Our Engagement Photo Shoot

Long time, no blog. I never said I was good at this whole blogging thing.

Since it has been some time since I last brought you a little snippet of life, I’d thought I’d share something fun and exciting that my fiance and I did two weekends ago: our engagement photo shoot.

If you’re just stumbling across this blog post and my blog for the first time: Hi, I’m Megan! My fiance, Nick, and I got engaged in May 2016 in Cancun. We have been together for almost eight years and are currently planning our wedding back in the Chicago suburbs even though we live in Texas. Yup, we are having a “destination wedding” if you want to call it that. Really it’s only a “destination wedding” for us two as most of our family and friends still live in Illinois while we decided to say our goodbye to the Land of Lincoln and place our roots elsewhere.

Planning a wedding out of state has been quite the adventure, but I may save all the details about that for another blog another time…back to the purpose of this blog.

When it came to deciding on a location of where we would have our photos taken, I immediately knew where I wanted to go. While living in West Texas, there are plenty of picturesque places to go to like the mountains or small little towns with historical charm to even the pecan farms, there was one place in particular that I knew would be perfect and different.

White Sands National Monument was the setting for our intimate photo shoot. If you’ve never been, you need to go. It is settled essentially in the middle of nowhere (Alamogordo, New Mexico) and has what seems like endless rolling hills of white sand with mountains as the backdrop. It is one of the coolest and most beautiful places I have had the pleasure of visiting. It looks like mounds of snow, honestly, but minus the cold and slush. You can even go sledding, yes sledding down the hills, too. Also, fun fact that Brad Pitt actually did a photo shoot out there not too long ago for GQ. Check it out here: Inside Brad Pitt’s GQ Style Cover Shoot.

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As for our photographer, instead of going with someone local, we actually flew in my fiance’s step-sister who has a keen eye for photography. I’m so happy that she agreed to fly thousands of miles to help us out with this. Sure, we could have interviewed and hired someone who knew the area and had done photo shoots at this location before but having my soon to be sister-in-law was ideal. Having her taking our photos was fun and relaxing. We didn’t have to get to know the person behind the lens. We didn’t have to feel awkward even if I was awkward at times because let’s be honest, having your photo taken sometimes can be.

We arrived out to White Sands in the late afternoon on a Friday. What could have been a not so weather friendly day actually turned out better than expected. The forecast all week showed rain and it did rain a lot, but thankfully it held up and we got a partly cloudy day which was perfect. What wasn’t perfect was the wind. If you know anything about living in the desert is that sometimes the wind can be brutal. It did make it tricky at times trying to make sure my hair wasn’t flying in my face or becoming a total mess, but we made it work.

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Finding the location and choosing our photographer were the easy parts. The attire was honestly the hardest thing for me to figure out. Of course, you want to look perfect and sometimes finding the right outfit can be easier said than done. After much debate, I ended up going with an inexpensive shift dress from Kohls. I essentially wanted a long maxi dress for a more flowy vibe, but shopping for that style of dress in September was difficult. My fault for waiting until the last minute, literally the day before. I was actually very pleased with my choice. The color popped wonderfully against the sand and I kept it pretty simple for my fiance in a white long sleeve shirt and dark jeans. As for hair and makeup, I just did that all on my own. I thought about going to a salon, but at the end of the day I didn’t want to spend the money and just wanted to look like me and not a dolled up version of me. I’m simplistic when it comes to my appearance. Sometimes, especially if you don’t know the hairdresser or makeup artist, it can be tricky achieving the look you want. To play it safe, since I didn’t do a trial or anything, I just DIYed it.

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I believe we stayed out at White Sands for almost two hours at the max. The sun was setting so sometimes it made it tricky to get photos that didn’t have us squinty too much or too much sun glare. And there sometimes the sun worked perfectly in our favor and captured some really beautiful shoots.

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I’m honestly so happy with the way these photos turned out. The best part of all of it was just how much fun I had while taking these photos with my fiance. He knows that I don’t like posing for photos and I know he isn’t super keen on it either, but we made the most of that day.

I particularly loved these shots of my engagement ring. When we got engaged in Mexico, we didn’t have any photos taken. No one captured the moment and honestly, I’m fine with that. I loved how intimate it was when it happened. We aren’t a couple who normally displays everything, except in these rare occasions. But I love that I do have a photo now that shows off how gorgeous my one-karat Blue Nile diamond ring is.

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Now that our engagement photos are complete, it’s time to start thinking about the save the date cards, etc. The wedding planning never ends! I do hope that in some way this blog might help give a little insight into this particular step in the whole wedding planning craze for newly engaged couples. If not, oh well! I had fun sharing this piece of my life with you all.

If you want me to share more about my wedding planning, maybe I’ll work up the courage to write another blog. Let me know in the comments!

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stages disney world traveler gifs

The Many Stages of Every Disney World Traveler Described in Gifs

For any Disney traveler, we all know the many stages of our Disney trips. The highs and the lows. I decided to put together a fun, little timeline describing just that in true Disney gif form.

When you’re finally done booking your Disney trip…

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But then you have to wait and pretend like it’s not on your mind every single day…

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Then your trip is finally here and you do your happy dance…

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When you arrive on Disney property like…

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And start eating all the good Disney Parks food that you’ve been craving…

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Taking your first steps down Main Street…

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And finally seeing the castle like…

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But then you start melting in the Florida heat after ten minutes and you feel like…

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However, you quickly get over it…

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When you hear someone confuse Disney World and Disneyland while in the parks…

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When you’re constantly on a schedule due to your FastPasses and reservation times…

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And you get back to your resort after a long day in the parks like…

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But you’re ready to do it all over again the next day with a new park…

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The feeling that your trip is going by way too fast…

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And when you realize your trip is over and you have to go back to reality…

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Which gif did you feel accurately describes the many stages of a Disney traveler? Let me know in the comments.

disney college program

Why I Didn’t Do The Disney College Program

Disclaimer: Let me make this loud and clear that in no way is this a blog meant to bash the Disney College Program. This is just an explanation of my personal reasons and reflections on why I chose not to proceed with the program.

About nine years ago, I was a wee little college freshman, who didn’t have a lot of friends or felt super motivated in career goals. My university was two and a half hours away, so on top of being disconnected from my family and lost in what I wanted to do, I was extremely home sick.

One day, as I was roaming the halls of the Communications department, I saw a flyer that immediately caught my attention. It was purple and magical and I instantly couldn’t look away. It was an announcement that a Disney College Program rep was going to be on campus that week recruiting interested students. I knew right away that if it involved Disney, I was there. So, I went out of curiosity.

It was a Tuesday night after class. A handful of students all sat in a room as a very bubbly and Disney-Esque recruiter spoke to us. She played a video that incorporated all things Disney and asked if any of us were surprised to learn that Disney was more than just theme parks and Mickey Mouse. I sat there silently rolling my eyes because of course, I knew that it did. I’d grown up with Disney. I did presentations on it in school. I wrote papers. I even gave an informative speech on it which was supposed to be 15 minutes but was told by my professor that what I had drafted was easily a 30-minute speech. Whoops! Once you get me started on Disney, it’s hard to stop me. (I think or at least hope other Disney people can relate.)

Anyways, the Disney rep was super nice and informative and was clearly good at her job because by the end of the presentation everyone in the room was lined up to give their name and their phone number and email so a phone interview could be set up. All I remember thinking was, how cool would it be to work in a place that I love?

About a week later, I did my phone interview. I went to the common room on my dorm floor so I wouldn’t disturb my roommate. I was so nervous. I had done only one other job interview in my life prior to that moment. I wasn’t a fan of phone conversations or interviews. I never feel like I can fully focus or hear or retain everything being said. Phone interviews are just not my thing. [Side note: I’ve done more since then and have got a lot better at it, but still not a fan.]

On top of not liking my interview setting, I was just so inexperienced at job interviews and unprepared for the “what if” scenario questions that the interviewer had prepared for me. Thinking back on it now, I cringe at the thought of that interview. It was bad! I honestly don’t remember a lot of specifics asked because I think I tried to mentally block that memory out of my head.

The only question I do remember being asked was how I would handle a guest getting rowdy with a character if I were a character attendant. My mind went totally blank for that one. I didn’t have a good “Disney response”. To say the least, I panicked. I knew right there and then I wasn’t going to get that role and I was okay with that.

After the interview was over and I was feeling pretty down on myself, I played the waiting game. I had no idea what kind of role they would assign me, let alone if they even wanted to hire me. I tried to keep an open mind when it came to the different cast member roles that I could be assigned, but I really wanted to be working in attractions. So, when I got m email back from the Disney Company that said I had been accepted and I was being placed in Food and Beverage I was SUPER disappointed. That’s not what I wanted. Who wants to work with food and tired and hungry people all day? I sure didn’t.(By the way, this is just how I felt at the time. There really isn’t anything wrong with this role. I have interacted with many Disney cast members in this role who have loved it.)

By the way, this is how I felt at the time about this particular role. There really isn’t anything wrong with working in Food and Beverage. Every role has its pros and cons. I have interacted with many Disney cast members in this role who have loved it. I was just being whiny when I found out this was what they assigned me.

To say the least, I was pretty bummed with the outcome of my DCP interview and assignment. I had always thought about doing the college program, but once reality sunk in I wasn’t so sure anymore. Yes, the role wasn’t ideal, but it wasn’t just the role that had me second guessing whether it was right for me or not. I talked with my parents about it. I contemplated back and forth about it and after a few days of really weighing my options, I decided to decline the offer.

Once the opportunity was within reach, I couldn’t really envision myself working at Walt Disney World. Honestly, I was slightly scared that working there would ruin my perception of what had become a place of relaxation, fun, and many good memories for my family. It was a destination for vacation, not a place of employment for me. I didn’t want to the frustrations of work to coincide with something that I hold near and dear to my heart.

Had I received a different role assignment would I have chosen differently? Probably not. When it comes down to it, the cast member role was never really the deciding factor in all of this. It was my fear of tainting something I loved. Yes, I know that’s kind of silly, but I had to go with my gut.

I don’t regret my decision declining an amazing opportunity that I know so many people have enjoyed. I have had many friends who have all worked in various roles at Disney World and Disneyland do it and who wish they could do it again. I’m not discouraging others from doing it either because if you want to, DO IT! My choice not to do it was purely personal. At that time in my life, it was just not the path for me. Instead, I stayed at my university and ended up getting involved with my campus, my sorority, met wonderful people who are now someone of my really good, lifelong friends and I also met the love my of life who will soon by my husband in a year.

The Disney College Program isn’t for everyone. For some, the decision is easier than it is for others. If it is something you want to do, go for it. If it is something you’re on the fence about, assess your situation and options. If it is something you have no desire whatsoever do, then so be it. Just trust your gut.

My advice for people who are about to head to college this fall or are already in college and are thinking about applying, definitely go into it with an open mind. Sure, you might have a role in mind that you’re set on, but know that it may not be the one you get. Be prepared to answer some questions that may be outside your comfort zone, but most importantly have fun with it. It’s okay to be nervous just be yourself. That’s the charm of so many Disney cast members in any role. They are themselves with a touch of pixie dust.

Had I answered my questions with more confidence and depth I may have been assigned a better role or maybe not at all. You never know what is going to happen, but at the end of the day, what’s meant to be is meant to be. Do what you feel is right for you. Every experience is different.

For more information on the Disney College Program and how to apply, click here.

 

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Ten Fun Facts About My Disney Side

We all have a Disney side, so I thought I share mine with you as I continue to grow this blog series. I thought this would be a nice, small introduction of 10 fun Disney facts about yours truly.

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#1: My first trip to Disney World was in 1995 with my family.

#2: On that trip, my sister and I were able to play duck, duck, goose with Disney characters at MGM Studios which is now Disney’s Hollywood Studios right outside where Toy Story Mania is today. We have the entire thing on film!

#3: My last trip to Disney World was in 2014. Wah! (Due to work, moving across the country, and now wedding planning it has been difficult for my entire family to plan a trip together. Maybe soon!)

#4: I have been to Disney World a total of 20 times. Our first trip was only four days and as the years have progressed we now average about 10 days in Disney World for our trips. Even 10 days doesn’t seem like enough.

#5: The first and only time I have been to Disneyland was in 2012 with my fiance.

#6: Up until 2001, my family and I had never stayed at any of the Disney World resorts. In 2002, we stayed at the Coronado Springs for the first time and we never went back to staying off-site again. Port Orleans Riverside & French Quarter, Caribbean Beach, Pop Century

#7: Besides Coronado Springs, I have stayed at Port Orleans Riverside & French Quarter, Caribbean Beach, and the Pop Century resort multiple times.

#8: I have never had a turkey leg. Don’t really ever plan to either. This is the one Disney snack that truly grosses me out.

#9: In 2009, my family was asked as we ate at the Starlight Cafe in Tomorrowland to be the Grand Marshals for the 3 o’clock parade at the Magic Kingdom. We all got customized Mickey ears, got to ride in the parade, and all received a FREE sunburn that day.

#10: Disney is great for people watching, but my all time favorite spot is on the second floor a the Electric Umbrella looking down. It’s a prime spot and if I’m ever at EPCOT, you’ll find me there.

And now you know more about my Disney Side.

Tell me in the comments when your first trip to Disney World or Disneyland was that made you fall in love with Disney.

walt disney world experience blog series

My Disney Experience – New Blog Series

Disney has always been a big part of life. From an early age of being exposed to Mickey Mouse cartoons to classic Disney films to visiting Disney World for the very first time when I was five years old, it has always been a part of my life in some way.

SAM_6063Over the years, my obsession has grown thanks to my parents. I have visited Walt Disney World almost every year since my first trip in 1995, although my last trip was in 2014. Not traveling back to what I consider my second home has been hard. I’m dying to go back and there’s good chance I might be, but more on that in a bit.

I want to start blogging with you guys about my experiences, opinions, share my tips, etc. For the most part, I feel like I know Disney World inside out. I’m the type of person the moment I hear Disney being mentioned I get excited. I’m the friend that people come to when they want to plan a trip or vacation to the parks and want to know more. However, I don’t know everything. There is a lot that I haven’t experienced yet. That’s where you fellow Disney obsessed fans will hopefully step in to help in the comments.

This has been something I have been mulling over for some time since I started this blog. I don’t know how often I’ll share a Disney inspired post. There is really not a method to my madness yet if I will post weekly about something Disney. I haven’t figured out all of that yet, but I did want to give a little heads up that I’m doing this. I’m excited to write about something that I’m so passionate about and hopefully, you guys will enjoy it, too.

If there are any topics you want me to discuss, rides, restaurants, food, resorts, you name it that you want me to review, just let me know! I do have a few questions and opinions that I would like to get from you guys regarding particular Disney related things, but I’ll save that for another blog. Until then…tell me in the comments when your first trip to Disney World was.

See ya real soon!

 

 

 

life update wedding planning

Life Update

Hello!

Busy bee over here. It feels like someone hit the gas pedal and suddenly my life is going at a million miles per hour. Ah! Brake, brake!

Since I haven’t posted a blog in far too long, I thought I share a brief update on what is going on in my life. Among working, adulting (ugh!), and turning 27 years old (three years from the dirty 30!), I have been preoccupied with a few other things, good things, in fact. Recently, I decided to dip my toes back into getting involved with my community and networking more. I did this a lot in college being part of Greek life, but since I graduated I have lacked the motivation to do really push myself back into that lifestyle. When this opportunity to get involved and volunteer presented itself to be I decided that instead of finding all my fictitious reasons to say no to another opportunity, I finally said yes, and I’m so happy that I did. The organization that I’m involved with is truly inspiring and a lot of fun thanks to the ladies I get to work with, too. I’m assisting them with their social media and so far the content has been really fun to create pertaining our upcoming events, etc. I’m can only assume with our big event in September that things will pick up with meetings, content creation, and small events leading up to it, but I’m really looking forward to it all as I’ll get more opportunities to meet more people in the community and show off what I do best all for a good cause.

Recently, I decided to dip my toes back into getting involved with my community and networking more. I did this a lot in college being part of Greek life, but since I graduated I have lacked the motivation to do really push myself back into that lifestyle. When this opportunity to get involved and volunteer presented itself to be I decided that instead of finding all my fictitious reasons to say no to another opportunity, I finally said yes, and I’m so happy that I did.

The organization that I’m involved with is truly inspiring and a lot of fun thanks to the ladies I get to work with, too. I’m assisting them with their social media and so far the content has been really fun to create pertaining our upcoming events, etc. I’m can only assume with our big event in September that things will pick up with meetings, content creation, and small events leading up to it, but I’m really looking forward to it all as I’ll get more opportunities to meet more people in the community and show off what I do best all for a good cause.

Aside from that, wedding planning has truly taken up most of my time lately. In one week, I will be celebrating my one-year engagement anniversary. How crazy is that?! Don’t get me wrong, planning a wedding can be fun, but it comes with its stress factors, too. When there are hundreds of vendors out there that all seem wonderful and you are thousands of miles away from it because you are planning a wedding out of state (hello destination wedding!), it can be a little overwhelming. So far, I have our date set (7/21/2018), our venue booked, and I said YES TO THE DRESS! However, I have still a lot to do before I can sit back, relax, and wait until the bid day #BestDayEver!

And when I’m not focusing on my wedding, I’m focused on other people’s weddings. I have the honor to stand up in two of my best friend’s weddings this summer. Both are two weeks apart and their bachelorette parties are on the same weekend, so lots of traveling. Did I mention that I’ve busy?

I would rather be busy than bored, though.

That’s enough for now. I hope I didn’t bore you all with this post and if you didn’t mind this little personal piece, I’ll do my best to keep you guys updated a little better with what’s going on in my life in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Damn Concert: Garth Brooks Tour 

I have not had a post-concert high in a long time and I am loving it! 

Last night, in the spur of the moment, my fiancé and I bought tickets to see Garth Brooks. We were both talking about how we haven’t been to a concert in a while and randomly I went on StubHub to see if there were any reasonable resale tickets. Sure enough, there were two seats that were selling for a more than reasonable price. I felt like it couldn’t be true, but I jumped on it and snatched them up before anyone else could. I won’t disclose how much we spent, but it was a steal. I would have been willing to pay more, but this was a deal I was not about to pass up. And no, these weren’t the best seats in the house, but they were decent seats in my opinion for what we paid.

We got to the venue around 5:45 pm. This was about the same time the previous show (five sold out shows in total for the weekend) had just got out. Thankfully, the sun was beginning to go down so it standing in line for about an hour wasn’t horribly unpleasant. Once inside, we took our seats and realized the section we were in was going to be impossible to get out of once the show started, which was fine because once it did I had no desire to go to concessions or need the bathroom.

Mitchel Rossellini, the opening act, did a four song set. He was actually really good for just him and his guitar belting out song after song. Definitely check him out! (And ladies, he’s got the looks, too.) Then Garth Brooks took the stage at 8 pm and the everyone went nuts. 


From the moment he took the stage, Garth was full of energy, singing his heart out and jamming out, and oozing with appreciation for how much the crowd loved him. It’s hard not to love him. He truly made it known that this show was for the fans. He played all the old songs that gave him the amazing career he has today. He told funny stories and really relished in how much the crowd loved every single thing he did. Some artists that I have seen in the past take the stage, go through the motions of their set list, and when the last song has ended they are done. I’m not saying other artists aren’t good live or aren’t appreciative of their fans, but Garth seemed genuine his entire show. Sure, some of it’s a gimmick, but he made it feel like he honestly, whole heartedly loved what he was doing and let the fans know it.


There was not a dull moment in his show. Sometimes there can be at concerts aka the bathroom breaks, but there really wasn’t. I lost count how many songs he played (and there were a lot). He played for two and a half hours with a minor break in his set so his wife, Trisha Yearwood could come out and sing a few of her songs. Girl has still got it, too! Even when we thought the show was over, he came our easily for another twenty minute set of just him and his guitar and played fan favorites that he hadn’t played yet and threw in a few covers. I’m not going to lie. I lost it when he played, Piano Man by Billy Joel. 


For anyone who is debating whether to go see him, or hasn’t seen him since he went on tour last, or are seeing him for the first time like I did, just go! He’s worth every penny. You won’t find a better artist (unless you’re really not a country fan) out there. 

Share your Garth Brooks concert experience with me in the comments below. I loved to hear about it. Or give this blog a like if you’re a Garth fan!