A few things

I knew I wouldn’t have time to go to the store before a birthday party J is going to this weekend, so I found these fun items on Amazon:

I kind of want the pen case for myself. And the pens are a great price!

I love my Drunk Elephant Hydration Serum for nighttime, but I’ve been on the hunt for a vitamin C serum for daytime. This one from Target may fit the bill:

It has good reviews on Target, and so I’m thinking about picking it up on my next Target run (or adding it to my next Target order).

We checked out a new coffee shop on Friday last week and I’m already thinking about when we will go back:

They had me at iced dirty chai latte. So good!

I also picked up a few Fall things at the Anthropologie sale:

My absolutely favorite wind down activity:

I’m currently watching Scandal as research for the Crisis Communication class I’m teaching and I am totally hooked. Don’t spoil it for me! I’m behind a couple of seasons. Also, as much as I use my iPad, I love a good print magazine. The current issue of InStyle, plus painting my nails (OPI Cajun Shrimp) is perfection.

And finally, how I recipe plan, screenshot from Destin Duchess for baked chicken dinner:

Unfortunately I’m not going out! Happy Thursday!

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Camping Monte Sano

This past weekend we rented a camper and headed out to spend the evening at one of our favorite local parks. In high allergy season, B wanted to take the boys camping, but sleeping out in a tent would lead to lots of allergy issues for everybody. As a compromise, B rented a trailer. We headed out with a very simple plan, hike a bit, make hot dogs and s’mores, and play Go Fish. Monte Sano has a multitude of trails, and although we have hiked many of them, we haven’t yet hiked them all. We did a portion of the fire tower trail and blue trail to take a tour of the camp ground areas:

And we also cut through the Japanese Gardens:

This is definitely one of the gems of Monte Sano, we love this spot:

And the bamboo forrest:

I think one of the boys’ favorite things from the trip was all of the deer. We saw several, including a fawn (that I couldn’t capture a picture of), but I did get this one:

Although it’s still pretty hot here, the abundant tree cover on these trails keeps it much cooler:

We had a fun time and the boys are already talking about the next time we go!

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Favorite souvenir shops

If you’ve been to Disney before, you know that there are souvenir shops pretty much everywhere you turn. However, throughout our many visits we have selected some that are must visits. Some are base on variety while others are based on the merchandise they have. While there are some Disney items you can buy online, many are park exclusives. As I talked about in this post, the boys have a budget and once they’ve spent that budget, they’re done. It’s EASY to spend way more than you plan, so we always budget to make sure we don’t go over. So let’s talk about some of our favorite shops!

First, our favorite catchall shop is World of Disney in Disney Springs.

This is a great place for clothes, the fab 5 items, plushes, themed kitchen items, and collections you may have seen online or on Instagram. It can be a little overwhelming because it’s so large, and the lines to check out can get pretty long (especially in the evenings). We like to shop here early in the day, or at night, one of us will stand in line while the other person shops (yup, we do that) if we are looking for something specific.

The boys also love the Under Armour store, in part because of this guy:

And because we let the boys pick out a new Under Armour shirt. Disney souvenirs and Under Armour shirts are definitely their shopping love language!

Now on to our favorite shops in the parks! Our favorite “combo” store is Big Top Souvenirs in New Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom.

We call it a combo store because it has both snacks and souvenirs. Set back in Magic Kingdom against a circus backdrop, I think that some miss this area completely, or figure that it is only for Disney travelers with young kids because the rides are smaller. It definitely has things for kids of all ages! One of our favorite things to do when it’s really hot is step inside here and watch the cast members make the snacks:

 

And then browse through the unique items like this Mickey and Minnie toy:

Then grab a treat to eat:

Check out our full review of Big Top Souvenirs here!

One of our other favorite Magic Kingdom stores is Hundred Acre Goods:

Winnie the Pooh and his friends will always hold a special place in our hearts. Eeyore was the first plush J picked out from DisneyWorld, and the Winnie the Pooh movies were J’s favorite when he was “2-5” (which is what he will tell you). He will still turn it on today if he sees it on Netflix. You will find Winnie the Pooh items here that you cannot (or no longer can) find online.

Now, on to some of our favorite Epcot shops! While you can find Minnie Ears throughout the parks, Epcot’s MouseGear in FutureWorld has some ears that I’m not sure you can find anywhere else:

I also love MouseGear for their Vera Bradley selection and Alex and Ani bracelets (and yup they will even have some items you can’t find at Disney Springs).

Heading out of Future World and into the World Showcase, Mitsukoshi Department Store, in the Japan Pavilion is one of our favorites.

The range in this store is huge. Anime, Hello Kitty, Nintendo, and more. I’m still regretting that we didn’t pick up these Mario Kart pillows:

However, we did grab these very kawaii items:

Definitely unique items to the store! J loves My Neighbor Tortoro. And while A isn’t old enough to watch Cowboy Bebop, he loves Ei all the same! Be sure to check out these shops and let us know which ones are your favorites as well! And for some of our favorite souvenirs items check out this post.

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Friday Favorites

We are officially in full school/work mode! I have one more Sephora sale item to share, which is my NARS bronzer and blush duo. It adds a subtle glow, perfect for work. My lipstick is Laura Mercier Devotion (sadly not at Sephora), with a swipe of NARS gloss. It’s bright and happy, perfect for a busy Thursday.

Already working on my office plan for when we move back into our main building at work next summer.

The most iconic red carpet dresses.

Lunch for next week.

The cutest little Halloween planters.

The controversy is real.

Books to add to my reading list.

Super feminine hair ties, perfect for top knots!

Weekend skin care routine.

Finally, slow cooker mojo pork with Cuban-style black beans.

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Sephora summer save sale

Whether I wear no make-up:

 

Or have fully done my make-up:

I always keep an ongoing list for must purchases when Sephora has a sale. Right now their summersave code gets you 15% off if you are VIB and 20% off if you are Rouge. This time around the big four I was out of was foundation, my Naked 2 eye shadow basics palette (finally back in stock), hydration serum, and styling cream:

As you can see, I’ve used these significantly (I threw the hydration serum away because it was completely gone). NARS is by far my favorite foundation of the year. I like that I can change the coverage if I use a beauty blender or a foundation brush. I love the neutrals of the NAKED 2 palette, I’ve probably had it longer than you should. B and I have used the styling creme for years. I like that it has hold and creates volume without being sticky or stiff. And finally, the hydration serum. This isn’t a moisturizer on its own, but helps to lock in your moisturizer better. I use it with the retinol cream I picked up at the last Sephora sale.

I picked up all four plus I’m testing out Supergoop’s Unseen Sunscreen. I’m hoping this will be a bit more mattifying than the current sunscreen I’m wearing to work under my make-up. It’s so hot right now here, that you only step outside and feel like your make-up is melting off. In addition, I grabbed two samples, one is a sleeping cream that has a really high rating on Sephora and the other is a sample refill of my Lancôme eyelash primer. I combine the primer with Covergirl exhibitionist mascara and my mascara doesn’t budge.

I’m all stocked up! Until the next sale!

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Lemon pudding cookie cups

J has asked repeatedly for two weeks to please, please make the cookie cups we made awhile ago. And by awhile ago, I mean two years. J tends to think of something then decide he wants to do it, and then ask me about it until we do it. Which is why on the craziest of Monday’s, we made cookie cups. Thankfully, this is a super easy recipe. All you need is a small box of vanilla pudding, lemon pudding, lemon Oreos, whip cream, milk, and a gummy octopus (optional).

First, make the vanilla pudding according to package directions and split amongst four cups (this recipe is super rich, so you could spread it across more glasses for smaller portions).

Then let the cups chill in the fridge for about five minutes. While doing so, crush up your lemon cookies (we used one third of a package).

Then make the lemon pudding. Divide half of crushed cookies on top of the vanilla layer, and then add the lemon pudding divided amongst the cups, then add the rest of the crushed cookies divided on top.

That’s it! You can eat them immediately or cover with foil and when you are ready to serve add whipped cream and your octopus gummy.

That’s it! So simple, and fun!

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Blush & Print for Fall

I have a bit of a confession. I’m super lazy when it comes to accessories. I’ll spend time carefully planning my outfit the night before, and then when I go to put on accessories the next morning, I either a) forget, or b) feel overwhelmed trying to pick them out. In a move to combat that I’ve started stream lining my accessories, creating a capsule collection of them and then switching out outfits that coordinate. I’ve created three different looks to share, all using the same accessories, just switching out the outfits! Here is the line-up of accessories:

A fun essentials clutch for my purse.

An investment purse to wear with everything.

Cute peep-toe booties to transition to fall.

Hoops that add a bit of sparkle but aren’t overwhelming in size (I go with smaller hoops because when I teach larger hoops will swing around when I talk….my students would say I’m pretty animated, ha!).

My favorite lip gloss for when I remember after I get somewhere that I didn’t put on lipstick, which is often.

I invested in several pairs of sunglasses this year and this pair was one of them.

I love stretch bracelets because they tend to not slide up and down my arm and they don’t have to be sized.

And finally, a cute cellphone case that I can switch out easily (I also have this one).

First up, is an outfit for work:

The top is Target and the black jeans are Madewell. If I had a meeting I’d switch out the jeans for these pants (and if you want to take the outfit even further into fall get the wool-blend version).

Second up, is an outfit for work or going out:

The dress I purchased for 60% off this weekend, so if you have a Gap/Banana Republic Card be sure to check it out! The denim jacket is on my fall list from Nordstrom.

And finally, an outfit to wear to go volunteer and then remove accessories and switch shoes for the gym. Or just remove accessories and shoes and do yoga.

These leggings are a thicker weight and the sweatshirt is comfy, but still stylish, layered with this sports bra and this tank.

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Friday Favorites

We made it through the first week of school! And yes, the picture of A is from Kindergarten to Fifth. I’m still in a bit of disbelief that this is his last year of elementary school. As far as schedules go, I’ve been trying to get up at my normal work time, even though I don’t go back for another week and a half. I think we’ve progressively gotten more tired as the week has continued, so we are definitely ready for the weekend!

Home shopping on Amazon.

A flank steak marinade that got rave reviews from all my boys.

Classic fall pieces.

Four letter food words.

A celebration of color.

Styling black leggings for fall.

Home library goals.

Slow cooker chicken burrito bowls.

And finally, the podcast I’ve got on my list for my drive to work next week.

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Capt. Cook’s


The Polynesian was really our second resort on our last Disney trip. We can now say we’ve eaten at every restaurant on property except for the Spirit of Aloha dinner show, which the boys now have on their bucket list for one of our future Disney trips (which they are always, always planning).  Before the Villains After Hours Party on our last night there, we had a quick dinner at a Capt. Cook’s before heading into the park.

One of the things about Capt. Cook’s that makes it unique is that it’s open 24/7. It’s one of the few restaurants on property that does this, which makes it very convenient for those that are arriving to their resort late at night. We were not eating late, but it is nice to have the option, and we considered walking back through and grabbing muffins after the Villains Party, but we were pretty exhausted.

The theming here is in keeping with most of the resort, but I really enjoyed the poster-like vacation wall decor:

There is also a microwave at this station, and there was plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. We sat indoors because it was raining that afternoon. The boys ordered their standard meals:

 

Macaroni and cheese and a cheeseburger.

I ordered the Hawaiian flatbread:

The topping placement was a little haphazard, but it was very tasty and a significant amount of food. The boys each had a small piece of my flatbread in addition to their meal.

B ordered the turkey sandwich:

It had lettuce, tomato, and bacon on whole grain bread. B said it was good and not dry (which is a good recommendation from him because he doesn’t use mayo or mustard on sandwiches).

After we were done, we headed upstairs, hopped on the monorail, and traveled to Magic Kingdom for the Villains After Hours! While Capt. Cook’s is probably not a “must do” food place, it’s a great choice if you are monorail resort hopping on a whim, staying at The Polynesian, or just looking for a place to that is quick service with unique choices. Our menu choices were pretty standard, but you can check out the more adventurous fare here!

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Packing their own lunch

In a brand new decision this year, A decided that he wanted to make his own lunch. J quickly joined in and also declared that he wanted to make his own lunch. Inspired by Mix and Match Mama’s post on this awhile back, I decided to let the boys give it a try. I say give it a try, because I wanted to make sure they understood that if they made it, they were also going to put away everything they got out to make it, that they cleaned up any messes, and they didn’t turn it into a crazy role playing game that involved yelling (if you’re thinking…how can your kids turn making lunch into a game….oh they can. They Mary Poppins’ stuff to the extreme here. Here’s a little bit more about what I did!

First, I made sure things were easily accessible:

One spot for, yogurt, cheese sticks, apple sauce packs, lunchables, etc. I also cut the grapes into smaller bunches, made small bags of carrot sticks, and then got the celery bags that are individual sticks.

Then, I made a guide list for them:

It’s not fancy. There is no pretty design, or written on special paper, I just made a list. They have to get one thing from each group, and then I check it at the end.  Then they zip it up and put it in the fridge. In the morning I slip in an ice pack, and write on their napkins (they’ve had a note from me everyday on their napkin since preschool. My Mom did that, too!). They were so proud that they made it all by themselves!

 

This is definitely a routine! We are headed back to school this week, I can hardly believe it. And no, the five Fritos were not for J’s lunch, ha! I also set out their back to school surprises:

 

New books for them to read in car line (Magic Tree House for J and The Van Gogh Deception for A), new socks, and Musee bath balm, because who doesn’t need a nice calming bath after a busy first day of school?! Happy back to school, friends!

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