It’s official: I want to move to Nashville after I graduate from college. I’m in love with southern people, southern hospitality, and most of all, southern food. It was my first time in Nashville and it was love at first site – or should I say bite. Today I’m sharing with you my guide to Nashville including where to stay, where to eat, what to do, the night life, and even Insta worthy walls you have to check out.

WHERE TO STAY IN NASHVILLE

Urban Cowboy

While there are lots of amazing hotels in Nashville, I’m all about supporting local businesses, especially in towns as artistic and creative as Nashville. If you are staying in Nashville, check out the Urban Cowboy Bed and Breakfast. It’s a southwestern inspired bed and breakfast based out of an old Queen Anne Victorian mansion. The rooms vary from Midnight Rider, Lion’s Den, The Rose Room, and the two rooms I’d love to stay in, The Muse and the Victorian (if you check out their website, check out the theme of these rooms. They are all incredible). The best part? Upon arrival to check-in they greet with two options, whiskey or water. Yes, please. Goes along with their motto of ‘have a good time’ well.

Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center

When I asked on Facebook where we should stay in Nashville, the Gaylord Opryland Resort won hands down. The exterior is stunning and I can’t get over how beautiful the gardens are at the resort. I specifically carved out time and checked out all of the beautiful flowers and foundations that the resort has to boast. The Nashville airport is a 10-minute drive away (without traffic!) and the Opry Mills Mall is right next door.

WHERE TO EAT IN NASHVILLE

The Pharmacy

Guys, I’m a midwestern girl through and through and good burgers and BBQ are something I take very seriously. While there was no BBQ here, there were burgers and they were fantastic. And so were the milkshakes. And the tater tots. Heck, the whole atmosphere of the place was amazing. If you are stopping in Nashville and need a good burger, 10/10 would recommend.

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken

This place was on every Nashville travel guide that I read, but it was listed for good reason. It was incredible and probably one of the top things on my list to do while visiting Nashville. I’m not a spicy food gal so the “no heat” version was the perfect option for me. I had it with a side of cole slaw and mac-and-cheese with lemonade to drink and I highly recommend it. Just be prepared, the line was well out the door and half way down the block, but it was totally worth it.

Sinema

Hands down this was my favorite food experience while in Nashville. It’s an old movie theater that’s been transformed into a restaurant that features American cuisine and wonderful cocktails. And after dinner head downstairs to The Sutler Saloon for some old fashioned dancing.

Yeast Nashville

This is a recommendation that I found from Kayla Blog’s Nashville guide. They serve incredible kolaches which is a breaded sausage with cheese type thing (there are different varieties, all I know is that they are YUMMY!) that’s perfect at breakfast time.

Pinewood Social

This place serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner plus they have a huge bar inside as well. It’s filled with tables and couches so you can lounge and catch up with friends. The biggest selling point? There’s a bowling alley inside! If you need me one day, I’ll probably be eating all three meals here and hitting up the bar.

Biscuit Love

I had heard people around Nashville talking about “bonuts” and thought I was just mishearing them, then I read a little further into this place. I grew up picking fresh blueberries at a local berry patch and bonuts gave me all the nostalgic feels. What is a bonut? Fried biscuit dough with lemon mascarpone and blueberry compote. I promise it’s even more wonderful than it sounds. Just like Hattie B’s be prepared for a long line to get in. I’d say we waited about an hour to be able to get in the morning, but once again, the wait was totally worth it. Plus, the inside décor is super cute and the food was great!

Five Daughters Bakery

While my mom and I were in Nashville we stopped at Five Daughter’s Bakery and I still get cravings for one of their doughnuts to this day. Oh. My. Goodness. You can taste the buttery goodness in these doughnuts and you probably shouldn’t Google the calories. We ended up getting doughnuts to go and I had one for breakfast, one as a mid-day snack, and half of one before bed because they were that good (Please don’t tell me how many calories I had that day, I’d rather stay clueless on that, hah!).

WHAT TO DO IN NASHVILLE

Country Music Hall of Fame

From Taylor Swift’s sparkly guitar (swoon) to Elvis’ gold Cadillac, it was so much fun to learn more about some of the most popular country music artists of all time.

The Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman

While I haven’t had the opportunity to go here yet, it’s definitely on my bucket list to do a tour and see a show here. I’m definitely not a country music fan, but I have so much appreciation for music and the hard work the artists go through to get on the Opry stage.

John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge

Want the best view of the skyline in Nashville? Check out the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge. It’s super easy to get to and the view is wonderful. I’d love to go during the day time and do I photo shoot on it sometime!

WHERE TO SHOP IN NASHVILLE

Downtown Antique Mall

Everyone who loves to shop for antiques has told me this is hands down their favorite spot to find great items and to show their friends when they come visit. The location downtown is great, the stuff is great, and the whole feel of the place is great.

Nashville Farmer’s Market

When people say you need to go here, just go. There is a reason this place is on all of the blog posts and travel guides.

INSTAGRAM WORTHY WALLS IN NASHVILLE

Five Points Bears. East Nashville. Woodland St. & 11th St.

Driving past this wall it had a longer line than the ‘I Believe in Nashville’ mural, which is saying a lot. It’s located right next to an amazing restaurant called Tenn Sixteen that you must eat at if you stop by for a photo.

Three Brothers Coffee. 2813 West End Ave.

One of my favorite Instagramers posted this location on her story the day after I left Nashville and to say I’m sad to have missed a photo op in front of this wall is an understatement.

Import Flowers. Murphy Road on old Import Flowers building.

This wall has the perfect quirky vibe to it – and I definitely don’t mean that in a bad way. Many people overlook this wall simply because the flowers are drawn in a unique way, but with the right angle and pose you can get some incredible pictures.

Stay Tuned Mural. East Nashville. 625 Main St.

If you are in Nashville this is a must visit wall and typically because of its location in a non-tourist-y area there is little to no line. I love the script that ‘Nashville’ is written in and can’t get over the bold colors.

Amelia’s Flower Truck. The Gulch. 12 South, Edgehill.

I spotted the flower truck as I was walking up the street from Draper James and just couldn’t resist snapping some photos. I mean, who wouldn’t? Definitely splurge on some flowers while you are there too.

Flower Mural. 2900 12 Ave South.

This mural is my second favorite right behind the ‘Stay Tuned’ mural. Who doesn’t love flowers and bold colors?

What Lifts You Wings. 302 11th Ave. S.

Basically a staple photo op wall in Nashville. I have to admit though, I’m a sucker for a good what lifts you wings photo.

East Nashville Mural. East Nashville. Eastland and Gallatin.

This particular mural is one of a few through-out Nashville, but this one is grey and white instead of white and grey.

I Believe in Nashville. 12 South by Draper James.

The classic photo op spot in Nashville. I highly recommend you check it out!

Draper James and Blue & White Striped Wall. 12 South by Draper James. Across from I Believe in Nashville Mural.

Once you’ve checked out the ‘I Believe in Nashville’ mural and gotten your pictures be sure to get some more photos in front of the blue and white striped wall. And stop in Draper James for some sweet tea while you’re at it!

Saying my hair is high maintenance is kind of an understatement. I have thin, blond hair that always very easily shows off any split ends (#blondeproblems) and since I’m a honey-blonde can easily look brassy, which as a blonde is a huge no. I’ve spent years looking for some of the best hair care products to ensure that my hair isn’t frizzy, brassy looking, and has a healthy look to it. Today on the blog, I’m sharing my favorite products with you! I also took the time and linked all of the products for your convenience if you want to look at them/shop them. I used the Ulta website because that’s where I typically pick up my hair products, but I’m not working with Ulta on this post nor are the links affiliate links. As I said, it’s all for your convenience!

In the shower

Hempz Blushing Grapefruit & Raspberry Crème Color Preserving Herbal Shampoo and Conditioner| I use both the Hempz shampoo and conditioner daily unless I’m using my purple shampoo or moisture masque (more on how I use those a little later in the post!). While it is a color preserving shampoo and conditioner that is a great fit for my color-treated hair, I would hands down pick this up simply because of the scent. Oh. My. Goodness. You know how typically you get used to a scent and no longer really smell it? That has yet to happen with this product and I’ve been using it for over a year now.

Matrix Total Results Brass Off Shampoo| As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I naturally have honey blonde hair and typically my stylist works to keep the natural honey in my hair as much as possible. I normally get my hair done to tame the dark part on the bottom of my head that happens because I always tend to wear my hair down, not giving the bottom layer much sun. With the honey blonde in my hair and strawberry blonde peeking through (yes, at the age of 22 this is natural. My stylist even comments on how crazy it is to her) it’s very easy for my hair to look brassy. So on a normal week I typically use this shampoo 2-3 times, unless I’m looking particularly brassy, then I go it with it 4-5 times to clean things up.

Macadamia Professional Nourishing Moisture Masque| Like many people, I heard about this product when it was the thing to have on YouTube. Of all of the YouTube product trends that I’ve seen, this hands down was one of the few that deserved so much recognition. It’s called a cult-favorite for a reason. I use this product 2-3 times a week, typically alternating days, from my earlobes down. I wash my hair at the beginning of my shower, so if I’ve used this I keep it in for the time that I wash my face, shave, use body wash, etc. and then wash it out at the end. The perfect ‘recipe’ for silky, smooth hair after your shower!

Living Proof Perfect hair Day (PhD) In-Shower Styler| This is one of the newest additions to my hair care routine, but probably one of the best products I’ve picked up in a while. This product and the Macadamia product mentioned above are what I swear keeps my hair staying so silky smooth. I use this pretty much every day when I shower and it’s the last product I reach for. I always use it on my hair from my earlobe to the ends of my hair and then lightly rinse it out with cold water. The days I use both my masque and in-shower styler my hair feels incredible! Just note that if you decide to use both, you have to play around a bit to figure out how much of the in-shower styler you want to wash out at the end or else your hair feels a bit too soft. I promise it’s worth the time figuring out what works for your hair.

On wet hair

Chi Silk Infusion Reconstructing Complex | This product is on my list two times and I have no problem admitting that I hoard at least one extra bottle of this stuff in my cabinet at all times to ensure that I am never without it. Silk Infusion is probably what I have to thank for not getting horrible split ends, which as a blonde can be a major issue. I use this on my wet hair just at the ends to keep them at bay.

It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-in Product | If you haven’t noticed a pattern here, I have a thing for anything that will keep my hair feeling and looking silky smooth. The top, back part of my hair gets tangled when wet very easily. It always has and probably always will. I spray this stuff where my hair gets tangled and I haven’t dealt with brushing out knots in years. It’s worked wonders on my hair!

Drybar Southern Belle Volumizing Mousse | If I’m giving myself a blow out or I plan on curling my hair in the morning I always lather this through my hair from root to tip. With how thin and fine my hair is, after applying this stuff I have no option but to blow dry my hair after use or my hair gets crunchy, as with all mousses.

Wet brush | This is hands down the best investment I’ve made on my hair. In fact, if you consider/buy one thing from this post, buy this. I mentioned previously that when my hair is wet it tangles very easily and this brush has made brushing my wet hair so much easier/tear free. I used to use a wide-tooth comb on my hair when it was wet and start at the tips of my hair and work my way up and I’d still have hair rip out. With this brMush, ripping out hair hasn’t happened in a while.

Drybar Round Ceremic Brush, half-pint | If I’m giving myself a blow-out or want some more volume in my hair for when I curl or straighten it, I use this brush. The Drybar brand definitely isn’t necessary, but I love their products and am definitely pretty brand loyal to them (#marketingmajor).

On dry hair

Chi Silk Infusion Reconstructing Complex | I said that I use this product twice and I definitely wasn’t lying. Before heat styling my hair with my straightener or curling iron I always run this product through the ends of my hair and then brush it out. It’s one of the ways I keep the ends of my hair from getting that fried feeling after styling it with heat, which is definitely more of a thin hair problem than anything.

Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo | I think I’m in the minority when I say that I don’t like the Batiste dry shampoo. I know, I know. It’s horrible that I don’t like it. But personally, it never had a good effect on my hair and left it feeling worse than it did greasy. I got to the point where I thought my hair just wasn’t made for dry shampoo, then I tried this stuff. No weird feeling in my hair, no white powder getting everywhere, and an incredible scent. I definitely recommend trying the Batiste first, as it’s a great product that many people swear by and works well for, but if your hair doesn’t like it like mine didn’t, dry this stuff next!

Tigi Bed Head After-Party | I swear by this stuff for taming my baby hairs and fly aways. After styling my hair I put the tiniest amount into my hands and then smooth through the top of my head, my bangs, and the hair that frames my face.

Matrix Biolage Styling Complete Control Fast Drying Hair Spray | Finally a hair spray that gives my thin hair a great hold without that gross crunchy feeling that brings me back to my competition dance days. I’m not a big hair spray girl if I wear my hair natural or straight, but if I have a blow-out or I’ve curled my hair I have to top it with some spray so my style stays.

Do you have blonde or color treated hair? What are your hair care essentials? Have any recommendations for something I need to try out? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Note: This post does NOT contain affiliate links and I am NOT working with Ulta on this post. All products are linked to the Ulta website for the convenience of my readers if they want to look at/shop a product/products.  

I can’t believe that 2017 has come to a close. It was definitely one of the best years of my life and sitting down and reflecting on it took some time. To say that it was full of adventures, trials, anxiety, exciting opportunities, heart break, new relationships, personal growth, and discovering even more of what I value as a person is an understatement. It’s been a hot second since I’ve posted on this space, so I also thought that this would be a good opportunity to catch y’all up.

I’m personally not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. I think every day is a chance to improve on yourself and continue to work towards your goals, so while I do review my goals and reflect, I still have goals I’m working towards. Plus, at this point in my life, reevaluating my goals typically aligns with the beginning of a new semester. So while I don’t have goals to share with you, I do have trials and excitement to share with you.

Disney College Program

The Disney College Program is probably one of the best things I’ve done in my life. Ever. I had applied in August of 2016 and was accepted a month later to take on a role in merchandise. Come January of 2017 my car was packed full of my stuff and my mom and I began the 1,500-mile trek to Orlando, Florida. On the way there I received my assignment, I was going to be working merchandise in Fantasyland.

Being immersed in Disney culture was a whirlwind. I’ve always been told that I’m too happy, that my voice is too cheerful, that I’m too energetic, etc. I cannot explain in words how amazing it was to me to be surrounded by like-minded people that dare I say might have a voice even more cheerful than me! Which is saying a lot since I’ve been told my voice sounds like Minnie Mouse since I was five. I haven’t spoken about it much in this space but I’m a total brand nerd. I value the companies I work for, I value how I’ve viewed on this space and on social media, and I want to align myself with companies that reflect my personal values and work ethic. Being in that culture was exciting and showed me that I need to value being around the same type of people in my professional career.

In Fantasyland I spent my days twirling around in my princess dress, being mistaken for Rapunzel (can’t complain about that one…), and pixie dusting princesses and princes of all ages. To say the least, all of my little girl dreams came true. Heck, all of my 21-year-old dreams came true.

My off days were spent with my roommates and coworkers going to the parks, driving to the beach, shopping at the outlet malls, going to Chick-Fil-A, and getting lost driving to new destinations one too many times.

If you want to read more about my experience at Disney, check out my dear Disney post here.

My Anxiety Struggle

In 2017 I started dealing with my anxiety once again at the same horrible level I did when I was in the second grade. In Disney my anxiety was the “best” it had been in a while and once I got back to school it came back in a way that is worse than what I personally can remember. Up until this year of college I was scared to talk to anyone about it. I shook it off as either something that I deal with because I’m in college or something that should just be considered “normal”. Then I had a panic attack in front of my class and even got up and ran out of a class to lock myself in the bath room where I had one of the worst panic attacks I’ve ever had. And while I deal with panic attacks quite often, I typically restrict unless you’ve been talking to me you couldn’t tell. These two panic attacks were complete and utter melt down, hyperventilating level. It was bad.

That’s when I realized it was time to do something. I’ll be talking to someone in the counseling center when I get back to school as a majority of the anxiety in my life at-the-moment is school related. I plan to write about it both to make others feel that they aren’t alone and to allow me to get my personal thoughts out about. I also plan to better my coping mechanisms in this new year because nothing is getting in the way of me and my goals.

Relationships

What? Megan talks to boys? Boys talk to Megan? I know, I know. I am very private about my relationships. It’s something I see as very personal and special and I definitely don’t want to throw a guy onto my social media and blog. In the past, I’ve been in some not so great relationships. One boy completely lied about pretty much everything, one boy cheated, and one boy said that my major sounds like what you pursue when you will just stay at home with the kids anyway (not shading stay-at-home moms, in fact, that point may come in my life, but not the thing to say to a girl that’s excited to get started on her professional career and believes in girl power no matter what your career is.) In 2017 I decided that I was going to grow from those experiences and *hopefully* not find myself in those positions again. I started the year still seeing a boy from the previous fall semester but long distance was pretty difficult and we had different goals in where we saw ourselves in the future. We ended up breaking up and I found myself going on dates and not necessarily meeting anyone that was boyfriend material. I got back to school in August and met a boy about two weeks into the semester. He’s super sweet and is one of the most like-minded to me guys I’ve ever met/been with. He may or may not have asked me to be his girlfriend before Christmas break as well.

From everything I’ve learned from previous relationships, value yourself. No guy is worth constantly being anxious, insecure, unhappy, or making your life choices based purely off of what they want. There are so many things I’ve been able to do and pursue because the guy I was seeing was supportive or I was single. I’ve had to learn that being single isn’t a bad thing and that it’s common to still be 22 and not found the one just yet. Trust me, I had upwards of 50 friends get engaged in 2017. That’s a long ways away for me!

Cheers to 2018!

Here’s to new adventures, opportunities, personal growth, and more of life. This year I’m looking forward to graduating from college, continuing to fill this space, completing my internship, working on improving my anxiety, and applying to big girl jobs. Here’s to kicking ass and a very happy 2018. Cheers!

About a year ago I was sitting in my apartment’s office working my desk job with Alice in Wonderland playing in the background. A resident walked in and giggled at my choice of movie and asked if I’d ever applied to or done the Disney College Program. The Disney College Program? What in the world was that? I told the girl I’d never heard of it and that’s when she began telling me all about the six months she’d spent working in the most magical place in the world. She said that sadly applications for the upcoming fall program had just closed but in about two months the applications for the spring program should be coming out. Little did I know, that conversation would be the start of a whole new, magical chapter in my life.

I spent hours pouring over YouTube videos and blog posts about the college program. I read everything from what to pack to how you should spend your day in the parks. Then I presented my crazy idea to my parents. I’m super grateful for parents that push me to do the things that I think I’ll never even be considered for or that I’m not ‘good enough’ for. When I told my mom the first thing she said was, “When do you apply?”. And when I told my dad the first thing he said was as long as I wasn’t friends with Tinkerbell when she flew over the Magic Kingdom he was okay with me doing it.

Then applications dropped. I nervously submitted my resume and prior experience and waited. Then about twenty minutes later I got an e-mail that I’d been selected to do the web based interview. That same day, I completed my web based interview and was approved to move onto the phone interview. After several weeks of waiting I had my phone interview the day after my 21st birthday and continued to wait. I nervously watched as people on the Disney College Program page I was a part of got their acceptances and I was still waiting. That’s when Friday September 23rd came along. I was accepted to the Spring program in Walt Disney World.

After that day the rest of my semester was a whirl-wind. I somehow found someone to sublease my apartment to, made it through finals, still concentrated on school, and was busy with my organizations. But all of my free time was dedicated to Disney. I spent hours reading posts on the Facebook pages and watching more YouTube videos. What I could never put my finger on was why people were talking about never wanting to leave and how much of an impact this program had on their life. Yes, it was working for Disney and yes, for most of us it meant relocating to a new state, but it was a minimum wage job. What could I possibly gain from that? Oh sweet innocent, Megan. How little you knew then.

I found seven other girls excitedly anticipating their college program on the Facebook pages and spent way too much time texting with them giddy with excitement each day. When housing applications finally dropped I was working an 8 hour shift at the grocery store and Katie was passed out asleep in bed from long shifts at Express. It turns out that the max number of people you could pair with was 6 and Katie and I had missed being able to pair with the girls we had been talking to. And honestly, Katie and I hadn’t seemed to be the best pair from the group chat. She loved Panic! and I’m admittedly not their biggest fan. I love Taylor Swift and probably sounded like her biggest night mare.

Chatham 7101, oh how you are filled with memories. From our living room flooding and maintenance bringing  in industrials vacuums to get rid of the water to screaming in the middle of the night when we spotted a lizard scury across the floor in our bedrooms. It was knowing that there was always someone in the apartment to explore the parks with or simply stay in and have a Disney movie marathon with. It was looking up from the kitchen table and seeing a Transtar bus stuck in the bushes across the street and getting home late at night and talking about the crazy day we’d had. It was having friends that also loved eating raw cookie dough and people that also always had chips and salsa on hand. It was excitedly pulling up to Chatham waiting for the security guy to exclaim, “welcome home, ladies!”.

While we might have been a bit afraid of living together with the whole Panic!/Taylor Swift thing, I couldn’t have asked for a better roommate. Katie, thank you forever for being my MK roommate, just as we had plastered on our doors. Thank you for late night, early morning, and mid day food runs. I can’t imagine getting lost in Orlando with anyone else, at least we realized how close we lived to SeaWorld from one of our first failed attempts to get to Magic Kingdom without Google Map’s assistance. I’ll never forget our excitement to move to Chatham 6202 because it meant we’d no longer hear washer and drier doors slam at all hours of the night and would no longer hear people sharing way too personal stories in the laundry room on the other side of the wall. Thanks for introducing me to Hawaiian pizza, giving me a new appreciation for all things Bachelor, and always staying awake so we could rant about our day at work. Here’s to surviving our disgusting sink, late night Wal-Mart trips, never remembering what my car looked like, throwing yourself into the ocean each and every time we went, not realizing we weren’t following each other on Twitter for 6 months, and dumpster diving for your keys. I’ll never forget complaining about our work day and hearing “shots, shots, shots, shots!” coming from the room above us and how hilarious we found it because at least someone was having fun that day. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me a roommate that I sobbed with when it finally came time to not say goodbye, but see ya real soon.

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” -Winnie the Pooh

I was blessed enough to call Fantasyland my home. Every day I got to wear a purple princess dress that Rapunzel herself designed for me and pixie dust little girls as I excitedly announced, “with a little faith, trust, and pixie dust, may all of your dreams and wishes come true!”. I’ll never forget the little girl who looked at me in awe and said, “mommy, look! Rapunzel’s hair does grow back blonde!” or the little girls I talked to before they met Rapunzel and Tiana whose mom found me after the meet and greet and said, “I just wanted to let you know that my daughters called Rapunzel a fake because they think that you are the real Rapunzel.” (this was even after I’d told the little girls I was a royal citizen of Fantasyland and that Rapunzel had designed my dress, but that I was not Rapunzel) There were the guests who genuinely thanked me for making magic for them on their vacations and the guests who cried because they appreciated magical conversations with cast members. While yes, there were the guests who weren’t so magical, the crazy lines during poncho rush, the people who didn’t plan their Disney vacations at all, and the guests who you wondered how they chose Disney as a vacation destination, the good guest experiences always outweighed the bad guest experiences.

My Fantasyland Family, who is affectionately called the Fan Fam, was always there for me. I’ll never forget looking at the girls whose college program was coming to an end and thinking to myself that they were the kind of cast member I wanted to be. They made magic for the guests, knew how to fluff the princess dresses perfectly, and some how got their stores fully stocked early in the night. I’ll miss having stock lists that would be covered in sparkles and had all of the princesses’ names on it. It was Lexi storming through the door to tell about the latest crazy thing that happened to her, Meghan doing the MISI dance again, Sierra twirling through Sir Mickey’s in the purple princess dress, Betzy wearing her tiara at all times, Chelsea teaching all of us newbies how the ropes worked at Disney, Megan always bragging to me about how she never had stock shifts, Kayla somehow making it through 8 hour shifts in heels (I forever give you props, girl), Brooke always making the most magical moments for guests, questioning how Lindsey would get a shift that wasn’t stocking, and all of us somehow managing to keep Fantasyland from falling apart. It was our coordinators who told us that while our journey was ending, Disney would always be home. Thank you Virgil for laughing when I wanted to sing Frozen before we re-opened Castle’s doors, the Amanda’s for always making us laugh, Aimee who always encouraged me to follow my dreams and loved my crazy stories, Tony who always pushed us to make the best, most magical moments for our guests, realizing that I had “made it” as a cast member when Brad seemed to actually like me, and Ali who always let us talk about how crazy it could get in the land. It was these people and this family that brought so much magic to my experience. They all truly pushed me to be the best cast member I could be and kept me going to make the most magic I could for the guests, myself, and my fellow cast members.

Thank you Disney for allowing over 3,000 bright eyed and bushy tailed college students to move to Orlando and experience the magic that is your company. Thank you for allowing us to learn about the magic behind the scenes and how much hard work goes into making such magical experiences for the guests. Thank you for showing us the importance of carrying on Walt’s legacy in a company he poured his heart, soul, mind, and time into. For showing us that strong values are the building blocks for a brand and is what will bring people back. Thank you for sharing with us your passion for the company and telling us that with a little faith this company can take us further than we ever imagined.

Thank you for giving me a renewed sense of confidence in myself, my abilties, and my dreams for the future. At college it’s easy to get down on a grade that was lower than you expected or an overall class grade that wasn’t as amazing as you thought it would be. It’s easy to start thinking that that lower than expected grade is what defines you and what you can do in the future. Thank you for showing me that I’m so much more than a class grade or a cumulative GPA. That it’s my work ethic, my determination, my drive, my eagerness to learn and improve, and my knowledge that will get me further in any career I might find.

Thank you, Disney, for teaching me the values of a brand. As a marketing major and brand nerd myself I can’t begin to describe how much I learned about branding and customer service by working for your company. It was incredible to learn the values that Walt built his company on and to see how those values are still being carried on in the company to this day. It was learning how every aspect of the company has so much influence on the brand and how it’s portrayed. It was learning that this brand really did start with a mouse and now we are here.

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I had laughed reading some of the comments people had on the program. I didn’t understand how a minimum wage job could make such a difference in someone life, how it could challenge them, and how they could not want to leave. Fast forward to me extending my program that should have ended at 4 months to 6 months long, crying over seeing the new hires getting trained and you’d give anything to go back to that, realizing how much this program has made you grow and stretch, and forever wishing you could have just one more day working in the parks because all you want to do is make more magic.

So Walt, here’s to you. Thank you for making my dreams come true. And I promise, I’ll never loose site of them and I’ll always do as dreamers do.

“And so our journey comes to an end, but yours continues on. Grab hold of your dreams and make them come true for you are the key to unlocking your own magic. Now go, let your dreams guide you. Reach out and find your happily ever after.” -Happily Ever After Fireworks Spectacular

 

Some college packing lists out there are a bit intimidating to say the least. While I am a girly girl and own more lip glosses than one probably should, I do know how to pair-down to only the necessities. While everyone has different ideas on what a necessity is, I hope that this list gives you good ideas as to what you need to move to your dorm and what you should pick up for your dorm. While what food items you like to keep around might be much different, feel free to print off this list and make changes to it as needed. I hope I’ve at least provided a base for what you need.

Bedding

  • Mattress cover
  • Memory foam topper
  • Comforter or duvet with a duvet cover
  • Mattress pad
  • Pillows
  • Pillow Cases
  • Twin XL sheet set (with an extra sheet set if you want)
  • Extra Blankets

Food

  • Coffee
  • Coffee creamer
  • Tea
  • Hot chocolate
  • Milk
  • Bread
  • Dry Cereal
  • Yogurt
  • Popcorn
  • Soup
  • Peanut Butter
  • Jelly
  • Oatmeal
  • Bottled Water
  • Granola bars

Kitchen Supplies

  • Can opener
  • Blender
  • Plastic forks, spoons, and knives
  • Paper plates and bowls
  • Coffee Maker
  • Microwave
  • Mini fridge
  • Tupperware
  • Plastic Bags
  • Water filter pitcher
  • Coffee mugs
  • Glasses
  • Toaster
  • Paper towels

Laundry

  • Laundry Bag or Hamper
  • Stain remover
  • Drying rack
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Fabric softener
  • Detergent

Clothing

  • Two or three-piece suit
  • Button up top
  • Nice heels
  • Bras
  • Underwear
  • Athletic socks
  • Tank tops
  • T-shirts
  • Sports bras
  • Athletic tops
  • Athletic shorts
  • Leggings
  • Yoga pants
  • Cardigans
  • Blouses
  • Trousers
  • Jeans
  • Sweatshirts
  • Jean shorts
  • Sandals
  • Tennis shoes
  • Wedges
  • Sundress

Room

  • Command Hooks
  • Dry Erase Board
  • Trashcan
  • Additional Seating
  • Alarm clock
  • Under-the-bed Storage
  • Hangers
  • Step stool
  • Photos
  • Over-the-door storage pieces
  • Hanging closet organizer

Desk and School Supplies

  • Stapler
  • Staple remover
  • Tape dispenser
  • Pencil holder
  • File folder
  • White out
  • Binders
  • Folders
  • Notebooks
  • Loose leaf notebook paper
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Highlighters
  • Easers
  • Calculator
  • Dry erase markers
  • Planner

Tech

  • Portable phone charger
  • Phone charger
  • Ear phones
  • Headphones
  • Laptop with charger
  • IPad with charger
  • Flash drive
  • Camera with memory cards

Bathroom

  • Towels
  • Shower caddy
  • Loofah
  • Bath robe/wrap
  • Shower cap
  • Shower shoes

Toiletries

  • Body wash
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Face wash
  • Moisturizer
  • Eye cream
  • Face mask
  • Tooth brush
  • Tooth paste
  • Mouthwash
  • Floss
  • Hairspray
  • Sunscreen
  • Nail polish
  • Nail polish remover
  • Shaving cream
  • Make-up
  • Make-up remover
  • Lip balm
  • Tampons/pads

Personal Care

  • Hair straightener
  • Curling iron/wand
  • Blow dryer
  • Razor
  • Sunglasses
  • Tweezers
  • Contracts with solution and case
  • Nail clippers
  • Nail files
  • Cotton pads
  • Hair brush
  • Hair Ties
  • Tissues

Medical

  • Small First-Aid kit
  • Any prescription medicines
  • Band-Aids
  • Sore throat drops
  • Throat spray
  • Allergy Medicine
  • Eye drops
  • Bug Spray
  • Condoms
  • Retainer
  • Vitamins (multivitamins and supplements)
  • Pepto Bismal
  • Over-the-counter pain medicine

Cleaning Supplies

  • Dish soap
  • Glass Cleaner
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Broom
  • Dustpan
  • Hand soap
  • Mini vacuum
  • Swiffer
  • Sponges
  • Trash bags
  • Air freshener
  • Drain cleaner
  • Shower cleaner
  • Toilet cleaner
  • Toilet brush
  • Small vacuum

Other

  • Sleeping bag
  • Air mattress
  • Tide To-Go Pens
  • Lint roller

Are you going into your freshman year of college? Are you planning on using this list for your packing list? If you have already moved to college, what would you add or take away from this list? I’d love to hear in the comments below!