Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Day 702: 101 Smiles

Here we have another post that definitely involves Jennifer Morrison. December 3rd marked the end of something JMo started in an attempt to bring more positivty to Twitter, called #101Smiles. The concept was simple, is simple, you post a picture a day, for 100 days, of something that made you smile. It can be anything, and some pages, such as The Ugly Ducklings page, gave daily challenges of something that made you smile within a certain category.

It just so happens that #101Smiles started on the very first day of classes here at SNC, meaning that the challenge took place over the majority of the fall semester of my sophomore year of college, and it's taught me a lot of lessons. As I said on Twitter, #101Smiles is something I didn't even know I needed. It's one of the main reasons I came out of the last two years with an extremely positive attitude, and it's certainly brought me a lot of smiles over the past 100 days. So let's take a look back. Here's the collage I put on Day 101, made up of most of the pictures I shared over the 101 days:

There were a lot of great moments stuck in there, such as the time that I made Jennifer Morrison crave churros (see THIS POST for more on that story), or that time she liked our dorm room (HERE!). There's the CaptainSwan tea, and Baby Sven (Also liked by JMo!), Halloween with my darling roommates, movie times, cupcakes, Starbucks, weird adventures, tweets, Disneybounds, Fastpass reservations and plenty, and I mean plenty, of smiles. 

I did this challenge on a whim. After all, why wouldn't I? Jennifer Morrison is one of my role models and certainly is my favorite actress, so when I saw the opportunity to join in, I jumped on the band wagon faster than you can type a tweet. What I didn't expect was for it to lift my mood so much. Just sitting down at the end of the night and thinking "What made me smile today?" lifted my mood and definitely made me a happier person. 

So here's a HUGE thank you to Jennifer Morrison for starting this, and a special shoutout to the #UglyDucklings that made me and so many others feel loved. I'm definitely sad to the see the end of #101Smiles, but I can't wait for the next one, #101Smiles2015. 

If you didn't participate in the challenge, that's alright! It's never too late to start, and just because I'm finished and so is Jen, it doesn't mean that you can't join in on the fun. There's still tons of people facing the challenge of a picture a day of a smile, and I highly recommend that you do the challenge, no matter where you are. Just because it's past Day 101 doesn't mean we have to stop smiling! 

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on December 19 due to finals). 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Day 701: 30 Days

Here we are again, at the one month mark before my next trip to Walt Disney World. It's been a really odd schedule for my family in recent years, with odd summer trips thrown in, and then that trip in March and the band trip in June. Normally we head down in November-January, but that hasn't happened for me since 2012. I guess that means I'm excited to head back in a month that I'm totally used to, even if it will be strange going so early in January. We're starting off 2015 with a bang I guess.

The funny thing is planning for this trip has been a big odd. We knew we were going in January before we even left in June, and then when we got back from the band trip, first Ashley joined on, followed by Megan, and now all six of us are headed down. It'll be a new experience for every single one of us, and I couldn't be more excited, hence the fact that I haven't stopped talking about it on the blog for months.

But it also means that waiting for this trip to get here has been a long wait. Countdowns started the second we got back in June, and with each passing day I can't decide if I get more homesick or excited. Granted, according to the order of Disney depression, right about now is when my homesickness gets pretty bad, at the six month point (we would have returned from Disney just under six months ago when I'm writing this). And editing excessive amounts of band trip video hasn't helped that homesickness either.

However, there are a few things that I'm really excited about on this trip, especially when it comes to sharing with my friends:

1. The Osborne Festival of Dancing Lights

I'm not sure why this is even here. I guess the last time we saw the lights they made a good enough impression for me to eagerly await a return trip to see them. As I blogged about over a year ago, I never really liked Hollywood Studios (even back when it was still MGM). Maybe it's because it's one of the Christmasy things we get a chance to do, even though it's the very, very end of the Christmas season (We're actually seeing them on the last day before they take them back down), or maybe it's just because it's something they had no chance at all to see in June, but it's still something I've talked endlessly about over the past few years. Who knows.

2. Dapper Day

Dapper Day usually occurs right when we're not in Florida, meaning that we don't really get a chance to participate. Oddly enough, however, it was my brother who brought the idea up to me a number of weeks ago, that we make our own Dapper Day during the trip. With a bit of careful fastpass arranging, I made it possible for us to dress a bit more dapper on a day in the middle of the trip. Have I spent a huge amount of time trying to figure out what it is that I'm going to wear on Dapper Day? Yeah, maybe I have, but it'll be worth it.

3. Food

We hit a few restaurants in June, but there are a ton that they've yet to experience, and I'm pretty excited about sharing some of them. For instance, there's still some first experiences Ashley and Megan have to have, such as their first character meal (we actually have two planned!), their first time at Garden Grill with the moving restaurant, and, of course, their first chance to experience a restaurant outside of the parks. Which leads us to the next thing...

4. Resorts

Disney World is home to so many different and completely unique resorts, of which I talk endlessly about. They've come to accept my lingo (OKW-Old Key West) as part of my language, and they make notes to remember what it is that I'm talking about when I use GF in a sentence about Disney (Grand Floridian). Luckily we have time planned in specifically to go and see some of the resorts, plus we get to stay at one that not even I've stayed at: Saratoga Springs!

5. First Plane Rides

Honestly, I hate planes. I had a bad experience a number of years ago (no, not a crash or anything like that. I was sick, it didn't end well), and so I get extremely anxious whenever I fly. I suppose I'll get used to it eventually, considering I'll probably fly more often in my future than I have so far in my life. However, I do, for some reason, like airports, and anxiety aside, I'm excited that I get to take two of my best friends on their very first plane ride, and in the case of Megan, I'm excited to show her MCO, which is yet another term she's come to understand. It was one of those Proud Moments of Lizzie's Life. And Ashley? Don't worry. You'll make it through the plane ride in one piece and we'll have a wonderful time at Disney!

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on December 19 due to finals).

Monday, December 1, 2014

Day 700: Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Time for another one of those great blog posts where you get to listen to a song while you read whatever it is I have to say!

Are you listening? Good. (If you're not listening...well..this is awkward). 

Anyways, we all have our favorite Christmas songs, and I happen to know that I definitely have a few. There's the classic Sleigh Ride, and more modern stuff like "Christmas Is Starting Now" from the Phineas and Ferb Christmas special, and the list just goes on and on. 

But if there's one song that I can apparently identify from a mile away, it's Carol of the Bells by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I don't really know why this one gets stuck in my head so often aside from one simple fact: It's been a part of the Osborne Festival of Dancing Lights for as long as I can remember, and we all know what happens when I'm able to identify something directly to Disney. 

So as I prepare for Christmas and my next trip to Disney, I'll just sit here listening to this lovely song day and night. Just kidding, I've got a really big playlist I'm listening to right now, including Taylor Swift, Pearl Jam, Christina Perri, Into the Woods and, of course, Disney and Christmas music. 

However, I'll bet you right now that Trans-Siberian Orchestra is one of the most played. 

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on December 19 due to finals).

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Day 699: The Grass Is Greener...

This is one of those blog posts where the title is really longer than I can fit in the actual title line, so here's the full one:

The Grass Is Greener...On The Marching Field

Tumblr is one of those great places where you can find lots of things. It's a place filled with humor and angst and the people that are parts of fandoms that casually tend to remind you that, of course, your favorite ship actually has this super tragic backstory that they decide to tell you through GIFs and then you just end up crying. (Not that this happens to me...often). 

But Tumblr's also a really inspiring place, and by far one of the most inspiring stories didn't originate on Tumblr at all, but rather with Jennifer Morrison. I've talked about this wonderful role model more than a few times on my blog, but this is one of those times where I just had to share. I have this really weird list of reasons as to why JMo and I are alike, and it's getting weirdly long, but this article she wrote, "The Legacy of Positivity" is something that just got me. 

You can read the full article HERE, and I really do suggest you read it before the rest of this post. If you don't want to read the whole thing, the important parts I'm hitting will be summarized in my spiel about it and so on and so forth.

Jennifer's parents, as I already knew before this article, are music teachers, meaning that music has had an important influence on her life, just as it has mine. The article goes one to talk about the things that she learned from her parents. I, of course, am not an alum of the Prospect Marching Knights, and I've never met the Morrisons, but I do know exactly what she's talking about, and I agree with every single word. 

We live in world so filled with negativity that I'm all for every chance we have to make things more positive. It's one the biggest reasons I'd love to just sit down and have coffee with Jennifer Morrison. Not to talk about Once Upon A Time or anything else, but simply talk about how she keeps things positive. As my own social media presence increases, it has occurred to me time and time again that I have to do the same thing she does, and keep things positive. Arguments don't help anyone, and negativity only works against us. But as JMo points out, it's all about your mindset. 

Over the past few days I've actually been debating this whole thing. The idea of happiness and positivity. For the last several nights, just as I'm about to go to bed, I find that I can't. Not because I'm not tired, and not because I don't have to go to bed yet or because I'm in the middle of a super angsty episode on Gilmore Girls, but rather because I'm happy. I'm excited about life. Sometimes it's excitement about things that will happen in the new future, such as my trip to Disney World that's coming up faster than any of us could possibly imagine. Once and a while I'll think about my Disneyland trip in August, and the fact that on that trip I'll have the incredible chance to meet some of the friends I've made through Disney and Once Upon A Time. And then there are the moments when I'm excited about things that are so far in the future I don't even know when they'll happen, like the simple fact that someday, somehow, I'll meet Colin O'Donoghue and yes, Jennifer Morrison. These are the things that make me excited, and you know what? I can't remember a time in the last two years when I've been so completely, truly happy. 

These past two years have been a trial for me. Tests have come in every shape and size and around every single bend, but somehow I've made it through all of it, and if there's one thing I would remind my past self if I had to do it all over again, it would be to stay positive. It's a mindset, and now that I'm in that mindset, I no longer am angry constantly, I'm not disappointed in the work I've done or the moments I've missed out on. I've grown, and my positivity has grown with it. 

After all, as Jennifer Morrison mentioned: "...'The grass isn't greener on the other side. The grass is greener where you water it.' And it's also green where you march, my mom and dad would say. So put one foot in front of the other, even if they're baby steps and let's all walk towards the light, lean into it, and grow green together." 

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on December 19 due to finals!)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Day 698: Cousin Dave

I like to think I'm a pretty funny person, and if I'm not funny, I'm at least sarcastic. I really enjoy my puns and truly believe that The Jungle Cruise is one of the greatest gifts to the world. Why? Puns, of course. There's actually punny stuff all over Walt Disney World, and I tend to enjoy making jokes about stuff I find there in my everyday life. I'm sure I've mentioned a few of them before, including anything from the Carousel of Progress or Haunted Mansion.

Which brings us to part one of the discuss: Haunted Mansion. A few weeks ago I happened to make a joke involving the following headstone to my roommates:

These gravestones are all over at Haunted Mansion, and I've read each and every one of them multiple times. Of course, my roommates hadn't, so I was met only with blank stares. No, blank confused stares is more like it. The bigger problem? When I make a Disney joke, Megan often will catch onto the fact that it's a Disney joke and she should just go along with it until we get to Disney and I can explain it further. Everyone else, however, isn't used to my constant Disney jokes. She is because I said them all the time in High School. Things are different now.

Which is why I make OUAT jokes instead. It seems that when I share something like this following one, they all understand:

Actually, numerous people have sent me this meme, including one or more of my roommates. Then again, with the way things work in our room, we laugh whenever someone mentions the word Hook period. It always ends with me in a fit of giggles and then they all laugh at my fangirling. But hey, he's my favorite character, what am I gonna do? 

So you can see the problem here. I can make Disney jokes all day and get nothing but blank stares, but the second I make a Once joke everything works out. Maybe I need to find some new material. Yeah, I should find some new jokes having to do with the Disney movies. They'd probably understand those! That or I need my own headstone: "Here Rests Cousin Lizzie, She Gave Us Jokes 'till We Were Dizzy."

No? Tough Crowd. 

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on December 19 due to finals). 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Day 697: The Falcon Is Back!

I'm late to the blogging game when it comes to one of the biggest Black Friday releases of all time: the first trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. While we may have a year left before the actual release, Star Wars and Disney decided to give us a sneak peek at the new film with a trailer featuring more than a few new characters. If you're really behind and have yet to see the trailer, here it is:

Now, I'm not quite sure what to make of all the new characters. We actually know some of the names of them at this point, but that's a whole other story (and probably another future blog post). The important part here? The Falcon. The Millennium Falcon has returned, and I couldn't be more excited. 

If you're a long time reader of my blog, you'll know very well that Han Solo is super important to me. He's been my favorite Star Wars character since I watched the entire thing a number of years ago, and I highly doubt that's about to change anytime soon. After all, my love of Harrison Ford withstood the fourth Indiana Jones movie, and if it can hold up after that I doubt anything else can break it. 

Other than that, I really don't have much to say about the trailer anymore. It's been almost a month since it originally came out, and while I was bouncing off the walls when it originally came off, I've finally calmed myself down. It's an impressive feat, and now I'm just rambling on when I have a good 20 other blog posts to catch up on. 

What'd you think of the trailer? Are you excited for the new Star Wars Episode or did the Soccer Ball Droid throw you off? 

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on December 19 due to Finals Week!)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Day 696: Thankful

Happy (Late!) Thanksgiving everyone!

As usual, I meant to write this ever so long ago, you know, like on Thanksgiving, but alas, homework and finals took over my life for a good couple of weeks. Regardless, it's never too late or early to be thankful, and just as last year, I've got a list of things I'm thankful for. Previously, I did a list of 5, but this time I'm going to just kind of list them in any given order. I've had such a wonderful year so far that I don't think I could pick and choose what I'm most thankful for. I'm thankful for all of it, and that's the point. I won't comment on every single one, just because I am on a time limit and have plenty of other things to get done today, but either way, here's the list:

Once Upon A Time

Don't tell me you didn't think this one would make it on the list, especially since this has a bunch of subcategories. Once has played a crucial role in my life in the past year and a half (although it's stemmed from long before that). The show filled a void in my life left by friends (or people I thought to be friends) who abandoned me, people who tried to control my life. Now, somewhere along the line, I found that I could closely relate to the characters and themes on the show, and it taught me how to hope again. I'm a million times happier at this point now than I was a year ago, and infinitely happier than six months ago. Now, it's not ALL thanks to Once, but a good portion of it is.

Secondly, I'm extremely thankful for the cast of this show. When I go back on my TimeHop, it's hilarious now to watch as I try to get tweets from cast members, and now here I am with a list of favorites, retweets and tweets too long to even remember who all responded. I may not have had the chance to meet these lovely people in person, but that contact has become a constant source of happiness, and I couldn't be more thankful for each and every one of them. Special shoutout to Colin O'Donoghue for making my birthday one of the best ever as well! Can't really beat out a tweet from one of your favorite actors!

Finally, I'm thankful for the people I've met through OUAT and the Internet. I'm extremely excited to head out to California next year and finally meet some of you, all while Disneybounding, of course!

My Friends & Family

Walt Disney World

Starbucks & Delicious Soy Chai Lattes

My Roommates

I don't talk about them all the time, mostly because it might get redundant to say "Today's Disney reference is that we sang another Disney song!" Regardless, I'm sooooo thankful for the wonderful people I get to live with, whether that means my roommate from last year, Megan, or my newest roommates, Hannah, Ashley and my best friend Megan (but not the same Megan)! You guys bring so much joy into my everyday, from Newsies and crazy late night laughing to tea time, Chuck breaks and Starbucks trips. Plus, every single one of you have put up with my constant talking about OUAT and Disney and I'm not even sure how you do it. You all get awards. Every one of you.

Disney Movies


Leather Jackets

Everyday Disney

This blog, of course, gets on this list every year. I've been fortunate enough to find an actual following in the past year, and I'm extremely excited to see where Everyday Disney goes in 2015, especially with two Disney trips and lots of surprises in between.

St. Norbert


New Friends

A Million Other Things

And finally, The Seymour High School 2014 Band Trip to Walt Disney World

This trip, as you all know quite well by this point, was hell. It was awful. God awful, painful, frustrating and almost killed me. I wanted, more than anything, to just give up and throw everything I'd worked for away. But somewhere along the line, in between my friends, OUAT, my college community, my Band Director and Disney, I found a way to balance it all out into what I now define as one of the greatest experiences of my entire life.

Going into something like a band trip to Disney World, especially when it's something you've been dreaming of your entire life, has a lot to live up to. It's dangerous. The chances of you being disappointed are a million times higher than you not, but I agreed to disagree, and on every aspect of the Disney side, I was perfectly content. I said at the very beginning that as long as I got to do three things - march down Main Street U.S.A, go on Spaceship Earth and Watch Illuminations - I would be happy. And I was, only I failed to realize the impact and the living hell my life would become thanks to the people that wanted me gone. I get it. I understand. I graduated, and it was difficult to share your spot with someone who already got their own individual spotlight. In every aspect, I shouldn't have been there. But I was, and haters are going to hate, I guess.

Which is why through all of it, I'm more thankful for a couple of things when it comes to this trip than anything else. First off, thank you to Disney Performing Arts for allowing us to perform. Thank you, and I can't say that enough, for allowing my dream to come true. Thank you to Nick, the cast member that got me through the parade without crying, and to my best friends who stuck with me through thick and thin. But I think, more than anything here, I have to thank my High School Band director, Mr. Alban. I've said it a million times before, and I'll probably say it a million times again, but you're the one who helped get us there. You pushed us, myself included, to be the best musicians we possibly could be, and it was from that foundation that you helped make my dream come true. I'd be an extremely different person if not for your influence, and this trip, whether any of us liked it or not, taught me a lot about life, adulthood, responsibility and persistence. Thanks Mr. Alban, for being a mentor through every second of it.

This list could go on for a very long time, but I think I'll stop it here for now. But here's one last thank you, to all the people, whether you know it or not, that have helped me through the past year and a half. It's given me the strength to one important thing: keep moving forward.

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on December 15 due to finals!)