Coral Reef Review

This was our second trip to Coral Reef in Epcot, and it was much improved from our first meal. The first time we ate at Coral Reef two years ago, our food was okay, our table was decent, and our waiter was fine. On this trip I requested a table by the aquarium (which we got), the food was excellent, and our waiter was wonderful. My advice with this is never count a Disney restaurant out. This was my husband’s pick on this trip, and I was reluctant to go. However, when the boys left the restaurant still chatting with the waiter and flying their Buzz Lightyear light up toys, I was sad it was already over! Now to share more about our experience!

Here is our friend that sat by J throughout dinner:

And A checking out the kids’ menu:

We started out with a basket of rolls (always a win in my book). These were fabulously fluffy yeast rolls, sprinkled with flour, and served with fresh butter:

Next we ordered the calamari appetizer. These were a tad salty for me (but I hardly like salt at all), otherwise they were perfectly tender, and the boys ate them up. They come with a very light corn salsa, which is a refreshing twist on the typical cocktail sauce you get with calamari.

For the boys’ meals A ordered Alfredo shells, which were creamy and rich:

And J ordered shrimp and grits, which were not overly spicy, so it was very apparent that the chef was mindful that this was a kid dish (which I appreciated greatly!):

The boys ordered fruit cups with their meals which were filled with fresh fruit:

I ordered the seared mahi mahi with jasmine rice, coconut and cilantro-lime sauce, and avocado mango salsa. The fish was flaky and tender, the salsa was refreshing, and I can see why it’s one of their highly recommended dishes:

And B ordered the grilled sirloin steak, and the steak was exactly medium as he requested and the mashed potatoes and creamed spinach were shared around the table!

And finally, the boys had ice cream sandwiches for dessert that were truly a sight to behold:

Fruity pebble “bread” with vanilla ice cream center and a chocolate pearl. Very instagrammable! They were a little tricky to eat, but they managed to make the fruity pebbles not taste overly sweet, and they kept their crispiness with a great chew added by the marshmallow.

The boys left the restaurant  zooming Buzz Lightyears through Epcot:

That matched the glow of Spaceship Earth:

And then we took a quick trip on the Nemo and Friends ride:

To finish off a great dinner and evening!

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Friday Favorites

We had a blast in Disney! The boys are already asking when we are going again and I’m still in disbelief that we have a ten year old.

Fall essentials: pullover, pajamas, and book.

Love the two wall paintings.

The illustrator behind The Great British Bake-Off.

Perfect Fall dinner.

Print-outs to color with J and A.

Also on my reading list.

Pop of Fall berry.

Finally, a pumpkin biscotti to go with my Trader Joe’s spicy chai tea.

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Target shoe style

I’ve bought some great shoes from Target lately that are all dupes for more expensive shoes, but at a far more wallet friendly price. I’ve also been buying more flats lately since my trek to teach is longer than what it has been. I thought I’d share my favorites, and a pair I have in my cart for winter.

First are cream loafers:

Second are black mules:

Then there are these leopard booties:

And finally my favorite everyday sneakers (these are more comfortable than my converse!):

And right now I have this pair in my cart:

Happy shoe shopping!

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Big Top Souvenirs


We had a blast at Disney last week and I can’t wait to share all of our adventures, treats, and eats with you! First up, I had to share the boys’ favorite store/candy shop in Magic Kingdom. Storybook Circus is tucked away behind new Fantasyland and it houses a splash pad, the Dumbo ride, several circus themed character meet and greets, and the Barnstormer ride. The only time we entered Storybook Circus before this trip was when we were collecting candy at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party last year. Friends, we were missing out! We entered Storybook Circus on a whim this year, and we were able to walk on to the Barnstormer ride. We also headed into Big Top Souvenirs, and found a treasure trove of unique items.

First, in addition to many adorable plushies (Dumbo and his Mom!) there were more Tsum Tsums than any other shop we’d seen…

Including Wreck it Ralph Tsum Tsums that are currently not available elsewhere:



Then they also have a candy counter in the center that you can watch the cast members make the candy:

And they have a variety of sweets, including cake pops, candy apples, and rice crispy Mickey ears:



After much deliberation the boys settled on m&m coated Mickey ears:

And they tasted as good as they looked!

Big Top Souvenirs is now a must stop on our next trip! And speaking of the perfect treat, this kid here:

Is a perfect ten today! We were so glad to celebrate his birthday last week at Disney! He is kind, smart, funny, and my forever snack connoisseur and shopping buddy. He’s the best and we love him to pieces!

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Friday Favorites

Our Fall garden is ready to go! Hopefully it won’t be too hot for the plants. I’m knee deep in midterms right now and I’m really looking forward to our Fall Break coming up!

A travel guide to Tokyo.

Best advice ever.

Best skin products based on age.

Cider braised crock pot short ribs.

Why we get the Disney photo pass every time we go.

The haircut I’m considering.

Current book I’m reading on my kindle and the one in my Amazon cart.

And finally the Podcasts I listened to this week:

– Loveis Wise interview on Good Company

– Taking your creativity seriously on WorkParty

– The “scary” enthusiasm of Christina Tosi on Women Rule

– Bobbi Brown cosmetics on How I Built This

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Friday Favorites

There’s a bobcat in our midst! J earned his first rank in Cub Scouts this past week. We are so proud of him!

J loves puzzles, so I’ve got this pizza one on my list for him for Christmas.

The hiking backpack I have on my Christmas list.

Lunch next week.

Since my work commute is now taking about an hour I’ve started listening to podcasts. One of my favorites so far is In Good Company and now I’ve got Genevieve Gorder’s new Netflix series on my list, too.

Pattern mixing for Fall.

Melting potatoes and apple pot pies.

Cozy light filled home with lots of plants.

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Friday Favorites

Under the lights.

J is playing his fourth season of soccer. He is our first to make it all the way to U8 soccer and he is loving it! His favorite position is sweeper, and he really wants to play goalie eventually. His team officially started games this week, so we are busy cheering them on in between school, homework, work, and Cub Scouts. He’s got a game this weekend, we’ve got a fall garden to plant, and some general recouping to do after this week, including watching the new season of Great British Baking Show and I’ll be reading The Secret Rooms and Pasta, Pane, Vino.

A study and homework space that dreams are made of! Trying to figure out if I could recreate this in our own study. Along with some great printables to decorate the walls…








Currently dreaming about soups for Fall…









Including a sweet corn and pepper soup and a Thai coconut soup. I love that both of these (with just removing the onions) are allergy friendly for all of us! It’s hard to find a soup that is these days.

And finally, loving these two fall looks with skinny jeans, a lovely top, and neutral loafers…

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Five new things for our Disney trip

We’ve learned a few things over our past two trips to Disney, so I thought I’d share five new things that we are either bringing on our next trip!

First up is new raincoats for the boys. Their raincoats from the last trip worked fine, but they complained about how sticky they were with the humidity, so I’ve purchased some sturdier coats that still fold up well.


Second, is Teva sandals. On our past two trips they’ve worn closed toe shoes, like these, but now that they are older, they wanted to wear flip flops, and Teva sandals were our compromise.


Third, is Disney gift cards. If you have a Target Card you can get Disney gift cards at a five percent discount. This means a set limit for souvenirs for the boys and hopefully a lot less complaining.


Fourth, is new cushioned flip flops for me because I wore out the soles on my old reef flip flops on our last trip:

Fifth, is AT LEAST four extra outfits for each person beyond outfits for everyday. There are some days that it is so hot, or you get soaked on a ride that you need to change back at the hotel. Both of our previous trips I have run out of clothes for everyone by the end of the trip.

This day was the hottest day of any of the trips we’ve been on. We went back to the hotel, changed, and went back out on this day.

And that’s our top five new things we’re bringing to Disney this year! We’re counting down the weeks!!

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Red wine marinated steak salad


This is our quintessential it’s almost fall, but still feels like summer meal. A grilled flank steak, marinated all day, combined with roasted sweet potatoes, on top of fresh leafy greens takes us from summer to fall.

So the first thing your going to do is make your marinade. We use this recipe. I typically put the steak in the marinade in the morning before work, so it’s ready when we all get home.

The other ingredients (besides flank steak) you’ll need are:

Green leaf lettuce

Two sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

4 oz shredded cheddar cheese

1 tomato, diced

Olive oil

Balsamic glaze *optional


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roast sweet potatoes (drizzled with a bit of olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper) for forty minutes. Meanwhile, grill the steak for about 5-6 minutes per side (depending on the thickness of the steak), until preferred doneness (we aim for about 155 in the middle). Top green leafy lettuce with tomatoes, steak, sweet potatoes, cheese, and a drizzle of balsamic. Enjoy!!

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