03 June 2019

Back to blogging.

I said I would never start another blog after my friend Jarred passed away.

I've always been really big into writing, blogging, photography — but it wasn't until my last account that I really felt good about a project I was working on. I was writing fashion and lifestyle posts — and I had the best sidekick in the world, my friend Jarred. He took photos with/of me, helped me style outfits, gave me feedback on my web design. We were a great team. It was a vibe unlike any other.

But Jarred passed away last summer (July 2018). He battled cancer on and off his whole life, since he was 2 years old. And once he was gone, I stopped writing. I knew I was never going to pick back up with someone new. It's not like I would never let someone ever take a photo of me again, or I would never write a post again (Heck, I write for a living!) — but I wasn't going to replace him. That was our thing, no one else's.

I went through a rough patch after he was gone. Maybe something for another post one day. But ultimately I knew that his loss needed to bring a positive light, not only for me but for others.

With that thought, in September 2018 (Childhood Cancer Awareness Month) I created "Postcards from Mickey" — a project that sends postcards autographed by Mickey Mouse at Walt Disney World to children who are in the hospital battling cancer. I started going into the parks for character meet-and-greets, getting autographs and mailing them out to kids across the country. Just a little magic mail to bring a smile to a kid's face.

My first-ever postcard signing at Magic Kingdom. August 2018.

I've always been a big Disney fan — my family actually moved here from Chicago in 2002 (I was 9 years old) to be near the parks, after annual vacations to the Polynesian since the year I was born. I definitely grew up going to Disney World more often than the average kid. And as an adult, I still have an annual pass and am always hanging out on Disney property during my time off.

Being able to have this type of access, knowing there are children/families who will never make it to the parks — whether it be because of their health, travel expenses, etc. — made me realize that this is it. This is my own way of spreading a little magic to those who need it the most.

And at the end of the day, "Postcards from Mickey" is something that Jarred and I can still do together — even though he's not physically here. Jarred was always there to help others, to bring a smile to people's faces no matter what he was going through. And I want that spirit to continue to shine bright and carry on.

This project is "our thing" — and it always will be.

, Jennifer

A photo I took of Jarred in March 2018, doing his thing. (Runaway Country, Florida Georgia Line)

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