Five on Friday

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It’s Friday – and this is technically the first “Five on Friday” that I’ve actually done this year! If you’re a blogger and want to join in, just post about five things on your mind this Friday – a favorite movie, book or show that’s captivating you, a recipe you want to try, cute pictures, a cute clothing item you found – truly whatever comes to mind and share!

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One. The Handmaid’s Tale – Having read the book about a year ago, I finally bit the bullet signed up for a month of Hulu for free and this was the first thing I wanted to watch. The show is both incredibly engrossing and incredibly horrifying all at the same time. The show stays quite true to the books while elaborating on character stories and I’m already intrigued by the previews I’ve seen for season two.

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Two. Wardrobe Goals – A friend and I were discussing all the outfits that we pin on Pintrest and then never even attempt to emulate…and in doing so, I stumbled on the outfit below and realized with one piece, I’d have the outfit. I hopped over to Old Navy today and grabbed a striped dress to pair with my long black cardigan, boots and scarf. I can’t wait to put it all together and wear it!

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Three. Watson & the Porg – I know…I know…my post on Wednesday was literally nothing but pictures of Watson and his new porg, but then on Thursday night he did something even more adorable with his porg and I couldn’t resist sharing. I don’t know why he loves the thing so much, I definitely thought he’d not really love it any more or less than anything else he has – but surprise, surprise!

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Four. Arbonne – So, I started the Arbonne Thirty Day Clean Eating Challenge on Tuesday and man; so far, it’s been a tough few days. The guidelines are pretty strict but I’m definitely missing my coffee the most – the time I get to spend in the mornings sipping coffee is one of the little things in life that makes me most happy – and for the next 26 days, I’m without my coffee. My younger sister and Mom have both done the challenge and lost quite a bit of weight and experienced drastically improved health – so I’m hoping that will happen for me as well!

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Five. Gimme More – Perfectly Posh is offering a little bit more this weekend when you shop! You can get free goodies with a $50, $100 or $500 purchase and any free goodies are always the best! If you’ve ever wanted to give Perfectly Posh a try and pamper yourself, this weekend is a great time – you’ll get a little something extra with your purchase.

You can check out my site at http://NatalieSummerlin.po.sh/

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So – these are the things on my mind this Friday. What about you? I’m also looking forward to a quiet weekend spending time relaxing, getting together with a lifelong friend and just enjoying some down time. I might even find the down time to post a little bit more about my trip to Disney!

I’m Going to the Movies

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Hooray for Hollywood…Hooray for Hollywood…

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We started our week of Disney park magic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on a blustery Sunday morning (January 7th) and quickly realized that because Hollywood Studios is in the middle of more than one building/expansion project – there were exactly FOUR rides open in the entire park! Thank goodness for shows – am I right?

We had fast passes for Star Tours, Rockin Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror; three of the four, so we went straight to Toy Story Mania once the park opened. I’ve never been at Hollywood Studios and not seen a wait time of less than 100 minutes at Toy Story Mania, so with no fast pass for the ride – getting on first seemed like the obvious choice. I had’t had my coffee yet but I was obviously still pretty sharp – because I was the winner between myself and my sister!

I promise I didn’t lord my victory over her for the entire day…

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We grabbed coffee and breakfast from Starbucks (and a You Are Here mug) and watched the Disney marathon runners making their way through the park – they were on about miles 22-24 at this point and everyone was cheering them on.

We popped into a showing of the Frozen Ever After – Sing-Along (I’m sure this was my Dad’s favorite part of the day) and of course, Elsa made it snow. Indoors. Because that’s a very easy thing to do with ice powers and what not… The main show was lead by two “Arendelle Historians” who were essentially comic relief and were honestly pretty hilarious.

When that was all said and done – it was time to use our fast passes for Star Tours, so we hopped into line and onto a Star Speeder for a quick journey to a galaxy far, far away. Our star speeder was accosted by Kylo Ren, got involved in a battle between the First Order and the Millenium Falcon on Jakku and ended up smack dab in the midst of the battle on Crait between the First Order and Resistiance – R2 even fired a few parting shots before we jumped to light speed and the safety of the planet Batuu…the location of the soon to open Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Lest you ever wonder – I’m a big ol nerd when it comes to all things Star Wars and I trained my little sister to be just like me (in that aspect)…and I learned from my Dad. So all chances for super nerdy pictures were taken advantage of and that shirt my Dad is wearing definitely says “I Am Their Father” – a Christmas gift from me; as are the shirts we are all wearing that are Star Wars themed.

Hollywood Studios was the only park we saw decorated for Christmas – all the decorations came down after the 7th, so it was our only glimpse into what the magic of a Disney Christmas might be like. My Mom and younger sister took advantage of my dislike of all things roller coaster and my Dad’s stomach feeling unsettled from Star Tours and used our fast passes to ride Rockin Roller Coaster twice in a row…adrenaline junkies, for sure.

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We popped over to the main stage to watch a Star Wars themed show called A Galaxy Far, Far Away that was essentially a huge character introduction cut together with scenes from the movies – but my sister and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute.

We were in the perfect spot to watch all the characters walk by as the show ended and I snapped close-up photos of each one as they passed! Of course I want to share those with you, ha-ha!

We had lunch at the Hollywood Brown Derby – a favorite at Hollywood Studios (at least for me) – and a nice chance to sit down, eat some delicious food and just relax for a little while. I had an absolutely delicious chicken dish and everyone got the dessert trio; you have the option to mix and match three of the six mini desserts offered, it gives you the perfect amount to finish off your meal!

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We made our way across the streets of “Hollywood” en route to the Hollywood Tower Hotel and stopped along the way to snap a “magical” picture with one of the numerous Disney Photo Pass photographers.

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As I may have mentioned – I am not much for thrill rides and I am definitely not up for a ride that simulates an elevator dropping me thirteen stories. My Dad and I passed the time while my Mom and sister (the adrenaline junkies, remember?) rode Tower of Terror twice in a row… The only thing(s) I find amusing about the Tower of Terror is the attention to detail that Disney puts into all the theme-ing of the attractions at their parks and well…a little Stitch wearing his bellhop hat, ha-ha!

We used a large portion of the afternoon watching shows – we’d already conquered all four rides that the park had to offer, remember? We watched my personal favorite, Beauty & the Beast on Stage and also made sure to catch the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular – my little sister lived out a dream when she was chosen as an audience participant and got to witness the action up close.

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We wandered through an exhibit that my Mom swears she has always wanted to see but never had the chance to – there was always too much to do – the exhibit was all about the life of Walt Disney and included fascinating information about the man behind the mouse, including a short video… but the thing I found most fascinating were the scale models used in designing the parks, all on display! They even had models of the soon to open Toy Story Land and Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge!

The late afternoon was all things Star Wars – we found ourselves with front row seating for the March of the First Order and I took tons of pictures! I’ve only shared a few here because perhaps you don’t love Star Wars quite as much as I do, ha-ha!

Lindsey and I also spotted that the wait time for Star Tours was under twenty minutes and so raced back across the park to ride another time – because why not?

My parents picked up hot tea and snacks while we were cruising through the galaxy and we all made our way over to the amphitheater for the 7:00 showing of Fantasmic – one of my favorite shows at Disney! We had Mickey & Minnie cake pops, a cookie the size of my sister’s head and a carrot cake whoopie pie that was to die for…and I don’t even like carrot cake.

The park(s) close much earlier in the winter months than they do in the summer and so when Fantasmic ended around 7:30, there were only thirty minutes left in the park’s day. We knew we’d be watching the 8:00 fireworks show at Hollywood Studios on Friday evening, so we decided to grab a couple more pictures and head back to our hotel – no sense in overdoing it on the very first day, you know?

It was a great way to start the week – a day that was full but not filled to the point of bursting. The weather was nice, if a little cooler than I think we all expected but that would change as the week progressed. We were back to our resort right around 8:00 and grabbed a pizza to snack on from the food court – my Dad joked it was the cheapest meal all week! ๐Ÿ˜‰ And if you’re wondering what my sweatshirt says…

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I don’t need therapy – I just need to go to Disney World

Watson Wednesday

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Watson has been spending the days since our return from Disney doing his new favorite thing – cuddling with his porg! I joked before we left that I was going to get him a porg as a souvenir and then I didn’t think too much of it until we were in the Orlando airport’s Disney store and I saw a shelf of porgs…

I pulled one down and announced that I would be buying Watson a porg after all – and my parents just rolled their eyes. Well – no one is rolling their eyes any more! It seems as much as small children can’t get enough of Star Wars newest little alien creation, my pup can’t get enough of his new porg!

Disney Daze

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I’m back from the happiest place on Earth – and I’m still in something of a Disney daze. A post happiest place on Earth hangover, if you will. Somehow the mundane of day to day life just doesn’t compare with the fact that this time last week I was wandering through World Showcase at Epcot – spanning eleven countries in one afternoon.

I thought I’d share a bit of my Disney recap today but nothing too overwhelming. I took SO many pictures and I’ll definitely share some of my favorites here over the next week or so but I’ll start small today.

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We arrived to WDW on the evening of January the 5th and spent Saturday just bouncing around from place to place – we love to pop in to different resorts, so we spent some of the morning looking around the Grand Floridian, the Contemporary and the Polynesian before hopping a bus over to Disney Springs.

Disney Springs is the shopping area at WDW and was recently renovated/added to and there are more shops and dining options than you could possibly imagine. If you can’t find something that fits the bill at Disney Springs, I don’t know if you’ll find it anywhere else.

It was marathon weekend at Disney and there were banners everywhere about…well…running! The marathon weekend had a 5K, a 10K, a half marathon and a marathon – and we learned after the weekend was over that there was something called the Dopey Challenge – which meant you completed all FOUR races. Yikes! I can’t even imagine.

We grabbed a late lunch/afternoon snack at Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar – if you aren’t familiar with that name, don’t worry – most people aren’t. The character of Jock Lindsey shows up for all of a couple minutes during Raiders of the Lost Ark; he’s Indiana Jones intrepid pilot pal and takes Indy around the globe on his adventures. The hangar bar is set up with memorabilia and tokens from Jock and Indy’s travels, the menu has snacks like pretzels, sliders and nachos and the real draw are the cocktails – hello, it IS a bar!

The food was really good – we split sliders, pretzels and nachos – everything was divine! I got a Diving Bell to sip on and my little sister got the Cool-Headed Monkey, which looked suspiciously like the monkey brains served to Indy at Pankot Palace – but I’m willing to bet monkey brains don’t taste quite so yummy!

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The big draw at Disney Springs (besides the shopping and dining) was the Christmas Tree Trail. The trees are themed to many of Disney’s numerous animated features and were only on display through the 7th, so we just did catch them! I said I didn’t have a lot of pictures…but I do have lots of tree pictures, ha-ha! Brace yourself!

To round out the evening – we hopped a very colorful bus to the Wilderness Lodge for supper.

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We used the My Disney Experience app; which we all had on our phone, to make reservations at Whispering Canyon Cafe for supper. I can’t say enough about how handy the My Disney Experience app was all week – but the ease of making dinner reservations alone was worth having the app. It’s free – by the way – and if you have a Disney trip in your future, I cannot recommend enough downloading it!

Whispering Canyon is one of our favorite restaurants around the Disney resorts – the name is a misnomer as the servers are boisterous and the dining experience is filled with tongue in cheek moments alongside the delicious food. Case in point – the below picture is what might happen if you ask for a little more water…

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Saturday was a wonderful way to start our week at Disney off – a nice slow start, enjoying all the scenery that Disney has to offer before getting the park hopping started on Sunday.

I’ll be posting later in the week about each day at the parks – I don’t think writing about the wonderful time will make the Disney Daze any less intense, but it will be nice to look over all the wonderful memories made last week!

Saturday – Snow White & Saks

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Wrapping up my posts about New York – almost two weeks late – but better late than never, I suppose! The Saks Fifth Avenue Christmas windows for 2017 were dedicated to the celebration of the 80th anniversary of Snow White & the Seven Dwarves.

The windows were gorgeous – Saks never disappoints there – this year they were magical in the style of Disney, not Christmas. I’ll let the windows speak for themselves!

*Excuse the less than stellar photography – a sunny day of glass = glares*

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And they all lived…Happily Ever After!

A Quick Interruption to Our Regularly Scheduled Post…

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A little break from the usual Five on Friday post – just to tell you that things might be a bit quiet around these parts for the next week because I’m headed to….

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I’ll be spending the next week in sunny, (hopefully) warmer Florida and while I will definitely be posting pictures to Instagram (@natshea6) I will probably wait until I’m home again to post on the blog!

Of course – then it will likely be picture overload! I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and if you live anywhere on the East coast that’s been affected by this crazy “bomb cyclone”, I hope you are staying warm!

Downton Abbey: The Exhibition

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What an exciting few hours spent in a building somewhere in NYC, feeling like I’d been transported to the middle of the English countryside and the grand house that is Highclere Castle – or I suppose, Downton Abbey!

My parents purchased “VIP” tickets which allowed us to enter the exhibition at any time and included a headset with additional information…I’ll be honest; I never used mine once. I suppose I’ll get the bad out of the way and let the rest unfurl as good – but it was in the teens outside and the greeter failed to mention that there was a coat check. Add on top of that…for the first floor at least…that it was SO crowded that it was hard to move, well I was a little worried about how the whole experience would go…

I never used my headset because I was also trying to hold on to my phone and eventually – my giant coat – because with that many people in a confined space; I warmed up quite quickly! Thankfully once the exhibition moved to the second floor, it spread out quite a bit and I finally felt a little less claustrophobic. When I realized; after it was all said and done, that there was a coat check – I just sort of threw my hands up. Oh well!

The first room allowed you to enter through the green baize door that separated the upstairs from the downstairs – my sister and I are in front of it in the middle picture – but it’s extremely hard to tell. I also bumped into Mrs. Hughes (I first named her as Mrs. Carson…I guess that’s technically also right…) at the bottom of the staircase, ha-ha!

The first exhibit past the green baize door and the staircase were costumes worn by Anna for both house work and her duty as a ladies maid, as well as the costumes worn by the under butler (Thomas) and second footman. All in front of really lovely stained glass windows…

And then it was on to Ms. Patmore’s kitchen – so very cool! If only I hadn’t felt like I needed to knock some people out of the way to get through the kitchen to look! I did manage to get some really cool pictures but I ended up contorting myself in a million different positions to do so…ha-ha!

The kitchen was extremely detailed and also contained costumes worn by Ms. Patmore and Daisy. Funnily enough, before heading to the upstairs portion of the exhibit I took a quiz to see what my position at Downton would be if I applied for a job – and I’d be a cook! I do like to spend time in the kitchen, but who knew?

A Downton Abbey must see is the board of bells that hangs in the servant’s dining quarters and around the corner from Ms. Patmore’s kitchen, there the board was. It was interesting to realize that the names under the bells are not the names of the people who occupy the rooms…but the names of the rooms themselves! Maybe other people already knew this – but I certainly didn’t and I thought it was pretty fascinating!

The final exhibit on the downstairs portion to the tour was Mr. Carson’s office – featuring costumes worn by Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes – all those keys hanging off the side of Mrs. Hughes hip must have gotten heavy after a while! After taking the quiz to determine what your position would be if you applied to work at Downton, it was up the “stairs” (an escalator) to the next floor and the world of the aristocrats of Downton!

The red tux was worn by Lord Grantham and the suit by Henry Talbot…the dresses; well I can’t promise you these are all accurate but I do believe the burnt orange dress was worn by Lady Edith, the red dress by Lady Mary, the cream dress by Lady Rose and I do know that the gorgeous blue silk and lace dress was worn by Lady Mary!

Some of the dresses were originals to the time period that were purchased for the actors to wear and some were created but they were all incredibly beautiful and had intricate bead work or lace designs. The blue silk dress almost looked too dainty for a person to wear, but that’s possibly the point? The woman who wore the dress is certainly not a dainty personality, so maybe she tried to bring out a softer side in her clothes? Ha!

Don’t even get me started on the gorgeous jewelry – each piece was so unique, crafted just so…it made me drool a little bit! My personal favorite are the blue gemstone necklace with matching blue drop earrings and the green gemstone necklace right beside it. What can I say – I like the bling!

Another look at some of the spectacular dresses worn by the ladies on the show – the blue and yellow dresses were worn by Lady Edith, the white dress was worn by Cora and the pink dress was worn by Lady Rose. I really loved the pink dress the most out of all of these – the neckline and the beading are my favorite.

Right past all the beautiful dresses and jewelry was the grand dining room – set for a feast! All the utensils (all NINE of them) laid out just so at each place, the china perfect and the silver glistening and elaborate floral arrangements lining the center of the table. I couldn’t resist doing a panoramic shot of the entire room…

Scandalous though it may seem – Lady Mary’s bedroom was the next stop on the tour. What you didn’t know though; there was only ever one bedroom set, it was redressed over and over again based on who would be in the bedroom for the scene that was being filmed! I feel like the bedroom was probably where most of the action happened – and I’m not meaning that in a pun-y way!

 

I’m incredibly jealous of that exquisite dressing gown that belongs to Mary – they had something similar on sale in the gift shop and I was oh so tempted… Also, how cute is Master George’s little bitty sailor suit?

The next portion of the exhibit was devoted to everyone’s favorite granny – the Dowager Countess of Grantham, Lady Violet! Two of her costumes were on display and the video that played with the costumes features some of Violet’s absolute best one-liners, comebacks and quips! This section was where all the laughter on the tour was coming from…

The exhibition then opened into a large room filled with various props, costumes and set pieces from characters large and small throughout the series – including letters, ribbons, handcuffs, jewelry, etc…

 

A few of the items showcased were – letters Lord Grantham received notifying him that the Titanic had sank and that England was at war with Germany, ribbons, letters and a watch belonging to Branson, Mrs. Hughes dress, the gramophone – one of those new fangled things Downton acquired along the way – letters from Thomas’ time in the service, the wire and one ofย  Martha Levinson’s (Cora’s mother from America) many costumes.

My personal favorite section was devoted to Matthew Crawley – curse the inventor of the automobile! Matthew’s military uniform was on display as well as the telegraph that Lord Grantham received when Matthew was injured in the line of duty.

There were also special sections devoted to Lady Rose that included multiple pieces of her jewelry, including her engagement ring.

And another little section devoted to everyone’s favorite down on their luck couple – Mr. Bates and Anna! The case included Anna’s sewing kit as well as pictures and letters exchanged between the two. Beneath Anna’s picture were a necklace and earrings and Mr. Bates picture featured handcuffs…sigh…the course of true love never did run smooth…

Then it was off to the third and final floor – which was a giant showcase of multiple costumes. I’ve shared the pictures below but I don’t know if I could being to break down who wore each outfit…there were quite a few and they were all so fascinating to see. Some of them – like Lady Sybil’s pantsuit and Lady Rose’s coming out dress – stood out to me immediately and needed no plaque to explain.

A few of the outfits warranted being showcased here as larger pictures – like the dress Lady Mary was wearing when Matthew proposed and Lady Sybil’s glorious aqua pantsuit! Those are two of my favorite costumes from the show!

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There were; of course, several different wedding day attire options on display – the dresses worn by Lady Mary and Lady Edith (on her first wedding attempt), the clothes worn by Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes for their wedding and Rose’s dress for her civil ceremony…as the dress Lady Edith wore for her second wedding, as well as all the floral arrangements and headpieces. So very fascinating!

After a quick “bong” of the gong…and a short video from Lord and Lady Grantham to thank us for coming to tour the house, the exhibition was over…

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Everyone was funneled down the stairs and out to the gift shop…but not without being able to take in some of the best quotes from six seasons of Downton Abbey…and I’ll end this post with my personal favorite.

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Did you ever watch Downton Abbey – whether while it was on air or after it finished?Have you thought about attending the Downton Abbey Exhibition?