Hi there. My name is Jessica, nice to “meet” you! I write the fashion-focused lifestyle blog, Bows & Sequins. Before moving to New York City a few years ago, I spent twenty-something years in the Midwest. Illinois, to be exact. I grew up right outside of Springfield, attended the University of Illinois in Champaign, and spent a little over a year in Chicago after graduation. But with a career in the business-side of fashion, it was only a matter of time until I made the move to New York. While I absolutely love living life in NYC, there are quite a few things from the Midwest that I haven’t let go of.
I guess you could say that I grew up bleeding orange and blue. In fact, I didn’t even apply to another school for college. My dad went to both undergrad and vet school at the University of Illinois. My parents have had season tickets to basketball and football games well before I was even born. At home, our TV and game rooms are decorated solely with Illini memorabilia. I grew up visiting Champaign almost weekly during the football and basketball seasons. So when it came time for college applications, it was Illinois or bust! Honestly, I didn’t apply anywhere else. I actually remember visiting Purdue’s campus in 6th grade and coming home and telling my mom that I thought it seemed like a cool campus. Her response was something along the lines of, “You want to be a Boilermaker?! Good luck getting your father to pay for that!”
Growing up in a family full of sports fanatics, being a football fan only came naturally. If my dad and two brothers wouldn’t have been enough to make me a fan, I was a cheerleader in Jr. High and High School. Therefore, I spent every Friday night in the fall on the sidelines cheering on our hometown team. In college, I came to love the whole lifestyle around football… tailgating, rivalries, friends and families coming together, etc. I absolutely love the fall and football plays a huge part of that!
In the 2007-2008 season, Illinois actually made it to the Rose Bowl! While my parents made the trip out to Pasadena, I stayed behind in Illinois. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, but at the time I didn’t realize that my team wouldn’t be going back for a long, long time.
My parents raved about the Rose Parade, the intricacy of the floats, and overall how wonderful of an experience it was to attend such a historical event.
With all of that being said, working with FTD to attend the Rose Bowl festivities in Pasadena this week is a bit of a “pinch-me moment.” I am so excited to go to behind the scenes with FTD and experience the Rose Bowl from the inside out. From the float viewing reception, to getting an insider look into the VIP vehicle decorating (can’t wait to see all of the beautiful blooms up close!), to the pep rallies, to the Parade, to tailgating, to the game… it’s going to be a fun-filled week! Plus, escaping the Northeast weather for the week and spending New Years in sunny Pasadena, California sounds pretty fabulous. And I get to do it all with my best friend, Hallie!
We’re flying out today and will be in California through the end of the week. We’ll be instagraming and tweeting up a storm so be sure to follow along! J #NYEwithFTD