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Just keep running…

For anyone who loves running – Columbus, Ohio is the perfect city for you!

Last weekend, I ran alongside 18,000 other individuals for the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon. I participated in the 1/2 marathon, and have never seen such inspiration. Each mile marker had a “Patient Champion“, and many of the patient heroes were cheering on the runners. Let me tell you, it was a huge burst of speed when I was starting to get tired at mile 9 and I saw their beautiful, smiling faces! Caution: checking out the video and reading about the heroes may cause tears and feelings of pride knowing that Nationwide Children’s impacts so many families!

Here is the “Race Recap” video!

This was my second 1/2 marathon – and while my feet and my body are finally feeling completely normal one week later, I have already signed up for another half-marathon next spring. Numerous people in the program ran, and my Facebook feed was full of great photos this morning. Those who ran the full marathon even ran through the Shoe!

Columbus is city that is constantly giving back, in huge ways! The Columbus Marathon sold out this year, and thousands of people came out to show their support. Other races, such as the Capital City 1/2 Marathon and the Arthritis Foundation 5k Jingle Bell Walk/Run are some of my favorites! Where else can you find such a generous city?

Even if marathons and half-marathons aren’t your cup of tea, there are hundreds of 5ks, 15ks and Walk/Runs every year in Ohio and near Columbus – RunOHIO is a great website to find out the perfect race for you! Running is a wonderful way to relieve the stress of classes –  and when you’ve already registered for a race, a great motivator to take a small break and exercise.

 

Happy running!

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please & thank you

Respect.

Not a complicated word – and not a complicated meaning. As children we learn about showing respect to our parents, friends, teachers, neighbors and ourselves. Growing up, my parents drilled it phrases of thank you, please and excuse me into my everyday vocabulary.

It becomes second nature…
when someone hands you an item, you say thank you.
when you want something, you say please.

When you interact with strangers you show them respect – the same you would show a friend.

However, that seems to be a harder task for more people than I realized. I’ve learned so much during my adventure as a Disney CP, and I truly believe this program taught me a lot about myself and working in a field that is strongly focused on customer service.

The best lesson its taught me? How important it is to be kind and respectful to everyone. 

It seems so easy to take out your frustration and anger on someone in the service industry. frustration and annoyance seem to be our first response when our desire are not met quickly and efficiently. Instead of talking to employees respectfully, some costumers address employees rudely.

Quickly doesn’t even seem to be the standard of service anymore – wants/needs/desires are expected to be met instantly.

I can say, without doubt, that my guest relation skills grew during my months at Disney, and I cannot wait to continue to increase my skills as I open the next chapter of my life.

And I will always treat others who are working at a grocery store, boutique, restaurant, coffee shop, theme park and business with common courtesy.

Even when things aren’t perfect…there will always be respect.

2011 blogging in review

My first year of blogging – pretty proud of myself. Now I know how to improve for 2012! Scroll through to see my entire review…

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,700 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Disney magic overcomes cancer

Stay strong Sean.

Three words – one simple message to a brave 10-year old boy battling cancer.

Stay strong Sean, because everyone here at Walt Disney World wants to see you.

Please take a minute and check out this video my fellow Cast Member Andrew made for his younger cousin Sean who is currently receiving cancer treatments. How do you tell a little boy he has the entire Walt Disney World standing beside him during this tough battle? Easy, you show him. Take a look…

It makes me so proud to not only personally know Andrew, but to work for WDW. Every day I go to work at a place that encourages magic and happiness for people of all ages. The characters in this video need no introduction – Mickey and Minnie Mouse, the princesses, Winnie-the-Pooh  and all the other Disney characters are know instantly.

Perfect example of true Disney  magic and why I love this company. The characters and Cast Members you see in the video are real and have one message to share to Sean – STAY STRONG.

This video brought me to tears (not exactly the beautiful, classy tears either because I watched the video for the first time on Andrew’s phone in our break room), but tears because the world isn’t fair. How is okay that a little boy sits in his hospital bed fighting both against the side effects of chemo and for his life? How is it okay that while the world has made tremendous scientific leaps in the past year, the biggest battle this boy will ever face, like so many in today’s world, is in his own body?

It’s not fair.

But at Walt Disney World, it doesn’t matter. There is no room for doubt or sadness, only the belief that everything will be alright, and in the end Sean will be able to come back and say hello to all the princesses and Mickey himself. That right there is real magic.

Cast Members from the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios to Liberty Square at Magic Kingdom now know Sean’s story. Four people and a piece of paper are making an impact and making sure Sean knows that he is not alone in this struggle.

When I see some guests come into the Disney parks and smirk at the mention of magic and hope I can only shake my head. Because, in all honesty, what would the world be today without faith, trust and pixie dust? How do you look at the video and not believe you are witnessing real magic? Disney magic is real – and it will help Sean beat his cancer.

I hope that you watch this video and say a prayer for Sean – because he will overcome this obstacle and we will see him at Disney in the future.

Kindness towards soldiers

This past spring break my best friend Kelsey and I traveled down to Miami fora week of sand, tanning and blue ocean. After a long, and in my humble opinion AWFUL, winter of single digit days and trudging through ice to get to class, the only thing we wanted to do was relax. No need for blatantly drunk parties, hand us a couple of cold Coronas and we were living the high life.

After a blissful seven days of paradise, Kelsey and I headed to the airport at 5 a.m. to make our 6:30 a.m. flight. Bleary-eyed and slightly annoyed that I was forced to settle for regular coffee because Starbucks was closed, I waited for the barista to fill the order of the people in front of me.

Ready for the magic?

Two soldiers were at the front of the line, but before they could reach into their pockets for money, the woman behind them stepped to the cashier and told the two American heroes she was paying for their things. She ignored their protests and said, “If you can protect our country, I can buy your coffee.” They other people in line clapped and then everyone went their separate ways.

The end. No drama, no proclamation of red or blue, democrat or republic,  just a simple act of kindness.

This past week I saw the same kindness in my hometown at a local gas station. As I waited in line to pre-pay, the woman in front of me laid a bill down in front of the attendant. She told him it was for the treats of  the three soldiers who were ordering sundaes. She paid for her items, left the bill on the counter, and walked out the door.

So I would like to dedicate this post to that random woman at Miami International Airport and the woman at UDF.  I am so proud to witness these two small events. Thank you both for inspiring me and showing how kindness continues in all methods. I can’t wait for my turn to pass it on.

Also, thank you for all of those who protect our country and guard our freedom. Coffees and ice-cream cannot compare to your actions – but thank you for everything.

Google+ and planning a Disney Vacation

Google+ is putting other social media sites to shame … and it’s here to stay.

With its incredible ways of organizing friends and family, it is the perfect tool for planning a Disney Vacation.

In my family, our annual summer vacations are discussed for months. If we were going to Disney we planned all year.

Who’s going, what are we packing, who are we meeting, what are the time frames, and most importantly, what are the MAIN ACTIVITIES the family wants to enjoy.

And once you have answered these crucial questions it is up to mom and dad, plus any other couples joining, to plan the days of fun. Not to mention juggling work, getting the kids to school and other aspects of normal life leading up to vacation.

You shouldn’t need a week off from planning your vacation. Google+, even in its infancy, is a fantastic tool for planning Disney vacations.

Circles, the stream and hangouts take the stress out of group Disney vacations. Google already holds so much information on traveling and ways to cross-reference information – planning a vacation on the same site you find the info is an instinct. Read below to find some quick tips on how to combine Google+ features with vacations.

Circles: (Click here to watch a video on Google+ circles if you need further explanation – http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=BeMZP-oyOII)

  • When you start to plan your Disney vacation add everyone in the group to a specific circle. An amazing thing about Google+ circles in you can have one person in several circles. The more specific you circles, the less noise you need to weed through. If you have everyone that will take part in your vacation in one circle information can be shared. Unlike emails, you don’t have to worry about saving information. Unlike Facebook, adding circles and members is quick and easy – with no hassles like accepting group members.

Stream: Now that you have everyone involved in your Disney vacation in a circle you can start sharing ideas.

  • You can share information within a specific circle, so your plans for vacation are not shared with everyone. Like sending out a mass text, posting information to a specific stream about a FastPass or plans for dinner allow everyone in your group to know immediately.
  • Post a link about having breakfast with the princesses or Pooh and see who +1. Like Facebook, +1 is a way of supporting a post. You can also comment or share the post with other members of the circle or on Google+.  You never have to worry that you added everyone to an email or someone lost important information – it’s right there in the stream. Mistyped a date? You can go into your own post and change the information.
  • Google+ also has a chat feature that allows you send out a message anentire circle. This is perfect when you are in the park and ready to meet for lunch, or to snag a spot in line for your favorite character.

Hangouts:

always remember the magic

  • One of my favorite applications on Google+, a hangout is face chatting with people in your circles.  Essentially, it is a group video chat.  At Hollywood Studios and ready to grab a seat for Fantasmic!? Log onto a hangout and tell your group members! This feature is great forgetting things done quickly – and with everyone involved.

don't miss a chance to meet your favorite princess!

Google+ is a great tool for arranging group Disney vacations.

No matter how long you plan, there will always be an autograph you need to get or a ride you have to experience.

Google+ makes planning a dream vacation with friends easier – and allows you to focus on the important parts of Disney – like the magic.

#RaptureShmapture – only jokes fill Twitter feed

With the “Rapture” a no-show this past weekend I’d share my thoughts and feelings about the missing dooms-day. Please, keep your giggles to yourself. I did not believe in the Rapture 100%, but I was concerned enough to watch the news and social media for the majority of the evening.

The world was going to end and I didn’t even graduate. The world was going to end and I was three weeks from graduating with a college degree – to be exact.

Delightful.

Armageddon was mere hours away and I hadn’t lived my life to the fullest! I hadn’t traveled to across the world, I hadn’t completed my bucket-list, I hadn’t technically moved out of my parents’ house.

Where were my loving friends and family while I anxiously waited for 6 p.m. on May 21st? Watching sports while my little sister prepared for prom. My boyfriend and I had driven back to Cincinnati earlier that day to see Erin off to her first prom before stopping at Miami, Oxford for the night.

So no one else cared about the coming Rapture. Actually, correction, they all laughed at my “nervous stomach” and continued on with their evening. My dad and boyfriend talked about the NBA play-offs and my mom put out prom fires (Erin had no clutch that matched her dress). The rest of my family lived their finals hours of their life without a second thought of the end of the world, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I watched the clock slowly move from 5 to 5:30 p.m., and finally my nerves forced my to turn to social media.

Twitter, as always, gave me immediate answers. People were already laughing at Preacher Harold Camping’s predictions and re-tweeting photos. The rapture, unlike other events, barely made a blimp on the Twitter feed.

Then is was 6 p.m….and nothing happened.

And nothing happened at 6:10, or 6:20 or 7 p.m.

Erin went to prom, my family went to dinner and we headed to Miami.

I worried for nothing.

I saw only a few serious posts about the lacking dooms-day but numerous ones laughing of the silliness of even believing such a thing. My embarrassment almost (key word almost) stopped my from talking about my slight concern.

The lesson I learned? Not only should I take the advice of my parents and my 17-year-old sister and simply NOT worry about things, but I learned no matter the situation, Twitter will make light of an event somehow.They only think one can do is live in the moment…and re-tweet funny pictures.

Thanks for reading! So glad the Rapture passed and I am once again excited and focused on my graduation 🙂

J