Monday, December 13, 2010

Thanksgiving Shenanigans

I haven't been blogging all that much lately. Not that a lot hasn't been happening, just because I haven't really had the time! But hallelujah, praise the Lord the semester has FINALLY come to an end....and now I'm bored. So here it is, my next blog. Here's what you missed in November:

Of course, I posted my mile long blog about the SGK 3-Day so that was definitely a highlight of November. But in the next few weeks came thanksgiving! yay! I hope you all over-ate and enjoyed time with family and friends. I, however, celebrated what I would like to call thanks-ghetto at a little place I'd like to call...
The Crack Barrel.

Ah, yes. the crack barrel. The cracker bizzle. The place that made me cry about 600 times when I worked there. I've honestly never had a more stressful food related job. But on the other hand...the food really does rock. I almost get offended when people say they don't like this place! It's kinda like that family member you can make fun of but if anyone else says anything you kinda want to kick their butt. I have a strange love hate relationship with CB. Anywho, since it was just mom, rachel and myself, we decided to come celebrate thanksgiving here. After all, we didn't have to cook & there were no dishes to wash. Not the worst idea in the world.

oh, & it was game day, so we had to wear saints gear obviously. Which for some reason embarrassed my mother to death. I think the fear of being under-dressed scared her. Because as we all know, on Thanksgiving at the Cracker Barrel, you're only dining with Alabama's finest.
Here I am classing up the joint by getting a chair stuck on my butt.

So our lunch was good, we went home, watched the game, and then took a walk around Spanish Fort. Afterwards I headed home to Louisiana and hung out at the Peyroux house. We watched Harry Potter (because I live under a rock and haven't seen any of them) until about 2am when of course it was time for black Friday shopping.
Long story short, I sat in the pouring rain and wind until 4am, got trampled, and did not get one thing I wanted. meh...moving on.

So, In order to do something kind for our fellowman, we had to break a few rules.
To serve food to other students, you have to take a cooking class on campus. However, the only class offered lately was during my trip to Dallas, so I am not certified. Nor is Kevin, a fellow R.A. who lives on north campus. We decided we wanted the foreign students to have a place to go to have a real thanksgiving dinner. So rules were broken, but we made someone happy so that's all that matters. And as far as I know, noone got food poisoned, thankfully!!

Kevin is the man.

the food was AMAZING!!!
Since cranberry sauce is a "staple" at thanksgiving dinner, Kevin said we had to have it. I, for one, have never had cranberry sauce and did not know how to serve it so this is what i did.
I also got a good laugh out of the Nepal kids trying to cut into it. They finally gave up claiming it was "too slippery for their liking"
other r.a.s dropped in to help out! Thanks Jeffie!
nepal kiddos digging in!
They were really happy & told me the past few days had been really lonely. I wish I could cook for them every weekend.
enjoying thanksgiving!
r.a. buddies! :o)
I found this on my camera the next day...

So there you have it. Thanksgiving 2010.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"I've never been so happy to see a port-a-potty!!" The Susan G. Komen 3-Day for a Cure!

After 11 months of preparations, November 5 finally arrived! Day one of the Dallas 3-Day for a Cure. I had slept at the Kemp house the night before so John drove me out to Colin Creek Mall for check-ins & the opening ceremony. If it wasn't for my seatbelt, I probably would have shot out the roof of the car anxious and freezing, I was so ready to get walking! We finally arrive at the mall, John bids me good luck and I roll out with my sleeping bag, luggage and fanny pack ready to go! It's still dark out, but all i PINK. I'm already loving this. The crew members, wearing pink tutus, wigs, and other tacky garb such as that directed me to where I should drop my luggage and then to the starting line.

Energizer, one of Susan G. Komen's national sponsors was there handing out pink bunny ears to encourage us to "keep going" hardy har har har

Thousands of pink bodies shivered around me as we huddled together trying to stay warm.
Thankfully, the sun was rising and opening ceremony was about to begin
Suddenly, upbeat music blared from the stage and huge pink beach balls began flying around the crowd. It was so exciting and the energy was absolutely contagious!! I forgot all about being cold once the opening ceremony and group stretch began.
After the fun, we had a moment where we recognized the true reason why we were all there. There wasn't a dry eye in that parking lot when reminded of lost mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, even fathers, brothers, grandfathers, and uncles who would never again be around to see another birthday, anniversary, wedding, graduation or any other significant moment. But in the midst of all of the sadness, there was a palpable hope that was stronger than any emotion there. It was amazing and incredibly moving to see so many people together for such an awesome cause. I felt so excited for the three days ahead.
This flag was signed by walkers and was a representation of all those lost and still fighting against breast cancer.
This is a Sweep Van... These vans were driven by crew members and if a walker was tired, they would pick them up and drive them to the next pit stop. Each van had a theme; this van was Scooby Booby Doo. Hardy har har.
Once the opening ceremony was over, we were free to begin Day One which was 19.5 miles of walking. Right at the starting line, I met a woman named Nataly who was also attending the walk alone and we decided to stick together. We talked about our lives at home and why we were walking. It was so great having a new friend to walk with!

Here are some of the local students who stood at the fences to cheer us on! They chanted, decorated, and even wore pink ties and bows made out of construction paper.
Sha baby!
I couldn't NOT take a picture of these two...
Every 3 or 4 miles was a pit stop! The pit stops were equipped with TONS of food, water, Gatorade, medical needs and AMAZING crews! The Crews were all volunteers who gave up their whole weekend to help us!
I had no choice but to quickly overcome my fear of peeing in public/peeing in port-a-potties because with all of the water they were forcing us to drink, I kinda had no choice. I never thought I'd see there day where I'd be relieved to see one of these things.
Each pit stop was themed. This pit stop was the "mammo-grammies"
19.5 miles later, we reached the finish line & were greeted by tons of cheerleaders and members of walkers families. Day one was over in a flash thanks to awesome crew members and cheering sections along the route. Once back at camp, Nataly and I decided to explore where we would be living for the next two days. Our first stop was the massage chairs...


So happy for a successful first day!
After charging our phones and enjoying the massage chairs, we decided to take on the challenge of pitching our own tents. I'm not exactly what you would call "outdoorsy" but for the cause, it was the least I could do.
It was pretty entertaining watching 2800 women attempting to pitch tents. Thank you Lord for volunteers from the local college's baseball team.
After pitching our tent, we had supper and decided to take showers. The showers were set up in 18 wheelers. It's kind of hard to explain without a picture but imagine portapotties...except you bathe in em. So I was waiting in line to take a shower, surrounded by 5 old blue hairs who decided to strike up a conversation with me that went a little something like this:
Old Ladies: So, where are you from?
Me: I'm from Louisiana... a little south of New Orleans.
Old Ladies: awwwh! She's from Louisiana!!! who are you here with?
Me: I'm here alone.
Old Ladies: awwwh! She's here alone!!! Who are you walking for?
Me: Oh, I'm just walking for those who can't no one in particular really.
Old Ladies: AWWWWHHHH!!!!

I love old people.

So we retired to bed early. And by early, I'm talking 8pm. It was freezing and i was EXHAUSTED. not the most peaceful sleep in the world, on the ground, in 35 degrees, but it wasn't as bad as I expected. I was so looking forward to the sun's warmth and day two!

Day two began with some serious stretching and some hot tea! We had a 22 mile trek in front of us and we were more than ready to get started!

One thing that really amazed me was the Dallas community's support. Every few miles we would come upon a cheering section. They would wave flags, hold signs, posters, balloons and even dress up while passing out candy, donuts, buttons, stickers, smoothies, bloody mary's and tequilla shots (don't worry, mom, I didn't take any). These groups were such an encouragement. Yelling thank yous and holding photos of those lost or still fighting. It was just a constant outpouring of gratitude, & it meant so much. My heart was absolutely melted. I couldn't even speak.

cheering stations...

About 18 miles into that day's walking, Nataly got too tired and decided to catch a bus back to camp so it was just me myself and I for the next 4 miles. Exhausted, I decided to start jogging to get there faster. I was immediately scolded by a male crew member in a pink tutu and wings. "This is a WALK not a RACE." Really? How am I supposed to take that seriously?
So anywho, 22 miles down. I practically collapsed over the finish line. Exhausted I went to the phone charging booth, then took a little breather and enjoyed an episode of Glee, which I've pretty much abandoned this season due to the busy hecticness that has become my life.
So that evening was beautiful, the camp was still pretty & pink, but the walkers kind of resembled hunched limping pink zombies. It was much more quiet and every few tents I would hear loud snores even at 3 and 4 in the afternoon. Can't say I blame them!! We were surprised by a private concert by Candy Coburn. I'm pretty sure no one reading this knows who Candy Coburn is, but if you have ever heard the song "Pink Warrior" which is on all the SGK commercials and what not..that's her. Now, don't get me wrong, its a cute song and she's great and all, but once you have heard it 234098508608439828 times at fundraising kind of never want to hear it again. However, I forced a smile and clapped along with all of the other blue hairs who just think shes the cutest thing to ever inhabit the earth.

So day 3 was now here. It was surprisingly bittersweet. I did miss home but at the same time I felt oddly connected to the people and event here in Dallas. I decided to get to the starting line as early as possible because lets face it: it was cold, I was tired and I had a plane to catch. I ended up at some point being in the top 10 people and ran into a woman named Ms. Patti who was keeping about the same pace as me. She was absolutely amazing!! She had been walking in the SGK 3-Day for 7 years. She has many family members who have suffered from breast cancer and was there representing them. She was so much fun to talk to and I got to meet her whole group of walkers at lunch. Turns out her niece is doing the Disney College Internship as well so I definitely plan on keeping in touch! Anywho, we walked so fast that by the time we hit the lunch tents we were forced to sit and wait for about an hour so the following pit stops could set up and prepare. We were about an hour ahead of schedule the whole day and the more I sat the more my body hurt so I was pretty darn relieved to get started again!
Ms. Patti & Me at a pit stop!
During lunch, a pink firetruck pulled up which thrilled me to death...and when this precious puppy jumped out the back I was sooo excited! She was the sweetest little baby! I played with her while we waited for the route to open back up!
This pink fire truck had been touring with the SGK 3-Day all year and we all got to sign it.
Please note: It was game day...I couldn't NOT wear my Saints gear, even if I was in Dallas. Sorry, Cowboy fans.
So the route finally opened back up and we walked through some BEAUTIFUL neighborhoods on day 3. These houses were basically estates. It was pretty amazing. Once out of the neighborhoods, we made our way downtown. I got to see the "Grassy Knoll" which I didn't even know what that was until someone told me it was where JFK got shot...I have never claimed to be a history buff.

JFK Museum? I duno...something JFK related.

Finally, we reached the finish line...
Out of 2800 walkers, I finished in the top 15.
However, I was beat by a sixty-something year old lady who had survived breast cancer and did triathalons for fun.
If that doesn't give the cynics in this world hope I don't know what will.

I was so happy and honored and proud to take this picture 6o miles later!!

In January, The Susan G. Komen 3 Day 60 Mile Walk for the Cure was something that seemed like a fun challenge & a nice thing to do for others, but after months of preparing, learning, and being inspired by others stories, challenges and heartache, I have learned so much and have been impacted in ways I never imagined I'd be impacted. I found myself humbled by those walking around me; wearing survivor pins, three times my age and constantly smiling, showing those still fighting that there is hope of a long and happy life beyond breast cancer. That with each day and each donation there is promise of a cure. I also became extremely thankful for the numerous numerous blessings in my life. From my health, to my comfortable warm bed and roof over my head, to my supportive loving and healthy family, the SGK 3-Day reminded me once again just how much my cup runneth over! This event in some ways can not be explained with words. It's so powerful, making the biggest men break down and cry, and causing weak, sick, feeble women to walk with a fervor and determination that is truly baffling. I can't even begin to express how honored I was to be a part of the walk. The search for a cure is something that I am genuinely passionate about and believe will be found thanks to the generous donations that SGK collects and the hope of those who are fighting possess.

Again, I would like to thank EVERYONE who helped me with providing the funds necessary to attend. I am incredibly blessed to know each and every one of you and know that your spare change helped to change a life!!

my venture to dallas.

After a night spent with my mom in a hotel, I woke up bright and early on November 4, 2010 to fly out of New Orleans to Dallas. I left a day early for the Susan G. Komen 3 Day in order to prepare myself, gather last minute items, and to spend time with a friend of mine from the Dallas area! I sat down on the plane and things were well. To my left was a man with one of the largest mustaches I have ever seen and to my right was an older man wearing a costume boat captain hat identical the one I wore to the Delta Tau Delta costume party last week. I love New Orleans.

While sitting at the gate waiting to depart I was anxious and decided to mess with the tray table in front of me to distract myself. The second I touched the little nob, it broke off. Is it just me, or is this how the premonition on Final Destination began? Okay, no more playing with the tray table. Fortunately, the plane did NOT blow up on take off, and the flight was well underway. Once high in the sky, the attendants brought out their little cart to hand out drinks. parched, I was relieved to see them come my way. The guy looks directly at me, says a friendly hello, then looks at mustache man to my left. "What can we get you to drink?" He says he isn't thirsty, and they roll along. No drinks allowed for Stephani I guess. Ah well.

As everyone knows, Christmas is just around the corner. And while I was traveling to Dallas, I killed time on the plane by reading one of my favorite magazines: Sky Mall. I got all sorts of ideas for what I'd like to see under the tree this year, so mom & dad & Santa, I hope you're tuning in because these are some of the top items on my Christmas list for 2010!

Dog Genealogy Kit
I often wonder just where my Bella has come from. I know her mother was a black lab named Bonqueshia Williams, (No, I'm not kidding) but what about her illegitimate father? For only $59.95 we can finally answer the question of where exactly this love-puppy came from. I don' know about you, but i think this whole genealogy kit may just be one big Maury episode waiting to happen.

Hidden Litter Box

Now, I'm not the biggest fan of cats. They're kinda moody and sometimes kinda are their litter boxes. Who really wants to see litter boxes lying around the house & smelling up the place? So, thank the Lord for Sky Mall for finding the only solution to this problem. A "Hidden" Litter Box...this litter box has been cleverly designed to look like a house plant! Okay, heres my question. Now that you have a decoy to distract people from your smelly litter boxes, how will you distract your house guests from your plants that SMELL like smelly litter boxes? Oy, it never ends. Oh well, I like this product anyways and it can be yours all yours for a measly... $129.95 - $249.95!? Okay, they're pretty confident in this product. Good luck, Sky Mall.moving on...

The Slanket
I only post this picture in order to prepare you all for my next wish list item. I have a Snuggie. I shamelessly wear it in my dorm sometimes. Believe it or not, I have always been a Snuggie advocate. (I know this is the Slanket, not the Snuggie, but they're trying) So anyways, I love my Snuggie and I have always had this idea to invent a Cuddly. Long story short, the Cuddly is the Snuggie for 2. It is twice as wide and has four arm holes instead of two, so that couples can hold each other while watching t.v. or lounging, or raising the roof while camping, or doing the cabbage patch at their kids sporting event like you see on all of the commercials. I have had this idea for over a year. I have told lots of people about it and I even wrote a sales pitch about it for an English project freshman year. so all of that to show you my next item...

The Slanket.. SIAMESE!?!
Four sleeves, twice as large, cheesy couple!? This is the CUDDLY!!!...I don't want to talk about it.

The Brobdingnagian Sports Chair

The kind of people I imagine who would buy a chair like this are the same kinds of people who own Hummers. I just don't get those people. Who needs a 5 foot chair for a sporting event?! Are you having trouble seeing? Maybe just get there a bit early and sit in the front row? But in all seriousness, the only thing more embarrassing than doing the cabbage patch in your "Slanket" at your child's sporting event is doing the cabbage patch in your "Slanket" at your child's sporting event in the Brobdingnagian Sports Chair. Also, its got a 9 square foot seat so that you can share your chair with a friend...heck, while you're at it, bring your "Slanket Siamese" and party it up. Well worth the 149.95 plus shipping I'm sure.

The Darth Vader Toaster
Nerds rejoice! Sky Mall has heard your plea for delicious toast with your favorite dark lords face burnt into it. If there's something every Sith Lord knows how to do it's make a balanced breakfast! At only $54.99 I think I've found my go-to gift for those impossible people to buy gifts for.

Hoodie Footie Pajamas
I honestly really do love these. I have been looking for footie pajamas for like, two years now. Honestly, its like the Slanket on steroids. Keeping you warm from hood to toe! The only thing missing is a trap door in the back, but hey, I'll take what I can get. When I opened the magazine to this page I was almost elated until I read the price...79.95! Maybe I'll just go to Hobby Lobby, buy some fleece (which is almost always 50% off anyway) and just snuggle up in that. To top it off, if you are a size Large or larger, you have to pay $84.95!! Sheesh, talk about adding insult to injury. Sky Mall, you are killing me here.
However, if you are on a modest budget and still want some hoodie footie pajamas, you can always buy them for your precious pooch for about 30 dollars less
The Digital Spoon Scale

I actually do just really want one of these.
so Mom, Dad & Santy Claus, I hope you've been listening. This is sure to be the Merriest Christmas of all.

Anywho, back to the trip...
I landed in Dallas around 9:15am and planned to meet my friend John Kemp at the luggage carousel. However, he had to wait a second for me to get there because the Dallas airport is AWESOME! The second I stepped into the terminal there was a candy shop in front of me located right next door to a shop called Kid's Zoo! This airport really puts MSY to shame...actually pretty much all other airports put the New Orleans airport to shame! So I continued my shopping trip by browsing in Brooks Brothers and a bookstore, sorry about the wait, John! So here I was, finally in Dallas, and my adventure was only just beginning...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

feeling rather pink...

well...eleven long months of preparation has quickly turned into 1 short day.
& pink outfits, luggage, and tennis shoes can only mean one thing...
Tomorrow evening I will be heading to New Orleans & preparing for my flight to Dalls, TX for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for a Cure!!

In January, during R.A. training, our boss K.D. Linkous asked the whole gang, "what is your new years resolution?" people began answering his question, and I absent minded-ly answered that I had seen a commercial for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for a Cure, & how I would love to participate. Now, at the time, I had no idea when or where the closest walk took place, or that the training would be much more tiring than i imagined, or how much the minimum cost was to attend and i definitely had no idea how challenging it would be to raise the funds.. And to be honest, I had no idea that anyone was even listening to me. Little did I know, I was heard.
My goal of $2300 at one time, seemed almost impossible, and alone, it would have been. 11 months after declaring my new years resolution I can sit here & say that thanks to numerous students, organizations, amazing friends, family, and even total strangers that I have reached and even surpassed my goal! The love & support I have received from everyone is, in a word, overwhelming.

I wanted to take a quick moment to recognize the countless people & organizations that have given of their time, effort, and money to save the lives of those fighting the battle of breast cancer.

-Southeastern Louisiana University Hall Council -- (My goal would still be just a dream without you guys. Thank you for all of your hard work and fundraising.)
-Southeastern Louisiana University Phi Mu Alpha Sinforia (your candy shop was such a success!)
-Peer Educators Educating Peers at Southeastern Louisiana University (I will never forget the moment we hit the $2300 mark! I wouldn't have wanted to celebrate with anyone else! I love you guys!)
-Congressman Charlie Melancon
-Chuck & Judy Chiasson (My amazing grandparents and biggest heroes who will probably never read this because they can barely turn on a computer)
-Jessica Brack (My mommy & one of my biggest cheerleaders. Thanks for nagging me to death about fundraising & deadlines. I wouldn't be nearly as prepared without you!)
-Charles Chiasson (My dad, I wish you could be there with me...i know how bad you wanted to try to run all 60 miles!)
-Rebecca Johnson
-Trip & Ann Holloway
-Luke Holloway (My life is forever changed for knowing you. Thank you for all of your support & prayers. You have definitely been one of the biggest blessings in my life & I can't wait to break in my new shoes!!)
-Kappa Sigma @ Southeastern Louisiana University
-Tau Kappa Epsilon @ Southeastern Louisiana University
-Kappa Alpha @ Southeastern Louisiana University
-Bevann McCartney
-Amanda Robbins
-Ryan Pattison & Family
-Heather Breecher & Family
-Blake Barras & Family
-Stephen Rutherford
-Denise Thibodaux
-Chris McKinley
-Katie LeBlanc
-Alex Peyroux
-Jean Olsen
-Josh Olsen
-Sandy & Mike Olsen
-Jordan Williams
-Sarah Twidwell
-Tim Rielling
-Bobby Lee Talbot Small
-MJ Ahmed
-Hannah Pace
-Blake Small
-Michael Allen
-Cindy Floyd
-Barbara & Jarett Dornbusch
-Michael Brack
-Molly Arndt
-David Pendergast
-Nita Carbon
-Cindy Dubois
-Randi McCraney
-Eric & Carolina Schafer
-Katie McCloskey
-Kim, Palmer, & Grace Giddings
-Maureen Putrillo
There are SO many other countless people who have given joyfully whose names I was unable to collect. But thanks to all of you, 2900+ dollars was raised for the Susan G. Komen Foundation & 75% of that collected will remain in this local area!! By sparing some change, you have truly changed countless lives.

I have been reading Nancy G Brinker's (the founder of the Susan G. Komen foundation) book "Promise Me" whenever I've had a spare moment and beyond being financially and physically prepared for the walk, this book has emotionally prepared me as well. The book is basically a memoir of the two sisters lives growing up, funny stories from childhood, their travels and experiences as they got older, and finally a devastating goodbye when Susan lost her battle with breast cancer. She was only 36 years old. Susan made Nancy promise her that she would make a difference in the way the world viewed and responded to breast cancer. To date, the Susan G. Komen foundation has raised over a billion dollars to fund research. Something that has been gripping me ever since I opened the book was how similar Susan & Nancy's relationship is to my sister Rachel & my relationship. Each story from their childhood makes me laugh because in some way, Rachel and I have pulled the same ridiculous stunt or gotten into the same pickle as they have. And as we get older, we remain just as close, regardless of where we are, be it North Carolina, Louisiana, or even Korea. Rachel is my best friend. My heart hurts deeply for anyone who has lost a sister, mother, grandmother, aunt, or a friend to this dreadful disease. I can't even fathom the pain. Reading this book has just rekindled my reasons for walking the 3-Day even more. I am walking for those who can't. Nothing about the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for a Cure has to do with me. I am just the pawn used to represent countless victims of the disease and the family members they have left behind. I have been blessed to be one of the only people i know who has not personally dealt with a family member or friend fighting against this disease. I want to do this walk for those who never had a chance to. My main goal in this journey is to help to change the way the world views this illness. Who knows, maybe one day, thanks to all of the generous donations given through this foundation, we will find a cure so that no sister ever has to be alone again.

So anywho, I know this doesn't relate to Disney World at all, which was the main reason for this blog...but I definitely felt compelled to thank all of the donors again! I can't wait to come back with lots of stories! I'll be keeping a little note pad in my fanny-pack (YES! THEY GIVE US FANNY PACKS TO WEAR!!!!) to jot down stories from my time in Dallas...I know that the walk will be a life changing experience & i ask that you keep me & the rest of the 3-Day walkers in your thoughts and prayers as we travel to Dallas, and sleep in tents (eek), and do a LOT of walking! :o)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Austin TX: Bats, Bagels, & Butt-Kicking Auditions

My dream of being a Character Performer at WDW sent me on a journey to Austin and a very unforgettable weekend...

So Friday morning was spent with two of my very best friends, Kelly & Perry! Perry came up to visit us Thursday night!! Perry helped me make some final minute errands and then we all had lunch! Vanilla Bear, thank you so much for coming to see us!! We love you! :o)
Friday afternoon at about 12:15, we began our 7 hour journey to Austin. My first thought was "oh-my-gosh-how-can-we-find-7-hours-worth-of-conversation?!" but I guess I forgot that Alex Peyroux was sitting in my passenger seat because the drive was probably the funniest and most entertaining 7 hours ever spent in a car...but we won't go into detail.

Halfway through the trip, we had to stop at a McDonald's because Alex had a free burger coupon. Of course the McDonald's we would stop at would have a fancy indoor play-place and of course we had to sneak in & play! and let me tell you: those tubes are far more constricting than they appear. After taking what felt like 25 minutes to climb to the top of the 15 ft tubes (I was surpassed by the same child TWICE) we took the slide down, shocked by each little metal dot thingie on the way... ah nostalgia.The only thing missing was my hair sticking to the sides of the walls from the static electricity. I had no idea how much bigger I was since the last time I was in one of those things. After receiving dirty looks from every parent and cashier in the place, we hit the road.
So at about 9pm, we reached Austin, checked into our lovely Days Inn. For 50 dollars I could not have asked for anything better than what we got. We definitely lucked out. We decided to relax & call it an early night. It's really amazing how exhausting sitting can be.

I woke up 4 minutes before my 8am alarm and started getting ready for the day. Our first stop was to check out Lake Travis & The Mansfield Dam. The scenery on the drive to the lake was absolutely beautiful! And of course, the scenery once we got there was pretty amazing as well.

Upon Arrival, we were greeted by a real live ROAD RUNNER!

So we spent the morning exploring the dam...
Which, sadly, was not open to walk across...
Which didn't make me too happy. So we moved on, paid 3 bucks a pop, and decided to explore the Lake & park!
After a very peaceful morning by the water, we decided it was time to explore downtown Austin....
However...once seeing this on the side of the road it was imperative to make a pit stop. I cut the wheel as fast as i could & pulled up in front of this little gem:
Now, for those of you who know me, i am THE BIGGEST FAN OF CUPCAKE WARS ON THE PLANET!!!!

After some research, i found that Cupcake Wars has them scheduled for next season's line up!! To be able to brag & say I've been there makes me one happy camper indeed.

This is the "Pumpkinator" in all of its sweet, sugary glory
(insert angel chorus here)

Cupcakes for breakfast. The world would be a happier place if we started each day this way.

After our pit stop at Hey, Cupcake, we headed to 6th street downtown to do a little exploring. the first stop on our journey was the ORIGINAL Whole Foods Market. (Eat your heart out, Andrew Billion) In all seriousness, the only thing i love more than cupcake wars is WHOLE FOODS MARKET! When we walked up you would think I was at the front gate of the Magic Kingdom. I was giddy like a six year old. We did a good bit of exploring and i'm telling you, if you've never been, this is the coolest place on the planet. It's like the mecca for healthy food. they have anything and everything you could ever want food wise. At this point, my mind was pretty much made up that we were never coming home. I love Austin!

After Whole Foods, we explored 5th & 6th street, then made our way down to South Congress street which was pretty much a hippie paradise. We found a lot of cool novelty shops and antique-esque places. I felt like the odd-girl out without crazy colored hair or rainbows sandals on my feet or a trendy straw fedora on my head. Over all, I love downtown Austin. Its funny though, how much I was reminded of New Orleans. A less trashy New Orleans. I guess big cities all boil down to the same things: food & pretty things to look at.

Now, I was told by a few people "You have to see the bats, you have to see the bats" & after some research on said bats, I was pretty darn excited to go check out what they claim is 1.5 million bats that exit under this bridge each evening at sunset. So we sit on a hillside, and we wait, then we move, and we wait, then we wait some more and its finally dark. Still no bats. However, when a boat flashes its red light under the bridge (which, if you ask me, the light should have been the same type of light they used in the old Batman comics. But that's just me.) You could see hundred and hundreds of bats flying around and raising cane! I was getting pretty pumped thinking "this is it! here they come!" which after a while a few came flying around, but no big ta-dah as everyone claimed it would be. However, the few bats that swooped in front of us scared me enough that I was satisfied with what we got.

Dinner at Whole Foods followed the bat sightings and it was amazing, of course...oh & in true Austin-wannabe fashion I bought my first pair of TOMS! I have been waiting to buy TOMS for months now but I couldn't find them anywhere and if i did find em i didnt like em and then i found em online where the shipping was out of this world yadda yadda yadda.

So thank you Whole Foods, you've outdone yourself yet again...

Sunday morning we decided to sleep in because we knew we would have some time to kill before the audition which started at 4. Around eleven we checked out of the Days Inn and made our way to Panera Bread for breakfast.
This is panera breads breast cancer awareness bagel! It was cherry vanilla flavored and down right nasty but hey it was for an amazing cause thats near & dear to my heart so i HAD to buy it!

Not only did I buy the breast cancer bagel, but I bought five others as well...I've been enjoying bagels all week & I cant tell you how sad I'll be when they're gone. After getting our fill on carbs, we roamed around the little shopping center where Panera was located. We entertained ourselves at Best Buy & a costume shop. So far, a very lovely day.
Once we made it downtown, we found free parking right across the street from the ballet studio. We had an hour or so to kill so we roamed around downtown yet again. With each step i felt absolutely anxious, excited, sick, and thrilled all at the same time.
Here is Ballet Austin, where the Disney Character Audition was held!
Here are just a few members of my new Disney family.
Its really funny to walk into a room where everyone is just as strange and in love with the same things you are strangely in love with-- Like Disney & its furry friends. It's like this instant connection with perfect strangers from different cities, backgrounds & walks of life. I know how rare this is so I appreciate these people so much already. I look forward to our adventures in Orlando, gang.
Here is Shelby & me with our audition cards.
What a precious girl!
Tell me she is not a total Alice look-alike?!

So we fill out our audition cards & each get assigned a number. We are measured and take a head shot and then we wait, because when you have to go through this process with about 130 other people, you do a lot of waiting.

First, we meet our choreographer. He's super spunky and energetic, classic Disney performer. He has been in performance at Disney World since the year before I was born. He was, ahem, "friends" with characters such as Peter Pan & Porkchop in the Doug Live show (which was awesome, i totally miss that show) In other words, he knows his stuff. Our first assignment is to learn a 2 eight-count march just like the do in the parades. We do this march to the song "A Star is Born" from Hercules. I did the march with no problems, but my adrenaline was through. the. ROOF. I could barely believe my audition was finally happening! If this was all the audition would be, it'd be smooth sailing right? --WRONG!

So after the magical march, we wait for what seems like 30 years to find out if we made the cut. How relieved I was to hear number 42 called. Sigh of relief and then back to learning our next dance which was six 8 counts. Let me tell you something right now: Disney don't play! Oh, how i regretted dropping my Beginner's Ballet class this semester! This dance was pretty much a challenge for all the remaining candidates. I believe they gave us such a difficult & technical dance just to see how we handled the pressure and to see how much fun we had learning & performing. Hopefully my beliefs are correct because I BUTCHERED the dance, but had a heck of a lot of fun doing so!
Not only were we to dance to a High School Musical song, but we were to do a little improvisation. Whenever our choreographer said "plant a tree" we pretended to plant a tree...and when the choreographer said to "be a monkey" that's what we did. Now, dancing may not be my thing, but i can be a total and complete HAM when it comes to acting a fool on a stage. So i did my thing. I made eye contact with a judge and she laughed rediculously and afterwards a guy pulled me to the side stating "you did the funniest impersonation of a monkey I've ever seen in my life" So....this means one of two things: I have a very animated body/face...or im just so ugly its hilarious.. eh, who knows?
Auditions are comes the wait!

Phenomenal job guys! you all did amazing!
We won't know for a few weeks if we are performers, but until then we will anxiously await an email from the mouse!
I am so thankful for the new friends I've made! We already text, are facebook buds, and even have plans to meet up before we head to Orlando! Brenden: can't wait to watch yall perform at Tulane & to have a NOLA adventure day! yay!
We say our goodbyes & head back to bayou land...but not before forgetting Houstons keys in my purse & having to turn around on all of the crazy one-way streets of downtown Austin!

Heading back to Louisiana was a very chill & very relaxed ride home. Around Lafayette we decided it was time for a stroll down memory lane. There is nothing quite like ending a fabulous road trip with a 90s sing-a-long at 2 in the morning!

Overall, the weekend was nothing short of a total and complete blast!
I am THAT much more excited to be heading to Orlando in just a little less than three months! I already know that Disney will be giving me so many opportunities and I am so thankful for each and every new experience!!