Paradise Found

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a girl surrounded by her bestest of friends is the happiest of people. UNIVERSALLY ACKNOWLEDGED. And I’m not talking about your run of the mill acquaintance here…I’m talking deep, unfailing friendship.20170224_140811.jpg

The kind of friends that tell you “Those shorts do not work with your ass.” They tell you “No, no, no the bangs look great with your face, you’re overthinking it.” They tell you “He is not worth your tears, girl. Save ’em for a better man!”

These are the friends that will stand the test of time. When other friends fade away…they will remain. I am blessed to have a handful of these “Forever Friends.” And last month I got to spend a weekend in Miami with two such gemstones. Check it out…

Ladies' Weekend 2017

There were a lot of options going into Ladies Weekend 2017. Last year (Ladies Weekend 2016) we ended up in sunny Orlando, Florida. Home of the happiest place on Earth, Hogwarts and yours truly. And we had a blast, check it out. So…the bar was pretty high. We waffled between New Orleans, Las Vegas, Mexico and even Paris made an appearance as a viable option, given that flights were only $400 round trip when we were looking. But in the end we decided to hit up Cristina’s home town…Miami! Another sunny vacation…not too shabby.Miami Florida Diplomat Beach Resort travels

I’ve mentioned this to you before, blog readers, but I am a summer girl!! 100%. All the way! The thought of spending a vacation anywhere where the temperature might drop below 75…no thank you! (Talk to me next year when we hit London for Ladies Weekend 2018.)

Cristina is the planner of the group. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love planning too, but we are very different sort of planners and this was her hometown, so the agenda was all hers with some input from Erin and I. But it’s best to visit a town with a local. You can see all the cool spots you might miss if you are doing the tourist thing. So Cristina hooked us up with a home cooked meal at her childhood home. (Dad makes a mean sangria!!)

We also hit Coral Gables, Coconut Grove and of course… SOUTH BEACH!! Erin’s mother-in-law got us a SICK deal on a casita (way better than a cabana) at The Diplomat and let me tell you something, we felt like Queens! We had a personal server and about 5 other employees that made the rounds to check on us throughout the day (Thanks Leo, Cassandra, Jeff, Josh and Danny!) We ordered drinks and fancy lunch and swam and laid in the sun. This is the best way to spend any day, I am convinced. And a day spent like this in the presence of beautiful friends…well that’s where the Paradise Found part comes in!!

Yeah…we did a bunch of other stuff. We went to Cristina’s home church on Sunday. We did little photo shoots for an upcoming blog project I have in the works. We made a pilgrimage to Instagram mecca, aka Wynwood Walls. We ate ALL THE FOOD!! We even tried to hit up South Beach’s night life, but the weekend proved too strong for our dance moves and we tuckered out at around 11:45pm and hit the hay instead of the dance floor. (Don’t even think of calling us old…the sun took it out of us! I blame the sun!)

Wynwood Walls Miami Florida travels blogger

All in all, there were so many things that made it a perfect weekend, but the thing that will stay with me is hanging with my squad for a full 3 days. We each live in a different state these days and quality time is hard to come by. We do our best with phone calls, Google Chat, texting, Snapchat (life saver), Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But who are we kidding…it’s never going to be enough. Our lives have us moving in circles far from the ones we moved in when we lived in New York together and tore the town upside down whenever possible.

Does our current reality diminish what was? Of course not. I think it just serves to make those shining moments of “togetherness time” shine a little bit brighter and causes us to hold onto the new moments we create a little big tighter.20170226_131405.jpg

See you in London next February, my beautiful friends!!

Dear Inspiration,

Dear inspiration,

Dear spark of imagination,

Dear intense, unfailing dedication to sharing my inner conflagration,

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Where have you gone today? Correction, where have you been for a while now? I remember the days when we would sit in Central Park, me with a pen and paper, you swarming through my whole being, igniting the cobwebs in my mind and turning every silken thread into a tapestry of thoughts. These days my thoughts feel less substantial. My writing less inspired. My blog sadly missing you and your flare for the dramatic honesty.

Something was lost between New York, California and Florida. Perhaps you lost track of me in my travels. I tend not to stay in one place for long, if I can help it. The fault is yours, for I travel to experience more of you. But lately when I sit down to write, what comes out is a cacophony of words that have no cohesion. A maelstrom of thoughts with no clear conclusion. Where have you gone, my inspiration? Did I leave you in New York? I thought I felt your breath on my neck when we went to California. Every sunset we saw together would inspire poetry. I wasn’t seeing those sunsets alone was I?
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I know, I know…sometimes you visit me in the wee hours of the morning, when I’m still drunk on dreams. But what you leave behind, I cannot seem to grasp. The mere whisper of magic…the faint scent of the divine. I wish I could lasso your power and harness your energy. I wish I could keep you in a bottle and pour you on when I need you most.

But you are not to be caught in my fisher’s net. You, imagination…you are fierce and wild and will not be tamed by a mere mortal. Even one who thinks as highly of you as I do. Even one who puts a store of dreams in the mention of your name. Even I don’t deserve to keep you locked up, like a tiger in a zoo. Locked up and caged where you do not belong.

There are others who call upon your influence. Others who need you as much as I do. And I know you have to answer their siren call, for their call is no more important than mine. You have to be in so many places at once. God made it so. The way He made it so Santa Claus could travel through the night and need no rest till his work is done. You, too, are undaunted by the call of your duty to the dreamers of the world.

Galaxies are created in your name. Brand new worlds uncharted by human cartographers are discovered. Characters spring to life, upright and fully functioning in the minds of the creators, your offspring. Those who write and draw and sing and dream. Those who make empowered speeches that inspire others to write and draw and sing and dream. This is the evidence of your majestic influence. The bright colors splashed upon our world to brighten dull days and give bold words to mundane moments. You, the paintbrush of God himself, are hard at work in someone else today.

Don’t forget to return to me. Don’t forget your faithful friend. I await your return with eager anticipation. My pen still finds the paper in your absence. My voice is not gone. I use the remnants of what you left behind when last we were together and I will write and draw and sing and dream until the day you come back to me.

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Something Magical Happened, But I Can’t Show You

Magical Moments Lizzie blog nerd solo adventure no phone Disney Star Wars fireworks

Last week can only be described as amazing, soul-refreshing and down right exciting. You already saw my solo adventures at not one, but all four of Disney World’s theme parks. But here’s the part I didn’t show you.

I actually can’t show you. See…my phone died right after I ate what looked like a delicious Mickey Mouse shaped pretzel, but really was old tire rubber that had been sitting in the sun since 7am.

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Pretzel notwithstanding, there was magic in the air as I returned to Hollywood Studios, where I’d started my grand adventure.

There has been one other time in recent Disney history that I’ve stayed for the fireworks at the park. And it’s because 2 equally minded, childlike spirits knew as I do just how much magic a fireworks show can hold. I may be overselling this. But the majority of the time when I go to a theme park, at the end of the night, my party is worn out, tired and just wants to beat the traffic. The best way to do that is to skip the fireworks and high tail it out at about 7:30pm. That’s the formula for skipping as much Disney traffic as you can.

But this time it was just me. And traffic, when I have nowhere to go, doesn’t bother me in the least. Especially if I have open windows and a good radio station. Bring on the tail lights!

So I stayed for the fireworks. Specifically the new Star Wars Spectacular at Hollywood Studios cause…well, duh! It’s me! It was always going to be the Star Wars Fireworks show!! I wish I could show it to you, but I’m sorta glad my phone died. I love to share my photos and bring people into my adventures as much as I can. But this was just for me (and the thousands of other people that stayed late too.) You can probably Google the show, find clips on the internet and pictures on Instagram, but I beg you…don’t! Make a plan, if you can, to get to the park and see them live. Let your phone die and live in the magical moment that it absolutely is. I was nearly in tears…it felt that magical. The way the lights and music perfectly complimented my favorite story in the whole wide galaxy…there is really no other word to describe how it felt…it was magic. And I haven’t felt magic like that in a while.

Without a doubt this has been a challenging year. And I have felt, at times lost, at times angry and at times like it wasn’t worth it at all. It’s not true…it’s worth it. It has been worth it the whole time. And not just because of magical fireworks on a balmy Thursday night. I seem to be most attuned to God and myself when I am acting like a kid. I tap into a part of myself that I seem to abandon more often than not these days. She and I used to be much more in sync, but the older I get the farther away she feels.

That magic isn’t lost! In fact I found that magic the very next day when I decided, on a whim, to go paddle boarding off Merritt Island. Another instance of a magic moment that I will just have to keep in my brain because I didn’t bring my phone with me. So this is the only picture I took of the whole adventure:

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It was 11am on a Friday morning. The breeze off the water was perfect and the sun was shining down just enough to give me a nice sun tan/burn glow. I was paddling along by myself, trying to remember how to do it, since it had been a while, when I saw a fin. My heart froze…and I thought “OH SHIT!” Then, I saw another and another. I took a deep breath and the time to notice the shape of the fin and was delighted to see a pod of dolphins headed straight for me. Four adult dolphins and a baby just happily swimming towards the channel and passing me by on their route. I stood in wonder at the sight of them just five or six feet off my starboard bough. It was nothing less than magical!

I followed the pod and watched as they interacted with one another. Squeaking and jumping in the air. I wish I could show you, but again, I’m kinda glad I can’t! It was a moment made just for me. There was no one else on the water right then and by the time other people came into view, the dolphins were gone.

These are extraordinary moments. And they don’t happen everyday. After all “if life were made of moments, even now and then a bad one! But if life were only moments then you’d never know you had one.”

I guess what I’m saying is that when magic comes along don’t spend all your time trying to take a picture of it. Let your phone die or leave it back on shore and keep that magic for yourself. There will be plenty of other things to share with people. Magic is something special. And since it’s rare, take care who you share it with.

Truth is, even this blog can’t effectively convey the rejuvenating magic that happened to me somewhere between Disney and the water. But I feel like myself again. I feel the ideas and the excitement of my life again. Ideas and excitement that never left me. God doesn’t take away your creativity. It’s you who walks away. And if you’re lucky you come back and remember who you are. Take the magic when it comes! Seek it out if you have to.

“Just remembering you’ve had an ‘and’ when you’re back to ‘or’ makes the ‘or’ mean more than it did before.”

I hope you find magic today. And I hope I never get to see pictures of it!

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Lizzie’s Solo Ride

Disney World Scavenger Hunt blog

Lizzie's Solo Disney Adventure Blog Scavenger Hunt Nerd

I LOVE Disney. If you’ve been reading me for any length of time, you know this. That being said, I’ve never done Disney on my own before. I’ve always gone with friends or family. And the day is usually very mapped out. Everyone has their top picks and there is lots to cover in a short period of time. I love to go with a plan and I love to go with people, but this day was different.

There was something really freeing and exciting about a solo adventure. Just me, nerdself and I.

I did have an agenda in the form of Crazy for Disney’s scavenger hunt. It kept my day just organized enough without feeling rushed. And since I only paid for parking and dole whips, I didn’t feel like I had to “get my money’s worth.” There is no shortage of Disney adventures in my future, that’s for dang sure!

So take a look at my adventures and if you want to do a scavenger hunt of your own try Crazy for Disney’s. But also, keep an eye out for my own scavenger hunt. There were some things I definitely wanted to add on the list (and some that I did add on the list!)

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First up was Hollywood Studios:

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What I found at Hollywood…

  1. A Movie Theater
  2. Large Green Army Men
  3. 1950s Diner
  4. Giant Guitar
  5. Kermit the Frog
  6. Star Wars Characters
  7. Tower of Terror
  8. Giant Letter Blocks
  9. Woody or Jessie
  10. Mickey Mouse Balloon
  11. Handprints in Cement
  12. An AT-AT
  13. A Potato Head

(Things on the list I couldn’t find or didn’t have time to find…A Giant Ant or Bug, Mater, Pizza Planet, Giant Mouse Ears, A Spaceship.)

Next was Epcot:

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What I found at Epcot…

  1. Giant Silver Sphere
  2. Someone Wearing a Sombrero
  3. Boat (Monorail was on the list, but I substituted it for a boat ride.)
  4. Characters Made of Plants (this picture is actually from Magic Kingdom, I couldn’t find plant characters at Epcot to save my life!!)
  5. A Planet (BAM! I found 2!!)
  6. Statue of a Viking
  7. A Chinese Building
  8. American Flag (I spent way too long trying to get a picture of the flag flying. Alas!)
  9. A Clock Tower (thanks Germany!)
  10. A Park Bench
  11. A Street Band
  12. Coral Reef
  13. Nemo
  14. A Sea Turtle
  15. A Live Disney Character

(Things on the list I couldn’t find or didn’t have time to find…Statue of a Horse, A Double Decker Bus, A Kidcot Sign, A Dinosaur.)

Then, Animal Kingdom:

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What I found at Animal Kingdom:

  1. Tree of Life
  2. Statue of a Disney Character
  3. A Dinosaur
  4. Live Elephant
  5. Live Gorilla
  6. A Large Mountain
  7. A Train
  8. A Safari Vehicle
  9. A Stream/ Flowing Water
  10. A Bus
  11. A Live Disney Character
  12. A Large Set of Bones
  13. Someone Wearing a Safari Hat (Bonus for finding someone wearing a hat and a vest!)
  14. Someone Wearing a Vest
  15. A Truck Selling Ice Cream
  16. Street Band
  17. Rafiki (Got a two for one on this one with #2)

(Things on the list I couldn’t find or didn’t have time to find…I only couldn’t find Flik from a Bug’s Life and it was only cause I was running out of time.)

Finally, Magic Kingdom:

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What I found at Magic Kingdom:

  1. Monorail
  2. Someone Wearing Mouse Ears (so many to choose from including myself!)
  3. Statue of Walt Disney
  4. A Horse
  5. A Map
  6. A Balloon
  7. A Train
  8. A Castle (Correction…THE Castle!)
  9. A Popcorn Cart
  10. A Big Treehouse
  11. A Flying Elephant
  12. A Pirate
  13. A Princess
  14. Turkey Leg (I added this one to the list)
  15. A Spaceship
  16. A Former U.S. President (Lots to choose from but I went with good ole Abe)
  17. A Teacup
  18. A Flying Carpet
  19. Mickey Mouse (sorta cheated on this one and used #2 twice…time crunch)
  20. Dole Whip (I also added this one to the list, Dole Whip is an absolute must!!)

(Things on the list I couldn’t find or didn’t have time to find…I only missed Winnie the Pooh at Magic Kingdom and it’s because I was trying to find the Pooh himself. Oh, well…next time!)

I Don’t Know About You…

Pray for Orlando

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I don’t know about you, but whenever a horrific tragedy, like what took place this weekend in Orlando…my city, takes place it’s hard for me to collect my thoughts. If my thoughts could be seen they’d look like this…

ANGER

SADNESS

PRAYER

WHY GOD

back to ANGER

a little more SADNESS

And when I sit down to speak about it or write about it, I feel fractured between wanting to find assurance that the world is a way more beautiful place than it feels and not really believing that it is. Fractured between wanting to cry and wanting to scream. Fractured between thanking God for my life and asking Him why things like this happen at all. Fractured between knowing that my everyday life is waiting and wanting to become some sort of vigilante assassin the likes of Elektra or Black Widow.

Lord knows I’m not alone. Take a look at social media right now and see that people are fractured. Spirits are torn apart. And yes, it’s beautiful to see my city come together and rally around the victims and their families. It’s amazing to see the blood banks so full of donors that they had to turn people away. That is an encouraging sight that we cannot forget!! But we also cannot ignore the bigger community of humans that continues to be divided when horrible things happen. Half the country says “get rid of guns,” the other half clings tightly to their weapons. And who is right?

Can we all agree that humans aren’t the only common element in these tragedies. Can we start to talk about other countries that don’t have the staggering statistics of gun violence that plague the whole of America? Can we start holding the human(s) responsible…responsible, not the community that human is a part of, not the religion that human is a part of, not the sexual preference that human identifies with?

I am not the white, American that killed Christina Grimmie on Friday.

And neither are you the statistic that groups you to a killer. If you take up semi-automatic weapons or any other kind of weapon and shoot up a bar of happy people celebrating life…then you are that KILLER. It’s that simple. It should be.

But it isn’t. Why the hell isn’t it!!!??

There’s the bigger issue at work here. The issue of people vs people. Forget the fact that an Islamic extremist shot up an LGBT club. Forget the fact that a white man with 2 guns killed a singer the very night before. Forget the fact that a South Korean shot up a college campus or that a privileged, white, Stanford student raped a girl and is getting off with light sentencing. Forget all that for a moment. Only for a moment because we have a human problem.

Until humans value the lives of other humans above their race, religion, sexual preference, gender orientation, occupation or anything else that divides us as simple human beings, then the blood shed will not stop. 

I read someone who was arguing that if we make gun laws stricter, then we have to take away people’s cars because car accidents cause more deaths than shootings. I think they’ve missed the point. It’s easy to miss the point if you’re looking for reasons to miss the point! The operative word here is accident. Car accidents are horrible and tragic and sad and i wish they never happened to anyone, ever. The difference is that shootings like what happened at Pulse on Saturday night are no accident. No one “accidentally” purchases an AR-15 and then “accidentally” calls the police to “accidentally” align themselves with a terrorist organization and then “accidentally” shoots 50 people dead and wounds 50+ more. Nope…not an accident!

The people who are spreading hatred towards Muslims for being killers and towards the LGBT community for deserving death for “sinful lifestyles” and towards white men for being rapists and black men for being thugs are hardly better than the killers themselves. The lack of respect for human life doesn’t begin when a gun is purchased. It doesn’t begin when the trigger is pulled. The lack of respect for human life begins long before that. It’s in the words we say to one other. It’s in the way we handle conflict. It’s in the way we choose to believe the best instead of assuming the worst. And it’s in the way we respond in the aftermath.

How will you respond?

I implore you…do more. Even if it’s as simple as trying to change your own damn mind about something. Even if it’s simply seeing another person’s point of view, stepping in their shoes, trying to understand instead of sticking your feet in the mud and holding your ground come hell or high water.

“The time is always right to do what is right!” You know who said that? Martin Luther King, Jr. You know how he died? From a gun shot. Do you think that would have changed the message of his life of non-violence? Would he have bought a gun if he knew he’d die from one?

I would never suggest you lose your right to bear arms. It is Constitutional. I’m simply saying there’s something missing in the Constitution. The right to live. Is that not more important? Is that not something we can agree upon? I’m scared that the answer is no. And that is not encouraging at all.

I don’t want to end on a note of sadness. I like to keep it upbeat. But I don’t think I have it in me to turn this one around. So I’ll simply end by saying that I love you.

What color are you? I DON’T CARE.

What do you believe? I DON’T CARE!

Where do you come from? I DON’T CARE!!

Who do you love? I DON’T CARE!!!

I believe in you. I think your life is worth living. I just love you!

The Beach is My Dream, the Ocean…My Nightmare

I love the beach. Perhaps you follow me on Instagram. If you don’t…come on over: @nerdinthesand. But if you do then you know without a shadow of a doubt just how deep my love for the beach runs. It is a physical representation of the happiest place I could ever imagine being.
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I feel calm when I’m at the beach. I feel like I’m home out there. I feel like I know myself so clearly and that if I just reach out I could probably touch the hand of God, like in Michelangelo’s painting in the Sistine Chapel. I don’t feel like a hurricane when I’m at the beach. I feel like a palm tree, deeply rooted and able to stand the harsh hurricane winds. My soul says, “Do your worst for you can’t touch me out here.”
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Everywhere else I’m the hurricane and the surrounding trees have to survive me. But here is where I am truly what I was made to be. A
song sung on the breeze. A shadow on the sand. Perhaps that’s why being away from it for 8 long years was just too long for my soul and eventually the shore had no choice but to call me back.

I do not feel the same way about the ocean. The ocean scares me. Deeply, down to my toes.

My mom likes to watch Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. Every July I start to hear about things like Goblin Sharks and Vampire Squids and Fangtooth Fish and Giant Tube Worms and all manner of creatures that sound better suited for a horror film than for the ocean. A place I think we truly don’t belong. Though I don’t at all feel that way about space….interesting.

If Atlantis were a real place and it was up to me to search the depths of the ocean just to find it, then it would stay lost forever.

On my recent road trip up to New York with my brother we drove through Delaware. This took us across the scariest stretch of road I’ve ever been on. The Lucius J. Kellam Jr Bridge – Tunnel. It’s series of bridges and tunnels that stretch over an expanse of the ocean itself. Not a bay or a lake or a gulf or a stream, but the edges of the ocean. Look left and you can just make out a distant horizon that must be the shoreline, but look right and you are faced with the expansive stretch of deep blue sea with no end in sight.

I thought for sure that while we crossed it, some catastrophe would hit. Maybe we’d get stuck in that tunnel for hours on end only to be engulfed in the very ocean the tunnel was supposed to protect us from. Or we’d get stuck on the bridge in traffic and a Sharknado would come sweep us away into the ocean where the rest of the sharks were lurking.

I was never afraid of the ocean as a child. It’s only in adulthood when the overactive fears of our imagination are given a voice. As children we have those same fears, but the monster under the bed is just a shadow and shark attacks are less likely to happen than car accidents and lightning never hits the same place twice.

Adults know that shadows only exist where there is a sliver of light. We know that sharks are a reality and of course lightning can hit the same spot twice, it’s not like it has memory or anything.
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The beach is my dream and the ocean, my nightmare. How funny that the two should be so intertwined for I could never have the dream without the nightmare. For one to exist, the other has to as well! The irony is not lost on my. Or rather God’s imminent sense of humor. He’s constantly laughing at my fears, the way a loving father laughs at a child who’s too scared to look under the bed. “Sweetheart, there’s nothing under there. Don’t you trust me? Have I ever let you down?”
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The Nerd Returns to the City

“Well… I didn’t expect that!”

I was so sure that the tears I’d cried over leaving New York were because deep down I wanted to go back. I wanted my life back. I wanted what was familiar and what had become “normal” for years.

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But there I was, back in the bright lights and I felt like I was gonna jump out of my skin. I am not an anxious person and I’m not a worrier. But everything about being back made me feel anxious and made me worry. I was late to meet my friends. I was bustling along the streets. I was stuck on the train that seemed like it would never move.

This was the life I’d lived for the past 8+ years. For better, for worse. For richer, for poorer (and let’s just be honest…it was always for poorer.) This was how I’d lived. Blissfully unaware of the madness of the city because I’d become a part of the madness. I was the madness. I understood it and it had become a part of me. I fell in love with it. (Read about That Time I Fell in Love)

The first weeks back in Florida, I had a frog permanently living in my throat. I was on the verge of crying every single day. My mom asked me if I wanted to sing at church and I burst into tears saying, “It’s too soon! It’s not the Journey.” My friends suggested I try online dating to get over a certain person I may tell you about someday, but I burst into tears just reading the profiles saying, “It’s too soon! I’m not ready.” I drove out to the beach and even that didn’t feel right at first (despite what my Instagram portrayed) and I cried the whole way back saying, “It’s just not New York. It doesn’t feel right!”

Everything seemed to be a pressure point. Everything seemed to set me off. So, here was my chance. To make the choice to stay on the path God called me to walk on or to turn back around and run to something comfortable. It’s funny to call New York comfortable. It’s the least comforting city I’ve ever lived in. Surrounded by 8 million people and constantly alone. But when you acclimate to something it does feel comforting to be a part of it. So New York was the comfort and Florida was the challenge?? What an unexpected outcome!

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I was truly shocked by this panic attack. I’ve never even had a panic attack before, so I can’t be sure that’s what I was experiencing. But my heart was racing and I couldn’t breath… so I started to pray.

To be honest with you, I’ve been mad at God. Why did he call me to leave my beloved city? Why did he bring me down to Florida where my purpose is still being figured out? Where my friends and family already have their lives figured out down here?

I decided at some point that I was too angry to listen. I decided that I was going to make my own way!

If you’ve ever gone your own way, you’d know it’s not the right move! I know it’s not the right move and one restless night God hit me hard with the news that I was supposed to be listening! And this feeling that I felt in New York was just confirmation that I’d made the right choice in listening to God. That moving was His plan, not mine. And that my new challenge was to listen for the next light he shines in front of me instead of buying batteries for my flashlight and finding my own path.

It’s not a revelation. It’s not new information! It’s just a daily reminder that I need to constantly turn my eyes up to Him. And a daily reminder that I am right where I need to be. Even if it’s hard! Especially if it’s hard! And trust me…it’s been hard.

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5 Fandom Friday

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Favorite Theme Park Rides

To say I love theme parks would be a gross understatement. I simply adore them. I put my hair up in pigtails, find the most nerd appropriate shirt for the occasion and I just go wild! It’s like I’m 5 years old again. And I was an adorable 5 year old!!

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#1 – Star Tours & The Great Movie Ride

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Photo from Disney

Photo from Disney
Photo from Disney

These 2 rides hold a special place in my heart because they have been around for a very long time! And I used to ride them as a kid. Not to mention the obvious love for all things Star Wars and the movies in general! I have yet to ride the updated Star Tours ride, but I loved the old cheesy version, so I have every confidence that the new version will not disappoint. (It takes a lot to disappoint me!)

#2 – Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringott’s

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This ride is a brand new obsession! I got to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for my birthday last year and I think the world magical accurately describes every single minute of a day spent exploring Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade and Hogwarts. But it’s the brand new ride in the bank vaults of Gringott’s that was my favorite part. The ride makes you feel like you’re in the movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was so wonderful and I can’t wait to go back and give the park another go. If you come to the greater Orlando area after July 2015 and need a theme park buddy, I’m your girl!!!

#3 – Kingda Ka

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Photo from Six Flags

I LOVE roller coasters!! I always try to chicken out at the last moment, when I’m strapped in and regretting the wait in line and the stairs I just climbed. But it’s too late, I made my choice! And as the roller coaster climbs higher and higher, I think I might throw up or scream or cry, but then the wind hits my face and we go careening to the ground and my heart is racing and I know that this is the closest I will ever get to flying and the feeling is exhilarating! The very moment the ride ends, I’m back in line for another go around. And the cycle starts all over again!  (And added shout out to Six Flag’s Safari at Great Adventures. It too is amazing. Though not technically a ride, per se.)

#4 – Splash Mountain

Photo from Disney
Photo from Disney

This is an obvious choice! A trip to Disney is never complete without a ride on Splash Mountain. And every time I go to The Magic Kingdom, I have to go at least 2 or 3 times. I love Brer Rabbit and Brer Bear! And again, this one has a touch of roller coaster to it. I love the drop before the last drop when you know that last drop is coming and you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach like you might fly out of your log, but you don’t. And it’s amazing!

#5 – Pirates of the Caribbean

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Photo from Disney

This is another ride that holds a lot of nostalgia for me. Growing up in Orlando allowed me many opportunities to go to Disney World. Class trips, family fundays. Not to mention that it was much cheaper back in the day. (Yeah, I’m official old for saying that!) This ride has also been updated since I was a kid and the updates still allow it to be a cheesy pirate ride, but incorporates the Jack Sparrow factor from the wildly successful movie franchise. Plus, it’s always been a pirate’s life for me!!

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Like I said, if you ever need a theme park buddy, I’m your girl! Theme parks like Disney and Universal and Wet n’ Wild and Busch Gardens are amazing on their own, but with a Lizzie in tow… they become shamazing!!! Seriously!

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What are your favorite theme park rides?

Big Announcement

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I’d like to take a moment to make a big announcement.
I’m leaving New York City.

Come July I will be returning to my hometown in sunny, sunny Florida! Home of flip-flops and shorts!

I’d start at the beginning, but I guess it doesn’t matter how a match is lit. Because once the fire is started, it spreads. That’s how it’s been since the moment I decided to move back to Florida, where I’m from…home. The reasons are ever growing and changing. But like a fire inside, it started as a small spark and now it rages on, in a good way! And the most amazing part of it all is that I know with every fiber of my being that it’s the right decision for me. It’s God’s decision for me. I don’t think I’ve felt that way about something since I packed up and moved up here to the big city.

This means that Nerd in the City will be moving with me and I’ll get to see what that means for this platform I’ve had on which to share my thoughts for the past 4 years. I love writing and I never would have discovered that if I’d never moved here.
I have a list of things a mile long, things that I will never miss about New York. But I want to focus on what this city has given me. Because I feel equipped for the next stage of my life. And I am a stronger person for the struggles I’ve had in this tough city. And I cannot wait to return to it with fresh eyes and a fresh heart one day.

I still have 4+ months left to enjoy New York and all the treasures it has to offer. A chance to properly say goodbye. And a chance to know that I have made the right decision for the next stage of my life. What a gift!