Anniversary Staycation Weekend – Animal Kingdom Lodge

For our anniversary, Tadd and I decided to treat ourselves to a little weekend staycation getaway at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort.  We stayed two nights on a discounted Passholder rate, using a giftcard received for my birthday a couple months ago as part of the deposit.  We booked a (MUCH cheaper) standard view room, but upon check-in we mentioned our anniversary and we were lucky enough to receive an upgrade to a savanna view room at no additional charge.

We did not set foot in a theme park all weekend…we just hung out at the resort, relaxed, went to the pool, read, and watched the animals (giraffes, zebras, ostriches, red river hogs, etc) from our balcony.  Heaven!  We did book a couple of fun dinners…First was a Sanaa, which is on the Kidani Village side of Animal Kingdom Lodge (we were staying at Jambo House, which is the original/main side of the resort).  They specialize in more exotic foods with an Indian and African flair.  So delicious!  The second night we booked the Spirit of Aloha luau dinner show at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, which was a lot of fun.

Having now stayed in a number of Disney resorts (Caribbean Beach, All-Star Music, Port Orleans Riverside, Fort Wilderness Cabins, The Dolphin, Pop Century, Yacht Club, and now Animal Kingdom Lodge), I think I can say that AKL is my favorite so far.  It’s not within walking distance of any of the theme parks like Yacht Club (which is a HUGE perk), but it’s SO cool to wake up, step outside on your balcony with a cup of coffee, and hang out with some zebras.  Also, the theming really appeals to me.  You really feel like you’re somewhere else when you are there, which makes for a very relaxing time.

We are going to try to swing another staycation weekend in December, if I can get another great discount code.  I am shooting for the Wilderness Lodge this time.  No promises that it will definitely work out, but I am going to try my best.  Holiday time in Walt Disney World is unbeatable, and staying on property for a few nights makes it even better.

Looking back 9 years…

Today I am celebrating 9 years of marriage to my perfect match!  I saw this little “Share Your Wedding Details” meme on my cousin’s blog a few weeks ago.  It was designed for a link party that has since closed.  So although I cannot participate in the link party, I still thought it would be appropriate to share today.

Share Your Wedding Details

Location (church/outdoors/destination):  Since we got married in the middle of summer in Florida, I didn’t want to chance any weather-related issues by having any major part of the day be held outside.  We also had a lot of out of town guests.  So to keep things simple and stress-free, we did the whole shebang, ceremony and reception indoors at the Hilton Orlando North.  Not a super unique or scenic location, but I think we did a good job making it our own.  We were lucky enough to have decent weather during our formal portraits, so we opted to have those taken outdoors at a nearby park (Crane’s Roost Park, if you’re local).
Colors: Plum and silver were the main colors, but I had my florist make the flowers (daisies!) as colorful as possible.  I loved how the pink, yellow, red, and orange gerber daisies popped off of the deep purple of the bridesmaids’ dresses.  I wanted a very colorful wedding, and that’s just what I got.
Bridal Party: I would say we had a medium-sized party.  We each had one honor attendant and three additional attendants.  We also had 1 junior groomsman and 2 junior bridesmaids.   The group consisted of all three of our siblings, three of my cousins, and several close friends.
First Dance Song: Nightingale by Saves The Day. Still sometimes gets me misty-eyed when I hear it…
Ceilings don’t exist and there are no floors beneath me,
If I were king of this night, would you become my queen?
And I hope, your majesty, that you like your position
I’ll do everything I can to keep you by my side
And I’ll stare off through the darkness to find us a kingdom
Just kiss me before I go…
Honeymoon:  We flew to San Diego and cruised the Pacific Coast of Mexico for a week on Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas.  We visited Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerta Vallarta.  This was our first trip to Mexico (and Tadd’s first time on the Pacific Coast, period!) and we were totally smitten!
What would you do different? I would schedule the honeymoon to be a few days later after all the hullabaloo had died down.  We had a VERY late night the night of the wedding, followed by a VERY early morning when the town car arrived to take us to the airport to fly to San Diego.  Of course, we took a nap after the muster drill and ended up sleeping straight through until morning, missing our first dinner/evening on the cruise ship.  There are a few other small things I might change, but that would be the one thing that sticks out most in my mind.

Master Bathroom Refresh!

First, quick shout out to my incredible parents.  Today is their 35th wedding anniversary!

Anyways, I have been watching a lot of organization videos on YouTube lately, and was rather suddenly struck with the strong desire to implement a slight overhaul to my master bathroom.  Nothing really intense.  It just really needed a good deep clean, reorganization, and some new accessories.  Although, budget and time constraints aside, I would LOVE to rip the whole bathroom apart and start from scratch.  Everything in that room is boring builder basic…white walls, white cultured marble counter/sink, honey oak vanity, boring light fixture, etc.  But I just really do not have time for a huge project right now, so the focus will be on organization and refreshing the look with a few accessories.

I went to Target last night and picked up some items for the project.  For some reason I was drawn to deep greens and browns.  Would like to eventually incorporate some teals as well, to lighten the scheme.  But the rest of the bathroom is so light (walls, counters, cabinets), that I think the deeper colors help give it some pizzazz.

We got two of these…One for cotton swabs, and one for my round cotton makeup remover pads.


We thought about getting a fancier waste basket, but in the end we went for something more durable and practical and easy to clean, so we got this frosted plastic model.  I thought the oil rubbed bronze base was a nice touch.


We also got an oil rubbed bronze tissue box cover.  I can’t seem to find a picture of it on Target’s website.  It’s pretty basic, but coordinates with everything else.  It’s somewhat similar to the one in this photo, from Bed Bath & Beyond:

Bed Bath & Beyond

I wanted to get some new towels to go with our new look, so we got a few new sets of Threshold towels in the “Moss Lane” color.  Love them!  The color is much more beautiful in person.


I had intended to get a couple of bath rugs as well, but nothing really struck my fancy.  I don’t want a solid, but I also don’t want a pattern that is too busy.  It has to be just right, so I decided to wait and look around.  We need one for the water closet (where our walk-in shower and toilet are) and one for the vanity/tub area.  I would also like to get a few things for the walls, and maybe even a new light fixture or two.

We completely overhauled the linen closet and bathroom drawers.  I used a lot of the plastic bins and baskets that I already had on hand.  But we also bought a few larger fabric storage bins.  So now I have bins for lotions, tooth/oral care, misc skincare, first aid, perfumes/body sprays, etc.  The largest bin has all of our shower stuff (extra shampoos, conditioners, hair products, shower gels, and shaving stuff).  We also tried to get a drawer organizer for our one bathroom drawer, but that drawer is such a weird size, it didn’t fit.  The drawer is huge, but almost ridiculously shallow, so only things that are small or really flat can fit.

We still have a ways to go but it’s so nice to have started!  I will keep you posted with our progress on this mini-makeover.

Exciting news!

Tadd and I made a decision on what we want to do to celebrate our 10 year anniversary next year.  We booked a 10-night British Isles cruise!  I know it’s way far in advance to be super excited yet, or even to really be able to do much real planning, but I just wanted to share!


Day 1 – Harwich, England

Day 2 – Paris (Le Havre), France

Day 3 – St. Peter Port, Channel Isl

Day 4 – Cork (Cobh), Ireland

Day 5 -Waterford (Dunmore E.), Ireland

Day 6 – Dublin, Ireland

Day 7 – Liverpool, England

Day 8 – Glasgow (Greenock), Scotland

Day 9 – Holyhead, Wales

Day 10 – At Sea

Day 11 – Harwich, England

Anniversary weekend.

Celebrated 8 years of marriage this past weekend with a mini-getaway.  We stayed at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort for 1 night, spent the afternoon at the resort’s pool, and then had dinner at the California Grill atop the Contemporary Resort with a panoramic view of Magic Kingdom (and a great view of the Wishes fireworks show!).  Wanted to share a few Instagram pics I took.  Enjoy!


Weekend Update

Friday night we did our usual.  Made brats and pierogies for dinner, drank some Sam Adams Summer Ale, and watched a few documentaries (my guilty pleasure!) and The Soup before heading to bed quite early.

Saturday we did some stuff around the house, including working a bit on the powder room.  We also made a stop at Lowe’s, where I once again was completely undecided on a light fixture for the powder room and walked out with nothing.  I have it narrowed down at least!  I think…

Our intention was to do a little bit of anniversary celebrating Saturday afternoon and evening.  We had plans to go to Lakeridge Winery followed by dinner at a newish place in Downtown Clermont.  But, for various reasons, it was not to be.  So we opted for dinner at one of our favorite local spots, Sushi Pop!  It’s a Japanese-pop-culture-themed sushi restaurant.  Really fun and wacky, but still somewhat sophisticated and REALLY good.  What better place to celebrate an anniversary than someplace happy and fun and full of good food?

Incidentally, my buddy over at The Gypsy Wicked blog recently did a review of Sushi Pop.  Click here to check it out!

We had many of our usuals…Kirin beer for Tadd, raspberry saketini for me, and a shared order of truffle salt edamame to start…

For sushi, I got my usual, the Oviedo Chicken roll (tempura chicken, Japanese mayo and avocado drizzled with honey mustard…YUM!) and Tadd got the Lobster & Almonds roll (tempura lobster, avocado, asparagus, smelt roe, yuzu tartar sauce, encrusted with toasted almonds).  We also split an  asparagus roll.

It really was a lovely anniversary dinner.  We went to a local yogurt shop for dessert, where I had strawberry, cakebatter, and vanilla yogurt topped with pineapples, strawberries, coconut, peanuts, a little bit of hot fudge, and rainbow sprinkles.  Tadd had some kind of candy-covered monstrosity with reese’s pieces, peanut butter sauce, chocolate chips, and sprinkles. We went home after our dinner and dessert, opened up a bottle of blush wine, and watched another documentary, and just relaxed together.

Sunday morning was spent cleaning and adding one last coat to the cabinets in the powder room.  My parents came by in the early afternoon to show us pictures from their recent Baltic Sea cruise, and also to meet our new kitten Jacoby for the first time.  They brought me this really nice table runner from Estonia.  I thought it went beautifully with my dining room decor, and the texture and interest it provides is just what my table needed!  LOVE IT!  My parents rock!

I know it’s still wrinkled from the packaging, but I couldn’t wait to get it on my table and see how it looked!

Shortly after they left, we headed out to the Avalon Park Food Truck Bazaar, then back home to eat cupcakes, drink more wine, relax, and enjoy what was left of our anniversary weekend.

BUT!  Before we got to relaxing, Tadd gave me THE BEST anniversary gift!  He put the powder room vanity back together with the new hardware and cleaned up the “construction zone”.  I finally have a beautiful, usable powder room!  It looks sooo great and I can’t wait to show you.  It’s just as I had envisioned it back when we first moved into the house in 2009!  But first we still have to decide on and install a light fixture…

Seven years.

Hope you folks don’t mind if I get a little corny for this post…

Seven years ago today I was 23 years old and it was my wedding day!  I was nervous and excited and so happy.  I was marrying my high school sweetheart and my best friend.

Seven years, two apartments, one house, and four cats, a few job changes, and several crazy ups and downs later, here we are.  Both 30 years old and still just as happy and in love.

Here’s to many many more years of wedded bliss, and to growing old together with grace.

If I were king of this night, would you become my queen?

And I hope, your majesty, that you like your position.

I’ll do everything I can to keep you by my side.

And I’ll stare off through the darkness to find us a kingdom,

Just kiss me before I go…

-Nightingale by Saves The Day (our first dance)