How to be the most Epic Maid of Honor

You know what one of my major dreams for my life has been? Being my best friend’s maid of honor. From age 5 to now at 22 my bff has (what used to be unfortunately) changed over the years. My truest and best friend though, Katie, made my dream come true. The moment I found out she was engaged I was constantly hoping I would be her MOH because I wanted it so bad! The only reason that I thought I wouldn’t be is that she has a sister but her sister is MUCH younger so luckily the spot was mine! All year I was sorting out what I could do for her and what she wanted and how to be the perfect girl for her. So I thought I’d share because overall, I think I did a dang good job.

IMG_3895

1. Engagement excitement. Nothing hurts worse than having one of the most precious people on the planet not be pumped for you. That personally happened to me with one of my close friends and I was kind of crushed and it was beyond difficult to not let it spoil my day. Be supportive no matter what. If there’s an issue with the guy or your feelings talk about it like 2 weeks later. But that day is HER day, be excited because THAT is what she wants and needs from you. You can always take it a step further and get an engagement gift as well! I got her some cute apparel that said stuff like “He Put a Ring on it” and “Feyoncé”.  MOHs love Etsy!

2. Listen to your bride. She stressed? Ask what you can do. Take her to a movie to get her mind off of the pressure or get your nails done! I have my girl a basket of goodies. Living 6 hours away made weekend visits straight to the point and we didn’t get to do all leisure fun we did in high school. The basket has wines, a note, candles and just nice little goodies.
IMG_1912
3. Talk about the bachelorette party with her. Surprise her by all means if that’s what she wants but make sure you know what she is comfortable with. If that means no strippers, you don’t hire strippers. If that means she wants to go boating, see a movie, go clubbing, whatever, you look for the way to make it work or close to it.

4. Be a team player. Involve the other bridesmaids with what you want/can. The bride chose you for a reason, she knows you did the work and you are the one who can handle the job. She will appreciate the fact that you care for her other friends.
IMG_3782
5. Bridal shower. That’s your job too. To throw a stellar shower for her. Pick a theme, games, decorate the crap out of your place or wherever you’ll have it because this is the main shower of the wedding process. Ask the bride for the guest list and then run with it. Katie is into photography and is an extremely talented  graphic design student. I made her shower theme “capture the moment”. Photo Booth, camera decorations, and her art work displayed. As well as a few other bridey decorations! Again, it’s all about Etsy and DIY.
IMG_3079
6. The most fun night or weekend ever! Originally we were looking at cruises but Katie got worried about the price. Totally understand. I then tried to get a free beach house in Jacksonville beach! And I did but then they pulled out. So it came to a weekend in Orlando and that was an amazing choice. We stayed at a gorgeous apartment like hotel with our own hot tub! Two girls per room, oven, fridge, alcohol, the works! Night one, limo around with our dranks and hit up the normal hen party joints- no strippers. Day 1(2) we did universal studios! That night was hot tubbing, drinking, chillin. Sunday was Hamburger Marys for lunch then relaxing with spa masks and watching the videos we made. With the few of us who stayed that night we went to downtown Disney for some sightseeing and a drink or two ;). It was SUCH a blast!
IMG_3819
Along with planning the party I gave them all a welcome bag complete with shirt, sunglasses, chap stick, and hair tie. All wedding and bachelorette related topics.

7. Speech! Yes you will speak at her wedding. Even if it terrifies you. You will do it and she will do the same. Go for two minutes. I memorized mine but got a little tongue tied and that’s ok! It still turned out. You can watch it her for a foundation if you have no idea what to say.

12916296_10207739272533089_8498450606451495930_o.jpg

Most importantly, even though being MOH is your dream come true, remember it’s about this girl whom is your sister. Either by blood or by heart. Listen to her and love her.

12916826_10207739266612941_1156327059948494485_o.jpg

Enjoy the journey!

-Jojo

What They Don’t Tell You About Going International

When it comes to planes and traveling, I am the most chill person you’ll meet. I’m still packing the day of, not ready by the looks (but I totally am).  However there are some things you should know.

  • Going on multiple planes, traveling a lot, can make you sick. I remember when I came back from Italy. I had to change planes in Munich from Rome, get to New York, then Jacksonville when my mom lived. The next day I flew home to pensacola where I go to college. That’s 4 planes in two days. Plus I was on a tour bus for a week in Italy. That’s a lot of germs, and altitudes and just not my daily routine. As I was getting in the car at the airport, I automatically threw up. It sucked.
  • This is not the case with every flight but you need the address of where you are staying in this foreign country very accessible. When I went to japan I had to fill out this customs form on the plane. It asked me basic questions like what was I doing there, where am I going, where am I staying, am I super rich and carrying like a million dollars with me. I could answer these easy! Except I didn’t have my friends address. I knew what city and area she lived in but I for sure did not have the street address. I thought maybe it would be ok, it’ll work out, whatever. I get all the way to the immigration man and he can’t let me through and I’m told to go the room. You know the room I’m talking about right? You see it in movies and I saw it in real life. The questioning room. I kept my cool as best I could. Luckily there were a few people that understood enough English to understand my situation. But I still had to wait because they had to follow protocol. They put me on a bench by the immigration line and I was told to wait. I waited. My plane had gone through and then the next. I was the only one in there minus then men in the booths and a couple people to help foreigners through the line. I was so excited but then I was so scared I wasn’t getting sent back to my country! I started crying… By God’s grace a line helper woman took pity on me and beckoned me to come with her. She wrote the address of a hotel in the city and I was able to go through. Eternally grateful to that woman. After getting enough tears away I finish the process and make it the airport where there would hopefully be wifi to contact my friends. As I’m looking down at my phone I hear “Jordan?” I look up and have instant tears while I’m greeted with screams and tears of joy. Immigration is still to this day one of the most emotional experiences of my life.

561905_10201097148103889_535001947_n.jpg

  • It is more common to fly overnight. Now this all depends on you as person if you want to travel overnight or not. When I went to Italy and Japan, I flew overnight and was able to sightsee the day I arrived. I arrived in Italy in the late morning like 9-10am and in Japan in the early afternoon at around 2pm. Immigration took a while in Italy because of all the incoming flights, so we left for the hotel around 11am. After that woman took pity on me in Japan the process was less than 5mins because I was literally the only person there. Now my experience arriving in Brazil was totally different. I was excited when I first got there and for the first two hours or so but I was really tired! I flew out of Orlando at 5am and then Miami to São Paulo at 9:50 with 7pm arrival. Seemed easy to me but with the drive from Jacksonville to to Orlando starting at midnight to arrive around 3am it made sense why I would be tired. Luckily immigration was very easy to deal with there, which honestly surprised me. The hardest part of my trip was in Orlando when the woman at the counter told me I “couldn’t go to Brazil with this passport”. Fun fact, a visa wasn’t required after June 1st for 2016 due to the Olympics but she needed a lot of verification for that apparently. I was sweatin for awhile there though! I had to wait roughly 20mins for my luggage but like I said, it is way more common to fly overnight so it was practically empty and I went right on through to my wonderful fiancé and future in laws!

IMG_6140.jpg

  • You are gonna be dead effing tired. Whether you sightsee or or just sleep when you arrive in this new country, you’ll want to pass out and sleep for a year. With that being said, you’re going to be the most excited that you’ve literally ever been! Every time I step foot on an international flight (leaving home) I just have the quick small smile. Total happiness. Then I get the excitement jitters flying through my body in the last 30 mins or so of my flight. I try to keep myself constantly distracted during the flight with movies, music, and sleep but when I see the time til arrival dwindling I get antsy. Upon arrival, it’s so exciting. Like ridiculously exciting and you really don’t need sleep. Maybe I got tired early on in Brazil is because once I got to their home we walked around the apartment building and ate pizza in their apartment so I wasn’t doing anything per sae. Now it could’ve been the traveling since midnight and not being able to rest much on the planes that knocked me out or the fact that it was actually night time but we’ll have to see for my next adventure!

IMG_0004_2

  • Doing a tour isn’t always the best way. You are constantly going to be moving with a group from place to place and being in the most touristy parts of the country. Now that’s great as far as safety and really seeing the highlights but there is a lot you will miss. I did a tour in Italy, the only thing I missed out on that I wanted to do was Pompeii but I WILL go there again. Italy was expensive (expected) but the food was kind of… Subpar (not expected) traveling with a group I was always surrounded by non-Italians. I truly missed out on what I was most looking forward to. Lucky for me, my mom’s family is Italian so I am blessed with that food once a monthish. And maybe that gave me higher expectations anyway but Italy practically needs a full redo. I loved it 100% don’t get me wrong but I want to go and experience more and fall in love with not only the sights but every possible nook and cranny in the country! The people, the culture, the food.
  • Now that being said, not doing a tour also presents it’s obstacles. Making your own plans means you may not have anything to do from time to time. To me, that’s one of the worst feelings when in another country because you want to see and know everything you can. Not being on a tour also brings safety concerns. Being in Brazil with my fiancé who is actually Brazilian has shown me that I can’t do whatever I want. I was looking up things to do while the two of us are in Rio for a few days and when I brought up a short hike in a national park he was soooooo not about it. I was so sad! I am a complete nature and animal lover! I want to take a trip to the amazon someday too! He said Rio is so dangerous and there could be people in the areas where you can’t see. He confined us to areas where a lot of people were gonna be all the time. This is one of those times where I basically had to suck it up and be like… Thanks for loving me then roll my eyes.

IMG_6214.JPG

The most important thing you should do when you travel is stay safe. Even if that means giving up a hike or attraction. Nothing out there is going to be worth dying for. The world will become safe one day, I pray we are all around at that time so we can experience everything we want to.

Enjoy the journey!

-Jojo

His Plan, Your Journey

I am generally a person who stands up for what I believe in. God is a pretty big part of my life and I aim to make him a bigger part everyday. So what do those first two sentences have in common? Connection! Check this out:

IMG_5611.jpg

 

So this was my very first tattoo. I got it when I was 19 after my freshman year in college. In kanji, it means God. My God who lead me to everywhere I needed to be. Even the places I didn’t want to go, I went, and there’s reason after reason to be grateful. Originally, UWF was my top school but of the public variety. I wanted to go to Stetson, not too close to home but far enough and convenient enough for my one year younger high school senior boyfriend to visit. UWF is 6 hours away~practically in Alabama. So just go ahead and imagine how that went. BUT I was placed in the international dorm even though I was a native Floridian. Crazy right? I got the most lovely girl from Japan in the absolute tiniest dorm on campus. I loved that first semester so much. Unfortunately she was only there for fall but I had a room to myself in spring! Sort of an upside. Anyway, that girl and that dorm changed my life. For my whole life. It lead to a change of major, a part time job on campus, a trip to japan, my husband, and a future I believe to be extremely bright.

Follow your heart and your soul where you feel it’s sending you.
God has plans for you.
Big plans.

Enjoy your journey.

-Jojo