2021 Calendar Year Erin Condren Collection

Happy October! *woah* when did that happen?! Can you believe Hallloween is just around the corner, then Thanksgiving and Christmas. Soon enough we’ll be ringing in the New Year, and I don’t know about you, but I am excited to put 2020 in the past. What better way to do so than getting a jump start on your 2021 planner?! Lucky for you Erin Condren has dropped some AMAZING goodies, so you have plenty of options to find a planner that will fit your lifestyle!

Vertical Layout Coiled LifePlanner in Layers Colorful

This planner will be offered in Layers Colorful, Layers Neutral, and Flower Power designs. They start at $55.00. And there will be a Spanish version offered!

Softbound Hourly Life Planner in Layers Neutral

The 8×10 Softbound Planner will be offered in 3 different layouts – hourly, vertical, and horizontal. Choose a cover from layers colorful, layers neutral, peacock, shimmer ivory, and shimmer rose gold. There will also be an A5 size available. The 8×10 retail for $35, and the A5 size retails for $30.

Pocket Planner

The Pocket Planner will be offered in 3 versions – Focused, Layers Colorful, Layers Neutral. They will retail for $18.

Accessories:

Soft Color – File Folders 6-Pack – $14.00

Metallic Layers Designer Schedule Pad – $15.00 & Gray Mid Century Circles Mechanical Pencil – $10.50

I hope you have enjoyed this preview for the new Erin Condren 2021 Calendar Year Collection. Cheers to a new year!

Erin Condren x Hello Kitty Collaboration

I don’t know about y’all, but I feel like my inner 90’s kid is thriving this week! First I shopped the Hello Kitty x Stoney Clover Lane collaboration. If you haven’t shopped it yet you should definitely check it out – there are so many cute items – it was SO hard to not splurge on it all! Now today Erin Condren released their collaboration of accessories with Hello Kitty! *swoon* Initially when the collab was launched I was nervous the collection may seem young or kiddish, but they did an amazing job designing it! I was so impressed watching the preview of the collection on the various EC Squads Instagram and Youtube pages! Now that the whole collection has officially released I wanted to share what I will be ordering today!

  1. HELLO KITTY X ERIN CONDREN METALLIC ASTERISKS COVER
I am a sucker for any piece of the Foil Stamped Collection EC produces! I love the way the foil catches the light, and I feel like this cover is Hello Kitty, but it doesn’t necessarily scream it, so it’s perfect if you’re looking for something older and more appropriate!

2. HELLO KITTY X ERIN CONDREN STICKY NOTE BOOKLET

I was so happy this was a part of the release! I received a similar one in their subscription box previously that I loved! These tabs are perfect for sticking wherever you need a reminder. Especially now I use it to right a tentative event in my planner just in case it gets cancelled. I also love the three Hello Kitty head notes – they are so fun! Also, the great thing about this set is it’s a booklet so it has a hard cover, so you can stick it in your bag without worrying your sticky notes will get bent and/or ruined!

3. HELLO KITTY X ERIN CONDREN PRETTY KITTY LIST PAD 2PK

I am obsessed with Erin Condren notepads – I truly have so many that I keep around because they are perfect! I love them for when I’m making grocery lists or I need to brain dump things on my mind! And this design I mean come on how cute! I customized mine to be the color Peony!

4. HELLO KITTY X ERIN CONDREN MINI SNAP-IN BOOKMARK TRIO

These are one of my favorite Erin Condren accessories! They are so convenient and useful! I easily snap them into my Daily Duo Lifeplanner – I put one of the specific day of the week and another on my monthly view, so I can easily flip back in forth between the two!

7. HELLO KITTY X ERIN CONDREN BALLPOINT PEN

Time to be honest – I truly didn’t intend to purchase this pen. I talked myself out of ordering it the first time but when I woke up I decided to splurge and order it. I just low the simplicity of the design, and the. bow topper is just so cute!

That’s a wrap on all I ordered from the Erin Condren x Hello Kitty Collaboration! I am excited to get my order late this month and show you all the goodies! Friendly reminder that all of the links in this blog post are commissionable which means I earn a small percentage of anything you purchase with no cost to you! As always, I appreciate your support and love of Positively Pink!

Let me know if you order anything from the new collection!

San Antonio Travel Guide

Jeremy and I just returned home from a great long weekend getaway in San Antonio, Texas.  We had a great time as this was the first time either of us had been there, and it was a nice way to celebrate our college graduation before Jer heads off to his adult job.  As the Type A person I am, I had every detail of the trip planned down to the last minute.  I wanted to make sure we hit all the best places to eat and see while we were there.  Below you will find my recommendations and opinions of some of the great things we got to experience while we were in San Antonio!

Dining:

Breakfast Options:

Pancake Joe’s

1011 Donaldson Avenue, San Antonio, TX

We visited Pancake Joe’s the first morning of our trip, and when we pulled up I was honestly unamused.  I contemplated going to find somewhere else to eat just because I didn’t think the food could be good, but we went in anyway.  It was located in the middle of a strip mall, but the parking lot was full to capacity, so it had to be good.  Of course, there was a wait, we ended up having to wait 20 minutes for a table. It wasn’t too bad, but if you are going on a Saturday, I would plan on being early, so you don’t have to wait too long.  Y’all if you are ever in San Antonio, make a point to go to Pancake Joe’s, they offer various specialty waffles and pancakes that you can’t try anywhere else, and they are delicious.  I ordered the Cinnamon Roll Waffle, and Jer ordered the Banana Nut Pancakes and a made to order Omelet.  We both thoroughly enjoyed our meals.  For the amount and quality of food we got, it was reasonably priced.  We both agreed it was a 10/10, so if you have a chance try it out!

Colonial Room

204 Alamo Plaza, Menger Hotel, San Antonio, TX

The Colonial Room Restaurant was located in the Menger Hotel.  We had a little bit of difficulty trying to find it, but it was a cute and quaint restaurant.  For my Disney buffs, it reminds me of an older version of the Grand Floridian Café.  The restaurant is known for their buffet, so that is what Jer went with, and he really enjoyed it.  They had a made to order omelet station as well as a made to order waffle station.  I wasn’t too hungry, so I ordered the Blueberry pancakes.  Overall, I was not impressed.  The blueberries lacked flavor, so I was disappointed overall.  The restaurant was nice, but I would have rather gone to Pancake Joe’s again.

Dinner Options Ranked:

#1: Charthouse at Towers of the Americas 

739 E César E. Chávez Blvd, San Antonio, TX 

Hands down my favorite place we ate it. I had been to a Charthouse before, but Jeremy had not.  The food was great, but it was an incredible experience overall.  The restaurant was located at the top of the 750-foot tower, and it did a slow 360-degree spin, so you could see every angle on San Antonio while you were enjoying dinner.  It is a bit more on the pricier side, but it is perfect for a nicer date night on your trip.  With your dinner receipt, you also get access to the observation deck at the top of the tower!

#2: Ristorante Paesanos

111 W. Crockett Street, Suite 101, San Antonio, TX

This was located along the River Walk.  We had an amazing Italian dinner here and coming from Jeremy that means it was extremely good!  We had the option to eat outside which was nice because we could enjoy the view, but they also had a bunch of heaters surrounding the tables to keep you warm during the winter months.

#3: Casa Rio

430 E Commerce St, San Antonio, TX

So Casa Rio is actually known as the original Mexican restaurant along the River Walk. We stopped in for lunch on our last day, and we were told that the outdoor patio area along the actual river was not open for lunch, so we had to eat inside.  The food was good.  There were countless Mexican options available along the river, so I really don’t think you could wrong picking any of them.  We just leaned towards Casa Rio because we enjoyed the menu the most!

Top 5 Things to do!

San Antonio Zoo

This was on the top of our things to do list.  I love visiting zoos and I have heard pretty good things about the San Antonio one!  Being from New Orleans and having the Audubon Zoo in our backyard, I came in with high expectations.  The San Antonio Zoo did not disappoint. They had all your standard zoo animals, but they also had a bunch of special offerings. For example, we got to see a sloth; he was sleeping, but I was still in awe.  There was also a special exhibit of bats, and they freaked me the heck out.  The best thing we did was the giraffe feeding we participated in.  It was $7 to get three lettuce leaves.  We got two tickets, and we were able to get up close and personal to take pictures and feed the giraffes.  Definitely, recommend this experience!

Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Being a Disney annual pass holder, I was not expecting to be amazed by Six Flags.  They had some pretty decent rides, but the overall atmosphere wasn’t that of a typical theme park.  The rides were pretty aggressive, honestly.  I would definitely recommend the park for thrill seekers!  We spent about half a day there.  The lines were not long at all even on the MLK holiday, and we were able to get everything we wanted done!

 

Alamo – Walking Tour

Of course, we had to visit The Alamo, what San Antonio is known for.  I had booked us an hour walking tour ahead of time.  It was $15 per person.  Honestly, I did not have that much knowledge about what took place at this historical site.  The tour was pretty informative and gave a complete story of all the events that had happened there.  The majority of our tour was spent in the plaza right outside of the Alamo.  We actually only spent about 10 – 15 minutes inside the Alamo.  I would definitely recommend the tour if you are like me and do not know much about the history and culture behind this landmark.  Otherwise, it is free to enter the Alamo, so you are able to explore on your own without a tour guide.

 

Natural Bridge Caverns Tour

One of the most unique things we were able to do with our time was visit the Natural Bridge Caverns.  We booked the discovery tour which took you on an hour-long tour of the caverns.  The caverns are actually the largest caverns in Texas and some of the largest in the United States  It was amazing to see all of the natural wonders under the surface.  It was one of my favorite things we did on our trip.  If you plan on taking the tour, you should try to plan in advance because the Natural Bridge Caverns are a little far away from San Antonio.  It took us about 45 minutes to an hour to get there, but it was totally worth it!

 

Go Rio River Cruises

Our last day adventure was taking a narrated Go Rio River Cruise along the River Walk.  We pre-booked our tickets through their main site, so we just had to show up at the main admission’s booth to board a boat.  The cruise was nice.  It would have been nicer if it had warmed up a little.  It was the coldest day on our trip, and the wind was wild especially along the river.  It was a 35-minute tour that took you all throughout the River Walk, and the tour guide explained different historical features as well as quirky facts about the River Walk.  It was nice, but if you skip it you will not be missing much!

Hotel:

SpringHill Suites San Antonio Downtown/ Riverwalk Area

524 South Saint Mary’s Street, San Antonio, TX

Honestly, we picked our hotel because it had the cheapest rates for our stay, but it ended up working out pretty well.  We were not located directly on the River Walk, but we were close enough that we could walk if we wanted to.  The one downfall of the hotel was the parking was horrible.  They had one tiny lot available for all guest, and if there were no spaces available you could park in the paid lot behind the hotel.  This wasn’t a problem per se, but I would have preferred to park in the hotel’s lot.  I can’t imagine what their parking lot looks like when it’s not crowded because it wasn’t very busy while we were there.  Also, we enjoyed the fact that they offered a free breakfast every morning, but it ended at 9, and I was never ready by then. But overall, it was a nice hotel if you are looking for a cheaper but walkable option towards the River Walk!

Overall, we had a great time with some yummy food and great adventures!  Let me know your favorite weekend travel destination in the comments!

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Walt Disney World Swan Hotel Review

Happy Saturday friends!  Mom and I are finally home from our runcation for WDW Marathon Weekend, and we had the best time, but I am excited to be back home and in my own bed again.  Also, sleeping in is pretty nice too! Everyone on my Instagram story poll answered that they were interested in a review of our stay at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel, so here it is for ya!

I’ll start this review off by saying we normally do not stay on property.  My parents are Marriot Vacation Club owners which is similar to the Disney Vacation Club, so we usually stay at the Marriott vacations clubs in Orlando.  They are always super nice, spacious and conveniently located to the park, but there is something extra about staying on property.  Recently, Marriott purchased the company who owns the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels, so we were able to redeem our Marriot points while staying on property.  Best of both worlds!

Truthfully, this trip was booked super last minute.  We could not make any definite plans until I knew what I was going to be doing for graduate school, so we booked towards the end of November, and to our surprise we had no issue getting a room for Marathon Weekend.  We chose to stay on the Swan side because it was cheaper, and in the end, I am glad we did but more on that later.  Unfortunately, I got 0 pictures of our room since I decided to write this review after we destroyed the room with all our stuff, so I apologize about that, but you can enjoy these selfies we took in the mirror of our room!

LOCATION

The Swan Hotel is almost right in the center of the Walt Disney World Resort.  It is towards the back side of Epcot, across the street from Hollywood Studios, right down the road from Animal Kingdom, and an easy 10-minute ride to Magic Kingdom!  It has great and easy access to Epcot and Hollywood Studios through the Boardwalk and sidewalks!  Going to and from Hollywood Studios we either walked or took the boat.  It was maybe a 10-minute walk or a 5-minute boat ride.  We loved the fact that we had the option to walk because one night the line for the boat leaving Studios was super long because the park had just closed, so we decided to walk back to our room and actually managed to beat the boat back!  Overall, I would definitely say this is one of the more accessible Disney resorts I have stayed at in relation to access to the parks which is a great plus when booking your resort.

RUNDISNEY BENEFITS

The purpose of this trip was so that we could run in the races for the WDW Marathon Weekend.  Both mom and I participated in the 5k but only I participated in the 10k on Thursday.  This resort was perfectly located because of its access to the Boardwalk.  From our hotel, you only had to walk over one bridge to be on the Boardwalk.  This worked out perfect for the 10k since the course ran a loop around the Boardwalk.  Mom was able to sleep in and wake up just in time to catch me running past the hotel, and she was able to go back to the room and get ready for the day while I finished the race.  We did not book this hotel because of its location in reference to the race, but it ended up being a HUGE bonus.  It is definitely something we are going to keep in mind when we travel back for race weekends.  Although, it needs to be mentioned that runDisney does not always keep the same courses, so the race you’re running is not guaranteed to pass by the Boardwalk!  A plus was also how close we were in relation to Epcot which was the starting line for both the 5K and 10k.  It was about a 5-minute bus ride each way, and I would guesstimate that it would be about a 10-minute bus ride to a Magic Kingdom start line!

VERSUS DOLPHIN

The one thing we noticed throughout our stay was the people roaming our hotel in business suits.  It was kind of funny to see mom and I walking in from our 5K decked out in our Minnie Mouse costumes while all the men were in nice suits to spend a day at a convention.  Two completely opposite ends of the spectrum. We noticed them roaming, but they weren’t everywhere.  We ran over to the Dolphin side during our stay to grab a drink from the supermarket type store, and we walked straight into a cocktail hour full of businesspeople galore.  The Dolphin hotel had a larger selection of fine dining which is more acclimated to businesspeople attending a conference where as the Swan had a character dining location.  From that, I would assume that the Swan is more geared towards families visiting Disney World and the Dolphin was more for conference and convention attendees.  Granted, we did not stay at the Dolphin, so I don’t have a comprehensive review to give of that side or a full opinion, but like I said this is what I saw during our stay.

QUALITY

The resort itself was beautiful!  If I were to place it based on a Disney quality scale, I would say it would probably fall under the Moderate category.  Our room has a resort view, so we faced the Dolphin side but from our window, you could get a glimpse of the Boardwalk and the fireworks.  Down at the end of our hallway, there was a large circular window which had a beautiful view of Epcot and Illuminations every night! Next time, mom and I agreed we would try to request a park view.  There were rooms directly to the left of our rooms which had balconies which probably had perfect views of Epcot, the Boardwalk, and Illuminations!  Our room was a standard room with one King bed and a large pull out couch.  The one thing I really liked was the bathroom had two separate areas.  The first area was a sink with a mirror and the closet directly behind it.  The second area was where the bath, toilet, and second mirror/sink area was located.  Having the two mirrors and sinks was extremely helpful every morning when mom and I were doing our makeup and hair for the day!  Overall, it was a pretty standard room!

BENEFITS

The part I was most excited for about staying at the Swan was all of the great benefits you receive as a guest.  It is not classified as a Disney World Hotel but because it’s on property, you receive all the same benefits as a guest in a Disney World Hotel.  We were able to book our fast passes 90 days in advance to get all the best rides, we could use extra magic hours, and utilize Disney Transportation.  We had the option to take buses to Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Disney Springs, and the water parks.  The boat was the offered mode of transportation to get to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.  You could also walk to Epcot or Hollywood Studios if you wanted to, and it wasn’t a bad walk by any means!  In regards to RunDisney, we also had all the transportation options available to us too.  So they had buses available to and from the Expo throughout the days and times it was open, and race day transportation starting at 3:30 A.M.

Overall, Mom and I really enjoyed our stay at the Walt Disney World Swan hotel.  It had great perks in regards to playing in the parks and participating in the races.  The rooms and hotel were great quality, and the staff was all so helpful and kind.  And you can’t beat being able to watch Illuminations from your hotel every night!

2018 Medal Monday

I have officially crossed my final finish line of 2018!  I wanted to take time to reflect back on all of the races I’ve participated in to really appreciate how far I’ve come!  *ba dum dum* My friends over at Joyful Miles decided to put some questions together, to sum up, my #yearofthebling!

  • What is your favorite 2018 medal based solely on design rather than an emotional connection?

Signing up for the Wine and Dine Challenge was a complete whim during the middle of the summer.  I honestly don’t know what made me want to sign up all of the sudden, but I am so glad I did especially when the medals were released.  I am obsessed with this medal.  The rose gold plating of the medal, and Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite Disney movies, so this one definitely took the cake for my favorite medal design.

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  • What is your favorite non-runDisney medal?

Once you participate in a runDisney event, your expectations for your next racing event are slightly skewed especially when it comes to medals.  For example, my first 5k after runDisney was a local Lafayette 5k.  This is going to sound bad, but I was so upset when I crossed the finish line and they handed me a bottle of water.  I was so confused.  My thoughts were “I just ran 3.1 miles, where’s my dang medal?!”  I learned what realistic expectations to expect when participating in local races, but I was completely blown away after the Tiger 10k in Baton Rouge!  It was equivalent in quality, size, and design as runDisney medals are.  Even though I’m not an LSU fan this medal will go down as my favorite local medal I have received to date!

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  • What is your favorite runDisney medal?

My favorite runDisney medal goes to Princess 5k for several reasons.  First, it was my first runDisney event, and it was my first race event.  Second, I did it with my mom, who as you all know is my best friend so being able to run together and create those memories meant the world to me.  And finally, it led me here.  Had I never participated in that first 5k I would have never pursued running as a hobby and I would have never accomplished of all the goals I have this year.  Also, let’s just take a look at cute little Pascal hanging on for dear life!

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  • Which medal was your most hard-earned?

So I couldn’t pick just one medal.  To be honest, all of my medals are hard earned.  Tons of mile and hours of dedication went towards finishing these races.  It was a rollercoaster of ups and downs sometimes, but it was all worth it when it came to crossing the finish line.  The one major hurdle I had to overcome this year was my double foot surgery at the beginning of August.  I didn’t really talk about it much, but I underwent surgery on both of my feet to have Morton’s neuromas removed from each foot.  Morton’s are tumors that grow on the nerves of the ball of your feet.  They weren’t life-threatening, but they were continuing to grow larger and cause more pain.  It was only supposed to take me two weeks to recover, but it ended up being closer to a month.  This all happened when I was supposed to be training for Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend.  This was also going to be my first half marathon.  Que the insane amount of nerves.  I went into that weekend with my longest training run being 8 miles.  I went in with a lot of doubt that I would finish, but thankfully I was able to push through and get through my first half marathon with a decent time.  I honestly did not think I would finish this race.  I had every odd against me to not, but race day came, and the energy of my fellow runners encouraged me as well as my mom texting me every mile telling me how proud she was of me.  So my most hard-earned medals are the Two Course Challenge medals I earned from Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend.

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  • What’s your favorite overall medal?

I’m sure it won’t be shocking to anyone that my favorite overall medal is a runDisney medal, and *drum roll please* it goes to the Wine and Dine Half Marathon medal!  It’s my favorite for many reasons.  First things first, it was my very first half marathon, and I honestly never thought I would accomplish running 13.1 miles.  Second, it’s such a classic design with Mickey running across the front especially because Disney means so much to me and is such a large part of my life.  Finally, I love all of the colors throughout the medal.  The ribbon is a gorgeous wine based color and the gold is simple but classic.  I love the overall design because it is so simple, but it is still so detailed.

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2018 Race Line-Up:

February – Princess Half Marathon 5k

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March – Hope Fest 5k and Best Damn Race: New Orleans 5k

April – Star Wars Dark Side 10k

November – Wine and Dine 10k and Half Marathon and Cajun Cup 10k

December – Tiger 10k, Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon 5k, and Reindeer Run 5k

 

Totaling up at 53.4 miles for the 2018 race year.  Considering, when I began this journey in February I didn’t run a single mile, I’m pretty proud to see how far I’ve come. This year will always be a memorable one for me.  It has been a year of firsts.  My first 5k, my first 10k, my first half marathon, and my first runDisney challenge.  I faced some bumps along the way such as double foot surgery in the middle of my summer training, but I fully believe that everything happens for a reason, and it was all apart of the process.  I’ve got some great races lined up for 2019, and I can’t wait to set my goals for the new year!

Thumbs up for a great 2018 and an even better 2019!

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Thank You

Welp, it’s finally happened and when I say finally I mean it.  I may only be graduating a semester late, but I have enough credits to hold at least two degrees, but that’s not important here.  This post is dedicated to everyone who has gotten me to this point, but I wanted to thank the two most important people in my life: Mom and Dad.  This day and achievement are as much about me as they are about you.

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Mom:  Where do I begin?  You’re my best friend and for that, I am forever grateful.  Thank you for the late-night phone calls panicking over exams and homework and everything under the sun.  Thank you for all the times you’ve stayed with me and taken care of me after I had surgery.  Thank you for supporting me even when I went to another SEC school.  Thank you for always reminding me of my worth.  But most importantly, thank you for setting such an amazing example for me growing up.  Day in and day out, I watched you in your office working every day and most nights.  You were the most important example of hard work, and I got to witness it first hand.  Your work ethic and passion for success have led me to not settle for anything less than my very best.  Also, thanks for always being willing to take a Disney trip at the drop of the hat.  I am so thankful for all the memories we have created over these last 4 & 1/2 years, and I can’t wait for more.  I think moving away from college has brought us ever closer than we ever thought possible, so thank you for supporting me and encouraging me through every step of life but especially this one.

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Daddy:  Thank you for instilling me with the value of never settling for anything less than perfect.  I think my eagerness for perfection comes from the ways you pushed me to work my hardest throughout my childhood.  I don’t tell you enough, but I truly can’t thank you enough.  Thank you for believing in me but reminding me that success doesn’t come without hard work.  I can’t tell you how much I look up to you and all you have accomplished.  I will be just as happy to accomplish half of the things you did.  Thank you for spending your “relaxing” retirement moving me in and out of apartments every 6 months.  Thanks for letting me borrow Mom all the times she took care of me, or we went to Disney World.   Thank you for providing me with all of the opportunities in my childhood that you did not have.  Thank you for all you have done and will continue to do in supporting my dreams.

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This post is short, and I apologize for that, but it’s hard to articulate my emotions into words.  My parents are two of the hardest working and driven people I have ever met.  They are my role models and have supported me with endless love throughout the good times as well as the bad times.  I don’t know what I did to deserve them, but I thank my lucky stars every day that these crazy two are mine.  Thank you, Mommy and Daddy, I would not be who I am today without your constant guidance and love.

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2018 Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend

Now that I have finally recovered from running 19.3 miles and the time change, I have finally had time to sit down and recap my experience at runDisney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend.  I had been anxiously awaiting this weekend because it was going to be my first half marathon and my first challenge.  For anyone who doesn’t know running or runDisney, the Two Course Challenge was where you participated in the 10k (6.2 miles) on Saturday and then ran a half marathon (13.1 miles) on Sunday, totaling up to 19.3 miles in two days!  Yes, I paid for this, and yes, I sometimes think I’m a little crazy, but you do it for the bling!  The medals were gorgeous, but we’ll get to that later!

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Expo:

Mama Judy and I flew into Orlando Thursday afternoon, and then we booked it to the expo to pick up my race bib and shop for all the adorable merch!  Also, I needed to get to the expo as soon as possible because I forgot my running shoes at home.  Yep, I somehow made it all the way to Orlando to run a race without my running shoes.  For someone who had their packing list written out a week before, this was a major fail.  As if my anxiety wasn’t already racing, this only made matters worse.  Once we got to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, we went to the Hoka booth immediately.  My priority was to get new shoes, and if we didn’t have enough time to pick up my bib, we would come back on Friday.  Thankfully, they had the style and size of the shoes I needed, and I had shoes to run in for the weekend!  The expo wasn’t too crowded, and the flow of traffic to pick up your bib worked really well.  A recommendation is to come to the expo with your waiver filled out and ready to go.  You are able to print and fill it out before entering the expo, but I like to have it done ahead of time.  Next stop was the merch (INSERT HEART EYES)  I honestly loved the theming for this year.  All of the merchandise was super cute!  The colors were gorgeous, and I was able to shop without a huge crowd.  We were in and out of the merchandise within like 20 minutes!  It was great.

10k:

 I managed to get to bed around 8ish the night before the 10k, but goodness that 2 A.M. alarm came on too early.  Thankfully, the excitement and adrenaline gave me an extra boost to get going.  Mom and I made it to Epcot around 3:15 A.M., but we didn’t realize that they didn’t open up bag check or start running the buses until 3:30 A.M.  Mama Judy and I chilled in our warm car until we finally saw movement at bag check.  Once we made it through, we headed to the Ticket and Transportation Center, the meet and greet with characters had already begun.  You had the option between Sebastian, Lumiere, Chef Mickey, and Chef Minnie, and Chef Donald and Chef Goofy.  We hopped in line for Chef Donald and Chef Goofy.  The lines were moving fairly quickly, I was able to meet them in about 15 minutes.  My mom and I hopped in line to meet Sebastian, but the line was queued at over an hour, and the characters would be leaving at 5:00 A.M.  I decided to move into my corral since we wouldn’t make the meet and greet anyways.  The run itself went great because the weather was perfect.  It was cool but not too cool.  I will say I was disappointed with the course – the first 4 miles were all on main roads and overpasses.  We only ran through Epcot for the last half of the course.  There were several characters out on the route, but I chose not to stop for any meet and greets because I wanted to keep up my steady pace for a Princess Half Marathon Weekend proof of time.  After finishing, mom and I met up and hopped in line for some characters.  We were able to meet Sebastian and Chef Minnie and Chef Mickey before heading out for the day!

Half Marathon:

Mom and I were dragging this morning with the time change and back to back early wake-up calls.  We made it to the TTC and decided not to wait for any characters since it was almost time to head to my corral.  As the race volunteers were moving my corral towards the starting line, it started to sprinkle, what a great start to the morning!  I really enjoyed the course map for the half.  It was a nice mixture of back roads and overpasses and parks.  The first part we ended up at was Animal Kingdom, and I came in right at sunrise.  It was beautiful to see the sun rising over Pandora.  From AK, we headed to Hollywood Studios (my favorite park) which was a relief because I knew Epcot was right around the corner.  During my walk interval outside of Studios, an elderly couple asked me what I was doing, I said running a half marathon, they then proceeded to ask me if paid for this, I responded yes, and they both looked at me which this confused expression and said you’re crazy.  That was probably a highlight of my first half marathon!  My favorite part of the race was running through the Boardwalk for several reasons.  It’s flat and wide open so runners can space out. Also, the atmosphere on the Boardwalk is the best – you have the family and friends of runners out there cheering, and the resort guests on their balcony’s watching and cheering too.  Epcot was a struggle, but I pushed through it to get to that last finish line.  Once I fit the 13-mile marker, I started to tear up this was such a long and hard working journey.  Then as I rounded the corner for the finish line, I saw Mama Judy taking pictures and yelling how proud she was of me.  That moment and pure exhaustion did it, I started crying, but I knew I had to pull it together to get that instaworthy finish line picture! #judgeme There were several character stops throughout the course.  I stopped for Louis from Princess and the Frog being a NOLA girl, and Mushu at the China Pavillion in Epcot.  Characters I remember seeing were Marie, Green Army Men, Flik, Oswald, Elvis Stitch, Russell for UP, Daisy Duck, Pluto, the Penguins from Mary Poppins, Dino Chip and Dale and Edna Mode.  The characters available after the race were Chef Minnie and Chef Mickey, Lumiere, Chef Donald, and Chef Goofy!  We only waited for Lumiere because I didn’t think I could stand up any longer, and I was dying for a warm bath!

After Party:

After sleeping all day and taking a nice relaxing and warm bath, mom and I headed to Epcot in the sprinkling rain.  I had hoped the weather would clear up because I wanted to take some nice pictures with my medals.  Alas, that was not the case.  Mother Nature was not working in my favor.  Because of the time change, it got dark at like 5:00 P.M. – i.e. no natural lighting available for pictures, and it began pouring down rain.  We conquered Frozen Ever After, Soarin’ and Character Spot and a stop at the Canada food both for some cheddar soup.  From there, we decided to cut our losses.  The rain was coming down hard and it didn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.  As much as we wanted to enjoy the party, it was just not worth pushing through the rain for.  Hopefully, I’ll be back for Wine and Dine Weekend again to enjoy the party!

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Epcot International Food & Wine Favorites

You voted, and I will deliver!  During our Fall Break trip, we set off the majority of a day to spend at Epcot to sip and dine our way around the World Showcase and all of the various booths.  I had been reading up on blog posts discussing the festival favorites and new offerings for this year, but I also knew we would have to figure out once we got there.  We didn’t eat breakfast that morning because we knew we would be getting our fill in.  Before we ventured off, I went through the festival guide at the front of the park and highlighted what I wanted to get, and then Jeremy did the same.  This is where my OCD kicks in.  I wanted to make sure we hit all of our favorite stops and did it in the most effective way. L O L judge me!

Our first stop was at the Shimmering Sips Mimosa Bar at the Festival Center.  I was SUPER hyped up for this being that I am a basic white girl and I love my mimosas.  We ordered three: the tropical mimosa, the frozen mimosa, and the blood orange mimosa.

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  1. Tropical – the tropical was by far my favorite.  It was fruity and still refreshing at the same time, but it still gave you the nice little buzz.
  2. Frozen – This one was okay!  Honestly, the White Claw Natural Lime Hard Seltzer in it was an awkward taste I didn’t enjoy.  I had hoped I would like it more because I love icees, but I would pass on this one again.
  3. Blood Orange – Jeremy ordered this one, and I was not a fan.  I didn’t enjoy the blood orange flavor neither did Jeremy.  We both voted for the Tropical as the top contender.

 

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Next up was the Taste Track near Test Track!  Jeremy ordered the Pancake Milkshake, and we weren’t sure what to expect with this one, but Jer said it was honestly just a glorified milkshake with sprinkles on top.  He said if put to a taste test with a vanilla milkshake, he wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

 

 

To continue on our drink adventure, we went to the Light Lab near Club Cool!  I was excited about this just because the inside is really cool from what we experienced last year.  We ordered the Phosphorescent Phreeze Flight to split!  It was cute how it was presented.  I would compare it to an icee with much less sugar.  The best flavor was the blue, then the purple, then the yellow.  Overall, the drinks weren’t great, but the experience in the room was cool.

 

We finally decided to get some food at Flavor From Fire near Epcot Character Spot.  The smells walking around the area were just amazing.  You can smell the barbeque in the air, and it was so appetizing.  Jeremy ordered the Piggy Wings.  He really enjoyed them and wished you were served more.

 

Next up was one of my favorite offerings that was brought back from last year’s festival.  At Coastal Eats, we ordered a Baked Shrimp Scampi dip which is served with some French Bread.  It was just as good as I remembered it, although I think we got more shrimp last year.  Definitely recommend it if you’re a seafood fan!

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We decided to actually adventure out past Future World and into the World Showcase to eat some more.  Our first stop was the Germany Pavillion for an Apple Strudel.  I was super pumped for this one, and I was sufficiently let down.  The strudel part was undercooked and mushy.  Plus, the apples inside of it were very plain and lacked any cinnamon seasoning at all.  We also got very little vanilla sauce to dip it in, so I was rather sad after leaving Germany.

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From Germany, we headed to the Italy pavilion to get some real food rather than dessert.  We were going to order a Fritto Mista, but the cast member said it would take twenty minutes to prepare, so we ordered the Mezzi Rigatoni.  Honestly,  I am so glad the Fritto Mista wasn’t ready because the Mezzi was amazing! The sauce was a little spicy, but it was a nice little kick.  Also, the pasta was cooked amazing!  I would have loved to order that as a regular entree!

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Our last stop before we both entered into a food coma was at the Refreshment Port for Jeremy to try the Sweet Potato Poutine which he raved about after devouring it.  We got to enjoy our last food and wine meal on the honorary festival tables, a lovely nearby trashcan.  This is one of our favorite festivals to attend because I love sweet treats, and Jeremy loves food in general!

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Have you attended the Food and Wine Festival before?  What’s your favorite festival offering?  Let me know in the comments!

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Mickey’s Not So Scary Round 2

We’re back for Round 2 of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party!  We knew going on a Friday night meant more crowds, but we were prepared to deal with it the best we could.  Also, before getting to the party Jeremy and I agreed to take it easy because we were exhausted from the last two nights staying out so late, but nevertheless we persisted!

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Our costumes for Friday night were my favorite!  Snow White and Grumpy!  Jeremy told me when I started planning our costumes that he would not dress up like a prince, and it took some arm turning, but he agreed to go as Grumpy, and it was adorable.  I also carried my Poison Apple popcorn bucket as a purse to use throughout the night which was the perfect touch of detail.  This night we had primarily three goals: meet all the characters, eat all the specialty treats and ride all the specialty attractions!

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We were able to redeem ourselves from the night before and ride Space Mountain with all the lights off.  Of course, Jeremy and I were in the last two rows, and we were behind a lady who had blinking pumpkin earrings.  Thankfully, she realized a bit into the ride that her earrings were bright and distracting, so she turned them off.  It was crazy to go on that ride without any lights.  Even though it’s usually dark, it was kind of spooky to not be able to semi prepare yourself for what was next.  The music they played was similar to just Rock, I guess. It would have been more enjoyable if they played Halloween music with all the lights off.  We were also able to go on Pirates of the Caribbean with the included live actors.  There was a pirate in the jail interacting with guests in the queue and another pirate letting all of the riders know he was in search for Peglegged Pete.  At first, I was like okay random, but then once on the ride, you find another pirate, and it is none other than Peglegged Pete!

For characters, we were able to meet Mickey Mouse in Town Square, Stitch dressed up as Elvis, and the Seven Dwarfs!  This was my first time meeting Mickey since they removed his voice at Town Square, so it was bittersweet.  Stitch dressed as Elvis was a new offering this year, and I loved it.  I have never been a huge Stitch fan, but I loved this specialty costume.  He was so cute!  Finally, the main event for us was meeting the Seven Dwarfs.  First off, I love that they moved their meet and greet inside Storybook Circus.  The AC was much appreciated in the 90-degree heat in October, and it also helped prepare in case of rain which we didn’t run into, but we have in previous years.  We went to meet them right before the fireworks, and we waited maybe 20 minutes.  It was so worth going later because we beat the huge crowd of people the dwarfs always attract.

Now for food.  This was Jeremy’s favorite part.  We were able to try four Halloween Party specialties.  The first was the Jack Skellington Cake Push Pop at Sleepy Hollow.  Honestly, I was hyped up for this treat, and I will admit I was disappointed.  It was awkward to eat because it was similar to a cupcake, but you had to push it up to eat more.  It was a hot mess to try to eat.  It was good, but I would have preferred it just as an individual cupcake.  Next up was the Muenster Smash Burger at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café.  This was right up Jeremy’s alley but not mine since I like my cheeseburgers plain.  His overall review was not bad.  The pictures were a lot nicer looking than the actual product.  From my point of view, the black bun itself looked unappetizing.  It was a combination of a burger, tater tots, cheese, and Sriracha aïoli.  We then opted for a chill treat, the Maleficent Dessert at Storybook Treats.  It was so cute, but with the heat, it began to melt immediately.  The flavor was okay.  If you like lime, then this is the treat for you.  It was good, but I am not a general fan of the flavor.  And finally, we tried the Worms and Dirt at Peco Bills Tall Tale Inn and Café which I was super excited for because I love these kinds of things.  We caught them right before they closed at 11 which surprised me since the party didn’t end til 12.  It was good, but it was nothing special.  Just pudding, gummy worms, and chocolate cake crumbs.  The cutest part was the tomb headstone for Master Gracey from Haunted Mansion.

Overall, we had a great night, but like I said we decided to take it easy especially since we had eaten around the world at Epcot earlier that day.  Check back next week for our top picks from Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival!

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Halloween Movie Marathon

The witching hour is upon us… well it will be tomorrow!

It’s kind of crazy to think that it’s already October.  I feel like I was just making New Year Resolutions yesterday, but onward with the holiday season.  To celebrate Halloween for the duration of October, I have decided that I’m going to watch one Halloween themed movie per weekend until October 31st!  I thought this would be a fun way to celebrate the holiday, relax on the weekend, and watch some throwbacks!

So here is my starting lineup!

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Week 1: Kicking things off on the right foot, I opted for a double feature of one of the best Halloween movies in Disney Channel History – Halloweentown.  YAS!  This is a move that I religiously waited all year for as a child for it to come on.  I thrived when Disney kept adding new additions because I loved it so much.  I think this movie should be a year-round thing I’m just saying.  Also, can we take a minute to appreciate that Kimberly J. Brown, the actress who plays Marnie, is currently dating, Daniel Kountz, who played Kalabar’s son in Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge.  OKAY GOALS?!  Also, long live the queen, Debbie Reynolds – any movie to enjoy her quirky and adorableness is a win.

Week 2: A Disney Channel Original Movie that I have not heard in years, Twitches.  Honestly, when I saw it at Target I probably squealed.  This was such a good movie, and I don’t think it got enough love as it should have.  I mean it exposed two of my childhood dreams: 1.) to find a long-lost twin sister and 2.) to be a witch.

Week 3:  Welcome Foolish Mortals!  While the Haunted Mansion attraction may give us the creeps year round, it becomes more relevant this time of year.  I have loved this movie from a young age when it first came out.  Eddie Murphy is hilarious, and I enjoy the background story it gives to the ride.

Week 4: Of course, to finish off this marathon I am ending it with the truest Halloween Classic – Hocus Pocus.  I watch this movie every year around this time, and it never seems to get old.  I love how Disney has brought it back to life with in-park entertainment at the Halloween parties.  It is a true Halloween classic!

And what is any good movie marathon without some snacks?!

I will not deny that I can’t resist a nice glass of wine, especially after a long week.  I’m especially partial to rosé, but any drink would look perfect in this Hallo WINE glass from Michaels!  And what is any glass of wine without a sweet treat to pair it with?  My trifecta Halloween favorites: candy corn, Trolli sour gummies, and of course Resse’s Pumpkins.  I swear that the pumpkins taste so much better than regular peanut butter cups but maybe that’s just me.

Of course, I have my honorable mention movie as a backup!

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Truth be told, I have never actually watched Tower of Terror, but I have been on the ride before.  I am excited to give this a watch for the first time this holiday season!

I hope this movie marathon helps put you in a spooky mood to get ready to celebrate Fall and Halloween!

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