September 2020 has been a month full of velocity as I have started to dive head-first into TWO projects I have been dreaming about for ages. My first launch was this blog, The Road Jess Traveled. You can read more about my blogging dreams in my very first post, The Girl Behind the Blog.
Within a week, a second project was born – I got to announce a new collaborative venture with one of my best and long-time friends, Kristen! We are creating a podcast called ReDIScover!
Kristen and I have been friends for 11 years and it truly could be a friendship story pulled from a movie. Some of you who are reading this may have been along for the ride since our prime Disney/Frump days in 2011-2013. However, in this blog post, I wanted to walk down memory lane and give you more backstory on our friendship. Additionally, at the end of this post, I will discuss some more details about our new podcast – ReDIScover!
Jess & Kristen’s Friendship Story
The Early Years: High School
So, rewind back with me to the year 2009! Little Jess and Little Kristen were auditioning for the fall musical. We are two years apart in age, so at the time I was a junior and Kristen was a freshman. We both were cast in the musical, Annie, had a blast performing, and that’s when our friendship really began!
We realized that musicals were not our only common interest, however. Among the sea of too-cool-for-school high school girls, the two Disney fanatics found each other, and pixie dust flew! We both realized we had such a deep love for the Disney movies/characters and went to the parks growing up. Little did we know it, but this was the beginning of a wonderful journey.
The DisBoards and The Evolution of “Frump”
We both made our way over to the DisBoards forums, and got addicted to reading people’s trip reports and scrolling through threads of “Disney food pictures.” We spent hours and hours transporting ourselves from snowy Buffalo, New York into our imaginary Disney vacations through our minds and computers.
In 2011, I was graduating from high school. Since our school didn’t do a senior trip of any sort, we decided to make our own! My Mom was kind enough to bring me and my two closest friends (Kristen and Vickie) down to Walt Disney World for the senior trip of a lifetime. We stayed at the Yacht Club, visited all 4 parks, and finally got to live out our Disney dreams in real-time.
We were so inspired by the DisBoards trip reports that we made a whole video series and also wanted to write a trip report ourselves! We titled the very first trip report “Frumpin’ Around the World with the Bathrobe Princesses.”
The Bathrobe Princesses referred to a night of our trip when we were wearing bathrobes around the Yacht Club. The hostess at Beaches & Cream saw us acting very royal, so she jokingly asked us to start singing. Little did she know, we were choir kids so the guests who were waiting for their Beaches & Cream reservations ended up getting a concert!
“Frump,” however, was a concept that stuck with us for the next 9 years (and will probably continue to survive at least 9 more!) We went to an all-girls high school and since we had “no one to impress,” we would often sleep as late as we could in the morning and disregard certain beauty routines such as doing our hair. Having a bun on the top of our heads was renamed the “frump-doo.” That name has truly withstood the test of time.
Frump started as an inside joke and became a whole entire brand/lifestyle. It is an adjective, a verb, a term of endearment… you name it! Frump became a way of life. Frump gave us permission to be our crazy, authentic selves. For example, when one of us got a little overly excited and skipped down Main Street USA… we’d say “she’s being a little frumpy!”
We like to define “Frump” as:
“Somebody who is really, fully themselves. Someone who doesn’t conform to any idea of what they “should” be. Someone who embraces who they are, celebrates that, and doesn’t care what anybody else thinks. They are just living their fullest, best life.”
Our January trip came and went… but 2011 turned into a year of many Disney vacations. We went together once again in August 2011 – as a total surprise to Kristen! Our high school friend, Natalie, and I flew down to Florida for a few days while Kristen was already in WDW with her family.
The more trips we went on, the more trip reports we wrote on Disboards. The more “Frump” started to develop, the more our community grew. It was magical! We also started connecting with people on Instagram, which was just starting at the time. Suddenly we had friends from all over the world who shared this common Disney passion with us!
The Disassemblance of “The Frumps”
In January 2013, I was accepted for my very first Disney College Program! (which I ended up writing a full trip report on here) The DCP was a dream of both mine and Kristen’s… so it was finally beginning to happen!
However, as I said, Kristen and I are two years apart. So I moved to Florida while she stayed back at home in Buffalo to finish high school. After intertwining our lives so heavily over the past two years, it was a big adjustment being so far apart and doing different things for the first time.
In May 2013, Kristen and 4 of our other high school friends came down to visit while I was on my Disney College Program. We stayed at Art of Animation, enjoyed the parks, and ate to our hearts’ content on the dining plan.
It was all set up to be a very fun reunion, however, tensions were high. As previously mentioned, this was the first time Kristen and I had really been apart since becoming friends. When you’re 15-19 years old with limited life experience outside of school, new chapters can be hard! Having one half of the duo move out of the high school bubble was sort of a shock to the friendship, especially because 1. We were attached at the hip for so long and 2. Moving to Disney was something we both wanted to do and couldn’t do simultaneously.
We were beginning our own separate life journeys (whether or not we knew it at the time) which resulted in some growing pains. It was time to learn how to be our own individuals.
REALLY UNCOMFORTABLE STUFF! Not many people talk about friend breakups, but they can be just as devastating as relationship breakups. Yet, in the spirit of transparency, authenticity, and both of us taking ownership of past mistakes – this is what happened. It was messy. It was heart-breaking. But countless life lessons were learned.
Was it necessary for growing into the amazing women we are today? I truly think that it was.
After that trip, I stayed in Florida and completed my Walt Disney World College Program, went to California and did another College Program in Disneyland, and then ultimately came back to Florida once completing my degree.
In 2015, Kristen did her Walt Disney World College Program and consistently stayed in Orlando for the next 4-5 years while completing her degree.
For about 6 years, Kristen and I only spoke and saw each other on occasion. We ran into each other at the Animation Academy in Disneyland once. We went out to brunch to catch up once or twice. But pretty much, that was it.
Like all great Disney tales, ours is one with a happy ending. (well, more like a happy “present-day” because in no way is our story over!)
Let’s fast-forward to 2019. I was dead-set on moving out of an apartment and into a house. After thoroughly searching every house-hunting website for the perfect fit, I finally came across the dream house and location. I moved all of my stuff in, and the following day my Mom and I were around the pool area searching for the mailbox.
We looked up and we saw Kristen! What a complete surprise! I asked her if she lived around here and she said yes… then she pointed to the house directly next door to mine. THERE ARE NO COINCIDENCES, PEOPLE!
After experiencing that moment of pure divine intervention, we caught up with Kristen for at least an hour that day. In our hearts, we knew it was time to turn over a new leaf. This day sparked many more meetups and chats. We spent hours and hours reminiscing about old times. We reconciled, apologized, and forgave each other for everything that happened. It was the healing experience I truly didn’t know I needed and my heart felt so full.
Frumpiness Begins Again!
Kristen was moving back to Buffalo soon after I had moved into the next-door house… however before she left, we had the most brilliant beyond brilliant idea.
Since we were feeling nostalgic, we thought it would be fun to go to the Disney parks in the present day and recreate some of our old memories. We created a video called “The Frumpiness Begins Tour.” It was named after the Jonas Brothers reunion. They broke up for 6 years (2013-2019) and they’re brothers. We were apart for those same 6 years (2013-2019) and we have always felt like sisters. So it just made sense.
Special thanks and shoutout to my roommate, Sarah Campbell (@sbethphoto) for coming to the parks, filming, photographing, and embracing our frumpiness.
The Frumpiness Begins Tour video is linked here and at the very bottom of this blog post – check it out if you’d love to see a reunited friendship, wholesome memories, and some Disney magic come to life! To this day, this is still one of my favorite projects I’ve ever created.
ReDIScover – A Podcast Hosted By Jess & Kristen
Since we filmed “The Frumpiness Begins Tour,” the world has completely flipped upside down due to the global pandemic. Kristen and I found ourselves living close by again and our creative brains are running wild once more. Someone suggested beginning a podcast and we thought that would be the PERFECT next project to create together!
The name ReDIScover feels like a puzzle piece fit for us. First off, it has DIS right smack-dab in the middle of the title. That is the tribute to Disney that we intend to keep as a common thread throughout the podcast, although it will not be the topic of every episode.
Also, ReDIScover is the perfect word because we are “rediscovering” our modern-day friendship and our creative process together. We are living in such a different time now – both personally and on a worldwide scale. Although so many things have changed, so much is still the same. We have so much we can discover together during this brand new chapter.
Plus, “Discover” happens to be the name of one of the Epcot parking lots. Although not directly related to our content, that serves as an inspiration and definitely helped with the branding.
What Will ReDIScover Be About?
ReDIScover is a “conversation that travels through everything that makes up the essence of who we are and how to live authentically and imaginatively.”
As far as discussion topics go, though we mentioned we will definitely feature Disney, this is not solely a “Disney podcast.” We will also dive into things such as cultivating your most authentic life, staying true to who you are, friendships/relationships, personal development, self-care, wellness, and all of the things that bring us joy!
We also plan to bring guests onto the podcast in the future who will serve as a huge contribution to you – our listeners – so be on the lookout for that!
You can click on the Podcast tab at the top of my website at any time to find a central hub for podcast information. It is still in the construction phase but will continue to be updated over time!
Serendipitously reconnecting with Kristen and healing one of my most cherished friendships has served such a huge lesson. We both got to practice compassion, forgiveness, and giving each other (and ourselves) grace… and throughout this process, we get to CREATE something truly magical.
Thank you so much for reading about the journey of Jess & Kristen. The past 11 years of our lives have been full of memories, lessons, and full circle moments. Creating this podcast is the newest, and arguably one of the most exciting, chapters of our friendship to date. We appreciate your support and love throughout this journey, and hope we can bring a little inspiration and magic to you – wherever you’re listening!
Please subscribe to ReDIScover and be on the lookout for new episodes on Tuesdays!
Also, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts – the more reviews published, the more Apple will promote the podcast and it will get into the ears of listeners who truly resonate with it.
Click the images below to access ReDIScover – which is now streaming on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
Thank you so much again! Until next time… 🙂 Stay frumpy!
And if you would like to watch Frumpiness Begins….