2021, A Day In The Life Of Liz, Boston, Derek Hough, Idaho, Las Vegas, Magic, Twin Falls

Seeing Derek Hough in Las Vegas

I had the absolute best weekend ever seeing Derek Hough in his Las Vegas residency, so I thought I would write about it.

So on November 6th, my Mom flew to Vegas from Boston, and I flew to Vegas from Boise and we met up to celebrate her birthday and see Derek!

We walked around and explored the city. I have been to Vegas 2 times but never with my Mom so it was super fun! We are such good travel partners, and my mom is really my best friend!

I love Vegas, it is such a cool place! I love the theme hotels, and all the people watching!

Then it was time to see Derek! His show was at The Venetian and I really enjoyed how the theatre was small, it made it seem like we were part of the show!

Which, actually, I did become part of the show!! Derek was asking for volunteers and he picked me!

I have been to every single one of Derek’s shows, and he has never picked me, so I was SO EXCITED!

He lined us all up, I was the tallest so I was in the back. He told me to stand really still and not move because he was going to come up and push off my shoulders to jump over us!

It was AMAZING!! I was so happy!!

The whole show was spectacular, an hour and a half of pure joy! The thing I admire the most about Derek is his passion, and who he is, he cares for people, and he cares about people, and he really truly is doing exactly what he was put on this earth to do, and there is something so special about that!

In this picture Derek was telling us how for so long he always wondered if he was enough, and it took him a long time to realize that no matter how many accomplishments he had, or how many awards he won, he was always enough, and so are we.

To be honest with you all, I never feel like I’m enough, I always wonder if I am going to be successful, but none of that matters. What matters is how we treat other people, and who we are on the inside. Thank you Derek for reminding me of that.

The finale dance was to a medley from The Greatest Showman, one of my favorite movies! Such a perfect way to end the show!

As soon as it was over, I wanted to see it again!

The next day was our last day, we spent it relaxing by the pool!

I am so thankful I got to see my Mom, and also Derek, I am so thankful for this experience!

I hope I have the chance to see the magic on stage again someday!

2021, A Day In The Life Of Liz, Boston, Derek Hough, Suffolk University

I’ve met Derek Hough 6 times!

Hello friends! If you know me at all, then you must know that Derek Hough is my absolute favorite dancer, choreographer, human, of all time.

Well, I am so excited to be going to Las Vegas to see him on November 7th at the Venetian! My mom is going to come from Massachusetts and I am coming from Idaho and we will have the absolute best time! The show we are going to is on my mom’s birthday.

But, let’s take a little look at how many times I have seen and met Derek Hough, just because these pictures make me happy!

June 22nd, 2014, my mom and I travelled to Mohegan Sun in Connecticut to see Derek in his first Move Live on Tour show!

I still wear this shirt!

August 8th, 2014- I met Derek Hough at his book signing at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. This was one of the best days ever! I felt like I just met my hero!

I look so young!

He signed my book! Also, if you haven’t read Derek’s book, you totally should!

I’ve read this book 3 times!

Then, Derek announced that he was going to star in The Radio City Rockettes Spring Spectacular, and of course I went to New York City to see him in the show! We were in the second row, and I left before the show was over so I could go meet Derek at the stage door!

April 3rd, 2015, one of the best days, here we are at the stage door!

Selfie outside Radio City Music Hall!

He even signed my phone case!

I still have this phone case somewhere!

Then, he announced him and his sister were going on another Move Live on Tour, and they were coming to Boston this time! I got tickets again, and went to see him! I waited at the stage door after the show was over, but he didn’t come out this time. The show was still amazing!

Concert shirt!

I didn’t see Derek again until May 4th, 2017, but this story is wild!

Okay, picture this, I am sitting in the Suffolk University library studying for my media law final. It is a picture perfect day in Boston, the sun is shining and people are happy. I have front row VIP tickets to see Derek Hough on his Move Beyond show for the next day.

I take a break from my flashcards to look at Instagram, and Derek Hough has posted on his Instagram story that he is in the Public Garden, which is about a 10 minute walk from where I am.

I immediately stop studying for my final and call up my best friends Andrea and Andrew as we wander through the city trying to find him.

From the public garden to Fanueil Hall to the Esplanade, we were trying so hard to find him. I just wanted to meet him again, because Derek has been such an inspiration to me.

We decided to sit down on the Greenway because he hadn’t posted in 45 minutes, and I was about to give up, but then he posted that he was inside the Aquarium. We get up and start walking towards the Aquarium. I decided I was just going to wait outside the door and try to see him when he walks out. Just as I made those plans, there he is walking towards me.

I kind of feel bad because it was so obvious he was trying to just have a relaxing day to himself, but I knew I had to say Hi. I called his name and he came over. I told him the story and told him that I was coming to his show the next day. We took these pictures.

Derek said it was like we were playing Pokemon Go, but for celebrities!
Classic!

The next day I took my media law final, I got a 97 on it by the way, and then we went to the show! I went with my mom and dad and we had VIP tickets, so we got to meet him and his sister before the show, and attend a Q&A session. I wanted to do a really funny picture with Derek, so when I got up there, I said Derek how about you pretend that you are proposing to me? I didn’t know if he would go for it or not, but here is the result.

YES, of course I’ll marry you Derek!

It was hilarious! I loved this day!

His show was awesome, and in the middle of it, Derek came through the audience, grabbed my phone and we took this selfie!

SELFIE!

When Julianne asked for an audience volunteer, guess who went up there! My Dad!

My Dad dancing with Julianne on stage!

It was one of the best days!

I can’t believe I took this photo!

It was a prefect day!

In 2019, Derek announced he was going to go on a solo tour this time, and considering I was about to graduate college, I wanted to reward myself and buy Front Row Seats again to his show in Boston!

I was this close to the stage!
I love this picture!

The best part about having VIP tickets is that you get to know him a little bit. I asked Derek a question during this Q&A session, I said, Derek I’m about to graduate from college, what is something you wish you knew when you were my age?

I honestly live by what he said every single day.

Derek said, You are who you surround yourself with. If you surround yourself with negative people, you’ll be negative. But, if you surround yourself with people who work hard, and think positive, then you will be that way too.

I admire Derek not only because he is so handsome, but because he has worked hard, and never given up on what he wanted, even though it is challenging.

I hope someday people will look up to me like I look up to him.

I had tickets to see Derek in June of 2020 at the Flamingo in Las Vegas, but that show got cancelled because of COVID, so I really can not wait to see him at the Venetian in November!

I am so thankful for all of these experiences and shows I’ve seen Derek in, his passion and determination is unmatched!

I love Derek!

2021, A Day In The Life Of Liz, Idaho, mental health, Reporter, Suffolk University

My journey with mental health

When I was in 10th grade, I had my first panic attack. I was backstage waiting to go on for the closing number of Les Mis ( the spring musical I was in) and I thought I was going to pass out. My eyes were blurry and my legs were shaking. I didn’t go on for the number and instead sat backstage shaking and taking deep breaths.

I had my second panic attack in Mr. Flaherty’s history class 2 days after that. I went to the nurse because I thought I was going to throw up. My mom dismissed me from school.

I’ve had a panic attack in the shower, on the bus, on the train, in the car, and in my bed. I’ve had a panic attack during a band concert and on a plane. I had a panic attack on a boat in Greece and on my living room floor. 

By senior year of high school they seemed to be getting better, or at least I had learned how to control them. I knew the signs and the triggers and I knew how I felt before they started. I thought I was doing better. 

I was excited and ready to go to college. I was going to live in the dorms and it was going to be amazing, or at least that’s what everyone kept telling me.

But it wasn’t amazing, in fact I hated college my first year.

Every night, around 3 in the morning I would wake up from my deep sleep having a panic attack. I would cry and shake and be nauseous. I would walk out of the dorms to the middle of Boston because I just couldn’t breathe and I needed some air. My heart was racing and my palms were sweating, but I felt freezing cold. And it happened, every single day. 

I didn’t tell anyone. I went into college thinking it was going to be the best years of my life, and everyone would be having a great time. Why wasn’t I having a good time? What is wrong with me? I’m all alone, or at least that’s how I felt. 

By the middle of February I couldn’t take it any more. I was never sleeping, I was having 3-4 panic attacks a day. My only thoughts were on surviving. One morning in February after another night of constant panic attacks I sat in the 150 Tremont Street cafeteria eating my breakfast and crying. I called my mom and finally told her what was happening to me.

After lots of tests and discussion with my psychiatrist, it was determined I had panic disorder and Generalized anxiety disorder, and insomnia brought on by the GAD and panic.

I took the T home that day with so many emotions- relief, worry, shame, hope.

Panic disorder means I have a chemical imbalance in my brain, causing my body to have sudden and unexpected attacks of fear. The good news, with medicine and counseling, I can learn how to live with this disorder.

I made a lot of changes, I started commuting to college every day. I came up with a strict night time routine which helped my brain learn how to sleep again.

I learned how to cope with the constant anxiety. For me, the best way to cope was to have a set schedule and routine. I lived by my calendar, crossing things off when they were complete. To this day, straying from my routine messes me up for the whole day. 

I would stay busy, I worked a lot, I had some internships, I read a lot of books, watched tv, worked hard for my grades. I taught dance and competed in pageants and went skiing on the weekends. I thought if I was busy, I wouldn’t have time to be anxious, or at least I wouldn’t have time to think about how anxious I actually was. 

I would test myself to see how long I could go without a panic attack. 1 day, 1 week, 1 month. 

And just when I would feel confident with my progress, I would have a random panic attack on a Tuesday night and worry I was reverting to how it used to be. I had medicine to take if I did start to have a panic attack, but I felt ashamed if I needed to take it, like I was never going to be okay again. 

By senior year of college, I felt pretty normal again. Even if I started having a panic attack I could control it and go on with my day- a huge improvement from how it used to be.

I started applying for jobs, feeling ready to graduate from college and start in my field.

I graduated from college on May 19, 2019 and moved to Idaho on June 15, 2019.

Moving to Idaho has been really great, but also really hard. I love my job, and going to work, but I would be lonely on my days off. Sometimes I would just go to TJ Maxx or Target just so I wouldn’t be alone. 

About one month into living here I adopted my dog, Jackson, from the shelter, and I am so glad that I did, because he became my best friend and a great way for me to meet people, we would go on walks or hikes and to the dog park.

There has been so much good to come out of moving to Idaho and working here, but let me tell you, when the world shut down last March, I did not handle it well at all.

I went back to how I was freshman year of college, solely focused on trying to get through the day. 

If I felt lonely when I first moved here, that was nothing compared to how I felt when the pandemic started. 

I cried all the time, I felt like there couldn’t possibly be another person in the entire world who understood how I felt. I was alone. I was back to my daily consuming anxiety and not being able to think about anything else. 

Because one of my main coping mechanisms for anxiety is to be busy and not have time to focus on the anxiety, when the world shut down, there went my coping mechanism, and the anxiety and panic attacks came right back. 

After a few months of things staying the same, I decided to make some changes myself. 

I started going to therapy, I moved to a bigger apartment, I tried to find things I liked to do, even if it was something small like taking a walk or baking some muffins. 

Through it all, everyday, I showed up to work and tried my best. And some days, my best was really really really bad. 

So, if you are still reading this, you may be wondering, Why is Elizabeth sharing this with us? 

Well, I’ll tell you why.

Because over the past 2 years, I’ve been telling the stories of the people and for the people of Southern Idaho, and it’s been an honor. 

But, what I’ve learned from doing this is that everyone has a story to tell, and every story matters. Now, it might not matter to everyone, but my goal is to have each story I share affect just one person. 

So in reality, my story may only have an impact on one or two people who have read this far, but in my mind, that’s enough. 

I know what it’s like when you feel alone, when you lay in bed at night crying because it’s all just too much to handle. So if you ever feel that way, I get it. 

If there is one thing I’ve learned since 10th grade, it’s this: 

All of my life, I’ve wanted to be successful, thinking that I would finally be successful when XYZ happened. 

I still worry I won’t ever be successful, but I’ve come to realize there is no definition to success, like all of the stories I’ve told over the past year, everybody’s is different. Maybe I won’t ever be the host of Good Morning America, or a rockette, maybe I’ll just be happy.

2021, A Day In The Life Of Liz, Idaho, Jackson, Twin Falls

A day in the life of Jackson

Time to get up Mom, come on!!!

Finally, time for my morning walk!!

Had my walk and my breakfast, back to bed!!!

You’re home! I’ve been waiting for you to get home from work ALL DAY!!!

Time to go out for my afternoon play time!!

Back home and ready for my after dinner nap!

Time for bed, today was a really tiring day!! Can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring!