My (Two) Weeks as a Disney Princess

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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.

 

Wishin’ I Was: at CMA Fest

As Nashville begins to kick off CMA Fest, and they continue to celebrate the Nashville Predators advancing for the Stanley Cup, it makes me miss my second home a little more.

Last summer, I dragged my mom and friend down to CMA Fest where I was overwhelmingly running around downtown trying to see as many artists as I possibly could. I accomplished a lot (over 30 in one day if I remember correctly) but it seems like even though we did so much, it was not nearly enough.

There are a lot of reasons to love Nashville besides CMA Fest. As the home to country music, you can walk up and down Broadway peeking into bars and listening to the locals play the night way. You can tour the Grand Ole Opry and The Ryman, or stop by the County Music Hall of Fame. You can take a trip over to the Parthenon, which makes you think you are in Greece when you are really in the heart of Nashville. Or, if you time your trip right, you can see a Tennessee Titans or Nashville Predators game! There is so much to see and do, that there is no way you would ever get bored… and as my Time Hop begins to remind me of all the fun I had during my week of CMA Fest, I figured I would take a quick stroll down memory lane.

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The Riverfront Stage was pretty much my home for the weekend. From the early morning hours, until right before the main party was starting across the river we spent most of our time out in the sun listen to some great acts. While others were drinking in bars, or visiting Fan Fair X meeting artists… I was here.

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This is not something you would expect to find in Nashville, but I think I can honestly say that Centennial Park was one of my favorite places to visit. I mean, how could you not?

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The main event! Nissan Stadium was the place to be every night. The biggest names in country music performed (and this is also the stage that is filmed for the TV version of CMA Fest). I even had Slash sitting in front of me during the concert too!

Now while I could go on and on about how much I loved this road trip, and how much I love Nashville… I am just going to go watch all my videos on repeat as I pretend to be there myself. Oh – and I will continue to root for Smashville as they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins for the Stanley Cup!

Cracker Jacks, Baseball, and Tim Tebow

It was a crazy weekend here at the Jersey Shore! Graduations, proms, Mother’s Day, and we even had Tim Tebow hanging around for a few days. The Columbia Fireflies were playing against the Lakewood BlueClaws and it seemed like everyone wanted to get a glimpse of Tim Tebow, including me. 18519761_1528712303805795_4049875284804073706_n

As typical Kristen style, I was late to the party, and ended up buying last minute tickets to Tuesday night’s game where I also got to catch up with a friend who I have not seen in a while. We ventured out to the outfield in the lawn seats, where we LUCKILY had perfect view of Tebow (for future reference, he plays left field, #15) mostly just standing around… the ball did not really ever come to him.

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Thanks to Bitmojis, I had a little too much fun taking pictures of Tim Tebow

Usually when you go to the BlueClaws, you see people wearing Phillies attire since the teams are affiliated with each other. It was a completely different scene with a crowd decked out in blue and orange Mets gear supporting Tebow. It was like you wanted to root for your home team, but also root for Tebow too… a very conflicting situation in my opinion.

Although the BlueClaws did not win, Fireflies won 5-4, it was still a nice, fun night out at the ball park. Figuring I usually never go to a game during the summer, I started this season early, and I think there will be more baseball in my future… as long as it does not conflict with a race of course!

My Record Year

Eric Church is hands down one of my favorite country artists not only to listen to, but to see perform live too… and while I can go on and on about what songs are my favorites, there is one that sums up my life pretty well right now.

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Thanks Eric Church!

As one of the graduates of Stockton University’s Class of 2017, I can easily say that not only was my final year of undergrad a record year, but my entire four years of college were collectively a record chapter of my life. It seemed fitting for my man EC to have the perfect song for me, and it was thanks to this song that I was inspired to decorate my graduation cap accordingly.

It is weird to think that four years ago I had no idea what I wanted to do in college. I had this idea that maybe I should study Environmental Science, which seemed great because I loved nature and being outside. Turns out, math and sciences are not my strong suit, so that major was quickly thrown out the window. It was during a journalism class my third semester at community college I realized that I wanted to go into the Communications field, and I am SO happy that I went with it.

After graduating with my Associates Degree in Liberal Arts, I jumped on the Stockton bandwagon and joined a bunch of friends at school. Although I commuted for my two years, I ended up fitting right in because a majority of the people I met were commuters too. Throughout my classes, I continued to see familiar faces while also making some more great friends along the way. It was like we were all in this together, and come graduation day, I truly felt like we succeed.

It was weird. Being in school your whole life, you know it has to come to an end sooner or later, but actually experiencing it was bittersweet. As I joined my fellow Communication grads, we laughed and joked about the semester, our amazing professor who we all realized actually left a mark on us as we welcomed him into commencement with cheers. We all were in this together. Ready to take on the next chapter of our lives, even if that meant that we no longer were sitting in three hour lectures on a Tuesday night thinking of ways we could get our professor to end class early. The sense of accomplishment was overwhelming when you realize that even though you procrastinated every paper, guessed on every final, and probably never opened a text book (unless that was just me… in which case, never mind) that it finally paid off. Those days of circling parking lots for hours because there was limited parking, early morning and late at night classes (both of which were terrible), and wishing you lived on campus because you were too tired to drive home… are over. Looking back, I would not change a single second of my college career, maybe or professor or two, but I survived so I guess I will let it slide. Those four years truly were, record years, and I am so glad to say that I have earned my degree and I am excited to see where the next adventure through life takes me!

So, thanks Eric Church, for giving me a soundtrack for my record year. And you ever find your way into my life, I owe you a beer to thank you for it.

Congratulations to all the Class of 2017 graduates! Good luck wherever your path now takes you 🙂

Chaos in Richmond

It has taken me this long to fully embrace the amount of fun that I had two weekends ago… or perhaps I just did not want to accept the fact that it was over just yet.

What kind of chaos was in Richmond you ask? The kind where cars make left turns at REALLY FAST speeds of course! Yes, I adventured down to Richmond, Virginia for race weekend, and it was fun from the minute we started our road trip.

My best friend and I (or my NASCAR rookie as I like to call her) left Jersey Friday night to be ready for the Xfinity race that took place on Saturday afternoon. A 7 a.m. wake-up time had us at the track by 9 a.m. (okay, we were a little slow on Saturday) to go explore the grounds of Richmond International Speedway. Driver Q&A’s, Fanatic gear, a lot of free stuff, and of course, the Joe Gibbs mascots were also in attendance! We made it inside the track just in time to see the final Cup practice before watching Kyle Larson win the checkered flag in the Xfinity race. It was a busy day full of sightseeing and planning our missions to be accomplished on Sunday.

Sunday morning rolled around and we were at the track by a bright and sunny 8 a.m. where we, and a lot of other fellow fans were ready to take on the Virginia heat. The day consisted of some Monster Energy fun, track-side access (including signing the Start/Finish line, exploring Matt Tift’s hauler, meeting Austin Dillion’s pit crew, and exploring Pit Road), Chase U, and a crazy race!

While we did not get to actually meet Chase Elliott at Chase U (probably for the better, I would have forgotten my name) we did get a quick Q&A with him, in which he mentioned that no, he does not know who will be driving the 88 car next season. After hanging with Chase and Hooters, it was time to watch some short-track racing which for some reason, seemed to have all the action happen right in front of our section. By the way, JR Nation was NOT happy with Jimmie Johnson that day, and where I was sitting, that was obvious.

Come Monday morning when I was back home in Jersey, I was hungry for more racing. While watching Talladega from my couch was nowhere near the same as it would have been being there personally, it was still a heck of a show! Makes me miss Richmond a little more, and has me looking forward to whatever race I attend next!

The Great American Race

Over the weekend, I pretty much dedicated my nights to a very important event: opening weekend of NASCAR! Sure, majority of people watch just the Daytona 500 on Sunday and call it done – but I decided that if I was going to be a true racing fan, I would give those other guys a shot too. The outcome? I was not disappointed.

You probably remember me talking about my Dover trips last year (Jersey Girls Take on Dover), and how I kind of knew some things about the sport, but I could not tell you much besides some drivers and car numbers. Well this year, I decided to jump right in and become a real fan… even if that requires me to hog the television for hours 🙂

Where I work, I have a few customers who are big racing fans, and one in particular who would constantly come in and give me a rundown of what had happened at all three races, including the latest drama, and even their qualifying and practices. It was pretty overwhelming figuring I pretty much would just keep up with the Cup series and pay attention to only a handful of drivers. Another customer actually attends Daytona and Homestead every year (jealousy is at an all-time high) and last time even brought me back a Chase Elliott shirt since we share him as a driver! I’m still waiting to see what he brings back from last week, he told me it would be a surprise. Being around these customers only made me want to watch racing more to really understand what exactly I was missing out on.

If you watched any of the races over the weekend, it can easily be summed up as CRAZY! The trucks were insane, and constantly wrecking. The Xfinity race had a 90 minute delay, which benefited me because it was while I was still at work, and only had a very small number of cars still out come the final lap. Also – both of those winners were really young – 18 and 23 years old, respectively. So, it was only right to assume that a youngin’ such as Chase Elliott or Ryan Blaney would win the Daytona 500, right? Think again.

Sunday’s race was overwhelming no matter what driver you were rooting for. In the end, only FIVE of the 40 cars came out unscathed by a wreck. For the last 20 laps, it seemed like Chase Elliott was guaranteed his first Cup win… until he, and many others ran out of gas on those final laps. Ultimately, Kurt Busch ended up taking home the win for the weekend, and pretty much well deserved too. Makes me excited for next weekend at Atlanta though, because Elliott is just itching for a win, and something tells me that he is very close to achieving it.

So, that was my weekend summed up in a nutshell. And it will be my weekends for the 40 weeks or so as the season gets underway. Now, the countdown to green, begins!

 

Jersey Girls Take on Dover

I know NASCAR is not for everyone, but I will continue to suggest that everyone experiences a live race once in their life. Don’t judge it til you try it kind of deal.

Ever since I was little, there was always someone in my family who kept up with the races; grandma, my uncles, grandpa… there were a handful who had me watching as a young girl, and gave me drivers who I called my favorites. I did not really understand it then… and I stopped watching for a while. But here I am, two races at Dover International Speedway under my belt, and I can honestly say I am now OBSESSED.

For anyone who is a fan, or doesn’t live under a rock… I can tell you the exact event that made me stop watching the races for a while. It was February 18, 2001 during the Daytona 500 race. No, I wasn’t there personally. I was watching from my television at home when I witnessed Dale Earnhardt‘s fatal crash. It was a race with Bill Elliott (Shout out to his son, Chase who’s rookie season in the Sprint Cup has him driving the #24) on the pole, and ended with Michael Waltrip winning the race, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. coming in second. It was that race, that pretty much scarred me from watching the races anymore.

While I would occasionally catch a race here and there, and would still keep up on certain drivers (Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon were my guys!) I never really got back into it. And then, 2016 happened.

I suppose it was all thanks to my one friend who was big into racing. He kind of rubbed off on me, and I took it with stride. It was also thanks to my uncle who conveniently had an extra ticket to the Spring race that I quickly jumped at the opportunity to take. It was then, coming home smelling like fuel and being covered in rubber that I realized that this was something I could keep up with. The thrill was too good to pass up… and a few months later I found myself doing the exact same thing with my best friend at the Fall race (where I also corrupted her and created another racing monster).

October 2, 2016 was full of fun. We were lucky enough to have a double header Sunday thanks to the rain that hit the day before. Country artist, Easton Corbin was doing a pre-race concert that we got to go see and actually meet him. Then come Sprint race time, we watched Jersey native Martin Truex Jr. DOMINATE the track, while our boy Chase Elliott came in third! Overall, it was an awesome Sunday adventure, and I gained a new racing buddy in the process. Now, we look forward to the 2017 races at Dover, and we anxiously cheer on Chase Elliott in his fight for the Chase!

Shawn Mendes: Life of the Party

I may be too old to admit how much I love Shawn Mendes, especially figuring that at tonight’s concert in New Jersey my best friend and I were probably the oldest people there that weren’t parents. At 18, Mendes has has quite the career so far, and he is just in the beginning!

I have seen this crazy Canadian four times in the two years. First, he opened for Austin Mahone and Fifth Harmony in 2014. Then, last summer he headlined the Show of the Summer in Hershey Park, and he graced the same stage as Taylor Swift as an opener for The 1989 World Tour. Now the boy is on his own World Tour!

 

If you have not heard of him, you might have heard his song “Life of the Party, “Stitches,” or “Treat You Better” since all three songs have made their way to pop radio. If you want to check out some songs that are in my opinion better than the radio tracks, check out: “Show You,” “Something Big,” and “Never Be Alone.” Until next time Shawn, enjoy your tour!