Favorite Feelings

The first day of a vacation, i.e. what today is for me. (I’m coming for ya, Allyssa and Iowa and South Dakota!)

The first sip of a large Diet Coke with vanilla from Sonic, because it’s extra vanilla-y.

Reading in a pool, your body half-submerged as the sun warms your shoulders and arms.

When you flip on the Food Network and the Pioneer Woman is on. She’s fantastic.

The crunch of a tortilla chip dripping with creamy jalapeño sauce from Chuy’s. UGH. I melt.

A perfectly clean room.

When you sit down to write and your brain actually spits out ideas.

The first time you listen to an album or a song, and you end up loving it. It’s the magic of listening to lyrics for the first time, you know?

When you used to work at Disney World and you visit for the first time in over a year, and Russell from Up remembers you and walks you to the Wilderness Explorer Clubhouse. (Oh, Disney. I MISS YOU.)

Receiving snail mail from your friends. Just sayin’ hi.

Sitting between the shelves of the local library, writing. You feel so official.

Actually seeing–not FaceTiming, not texting–your best friend for the first time in months. (Tomorrow, tomorrow!)

The tickle of your dog’s tongue on your nose.

Watching baby birds evolve: from aliens to gargoyles to feathered gargoyles to real life birds.

Long drives by yourself. You sing at the top of your lungs and no one judges you when you zone out to think about life and stuff.

And on that drive, you’re able to think of new story ideas and blog posts (like this one) and you feel energized and creative and productive!

And, finally, the satisfaction that comes with writing your thoughts down. There’s nothing better.

FOLK: A Way of Life

What do I mean by FOLK, you ask?

The Festival of the Lion King, of course!

During my college program, the Festival of the Lion King became my absolute favorite show on Walt Disney World property–every time I visited DAK (Disney’s Animal Kingdom…WDW [Walt Disney World…see?!] is obsessed with acronyms), I made sure to stop by the Harambe Theatre and take in all that this glorious festival has to offer. If you haven’t experienced it for yourself yet, I encourage you to do so on your next trip.

The Festival of the Lion King is not a show based on plot or story, but rather ambiance inspired by select songs from The Lion King. “Tumble Monkeys” exhibit the fun and laid-back vibe of “Hakuna Matata,” a fierce fire-twirler (is that the right term?) captures the sinister aura of “Be Prepared,” and literal love-birds take the stage to represent the sweet nature of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.” The more I watched this beautiful show, the more my love for it grew and grew. There was something about the simplicity of it–I didn’t have to keep up with a plot, I only had to sit back and enjoy every intricate piece of the performance.

Because I love this show so much, it is no surprise that my favorite memory from my college program is the day I got to experience it in the front row of the lion section.

I had seen the show so many times before, but seeing the spectacle from that close was truly incredible. The cast seemed to connect with each one of us. Timon stopped by and a Tumble Monkey played a quick game of duck-duck-goose. Did I mention that I got to be the demonstrator of the lion section? I will forever be unnecessarily proud of that moment; I tried my very best to replicate the roar of the most majestic creature of the animal kingdom.

After the show, we were so very lucky to get to meet a few members of the cast. My group of friends was undeniably a little bit of a mess–with only two weeks left of our beloved Disney College Program, we were already beginning to become reluctant to leave the magic behind. We were so overcome with emotion and excitement,  we couldn’t stop crying. Ugly crying.

Those poor Tumble Monkeys didn’t know how to handle us.

I just want to take the time to thank everyone who brings this beautiful show to life. It’s a celebration of life and love and beauty and color and music, and it truly touches so many. I listened to the soundtrack today as I made my way around town doing errands, and my heart couldn’t help but ache for it. I miss you, FOLK, but I know that you will always welcome me with open arms whenever I visit my home.

Until I can feast my eyes on FOLK again, I just have to remember to live in the moment on my own “path unwinding,” to celebrate life as joyfully as a mischievous Tumble Monkey, to not be afraid to fight for the spotlight like Timon, to embrace beauty and love as it comes, and to truly appreciate all that the circle of life has to offer. FOLK is not just a show–it is truly a way of life.

Hakuna matata, my friends. I hope you have a “wild” day!

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.”

I’m Feeling “Wicked” Today

Today I’m combining a “mug shot” with the “3 days, 3 quotes challenge.” I couldn’t wait to show off this mug I just recently received from one of my best friends (hi, you! You know who you are!). She just got back from a trip to New York City and was so thoughtful to pick up THIS mug at the actual Gershwin Theater where my most favorite musical of ALL TIME plays eight shows a week:

Any other Wicked fans out there? I absolutely love it. I’ve seen it twice as it has made its way around the country on traveling tours, and I can’t ever get enough. The soundtrack is wonderful, and the morals we can learn from this musical are superb: “good” isn’t always good, and “wicked” isn’t always wicked. Not everything is as it seems, and we must be smart enough–be good enough–to recognize this.

It’s also all about harnessing your inner strengths, and learning to “defy gravity” with those strengths.

Here’s where I tie in my second quote of the challenge. It’s near the beginning of Elphaba’s showstopper “Defying Gravity”:

“I’m through accepting limits ’cause someone says they’re so. Some things I cannot change, but till I try I’ll never know.” 

love this. I’d like to think I’m through “accepting limits” because someone, or society, holds them in place. I also love how this quote is about making the decision to try, something I think is so important. No, we cannot change everything, but until we try we can’t ever know.

I hope everybody has a “wickedly” wonderful day. Remember, try “defying gravity” each and every day, and always remember to travel by bubble.


30 Random Facts About Me

Hello everyone! I thought it might be fun to tell you all some totally random facts about me, just so you can get a feel for the person behind the posts. I love reading these types of things because I’m such a “people watcher” person–I love trying to figure out the lives of all the unsuspecting strangers around me, so when I get to actually know something about them, it’s the coolest thing ever.

Totally not creepy.

Without further ado, here are thirty random facts about myself:

  1.  Fig Newtons are my favorite snack.
  2. I’ve played volleyball since the fourth grade.
  3. Gilmore Girls is my favorite show of all time.
  4. I’m Rory Gilmore.
  5. I’m also sort of Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation).
  6. I think Ben Wyatt (from Parks in Recreation) should exist in real life. He’s perfect.
  7. I lived off of The Magic Treehouse series when I was little.
  8. My first puppy was named Oliver after the cat from Oliver and Company. I was into irony at a young age.
  9. I’m an emotional person. I’ll happy-cry at the littlest thing.
  10. I’m slightly OCD.
  11. I make to-do lists first thing in the morning.
  12. I’m a notoriously heavy sweater (when I work out…not while participating in daily circumstances). My team makes fun of me. It’s a grand time.
  13. I’m an English major with an emphasis in literature. I’m thinking about adding a communications degree to my resume. I’m also thinking about graduate school. I want to be an eternal student, you see.
  14. I have an obsessive personality; I am one-track-minded.
  15. I try to write something everyday.
  16. I’m a defensive specialist on my volleyball team. I’m usually the libero, which means I get to wear the different colored jersey.
  17. I sing in the shower not only for enjoyment purposes, but also for the purpose of actually getting better at singing. I want to be a self-taught decent singer.
  18. Blogging is so much fun. I started less than a year ago, and I’m always working to improve.
  19. I love food. Especially Mexican.
  20. I have a sweet tooth.
  21. Sweet tea is my favorite drink. I have to limit myself.
  22. I’m 22 and have no interest in drinking. For special occasions, I treat myself to sweet tea.
  23. Idina Menzel is my favorite singer of all time. This was true even before Frozen.
  24. I’m a worrier. I have big dreams and I’m constantly wondering if they’ll ever happen.
  25. Chocolate is life.
  26. I love music, especially soundtracks to Disney or musicals.
  27. I have a Dumbo pillow pet.
  28. I love HGTV.
  29. Whataburger is my favorite fast-food burger place. That might be a hint to what part of the country I’m from.
  30. I can swim really really well; I’m talking fish status.

There you have it! Thirty random facts about me. I hope you have a little eclectic picture in your head of the girl behind the wittily written (humor me) blog posts of Kaila in Wonderland. I love writing for anyone who is willing to read the silly little posts I love to write, and I’m so happy that some of you actually enjoy it.

See? So happy.

I hope you have a wonderful day, everyone!

Love. Your. Self.

YOU are awesome. Yes. YOU.

I know it’s kind of a “thing,” a “trend” if you will, to be all about “body peace” and positive body image. Meghan Trainor’s catchy tune “All About That Base” is just an example of this little trend catching on, which I think is just awesome–yes, there’s always room for improvement, but why not love the skin you’re in at this very moment? You’re the only “you” out there…own it.

When I began this post, however, I didn’t want to convey the message, “just love the physical aspect of yourself.” By all means, love everything about your appearance– like Meghan says, “Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top.”

What I want you guys to really love is your essence–your deepest self, your mind, your likes, your dislikes, your quirks, your tendencies to trip over things and stumble over your words, or your tendencies to walk into a room and really capture everyone’s attention. I want you to love your smile, the way you talk too loudly, your habit of bursting into song at a moment’s notice. I want you to show off your Disney side, or your sporty side, or your nerdy side, or your supermodel side, or whatever side you wish the whole world to see without a dash of uncertainty. Dress the way you like, read the things that interest you, see the movies that tickle your fancy.

All of your likes and tendencies make you the very core of who you are. Just love everything about yourself–you are unique, awesome, amazing, wonderful! Do this, of course, by showing respect to those who differ from you, who don’t think the way you do, and just seem just plain strange to you.

Be a nice human and love every aspect of yourself. It’s really that simple.

Of course, I struggle with this concept every single day–I know I’m an odd person through and through. I think way too much. I over-analyze everything. I feel this constant need and desire to be perfect. I’m clumsy. I smooth my ponytail when I am uncomfortable. I sometimes feel like I can’t carry on a normal conversation because I am worried about saying the “wrong” thing. I like Disney. I look at Pinterest quotes all the time. I think in metaphors. I’m superstitious, but not in the conventional, cliché way. If I could wear my sparkly Mickey ears every day, I would. I eat Fig Newtons all the dang time.

While dub myself “weird,” I also think from time to time, “Weird? Weird doesn’t even exist!”

I need to realize on a more daily basis that I am not “weird” or “odd.” I’m simply myself.

“Myself” is a pretty awesome thing to be. Without my odd tendencies, I wouldn’t be as driven and ambitious as I am today. Life wouldn’t be as magical without my Disney movies and soundtracks and park visits. If I didn’t trip over things or bump into stationary objects, I wouldn’t have such cool and interesting (sort of) stories to tell.

I am–and so are all of you– a unique little human taking up a certain amount of space in this world; that space is filled with your physical self and your very essence, your colorful personality. No person can occupy your space better than you. Isn’t that incredible to think about?

Love yourself–every little bit of yourself. Yes, there is always room for improvement, whether it be the kindness you show to others or your physical condition. But you are unique; you have every bit of potential and happiness that you want to possess. Weird does not exist. Just be the you that only you can be.

As Rhino, the little hamster from Bolt, says, “The impossible is possible if you’re awesome!”

You are awesome, my friends. Go for that which is impossible.