Hiking, Week in Pictures

Hiking at Patapsco State Park

Hello there! Please keep us in your thoughts today as we try to move everything out of our apartment and try to clean it out to turn over the key. It’s amazing how quickly 365 days can fly by. This week has been crazy busy and extremely exhausting but I wanted to share a few photos of the last week, mostly from last Saturday where we spent a few hours hiking a couple of the trails, including the Switchback Trail, at the McKeldin Area of Patapsco State Park.

Fall colors at Centennial Lake.

Winter cherry blossom blooms.

Candy Cane Christmas trees at Michaels.

Naughty and Nice Pillows at Michaels.

Christmas Sweater from Target – (For Crystal and Natasha!)

On the Switchback Trail at Patapsco State Park.

I spent at least 5 minutes staring up at these trees, pictures can’t do the colors justice.

McKeldin Rapids at Patapsco State Park

A cozy Saturday night fire.

Fall colors at work on Monday.

 

And that’s my week (minus all the packing) in pictures! What have you been up to this week and what are you planning for the weekend?

Disney World, Food

A Day at Epcot – Walt Disney World 2017

Brady and I are currently planning our Christmas vacay to Disney World and it’s just another reminder that I never finished recapping our trip from May. I’m a bit obsessed with Disney vacation planning and it may be even one of my favorite things to do. Yup, I’m weird. I really want to see Disney all dressed up for Christmas and I’m since it’s slightly last minute – as far as Disney planning goes – I’m trying to quickly pull our itinerary together while packing <- we’re moving this week!

We had such a fun trip earlier this year and I’m always so excited to go back to the place where we went on our honeymoon! It brings back special feelings of closeness and joy that we felt during our first week being married. Life has had us down the last few months and I really feel like another break is what we need to lift our spirits. 

Neither of us has ever been to Disney World during the Christmas season and we’re trying to study up/prioritize since this will be a shorter trip. We’re probably going to come back tired with sore feet but full of Disney Christmas magic. If you have any planning tips or anything we just HAVE to see while we’re there – Christmas related! – then please let me know!

A Day at Epcot (5-10-2017)

So on to the recap! On Wednesday we went to Epcot and it was the only day out of our 5 Disney days that we did not use the park hopper option. We knew this was going to be a lighter day and we hadn’t made any plans to be in another park in the evening. With this in mind we really took our time going around each of the pavilions and enjoyed what each area had to offer.

From our hotel, it took about 7-8 minutes to drive to the entrance and about 15 minutes of walking from the parking lot and up to the front entrance. We had to wait 5-10 minutes until rope drop and we positioned ourselves off to the left very close to the front. We speed walked straight over to Test Track and we were in the first 5-10 people into the single rider line. There was a delay in the ride getting started but when it did, we were in the first car to ride for the day and we got to ride together!

After riding Test Track, we headed straight over to the Land Pavilion to ride Living with the Land and  Soarin’ with a FastPass. I actually really enjoy the Living with the Land ride except for the beginning section which is in need of an update. I’ve never had to wait in a line for this ride and it’s a great opportunity to get off of your feet. 

Then we went straight next door to ride Soarin’ which is possibly my most favorite ride on the whole resort. I have yet to see Pandora so maybe I’ll change my mind. I know some people don’t love the new film but I really love it and when you combine it with the sensation of flying… I really can’t get enough of this ride.

It was just before 10:30 by the time we were coming out of the pavilion so we paused for a snack: Chex-Mix and Mountain Dew.

We did a quick pop-in to ride The Seas with Nemo and Friends and spent a few minutes wandering around the tanks afterwards. Here’s Nemo and Dory:

I’ve been at Epcot 3 times during their Flower and Garden Festival and I love all the extra colors around the park. This area doesn’t look the same without all the flowers!

You had to stand at the right angle, but when you did, the butterflies appeared to be flying across the pavement!

We made the long trek all the way back across future world to ride Ellen’s Energy Adventure. I don’t know if we knew at that point that it was going to be closing over the summer, but I’d heard rumors it wasn’t going to be around too much longer. I’d never ridden it before so we went for it. It definitely wouldn’t be something I’d want to do often or even every trip, but it was fun and I’m a bit sad Ellen is gone from Disney now.

We then got onto Mission Space Orange with almost no wait at all. As previously stated, I love the flying sensation and this ride really takes my breath away with how real it feels. After the ride, we spent some time in the Advanced Training lab doing some of the smaller side games where you can try to move your Astronauts around in zero gravity. Then we got to participate in the larger mission on team Orion. I feel like our team won but maybe not… either way, I feel like it’s worth pausing to do these activities if you’re going to be doing more than one day in Epcot.

We started going around the World Showcase just before 1 PM and started the tour in Norway at Kringla Bakeri og Kafe. We tried the schoolbread on Monday and knew we had to have it again so that’s what we had for our afternoon snack. 

Then on to China and all the red buildings. 

A tour through the shops in Germany and a quick visit with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (topiaries). 

I knew one of the things I really wanted to see while we were on this trip was Voices of Liberty. I really love the Disney Medley they did for Valentines last year and I have a little vocal crush on the ah-mazing soprano. We were told that they were going to be facing the other direction for the performance but I didn’t want to get off the bench we were sitting on. 

The mosaics in Morocco are quite impressive and I think it’s what makes the Morocco Pavilion have the best looking streets. So much detail!

France had these absolutely divine little onion tarts for sale in the Flower and Garden pop up kitchen. We bought them a few times on this trip but I kept forgetting to take a picture because they got inhaled so quickly. I’d read that the ice cream from L’Artisan des Glaces was the best ice cream on Disney property. While I thought it was delicious, it wasn’t mind blowing or the best I’ve ever had. 

Loved spending a few minutes listening to the Quickstep Band outside The Queen’s Table in the United Kingdom Pavilion. The shop there has sells some delicious candies that are worth the price tag. I loved the All Sorts Licorice and the soft caramels. The caramels especially just melt in your mouth!

We were ready to be done by about 3:40 and made our way out of the park and back to our hotel. We did some shopping at the outlets for a few hours and capped off the day with dinner at Sweet Tomatoes which was just down the road from our hotel. 

 

More Disney World Posts:

 

 

 

Food, Healthy eating, Recipes

What I Ate Wednesday 11-1-2017

Sometimes things don’t go to plan. It’s how life works and sometimes it just has to be ok. Yesterday was one of those days and honestly I’m ok with that. I try not to buy treats too often but when aunt flo comes to town, indulgent nibbles are in high demand. I woke up yesterday with some of the worst cramps and I didn’t really feel like eating. Ice cream is one of the best foods for cramps so breakfast was mint chocolate ice cream… a great start to the day! I did manage to consume some wholesome calories yesterday with a 3 bean salad (recipe below) and blow-your-mind creamy cauliflower soup. 

What I Ate Wednesday

Breakfast – Mint Chocolate Ice Cream

Lunch – 3 Bean Salad

This 3 bean salad has been my staple recipe for the last couple months. I make it at least once a week because it’s quick and easy to make and it’s so versatile. Here are a few of the ways I’ve had this 3 bean salad: Continue Reading

Friday Faves

October Friday Favorites #7

Happy end of the week to you all! It’s been a month since I last shared a favorites so it’s about time to share some of the things I’ve been loving lately! I’ve been loving all the colors around our neighborhood but I’m not loving waking up in the dark to leave for work. Shorter days are harder and I feel so much sleepier! Just me? We’re moving in 2 weeks which I’m pretty bummed about and man we have so much packing to do… for now I’m going to shirk packing duties and just talk about all these lovely faves. (My favoritist fave is Marrying Mr Darcy because I love a good game <3 )

Friday Favorites October 27, 2017

Food

Run Fast. Eat Slow.: Nourishing Recipes for Athletes

If you’re looking for some healthier, energy boosting recipes then you need to check out this cookbook that was co-authored by Olympian Shalane Flanagan. Some recipes inside to check out: Flu-Fighter Chicken and Rice Stew, Curry Lentil Soup with Charred Cauliflower, Pesto Potato Salad, Soba Noodle Salad, On-the-Run Frittata Muffins, and Homemade Hazelnut Milk. 

“What to Eat” Knock Knock Pads

This “What to Eat” pad is what you need to place on your fridge to plan a week of meals. Easy and organized meal planning. Simple as that! If you can pick it up at a local bookstore, you’ll probably save 50% or more off of the Amazon price.

Flexible Cutting Mats 

I know this isn’t a food, but I thought I should share because this is one of my favorite tools I use in my kitchen. I mean I use it all time. I bought a couple solid cutting boards as well when we got married and I bought these flex boards thinking I’d use them together. I never use them together. My wooden cutting board is STILL in the shrink wrap 3 YEARS later! So yeah, I pretty much love these simple, cheap, awesome cutting mats. The link is to the ones that I use from Bed Bath and Beyond

Recipes 

Spinach pies: I mentioned these in my WIAW post last week and I cannot recommend this recipe enough!

BBQ Lentil Balls

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

 

Clothes

Black Ankle Boots

The ones I have are by Just Fab and I am not impressed by the quality but this is a similar pair of boots. My current look is Black leggings, a sweater, and my black booties.

 

I just spent most of the last hour trying to find this sweater online I bought last week at Target so I could share it with you all but I can’t find it. *tears* It’s a grey cowl/turtleneck style pullover sweater and it is my happy, cozy sweater right now. Here’s a photo of some of it in case you want to keep an eye out for it yourself. I’ll have to settle for sharing two of the other things I picked up at Target last week. 

Funny story. I got complimented on this top at work yesterday and a few hours after I left work, I realized I’d put it on backwards in the dark that morning. Hah.

Target sweater

Women’s Embroidered Any Day Pullover – A New Day™ Gray

Women’s Printed Any Day Shirt – A New Day™ Gray

It’s hard to see the details in the shirt, but it’s a blue/grey shirt with little navy stars all over it. I’ve been on the lookout for a new button up and I’m glad I found this one!

OPI + Revlon Nail Colors

3 Perfect Fall Colors for your nails 

OPI Taupeless Beach

OPI The Taupe of the Iceberg

Revlon Hold ‘Em

Image result for revlon holdem

 

Pride and Prejudice and Marrying Mr Darcy

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

I originally watched this YouTube “show” while it was being posted live back in 2012-2013. It’s a 100 mini-episode modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice in a vlog format. They’re in the middle of broadcasting the episodes on Facebook for a 5-year anniversary throwback or you can start watching from episode 1 on YouTube. I loved it then. I loved it again. Now it’s your turn to fall in love! 

Image result for lizzie bennet diaries

Marrying Mr Darcy

Flowing with the Pride and Prejudice theme, I discovered the Marrying Mr Darcy game back in May and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to share my love of this game. It’s unlike any game I’ve ever played before and it’s a very creative game. It’s not just a chick game either, it’s seriously a very well put together game. Basically you play as a ‘heroine’ and you’re trying to acquire character traits that will pair you with the best suitor at the end of the game. There are twists as you play through the events of the game and it can get quite competitive! If you want to get a preview of the game, the cast of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries plays Marrying Mr Darcy in this YouTube video

Marrying Mr Darcy Game cards and pieces

Marrying Mr Darcy Game cards and pieces

 

ICYMI: Previous Friday Favorites Post

Fall, Hiking, Injury, Week in Pictures

Hiking off of Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park

This past Saturday was, yet again, another perfect day for hiking so Brady and I went down to Shenandoah National Park with my dad, brother, step-mom, and step-sister. It was a day full of crisp autumn air, colorful trees, and mountain views. I think the last time I was in Shenandoah was back when I was in middle school when I didn’t appreciate long drives so I can easily say that I appreciated this trip way more than I did back then. Adventuring with my husband is probably the biggest upgrade.   😉 

We started our first hike just before 11 am with a .7 mile hike from the Lower Hawksbill Trailhead to Hawksbill Summit – which is the highest peak in the park. The hike was pretty much straight up hill from where we started but the views were worth the effort. 

Continue Reading

Healthy eating, Meal Planning, Recipes, Vegetarian

What I Ate Wednesday 10-18-2017

I tend to enjoy reading “What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW)” posts or watching WIAW vlogs and I decided I’d like to start sharing posts of my own! One of the things I’m working on currently is more consistent meal planning to cut down on food waste as well as to save money from eating out. I’ve done meal planning in the past but I’m trying to be more dedicated with it now. Not only is this helping to save money, it’s more nutritious eating and healthier all around. Overall it’s just a big fat win. I’ve been using the Knock Knock What to Eat pad to plan our meals which has been working well. It’s $15 on Amazon right now but I found it at my Books-a-Million store for $6.50.

I’ve been staying on top of planning lately and I’ve tried out quite a few new recipes in the process like this vegan Chai Butternut Squash Soup last week that was absolutely fantastic. I had my doubts but I was truly blown away by how amazing this was. 

I’m trying to incorporate better snacking food into my diet. I’ve been avoiding bringing home snacks like chips, crackers, and in my husband’s case, peanut butter. This leaves a hole in our pantry because snacking food or “lunch accessories” are pretty important. Some ideas I’ve had are: homemade scotch oat cakes, fresh veggies and vegan ranch dressing, frozen yogurt – I really like the So Delicious Coconut Yogurt – berry bites, roasted chickpeas, homemade pita chips and hummus. Brady and I would also like to shift towards eating more vegan food and less dairy but that’s going to be implemented at a fairly slow pace.  Continue Reading