CMA Fest, June 6 — 8: Slideshow Nashville, TN

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CMA Fest June 6. Quote of the Day: ‘I bet you’re bending God’s ear, talking about me.’

The CMA Fest, June 6; Nashville, TN

I am so sorry that this post has taken forever and a day to go up. I wrote it back in June when I came home from CMA Fest in Nashville but, due to forces that will be explained in another blog; the blog was not able to go up in a timely manner. I thought since CMA Fest is on TV tonight that today was as good a time as any for it to to up! I hope you enjoy it and again, I’m so sorry it took forever to go up.

Photograph: Sami

Photograph: Sami

I am going to try this thing where I keep these blogs very short as I have this problem where I become very long-winded and rambly. I don’t want to read that, in fact, I usually don’t read them once they are edited and posted (sorry Dad) so I’m sure, ya’ll don’t either. So, here we go.

The Never Ending Journey

After a 6 billion hour long car ride my dad and I finally made it to Nashville for CMA Fest! There were many many MANY kinks that were getting in the way but almost 20 hours after we left, we arrived. Obviously we were there for the week, to see and do everything but, my main priority was of course, Taylor Swift.

Award Show Disappointment

Photograph: Sami

Photograph: Sami

I had done the red carpet for the CMT’s last year and it was less than desirable so I opted not to do it this year. Even after Taylor announced she was performing, my heart still wasn’t into going so, rather than scouring Nashville trying to find a ticket, I sat in our dorm and watched the events unfold on twitter. She, of course looked beautiful but, after seeing she performed RED basically the same way she does on tour and that she didn’t end up walking the RED carpet, I wasn’t too bummed I opted to skip it although I’m sure it was a lot of fun to watch her chair dancing in person!

A Tip From a Friend

Thursday was Taylor’s night at LP. I had had a very long day of attending to personal things but I was so excited to see Taylor. My dad dropped me off outside LP a little before doors opened. I ended up in front of my friends Heather and Brittany and her little sister Faith who I had talked to online and was very very glad I got to meet.

Photograph: Sami

Photograph: Sami

I was very uncertain about doing the photo line for Taylor because I was afraid to get pushed out too quick and miss most of Taylor’s set. The seats I had bought were purposefully decent seats so I could see the whole thing. But, Brittany and Faith convinced me it was a good idea and so I decided to try it. You Only Live Once, right?

Sadly I had to miss Luke Bryan’s set to do the photo line but as it was basically the same set as last year, so, I wasn’t too bummed. As they brought us into the tunnel I got more and more excited and more and more nervous. I hadn’t seen her in almost a month, it was like it was my first show all over again.

Taylor’s Night to Shine

Photograph: Sami

Photograph: Sami

We got to the bottom of the stairs and we saw Taylor walk back stage and wave to us and hug her mom and dad and brother who then walked to the sound booth. The music started and we weren’t quite there but it didn’t matter, it was Taylor and she was there. The music for Love Story started and I lost my mind.

We made it to the front of the stage before Love Story ended. I did my best to stay out of sight so I could stay down there as long as possible. The more she sang the more excited I got. There was Taylor, right in front of me; like nothing had changed. It hadn’t been a month since the last time I saw her, she had been there the whole time.

A Familiar Face in the Crowd

Photograph: Sami

Photograph: Sami

I was able to stand there through her monologue, through RED and through part of Mean. Security started getting angry saying if we didn’t move they would call the cops. It wasn’t that we wouldn’t move, it was that the people at the front of the line weren’t moving so we had no place to go! I wasn’t complaining. Eventually I got scared I was going to get arrested or killed so I moved around security and started heading out. I stopped for a second at the front of the stage where there were no people and just watched her for a minute. I pretended to take a picture so security would let me stay.

All of a sudden I realize I wasn’t just staring at her, she was staring at me with the BIGGEST smile on her face! I looked around behind me to see if she was staring, smiling at anyone else but it was just me. She had recognized me! In a stadium of 65K people and she was able to place my face. It was a crazy, surreal moment I will never forget.

Worth The Wait

When I finally got kicked out of the photo line I just found a seat near the stage to enjoy the rest of her set including her surprise performance of Highway Don’t Care with Tim and Keith. I was afraid I would miss too much if I ran to my seat and I was afraid to attempt the photo line again for fear of missing the end of her set. In retrospect, I would’ve just missed WANEGBT which I could’ve afforded to miss but I didn’t want to. Although it was a short set, it was everything I needed in that moment. You don’t realize how much you miss her until she isn’t there anymore. It is a very strange thing.

If you want more of a rundown of the rest of my week I can give you one, I just figure, as this was the highlight, there really is no need for the rest of the week! I have missed you all so very much and thank you all for your patience!

Thanks for reading, thanks for caring.

“This isn’t flying, this is falling with style”


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RED Tour May 16: Malinna’s Houston, TX Guest Blog

My Houston RED Tour experience



We got to the venue at around 10am. It was empty… not a single fan other than me and my friend. We went and got some food.

When we came back a lot more fans had arrived by bus. I made some new friends; I always love meeting new people.

Around 3pm Paul came to the venue and he took a picture with a couple of people who actually knew who he was, including me. He was so sweet!

Then a few minutes later the dancers arrived in their van and waved at all of us. That was pretty cool.



A couple of minutes after that the band came in their own little van and they all waved and smiled at us. By now I was super excited…

At around 4pm Taylor’s SUV pulled up to the venue and I saw her and her mom inside! Everyone in the crowd wildly waved and they waved back! It was just amazing.


Later, I went to where all the radio stations were, saw the Diet Coke displays and had a photo taken with all of them. Yes, I am that person! Sorry not sorry.

Come 5pm and we went and picked up our pit tickets.



When we’d collected our tickets we went on line to get in. We were first in line and at 5:30 they started letting us into the venue.

We rushed so we would get the best spots in the pit, which we did.

Around 6 Brett Eldredge came on although I didn’t really know who he was. He ended up being pretty good.

After Brett’s set Ed Sheeran came on. Ed sang for about 40 minutes and although it was all great, by now I was more excited to see Taylor than anything else…



After Ed’s set I saw a couple of Taylor’s dancers hanging out in the pit area and went to get a picture with them. They were all so sweet. Yes, I did make one of them take pictures for me… oops.

At 7:30 one of the set-up crew told us to make room for the camera and bribed us with Taylor guitar picks. I didn’t complain at all. Not a bit.

Then the lights went down and the whole arena started getting crazy with screams and everyone’s awesome signs lighting up.

Taylor came out and the screams get louder and louder… THESE ARE THE MOMENTS I LIVE FOR!



Taylor started singing State Of Grace and everyone was singing along.

Then Taylor gave a speech about how much she loves being in Houston and how her mom grew up here.

After her speech Taylor went back to the main stage area and she grabbed my friend’s hand! He was literally freaking out! I was so happy for him.

After a couple of songs, Taylor started 22 and, as she was heading towards the B stage, she touched everyone’s hand.

130516-MalinnaMeun-211003YES, she did touch my hand! I was in awe of how amazing and perfect she is. I can’t believe I touched her hand…

Watching her perform up close was one of the best experiences of my entire life.

On the B stage she sang Fearless, one of my favorite songs ever! Of course, I danced, sang, and went crazy with my friends.

Then Taylor performed Begin Again, which hit me pretty hard… I cried and cried. I just never knew how much that song meant to me until I heard her sing it live. I just couldn’t stop crying.

130516-MalinnaMeun-130217It was amazing how Taylor put so much emotion into that one song. I loved it.

As she made her way back, she stopped in front of me again.

Taylor sang All Too Well and I almost started crying again… My emotions were seriously everywhere.

Then she sang IKYWT which is such a party song and so I danced the night away.

Then Taylor’s last song, WANEGBT, she started singing and confetti fell…

130516-MalinnaMeun-165728I just took every last thing in because the one person I look up to more than anyone else was right there in front of me, doing what she loves to do most.

I love Taylor so much.

As the song ended Taylor talked to the crowd. She said she is absolutely in love with Houston and that she will be back to see us.

It was just amazing! I couldn’t ask for a better night than it was.


Thank you, Taylor.

You make my life so amazing! See you in Nashville


We’re blogging all the way through the RED Tour, Facebooking, and Tweeting (or @tswiftontour).

Use the email account — — if you want to to send stories and photos you think will be of interest to Swifties. We could even open an album!

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RED Tour May 16: Slideshow of Houston, TX Concert

Slideshow of Houston, TX Concert

At the Toyota Center, Houston, TX, Thursday.

Including GREAT photographs from Robert Holub follow him: @bobbyh300 and Katie Slater.

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Bobby’s comments on the Houston show

I’ll start by saying that this was the fifth time I’ve seen Taylor live, but the first time I’ve seen her from the pit.

We started the day early by arriving around 2:30 and waited in line for our pit passes. Then, once we’d got them, we waited in yet another line to get in the stadium…

The doors opened and it was a mad rush to get down to the floor and secure our spots, right next to the stage.

Finally, what I’d been waiting months for: Taylor standing behind the red curtain!

OMG, my heart was beating so fast I thought I’d pass out!

Then the curtain dropped and Taylor slowly walked down the stairs and I was literally inches from her!

The most intense feeling I’ve ever had! She even looked directly at me and smiled!

Taylor was stunningly beautiful and her vocals as strong as ever!

From the pit it was more about her than seeing the show: my focus was on her the entire time!

Then she went to the back stage and started talking about reading her Tweets and her surprise song.

I’d Tweeted her all day to play Fearless, so you can imagine my insane excitement when she started playing Fearless!

OMG what a night!

She sang all too well and it was very touching. When she cried, wiping the tears away with her hand, the whole crowd went, Awww!

I was lucky enough to slap hands with Paul, touched Taylor’s finger tips and caught a guitar pick!

The show ended with a bang with confetti falling from the Sky!

It was a magical night and, for a two hour show, it seemed to be over in a matter of minutes!


Thanks for keeping up and reading Cross Country with Taylor Swift. Thanks for caring.

“This isn’t flying, this is falling with style”



I’ll be blogging all the way through the RED Tour, Facebooking, and Tweeting (or @tswiftontour).

I’ve opened an email account — — which, if you want, you can send stories and photos to that you think will be of interest to Swifties. We could even open an album!

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RED Tour May 11 & 12: Slideshow of Washington DC Concerts

Slideshow of Washington DC Concerts, including Mother’s Day

At the Verizon Center, Washington DC, Saturday and Sunday.

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Thanks for keeping up and reading Cross Country with Taylor Swift. Thanks for caring.

“This isn’t flying, this is falling with style”



I’ll be blogging all the way through the RED Tour, Facebooking, and Tweeting (or @tswiftontour).

I’ve opened an email account — — which, if you want, you can send stories and photos to that you think will be of interest to Swifties. We could even open an album!

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RED Tour May 7: Abby’s Louisville, KY Club Red Guest Blog

Clubbing Red in Louisville

Hi, I’m Abby, today’s Guest Blogger. I’m 22, attend the University of Kentucky, and I’m a co owner with Sami on Tswiftontour.

My friend Chelsea scored front row tickets to the lower section at the YUM! Center in Louisville, site of Tuesday’s Taylor Swift RED Tour concert.

I went to the concert with a group of five friends, all from Louisville. Four are in their early twenties, the other two are 13 and 6. None of them had ever met Taylor and we thought that with our front row seats we’d have a good chance of being spotted for Club Red. (I’d previously met Taylor on three occasions: twice at T-Parties and once in New York during the Red release week as a Taylor follower.)

Chelsea has Cystic Fibrosis and has undergone numerous surgeries. Over the years she has tried so hard to meet Taylor. She even woke up at 5 am to call Louisville radio stations in an attempt to win Meet and Greets!

Chelsea asked me to come up with a costume idea for our group and I instantly thought of Holy Ground, my favorite song on the RED album. I proposed constructing shirts spelling out G-r-o-u-n-d” and making a cross to represent “Holy.”

Chelsea and her friends worked a total of nineteen hours on our costumes. The lights on our shirts were stitched on by hand. Chelsea learned to sew for Taylor!

Seating mysteries

Concert day finally arrived and when we arrived at the venue we discovered that our seats weren’t actually in the lowers but on the floor. If this sounds very confusing, that’s because it was.

At the YUM! Center, we discovered, only the lowers only go to row C, while the B and A rows are actually on the floor along the edge. We were right next to the outside of the pit and in front of the front row on the floor.

When the show began we saw many dancers entering the pit on the side nearest to us. Maybe, we thought, that meant Andrea, Taylor’s mom, would walk right past us when the time came.

A number of fans told us how much they liked our costume idea and when we went to talk to Mason, a dancer whom I’d previously met in Lexington, he LOVED the idea and said he was going to tell the rest of the group about it.

Team Holy Ground.

Team Holy Ground.

When Andrea was escorted to the sound-booth she passed right by our side and we gained her attention. I asked her to guess our costume topic — she knew immediately and loved it!

Walking by she turned to one of the Club Red spotters and said, “We’ve got to have them!” We had a good feeling after that and thought she’d come back for us during Holy Ground.

But, boy, were we wrong!

Dancing and spotters

As the show started we danced and screamed… we did not stop moving, with the exception of our 6-year-old whose usual bedtime was at the start of Taylor’s set.

The Club Red spotters walked back and forth past us over and over and over… They even stopped behind the barricade next to the pit to watch to make sure we had enough “spunk” to invite!

After the B stage act we were getting really discouraged. I told Chelsea it might be time to just walk to the sound-booth and at least get to say what she wanted to Andrea, to just to thank her.

While Chelsea was gone a woman approached me during Love Story as I was dancing like crazy with the 6-year-old on my back singing her lungs out along with her favorite song.

The woman wanted to know how many were in our group. Six I told her. Then, as she started handing out Club Red bracelets, Chelsea returned and tears flooded to her eyes.

We all hugged and screamed and cried.

Let me be clear here, my happiness at getting Club Red was solely because of the fact that all of these girls, my friends, were finally getting their opportunity, their dream.

I was so happy for my friends. I’d never dressed in a costume before, but I did so for them, so they’d have a chance to finally meet their idol.

After receiving the bracelets I ran to get some water as we were exhausted from all our efforts. I also wanted to find a cell signal so I could call my girlfriend Sam and my mom to let them know the wonderful news!

When I returned it was the end of WANEGBT and time to head for the section we had been directed to. There I discovered that some of my other friends had also gotten into Club Red. I was so happy for everyone.

Into Club Red

Club Red.

Club Red.

We walked in under the red canopy of Club Red to be greeted by Paul Sidoti, Taylor’s guitarist. There was candy and pizza and soda and ice cold water!

We all jumped into the photo booth… We took endless pictures… We talked with other groups… we took pictures of EVERYTHING…

We tried to figure out what words to have Taylor sign. I’d already promised myself that if I ever meet Taylor again I wouldn’t just get an autograph, I’d ask her to write the line “I don’t really know if you know who you are til you lose who you are,” which is in her monologue at the end of the IKYWT music video.

It’s such a relevant line to almost everything that has happened in my life that makes me the person I am today. It’s a tattoo!


Then Taylor walked in and came to our group first. She headed straight for our 6-year-old and said, “Come here little!” scooped her up into her arms and squeezed her tight.

Club Red.

Club Red.

I was next and it was so comforting to get a hug from her, Id missed them. She went one-by-one until everyone in our group had been hugged. She talked to us and we kind of had a massive group conversation — everyone just jumping in wherever and whenever they felt like. The two youngest were in too much shock to really speak.

I thanked Taylor for playing Ours at Ford Field and told her how I got to slow dance with my girlfriend in the midst of 50,000 people. She said, “That’s super romantic! I’m so glad you were able to do that with her! Tell her hello.”

Club Red.

Club Red.

I also told Taylor about it being my best friend Shelby’s twenty-second birthday and dancing my heart out for her in 22, Taylor wished her happy birthday. Then Chelsea told her how she was going to be at a RED show on her twenty-second birthday!

Taylor was super excited that we were going to other shows, so we talked about the ones we’d been to and were going to. Taylor was so grateful that we came out again and again, that I had to tell her about my fellow TSwiftOnTour co-owner, Sami, and her Cross Country with Taylor blog project. Taylor went into shock and had really kind words for me to pass on to Sami!

Conversation was easy and relaxed and Taylor acted as if we’d all been friends forever.

A IKYWT tale

When I asked Taylor to write the quote she was shocked that that’s what I wanted. She said, “You liked that?” and I told her how much the line meant to me.

'I don’t really know if you know who you are til you lose who you are'

‘I don’t really know if you know who you are til you lose who you are’

She then proceeded to tell me the story of how the IKYWT monologue was written. The director had handed her his phone and told her to reflect upon the person who the song was written about and to talk sadly about what going through it was like.

Taylor said she’d just held the phone up and talked all sad in a corner of the music video set.

Ten minutes of heaven

Taylor and Team Holy Ground.

Taylor and Team Holy Ground.

In all we had close to ten minutes with Taylor. Before she left she took a picture with us. We told her she could be Holy and hold the cross. She laughed, took the cross and hit herself with it. I said “you gotta be more careful!” but she played it cool and said it happened all the time.

She said she really loved our costumes and went around and hugged us all again, giving the “little” two more hugs before leaving. Taylor then went to the other  groups. There were 26 guests in Club Red that night.

We then went and talked with Christian, a back-up dancer. He was so incredibly nice! We talked about many different things. He and I got into a conversation about the RED Tour’s choreographer and how many alum’s from SYTYCD were now with the RED Tour.

Club Red.

Club Red.

I told him how I’d watched SYTYCD with my mom and Eliana was my absolute favorite dancer. When I found out Eliana was going on the RED Tour I almost died. I have been trying to meet her since her SYTYCD season and Christian promised to tell her Hi for me as they were on the same bus to Columbus. Then he decided he would see if she had her phone on her and texted her.

Moments later Eliana walked into Club Red. I started sobbing as I went to hug her. She’s an absolute sweetheart. We talked about the show, the tour, everything… Then we hopped into the photo booth and made silly faces, serious faces, and everything in between.

Club Red.

Club Red.

While all of my friends had their dreams of finally meeting Taylor come true, my dream had come true as well.

It was great to see Taylor again and I couldn’t be happier for all of my friends in Club Red that magical night.

I can’t wait to get my tattoo, because if Taylor has taught me anything it’s that the only thing you can expect is the unexpected. Life will continue to throw you curveballs, people will continue to pick on you (even as an adult), and you will lose yourself, repeatedly, in the flames of life only to be remolded time and time again.

That, I think, is what life’s all about: finding yourself in the midst of chaos.

Wrapping up

I feel it is only appropriate to take time to answer my most often asked question about my Club Red experience. Yes, Taylor did recognize me!

Club Red.

Club Red.

My advice on how to get invited to Club Red: BE ORIGINAL. You need to think outside the box and be creative and unique. A RED sign, a 22 (or anything 22 related), isn’t original at this point of the RED Tour. Lights are a great way to be noticed.

Venue placement for Club Red selection: the best places to be chosen from are lowers, then uppers, then floor, then pit. Pit has a one-in-a-million chance of getting Club Red; but pit is still definitely worth-while as many pitters reach out and receive high-fives in return.

Club Red is never a guarantee, anywhere.

It’s amusing to be writing this piece considering Taylor said to my group, “I’m so happy you guys were invited to T-Partttt I meannnn Club Red…” We all near died laughing!

Club Red.

Club Red.

When asked why the name change, Taylor said that people would bring teacups to T-Parties, they just didn’t get it. Or that people thought her T-Parties were related in some way to the politically conservative Tea Party.

As far as differences between the parties went, there weren’t terribly many. There was a lot less home décor and lot more lounge feeling.

Some of Taylor’s costumes were in the room, rather than in the exit-way.

There were tables and booths, and the candy machines were new and fun. You could have Skittles or M&Ms!

The photo-booth was my favorite addition.

The amount of time spent with Taylor seemed longer.

Many things remained the same. Taylor still served local pizza, the drinks however are now all provided by Coke!

Band members and dancers still drop in and greet fans.

Taylor gave everyone hello and goodbye hugs and signed only one item per person.

Club Red.

Club Red.

The photo-pole and red canopy remain the same.

While T-Parties are no longer, Club Red is T Party 2.0 — with a modernized sleek-look and feel. Club Red is definitely the place to party with T!

I hope you dream your impossible dreams and never lose the hope of meeting Taylor. I’m a big believer in that, There is a time and reason for everything.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at: or Tweet me: @abbytaylor13

Stay Beautiful!




We’re blogging all the way through the RED Tour, Facebooking, and Tweeting (or @tswiftontour).

Use the email account — — if you want to to send stories and photos you think will be of interest to Swifties. We could even open an album!

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RED Tour May 7 Quote of the Day: ‘You are the best thing that’s ever been mine…’

Dreaming impossible Louisville dreams

My effort to view as many Taylor Swift RED Tour concerts as possible taught me one basic thing: who my friends are. For the longest time I went without friends. Now that I have them it amazes me how much they care for me. It’s not one-sided as it was in middle school and high school.

Tim McGraw.

Tim McGraw.

In Chicago on Monday, after completing my seemingly never-ending sleep, I awoke just in time to see the Tim McGraw Highway Don’t Care music video premiere. (The song starts at about the 12:40 mark.) It’s an AMAZING video, exactly how I’d visualized it when the song was released!

Then Ashley and James came home from work and James cooked again… this time Chicken Quesadillas and rice. Equally as good as Sunday’s pork chops.

I packed my stuff and we waited until it was time for us to head for the bus to take us to Louisville, KY. As I was still confused as to what time and day it was, taking a late-night bus served only to confuse me even further.

But, of course, for Taylor, it’s all worth it.

Yet another late-night bus ride

Megabuses leave from street corners and we waited with a vast crowd. Thankfully, other buses were also leaving from the same site and the whole swarm didn’t head for Louisville with us!

'Insurgent,' Veronica Roth.

‘Insurgent,’ Veronica Roth.

We got on the bus and got comfy for the six-hour drive. Then it dawned upon me that sleeping all day had been a totally bad idea. Having excessively slept I wasn’t tired, couldn’t sleep and would arrive in Louisville exhausted. Again.

I finished reading Divergent, which ended very differently than I imagined it would, in a much “happier” place than I’d foreseen.

I can’t wait to get Insurgent. I should probably download it for my crazy-long Thursday bus ride back to New York, but I don’t think I have enough loot left on my Discover card (my non-Taylor card LOL). Oh well, I’ll just have to watch New Girl instead and prep myself for Taylor’s guest spot on the season finale next week!

Sight from the bus. (Photo: Sami.)

Sight from the bus. (Photo: Sami.)

When we finally got to Louisville at around 6:30am we were stupid-tired. We plotted and breakfasted at the Galt House, a hotel near KFC Yum!, the concert venue. (Plus: “Official Host Hotel of the Kentucky Derby” which ran Sunday.)

Ashley had booked a hotel as their bus home wouldn’t leave until 4:30am and checked in early. I paid for half so I could crash before the concert. As soon as I hit the bed I was out.

Ashley left for the venue about 10am and James started getting ready to go around 2. I set my alarm for 3. When I woke up I panicked thinking I’d slept through the alarm… but it just hadn’t gone off yet. Waking early, a novel experience!

Meeting and greeting

Outside the KFC Yum! (Photo: Sami.)

Outside the KFC Yum! (Photo: Sami.)

My friend Amanda — whom I’d not yet met in person, had offered me her extra ticket for the Louisville show, and was graciously letting me stay at her house after the show — texted me while I was sleeping to say she’d won Florida Georgia Line Meet and Greets. Did I want to be her plus one?

Does a bear sleep in the woods? Yes, yes, yes! I replied, so excited I was flipping out!

Amanda met me at the hotel. I put my stuff in her car and we drove to the KFC Yum! Center, Taylor Swift’s venue in Louisville.

Outside KFC Yum! (Photo: Sami.)

Outside KFC Yum! (Photo: Sami.)

We met up with Ashley, James, and Caylee outside the venue. They had just met Grant Mickelson and were waiting to see if anyone else from the tour team would appear.

Amanda and I went to collect our Meet and Greet passes from the box office. We got them and returned to our friends. Caylee wanted badly to go with us to the Meet and Greet and tagged along with us to see if there was any extra room. As always, I was ready to give her mine but she refused saying her plan would work.

Florida Georgia Line meet and greet passes. (Photo: Sami.)

Florida Georgia Line meet and greet passes. (Photo: Sami.)

The venue doors opened a little after 5:30, making us super-nervous as we had to be at section 109 at 5:35 for the Meet and Greet. We ran up the escalators.

Florida Georgia Line’s manager was there organizing the Meet and Greet so Caylee and I asked him if there was any way she could get in.

He said to wait until everyone had booked in and then he’d see if there was any space. So Amanda, Caylee and I headed to the back of the line which, as there were only twenty or so people on line, was no big deal. Five minutes later the manager came over and said Caylee could come in, Yaas…!

Sami and Florida Georgia Line band members.

Sami and Florida Georgia Line.

We were taken behind a curtain near the dressing rooms. Then Florida Georgia Line appeared and we each got a few seconds with them.

Nothing fancy, but I told them that I’d seen them in New Jersey with Taylor, that I loved them, and that I would see them at CMA Fest…

It was very informal and they took photos with our cameras. Mine is blurry but it totally works, for me anyway.

Chicken — eating and dancing

We were in desperate need of food so after the Meet and Greet we got Kentucky Fried Chicken — after all, we were in the KFC Yum Center — and went and chilled around Caylee’s seat. Caylee seat was on the floor while ours weren’t. So every now and then we had to move? No big deal.

Shortly after we finished eating, Florida Georgia Line came onstage and we ran down to be by my co owner, Abby, who was sitting right by the stage with empty seats all around. So, we were able to stand and dance and sing during the set without being bothered or bothering.

After the set we left for the Keds and Wonderstruck booths as we didn’t want to sit through Ed Sheeran’s set.

Sami and Mason.

Sami and Mason.

Before we got to the stairs we saw one of Taylor’s dancers, Mason, in the pit and chatted with him. He was so nice and amazed that I remembered him from his Demi Lovato dancing days. He was also amazed by the number of shows I have seen in the RED Tour.

Caylee then spotted another one of the dancers, Leah, and we chatted with her too. She, of course, was super sweet. My friends, chiming in on the number of shows I’ve attended, attempted to wow her too.

We found the Keds booth and tried our luck. Caylee and Amanda wanted the shoelaces while I hungered sunglasses. We all got exactly what we wanted.

(Photo: Sami.)

(Photo: Sami.)

We got drinks and sat through the rest of Ed’s set. First we sat in the row in front of Caylee. But we were shunted and ended up in the last row, right by the mini stage — two rows behind Caylee!

I am pretty sure Caylee and I are the same person… several times I looked over at her and we both were about to sing to each other. At one point someone walked by with an All Access badge and we looked at each other and simultaneously mouthed, “Who is that!?” Separated at birth?


(Photo: Sami.)

(Photo: Sami.)

During Stay Stay Stay, Caylee turned around beaming, almost in tears. She had gotten Club Red! I was so excited for her!

Caylee had promised Ashley that she would switch seats with her so Ashley could try and touch Taylor during 22. When Taylor came down for 22, I too, of course, stretched out my hand but I think I’m too short for Taylor because somehow she always misses me.

Amanda was at stage end and she reached out her hand to Taylor as well. Taylor’s mic was in her left hand and Taylor reached all the way across her body with her right arm to high-five Amanda. How cool is that?

(Photo: Sami.)

(Photo: Sami.)

Caylee, Amanda, and Caylee had talked to a little girl outside who was to have a Meet and Greet with Taylor. They begged her to ask Taylor to sing Mary’s Song on the mini stage. When we saw the girl after her Meet and Greet, she said Taylor said she’d think about it but was concerned that not everyone would know the words to Mary’s Song.

When it was time for the Secret Song we were waiting expectantly.

(Photo: Sami.)

(Photo: Sami.)

I have a serious issue where I can hear three chords of any Taylor song and immediately know what’s coming. So when Taylor started strumming the chords to Enchanted, I knew Mary’s Song was a loss.

Enchanted was beautiful. Taylor revised it for the acoustic version — shortening the chorus but adding more riffs. Really awesome.

At the end of the show we brought Caylee to the second level for her entrance to Club Red and discovered that my co owner Abby’s group had also gotten Club Red!

I was so excited for them and couldn’t wait to hear their stories…

Tattoo shakes

KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, KY.

KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, KY.

While we waited for the Club Redders, Amanda drove Ashley, James and me to a nearby Steak and Shake where we met up with more friends. We schmoozed and ordered shakes impatiently waiting for Abby and Caylee.

They arrived ninety minutes later with a multitude of amazing stories. The expressions on their faces reflected exactly why I go to so many Taylor concerts. The fact that one girl, Taylor, can make someone that happy in just two seconds is truly amazing.

(Lisa Sperling.)

(Lisa Sperling.)

Caylee had asked me if I wanted Taylor to write anything for me. Since RED was issued I’ve wanted Taylor to write, “Dream Impossible Dreams” for me, for a tattoo. But I felt bad asking Caylee to ask for it as I didn’t want her wasting her precious limited time with Taylor.

Caylee said she’d try and that, in and of itself, was enough for me to dream on.

When they got to the Steak and Shake, Abby showed us what Taylor had written for her tattoo: “I dont know if you really know who you are til you lose who you are.”

'Dream impossible dreams. Taylor <3'

‘Dream impossible dreams. Taylor <3’

Then Caylee tossed a piece of paper over to me and said I was getting a tattoo too. With tears in my eyes I looked at the paper and read: “Dream impossible dreams. Taylor <3”

The fact that Caylee had take the time to do that for me was among the most amazing moments of my life.

Caylee was very quiet about her Club Red experience, but I could tell it had been amazing. Abby, on the other hand, is very chatty and I knew I’d get more from her. I sat wide-eyed and bushy-tailed listening to her stories; of telling Taylor about dancing with her girlfriend to Ours in Detroit, of talking about TSwiftontour, and of how that, somehow, steered their conversation around to me.

I felt badly that my two friends had used their short time with Taylor to talk about me, but it was just so sweet.

Abby said she told Taylor about my traveling across the country to see the RED Tour and that I was aiming for a total of fifty shows. Taylor, said Abby, thought that was, “crazy amazing insane” and that she wants to meet me at the end of my attempt.

While I know the chances of that happening are zippo to zippo, it was so nice of Taylor to say it, and so amazing of Abby to tell me.

Abby could’ve just not said anything about me as it was her time to shine, or just forgotten to tell me what Taylor said in reply. But Abby chose to do that for me and chose to remember to tell me… I will never ever ever ever forget it.

Sami and Amanda @mrslion16

Sami and Amanda @mrslion16

Amanda and I then made the two-hour drive to her house. Tomorrow morning/afternoon — preferably the latter LOL, Wednesday, we’ll commence the adventure again and head for Columbus, OH and the Taylor Swift concert tomorrow night!

Through this whole thing what seriously amazes me are the friends I have made along the way. I know what I’m doing is insane but they all have been there for me, one way or another.

I know that these are the people who will be with me until the bitter end. They’ve changed my life in ways I never would’ve imagined. I have no idea what I would do without them.

Not just because of the Taylor stuff. They’ve been there for me in times when I was at my lowest, darkest points. They’ve carried me through to the other side. Throughout this whole adventure they help me figure out who I am as a person. I hope they know how much I love, care and respect them.

Thank you to all of you.

Thanks for reading, thanks for caring.

“This isn’t flying, this is falling with style”



A reminder: I’ll be doing a FAQ: So, You Wanna Be a TSwiftontour Co Owner? this weekend. If you have any questions, please email or Tweet them to me!

I’ll be blogging all the way through the RED Tour, Facebooking, and Tweeting (or @tswiftontour).

Use the email account if you want to send stories and photos that you think will be of interest to Swifties. We could even open an album!

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RED Tour May 4 Quote of the Day: ‘Make your way through the crowd and say hello…’

 Motor City

I am not a morning person. I hate the mornings. I am a horrible person to have to try to awake for anything, even Taylor Swift. So, in Chicago when Ashley and I had to wake up Sunday at 5am after going to bed at 1am to catch the bus to Detroit, I was not a happy camper. But, these are the sacrifices I pay for trying to see an obscene number of RED Tour Taylor concerts.

(Photo: Sami.)

(Photo: Sami.)

We arrived at the bus station and the bus hadn’t yet arrived. We didn’t really want to sit down because we knew that as soon as we did the bus would arrive. Eventually we got tired of standing and sat. Ten minutes later the bus arrived.

The bus was empty, which was simply amazing. Ashley and I got our own rows of seats. I, natch, used mine as a bed, basically the whole way. A good thing as otherwise by the end of the day I would’ve wanted to murder people.

About five hours later, midday, we got to Detroit.

More of mice and men

As I slept, Ashley had formulated a plan.

We knew there was a MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Detroit and as we’d been in a nice MGM in Vegas for the IHeart Radio Music Fest, Ashley figgered the one in Detroit would be a safe, comfortable place for us to eat and chill.

When we got to the cab stand outside of the bus station there were two cabs competing to capture us as customers. We went with the first cab because he was right there. The other cab driver became so upset that he gave me his business card, for later use. We didn’t need him later. Sorry buddy.

We got to the MGM and located the food court. It was nothing like its counterpart in Vegas and the whole casino smelled like an ashtray. I’m not sure what they do in Vegas, but none of the casinos there smelled like this one.

We got outta there, right quick.

Greektown, Detroit.(Photo: Sami.)

Greektown, Detroit. (Photo: Sami.)

The valet suggested that a good place for us to get something to eat would be Greektown, a downtown area. He said there would be lots of eating options and got us a cab. The driver said he knew where Greektown was and that, yes, it was near Ford Field, where Taylor Swift was playing later. Greektown sounded like a plan.

We found a cute little restaurant and got the lunch special, deep dish mini pizza and a salad.

Ed and ice cream

Sami & Ashley

Sami & Ashley.

A radio station was doing an Ed Sheeran concert before Taylor’s concert and we waiting for the radio station to Tweet the location to see if we could get there. We thought they might Tweet it during our lunch, luckily they didn’t and we ate without stress and chilled. When done we walked around for a while exploring, waiting for the radio station.

We lined up to get ice cream at Cold Stone. As we waited the radio station Tweeted the concert site. We deserted Cold Stone and started running in that direction. Then we stopped, got more detailed directions from Mapquest and discovered it would take 30 minutes for us to walk there. NEVERMIND.

Back to Cold Stone, to get our ice cream and charge our phones.

Ford Field, Detroit.(Photo: Sami.)

Ford Field, Detroit.(Photo: Sami.)

We then went to Ford Field where the RED Tour concert doors would open two hours later. Already there were a lot of people there, waiting to get in and hoping that Taylor or some of the band would emerge.

We walked around as we wanted to see what the radio station booths were offering. And we wanted to view the fans.

Kindness of strangers

As we started walking a security lady started screaming at me saying that I had to leave my bag in my car, that it wasn’t allowed in the building, or anywhere near the building, and if I had it they wouldn’t let me in the venue.

Tater Fries, @allisonepshteyn & @iamkaitlynmarie (Photo: Sami.)

Tater Fries, @allisonepshteyn & @iamkaitlynmarie (Photo: Sami.)

I started freaking out as we didn’t have a car and I wasn’t leaving it anywhere as it contained my wallet and my chargers. A nice man, who said he was waiting for his daughter, said that we could leave it in his car until after the show.

We were skeptical, maybe he was going to drive off with the bags or, worse, drive off with us. So we walked away from the screaming lady and down the other side of the street.

While we were walking we saw two other venue workers. I showed them my bag, a mini drawstring backpack that says RED Taylor Swift on it, and explained what the lady had said. They both said our entrance to Ford Field with the bags would be fine. Crisis averted.

@kyliemarieweber and her mom. (Photo: Sami.)

@kyliemarieweber and her mom. (Photo: Sami.)

We took some pictures of fans with creative costumes including @allisonepshteyn and @iamkaitlynmarie as Tater Fries and @kyliemarieweber and her mom in matching Wonderstruck dresses. The Tater Fries got Club Red!

Then it was time to join the entry lines at the main gate for 100 level seats, gate A. They checked our bodies with wands and then searched through our bags. No issue on the bag size, silly woman giving me a heart attack for no reason.

But when we got to the entry door, our tickets wouldn’t scan. Ashley and I looked at each other and freaked. Were our tickets fake? Had the seller used them as well as selling them to us? Would we get in? The guard told us to go back to the ticket window, they’d help us.

Trouble with the pits

(Photo: Sami.)

(Photo: Sami.)

At the ticket box there was a host of highly upset people. The ticket office had sent them to a gate for pit, the wrong gate. Now they had to return through security to reach the correct gate and that meant they wouldn’t be close to the front of the pit…

We awaited our turn anxiously. The guy got a little snippy with us saying, “We weren’t paying attention” and we were like, “No! They tried to scan the tickets and it didn’t work, nothing to do with us…”

They took our tickets and they scanned with them and they sent us back to security. I was worried because they had just scanned the tickets and that the gate scanner would now say the tickets had already been used. But this time there was no scanning problem and we got in.

The fun never stops!

Lucky laces

(Photo: Sami.)

(Photo: Sami.)

We went straight to the Keds sneaker booth. Ashley wanted to try and win the shoelaces and I just went along for the ride. I never win anything but $10-off coupons. Ashley told the Keds lady that this was her fourth RED Tour show and that she’d tried to win the shoe laces at every other show. The Keds lady said she felt “good vibes” for that to now happen. Ashley won the laces and was overjoyed!

I won a $10-off coupon. Ashley, pointing at me, said to the lady, “This is her fifteenth RED Tour show, don’t you think she deserves the laces?” The lady agreed and I got a pair too! They are super cute, I can’t wait to put them into my Keds.

(Photo: Sami.)

(Photo: Sami.)

We walked around the venue until we found our seats. They were right by the mini stage which was good, but as this was a stadium, what in an arena would be good seats and able to see everything, things here in the stadium were a little harder as the stage was so far away. Taylor looked like a tiny speck.

The other problem, which we will call Stubhub and complain about, was a giant light tower blocking our view. Our seats should have been sold as “obstructed view” but weren’t. While they weren’t the worst seats ever, it was kind of a bummer.

And we had a great time.

The show

(Photo: Sami.)

(Photo: Sami.)

Brett Eldredge came on a little before 6:30pm. As there are three openers at stadium shows, they start a half-hour earlier than arena shows.

While at the beginning of the tour I had no idea of who Brett was, I have grown to really really like him. I am going to miss him a lot when he leaves the tour after DC, but I am excited that I’ll hear him perform on the riverfront at the CMA Fest!

During his set I turned to Ashley and said that we needed to make shirts for him and I dubbed his fandom name, “Bretty Bears.” We both got very excited to be making the shirts for him.

When Brett was done we braced ourselves for what we have been dreading this whole tour: Austin Mahone.

(Photo: Sami.)

(Photo: Sami.)

He’s a Justin Bieber wannabe. The blood curdling screams that came from the little girls in the audience, of which there were THOUSANDS, was the most insane thing I have heard in my life. Almost rivaled the screams for One Direction at Jingle Ball.

We sat down during him to preserve our energies for Taylor.

When Austin came out Ashley and I looked at each other and said the same thing at the same time, “He has dancers!? The opener has dancers!?”

(Photo: Sami.)

(Photo: Sami.)

He sang a bunch of annoying songs that didn’t sound like anything because his music (and dj/hype dude) was louder than he was. Then he attempted to sing a N*Sync song which made me soooooo angry because, before I was a Swifty, I was a N*Sync DIEHARD fan and his butchering a song I grew up with was not OK in my book.

But he just rapped with the music behind him and then moved on. He sang his most popular song, which isn’t even his song. It’s a remix of a song from the 90s. Then he finally ended. The sad part is I have to watch him another five, maybe six, times. Lord help me.

Sadly, Ed Sheeran’s loop station didn’t break and we had to sit through his regular set.

The impossibility of Tweeting

I attempted to Tweet updates throughout the whole show but telephone service at Ford Field was terrible and it was near impossible. It took the whole ten minutes of You Need Me I Don’t Need You to Tweet that he was singing it. By the time the song ended I had given up but Abby, one of the other co owners also at the show, managed to Tweet it.

(Photo: Sami.)

(Photo: Sami.)

Taylor was amazing of course. It’s an incredible thing to see her perform in front of 50,000 people. To this day she still seems overawed that that many people want to see her and “hang out with her on a Saturday night. It’s really a special thing.

One of the amazing things about Taylor is that despite playing in front of 50,000 people, she is still able to make you feel like she is singing to you, and to you alone. I knew she couldn’t see me but when the mini stage faced our direction, I still felt like she saw me and sang a little bit directly to me.

I am fairly confident that Ashley thinks I’m a nut job because, not only do I know some of the tour dances (Stay Stay Stay, State of Grace, Holy Ground), but I also know most of the dialogue, including the 22 video montage.

I sing along with each clip — or speak in the case of an 8-year-old Taylor getting her guitar home video and a 19-year-old Taylor winning all her Grammys. As I was doing it in Detroit, as I do at every show, Ashley was on the floor laughing that I knew it word-for-word, song-for-song.

Secret song mysteries

At her show in Lexington last week, my friend Amanda won Meet and Greet passes and asked Taylor to sing Ours. Taylor had agreed to but, when it was time for the Lexington secret song, she sang Our Song.

I feel that at some point in the past week Taylor remembered that she had promised to sing Ours rather than Our Song and decided to fix it by singing Ours in Detroit. It made me really happy to hear a song I hadn’t yet heard on the RED Tour.

During arena shows, Taylor starts singing Sparks Fly and then flies back to a balcony while singing.

(Photo: Sami.)

(Photo: Sami.)

When we got to our stadium seats in Detroit we noticed that the balcony wasn’t part of the set and we wondered how Taylor was going to get back to the stage. When she got to the mini stage we braced ourselves to see how she would do it. We kept saying there was no way she could walk back as she does to the mini stage. It just wouldn’t be possible for her time-wise.

But, that is exactly what she did. She was carried by her dancers going out, but then walked, with security guarding her, all the way back.

This allowed her to hug and high five fans even more than she does on the way out. It was really nice to see her being as interactive with her fans as she has been in the past. The interesting part was that despite how big the field was, Taylor still managed to get back to the stage at about the same point in the song as she does flying at the arena shows.

When the show was over I met with my co owner Abby, whom I hadn’t seen since Taylorfollowers in New York last October, and it was so amazing to see her. She was with her girlfriends and we ate at a barbecue joint and then went our separate ways.

Confused and befuddled in ChiTown

Ashley and I caught a late-night bus back to Chicago. Ashley fell asleep right away and I started dozing off around the 3am pit stop. We pulled into the Chicago bus stop at 5am.

There was a line of cabs waiting outside the bus station and we went to the first one we saw. The driver was watching a movie, Soul Train to be specific. He asked us if there was anyone in the cab in front of us that could take us and we said no. You could tell he was annoyed, but he took us.

He drove at about 100 miles an hour, BLASTED reggae music out into the empty Sunday streets, and, I think, smoked pot. It was really scary and neither of us were in a mood to deal with it. We just wanted to get home and go to bed.

We got back and immediately crashed.

When I woke up I was totally disoriented and confused. I knew I was in Chicago but I had no idea what time or day it was. When I figured out it was Sunday (still) and only 1pm I was thrilled that I still had a whole day to chill before traveling again.

When I woke up Caylee had texted me saying she had won passes for the Tim McGraw Highway Don’t Care music video premiere Google+ Hangout in Nashville and wanted me to be her Plus One. I could have easily taken a bus to Nashville but didn’t want to abandon Ashley and said no thanks.

Then Tim Tweeted that he still had passes and Ashley and I debated going together but she didn’t want to make her boyfriend travel alone to Louisville and we decided against it.

I was a little — OK, a lot — bummed, especially when I also realized I had to retract my Billboard Awards seat filler and mosh pit tickets as I’m going to see my other love, Demi Lovato, that weekend in Boston.

In life we have to make decisions and sometimes the results suck. But at the end of the day, I’m where I’m supposed to be at that moment in time… even if Taylor is in New York every time I’m not. Darn you PUNK: Chaos to Couture exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Ashley and I laid around all day Sunday. When Ashley’s boyfriend James was done with work he came over and the two of them went grocery shopping. When they got back James cooked for us: pork chops, broccoli and quinoa. Delicio…

Ashley has to work Monday, and I’ll be left to my own devices. That, I think, will involve sleeping, a whole lot of sleeping.

Monday night we’ll catch the bus to Louisville and the Taylor Swift concert in the KFC Yum Stadium.

Constantly in the back of my mind is the thought that this might be my last trip. I am running low on funds and I’m terrified my dreams are about to end. Nevertheless, I live for the moment and enjoy it all. I’ll keep going until it’s 113 percent impossible to continue and, even if that happens, I’ll keep right on attempting to make it all work.

I’ve gotten to 15 shows now, another 33 shows could still be in my reach, if I keep stretching…

I’m going to be doing a Q&A post again, this time its going to be about being a TSwiftontour co owner. If you have any questions regarding that, please Tweet me them so I can answer them in the blog!

Thanks for reading, thanks for caring.

“This isn’t flying, this is falling with style”



I’ll be blogging all the way through the RED Tour, Facebooking, and Tweeting (or @tswiftontour).

Use the email account if you want to send stories and photos that you think will be of interest to Swifties. We could even open an album!

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RED Tour May 3 Quote of the Day: ‘Come morning light you and I’ll be safe and sound…’

The best laid plans o Mice an Men, Gang aft agley

I am fairly sure that the answer to travelling is to plan everything at the last second. That’s because, so far on this leg of seeing as many Taylor Swift Red Tour concerts as possible, the whole “having everything planned” deal is not working out.

Last trip, with a few exceptions, everything was fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants. It worked out quite well. The only minor stumble was getting a Taylor Swift ticket for Tampa, but even that worked out in the end.

This trip, only a few hours in on Friday and I’d already had several wrenches thrown into my plans to fly from New York to Chicago, stay overnight at my friend Ashley’s, then we’d bus to Detroit.

High Falls, NY.

High Falls, NY.

The 30-minute drive from my dad’s to the local Stewart airport was easy. Winter’s near gone and the blossoms are out. My financial resources, however, are not blooming.

At Stewart my plans started to go awry. My US Airways flight from New York to Philly was delayed because the arriving flight from Philadelphia had been delayed. They announced the plane was landing and that we would be boarding in ten minutes, thirty minutes after we’d been due to depart.

Twenty minutes later they made another announcement saying the plane would land in five minutes and we would then begin boarding.

Fifteen minutes later, the plane was empty and ready for boarding.

By now I knew that it was too late to make my connection to Chicago in Philadelphia. Then people’s cell phones around me started ringing. A few seconds later, so did mine. I assumed it was to tell me that the flight we were boarding had been further delayed.

But the automated message was not what I’d assumed it would be.

“Due to air traffic control congestion, your flight from Philadelphia to Chicago has been cancelled. Goodbye” it said.


Well, I guess the stress of missing my connection was gone, only to be replaced by a new stress, a much bigger stress. How in the world was I now going to get to Chicago?

I knew I couldn’t do anything about it from New York, so — after calling my dad, a little freaked, he, still in the airport parking lot, calming me down — I boarded the plane.

On the tarmac

As it was a puddle jumper and I was in the front row, there was no room for my carry-on bag and it had to be curbside checked. I’d never done that before and when the attendant took my bag away I frantically worried that, a) they were going to charge me (uh, NO. I purposely didn’t check a bag, and I ain’t paying for this one) and, b) that the attendant would hand it down to the people loading the plane, they’d leave it on the runway, and it’d just sit there and be destroyed.

On the runway, Stewart Airport, NY.

On the runway, Stewart Airport, NY.

When they taxied us out to the runway the captain made an announcement, here comes another wrench, that due to air traffic control congestion — those had become the words of the day — in Philadelphia, and we’d have to sit on the runway here in New York for a half-hour before we’d be cleared for take off.

The passengers were clearly upset. I was bummed that my computer was under the plane and I couldn’t use it, but the other passengers were concerned that they wouldn’t make their connecting flights. I found little relief in being a jump ahead and already knowing that my flight had been cancelled.

I chatted with the lady next to me who was kind of irritated — she got angry when the attendant made her store her purse overhead — but before we got off the ground she’d calmed down and was very nice.

She was flying to DC so I chatted with her about why she chose to fly versus the bus. A silly choice I thought, but I didn’t say that to her. The two of us then chatted with the attendant about being an attendant and what she’d done before she was an attendant. Anything to fill in the wait.

When we finally took off I kept closing my eyes and the lady kept talking. I was polite and responded, but all I really wanted was to take a nap.

When we got to cruising altitude I took out my Kindle and read. I’d forgotten where I’d left off in Divergent because I left my Kindle charger at home on the last trip. So I had read on the way to Miami, but hadn’t read since the battery died there.


It’s always nice to get away from the stress of traveling and money, and if this is going to be the last trip due to lack of funds, it was relaxing to find myself in a new Divergent world. Although I am to all intents and purposes a “grown up,” I very much enjoy “young adult” novels. They have adult themes but are written for younger adults and generally have young adults as the main characters

Divergent is a very interesting world to get sucked into. After a war has destroyed the world as we know it, four groups formed to take care of what remained: Candor (the Honest), Erudite (the Intelligent), Abnegation (the Selfless), Amity (the Peaceful), and Dauntless (the Brave).

Kids at sixteen are forced to take a “aptitude test” to determine what “faction” they belong in. The main character, Beatrice, is told she is something called “Divergent.” Meaning she fits with a few different groups. But being Divergent, she is informed, is something that could be very dangerous for her.

As far as I’ve got, the book seems to be about Beatrice finding out who she is without the categories telling her. However, it also seems to be that her life-choices, while they affect her as she is Divergent, could also end up affecting the whole world. Similar to Katniss in The Hunger Games.

I’m told Divergent is being made into a movie. Generally this would thrill me. I love to see a director’s interpretations of things I have imagined myself, but the casting seems off. I’m hoping that Amy from Secret Life of the American Teenager will surprise me. (Side note: Amy’s also playing Hazel Grace in the movie version of The Fault in our Stars. I can see that a little more but still, she’s not who I pictured in the character.)

Cheesed in Philadelphia

Anyway, once we landed I waited patiently for my bag by the gate. Praying it would appear, afraid it wouldn’t. Slowly, more and more bags appeared and disappeared with passengers. I was beginning to lose hope that mine had made it when I saw a crew member fling it on her back at the aircraft and bring it to the gate. Thank you!

I went to special services to get my flight rescheduled. I worried that my only option would be the flight that would get me to Chicago at midnight, which I had avoided when I was booking my flight.

But they had another flight already booked for me scheduled to leave at 4pm. Later than originally planned, but it would still give me time to sleep before the bus to Detroit.

I could have taken the shuttle from one terminal to another but as I had plenty of time I walked there, slowly. Just people-watching and popping in and out of shops, until I finally got to the bus, and then to the terminal.

I wanted to get food before I got on the plane and I kept passing places that looked good but decided to reach my gate and then get something around there.

Why is it that every time there’s good food everywhere, but when you get to your gate there’s nothing there? Any food is on the other side of the world and there’s nothing for miles? I do not get it.

However, I found a burger place near enough to the gate, got food, sat down, ate my burger. And did more people watching.

Inventing stories

At the gate there was a girl crying her eyes out and I imagined all kinds of romantic scenes in my head: of her flying to meet someone she’d found online, them being in love the moment they met, and her now having to fly home. Alone…

Because, really, there are only a handful of reasons you cry at an airport: 1) You are leaving the love of your life for any of various reasons; 2) You are leaving because you broke up with the love of your life; or, 3) You are flying to say goodbye to a loved one.

O f course I never found out why the girl was crying, but I chose to romanticize it.

A few minutes later yet another wrench. My new flight, supposedly departing at 4pm wouldn’t be leaving until 6:30. Now I was getting really antsy. The more the flight was delayed, the less amount of sleep Ashley and I would get before we had to catch the 6:30am bus from Chicago to Detroit.

I was getting really anxious that this flight would be cancelled and we wouldn’t know it until it was too late to catch the last flight to Chicago…

Customer service, right…

I went to the US Airways service counter to try and find a way for them to send me straight to Detroit. I had no place to stay in Detroit so I attempted to get them to cover my hotel costs too. I already knew, at this point, that their story about bad weather in Chicago was B.S.

The US Airways counter attendant was so rude. I wasn’t yelling or screaming, or crying, or anything, but she jumped down my throat. I explained the situation and she said it was my fault that my flight was booked so close to the bus and that “no one would pay for anything for me.”

Um, well it’s funny she said that because the last time I checked I booked my flight to arrive in Chicago 12 hours before my bus, not 3 hours before my bus where they rebooked me.

Who’s fault is that lady? Try again.

I worked in retail for five years until I was laid off last year. I knew that yelling at her would get me nothing, but she was so rude that you can bet your bottom dollar that US Airways customer service will be getting an earful first thing Monday morning.

Who talks to a customer like that and then does nothing to offer assistance in getting them to their final destination? That’s just plain rude.

Waiting, waiting, waiting…

Then the waiting game began again. Would I get to Chicago in time to eat and sleep? Would I get to Chicago in time to catch my bus? Would I ever get to Detroit? Is this going to be my last adventure because I’m going to run out of money?

Who knows? I didn’t.

They finally told us they would start boarding us at 5:30 with the 6:30 departure time. At 4:45 they told us that US Airways had opted to get a new flight crew and we now had to wait for them to arrive, by 6:30, “we hope.”

The crew got there by 6:30, but the First Captain didn’t. First they said they were going to wait to board us until he arrived. Then, when 6:30 came and went and he still wasn’t there, they decided to board us anyway.

Then we were boarded and ready to go and the First Captain still hadn’t arrived! The voice said we’d depart in twenty minutes. Thirty-five minutes later we taxied to the runway.

The flight itself was easy. It was a little bumpy and the captain was extra cautious so it took a while for us to get drinks (no free snacks, lame).

I read most of the flight. At this point I’m really sucked into Divergent. Not that I wasn’t before, but now I’m really, really into it. I got super frustrated when I had to turn the Kindle off when we were taking-off or landing.

Originally I was going to take the El and the bus to Ashley’s, but when my flight kept getting pushed back she decided to get a Zip car and pick me up. That was definitely way easier. We grabbed some food and finally got to Ashley’s apartment.

It felt so good to finally be able to wind down without having to worry about being somewhere immediately.

Although our Detroit bus leaves at the butt-crack of dawn tomorrow, Saturday, we are super duper yes, super duper excited to be going to the first stadium Taylor Swift show of the RED Tour!


Thanks for reading, thanks for caring.

“This isn’t flying, this is falling with style”



I’ll be blogging all the way through the RED Tour, Facebooking, and Tweeting (or @tswiftontour).

Use the email account if you want to send stories and photos that you think will be of interest to Swifties. We could even open an album!

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RED Tour April 27: Ashley’s Lexington, KY Guest Blog

Incredible Taylor bonds

Ashley and Sami.

Ashley and Sami.

I’m always amazed at the range of different reactions I get when talking to different people about the number of times I’ve seen Taylor Swift. This past weekend in Lexington was my eighth Taylor show, my third in the RED Tour. So far!

Some of my coworkers and friends think I’m absolutely nuts/a bit obsessed to have seen the same person, and concerts in the same tour, so many times.

In the Swifty community there are fans who have seen her many more times than I have, and those who haven’t been able to see her at all. Everyone has their own story and reasons for the role they play in Taylor fandom. That’s a part of what makes all so beautiful and unique.

My journey with Taylor has been an interesting one.

I’ve been a fan since the beginning, but it never occurred to me for the longest time that I could go to a concert by myself, or that I could see an artist or show as many times as I wanted.

After my first Speak Now show, my second Taylor concert, I decided to venture out and see the tour a couple of more times on my own. The best decision ever!

I made so many friends through my Taylor adventures and my life is now just totally different. I’m a co-host of a new Taylor podcast and get to spend hours every week talking with people who love Taylor just as much as I do.

I’m always working on some fan project or other — check out my Dreaming In Red ticket giveaway project — and planning my next Taylor trip.

But the best part about my life now is that I feel like there are tons of people all over the country, and the world, most of whom I’ve never met in person and never will, who just get me. We have one major thing in common and that is such an incredible bond.

Blown away

Rupp Arena, Lexington, KY.

Rupp Arena, Lexington, KY.

When I was on my way from my home in Chicago to the Lexington, Kentucky Taylor show Saturday morning, my phone was constantly blowing up with texts and Tweets from people wanting to meet up and asking when I’d get to the arena.

I arrived at the Rupp Arena at around 4pm and met up with the friends I met last year, Sadie, Steven, and Autumn. I also got to meet a bunch of other amazing people for the first time, like Maria, Abby and Jackie.

Ashlee's view of the pit. (Photo: Ashley.)

Ashlee’s view of the pit. (Photo: Ashley.)

Even though none of us were sitting together, it was terrific just being in the arena surrounded by friends. I was in section 13 in the lower level, and had a perfect view to watch friends in the pit having the time of their lives. Totally awesome!

My friend Kirsten, whom I’d driven to the show with, and I then found our seats and waited for Taylor. This was my third RED Tour show after the two opening nights in Omaha and I thought I might not be freaking out as much. Of course I was very wrong!

Lit up

The second Taylor’s silhouette appeared behind that red curtain I pretty much lost it and screamed my lungs out for the entire show.

In Omaha I’d been on the floor a few rows from the stage which was amazing. But it was really cool being on the side this time where I had a better view of Grant, Amos and the rest of the band.

Ashley's light-up sign. (Photo: Ashley.)

Ashley’s light up sign. (Photo: Ashley.)

I had a light-up sign I was dancing with that said, “Oh My What A Marvelous Tour” but after a few songs my arms got tired and I put it down. (On a side note: I later realized that after buying six packs of poster lights in addition to the poster board and paint, my sign cost almost as much as my concert ticket. But the lights are reusable and I consider them an investment for the rest of the tour.)

I don’t know if Taylor or anybody saw my sign, but I’d like to think that somehow they did.

No predicting

For the wildcard/surprise song that night I’d been hoping for Tim McGraw or Teardrops on My Guitar, as I hadn’t heard them live in ages. Taylor, however, sang, Our Song. Of course this was great but to me it was a bit of a letdown as I’d heard it in the Speak Now Tour and she’d already played it, acoustically, on the RED Tour.

Concert shirt. (Photo: Ashlee.

Concert shirt. (Photo: Ashley.)

But, as we’ve all learned, there’s no predicting what Taylor will do so we can only accept and enjoy it.

The show went on, and although I’d already seen it in Omaha, I was counting the minutes until she played All Too Well. That song is just my absolute favorite and this was one of the hands-down best live performances I’ve ever seen from anyone.

Then, while I was screaming the words and on the verge of tears, the fire alarm went off. It only went off for about 30 seconds, but it was so funny as nobody moved, flinched, or seemed bothered by it at all. Clearly, the general consensus among the crowd was that if we died in a fire during a Taylor Swift concert we’d at least die happy. But fortunately it was nothing serious, just a malfunction because of the smoke from the special effects during Trouble.

Then, of course, the show was over way too soon. We stayed in our seats for a little bit as the crowd cleared out waiting for my friends, Sadie and Steven to meet up with us.

A bat fan

When they arrived they said they’d seen a bat flying around the arena! I didn’t think that was possible, but then Grant Tweeted that it had landed right in front of him on the stage! I have no clue how that happened but that has to be one of the most random occurrences of the entire tour so far, tied with Ed Sheeran totally wiping out during his Omaha set.

Concert shirt. (Photo: Ashlee.

Concert shirt. (Photo: Ashley.)

After we made it out of the arena, we went to iHop to meet with more awesome Swifties, Abby, Amanda, Sandra and others. We hung out for a couple of hours having breakfast at midnight and sharing all of our Taylor stories. It was the perfect end to the day.

Now, I’m back home in Chicago and back at work trying to go about my normal daily life while having Taylor withdrawal and counting the minutes until Sami and I head to the Detroit show next Saturday.

Maximum show tips

Since Sami’s written about how to be a tour follower without having a job, schedule, etc. I thought I’d share my tips for how to attend as many Taylor shows as possible while working full time.

Many people have asked me how I afford so many shows: if I’m rich, or if I spend all my money on Taylor Let me tell you, I am not rich at all, nor am I completely broke.

I make an average salary in a job as a marketing coordinator, and I’m able to see Taylor because of a lot of planning, saving, and finding creative ways to make money. By the time this tour is over I’ll have attended eight to ten RED Tour shows. For me that’s a TON and I’ll be very happy with it.

Around the time the RED Tour dates were announced, I started a tour fund. I got a debit card that I did not use except to buy Taylor tickets and into that account I put whatever money I could put aside.

I decided which tickets I wanted to buy in advance and which shows I’d be fine with waiting until the last minute to buy. I have an Etsy shop where I sell crafts, and I kicked up my efforts in order to make as much money there as I could during the holiday season.

I saved my company bonus check when I got it, even though it was only a couple of hundred dollars. I started contacting friends all over so that I could share hotels with them and save money.

I planned out my work vacation days as I only get 15 paid days off a year. And, very importantly, I forced myself to refrain from buying any new Taylor merch from her website. Let me tell you, that was very difficult but worth it.

So, it’s totally possible to attend a good chunk of shows while having a job at the same time. While it’s nowhere near Sami’s record, for me it’s a huge achievement.

In case you’re curious, the upcoming RED Tour shows I plan to attend are: Detroit, Louisville, CMA Fest, Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts, Chicago, and Nashville. Several of those are on weekends and I won’t have to miss work for them.

If you’re at any of those shows, I’d love to meet you! Tweet me at @ashleeswift13 or under the same username on Taylor Connect.

Thanks for reading!


We’re blogging all the way through the RED Tour, Facebooking, and Tweeting (or @tswiftontour).

Use the email account — — if you want to to send stories and photos you think will be of interest to Swifties. We could even open an album!

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