Disney Epcot Flower & Garden Festival 2018

When I was able to convince both my dad AND my boyfriend to go to Disney for a day, I thought I was being tricked. It seemed highly unlikely that two grown men (one who doesn't do particularly well in the heat, and one who groans at most things Disney) would agree to go in the scorching Florida heat.

epcot

They also let ME pick the park. I watched enough YouTube videos of the parks to drive my boyfriend absolutely mental. It ended up being a tough choice between Epcot and Magic Kingdom. Epcot had the neat World Showcase with pavilions from tons of different countries. Each country has different food specialties, and there were a few neat rides in the future world of the park. But, it seemed that Magic Kingdom was the best option for the true Disney experience with the big castle, parades, and characters walking around. But then I remembered who I was going with and so thats how we ended up at Epcot. I woke them up with the Disney playlist on Spotify, and my most spastic dance to supercalifragalisticexpialadocious (sp?). And we were on our way.

It ALSO just so happened to be the Flower & Garden Festival. AKA all my favourite Disney Characters (minus Mulan) in greens and flowers.

 

There weren't many rides that we went on other than the Test Track and Soarin'. In Test Track we designed our own car and then took a "race" around the track. T'was cool. The ride Soarin' was prettyyyyy fricken neat though. We sat in our seats, suspended in air and the simulator brought us to the Taj Mahal, a castle in Germany, and over the Eiffel Tower. We moved beside lions running in Africa where we could smell the grass, and flew over water in Fiji where we could smell the beachy air. I have some new travels spots on my list.

While Epcot is known as the park for foodies, the heat really just zapped our appetites. Of all the great looking choices  (tacos! lamb! sushi!), we didn't really eat much except for a quick sandwich in the air conditioned Italian restaurant. However, I did get the infamous pineapple soft serve - that seemed like a very ~important~ staple based on my intensive Disney research. Cant say I get the hype... I was okay to share this one.

To cool off,  we went into "Club Cool" which is a fan club started in my honour. In there you get to taste sodas from 8 different countries. I'm not a soda drinker, so most of these weren't my thing. But I'm super into trying different things from different countries, so I was glad my fan club was able to pull this one off.

All said and done, the day was a lot of fun. We clocked a lot of steps on our fitbits, and nobody got in a fight - the markers of a successful day. We are ready for Magic Kingdom.

Paris

Nothing is better than a girls trip. No offence to the men in my life who I love dearly...but...you're benched.

One of my favourite times of year for a girls trip is the beginning of December. Cities are usually buzzing with the excitement of Christmas, the decorations are spectacular, and there is no shortage of seasonal treats. Usually, I'd head to NYC as its my favourite city and the Christmas windows are spectacular. However, after a few consecutive Christmas trips to NYC, my mother and I decided on Paris instead. My family came to visit me in France when I was there in University on exchange, and we've been wanting to go back since.

I wont lie - Paris was super rainy. Like, every single day it rained. You would be walking around, enjoying the sights and then next think you know you'd be running into the nearest cafe to wait it out for the next 2 hours (this is where most vin chaud and french onion soup was consumed)

Despite the rain, it was an incredible trip. Some highlights were:

  • Exploring every single floor of Gallerie Lafayette, trying on (and falling in love with) everything in Maje, and drinking Aperol Spritzes on the rooftop
  • Walking down the Champs Elysee and finding the Pierre Herme + L'Occitane collab shop. I tried as many Pierre Herme macarons as possible before my mother could clue in and tell me to lay offf (Ispahan, salted caramel, and Mogador were personal favourites). I also grabbed a honey mandarin hand cream exclusive to this location that I LOVE. My boyfriend and sister also love it. Back off.
  • Eating bread + cheese at every meal
  • Seeking out every Christmas market in the city (favourite being at La Defense)
  • Musee D'Orsay
  • Exploring Montmartre, Le Marais, and St.Germain
  • Stumbling across a restaurant that only served steak in green sauce and french fries. Oh and this super mustardy salad. omg.
  • Sampling the Speculoos truffle at Bostani Chocolatier
  • The hazelnut pastry (whats the damn name again) + hot chocolate at Angeline
  • Admiring the decor of the Laduree shop
  • This D&G Toaster and juicer I didn't know I needed
  • Countless vin chaud
  • The incredible meal on Bustronome - who knew a bus would have such great food? We essentially sat on this beautiful bus with huge open windows and ate delicious food while it drove us to all the main sites in Paris.

We ate:
- Little Potatoes stuffed with a fresh cream
- Scallop tartar with grapefruit and creamy endives (oh man)
- Turbo fillet and pumpkin in saffron sauce (oh man)
- Chicken with rosemary, asian pear cooked in chicken broth, stir fried polenta, and parmigiano crisp (oh man)
- Caramel apple terrine, hazelnut crumble and granny apple sorbet
- Financiers

This really was such an amazing trip. My only complaints are that I lost my hat (where is it?), the taxis drive like they have a death wish, and we were a little to early to eat Galette de Rois since its made in January only!!!

Merci Paris, we will see you soon.

Iceland

After seeing ENOUGH pictures of other people going to Iceland, I made the trek over with my mom and sister to see what the hype was all about. Turns out, yeah, Iceland is pretty friken cool. Also its so much closer than you would think? An easy 4 hour flight. It takes 4 hours to get to Mexico. I....am mind blown.

The country itself is just stunning. It's vast, its green (Greenland is actually the one that is icey), animals roam freely (like, horses and sheep. unfortunately no puppies), the blue lagoon is a dream, and theres waterfalls literally everywhere. 

The food, albeit expensive, was so good. Just. Ugh, I still dream about it. I *think* that its the quality of the ingredients that goes into everything but, hey, who knows? Not me. I did a lot of eating and not a lot of research on the subject.

If you find yourself in Iceland, you need to try:

  • Ice cream at the black beach (I know - vague. Sorry.)
  • Lamb. We had some amazing lamb at the restaurant at the Blue Lagoon. 
  • Ginger Latte @ Joe and the Juice. Not exclusive to Iceland, but do it anyway. 
  • Anything from the restaurant in the Sandhotel
  • Kleinur. Its an Icelandic doughnut and you owe it to yourself to have 1. Everyday.