Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Unfortunately, my life is still somewhat askew and the car situation is STILL not rectified.  So we STILL have been unable to make the car purchase I talked about previously.  But we made a huge step in the right direction today, and by this time next week, it will all be in the past.  Fingers crossed!

I did want to make note of the fact that today is a special milestone.  Today marks 10 years since Tadd asked me to be his wife!  As you can see from this pic from our engagement photo shoot, we were babies!  Well, I was 21, Tadd was 22, so practically babies…

We celebrated last weekend with a trip to Lakeridge Winery in the beautiful hills of Clermont, where we purchased a few bottles of wine, including a bottle of Pink Crescendo, a sparkling rose that we are drinking tonight…

Followed by a delicious dinner at  Yachtman’s Steakhouse in Disney’s Yacht Club Resort.  I’m not really much of a steak eater, but Tadd LOVED his NY Strip.  We got the truffled mac & cheese as a shared side and WOW!  Easily the best mac & cheese I have ever had.  I told Tadd next time we go, I will order a side of truffled mac & cheese, and a side of roasted Brussels sprouts and call it a night!  Delicious food!

Hope your Valentine’s Day is full of love and happiness, however you choose to celebrate!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Cupid hath pulled back his sweetheart’s bow
To cast divine arrows into her soul
To grab her attention swift and quick
Or morrow the marrow of her bones be thick
With turpentine kisses and mistaken blows

See the devil may do as the devil may care
He loves none sweeter as sweeter the dare
Her mouth the mischief he doth seek
Her heart the captive of which he speaks
So note all ye lovers in love with the sound

Your world be shattered with nary a note
Of one cupids arrow under your coat

-Cupid De Locke by The Smashing Pumpkins

Instagram Link Party: Orlando Staycation

Tadd and I had plans to go to Hilton Head Island, SC this past weekend.  Unfortunately, they had to be canceled due to a family emergency that required us to stay closer to home, just in case we found out we had to leave town quickly.  We decided to make the best of it and our romantic weekend getaway turned into a last-minute “staycation” in the Orlando area.

We booked an inexpensive room via Priceline.com‘s name-your-own price feature and spent two nights staying very close to Walt Disney World property.  When we checked into our hotel, we really had no plans aside from dinner Saturday night at Il Mulino at the Walt Disney Swan Resort.  We were just going to play it by ear, and have a fun, relaxing weekend away from the stress of life, and focused just on each other.

We wound up in Downtown Disney Friday night.  Dinner at Paradiso 37 (which was better than I thought it would be!), followed by desserts from Goofy’s Candy Company.  They have this create-your-own treat thing, where you fill out a form and choose an item (apple, rice krispie treat, marshmallows, pretzel rods, or ginger bread cookie), then you choose to dip it in white, dark, or milk chocolate, then choose a candy topping (M&Ms, Oreos, peanuts, Reese’s Pieces, etc), then you choose a chocolate drizzle for the top.  It used to be that the marshmallow option was only $2.95 so it was a great bargain, because when they were done being dipped in everything they were enormous and they presented them to you skewered on a Mickey head crazy straw that you could keep.  Now they are $4.95…Not a bargain, but still a generally affordable treat.  We got ours to go and brought them back to the hotel room.  On the way out of Downtown Disney, we decided randomly to stop by guest relations and make reservations for the Sunday morning Keys to the Kingdom tour at Magic Kingdom.

Saturday we really weren’t sure what to do, but in the end decided to go to the Premiere Outlets where Tadd got some new bright green hi-top chucks at the Converse store (they are awesome…I need to get a picture of them), and I almost got something on clearance from the Coach Outlet, but ended up with a new Vera Bradley bag that I adore (an angled tote in Baroque), plus some extra stuff for gifts (everything in the VB Outlet was buy 2 get 1 free).  Then we set off to Celebration, FL for an afternoon of lunch at Celebration Town Tavern (which made me homesick for Boston), relaxing by the lake, Starbucks, and getting Tadd’s hair cut at a charming little place called S. Todd Esq, Barber!  We made so many Sweeney Todd jokes before and after the haircut…could not resist!

Saturday night, we had reservations for dinner at Il Mulino for that evening, so we went back to the hotel room, got gussied up a bit, and drove over to the Swan & Dolphin Resort near Epcot (refered to by locals as the Swolphin).  Il Mulino gets somewhat mixed reviews on Yelp and other places, but I have to say that we had a fabulous dinner!  They won us over with all the little extra surprises that added to the experience, including an appetizer of thinly sliced Italian sausage and eggplant caponata provided to us “compliments of the chef”, a tiny bottle of Rosa Regale included with our special Valentine’s Day dessert, and concluding the meal with a complimentary limoncello.  We had a head waiter & assistant waiter doting on us, and the manager came over twice to make sure we were happy.  These little extras really made our dinner special!  We felt like royalty.

We were thinking about walking over to Epcot for Illuminations after dinner, but when we left the restaurant, it was getting cold (and I had bare legs in a dress & heels!) and we had about 10 minutes before they started.  So we decided to go to the bridge between Disney’s Yacht Club Resort and Boardwalk Resort, and watch the fireworks over the treeline.  We were almost completely alone, huddled together in the cold, with a great view, and it turned out to be a very romantic moment.  I’m so glad we decided to stop there instead of rushing all the way into the crowded theme park for the show.

Sunday morning, we woke up bright and early, checked out of our room, and headed over to the Magic Kingdom for our 9AM Keys to the Kingdom tour.  Wow, was it cold!  I think it was 33F when we left our hotel.  We arrived at the gates of the park just after 8:30, and because of our tour, were allowed into the park before the masses.  Getting to see Main Street Town Square totally empty was a treat!

We had a fabulous time on our five hour tour, which included lots of history, trivia, VIP front-of-the-line guided access to a couple major attractions, and we were also allowed backstage to see how the park is run from behind-the-scenes.  It also included lunch at Columbia Harbor House.

I don’t want to give too much away regarding the tour, since part of the fun is not really knowing what you will see next, but if this kind of thing interests you, then I definitely recommend it!  Our tour guide was Robert, who was a lot of fun, enthusiastic, and very sweet.  The tour brought back a lot of happy memories for Tadd, who was a WDW cast member about 12 years ago.  We both really, really enjoyed it.

Thus ended our impromptu romantic staycation weekend.  I am sad that we didn’t get to go to Hilton Head, but we still had a great time together and made some special memories.  Valentine’s Day is important to us because it’s the anniversary of the day Tadd asked me to marry him, so we always try to do something to celebrate.  I think our weekend was more than befitting of the occasion.

This post is linked to the weekly Instagram link party over at a {little} dash of ash!

Valentines for my BFFs!

I know I have discussed my best girlfriends on the blog before.  These are some of the sweetest, most fun and lovely ladies you will ever meet.  They are the type of people who band together in someone’s time of need, and also in their time of celebration.  We look out for each other, we miss each other terribly when we spend too long apart, and we are always on the lookout for reasons to get together and fun new adventures we can have.  We are a fun bunch!

The last few years, we have started a tradition of getting together around Valentine’s Day to exchange valentines.  Last year it was a big house party where we ate junk food and watched The Princess Bride, and this year it was a bit more intimate at a chic little restaurant in Winter Park called Hot Olives.  We give all sorts of valentines to each other…Little notes, cards, boxed valentines, candy, trinkets, small gifts, crafts, etc.  It’s always fun to see what everyone comes up with.  And of course, it’s wonderful just to be able to take some time to express just how much we appreciate and care about each other.  Not that we don’t the rest of the time, but we make it a little extra special at Valentine’s Day.

As soon as I knew I was getting a sewing machine, I knew what my first major undertaking would be; making something to give as valentines to my girlfriends!  I searched for a small, quick, easy project that I could easily make several times over with some fun pink & red fabrics.  A couple years ago, my mother-in-law made me a purse-sized tissue case, which I thought would be perfect.  When shopping at JoAnn Fabrics a few days later, I stumbled upon some Valentine-print tissue packs, and that sealed the deal for me!  I looked up a tutorial on Pinterest, and set to work on a few practice runs of the project.  I had to adjust the size a bit for the tissue packs I was using.

You basically cut out four rectangles of fabric (you can make them with rectangles of different fabrics, or all the same…I kept mine the same this time), 4″ by 5.75″.  The tutorial I used, which can be found over on Life In Grace, suggested 4″ by 5.25″, but as I said before, mine needed to be a little bigger for the tissue packs I got.

Take 2 of your rectangles and lay them wrong sides together.  Fold 2 of your rectangles in half the long way and lay on top with the folded sides facing toward each other in the middle.

Pin everything in place.

Sew all the way around with a 1/4″ seam allowance and turn inside out once you are done.  Insert the tissue pack.  And that’s it!  Simple, simple, simple.  If you have a sewing machine, you can do this, trust me.

To make them a little more special, I included a little valentine from a box (mine are Glee valentines this year…love that show!), and a Valentine-themed lip balm, all tied with a Valentine’s Day ribbon!  So festive!

This post is linked to the Tutorials & Tips Link Party at Home Stories A to Z!

Home Stories A2Z

Valentine’s Day around my house.

I already showed you my favorite Valentine’s Day decoration, my super-easy heart doily garland.  I thought I would show you a few of the other decorations I have up around the house.

I usually have this hanging on my door in lieu of a wreath this time of year, but any breeze makes it knock against the door, which either sounds creepy or sounds like someone is actually knocking at the door.  Drives everyone crazy!  So I decided to just hang it up in my kitchen.

Here is what my entry table looks like right now.  Lots of Dollar Tree and Target Dollar Spot items here!

Red rose soap petals and pretty accent towels in the powder room!

Linking up with the Valentine’s Mantel Party over at Home Stories A to Z!

Simplest Valentine’s Day Craft ever!

I have finally pulled out my Valentine’s Day decor.  I don’t have much, but enough to make the house look festive.

Last year around this time, I was looking for a simple craft to do, and came across this idea.  I thought I had found it via the Dollar Store Crafts blog, but when I searched the archive, I couldn’t come up with the article.  If anyone knows the original source, please let me know so I can give proper credit!  It’s insanely simple, cheap, and really cute.

You simply buy heart shaped doilies like these (mine were from Dollar Tree!):

And simply tie them together with some narrow ribbon (I just used curling ribbon) and hang them somewhere in your house.  It’s really that easy!  I seriously love everything about this craft!

I will be back soon to show you more of my Valentine’s Day decor.  But for now…I’m going back to watching the game.  GOOOOOOO PATRIOTS!!!

This post has been shared on The Shabby Creek Cottage’s Valentine’s Week Link Party!