Review: Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival | 2018

Hello darlings!

Today, I thought I’d do a review of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, and chat about the things I tried this year. I’ve done this in the past on two different occasions and I just love writing about the festival because it’s really a lot of fun and reminiscing about food is always a good time.

If you want to read my past Food and Wine reviews, you can! I wrote one up in 2015 (when I still a baby & v new to blogging) and in 2017.

The very first thing we did on our Food and Wine tour this year was ride Spaceship Earth. I don’t know if you guys heard, but it was announced on a bunch of blogs recently that Spaceship Earth will be undergoing a two and a half year refurb which will essentially change everything we know and love about this ride, in preparation for the brand new shiny Epcot 2.0 that Imagineers are cooking up. I immediately panicked when I read the article because basically every Disney ride or attraction I’ve ever held near and dear to my heart has been given the axe over the last 5 years and Spaceship Earth is my absolute fav ride. I’m cautiously optimistic about what this refurb will actually consist of - maybe it’s just a refresh?? But for now, I’m going to ride it as much as I possibly can before it closes down.

IMG_5095.jpeg

As my family are AP’s, we usually stop at the Festival Welcome Centre right off the bat to collect our free Passholder gift and the Festival passport. The Welcome Centre is located in the old Wonders of Life pavilion, which is super cool because I never visited Disney when the pavilion was in operation so it’s a bit of a glimpse of what Epcot used to be. This year, the AP gift was a magnet with Mickey in a chef hat that is absolutely to die for. Like, c’mon how cute is that!!!! They’ve also been giving out cutting boards if you go multiple times.

Now, onto the food!

IMG_5096.jpeg

Our very first stop for food was the Hawaii booth. As usual, I got the Kalua Pork Sliders. The weird part of my love for the pork sliders is the fact that it’s the exact sort of dish I’d actually hate in most cases. First off, I typically don’t like pork. Second, it’s got a sweet-and-sour Dole pineapple chutney and spicy mayo on it. I’m the pickiest eater ever so this seems really ‘out there’ for me but good god do I love it.

IMG_5099.jpeg

The second stop for me was my home and native land! At Canada, I always get the Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon. It’s kind of an iffy dish for me. Some years I love it, some years I could do without it. This year, it was pretty good actually. I feel like it was a lot smaller than last year?? But I could be misjudging the size. And although I like the taste of mushrooms on the steak, I’m not huge on mushrooms themselves and there were a ton on top of the beef this time so I was constantly pushing them to the side. But the meat was very tender and well-done, just how I like it.

I also tried the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup which is what my mum ordered. I loooove me some cheese soup, especially because it comes with a pretzel roll which you can dunk into the soup. YUM.

IMG_5120.jpeg

I also had, for the second time ever, the Schinkennudeln from Germany. There will never be a year where my family doesn’t pronounce this completely wrong but the four of us love it all the same! It’s pasta gratin with ham, cheese, and onions that’s soooo delicious. It looks like it’d be a really heavy pasta from all the cheese, but I find it’s actually quite light which is good because I don’t love heavy pastas. Plus, the cheese is very mild - again a good thing because I’m not big on sharp cheese (I know, I’m so weird).

Ladies and gentlemen, may I draw your attention to the worst quality pic of the entire post! By this point, it was like 7:30 at night so lighting was not on my side. ANYWAY. This is one of my fav foods of the whole festival, the Loaded Mac n Cheese. Ugh this is so good, I’m in heaven just thinking about it. Again, it’s one of those kinda dishes that seems like something I’d hate. It’s got pepper bacon, cheddar cheese, green onions, and peppers all mixed in with macaroni pasta to make an absolutely incredible (and quite spicy) dish. This and the pork sliders might just be tied for #1 in my opinion.

IMG_5105.jpeg

Honestly, Food and Wine is such a great time. It’s a great opportunity to just stroll around World Showcase, taste a few international dishes, and enjoy the atmosphere of *ahem* the greatest Disney park.

Also, let’s have a moment of silence for our fallen heroes (aka the food that didn’t show up on menus this year):

  • Kielbasa and Potato Pierogi (although, I should probably quit holding out hope on this one, it’s been a couple years since it last appeared lol)

  • Chicken Gyro

  • Boeuf Bourguignon (my absolute fav!!! how could Disney do this to me!!!)

Hope you guys enjoyed reading! If you’ve been to Food and Wine before, let me know what your fav dish was in the comments.

Felicia x

Where I've Been

Hello my lovelies!

Wow, it’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I’ve really neglected my little corner of the Internet and I won’t bother making up excuses why. Things have just been crazy and I’ve not been terribly good at time management as of late. But I’m back! And I promise to be more diligent. I thought today I’d just kick off with a bit of an update post, to let you all know where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to recently.

(Also, I’ve spent a chunk of time lately going through and revising my old book review posts. You can now find them all under the tab, Books > Book Review, or right here, if you’re interested in giving those a read.)

IMG_4515.jpeg

At the end of August, I made my bittersweet return home from Florida. On the one hand, I was so sad to be leaving Florida, my home away from home but on the other hand, I was eager to get back to my proper home and get back into the swing of things. My journey home was actually a bit of a milestone moment for me, as it was the first time that my boyfriend and I travelled by plane without my parents. Taking a flight alone just the two of us was huge - if you suffer from travel anxiety like me, then you’ll get why. I was so nervous about the flight, but it all went very smoothly and I’m glad to have finally gotten it out of the way.

Coming home was also a pretty big deal as it meant returning to uni. As I mentioned this summer in my ‘Why I Took A Break From University’ post, I decided to take a year-long break from school after my first year, to sort things out and put the focus on my mental health. Returning to uni was so. freaking. nervewracking. But it went quite well! I’m only taking 3 courses this term - a Jane Austen literature course, a Women’s History course, and a Mental Health & Addictions course - so my course load has been lightened a bit and I can put more of an equal focus on my studies and my mental health. If you didn’t already know, I’m working towards my Honours BA in English & Cultural Studies (a four-year program I’ve completed a year of so far) and I’ve recently added onto that a Minor in History!

Unfortunately, being back in school means less time to spend with my boyfriend. Even though we live together, we have very opposite schedules. Most days, as he’s pulling up into the driveway in his car, I’m pulling out in my own and we just wave at each other through the window. He’s also got a far heavier course load than I have, what with being a Psychology major and all. Needless to say, it’s been difficult to make time for our relationship lately. That being said, it was recently our 5-year anniversary! We’ve been together for a quarter of our lives. Time really does fly. We had a lovely anniversary dinner at a local restaurant, had a few drinks, and just enjoyed some time alone. For our anniversary, my bf gifted me the Enchanted Disney Belle diamond promise ring. It’s absolutely stunning!! I was completely speechless about how thoughtful and genuine of a gift it was.

IMG_4755.jpeg

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this past weekend was my town’s annual fall fair! I love these fairs, you guys. They’re so wonderful and autumnal and nostalgic. My town is extremely small (at least to my standards, 10,000 is small) and very proud of our history - the fair has been running since 1873 so the historic aspect of the fair is really important. As my town is in the country, it’s only right that our fair is a typical county fair, complete with a demolition derby, midway, and tons of competitions of farm animals, food, needlework, and even pumpkins and hay! I never imagined I’d live in such a small town, coming from somewhere like Mississauga, but I could never leave the small town life now. I love the country sooo much.

IMG_4814.JPG

On a very exciting note, I finally got my hair done! Early this year (like maybe February?) I got a tiny bit of blonde put into my hair, but decided that I wanted some real blonde highlights for the summer, to lighten up my hair. I’d gotten the blonde highlights put in last summer as well, but after I had it done again this year, I just wasn’t feeling the blonde as much as before *shrugs*. So when I came home from Florida, I got my hair dyed back to a solid colour for the fall, except this time I went a shade or two darker than my natural shade and now it’s a dark chocolate brown. I LOVE IT. It feels sooo good to be a brunette again. I feel very autumnal, indeed.

So that’s really it for me. I’ve babbled on for quite a bit here haha, but oh well! In the next few weeks I’ve got a lot going on, including another trip to Florida for my reading week! We’ll be heading to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and, as usual, I’ll be sure to post about those - especially my super-secret costume for Not So Scary!! So keep a look out for that :)

Hope you’re all doing well!

Felicia x

Bath & Body Works Autumnal Haul

IMG_4640.JPG

Hi, my name’s Felicia and I’m an autumn-aholic.

Okay, but in all seriousness, I’m a teensy tiny bit addicted to autumn. It’s my favourite season after all. And what better way to fully embrace the autumn spirit than to fill your house with glorious scents of pumpkin and apple delight! Bath & Body Works is my go-to for candles and other home-related scents, even though I’m slowly warming up to Yankee Candle too. I just think their scents and the designs of their candles are so lovely, and they’ve typically got great sales going on.

Since I’ve returned from Florida, I’ve done two separate trips to Bath & Body Works and spent a bundle each time… Oops. I’ve bought quite a few lovely autumnal things that I thought I’d share with you guys today as a) I love sharing the autumnal joy and b) I haven’t done a haul post in quite some time. So let’s get right into it, shall we?

IMG_4641.JPG

Stress Relief 3-Wick Candle [x] - This was the first of two replacement candles I purchased, as two of my favs were nearly completely burnt out. This candle has a lovely scent of eucalyptus and spearmint that is soo soothing. I usually burn this candle while I’m studying or doing homework, as a little way to keep my stress levels down while I get to work. I’ve found it’s really made an improvement to the whole experience!

Mahogany Apple 3-Wick Candle [x] - Surprisingly, this my boyfriend’s favourite scent of the Bath & Body Works collection and this is the second of the two replacement candles - he nearly burnt his entire first candle in this scent. My boyfriend is not at all into candles or scents at all for that matter, but this one is an exception. It’s a mix of mahogany woods, golden apple, pink peppercorn, and fresh lavender sprigs.

Vanilla Pumpkin Marshmallow 3-Wick Candle [x] - Prior to this year, I’ve been very anti-pumpkin (I know, I know, I’m in the minority). I’ve never liked anything pumpkin before, except for as decor, so I never gave pumpkin-scented candles much attention. But this year I thought I’d branch out and give them a try. After a bit of a browsing, I realized I do like some pumpkin candles after all! This was one of the ones I loved most - I really liked about 4 but could only afford to buy a couple haha. It’s got a delicious scent of vanilla, pumpkin spice, homemade marshmallow, and caramel that really smells like a confectionary to me. It’s very sweet, but wonderful.

Pumpkin Apple 3-Wick Candle [x] - This had to be my absolute favourite pumpkin-scent in the entire store. It’s a mix of red delicious apples, pumpkin, cinnamon, and clove buds. I’m not usually big on cinnamon, in fact certain levels of cinnamon make me a bit nauseous, but I find it hardly noticeable in this candle, more of a background note. I’ve burnt this one the most so far and can see it running out before the season is done if I’m quite honest!

IMG_4642.JPG

I’ve also become quite the connoisseur of car scents in the past few months after I discovered the Yankee Candle scents (which you can read about in my Recent Favourites post). How did I not know until now that Bath & Body Works sells car scents?! The Car Scentportables are so cool because you first buy a little vent clip (there are a ton of cute designs, mine is a rosy gold one) and then you buy refills to put in the holder. The refills come at about $3.50 a piece, but there was a 4/$10 sale going on when I was at the store so I bought 4 :) I like how you can buy any refill you like, which means that as the seasons change, so can my scents! (You can buy my holder here).

Car Scentportables Pumpkin Apple Refill [x] - Of course I bought the Pumpkin Apple scent for my car!! It’s autumn (almost) after all! I’m sure this will be the first one I use, once I’ve gone through my Yankee Candle scents.

Car Scentportables Sweater Weather Refill [x] - Oddly enough, I don’t actually have the Sweater Weather candle, even though I love the scent. It smells of fresh sage, juniper berry, aromatic eucalyptus, and fresh woods - so it’s a very nature scent, which I really like.

Car Scentportables Flannel Refill [x] - Girl I love me some Flannel. Is this anyone else’s fav autumn scent?! I have it in a hand soap too and oh my goshhh it’s heaven. The fragrance is crisp autumn air, bergamot, heirloom mahogany, and soft musk.

Car Scentportables Vanilla Bean Refill [x] - And, of course, I had to pick up a lovely vanilla scent because I’m a major vanilla fan. I feel like this would be a good anytime scent for any season, in-between trips to Bath & Body Works to get new refills!

Let’s see how long I can go before I’ve burnt out every candle and gone through every scentportable lol…

Felicia x

Recent Favourites

IMG_4615.JPG

Hello everybody! How are you all on this lovely afternoon?

I’ve been having the hardest time keeping up with my blog schedule now that I’ve started up with classes. I haven’t really ever had to juggle the two, as I picked up my blogging around the time that I left school… So that’s definitely been an adjustment! But here I am, with a new post, finally. Today I’m wrapping up all my beauty (and miscellaneous) favourites of the past couple months. There have been definitely been quite a few of those and since I haven’t done a ‘monthly favourites’ in awhile, I thought that this would be a great way to combine them all :)

♥ ♥ ♥

Soap & Glory Peaches and Clean Deep Cleansing Milk - $15.75 CAD [x]

Early last week, I decided that I wanted to treat myself to a little pick-me-up so I stopped at my local drugstore to do some poking around. I ended up finding this lovely Soap & Glory cleansing milk. I've been a fan of Soap & Glory since my high school days but I haven't bought anything of theirs in a long time. When I found this, I knew I needed to give it a go. It's got a lovely scent and every time I've used it, it's left my skin feeling refreshed and looking glowy af! 

OGX Argan Oil of Morocco Extra Strength Creamy Hair Butter - $11.80 CAD [x]

I've been using the OGX Renewing Argan Oil of Morocco Penetrating Oil for years now and have absolutely loved how it makes my hair look and feel. So when I came across this hair butter, I thought I'd give it a try. I've never tried a hair butter before but I've been really enjoying it so far! The cool thing about this product is that it can be used in two different ways: as an in-shower rinse out or as a leave-in conditioner. I've only used it as a rinse out so far, but I'm excited to try it as a leave-in too! After my shower, it left my hair so much more hydrated and tangle-free than usual. Plus, it smells divine. 

E.l.f. Cosmetics Makeup Brush Cleaning Glove - $13.13 CAD [x]

Washing makeup brushes is such a chore, isn't it? I always dread when it's time to go through the process of individually cleaning my brushes (I've got quite a few by now). Which is why I bought this cleaning glove from e.l.f.! With all the different ridges across it, all you have to do is lather the makeup brush cleaner (or baby shampoo, in my case) and this bad boy does most of the work for you! Honestly, my brushes have never been so clean so quick before.

Too Faced Just Peachy Mattes Palette - $55.00 CAD [x]

Y’all already know how much I love my peaches - and my peachy toned shadows. So it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that one of my recent favourites is the Too Faced Just Peachy Mattes palette! I have already been in a deep love affair with the Sweet Peach palette they released a couple years back, but when I popped into Sephora this summer for the first time in a long time, I couldn’t leave without this baby. The shades are absolutely beautiful and so versatile. I think they’re perfect for autumn.

IMG_4616.JPG

 Attmu Classic Rubber Transparent Hot Water Bottle - $10.99 USD [x]

I bought this when I was in Florida this summer and it's easily become one of my favourite products of the year (possibly of my life?). All summer, I've been suffering with fairly unbearable back and neck pain, so much so that at times, I was up all night in pain. Nothing was working to help and I was getting frustrated. I went on Amazon and after a quick search, I found this hot water bottle. IT'S A LIFE SAVER. All you do is fill the water bottle with hot water from a kettle and twist on the cap and voila! It keeps the water hot for hours and even with the sweater cover on, you can really feel the heat. 

Yankee Candle Macintosh Car Jar - $6.00 [x]

I’ve been completely obsessed with car fresheners as of late, and this Yankee Candle one is my current fave. This lovely scent hangs in a small plastic jar off your rearview mirror. The scent, Macintosh, smells sooo strongly of apples which I absolutely adore and think is perfect for the upcoming autumn season. I really find that the Car Jar produces the strongest scent, in comparison to the car vent clips (which I’ve also used) but that’s just my personal opinion!

The Fosters [Available on Netflix]

As always, I have to mention a tv show in my favourites. Recently, I've been really enjoying the show The Fosters. I have always seen commercials for this show on Freeform whenever I was in the US but I never really thought much about it. Finally, after hearing so much about it, especially with Noah Centineo becoming so popular lately, I thought I'd start it. It's about a police officer, Stef, and her partner, Lena, and their large, blended family comprised of Stef's biological son and a pair of twins that the couple adopted when they were children. Things start to change when they take in a foster child, Callie, who's recently been in juvie, and her younger brother, Jude. Y'all know how much I love me a good family drama and this one definitely fits the bill! 

What have you guys been loving lately?

Felicia x

Review: My Lady Jane - Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

0DAE07C1-D75C-4695-9B5C-6F4B93EC3E12-1000.jpg

Title: My Lady Jane

Authors: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: June 7, 2016

Pages: 491

My Rating: ★★★★ (4/5)

Goodreads | Amazon


"She delighted in the smell of the ink, the rough feel of the paper between her fingers, the rustle of sweet pages, the shapes of letters before her eyes."

Hello everybody! I thought I'd write up a little spoiler-free review of My Lady Jane today, as I just finished reading it the other day and have lots to say about it. 

First and foremost, I love the Tudor era and everything about it - which is ultimately why I decided to pick up this novel. Except this is no ordinary historical fiction. It tells the story of Lady Jane Grey, otherwise known as the Nine Days' Queen. But this time around, it's far less tragic and a lot more mystical. 

If you're unfamiliar with the history, here's how it goes. Jane Grey was a teenaged English noblewoman who was married to Lord Guildford Dudley. When King Edward VI fell terminally ill, he wrote into his will that succession would fall to Lady Jane and her male heirs. But when Lady Jane took to the throne, support grew in favour of Mary Tudor - a Roman Catholic - and eventually, Jane was deposed and executed for high treason. Yikes. This version of the story is a little different. In that includes humans that can turn into animals. And poisoning. 

This book was wild from start to finish and I actually loved it. I thought the addition of fantasy elements, including the E∂ians (aka the animal-morphing-humans), was quite exciting and ridiculously creative. I've not been huge on fantasy novels since my early teens, but this has definitely made me reconsider the genre. My Lady Jane was an extremely amusing and cleverly-written story, with enough real details to make you forget sometimes that people in the 1500s weren't actually part-animal. 

There were a lot of twists and turns to this novel so, keeping with the spoiler-free promise of this review, I won't reveal too much about the plot. But I did think it was interesting how they played out the Jane Grey vs. Mary Tudor situation. In real-life, Mary deposed of Jane and that was that. Jane's existence was a threat because she was a Protestant queen. But in the case of the novel, I found it interesting how the role of religion paralleled the storyline of E∂ians and the Verities (aka the people who remain permanently human) - the E∂ians being the Protestants and Verities being Roman Catholics. There was definitely an interesting similarity there, that I'd really encourage you to look out for if you're reading this book! 

Most of all, what really drew me into this book was Lady Jane herself. I loved Jane. I thought she was such an incredible and complex character, the perfect bookish female lead. Books with a strong female lead always capture my heart and My Lady Jane was no exception. Jane showed undoubtable strength and defiance from the very start of the novel, constantly questioning decisions that she didn't agree with or proving her intelligence by her extensive knowledge of life through reading. I think her relationship with Gifford was extremely interesting also, because it forced her to come out of her world of just books and court, and apply her strength to real-life situations (i.e. the villagers early on in the novel). I was really rooting for the two lead characters and never more have I wanted a happily ever after in a novel!

After reading this, I'm sooo eager to read the follow-up book, My Plain Jane, which is a retelling of the classic Bronte novel, Jane Eyre. I think that these three women are spectacular authors and I would probably read anything that they published as a team. This is definitely the sort of young adults novel that I'd recommend to not only teens, but adults as well! Anyone can enjoy this one.

Have you read My Lady Jane? Lend me your thoughts in the comments!

Goodreads Challenge: 25 out of 50

Felicia x

5 Tips For Staying at a Disney Resort

D10245A4-6DC0-4D28-912E-C1EED14D557B-1000.jpg

Staying at a Disney resort is an incredible experience. Everything from the resort grounds to the restaurants to the hotel rooms, there is magic sprinkled everywhere. But with so much ground to cover, staying there for the first time can be a bit daunting. So today I thought I'd give a few tips I've learned from staying on-property over the years! 

Use Disney Transport

One of the best parts of staying on-property at Walt Disney World is that you have access to the Disney Transport. There are a ton of different ways you can get around the parks - buses, ferries, monorails, and even Minnie Vans. Using the buses to get from resort-to-park, or vice versa, is so so simple. We drove to the resort with our own car but decided against driving around and instead using the transport provided and it was so worth it. The buses are quite efficient as they know the quickest routes around property. An added bonus is that you get to bypass the Transportation and Ticket Centre which, if you've ever driven to Magic Kingdom, you'll know is a nightmare. 

Download the My Disney Experience App

You may already have the My Disney Experience app if you've been to the parks before, but if you haven't been in awhile (or ever), then here's the gist. The app lets you do basically anything you'd ever want - look at maps, check wait times, book FastPasses, make dinner reservations. It's extremely useful and the fact that you can pull it up whenever you want on your phone with the in-park WiFi is incredible. Sometimes I can't even remember the days of going to grab paper FastPasses from the ride queues - remember when only a few rides had FastPasses?! Crazy stuff.

Purchase a Refillable Mug

This might actually be crucial, especially if you're planning on spending a good amount of time on-property. The refillable mug costs $18.99 for the initial purchase and then you can use it however many times your little heart desires without extra cost. If you're on the Dining Plan, you can even get the mug included in your plan! It's perfect for grabbing a cup of coffee at breakfast, or a few drinks if you're going poolside. I filled mine up dozens of times during our six-day stay and it was well worth the cost. Definitely saves you from waiting in lines for drinks all day long!

Take Advantage of AP, Tables in Wonderland, or Disney Dining Plan

Staying in the parks, it's easy to rack up a pretty hefty bill from all the food and merchandise buying - especially if you're just charging everything to your room through your MagicBand. Using methods to get discounts makes a big difference! I bring my Annual Pass with me everywhere, just in case I want to buy something and get that 10-20% discount. If you have a Tables in Wonderland card or a Disney Dining Plan, those will also really help you with saving a buck or two throughout your trip, so you should look into those!

Bring Bug Spray

I cannot stress enough how important this is. Take it from someone who didn't bring bug spray - you need it!! Especially in heavily vegetated areas (which is 99% of Disney, let's be honest). In just one night of walking around Port Orleans, by the river, I got at least six mosquito bites. UGH. Make sure to pack some bug spray in your luggage and also, some After Bite juuuust in case. Better safe than sorry, am I right? 

What are your top Disney resort tips?

Felicia x

Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

IMG_3994.jpeg

Title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Authors: Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

Publisher: The Dial Press

Release Date: June 1st 2009

Pages: 248

My Rating: ★★★★ (4/5)

Goodreads | Amazon


"Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true."

By now, chances are you know how much I love historical fiction. I've said it before and I'll likely say it a million times more. I like how it puts you in the middle of all the action. And when a novel about the world wars comes around, then I'm really hooked. Especially when it's post-WW2 Britain. No wartime story shall go unread!

What immediately got me interested in this book was the title. Some might see The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society as a nuisance; I see it as a mystery, one I'm dying to uncover. What is this club? Who created it? What in the world is a potato peel pie - and why does it deserve a society? The fact that I hadn't even opened the book and I was already enthralled said a lot about what I was in for. 

TGLAPPPS picks up in 1946 as writer Juliet Ashton tries to get her life back on track in post-war London. Her home has been flattened by a bombing, there are rumours floating about her almost-marriage, and she's struggling to figure out what she should write about next. Her life is changed when she receives a letter from a man named Dawsey Adams who has in his possession a book that once belonged to Juliet. From there, they start up a whirlwind correspondence that introduces Juliet to a little Channel island, Guernsey, and the members who make up the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. 

I loved so many things about this book. First and foremost, I loved the characters. What an extraordinary and odd bunch of people. I felt an instant connection to all of these lovely people - except for Mark, but more on him later. Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows did an incredible job of making these people feel like friends to the reader. I loved how passionately they spoke about books and authors. I wanted nothing more than to be in the room with them during their book club meetings, talking about the Brontë sisters and Charles Lamb. 

For a mostly lighthearted book, TGLAPPPS deals with a lot of heavy topics. After all, it is set just after the second World War. War leaves it's mark on many things - marriage, families, businesses, children, towns, countries. Especially in Guernsey. For five years starting in 1940, the island was occupied by Germans. The people of Guernsey endured absolute horrors during WW2 - and I'm actually sad to say that I'd never heard of the island, or their part in the war. But what was so gripping about this book was how the characters found happiness, even in the hard times. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society began as a clever ruse eventually turned into a safe haven, a place for book lovers to come together and be a united front in the face of hostility. 

Overall, I just loved this book. Although it talks about serious topics such as war and death, it is still lighthearted. It focused on family - by blood and by circumstances - and the love we feel for one another. And above all, it spoke on bravery, especially in the character Elizabeth McKenna. Watching these characters pick up the pieces of their lives after the destruction was incredibly inspiring. 

Go buy this book! Read it a dozen times. Cry over it. Hold it close to your heart. Make your friends read it and then talk about it to your heart's content. Just fully devour it. It's divine. 

What wartime or post-war novels do you love? Let me know in the comments!

Goodreads Challenge: 24 out of 50

Felicia x

Back to Hogwarts

C49DA5CB-1B37-47D9-968B-8BF40CF23E45-1000.jpg

All aboard the Hogwarts Express, it's time to go back to Hogwarts! If you've read the books or seen the films, you know that September 1st is a big day for the Wizarding World - it's the day that students pile into Kings Cross Station, cross that barrier onto Platform 9 3/4, and make their way back to that fabulous castle for another year of classes!

Harry Potter was a substantial part of my life growing up. Although I was only about a week old when the first book was released in North America, it very easily became a staple in my life. When I was a very little girl, my godmother brought the first film over to my house on VHS (#tb) and my family watched it all together. From then on, I was hooked. My parents bought me all the available books in the series and I used to (try to) read them out loud to my parents every night before bed. Very quickly, Hermione became a role model for me. There's even a video of me at 5 or 6 years old, opening a Christmas present of a Hermione doll wrapped in Harry Potter wrapping paper. OBSESSED, MUCH?? 

In honour of this magical day, I thought that today I'd do the Harry Potter Tag which I've seen a bunch of other bloggers do over the past couple years. I've always wanted to do the tag and what better time to do it! 


1. What house are you in?

I'm in Hufflepuff! Originally, when Pottermore first opened, I was sorted into Gryffindor, which never seemed right to me. Flash forward to this past year when I took the Pottermore test again and was sorted into Hufflepuff! I feel it suits me quite well. Maybe I've changed over the past 8 years? Who knows. 

2. What is your Patronus? 

According to Pottermore, my Patronus is a Wild Rabbit. (Cute, right?) 

3. What is your wand? 

Silver Lime wood with a Phoenix feather core 10" and Slightly Yielding flexibility.

4. What would your boggart be?

This is a great question. I think that if the boggart could turn into something like a question mark or an empty space, to symbolize the unknown, then that would definitely be my boggart. I have a major fear of the unknown and am constantly plagued with "what ifs". 

5. What position would you play in Quidditch?

Uhh, the position of a spectator? I'm already bad enough at sports, and I feel like that wouldn't translate well to Wizard sports. Boring answer, I know. 

6. Would you be a pure-blood, half-blood, or muggle-born? 

I don't even know how to begin to answer this. I really have no idea. 

7. What job would you want to have after leaving Hogwarts?

Hmm, I'd love to be a professor at Hogwarts. Maybe I'd teach History of Magic? I am minoring in History, after all. That seems like it'd be up my alley! I think it would be incredible to work inside Hogwarts all the time and as a professor, you'd get to know all the secret things that students aren't allowed to know/see. 

8. Which of the Deathly Hallows would you choose?

I'd definitely go for the Invisibility Cloak. It seems like it'd be the most useful. Besides, the other ones are just too risky for me. I'm not looking for almighty power or whatever, haha. I just want to sneak around a little bit. 

9. Favourite book? 

This is so tough. It's like choosing between children haha. But I guess if I had to choose one, it'd have to be Prisoner of Azkaban. I really love Sirius and Remus, so having them introduced in the novel makes my heart happy. I also really like the whole time-turner bit - that might be one of my favourite bits of magic. 

10. Least favourite book? 

Order of the Phoenix. It's not that there's anything I specifically don't like. It's just I like it a little bit less than the others!

11. Favourite film? 

Half-Blood Prince. For a very specific reason. For whatever reason, I decided in like 2008 that I didn't like Harry Potter anymore. I think it was just that I wasn't big on the Order of the Phoenix film and thought I was ~too cool~ for Harry Potter now that I was a whole 10 years old. My parents dragged me to see Half-Blood Prince in theatres and that was it. I was back in love. So HBP will always have a special place in my heart, for that reason.

12. Least favourite film?

I don't love Order of the Phoenix. Maybe it's just that it's too difficult to take the longest book of the series and put it into a fairly short film.

13. Favourite character? 

Obviously, Hermione is my favourite. Being a bookworm and kind of annoying as a kid, I totally got her. 

14. Least favourite/most hated character? 

I hate Umbridge. But don't we all? 

15. Favourite teacher at Hogwarts? 

This is definitely a tie between Professor McGonagall and Professor Lupin. I love them both for different reasons, but I doubt I have to explain why to anyone haha. 

16. Least favourite teacher at Hogwarts? 

Umbridge. Again, reasons are quite obvious.

17. Do you have any unpopular opinions about the series?

*Sigh*... Okay. Let me preface this by saying I'm a super empathetic person. Like, in general and especially when it comes to fictional characters, specifically villains (do you see where I'm going with this?)... I have feelings about Draco Malfoy. I think his relationship with his father and the fact that his father was, ya know, a Death Eater and a total douche certainly had a real effect on him as a person. (This is especially true in the films because the film creators seem to be huge Draco sympathizers). 

Felicia x

20 Years

I'm twenty years old y'all!! I know, it's a shock to me as well. I recently had my birthday on the 20th of August. Two whole decades of my life have officially gone by. I know to a lot of people that seems like nothing, but to me, it's completely mind-blowing that I'm now in my twenties. It's been a long time coming, since my friends are already 20! 

I was stuck wondering what sort of post I should write up for my 20th birthday. A '20 things I've learned in 20 years' post? Or a birthday tag, maybe? I really couldn't decide. But I remembered a post I saw a while back where someone had reflected on what they'd learned since their last birthday. I thought I'd do a bit of that, but also mix in a few things I've learned through my life as a whole. 

So kick back, relax, grab yourself a snack. Maybe get yourself a fancy drink - it is my champagne birthday, after all! 

A reason, a season, or a lifetime

I'm sure you've heard the saying that people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. I know it's super cliche, but it is true. In twenty years, I've come across people from every category. And honestly, sometimes it can be pretty hard to determine who is who. Some of the people I thought were 'lifetimes' ended up being 'reasons'. In some cases, it was someone who was in my life for a short time that impacted my life positively; and others, it was negative. But the lessons I've learned from those not-so-great relationships have moulded me into the person I am today and I've learned to be grateful for that, instead of just fixating on how things could've gone better.

Mental illness doesn't make you 'weak'

This was a lesson that took me so long to learn. Despite being completely supportive of other people's mental health, I have always been really hard and unsympathetic towards my own. In the early years of dealing with my anxiety, I had someone say that I was 'weak' for suffering from mental illness, whereas those who don't suffer are 'strong'. As if strong people can somehow fight off mental illness...? It was obviously completely ignorant and plain wrong to say. But being a young teen, it really took a toll on me. Mental illness doesn't make anybody weak. In fact, people who suffer from mental illness are some of the strongest people out there. As much as I hate dealing with anxiety, it has definitely made me a stronger person over the years. 

Friends who stick around during tough times are the ones who'll last forever

I've been through a lot of ups and downs in my life. Like, a lot, a lot. In that, I really came to realize who my true friends are and not only that, but just generally who I wanted to be in my life. Friends should make your life better, not worse. That was something I had a hard time coming to grips with. I'm the kind of person who hates to rock the boat. But there were just certain toxic relationships in my life I had no choice but to step away from, for my own happiness. With that being said, there've been friendships that have really bettered me and my life as a whole. I saw something online awhile ago that said something like, friends you've just met in uni know you better than friends you've known your entire life. And honestly, it couldn't be more true for me. The friends I've made in uni are incredible and those friendships have been life-changing. 

Don't let anyone deter you from going after your dreams

Let me say it again, just in case you didn't hear me... DON'T LET ANYONE DETER YOU FROM GOING AFTER YOUR DREAMS. I don't care what your dream is - doctor, psychologist, beekeeper, car mechanic. Anything. If it's what you want to do with your life and you know it'll make you happy, then do it. So what if someone says that chances are you won't make it in your career field? The only way to know is to try. You've got a long life ahead of you, especially when you're 17 or 18 and leaving secondary school. Don't go on a career path that makes you miserable just to make you other people happy. Take it from someone who's been there; it's so not worth it and you'll definitely regret it later. 

Hope you're all having an amazing week!

Felicia x

Walt Disney World Haul 2018

CDCB8C72-688A-4959-ADC3-43E44D1A33D5-1000.jpg

As you probably know if you've been following my Instagram or read my latest blog post, I recently spent time in Walt Disney World, celebrating my 20th birthday (which you can read about here). While I was there, I got completely pulled into the merchandise trap which is pretty much the least surprising thing ever haha. So I thought I'd share with you guys some of the things I picked up! 

6E3E8391-4CF7-4244-AE96-51247D9C66E7-1000.jpg

Pumpkin Antenna Topper - When I first arrived in Disney, they had just put out all the Halloween decorations and merchandise around the parks. On our first day there, we went to Disney Springs and I found myself in Halloween HEAVEN. The first thing I picked up was this adorable pumpkin Mickey antenna topper. Currently, I have a regular Minnie Mouse topper but I thought this would be a cute change for the fall season. On the back of this topper, it says 'Hey, Pumpkin' which is just the cutest thing ever!! I literally can't wait to pop this on my car. 

F1955704-003E-48C0-A92A-616C22C6AB73-1000.jpg

Mickey Ghost Mug - The other Halloween thing I bought while I was at the parks was this incredible Mickey mug. How cute is this?! It's a ghost Mickey and on the back it says 'Boo To You'. I already have wayyyyy too many mugs but honestly, this was a necessary addition to my collection. I love all things Halloween themed and they had an amazing variety this year. It's getting me so excited for the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party in October! 

Journal - I hemmed and hawed a lot before deciding to buy this journal, but it was one of the best purchases I made. This beautiful hardcover journal is covered in retro-looking Walt Disney World logos and designs and has Mickey silhouettes on the pages. I picked this up after deciding that I wanted to keep a journal of all my Disney stays as a memory book. This was the perfect pick, in my opinion, and I can't wait to get writing!

Starbucks 'You Are Here' Hollywood Studios Mug - I'm sure you guys have seen the You Are Here mugs at Starbucks before, they're pretty popular and usually have a city/state/province on them with a cute lil design. Starbucks has a Disney World collection, as well as a Disneyland collection. I already have the Epcot and Magic Kingdom mugs, so I picked up the Hollywood Studios one this trip - and now I've only got the Animal Kingdom one left, and then I've got the entire set! 

C655AB8B-7A1F-4B8F-A9CF-AF590FBDD41D-1000.jpg

Rose Gold Phone Case - I fell in love with this the moment I saw it. Rose gold is my favourite and this is no exception. This bad boy has a little clasp on it and opens up to be a wallet with a few card slots as well as a window one, which makes it perfect for holding my Disney Annual Pass and my i.d. for getting discounts in the park. And, of course, it holds my phone. Hooray for multi-purposeful pretty merch!! 

New Fantasyland Mystery Pin Pack - On my birthday, I decided to treat myself to this adorable mystery pack. It comes with two Beauty and the Beast themed mystery pins, which are themed to the Beauty and the Beast area of the New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom. I got the pin of Belle walking away from her house while reading (which I unfortunately already own) and the three Bimbettes sitting in Gaston's Tavern. They're super cute!! Can't wait to add them to my collection. 

2018 and Epcot pins - Following the pin trend, I bought two more! Shocker, lol. I bought a Walt Disney World 2018 pin with Minnie Mouse on it, as I used to collect yearly pins when I visited as a child but I stopped for a few years which I massively regret. So I'm back to collecting annual Disney pins! I also picked up this super cute Epcot pin, which features icons of the major rides (Spaceship Earth, Mission Space, Test Track, etc.) and has a super cute Mickey on it! I saw it once about a week ago and then it was sold out nearly everywhere I looked until I finally found this one - and it was the last one there! Phew haha

A059470F-4A25-46BF-A3CD-FD6AF6A80BAC-1000.jpg

Disney H20 Sea Salt Body Lotion - Because Disney H20 products are the cutest ever and remind me of the resorts, I took a few of the complimentary hand lotions home *shrugs*. I'm gonna have to pop one of these into my school bag so I can apply this in class and miss Disney and cry all semester lol

1513BBAC-7F71-4C39-9EAC-0A7D11D9046D-1000.jpg
A021960D-835F-4652-B783-BFBF255F101C-1000.jpg

Haunted Mansion & Halloween MagicBands - Last, but certainly not least, I picked up these two lovely MagicBands! The Haunted Mansion one has a Ghost Host uniform on one side and Ghost Hostess uniform on the other! The Halloween one is decorated in a few of the characters dressed for Halloween, some ghosts and candy, and an orange castle! 

I've only been back for a little while and I'm already ready to go back! Post-Disney depression is real :( 

Felicia x

Travel Diary: Disney World 2018

2E08E5DB-F816-4DF3-B99E-3A150400CBC0-1000.jpg

Hello, everyone! Been awhile, huh? Sorry to have disappeared. If you've been following my Instagram stories, you probably saw that I mentioned I'd be taking a bit of a hiatus from the blog as I was on a week-long staycation at Walt Disney World. Crazy stuff, right!!

When I used to visit Walt Disney World as a kid, my family would always stay on-property. But when we bought our vacation home back in 2012, we didn't really have the need for staying in a resort anymore - that's what our vacation home was for, after all! But last year, all of that changed when my parents surprised me with a 2-night stay at Port Orleans French Quarter with my boyfriend as an early birthday gift. Needless to say, I caught the bug and we found ourselves back on-property this year! Today I thought I'd give you guys a bit of a run-down on what we got up to on our Disney trip this year...

 port orleans french quarter

port orleans french quarter

 port orleans french quarter

port orleans french quarter

THE RESORT

We stayed, once again, at the Port Orleans French Quarter resort. I've stayed at the French Quarter four times now and will keep coming back without a doubt. I absolutely love it. It's my favourite moderate-level resort by far. I love how small it is, how no matter where your room is located the lobby & restaurant are only a few steps away. The style of the resort is also amazing - the historic French Quarter style with cobblestone walkways, Mardi Gras decorations, and beautiful bursting colours is so pretty. And they even have horse-drawn carriages! How cute is that?! 

We stayed in two different rooms during our stay, because we extended our trip after we arrived and our first room wasn't available the entire length of our trip. But we were lucky enough to have both rooms in the 6th building, with a view of the man-made Sassagoula River. Although the rooms don't have balconies, the sights from the windows were GORGEOUS. I'd totally recommend trying to get a riverview room on your stay. It's not guaranteed you'll get one, but hey, it doesn't hurt to ask!

 grand floridian

grand floridian

 eggs benedict at grand floridian cafe

eggs benedict at grand floridian cafe

THE FOOD

Because we were staying on-property, we took advantage of the restaurants that are available within Walt Disney World - safe to say we were by no means restricted! There are dozens (maybe hundreds?) of restaurants of all types around the World for you to try. We ate a few times at the Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory, which is the quick-service on French Quarter property. I actually really enjoyed it! They had quite a different menu than typical quick-services because some of it was Cajun inspired and it was delicious (try the beignets!! you won't regret it).

We also tried out for the first time the Mobile Ordering at D-Luxe Burger in Disney Springs. It was super efficient and so easy to use! All we had to do was place our order on the app beforehand, click a button to let them know we'd arrived, and grab a buzzer at the restaurant to place on our table. We took a seat on the back patio, listened to some live music while we waited, and within minutes, someone was bringing our food over! Sure beats waiting in the massive line to order and wait for food to be made. I'll definitely be using that feature again and I highly recommend trying it! 

And, of course, no trip to Disney would be complete without brunch at the Grand Floridian Cafe! If you know anything about me, you know how much I adore the Grand Floridian resort. I've decided I won't stay there until my wedding (dramatic af, I know) so I've got to get my fix somehow. And that's by having the delicious brunch at the Cafe. I always order the traditional eggs benedict and it's wonderful! 

 disney springs

disney springs

MEMORIES

This trip was extremely special for me as we were there to celebrate my twentieth birthday! We spent the evening of my bday at the Magic Kingdom, where we did the Happily Ever After Fireworks Dessert Party. I did the Party last year for the first time with my bf and it was such an incredible experience that we decided to do it again for my bday. The Dessert Party is so much fun - there are a ton of sweets and goodies to try and best of all, you get prime viewing for the fireworks. We had a space of the hub grass to ourselves to just sit down, spread out, and relax while we waited for the fireworks - and even got to stay seated during the show. I'm spoiled forever and now standing during the show like a sardine in the crowds will never be the same!

 Birthday outfit -- Top:  GREYLITTLEARROWS on ETSY ; SKIRT:  similiar - forever 21 ; EARS:  SHOPDISNEY

Birthday outfit -- Top: GREYLITTLEARROWS on ETSY; SKIRT: similiar - forever 21; EARS: SHOPDISNEY

Easily one of my favourite moments of the trip, however, was my date night with my boyfriend. The two of us went over to Epcot, as we had a dinner reservation at Les Chefs de France. If you've ever been to Epcot, you've probably walked right past this place. It's that beautiful brasserie at the edge of the France pavilion, with the expansive windows and glistening rooftop. We both ordered the boeuf bourguignon and it was TO DIE FOR!! I've tried this dish before at the International Food and Wine Festival but it was even better in the restaurant. We had a delicious meal with an incredible server (shoutout to Kevin!) and then ended our perfectly romantic evening off with a stroll around the park beneath the sunset! 

 yummmm

yummmm

 boeuf bourguignon at les chefs de france

boeuf bourguignon at les chefs de france

 Sunset over world showcase

Sunset over world showcase

On our first trip to Port Orleans as a couple last year, my bf and I decided to do a little resort hopping to see what the other resorts had to offer. When else will you get the chance to do it? This time, we brought along my parents to join us! We checked out Port Orleans Riverside and my personal fav, Old Key West. Riverside was so so beautiful and I thought it was quite cool how they had two different areas (my bf loved the Alligator Bayou area) but honestly it was too big for me and I can't see myself choosing it over my one true love, French Quarter! Old Key West, on the other hand, is a dream stay of mine. I def want to stay there someday (next summer perhaps?) and think it's just the greatest. I've always had a soft spot for Key West, FL and I think this resort really nails it. 

 port orleans riverside

port orleans riverside

 Old Key West

Old Key West

And just like that, I'm back to regular life! I can't believe how quickly a week in the parks went by... What will I do without my Must-Do Disney with Stacey?! The post-Disney depression is settling in. But luckily, now I get to look forward to next year's trip! Is a year in advance too early for starting to plan a Disney trip?? Asking for a friend...

 port orleans french quarter

port orleans french quarter

Talk to you all very soon! x

Felicia 

Review: Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn

0171E1B2-73B2-485F-A869-F6A969E50245-1000.jpg

Title: Sharp Objects

Author: Gillian Flynn

Publisher: Broadway Paperbacks

Release Date: September 26, 2006

Pages: 254

My Rating: ★★★★ (4/5)

Goodreads | Amazon


"Sometimes if you let people do things to you, you're really doing it to them."

I've never been a big fan of the horror genre. Aside from The Girl On The Train, I've not really delved into the whole psychological-thriller genre. I'm more likely to steer towards light-hearted novels. But I've heard so much talk about Sharp Objects in the past year or so and I've always had an interest in reading a Gillian Flynn novel. Not to mention, it was 20% off at Target. Soooo I thought, why not

Sharp Objects was Gillian Flynn's debut novel that came out 12 years ago. It tells the story of a journalist named Camille who returns to her hometown, a small old-fashioned community in Missouri, to report on the recent murders of two pre-teen girls. Her search for answers sends her on a dark journey which unleashes demons and old habits of her past. 

This book made me uncomfortable. And I think that's exactly what it was supposed to do. It's an unsettling story about people who have unhealthy relationships and lifestyles. The characters of this story are dark and complex. Everyone has secrets lurking beneath the surface, everyone has a disturbing past, a trail of destruction following them wherever they go. Each character is dealing with their own personal nightmares - and that's what makes them so compelling, on an individual basis. Most of all, the women in this book are multi-dimensional. Here they are, in this town that makes women out to be useless, disposable, weak. But, no. These women are deep, complicated people. And they're capable of horrors that seem unimaginable to most. 

I thought this book was extremely well written and riveting. I was hooked right from the start and I didn't want to put the book down once I picked it up - something that hasn't really happened to me in a long time. After reading this, I think I'll be reconsidering the genre. I'm definitely sure that I want to read another Gillian Flynn novel in the future! If you have any recommendations, let me know in the comments! 

Have you read Sharp Objects? Did you like it?

Goodreads Challenge: 23 out of 50

Felicia x

What's In My Disney Theme Park Bag?

IMG_3983.jpeg

Packing a bag for a day at the Disney theme parks can be a pretty daunting task. But over the years, I've brought it down to a few simple things that I always have to have on me when I'm headed to parks! Today I thought I'd go through the staples of what I pack for a day at the parks, especially as I've got a WDW staycation coming up very very soon and I'm getting into the Disney spirit! 

Without further ado, here's what I pack in my Disney theme park bag...

IMG_3985.jpeg

Wallet

First and foremost, I always make sure to have my wallet on me. You always want to make sure to have your Credit/Debit cards and some US currency. I also will have my Disney annual pass for parking and discounts, and my Starbucks Rewards card for if I want to get a coffee while I'm at Disney!

Lipstick + Balm

I always keep lip balm on me no matter what, as I have dry and chapped lips. But if you know anything about me, you probably know I always have a lipstick on me too. At Disney, I usually carry my Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lip Colour in Seduction as it's a very neutral pink.

Sun + Eyeglasses

Because I have prescription glasses, I make sure to bring them along with me as I never know when I'll need those - for driving or for rides. I also ALWAYS bring along sunglasses because it is the Sunshine State after all. Protect your eyes y'all!

IMG_3987.jpeg

Sanitizer + Meds

As Disney is a theme park and many people pass through, I always have hand sanitizer on me and make sure to use it whenever I'm about to eat. I also bring an assortment of basic meds with me, like Aleve, Midol, and Pepcid for emergencies.

Keys

Of course, I always have to bring my keys with me to the parks. How else will I get home?! My keys fit in perfectly at the parks as they're very Disney-fied - I've got a Minnie keychain (my bf has the matching Mickey) and a rose gold Cinderella castle keychain!

IMG_3989.jpeg

Gum

Be warned: Disney World does NOT sell gum! This is a long-standing tradition, to deter people from leaving gum all over the ground and messing with the parks. If you always like to have gum, like me, bring your own and be courteous please!

IMG_3990.jpeg

Magicband

Although this isn't technically inside my park bag, I always bring a Magicband with me. It's become a total life saver for me these past few years. I always use it for park entrance and Fastpass returns.

Minnie Ears

Of course, I have to bring along my ears!! Where would I be without these bad boys? I have a whole collection of ears that I alternate between, but you can almost always guarantee that there's a pair in my bag or on my head!

IMG_3992.jpeg

Minnie Backpack

If I'm in the parks for a long time, like a full day, I'll use this Minnie Mouse backpack from Disney instead of my purse - it just disperses weight better on my back and shoulders, and is easier to tote around for long periods of time.

What do you pack in your Disney park bag?

Felicia x

How To Prepare For A New School Year

IMG_3931.jpeg

Ahh, August. The bittersweet month. Those final hazy days of summer. Am I depressing you? Sorry! Although August is a great month - it is my birthday month, after all - it is also, unfortunately, the last portion of summer holiday. Which means school is right around the corner. And although a lot of us may be squeezing our eyes shut and plugging our ears and going "la-la-la-la-la" (I know I am), it's the truth.

With school coming up, it's time to start thinking about preparing for the start of term. Getting your ducks in a row before the first day of school does wonders for your productivity when classes actually start. I'm sure you'd rather not be racing around campus, trying to figure out where your classes are whilst also tracking down your textbooks and buying school supplies. The thought is cringe-worthy haha. So, here are my tips of things to do to prepare for a new term!

GET A BINDER

When I got into university, I had this preconceived notion that binders were a 'high school thing'. There was no use buying one for university because when would I use it? It's not like you cart around loose sheets of paper from lecture-to-lecture. But the fact is, binders are useful for far more than just transportation. I like to buy a binder that I leave at my desk for holding any paper I deem important that I can't bear to lose and any marked papers that are returned to me. Oh, and by the way, professors like to throw a curveball and hand out loose papers all the time. It's nice to have someplace for those papers to go once you get home.

PRINT OUT YOUR SYLLABI

This is something I've learned to do over the years. I'm so grateful that I learned this. Picture this. You're putting the final details on your paper, the night before it's due. You can't remember if your professor likes your citations in APA or MLA format. You go online to check your syllabus and - oh wait, the site is down. Having a physical copy of your syllabus can't hurt. Pop that bad boy into a plastic page protector and put it in your binder (ah, see, I told you a binder would come in handy!). Now you can refer to it whenever you need and even make notes on the page, if need be. 

BUY A PLANNER - AND USE IT

Yes, the dreaded planner. It seems these little books are cursed for uni students. You buy one with high expectations of keeping up-to-date with marking all your assignments and exams, and it all comes crashing down about a month or even a week into classes. But I'm here to tell you that, yes, the planner does wonders! It's not an evil burden! I promise you. If you already have your syllabus, go ahead and fill in all the important dates in your planner. That way, you won't have to worry about it later. Make a vow to yourself that you will keep up with your planner. Honestly, this did me a world of good when I started university and even helped my very reluctant boyfriend last year. 

WRITE OUT YOUR CLASS TIMETABLE

There's a bunch of different ways that you can do this, or you could even use a combo of a few methods. The point is that you have a layout of it somewhere in front of you. You could write it down in your bullet journal, or put it in your planner. You could use a calendar app, like Google Calendar, which lets you colour-code your different classes. Or go old-fashioned and write it down on paper - there are a bunch of weekly schedule templates you can print off the Internet that will spruce up your timetable. Having your timetable easily accessible is super important, especially at the beginning of the new term when you're still getting used to all your new classes. I like to write out my class, the room number, the time, and the name of the professor. 

GET YOURSELF ON A ROUTINE

Summer ruins routines for everyone. It's inevitable. If you're anything like me, you probably spent your summer going to sleep at 3am and waking up at 11am. Obviously, that isn't going to work during the school year. So the couple weeks before school starts, it's a good idea to start getting yourself onto a routine. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every single day. This is so important. You don't want to keep your crappy sleep schedule right up until the day before term starts. Take my word for it. 

GO BUY YOUR SCHOOL SUPPLIES

Stationary shopping is my favourite part of the new school term. Nerd alert, right? I just find that note-making and studying is so much better if you have cute notebooks and pens to use! Honestly, I don't like to splurge too much on my school supplies, although I know a lot of people like to spend a pretty penny on their utensils and notebooks, etc. I find that I go through school supplies super fast so it's not totally worth it to spend $20+ on items that you can find for $5 elsewhere. Walmart has some incredible sales for school supplies in the weeks leading up to the school term. I always go on a huge school supply shopping spree about a month before term begins, as I'm in the US where they have really inexpensive school supplies in early August (as that's when students go back here). Maybe I'll post a school supply haul blog sometime?


That's about all for now! Hope you guys are enjoying your last bit of summer. 

What do you do to prepare for a new school year?

Felicia x

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2018

F1EA9CA3-1418-4863-840C-083EBE361670-1000.jpg

Happy National Book Lovers Day!! x

We're officially into the second half of 2018 folks!! Can you hear my hyperventilation through the computer? How could we possibly be in the latter half of this year? Wasn't it just January? Luckily, August is a pretty good month for me, as it is my birthday month (WOO HOO) and my boyfriend's coming down to Florida so soon! 

I've never done the Mid-Year Book Freak Out tag before, both because I have only just started blogging about books this year and because I'd never heard of it until recently. I love the idea of wrapping up the first half of the year in a post and this seems to be the perfect way to do so!

Best book you've read so far in 2018...

This is a tremendously difficult question to answer. How could I choose just one? Please don't force me to make decisions! Alright, if I had to choose just one, I'd have to say Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall. After my anxiety reared it's ugly head in late 2017, I spent the better part of the first half of 2018 struggling with my mental health, which ultimately left me unable to leave my house for days on end. That's when Under Rose-Tainted Skies entered my life. I completely identified with Norah's struggles in the book; although our mental illnesses aren't quite the same, I was facing a lot of the same problems as her and it made me feel a little less alone!

Best sequel you've read so far in 2018...

I haven't read a single sequel yet this year. Isn't that crazy? I guess with trying to keep up with my reading challenge, I made the executive decision at some point to just keep series out of it - at least for the first bit of the challenge (I do have a hankering to re-read the Harry Potter series...). 

A book you haven't read but want to...

So. Many. Books!! My TBR is getting longer as the year goes on... I'm quite positive that's the exact opposite of what's supposed to happen. Obviously I'm not about to go and list every individual title on my TBR, but one book I'm eager to read is The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I've heard really good things about it and can't wait to get to it.

Most anticipated release for the 2nd half of 2018...

What If It's Us!!!! 100%.

Biggest disappointment of 2018...

Where'd You Go, Bernadette. I was really looking forward to reading it after all the high praise but I just didn't like it at all. It was so bummed out.

Biggest surprise of 2018...

Oddly enough, the biggest surprise for me so far was The Alice Network. I mean, usually I can be pulled in by any half-decent historical fiction. But considering I grabbed this one off the shelf with absolutely zero idea what I was going into, I was just expecting an interesting story about the world wars. But it was actually incredible. It was such a powerful story about women and their role in history. 

New favourite author...

Becky Albertalli, Kate Quinn, Louise Gornall, Gail Honeyman... Just to name a few!!

Newest fictional crush...

Hmm... I'd probably have to say Levi from Fangirl or Simon from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. They're both adorbs!

Newest favourite character...

Eve Gardiner from The Alice Network. Hands down. She's so fascinating and I loved seeing her go from a somewhat timid young woman to a total badass. 

Book that made you cry...

None so far that I can remember! But I've been reading pretty light-hearted books lately. 

Book that made you happy...

Fangirl! It was so cute, even though Cath went through a bunch of tough things, in the end it was a feel-good read. 

Favourite book to movie adaptation...

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, EASILY.

Favourite review you've written...

I don't think there was any one review that I enjoyed writing over the others. I loved all my reviews equally!

Most beautiful book you've bought this year...

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. It was honestly so amazing. No words can describe how beautiful - and heartbreaking - it was. 

Books you need to read by the end of 2018...

There are so many (I do have 25 books left on my reading challenge). But to name a couple... Dumplin', Little Fires Everywhere, What If It's Us, I'll Give You The Sun, and Bachelor Girl.


I hope you guys enjoyed reading this post!! If anyone can let me know a way to slow down this year, let me know in the comments, haha. 

What are your favourite books of 2018 so far?

Felicia x

Review: Crazy Rich Asians - Kevin Kwan

IMG_3551.jpeg

Title: Crazy Rich Asians

Author: Kevin Kwan

Publisher: Doubleday

Release Date: June 11, 2013

Pages: 546

My Rating: ★★★ 1/2 (3.5/5)

Goodreads | Amazon


"Just because some people actually work for their money doesn't mean they are beneath you."

I'm sure that the majority of you guys have heard about Crazy Rich Asians before, either because of the hype surrounding the book or because of the movie adaptation. You can find it on just about every 'Must Read' shelf or display table in any bookshop. 

For those of you who haven't heard about this book, here's the gist. Rachel Chu has a relatively normal life. She works as a professor at NYU, has a good relationship with her mother, and has a gorgeous boyfriend, Nicholas Young, who has just invited her as his date to his best friend's wedding in Singapore. In her mind, this will be a great way to see where her boyfriend is from and be introduced to his friends and family. Unfortunately, the reality is extremely different. 

This had been on my TBR for a very long time before I actually got around to reading it. It was one of those books where I'd always pass it by in the store and think, 'Aw, I'd love to read that' but then I go pick up something else, usually something not on my TBR lol. But when I heard that there was a film adaptation coming out this summer, I bumped it up on my list because I have to read the book before seeing the movie #bookwormproblems.

All in all, Crazy Rich Asians is a fun read. The characters are really interesting - Nick Young's family is straight up crazy. Nick and Rachel's complicated love story is totally addicting. And there's no denying it's well-researched and extremely detailed. But being someone who completely devoured books like the Gossip Girl series in the past which deals with it's fair share of rich people drama, I thought I'd enjoy this more than I did.

I think the main reason I wasn't so big on this book is because it seemed like it dragged out for too long. If about 100 pages were chopped off, I think I would have enjoyed it more. There were a few scenes that just didn't seem to add much to the plot that could've been cut without taking away from the plot. It just made the plot sort of slow, so I found it sort of hard to get really into. Of course, 90% of people say that they loved this novel to death so I'm probably in the minority here, haha. So take my review with a grain of salt. I'll still see the film though because the film nerd part of me can't not go give it a chance. 

Did you read Crazy Rich Asians? What did you think?

Goodreads Challenge: 22 out of 50

Felicia x

Five Facts About Epcot's World Showcase

Welcome to Epcot, World Travellers! This park has had a very special place in my heart for many many years although it wasn't always that way. When I was a little girl, my parents and I only popped into Epcot for short visits to go to the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall for the princess breakfast and then leave. Can you believe it? Little did we know we were missing out on a whole 'world' of fun (pun intended haha). 

One of the best parts of Epcot, hands down, is the World Showcase. The World Showcase takes up about half the park's estate and is made up of eleven countries. It's educational but not boring in the least. There is so much to do! But did you know that the World Showcase has it's fair share of secrets? Here are five fun facts about the World Showcase!

ORDER UP!

The annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is a huge event for foodies. With over 70 days and 35 marketplaces, there is definitely no shortage of opportunities for delicious food tasting. But the most shocking part of it all is the sheer size of the event. It's so huge, in fact, that during festival season, the park sells over 30,000 bottles of wine and over a million plates of food! That's a whole lotta food. You won't be leaving the park hungry, that's for sure.

MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE

Imagineers have been known to use forced perspective throughout the theme parks to make certain structures appear bigger to parkgoers, most notably Cinderella's Castle in the Magic Kingdom. But did you know that they also use it to make things look smaller? Imagineers wanted the American Adventure pavilion to be seen across the World Showcase lagoon, so they made the building a whopping 5 stories. However, to be historically accurate, they had to make it look 3 stories to coincide with the buildings in that era. So, everything is doubled in size - the windows are longer and the doors are taller!

RELIGIOUS BELIEFS

During the nighttime fireworks spectacular, IllumiNations, the pavilions light up the night as part of the spectacle. However, a keen eye may notice that Morocco doesn't light up. The reasoning behind their exception is that the main tower of the pavilion is made to replicate a prayer tower and lighting up the prayer tower would go against the Muslim beliefs of many Moroccan people. Disney didn't want to disrespect their culture and religion, so they chose to keep the pavilion dark during the show. 

LA TOUR EIFFEL

There are actually a couple interesting things to note about Epcot's Eiffel Tower replica. The Eiffel Tower in the France pavilion is one tenth of the real deal. It's also a different colour than the Eiffel Tower we know today. The Tower in Epcot is a pinkish shade and the reason is that's the shade it would have been when it was first created. The pavilion is meant to represent the late 1800s, an era known as 'La Belle Epoque', which is when the Eiffel Tower was first erected. 

TIME TRAVELLIN'

Take a closer look at the buildings in the United Kingdom pavilion next time you're at Epcot. You'll notice that as you pass by the shops, going further into the pavilion, you're actually 'walking through time', starting with the Tea Caddy which is meant to replicate the home of William Shakespeare's wife, Anne Hathaway. From there, you pass onto two shops built in 18th and 19th century styles, respectively. It's just another one of those special details that Disney makes sure to include in the park's architecture!

Which of Epcot's little secrets is your favourite?

Felicia x

 

Review: Makeup Revolution Re-Loaded Palette - Iconic Fever

IMG_3674.jpeg

The other day while poking around the new Ulta Beauty near my vacation home, I came across a fairly big section of makeup I didn't recognize called Makeup Revolution. It's probably something that people here in America or Europe would know (it's a British company), but it's not really familiar to me, being from Canada. I did a quick Google search and skimmed through a bunch of good reviews, so I decided to pick up a palette to try out. I ended up leaving with the Revolution Re-Loaded Palette in Iconic Fever, and I thought I'd do a little review of my thoughts on it!

The shadows

I really like this product. It's similar to typical drugstore palettes, like NYX or L'Oreal, but arguably at a better price (more on that later). The palette comes with 15 eyeshadows, with 10 matte and 5 shimmer shades in warm, burnt tones - sort of reminiscent of the Tartlette Toasted and the Urban Decay Naked Heat palettes. I've been really big on orange and red shades, ever since I started using the Too Faced Sweet Peach palette last year, and this was right up my alley.

Quality

The shades are actually pretty good quality, especially with taking the price into consideration. The matte neutrals are quite blendable and are very pigmented, but I should mention that the shimmer shades are a bit tricky - they don't show up as nicely with just a brush, you may need to use your finger or a dampened brush to get the shades to really pop. Though, I really can't complain much. The shadows look great on and don't fade or crease quickly either. 

IMG_3673.jpeg

Price

Makeup Revolution is inexpensive af. That I learned pretty quickly, as this palette only set me back $7 usd ($9.21 cad)!! Honestly, that made me a bit skeptical. Seven bucks for 15 shades? Something had to be a bit shady there. But after giving the palette a try, I can honestly say that seven bucks is more than generous for the product. The quality of the shadows are really good and probably worth much more than seven dollars. So, frankly, this was a steal. 

Final thoughts

This is a great drugstore palette and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a warm neutrals palette on the cheaper side. It's a mostly hassle-free palette (aside from the shimmers but even then, not that big of a problem) and the shadows look amazing on. I think this would be a great dupe for the Urban Decay Naked Heat palette. I'm definitely going to buy from Makeup Revolution again in the future!! 

Have you tried Makeup Revolution? What did are your fav products?

Felicia x

Disney Must-Do's: Hollywood Studios

IMG_3259.jpeg

I'm ready for my close-up! It's time for my Hollywood Studios must-do's. Although Hollywood Studios is in a bit of a transition period right now, there are still a bunch of fun things that you should see and do at this park. From walking the bustling streets of Hollywood to stepping into the exciting worlds of your favourite movies, there's adventure at every corner!

~*~

Take a million pictures. This may seem very basic, but trust me when I say that Hollywood Studios is one of the most aesthetically pleasing parks in Walt Disney World. With the Chinese Theatre facade, the Tower of Terror, and basically just Hollywood Boulevard in general, there is no limit to the photo ops in this park. Some of my personal favourite photos to take are of Tower of Terror and Echo Lake, especially if there's an incredible sunset above!

IMG_3262.jpeg

Go on a shopping spree. Hollywood Studios has arguably the best shopping of all the Disney World parks. On your next trip, I'd definitely recommend taking a stroll through the shops lining Hollywood Blvd and Sunset Blvd. They've got such a wide selection of Disney merch, including some Hollywood Studios specific merch and a ton of cute apparel. If you're looking for Pixar merchandise or an addition to your Dooney and Burke collection (a girl can dream, can't she?), then this is the place to be! It's also worth mentioning that the outsides of the shops are extremelyyy cute!

Step into Andy's backyard at Toy Story Land. Of course, I have to mention the newest addition to the Walt Disney World parks - Toy Story Land!! Coming off of the excitement of the Pandora opening last year, this land boasts two new rides, as well as a revamped Toy Story Mania. If you grew up in the 90s, you won't want to miss this. I recently gave a little review of my first impressions of the new land when I visited awhile back, which you can read here. The number one must-do here has to be the Slinky Dog Dash family coaster which looks incredibly fun and I cannot wait to give it a go when the lines aren't ridiculously long.

IMG_3315.jpeg

Have a meal at 50s Prime Time Cafe. Keep your elbows off the table! The 50s Prime Time Cafe is the perfect burst of nostalgia and a great diner for some family fun. The whole place is set up like a stereotypical family's home kitchen in the 1950s, decorated right down to the most specific details, and they are very strict on making sure you mind your manners! All in all, it's an interactive restaurant fun for the whole family. 

Watch Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks. Callin' all my Star Wars fans, this one is for you! The Star Wars fireworks at Hollywood Studios are sooo amazing. The way they incorporate fireworks, lasers, projections, and pyrotechnics is pretty phenomenal - plus they do a really good job of uniting the characters from the original trilogy, the prequels, and the recent films together seamlessly. And if you think Ewan McGregor is as perfect as I think he is (*swoon*) then you'll be thrilled to hear that he has quite a lot of face time in the show!! 

What are your Hollywood Studios must-do's?

Felicia x

July TBR

IMG_3541.JPG

Hello hello hellooo!

God, things have been crazy lately. It's already a few weeks into July and I'm just posting my TBR for the month. How typical. What have you all been up to lately?! I spent the first bit of this month with my boyfriend here in Florida which was so much fun. I can't wait for our vacay together in August!! 

You may remember that this year, I set a goal for myself to read 50 books which I've been keeping track of on Goodreads. Well, now I'm about halfway through the year and my Reading Challenge tracker has recently informed me that I'm three books behind schedule... I've gotta quickly get back on track with my reading!

So, without further ado, here are the books that I'll be reading in July...

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan - Rachel is an average American-born Chinese woman, working as a professor at NYU when she meets Nick Young. But when he invites her to his best friend's wedding back home in Singapore, where she's introduced to his uber rich and very judgmental family, Rachel's life gets flipped upside down. I'm sure a lot of you have heard the buzz surrounding this book, especially now that it's coming out as a film next month! This book has been on my TBR since last year and now I've got all the more reason to bump it up on my list!

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn - This is another book that's been getting a lot of attention as of late. You may recognize Gillian Flynn as the author of the highly successful novel, 'Gone Girl' which was made into a movie awhile back. 'Sharp Objects' was actually her debut novel, which is about a woman who has to return to her small hometown to cover the deaths of two young girls, all the while fighting the demons that she's been trying to escape ever since she left home the first time. I'm not usually big on thrillers, but for this, I thought 'why not'!  

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - I'm so eager to get started on reading this book. Young adults novels often get a lot of criticism for not being 'heavy enough'. But this is a definite exception to that judgment. It's all about a sixteen year old girl who witnesses the murder of her childhood best friend by the hands of a police officer. The novel tackles crucial topics such as racism and police brutality, which are so important to talk about - especially among teens. It's a great conversation starter and I'm eager to read it! (It also has a whopping 4.56 star rating on Goodreads).

The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory - I've been binge-watching Reign for the past month and I've also recently enrolled in a Tudor/Stuart era course at uni, so it's safe to say that I'm currently in the midst of a major Tudor obsession. So when I saw this bad boy at Indigo, it was an easy impulse buy. 'The Last Tudor' is a historical fiction all about Lady Jane Grey, the 'Nine Days' Queen' of England, and her sister, Katherine. I know that Philippa Gregory's books have faced a lot of criticism in the past, so I'm very interested to see what I think of this! 

Talk to you all very, very soon!

Felicia x