Dear Michael Scott

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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 withย  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!

 

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.

 

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!

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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!