Life's Sweet Journey

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Words for Wednesday: The School for Good and Evil

I just recently finished reading The School for Good and Evil series by Soman Chainani. If you have not heard of this series, you should check it out. I loved it!! It is the perfect series for girls who are trying to figure out that balance between friendship, relationships and being true to who they really are. Really, the same could be said for all of us, because it's also a great book for any woman still trying to figure that all out (12, 17, 25, 31... doesn't matter). If you love a different spin on fairy tales (characters like Lancelot, Cinderella, Peter Pan...) and don't shy a way from a little dark adventure then you really need to read this! I started it after a recommendation from a 10 year old and I couldn't recommend it more (books really can span generations)! It also just so happens that it is being turned into a movie, so you should probably jump on the train before it comes out. 

Anywho, today's Word's for Wednesday post comes from the final book in the series, The School for Good and Evil: The Last Ever After. Here are a few of my favorite quotes... 

"What is it about a name that gives us a story to believe in?" 

"I'd sheltered him from his own weaknesses, and because of it those weaknesses won. I had to let you write your own story..." 

"Stories go wrong when people think that their own happiness is bigger than anyone else's." 
- I don't know what it is for me about the word story, but in my opinion it is such a powerful word. We each have a story, one that is ours alone, but one that can be shared with others. Hundreds upon thousands of stories overlapping each other, each story adding something to another. And it is in the sharing of our stories with others that we grow a bond that transcends time, distance and differences. It's our stories that bring us together in someway or another. 

And one final quote to leave you with, which just may be my favorite from the whole series... 
"Because as long as her story was about her she resisted her fate, as if living for herself was too much responsibility. But the moment she saw her fate was bigger than her, she finally felt free to embrace it." 

What parts of your story do you need to embrace?
What parts of your story, if shared, could help set both you and others free?

Friday, October 30, 2015

#flasbackFriday: Epcot Food & Wine Favorites

Sharing a little #flashbackFriday on the blog today! I first posted this almost a year ago today and thought that it was time to bring it out of the archives. With just over 2 weeks left to enjoy Food and Wine at Epcot I thought it would be a good time to shine some light on some favorites! That and I am missing Disney like crazy!! Enjoy peeking at (and hopefully eating soon) food around the world!! (post first published November 2014) 

I used to despise Epcot. I would beg my grandparent's not to take me there as a kid. "Please, pleeeaaase, take me to Disney instead?! Please!" As a young child Disney only meant one thing, Magic Kingdom. As I emerged into teenagehood and then into my early adult years, it broadened to MGM Hollywood Studios and then Animal Kingdom. But never, ever Epcot. And then our year of Disney living began and my world was opened to the wonderfulness that is the World Showcase... especially during 'Flower and Garden' and 'Food and Wine'. My poor Mimi, she just wanted to try to teach me the wonders of it at an early age. Apparently, I wasn't having it though. So when I said to Babe, "I love Epcot, it is my new favorite park!" And he responded in kind, I had to follow it with, "We are becoming my grandparents." And I am more than fine with that. Though it is doubtful, maybe I will have better luck convincing my grandchildren that Epcot is a glorious place. Kids?! Let your grandparents take you to Epcot!! I wish I had spent more time there with mine.
The necessities of the "Food and Wine Investigator"= sunnies for before the sun dips down, the Food and Wine Passport, a pin for jotting notes and the phone (my ever present companion)
While I doubt we will obtain our goal of trying every food item at Food & Wine, we are well on our way there. I loved playing Food and Wine investigator and apparently played the part as it was joked that I made quite the investigative reporter with outfit to match and so this shot was snapped. So, now that I have had the immense satisfaction of exploring the World Showcase and attending Food and Wine, who knows how many time in the last few weeks, here is a sampling of my Food and Wine recommendations: 
Our documented passport... A smiley face= well liked, marked GIMB!!= Get in My Belly!, not good= ick, and others received general notes (i.e. Canada, which we found just alright, though I really enjoyed the fish)
My Top 5 Five Food and Wine Treats
1.) Kalua Pork Slider in Hawaii- This was so yummy and takes the top spot for my favorite hearty food item. 
2.) Beijing Roasted Duck in China- I am waiting to go back and get the whole one to myself. A friend got this the night we went with a group and I tried a bite. So yum!! 
3.) Grilled Lamb Chop in Australia- I would have eaten the bone if it wouldn't have broken my teeth! I couldn't get enough of it and it's a good size portion for one person. 
4.) La Passion Martini Slush in France- I am not much of a beverage person, I prefer the food, but this was my favorite drink and I would get it again. 
5.) Seared Sea Scallop in Scotland- I am not a scallop person, but this was quite delectable and a favorite of everyone in our group. To quote: "That one needs a smiley face!! Do it!! Put a smiley face!" 

Those 5 above all received a smiley face, but the overall winners of our Food and Wine experience, receiving the only two GIMBs (Get in My Belly) so far were... 
Croissant Doughnut (my choice) at the Refreshment Port 
and the Lamb Meatball (Babe's Choice) in New Zealand

The only item to aquire an ick rating has been the Pineapple wine in Hawaii, I guess everything can't be amazing right?! Also, while honey and cheese would typically be a favorite of mine the cheese in Greece was just a little too much for me; too cheesy, which I didn't think was possible. Not cheesy enough for an 'ick', but I didn't eat the whole thing, way too rich. 

With the final weekend of Food & Wine looming ahead of us I hope that you find time to do some investigating of your own before it comes to a close for the year. We plan to try to check off a few more items on Sunday and Monday. Any recommendations? Anything we must try?! 

Our top 5 want to try items:
Mussels in New Zealand
Pavlova in Australia 
Salmon in Patagonia
Bobotie in Africa
Mahi in Singapore 
Fisherman's Pie in Ireland

Linking up with the 5 on Friday gals! 

I figured in honor of my first #flashbackFriday post, why don't we all peek through the blog archives and pull out a post we would all enjoy some love on. 
Link up any old post that you want to share that is at least over a month old!
Limit links to two posts please. 
Happy #flashbackFriday!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Missing the Magic! Favorite Magic Kingdom Food for Less

Oh my goodness, have I been missing Disney!! With Food and Wine going on I am so sad that we don't have passes anymore. We had our "Year-O-Disney" and it was time for a change up, so we got Flo (who I dearly love!), but oh, I am missing the magic and the wonder... and the FOOD!! 
So, since I am sitting here hungry and salivating I figured it was as good a time as any to share our favorite places to eat for cheap around the Kingdom!! As a couple we were always on the hunt for foods that would be filling and yummy, but also shareable! It really helps on the Disney pocketbook! I am not sure how well this would work if you had kiddos, but for us these sharing was our fail safe way to save a few pennies on food at the Magic Kingdom. Here are the spots we found that works best at, while still getting delicious food...

Golden Oak Outpost Fry Cart!! 
Oh my gosh and goodness!! These loaded fries are by far our favorites! Sadly, we didn't discover then until late in our Disney game. We tried to go back to the Magic Kingdom as often as we could as our passes were ending, sometimes just so we could have these yummies. They are also totally man approved, as they were always what Babe would request for lunch. Golden Oak used to only be open for lunch, but we have heard that they stay open later now! We would often share one to tide us over until we got a bigger dinner, but if we wanted to go all out they are still not bad at just around $8 per person! Definitely worth the cost and calories!! We loved them all, but my favorite was the BLT!! 

Gaston's Tavern Roasted Pork Shank!!
This is the perfect meal to split, making the cost right at $5 per person. It is so good and so juicy and also huge! Between the two of us we could barely finish, but don't worry we managed!! And though it does add a little bit to the cost, it is also really hard to pass up the warm cinnamon roll. So gooey and good and perfect for sharing with multiple people ($5 for the roll). We would usually do this option for dinner and sit outside after the sun had gone down to enjoy a little break before hitting Fantasyland! 

Cosmic Ray's Cheeseburger!!
Our favorite spot to grab a burger used to be Pecos Bill Tall Tale Cafe, we enjoyed the atmosphere better and would make it our "go-to spot" before hitting my personal favorite, Splash Mountain. However, Peco Bill now serves tex-mex, which we will have to go back and try, but haven't made it since they changed. However, Cosmic Ray's offers similar burger options. We would usually split the burger (huge) and fries. We would load up our half of the burger to our liking at the free condiment bar (onions, mushrooms, all the fixings) and chow down. This would usually be a lunch option before a bigger dinner and comes out to about $8 per person. While probably our least favorite of all these options this would be a quick and easy go to and sometimes, well, you just want a burger after a long morning trekking around the park. 

Columbia Harbor House Seafood Mac and Cheese!!
Cheese, glorious cheese!! I love me some mac and cheese!! Add in lobster and I am in heaven!! Seriously, this stuff makes me happy and while it isn't super Babe approved (he is not a mac and cheese fan), he still enjoys it too. It is also really rich, which to us makes it super filling, so we can share one no problem. It may look smaller, but trust me, it hits the spot perfectly for two people! It is a little more expensive than the others, coming out at about $7 per person if you are splitting, but I mean lobster!! Lobster and cheese and happiness for $7? It can't be beat! We would eat it, sit a minute and then hit the Haunted Mansion for a slow, easy ride while the cheese digested!! 

I realize that these are all share options, but coming from two people who love their food (and one who will get real hangry if she doesn't eat enough), you definitely get enough to satisfy! 

And for those of you looking to explore Epcot and The Food and Wine options, here are some of my favorites dines from last year! Oh, miss it! I miss it!! 

Have a gloriously, magical day!
Any tips or tricks of your own for saving on food at the park? 
Share in the comments, I would love to know your secrets! 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Loving Lately

It's been a busy week around these parts! From out of state wedding fun to Run 4 Recovery planning talks with my sweet daddy we have been pretty go, go, GO! We are gearing up for a garage sale this morning (PURGE ALL THE THINGS!!), so I thought I would just take a minute to share some of what I have been loving lately before jumping off to the next task on the checklist... 
PRETTY JEWELRY! I love my awesome and colorful necklace from Noonday Collection. My sweet friend Lauren (who blogs overs at Boundary Stone) recently became an ambassador with Noonday. If you haven't heard about Noonday, they are a jewelry/fashion company who links arms with those in vulnerable communities to help create jobs, empower woman and impact the lives of these families all over the globe. If you are interested in learning more or just want to shop around a bit, you can do so here! Such cute, cute stuff!! I love cute stuff with a great message and reach! 
PERSONAL HAPPIES! I got the sweetest gift from the kids I have watched for the past almost 11 years. As they have gotten older and we have entered new seasons in our lives my time with them has gotten further apart. But now that just means that we are more intentional about making time to be together and that when we are it is that much more full of all the things we enjoy. You know those people that become like family? That is these guys and it made their sweet gift that much sweeter!! 

PLUMDOG! So far this is my most favoritest (yup, that is totally a word!) book that I have gotten from blogging for books! The illustrations are so sweet and the book is adorable. It is a diary told from the perspective of a dog and while it may sound like a kids book it is the perfect book for adults (especially dog lovers) and children alike. In my opinion it makes a great coffee table book, one that people can pick up and skim through to put a smile on their face!! Just look at these cute illustrations and sweet excerpt... 
How much more adorable can you get?! 

WRINKLE FREE EYES!! I received the OZ Naturals Matrix 6 eye gel free for review, but the opinions are all my own. I love this stuff! I have tried quite a few different eye creams, some with good results and some that don't seem to do much, this stuff however, works like a charm. I can feel it tightening around my eyes as soon as I put it on. It evens out my skin and can be applied under makeup. You can apply it twice a day and, in my opinion, the results last for a good period of time, pulling skin tighter and making fine lines appear smaller (some even nonexistent) immediately. 

*Note: I would also add a lotion on top before you apply makeup as it does occasionally (on my skin, depending on weather) make the makeup appear dry.

5.) SERENITY PRAYER SHIRT!! If you saw Tuesday's post, then you saw the Serenity Prayer tank I made to help raise funds to support the Run 4 Recovery happening in a few weeks. It can be ordered as a tank or a tee and you can currently enter to win one of your choice between now and Sunday. 

Hope you are having a wonderful FRIDAY!! FRI-YAY!! 
What are you loving lately? 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Running 4 Recovery

I don't really think I need to say much for this post, other than please watch the video. My daddy is the sweet man at the end, the one holding a picture of my brother. Addiction is a beast, one that can tear and kill and destroy. That is why I am so proud of my dad, the men of MBS Surf Co. and the amazing team of people that put this video together for their first Run 4 Recovery. Take a look... 

If you would like to donate, sponsor or live locally and would like to run you can sign up at their website. You can also support the race by purchasing a Serenity Prayer shirt. I made them to honor my brother's memory and to help raise money for the race. 

You can also enter to win one below. The winner will be chosen on Sunday and I will email you to find out your size, color choice and address and have it sent your way! (Thank you to all those who entered, I am really sorry, but I actually had to remove this giveaway. Thank you for understanding.) 

For more of my thoughts about the race and the battle against addiction you can read this post from earlier in the month.
And for those in the throes of addiction, helping a family member or friend on their recovery road, or making the choice each and every day to stay in recovery my prayers and thoughts are with you. Recovery isn't easy, but it's worth it. It is so worth it!