2013 Retrospective

Just like last year, I have created a Videogram via Shutterfly, documenting my adventures throughout the year.  I really love making these.  The craziness of the holiday season tends to force you to live in the moment.  But in making this retrospective video, it encourages me to reflect on all that has happened this year.  This has been a mostly happy year for me, and I am really looking forward to what’s in store for 2014.

Best wishes to you for a very happy 2014!


What I Did On My Winter Vacation…

It’s 2013 and I’m back!  Although I managed to conclude my 10-day vacation with a plague of sorts, so I have not been functioning as fully as I would like to be over the past couple of days.  It’s making the return to regular daily post-holiday and post-vacation life a little difficult.

I thought I would share just a little bit of what I did with my time off.  With a little star-alignment, serendipity, and good planning, I managed to secure 10 (TEN!) consecutive days off of work.  So from 4:30ish PM on Friday, December 28th through 7:30ish AM on Tuesday, January 8th, I was on VACATION!

My first three nights were spent at home, cleaning, packing, running pre-vacation errands, etc.  Saturday night, Tadd and I went down to Downtown Disney for a date night (and renewed our annual passes too!).  Got to eat at my favorite Raglan Road, and saw Les Mis (which instantly made me a HUGE Anne Hathaway fan, as you might have seen that night if you follow me on twitter).

NYE was spent at home with our traveling companions.  They spent the night, since we were heading to Fort Lauderdale in the morning.  It was a wild night, let me tell you.

Yeah, not really!  We were all in bed by around 1.  Up early the next morning to load the car and head off on a mini road trip!  We spent the next 2 nights in Fort Lauderdale, at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66.  Fun place!  It’s right on the water, and has its own marina.  Being around marinas and boats made it very easy to quickly slip into vacation mode (which was the whole idea).  These helped too:

Our second day, we took an airboat ride into the Florida Everglades.  I have lived in Florida for over 22 years and had never been to the Everglades!  Now I can say I have, although we were only on the very outskirts.  We did see some gators, and a few other creatures.  The weather was beautiful and we had a blast.

The next morning, we drove a little further south to Miami, where our cruise ship awaited (and it was still decorated for Christmas too!).  The next four nights were spent on the Carnival Destiny.

We were supposed to stop in Key West, but due to one of the crew members having a medical emergency, we had to turn back to Miami the first night and ended up missing Key West.  But we got an extra day at sea, and they managed to get us almost twice the amount of time they had planned in Cozumel the next day.  While in Cozumel, Tadd and I got to return to one of our favorite places, the Mayan ruins at Tulum.  How gorgeous is this place?

That photo above is now my desktop background.  Ahhh…

All too soon, the cruise was over and it was back to the real world.  Unfortunately, it was in the drive back from Miami to Orlando that I realized I was sick.  So my transition back to reality was rather harsh.  Luckily, I had something to look forward to right away.  One of my Christmas gifts from my parents was a pair of tickets to see the traveling Broadway production of Mary Poppins.  We went last night, and although I was still slightly under the weather, I really enjoyed it.  Special effects on TV and at the movies are cool, but special effects during a Broadway production are SO much better.  Loved the costumes and sets too (the way they moved around and changed the Banks’ house from scene to scene was just amazing)!  And of course, the songs.  So many great ones.  I have had “Feed the Birds” stuck in my head all day.  Love it!  Even Tadd enjoyed himself more than he thought he would.

So that brings me pretty much up to date.  I plan on sharing more pics from my adventures soon, so stay tuned!

Wishing You a Happy New Year

I will be away from the blog for a few days, but I thought I would post one last message for the year before signing off.  I hope to have lots to share when I get back!

2012 has been an amazing year for me and Tadd, and I decided I wanted to make a keepsake of all of the happy times I shared with friends and family over the past year.  I decided to try out Shutterfly’s Videogram feature.  You basically select a group of photos or video clips, choose a display style and music, and it puts together a really cute video slideshow for you.  Once the video is to your liking, you can purchase the digital file in one of 3 different resolution types.  I chose the middle option for $4.99 and think it was well worth the price.  I was able to save the video file to my laptop, share it on Facebook, and post it to YouTube.  So far everyone has loved it, and I told Tadd that it would be fun to do one of these each year.

Wishing you all a very happy new year!  Here’s to 2013!  See you next year!!!

P.S. Above opinions regarding Shutterfly and their Videogram product are 100% my own.  Not being compensated in any way.

Instagram Link Party: New Year’s Adventures in Myrtle Beach.

Hope everyone had a fun and safe New Year’s Weekend!  Tadd and I just got back from a quick trip to Myrtle Beach to visit some very dear friends.  I thought I would share some Instagram pics that I took.


View from the guestroom at our friends' house.


Myrtle Beach Skywheel.

Oddities from the Gay Dolphin Gift Cove, the largest giftshop in the United States.

We drove through and stopped for lunch in Charleston on the way home...This is the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge heading into Charleston.

Linking up with the Instagram Link Party at a {little} dash of ash!

My 2011 blog year in review.

I have only been blogging since May, so not even close to a full year, but I still thought it would be fun to do a year in review post.


My first post was on May 19, a mere 3 days before my 30th birthday.  Early on, I talked about how I spent my birthday weekend surrounded by friends during a two-day extravaganza that included a party downtown and a day at Disney.  Such a memorable day!


This month, I started talking about my ideas for my powder room makeover.  And gave you a little tour of my house in two parts.

I showed you my stab at one of the most widely reproduced craft projects on the web, the Dollar Tree hurricanes!  So easy, so cheap, so stylish, and so versatile!


Just in time for Independence Day, I shared my recipe for classic sangria!

I had SO much fun blueberry picking in the hills of Central Florida.

And at long last, I got to finally reveal the completed powder room makeover!


August was a somewhat quiet month for us, as we took on the No Spend Challenge.  But I did share a cheap recipe of my version of short cut rice & beans.  Perfect for a quick, easy, inexpensive meal!

The big event for the month, though, was my trip to New England!  We flew to Boston to visit family, and spent a couple days in a ski resort town in Vermont for the wedding of a close family friend.


I was so excited when the autumn months began.  It’s my favorite time of year and it always inspires me to get crafty!  I showed you how I turned a flimsy Dollar Tree wooden tray into a SPOOKY Halloween decoration, and also how I “Halloween-ified” a cheap glass vase.  I also held a craft brunch with my girlfriends and we made candy corn wreaths!


I was so excited to talk about attending the 40th Anniversary of Walt Disney World.  It happened to take place during our very first cool snap of the fall season…What a beautiful day.

I took a trip to Savannah, GA, where I was so moved by the beauty of historic Bonaventure Cemetary.

And I shared my Halloween potluck recipe for chocolate cookie bark.


I shared my Thanksgiving decorations, because while I love decorating for Halloween and Christmas, Thanksgiving needs some love too!

We started getting into the holiday spirit a little early one night at Magic Kingdom.

And I shared Tadd’s all-time favorite dessert EVER!  Double layer pumpkin cheesecake!  I make it every Thanksgiving.


…Which brings us to this month, December.  Early in the month, we spent more time celebrating the holidays at the theme parks.  First at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, and then at Epcot for the Candlelight Processional with Neil Patrick Harris as narrator!

I was so excited to have two Christmas trees in my house this year for the first time!  I love my new tree!

And shared some holiday party recipes…Macadamia Coconut Cookie Bars and a festive Holiday Punch!

Wow, all of that in just over 7 months.  I look forward to continuing to add to this blog in 2012.  Thank you to all of my friends and family for supporting me in this venture; and to all of the new and inspiring blogger friends I have made along the way.  Here’s to a happy new year for us all!

And with that, I am officially signing off for the remainder of the year.  I have my party dress ready to go and a big, exciting weekend planned.  Have a fun & safe New Year’s Eve, and see you all in 2012!