Evil Queen Vibes

6:00 PM

While the month of May is coming to a close, the warm and sunny summer temperatures that tend to show up around this time in the northeast just haven't made it here quite yet. If you live near New Jersey, you'll know that gray skies and rainstorms have been the normal weather for a while now.



And it is bringing out my villainous side



There is nothing I love more than breaking out my dresses during this time of year. Unfortunately, these temperatures and weather patterns don't mix well with that type of wardrobe. 

So today I decided I could get the best of both worlds by mixing fun tights and boots with one of my newest summer go-to's, an off the shoulder shift. 
The simple black version of this dress plays well with the purple polka dot tights. Because they are tan and not opaque, the tights don't make me hot or itchy even if humid air rolls in when the sun peeks out behind the thick clouds covering the sky. 

I added my One Bite bag to represent the Evil Queen Vibes, tying the black and purple look all together. I did my makeup with a little sparkly blue for some extra eye drama and a neutral pink pink lip to keep the focus on the eyes. 











What do you think? 
Do cooler days make you feel villainous as well?


Outfit Details:
Dress: Old Navy | Tights: Target (older - but here is a really cute floral pair) | Boots: Old Navy (on super sale!!) | Bag: Danielle Nicole | Sunglasses: Target | Choker: Francesca's | Earrings: Disney Parks (similar here - I have Peridot for my birthstone!) | Lip: Kylie Kosmetics in KoKo K

Adventure

NYC Day Featuring Cinderella City Style

5:00 PM





On our 1 year wedding anniversary, Brian surprised me with tickets to see Book of Mormon in NYC! I love a good trip to the city, and living in New Jersey means we can experience the many adventures a city day can offer. From an unexpected great meal to random market street fairs, there is always a gem to discover.


Another thing I love about New York City is the fashion. I know the theater isn't an affair as glamorous and elegant as it once was, but I still find it an occasion to dress up!



When I spotted this adorable floral dress at Francesca's, I immediately envisioned a modern day Cinderella with NYC street savvy.



I paired it will a delicate gold choker (also from Francesca's), a faux leather jacket from Target, and my glitter Tom's that I wore as my dancing shoes the night of our wedding.




After taking the ferry into the city, we stumbled upon the Gotham West Market and decided to eat lunch there. This place had options galore! Sushi Burritos, Ramen, Mexican, even Ice Cream! - we were covered.


Most of the eateries had vegetarian options and it was hard to choose where we'd get our meal. We finally decided on Cannibal because of its interesting sandwich selection and an array of beers on tap!

We indulged in some apps including the best damn brussel sprouts I have ever experienced - they had capers, salsa verde, and pickled red onion. Of course, that yummy looking pretzel was also enjoyed.

To eat, I had the ANDY HAMPSTEN - a delicious cauliflower sandwich with roasted peppers, muffullata vinaigrette, and sharp provolone. Brian opted for a pressed chicken parm. All in all it was a fabulous choice to stop here for food. Even with the beers, the cost wasn't too high. We didn't have to wait on table service and it was the perfect quite bite before our show.





Once we were full, we went and laughed our asses off at Book of Mormon (seriously - go see it, like, now!)


Of course, I then had to drag Brian to the Disney Store in Times Square. It was completely crowded but I NEEDED to get a few souvenirs, including a tee (on sale!), a mug (Liberty Minnie!) and a pin (the big apple!).




All in all, I felt like a very lucky princess in my sparkly shoes out on a grand adventure with my very own prince charming. Magic can come in the littlest ways, even a quick trip to a nearby location. It is all about having the magic inside of you and sharing it with the people you love!


Adventure

Alli's Top 4 Favorite Disney Treats

7:00 PM




In a few weeks, I'll be spending two glorious days and 1 magical night in Walt Disney World. Over the past year and a half, I've been lucky enough to visit the Disneyland and California Adventure parks in Anaheim quite a few times. While those trips have been amazing, I have to say I can't wait to see some of my favorite WDW sights like Spaceship Earth in Epcot and Cinderella's Castle at Magic Kingdom.

Another reason I always look forward to a Disney trip is... the food! So many treats, so little time is my motto. I'm a vegetarian but this doesn't hinder my choices in the least. In fact, there are quite a few amazing delicacies that are even vegan friendly! Plus, Disney ensures there are plenty of options for those who don't consume meat.

There are many foods I haven't gotten the chance to indulge in during my past trips. I have been doing some research for my upcoming trips, in June and also November, for food and drinks I need to find and experience for myself. However, there are also the treat staples that I just MUST have every time I visit a Disney Park, or my personal experience will not feel complete.

So, I want to share my top 4 favorite Disney treats with you!  I'm sure most Disney fans will be like - duh - this is nothing new to me. If that is the case, please enlighten me with your favorite treats! I really want to expand my taste buds on the next trip and would love some new things to try!



1. Dole Whip
Ah, the warm island breeze and sweet scent of pineapple. The Dole Whip is a Disney classic and fan favorite for park-hoppers from East Coast to West Coast. Basically, it is soft serve pineapple sorbet of sorts that you can get with or without pineapple juice.

Don't despair if the line is long - it is totally worth the wait, especially in the hot and humid weather that WDW tends to receive in Orlando. Also, this treat is VEGAN! And since one of the main ingredients is pineapple, it must be healthy (lol! sarcasm!).

While in California, I even learned there is a boozy option found at the Disneyland Hotel. Same great taste with a fun added bonus for those over 21 years of age.








Where to find it:
WDW - Magic Kingdom - Adventureland - Aloha Isle
WDW - Disney's Polynesian Resort - Captain Cook's
DLR - Disneyland - Adventureland - Tiki Juice Bar
DLR - Disneyland Hotel - The Coffee House





2. Churros
My face in this picture just says it all: HERE FOR THE CHURROS.




You may have eaten churros elsewhere in your life: town carnival, beach boardwalk, your very own kitchen from a box of frozen churros your mom bought at Costco. But please, believe me when I say there is no experience in the world like stuffing the cinnamony sugar goodness of a churro right into your churro-hole in the middle of the most magical place on Earth.

Where to find it: Carts all over the parks!








3. Vegetarian Platter - Morocco Pavilion in Epcot
One of the most underrated pavilions in Epcot has to be Morocco. From the colorful scenery to the delicious foods, it is a wonder to me how it is always so empty when I visit. But i'm not complaining! This just means the line to get to one of my favorite treats, the vegetarian platter from Tangierine Café, will be short and I can get to enjoying my food faster.




The platter consists of falafel, hummus, Tangierine couscous salad, tabbouleh salad, lentils, and marinated olives with fresh Moroccan bread. With all the sweet treats I indulge in during my park trips, it is refreshing to have a savory and salty meal. It goes especially well with the cold, Moroccan beer they serve. I implore you to expand your own horizons and share this vegetarian platter with a friend on your next Epcot world tour!

Where to find it:  Walt Disney World - Epcot - Morocco Pavillion - Tangierine Café (quick service) 


4. Mickey Waffles
Last, but certainly not least, are Mickey Waffles. Well, they say it all started with a mouse and I have to tell you the best way to start your park day with with a mouse shaped waffle.











Something about the fluffy ears and happy smile make this breakfast treat even more delicious than just a regular old waffle you can get anywhere, anytime. The nooks and crannies perfectly hold the sweet maple syrup and it honestly just tastes like Disney magic. Whether it is a few mini Mickeys or one big Mickey face, no Disney trip can be complete without a Mickey Waffle and that is just science.

Where to find it: Most restaurants with a breakfast buffet will have Mickey Waffles, like Chef Mickey's, but check their menu listings as some have other characters (still yummy!). Also, many resorts will have the giant mickey heads as a breakfast option.




Honorable Mentions
There are some treats that I also love that I have to make sure I mention. Mickey Shaped Pretzels, Mickey Shaped Rice Krispy Treats, cupcakes of every flavor and character, cheese empanadas from Mexico Pavilion, grapefruit beer from Germany Pavilion are also some of my favorites.

So, would these top your list of favorite treats? What else do you recommend? Let me know in the comments or tag me on Instagram or Facebook!









That First Time Feeling

6:00 AM

We escaped Emperor Zorg!!!! 


As I begin planning upcoming trips to Walt Disney World, I can't help but reminisce about the first real trip I ever took... only 4 1/2 short years ago. My family did vacations at the Jersey Shore when I was young and my only Walt Disney World experience was a day trip Magic Kingdom in the 6th grade. I'd never traveled through space in Epcot, 'dropped in' to Hollywood Studios, or escaped the Yeti in Animal Kingdom.

In September of 2012, I took my younger brother Matthew for his 10th birthday, just the two of us experiencing the full wonder of the parks for the first time. For me, this was even better than going yearly in my childhood. I was able to see the everything through Matthew's 10 year old point of view while being an adult!






We stayed off property (part of how I was able to afford the week long trip as we also went to Universal) so our days were longggg and spent at an individual park. I've learned A LOT over the last 4+ years about how to get the most out of a Disney trip - you can read any many blog posts on recommendations and tips and tricks as you want but there is nothing like personal experience!



He was such a little peanut in 2012!



We started with Matthew's first monorail ride to the Contemporary for breakfast at Chef Mickey's, which came highly recommended and I must agree it was the best way to start our trip!

The monorail ride was magical. Our reservation was super early so we could eat before the park opened and we basically saw the sun rising over the lake. It was my favorite moment of the whole trip - watching this cutie pie get so excited for what was to come and seeing him soak it all in. (I'm not crying, you're crying!!!!)





After breakfast we hurried over to MK where we began by purchasing a character hat for Matthew! It was soooo hot and humid but he insisted on this furry Chip (or is it Dale?) hat.

I think one of my favorite stories from this trip, though, has to do with Tom Sawyer Island. 10 year old Matthew was (and well, even now he still is) a bit of a hard head. Many times during our trip we argued about what we wanted to do next, or which was the better route to take to the next ride, or which snack we wanted to eat next, or... well, you get the idea.

 Well, Matthew really loved those caves on Tom Sawyer Island. I didn't. I kept hitting my head in the dark, plus it was so hot and humid and it smelled funny and I just didn't like the whole experience. So, when we were about to take the boat back Matthew decided he wanted to take the cave back to where the boat dock was and I wanted to simply walk around the caves and make our way back on the pathway. After a few moments of argument, Matthew came to an agreement: since the exit to the cave met just before where the dock was, I could walk around and he would take the cave back.

I had to think about this for a minute. I had strict instructions not to take my eyes off of him and I knew this would be breaking my promise to my mom... but on the other hand it is really annoying to have to deal with a smartass younger brother and I just wanted to get back to the main park and grab myself a nice cold drink and possibly a Mickey Ice Cream bar.

"Fine," I said, "Meet me at the exit and be quick." Off he scurried into the cave while I strolled around and waited at the exit by the riverboat dock.

And waited.

And waited.

After a few minutes that felt like years, I just knew something was wrong. I started panicking. I ran into the cave and started calling his name like a crazy lady, but no response came. Out I jogged, back round the entrance where I saw him go in, but nothing. Maybe he had gone back?

As I hurried back to the boat dock, a cast member approached me. My face must have read like a book because she asked, "Are you Matthew's sister? He is very upset."

My poor little baby had thought I left without him and worked himself into such a crying hysteria that he was almost having an asthma attack. He sobbed into my shirt as I grabbed around for his inhaler. Apparently, the cave he entered did not exit at the boat dock, but rather a separate exit which is why he never arrived. By the time he had figured this out I was already searching for him and he thought I'd left him.

We had some well deserved Mickey Shaped Treats after this and I have to say, he didn't fight with me as much on my decisions for the rest of the trip.



Waiting to see Wishes!



The next day we went to Epcot! We had so much fun riding Space Ship Earth, Mission Space, and traveling the World Showcase. Matthew took a nap during the Hall of President's and we tried to indulge in treats from every country.

He especially loved Japan as he is a big fan of Japanese culture and Pokemon.

I think the best part of this day was our reservations at Coral Reef restaurant. I planned a special birthday surprise cupcake and he just had the best look on his face when the cast members sang him happy birthday.






We had mostly rain at Animal Kingdom but made the most of our time by seeing all the shows and riding Dinosaur more than once. Hollywood Studios blew us both away with their amazing rides and shops. Going in September was amazing because we could ride everything we wanted more than once. Also, this was still when WDW had paper fastpass so it was that much easier to get on the rides we wanted. 


Who else misses the hat?!?


Goofing around waiting for Toy Story Mania

I still can't believe that first trip was almost 5 years ago, and it is even harder to believe this little guy is going to be 15 this September. Since then, I've completed multiple runDisney races, including the WDW Marathon, and I've even visited Disneyland a few times! We visited together again in November of 2015 and I'm looking forward to getting a new trip in the books soon.

My obsession for the parks has grown so much and I'm very lucky to have shared these memories with my brother. <3 Nothing will ever be as amazing as that first time feeling!!!!

November 2015

Getaway: Quick SoCal Adventure 2017

8:00 AM



When you live on the east coast, you don't automatically think California when you think "quick trip". But when the opportunity arises, you take it anyway! This is what happened this past January. Since I was heading to SoCal anyway in mid-January, I decided to extend my trip and have my husband tag along. It worked out quite well since the Star Wars Half Marathon in Disneyland was happening the weekend before I was to begin work!



I'll admit, it was hard to create an itinerary that was the perfect mix of exploration and relaxation for a Saturday through Tuesday timeline. Seeing as the first two days would be in Anaheim at Disneyland, it didn't leave a whole lot of time, but we made it work! 



Our early (6AM, sorry Brian!) flight landed in California around lunch time, which gave us plenty of time to head over to our hotel for check-in, as well as venture to the runDisney expo for bib pickup and a bit of shopping. We even stopped by The Coffee House outside the Disneyland Hotel for some Dole Whips.......... with RUM!!!! They were delicious. 


Our dinner that night was at Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen, which was delicious, then it was off to sleep for our early morning and race day, which can be read about here.

On Sunday, after the half marathon was completed and we were showered and ready to roll, we went right to Disneyland! Though it was a bit crowded, probably from the runDisney weekend, we were able to ride the rides and enjoy many of my very favorite Disney treats! I don't need to go into detail about our day at Disney - as I'm sure you can imagine, it was amazing!








By the end of the day, though, I was exhausted from the early morning and my feet were killing me from the 13.1 miles I had run, plus the many, many steps we'd gotten in traveling all over Disneyland and California Adventure. It was with much displeasure I left the park before fireworks and headed back to sleep for a deep slumber.



We awoke the next day, stopped by Downtown Disney for some breakfast, and then headed to pick up our rental car. Our ultimate destination was Santa Monica, where we would be staying at The Hotel California. But, decided to make a few stops along the way to really take in The Gold Coast. 















First up was Seal Beach. This adorable town was filled with kitschy beach shops (where I bought some flip flops for my aching and blistered feet!), surfer dudes, and some awesome looking eateries. We hung out on the pier and took in the beautiful scenery. Prior to our visit, it had been cold and rainy in California. While the state definitely needed the rain, I was pleased that our visit was filled with warm rays of sunshine and clear blue skies. 














From Seal Beach, we went to Hermosa Beach and drove through towns like Manhattan Beach and Marina Del Rey. Looking at the gorgeous beach houses made me long to leave the East Coast and head to a glorious home overlooking the Pacific. Now, I just need to win the lottery in order to do that!











Finally, we arrived at our hotel. I chose The Hotel California for its location, price, and theme. I thought the name was awesome, of course, and especially loved how the rooms were decorated and that it was just a short walk now only to the beach, but to the Santa Monica pier as well. All in all, it ended up being a great place to crash for a couple of nights. 










We quickly dropped our bags and headed to the beach just in time to watch the sun set into the Pacific Ocean. Wow! That was an amazing sight to see. If you have never seen the sun rise over the Atlantic and set over the Pacific, please put it on your bucket list. 






We strode to the Santa Monica Pier and took in all the touristy amusements going on. We also stopped for dinner on the pier and had some Mexican food and a few strong drinks. While it was tasty, it was definitely a tourist-y restaurant. But, as this was a trip where I didn't plan every detail and had not done a lot of research, it did just fine! 






The last day of Brian's stay was my favorite. We woke up early and rented bikes. With no real plan, we cruised along the ocean to Venice Beach, then ventured back where we found a spot for some breakfast and coffee. 












After our delicious meals, we rode the bikes up in the other direction towards the Pacific Palisades. At one point, we even saw dolphins jumping out of the ocean to greet us. What a peaceful and enjoyable experience it was to bike alongside the ocean. Should you ever have a chance to do it, I highly recommend it. 







At this point, Brian neared the end of his vacation and we had to head back to the airport. I was so pleased that we were able to squeeze in as much as we did for the short time he was there! 

There is just SO MUCH to discover in California. I hope we can plan another trip and hit some National Parks and the northern region, as I've never been and have been dreaming of seeing the Redwood Trees in real life. Here is to the next adventure!





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