Spring Adventures in Disney

disney, Memories

My time spent at Disney World has been nothing short of amazing these past couple months! After purchasing an annual pass and being able to experience the parks on a weekly basis, I’m fortunate enough to call the resort my second home. 

I’ve been able to experience all of the attractions, multiple holidays, and countless memories; and I’m excited to share them all with you! I’ve been compiling footage of all the exciting days spent at the parks, with so many different friends, for my YouTube channel. I tried out vlogging (and surprisingly enjoy it) after notice of my acceptance to the Disney College Program.

I plan to record while I’m down there so my friends and family, and anyone with an internet connection, can check out what I’m doing and stay up to date with my life. Until then, I’ve begun practicing to get all the awkward out of my system (if that’s even possible) by vlogging. After sorting through hours of footage, I found some of my favorite moments and compiled them all together for you!

Here are my favorite spring memories in Disney World, surrounded by my friends, pop music, and a lot of dancing! I had so much fun living these memories, and even more fun reliving them while compiling this together and I’m super happy with how it turned out!

I hope you like it just as much as I do! Click here to check it out!

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Son of a Mumford

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If you’ve been following along with my life thus far, you might have noticed that I really like going to concerts. I like them enough that I even end up writing about them. Since last summer, I’ve more than doubled my concert count, and each one is better than the next; especially spontaneous ones.

I’ve had my fair share of both preplanned-months-in-advance concerts, where every little detail is planned out and perfected, leading up to the moment the opener steps foot on stage. Yet lately, thanks to my hectic college lifestyle, I’ve gotten used to the luxary of “going with the flow” and taking things as they come. Most recently, that included taking some Mumford & Sons tickets from a friend a mere hours before the concert.

A band I’ve never seen before, at a venue I’ve never been to before, with a girl I’ve deemed my “concert buddy” sounded like an amazing adventure. And with a small price to pay of $25 and dancing our butts off in the rain, I was set.

Steering wheel in hand, I ventured an hour away and shoved that driving anxiety out the window as we jammed our way to the venue. After dealing with the largest parking lot in the world, and one lane of traffic inching its way through, we were ready.

Somehow we made it to the front of the lawn, even though we arrived halfway through the opener. I believe it’s because we are destined to always be barricade, so the concert gods looked down on us and blessed us with good spots. The music began and we let loose.

Overall it was a very chill night, as far as concerts go. I left the glitter at home, wallet in the car, and even watched the show instead of recording the entire thing on my phone, and it was a ton of fun. Mumford & Sons is an amazing group and really brought great vibes with them to the sold out arena…er, field.

 


Sometimes it’s just as much worth it to keep concert nights on the down low, as it is to hype them up all summer. I’m personally a fan of both actions, and will continue to wait in general admission lines for hours upon end.

It was a great way to start the summer, and I’m excited to see what other adventures await me ahead!

What I Learned After A Month Without Makeup

Her Campus

Originally posted on December 6th, 2016 on Her Campus UCF.

Like most middle school girls, I began experimenting with makeup at a young age. Always eager to grow up, it provided me with the illusion that I was a grown up. At such a young age, I became dependent on painting my face to create a mask of pseudo beauty. Since the age of twelve, I have refused to leave my house without the bare minimum of makeup in fear that someone would see my fresh face. I became self-conscious without my mascara and perfectly winged eyeliner and spent the past six years of my life hiding behind the safety of makeup. I admired those who could balance both and change it up depending on if they felt lazy or not; but even on my worst days, I made sure to get up in order to do my hair and makeup because god forbid I am seen for who I truly am.

Yet this all changed starting a month ago. As we entered the month of November, I challenged myself to go the whole month without an ounce of makeup. Yet cutting it out of routine completely was slightly too extreme for me. So I decided to cut it out of my routine for a majority of the month, with the exception of four days scattered throughout, to see if I could do it.

I figured I’d keep it up for couple of days before babying out and going back to normal, yet I decided to try it anyway. It was a strange feeling to wake up in the morning and greatly modify my routine that I have been using for a third of my life. Looking in the mirror, I saw someone I didn’t recognize. My freckled were visible, my eyelashes were stubby, and the dark circles stood out under my eyes. I wasn’t comfortable with the sight, but refused to let myself get worked up about it. As I went on with my day as usual, I felt the need to apologize to everyone I came across for looking dead. To my surprise, most people didn’t notice, and those who did complimented my fresh faced look.

The first week was the hardest because I wasn’t used to walking past mirrors and not recognizing myself. I didn’t feel as self-conscious as I thought I would until I opened my Snapchat camera and immediately tried to hide my face with a filter. But, the positives outweighed the negatives. As the month went on, I felt my skin clearing up. I was able to shave 45 minutes out of my morning routine which allowed me to get more sleep. I was able to rub my eyes without fear of ruining my eyeliner. I stopped curling and straightening my hair everyday and fell in love with the way my natural hair looked. Sure I was self-conscious at first, but I learned to love myself more in a natural state which really boosted my self-esteem.

On the few occasions that I actually did wear makeup, it felt foreign to me. I used the same routine that I had in the past, yet I felt like I had caked on too much. After seeing nothing but my fresh face for weeks on end, it felt strange to be all done up and I felt like I was overdoing it even though it was the look I had always done in the past. My friends were supportive of me and although I wasn’t always comfortable in my skin, this taught me that looks aren’t everything.

In this month I learned that looks aren’t everything, and although I have always been invested in my appearance, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I clearly didn’t have faith in my looks. After not wearing makeup or obsessing over my hair for a month, I became much more accepting of myself, and others who choose not to wear makeup. I am relieved to be able to wear mascara again, but I no longer feel dependant on wearing a full face of makeup.

It is a nice feeling to finally be comfortable with my natural look, but I won’t continue doing it everyday of my life. I love experimenting with makeup and trying new looks, and I did miss out on that for the past month, but I am so glad that I did. I learned to love myself, which is the most important thing to do.

I highly recommend anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable to step out of their comfort zone and try this. You don’t have to jump in head first like I did, but try it for even a day or a week and you’ll be amazed by the results.

I love wearing makeup, and now I love that I have the courage to go out without anything on my face.

“Happily Ever After” Review

disney, Reflections

“And all our wishes, will come true.” Yeah, yeah, yeah except I wished for Happily Ever After to be good and clearly that wish didn’t come true. Thanks Jiminy, Walt, and Bob Iger for ruining my hopes and dreams. Lets fight.

Okay, okay most of you are probably lost, so let me set the scene for you. Welcome to my life, where if you don’t like Disney, you’re wrong. If you have kept up with the ins and outs of the parks, you might have heard that fan favorite firework spectacular, Wishes, made it’s final showing this week on May 11th at the Magic Kingdom. It has been the nighttime show since 2003, and it’s removal has caused a stir in the Disney community. Yet shortly after announcing it’s farewell, it was also announced that a new show, Happily Ever After, would be replacing it. Pitchfork and torches in hand, Disney fans rioted over the replacement until finally coming to terms with the fact that magic is always changing.

As a huge fan of all things nostalgic, I was not embracing this replacement well, and have gone through this week with an extremely biased opinion. Yet 9 o’clock struck, and there I was, phone in hand, prepped to watch the live stream of the premiere of Happily Ever After (which you can watch here).

And it started out really well. The music began and I started to tear up a little. Just a little, don’t go around telling people I’m weak now. The orchestra was insane and the lighting was magical. I could feel that “end of a Disney day” contentness in my heart, which is exactly what a nighttime spectacular should deliver in my opinion. Yet that’s where those feelings stayed, and ended.

I had heard clips of the soundtrack previously and formulated strong opinions against it’s pop vibe, yet actually hearing it in the show made me hate it even more. Two irrelevant singers performing an original irrelevant song made my heart feel nothing. I had no memories associated with this music. It did not tug at my heartstrings. It was just kind of…there. Also a side note, but no fireworks were even shot until about 45 seconds in. Just interesting.

Yet the pop music faded and entered the Disney magic that we all were waiting for. I loved the recognition of underappreciated characters such as Tiana and Quasimodo being projected on the castle. Even more obscure songs were used, such as ones from Brave, Tarzan, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. 

Yet as incredible as that was to see, it was also extremely confusing. Since a majority of this show featured projections to compliment the fireworks and music, I assumed they were supposed to flow together. Well I was wrong, and that’s what I get for assuming. This first occurred during “Touch the Sky” from Brave. In the midst of scenes playing from the movie, Lightning McQueen from Cars shows up and drives past, followed by the floating house from Up. They don’t even kinda fit the Brave aesthetic? But okay Disney, you do you.

These weird obscure crossovers continue throughout, such as a mechanical/toy backdrop during the song “Bare Necessities”, as well as the castle singing?? Yeah you heard that right and it was kinda unnerving. Can’t explain it, just didn’t appreciate it.

Yet thank the lord that the Frozen scene that was included DIDN’T feature “Let It Go”or else I might have lost it. Yet it did feature this weird, slow, depressing cover of “Love Is An Open Door” that I can’t say I hated, yet was surprised by the mood it took on.

And then something incredible happened. Pirates of the Caribbean happened all over this dang show and made up for all the weirdness I endured during the first half. Following that was a bad cover of “Go the Distance”, but it gave me all the Wishes feels so I forgive it. AND THEN THE MAGIC HAPPENED and Tinker Bell took flight in the best way possible. By far the best part of the show.

Overall, the show had a lot of amazing elements such as marketing underappreciated characters, channeling the 21st century, and adding incredible spotlights and lasers that really enhanced the show, yet I’m opinionated so not everything was happy-go-lucky.

First off, I’d like to remind viewers that this was intended to be a firework show. While yes, there was a lot of boom boom pow in the sky, there were even more projections down below. Keep in mind that we already have a projection show at Magic Kingdom. It was a little too distracting for me to watch the castle act as a screen, while also watching the fireworks, and it took away from the point of the show. Side note, can we talk about all the god awful covers of the classic songs? Please tell me what was so wrong with the originals that they needed to replace them with the ear garbage that was playing.

Also even with the aid of additional visuals, there was zero story line. Wishes told a story throughout the fireworks and used nothing other than pyrotechnics and music to guide the viewer through. Happily Ever After was just a montage of Disney movies placed in what I feel was no rhyme or reason, put to fireworks.

Now I’m not bashing the incredible technology used, because this definitely was an incredible feat to accomplish. I’m just bummed that with all that they had available to them, they were unable to grasp at a viewer’s heartstrings and create the same effect that Wishes had on so many fans.

I don’t know, maybe I’ll feel differently when I see it in person in August, but for now I remain team Wishes, and will continued leaving my biased opinions across the internet until I realize that it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Anyways, go forth and formulate your own opinion and feel free to fight me because I’m ready to have a grown up debate about this.

@Disney, I don’t love you any less, I promise.

xoxo,

An Apathetic Millennial’s View on the Election

Her Campus

Originally posted on November 9th, 2016 on Her Campus UCF.

I’m notoriously known by my close friends and family as one who just goes with the flow. It’s not that I don’t care about anything, because I do, it’s just that I don’t normally know enough about things to take a stand. When it comes to politics, I am probably one of the lesser educated citizens on how the system works, but I do understand basic common sense.

It’s not a surprise to anyone that Trump’s upset last night has taken the nation by storm. And I, like many of you reading this and millions of people across the nation, have had my world turned upside down. Throughout the election season, I watched all the debates and kept up to date with the news. I saw the numbers and I knew how it went back and forth between the two candidates, but I never actually could put myself in a scenario where Trump was president. Yes it was a realistic possibiltiy, yet my brain couldn’t wrap itself around the idea.

His campaign always seemed like a joke to me. Not in a funny way but in a “yeah he’s running but realistically Hillary is going to win” type of way. And because I automatically assumed he would lose, I never read into deep about his policies and the impact they would have on the country.

I am a college student right now. A young woman at a point in her life where every adult concept matters. I used to be adamant about not labeling myself as a feminist, but here I am, sitting here distraught about the fact that I may soon lose basic freedoms that I took for granted. I am a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community and the progress that it has made in the past years is unbelievable. And now I’m in disbelief that I may soon watch it all slip out from under us. I am an American citizen who now cares and is ready to take a stand for what I believe in. I didn’t care about politics or making any ground-breaking movements. But that was before we elected an inexperienced white male to run our country because we are based on white supremacy.

All of a sudden, I now care. This is a new feeling for me, but I’m determined to make a difference in some way. The next two years with full republican control will be a change Americans will have to adjust to, but if we let our voice be heard, we too can make changes in this country.

No one should be scared to live in a place we call home.

xoxo,

 

The Art of a Wall Photo

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If you keep up with my social media, mainly my Instagram, you might have noticed that I have an eye for aesthetic. If you don’t keep up with my Instagram, you’re lame and should probably get on that ASAP because you’re missing out on some quality content. Regardless, I’m here to talk to you today about the key to getting the perfect picture of yourself; the wall pic.

The art of Instagram is very simple when you have your best friend to help you out. Your best friend is now a brightly colored wall and that wall will love and cherish you more than any other human ever could. Trust me, I’m a pro.

Now you might be thinking to yourself, “Lena, how could a pile of painted bricks ever replace the love I receive from friends and family?” Well a picture is worth a thousand words, and I’ve been compiling my portfolio for years, so let me just show you instead.

Does your best friend stand behind you to pose as the perfect backdrop? Do they coordinate with your outfit to flatter the right colors? Do they provide you with the perfect support to lean against while faking the photogenic “candid” laughs? If you answered “no” to at least one of these questions, then you need to find some walls, like, yesterday.

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Find one to match your outfit. Find one with a fancy mural on it. Find one to express your personality. The possibilities are endless, and the search is half the fun.

So stop sleeping on the best IG shots out there, and start finding some walls to stand in front of. Confused stares from passerbys are appreciated and encouraged. Go fourth and Instagram responsibly.

xoxo,

Shaming the Rice Purity Test

Her Campus

Originally posted on November 5th, 2016 on Her Campus UCF.

If you haven’t heard of it yet, the Rice Purity Test has been taking the world by storm. Recently, students at Rice University put out a survey (you can find it here), that told participants how “pure” they were. This rating was based off of a 100 question checklist in which people would mark what they have and haven’t experienced. At the end, the score is tallied up, and you receive a number 0-100. The lower the number, the less pure you are. Simple concept, confusing results. The website reminds its users that it is not to be considered a bucket list, and that completion of all items on the list could “result in death.”

All in good fun, the statements range from the innocent, “Held hands romantically?” to the extreme “Engaged in bestiality?” (hey, no judgement). Because of the variety of the questions, scores range largely throughout results. Although some people use this to determine one’s “kinkiness,” the original purpose was that it was created to track one’s maturation during their first year at college.

It recently has sparked conversation nationwide between college aged kids and younger, and people have already found ways to shame people for their results. Due to the private nature of the test, most answers see not designed to be seen by others, yet when numbers don’t match up, they are usually followed by further interrogation.

And here’s why it’s wrong. Not only is it an inaccurate reading of experience, but it is downright wrong to assign someone a number and judge them based off of it. In this day and age, people are shamed for everything under the sun. One thing that is often a large deal for young adults our age is experience. Yet this test brings it to a new level.

After taking this with a group of friends, it came to my attention that this became a tense moment that felt like a competition between us. After finding our our results, we decided that they were not an accurate representation of us as people, and no one cares how much you have done in life.

It created a degrading sense of inequality, and just another excuse for people to bully each other for no apparent reason. The questions, although worded professionally, surround the topic of purity in order to create some type of label for it’s users.

Everyone has different experiences, and some are meant to stay private. It might seem fun to take a quiz to see how you rank, but keep in mind that the number reflects things that aren’t meant to be advertised.

Next time you take a quiz online, remember that you are more than what your answer says you are. No one can ever tell you more about yourself than you. Pure or un-pure, a score of 0 or 100, it doesn’t matter. You are who you are and no survey can judge you for your actions.xoxo,

A Letter to my Freshman Year Dorm Room

BLOG, Her Campus

When I first stepped foot inside of these four walls that I’d be spending the following eight months in, i never knew the power that a room could hold. I opened the door for the first time, my name decorated brightly on the outside of it. I walked in, and looked around at the blank canvas made up of cinder blocks and neutral carpeting. I began to unpack and in that instant, I began creating memories.

Upon our first encounter, I never knew that you would hold my life in place for a year. You weren’t just a room; you were a home. You became my safe place to hide in when nothing seemed to go right. You became the destination in which my creativity burst in. You became my best friend as all my secrets were held in your four walls. You became more than just a room; you became a part of me.

I turned to you during my sleepless nights to help ease my stress. You were there for me to cry to when things weren’t going my way. You let me take my anger out on you when I threw pillows around and smacked the wall. You supported me through the tough times.

You endured my wild side as I covered you with glitter. You put up with the half-finished puzzles strewn across my floor. You didn’t get upset when I covered you in clothes when I was behind on laundry. You let me eat and drink, and spill food, without second thought. You binged all my favorite shows right alongside me.

You let me dress you up in photos and ticket stubs. I clothed you with movie posters and inspirational quotes. We made each other beautiful.

You embraced me during the most exciting times of my life. You were there when I got accepted into my dream job. You were there when he asked me to be his girlfriend. You were there when I made countless memories that will be cherished forever.

You created a temporary home for me that I’m not willing to give up.

Soon, you will give me your blessing to pack up and leave you as we both move on to bigger and better things. It saddens me that after I leave, I’ll never be able to step foot in this room again. Gone will be the four walls that house some of the most special moments a girl could have, but forever will be the memories that live on inside my heart.

I’m going to miss those cinder block walls and squeaky furniture. I’m going to miss the fluorescent ceiling lights. I’m going to miss those damn blinds that rattle any time air passes by them. Most importantly, I’m going to miss my freshman year best friend.

Thank you for giving me the world.

xoxo,

The Dapperest of Days

Adventures, disney

“Oh darling, you look absolutely splendid this evening!” was the phrase that ran through my head throughout yesterday as I attended my first ever Dapper Day event!j

For those of you who don’t know what dapper day is, here’s the rundown. Originating as a guest planned function, it invited those heading to Disney to dress to the nines in their favorite dapper clothing. People choose iconic fashion eras such as the 20s, 50s, and 60s, to put together an outfit worth of twirling down Main Street USA on one of the fanciest days of the year. This event occurs in both the spring and the fall in various Disney parks across the world and have recently been picked up by the companies to monetize.

With so much creative freedom the outfit possibilities are endless. Most choose to Disney Bound (dress as a certain character) for their outfit, while others just wear their Sunday best. Regardless, everyone looks fabulous and has an amazing time.

I was unable to make it to the event in the fall, so this was my first experience with the infamous Disney day. Dressed in gold and accessorized to the max, I decided to Disney Bound as Belle and I still can’t get over how awesome it turned out. (No need to brag, but can we just take a second to appreciate my hair? I learned how to do it in the moment as I was getting ready and i’m still thankful that it decided to cooperate all day!)

As soon as we parked, we knew we were in for a treat as we were immediately surrounded by others dressed to the nines. It was insane to see such a huge community come together for this event and show off their Disney side simultaneously.

We braved the ninety-six degree heat as we entered the park and immediately began snapping pictures before our hair and makeup would fall. Honestly, all we really did was take pictures and I’m 100% okay with that because everyone looked so. good. It was crazy! All that was running through my mind the whole time was ideas for next year.

Vintage vibes, rosey cheeks, and trolley cars had me feeling some type of way and I couldn’t put my camera down. I can’t wait for future Dapper Day events. If you ever get the chance to go, do it. You won’t regret it!

xoxo,