Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Merry Christmas!

 Merry Christmas! I hope your Christmas was merry and bright. After months of anticipation, Christmas finally arrived. Stocking were hung, the tree was decorated, and Christmas music rang throughout the house. While the Florida heat is nowhere near the white Christmas so many people dream of, we are able to embody Christmas cheer in festive decor and lights.

Not only do I love the cookies, holiday cheer, and music, I love celebrating the greatest gift of all: Jesus. The true meaning of Christmas tends to get lost in the fancy ribbons and Christmas cookies. I know that I get wrapped up in all the holiday traditions. 

One of my favorite traditions is going to the candlelight Christmas Eve service at my church. They always do an amazing job of portraying the Christmas story, always in a unique way. My favorite part, though, is the singing of "Silent Night" with the auditorium glowing in candlelight. 

Christmas is truly a glorious holiday with an impactful meaning. I hope your Christmas not only reflected the typical traditions, but the birth of our Lord and Savior. 

We had to get a Disney ornament to commemorate my parade experience!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Outfits

Christmas is finally here! Christmas is my favorite holiday, and I am so excited to celebrate this year. My only issue: finding something to wear. No matter the formality of my Christmas celebrations, it is vital to not overdress or underdress. Here are a few of my clothing options. 

This first outfit combines some of my favorite articles of clothing. The hat from Target, the necklace from White House Black Market, the sweater from Gap and the dazzling skirt from LOFT all come together to make this semi formal outfit. 

The Christmas season is the only time of the year where tacky clothes are completely acceptable. I got this sweater a few year's ago on sale, and I have yet to find an occasion to wear it. It seems completely fitting to match it with a fierce red turtleneck (didn't think you would ever associate fierce with a turtleneck, right?). This look is perfect for a laid back party or hang out with family and friends. 

This last look is best for a formal event. While it doesn't don the traditional Christmas colors, it still exudes the holiday spirit.  I love this dress for many reasons, but the main reason is the deal I got on it. The original price was $230 and I got it for $20 at Marshalls. Pretty incredible, right? 

Which outfit do you think I'll wear on Christmas? 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Jack Rogers Ryan Leather Boots

The Christmas season is finally here, and the weather is cooling down (to some degree). While some days it stays in the high 70s, we Floridans are lucky with a few days on the chillier side. I love these days, because I have an opportunity to bring out my favorite winter clothes. 

This year, I have bought two of my favorite winter accessories. The first one is this infinity scarf from Target. When I saw it on the racks, I was immediately drawn to its coziness. While many infinity scarfs are made of wool, this fleece one provides the perfect amount of warmth and comfort! In two weeks I'm heading to New York, and this is the perfect addition to my packing list (it also is really cheap!). This fleece scarf isn't on the Target website, but it is still in stores!

My second favorite accessory is these boots. When I first looked at the Jack Rogers boot collection, I fell in love with these. They were so cute! I loved the scallop detail around the ankle. Sadly, when I made my trip to Nordstrom to try them on, I was disappointed. While they look cute on the display, they were too short; they don't come near your ankle. Sitting there disappointed, I decided to try on the Ryan Leather boots, and I fell in love! Not only are they the perfect mix of western and proper, but they are SO comfortable. I have found I can wear them walking around for hours and my feet don't hurt and blisters don't appear. They are the miracle shoe. 

Shirt: Nautica (Marshalls find)//Jeans: Ralph Lauren (Marshalls find)//Scarf: Target//Boots: Jack Rogers//Earrings: Olive and Piper

Have any favorite winter accessories? 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Disney Day #3: Performance Day!

I was so excited to wake up on Saturday morning; it was performance day! I honestly could not wait to put on my bright red and metallic green uniform, head over to Magic Kingdom, and perform. You can't even imagine the weird looks I got for wearing my Christmas uniform. But once people got off the monorail and saw the HUGE TV cameras, the looks stopped. Cameras lined Main Street, and DIsney workers were busy placing cables and wires into their positions. After scouting out a place for my parents to sit during the performance, my mom dropping me off with my NCA buddy. From there, I headed backstage at Disney (which surprisingly wasn't that cool) to practice for the performance. I was so psyched! 

When the directors told us it was finally time to make our way through the park to Main Street, the energy changed around me. People were no longer nervous about messing up or forgetting the routine completely. They were headed to be a part of something that they would never forget, an opportunity that is so rare people find it unreal. 

Once we finally walked through Magic Kingdom to our positions, we were ready to perform. The crowd was energetic, and we fed off their energy. When the music came on, those months of practice and anticipation came to an end. We were performing on Main Street, at Magic Kingdom, for a show airing on ABC. 

The first few times, we all still had energy. However, by the twentieth time, we found ourselves sitting on the pavement between takes. Other cheerleaders who had been before said that the longest they ever filmed was 20 minutes. We filmed for an hour and 20 minutes. I don't know if I have ever been so exhausted in my life. Although I was exhausted , it was truly an amazing experience. Standing in the middle of Main Street, filming something that would be shown on TV's across the country, was surreal.  I was able to meet people from across the country and be a part of a 830 member team. I was truly blessed to have the opportunity.

Be sure to check me out Christmas morning on ABC!

Disney Day #2

After a two hour dress rehearsal Friday morning, my parents and I headed to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Just a tip if you ever go to Disney: don't ride the buses. They take FOREVER. I don't know how long we waited every time we wanted to go somewhere. There is nothing wrong with the buses themselves; they are clean and everything, but the just take forever to reach the stops. And apparently if you stay in a Disney resort, you don't have to pay for parking! (We didn't know this till the last day *sigh*)

When we finally got to Epcot, we were starving. The bus had taken so long, it was well into the afternoon. Determined to eat good food, we headed for a Chinese restaurant. Not good. Most food at Disney is quite good, but this was tasteless and just plain gross. 
At Epcot, we rode a few rides but nothing really struck me as amazing. My personal favorite part was the Nemo ride. 

After Epcot, we headed to Hollywood Studios for the Osborne Christmas Light Show. Before dark, we used our fast passes to one of my favorite parts of the trip: Frozen Sing Along. I love Frozen so much, and although I was one of the only people over the age of 12 in the room, I sang my heart out. I mean who doesn't want to sing "Do You Wanna Build a Snowman" with Elsa and Anna? Speaking of "Do You Wanna Build a Snowman," I actually got to build one!!! There is an area in Wandering Oaken's Trading Post with snow, and trust me it is worth it. 

It may be small, but that's what you get when you live in Florida!

When it finally got dark, the Osborne Light show began. It was truly incredible. Millions of lights lined the streets, covering buildings from top to bottom. The lights danced to famous Christmas tunes, and really got me in the Spirit of Christmas. People around me (and myself) just stood in amazement. Literally every inch was covering in glimmering light.

"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." 
John 8:12

Been to the Osborne show before? 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Disney Day #1

Hello all! I know it has been some time since I've posted, but I'm back in action! After a busy Thanksgiving week, cheering in the Disney Christmas Extravaganza Parade, and a long week of choir functions and basketball games, I have finally found time to sit down and write. 

In some earlier posts, I had mentioned my opportunity to cheer for the National Cheerleading Association in the Disney Christmas Parade that airs on ABC Christmas morning. I was able to have this honor due to my All-American nomination at camp this past summer. When I first heard about the opportunity, I knew I had to do it. It is such an unique experience, something that I would never forget. 

After months of practicing the routine on my own, last weekend I headed to Disney World to embark on this once in a lifetime chance. I first got there on Wednesday to do a routine preview. I was so nervous for the preview, because basically it was a tryout for your position in the parade. I kept pushing off walking into the preview room, but when I finally previewed, I was so relieved. I felt confident with my "tryout" and was ready to hit the parks. Thursday morning we headed to Animal Kingdom. Although I don't live very far from Disney, I had only been to Animal Kingdom once before, and I'm not sure if I would ever go back. There is truly nothing to do besides going on the safari (which was pretty cool) or riding Everest (I didn't even go on it). The park didn't even seem very "Disney." There are barely any signs of Mickey or other original characters. It was a disappointment to me. Even though the park didn't have much going on, it was great spending some quality time with my parents. We always seem to have fun in any situation. Like I mentioned, the safari was one of the best parts. For it, you ride around in a Jeep-like car to observe the reserve that is on the Disney property. (Fun Fact: Magic Kingdom can fit inside the reserve!). Apparently on most days, one barely sees any of the animals. We got so lucky! We saw every animal, and we were so close to them! 

It was incredible being so up close to these creatures. I love looking at giraffes because you can really see God's intricate design. 

"I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well" 
Psalm 139:14

Thursday night, I had my first practice with all 830 cheerleaders (that's more people than in my high school). It was incredible to see how it all came together. With just a few words, the show directors could make the performance come to life with depth and visual magic. I can't wait to see how the performance turns out on TV. 

Ever been to Animal Kingdom? Let me know your thoughts!