Tag Archives: 24 in 24

Derby Queen

There occurs on the first Saturday every May an event that is so legendary that people travel from all over the world to experience it.

Derby.

Not “The Kentucky Derby” not “The Derby” it requires only one word: Derby.

This year, I was lucky enough–blessed enough–to become part of that tradition.

We awoke early, despite having stayed up late rocking out to Third Eye Blind during the Derby Eve concert. We hailed an Uber–getting to the Churchill Downs from our hotel only cost us around $11. However, the Uber dropped us off at the wrong gate.

For those thinking about going to the Derby, please note: General Admission can only get in at Gate 3. Don’t let your ride drop you off anywhere else.

So we walked around the outside of the Downs until we fell in line and waited to be let in the gates. Now, online they sounded so strict about what was or was not allowed inside.

No alcohol allowed–I saw people carrying entire cases of beer in.

No backpacks–I saw several backpacks, albeit see-through ones. But backpacks nonetheless.

No umbrellas-I never saw a handheld umbrella but I did see a patio umbrella set up.

No bags over 12 inches in any diameter–Let’s just say they weren’t measuring our tote bags.

Of course, we followed all of the rules. We were scared not too. But they aren’t nearly as strict as they made us believe. They didn’t even look into our bags. They just waived us through.

Once inside, we found a great spot right at the second turn and we set up our blankets and chairs. It was so exciting. There were a group of twenty somethings behind us that I ended up befriending throughout the day, a nice old man who was alone in a fold out chair sat to our immediate right and a group of older friends sat to our left. We all became friends by the time the day was over.

Around 9 Bestie and I went to get our obligatory hat photos and grab some mint juleps in commemorative glasses. Julep

It was literally the nastiest drink I’ve ever tasted besides a Manhattan. After a quick Google search I realized it’s because a mint julep is basically just straight bourbon poured over a mint leaf.

I like neither bourbon nor mint.

But I drank it anyway! Then, the rest of the day Bestie and I drank our fill of Michelob Ultra draft and frozen margaritas. In a cruel twist of irony, one of the men who were hanging out in the twenty something group behind us–we’ll just call him DerbyDude–was so generous to ask me to go get a drink with him and then he bought me another mint julep. I put on my happy face and accepted, sipping on it as if I liked it.

In case you’re wondering, it was just as nasty the second time around.

Bestie, Tiger, and I all bet on the races. Tiger bet the Nyquist would show and Bestie and I bet that Nyquist would place. We won $5 and Tiger won $3.80.

I also bet on My Man Sam (for obvious reasons) and for Mohayman because his name was cool. Neither of them placed. I forget the other horse that Tiger bet on, but he didn’t do well either.

It was so much fun. I am having trouble finding the words for how much fun it was. The excitement of 167,000 people all gathering in one place waiting all day was overwhelming. The atmosphere was a mixture of a carnival, an upscale gala, a camping trip, and a college frat party all rolled up into one.

When the time came to watch the actual Derby–the most exciting two minutes in sports-I didn’t even hear the gunshot that signaled the start of the race because everyone was cheering so loudly. Then, during the couple minutes it took for the horses to gallop around the track, it was utter silence. So many people, and it was utter silence. All I could hear was the beating of hooves on hard, packed dirt. And then, an eruption of screams and curses when the horses crossed the finish line.

All in all, if you’re on the fence about going to the Derby-just go. Go to the Derby. You will not regret it. It is a Life List item for a reason. It’s a legendary event for a reason.

I would go back.

Xoxi

Sam

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Derby Days

The Kentucky Derby.

I’m not even sure where I could start to describe the amazing adventure that I just returned from. Bestie and I have been trying to get there for a couple years now. There is no reason for anyone who lives so close to never go to Churchill Downs.

The first time we tried, we didn’t realize how much planning was required. It was sometime in April and Bestie said to me, “Why don’t we go to the Derby this year?” When we checked, all the hotels were booked. We decided to plan ahead.

The next time we tried, we didn’t realize how much money was required. It was November, and I had just received the email from the Downs that tickets were on sale. But the tickets cost hundreds so we postponed again.

Finally, last November I found out that there were tickets for something called the Infield–General Admission. They were cheaper, so Bestie and I decided that we would go for it this time.

We booked the hotel (which cost WAY too much) and bought the tickets-3 of them.

A couple weeks ago we offered the third ticket to a friend of mine–we’ll call him the Tiger–in exchange for him to drive us to and from.

I had asked off Thursday and Friday of Derby week months ago-January, to be exact. And early Thursday morning we began the 6 hour drive from College Town to Louisville, KY.

It was a 6 hour drive in Tiger’s cramped convertible mustang. We made it there around 2 pm and were able to check into the hotel early. We cleaned up and went sightseeing in Louisville.

We had lunch at a local restaurant–a little pricey but their margaritas were to die for. Then we went and walked across the Big Four Bridge. The wind was cutting, but we had fun. We saw the world’s largest baseball bat at the Louisville Slugger museum. Then we had dinner at a sports bar called Champions and their nachos were the best I’ve ever had.

Friday-The Kentucky Oaks

We got up early and hailed an Uber to take us to Churchill Downs. We were among the first to be let into the gates so we easily got a spot close to the fence. We were on the final turn of the track. Bestie and I went off to explore while Tiger watched our stuff. The only downside of traveling as a group of 3-someone is always left alone. But he was cool with it.

Bestie and I explored. We found ourself some Oaks Lilies (the official drink of the Oaks) and downed them. We felt crazy and wild for drinking before 9 am. It didn’t do us any good though-we got brain freeze and a little nauseated. We placed bets. I bet that Land Over Sea would show in the Oaks–and she did! It was a great day. After the Oaks we went to have dinner at TGI Fridays which is located on 4th street.

4th Street in Louisville is a place where they have live music all the time. And on this particular night Budweiser was presenting the Derby Eve concert–headlining none other than Third Eye Blind. Yes, THIRD EYE BLIND.

It was free, and I was elated. The three of us sat out on the patio and I was able to get so close that I high fived the lead singer. It was a magical night. I didn’t know if it could get any better than that.

Then Saturday happened. The Kentucky Derby.

I’m going to stop here, because Saturday deserves an entire post all to itself.

Until next time,

Xoxi

Sam

Restart

With a life so hectic, time escapes me. I wanted to start on the 1st and end this challenge on the 31st. However, because of everything that has been going on, I haven’t been able to do so. The good news about this is that I have been so busy living life that I haven’t had time to blog. The bad news is that I’m failing one of my own personal goals for this year because of it: Try something new everyday for a month. That ‘something new’ was supposed to be blogging.

I’m failing at that.

HOWEVER, I’m hitting the restart button. This is my trial month. This is supposed to be getting me used to trying new things. And at least I’m trying. I haven’t exactly decided what my new thing will be next month. I have some ideas, but nothing set in stone. I have a couple weeks to decide.

But I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I’m still in May. Still in the blog-everyday-month. And I’m not even doing that -_-

But here’s to trying! Here’s to me setting aside some time everyday to do this starting now. I feel like, because I’ve tried blogging before and never made it past the initial “create your account” step, that I’m doing very well so far. I mean, this is like my fourth blog post. Sure, it’s supposed to be my 9th, but at least I have four.

Now, there’s a few things that I need to address today:

  1. Today is Bestie’s birthday! (Bestie is my mom, FYI)
  2. We literally just got home yesterday from our vacation–To the Kentucky Derby!
  3. My 24 in 24 List

 

So, first things first, happy birthday to my Bestie! She is my everything and I have to wish her a happy birthday even though she doesn’t know I’m blogging yet and even though she probably won’t see this. I love you!

 

Next, about that list…(I’ll save the Derby for another day. I just wanted to mention it now because I’m still riding that excitement high)

Every year, on my birthday (April 22) I make a list. The number of items on this list increases one every year. I started this tradition the year I turned 18. It was an epiphany year for me. I was growing up and I felt like, even though I had done so much and was successful by any normal standards, life was flying by and my greatest fear became the thought that I wasn’t living–I was merely existing. The song wasn’t around then, but Drake sums up my mentality perfectly in Nicki Minaj’s song “Moment 4  Life” when he says “Everybody dies but not everybody lives.”

So I sat down and I did what I did anytime I felt stressed and overwhelmed. I wrote a list. And I didn’t realize exactly what kind of list I was making until I was finished. I just wrote things down: 1, 2, 3, 4…until my hand stopped writing at #18. And it felt fitting to stop there. 18 things for my 18th year. And at the top of the page I put a due date: April 22 of the following year. And I realized exactly what my list was. It was a to-do list for the year. 18 things that I wanted–or, rather, needed–to do before I turned 19. And it became a personal tradition.

The following year the list had 19 items.

The next year it had 20.

I don’t always cross everything off of my lists. Life doesn’t work that way. Last year, when I turned 23 I had “Start an MFA program” as one of my goals. That didn’t happen. Not because I changed my mind or wasn’t able to get into a good school, but because life isn’t a list. Life is surprises and golden opportunities that have to be seized when they come along. I was offered a job instead, working right out of undergrad in my field. So I took it and didn’t move away to graduate school.

But I work hard to cross off items. I wanted to travel abroad one year so I flew England. I’ve lived in China, I’ve bled on the Great Wall (long story), I’ve rode horses, I’ve fallen in love and had my heart broken, I’ve made people fall in love with me only to break their hearts, I’ve cried and I’ve laughed, I’ve cursed and I’ve stood awestruck, I’ve graduated from college with honors, I’ve made friends, I’ve made enemies–I’ve LIVED.

And I wholly believe the reason that I have lived to the fullest is because I’ve been active and aware that I needed to live to the fullest. I can’t say with complete honestly that I live everyday this way, because I don’t. I get lazy, or too busy with work or school, or I just want to chill with my friends and family. But I do try, at least a couple times a week to actively make sure I make lifelong memories.

And so, without further ado, my list from this year. The 24 things I want to do while I’m 24.

 

24 in 24

4-22-16 through 4-22-17

  1. Be healthy and get in shape with Bestie. Turn myself into a 10 and Bestie into a dime.
  2. Write everyday. Be published more.
  3. M.Ed. in Educational Media and Technology
  4. Become an independent, mature, and responsible adult who has their stuff together.
  5. Kentucky Derby!!!! Completed 5/7/16
  6. Finally go to the beach and see the ocean for the first time!
  7. Do the things I “have no time” for. Screw time. Become the all powerful master and Queen of time. I control time, not the other way around. Learn fluent Spanish, play the piano, rediscover my lost love for reading–everything I always want to do but don’t because of “time.”
  8. Read the Bible from cover to cover.
  9. Become organized in all aspects of my life and never go back.
  10. Learn (to the point I’ll actually remember) to ballroom dance.
  11. Go Skinny dipping before I’m too old to blame bad decisions on being “young and foolish.”
  12. Become a librarian
  13. Be a certified super teacher (English Completed 8/1/15/Psychology Completed 4/15/17/Spanish/History)
  14. Go white water rafting and ziplining
  15. Be experimental. Try something new everyday for each month.(May is this blogging challenge, and I’m probably doing a solid C+ job of it)
  16. Write a book of poetry.
  17. Be accepted into the perfect MFA program for me.
  18. Write for Buzzfeed.
  19. Go to an upscale spa.
  20. Watch the sunrise and the sunset in the same day.
  21. See a fortune teller.
  22. Go on a cruise.
  23. Fill a fancy sketchbook with art.
  24. Learn to play poker.

 

And that’s my list. Parts of it I have already accomplished. #13 I had half of it completed before my birthday. I am already an English teacher and I had just taken the test for certification in Psychology 7-12. I just took the Spanish test and I’m taking the History test next week.

I literally just got to cross off #5. I knew I’d be crossing off #5 when I made the list because the trip had been planned since November. But since I pull these list items from my over-arching Life List (Which I call my “Samazing To-Do List”) I decided to include it. For those who don’t get it, a Life List is just a Bucket List with a different name. I don’t like the term “Bucket List” because it’s all about the things you want to do before you die. I feel like that’s a little dark. I call it my “Life List” because it’s all the things I want to do while I live.

Some of the things I know already won’t exactly be crossed off before I turn 25. #3 will almost be completed but since the Commencement Ceremony is May 6th I’ll miss having my degree before my birthday by a week or so. But it’s okay. My classes will technically be all finished by my birthday so it’s close enough.

# 12 is also a stretch. I’ll be a librarian when I get my degree. However, because I have to work 100 hours as a librarian during my degree program, I’m going to count that as being a librarian.

 

So that is my list. Those are some of the things I am working towards this year. I hope that on your birthday, or any day, you will take the time to evaluate your life and see if you are living or just existing. Because there is a difference, and once you experience the difference, you will never want to merely exist ever again.

 

Xoxi

Sam

Sam I Am

Welcome to my blog.

I have been toying with the idea of starting a blog for years now. Every time I attempt to being one, I crash and burn like a child learning to rollerblade for the first time. It’s one of those things that, I feel, if I could just get started I would be so good at.

It’s the getting started part that’s frustrating.

I don’t know what I’m supposed to say, what I’m supposed to write. Or how to write it.

Do I write it like a journal entry, as though it’s for my eyes only? Do I write it like a letter, addressed to the readers I may or may not ever have? Do I fashion it a story, with flowing prose and vivid imagery?

I have no idea, but this time–this time!–I am going to power through and find out.

Starting this Sunday-May 1st, 2016-I am going to blog every single day for the entire month. My logic is that it takes 2 weeks to develop a habit, and if I blog every day I will have either gotten the hang of it and fallen head over heels for the platform OR I will know for a fact that I am terrible and I suck at it and should never write another blog post ever again.

I’m not sure if anyone is reading this, or ever going to, but if you’re out there, faceless population of the internet, brace yourself.

Sam is here.