Tuesday, August 27, 2013

How Good Girls Housesit

This weekend I was housesitting because my parents were returning Dylan to JMU for his sophomore year.  He's old.  I'm old.  I think I need to start using a night cream and get Botox for my forehead.

Anyway, I was asked to stay home and watch Cody and the house because the weekend coincided with the Jason Aldean concert.  Most people would be like PAAARRRTTTYYYY!  Not me!  I think that when I was going through the personality product line as a baby I was distracted by something pink and sparkly and went over there instead of picking up any bad girl traits.  After spending 100,000 years in a car with my family (that I love but after 16 hours in a car you just...) I was pumped to be alone!  Here's what I did:

-Jammed out like Tom Cruise in Risky Business!  Complete with air guitar :)
-Watched John Hughes' movies on "The Big TV" in my jammies and glasses
-Ate popcorn, chocolate chips, and cinnamon (I highly recommend) while watching John Hughes' movies
-Sang at the top of my lungs (sorry neighbors)
-Danced to my music at deafening volumes
-Danced like Cameron Diaz in Charlie's Angels...awkward and fabulous!
-Drank vanilla almond milk like it was my job
-Used "Funny Walk" as my main way to cruise around my house
-Watched Haunted History (in the daytime because I'm not stupid)
-Went to Jason Aldean and rocked it!
-Made oatmeal without anyone telling me I was using too much honey (is there even such a thing?)
-Got my first day of 18th grade outfit ready
-Shopped for a headband
-Left the light on in the family room (a major no-no in my house)
-Jumped on my bed
-Had uninterrupted Tabata time
-No one interrupted my lifting time

Crazy stuff folks, crazy indeed!


What I Think About During Zumba

So Monday night I had a super fun experience, I went to Zumba for the first time!  One of my oldest friends had gone before and asked if I wanted to accompany her.  I immediately agreed (because I love trying new exercises and workout/fitness options) and then because I'm a GINORMOUS dork I read up on Zumba.  One of the bloggers I follow every day is The Fitnessista.  She's a fitness instructor and all around fun blogger to follow.  Anyway, she teaches Zumba and has really cool Focus On series in which she talks about the pro's/con's, what to wear, what to expect yada yada.  She wrote one on Zumba, so I read it, then I did the ultimate dork move and watched one of her Zumba videos on youtube.  I thought, okay, this is something I can probably do!  It's just like dance right?  WRAAAOONNGGG!  I definitley think that having a dance background helped me not look like a complete fool, but I still looked very awkward!  Here's a list of the thinks I was thinking (Dr. Seuss quote thankyaverymuch) while Zumbaing.

-You're gonna be good at this.  You've danced since you were 2.5!!  You've got this!
-No! NO! NO!  You don't got this!  You have none of this!  AHHHHHH!
-I really like the Zumba teacher's Zumba shirt.
-Maybe I should buy some Zumba clothes?
-Maybe I should see if I like this Zumba thang before I start investing in wardrobe pieces.
-Zumba is a fun word!
-Ok, you look stupid.  Yup this is the dumbest you have ever looked...EVER!
-Oh, ok you got this move.  It's a box step.  Oh crap she added arms!
-I'm not Latin enough for this.
-I wish I would look semi normal doing this.
-Ok, the lower half of me looks like I know what I'm doing, but the upper half of me looks....not stellar.
-You look like a noodle.
-You look stiff.
-Erin, there's a thing called rhythm...get some.
-Oh, okay, you got this...now you have it...in 8 seconds you probably won't.
-Zumba doesn't function on an 8 count
-I like these Colombian (said in Sofia Vergara's accent) songs.
-How come she looks hot doing Zumba and I look redonkulous?
-Ok, now you are flapping your arms.  They look like chicken wings.
-I could really go for some chicken wings.
-I think I deserve them after this.
-I wonder how long I'd have to Zumba to work off chicken wings.
-I'm not having chicken wings tonight.  I'm having salad.
-I have school tomorrow.
-My first day of 18th grade!
-My outfit is super cute for 18th grade!
-Ok, this is scuff ball change, salsa, turn, ball change.
-Oooooooh I lerve this song!
-I wonder what the lyrics mean.  I bet they're Spanish for "You look ridiculous!"
-Zumba is fun!
-You look like that awkward uncle at a wedding.  The one that can't dance but is trying really hard.
-At least everyone can see the effort he is putting in.
-I'm so schweaty!  Ewww, this is gross.
-I NEED Agua!
-Oh ok good, agua break.
-Oh, agua break is over?
-Ok, this is just shakin' my bootaay!  I got this!
-What?  It's over?  No!?  Why?  I liked Zumba!!
-I wanna go back!
-That's it, I'm quitting my gym and coming here because my gym doesn't have ZUMBA!

Yes I amor Zumba!  I want to go back ASAP!  I am going to quit my gym and start at this gym because I want/need/crave more Zumba!


Erinita (I think I needed to spice up my name to go along with Zumba)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

What I Would Tell Freshman Erin

Welp, tomorrow is my first day of my last year of grad school!!  18th grade Baybeeee!!  Woot woot!  FI-NA-LEEE!  I feel like I've been in school since I was, well, 3 months old?  I can't believe I'm going to be a 5th year grad student at TCNJ!  I can say in all honesty that these past years flew by at a bionic speed!  Mach 1 to put it in calibrated terms.  Obviously, this means that I'm reminiscing about my good ol' college days of yesteryear.  I had a blast in college!  I made great lifelong friendships, learned amazing recipes (thank you CG for popcorn and M&Ms...life changed for the BETTER!), learned what the best cheap wines were (Barefoot!  Verdi!) and learned how to make a healthy and delicious meal out of Eick cafeteria food.  (Very hard if you were wondering)  Most importantly I learned a lot of life lessons.  If I could do college over again would I change anything?  Yup, you bet I would!  But, alas, one cannot.  I mean I know that every choice I made ultimately led me to this point in my life and I couldn't be happier so I guess I made the right choices along the way.  Here is a list of things I would have done differently.

1) CHILL THE EFF OUT!  Seriously I need to remind my extreme Type A personality of this motto at least 8 times a day.  At LEAST!  I take everything too seriously.  I was that girl that read every page, took excruciatingly detailed notes (on the upside I learned my own short hand and can write like a BOSS in it) and never missed a class no matter how late I was up.  Why was I up late?  Partying?  Watching movies?  Nope, studying lol.  Dork!  I would definitely learn to chill out.  Life will not end if you don't read every last banal word of 1491, Guns Germs & Steel, & Three Kings.  Life will go on.  And honestly?  Life would be better if I hadn't read those books in their entirety.  Did my profs ever ask me what specifically happened on page 1498987869?  No.  Never.

2) You're Not Too Cool to rewear an outfit.  I went four years and never repeated an outfit.  That is a sickness Erin not something to be proud of.

3) Don't eat the pizza in Eick.  It does not taste good.  Stick with your chicken and broccoli for 2 meals a day.

4) You know you will have a lifelong friend when someone casually tells you about their 'nocs.  This friend also shares your penchant for teenaged pregnancy specials on MTV.  These are good people.

5) Knocking on doors looking for friends is a good way to meet people on your second day of college.  Did you look desperate?  Probably.  Did you care?  Nope!  You'll meet my bff and 3 year roomie because of it.

6) When that random guy at the hair salon says you should date his son...you should date his son.  There are always lessons to be learned and let's face it, even if it didn't go as you wanted it to then, you will have a freaking blast!

7) Classy dates and balls > frat parties.

8) Go to one frat party.  You will NEVER go to one because you think frat guys are scuzzy.  You are correct in your assumption but you probably should have gone to at least one.

9) Learn to integrate your friendships better.  Merging friendships from home with your new college friends is HARD!  Work on it and improve because bad things happen when you don't know how to do this well.

10) FRIENDS is a great conversation starter and you will meet one of your bffs because you said you liked her "Friends mug".

11) Drink the black coffee the night before your African History Exam.  You will need it.

12) Put your personal life before your school work.  This may seem like you're single handedly putting the women's movement back 1,000 years but people>everything.  RELAX!  You will still have a 3.7 GPA after these semesters.  Some things are more important than...brace yourself...reading every word of your Ancient Religion texts.  SHOCKING!

13) Tell off the Frat Boy because he deserves it.  *Note* I'm not saying all frat boys are gross and this is about a specific individual.

14) Date the guys that are "Not your type".  Every relationship is either a blessin' or a lesson.  Every date teaches you something.  Will all your dates leave you reaching for the Double Stuffed Oreos?  HELL NO!  You will learn a lot of really valuable (even academically applicable) facts, lessons, and tidbits from guys you'll date.  Just because a relationship ended doesn't mean you can't dissect the good and use it.  (I should listen to this piece of advice more often)  Sometimes guys that aren't your type are good for you.  They can be like the sorbet dish, a palate refresher, something to get that taste out of your mouth.

15) When someone invites you over to watch a movie and have a Girls' Nite...ALWAYS SAY YES!  This is something you will always do.  You will rarely cancel plans with girlfriends or turned down the opportunity to watch a chick flick, eat junk food, and drink wine (after 21...yes you are that much of a good girl and will wait until you're 21) because before you know it college is over and real life sets in and you have to plan Girls' Nites.  Some of the best bonding you'll ever do will come out of your Girls' Nites.  You will have work in the am but So. Freakin. What?  Be Tired.  Live your life.

16) Race That Nightstand Down The Hall Sophomore Year.  Yes you're going to get in BIG trouble from your overly cautious CA but...c'est la vie.  It's fun and you will get to video tape his reaction.  HAAAALLAAARREEEEUS!

17) Delete Negative People.  You won't miss them.

18) Don't Bite Off More Than You Can Chew.  Senior year spring semester you will work three jobs.  Why?  Because you're an idiot!  You will also try to hold down your school work and try to have some semblance of a social life and guess what?  You will be miserable!  You will have breakdowns every day because you only slept about 4 hours a night and life was crazy.  This is a bad choice.

19) Just Say No.  Yes college is a time to try every option, go after every opportunity presented to you, take every job/internship/challenge presented to you, but SERIOUSLY DON'T!  Part of life is enjoying life and you can't enjoy it on 4 hours of sleep.  Trust me, you will try.

20) Travel.  You will travel a lot in college and you'll love it!  You'll go to NOLA twice, Nashville, DC, NYC, Disney, & Maryland.  You will want to study abroad but certain reasons (your program and...ok you'll admit it...a failed romance) keeps you in NJ all 5 years.  Now you would have sucked up the summer classes, winter sessions, and overloaded semesters for a chance to study abroad.  Also, whenever the option to visit a friend at their school arises-TAKE IT!  All colleges are different and all student bodies are different.  It's a cool change of pace.

21) Really good things are right outside your comfort zone.  You know it's a cliche but it's true.  The great thing about college is that it really is a free for all.  People are there to find themselves (or lose themselves.  It's really your choice) and you'll find that the more people judge you the more they wish they could have your _______________.   You'll make some really good friends and have a blast in a class where you don't know a soul and a group of girls kind of adopts you.  You'll end up working really well together and put together "The Best Project I've Seen Since I Started Teaching Here," according to your professor.  So do it!  Take the risk and be uncomfortable.

22) Don't Quote Romantic Comedies/Use Them As Examples In Your History Class.  When you wear an obscene amount of pink and start quoting The Devil Wears Prada people will judge you and you will lose credibility.

23) Be Friends With The People In Your Major.  Get ALONG!  These are, as Grey's Anatomy would say, Your Persons.  They are the only people on that campus who know what you're going through academically.

24) Bitching Is A Great Way To Make Friends.  The best and most effective way to make friends at college is to bitch about the workload of a class.  You will 99.99% of the time get the response, "I know right?  Like do they even care that we have 3 other classes, and I have 4 jobs, and I am president of 14 clubs, and chair of 22 committees?"  If you get the response of, "No, actually I would like to read not only 1491 but also 1492,"  RUN AWAY FROM THIS PERSON! THEY ARE NOT YOUR KIND...ALSO THEY'RE PROBABLY ZERO FUN.  You don't need that.  Bleck!

25) Everyone Thinks They Are Busier Than You.  Some really are and some are fictitiously making up clubs just to one up you.  Relax and breathe.  Also laugh when this happens because some of the things people make up are freaking fantastic!  Laugh.  Breathe.  Enjoy.

26) Research What There Really Is To Do Around Your School.  TCNJ is great academically but socially there is nothing to do.  You are not a huge fan of sitting around for hours doing nothing but hanging out.  You like to go places and see things and do fun stuff.  TCNJ doesn't really have a town or anything to do.  Well, unless you want to go hang out in Trenton?  #LOLZ

27) When In Doubt, Sit Next To People That Look Like You.  Is this narcissistic?  Absolutely!  However  it is 100% true!  It's actually a psychological defense mechanism.  You are lucky enough to meet some really nice people because of this.

28) Always Risk Getting Your Heartbroken.  Even though it sucks and hurts and you think you're gonna die, you won't!  You will be sad for a long time but you'll never regret going out on that limb and hoping that you don't get crushed.  Will you get crushed?  Multiple times.  Will you try again?  Yup. Has it worked out?  Not yet, but practice makes perfect right?

29) Read Patterns.  ID a pattern in people, life, professors teaching styles, friendships, cafeteria food rotation, relationships, everything.  As a newly minted history major you can attest to the fact that yes, indeed history does repeat itself.  ID patterns in professors' grading tendencies and use this to help write your essays!  You will do well because of this.

30) Watch Popular TV Shows.  This will give you more conversational topics before class and make you seem like a normal human.  Also watch The Office because it will help you make friends with a LOT more people.

31) Making Muddybuddies in a trash bag on a rainy Saturday is a good idea.  It's gross and déclassé but oh so yummy!

32) Put Your Phone Down!  If you want to meet friends in your class maybe you shouldn't be texting people that are not there.  Just a thought!

33) Just Because Someone Is Looking At Your Cake in FYE Cake Decorating Does Not Mean They Want To Copy It!  However you will meet a fabulous friend because you snarled at her.  So thankful first impressions are not everything and aren't always correct!

34) Use Your Student Discount.  You're not cool because you spent full price at Loft.  You are a tool.  Use the discount.

35) Buy Rainboots Prior To College.  Pink Hunters forever!! The best, most used purchase you will have ever made.  (or received for Christmas)

36) Midnight Roadtrips to Sonic Are Necessary!  As long as everyone is capable of driving you should always go!  This girl needs tots at 11:30 pm.

37) You Will Miss WaWa.  WaWa is a luxury and you should treat it as such.  Don't worry, though, fall of 2010 you will find it in Princeton and visit weekly.

38) Budget!  Shopping doesn't heal all wounds.  It makes you broke.  You don't need to own the Loft.

39) Embrace Awkward.  Everyone falls, everyone drops things, everyone spills.  In college people actually laugh with you not at you.  When awkward things happen, bow/curtsey and people will laugh with you not at you.

40) Be Happy!  Happiness is not always guaranteed and it's easy to woe-is-me all day.  Your life is awesome.  You have people that love you, a house, a car, a lot of pink stuff, food, clean water, music, books, TV, and a lot to look forward to.  Suck it up and move on.

41) Skirts & Wind Don't Mix.  I don't think I have to say anymore...

42) Don't grill cucumbers.  They do NOT taste good.

43) Don't die your hair brown.  You don't have the coloring for it.  You will look like the "Performing Arts Piece" in the SATC episode where Carrie meets The Russian.

This became a much longer list than I had originally anticipated but that's okay.  I guess I learned a lot!

Cheers to grad school!!


How Boys Dance At Country Concerts

Today was a fabulous day!!  I got my back to school haircut (I'm blonder now! YAY)  Is it bad that I still get a back to school hair cut?  Maybe, probably, yes?  But I am starting 18th grade on Tuesday so I guess it still counts right?

And on Saturdays we wear blue!

Blue and White was apparently the theme for the concert
After that one of my besties Kate joined me for the continuation of our summer tradition of country concerts!  Tonight was Jason Aldean, Jake Owen, and Thomas Rhett.

Here's my breakdown of the concert:

Thomas Rhett- country newcomer but I really like three of his songs:  Beer With Jesus, It Goes Like This, and Something To Do With My Hands.  Being the first opener is hard, sometimes they are awkward, dance funny, and are uncomfortable.  Thomas Rhett was none of those things.  He did a really really good job!

Thomas Rhett
Jake Owen-Very Good!  I saw him a few years ago and he has definitely improved.  I also heard/saw the lights from his concert on Monday night in Nashville and he was fantastic tonight, too!  My fav jams of his are:  Barefoot Blue Jean Night (obvi), Anywhere With You, & 8 Second Ride.

Jake Owen whipping his hurrr back and forth
Jason Aldean-Good but not the best I've seen.  I thought Jason Aldean was on the fast track to being the new country super star but I think Luke Bryan eclipsed him and I think the public hasn't forgiven Jason for cheating on his wife.  The thing about country fans?  We don't think you're awesome when you mistreat your wife.  We view that as inappropriate and gross.  Good for her that y'all didn't have a prenup.  Why didn't y'all have a prenup?  Oh that's right, she was married to you BEFORE you were a superstar.  My fav Jason songs are:  Big Green Tractor, Why, Night Train.

Jason Aldean rocking out
Besides listening to fabulous live music, jamming and dancing with my girlfriends, and people watching, I noticed a trend that I've been watching develop for a few years.  The trend is Boys Dancing at Country Concerts.  I get it, dancing is hard for boys to do.  Very few can dance like Usher  NSYNC,  and I'm okay with that.  I think this comes from not holding pop concerts in their bedrooms as children.  Good concert dancing skills come from years of singing into your hairbrush and holding your own Britney Spears-esque concerts in your bedroom.  These are a few of the dance trends I have seen creep up over the past few years:

The Point-This is when boys point at a random spot/person/stage/star and just bop.  What are you pointing at??!!  The point can be reminiscent of the Village People's YMCA dance.  You know when they sing "Young man___________".  That is what The Point looks like to the untrained eye.

The Touchdown-Both hands go up in an ESPN ref like manner.  Think Spirit Fingers without the Spirit.

The Palm Tree-Like the Touchdown but it sways side to side (daintily I might add) like a South Florida palm tree.

The Ross Gellar-This is when boys dance with girls they like but they aren't dating yet.  This happens when they respect the girl they're dancing with but still want to come off as cool and are trying to get her to see them as a boyfriend.  Think the Routine.

The Monkey Grab-This is when guys do not like the girl they just want to dance all up on her like a monkey.  It's not good!  It's gross!  It's crass!  It's déclassé!  It's just...STOP!

CROCS-This isn't a dance move I just saw them at the concert and I want to just state that they should not be.

The Flick of the Wrist-Think how you shoot a basketball.  You shoot it and flick your rest to leave it in a goose neck.  This is not a dance.  I also can't think this is good for your joints.

The Open Palm Pat-I think Kanye West started this trend and I want it to stop...like yesterday.  WHAT ARE YOU PATTING?!  They hold their hands up to the sky (open palm facing down) and move the hand about a foot down.  Then they raise it up to it's starting place.  Uhhhhhh, this is not good.

The Weeble-They wobble but they don't fall down.  This move comes courtesy of adult beverages ;)

How should boys dance at these concerts?  I'm glad you asked!  Boys can get away with the easiest of all dance moves.  The hold the drink in the left hand, right hand in the pocket, and bop your head a little bit.  The head bop can turn into The Turtle (a very unfortunate vigorous extension of the head bop) and when you feel the need to Turtle, just take it down a few notches and make sure it's a bop.  This is simple and classic and universally a good look.

I also may or may not have sang Devil Went Down To Georgia perfectly



Love my concert buddy

Friday, August 23, 2013

Nashville Bestville


Why I loved Nashville:

1) live music everywhere you look!
2) Honky Tonks with extremely talented singers
3) BBQ food
4) country music baaallarrring everywhere
5) tall country boys (ladies over 5'6" this place is MECCA!  Musicians+over 6'+good clothes=MECCA)
6) Popsicles from Las Paletas (Nutella for moi)
7) 21st street shops!

Erin's Picks

1) Blue Bird Cafe

The food was ehh but the music was fantastic!  We heard 5 musicians play songs from various genres (comedy, pop, country).  They sat in a circle with their own mikes and sang one song each and took turns.  They sang 4-5 songs each.  AND (90's girl freak out) Leigh Nash the lead singer from Sixpence None the Richer was there!  She sang her own stuff, a George Jones cover of Always Get Lucky With You and...wait for it...KISS ME!  My fav song from 2nd grade when I did a ballet dance to that song!  It was the coolest thing ever!  As a creative girl (dancer for life) I appreciate watching artists create.  It was tres fab!

2) Las Patelas

A popsicle place!  I loved my Nutella popsicle!  There were two different categories of popsicles:  fruity & creamy.  Everyone loved their popsicle.  This was down by Vanderbilt & Belmont.  I actually physically miss the popsicle.  (And my crepe from Nawlins but that's a different story)

3) Union Station Hotel

Totally glam hotel!  We usually stay in the cheapest hotel possible (not my choice) but this time we got to stay in a classy establishment complete with robes (!!) and C.O. Bigelow body products!  (We totally Ross Gellared the place).  This place looked like a Gatsby hotel!  It was totally done in the original Art Deco style that I love!  The hotel was originally a train station and a major train port during WWII.  The hotel is actually haunted and the hotel won't rent out room 711.  Room 711 is next to the gym...needless to say Dylan didn't visit the gym during the night time hours.  This hotel was the love child of Jay Gatsby's house and the Tower of Terror.

Inside our Hotel!  Gorg!

4) Broadway

Walking down this street is the visualization of Jason Aldean's Crazy Town!  Just wow!  I love live music and this is the place to go!

Broadway at Nite
5) Country Music Hall of Fame

I was actually surprised that there weren't more exhibits and artifacts.  There was a fantastic Reba display, a beautiful Carrie Underwood Blown Away Display (all her costumes and pictures from the tour.  I went to a concert on the tour and lerved it!  Carrie is worth every dime to see her)  Then, we got to see Kellie Pickler's DWTS Mirrorball Trophy!  My dad loves this show and was pumped to see it!

6) Ryman Auditorium

Very cool!  All old-school country music history!  Of course there were Dolly things here and I was stoked!

7) Grand Ole Opry

Fabulous!  Dylan (not a huge museum guy) even loved this place!  We got to stand on the same circle where all the singers stand!  It was the coolest thing ever!!  I was like EEEK Carrie Underwood stood here!  Dolly Parton stood here!  Keith Urban stood here!  Terri Clark stood here!  Darius Rucker stood here!  Jason Aldean stood here!  Josh Turner stood here!  Everyone stood here!

Of course since we're NJians we found an outlet mall and did some damage!  You can take us out of NJ but you can't take NJ out of us!

Nashville was amazing!  I totally want to go back.  Piece of advice though, if you have someone in your party that is under 21 you can't go ANYWHERE after 8 pm.



Dylan and me before dinner

Preppy before dinner

Dinner at Prime 108 in our hotel

Family pic by the Nashville Symphony House

Fron of our hotel

I smell a gold record!

I chose to sing

Minnie Pearl & Roy Acuff at the Ryman

Dolly's dress!

More Dolly!

Standing on Dolly's star!

Dolly's star on the Country Music Walk of Fame

Dad and Charlie Daniels' Star

Dylan & Rascal Flatts!

Reba's Fancy dresses!

More Reba fashions


Taylor display at CMHoF

Carrie Underwood Display

Kellie's Mirror Ball Trophy

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Road Trippin'

Howdy Y'all!!  Writing from Tennessee today and I couldn't be more excited!  We arrived in Pigeon Forge last night, err this morning at 12:30 am to spend the day in Dollywood!!

Let me back up before we begin this post about my crazy family's adventure driving down (10.5 hours) from NJ to VA to TN!  Why are we in Tennessee this week?  For my graduation present of course!  My parents, being the fabulous people they are, gave me two options:  A) Graduation Party B) Graduation Vacay.  Because I love to travel I picked the latter option.  Traveling is just good for the soul.  I think anytime you can take yourself out of your comfort zone and experience another culture you should.  So when they told me I could pick where I wanted to go I picked Nashville and Dollywood!  I am totally OBSESSED with all things country music especially my beloved Dolly Parton.  Her Heartstrings tape was one of my first tapes (God I'm old...I had a tape player...) and I read her children's book Coat of Many Colors when I was a little girlie.  I have since read her other books and adored her other cd's as well.  

Well, staying true to our family's nature of, "Why Not?" we opted to drive down to Tennessee instead of flying.  Logistically it made more sense because once we got to Tennessee we would have to rent a car and drive around Pigeon Forge then drive the three hours to Nashville anyway.  

Ride in a car with your family for 10 hours they say.  It will be fun they say.  

Welp, true to form we had an itinerary.  We were supposed to leave at 8:30 am after we dropped off Cody at the boarders.  This put us arriving in VA (at Dylan's school to drop off his golf clubs) at 1:30 pm.  Well, we left NJ at 10:30 am.  We arrived in VA around 4:30.  We dropped off the clubs, ate dinner (at my favorite place...TEXAS ROADHOUSE!) then were on the road again by 7.  We drove from VA to Pigeon Forge and arrived around 12:20 am.  WOW!! LONGEST DAY EVER!  

However, I did learn some things:

1) Packing FRIENDS seasons is a great way to pass the time...until your computer dies and/or your brother falls asleep on you.  

2) When said brother falls asleep on you, use his back as a reading desk and catch up on Glamour and People.

3) Jamming and car dancing to country music always makes the time pass...it still was 10 hours but it felt like only 9.5 hours!

4) Pigeon Forge has some AWESOMELY KITSCHY THINGS TO SEE!!
These things include a movie set size Titanic Museum, A Ripley's Believe it or Not Aquarium, a King Kong (enormous) on the Empire State Building exhibit? (I'm not really sure what it's exact purpose is but it was cool), A Lumberjack Feud themed show, A Christmas Village (EEK!  Sooooo exciting), and about 5 As Seen On TV stores...I don't know why a town needs 5 but I'm glad they have them!)


AHHHHHHHH!! Today I'm so pumped because we went to Dollywood!  I have a slight ginormous love of Dolly Parton.  I just think she's fabulous!  She's blonde (YAY), loves sequins (YAY), country music royalty, and totally sweet!  I adore her books and always have.  She's just a nice person.

Dollywood History 101:

Take out your #2 pencils y'all we're going back to the year 1986.

Dolly Parton opened the theme park Dollywood in 1986.  Previously this park was known as Rebel Railroad and was an amusement park that followed in the Smokey Mountain Theme.  The park had several other owners and names.  Dolly bought the park in 1986 and renamed it Dollywood.  She splashed several butterflies on the place and added just the right amount of glitter/sequin/blonde ambition/and Tennessee Smokey Mountain charm to the place and even cooler?  The park employs 3,000 people!  That is a huge number folks!  Dolly created jobs, opportunities, and a community attraction that is Tennessee's largest ticketed tourist attraction!  Blonde Ambition?  I think so!

Dollywood was FANTASTIC!

In true Dylan fashion, we almost got kicked out of Dollywood while riding on the tramcar.  Right after Robert, our tramcar conductor finished explaining how Dollywood is a nice, safe, family place, Robert gave the parks' hours.  He messed up the hours and another conductor corrected him.  Robert apologized and stated the correct hours.  Dylan, my dear dear brother, says, "DAMMIT ROBERT!"  He didn't say it very loudly but loud enough (and since we rode in the first row on the tramcar the sound reverberated off the plexiglass) that Robert answers him with an, "I heard that.  I'm watching you!"  Of course Robert was kidding, but it was enough to embarrass us!

Upon entry we discovered some very non-NJ happenings.

1) Free Parking!  The usual $10 fee was waved today for some reason...score!

2) Bags are not checked!  This struck us all as a little weird because in NJ your bag can be checked anywhere.  Movie theaters have even been known to check your bags.

I thought it would be kitschy and I was pumped because God knows I love a theme (as does the rest of my famsquad) but the rides and attractions were all actually solid! We rode on America's first "Winged Coaster" the Wild Eagle.  Then, we rode on the Tennessee Tornado, Thunderhead (a wooden roller coaster.  I'm not a huge wooden roller coaster typa girl but it was pretty good.) and a flight ride for my dad. My momma likes the roller coasters and my dad likes the high rides.  We always tease my dad because when we go on the roller coasters he "holds the stuff and sleeps on the bench,".  Yes lady and gents my dad is one of those people.  He holds our stuff like someone is going to steal it.  (Onlychildproblems)

*Side Story*

When we go on vacation my parents completely shift roles!

Deb becomes easy going, spendthrift, and carefree.  My dad becomes a control freak and stressing out over the most mundane and easily fixable stuff.  I don't know why this happens but Vacation Deb & Vacation Dad come out on every trip!

Back to the Main Story.

After we rode the rides we went to the GAC show.  It was a really good 45 minute show featuring Tammy Cochran.  The show's 6 main singers (3 girls and 3 guys) sang abbreviated versions of Blake Shelton's Honey Bee, Miranda Lambert's Over You, Jason Aldean/Luke Bryan/Eric Church's Only Way I Know, Eric Church's Springsteen, Carrie Underwood's Blown Away, Lee Brice Woman Like You, Toby Keith's Made in America, Taylor Swift's We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, and Montgomery Gentry's My Town.

Next we got lunch.  Since I love seeing Philly things all over the world, I got the "Philly Chicken Cheesesteak".  It wasn't a Philly cheesesteak but it was good.  It wasn't made with Amoroso Rolls and the peppers and onions were mashed up with the chicken.  But it was still really good, especially since it was theme park food.  (There also is a HUGE replica of the Liberty Bell in Pigeon Forge!)

Next we shopped, rode the railroad, and ate cupcakes as big as my head.  Seriously, these thins were enormous!

We then went on Dolly's tour bus!  EEK!  So exciting!  We saw where she lived when she was on tour in the early 2000s.  We saw her wig, clothes, vanity, and bunks.

We made an early retire to go to dinner (it started raining.  BOO!  At least we got to see all the things we wanted to before the rain) and guess what we saw at the Blue Moose?  More Philly Cheesesteak references!  I didn't get another cheesesteak but I did get a buffalo chicken sandwich.  Very yum!

Here are our pictures from the day!

Dollywood Ticket!

Dad's "Vacation Hat"

Deb & Dylan

Dollywood ticket and a very excited Erin!

Family Photo

Dylan Playing Basketball

Dylan & Dad with their UT basketball.  (Dyl won it)

GAC Show
Standing in Front of Dolly's Bus
Dolly's Sign!
Dolly's Closet on Her Tour Bus.  She Actually Wore These Clothes
Dolly's Vanity
Dolly's Real Life Wig!
Dolly's Bedroom on Her Bus
Full Shot of Dolly's Vanity
Dolly's Shower
Dolly's Kitchen
Dolly's Dining Room Table
Dollywood Coasters
Dolly & Me Posing Alike!
Dollywood Express!
Blue Moose Philly Cheesesteak Reference!
Dolly Train Car!

Phake Philly Cheesesteak...but it was a solid effort TN