August 24, 2013

30 Day Challenge (Day 6)

What is the hardest thing you've ever experienced?

Honestly, the hardest times in my life were probably the end of junior year and the beginning of Senior year. I had just turned 17 in January of 2009; a few days later my mom picked me up from school and told me that we had to go to the hospital right away, because my grandma had just been admitted. I honestly can't remember all of the details now, but they had found something in her check up at the doctor and she needed more attention. I also had no idea what an impact that day would have on the rest of my life, but it really did change everything. I was always incredibly close with my grandma, even though, as I got older, I didn't always call or spend as much time with her as I wish I would have now. She was always like our "4th family member." She watched me while my parents were away at work, picked me up from school, we'd make crafts together, and she always encouraged me with my dream of being a singer (I used to put on concerts to LeAnn Rimes just about every day and she would sit there, acting like it was her first time hearing all of the songs).

We found out not long after that she had been diagnosed with lung cancer, and it hit me like a ton of red bricks. I know that's one of the oldest analogies in the book, but I don't know how else to describe it. I carried a lot of pain with me on a daily basis during that time. Everything just felt really heavy. But, I think it really helped push me back towards wanting to get back to my childlike faith and relationship with Christ. I was already going through a lot with trying to get through school; friend stuff, trying to plan ahead for life after high school-like college, trying to stay involved with extracurriculars as much as I could, and then this happened. My mom and I were at the hospital after I got out of school every day, my mom was taking care of a lot of my grandma's personal things and whatever needed to be done, and family was always visiting, which really helped me through. There wasn't always a normal schedule, and that was really hard at times. Looking back, I was a little selfish, to feel like it was taking up so much of my time. I wasn't doing it on purpose, I think I just didn't like the situation altogether and didn't know what to do.

We went through that routine for about six or seven months...It was extremely difficult, especially when she finally passed away. I was younger when my other grandparents died, and I didn't know how to fully understand exactly what I was feeling at that time. This time, I knew exactly what was happening and that she wasn't coming back. Knowing that I will see her in Heaven again someday helped me through it, but it didn't take the pain away completely. It was really hard starting a new school year, while still just grieving and dealing with the loss of my grandma. But, now, when I think about that time and how God gave me the strength to get through that, I realize I can get through anything. There's a silver lining in every tough time that you go through...And this was no different. If anything, it brought me closer to my family and made me realize who's going to stick by you when you're going through a rough time. I definitely found out who my true friends were, and also people that I didn't really know who were genuinely concerned/ cared about me.

That's all for now,
Shelby :)

30 Day Challenge (Days 4 and 5)

List 10 Things You Would Tell Your 16 Year Old Self, If you Could:

Me at 16 years old in front of The Grand Ole Opry! :)

*Everything comes together eventually. Trust God and stop worrying so much. Life isn't really all that complicated, so stop making things harder than they need to be.

*Just get your license! It's good to be cautious...But, don't wait so long. It's not as scary as it seems.

*Stop setting one of your "New Year's Resolutions" to get a boyfriend. Believe me, "In your life you'll do things greater than dating the boy on the football team."

*Spend as much time with grandma, as much as possible. You always think that she'll be around forever, but the truth is she won't be. Let her know how much she means to you every time you see her. Don't roll your eyes when you have to tell her goodbye, just because you're in the middle of doing something. Cherish those moments, instead. 

*Don't be such a homebody! When your friends invite you to go out...Go! You're young! Let yourself loosen up a little. Don't be so uptight about everything.

*Stop thinking you have to be like everyone else. Don't compare yourself to the girls in your class at school in looks or whether they have a boyfriend or a car...None of it. You're on your own track and you're doing exactly what you're supposed to be doing. God made you YOU for a reason and you are beautiful, believe that. 

*Realize that high school isn't forever. Make the best of it now, but also know that on the days when you're frustrated and feel like you're never going to see the end, it does come. 

*You pass algebra ;) "Tonight's the bonfire rally, but you're staying home instead, because if you fail algebra, mom and dad will kill ya dead...But, trust me, you'll squeak by and get a C, and you're still around to write this letter to me." Also, just stop complaining about all the homework you have and get it done. It's not as dramatic as you make it out to be. STUDY MORE! Put in the time and it will pay off. 

*Don't be discouraged when you don't get the lead roles in the school play! A lot of successful people in the business didn't always get the lead. Sometimes it's great to be the underdog later on in life.

*Live in the moment. Remember every detail of being young, accept the fact that you don't know everything and marvel at that. Continue to document everything and don't shut yourself off to pain, because then you stop feeling the happy moments too. LOVE your life and know that you're here for a reason, even if you haven't necessarily found where you belong yet. Hang in there, just you wait!

What Are 5 Things That Make You Most Happy Right Now:

*Heart to hearts with my best friends; dreaming about the future, ranting about worries of the moment, talking about our families, and being there for each other when things are really good or when they're really bad.

*Listening to country music while I'm driving! :)

*Thinking about all that God has in store for me in the future!

*Wearing bright red lipstick...Just because!

*Family dinners when relatives from out of state are visiting. 

August 23, 2013

Who Says We Have To Let It Go?

It's kind of a funny feeling when you can tell that you've outgrown a place. You're no longer part of that world, so you're looking at everything, only this time it's from the outside. You're remembering every detail of when you belonged there, when that was all you knew, and the only thought you had on your mind at the time was figuring a way to get out. Only just a few years later, no matter how much you don't want to admit it or are happy to be moving on, you find yourself missing it.

That's exactly how I felt this morning as I went to our alumni chapel at my old high school. I'd been wanting to go the last couple years, but either something came up or I got sick...So, this was a first and I was really excited. Normally, I just go to football games and still just hang out with the same main people I hung out with in high school, so I thought this would give me a chance to really take a trip down memory lane.

I woke up around 7:30, which was much earlier than I had set my alarm for. I tried falling back to sleep, but a mixture of nerves and excitement was keeping me awake, so I just took a few minutes and finally decided to get up closer to 8:15. I can get ready really quickly, so I had plenty of time. I put my makeup on, made coffee, straightened my hair, took a few minutes to relax, then finally pulled out about an hour later. It was THE weirdest feeling pulling into the parking lot that I had gone into several thousand times before from the passenger's seat; complaining and whining about how I couldn't wait to be out, being so annoyed with everyone and feeling like no one understood me, which to some degree was true, but mainly because I didn't always let people see everything that I was. I knew who I was and stood up for what I wanted, but most times I was afraid of letting everyone in all the way.

I had just pulled into a parking space, just about as far as you could go, when I saw a car pull in right next to me. I was thinking, seriously, what are the chances of someone parking right next to me?? There's a reason I parked out here, people! I was about to keep walking when I heard, "Hey, best friend!!!!" I recognized the voice and immediately turned around to see one of my best friends, Liz, so she ran up and gave me a hug. I didn't know she was going to be there, because she usually works, but it happened to be a day off for her, so she came. A few minutes later, my other best friend, Marissa, pulled in. We all caught up and walked to the gym together, catching up with a couple other friends along the way. I hadn't really expected to feel quite so nostalgic about everything, but random little moments came to mind as I glanced towards the lockers and classrooms, the lunch tables, and the open grass areas around the campus. I saw it all in flashes; memories of walking to class, dreading a presentation, catching up with friends, walking by a certain area/hoping to catch a glimpse of a certain person, trying to avoid someone, or when I had my first heartbreak.

We walked into the gym and said hi to a few faculty members, who were still getting some things set up, as well as other alumni who were continuing to walk in. We talked to a few people, and then the bell rang, so all the students joined in. Marissa and I found seats, and I set my coffee down (which I had debated on bringing), and just as I thought, someone knocked it over, so we went to the bathroom to get paper towels, since I don't think the girl realized she had knocked it over or didn't care...Pretty soon chapel started; we sang a few worship songs, then one of the Bible teachers called a couple alumni students, who had graduated before my class, up to speak. He asked them questions that would prepare the students now for what was to come after graduation; how the school prepared them, things they had encountered with their faith, and just what they were up to now, since graduating from college recently. Each of the former students talked a lot of having faith in God no matter what the circumstance; a lot of what I've been dealing with lately. He is good no matter what happens, because of who HE is. One of the girls shared a dating experiences and how giving that to God saved her from a world of hurt later on. She also mentioned how when she was in high school, she did a lot of comparing herself to other people; thinking they were prettier or more this or more that. And what's funny is that I always admired her from afar as a freshman (she was a senior) because she seemed to have it altogether...She was beautiful, sweet, she spoke in chapel a lot, and she was very involved in the extracurriculars. She was like the poster child for the school, and I had always wanted to be friends with her. When you get out, it's strange how you realize how everyone had their own insecurities and battles they were fighting on a daily basis when you always thought you were the only one.
We closed out with "Bless The Lord, Oh My Soul..." and that was it.

After chapel ended, everyone had to get back to class, so the alumni group stayed in the gym, wandering around and mingling with teachers and other students we hadn't seen in awhile. We all took a group picture, then gathered around in the foyer of the gym for breakfast, where there were bagels and donuts to choose from. We all sat around, mingling with whoever happened to show up. A little while later, everyone started leaving, so Marissa and I decided to be rebels and wander around to be nostalgic of our high school years. Everything felt so different, yet at the same time, it was like nothing had changed and there we were just walking to our next period of the day. It feels like another lifetime, writing and thinking about it now. Just sitting here, playing back all the mini mental pictures I have still engrained in my memory are making my heart ache in a good way. I didn't know then, just how good I had it. Marissa and I joked, if only the problems we had then were all we had to deal with now. We wanted to go back in time and shake ourselves over things like that. I would have reminded myself that I have the rest of my life to figure out the big things, to just enjoy the moment, because I didn't know how to do that back then. I was always so caught up in my own little world and my own little problems, or busy daydreaming and writing stories in class, when I could have been paying a little closer attention to what was going on around me.
Fall play junior year of high school (Beth in Little Women)
Singing "The Outside" by Taylor Swift~Senior year

I never thought about it much at the time, but just how many events that took place there, truly shaped my life now; giving me opportunities I probably wouldn't have had anywhere else and meeting people who are characters in the story of my life...Some of them being the antagonists and some of them being the heroes, helping me along with my journey. Some I still talk to, some I run into here and there, and others I don't really see much at all anymore. Either way, they were there and I'm thankful for every lesson they taught me.
We almost cried a couple of times, seeing how they had changed the campus here and there, making our way to the old chemistry classroom for one of our favorite teachers. We hung out in her room for quite awhile, watching her teach, talking with her a few minutes, and observing the kids (some even reminding us of past classmates). When we were done in there, we crashed our Junior year Bible teacher's class. We joked about the quiz he was giving and our classes from the past, moving along to talking about his family, etc.
Me and Marissa in yearbook....
Our tradition picture at Hume Lake christian camp! 
Before I sang the National Anthem at one of our basketball games (with my cousin)
Soph. year Prom! 
The lunch bell rang and we stayed in his class a few minutes longer, then decided to check out one more classroom--my freshman year Bible teacher. The first thing we started talking about was American Idol, of course, because he apparently keeps up with facebook (Ha!), then he was asking Marissa about her boyfriend, turning to me to ask what my situation was. I was like, "Nope, I am single..." And he said, "You're holding out for one of those country singers, aren't you?" I nodded and said, "Yup, that's exactly what I'm doing." Maybe that's my confirmation I've been looking for from God...Hmmm...Couldn't hurt to think that! LOL. He was always a big country music fan (a little more with the traditional country, but some of the newer stuff), so we'd talk about that here and there.
I am thankful for the  relationships I had with my teachers, even if I didn't know just how much they meant at the time. And I'm thankful for Facebook that they're still around to talk to every now and then...Makes you feel like some things aren't so far away anymore. I'm also thankful for those teachers and students who haven't forgotten me...Makes me feel like maybe I did leave some sort of impact there, after all. Plus, Liz and I still get to plan the 10 year reunion, since we were the president and vice president of our senior class...So, there's that ;). HAHA!

"Darling, it was good...
Never looking down,
Right there where we stood...
Was holy ground."
(Holy Ground) 

~ Taylor Swift 

After a morning of reminiscing, I had to go home to get money, then met Marissa at The Marketplace to go to Ulta. I got the new Taylor Swift perfume, which smells incredible, and also got two free bags with my purchase! I was pretty excited about that. From there, we went in a couple other stores, not really looking around, but aimlessly walking and getting into some pretty heavy discussions. After walking around with no real direction, we finally ended up at Baja Fresh for lunch, which was great, and we spent another couple hours talking...Because we never seem to run out of things to say. And a lot of it had to do with school. And I just keep thinking....when did we get so old??? Talking about jobs, loans, class schedules, moving, and the like. It can all be a little overwhelming at times.

When we finished eating, talking and getting refills, we headed out to the parking lot, not really sure of what to do next. So, for a good 30 minutes or so, we stood by Marissa's car, talking more about superhero movie marathons and church...Which is always cool, then we both decided to head home. It was so weird that it was the first time we've hung out since I've gotten my license, and she didn't need to drive me home. Walking back to my car was still a shock, but I guess I'll get used to that in time, and I'm liking this whole new independence thing. Just being able to get in the car and go, cruising down the street listening to KUZZ...It's kind of what I've always dreamed of.

I came home, helped my mom clean a bit for family coming over tomorrow night, watched the Kardashians, had dinner with my parents, then went to the store with them to pick up some last minute things for tomorrow. I ended my night with some ice cream and watching Hollywood Game Night! I feel really good. And for the first time in awhile, I believe myself when I say that.

Looking forward to this weekend! It's going to be a GREAT time! :)

That's all for now,

August 21, 2013

"Let it go and come to me. I will give you life."

I was checking my updates this morning when I saw a Facebook friend had posted this. I stared at it a couple minutes, and believe it or not, it actually took me awhile to realize that Jesus had another teddy bear waiting for her behind his back. Which seems to be something I'm struggling with in my own life at the moment.

I think sometimes, people, and myself included in this, get so caught up in the fact that we have to give up that control and let our "most prized possession" (be it a dream, a significant other, a material item or whatever) go that we can't see what God is up to in all of that. Meanwhile, He has the exact same thing planned for us, but even better. This just boggles my mind completely, when I think about all of the things I want and dream about on a daily basis for my future. All of the tears I've cried over something not happening, feeling like another door has been slammed in my face, feeling stuck, like nothing is ever going to change, or that feeling of maybe I'm just not cut out for this, are all for a reason. God isn't doing it to be mean or just to be the guy who says, "No." He's doing it because He can see the bigger picture involved. He sees the road blocks and the things that can hurt us, when all we see is that pretty little picture in our minds...And that can destroy us pretty quickly.

I was reading my Bible and doing my devotion on my back porch the other day; my devotion was talking about how God wants us to be free from all of the things that hold us back, whether we're spiritually dead, emotionally exhausted, or just things of our past keep haunting us. I don't know about you, but I make myself feel exhausted wondering about all the 'what if's' that life can throw us. I'm a planner and an analyzer, so I tend to play out every possible scenario or think about the same one until I'm blue in the face. And guess what? It doesn't change anything, unless you actually act on it. I've been bringing more pain and misery on myself than I know what to do with and for no good reason at all.

I felt like God was saying to me, "Let it go and come to me. I will give you life." He wants to restore all of the areas where we feel tired and weary, or emotionally and physically drained. Life isn't meant to be exhausting and we aren't supposed to be figuring life out. That's why Jesus came to this Earth in the first place, to help us with our problems, for us to cast our burdens on Him, and for Him to walk us through this crazy little thing called life. I'm in the season of learning that I don't have to try so hard or strive to do this or that. I simply just have to BE. I have to take a step back from what I want and let God step in. He'll point me in the right directions when the times come. But, until then, I just have to do and act on what I think is best...If it's not, then He'll redirect my steps and make sure that I get back on track. I can have peace knowing that. A mistake is never truly a mistake or something that can't be fixed or turned into something beautiful. God is always at work.

I'm scared of what the future holds...Whether I'll end up in Nashville or not, how I'm going to manage my school load for just this semester, keeping in touch with friends, and what steps I need to take to get the job I've always wanted. But, when I think about how God already has it planned out and knows the desires of my heart. It puts me at ease, remembering that I don't always have to think 5, 000 steps ahead of myself at all times. Because God will help me out step by step. He won't let me fall on my face, and especially without a reason. Just remember that, if you're going through a hard time and don't know what to do. Don't try so hard. Lay it at Abba's feet and let Him carry the burden around for you. He wants to help.

That's all for now,
Shelby :)

30 Day Challenge (Day 2 &3)

Describe 3 Legitimate Fears you have and explain how they became fears (Day Two):

* I'm afraid of being average. I'm afraid of not being remembered; that I'll meet people and won't have impacted their lives in any way or made a difference. I'm not exactly sure when this feeling started, it's just always been there in the back of my mind. I know that I'm on this earth for a greater plan than I can even imagine or wrap my mind around completely right now, but there are still some doubts that creep in every once in awhile that scare me out of thinking that I'll actually get to leave my mark on this world. When people don't remember that we've met, it's almost like a knife to the chest...I know that sounds dramatic, but it's one of my biggest insecurities. So, I'm trying to step out and do a little more to put myself on the map to keep my memory, and all that God has called me to do, alive!

*I'm afraid of meeting that one special person, only to have him ripped away when least expected. The first time I really remember feeling like this was even a possibility was when my pastors' niece had just gotten married and about a week later, he was killed in an accident. I couldn't understand how you can go from dreaming about the rest of your life with a significant other to planning a funeral...And how that can all be part of "the plan." I guess, maybe it's just something I wonder about in the back of my mind...Not that I'm necessarily paranoid about or anything, it's just one those things. Maybe I worry about it for other people too, especially with Cory Monteith and Lea Michele, not even having that chance to see what might have been. Those just break my heart.

*I guess this last one is what all of these fears boil down to...and that's being alone. I don't mean just feeling lonely, because I've been there before... Believing lies that are trying to make me think that no one cares or I don't have many friends, and that's just not true. I'm talking about ending up alone...No husband, no kids, friends moving away, the inevitable death of loved ones, etc. basically just really being alone. I've seen it happen to so many older people who are in retirement homes, and my heart just breaks for them. And I just wonder if that could be me someday. 

Describe your relationship with your parents (Day Three):

My parents are two of my best friends. I'm an only child, so I've always been extremely close with my them and have been able to talk with them when it comes to just about anything, and we figure something out together. We have our moments and we argue...But, I know at the end of the day they've got my back and I have theirs. In fact, most of the time, they're the ones I do most stuff with just because they're always ready for an adventure, whether it's trying to meet a celebrity, going to a concert, a random trip, playing a game, or whatever the case may be. They've both taught me different things and have given me different perspectives on life because of who each of them are. I don't know what I would do without them, because I definitely wouldn't be the person I am today without their guidance and support over the years. 

Re-eee-ed, Re-eee-ed Tour 2013

Yesterday feels like a very strange dream; complete with a little drama, theatricality, good music, the city of Angels, and Taylor Swift. Let me explain how it all went down!

I woke up around 7:30, got ready, talked with my dad for a few minutes, and my mom and I were ready to go by 8:30, which is when we had originally planned to leave. Well, there is a bit of construction going on around our neighborhood, so it took us a little longer to get to the freeway. Then, I was reminded that I forgot something, so we had to turn around and go back. I was not in a good mood...But, I tried to perk up a little. Finally, we were back on the road, so I set the tunes to Taylor, of course, since that's who we were on our way to see. I always like to get pumped up to the artist we're going to see. It just helps me feel festive, that's all.

Shirt//Forever 21, Shorts//Forever 21, Shoes//Target
We made it down to LA in really good timing! The traffic wasn't bad at all, so we ended up in town around 10:30, so that gave us plenty of time. I was trying to think of somewhere different to eat, but just decided with Paty's, since it was close and I know they have good food. I had a chicken wrap that was good, but I was too excited to eat really, so I just sort of ended up picking around and eating the chicken! Too much avocado isn't always a good thing! LOL. We finished lunch and would've had time to do some other things, but not knowing how the system at Taylor's concert worked for the pit, we wanted to make sure we got over there to check it all out.

My mom and I drove into downtown, parked the car, then walked to Staples Center to see if we could pick up our tickets at will call. Well, because the confirmation e-mail never said what time you could do that, we assumed you could just do it whenever. As it turns out, we couldn't pick them up until 4:30, so we had a ton of time to kill and absolutely nothing to do. There's not much else to do around L.A Live, unless you're there for a concert or to eat...So, that sort of narrowed it down. And we had just been to the Grammy museum again a couple months ago. We mainly just wandered around, then I suggested going to FIDM (Fashion Institute). They have a really awesome student scholarship store that has a lot of discounted clothes and jewelry that some of the students have either made or used for projects! I found a lot of great items last time, and thought it'd be something to do! I didn't buy anything, because I wanted to save what money I had for Taylor...that girl always knows how to find a way to empty my wallet!
On the FIDM campus, they usually have an exhibit of costumes from motion pictures that were nominated for the academy awards and it's free (you can donate if you want to on the way out), so my mom and I wondered if they had switched it out with something else. Indeed they had, so we gave that a little looksie... it had costumes from several hit shows like, Nashville, Downton Abbey, Two Broke Girls, Parks and Recreation, Girls, Scandal, and several others that I hadn't really heard of. It's amazing to see how tall or small the actors are who wear them, compared to the idea you have while you watch them on the small screen. There was also a room full of one of the largest collections of 1920s outfits inspired by "Gatsby's women", which was fascinating. So many incredible flapper dresses; the beading and detailing were mesmerizing. I would love to time travel back to that era.
After that, we had killed an hour, with several more to go and no idea what to do next. It was a little warm and I was not in the happiest of moods, which unfortunately seems to be the theme lately, and something I bring on myself. I stress myself out over absolutely nothing most of the time or worry myself to death about the future, causing everyone around me to be miserable. My mom and I had a bit of a...moment...and had to talk some things out.
The fashion around downtown LA as we walked around is definitely something else...Everyone has their own flavor, which is exciting! After that, we walked back to the Staples/Nokia area. I was able to pick up some goodies from the merch table, then we wandered a little more. We were both getting pretty tired of "wandering", so we took a bit of a break, grabbed something to drink and ended up sitting behind Staples near the buses, because we had absolutely nothing else to do, as people gave us strange looks, like what are you waiting around for? No, we weren't even waiting or expecting Taylor to come out, so there was absolutely nothing going on. The sun moved its way over to us, so we decided to walk back to the car and came back to sit by the box office, so we were ready to go when pit was released.
While we were waiting, a younger girl came over to us and handed out cards, explaining she's a singer/songwriter, that if you like Taylor, you'd love her music too. I thought it was such a bold move, which I admired. She asked to take a picture with me for her fan site, and explained that she has a headlining show coming up at The House of Blues on sunset soon, which is a pretty big deal around here! She was really sweet, so I looked her up on Twitter and Instagram; definitely going to check out her music! Ellysa Rose was her name, in case any of you are interested :)

Eventually, 4:30 rolled around and we got in line for the passes. We started talking to a couple moms with daughters about Taylor...What else, right?! And I actually met the sister of a girl who had contacted me on Twitter...Small world! I was explaining how I'd been able to meet Taylor a few times and the story rang a bell with her! HA! Totally random! After we picked up our tickets, we went to the door and waited for an hour, talking with a mom and her 12 year old daughter. We were telling them about some of our trips to Nashville, as well as winning T-Party and pit. They told us all about their "Taylor Trip" to Nashville, hitting all of the places she goes...Needless to say, we got along real well. They were so sweet, and we thought we would be in the pit together...But, we ended up being on opposite sides, realizing we were in the wrong line. We should have been in the front row of the pit, but the guy wouldn't let us go down the same way, even though it didn't matter, so we had to go around to find another entrance that would allow us floor access. Such a crazy thing! We finally ended up in line, pretty far back, but we still made it against the other side, touching the stage, which was all I cared about.  I thought, "She'll use all of the stage at some point, so we'll be fine here." The waiting took forever, because we still had an hour to go before the show even started...But, it wasn't too bad. I think it's great that Taylor always makes every show of hers feel like an experience. Complete with booths, picture taking and lots of videos and music to keep you occupied.

At last, the lights went out and stage lights went up for Casey James! He's really talented, can jam on the guitar, and is a great songwriter. I enjoyed his set, which was only about four songs, and he seemed to have the crowd going..I just think he seems to be better with playing small bars/venues for the style he does, but you just never know. Ed Sheeran was up next and I was really excited to see him live, because everyone has said he's great! I've only listened to a little bit of his music on Spotify, but fell in love with "Lego House," so I was glad that was his last single and also that he played it live. What I loved most about him is that he's so hilarious and witty, and I just think he should make YouTube videos of all of his adventures around the world (if he doesn't already?) because he's so endearing. I can see why him and Taylor get along so well. Not all of his music is my style, but I think he's an incredible artist and knows how to draw an audience in. Can't wait to see what he does after the Red tour!
There was a bit of an intermission, and we had started talking to the security guard standing next to us. He said he would tell them he had two people for Club Red if they were looking for people..I didn't actually think he had any pull, but it was a nice gesture. And finally, "American Woman" started playing over the loud speaker... I knew exactly what that meant. Taylor was heading to the stage.
The lights went out for the last time, and the screams went to another level. I had my hand on the stage,  looking out to the sea of people all screaming for Taylor, waving their glow sticks and signs in the air just hoping that she'd even glimpse their way. It's the most unreal thing I've ever experienced. I can see how she says something like that never gets old. As a little girl, that was all I'd ever dreamed of...Standing on a stage, hearing people shout and sing along with me. Some dreams change, and I realize that might not be where I end up, but living it out from the pit of a Taylor Swift concert is pretty darn close. She represents girls everywhere who dream of that someday or just want to have that little fantasy of it happening to them.

A shadow of Taylor appeared behind the large red curtain, as the band began to play "State of Grace," and the roar of the crowd erupted. I always tell myself I won't cry...and then I do. And I did last night. Several times. I'm just SO SO proud of her. To have literally been there from the beginning, watching her grow into this worldwide phenomenon is just mind boggling. I mean, we all knew she was capable of it She walked down the grand staircase, strutting down the catwalk, and pretty soon, she was off and running. Towards the end of the song, she even gave away the hat she was wearing, placing it on the girl's head, and I just about freaked out! I can't even imagine being that girl. 
Taylor popped out a few more catchy, upbeat songs, like "Holy Ground" and "Red." She even thanked everyone in the audience for being the reason that she broke records as having the most sellouts for a solo artist, beating out Madonna, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears, with 11 shows. CRAZY! She went into several more songs, and most of the time, I was just thinking how insane it was to have watched her at 17 years old, opening for Brad Paisley, and the only thing she had to sell to a crowd was the blue backdrop with her name on it, her guitar and her songs. Now, she has her own trucks with her face painted on every one of them carrying all kinds of equipment, an entire production team with big screens and graphics, dancers, backup singers, and all kinds of surprises up her sleeve. Just when I think she can't get any better, she does. 
The concert was going incredible! She had just finished up the set at the back of the auditorium and made her way to the main stage for "22"--SO FUN! Everyone was rocking out. And then came another moment I had been waiting for all night...she started talking about the surprise guest, which was Tegan and Sara. I know some people were freaking out about that, I'm just not that familiar with their music, so it wasn't a big deal to me. About that time, my mom leaned over to me and just said, "I don't feel good." I kept asking her if we needed to leave, because I didn't want her to start feeling worse before we left, and she said no. She went rummaging through her purse and said, "I can't find my...I can't find my..." I kept asking her what, because I was going to find it for her if she didn't feel like looking for it. She put her purse down and lay her head down on the stage, I was trying to comfort her as best as I could, but I didn't know what to do. The next thing I know she's falling down on the ground. I didn't know what was happening. Probably the scariest moment ever, not knowing what to do, with a million different thoughts running through my head. I mean, we're in the pit in the middle of a Taylor Swift concert...what do you do?? The security guard next to us stepped in and we tried to get her up, but she couldn't. So, she tried to stay there for a few seconds, until another security came up and said, "We need to get her out of here." Uh, yeah, no kidding! That's what we're trying to do, but she doesn't have the strength yet. So, after one of the nice bystanders helped out and others just stared awkwardly not knowing what was going on and turning their direction back to the concert, we were escorted by several security members up the stairs. I glanced at the stage one last time as we walked out of the pit, and could've sworn Amos was making eye contact, probably wondering what was going on...And then we were out. 
We went up to the lobby area to sit down for a little while, while first aid came to make sure my mom was okay. They asked us several questions, also telling us it wasn't the first passing out stint they've had at a Taylor show, just the first of the night. They got her some water and continued asking for information and what actually happened in there, if she had passed out or fell. She didn't really remember that much at the moment, but I clarified that she went down. It turns out it was just dehydration, we hadn't really drank much or eaten since 10:30 or 11 a.m, and we had been in the sun just about all day...Which is something we aren't totally used to, so that means drinking a lot of water and resting up now to make up for it.
She kept joking with the guy that we should get Club Red...But, of course, that didn't happen! Haha! Trust me, that was not an intentional plan. After mom started feeling a little better and was just trying to take it easy, she said I could go back in to watch the last few songs. All Too Well had already started up when I was out in the lobby, but I was able to make it back inside for the last half. The security guard talked to one of the ushers and she said it was okay if I just stood at the top. To be honest, I actually liked that view much better. It was easier to see all of the dancers and detail on the stage, instead of glancing every which way to keep up from the pit, but was still a lot of fun down there...There's a different energy that you just can't get anywhere else in the venue.  
Taylor closed out the show with "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" with confetti flying through the air. It was pretty magical, I must say. I left a few seconds early to beat the rush and met up with my mom. Luckily, we got out of there pretty quickly and made it out before the crowd hit and our parking lot was just across the street when we took the back exit. We hurried to the car and headed to the freeway. What a night, is all I can say. 

Definitely Taylor's best concert so far, I think. As special as each tour has been for me, I feel like this one was just really fun and heartfelt. She seemed the most natural again, while still making it feel like you're at a real live stage show, complete with costume changes and all. My favorite part of the entire show was "The Lucky One." Taylor always goes into so much detail with everything that she does; making videos, her monologues, her hidden messages in songs. Whatever she does, she makes sure that it is well thought out and planned, and that definitely shows! I will ALWAYS be a fan of hers...I don't care what genre she is. She makes fantastic music and puts on one heck of a show, to think otherwise...You obviously haven't seen her live.

We got out of LA with no problem and made it to Valencia, grabbing In-N-Out, then hitting the road again that would lead us home. We were even starting to chuckle at mom's little tumble LOL...I told her, "We are never ever ever going to another concert together." I was obviously just kidding, but thought it was fitting with the Taylor Swift theme, and then we laughed a little more at all of the stupid things that we'd say or come up with on the way home. We made it home around 12:30, and talked to my dad for a few minutes about the night and the concert, then hit the hay. Going to concerts is quite the exhausting process...Some people don't even understand! HA! 

That's all for now,

Oh, and stay tuned for a vlog of pictures and video of the night's festivities! :)

Meeting Chris Colfer

For some reason, I never took the time to blog about the Chris Colfer book signing a couple weekends ago, so I thought now seemed like as good a time as any.

A couple Saturday's ago, my friend, Viviyan and I went down to LA with my parents. They were going to a Dodger game and we wanted to meet Chris Colfer (Kurt from Glee), because that is one of our current obsessions. After rocking out to the Glee soundtracks in the car, we made it to The Grove around 9:30, making sure we were there early enough to pick up our wristbands, so we'd know for sure whether we got to meet him or not. We got to Barnes and Noble, and there were already quite a few people in line, so we quickly ducked in with them. By the time we got to the counter, the letter on our wristband was "H". This is the earliest I've ever gotten there for a signing, and I've never been that far back in a group before. Just goes to show what an intense group the "gleeks" are, which is great, especially after everything with Cory. It's so important that the fans stay strong for the cast and help them get through this.

After we got our books, we all walked around for about an hour or so, checking out the Farmer's Market, Gap, and Anthropologie. After awhile, my parents decided they were going to go to the game, while Viv and I stayed, deciding to have lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. It was an incredible day out, so we sat on the patio, just talking, eating and people watching from the top. The weather hasn't been THAT perfect down there in awhile, so I was soaking it all up.
When we finished, we walked around for a few minutes, then decided to get in line by American Girl where they had asked our group and a few others to. The time seemed to pass off rather quickly since we had plenty to talk about with Glee and the Teen Choice awards coming up the next day.
Pretty soon, we were being led across the way, back to Barnes and Noble and up the escalators to get into another line. And then we made it to the official line. We were getting REALLY excited, because it was finally hitting that we were going to meet him, all the while, still trying to think of something to ask or talk to him about.

They would only let you take pictures of him from the line, no posed pictures with him, which was a bummer. But, it did help the line move faster so everyone would be able to meet him. People kept moving through, and finally I was handing off my book so they could pass it along to him. I walked up to the table a couple seconds later, and wanted to pinch myself to make sure it was all real. He was just as adorable, if not more so, in person. So, here's how our conversation went:

Me: Hi!
Chris: Hi!
Me: You are such an inspiration!
Chris: (Was signing the book) Oh! Thank you!
He hands me the book and I realize my time is basically over, so I better bring up what I was wanting to ask.
Me: Oh! Have you ever thought about making these books into movies?
Chris: You know, I actually have...
Me: Oh cool! (nodding)
C: I'm just waiting awhile for them to actually become a 'thing'
Me: Oh right, like the next Twilight franchise
C: Well, maybe not that big. But, where I'm able to attend meetings and have creative control to do what I want and all that
Me: Oh, that's true! Well, thank you!
C: Yeah, thanks for coming!

They cut my wristband off, and I slid behind the ropes where you could take a few pictures of him, when Viviyan joined me shortly after. We both snapped a couple pics of us with him in the background, then they encouraged us to leave to give others a chance to do the same. We were both dying of thirst when we finished, so we went to the Farmer's Market to get something to drink. We found a stand that had Arizona iced tea, then found a shady spot to sit down for awhile, where we made this video! Then, since we were sitting near the trolley, we thought we'd take a ride on that to pass the time, which is truly people watching at its finest. When we made it to the other side, we just kept hopping around to different spots, finding the right one to just sit, do a little more people watching and wait for my parents to get done with the Dodger game.
My parents picked us up close to 5, and we headed into Valencia to eat dinner at Buca Di Beppo, which was delicious. I wasn't even that hungry and ended up eating way too much, because it was all so good.
The ride home was pretty quiet; listening to music, reading through our tweets, and me, gazing out the window to the gorgeous sunset as we drove. It was a really great day and an experience I will never forget.

Video of our adventures from the day!

That's all for now,

My Beauty Routine

 1. CoverGirl (cgsmoothers) BB Cream//805 fair to light

2. CoverGirl trublend 

3. CoverGirl clean powder compact// 210 classic ivory

4. CoverGirl blush compact// 590 soft mink

5. Maybelline New York Unstoppable eyeliner// Onyx

6. Maybelline Great Lash// Lots of Lashes

7. sponge/Mac Foundation brush/ Bare Essentials powder brush

8. Urban Decay eyeshadow palette// Naked 2 

9. Victoria's Secret Shiny lip gloss//Kiss flavored
Maybelline lip stick//895 On Fire Red

All very basic and affordable makeup that I use. I have switched around to different brands and products over the years, but I tend to stick with Covergirl for my basic products like foundation and powder, because it's cheaper and has a lot of coverage. I highly recommend giving them a try if you're looking for something new or have never tried them before. You'd be surprised at a lot of the drugstore finds and just how well they work.
The only thing I've splurged for on makeup in awhile is the Naked 2 palette, but definitely worth it. I hardly ever wear eyeshadow, but wanted to start experimenting with it, and I LOVE mine now; wearing it daily. Let me tell you, they will last you forever...Fun to mix, match and play around with too. 

That's all for now,

August 19, 2013

Music Monday

Now Playing:

I really liked Luke Bryan when he first came out, and not that many people really knew who he was! My family and I saw him at The Opry and it seemed like he kept showing up everywhere we went in Nashville... I even "met" him a few times during CMA Fest week a couple years in a row. But, after awhile, to me, it just seemed like all of his music sounded the same and was typically about all the drinking/partying, so I was just over that. And I think the fact that all of a sudden everyone seemed to go on about him like he was the greatest thing ever started to annoy me. 
Well, lately, I've sort of gotten into him again! He has catchy lyrics, even if they are a tad cliche...they're the perfect tracks for summer; great to turn up and just drive around town to! I don't have the money to pick up his albums right now, but I started listening to them on Spotify, and I'm liking them a lot. I especially love how many slow songs he includes.

Favorite Tracks (Tailgates & Tanlines):
Been there, Done That
I Know You're Gonna Be There
Faded Away
I Knew You That Way

Favorite Tracks (Crash My Party):
We Run This Town
I See You
Goodbye Girl
Play It Again
Shut It Down
Dirt Road Diary

But, that's my latest music crush/obsession! 

That's all for now,

Who's one artist you can't stop listening to right now? Favorite songs of the moment?
Share them with me in the comments below or on Twitter (@ShelbyN92) :) I'd love to hear from you!

30 Things Challenge

I found this challenge on another blog I read, and decided I would give it a try! So, here goes nothin'. 

Day one:
List 20 Random Facts about yourself.
All of a sudden, this seems more daunting than I thought it would be....

  • (1) When I'm bored, I like to go through Twitter and see who people follow..."Just a creepin'.."
  • (2) I've never held a baby and I've never had a sip of alcohol or had a cigarette in my life...People find the baby and alcohol thing weird. 
  • (3) I plan to move to Nashville someday to put my journalism degree to use for something like GAC or Nashville Lifestyle magazine. 
  • (4) I want to marry a country boy (Chris Young, I'm available...*cough, cough*)
  • (5) Making lists is one of my favorite things to do, and also making collages of anything and everything.
  • (6) Coffee and sweet tea are my saving graces.
  • (7) My Grand Ole Opry Takamine guitar's name is Daisy
  • (8) I have an obsession with washi tape right now.
  • (9) I dream of the day when I'll have my own house with a wraparound porch and rocking chairs, with my border collie, Luke, keeping me company.
  • (10) I have a fascination with diners. I want to take a road trip someday to visit random ones all across America.
  • (11) I've auditioned for American Idol twice online, but never made the cut.
  • (12) One of my biggest dreams is to be in a movie someday, especially for Warner Brothers! They're my favorite!
  • (13) Some of my favorite moments come from my entire family being together; playing games, eating dinner, laughing, the occasional Taylor Swift music video that I make them do and just being our crazy selves. I've always wanted a "Full House."  
  • (14) The number one person I'd love to sit down with and interview someday is Taylor Swift. I just think she's fabulous!
  • (15) If I could be on any show at the moment, it would be Glee.
  • (16) I would love to take an art or cooking class! I think it would be something fun to try.
  • (17) I've wanted to go to Australia since I was 10.
  • (18) I have a thing for taking pictures of stage spotlights and clouds...
  • (19) I document everything--videos, instagram, Twitter, blog, journaling, whatever! I am the girl who takes pictures of her food.
  • (20) I'm a country girl at heart. As much as I love the city, I think I would've fit in much better in the south. 

I guess I'll start with Friday for this "Weekend Review"...It was basically the normal routine of running errands with my mom. We went to the bank, got the car washed, and decided to have lunch at Mexicali (one of our family's favorite restaurants) downtown. After that, we were going to hit a couple antique stores nearby, but the one we really wanted to go in was closed down...Boo :( We went into one, but they were a little pricey, so we weren't there very long. I wasn't ready to go home just yet, so we ended up running to a couple places, so my mom and I could find something to Taylor Swift's concert this week! AH! I didn't have much luck, but my mom did...After that, we headed home. The rest of the afternoon was pretty simple. 

Friday night, I sat out on the porch for a little while, while my mom got dinner ready on the BBQ! It was a perfect evening, and I never go in the backyard hardly, so I decided to change things up a little. The sun was setting and there was a slight breeze in the air, which was much nicer than during the day. All of a sudden, it's like I time traveled to the future...and my mind gets away from me, worrying about things that are not in my control and asking myself, "Have I really lived?" Don't get me wrong, I've been able to do so much, but I feel like most of it has been from the outside looking in. I feel like there's still so much I need to get out there and experience for myself. I guess starting the university in the fall will be a really good thing for me, in more ways than one. I think it'll help push me to get more involved and to meet new people! I think I need that more than anything right now. I am way too comfortable with where life is at, and it's getting old. 
 Then, I went inside and had dinner with my parents, trying to push the latter out of my mind. 

New boards I got from Target to use for inspiration; planning, quotes, some of my favorite people, and whatever else my heart desires!
I woke up really sick (AGAIN), earlier Saturday morning, which wasn't really a surprise. I took some medicine and tried to get back to sleep, but it wasn't working, so I just got on my phone; reading through Twitter and staring at the ceiling. When I heard my mom was up, I went out to the living room and watched music videos on CMT, and my mom made me some hot tea. I thought I was feeling okay, but then the sickness hit again...I was groggy and tired most of the day, but I was itching to go somewhere. I went out to lunch with my parents and we went to Forever 21, so I could find something to wear to the Taylor concert, and I think I found the perfect outfit! 
We went home after that, and I was totally wiped out and annoyed with the mall. I had planned on going somewhere, since I still hadn't been anywhere by myself since I got my license, but I ended up falling asleep on the chair...And watching Noteworthy at The Opry (even though I'd seen them several times before). A little later, my dad suggested going to the movies with some family friends, so we all went to see "Planes," which was ADORABLE! I seriously think that I loved it better than cars. Because of the message, I found myself relating so much to the little cropduster plane; knowing he's made for so much more, but starts to listen to the people around him, telling him that he's just this or that, and should stick to what he knows. 
When the movie was over, we decided to have dinner at Chipotle, and luckily, there was no one there. We sat on the patio; talked and ate, and even saw several bunnies nibbling on grass, that were so cute. It was almost like they kept multiplying while we were out there! HA! After sitting outside for awhile, my dad wanted dessert, so we found ourselves going to one of the local ice cream shops. And even though I kept saying I wouldn't get anything, I got toffee, which is my favorite! 
We weren't there for very long, and talked a little in the parking lot, then headed home...I couldn't believe it was already 11:30! Time flies when you're having fun, I guess :)
Could it possibly have to do with meeting Taylor Swift? Because I will take it ;)


Sunday was a strange day! It seemed like the morning was a bit more rushed than usual, but eventually we made it to church. The message was on anxiety, and I think I needed to hear it now more than ever! I have been way too anxious over everything lately and need to stop letting it all get to me. So, I'll be hanging on to the handout, especially during the school year as a reminder to just let it go and meditate on God's word, instead of focusing on my problems. 
After church, we had lunch at Chuy's, then came home for a little while. That's when I finally decided to take my first little excursion by myself and drove to my friend's school to help out with her classroom for a bit. I was so nervous, yet ready for it. "Life is a Highway," was playing as I pulled onto the street and I couldn't help but let out a little girlish squeal. I couldn't believe I was actually going somewhere completely by myself...That has never, ever happened before. Usually I'm with a relative or a friend, and have to get dropped off. But, it was the coolest thing in the world to be completely by myself and to be the one in control of the steering wheel. AH!
 I helped Mandy out in her classroom a little, but there weren't many things to do (since school started today), so I just helped her making a list of last minute things she'd need to do this week and we talked the rest of the time. She's several years older than me, so she has always been able to help me through the big transitions in my life; going to college, driving, etc, because she's been there before. It's nice to have someone closer in age to get advice from. She's like an older sister to me! 
A couple hours later, we headed out and I went home. This time, it felt more natural to be by myself, but it's still going to take some time getting used to. And then I heard, "Highway Don't Care" come on...which was a little more unsettling than my perfect moment earlier in the day. So, I just kept singing along and paying closer attention to the road, because I did not want to end up like the girl in the video, if you know what I mean. A few minutes later, Jason Aldean came on with, "Crazy Town," and it just had me thinking about how I'm one step closer to living out my dream. It'll still be awhile, but you have to start somewhere, right? And I'm FINALLY making some actual progress. Right now, I just feel really high on life!! :D.
Let me tell you, there's nothing like being behind the wheel, listening to country music and thinking about life as you drive. It's probably one of my new favorite things. 

I got home, talked to my family a little on Skype (for our weekly call), then watched Parenthood on Netflix, because I need to catch up before the end of next month. We went out to dinner awhile later, and because it was still daylight out, I suggested just riding around, because we tend to do that a lot around here. There's not much to do other than shopping or a movie, so we drove...In my heart, I know I won't be in this city forever, so riding around to all of the beautiful spots reminds me to soak it up while I can. These are the moments I want to remember, and realize how special they are while I'm living them. I don't want to wake up one day to realize I missed out on something really great. We drove to my dad's old neighborhood, and I love hearing his stories about growing up or some of his friends, or the ones that include my grandma, because it meant she was still around. 
We came home, and I decided to walk out on the back porch. I can't get enough of these summer nights. The moon had this really incredible glow that seemed to light up our backyard. I was in awe of the stars and everything that God has created. It reminds me of how small I am, and how big God is. All of that simply meaning, there's nothing He can't handle. My dad joined me a few minutes later and we talked about some of the exciting things coming up in the next couple weeks, which led to life. And in just a matter of minutes, I sure can freak myself out about everything. But, it was good to hear his perspective on things. Gotta love our Wonder Years moments! HA!

I had a mini breakdown, because I think it's healthy to just let it out once in awhile, then went inside to watch Jeopardy. So, I'm basically 80 years old ;) Yay me! 

And that was my weekend! Time to start gearing up for the Taylor Swift concert tomorrow! AHHHH!

That's all for now,
Shelby :)