"One Lump, or Two?"

"One Lump, or Two?"

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Vacation 2016: Universal Studios FL & Walt Disney World

   Our trip started off on September 11th at Disney Springs for dinner and a little shopping...
   The weather was wonderful and some of the Halloween decorations and treats had made their way throughout the shops. That was nice to see since we would be missing the Magic Kingdom decorations that Disney is known for... We also had dinner at Ragland Road - an Irish restaurant that serves delicious food.
   The window displays were fantastic - so many household items I wanted to purchase... I would have gone bankrupt if I didn't have better self control!
   Click HERE to see my vacation haul.
   On September 12th we spent most of our day at Universal Studios... We were so excited to experience the park, as well as explore the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! You can see that part of our trip by clicking HERE.
   While in Universal Studios we enjoyed rides such as Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls - which was absolutely fantastic, even though the line was long and super humid. We also admired all the characters and figures around the park, like Optimus Prime! It was fantastic and I will definitely be returning.
   Then, on September 13th, we spent our morning at Animal Kingdom...
"Tree of Life"
We went on the Kilimanjaro Safari and got to see and learn about a lot of endangered species - I snapped so many pictures that they couldn't all fit in one post, even with being on the safari before!
   I feel that since my last visit (which was back in 9th grade), Disney has added even more education on the importance of protecting animals, and conservation in general, throughout the experiences withing Animal Kingdom.
 Expedition Everest was a ride I hyped up in my head from memory of loving it so much the first time I rode it... And it lived up to my memory! It is not only a great rollercoaster ride but a really pretty ride due to the great views of the park you get to see.
   We also rode Kali River Rapids and I didn't get as soaking wet as I remembered but it was still refreshing and a lot of fun.
   We ended our Animal Kingdom visit by hiking around all the trails and then went back to our hotel room to rest and freshen up... That evening we went to Epcot, but knew some rain was headed our way. Luckily, most of Epcot's attractions are indoors - the only potential "inconvenience" is walking from attraction to attraction outside while it rains.
   Sadly it was more than just rain and the hurricane had arrived early... We only got to experience two or three indoor attractions, but it was still pretty nice! Especially since we got to see manatees and ride Soarin' - which I HIGHLY recommend... The rain just makes me excited to go back and re-experience the park in all its glory.
   We ended our time in Florida a day and a half early because of the storm and headed home, making a 24hr stop in Virginia Beach to have a bit more downtime and some toes-in-the-sand moments.

   It was a lovely trip and I cannot wait to plan another visit in the future... I hope you all enjoy these glimpses into my vacation!
xoxo Elle
NOTE: Check out my Vacation OOTDs by clicking HERE.
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Vacation 2016: Haul

   Shopping at Disney or Universal is a very unique experience because of high volumes mixed with a large variety of items (clothing, foods, collectibles, figures, etc.)... Although I was low on funds for this trip, I really love every single purchase made - can't wait to go back for another vacation, and another shopping trip!

   While in Disney Springs we popped into the Candy Cauldron and I noticed the Poison Candy Apples and jumped for joy... Candy apples are one of my favorite fair/theme park/autumn treats, and anyone who enjoys the more villainous sides of Disney should try the Poison Candy Apples or attempt making one for themselves. By the time we had gotten back to the hotel, my apple had started to melt a bit, so it isn't as adorable but still tasted delicious - even though the green chocolate was a bit more sweetness than I can generally handle. I will definitely be getting another one of these next time I am able to go to Disney!
   The WonderGround Gallery at Disney Springs took my breath away... I wanted everything, but fell in love with these two prints.
   "Something More" by Sydney Hanson & "Maleficent Enthroned" by Jasmine Becket-Griffith
   If you've known me for any portion of time, I'm sure you are aware that Beauty & the Beast was my first Disney Princess love and Maleficent was my first Disney Villain love - plus these styles are very "me" - so I had to get them! The ones that originally caught my eye were small with cute frames around them for $25.00 USD/ea and when I saw the price tag it must have been noticeable to the cashier that I couldn't spend that much money because she came up and handed me these two post cards and said "Here, these are just under double the size of the ones you were looking at and are only $5.00 each!" I smiled and thanked her as she rang up my purchase... Now I get to go on the hunt for interesting frames for these two pieces - which makes me excited because collecting unique/vintage frames is an odd hobby of mine.
   Of course we had to run inside the World of Disney store because it was huge and glorious... I was on the hunt for some Tsum Tsums and ran into the Beauty & the Beast range. My favorite fussy household duo - Lumiere and Cogsworth - were in stock and even more adorable in person so I snagged them...
   ... And then I ran into the household items room packed full of mugs and I almost had a heart attack! This "stacked" mug caught my eye because I have a ceramic vase with a similar look in my room. It is the perfect size for my morning tea and has a good weight to it, plus its covered in lovely Alice in Wonderland details... I really wanted to snag a Chip mug and this glorious Alice in Wonderland, three-spout teapot (can be seen in this post) but they weren't in my budget - NEXT TIME!
    While at Wizarding World I was hyped to hit up Sugarplum's and Honeydukes and so indecisive with what I wanted to purchase... I wound up getting a Chocolate Frog, which half melted by the time we got back to the hotel (so there isn't a photo of it). It is way bigger than I expected and honestly between the size, taste, packaging, and card - they really aren't overpriced! I wanted my first card to be Dumbledore and got my wish, so that was pretty great as well... I also picked up an adorable pack of Strawberry Chocolates and I am rather gutted that they completely melted into a bar of chocolate by the time we got back to the hotel because they were so cute! Also, they were some of the best "fruit related" chocolates I have ever had - highly recommend.
    I got my wand... I got my wand... OH MY GOODNESS. I GOT MY WAND!
   When Pottermore was first in Beta and we all were able to get sorted into our Houses is also when we got to discover our wands for the first time... Mine was, and is, a wand of Alder wood with a Dragon heartstring core, 11.5 inches long, and is surprisingly swishy in flexibility. The fantastic cast member at Ollivanders asked me if there was a specific wand that I wanted and I showed her my wand on my phone. She reached up and grabbed a wand box off one of the shelves and showed me the label saying Alder and proceeded to tell me the type of witch/wizard who wields it (to the T with Pottermore's descriptions), and explained how it is an interactive wand with the park.
   I didn't have enough time to use my wand around the park but I will next time, and until then it is on display in my room - sitting on top of my Dumbledore and Hagrid Pop! Vinyls... The map for the park interactions in Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley are so intricate and beautiful that I want to hang it up, but its double sided and I don't want to just show off one side - gotta figure something out!

I hope you enjoyed this haul - sorry I was all over the place, but it has brought me a lot of personal joy!
What is the best vacation purchase you've ever made?
xoxo Elle
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Vacation 2016: OOTDs

   I love coordinating outfits to whatever I am going off to do - whether it is a wedding or an entire week of vacation that I am away... I will admit that there was supposed to be more detail to these outfits, but I ran out of time to focus on them due to some personal things, so I hope this is still interesting enough to post - LOL.
   This vacation was perfect to show off some of my favorite relaxed pieces, so I hope you enjoy these simple, themed outfits!

September 12th - Universal Studios Orlando
Top: Hufflepuff Shooter by Black Milk Clothing
Bottoms: Bike Shorts from Target
Shoes: Sneakers from Target
   As (basically) the biggest Potterhead that I know, I was losing my dang mind planning an outfit that kept to a theme but would also work for the mass amount of jumping for joy and running around that was bound to happen... So I went with Sporty Seeker on Vacation... Or something like that.
   This Shooter is amazing! I usually stick to leggings from Black Milk so I consulted customer service + a fellow Sharkie on Instagram who had a few shooters/was more my size - I wanted the fit to be slightly loose. This one in the photo is a size large, because these tops are designed to fit more loosely, so it fits exactly how I wanted it to... I got tons of compliments from staff members, especially from Slytherin and Hufflepuff house members, as well as other park guests. Of course there was one staff member, who happened to announce he was a Gryffindor, and played the roll of obnoxious jerk pretty well - I guess he is bitter from only winning one Pottermore house cup, but I digress... I know the Shooter tops are good quality and a heavier fabric so I wasn't sure how it would do in the Florida heat, but to my surprise it breathes wonderfully and dries much more quickly than I expected. It was fantastic for bee-bopping around a theme park!
   I've owned several pairs of these shorts because they don't ride up on me as much as most biking shorts (or shorts in general) because they are super stretchy with good quality - they can sit high or low on the thigh, just depends on where you want them. They dry quickly and breathe quite well, so they were a perfect choice for a hot day+water rides... These sneakers are super comfy and it was about time I grabbed a new pair, so I brought the new pair on the trip and didn't experience any issues with them.
September 13th, AM - Animal Kingdom
Top: Peggy Bundy Reversible by Black Milk Clothing
Bottoms: Moto Bike Style Pants from TJ Maxx
Shoes: Sneakers from Target
   My one true goal at Animal Kingdom was to blend in with the big cats... ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED! But in all seriousness, I knew we would be running around on a humid day surrounded by animals and water. I wanted to put together an outfit that would mimic workout clothes - which would be best for my comfort level.
   Black Milk Clothing is great for any season and environment, if you ask me, so this crop top was a great choice. I love the entire Peggy Bundy BM line, which is now in the BM Museum... Super stretchy and thin enough where it dried out within minutes of riding Kali River Rapids. I will say that I'm selling this top though (DePop is @HelloMissDolly) - I'm picky about the cuts of my crop tops and this one just doesn't do anything flattering for my chest in the way others do. *shrug*
Of course I paired this cute top with a pair of bad ass pants, which caused a lot of gawking because NOT SMALL WOMAN IN TIGHT AND SLIGHTLY REVEALING OUTFIT BEING CAREFREE AF. Luckily it didn't bother me whatsoever because I was really proud of myself for rocking this outfit and looking good doing so. This shot doesn't do the outfit justice, but it sure shows off how darn hot and sweaty I was... These are comfy and make me feel structured/secure. They also have a really fantastic pattern on the thigh and the calf which obviously doesn't show in this photo, but I'm sure they will be in a better OOTD post this fall.
September 13th, PM - Epcot
Top: Peasant Top from Pinup Girl Clothing
Bottoms: Laura Byrnes Shorts from Pinup Girl Clothing
Shoes: Flats from TJ Maxx
Brooch: Alice by TagerineMenagerie
   I put together something very simple for a #PinupInThePark sort of look, but it started to full-on thunderstorm half way through doing my hair and makeup so I wound up switching out my favorite Peasant Top for a tank top and put away my brooch.
   I love Peasant Tops because of how flattering and wonderfully comfortable they are; it would have made a great choice to wear around Epcot... I was new to the Laura Byrnes Shorts and I don't wear shorts often, so I was admittedly nervous. It turns out that they are the perfect length for walking around in with minimal chub-rub, and sat on my actual waistline. They did stretch out quite a bit but I'm pretty sure that was due to them becoming soaking wet in the rain - the hurricane was arriving a bit early.
   These flats are my most comfortable pair and I can wear them for hours, even through ankle deep puddles while shuffling around the part of the park we were able to explore... My Alice brooch would have looked so cute, especially since I had plans to meet Alice in England, but our fates did not align and I'll have to show her off at Disney another time. I adore all of my TangerineMenagerie brooches and will be discussing my collection in more detail after I get my next two in the mail - stay tuned!

Thanks so much for reading through!
Do you like coordinating and creating themed outfits for certain life events?
xoxo Elle
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Vacation 2016: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

   The Wizarding World of Harry Potter... To experience this fantastic theme park was near the top of my "bucket list". I still can't quite believe I got to check it off my list and I hope you enjoy this glimpse into my visit...
   King's Cross Station hid the entrance into Diagon Alley and my breath was instantly taken away... To be honest, I teared up a little bit... This was a moment I had been waiting for since this park opened! Since I first read about Hogwarts and the Wizarding World as a small human!
   The first building to my right had a familiar face who tipped their giant hat to me - Weasley's Wizard Emporium... The displays were fun and inside the shop was an array of familiar gag gifts from the books/films. My favorite was the Umbridge-On-A-Tightrope device that rode around above our heads that was also available for purchase.
   I was so excited to get inside Ollivanders Wand Shop that I didn't take many photos but it was just as described and shown to us - the walls were stacked with wands to be chosen, and those of famous witches and wizards as well... The staff I was able to interact with were so sweet and made me unbelievably excited to continue our journey through the parks.
   SugarPlum's was very cute... Can we appreciate this giant wall menu for a moment?
   The details around the park made my jaw drop! Talking creatures, moving objects, familiar displays, and just phenomenal quality everywhere you looked... You truly feel immersed in the Wizarding World; it made me rather emotional... JUST LOOK AT THAT DRAGON?!?!?!
   I also want to mention that the Escape from Gringotts ride was even better than imagined... I don't want to spoil the wonderful experience that this interactive ride is, but its definitly worth any sort of line you may wait in - plus, who wouldn't want the chance to see a whole lot of William (Bill) Weasley.
   Knockturn Alley was great because it reminded me that when I got back to Virginia it would be Halloween preparation time... It felt colder, wetter, and a bit spookier during the walk through and you could even hear the bird chirping inside the Vanishing Cabinet!
   I have now ridden the Hogwarts Express and not only was it dead accurate to what we see in the films but it was quite comfy... The windows on the outside of the train and of the doors to the hallway were interactive. You could hear Harry, Ron, and Hermione talking as their silhouettes went back and forth, while the train windows showed the outside action, both coinciding with the storylines - there are also some surprises if you pay close attention.
   We arrived in Hogsmeade and the first shop I noticed was HoneyDukes... Beautifully detailed with very kind cast members who helped me get a few clear shots while inside.
   We ate lunch at the Three Broomsticks and it was pretty yummy and a nice way to feel like you're in the story, but I didn't snap any photos.
   The Dragon Challenge was ridden almost instantly after entering Hogsmeade and again, this is a ride worth waiting in line for... It has been some time since I've been on a rollercoaster that actually surprised me with how the twists and turns felt. While walking through the path of the line there are TriWizard Tournament signs, and other great props from the films, as well as the growl of dragons behind closed doors... Hagrid's Hut can be found while walking the path to the Flight of the Hippogriff ride. It is a small scale rollercoaster that was nice to go on because it wasn't too jarring. Hagrid's voice is chatting with you while you wait in line, talking about a student he once had who amazed the entire class with his first Hippogriff encounter (Harry Potter), and you get to see Buckbeak face-to-face - laying in his giant nest, bowing in acceptance of your arrival to the pumpkin patch.
   Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was a marvelous sight, at which I teared up a small bit again because I get very emotional about Harry Potter and everything surrounding these stories...
   Through the path that leads to, inside, and around the castle to get to the Forbidden Journey interactive ride was packed full with mass amounts of details and it took all my willpower to stay even relatively calm... The best ride in the park, in my opinion, and one I would have waited in a long line for without question. There is so much to look at while waiting, including the Golden Trio inviting you to ditch class with them, that I can't imagine it would be a bother to wait for.
   The displays inside and in the windows of shops were great to look through for small details from the stories - most of them moved or made some sort of sound...
   And I had been waiting ages to see Madam Puddifoot's Tea Shop display and fill to the brim with jealousy that I not only do not own all these adorable tea cups/pots but that I can't get a print of this room to hang on my wall... SO PRETTY!
   We finished our Wizarding World walk-through by visiting the Harry & Hedwig snowman and hopping back onto the Hogwarts Express - which did have a totally different window experience than to original ride. Again, pay close attention to details.

   It was such a perfect thing to experience and I can't wait to return... Even looking back on all these photos makes my heart so happy, and I hope you get to experience this theme park one day as well.
xoxo Elle
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