actual college essentials | back to school series

It’s back to school season and already you are being bombarded by all the “essentials” and greatly enforced items but let’s be real…if you want to save a bunch of money and get things that will actually benefit you through the whole year, then this post is for you! Every store wants your business and even in this day and age, social media influencers are trying to help brand items as “necessities”, when that may not be the case.

Take it from me as an almost college junior…these are the essentials that I am highly recommending:

Water Heater

For tea, coffee, hot chocolate, soup…literally everything…I highly recommend having one on hand! Also, dorm life rules vary between different campuses, so make sure that you know what is allowed and what is not. (Check microwave & fridge policies!)

Large Storage Bins

I can’t tell you how great these are! Not only can you use them to store your belongings, but they also help transport during move-in and move-out day. Need a small desk in a pinch? Throw a long scarf over the top of it and it transforms! Multi-task items are key.

Layered Fashion

Having a bit of everything can never hurt, but it is far too easy to over pack clothing. Jeans and shoes can get really heavy too if you are worried about traveling with weight requirements for airlines. That being said, have a few of everything and make sure that it is layerable and easy to clean/match/wear. Dorm closets are small and chances are, you will not be too on-top of laundry so bring as much underwear as you can and a sample of your home closet to rotate through. Also, don’t bother bringing t-shirts because chances are, you will end up with a bunch of free ones within the first week alone.

Heavy Duty Backpack

Textbooks, notebooks, chargers and laptops all weigh quite a bit and if you have a busy day, the times of dropping things off in your high school locker are over. Get a backpack that will support your supplies comfortably, safely, and adorably. Trust me…you will want this to last a long time!

Laptop Case/Chargers/Phone Case

This goes without saying, but make sure that you have all of your electronic essentials and protection for them! I highly recommend phone cases that double as wallets too to keep your school ID and credit card close and safe.

External Hard Drive

As a film student and a person who just so happens to make a lot of videos (!), I have a great tendency to run out of space, need to back up my laptop as much as humanly possible, and bring files around with me. As a film student, an external hard drive (or two) are truly essential but I highly recommend to anyone in college. A flash drive or two helps as well. Store your stuff, keep it safe, and make sure that it stays as organized as possible!


I have been a solid believer in the agenda/planner since the earliest of my schooling days. It is truly a great way to organize your to-do’s in life and other reminders. Having one that works for the school year is absolutely great and the lighter it is, the more likely you are to carry it with you everywhere! Save yourself some stress and keep your thoughts on pages.


A laundry bag or hamper, pillow, sheets, cleansers, personal hygiene items, small lamp, shower shoes/caddy, mirror, few bowls/mugs…keep few of these things on hand to make life simpler.

As it goes for textbooks and school supplies, wait until the end of the first week! Once you get your classes situated and syllabi read, you will have a much better idea of what you will actually need. Long story short, you will be collecting as the year goes by so start as minimalistic as possible and know that things you need will be collected as you go along.

I wish you the best of luck this upcoming school year! Let me know what some of your school essentials are in the comments below or tweet them at me @sarahfhamilton!

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a mindful twenties lifestyle

It is official. I’m twenty.

I have gone through my entire life so far really getting caught up in the past. To make matters even crazier, I have spent so much of my life so far in *slight*, uncomfortable fear of the future, simply because I didn’t know what to expect and it seems like such a vast open land of potentials and unknowns.

That being said, it’s like a switch flipped within me the second I hit the ripe age of twenty. Being a teen was great. Being a kid was great. But being in the twenties is PRIME. I love my past, present, and potential futures. I’m far from “perfect”, but here are some of my early twenty mentalities that have left me recently glowing in a light of positivity and blissful happiness.

  • Life is everything. It can be both heavily structured and overly free at once. Perhaps, none of that makes any sense, but the overarching message here is that life can have many extremes and it is up to us as individuals to decide how to experience it all in a well-balanced way.
  • YOU are in control. Sure, there are always going to be factors that seemingly dictate our lives, but ultimately, we are the ones in control of our own lives. We make the choices and we choose to live our days the ways in which we do. Find your way back to feeling in control and everything is going to be alright…
  • …which brings me to the fact that even our emotions can be in control. So yes, choose to be happy, but also, it is completely okay to choose to feel other emotions too. Life has quite a range of emotions to feel, so why not embrace them all and look at even the darkest of moments as ones worthwhile?
  • Balance is key. I’m sure I kind of implied this one already, but might as well add an extra point about it. Be healthy, but here and there, indulge without regrets. Work hard, but give yourself breaks. Sometimes, it seems too easy to get caught up in all life has to offer, but through balancing chaos with stillness, loudness with silence, and even control with recklessness, the highs and the lows of life will balance out. Embrace it all.
  • Choose positivity and really believe. Believe in yourself, those around you, dreams…everything you believe is possible and yes, that may sound very clich√©, but take it from me; it’s true. Staying positive about everything is great and to make matters even better, realize that you are the writer of your own stories and the way you perceive the good and bad is what shapes you in the long run.

Alright, I get it. I’m twenty. I’m still young, vibrant, and probably in the most wide-eyed, optimistic point of my life and I totally get that. But I have learned these things over the course of these past twenty years and they clicked in as reliable sources of my happiness. I know who I am, what I have done, what I am doing, and where I want to go and now that all of that is in check, life is opening up in every beautiful way.

That being said, I hope you enjoyed this little ramble of life. I hope it brought you some sort of happiness and/or inspiration. If it did, I always respond to comments and tweets (@sarahfhamilton), so let me know what you thought!

Dream On,

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apps you need in la

If you are visiting and especially if you are living in LA, there are some very important apps that I highly recommend having downloaded onto your phone!

  • Uber/Lyft – transportation is key!
  • Postmates/UberEats/DoorDash/Tapingo – when traffic happens, you’re hungry, and it is leagues easier to just order in…
  • Google Maps – the Safari one is okay, but having both on hand will give more options for optimal driving routes even in the middle of mass traffic.
  • Venmo/Paypall – who carries cash? pay back your friends and let them pay you back too with this app.
  • Eventbrite – need something to do? this app literally uses your location and finds current events. you are so very welcome.
  • Social Media (Twitter, Insta, LinkedIn) – not only are they fun and entertaining, but this is a key way to make connections in a city that uses social media as not only a time-passer, but a business technique.
  • Photo editing apps like FaceTune, VSCO, PicMonkey…whatever floats your photogenic boat. (But seriously, why is there no photo app that literally does it all!?!?)

Are there any apps I missed? Let me know on twitter (@sarahfhamilton) or in the comments below!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post but if in the case that any of these apps (or others) would like to sponsor me, i’m cool with that so let me know. ūüôā

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Up in the penthouse one lovely Friday afternoon, I got to attend the table read of City Girl, a screenplay written by Sarah Ramos when she was only twelve. Being someone who:

a.) absolutely LOVES fun, fancy LA events

b.) appreciates the power of childhood dreams/thoughts/ideas coming to life

completely enjoyed this event and thought that I would write a bit about it!

At the start of the event as the guests arrived, there were complementary homemade pop-tarts, cupcake, twinkies, and grapefruit champagne. The entire penthouse had the most adorable girly decor, and everyone there was dressed very trendy. I literally felt like I was in the Nasty Gal release party scene at the end of the Netflix series, Girlboss. Between mingling and just watching everything that was going on, I munched on a pop-tart or two and took fancy photos because the aesthetic was strong.

The event soon after began and a stellar cast for the reading joined the “stage”. Sarah Ramos, Brittany Snow, Rosario Dawson, Nick Thorburn, Thomas Mann, Vanessa Chester, Max Burkholder, Dylan Gelula, and Brendan Scannel were all there, bringing a script from Sarah’s twelve-year-old brain to life. It was a table read like no other with laughs, 90’s flashbacks, and a whole lots of inspiring vibes among everyone in the room.

Afterwards, there was a brief Q&A session about the inspiration for the series and the process of bringing it back to life.

This was such a fun event that I loved being a part of!

Watch CITY GIRL here:

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As I write this, it just so happens to be a summer monday morning and I am in LA, sipping watered down coffee I made and wondering why in the world today had to be the day in which I was awakened unexpectedly at nine am. That being said, today, I am in the works of a very special video inspired partially by my own life recently and partially by a new Netflix show called GirlBoss. To set the record straight, no this is not a sponsored post (however, if the show wants to sponsor I am totally down for that!). Instead, it is a post I really feel the need to make.

Being a girl, let alone a millennial girl in this day and age is progressive, but still kind of strange reality to be in. I am very inspired to follow my passions and dreams to pave my way of success, however,¬†there is so much that goes into this that nobody sees. I’m younger than some and older than others and that leaves people comparing. In fact, thanks to social media, we all compare ourselves to one another.¬†This person is my age and achieving so much so where did I go wrong? That person is younger than me and look at their success! These resources are available to one and not to me so am I hopeless?¬†All of these questions suck and quite frankly, I need to step in and shine some light since we can all actually do something about it.

  1. Being a GIRLBOSS is not just a full-time job…it is a lifestyle! You have to commit to working for yourself and paid/unpaid/work/not work…whatever the case may be, being a GIRLBOSS means having control of your life and going after what you want.

That being said, here are some of my best pieces of advice for how you too can be your own GIRLBOSS.


Keep notes, planners, agendas, and your belongings and thoughts as together as humanly possible.


Water is literally the best and you’re definitely going to want to keep it up if your coffee addiction is strong.


Everything should be clean including your living space, your mind, and your self. Cleanliness reduces stress.


I say this often but sleep really is a girls best friend.


Take a walk. Read a book. Sing out on a road trip. Long story short, find a way to rewind and give yourself time.


Finding ways to keep yourself inspire and inspire others is a really great to feel great and get more done.


Keep yourself in line with your passions and dreams and let them motivate your every move. Passion is a drive towards success!


“Don’t worry, be happy.”

This post can seriously go on forever, but that is just it…it really does come down to motivation, a sense of sanity amongst chaos, and constantly doing what you love while taking control of your life.

What makes you a GIRLBOSS? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @sarahfhamilton!

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guide to becoming a morning person

Morning is a touchy thing…simply waking up and going about your morning routine can set what kind of day you will have and how you will feel about it. Luckily enough, if you want to become more of a morning person, there are definitely some great habits to help your mornings be more peaceful, enjoyable, and even productive! Kick start your days right!

Wake Up Earlier

Whether you have to get up for an early hour and can just barely get by running late or you usually sleep in too much, make it a point to wake up at a reasonable time for you so that you still feel well rested (at least, as much as possible) but you also still have ample time in the morning to get ready. Slower mornings will help you wake up better and boost your mood in the process.


A quick email and social media check is fine, but if you feel like a good part of your morning routine is spent mindlessly scrolling, stop right there! Put the phone down and use that time elsewhere. Which brings me to…

Reading/Music/Art/Yoga/Peace of Mind

With that newfound time not spent on your phone, take a moment for yourself! Morning reading, writing, yoga, music, art, and countless other forms of creative expression and self-awareness will also boost your mood and leave you feeling slightly productive right at the very start of your day.


I know we all hear it all of the time, but breakfast is key! Personally, I really hate eating crazy early and if I can help it, I love waiting until my hunger forms for brunch, but since my schedule is constantly changing when I eat and how much, finding a moment to have something after I wake up is a critically important part of my daily routine. That being said, a small sugar boost is okay, but instead of sugared cereals and pastries, choose oatmeal, eggs, and healthier options! Breakfast gives you the boost throughout the day and leaves you less hungry throughout the rest of the day. (Also, if you’re not getting enough vitamin C from the good ol’ sun, orange juice is wonderful!)

To Coffee or Not to Coffee? That is the question.

I love coffee, usually straight up bold and black (with the occasional almond latte when espresso gets involved at a cafe!). I also really love tea. Balance is great in the morning, so if you typically have coffee, have some! If you want tea, go for that! Avoid caffeine addictions if you can help it and make it a point to make your coffee/tea at home before leaving the house. This will save you money and time standing in line at your local cafe.

To-Do Lists

A great way to set out goals for the day is to use agendas and/or to-do lists. They don’t have to be anything fancy, but just being able to visually see everything you want to accomplish in the day will help guide you when getting them done and not feeling overwhelmed by looming thoughts cooped up in your head.

Accomplish Smaller Tasks

If you have an extra moment in the morning, accomplish smaller tasks like responding to quick emails or finalizing something that was almost accomplished another day. Even taking a morning walk or getting some exercise in will help you feel accomplished. With smaller tasks out-of-the-way, you may feel more empowered to do the larger tasks.

Plan the Night Before

The night before is a great time to prep for the next day! Give yourself time to sleep earlier, plan out some options of what to wear the next day, relax, and tidy up your space. Even having a clean kitchen will be extra rewarding the next morning when you go to make breakfast!

With a bit of planning and some extra time, mornings can become your best friend. If you try any of these tips or have additional ways in which help you become a better morning person, comment them in below or tweet them at me @sarahfhamilton.

…and with that I should say…

good morning!

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the truth about LA

It has already been going on three years since I made the initial decision to attend college in LA. While this is technically a school-based thing where I would always still be partially back home in New York too, seeking a career in the entertainment industry made this decision feel more permanent from the start. That being noted, I went from someone who was living in a completely different realm on the other side of the country, totally afraid and not-too-willing to leave home to someone who accepts living in two different locations as a normal thing at this point.

With the exception of those I met through first year June orientation and the obvious celebrities who most definitely live in LA but I did not know personally, I came to this city not knowing anybody. I had visited briefly, but LA is much different from my hometown and different from even itself from the eyes of the tourist.

These past couple years, I have learned a lot. Quite frankly, I keep having more experiences, opportunities, and lessons every day. Nonetheless, there are some things about living in LA that I did not expect to find out.

  • It can be lonely in paradise. Everyone is pursuing their artsy dreams and passions and while it is inspiring to be around like-minded people, a lot of time is still spent creating your own dreams.
  • The fitness culture is very real. Not only are others always wearing athletic gear and attending the surplus of available fitness classes, but the food surrounds maintaining healthy lifestyles as well! Calories are posted everywhere and there are far more vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, organic, GMO-free, etc. foods available than I ever even knew about.
  • Everyone seems to have spontaneous photoshoots. Partially, because it’s fun and everywhere here is so photogenic, but also, to maintain an image that usually links to creative career endeavours.
  • The weather does in fact dip every once in a very rare blue moon, but that’s when productive, brightly color dressed people suddenly bring out the grey sweats and Netflix.
  • My hair and my skin are LIVING for this dryness! The air is dry and my skin and hair is at a level of perfection that does not exist in humid climates.
  • The weather, mostly, really is perfect ALL OF THE TIME and you can wear anything you want.
  • People don’t judge. Instead, they express themselves however they want confidently.
  • This place is kind of messed up. I may not know too many other places, but LA is a really weird, unique place. It always reminds me of Wonderland…”we’re all mad here”.
  • Just because the beach is close by, that does not mean that you will be able to get there half as often as you would like.
  • It’s chill. Maybe not surfer-chill, but unless you’re on the freeway during rush hour (which is most of the day and night anyways), people are generally pretty calm about everything.
  • Everybody is networking all of the time! If you are anywhere, chances are, most of those around you have a business card waiting to go and a sales “elevator” pitch for something.
  • People know people. This goes for everywhere, but in LA, usually that means that somehow, celebrities of some sort are involved.
  • People are genuinely really nice.
  • “Hollywood” is fake. The glamorous side is real, but in a way that disguises that this is the livelihoods, careers, jobs, and dreams of so many people. There is so much more to the story when it comes down to how everything is run here.
  • It can get overwhelming. There is always something to do and the motivation to do it but there’s no way one can do it all at once. Learning to budget time, money, to-do’s, and even experiences is not easy to do.
  • For a “big” famous city, after being in it for a while, LA seems relatively small.

But most importantly…

  • I really love it here and I know that this is truly the right place for me!

Look, I have learned so much about this place and I continue to learn more and more. It is a land I am proud to call one of my homes.

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a “latte” wellness

I love lattes and all things coffee and tea. Recently on my regular Pinterest scroll, I came across some posts about these Wellness Lattes and I thought that I would try it out.

Coffee is great, but if you’re feeling fancy and still want a morning boost without the jitters (or a nighttime latte without staying up!), this is for you!

Here is a wellness latte that I brewed up this lovely friday morning.

Roobios Cinnamon
Wellness Latte


  • Almond milk – original & unsweetened
  • Cinnamon
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Organic Vanilla Roobios Tea

*make substitutes and/or additions as you see best fit!


  1. Pour desired amount of milk into a pot if using the stove.

  2. Bring the stove to medium heat and mix in cinnamon and cocoa powder.

  3. Once hot and beginning to boil, turn off the stove and stir cinnamon around once again.

  4. In a mug, place the roobios tea bag.

  5. Carefully pour the milk mix on top of the tea. Leave the tea bag in for maximum flavor or take out when you’re happy with the taste.

Enjoy! If you try this recipe, let me know in the comments below or on twitter @sarahfhamilton! What other wellness lattes do you want to try?

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aesthetic movies you should watch

As a film and television production student and all around entertainment enthusiast, yes, I watch as much tv and movies as humanly possible. That being said, there are some movies that are too beautiful and aesthetic to not mention here. So, if you also enjoy a good movie, here are some of my top recommendations.

La La Land

Iconic. Classic. Musical. It has truly become my favorite movie. I love the story, verisimilitude, coloring, costumes, music, and literally every little detail to this beautifully crafted film. Especially if you live in LA, this is a perfect movie for you! See the beautifully tragic and complex relationship bloom and grow with actress, Mia (Emma Stone) and musician, Seb (Ryan Gosling).

Meet Joe Black

Don’t let the long time frame fool you…this movie goes by WAY too quickly! Follow a young Brad Pitt in the role of Joe Black, also known as, Death. You heard me right! But what happens when Death falls in love and perhaps even, experiences life?

Big Eyes

This was a movie I watched because it was on Netflix and I recognized Amy Adams in it. Especially at the beginning, it seems like a lovely chick-flick rom-com but quickly slopes to a much darker turn. Also, there is an amazing song (called, Big Eyes) by Lana Del Rey that captures this film’s essence so well. Oh, and it’s directed by Tim Burton but stands out from his usual motifs.

Midnight In Paris

This film had been on my list for a while but watching it made me wish I had watched it sooner! This story follows a writer (Owen Wilson) whom is visiting Paris with his bride to be and stumbles upon a way to time travel back to his desired era; the roaring twenties! The time travel, story complexities, and turning of events are really well done.

The Lovely Bones

Based on the book by Alice Sebold, the movie follows the story of a young girl named Susie (Saoirse Ronan) who gets murdered within the first chapter. The story continues with beautiful imagery to tell the much darker tale of the life she had once led and everything that happened in life and death after her demise.

The Great Gatsby

The Baz Lurmann version is absolutely visually stunning. Not only does it bring the original classic novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald to life, but it combines old with the new through music. I highly recommend watching this if you have not done so already!

So get out the popcorn this movie night and enjoy some seriously well made and very aesthetic movies! What is one of your favorites? Let me know in the comments below or tweet it at me @sarahfhamilton!

Happy Movie Night! (or day!)

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being on the ellen show!

I have taken two Warner Brothers backlot studio tours in the past few years and there was two facts about the Ellen Show in particular that I remember:

  1. It is incredibly difficult to get tickets and be an audience member. Tickets are free, but there are so many people going for them, so unless you book months in advance and can work flexibility into the mix (a.k.a., basically live close by and drop everything to go) then you may get to go.
  2. Ellen’s first vacation was to the WB studio tour and now she has her entire show in production there until she basically decides to stop it.

Being in college here and knowing months in advance that there was a slight chance that I would be here in May (which I happen to be!), I signed up for tickets months out. I was originally scheduled for early May and then got an email inviting me to a later date instead since the original day would no longer work for me. I agreed, of course, and then got an email a few weeks later with standby tickets.

Basically, this is how the tickets work:

  • Standby: You are not guaranteed to be a studio audience member until you are in the studio on the set. If the guaranteed ticket holders don’t all show up, you get a spot. If you don’t get a spot, you get to go right behind where the audience part of the stage is in the special riffraff room during the show. You may be a seat filler for anyone who leaves for whatever reason. If you are in the riffraff room, however, you get a guaranteed ticket for a future show.
  • guaranteed: This ticket guarantees your attendance as a studio audience member.

A week before, I got a morning call from the Ellen Show team confirming myself and my party. One of my friends could not attend, so I had to cancel out her name but they also allow for changing up your guests up to a week in advance. Information is sent via email for parking, local food options, what to wear, and all that good stuff.

The day of, my friend and I drove out to Burbank and entered Gate 3 for parking (which was free!). At the ground level of that parking complex there was several benches, a pop-up shop, tv sets, snack cart, restrooms, and check-in for the show. We had to show individual ID’s and then were given Ellen blue passes with numbers. We were then informed that we were welcome to stay or leave, but be back by 12:30. So, we took those cool passes and walked over to the local Lemonade for lunch. (Eat before the show!) We came back in time to see a limo enter the lot.

Myth buster right here: most celebrities don’t take limos everywhere and tinted window SUV’s are far more likely. We wondered who would be that extra, but the second we found out that one of the guests that day was Nicki Minaj…the limo made sense.

The next couple hours were a lot of waiting, which is the reality of a lot of TV and movies when you’re going to be in it (or at least, hoping to be!). They played past show clips on the tv’s and offered snacks and such. Audience scouts went around and talked to people, eventually calling them out back. I read a post before the event about this and knew that they were looking for guaranteed guests to potentially be selected for games if there were any during the show that particular day. My number being 314 kept me waiting for a long time, but eventually, we got into a line and crossed the street, going into a side entrance of the studio.

The line just joined another line for security in a long, narrow hallway. Eventually, we got to the riffraff room and they called people into the studio by numbers. Technically, my friend and I were the start of the seatfillers, but we got to sit together and stay in the same seats the whole time. The show began shortly and the fun instantly began! (It was fun to begin with, but there was a lot of waiting in Burbank summer heat.)

We danced. Cameras rolled even when the actual episode wasn’t taped. In fact, nothing was taped in order and with several cameras and the magic of live and post editing, not everything that got on camera got into the actual episode(s) filmed. Parts were filmed out-of-order too. Commercial¬†breaks were spent dancing and having random dance battles.

The show is not filmed live, but they edit the interviews and game portion as if it were. Additional clips are added in afterwards and the order is put together at a different time. I was there on a Monday, which meant that Tuesday and some of Wednesday’s episodes were filmed that day. They don’t film on Friday’s either. Yes, there was a part after filming Monday’s episode where Ellen and Twitch changed and Ellen came out to yet another intro where we all acted like it was a new day. She mentioned something along the lines of being “so glad that it’s a Wednesday, not a Monday”. I haven’t been able to see the episodes myself yet, but if that is left in, most of the viewers will think it is a dig at annoying Mondays but really, all of us laughing audience members were noting the irony because *Hollywood magic* it was still Monday.

The show carried on and it was interesting to watch it all unfold. Despite the fact that we filmed more than just one episode, everything happened so quickly. There were timers for the amount of on-air time and commercial break timing. Every once in a while, we were informed that they were going to film a pick up, which is basically an additional clip to be edited in like it happened in the first place. The guests that day were Nicki Minaj, Robin Wright, and Andy Cohen. Of course, I saw Ellen and Twitch too! Between takes for the interviews for Nicki, what appeared to be her makeup crew kept touching up her makeup. It was strange though listening to¬†Starships and jamming out with the audience but also her right there also jamming mid-makeup touch-up.¬†I also happened to be sitting right behind one of Ellen’s invited guests, so she came over and have him a hug and awkwardly smiled at me since I was, you know, like right there and apparently staring more obviously than I had thought.

Before I knew it, the show was over. There was no time to actually get photos or meet anyone personally, but that was to be expected. We were informed not to take photos while on the set (whoopsies!) and then were directed back to the riffraff room to collect our prizes ($150 visa gift card and drawstring bag). Those selected to be on the episode for the games or dance and singing specials were sent to another room to sign wavers and collect their TV’s and whatnot.

We left the studio the same way we got in at our own pace (some stayed in the riffraff room to shop or use the restroom) and headed back to the parking lot. It was the end to an amazing experience. Plus, if you watch carefully, you can see me in two episodes filmed on the second to last day of taping for Season 14! *14 is my favorite number!

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