23. The year that Taylor Swift didn't sing about your birthday. The year I lost more jobs than I had interviews. The year where I started my own company. The year where I decided to stop living a spectator sport life and say yes to more opportunities and unforgettable moments. The year where there were more ups and downs than Tower of Terror.
That picture above is the first picture of my 23rd year of life. I've taken a lot of pictures this year, and I want to share some of my favorite memories of 23!
Why wouldn't I start with breakfast as the first picture?! It's the most important meal of the day. This might not seem that significant in the big picture, but small moments are important too. This breakfast was actually breakfast for dinner, and it happens to be from my favorite breakfast place, Metro Diner. That banana and granola pancake was massive, and I also got a side of home fries because I'm all about the carbs. It was so good! The thing about this night was that I ate alone. Some people think eating alone is weird, but I find it refreshing and I tend to have a lot of ideas when I eat alone.
Wise words from my friend, Remy. (And my friends YoHo Disney, who put this picture together!) Here's the thing, 23 was pretty unpredictable. I left a job I loved because I wanted to start my own business. I got fired from a different job because I was "demanding and rude," which are words I've never heard anyone say about me or my work style. Even outside of work, life was really crazy. I won't bore you with details, but can we just agree that I'm so glad 23 is almost over!
This might look like a birthday party. It's not. My best friends and I celebrated Galentine's Day this year. It's one of my favorite days of the year. Why? Do you see that mermaid cake?! The inside was pink ombre! There was also pizza. There's nothing, I mean nothing better than celebrating best friends than with cake and pizza. Who needs a guy when there's a mermaid cake?!
23 brought some awesome memories with my dad, like this one hanging out at the Star Wars Launch Bay a few weeks ago. There's nothing better than spending time with people you love at Disney, creating unforgettable moments. That's pure joy right there, people. Thanks for introducing me to Star Wars this year, dad! You're the real MVP!
This day. Oh man. I thought I was going to die at training camp this day. It was about 150 degrees outside, and I had a major migraine. But I drove the 45 minutes from my house to Downtown Jacksonville to see the first day of training camp, so I was getting some pictures! If you get migraines you understand what I mean when I say that I was miserable being outside with the amount of noise training camp has. But then as practice was over I got this selfie with Jaguars Head Coach, Gus Bradley. Talk about a nice guy! He stopped for every single person who wanted a picture or something signed. I got better that day.
Don't Panic. The name of my favorite Ellie Goulding song. The words I've lived by the past year. I've been so blessed to be surrounded with love and support from my friends and family. When that panic starts to set in, and I don't know what to do, they are there. (Along with my favorite ice cream.)
Last August my best friend and I got to go to Chicago. Always take the chance to travel. Especially if it's free. Thanks to getting #StuckInDublin for two days, I had a $1,000 flight voucher. What better way to spend the weekend than eating pizza, dancing around Millennium Park, and exploring a beautiful city?!
Sometimes 23 meant hanging out at my favorite bar, La Cava Del Tequila at Epcot. The margaritas at La Cava are fabulous, and my friends who work there are fantastic, I can't help but stop in there when I'm at Epcot. And when you're the first one in line you get that super-star treatment. If you've never been to La Cava, go! The avacado margarita has a massive cult following and you'll understand why after you have one!
Have you ever entered a contest and thought, "I'm never going to win this?" That' exactly what I thought when I entered to win Emily a Christmas present from our favorite makeup artist Lisa Eldridge. But then one Saturday afternoon I got a message from Lisa and I could not. My best friend heart burst with joy for Emily, knowing she was going to get something from Lisa! When Emily opened that Christmas present she knew she was getting a makeup bag from Lisa, but what she didn't know was that she was getting tickets to see Ellie Goulding!
This year I ran my fourth runDisney race, and my second 10K! Obviously, I'm looking like a hot mess here, but it doesn't even matter, I just crossed the finish line! There's something about running that is so empowering, and it makes me want to continue to be strong. I'm now registered for race five, six, seven, and eight!
The best pizza of 23 went to Giordano's. God bless them and all the cheese!
This year I started my own business on Etsy. It's been one of the most stressful, joyful, crazy, and life changing things I've ever done. The reason I started my Etsy shop in the first place was because I couldn't find a "real job" after college, and now I'm creating my own! There's absolutely nothing better than being your own boss. You get to choose how to spend your days, you're the one interacting with people, you're the one making standards! For me, those standards are high. I want my customers, readers, and followers to be happy with the product I'm putting out.
This is my best friend. This year we've been best friends for 15 years. And yes, she's hugging a coffee pot. That's how we all feel in the morning.
When you have the chance to see Taylor Swift, go see Taylor Swift. This night was filled with dancing, screaming, light up bracelets, and Idina Menzel dressed like Elsa singing "Let It Go" from Frozen. My Disney heart could not. I may or may not have cried. (I definitely cried.)
This is Kaitlyn. She's my other best friend. She makes the world full of sunshine. We get chased out of the room where Kylo Ren meets later this night.
One thing I learned about 23 is when you've found your squad, tribe, best friends, or what ever you call your group, keep them close. Traveling around with my best friends this year has been nothing short of exciting! The best part is, we truly do feel right at home!
My mom is my Disney best friend. There's so much that my mom has taught me, not just about Disney, but life, and love, and joy! When you get the chance, always choose to go to Disney with your mom.
This year I challenged myself to recreate every look from Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" music video. Some went well, others didn't. But if you don't challenge yourself with new things, then life begins that "spectator sport" mentality. What's my next challenge? I'm starting a Hub Grass Rapid Fire Series with some of my favorite Disney Instagramers, podcasters, friends, creators, and all around awesome people!
Living legends. You can't tell who this is because my mom and I were all the way up in the top row of the Citrus Bowl on a hot June night, but we got to see The Rolling Stones! Another unforgettable moment.
This night was a night where strangers became instant friends, all because of their love of Disney. Always take the opportunity to meet new people. Who know's what might come of it.
The day after the Taylor Swift concert Emily and I went to Animal Kingdom to hang out for a while. We had a wild time. And we got to see Rafiki. I love that photopass cast members can capture small moments in time, like this one. I have no idea what's going on here, but it's just all the fun.
I had a major goal at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party in December: see Flynn and Rapunzel. The pre-party to this picture is all of us jumping around and laughing, but thanks to the awful lighting in Princess Fairy Tale Hall, those didn't turn out so great.
Then there's this. The last selfie of 23. With my d3Tee from DanielsDoDisney, and the purple wall everyone is freaking out about at Magic Kingdom. I feel like I'm a cool Disney Instagrammer now with this picture. Here's to 23 being a beautiful mess, full of adventure, fear, and opportunity.
With 24 around the corner, I'm more ready than ever to more exciting things! I can't wait to see what 24 is going to bring, and what I'm going to learn and what God is going to do in me. Life is meant to be done with others, so lets be adventurers together!
Currently Listening Too: "Anything Could Happen" by Ellie Goulding