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.

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 🙂

Soul 2 Soul Tour

While I have seen Tim McGraw in concert before, I never thought I would be able to say that I have seen Faith Hill live too.

I had originally bought my mom tickets for her birthday, and did not think I would be attending the concert with her, since my sister claimed the second ticket faster than I did. But, a last minute decision to buy my own ticket, and my aunt tagging along allowed for me to witness the magic of a power couple in country music.

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The night was full of hits by both McGraw and Hill. There were also some new songs from their album coming out later this year. Personally, the duets between the two of them were my favorite (“Speak to a Girl” is a life motto for me, as should it be for every guy) as well as songs such as “Humble and Kind,” “Live Like You Were Dying,” and “Mississippi Girl” to name just a few of the ones that I loved the most.

For a Thursday night (May the fourth be with you… no? okay), it was a pretty solid crowd, and an older one too. For a while, I thought I was underage until more families started showing up, but where I was sitting, I was definitely the youngest. It was a different atmosphere compared to all the other concerts I have been to, but in the end, it worked out. Now I can say I have seen two power couples in concert: Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, and Tim McGraw and Faith Hill!

Colleen Hoover’s Magic

As soon as I submitted my final assignment, I celebrated by taking a shot at my forever growing pile of books that I have been wanting to read. My first two picks were by the author I have been raving about a lot, Colleen Hoover! I picked up “Maybe Not” and “Finding Cinderella,” both short novellas that I was able to knock out pretty quickly… maybe quicker than I should admit.

After reading “Maybe Someday” and LOVING it. I knew I had to pick up “Maybe Not” 23587984which takes place before the story of “Maybe Someday” picks up. It was interesting to see the dynamics of Warren and Bridgette, and actually made their relationship in the other book make a heck of a lot more sense. I ended up really liking them after reading this one, and it seems like a lot of other people did too. “Maybe Not” ranks a 4.15/5 on Good Reads, and I think I can honestly say that it is a fair grade to give it.

Next up, “Finding Cinderella” was too short in my opinion! I wanted more. I need more. And – after researching, I see that it is kind of a part of the “Hopeless” series, which I 18593175have not read yet, so standby on that one as I add them to my list! But, the story here is something that I think every girl wishes they could have, or at least I do. Then again, I am a hopeless romantic (maybe I should pick up the “Hopeless” books sooner). This book received a 4.3/5 on Good Reads, which really convinces me that Colleen Hoover really does not write a bad book at all.

Have you read any good books lately? I need more suggestions as I power through my own pile of books!

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!

Yeah, I Live at Concerts

Adding to the concert saga, over the last two weeks I got to see Levi Hummon, Jackie Lee, Dan + Shay, LANCO, and Jake Owen. To say it was fun, is an understatement.

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We begin this chapter with concert number one, featuring Levi Hummon, Jackie Lee, and Dan + Shay…

Levi Hummon, to those who do not know him, well, is an artist you should probably start listening to. His dad Marcus Hummon has written songs for guys like Tim McGraw, and Levi seems to have had music gene rub off on him too. I will be honest and admit that I had not heard of him until that night, but I am a fan now, and you can see why after listening to his son, “Love You Hate You Miss You.”

Jackie Lee followed next, and had me laughing from the moment he came on stage. His songs including “Breakfast,” “Leave the Light On,” and “Getting Over You” have been stuck in my head since the concert, and rightfully so in my opinion. They are CATCHY.

Now, this was my third time seeing Dan + Shay. The first time, they opened for Blake Shelton on the beach in Atlantic City in 2014, then I saw them at Starland Ballroom in 2015… and this time they SOLD OUT Starland Ballroom in 2017. The crowd was loud, crazy, and singing a long to every song including “19 You + Me,” all the way to “How Not To,” which if you have seen the video on their social media, Jersey can sing pretty darn well. Whenever I see these guys, they are always full of energy and a load of fun, and they did not disappoint this time either!

Then, exactly one week later, I got to experience the part that LANCO and Jake Owen throw… and I do not think I was mentally ready for it.

LANCO’s song “Greatest Love Story” is my FAVORITE song at the moment, and after seeing them live, I have to admit that there was not a song I did not love by them. They had such a great performance and got the crowd involved a lot. I had their music downloaded before the night was over, and since then, have been learning the words to all their songs.

My man Jake Owen, who I have loved since “Eight Second Ride” is just as awesome in concert as I pictured him to be. While I did see him at CMA Fest last year, it was much cooler seeing him in a smaller venue, especially when it was a sold out crowd of Jersey rednecks. It was full of flamingos, palm trees and lots of seafoam green!

Ok. I think that catches us all up on the concert shenanigans. This weekend I head to Richmond, Virginia for two days of NASCAR! So, brace yourselves now for that post 🙂

 

Concert Roundup

Anyone who knows me knows I pretty much live at concerts. You can most likely find me at any country concert in New Jersey, and can bet on me having a concert at least once a week. I know, I am obsessed.

We are only into the beginning of April, but since 2017 started I have already been to a few good concerts that I figured I should share – especially because in April alone I have two on the calendar! So, if you like country music, read ahead. If not, hey, maybe you will find a new favorite artist to listen to!

January 25 – Eric Church, Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

Started off the concert season pretty early this year. For my birthday, I went to go see the man, the Chief, Eric (F’ing) Church. I have been wanting to see him in concert for a few years now, and finally got the chance to experience it. One word: WOW!

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On the “Holdin’ My Own” tour, Church is by himself. No openers, just him, his guitar, and his band. Also, he plays for OVER THREE HOURS. Three hours of almost 40 songs from his career. Even if you do not necessarily know all his songs (but really, how could you not?) watching that man work a crowd and stage the way he does is amazing. I personally can say that this was the greatest concert I have been to, because there were no frills to it. Just Eric Church, the audience, and his music. Exactly what a concert should be.

March 18 – Florida Georgia Line, Prudential Center, Newark, NJ

OK, on a complete opposite side… Florida Georgia Line knows how to throw a party. On the “Dig Your Roots Tour,” Florida Georgia Line is with Seth Ennis, Chris Lane, and Dustin Lynch, like I said, it is a party!

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While it was only March, this show made it feel like it was a summer night, and to be honest, it was quite a show. Having seen Chris Lane and Florida Georgia Line before (two and three times prior) I kind of knew what I was getting into. But, with new acts such as Seth Ennis, whose single “Woke Up in Nashville” is always on repeat in my car, and Dustin Lynch, who somehow I have missed seeing live until that night, it truly was an awesome show, even if it was snowing outside.

March 25 – Dylan Scott, iPlay America, Freehold, NJ

See what I mean when I say weekly concerts? That is how addicted I am! Dylan Scott is one of those unknown artists, even though he is quickly climbing the charts with “My Girl.” This being the third time I saw him, I tend to be one of the few people who know all of his songs… and that is okay. He is slowly growing a following, and at this particular show, it was a pretty big crowd who kind of seemed to know who the heck the guy was. It was one of those proud parent moments for me, and I am just counting down the days until his sophomore album is released.

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So, that has been the start of my concert series for the year! This month alone I will be attending Dan + Shay and Jake Owen, so I will be sure to write about them. Anyone else have any good shows coming up? Have you been to any good ones lately? Let me know!

Hittin’ the Books

Hi!

This crazy thing called life keeps getting in my way of writing. Between school, interning, and life in general I have not really had time to do much. But, I started and finished a book this weekend, which allows me to give you a new suggestion to add to your list!

During the month of February, I was really slacking when it came to reading, honestly I slacked through March too. I had jumped on the “Fifty Shades of Grey” bandwagon when the second movie came out, and it took me longer than I should admit to read all the books after. But, I did it, and they were good… so I would totally suggest them – although they are definitely not for everyone.

My latest, and probably favorite book though, is “Maybe Someday” by Colleen Hoover. After reading “It Ends With Us” and falling in LOVE with it, I decided to try some of her other books, and so far, I have not been disappointed!24445517

Maybe it was because I felt like I could relate to the book, or maybe it is because I just really love things that associate with music, but Hoover once again hit me in the feels with her writing. Also, a neat thing about this book is it has its own soundtrack! If you read the book, you will see what I mean, it is pretty cool.

With a Goodreads rating of 4.34/5, I would say there is a really good chance you will fall in love with this story as much as I did. Young love is a great topic especially when music is involved, trust me. While I did not sob through this one like I did with “It Ends With Us,” there were some tears shed, but in a good way. It seems like Hoover knows exactly how to make her audience feel what the characters feel, and honestly, it is a magical experience.

No, I have not yet picked up the followup book, “Maybe Not” yet… but I will probably be adding it to my collection shortly so be on the lookout for that! And while you are at it, pick up this one yourself and give it a shot, or if you have any other suggestions, let me know!