Toy Story Land

Spooky-time in Florida

One thing I’ve gotten away from on this blog is writing about travels and experiences I’m lucky enough to have. I talk about them briefly in my wrap-ups but I want to do more of it. I meant to talk about my Chicago birthday trip, my last trip to Florida,  when I go to Milwaukee for the weekend or go to the Twin Cities. A couple weekends ago I went to Florida for Halloween fun and I’m not going to let this trip be just two lines in my wrap-up.

I took a couple days off of work to go visit Paige (she did a wonderful vlog of our trip if you want to see visuals) during her time at the Disney College Program. I really wanted to go to Disney when all of the Halloween stuff was up because I live for fall. It was a very good decision.

Thursday– My flight came in and we got coffee (because obviously) and caught up. Somehow Halloween Horror Nights came up and eventually I talked Paige into going and it was fantastic. For those of you who don’t know it’s Universal’s Halloween celebration with haunted houses and scare zones throughout the park.

For some reason I never actually get scared during scary houses and I just start laughing at the actors. It’s a problem. However, there were a lot of jump scares and the actors were amazing. I actually thought they were animatronics for a bit. There was so much attention to detail and it was like actually being in the movies and shows.

I went into the Stranger Things (so many demogorgons) , Poltergeist, Scary Tales and the Purge/ Happy Death Day houses and then we went through some scare zones and a couple rides. We finished the night with Voodoo Donuts and going to Waffle House.

Friday– We slept in a bit since Horror Nights went until 2 a.m. and then went to Disney Springs to get our tickets for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. I got a poke bowl for lunch that ended up actually being disgusting so it’s going to be a while before I’m ready to try that again. We went back to the hotel after lunch and started getting ready since the party started in late afternoon. Paige and I went as Jack and Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas (aka my favorite Halloween movie that is also a Christmas movie. It’s both.)

The party was a lot of fun; there was a lot of candy and we went on a ton of rides. We walked into Main Street area and it was instant fall vibes and I wish I could just live in a town like that. We saw the parade (grave diggers were amazing) and did Haunted Mansion (they got to dress even spookier than normal). The tea cups had light strobe lights going, Space Mountain had the lights off and Pirates had some live actors going.

MIckey's not so scary halloween

Saturday– This was the “parks day.” We went to Hollywood Studios to do the shooting game in Toy Story Land (it was packed) and Tower of Terror and then Rockin’ Roller Coaster (my favorite). The roller coaster actually got shut down when we were basically next in line after waiting for an hour so we had to come back later to use the fast pass they had given us. I think it was worth it.

Then we went to Epcot and remembered it was the Food and Wine Festival. Needless to say it was delicious and busy. I tried a couple different drinks and a couple different foods. My favorite was probably the scallop dip I tried at Coastal Eats. Epcot is always my favorite because I love looking at the shops and seeing all of the performances from different countries. We picked up some rice cakes with bean paste in them from Japan and …. it’s a weird texture…. “as though eating someone else’s bubble gum” is basically the description we agreed on.

My flight was actually a super early morning flight on Sunday so we called it an early night and went back to the hotel to pack and sleep. Basically it was an amazing trip and I can’t wait to plan our next one.

Have you ever done halloween celebrations at a theme park? What are you going as for halloween?

What I Did: September Edition

I feel as though every post I start off with “x month was super busy.” So I’m going to change it out. September was super productive. I basically became a hermit (and during the first week of October).

I am in the home stretch of my Front-end Nanodegree so I’m spending all the hours studying. And I mean all the hours. I’ve been up at 5:30 to study, then work, food, then study again after. I have been making time to see friends as well because otherwise I’d burn out. But with all of those hours I got multiple projects done and submitted. Another one passed a couple days ago so I only have two projects left.

The first weekend of September I finally got a chance to go up north and read by the lake. I used my paddleboard and even though it was absolutely freezing out I still managed to go under TWICE. TWO different days.

I also finally got out to Minneapolis to visit one of my friends there. We played a new board game that reminded me of Dungeons and Dragons. We hung out in their pool and in general just enjoyed each other’s company.

And then it got cold out quick and I started hibernating. I did get a chance to go to Milwaukee last weekend to go to Harvest Fest. This took place on the Wisconsin Fair State grounds and although not every booth was open there was a lot of delicious food; that was kind of the theme that weekend… and the month.

With all of these amazing trips and being so busy with life I only had the chance to read two books. I listened to the audiobook of Specials during the drive to and from Minneapolis. Then I read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before since I was kind of obsessed with the movie. Unfortunately I felt as though the interactions between the two were off in the book.

What did you get to do in September? What are you excited for in October?

What I did: August Edition

Well…… August was fun. I did things and stuff. It ended a couple weeks ago but the beginning of September was full of travel and submitting projects for my coding class so I was being super productive.

So finally here is what I did in August:

  • Camping-  I went to a campground with a group of my friends from college. There were a lot of us so some of us stayed in the cabin and some in a tent. We went hiking and wine tasting and had campfires and food and pool time (for fifteen minutes- it was cold).
  • And camping again- The second time was camping with one of my best friends and her roommate. We got to the site early and went hiking and then after setting up camp we went to the beach just to lie around and relax. Lots of bonfires happened and we ate lots of food.

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  • Jekyll and Hyde- One of the local colleges has community theater in the summer and their last performance was Jekyll and Hyde. I read the book a couple years ago so I knew the premise already. However, this was a musical. The main actor was AMAZING and one of the songs was between the two halves.
  • Make Me Read- I did the Make Me Read readathon. You guys got to choose between a couple different nonfiction books. #GIRLBOSS won and it wasn’t what I was expecting and I wasn’t very impressed by it. However, it was a quick read so I started (and later in the month finished) Rising Strong. That one was a lot better and I’m looking forward to reading Daring Greatly, which is the other Brene Brown book I have.
  • Tried new beers and wine- I bought a variety six pack and I found a blueberry ale that tastes like juice (okay so a little like beer too but it was made with juice!). I also did a wine tasting during the first camping trip.
  • Had an AMAZING reading month. Seriously. I read ten books. I finally got a double digit reading month and I didn’t think that was going to happen this month but it did!

Books Read:
On Writing- Stephen King
#GIRLBOSS- Sophia Amoruso
The Last Time I Lied- Riley Sager
Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance- Ruth Emmie Lang
Uglies- Scott Westerfeld
The Storyteller- Jodi Picoult
I Do Not Trust You– Laura J Burns
Pretties- Scott Westerfeld
We Are Okay- Nina LaCour
Rising Strong- Brene Brown

How did you end your summer? Did you have enough time to relax? Read any good books?

I Do Not Trust You: eARC review

37638243Author: Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press/ Wednesday Books
US Pub Date: Sept 11, 2018

In Two Sentences: M’s dad died… or so she thought but when Ash shows up needing the ancient map M inherited from him she has no choice but to go with. Her dad is actually being held captive by a group of followers from the god Set, if she has the pieces she can trade them for her dad.

My Thoughts:
I had high expectations for this book, I’m not going to lie. I remember going full speed ahead when I read Sanctuary Bay last year. This just didn’t live up to that expectation. Something just fell flat and the farther I got into the book the worse it got.

I am obsessed with all of the characters. Take M. The girl with all of the knowledge about these ancient civilizations thanks to all the archaeology digs she went on with her dad. She was full of sass and smarts from the beginning. No one can sneak up on her and no one could trick her. It was so refreshing to have a character I wasn’t constantly yelling at.

I used to be obsessed with ancient culture, specifically Egyptian, so when I read in the synopsis this was a book with travelling everywhere, including the catacombs in Paris and sacred Norwegian forests and even a submerged Egyptian temple? I was pretty sold.

M and Ash go on all of these adventures and it started out amazing. They were discovering all of these secrets and experiencing new things and then that just kind of stopped. I think that’s where it started to fall flat. It just lost some of the thrill of being in new places and ended up just being plot points.

There was a scene closer to the beginning where they were in the catacombs and I could have easily read an entire book of just that scene and it’s a shame they didn’t keep up that type of creativity throughout the book.

Have you read I Do Not Trust You or any other ancient mysteries?

I recieved a copy of I Do Not Trust You from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press. This in no way effects my review.

What I did: July 2018

July was a pretty great month. I felt like I went down the coding rabbit hole for the first couple of months and then hung out with some friends the second half. I did get go to a couple brunches to satisfy my constant cravings for french toast and pancakes.

I also somehow managed to find time to finish eight books??? (Okay, three were audio and some I had started months ago but they still count).

My favorite weekend in July was my birthday weekend because I got to Chicago and see my sister and explore a bit, go to some breweries, the pier, Shedd Aquarium and the bean. It was amazingly fun and we got definitely sunburned when we went to the beach the next day. Also: I didn’t realize I would actually tan because I don’t remember the last time I tanned so now I have really weird tan lines.

I unhauled an entire xerox box of books to Half Price books and you honestly can’t even tell the difference in my shelves. (ignore the mess in the background, I was deep cleaning my room and this was just going to go to a couple friends).

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Books read:
Well of Ascension- Brandon Sanderson
What Happened- Hillary Clinton
Gathering Blue- Lois Lowry
Messenger- Lois Lowry
Son- Lois Lowry
NOS4A2- Joe Hill
Campfire- Shawn Sarles
The Cabin at the End of the World- Paul Tremblay

How was your month? Did you read any good books?

#MakeMeRead Readathon

#MakeMeRead Readathon Take 3

Ely and Val are hosting the #MakeMeRead readathon again! This year it’s running from Aug 6-13. Basically you pick the book I read that week. I’m ending the voting the night of Sunday the 5th.

This is my favorite readathon (yes I say that every year). I actually decided in January or so I wasn’t really going to do any readathons while I was working toward my nanodegree but I kind of have to do this one. However, I’m only choosing one book. I’m cheering for a specific book but whichever gets the most votes is the one I’m going to read.

This year all of my choices are non-fiction because I have been kind of craving one of those motivational books. I really don’t think any of these are going to be preachy or cheesy, which is something I try to avoid since I just end up mocking it, even though it could be good advice.

Vote for one book. Choose carefully.

The Tipping Point: This is the only book on this list that is not from my “want to read in 2018 list.” It talks about what is the final straw in something that spreads like wildfire, whether it’s an

#GirlBoss: This one seems like it’s going to be a quick and fun but informative read. I watched the Netflix show and instantly bought the book. It’s more about that drive to be successful and how you can make anything happen.

Daring Greatly: Topics covered in this book are vulnerability being courage and how you should put yourself out there for more risks.

Rising Strong: As the title indicates, it’s about rising after you fall, with stories taken from leaders in companies to artists and parents.

Are you participating? Leave links to your polls below!

Wildlife Sanctuary

What I did: June 2018

I swear June didn’t actually happen. I have some theories:
1- We had weird snowstorms in April which makes me feel like it’s a month and a half earlier in the year
2- I went down the coding class rabbit hole… never to be seen again.

Looking back (using my photo album to help as always) June was actually a pretty full month and so has the beginning of July. Basically my summers are always super hectic.

I had my coworker’s graduation party as well as the one for the girl I used to babysit. That made me feel so sold… and also realize how young some of my coworkers are. Both had amazing food, raspberry filled cupcakes, homemade lemonade, cheesecake bites etc.Books on Books

Our employee extra discount days ran into June and I bought a total of 13 books… whoops. One was a coding book, one was a replacement since the print was so small in mine and a couple were so that I could have the collector’s editions. Worth it. 100 percent.

I got to hang out with one of my friends from college and we went to the farmers market and the wildlife sanctuary and got cookie dough and it was an all-around amazing day. The weather was gorgeous. It wasn’t ridiculously hot like has been the last couple weeks.

The quarry was recently opened to the public in my town (we’ll see how long that actually lasts). I went with a friend one day and it was so gorgeous out. The water was a lot colder than I expected, so if we had gone in the middle of the day it would have been a lot more refreshing.

My sister and her boy came up a couple of times to visit and see their friends so it was nice to catch up. We didn’t do much since we were both busy with our own stuff but I did drag her to one of my favorite bars because that roof view is amazing.

One of my bestest friends FINALLY turned 21 so we went out for her birthday and another one of my best friends came up from Florida so it was great to see everyone and much needed friend time. I’m not a huge fan of this whole adulting and living so far away from everyone thing.

Books read: 
Saga Vol 1- Brian K Vaughan
Lying in Wait– Liz Nugent
The Outsider- Stephen King
The Girl You Lost- Kathryn Croft

How was your month? What books did you read? Did you do anything Interesting?