only logical to go see the winter wonderland that Mother Nature created!

IMG_9100

Everything froze. Including the bay! There were days when I was younger where this would be the opportunity to grab your skates, but there was too much snow around to even think about skating on the bay this time.

I had almost forgot that I was in Jersey. This photo kind of looks like it should be an Arctic Tundra… not a place that I spend my summers on a boat or paddle boarding.

And of course, with this cold weather I had to try this phenomenon of freezing bubbles. I had been seeing it everywhere, and decided to give it a shot. It took a lot of patience, and some frozen fingers, but if you ask me… I think it was worth it based on these pictures.

My trick? Make sure your bubble solution is cold (not frozen). I found that when the solution was sitting in my nice warm house, it was nearly impossible to get the bubbles to even last off the stick. But, I left my solution out in my garage overnight, and TA DA! Magic.

Luckily for us, it looks like the forecast has us with temperatures above freezing in the coming weeks. Which means that I might no longer be saying that 20 degrees feels warm. Hopefully.

Hello 2018!

Here in Jersey, we have been experiencing quite a chill that has kept many of us (including me) indoors, snuggled on the couch watching Netflix. While that has been loads of fun, I decided to greet 2018 breathing in the fresh air… and catching the view of the first full moon for myself. So, I grabbed a friend, bundled up… and headed out in to the freezing 17 degrees weather to shoot some photos. Turns out, not feeling my feet for a few hours was totally worth it.

 

It seemed fitting that the first moon of the year was a full moon. The Wolf Moon is supposedly the biggest and brightest moon of the year, so 2018 was starting off with high hopes for the days ahead, and I am greatly looking forward to them. With a lot of adventures planned, I can’t wait to see what is in store. So, here’s to a fresh start! Make this year your best year yet!

 

Playlist Shuffle

I have come to learn that when life gets crazy busy, the one thing I can constantly rely on is my music. While I have been MIA from here (whoops) I have been listening to A LOT of new music that has come out since my last post. So to sum up 2017, and to promise myself to blog a little more consistently in 2018, here is my final playlist of the year! (NOTE: here are all the ALBUMS I have been listening to… because I can not pick just one song 🙂 )

1. “Unapologetically” – Kelsea Ballerini

There is not a song I do not love on this album. I will even admit that this has been my repeat CD since it was released. Already hitting it off with “Legends,” Ballerini sings her heart out and connects to every girl who listens to her music. My personal favorites include “Miss Me More,” “In Between,” and “High School,” but you might as well just listen to all of them while you are at it.

2. “On the Rocks” – Midland

Remember when I mentioned them during the summer, and said I can not wait for their album to drop? Well, I was on to something. These guys are going to take off next year, I feel it. “Drinking Problem” and “Make a Little” are already blasting the radios, so why not add “Electric Rodeo” to that too?

3. “What Makes You Country” – Luke Bryan

“Light It Up” is probably stuck in your head, and odds are you probably relate to it pretty darn well too. I mean, there really is not a Luke Bryan song that I do not love… I am still pretty fond of “Do I” to  be honest. But on this new album, give “Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset” and “Hungover in a Hotel Room” a listen, trust me.

4. “Happy Endings” – Old Dominion

These guys are lyric wizards. “Written in the Sand” was my summertime anthem, “No Such Thing as a Broken Heart” is also catchy (fun fact: just came on my shuffle as I write this). BUT! If you want to hear some more magic, I urge you to listen to “New York at Night” and “A Girl is a Gun” right now.

5. “Life Changes” – Thomas Rhett

So… this album? AMAZING. Once again Lauren made her mark in mostly all the songs. I really can’t pick just one. But, since “Marry Me” seems to be the hit right now, I can agree with that.

With all the albums, I have a few singles that I am quite fond of too:

1. “Kiss Somebody” – Morgan Evans

The man who won over Kelsea Ballerini’s heart won mine over too with this song. That is enough.

2. “The Rest of Our Life” – Tim McGraw and Faith Hill

My one wish in life is to find someone that makes songs like this real life. And I mean, it is Tim and Faith… what’s not to love?!

3. “Seeing Blind” – Niall Horan and Maren Morris

Yes, I was on the One Direction band wagon. So when I saw Niall Horan pairing up with one of the most bad ass female country artists, I knew it was going to be a good one.

4. “Drunk Girl” – Chris Jansen

I thought I was late to the party on this one, but it looks like I jumped on it right on time. Guys, if you want to know how to handle a drunk girl, I suggest you take some notes… it could make or break ya.

Well, that about sums it up. I wish y’all a happy new year, and see ya in 2018!

Dear Michael Scott

993ff7e67097a3524785714c4c65753e81fb05ce

I know I am really, really late to the party when it comes to watching “The Office,” but I get it. I finally understand why there is such a hype about this show.

I recently took on the task of binging the comedy to see just exactly what I have been missing out on all these years, and I was actually disappointed in myself for not watching this show sooner. Now three seasons in, I think I can faithfully say I am addicted, and I am fully invested in the story between Jim and Pam.

Maybe it is because I feel like I can relate to the characters, or maybe because I find the stupid humor a lot more funny than it probably should be… but “The Office” is a show that I look forward to watching, and apparently do not mind wasting hours and hours of my time letting the episodes roll on by. For example, Netflix oh so kindly asked me twice last night whether or not I was still watching, and I was kind of offended. I think that means I have way too much free time, or should really get off my couch more often.

It is kind of sad that the show is no longer on, even though there are nine seasons that I have to work my way through. Right now, I am only about a third of the way through season three, so I still have a long way to go. Even still, I find myself constantly wondering what Michael Scott is going to say next, or what prank Jim is going to pull on Dwight, or just WHEN ARE PAM AND JIM GOING TO BECOME A THING?! Seriously though, that needs to happen ASAP. I can not handle how much that needs to happen. It is the main reason I continue to click “next episode” for hours at a time!

Anyways, if you have not yet started “The Office,” I suggest that you too jump on this and start the journey of Dunder Mifflin’s paper supply company. Especially if you have a great sense of humor, or need to work on your own.

On that note, I think it is time to tell Netflix that yes, I am still watching, and hunt down another show that I should watch when this one is done! Have a suggestion? Comment below!

I Have a Concert Problem…

I recently updated my country artist tally of who I have seen in concert… and the total is now up to an INSANE number of 122. Yep, you read that right… I have witnessed 122 country artists live in concert. My latest additions were two acts who performed at Jenks for Country Nights… and who I thought were kind of nobodies (sorry guys) but turns out, they have a much bigger following than I realized.

121 – Russell Dickerson

A cool fun fact about Russell Dickerson is that his music video for his single “Yours” was actually shot on an iPhone. The song that has taken weddings by storm, it had the entire place singing along on this night… and there were A LOT of people there to see him. Dickerson was kind of surprised himself… he did not think that many people knew who he was, but the floor was packed to sing along to “Blue Tacoma” and “MGNO” along with  a sneak peek at songs that will be on his full length album that will be coming out later this year! Oh, and even though he said he was getting over some laryngitis, he still sounded pretty darn good if ya asked me. And his energy was even crazier.

122 – Midland

OKAY. So, I will admit that for a while, “Drinkin’ Problem” was that song that when it would come on the radio, I would change the station. BUT. It started to grow on me, and I jumped on this band wagon pretty hard. A cool thing about Midland, for those who have yet to see them live, is that their set is like a step back in time to an old school country honky tonk. Unlike the “bro-country” and “pop-country” that we are used to hearing now a days, Midland brings us back to that Alan Jackson, Toby Keith vibe, and honestly it was such a refreshing feeling. They also are really fun to watch perform, and was just an overall great experience. While they do not have a full album out yet (that is supposed to be available September 22 for those who are wondering) feel free to keep “Drinkin’ Problem” on repeat… or even venture to “Burn Out” because trust me, you will get hooked on them too.

For every artist that I can check off the list, it seems like at least two are added on to who I still need to see. I love supporting the up and coming artists, and sometimes, I love their music more than those who have been around a lot longer! On to the next show… which ever artist that might be!

 

Book Shout Out

I will be the first to admit that I really have been slacking off on my reading. It is sad, really. But! I have two books that I have recently read (or at least in the last two months… oops) that I figured it was time to give them a shout out!

 

Sarah Dessen has been one of my favorite author for years now, and her most recent book, “Once and for All” was just as good as all her others, if not better! Maybe I am a little biased because there was a New Jersey reference, even if it was not the happiest (I forgive you Sarah) it still was something we can all relate to in someway.  Good Reads rates this with a 3.8/5 but if you ask me, it should be a 5/5. 32078787

Next up, if  you have not read every Nicholas Sparks book, are you even living?! I finally got around to reading “Two by Two,” and just like every other story, it had me feeling every emotion possible. I laughed. I cried. I loved characters, and I hated character. But in the end, I was sad that I reached the final page, and now I anxiously await to see whether or not this too will become a big motion picture, just like so many of my other favorites. Good Read ranks this a 3.9/5, so hey, at least my two books were graded consistently.

30002998

Have you been reading anything good? What should I check out next? While I have a never-ending growing pile of books, I just need to keep adding!

My (Two) Weeks as a Disney Princess

19894800_1588201224523569_1026002384500350773_n

Okay, so maybe the title is a little bit of a stretch. I was not really a Disney princess for two weeks, but when every Cast Member greets you as a Princess, you take it in stride… even if they call every girl a Princess.

Now you probably are sitting there saying two weeks in Disney? Who does that? Well, we do. My family decided that one week was not enough, and honestly, there is never too much time in Disney. It seems like even though we were there for two weeks, we came home with a list of things we did not do. Which meant that planning another trip was quickly in the works.

Some highlights from this trip included:

Meeting A LOT of Characters:

I may be 22, but I still willingly wait in lines to meet my favorite characters from Disney movies. I love interacting with them (I’m looking at you Gaston), or trembling in fear as they intimidate you (Kylo Ren, that would be you). But either way, there is just something about seeing them all in real life that makes you remember just how magical Walt Disney really was.

Seeing the Plans Released at D23:

For those who do not know D23 is the expo out in California where Disney will announce all the upcoming attractions and designs for not only the Disney parks but for movies as well. For Disney World, the announcement of Star Wars coming to Hollywood Studios, Pixarland, as well as a new Tron ride were all featured at the expo… so, if I do not get to Disney World sooner… it looks like 2021, Disney World’s 50th Anniversary will be my next trip!

LOTS of Photos Around the Parks:

Along with all the character meet and greets, my family hit up a lot of photographers to take some group shots. Of course, if we got lucky, there was some Disney magic included, like in these photos:

So, if you were wondering why I went MIA for the month of July, this would be why. And honestly, I am still watching the Snap Chat stories because I am really missing home.

 

Summer Concert Nights

While I spent two weeks at my second home (Disney World), I still managed to get in three concerts before and after I came home from my awesome trip! Here is a quick roundup of who I saw last month:

19510235_1575747609102264_5124711676999427707_n

Walker McGuire really interacted with the crowd, including taking some cell phones!

June 28 – Walker McGuire, Jenks, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ

The one thing I look forward to during the summer is when Jenks starts hosting Wednesday Country Nights! Kicking off the season, Walker McGuire performed a pretty awesome show, as well as their hit “Til Tomorrow” which I have been hearing on the Highway for a while, and it is now FINALLY making its way to the FM waves.

 

 

 

July 8 – Zac Brown Band, PNC Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ

19756845_1585241274819564_859815616100696479_n

Pictures might not come out great at every place, but hey, it is fun either way!

It has been SIX years since I last saw ZBB when they opened for Kenny Chesney. Since then, they have managed to sell out every show they have had in Jersey and somehow I always managed to never get tickets. Finally, the night before I left for Disney, my sister and I got to witness the magic of almost THREE hours of ZBB. Playing all their hits, and even covers including “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Paradise City” there is a reason I have loved this band since “Chicken Fried” was released.

 

July 26 – Dylan Scott, Jenks, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ

20430008_1607046605972364_6881120884506008610_n

Ah, Dylan Scott, still stealin’ hearts.

I have seem Dylan Scott four times now within the last year, and it has been amazing watching him become the artist that everyone now knows (welcome to the band wagon everyone!). While I miss the days when he was a nobody, and “Makin’ This Boy Go Crazy” kind of my own little secret, it is great to see how far he has come… and this show did not disappoint either.

 

 

 

Up next on the list, Russell Dickerson! If you have not heard of him, check out his video for the song “Yours” below!

Country Playlist #3

It has been a pretty busy summer for me so far, and as today begins the final month (AUGUST ALREADY?!) I figured it would be a great time to jump back into my blog, and give y’all a taste of what I have been listening to on repeat! So, here are five songs that I have declared my summer hits… enjoy!

1 . “When It Rains It Pours” – Luke Combs

As I have made it very obvious in my previous playlists, Luke Combs is one of my newest favorite artists, and for all the right reasons. His latest single is something that just clicks… because I mean, we all have an ex who comes around when they see you are doing well, right?

2. “Unforgettable” – Thomas Rhett

Hot out of the recording studio, Thomas Rhett just recently released this song and just like all his others, it is catchy. And of course, it is influenced by his wife, Lauren so, it is already a hit. At least that is the rumor I am going to spread.

3. “All the Pretty Girls” – Kenny Chesney

It is not a summer playlist without the man who is synonymous with island girls and pirate flags. While I probably could make an entire playlist just of his songs, this newest radio single is just another one to add to the list.

4. “Written in the Sand” – Old Dominion

Being a Jersey girl, any reference to the beach is a good one in my book. Old Dominion has had a special place in my heart since I saw them two summers ago, and they continue to impress me each and every song.

5. “Hooked” – Dylan Scott

I remember when Dylan Scott was a nobody… and last week when I saw him, he had the biggest crowd I had seen at a Country Night in a while. This is his more recent single, and even for being new, everyone already knew the words. Sold.

Now that I am back be on the look out for some catch up posts, what I have been reading (I’m behind), who I have been seeing (there is a bunch of good names) and what other fun plans there are in the future!

My (Fantasy) Fantasy Team

In the world of sports, fans tend to join the game of creating fantasy teams and winning points for prizes. I decided to jump on the fantasy sport bandwagon, and if there is one thing I learned, it is picking teams based on who you like does not always get you anywhere.

If I could pick a team based on my favorite NASCAR drivers, it probably would not fare me too well when it came to ranks (at least, not yet… one day this team will be on fire). As we get ready to pick our team for Pocono weekend, it had me thinking, if I had a dream team, who would it be?

  1. Chase Elliott (#24) – As the new driver for the 24 car, Elliott had some pretty big shoes to fill following Jeff Gordon. While he has not had a win in the Cup series just yet, he has had quite a lot of top ten finishes and continues to show how much talent he has. Also – my favorite number is 24, so it was just fate that he would become on of my favorites.
  2. Ryan Blaney (#21) – This one, I will admit I picked more because of how much I like watching Blaney present himself. His interviews, the podcast (Glass Case of Emotion, check it out!), and how he represents Wood Brothers Racing just makes him someone I wish I could be friends with. Another one who is itching for a Cup win, it is only a matter of time before luck starts to work with him, I know it.
  3. Martin Truex Jr. (#78) – As a Jersey Girl, I feel like it is necessary to root for Truex Jr. Luckily, his racing does not fail at backing me up with this decision. Truex Jr. continues to prove to be a dominant driver, especially after winning two stages at the AAA400 at Dover this past weekend.
  4. Kyle Larson (#42) – If you want someone who is really entertaining to watch race, I feel like Larson is a great pick for that. He races hard, and seems to be willing to go for just about anything. Plus, he likes to race dirt tracks too, which are pretty awesome too, so that is another win in my book.
  5. Kevin Harvick (#4) – Would it be wrong to say one of my favorite things about Harvick is how adorable his son is? Actually scratch that – his whole family is pretty adorable. But that aside, Harvick is a phenomenal racer who also earns us free Bloomin’ Onions at Outback Steakhouse if he finishes in the top ten, everyone benefits from Harvick having a good race!

As I figured out my five… I realized I was about to put drivers who no longer race on my list too. Those included: Bill Elliott, Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon. Also, Alex Bowman because he dominated as a fill-in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. last season. Oh, and my absolute favorite (who sadly is retiring this year) Dale Jr because it was thanks to him that I really ever became a racing fan.