THE FINAL STRETCH

One week, 7 days, 168 hours, 10,080 minutes. That’s how much time I have until I uproot my life for one of the biggest adventures thus far. I’m packing up boxes of my belongings into my Chevy Malibu and driving to my new apartment in Orlando! Well, sort of. We’ve decided to split the trip. Saturday we will be driving to Savannah, GA (a town I do love to visit) and spending the night to get up Sunday and head into Orlando. Then, Monday is when all of the fun begins! I’ll check in to my apartment and begin the journey of a Walt Disney World Cast Member. It’s so crazy how fast time has gone by from the day I received my acceptance to now one week until I leave. Something tells me I should start packing!

In all seriousness, this is about to be a really weird week for me. I haven’t moved anywhere since I was 5 years old, so it’s going to be really strange to have to say goodbye to my hometown and all of the friends who make this city home. I’m really not thrilled about it, but I keep reminding myself that what I’m leaving for is worth saying a temporary goodbye. I’ll be back in about four months, which I’m sure will go by in the blink of an eye with how busy I’ll find myself being. Still, in this final week, it’s continuously on the back of my mind.

I’m also realizing all the last minute things I need to get taken care of. I need to have my car looked at to make sure it can survive the drive, get a new fob for my car, dye my hair (shoutout to Disney Look), PACK without forgetting any of the necessities, get twin size bed sheets, find all the apartment necessities left to get, spend time with family and friends, and somehow manage to sleep. It’s gonna be a long week!

All of the craziness and the goodbyes will be worth it when I’m fulfilling a dream to work for the Disney company. I still have a hard time grasping that this is real life, although I’m sure it will hit me when the journey begins. Here’s to the next four months! May they be filled with joy, magic making, laughter, growth, and light.

Itineraries come out soon which means I’ll get my work location! Where do you think I’ll be placed: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Disney Springs, or a resort? Comment below!!

❤ / Bailey

NEW SCHOOL YEAR, NEW GOALS

As the first week of my third year of undergrad has come to a close, I’m beginning to realize that this year feels a lot different than my previous two of college. First of all, how am I already a junior? It hit me that I’m halfway through and so much closer to my degree! That’s crazy to me. It seems like just yesterday I was starting college as a baby freshman who kind of knew what she wanted to be and where she wanted to go, and now I’m starting to get questions like “Where are you going to go after college, are you staying in Johnson City?” and “What exactly is it that you want to do in your field of study?” LET’S SLOW DOWN THERE. While I have some idea of where I want to go and who I want to be, I keep having to remind myself that a lot can change in my remaining two years. No isn’t necessarily the time to be making those decisions.

Despite the thought of graduation looming closer over my head, this year just feels different as a whole. I’m not sure if I’m just carrying more confidence being an upperclassman, but the start of the school year didn’t scare me (I’m talking first-day anxiety jitters) as much as usual.  I didn’t feel the need to obsessively look at the class lists online ahead of time to find a familiar name or worry about my professors being sticklers. I went in knowing whatever was thrown my way I could handle, and I had a really good first day! At least, much better than a lot of other people at my university. I only have classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays (but that does mean an 8 am and staying way later than I’d appreciate) and on the Monday that the university actually opened, there was a lockdown due to a weapon on campus. I wasn’t there, but I was getting all of the alert texts and started texting all of my friends who were on campus to see if they were okay. It was definitely an interesting first day of the fall semester, but luckily no shots were fired and everything turned out okay. Aside from that craziness, the first week back went really well. All of my professors seem really nice & I’ve made friends in all of my classes where I didn’t know anyone & reconnected with some of my friends who are in the same program & class as me.

That being said, let’s set some goals for this year. Since this is my third year of college, I’m going to set three main goals.

1. Make the Dean’s List…again! YAY! One of my goals for the previous school year was to make the Dean’s List & I did. Now, I want to do it again. Especially since I now know that I can.

2. Join as many clubs & extracurriculars as possible. I’m really determined to get more involved on campus this year, and one way I see that happening is through clubs! I didn’t get to join very many clubs for the last two years because working retail meant most of my nights were booked. Now that I have a job with consistent hours where I get off work at 5 pm every day, I can actually do things in the evenings. Specifically, I want to get involved with a campus ministry and the club for my major. I haven’t decided which campus ministry yet, but I’ve got plenty of great options to try out!

3. Bring as much joy & positivity to my fellow students as possible. College is a tough time. It’s hard enough trying to stay on top of all of your assignments and studying, throw in working, trying to figure out who you are as an adult, and all the utterly crappy stuff that gets thrown at people and that pretty much describes college. We’re all just a bunch of kids figuring out how to become adults. We need constant encouragement & support to make it out somewhat sane! So, I want to be really intentional about lifting up those around me at school. It can be really easy to focus on my own assignments & issues, but it’s important to remember the impact you can make by taking a minute away from yourself to help a friend with an assignment or simply look up from your phone while walking from class to class and smile at someone. Nobody truly knows what other people are going through, especially in college, so being a light in the darkness is a powerful thing.

To all of those people reading this who are also returning to school, I wish you the best of luck. Remember to drink lots of water, make as many friends as possible, and study as hard as you can. Just do your best and have a good time! College is a time to make memories while figuring out who we are meant to be.

xx,

Bailey

PS – Go Bucs!

 

LOCAL BUSINESS LOVE

I am a huge supporter of small/local businesses. I think anyone who has the strength, knowledge, & ability to go out there and start their own business is a superhero! For this very reason, I want to highlight some of my favorite local businesses (maybe start a “small business Saturday” series once a month?) to highlight some of these super cool people & amazing products.

Boomtown & Co: First up on my list is Boomtown & Co. This is a store in downtown Johnson City that I have been Instagram stalking for a long time & just recently got to experience. They create t-shirts, hats, stickers, and more all with a local to Johnson City & the surrounding areas theme. I walked in & immediately fell in love. Their store itself is really cute & the things they had for sale were amazing. I got an ETSU shirt that is now the softest shirt that I own. It’s unlike any other ETSU shirt I’ve seen & I couldn’t be happier with it.

Mimi’s Creamery: One of my favorite places to get a delicious, sweet treat is Mimi’s Creamery. This is an adorable ice cream truck that is also very cute. They make delicious ice cream & cookies & combining the two in some of the most incredible sandwiches. It’s the perfect thing to help you cool down on a hot summer day. Although, the ice cream sandwiches are huge so I suggest sharing or just getting one cookie and some ice cream.

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Label: Another food place I absolutely love is the Label. They’re my go-to lunch place for HALF-PRICE SUSHI on weekdays! Their sushi is the bomb & it’s not your average sushi rolls. One of my favorites is called “the Bakersfield” and it’s topped with bacon. Need I say more? They also have some amazing burgers and lots of yummy food.

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LucyBirdHandmades: A recent jewelry favorite of mine has been earrings made by LucyBirdHandmades. They are the most adorable leather teardrop-shaped earrings. I got a pair to wear on Easter and now wear them all the time. They’re super light so they don’t bother my overly sensitive ears, and they’re the perfect size to stand out from my giant, curly hair.

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These are just a few of my favorite local/small businesses. I love supporting businesses like these and think their products are some of the best you could ever find. Make sure to check them all out (titles are hyperlinked) and let me know what some of your favorite local businesses are. Is there any from Johnson City I should try out?

xx,

Bails

TOP FIVE FAVORITE PLACES

“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.” That right there is a quote that I completely believe in. The memories you make and who you become are often rooted in the places you’ve been. One of the best feelings in the world is returning to your favorite places and being flooded with good memories and the familiar, warm feelings that come with them. So, here are some of my favorite places where the memories come back and it almost feels like another home:

Charlotte, NC – This one has to be number one on the list because it is where my story starts. It’s where I was born, lived for five years, and where my dad currently works. I still remember the warm Summer days spent sitting outside our house in the culdesac waiting for the ice-cream truck to come by & all the kids would go running. As I grew older, we spent a lot of weekend vacations wandering around downtown, cheering on the Panthers from Bank of America Stadium, and eating Price’s chicken in Romare Bearden Park.  I’ve always had this conflicted feeling about where home is in comparison to Johnson City & Charlotte. I was born in Charlotte but spent the majority of my life in Johnson City, but whose to say it can’t be both?

Orlando, FL – Specifically Walt Disney World & Universal Studios. I love theme parks & Orlando is the home to some pretty great ones. My 16th birthday trip was to Disney & right before my 18th birthday we spent a week at Universal (not birthday related, just lucky that mom had a conference in Orlando) & one day at Disney to celebrate. Being at Universal & Disney fills me with a joy and energy that only theme parks to do. I mean they are the happiest place on earth!

Charleston, SC – Charleston is a really beautiful city. It also holds a lot of memories from my childhood vacations to Folly Beach and an eighth-grade school trip to Charleston. It’s an old city that is filled with history, great places to shop, and a beautiful seafront. There’s a short drive from Charleston to Folly Beach, which is also a great place. Folly Beach isn’t commercialized so it’s never too busy. It’s the perfect place for early morning walks to the pier spent looking for sand dollars.

Harrisburg & Hershey, PA – Lots of memories over the years have been made in Pennsylvania. My dad is from Harrisburg & that’s where his family still is. I love going up there and visiting Schmidt’s sausage shop, Hersheypark/Chocolate World, and more. Visiting Uncle Bobby and going to the Kipona festival was something I always looked forward to. We used to go every year for a labor day weekend family reunion at our great-aunt Ruth’s house. Since she’s been gone we haven’t had any big family reunions, but we try and go up every year to visit my cousin Jessica, her husband Matt, and their two adorable little boys Dylan & Noah (& now there is another little bundle of joy along the way!!). The nine/ ten-hour car ride may not be the best, but the destination sure is (& honorary mention to the dairy corner that had the BEST custard that we always stop at along the way). It is a place filled with a lot of love and memories.

Home, sweet home in Tennessee – Oh Tennessee, how I love you. Johnson City is where I’ve grown, experienced so much, and a chunk of my heart will always live here. Dandridge is also where my mom’s family lives, so of course, it is one of my favorites too. Within Johnson City, some of my favorite specific places would be Trinity Arts Center, good ole’ ETSU, Menchie’s on People St., Willow Springs Park, the Label, and First Christian Church. So much of my life and love is in Johnson City. I don’t see myself living here forever post-graduation, but it will always be home.

With the trend of posting what states you’ve been to on Instagram, I realized I’ve never been to the West Coast so that’s definitely next up on my bucket list. No matter where this journey called life that God has mapped out for me takes me I’ll always be making new memories and my list of favorite places will always be growing.

Top 5 bucket list places:

  • Disneyland California
  • Copenhagen, Denmark (specifically during Christmas)
  • Brighton, England
  • Ireland
  • The Pacific Northwest, US

Where are some of your favorite places?

xx,

Bailey