2018 IN REVIEW

At the end of last year, I wrote a blog post entitled “2017 in Review (A short story on why I’m really glad it’s over.” In the spirit of consistency and because I’d like to think I’ll enjoy looking back on posts like this when I’m old with children, many rescue dogs, and even worse knees, I’ve decided to write a similar post about 2018. I’m also glad 2018 is over but in a completely different way than the year prior. So, what happened in 2018?

I have to address the biggest thing first even though it didn’t happen until September (so later in the year), I GOT INTO THE DISNEY COLLEGE PROGRAM. I’d say that this is definitely the highlight of 2018. I know I’ve already talked about Disney a lot so I won’t go on too much, but it’s definitely one of the reasons I’m glad 2018 is almost over. I am so ready for it to be 2019 so I can be in Disney World chasing down a dream I’ve had for a long time. I’m so optimistic about this experience and can’t wait to dive right into it. As of right now, I’m 19 days away from checking in to my apartment and getting it all started.

School this year went really well. My Spring semester I completed one of my goals of the year which was to ake the Dean’s List! I’m happy to say, I have likely made it again for the Fall 2018 semester! The actual list won’t be out until January but I made all A’s so I think it’s safe to say I made it on the list. The Fall semester was a really great semester. I got to work with an AMAZING group of people for my Audience Research class on a project. I honestly don’t think I could’ve created a better group of people. We all worked really hard, had fun, and did a great job. Every semester I fall more and more in love with the department I’m in, my fellow students, and the faculty and professors who have taught me everything I know. I absolutely love my school and have no doubts that I made the right decision choosing to go to ETSU.

In the realm of travel this year, we went to Pennsylvania this summer to spend time with family. We ate lots of Amish pretzels and doughnuts, went to many farmer’s markets, shared lots of laughs, and ate plenty of Hershey’s sweets. It was also just so great to spend time with my cousin, her husband, and their two sweet little boys. The two of them had grown up so much since we’d seen them last year and it was so fun to see their personalities developing and shine through. Plus, while we were in Pennsylvania we got to see Harry Styles at Hersheypark. He put on an incredible performance and was so engaged with the audience. Honestly, one of the best concerts I’ve been to. That was the only major trip we took this year, but I’m thankfully for the time spent in my hometown. I’ll likely be missing this place in a few months time.

I continued to fall in love with work this year and the area that I’m studying to go into. I’m so lucky to be able to already be working a job in the field I hope to be in post-graduation (media & communications/ advertising & PR), and for that, I couldn’t be more thankful. I have an amazing group of coworkers who make every day an enjoyable one and I never dread a day of work. The entire staff is amazing, the team I work on is some of the most talented and brightest people I know, and my supervisor is the absolute best. I love where I work and I’m gonna miss them so much next semester.

2018 was quite a year. For me, it was overall good, but for those around me, I know it was a challenge. Several family members faced severe health issues, friends were faced with losing loved ones, and the whole world as a whole seems to be struggling with something. It did make me worry a lot about taking care of those around me and being the best support system I can be. Despite all of the bad, I continuously strove to remind myself (and hopefully convince others) that through it all, God has a plan. This was a big thing I learned in 2018. I always knew it was true but don’t know that I actually put full trust in it until this year. Being able to fully trust in a plan that is greater than my own is something that can free your heart of anxiety and worry, and for that, I’m grateful.

I’m thankful for the memories made, lessons learned, and strength grown throughout 2018, and am excited to see what all 2019 has in store. For obvious reasons, I am so ready for 2019 to be here and cannot wait to get the year started in Disney World! So, here’s to 2018! Thank you for everything you held and have prepared us for in 2019.

What are you excited about for 2019?

❤ / Bailey

ONE OF MY DREAMS CAME TRUE

On September 25, 2018, one of my dreams came true. I got an email from the Walt Disney Company that I had been accepted into the Disney College Program for Soring 2019! This has been something I have wanted to do since I learned about it while on my 16th birthday trip to Walt Disney World. To say I was excited would be an understatement. I almost choked on my Chick-Fil-A salad and then almost cried (and I HATE crying, so you know I was in a big mood). It’s such an honor to be accepted into this program on my first try. So many people apply and there are only a limited amount of spots, so I am truly ecstatic that Disney chose me!

Some of you may be asking, “what exactly does this mean?” Well, In January of 2019 I will be moving to Orlando, FL for a paid internship at Walt Disney World. I’ll be working in Merchandise in Disney World stores. As of right now, I’m not sure at which of the parks or resorts I will be working at, but honestly, I’m excited for any of them. IT’S DISNEY WORLD FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! I will remain a full-time student taking 15 credit hours of online classes through East Tennessee State University to stay on track with graduating in May 2020 and maintaining my academic scholarships. It’s gonna be a lot, but several people believe in me, and I think I’ll be able to balance it all well.

What I do know now is that this is something I am meant to do. I have to keep reminding myself about this because I can already tell the transition is going to be hard. I’ve never lived away from home, especially not 10 hours away with a bunch of people I’ve never met before. I’m dreading saying goodbye and leaving my life as it is right now that I love so much. I love where I work now, I love my school, and I love my friends and family. But, I feel like any growing that I have left to do in order to become a fully functioning adult is going to need to be done away from home. I need to push myself out of my comfort zone and not let fear or anxiety stop me from potentially having an experience that will change my life. I’ve prayed long and hard about this situation and every sign God is sending me seems to be pointing me to go, so I will obey and trust that now is the time.

I truly am excited about this incredible opportunity. I’ve got a lot of packing, planning, and preparing to do in the next three months before move in! While I’m deep in preparations I also have to remember to keep on top of this semester’s workload (going to school when you know you’ll be going to Disney soon makes concentrating very hard). Please pray for me as I am awaiting this adventure. There’s lots to do, lots of people to see, and lots to think about.

See ya real soon, Orlando.

❤ / Bailey

CONCERT REVIEW – HARRY STYLES

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It’s no secret, I love going to concerts. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been able to attend several shows throughout my life with my music loving family. I’ve not just been to a specific genre of concerts either. My concert experience ranges from Warped Tour to One Direction and everything in between! So, I figured I’d share my love for music in the form of concert reviews, starting with the one and only Harry Styles.

On June 14, 2018, I saw Harry Styles, live on tour in Hershey, PA. Now, this wasn’t our usual choice of concert venue seeing as it was seven hours away from home, but because we have family in Harrisburg nearby we made a family trip out of it. BOY WAS THAT A GOOD DECISION. This was the second time I had seen Harry in concert. The first time being when he was with One Direction for their “Where We Are” tour. I remember 16-year-old me being thrilled about seeing him then and let me tell you, nearly 20-year-old me was even more thrilled to see him on his solo tour. I’ll run through some of the highlights from the different aspects of the show.

The Venue – Like I said, this wasn’t our go-to concert viewing location. We were at the Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, PA. The set up was stadium style with the stands on the side, but they put down flooring for seating down on the field, that’s where we were. Now, the venue was nice with views of roller coasters in the background, but the seats weren’t my favorite. They were so close together that when everyone was sitting there was no way to avoid touching the person next to you. We were quite literally shoulder to shoulder. I’m not a super touchy person, so that did make me quite uncomfortable. The other downside was that since we were in the field section, everything was flat so if there were taller people in front of you it was tough seeing the stage. Plus can I just throw in, FOR PETESAKE PUt your PHONES DOWN AND BE IN THE MOMENT?! It was already a struggle to see over the people in front of us without everyone stretching their arms up to get an inevitably blurry Snapchat post. Other than those two downers, the venue was actually really nice. It could hold a lot of people and they had the lights going on the rides which made for a fun background. Plus, we got dropped off in the Chocolate World parking lot and had a very short walk to the Stadium.

The Opening Act – Not gonna lie, I was a little unsure of how I’d feel about the opening act for this tour because I don’t like country music very much. Kacey Musgraves opened the show and I really enjoyed it. She had a beautiful voice and carried herself really well on stage. It was a great opener to a great show!

The Show – Where to even begin? The show was phenomenal. Harry Styles is just a lovely human being. The show opened with images of his hands flashing on the screen trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube. Piece by piece it would start to come together, and anticipation grew as most of the audience had caught on to the fact that when the cube was solved he’d be out. Out he came in a mint blue, bell bottom suit! He was super engaged with the audience asking questions between songs, cracking jokes about dads/boyfriends who had obviously been dragged to the concert against their will, joking about how many bugs were flying around on stage, and generally making sure everyone was having a good time. He restated several times that he just wanted everyone to have the best night, whether that included singing along or dancing, he just wanted everyone to have a safe space to be themselves and enjoy their time. Plus, his voice sounds the same in real life as it does on record. He has such a pure and unique sound that transcends. He sang some old songs, most songs of his debut album, and even some songs he hasn’t released yet. This show now ranks at #2 on my list of all time favorite concerts.

The Merch – I couldn’t talk about the Harry Styles concert and not mention the tour merch. I absolutely LOVE the merch Harry had to go along with his tour. A majority of what he was selling had the praise “treat people with kindness” on them. I think it’s really incredible to see someone with such a huge influence doing something good and being a positive force to their audience. Besides the fact that they had such a good message attached, the shirts and sweatshirts are super soft. I got a yellow crewneck sweatshirt that I basically want to live in, and am really sad that I can’t right now because it’s been 90+ degrees in Tennessee every day. The sweatshirt has black embroidered stitching on the breast pocket area that says “Kiwi” and on the sleeve that says “I’m having your baby.” I also got a yellow t-shirt with black vinyl lettering across the front that says “treat people with kindness” and a black tote back that had Harry’s hands solving a Rubik’s Cube on it. The merch overall gets an A+ from me.

Overall, I had an amazing time at the Harry Styles concert. Even though I wasn’t feeling super great, I always end up getting sick before shows, I still had a lot of fun. What are some of your favorite concerts you’ve ever been to? Comment below!

Treat someone with kindness today!

xx,

Bailey

 

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

 

IN-CAR TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

Here’s a fun fact: I’ve never been on a plane. In my nineteen (& a half) years of life, I’ve never stepped foot on an airplane. Everywhere I’ve gone has been a car journey. Even our yearly trips to Pennsylvania were ten-hour car journeys. Just remembering any trip I’ve taken I can feel the cramped legs that come with folding and sitting on them for hours on end.

Throughout the years I have learned what some essential items are to make long car trips more bearable. I thought it would be fun to share and good for me to write out as I am preparing to go on a trip to Orlando in about a week. I’m going to a conference called Exponential that I am super pumped about, but it also means a long journey in a church van with around 20 other people. I’ve got to make sure I’m well prepared because I haven’t done a trip like this with that many people since I was in the 8th grade.

So, here are some of my in-car travel essentials:

  • A small bag or backpack – This may seem a bit self-explanatory, but when you’re traveling with a lot of people you are likely to make several stops and will need to take your stuff with you. Because I’ll be in a van with several other people, I’ll need a bag that will fit down by my feet and hold anything I might need/want for the drive.
  • Tissues, cough drops, and aspirin – There’s nothing worse than feeling sick or being in pain and being confined in a small space for several hours. Better safe than sorry.
  • Headphones – This one is always a key item for me when traveling. Particularly for this trip, everyone might not want to listen to the same music and there are likely to be down periods of quietness where headphones will come in handy.
  • Chapstick – Nobody likes dry lips.
  • GUM – as you can tell, this one is very important. I’m almost always chewing gum and traveling is not excluded from that. My ears often pop and clog during long car journeys so gum is highly essential. Plus, the fact that there’s a lot of people in this van sharing the same air means nobody wants to be smelling bad breath.
  • A good book – For those downtime moments when you start to get bored a good book will come in handy! Pretty much the only time I read is when traveling because I find it to be a perfect time. I can usually finish an entire book in one car journey.
  • Snacks & water – It’s never fun being stuck in a car for a long journey without any food or water. Especially when traveling with a lot of people with a time frame, you may not be able to stop when you get hungry so it’s good to be prepared.
  • The Netflix app – Before setting off on your journey, make sure to download some of your favorite shows or movies on to your phone. If your attention span is short like mine, you’ll need multiple things to do in the car to keep from death by boredom.
  • A portable phone charger – It’s important to keep your phone charged up when you’re going to be in a car for a long time. When you finally get to your destination chances are you are going to need to look something up on your phone or use it to start taking vacation pictures.
  • A blanket or jacket – Taking naps in the car can be extremely uncomfortable, but one thing that can make it better is a blanket. Plus, it may get cold in the car so a jacket or blanket will keep you warm without burning up everyone else in the car with turning up the heat.
  • Sunglasses – Gotta protect those retinas from burning!

That about wraps it up for my in-car essentials. The most important thing to remember when traveling a long distance by car is to just keep a good attitude. Don’t be that person going “are we there yet?” every five minutes, and just enjoy the journey!

xx,

Bailey

A Postcard From Washington, D.C.

The Capitol of the United States of America. It’s a busy place where everywhere you look there are people scurrying by on their way to work, cars and tour buses flying past, and at least one security person every 100 feet (or so it seems). There’s a lot going on in Washington, D.C. and last week I found myself thrown right in to the heart of it. As a part of my family’s biannual trip up to Pennsylvania we decided to make a pit stop in D.C. for a few days and explore the city. So, here’s a little look in to our adventure!

DAY ONE (Sort of): The trip started off with a 6 hour drive to Arlington, VA. We got to our hotel at around 7:30 pm and to be honest I felt completely miserable. The day before we had left for vacation I had actually been diagnosed with a sinus infection and had horrible nausea and sinus headaches. Therefore, I decided to spend the first night sleeping in order to hopefully make myself feel better for the rest of the week!

DAY TWO: Day two of our D.C. adventure started out a little late because we had to get all of our stuff out of the hotel because that night we were moving in to Washington. By the time we got out and about it was actually lunch time so we hit up an Arlington pizza place called Pupatella. THE PIZZA THERE WAS THE BOMB. The restaurant itself had a really modern, Neapolitan vibe to it and the pizza tasted just as great as it looked. After filling up on delicious, cheesy goodness, we headed to Arlington National Cemetery. Arlington Cemetery is a place that is hard to accurately describe. It’s beauty is stunning and really a place to behold, but then you also realize that you are surrounded by thousands of people who lost their lives serving our country. It really makes you think about how valuable life is and how lucky we are in America to have such brave people fight for our freedom and safety every single day. It definitely made me thankful to live where I live. We took a tour around the cemetery and admired its beauty and meaning every step of the way. We got on the last shuttle of the day and headed back to our car to drive in to D.C. and check in to our hotel and get some rest.


DAY THREE: Our first real day in the capitol! We walked a few blocks to the nearest Metro station and hopped on the train to go visit the capitol building. I just want to start this by saying that this building is absolutely stunning. We stood outside and took it all in for about 30 minutes and decided we needed to check out the inside of this place. Lucky for us, the line to get in wasn’t super long so we got right in and jumped in to a tour group to learn more about what goes on in this massive building. It isn’t just a place where the House and Senate meets, but it also holds some beautiful statues and paintings of historical figures. If you are ever in D.C. and have a chance to tour the capitol building I would highly suggest it! Plus, it’s free & air-conditioned!! How can you say no to that? We finished up our tour of the Capitol and realized that we were starving. We quickly looked up the closest place to eat and walked to a British-American pub called The Alibi. This place was amazing! The food was fantastic and the service was even better. The two men working there were the nicest people (not to mention their awesome accents) and even brought us some phone chargers when we were complaining about our dying phones! If that’s not customer service I don’t know what is. When we got our food it was delicious! I had the sausage rolls and I wish I had ordered three more plates because they were that good. With full stomachs we decided to walk our food off by heading up to see the White House. To be completely honest, I was disappointed by the White House. I don’t know why but I thought it would be bigger and more grand. There was however a fun lady singing about how Jesus needs to be in our government and another man screaming in a foreign language and pouring bottles of water on himself. So I think that made up for it!


DAY FOUR: The next day was spent in the very beautiful National Botanical Garden. Every where you looked there were plants and flowers like you’d never seen before. They had a really nice layout of rooms with different themes that made for a really fun self-guided tour. We spent a large chunk of the day taking in God’s beautiful creation and then decided to visit the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum! I have to admit, this museum bored me at first because it was all about aviation, but then we got to the astronomical section and I found it MUCH more fascinating!! We only had an hour and a half to look around the museum before it closed, so we didn’t get to soak a whole lot in but it was still fun! We had dinner at an amazing restaurant called Founding Farmers which was super delicious and supports local farmers. Plus, our waiter was so nice! It was a great way to end the day.


DAY FIVE: Our final day in Washington! This was an unplanned day as we were actually supposed to be in Pennsylvania. We started running out of time because of everything there is to do, so we stayed an extra day (which I wasn’t to keen on but you have to roll with the punches sometimes). Day five was a day completely devoted to museums. We went to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Native American Museum. Both of these museums were really informative and great to visit! The Natural History Museum had a great exhibit on gem stones and lots of other really interactive exhibits (which are great for me and my tiny attention span)! It was a great way to spend our last day in the capitol. We left the native american museum, grabbed a hot dog from Ben’s Chili Bowl, and headed for Pennsylvania leaving D.C. behind us!


The trip to Washington, D.C. is one I won’t soon forget. I am not a very political person so I didn’t know how much fun I would have, but I actually enjoyed it! I would definitely recommend adding it to your travel bucket list. I hope you’ve enjoyed this look in to my vacation! What place would you like to visit this Summer?

xx,

Bailey