Catching Up with Life Lately

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Now that I’ve finally returned from vacation, gotten back into the swing of things and recapped all the vacation happenings.. I suppose it’s about time to catch up on the day to day life happenings. It’s nothing quite so thrilling as time spent on the West coast and riding things at Disneyland…but it’s the calm and comfort of every day life and there is something nice about routine.

One of the things I love to collect are pins from Disney – I have pins from the past four Disney vacations and I try to choose them based on things I’ve done/experiences that I’ve had while on that particular trip. I put the pins from our last Disneyland visit in a shadow box with pictures from the trip – and I need to do that with some of my other pins but I haven’t quite gotten around to it.

I decided this time around to buy a Loki pin since we had the chance to meet Loki (my personal favorite from the Marvel universe) – he told me I was forward, but listen – I just wanted a picture, ha-ha! I also got a pin with Qi’ra from Solo on it; this one was purely because as a huge Game of Thrones fan, I loved seeing Emilia on a Disney pin and so I needed it! I grabbed a Disneyland Hotel pin since that’s where we stayed, a Coco pin because we stayed during Pixar Fest and that is hands down my favorite Pixar movie and lastly – a Guardians of the Galaxy pin because I was chosen (by Star Lord) to participate in the dance off.

Another marvel from my vacation that I brought back – Snap Chat! I remember downloading it years ago and pretty quickly deciding that I had absolutely no clue how in the heck to work it. Well my little sister loaded it on to my phone shortly before my cousin’s wedding started and she spent the entire week teaching me how to use it. I’m sort of obsessed with the filters but I can’ quite decide if the big eyes are pretty or creepy…

Last week passed pretty quickly – to me, at least. Work was fairly relaxed and the weather ended up being quite beautiful… I got to leave work early on Friday which meant that I got to spend time with my precious pup; I mentioned that he’d not felt his best while I was gone. The vet seems to think he slipped a disc or pulled a muscle – he took pain medication for about ten days but has seemed just like his old self since late last week. He took some time on Friday evening to stop and smell the roses…

Last weekend was a completely lazy weekend – nothing ever wrong with that, especially since the weekend before was filled with Las Vegas activities and travel. I slept in on Saturday and then lounged on my couch with a cup of coffee and my sweet puppy. I basically loafed around all morning doing a whole lot of nothing and after lunch I finally convinced myself to exercise and do a little picking up and putting away around my little home before getting ready for some friends to come over for a cook out.

My contribution to the cook out was dessert – it is one of those that I’ve seen floating around Pintrest forever and a day – it’s actually called Weight Watcher’s Oreo Fluff and it’s not filled with calories but it tastes absolutely divine! It’s also incredibly easy to make and so I’ll fill you in on that below!

Oreo Fluff

  • 1 small package white chocolate or chocolate pudding mix
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 small package whipped topping
  • 15-20 Oreo cookies; crumbled

Prepare the pudding with the milk (according to package); once well mixed, fold in the whipped topping. Add in crumbled Oreo’s about an hour before serving.

It’s just that easy and it’s just that good. You could add the Oreo’s in earlier if you don’t mind that they get a bit soft.. I don’t know about you, but Oreo’s are good no matter what! The rest of the meal was also delicious, grilled burgers and hot dogs, baked beans, chips, watermelon and cantaloupe and for dessert – Oreo Fluff and rice krispie treats in original, lemon and cookies and cream. We also had some really delicious homemade strawberry limeade – the whole meal was so good and my sweet pup cuddling up to Jimmy after dinner was pretty sweet too.

It started to rain almost as soon as the grilling was finished on Saturday night and it rained…and rained…and rained…through Saturday night and into Sunday morning and Sunday afternoon. After church, we grabbed lunch at the newly opened Macadoo’s on the walking mall in Winchester – I’ll be going back because it was yummy – definitely the best place to grab a sandwich! I went to see Infinity War one more time before it leaves theaters – especially since it rained all afternoon – there wasn’t much else to do.

And this week has been quite relaxed too – which has been nice! I’ve left work early twice this week and been able to relax on the deck in the gorgeous summer sunshine with my pup! Tuesday night my Mom and I joined some of the ladies from our neighborhood Bible study to get dinner and we had a wonderful time. I can’t believe it’s already Thursday afternoon – this week seems like it has flown by.

One other thing I’ve been doing since we came home – watching Capitals hockey – something I can honestly say I haven’t ever done before. The Capitals are playing the Stanley Cup and I’ve wanted to go to a game for years but just haven’t quite gotten there yet…but I have been watching the games on TV and now I really want to go to a hockey game. Talk about intense! The entire city of DC and all of Northern Virginia, even into the Baltimore area…everyone is just electrified and it is so exciting to watch!

Tonight is the fifth game in the Stanley Cup finals – the Capitals lead the series 3-1, which means that if they win this game, the Stanley Cup is coming to DC! I can’t wait to watch the game and I sure am hoping that tomorrow’s post will include a little championship celebration! As FP Santangelo (Nationals commentator) has been saying “It’s OK to Believe”.

The Strip…and Some Other Stuff

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The last of my vacation recap post – our final two days in Vegas were; for us, fairly low key. We slept in again on Saturday and planned our attack for the day over coffee (well, at least I had coffee…I always have coffee.) Did y’all know there is a Taco Bell on the strip where you can get married? Well – there is and you can and while on one got married, we did make our way into the middle of Las Vegas for lunch at the Taco Bell Cantina!

The music in the Taco Bell Cantina is a continuous bass that thumps and bumps while you order your quesadilla and munch on your nachos bell grande…or whatever else you might be persuaded to order. You can also get Taco Bell’s signature Mountain Dew slush drinks…with alcohol, of course. I stuck with Sprite and we found a bar seat on the second floor that offered some really good views of the Strip and people watching – all with a booming beat in the background.

We parked at the Bellagio and we slowly made our way back toward the grand hotel, taking in the sight and sounds (there are so many sounds) of the Vegas strip as we walked. I was able to snap some great pictures from a walkway that stretched across the strip and we ducked into the Cosmopolitan to take refuge in the air conditioning for a bit…

There was a gigantic floor to ceiling chandelier that was not only breathtaking to look at but also housed a bar called – Chandelier. Not exactly thinking outside the box, but it was still pretty to look at! We hung around in the whipping breeze on the walkway to the Bellagio and watched the fountain show before heading in to look at the conservatory. We also took a little picture in front of a sign announcing a rivalry between my sister and I that I didn’t even now existed – until this vacation.

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After “cheering” our favorite for the Stanley Cup, we made our way into the Conservatory at the Bellagio – always filled with incredibly breath-taking floral displays to coincide with the season. The displays are always…always so beautiful and this one was themed to a Japanese/Cherry Blossom theme and was gorgeous. You should know – I took a ton of pictures!

It was much less crowded than I remember in previous visits, which is probably what allowed for taking so many pictures that miraculously turned out with no random people in them – victory!

We decided that while we were this close to Jean Phillipe Patisserie, we couldn’t just pass up the opportunity to get some of the most gorgeous dessert creations ever and so we walked just mere steps down the corridor from the Conservatory, hopped in line next to the chocolate fountain and got ourselves some dessert masquerading as artwork – I chose the Oreo Brownie (with flakes of gold leaf, naturally…) and my little sister got an Earl Grey Mousse Cake…my Mom by passed the desserts for some gelato and we were all in heaven with our choices.

Once we finished up our eatable artwork, we hopped back in the car and headed for the Rio – my Mom and sister had tickets to zip line across the sky 51 stories above ground and well… I was going along to watch but certainly nothing more. They signed their lives away and we hopped on the elevator to ride up…up…up to the top of one of the Rio’s two towers, where a set of cables connects the two buildings and adrenaline junkies are sent careening across the sky at speeds of 30+ miles per hour. The views from the top of the tower were incredible though…

I suppose I can share the pictures I took of the crazy people…eh…. I mean the adventurous people who decided to soar across the sky in nothing but a white bucket seat and strap…ha!

I’m not kidding about the views though – they were spectacular. I thoroughly enjoyed my time sitting on the couches scattered around the viewing platform, which becomes a bar at night. The wind was swirling around the building, there was the laughter and delighted screams of people taking on their fears and the sun was shining. Not a bad way to spend some time!

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We made our way back down to the lower levels of the Rio and found our way to KISS mini golf and I bet you didn’t even know that was a thing – but it is and it’s a delight. And I’m not just saying that because I won, ha-ha! Everything glows, there is KISS music playing, the course tells the timeline of the band and all the holes are themed to their rather extravagant personalities – I putted a ball through a giant version of Gene Simmon’s shoe!

The black light was further confirmation I’d picked the perfect day to wear my white jeans for the first time – they glowed delightfully bright and made for some really excellent photos. Also, that picture in the middle is what happens when you take a picture and don’t realize that the flash is going to go off. Whoops!

We had thrown around the idea of going to Fremont Street but we decided after we finished our golf game that we’d really rather go get dinner somewhere and then just go back to Lindsey and relax…maybe watch the sunset over the mountains from her balcony. And that’s exactly what we did – we went and had dinner at a restaurant called Echo & Rig (excellent service) and then went home, sat on my sister’s balcony and watched the sun set…and also watched a couple little bats flit and float around.

Sunday morning I woke up with a headache – I woke up quite early and tried to take some medicine and go back to sleep, but that never quite happened. I ended up watching the most recent episode of Patrick Melrose and gradually…throughout the morning, the headache waned. It finally went away completely when we went to grab brunch at Hash House A Go Go – a place with crazy good food and insanely large portions. I had the grilled cheese and it was to die for…but I couldn’t finish it all. Whoosh. So yummy though.

We spent the afternoon packing up our things and then went over to Red Rocks Casino to see Solo: A Star Wars Story in IMAX 3D – the movie was really good! We grabbed dinner at Jason’s Deli near the airport and then…much too quickly, it was time to head through security and board our flight.

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The flight must have been a fairly easy one – it was a red eye flight and while I was convinced I wouldn’t sleep, I must have because I honestly don’t remember taking off and while I remember a couple instances of waking up on the plane – I do remember that the four and half hour flight passed in what seemed like a blink. We left Vegas shortly after the sun set and arrived back in DC as the sun was coming up – and thank goodness we had Monday off, because you better believe that I took a nap on Monday, ha-ha!

Another wonderful vacation with memories that I will hold dear for my whole life!

Musicals, Million Dollar Houses & Muggles

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Oh Thursday – the day started off so gloriously simply because it started whenever I wanted it to. I think one of the simple pleasures of being an adult are those days when you normally have an alarm – and then, you don’t! Of course…perhaps I just love sleep too much? I’m not convinced that loving sleep too much is actually a thing…

We did a whole lot of nothing throughout the morning but we finally decided that we’d get ourselves together and go grab lunch and some pedicures and that’s exactly what we did. My younger sister took us to a pizza place she frequents called Blaze where you create your own pizza and it’s wood fired – the pizza was absolutely delicious and they had a drink that was some kind of delicious coconut water style sipper that I could drink all day, every day. I just came to the discovery that there is a Blaze Pizza in Fairfax and I’m all over that.

I got a navy blue color on my toes, I do believe it is called My Car has Navy-gation (which is weird) and I love it! It’s been just over a week and it’s still hanging on pretty well! We returned to Lindsey’s house to change clothes and pick up a couple things, then went to peruse the Base Exchange at Nellis AFB before meeting up and visiting with family friends. When our visit was over, we headed for the Las Vegas strip to have dinner at the Grand Luxe Cafe before going to see Baz!

The tickets were a gift from our parents for Easter and the show is a musical mash up of three of Baz Luhrmann’s three most well known movies: Romeo & Juliet, Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby, all romances that feature rather tragic plot lines but all have incredible musical soundtracks and score to go along with the films. My sister and I were blown away by how close our seats were – my Mom really knocked it out of the park on this one – we were so close we could literally see the sweat fly off the performers. It was amazing!

I took so many pictures – the show was fabulous, absolutely fabulous – it is the perfect mash up of the three story lines with the songs woven throughout all the performances. I ordered one of the specialty drinks, the Jay Gatsby Julep and settled in for the 90 minute performance – which was delightful.

Every single performer could sing like crazy – oh my goodness, the pipes on these people – they were incredible. The songs and the very simplistic sets really worked to highlight the stunning ability that the performers had and really put them front and center…

I was unsure if taking video was an okay thing – signs said that you shouldn’t, but then the ring master said we could take moving pictures and I wasn’t sure if that meant video or those boomerang things… so I took one video – of one of my favorite songs from The Great Gatsby – and it was great. And thankfully, no one threw me out of the show for taking the one video, ha-ha!

See what I’m talking about – girl can sing! And they all had voices like this, it was incredible!

The show ended around 9:30 and we spent a bit of time walking through the Venetian’s shops and the canals… one of the items on display was an original gondola from Venice and it was pretty cool to see that. I absolutely love the Venetian – it may be my personal favorite of all the hotels on the Vegas strip – granted, part of that may be because I’ve stayed there!

We closed out the evening back at Lindsey’s home and I also ended the night on a sugar high because I ate my millennial pink (why is that a thing guys?) Minnie Mouse macaron. It was super cute and for the most part, very tasty – but there was something in the center that was…not great. It was a filled with super sweet strawberry mousse cream..and was tasty; however, in the battle of the macarons – the alien macaron wins for me.

Friday was another low key day – we slept in again and that deserves all the praise hand emojis in the world – you can’t not be excited about sleeping in, it’s such a gift. The slow morning allowed us to just relax and slowly get ready to go meet some life long family friends – the Masons – for lunch at a BBQ restaurant that I’m still thinking about. Holy cow the food was delicious! *sigh* After a long lunch chatting and eating fried dill pickles, pulled pork, macaroni and cheese and sipping watermelon sweet tea, we headed back to the Mason’s house to visit a bit more.

We passed some crazy fantastic looking houses on our way to the Mason’s house and Diane (our sweet friend) said we should go check out the houses because they were open to view and were spectacular. You guys – these are million dollar houses and they were so beautiful I could have cried! Very modern and open and I just loved every minute of perusing them… my Mom took pictures of some of them and one of them (below) has me sprawled out in the home theater. Also – check out the insanely picturesque views! Love.

When we parted ways with our friends, we headed over to a cafe that my sister was introduced to by our family friends (above) that is called Bad Owl Coffee – and is a Harry Potter themed coffee shop! It was such a delight; the whole place was decorated with nods to all things Harry Potter, including some awesome tables with anecdotal quotes from the films. I got a Butterbrew iced latte that was tasty and the barista accidentally put two shots of espresso as opposed to one shot – so it kept me going for the rest of the afternoon!

We decided that while we were in Henderson, we’d stop by Freed’s Bakery – the bakery that currently has show on TV called Vegas Cakes. The bakery counter was loaded with so many delectable treats and the place was…busy…so much so that we had to take a number and I had plenty of time to decide exactly what I wanted from the bakery case. I finally chose a slice of the wedding cake and when I had it after dinner later on Friday night, I was quite justified in my delicious choice.

We closed out the evening with dinner at Mimi’s Cafe and then headed back to my sister’s house to relax and watch a movie. We also discussed what we wanted to do with our final two days in Vegas and then hit the sack!

Hopping!

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The final day of our glorious three day whirl of Disneyland was a big ol park hopping day – we started the day at California Adventure (that extra magic hour is key) and ended the day at the Magic Kingdom. The weather continued it’s pattern of gray, cloudy and cool – right up until thirty minutes before we were ready to leave and then the sun came out in absolutely brilliant fashion. *sigh* Once again – getting ahead of myself.

The plan – yet again – was to get fast passes for Radiator Spring Racers and then head straight for Mission Breakout…and yet again, it went off without a hitch. My Mom and younger sister rode Mission Breakout two times in a row and for the first ride, I once again walked through the ride because I wanted to take in more of the excellent ride themes and also – because I am a huge Marvel nerd. I then perused the store yet again and found so many things I would love to have, ha-ha!

We made some of the same steps on Wednesday as we’d made on Monday – we circled back to Soarin for one more ride, walked through the wilderness portion of California Adventure and snapped some pictures and then grabbed breakfast from Flo’s; I got some french toast that was topped with bananas and caramel sauce and was pretty much to die for. Fueled with coffee and food, we hopped into a car to race one more time…

But wait – before we move on to the pictures from Cars Land and our final race, there are more California wilderness pictures…because we couldn’t pass up all the good photo ops!

I may have posted one of the pictures more than once – but oh well, I think they’re pretty cute pictures…so there you have it! After our race through Radiator Springs, we said our final farewells to my most favorite – Cars Land – and walked back over to the soon to be Pixar Pier section of the park. My sister made a purchase, we rode the Zephyr one more time and I braved riding the Jumpin Jellies – which honestly probably sounds like a joke. I do NOT like heights and even though this ride was basically a kiddie version of a drop tower that is only 40 feet high and has no actual “drops” – I was sort of a nervous wreck the whole ride…and my sister laughed at me the whole ride. Whatever – I did it.

After conquering a ride that challenged my fear of heights, we made our way back to Buena Vista Street to purchase California Adventure mugs and peruse the shops. We had lunch reservations at Carthay Circle; designed to be a replica of the original Carthay Circle Theater in Los Angeles where Snow White premiered. The restaurant is actually an almost perfectly to scale replica of the theater’s member’s only lounge – but doesn’t’ actually have a theater.

The food was delicious – the signature fried biscuits are incredible (stuffed with white cheddar, bacon and jalapeno and served with apricot honey butter) and while my Mom and sister weren’t wild about the butter, I liked it! I’d definitely say not to miss out on those if you make Carthay Circle a dining choice. Having said that – the menu was not varied and I could not believe they didn’t even have a chicken dish! Our server said the menu changes pretty regularly, but I did find myself pretty disappointed by the lack of variety. What we did have though – was all excellent and our server was top notch!

We made our way from California Adventure to the Magic Kingdom after lunch and with plans to drive back to Vegas later in the day, we wanted to get in a couple things before trying to be on the road by 4:00. My Dad’s favorite ride is the railroad and while he wasn’t with us, we decided to hop on and make a circle around the park on the train – just for him.

We realized pretty quickly that all the wait times were already teetering on 45 minutes to an hour and any fast pass we’d try to get would be after 4:00, so we made the joint decision that the one thing at the Magic Kingdom we wanted to ride one more time was definitely the Matterhorn. My Mom said it rattled her guts out the day before, so she found a seat under an umbrella in the shadow of the castle and Lindsey and I waited the full 40 minutes (probably the longest we waited all week for a ride), grabbed the front seats in the bobsled and zipped around and down the mountain one last time!

I will say again how nice and easy it was to be able to walk through Downtown Disney (we stopped at a couple spots along the way for last minute purchases) and the Disneyland Hotel lobby and out to the car. Disneyland certainly has nothing on Disney World where size is concerned and most of the time that can be a let down – but when you’re ready to make your exit, the smaller scale of Disneyland is a definite plus!

The three days spent at Disneyland were wonderful and honestly – three days is more than enough to conquer everything there is to do at Disneyland. Granted, our three days were honestly more like two and a half but it was still plenty of time. I will say that we didn’t really get the chance to check out the pool at the Disneyland Hotel, which had not one but two monorail slides… perhaps an extra day to slow the pace would have been nice, but the three days we had were wonderful and full of awesome memories I’ll always cherish!

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The ride home was – a bit long, courtesy of California and it’s crazy traffic! The drive from Anaheim to Las Vegas is about four hours (maybe a bit more) and while the drive seemed quick on Friday afternoon, it seemed much longer on Wednesday afternoon! I had my alien macaron (filled with raspberry and lime – to die for) midway through the road trip and we stopped for a super fancy supper at Arby’s somewhere around Barstow, California…

We spotted the light of the Luxor at almost thirty miles out – that thing is BRIGHT y’all – and arrived back at Lindsey’s house around 10:30. It was nice to settle in again and I was very happy to see the bed and know that I didn’t have to set an alarm for the next few days!

I Can Only Use My Bravery for One Ride

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Tuesday was the Magic Kingdom – honestly, the park that feels like “THE” park when it comes to Disneyland. I suppose because for so long, it was the only park at Disneyland. The weather on Tuesday was another day of blustery and gray, so I was glad I’d brought along my Jungle Cruise pullover; I paired it with my newly purchased Beauty & the Beast ears and headed for the park.

I have to confess – I’m always slightly underwhelmed by Sleeping Beauty Castle. There is just something less than inspiring about the size of the castle…and when you’ve seen Cinderella Castle just months earlier, well…it just doesn’t seem as grand. Nobody throw any glass slippers at me for that opinion – alright? We once again had a plan for the morning and it went off without at hitch – get Fast Passes for Space Mountain and then hit Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Snow White’s Scary Adventure, Peter Pan’s Flight and Pinocchio’s Daring Journey before heading to Tomorrowland.

I joked in the title that I can only use my bravery for one ride – and that’s the truth. Once we finished the smaller rides in Fantastyland, we headed for Tomorrowland and grabbed a spot of breakfast before hopping into rockets and blasting through Space Mountain. I don’t normally ride Space Mountain but I hopped on and whizzed along and apparently that ride just sapped all the bravery I had for the day – because when it comes to amusement park rides, bravery is not is large supply. We managed to round out the rides in Tomorrowland and hop on Star Tours and Buzz Lightyear before making our way to other lands. I tried not to look crazy freaked out on the Space Mountain photo…and Star Tours remains a personal favorite!

The lines somehow had not grown to an exorbitant length and so after we finished the rides in Tomorrowland, we still had 45 minutes before our lunch reservation and so we made our way to Adventureland and hopped on Indiana Jones (I passed – because again, I used up all my bravery on Space Mountain – the struggle of the wuss is real) before we made our way to Orleans Square and the Blue Bayou.. what might be my favorite spot to dine at Disneyland! The restaurant is indoors but is made to look like a gorgeous patio on the Louisiana bayou with lights strung, cobblestone floors and the bayou in the distance with crickets chirping, fireflies winking and boats gently passing by – it’s sort of (for me) fairy tale like.

Sadly – Pirates of the Caribbean was closed for refurbishment (sigh) and so there weren’t boats drifting by as we dined, but the whole meal was still just my favorite. I got a Mint Julep because I feel like when in (Disney’s version) of N’awlins, you must get a Mint Julep to sip on while you dine on your fanciful bayou patio… it’s just what you do. I also had the much talked about Monte Cristo that was incredibly delicious – I’d definitely recommend everything about the Blue Bayou to anyone planning a trip to Disneyland – the food is fabulous and the setting is just – picture perfect. Can you tell I love it just a little bit?

When we finished up our delightful lunch, we made our way back to Adventureland and hopped on another favorite of mine – Jungle Cruise! I love the cheesy jokes…I mean, I purchased a hoodie emblazoned with one of the cheesy jokes and you better believe that I snapped more than one picture of myself with the ride in that hoodie. Ha-ha!

After our cruise through the jungle, we headed back to Orleans Square and my personal favorite ride – The Haunted Mansion! I love both versions of the ride and while my Mom and sister were adamant that the stately southern home that serves as the ride in Disneyland is their favorite… I honestly couldn’t choose between the two! I love them both and I absolutely love all the story and detail and spookiness of the Haunted Mansion! But wait – before our Fast Passes for the Haunted Mansion, we checked another item off our Pixar Fest food checklist – the Presto Carrot Cake Churro with cream cheese frosting. And yes – it was just as good as it sounds!

I always try to take pictures on the Haunted Mansion – and shocker – they don’t always turn out that great! I mean…I guess ghosts don’t really like to be photographed? One last picture of my favorite – the glorious Haunted Mansion…and it’s 999 happy haunts!

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We spent the afternoon wandering between Frontierland, Orleans Square and Adventureland and got in a few more rides: Splash Mountain, Winnie the Pooh, Big Thunder Mountain…and more importantly, we found Nemo cake pops and we were able to check another item off of the Pixar Fest food checklist! I’m kidding – the food wasn’t the most important part, but it was a pretty big deal.

After our afternoon snack, we discovered the pin store and made a plan to circle back around later in the evening. We then made our way to Fantasyland to get on the rides we passed up earlier in the morning: Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Tea Party, the Storybook Canal Boats and my Dad’s personal favorite, It’s A Small World…ha-ha! I’m 100% kidding about that one – we have to drag him on it every time we visit a Disney property. The Storybook Canal Boats are a ride that is only found at Disneyland and while there isn’t really much to them – I love the miniatures of so many animated film locations that the boat slides past as you ride!

Of course – I took so many pictures of the perfectly replicated miniatures but I was a bit offended to see that Belle’s provincial French village and the Beast’s castle were not featured among the may miniatures… *sigh* When we finished our ride, we did pop over to the Red Rose Taverne for (another) snack and I got – THE GREY STUFF! What a joy – to have the Grey Stuff twice in less than six months; it’s really an embarrassment of riches and moreso because I also got a handy dandy 32 ounce beverage container emblazoned with Belle and the Beast – sure it was $9.99 – but it came with a beverage and I will love it forever, ha-ha!

Of course – I also took quite a few pictures while we cruised through It’s A Small World because it’s different from Disney World’s version (I think…) in that it contains actual Disney characters scattered throughout the ride! I love seeing all the characters from Disney animation pop up in each scene – and honestly; even though the song does get a bit monotonous, I do love the ride and it’s theme. The world in this day seems to be reminded that we are more similar than different…

After we disembarked from the happiest cruise that ever sailed, we made our way to another type of cruising… zipping down the mountainside on the Matterhorn, another favorite of mine. I am not a coaster enthusiast by any means but I would ride the Matterhorn over and over again – I love it! Please note the before…after…and a little bit after (our bobsled got paused for a bit at the bottom, still not sure why…) And yes, I removed my ears for the zip down the mountainside – I didn’t want the yeti to snatch them off!

Evening crept up on us and we made a few more rounds – we took a ride on the monorail decorated with the Incredibles, grabbed alien macarons from Pizza Planet and some pictures, my sister popped into a store to grab a much sought after Thanos pin and then we popped back to Frontierland to grab some dinner. I really wanted a corn dog for some reason and the Stage Door Cafe was the place to grab them – it was seriously one of the best corn dogs I’ve ever had…perfectly battered and fried to perfection!

My Mom decided that she wanted to return to the room for the evening and relax, so she headed out of the park and Lindsey and I returned to the pin store to peruse and make our purchases. The evening fireworks and projection show didn’t start until 9:30 and Lindsey had a hankering for delicious Dole Whip, so we made the walk from the Frontier to… the Adventure (land) and into the Tiki Room waiting area, where Lindsey joined the line and I grabbed a seat among the tikis. The timing worked out perfectly for Lindsey to finish her Dole Whip and allow us to catch the 8:30 Tiki Room show – delightful!

We stood in the longest line of the day (I’m not even joking about this…) at the Starbucks on Main Street; we always get the Disney mugs, and we joined a line that snaked through the cafe, out the door and down the side of the alley. We easily waited in the line for over thirty minutes but we emerged with our mugs and found a place along Main Street for the fireworks and projection show – new for Pixar Fest and called Together Forever, all about the friendships from Pixar movies. The show is projected along the castle and the buildings of Main Street… it was hard to watch both the projections and the fireworks, so my sister and I tag teamed a bit on the pictures…

I loved that in this show – as opposed to seeing Tinkerbell fly across the skies, Buzz Lightyear whizzed away from the castle as the show started…and a bit later in the show, the house from Up, secured with it’s balloons also floated across the sky. It was hard to capture pictures of both of those things, so I kept to photographing the projections on the sides of the building.

The show was touching and sweet and brought day two of our three days of park hopping to a close.

May Amusements

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We interrupt the regularly scheduled Five on Friday post for my May entertainment recap… but then again, it’s going to be all about the recaps for the next week or so!

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Books I Couldn’t Put Down

I honestly haven’t read anything all month – I’ve been in a book rut! I was on a major book binge at the start of the year but I seemed to have fallen into a hole this past month where books are concerned. I do have some things on the shelf that I’m planning to dive into in June…

Books on the Shelf

The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan – Perhaps this choice was inspired by the recent royal wedding? I actually just started this book at the end of the month and I’m 100% into it! The story follows American Rebecca Porter who heads to college at Oxford, ends up falling in love with heir to the British crown and marrying into the royal family. It’s like William and Katherine smashed together with Harry and Meghan – it’s a light read and so far, I’m loving it!

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly – Surprise, surprise…this novel is set in WWII; I think I kind of have a niche when it comes to books! This story follows three women whose lives intertwine and intersect around Ravensbruck concentration camp. I can’t wait to start reading this, it has excellent reviews!

Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah – This book is about a relationship between two very different sisters (hmm…that sounds familiar) who come together with their mother after the unexpected death of their father. I honestly bought this because I so enjoyed The Nightingale, another book by Kristen Hannah…so we shall see!

I also want to read Patrick Melrose by Edward St. Aubyn and Am I There Yet by Mari Andrew. Summer reading list…growing!

Must See TV

Legion – Oh this show…it continues to be completely mind-bending and while I see so many people question what on the show is taking place in reality and what is taking place in David’s mind…I just watch the show under the assumption (at least for this season) that it’s all happening in reality! David continues his search for the body of the Shadow King but must also battle against the delusions slowly taking hold of his friend’s minds… One of my favorite episodes to date was episode 6, where David explored the multiple ways his life could have played out – fascinating and an incredible performance(s) by Dan Stevens!

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Westworld – Another mind-bending hour of television on this list…I guess I just like TV shows that challenge my mind? The second season of Westworld barrels along with hosts Maeve and Delores each taking very different paths now that they’re conscious; Maeve on the quest to find her daughter and Delores searching for “the valley beyond”… Intermingled with Maeve and Delores’ quests, who knows if we’re watching Arnold or Bernard, heaven only knows what kind of game Ford is leading William in and I honestly have no clue about the other minor characters… I saw a meme that said: Season Two of Westworld…no clue what’s happening but I love it. That’s apt. 🙂

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Patrick Melrose – This Showtime five part miniseries based on the books by Edward St. Aubyn that follow Patrick Melrose from his childhood…filled with abuse at the hands of his father, to his early adulthood…filled with heavy drug and alcohol use…and his later life, where he begins to move forward and heal from this traumas of his early life. The show has been described as an acting master class from Benedict Cumberbatch and I’d have to agree – his performance is spectacular. I wouldn’t be shocked to see awards come Cumberbatch’s way during awards season! I’m only three of five episodes in – but it’s incredibly intriguing.

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Movies of the Month

Solo: A Star Wars Story – Another month where I saw just one movie! I love all things Star Wars and I have eagerly been looking forward to this movie all about everyone’s favorite space rogue…Han Solo! No one could ever play the character that Harrison Ford so fabulously created but Alden Eldenreich was; I thought, an excellent choice to play the younger Solo and I really loved his performance! The movie plays out like a space heist with characters you know and love (Lando!) intermingled with new characters (Qi’ra, Beckett, Val…) to love or hate. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and can’t wait to add it to my collection!

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Tasty Treats

I didn’t spend the whole month eating – but man it sure seems like it, doesn’t it? I’d blame vacation for most of this…since three-fourths of the pictures below come from my time in Vegas and California. Earlier in the month I got my first summer scoops of ice cream from Ice Cream Jubilee, a wookie cookie at Nationals Park, delicious baked goods from Red Truck Bakery in Marshall, donuts and delightful yogurt from Sweet Frog’s!

 

The vacation food kicked off with In-N-Out and then the Disney/Pixar Fest food binge – the Luxo ball cake pop, delicious lasagna and tiramisu from Trattoria Wine Country, Snow-Capped Lemon from Adorable Snowman, Chili con Queso cone, the famous Monte Cristo at Blue Bayou, the Presto carrot cake churro, a Nemo cake pop, the grey stuff (it’s delicious)…and a Minnie Mouse macaron (and alien macaron, not pictured!) Once we were back in Vegas, we popped into Freed’s Bakery, had pastries from Jean Phillipe Patisserie and I had my macarons from Downtown Disney to end the week!

I can feel a sugar coma coming on just reading all that – yikes!

Music Playing

Honestly – I spent most of the month listening to music from all things Marvel and Disney. On loop. It’s not anything wildly exciting…but it’s definitely what occupied most of my musical time. I keep the podcasts Decoding Westworld, Legion Cast, The Popcast with Knox & Jamie, The Big Boo Cast and Between Innings with Dan Kolko on rotation.

What I’m Looking Forward To

Listen – I’ll shock you with this! I honestly don’t really have anything on the calendar for June right now – and I kind of love it! I’m looking forward to getting to enjoy summer, go to some baseball games, catch up on movies I want to see and spend time with friends. I like that June is an open book for me right now and I can’t wait to see what I’ll get up to this next month!

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I can’t believe that the middle of this year is almost here – where does the time go? As always, on to the next month and all the wonderful things it has potential for!