Monday Musings

Hello. It’s Monday. I’m feeling a short blog post with a list of random thoughts. I haven’t done one of those in a while, and it’s always a nice way to get creative juices flowing.

So. Here goes nothing:

  • I love bullet points. They’re so clean. So neat.
  • I’ve officially been working two jobs in my field (English, writing, that sort of thing) for two months! I’m practically a full-fledged adult.
  • I’m an adult who eats ghost cookies (you know the ones) every day for lunch.
  • I’m also an adult who writes with a light saber pen to get through a particularly busy Friday. (May the Force be with you)
  • I’m planning/hoping/working for my future. Wish me luck.
  • I’m reading Dracula and loving it. So creepy. So predictable.
  • Well, it’s predictable for me because I know what two little holes on the side of a victim’s neck are–Stoker’s audience didn’t. So wonderfully creepy and campy and horrific!
  • My dogs are currently clamoring for my attention. Silly Snoop. Cantankerous Kasper.
  • I just ate popcorn slathered with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. My goodness, so tasty.
  • I miss Disney a whole lot.
  • To cope, I listen to Disney music every day and sing along with the all force of a great typhoon.
  • If you caught the reference, give yourself ten points.
  • Do these points matter? No!
  • Do you still want the points? Yes!
  • Halloween is one week away! And then the most important month of the year shall begin…
  • NOVEMBER! The month of Christmas (yes), Moana, and Gilmore Girls! I can’t believe the revival is almost here and we will have another Disney heroine. Ohmygoodness. Yes, blended words intentional.
  • Alright. That’s enough for tonight.

Thanks for joining me in my list-making madness. Have a wonderful rest of your Monday, my friends!

“Fools! Idiots! Imbeciles! “

Maleficent can be so…relatable.

Maleficent is truly one of my favorite Disney villains. Not just because she can tell it how it is (see title of post), but because of Disney’s 2014 live-action remake of her story. Maleficent holds a special place in my heart.

My mom loves the live-action movie. I’m talking obsessed. She is a mom who puts my sister and me above all of her needs. And I mean all. We are her true loves, and the fact that Aurora is awoken by Maleficent’s true-love’s-kiss reiterates that the love between [fairy god] mother and child can be the strongest on earth.

I don’t know about you, but my sister and I  love my mom more than anything. She loves us, too. She’s our own version of Maleficent; I could always count on her to break any curse.

So.  Maleficent rocks, plain and simple. In Sleeping Beauty she knows how to deliver a marvelous insult, and in Maleficent we discover her motives and her hidden motherly kindness.

There’s a reason why I decided to purchase Maleficent ears.

Have a wickedly wonderful Sunday, my fools, idiots, and imbeciles.

Why Judy Hopps is my Spirit Animal

I finally had the chance to watch Disney’s Zootopia on a free afternoon. I was so ready–popcorn in hand, cookie dough bites within grasp’s reach, and a fancy vanilla coke to sip on. I settled into my comfy theater chair (Disney Spring’s AMC does it right) expecting another hit from the Walt Disney Animation Studios.

A hit is just what I got.

A perfect, socially-aware, maturely-themed, marvelously funny hit. Disney has done it again, folks.

From the get-go Zootopia captured my imagination–every detail in this mammal-rich world was meticulously thought out by the filmmakers. The different districts of the sprawling urban jungle accommodate different species of mammals, all co-existing in harmony because they have evolved from “savage” primordial beings to sophisticated mammals with heart and drive to be anything they want to be.

Or so we think.

Judy Hopps, an optimistic, spunky little bunny from humble little Bunny Burro, wholeheartedly believes that Zootopia is a glittering Oz full of opportunity and equality, a place where any animal can be anything. She’s right to an extent–she became Zootopia’s first bunny cop, a job usually reserved for the biggest, toughest mammals.  However, Judy’s optimism, although admirable, proves to be blind at times. While Zootopia appears to be a land of opportunity, it also has a gritty underbelly full of prejudice and harsh realties.

Here’s the deal: Judy Hopps is my spirit animal because of her hopeful idealism that sometimes get struck–and struck hard–by reality. She needs Nick Wilde, the sly little fox and Pawpcicle hustler, to balance her out. Nick sees things just as they are (admittedly by being a pessimist) and is able to help her see reality as it is, not as she would like it to be. Here’s the catch: if you can see the world how it is, you are able to realize that it’s not all too bad. You begin to recognize the flaws in your reality, and you  also can find ways to fix those flaws.

There’s a moment in the movie where Judy feels as she has “broken” the world she lives in through her misjudgment and actions. The head chief of the Zootopia PD, however, assures her that “the world has always been broken. That’s why we need good cops.”

Our world that we live in, humans, has always been broken. Sometimes I refuse to see it that way. I want everything to be peachy keen, for every one to get along, for the bad guys to disappear into oblivion. That’s not going to happen overnight–or ever–in my lifetime. The only way anything can happen is for change to start with the people who recognize that the world has always been broken. The people who recognize the broken bits know that the only thing they can do is be their best selves to help make their little corner of the world a little more whole.

Judy Hopps is my spirit animal, everyone, because of her slow realization that the world isn’t the perfect place. Like she says towards the end of the move: “Life’s messy. We all make mistakes.” And it’s ok. While it isn’t perfect, life is still sprawling with opportunity to create a more perfect existence. A perfectly imperfect existence. Perfection is not every the aim–persistence towards perfection, towards the betterment of yourself and the world,  is what truly counts.

Thanks for being my spirit animal, Judy. I’m so glad we’re learning to live in the real world where we can be more aware of our imperfect surroundings. When we’re aware, we can change it.

Let’s do it.




Hidden Gems

No matter how often you go to Disney, you are almost always sure to find something you’ve never seen or experienced before.

After enjoying a lovely lunch at Pinocchio’s Village Haus in Magic Kingdom, I stumbled upon a wall that almost moved me to tears.

I said almost. I’m not that big of a softy.

Jiminy Cricket is one of my favorite little obscure characters–he embodies Disney magic like no other insect (crickets are insects, right?). Imagine my delight when I blindly walked into a room that paid sweet homage to my humble little cricket friend. Here are some pictures:

  In that room there was also a wall with the Blue Fairy’s likeness. Below was a little book with Jiminy’s picture on the cover, encouraging guests to scribble their own wishes and dreams.

In this tiny moment of discovery, I felt so uplifted and refreshed. Little things like paintings on a wall can really do something to a person’s emotions if done just right.

Disney always does it right.

I didn’t write down my wishes that day. Every day seems like a wish come true–I get to see so much happiness in each meet-and-greet and get to spend free moments enjoying my favorite place. There will come a time where I’ll need to figure out new wishes to be made, but right now I’m enjoying each wish come true.

College Grad

I’m officially a college graduate.

I have completed my Bachelor’s degree in English (with an emphasis in literature) and I can say I’ve learned so much over the course of my education–I can analyze a poem in a heartbeat, write an essay in [hours] flat, and dissect books in order to discover the deeper meaning hidden within their pages. Being an English major was like an identity, a comfort. It’s so weird to say that I’m not an English major anymore. I’m a”has been.”

I don’t get the chance to walk in an actual ceremony due to my participation in the Disney College Program. I think I’ll manage. I’ll be near my beloved castle, so I think the trade-off is more than fair.

Imagine my excitement when my mom surprised me with a graduation cap and supplies to decorate said graduation cap:

I chose this quote because I absolutely love the song. I’ve actually never ridden Disney’s Carousel of Progress, but I know of the song and I absolutely love its message. It’s so optimistic: “There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day. There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow, and tomorrow’s just a dream away! Man has a dream, and that’s the start. He follows his dream with mind and heart. When it becomes a reality, it’s a dream come true for you and me!”

How could that song not put a smile on your face and a can-do spirit in your heart? I thought it was perfect for a college grad. I’d like to think that every morning holds the opportunity to do something wonderful, something great. Every single night holds the promise of a brand new start in the morning, a “great big beautiful tomorrow.” I just love it.

Yesterday we had a little graduation party, just me and my family and a little bit of cake. My mom surprised me with a huge Mickey Mouse, my future boss, and I am just in love with him. He’s so soft and cuddly, and I know he’ll make a great companion in Florida. So far I have a slew of companions: my old Donald Duck, purchased on my very first trip, my Sorcerer Mickey purchased in Minnesota at the Mall of America, and now my huge Mickey to commemorate my graduation. And my Tsum Tsums. Can’t forget those little guys.

My mom surprised me with one more precious thing: This journal with one of my favorite quotes.

I can’t wait to record special memories of my time as a Walt Disney World cast member.

Thank you for everything, college. It’s been pretty awesome to say the least. You’ve equipped me with more than enough to make it in the real world (hopefully). Along with analyzing poems, I’ve learned to analyze situations and make pretty sound decisions. Because of all the literature I have read, I am now more empathetic to the world around me and the different cultures that inhabit my surroundings. Because of the papers I have written, I am able to communicate effectively and passionately when need be.

College, you have been a magical experience. Now it’s time to go make a little magic (quite literally) for others.

Pure Excitement

These past few weeks have been an odd mix of emotions; mostly wonderful, some a little… bitter sweet. Yes. Bitter sweet is the right sentiment.

Let’s see. First off, I’m done with my college volleyball career. My last season ended a little over a week ago, and it still doesn’t feel real. I’ll write a separate post on the subject sometime soon, but I want to let whoever is reading this know that I have loved every minute of my college volleyball dream and this last year was just so gratifying. We won our conference, had the first winning season in program history, and got to play in the NCAA tournament. It was so exciting, and when I walked off the court for the very last time (holy moly), I knew that I could say that I put everything into my first dream.

That is where the “bitter sweet” component of my complex emotions factor in.

Now. Here are the exciting components:

  • I’m done with college in 5 days. Wow. This is also a little bitter sweet, but I just can’t wait to be at home for a while.
  • I start the Disney College Program in 52 days! I have to keep pinching myself. I can’t believe I get to be a cast member! Now that volleyball is over, I can shift my attention to preparing for my arrival date. I’m having the best time organizing my thoughts and planning and what not.
  • I’ll be living in DISNEY WORLD in only 52 days. Again, it’s just now sinking in now that I have a bit of free time on my hands.
  • I’ll get to see so many dreams coming true on a day-to-day basis.
  • It makes my heart so happy knowing I’ll be seeing Mickey and Donald and friends oh so soon.
  • Christmas is coming. Who doesn’t love Christmas?
  • I get to see my dogs in 5 days!
  • Can you see why my heart is bursting with happiness?!

Once finals are over, I’m going to try to post at least once a week. I won’t be an English student any longer, so I have to keep my writing skills sharp. Also, blogging is so darn fun. And once I’m at Disney, I’ll be posting a lot more about the most magical place on Earth–tips, tricks, my amateur photography of the castle and other pretty things around the parks, life while in the college program, food, reviews of all the amazing new attractions set to open in 2016, you name it. I’m so excited to breath a little fresh air into this blog.

For now, I’ll just continue to let my heart pitter-patter as I start making packing lists and shopping trips.

Have a magical day, my friends.


In Full Swing

Hi everyone. I can’t sleep at the moment–it’s been a problem for a while now, but that’s ok! I just wanted to get my hands on this keyboard and write and write and write and write.

Things are “in full swing”–we play our first tournament this week and I’ve been up to my nose in reading and writing and binge watching YouTube videos of little importance. It’s been real. It’s been fun. I’d even say it’s been real fun.

Things I’m obsessed with lately:

  • Coffee. Now that school is back in session, my morning coffee is my best friend.
  • Distractions. I’m currently trying to constantly distract myself because of all the exciting things that could happen but haven’t happened and may not happen and what not. Music and random YouTube vids are my go-to.
  • Glitter. Glitter is good. Glitter is wonderful. Glitter is extremely hard to clean, but it just adds a little something, you know?
  • The Dixie Chicks. I’ve popped in one of their old CDs in my car and I forgot I how much I love them. I don’t listen to a whole lot of country, but they (and George Strait) definitely top my list in that category.
  • Chacos. Chacos are life.
  • My Dumbo Pillowpet. He’s so cute and cuddly and he’s always there.
  • Wishing on stars. I’m doing a lot of that these days.
  • My team. Most of the girls I’m playing with are new, and I just love them already. This has been the most cohesive team I’ve played on in a while, and I’m having a blast with them.
  • Schoolwork. I’m in World Mythology and I am loving it. I can’t wait to lovingly critique Disney’s Hercules after I learn more.
  • That’s all.

I know this has been a random/ short post, but it’s done wonders for my chaotic mind. I always get to thinking too much when the sun goes down (who doesn’t?), and sometimes I just need to construct a fun little blog post to ease the constant conversation with myself (side note: isn’t it weird that we are literally talking internally to ourselves ALL THE TIME?!).

Goodnight, everyone. I hope you enjoyed all the nonsense that has taken place.

Idina Menzel–The Queen

Last night, I saw my favorite singer of all time, Idina Menzel, in concert.

It was so incredibly amazing, and I’ve decided I’ve got PID–“Post Idina Depression.”

Last night’s happiness just carried over to today.

I’m so happy I got to see her in concert, but I am so sorry it’s over. I remember sitting at my computer in November anxiously waiting to purchase pre-order tickets, poised and ready to win a chance to see the original Elphaba (Wicked) in the flesh. My heart was pounding, my feet were bouncing, and my ears were frozen–I had just walked back from class in the freezing November weather. I had my “Let it go” beanie from Hot Topic a top my head for the occasion. I was ready.

When I hit the “Buy” button, I went crazy, bouncing up and down in my apartment and screaming because I knew I would get to see her and  hear her soaring voice fill an entire concert hall. I called my grandma–she paid for the tickets (Thank you Lille!)–and said my thanks in the most excited, shrill way imaginable. I immediately started a countdown on my phone and took pleasure in watching the days tick by.

Now that I’ve attended her concert, I can sincerely say the wait was so, so worth it.

Our tickets were in the first balcony with a clear shot of the stage. The minute Idina appeared singing “Defying Gravity,” I had little tears in my eyes. Idina Menzel was in the same room as me! I was there! She hit every note perfectly and she immediately had such a unique stage presence. Every one of the audience members sat at the edge of their seat, hanging on her every word and occasionally “whooping” and clapping when prominent notes or lyrics came along. This moment was so cool–I was in a room with a bunch of people a lot like me. Musical theatre dorks, Disney freaks, and self-proclaimed misfits who all had a soft spot for Idina Menzel. I felt at ease and so excited. By the end of the night, my cheeks ached from smiling so much.

I knew Idina was funny, but experiencing her sass while in the same room as her takes my love for her personality over the roof. She politely told an obnoxious fan to “Shut the (expletive) up” and then told the parents of “little girls in blue sequined dresses” to cover their ears from time to time. I laughed so hard, as did the rest of the audience. My sister–who was a tad wary of attending an Idina concert, she’s not a die-hard fan like I am–was even red in the face at Idina’s remarks. There was a moment when Idina talked to a fan in the front row who was taking her picture. She insisted on him getting her good side, and laid down on the stage and posed. The audience rip and roared and clapped. She’s just such an entertainer.

There were some sweet moments as well. When a little girl yelled out, “I love you!” She smiled and graciously said, “I love you, too.” You can really tell she’s so grateful to get to do what she’s doing, and I couldn’t be more grateful to be a fan of such an incredible person and performer.

My favorite moment of the entire show had to be when she sang “Let it Go,” but for a completely different reason than what you might think. Before she finished the song, she invited all the little girls in the audience to go up and sing with her. There was this little girl just one row down from me who was dressed as a little Elsa, and she wanted to go, but her mom was unsure because we were in the balcony. They finally decided to sprint downstairs, and the whole balcony was craning our necks in hopes of getting a glimpse of Little Elsa (the only little girl dressed as Elsa in the entire room) making it to join the crowd of little girls lucky enough to be on the orchestra floor. When we saw that she made it, the entire balcony erupted in cheers. The icing on the cake was when Idina noticed the little girl, and she got to stand right next to her. I completely lost it because Little Elsa was just so excited. Talk about a magical moment in the making–when the little girl came back to her seat, we all clapped for her and gave her high fives. What an incredible memory for that little girl and for all of us first balcony goers.

Idina Menzel, if there is any chance you might read this, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for putting on such a wonderful performance. Your songs are apart of my daily life–I listen to “Defying Gravity” when gearing up for volleyball games, “For Good” because it reminds me of seeing Wicked for the first time and crying my eyes out, and Let it Go because I am such a Disney freak and was so happy you were a part of the Disney movie canon. I counted down the days when I could purchase the If/Then soundtrack last year, and I cheered you on when you sang the National Anthem perfectly at the Super Bowl. Thanks for giving us songs to help us feel empowered, motivated, and sassy (Take Me or Leave Me, anyone?). Last night was a dream come true, and I’m so glad I was a part of it.

When Idina sang “For Good” (acapella, no mic) last night, I tried to etch the moment into my memory because it was so perfect. Here was my favorite singer telling us that she had “been changed for good,” and I want to reciprocate the notion. Because of her music and her magical performance last night, I’ve definitely been “changed for good.”

Mourning the Animation Academy

Who didn’t love getting to draw a Disney character at Disney’s Hollywood Studios?! This attraction was one of my favorites, and I’m so sad to see it go. I only got the chance to draw two characters: the lovable Goofy and the classic Jiminy Cricket (one of my favorites) before Disney closed its doors.

Here’s a picture of me and the Jiminy I created during our visit last summer:

So HAPPY I was able to experience this attraction!
So SAD to see it go!
He’s just so cute!

Animation Academy was just so fun; I love the magical memories I made there. That whole building was the perfect way to cool off and meet some awesome characters, see some cool concept art, and try your own hand at creating a masterpiece. I loved meeting Sorcerer Mickey in this building; there’s something utterly magical about that blue hat.

Another one of my favorite memories from the Animation Academy was the waiting for the attraction’s doors to open. I got the chance to talk to a little girl all about her day: she was so excited about meeting Sofia the First, and she was happily talking my ear off about her experience. She was so precious and so excited. I loved talking to her and her family about their vacation. Disney families are special families–we can happily talk to complete strangers about all the fun to be made while vacationing at a Disney park.

I hope Walt Disney World considers opening back up the doors of the Animation Academy in some other location, somewhere. I loved being able to create my own free souvenir; our whole family loved it, in fact. Each one of our creations were the same but wildly different. The Animation Academy emphasized the unique quality to every piece, and it couldn’t be more apparent in my families’ creations. My grandma’s work of art was always slightly undersized, my mom’s pencil marks light yet confident, my sister’s character boldly outlined, and my own character outlined scratchily, my attempt at pure artistry.

Rest in peace, Animation Academy. Thanks for creating magical memories that I’ll never forget.

Road Trip

One of the most cherished past-times of summer has got to be the quintessential road trip. It’s classic, it’s perfection–not-so-good-for-you-food, quirky stops along the way, and activities to help pass the time on the road.

My little family (my mom, my sister and I–we’re the best of friends) took to the road a couple of days ago and had so much fun. We made two fun little stops and did some ordinary shopping, rounding the day out with some horrific singing as we made our way back to where we started. Even though the outing could have been dubbed “normal” and “uneventful,” the day proved to be full of fun little moments that made for a memorable day.

Our plans took us to Oklahoma City and surrounding areas. I love the atmosphere in OKC; downtown is hip and kind of funky, and its suburbs are filled to the brim with shopping and dining. Our first stop was for breakfast at Waffle Champion in downtown OKC–as soon as I put my first bite of classic waffles with cinnamon cream cheese syrup and a sprinkle of graham cracker crumble, I knew I had experienced a taste of heaven, nirvana, El Dorado, you name it.

Here’s a picture of my platter so that you may drool and experience a plethora of jealousy:

As Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation) once said, “We need to remember what’s important in life: friends, waffles, and work. Or waffles, friends, work. Doesn’t matter, but work comes third.” Waffle Champion assured this outlook on life, and I plan to make many more trips to experience the deliciousness all over again.

Our next stop was a complete surprise–a gas station lovingly named “Pops” located in Arcadia, Oklahoma, along the original Route 66. Its name is derived from the fact that over 600 flavors of soda are sold within its walls. A statue of a classic soda pop bottle sits in front, further contributing to the charming theme.

My family loved this place. So classic, so cute, and so nostalgic. Here are some pictures:

The rest of the day was spent shopping and experiencing little moments that made the entire clan smile: comparing our shopping excursions to that one episode of Gilmore Girls in which they window-shopped, stumbling upon a Disney Store outlet, and singing Disney tunes at the top of our [my] lungs as my mom’s Expedition lumbered on down the road.

Sometimes summer vacation doesn’t have to be chock full of big moments to be special and fun. Sometimes you just need an “ordinary” road trip to produce an extraordinary day.