48 Hours in Texas…

December 11, 2009

Three hours sleep and before I know it, I’ve got a window seat with Southwest Airlines and I’m en route to Dallas, Texas. Extremely excited for what’s to come within the next 48 hours, but at the same time, extremely tired due to previous nights activities. My excitement and nerves prevail over my lack of sleep. I’m bright eyed and on edge when we touch down at Dallas Love Field Airport in Texas.

Bull Crossing at the Stock Yards

With a quick stop over at our hotel (The Sheraton Arlington over by Six Flags Over Texas, which, by the way, was absolutely superb and a gem of a find (3.5 star Arlington – Grand Prairie Hotel choice on Hotwire for $53 plus tax, normally $150 per night)) we headed over to one of my favourite places in all of Texas, the Fort Worth Stock Yards, to get a feel of real Texas. It was a chilly 39 degrees Fahrenheit out; an extreme difference from the Orlando humidity that we left behind hours earlier. The best cure to keep warm was the cure for many of life’s problems… shopping! Oh, and how could I forget, a trip to my most  favourite candy store in the whole entire world!

I started to eat my way through the candy store…

Om nom nom nom...

But apparently this is a punishable offense in Fort Worth…

Life imprisonment for the consumption of too much candy??

I scored myself an early release thanks to some good friends who paid bail. Thank goodness for that. Could you imagine telling the other inmates what I was serving time for?!? Ridiculous! I quickly got over my jail stint and not before too long, it was time to catch up with some mates over dinner at Chilis.

Back to the hotel, some quick Facebook, Twitter, Skype and MSN time, five hours of sleep and beep, beep, beep, beep, off goes the alarm at 5:30am! So sleepy. Eyelids so heavy. Eyelids slowly closing. NO! Stay awake. Eyelids heavy; drooping. AWAKE! Today is the day!!! Nervessss <insert gagging action here>.

We began our seven hour drive down to Corpus Christi just after 7am. It felt like the longest seven hours of my life, mainly because of what was still to come. We talked; we napped; we ate; we joked; we laughed… Actually, we laughed rather hard at this sign on the back of a truck that was in front of us in traffic…

Yeah, that's what he said! Haha.

Yeah, that's what he said! Haha.

We eventually made it to our hotel, the Holiday Inn Express Corpus Christi, which we also scored on Hotwire for an insanely good price. We dumped our stuff in our hotel room then got dropped off at the American Bank Center Arena at around 4pm. Here is where we met with Kelly Clarkson’s security, Brian. He escorted us into the arena and we found ourselves a seat while we watched Kelly Clarkson’s band rehearse during sound check.

Empty arena while the band rehearses for the big show tonight.

Next it was my turn to jump up onstage and sing with Kelly Clarkson’s band. I wanted to vomit on myself. I was so bloody nervous. I felt like I was about to give an oral presentation in class, and God knows how much I hated those parts of my assessment. I was introduced to Kelly’s band members and we started to chat while we got organised. They were all so sweet and make me feel a little more at ease. I can’t sing for the sake of my life which makes me want to puke all over the place even more, but I try my best and sing Kelly’s current single, ‘Already Gone‘.

Those 3.5 minutes felt like an eternity but I am so glad I got to do what I had just done. I jump off stage and run to Nicole who informs me that  she didn’t want to startle me, but Kelly Clarkson had come out and was sitting in the front row watching me while I was up on stage. I was so nervous that I didn’t even look around the arena while I was singing. Once Nicole told me that, I was angry at myself for not noticing Kelly there, but at the same time, I was kind of relieved I didn’t see her. If I had noticed her sitting there, I think I would have froze in fear and then perhaps either a) wet my pants, b) vomit or c) a and b combine. Haha. What a great impression that would have been! I will spare your ears the agony and continue to allow you to live your life with the gift of sound by not posting and video of me singing.

Nicole and I right after I got down from the stage 🙂

We got to sit there and watch a bit more of the sound check before heading out to dinner at Whataburger.

After dinner, we met up with Brian again and he took us out back of the arena to meet the one and only, Miss. Kelly Clarkson!!! Although having met her several times back home in Australia, I still freak out and get nervous. What do I say? I don’t want to come across as a stuttering fool!?!

The doors swing open and out comes Kelly, all cool and down to earth. She’s so cute and tiny up close. She’s also very short, but I already knew this. She sees me standing there and walks over while she begins to tell me that she saw me singing on stage earlier. I apologize for any damage I may have caused to her ears and she starts to laugh at me while giving me a big hug. She asks about my accent and I tell her I’m actually from Australia but I’ve been interning at Disney World. Kelly seems to get really excited by this and thinks it’s the coolest thing ever that I work at Cirque du Soleil. She notices I have a Disney World bag in my hand and asks if it’s for her. I nod my head and remove the Minnie Mouse Christmas stocking from the bag. “Adorable” she says with a smile from ear to ear. I explain that the stocking is stuffed with Disney treats for her and the band and that she should share. I go to put the stocking back into the bag but she grabs at it and digs her hand inside to check out what it’s filled with. The first thing she sees when she looks inside the stocking is a Disney Christmas rice crispy treat.

Kelly: Is that a rice crispy treat?!!?!?!??! (She asks in a way too excited voice. She reminds me of a little kid!)
Me: Yes, Disney style.
Kelly: OH MY GOD! I LOVE rice crispy treats! I’m so eating this all by myself!
Me: Share!
Kelly: Not the rice crispy treats!

It’s photo time. I apologize to Kelly in advance if this will muck up her already styled stage hair, but I’d like to have our photo wearing Disney Santa hats. I usually get silly photos with Kelly but figured I wanted something Christmassy (cause tis’ the season) that would remind me of my time at Disney so I bought along my Minnie Santa hat and I bought Kelly a Mickey Santa hat.

Kelly thinks the hats are too cute and does not seem too bothered about it possibly messing up her hair. She yells out that she has a ‘fat head’ while she struggles to fit the hat over her ears. When she finally gets it on I tell her that her Mickey ears are crooked so she straightens them up and asks me how she looks; “Adorable” I answer back.

Kelly: Are you going to smile real big???
Me: Well, yeah, of course!
Kelly: AWESOME! Me too!

*snap*

We are so damn cute!

We chatted a bit more before her Tour Manager, Tim, gave me the ‘wind it up‘ signal. We said our goodbyes and then had one last hug before I left the meet and greet room to make my way into the arena to find my seat in preparation for the concert.

KC doing what she does best ❤

I could go on and on and on about how amazing the concert was. Kelly was sharp as always, her vocals were spot on and she looked great. She’s has such an amazing energy on stage and it generates through out the audience. She really is a rare talent to find these days and I will continue to be a fan for many more years to come.

For me, this show was like a bitter sweetness. I had just had the most amazing day possible singing on stage with Kelly’s band, watching her band sound check, meeting Kelly Clarkson and scoring free tickets to the concert. If you could not tell, that was the sweeter part of the bitter sweetness. At the same time, it drew an end to the three shows I had the opportunity to see on the ‘All I Ever Wanted’ U.S.A. tour. Bitter. Actually, bitter, with a side of bitter; I will be missing the Australian tour in April of 2010 because I will still be in Florida. Sad. But sweet. I mean, it’s not every day you get to say you work at Disney World!

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Getting Closer…

December 4, 2009

Only two days left until I fly out to Texas

You still don’t know what it’s for, do you? 😉 And you probably think I’m about to tell you, right? How wrong you are 🙂

Looks like I may need to pack my winter clothes, Dallas and Corpus Christi have had some snow these last few days. Brrrrr!

So excited 🙂


Spontaneousness…

November 23, 2009

Just booked a flight to Dallas, TX and a flight home from Corpus Christi, TX for December 6, 7 and 8 with Southwest Airlines…

What for, you ask? You’ll just have to wait and see.

To be continued…


Florida, Georgia, Texas, Oklahoma… Oh My!

September 10, 2009

I’m already back in Orlando, boo-hoo!

What a whirlwind weekend adventure that was! It started at 3:10am on Sunday morning when my shuttle came to collect me from Chatham Square. I’d got home from work at midnight, headed over to a mates place to knock back a few drinks then rushed back to my apartment to finish packing, then off I went to Orlando Airport on no sleep what so ever. Actually, I hadn’t had any sleep since 9am Saturday morning.

Hashbrowns, french toast (was more like deep fried bread) and syrup!

Hashbrowns, french toast (was more like deep fried bread) and syrup!

By the time I got to the airport and checked in I was starving! The only thing I could find that was opened was a Burger King which had a very limited 4:30am menu. Ugh, I was hungry, so indeed, I ate then made my way over to my departure gate.

Needless to say I was absolutely buggered. I fell asleep by my terminal gate in fetal position on the floor with my carry on and my hand bag securely fastened in between my tummy, my knees and my arms. I can only imagine how ridiculous I looked to those around me. I think I managed to score twenty or so minutes of sleep before my flight boarded. As soon as I took my seat I was out so fast because I don’t even remember take off, the flight itself, or landing. I was now stuck within the perimeters of the Atlanta Airport for a few hours… no surprises here, but I fell asleep again at the terminal gate and woke up just as they were making the final boarding call! SHIT! I almost missed my flight!

The flight from Atlanta to Dallas was dead! There were maybe twelve of us on there so we were able to choose what ever seat we wanted. I had the entire exit lane to myself so the arms went up and I made myself comfortable across three seats with a blanket. Within seconds, I was out and before I knew it, I was in Dallas, Texas… earlier than I had expected too… seems they got us in a half hour earlier than what was scheduled. Actually, Delta had us in early on all four flights. I was very impressed with Delta’s courteous flight crew and their friendly service, not to mention their flight prices! I paid $125 US, return (inc. taxes)! Will definitely be flying with them again.

DALLAS :D One day I will live here!

DALLAS 😀 One day I will live here!

Kristi picked me up from Dallas Airport and we headed back to her apartment to change clothes and then head out for some lunch. Soon enough, we were at Jess’ apartment and departing for our roadtrip to Thackerville, Oklahoma. How do I put this nicely… those folks out in Thackerville, or maybe just Oklahoma in general… they are a whole different breed of people. There were some scary ass faces around there! Enough about them, though. We met up with Crys, Nicole and Kelly, did some outlet shopping and then headed to Chilis to meet up with a few other people for dinner.

Dinner was insanely fun. We maybe had one too many beers and the conversation led to not so appropriate dinner talk which led to me laughing until I looked as though I was crying and having to pee every ten minutes due to the amount of beer that was consumed. Fun times indeed! CONCERT TIME!

We got to the Winstar World Casino and saw it appropriate to carry on our beer-guzzling ways before Miss. Kelly Clarkson took the stage.

Kristi, Kelly, Nicole, Jess, Me & Crys right before taking our seats for KC!

Kristi, Kelly, Nicole, Jess, Me & Crys right before taking our seats for KC!

KC raising her mic stand to the audience to let them join in.

KC raising her mic stand to the audience to let them join in.

So needless to say Kelly Clarkson was amazing as always. She told us she had a big surprise for us which made me super excited, only to discover her version of a big surprise was cutting my two favourite songs and adding in a Reba McEntire song. FAIL! Grrrr, damn Kelly’s love for Reba! Ugh. I so wanted to hear Don’t Let Me Stop You. Booooo. Oh well, next time. And by next time I mean in eight weeks when I see her again in Las Vegas and Phoenix and then four weeks later in New Orleans. Yes, I am slightly obsessed. Love her to pieces; she is amazing!

.

Kelly and her sex=on-legs guitarist, Cory!

Kelly and her sex-on-legs guitarist, Cory!

We drove back to Dallas that night and I got some much-needed sleep. I spent most of the next day in Dallas hanging out with Kristi, but before I knew it, it was time to board my flight back to Orlando… back to reality… although I guess you can’t really call the life I’m living here in Orlando a reality… My reality would be when I eventually return home to Australia… but let’s not think about that right now.

Orlando, FL; Atlanta, GA; Dallas, TX and Thackerville, OK… Four states in the span of 48 hours! Insane, I know, but also insanely fun! I love my life here 🙂


Peace out…

September 6, 2009

My shuttle comes to pick me up in two hours to take me to the Orlando Airport so I can get my flight out to Dallas, Texas, so that my mates and I can road trip to Thackerville, Oklahoma to go and see Kelly Clarkson perform at the Winstar World Casino tonight! So freakin’ excited, there is no point in even sleeping! EEEEEEEE!


I’m in Texas, y’all!

October 9, 2008

Yay! I made it back to my *future* home; Dallas, Texas. God, I love it here. There is a special something about Dallas that I just cannot explain. I often get asked why I love it here, but I really do not know how to respond. I think you have to come here to experience it so you can understand the feeling. The way I feel when I am here in Texas is a feeling I do not experience too often. It is so relaxing here. Now, I know I can easily say that because both times that I have been here I have been on vacation without the worry or stress of work and personal commitments, but it really is relaxing none the less. The Southerners are all so sweet and kind; you do not experience this too often in many large US cities. Well, there is that reason, and the fact that the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex is the largest corporate headquarters concentration in the US and the metropolitan area is home to over 10,000 corporate headquarters alone. My goal in life is to move here for work; for work and my love of the city.

I am staying with my dear friend Kristi who lives out in Irving. I love her to bits but only get to see her once a year for a limited time when I travel over to the US which is a tad upsetting. This time round, though, I am spending two weeks with her. I was incredibly excited to see her, even if my flight had been delayed by a couple of hours!

I had been constantly on the move for the last two and a half months so my aim was to use most of my time here to just relax. I was in Dallas back in 2007 so I had already seen the sights. When Kristi picked me up from the airport we made our way straight over to her brothers house warming party.

During my previous trip to Texas I had checked out Dallas/Fort Worth and Austin, but I had never made it over to San Antonio. Kristi’s cousin lives in San Antonio and was having her baby shower, so Kristi and I drove down to stay at her place over the weekend. Her cousins house was amazing. It was outside of town, in a more bush-like area; very peaceful and calming.

Feeding wild deer in San Antonio, Texas

The most incredible thing, for me though, was the fact that they have wild deer just frolicking out in their yards, relaxing under their trees and walking their fawn down the road. This was an amazing sight for me, because, unless you are at the zoo, we do not really see deer back home in Australia. One morning before heading out, Kristi and I stood off the back balcony and fed the deer corn. A few deer gathered to eat, and while driving out, we noticed a huge group of them had stopped to feed. The deer were so cute and gentle looking. I wanted to bring one home!

While in San Antonio we took a boat ride down the River Walk. The San Antonio River Walk is a network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River, one level beneath downtown San Antonio. Lined by bars, shops and restaurants, the River Walk is an important part of the city’s culture and a tourist attraction in its own right. Our tour guide on the boat was quite the joker, often cracking  jokes and receiving many laughs from us passengers. The River Walk was absolutely beautiful. The ride was so relaxing and calming and the weather outside made for the perfect day. Before heading back home, we stopped to check out The Alamo which was featured in the John Wayne 1960’s classic, The Alamo.

The Alamo
Before leaving Australia, Kristi has asked me if I wanted to go and see the musical stage production, The Color Purple, with her. The show was going to be in Dallas while I was staying with Kristi so she purchased us tickets for it. I had a vivid memory of watching the movie once, but could not recall it entirely so I read up on it. It was a fantastic stage production. The cast were amazing and surprisingly, they threw quite a bit of humor into the script. The Color Purple stage show was brilliant!

Another mate of mine that lives out in Dallas, Rachel, took me out to keep me company on the days Kristi had to work. Rachel is a photographer so we spent a lot of our time shooting some pretty amazing things. First off we drove out to Burleson to photograph some wall art which I really enjoyed.

James Dean wall-art, Burleson, Texas
Next up was the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens. The weather was glorious which meant the crisp blue sky would make for a wonderful backdrop. I had so much fun shooting at the gardens. I photographed squirrels (which, by the way, we do not have in Australia and I find them absolutely adorable. I wanted to bring two home to breed!), a humming bird, dragonflies mating, turtles and butterflies. The bright colors and the perfume-like scent from the flowers was beautiful.

Butterfly at Fort Worth Botanical Gardens, Fort Worth, Texas

Before dropping me back at Kristi’s house, Rach made one last stop at the Fort Worth Stockyards. I love it here; absolutely love it. The Stockyards give off that feeling of going back in time. The town looks old; not run-down old, but more so classy, old. We parked the car and headed straight to my favorite candy store which I had remembered from my time here in 2007. The candy at this store is sensational. It has all sorts of old boiled candies; the kinds that are hard to find these days unless you go to a specialty candy store back home. I frolicked through the store like a wide-eyed, excited six year old, thrilled at the concept of purchasing as much candy as I desired; and that is exactly what I did.

Fort Worth Stockyards, Fort Worth, Texas

I absolutely loved my time in Texas, heck, I love any time in Texas! The only thing I did not enjoy was realizing my time here had come to an end because this meant I just had one more weekend left in the USA before it was time to fly home. Where had the last month gone to? Time flies way too fast when you are having fun.

Ah well, at least I did not have to say good bye to Kristi just yet…