Timing: the belief of soulmates, and long- distance relationships.

“Where have you been my whole life?”  “Becoming the person, you needed me to be. “- Amanda Torroni

Patrick and I have officially been dating a little over six months. I have been in a lot of relationships, four serious relationships since I was sixteen. All of those were before I even knew Patrick existed. I never would have dreamed there was someone out there like him. But the universe is funny that way. I had almost given up on dating, love, relationships. And then the universe was like, here’s your dream man, you’re welcome. I am a complicated person. I can be very pessimistic/realistic, but I am also the first to describe something as magical, cry at a Disney movie, and be the first to make a fairy tale reference. So I’m not going to say it was love at first sight. But these past six months, have honestly been the best six months of my life. And literally, if he broke my heart right this second- I wouldn’t regret any of this. He has made me a better person, and he has restored my belief in love. I also have a strong opinion on timing. I think that all my past four relationships taught me something about myself. But I also think most them failed because of timing. Austin and I were too young (timing), Rayce moved away to college, I left James for the Disney College Program, the Disney College program ended and Tall James and I were going to live 24 hours apart. Now I also could say distance could be to blame, but all those relationships started with us living in the same state. Destiny is a word I rarely use. It’s a strong word. Merriam-Webster defines it as: the hidden power believed to control what will happen in the future. I think that could go hand in hand with the universe dropped the perfect man in my lap at the perfect time. Timing. I met Patrick after being single for over a year. I had been out of the Disney bubble for over a year, and I had finally seen the light of my schooling coming to an end. I met him at what you could say, was the perfect timing. But is it perfect that we live sixteen hours apart? Most of the world would say no. And they have. I hear it constantly, “Long distance never works.” Here is my answer, except when it does. Now I am not a relationship expert. I wouldn’t even say my relationship is perfect. There are flaws. We are in different time zones, we are both workaholics, we are both social butterflies, and we are both independent. I am also not the best at showing my emotions, or communicating. But something long distance has taught me is that you can improve. Patrick and I talk on the phone almost every day, sometimes twice. I wouldn’t say we text 24/7, but we text a lot. We snapchat occasionally, and we do use Facebook Messenger. But it isn’t just that we talk a lot, that isn’t what communication means. Effective communication is defined as verbal speech or other methods of relaying information that gets a point across. We communicate we get our point across when something is bothering we tell each other. He is the first person I talk to in the morning, and usually the last before I go to bed. Yes, our relationship is a little unconventional, I go 40 days without seeing him very often. But we make up for it when we are together. If you’re going through a long-distance relationship, I recommend talking a lot. It helps. I crave his voice. That may sound cheesy, or even creepy. But I look forward to hearing from him. My second piece of advice is being independent. You’re not going to be happy if you believe he is the only reason you’re happy in the first place. You need to have your own things. I’m not saying you shouldn’t share everything, but you can go enjoy your day and then tell him about it at the end. We both have very different jobs and hobbies. I love that. I have been in relationships before where my world became him. Everything I did was with him, it wasn’t healthy, and it wasn’t fun. Especially in a long distance, I would constantly be bored, or sad if all I did was sit around and sulk because he wasn’t here. I take myself out to the movies, to art museums, and even outside in nature. I hang out with friends once a week, and I spend quality time with my family. But at the end of the day, I call Patrick. And yes it may be the highlight of my day, but it’s not the only thing I have going for me.

Another worry I get a lot from people is the panic of, “what if when you move to Buffalo, you two realize you’re not actually compatible?” I think this ties into the concern from earlier, “Long distance never works.” My response is going to stay consistent, “except when it does”. I will tell you the truth, of course, I am scared to be moving to Buffalo with a guy I’ve never spent more than five days with at a time. But a bigger part of me has no worry at all. We’ve traveled together, he’s seen me sick, he’s seen me hangry, he’s seen me on my period, he’s seen me without makeup, he’s seen me cry, he’s seen me at my worst, and my best. I think we are, no, I know we are ready for this next step. And honestly, that’s all anyone can hope for. There isn’t anyone in the world that can tell me my future or anyone else’s. I believe in magic and love, but I don’t believe in fortune tellers. (insert laugh track) I also am going to be mushy real fast, life is fucking short. I don’t want to go another six months without him. I want to wake up to him, not just a text, or a snap, I want to wake up and kiss him. I want to spend lazy Sunday’s together, I want to go watch his brother play basketball, I want to vacation with his family, birdwatch with his best friends. I want to spend my life with my best friend. So yes, I’ve known him seven months. Yes, we’ve been long distance. But, love is love. Nothing is guaranteed, not tomorrow, not forever, but I’ll take what I can get.

April and May: Time Moves Faster Than You Think

“ Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. “ – Ferris Bueller

April and May always go by so fast, it’s the end of the school year and everything is due all at once. I have been in a long-distance relationship since December, and I think waiting for something can either go one of two ways, everything goes by super-fast, or everything goes in slow motion. Lately, I have felt like everything is going by quickly. April is one of my favorite months, I love rainy weather and it has basically been monsooning in Arkansas for the last two weeks. If you’ve been watching the news at all lately then I’m sure you’ve seen that Arkansas had been experiencing a lot of flooding. April also happens to be the birthday month of my first niece, Savannah. We had a girls day and I took her out to see Beauty and the Beast and out for pizza. She is turning five and It has been such a joy to watch her grow up. I get emotional just thinking about how much she has grown and changed in the last five years.

April, I got to mark one of the biggest things on my bucket list- SEEING JOHN MAYER LIVE. I had a girl’s weekend with one of my best friends Kathlyn. She had never been to Kansas City, so I had so much fun sharing this experience with her. I am a huge fan of KC. As I’m sure you knew from previous posts. We stopped in at my favorite restaurant for dinner, Jack Stack BBQ, supposedly there is better BBQ in KC. I don’t believe those people. We went to our hotel after this, and it was probably one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed at. We took an Uber back into the city and went had a little pregame before the concert. I can’t say no a nice ice cold beer. The concert was at the Sprint Center. I honestly have no complaints, John Mayer was a beautiful man in person, his voice is perfect, and he played all of my favorites. I did leave out one tiny detail, I was sick through this whole trip. Step had the best of me. I could barely sing along at the concert I was continuously slapping Kathlyn asking her to scream for me. So, John Mayer if you’re reading this, I loved your show and I need to see you again so I can sing along with you. Thanks.

The second day in Kansas City we went and saw the Union Station and Crown Center. We had lunch at the Plaza (we caught a lot of Pokémon), and I bought books I didn’t need… wait I always need more books. We also went to Ikea! Somehow Kathlyn had never been to Ikea and that is just crazy. We got some Swedish meatballs and Swedish chocolate. Totally worth the whole trip. On the way home, we stopped at Kathlyn’s favorite restaurant, Jersey Mike’s. SO GOOD. And then we made a little pitstop on the way home in Joplin, Missouri to see the waterfalls. I can’t pass up a good photo.

April is my niece’s birthday as I said earlier, so we had a Little Mermaid birthday party for her. I miss Disney so much, so I sure can’t complain that my niece and nephews are following in my footsteps and loving Disney just as much as me. I didn’t get to see Patrick at all in April, it was the longest we had ever been apart.  BUT luckily for us, we were reunited the very first week of May. I traveled to Buffalo, New York for the anniversary for the Union my boyfriend is an Organizer for. We had the opportunity to get all dressed up and go drink the night away with all his close 60+-year-old lady friends. You think I’m kidding, but I met a lot of older women who use to be nurses and they were a part of labor union movement that helped a ton of people get their rights in the workforce. Or at least that’s how I understood it. I had a wonderful time meeting people who adored my boyfriend as much as I do. And I sure do like seeing him in a suit. The next morning our hungover asses got up super early and we headed to Erie, Pennsylvania. Are you getting the drift that I like to travel? Or Nah. We went and had lunch at, this is a shocker CHICK-FIL-A. Patrick is very upset that he doesn’t have a CFA closer. So, CFA corporate please bring one to Cheektowaga soon, please. We went and saw an art museum in Erie. It was one of the smallest I’ve ever seen, but it had a really cool exhibit of sculptures by William Brady Jr. This was my favorite part of the trip. I just really like exploring unfamiliar places. We made a tiny pit stop at Krispy Kreme and then we headed back to Cheektowaga for a Cinco De Mayo Party! If you live near a CFA or a Krispy Kreme feel blessed, some must drive an hour and a half for this.

The next day we went on a double date with his best friends- Marcus and Laura. We had brunch at a little diner that I just can’t remember the name of it, but I had a fantastic grilled cheese. And then the real adventure started, we went to the Niagara Power Vista science museum. I think you’re probably starting to realize we have a thing for museums. This was the most interactive museum I’ve ever been to. I highly recommend it, especially if you have children. I think Buffalo would be a wonderful place to raise a family. (Not anytime soon, no one panic.) This museum was the most specific science museum I’ve been to. But it was a really fun learning experience- I am trying to make a list of family friendly things in the Buffalo area so my family will want to visit when I move to Buffalo. (170 days or something close to that until I’m leaving Arkansas!)

If there is one thing Patrick knows about me is my love for travel. He took me to this tiny town called East Aurora. It was literally the cutest town in Western New York that I’ve seen so far. He took me to see Millard Fillmore’s house, and Vidler’s. Vidler’s was like this massive gift shop, also have you ever seen those Halloween Town movies? Well if you have in one of them there was this room of lost things, and well I almost feel like that was Vidler’s, so much random shit. Go and please let me know if that was not the best description. But don’t forget to bring 10 cents – they’re famous for their popcorn!

One of my goals is to find the best Buffalo Wings, so far, I’ve tried Duffs, and now I’ve had Anchor Bar wings. If you want my opinion, which isn’t very credible in the wings world, I like Duff’s the best so far.

Unfortunately, all trips must come to an end. I think this is the worst part about long distance. And I know it puts a strain on Patrick and me, I am always focusing on how our fun is almost over. I hate telling him goodbye. It physically hurts to walk away from him in an airport. On our last day, he took me to lunch at Pano’s, I would not recommend their grilled cheese, but the blueberry beer was FANTASTIC. And then he even took me out for ice cream at Anderson’s. Sponge candy ice cream is a real magical thing.

 

Insignificant

In the grand scheme of things – a failed class, a lost passport, strep throat, a shitty car, sleeping through an alarm are all small insignificant problems. In the grand scheme of things- love and happiness is what is important. I have a problem where I am always stressed about something. Money, grades, acceptance, approval, but should I be stressed about any of this? I think we forget sometimes how great we have it here in shitty America. So many of us have JOBS, HOUSES, FOOD, CLEAN AIR, CLEAN WATER, FAMILIES, OUR HEALTH, AND some even have the loves of their lives. Now I know there are even places in America where they don’t have these luxuries. But I do have these luxuries. And what am I stressed about? A lost passport, overcharging of my phone plan, how expensive it is to ship a package, how expensive it is to fly to Chicago for fun. My stresses are insignificant. I am so lucky, blessed. Thankful- whatever word you think I should use. I am thankful for my job at Chick-fil-A, I am thankful for Rogers, Arkansas and the safe environment I have grown up in. I am thankful that the worse thing to happen to me medically in the last 24 years- is that my tonsils swell more than the average person. I am thankful for my parents for letting me live with them when some people don’t have parents. I am thankful for finding my boyfriend, and falling in love. I am so annoyed half the time that he is sixteen hours away. But I know there are people that have their loved ones even further away. I get to fly and see Patrick way more than most long-distance relationships. I have more food than anyone ever needs, I have so much Easter candy, sweet tea, bagels, when I myself have been to third world countries where they barely have rice to eat. I am insignificant. I am selfish. I am spoiled. And yet, I always find something to complain about. I know people who would LOVE to have the chance to go to college but can’t afford it. I know people who can’t go shopping whenever they want. I wouldn’t ever call myself rich. But I am not in need. I am not struggling. I am taken care of. I am okay.

So if you’re like me, and you’re feeling stressed, or needy. Look around, love the people around you, enjoy that unicorn Frappuccino, relish in that clean air, and try to let all those troubles go. Because in the beautiful words of Lin Manuel Miranda, “Look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now.”

Spring Break in Arkansas: Bringing my Yankee to the South

So far all of Patrick and I’s visits have been in Buffalo, New York. Naturally, I like visiting a new place- it still feels like vacation every time I visit him. But after realizing I was in love- it was time for him to see my home. The place that made me who I am. Patrick came to Arkansas for my Spring break. We had a Saturday- Thursday. It wasn’t enough time together, in case you were wondering. 

Our first day went so fast. I worked that morning, literally only a three-hour shift – it was the longest shift I’ve ever worked. Finally, I got to go drive to the airport. I was SO excited to pick him up. I forget that Arkansas has a negative stereotype. So, as he is landing he is seeing Tyson paraphernalia. On the drive to our hotel, he is seeing cows, and fields. But then we get to the main strip in Bentonville, and he looked pleasantly surprised. We went and got cleaned up and then we were off to CHICK-FIL-A. This is going to sound bad, but I felt like I had a brand-new puppy to show off. I had to bring him to meet everyone. We brought Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Starbucks for all the leaders that had to work since I was off. And then he was shaking hands, being hugged by all the kitchen ladies, and everyone was staring. I forgot I had been single for so long- everyone wanted to meet him. We slowly backed out of Chick-fil-A and headed for a good ole Southern meal. We went to the Catfish Hole (pretty southern, right?) also I learned that catfish is not a popular meal up north. We went on a double date with my work husband and his wife. I expected crazy futuristic questions. But you know what – it went really well. They loved him. And honestly, who wouldn’t? I have found the perfect man. He really liked the hush puppies, after dinner, I took him to Dickson to meet the boys. I mean, did you really go to Fayetteville if you didn’t go to Dickson? I had not fully prepared him for my friends. Patrick is well, not a Southern Baptist Republican from Texas. But it went well, they were civil. But there was way too much political talk for my buzz. We ended the night at Whataburger and everything felt right. Like he was my missing piece all along.

 

Sunday morning is for… museums. That’s the quote, right? Sunday morning started with my favorite coffee shop. Kennedy Coffee. We then headed off into Crystal Bridges one of my favorite parts of North West Arkansas – it is overlooked. We didn’t spend long here, we had brunch plans at Cracker Barrel with my aunt and uncle. The first relatives for my boyfriend to meet. Brunch was great. I think they really liked him. Our next stop was a scenic drive through Rogers, Arkansas. My actual home. We even drove all the way to my childhood home and picked up my mother. This was literally the most nerve-wracking drive ever. But… they hit it off. My mother found him polite, sweet, and even funny. We went to a Wal-Mart museum. ( If you’re from Buffalo and you’re reading this, and you’re very liberal or a part of a Labor Union… pretend this says we went to a different kind of museum) we went to the original Walton Five and Dime. We also walked around to 21C my favorite hotel and looked at art there. Let me tell you how lucky I am to have fallen in love with a man who also loves museums, art, and traveling as much as I do. I didn’t think it was possible to meet someone so perfect, but he is. That night we all met up at Chuy’s, my favorite Tex-Mex restaurant and he got to meet the whole Chick-fil-A crew, he fit in just perfectly. Although, I can’t really think of a reason for someone not to like him.

 

The next morning, we woke up early and had breakfast at Chick-fil-A, it was his first time having Chicken Minis- which are a must. We then headed off to Devils Den State Park for some Arkansas Natural Beauty. Unfortunately, my favorite trail wasn’t open, but we did get to walk along the water and enjoy each other’s company. We had lunch at Hammontree’s also an Arkansas must. It is literally a grilled cheese restaurant. How can you complain about that? We ended our day by going to Patrick’s in Springdale, AR – it is said to be the best burger. I completely disagree Hugo’s is my favorite. But we went with some friends so it was still a good time. Since it was a Monday evening we had to go by the Cidery. If you like hard cider, Black Apple Crossing is the place for you. It is literally my favorite place in Arkansas, and to make this even better on Monday nights they do trivia!

 

The next day was a special day, my boyfriend turned 25. We spent his birthday by celebrating in Branson, Missouri. He had never been to Missouri so this was a special occasion! We went to Ride the Ducks and the Titanic Museum. We ended our special day by walking around Branson Landing and eating at one of my favorite tourist’s traps. Lambert’s- Home of the Throwing Rolls. Overall, I think he had a great birthday, unfortunately, I got sick while we were there, so I wasn’t the best company. I have awful luck with my tonsils. I do though have the best boyfriend, the next morning he let me sleep in. And we spent our last day together chilling at the hotel and eating Panera soup. That evening he went and met my whole immediate family. He even held a baby, and if you’ve ever heard someone say men are more attractive when they are good with kids- that statement is VERY accurate. My heart melted watching him hold Carter. (There is no rush for children for those of you who are reading this. I would like to wait until my thirties.)

 

We’ve only been dating around four months but I feel like I’ve known him forever. Every time a trip ends, it gets harder and harder for me to say goodbye.

Valentine’s Day in Buffalo <3

I’ll be the first to admit, I am a sucker for romance. Write me a sappy poem, pick me flowers, or even just take me to see a sunset. But I also strongly dislike Valentine’s Day. But this year was different. I have Patrick in my life now, and he wanted to celebrate while I was in town. So, I gave in.

Okay, let me back up a little. I got to Buffalo for the third time on February 10, 2017. Unfortunately, I have the worse immune system ever, and I am sensitive to literally every allergen known to man. I show up to Buffalo, and I literally cannot stop blowing my nose. My tonsils are swollen, super attractive. But my sweetheart of a boyfriend drove me to Wegmans, got me Powerade, Nyquil, and the soft tissues that won’t hurt my nose. He let me nap a little, and then we were on our way on our first double date with his best friends. Marcus and Laura- we went and got burgers and beer, and then we went to the Botanical Gardens. (Word to the wise if you’re having issues with your sinuses being around a ton of plants is not the best idea), but we had fun anyways. His friends are very nice! And the Botanical Gardens was the first one I’d ever been to that was inside. It did bother me that some of the rooms were dark and was using black lights, I am kind of blind and this did not help my eyesight. We went home that night, cuddled on the couch and watched Grey’s Anatomy. You know it’s real when he will watch dramas with you.

The next morning, we slept in (the way to my heart), and then we went to Five Points Bakery. I had seen this place on almost every “Must Do” article for Buffalo, New York. Patrick had never been, so we obviously had to go. I thought it was a little overpriced, but I’ll admit my cinnamon toast was the best cinnamon toast I’ve ever had. They also had this apple cider juice that was literally magic. After breakfast, he took me on a tour of his life, I saw his high school, the house he grew up in, and so forth. Next, we went and drove through Forest Lawn Cemetery. Okay, did y’all know that there are famous cemeteries?! I didn’t even know that was a thing, why would someone want to look at graves? I’m not sure, but I was taken through one. President Fillmore was buried here. We didn’t stay long- I was a little freaked out.

Gina and I met up later that afternoon. I got to see her and Seymour’s new place. Then Gina and I went out for coffee. We went to Tipico. I had an awful macchiato and some great Nutella toast. We stayed there a long time just catching up with each other. Later that night we met up with the boys and we had a double date at Local Kitchen & Beer Bar. They had awesome appetizers, and it wasn’t one of those crazy loud bars where you can’t hear anyone talk. It was so nice to see G again. I’ve missed her. I can’t wait to see her more often when I move to Buffalo.

The next morning was what I was nervous about- Patrick’s whole family was coming to brunch. I had to get up early and look attractive. His immediate family, his brother’s girlfriend, Marcus, Laura, CJ, Megan, and Marcus’s mom were all there. It was very overwhelming. I don’t know if they liked me. But I really liked them. Patrick looks a lot like his father. I ate way too much, and I had a lot of mimosas (which is never a problem). His family is very talkative and fun. Marcus’ mother is the funniest lady I’ve ever met. I had a really good time despite my nerves. The highlight of the day though was that night. Patrick and I had our date night. We went to dinner at a shitty Mexican place, and then he took me to my first NHL game. I honestly know nothing about Hockey, and I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to follow. [Side note: I am also too blind for this- the puck is small, and we were in the nosebleeds.] We had so much fun though. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed with anyone as much as I laugh with Patrick. It’s crazy how people say you don’t know what you’re looking for until it’s right in front of your face. I’ve never believed them. I didn’t think it would ever be THAT different with someone else. But he makes me feel like I’m floating daily. I didn’t expect to fall this fast either. But here I am. The Sabres lost the game, unfortunately, so we left in the third period. We got to take this cool little train thing to the truck. We went home and watched SNL. It was so nice just being back with him. To those of you who have been doing Long Distance longer than I have. I am so sorry. This is miserable. I hate being far away from him. I mean it is TOTALLY worth it. He is the best. But the in between sucks. On Monday we slept in, and we woke up to SNOW. It is literally so pretty in Buffalo. Anyways, we went and ran some errands. And then he took me out for Buffalo Pizza. I was not impressed. We went back to his place and he had some work to work on and I had homework. Then he made HOMEMADE Chicken Pot Pie, and we invited Marcus and Laura over. We ate dinner and played board games. Oh, and I can’t forget to add that we also had Paula’s donuts for dessert. I love donuts! But it was so nice just being a normal couple, hanging out at his house, cooking dinner. I didn’t want the week to end.

My last full day in Buffalo was Valentine’s Day. I made him those cliché Open When Cards, he got me The Time Traveler’s Wife book, a pineapple necklace, a scarf, and he had some gifts from Colorado to give me. He’s literally the best gift giver. He woke me up and already had chocolate chip waffles, creamy cheesy scrambled eggs, and burnt bacon. He even had chocolate milk for me. It was perfect. We went to the Buffalo History Museum, also not impressed. But the building was beautiful, and so were the gardens and waterfront. We took selfies by the water, and he even took me back to our tower from our first date. I love that spot. The day was close to perfect. He made me dinner, homemade crab cakes, shrimp alfredo, Caesar salad, and even a homemade cherry cheesecake. Our life is like a sitcom, Patrick’s lips swelled up during dinner, still not sure what he is allergic to. But it really freaked me out. They ended up going back to normal size, I didn’t have to take him to the ER or anything (thank goodness). We watched Finding Dory, and Marcus and Laura came downstairs for dessert. The entire day was perfect. But all good things must come to an end. The next morning, he drove me to the airport. This was my hardest goodbye with him yet. But I’m sure it will be worse next time. But if you’re reading this Patrick, this was the best Valentine’s Day I’ve ever had. ❤

When You Know, You Know

I think my life is a sitcom. I don’t mean that lightly, there is possibly a laugh track in the background after every bad joke I make. I am constantly pausing and thinking, “Wait, that did not just happen.”

I went to Buffalo, New York in November to visit one of my friends from my Disney internship. It was supposed to just help me mark off another check mark on my bucket list. It was supposed to be a week just catching up seeing the sights, but somehow life always has a way of changing things. I’m not one to go off course, I love planning, lists, and I am not impulsive. Yet, somehow on this trip, I fell in love. And no not my normal, I fell in love with a place. I literally am head over heels for a man named Patrick. Four months ago I was under the impression that I was going to be single for awhile, I was under the impression that being single was something I was okay with, being single had just started to look good to me. And then I swiped right, and there he was. He is everything I’ve ever wanted and then some. I don’t know where this concept of a timeline came from, but I don’t think there is a timeline for honestly anything. I don’t think anyone should tell you when you should be ready for college, ready for a new job, or more importantly ready for a relationship. I think you’ve probably realized this post is not about traveling, or New York, it is about relationships. Lately, ever since I got in a relationship everyone and their mother have been giving me their opinion. Whether it be on how soon I get married, what I’m going to wear on a date, or how often I should be texting him. But here is my question, WHY DOES IT MATTER TO THEM WHAT I DO IN A RELATIONSHIP? I understand, “I just want you to be happy”, and I appreciate that. But don’t get on my toes unless I ask. I feel like people are trying to make me have anxiety. I’m sure they aren’t really- but see I have this problem where I over-think everything. Sometimes it is helpful when I’m working on something, or making decisions. But I think it is a flaw when it comes to relationships. I think it adds unnecessary stress and puts doubts in your feelings. But I also think that I’m just afraid. I think the more you like someone, the more you have to lose.

Picture this: November 16, 2016, Buffalo, New York. Pearl Street Grill & Brewery – Boy orders a salad, girl orders burgers and fries. Love at first bite. (I’m barfing as I write this.)  The point is, it went well. I was a little quiet at first, but I was hooked. He had me laughing; I didn’t want the night to end. We drove around looking at pretty houses, drinking Tim Horton’s (the real reason I keep returning to the North), and just talking. He took me to an observation tower and we looked out over the lake (It’s a great lake I think, don’t quote me on geography) it was freezing, and probably not the best idea- but I appreciate the effort in being romantic. Okay, so I’m from Arkansas in Buffalo, New York on a first date while I’m on vacation. I thought hey this might be a good story, never did I think I would want to see him again. But the moment he kissed me goodnight, I wanted to start the next date.

I was leaving for the airport the next day. I went to class with Gina, we had a full day of me pretending to be a student at UB (University of Buffalo) and guess who shows up with coffee in hand. Patrick. We skipped the next couple classes Gina had, and we walked around campus looking at buildings and talking. We ended up finding a spot to sit over the water, and we held hands. The day was close to perfect until I remembered I was leaving for Arkansas. I felt like I was floating as I walked through security. My phone continued to blow up with messages from him. And daily I fell harder. I soon had my next Buffalo trip planned. I showed up close to a month later, super nervous. What if it was all in my head? It was a fluke- he didn’t really like me I was wrong. The weekend was even more perfect than the first.

OH WAIT. I forgot to mention that there was a ton of snow and my flight got redirected to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I had fallen asleep before we had taken off, and when I woke up I was not in Buffalo, I was in Pennsylvania. Luckily, we only sat there for about an hour and then I was headed to see my man. A man I wasn’t even sure I could call my own. (The jury is still out on if I’m sane or not), so I finally land and there he is. And my stomach did this weird flop thing, and I just knew. I’ve always been told, when you know- you know. And well I know. He knew I would be hangry so we went straight to Alton’s. Then he let me nap before he took me out on a fancy date. He took me to the Yacht Club, honestly probably one of the most romantic nights I’ve ever had. I ate shrimp and pasta. I was so tired, though, I could barely keep my eyes open. We went back to his house to watch a movie. We watched Zootopia, I fell asleep before we even finished it. He was cracking up, though; apparently, the sloth scene is the best part.

The next day we woke up and the world was full of snow. But he has a truck, and this is Buffalo, not Fayetteville so we went out like it was nothing. He took me to a Science Museum. We had so much fun. I got to see a different side of Patrick; we got to be little kids for a little while. It was a cool museum (for those of you who do travel, St. Louis Science museum is still my favorite), I really liked the body exhibit. After we had played with all the exhibits, taken way too many snapchats, it was time for lunch. The last time I was in Buffalo, Gina had taken me to this Hipster place called Ashker’s. I wanted Patrick to try it, I am officially obsessed. They have these amazing quesadillas and smoothies. We spent that night drinking cider and eating cheese, we tried to watch Frozen- but I talked too much.

Have you ever wondered what a professional football game is like? Have you heard about the crazy Buffalo Bill fans? They’re real. We went that Sunday and froze our asses off. We literally sat on ice. I couldn’t feel my toes. And as much as I hate being cold, I had a great time. And we won. ( I can say we since Arkansas doesn’t have a professional team.) It was our first double date, and Patrick’s first time meeting Seymour. Overall, despite the cold and me knowing nothing about football, it was a great day. We ended the evening by going out to dinner with Seymour and Gina at 716- they have this amazing buffalo mac and cheese. We had a great time just catching up and getting to know each other.

We spent our last morning by getting tacos, really really good tacos. And then he took me to the Buffalo City Hall building. I don’t know if you know this, but I love tall buildings. It was like that moment in the books when you know the girl really loves something and the guy ends up spontaneously having it for her. I’ve always thought the books were wrong, nobody had those moments in real life. Patrick is that guy from the books. He’s nice, thoughtful, romantic- so if you’re sitting out there thinking, I’ll never find him, and you’re tired of hearing that there are other fish in the sea. I’m here to tell you- he’s out there. And he wants to eat tacos with you, have political discussions with you, and possibly spend forever with you.
 

Poopless in Portland

The Disney College Program was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. During my time in Florida, I made friends with people that literally became family. The thing I love most is that I have friends literally not just all over the country- but all over the world. I recently got to go visit one of my first friends from Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café- Dana. It had been almost a year and a half since we had seen each other. I was honestly so nervous to go visit. What if we didn’t get along anymore, what if it was awkward after all this time- let me tell you reunions are so sweet. I walk out of the bathroom stall at PDX and there is Dana holding a sign. She is literally the cutest thing in the whole world.

Dana actually is from Eugene, Oregon which is about two hours outside of Portland. I originally was disappointed to not be heading straight into the city. Little did I know, Eugene (Springfield) is an awesome overlooked town. I love college towns. We spent our afternoon exploring her Alma matter- The University of Oregon (GO DUCKS) her campus was beautiful. It was fall- so all the leaves were changing. I got to see famous Hayward Field and get a personal tour from Dana herself- she basically just told me what buildings she had classes in. That counts right? After my tour of campus, we went to Hendricks Park. Oregon is so pretty. I will probably say that 787 more times before this post is over. That evening I got to meet Dana’s friends from home, she’s had the same best friends since she was really little. I love getting to see my friends outside of Disney- you get a whole new perspective on them. We went to this really cute bar- I wish I could remember the name of it. But I got pulled pork Mac and cheese- OREGON HAS THE BEST FOOD. I am not exaggerating.

We woke up early the next morning- side note; I am a morning person when I’m traveling. We went to the famous Voodoo Doughnuts, not the original because who wants to wait in line? I had this awesome Oreo covered donut. Literally magic in your mouth. Their slogan is “The Magic is in the Hole”, I love Oregon. ANYWAYS. After breakfast, Dana and I headed to Silver Falls State Park. We hiked like 4000 miles or something to see three really beautiful waterfalls. We had so much fun. It did rain, but only a little. We got to go behind the waterfall; we sang don’t go chasing waterfalls way too much and made a ton of unnecessary Disney references. It was so nice to be reunited with someone who gets me.  It is nice having friends everywhere, but it also sucks. I get lonely.

That night I got to meet Dana’s very attractive older brother. We went and stayed at his awesome townhouse. Probably the cutest complex I’ve ever seen- they live in a town called Beaverton. They took us to this really cool place for dinner. And by they, I mean,  Dana’s brother, and his two roommates. They were really funny. We went to dinner in what felt like a liquor store. But it was actually a bar/grill. I had an elk burger. I’ve learned that when you’re traveling, you should try new food. The boys ordered wings, and I have the funniest snap chats- “DO IT FOR THE LOL’s” was probably yelled more than 22 times during dinner. They ordered suicide wings, they were crying it was so spicy. They ordered milk to cool their tongues off. And I’m not kidding.

The next morning it was free sushi day at Shogun- obviously, we went. Dana’s brother’s roommate is a bartender there. We ate at the bar and stuffed our faces. I have a weakness for sushi. Our next stop was the Oregon Zoo. Now I have never been to the San Diego Zoo which is said to be the best, but the Oregon Zoo is literally the best I’ve been to so far. The big cat exhibit was my favorite. You could get so close to the cheetahs.

But to be honest, the highlight of my trip was Powell’s bookstore. It’s the biggest most organized bookstore I’ve ever laid eyes on. We only spent a little bit of time there because we were soon headed to our Air BnB. My best friend Jack also lives in Portland. Lucky me, I’m seeing all kinds of friends.

Our first night in Portland we went out as a group to Fat Head’s Brewery- the sign on the door said: “Chill out man, have a beer.” I fit right in. But the best part about this was that I had a burger with peanut butter and blueberries on it. It’s ranked number two on my best burger list.

Our Air BnB was literally the cutest little house on the outskirts of Portland. It was a two bedroom with a pullout couch. I gave it a five-star review. Also- one more comment about how beautiful Oregon is in the fall. The next morning we got up bright and early to head out for donuts. ( Are you seeing a trend? I love food.) We went to Pip’s donuts. It was so good that I even got a bumper sticker for my car. These weren’t your average donuts, though, they were mini donuts with crazy flavors. ONE OF THEM HAD BACON ON IT.

Okay, mom if you’re reading this, please move on. We went to Washington after breakfast. We stopped in at Greenhead Cannabis. It is legal in Washington and Oregon to sell marijuana. But in Washington, it is also legal to sell edibles. This little shop was such a cool experience. We got an awesome product and the employees were so friendly and helpful. Our next stop was back to Oregon for a day of hiking. We stopped at Multnomah Falls first. Let me tell ya- Oregon knows a thing or two about waterfalls. We then headed to hike the Gorge. We did the Punchbowl Trail. Honestly, it was one of the coolest hikes I’ve ever been on, but I did think I was going to die hiking on some of those steep inclines. Side note- rainboots are not meant for hiking. Oh, and it was called Punchbowl because it literally looks like someone took a punch to the side of the hill. Super cool. Also, side note- donuts are not filling. Eat more if you’re going to go hiking and eat edibles- YOU WILL BE HUNGRY.

After the hike, we headed back to the Air BnB to rest and get ready for the night. We went to Pine Street Market for dinner, it was basically just a hipster food court. I had a really disgusting cup of beer and some pretty normal shitty pizza. (Not impressed.) I did have a great cup of ice cream, though, Salt & Straw is basically famous. It was totally worth the wait. We went out on the town that night, our first bar stop was The Rum Club. Such a cool tiny little spot. And I had a cocktail made out of rum, surprising right? The second bar was The Church, there was a sign out front that said: “Eat, Drink, Repent.” The agnostic girl in me loved this place. And they had mac and cheese, so how could I complain? We called it a night after that, I sat up front in an uber and of course asked him his favorite color(blue), and then I went home and slept the night away.

Except not really. We got up nice and early and went to Brunch- like sophisticated adults we are. We had brunch at Cheryl’s on 12th. This is where the egg disaster began. I always order pancakes. That is my go to. “But I thought hey why not be adventurous?” I ordered an egg sandwich. I bit into my sandwich and egg literally went everywhere, and I’m not being dramatic- in my hair, on my glasses, on my pants, on my blouse, literally everywhere. I slowed the rest of the day down because we had to go back to the Air BnB to change clothes. ( My life is a joke.)

Next stop, Japanese Gardens. I felt very cultured here, but I’d really like to come back in the spring. We also stopped by the Rose Garden. I was a little disappointed I didn’t get to see the Pittock Mansion in Portland. So when I go back, that is mandatory. We went back to Powell’s bookstore, and this time I wasn’t overwhelmed. I even bought something other than a postcard. I surprise myself daily too. Portland also has awesome coffee shops. We went to world renown Stumptown Coffee, I got to have a cold brew that also had chocoalte milk in it. SO COOL.

So I’m sure you’re still wondering what is up with my title. When you’re sharing a bathroom with six people you learn A LOT about each other. We all learned while we were in Portland that nobody had been pooping. We all were shitless. I don’t know if it was because of travel, or because we had been eating so badly. But it was rough, and I was starting to be in pain. Our next stop was a brewery called 10 Barrell Brewing Co. It had a rooftop bar- which I loved. We ended up sitting inside, I had a cider and some queso. I was with a lot of Texans, so can you really think we ordered anything other than queso for an appetizer? Oh and I finally pooped at the brewery. Halleluiah.

Our next stop my friend Mitchell had been talking about for weeks. It was called the Whiskey Library. Also, I have a love for Whiskey. But this place was literally so sophisticated. We got sat in our own tasting room upstairs, someone came in and gave us the biggest drink menu I’ve ever seen, and the bartender tended to our drinks at our damn table. HOW COOL. Also, whiskey can be really expensive, and a coke and whiskey are not allowed to be ordered there so be cool and order a $200 cup, just kidding mine was $19.

We were spending Halloween in Portland. Which should have been the coolest experience, except we were all so exhausted. We hadn’t stopped like at all to breathe. By the time we made it out to the bars, I felt like a grandma. We only went to one bar and then we crashed. I did dress up like a pretty hot vampire, though.

Our last full day in Portland, we started our morning out at some food trucks. Portland is known for them, this food was probably my favorite other than that burger. I had a hot dog with mac and cheese and bacon on it, and chicken tacos. I know those don’t go together, but I couldn’t decide. We also went back to a Salt & Straw- which was surprisingly really really good again. So not actually surprising. After lunch, Jack drove us around and gave us an impromptu tour of Portland. We tried to find the famous Portland sign to take pictures of. I’m still not sure how people get such cool photos of it. Mine suck. We did find the Keep Portland Weird sign, though, so that was pretty exciting. We went to another cool coffee shop, Case Study. Best mocha I’ve had in a while not gonna lie. We walked around just looking at old buildings and really enjoying some down time. We took really cute pictures in Pioneer Courthouse Square and tried not to look like complete tourists. Sadly, that was the end of our adventure. We had sushi for dinner, and then I flew away the next morning. I did see the famous PDX carpet. And it was my first time to ever fly on a holiday. I don’t recommend flying into Denver on Halloween. I think it is a haunted airport, but that’s just my opinion.

I rank Portland, Oregon in my top five trips, though.


 

 

Dedicated to Papa Roger <3

“Why do all the best people die? Because when you are in a garden, which flowers do you pick first? The most beautiful ones.”

I was at work, I had come in early because I had gone to a wedding earlier that day, and it was lame. I got asked at least eight times if I was married, the cake tasted like foam, and I saw way too many people from high school that I didn’t wish to socialize with. So, I am at work, I’m bagging and I’m enjoying myself- when my cell phone rings. (I normally don’t answer my phone at work- but last time I ignored a call, my nephew was in the E.R.) The phone call was from my mom, I decided to talk on the phone and keep bagging. But my mom’s voice caught me off guard. She sounded like someone had died. My mom said, “Phyllis called.” (My step grandmother) I had just been told a month ago that my Papa was coming to visit me in September. I was SO excited. It had been over a year since I had seen him. The next sentence out of my mother’s mouth was- “He fell asleep while he was watching the travel channel, he was planning his next trip, and just never woke up again.” I’m not normally one to show emotion, but I hung up the phone with my mom. And I don’t really remember much after that. I know I asked Rae to bag for me, and I ran to the bathroom. I wished this wasn’t the first time I had run to the bathroom to cry. But it was the second time in a week. –SIDEBAR-

I’ve been working at Chick-fil-A since December 2012; the first time I ever made a milkshake by myself I made a milkshake for a guest named Larry. He was an older gentleman and he ordered a large strawberry milkshake without any toppings. After that night I probably saw Larry at least once to three times a week. I slowly learned that his wife had been battling cancer for almost ten years, and she loved our milkshakes. He would sometimes come in after he would go to baseball games and order himself a sandwich but I could always count on him getting a shake. Well it is 2016 and I still know his order. This past month he came in and said “Stacie I need to tell you something.” I stupidly responded “Is she in the hospital?” He teared up a little- He told me she had passed the day before-her tumor had grown and shut down her organs. But that she died peacefully in her sleep, and he knew she was in a better place. I lost it after he left. I threw my headset at Bill, and I ran to the bathroom.

I did the same when I found out my grandpa died. It was too sudden. He was healthy, in love, and was coming to see me in two months. When I finally thought I had consoled myself, I went back up front, but immediately started crying again. I asked Mitchell if I could go home, and that my Papa had died. Of course he said yes. I sometimes forget that there are things more important than work… and I sometimes put work way ahead of other things. I drove straight to my sister’s house while crying. (PSA don’t cry and drive, I missed my sister’s exit twice). My nephew let me hold him while I cried. We watched Paw Patrol, and my brother in law made me spaghetti. I finally let in sink in, and I left. I went straight to a liquor store and I bought a huge pack of beer. I lay in my bed, cried, and watched Orange is the New Black. I cried for hours. I just kept thinking I don’t have any grandparents left; they won’t meet my children, my future husband, or even see me walk down the aisle or graduate college. I cried a lot. But then I thought- well my grandpa had a great life. He raised eight awesome children, he saw 45 states, 40 countries, served his country, and loved his family so much. That’s enough. I’ll always remember the way he smelled, I’ll always remember when I drank his non alcoholic beer because I thought it was apple juice, I’ll remember his famous words- “I have a PHD in life.” I want my legacy to look like his. I want to make him proud.

So if you can hear this Papa, I love you, thank you for being you, I hope I make you proud.

Travel, Hug your Loved Ones, and Eat well.

” If we were meant to stay in one place, we’d have roots instead of feet.” – Rachel Wolchin

I am the happiest when I am somewhere new. June held a lot of traveling for me.
It started with a trip to Atlanta, Georgia for a Training Director Summit at Chick-fil-A Corporate. It was such an awesome experience. I learned so much. I think the best part was getting to see where it all started. But it was all such an exhausting experience.
It started with Bayley and I getting on a plane and heading to Dallas, Texas. This trip was all set up for us, our flights, our hotel, our transportation, our schedules…but of course this is my life. So nothing ever goes right. We land in Dallas, and we go straight to Starbucks. We’re having a grand old-time people watching, and waiting to board our plane…finally we board, I got the window seat this time. My phone buzzed, and I was informed that our flight had been delayed. We sat on the plane without moving for almost three hours. It was awful. But definitely an experience. By the time we landed in Atlanta, we had missed the welcome van that was supposed to take us to our hotel. So instead we had to take a sketchy bus from the airport. We weren’t checked in and in bed until almost midnight. And we had to be at Corporate the next morning at 8 am. I definitely had no sleep. We woke up early put on our uniforms and headed down to the lobby where I had fantastic breakfast. I think I have a new obsession with Quiche. After breakfast, we got on vans that were covered in cow spots. It was so fun. We pulled up to a building called the Hatch. The coolest most innovative building I’ve ever seen. We spent the next three days in Test Kitchens, break out sessions, and very informative lectures. It was awesome to be learning stuff that I actually cared about, and it was really cool meeting people from all over the US that are in my position. I made so many connections. The second day we were there we got to have a tour of the home office, and even Truett and Dan Cathy’s office. We ate in this awesome cafeteria, and then we got to go out to dinner with our Operator. Jim came to town on his birthday and took us to the Dwarf house. The restaurant that started it all. It was so good, they had awesome sides. We sat there and talked for almost two hours, about his vision, about his life, and even about how he met and fell in love with his wife. We ended the evening taking pictures in a dwarf door, and on a bench with a statue of Truett Cathy. Sadly our adventure ended the way it began, we got delayed in Atlanta, missing our flight to Dallas. Which made us miss our flight to Arkansas. We ended up having to stay the night in Dallas, it was probably the most stressful experience. I’m still not use to being the adult, I had to call a 1-800 number and tell them we missed our flights, I had to go up to a help desk and ask for Hotel Vouchers and Food Vouchers, then I had to find the bus to take us to our hotel, I had to find tampons for my roommate, I had to calm her and tell her everything was going to be okay… While I didn’t even know if it was going to be okay. I think that’s what parenting is. I think really they’re terrified the whole time, just hoping everything is going to work out and be okay. Bayley and I made it home, we made it to work ( four hours late) and we survived. I may be behind in school, in debt, single, and a little weird. But one thing I know I am is a survivor. I’m going to be okay. I’m going to make it. I don’t know when, or how but I know someday I’m gonna have it all.
On June 11th, a horrible, terrifying, heartbreaking thing happened in Orlando. A man went into my favorite night club… and shot the place up. Forty nine people were shot and killed 53 were injured. I woke up on June 12th to my phone blowing up with people asking if I was okay, and if my friends were okay. I had just been in Orlando the month before. I had lived in Orlando the year before. Bill and I the first time we ever hung out was at Pulse, we went to see Marshall dance. We drank blue drinks, danced to the backstreet boys, and vowed to be best friends for life.( Friendship moves fast in the DCP.) But this man-Omar Mateen ruined all of this. He attacked a minority that I love. He attacked a city that I love. He attacked America. Okay, maybe I sound dramatic. But I am so overwhelmed with what is happening with our country. I don’t normally talk about my political or religious vies. But I am scared for the world I am living in. I hate that every morning there is another shooting, another attack, another protest, another life at stake. I want peace. I want everyone to love. I don’t see why it should matter if you’re black white, homosexual, transgender, literally anything. Just love and love and love. That’s all there is to life. I don’t know where all this hate and violence is coming from. BUt I want it to stop. I am OrlandoStrong. I am blessed that no one I know was hurt in the Pulse shooting. But that doesn’t make it less heartbreaking.
June 12th was also very exciting though. I love traveling. I love seeing new places. Bill and I left for our adventure to Michigan for a week. We started our journey in St. Louis, we saw the arch, and we walked around just looking at all the architecture of the old buildings. We ate a late lunch at Budweiser Brew House, I had a budlight cocktail a massive burger and a great time. We were on our way, driving through Illinois, when I got to stop in Chicago. I have been dreaming of going to the windy city for years. We ate dinner at Portillos- best chilli dog ever, I saw a two-story McDonald’s and SO much traffic. We finally made it to Detroit around one am. We passed out. The next day we went and visited Bill’s mom. She lives in the cutest duplex right on the water. Michigan is so overlooked, it was gorgeous. We went Kayaking, drank some beer, and then sat around watching the #billandstacie youtube channel. We ended our evening going out on the boat to dinner with Bill’s mom and her boyfriend Paul. (He’s a babe for an old man.) We had dinner at Legas, it was cool, we anchored the boat and went inside. I had a really good burger and fries. Michigan was definitely not good for my arteries I had so much red meat. I just love burgers.

Our second full day in Michigan I finally went to Greenfield Village.
“Greenfield Village is a vast outdoor museum spread across more than 80 acres, a place where America’s past feels like right now. Located in Dearborn, just outside of Detroit, Michigan; there are 83 authentic historic structures, from the lab where Thomas Edison gave the world light to the workshop where the Wright Brothers gave us wings and the building where Abraham Lincoln practiced law. Visit the home where Noah Webster wrote the first American dictionary and the farmhouse where Henry Ford grew up. ” – https://www.thehenryford.org/visit/greenfield-village/

I think my favorite part of the village was the printing press, they had a real printing press from a long time ago, and an actor who surprisingly knew what she was doing. I was very enthralled by it all. We also went and saw a glass blowing exhibit. (Now if you grew up in NWA you’ve most likely been to Silver Dollar City, so you’ve probably seen an exhibit like this before.) But this one was definitely more elaborate than anything I had seen before. I got the chance to see Robert Frost’s home, I ate lunch in Eagle Tavern where everything I ate and drank was produced on property. The food was good, the hard cider was even better. (Being twenty one is definitely fun.)
Later that evening we went to dinner at Gar’s. Basically the real reason I wanted to return to Michigan. If you’re ever in the small town of Marine City go to Gars. Get a burger and big ass beer. And live life to the fullest. If there is one thing I’ve learned while traveling, is that there is so much out there. Don’t be complacent. Don’t get stuck in one spot. See as much as the world as you can.
The third full day in Michigan, Bill woke me up and said we we’re going to the beach. We went to Grand Haven. Honestly, it was one of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever seen. We saw a light house, put our toes in the lake, and took too many selfies. And then we were on our way to Grand Rapids. Which honestly was the cutest town. It was like an apocalyptic Chicago it had the architecture that I love and it had one way streets like a big city. But it wasn’t busy, it wasn’t full of morons, it just had charm. We met up with one of my Disney Cosmic Bae’s- Jesse. He took us to dinner at Stella’s. My burger had deep-fried cheese filled jalapeno. SO GOOD. The beer wasn’t too bad either. We had dessert at Furniture City creamery I had chocolate covered pretzel ice cream in a cookie. SO GOOD. We ended our evening in a church. Literally. Brewery Vivant use to be an old catholic church, but it was turned into an awesome brewery. Go Go Now. Although, let me end with I hate goodbyes. And I’ve done a lot of them. ( Thanks, Disney.) I hugged Jesse goodbye, and told myself I’d see him again someday. And I will. If you’re reading this Jesse, thanks for being such a good friend and always accepting my random texts and rants. You’re the best. ❤
I’ve recently learned that family isn’t just about blood. Bill’s family is just wonderful. We went and saw Bill’s grandparents house, he took me out on the golf cart and showed me the land. His grandpa showed me all of his Disney memorabilia. Bill’s dad took us to dinner in St. Claire at Murphy’s, and then out to a brewery (again.) He bought us souvenir glasses. We walked by the river, and took family pictures. I sure do love Bill’s family. ❤ Thanks for letting me be a part of your shenanigans.
Our last full day in Michigan, we went out to the lake with Paul and Bill’s mom. We drank Blue Moon and floated in floaties for hours. I got stage fright when I tried to pee in the lake, and I had to make my way back into the boat. It was definitely a day for the books. We ended the evening having dinner with Uncle Kevin and the fam. I’ve never had so much sweet tea in my life. Michigan needs more sweet tea.
We ended our adventure the next day, we stopped in Chicago again, saw millenium Park, and had lunch with his Disney best friend. Here’s my plug-in for the Disney College Program. If you have the opportunity to do the program. DO IT. You won’t regret it. You’ll make a lifetime of friendships, you’ll fall in love, you’ll see new places, and you’ll have an unforgettable experience. Love you Keely!
Bill is moving next month. So we had a lot to catch up on. He wanted to see as much of Arkansas as possible. I took him to see Beaver lake to start with, I showed him the dam, and then we were on our way to Eureka Springs. If you’re gay, and you haven’t been to Eureka Springs, Arkansas you really should go. Rainbows everywhere. We had a great time, we went into a sock shop, a fudge shop, bought teal t-shirts and drank blue moon while overlooking the Ozarks. ❤ We then drove to Christ of the Ozarks and saw the huge Jesus statue. The next day, we went to Little Rock. I showed him the big dam bridge, had dinner at the big orange, went shopping, looked at art, went to the capital and even saw one of my first ever friends from college.
I ended June with a bang. My Dad’s work always gives out free tickets to Silver Dollar City every summer. My whole family went for the day, it was great. I truly love being an aunt. I loved taking them on rides, I loved stuffing my face with my dad, I loved taking old-time pictures with my family, and I loved singing Frozen in the car with my niece and nephew. Family is so important. And I love making memories. So stop reading my blog, go hug your mom, go play with your nieces, and please go see the world. ❤

Peace Out.

May

It has been a year since I told my friends goodbye in Orlando. It’s been a year since I went to Michigan and met Bill’s family. It’s been a year I came home. If I could go back to a year ago… I would. I miss living in Orlando, I miss waking up to 100 degree weather, full access to Disney World, beaches 30 minutes away, and never worrying about school. In retrospect I should have paid more attention to my studies because now I am super behind. My biggest fear is being left behind. All of my friends have graduated, I have three weddings coming up just this summer, and I am determined my whole facebook feed is full of engagements. I am basically in a standstill of two summers ago. I live in the same apartment complex, I work the same job (I’m even a supervisor still), I even have a new nephew just like two years ago… I’ve always been afraid of living an average life- a life of everyday’s that feel the same. I don’t want that. That’s why I left in the first place…”I want adventure in the great wide somewhere…” you know all of that shit. But here I am. Back where I started.
May is when school ended. The first week of May was the week before finals. I was studying and working like crazy. That weekend Bill’s Dad came into town to visit. That Sunday we took him to Branson, Missouri. We started our morning at a Hollywood Wax Museum. This museum was awesome, with every celebrity / character we encountered there were photo opportunities along with props! This wax museum had a mirror maze next door, which was probably one of the most fun things I’ve ever done besides Disney. We also went mini golfing, and went through a 4-D mythical magical experience( it was lame, don’t do it) but the mini golf was fun. After all of that excitement we went to my favorite restaurant in Branson- Pasghetti’s. It’s an awesome Italian restaurant, you know the one, with the massive meatball out front and a Ferris wheel inside the building. We got our picture taken and we talked about how much we love touristy towns. Which leads us to our next adventure. I am obsessed with the Titanic Museum. This was my second time here, I survived again, and I still learned something new. I also cry every time I get to the music room. Bill’s dad adored the experience. We also all got matching shirts and base ball caps. It’s nice being a part of a family. Being Bill’s best friend taught me that family isn’t about blood. It is about who’s going to be there when you need them. Bill is my person. Forever. Even if he moves in 50 days, he’s my person.
The second week of May was finals. I worked, and I would come home and take my online finals. The day after I took my last final and stayed up until five am taking it, I got in a car with my best friend and headed to the place that started our friendship. It had been a year since Bill had been to Florida, and it had been nine months for me. This was a long trip and the first one that Bill actually let me help drive on. We left around noon, I drove until nine pm. It was exhausting and exhilarating. We spent a majority of our trip laughing, eating Oreos, and listening to Disney music. We finally arrived at Cocoa Beach Florida at 8:00 am. I slept on the beach, I washed my hair in the salt water, and I brushed my teeth in a parking lot. We only stayed there until we felt refreshed. We made our way to Disney’s Magic Kingdom- where I picked up my Annual Pass. I AM SO EXCITED TO BE ABLE TO GO BACK TO DISNEY FOR A WHOLE YEAR. Anyways. Bill and I basically cried when we walked into Magic Kingdom and saw the castle, right when we walked into main street the song Belle was playing, and my heart literally leaped out of my chest…okay not literally. But I felt like it was about to happen. I could remember the first time I saw the castle, and how I felt like I found my place. We spent a majority of the afternoon at Magic Kingdom, we ate lunch at Cosmic Ray’s. we rode the mine train, met Tinker Bell, rode Space Mountain, and I even got to see Shester. He was one of my best friend’s when I lived in Orlando. I basically jumped in his arms. The feeling of being reunited, is one of the best feelings in the world. We went and checked into our hotel- All Star Sports. We stayed on the basketball side. It was wonderful. We rode Disney Transportation back to Magic Kingdom in time to see Wishes and eat Mickey Bars. I love Disney.
The second day of vacation, we started our morning at the Wilderness Lodge, I went and hugged my family. Seeing my Disney Dad was something that you can’t really replace. If there is something I have realized in the past year, family and loved ones are really what are important. We headed to Epcot next, we had breakfast in France, took pictures in front of the massive golf ball, and we met so many fun new characters- Joy and Sadness, Baymax, and even Mexican Donald! I got to eat lunch in Italy. I only have two countries left to eat in the world showcase! The third morning, we headed out to Hollywood Studios so we could experience Star Wars! I met Chewbaca and Kylo Ren. But it is also Frozen Summer Fun, so Olaf was out and about! We finished our evening at Magic Kingdom, we went to meet Princesses, and hang out in Tomorrowland. Later that evening I went and met one of my Lodge Squad friends at Downtown Disney ( AKA Disney Springs), we had dinner at an Asian restaurant, and then dessert at Sprinkles! After I left the Springs, I headed back to Magic Kingdom I met Ariel, and I rode all of my favorite rides.
On the fourth day at the parks, I went to Animal Kingdom. I’m still a little disppointed I never got to see Tarzan. But we did meet Flick, Pocahontas, Rafiki, and Chip & Dale! Of course we rode Everest, and Dinosaur. But we ended our evening resort hopping. We had dinner at the Boardwalk. It was kind of a romantic dinner, so if you’re out with your gay best friend it may not be the place. But the food was really great! We were supposed to go see the Star Wars Fireworks but the rain canceled it, so we went to Disney Springs with Jake and Becca! We had drinks at a bar that was set up like a hanger.
Our last day we slept in, and then spent a couple hours in Magic Kingdom, we basically just had a photo shoot in the parks. But the high light of my day was seeing Jose! He is now a manager at Cinderella’s Royal Table- how cool! Overall vacation was wonderful, but I honestly hate leaving Disney. I’ve missed it so much.
May also brought me my second nephew ❤ Carter James is perfect. I can’t believe my older sister now has three children. I want that. I want the husband, the house, the kids. I want to come home to someone that wants to see me. I also babysat my niece and nephew while my sister was in the hospital. I got to watch Disney movies, teach the kids how to dunk their oreos in milk, and try my best to get them to sleep. It was definitely an experience. I’m looking forward to a summer full of time with my family. ❤