What's In My Carry-On Bag?

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Raise your hand if you're a chronic over-packer (*raises hand*). It has taken me nearly twenty years to actually be able to figure out what should and shouldn't go into my carry-on. Over the years I've constantly found myself packing way too much or, on the flip side, not packing everything I need and forgetting important things. So I always make myself a check-list to follow beforehand of what I need to remember to pack. And I thought that this time, as I'm packing my carry-on for my airplane journey this week, I'd share it all with you to help you with your own future packing! 

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Essentials. This basically consists of all the things I absolutely need in order to travel. My passport, boarding pass, Nexus card, and any documents relating to where I'm staying, like booking confirmation. I keep all of it tucked away in my Spartina snap wallet [similar - x] so that nothing gets misplaced and I don't have to go rummaging through my bag looking for things. This is the first thing that goes into my bag and I can't stop myself from checking that I have it like a billion times.

Makeup. I keep the majority of my makeup tucked away in my checked luggage, but I do keep a few things in my carry-on luggage just in case. The very most essential beauty-related item I keep in my carry-on is a lip balm because, as I'm sure you know, it gets super dry on planes. My personal fav lip balm for flights is the e.l.f. Cosmetics Lip Kiss Balm, as it is super moisturizing and also adds a bit of colour! I also bring on a small bottle of hand lotion as well as a lipstick for after the flight.

Hand sanitizer. As in any other public place, airports are full of germs and people who have colds. In the past, I've found that I catch most of my colds from airplanes as they are pretty confined spaces. So I tend to be more cautious now than before. I usually bring on a small 1oz bottle of Purell sanitizer with me in my carry-on to pop on before I eat or after I get on the plane so that I don't have to worry about what I've touched or anything. Although it won't help with the germs travelling in the air, it does ease my worries a bit!

Electronics. Of course, I never go on an airplane without some sort of electronic. Typically I bring my cell phone (obvs), my laptop, chargers for both, and a pair of headphones. I especially make sure to have headphones with me, because the constant sound of the engines gets pretty annoying after awhile and sometimes I need to just tune everything out. I usually will download a few episodes of my fav tv show onto iTunes or Netflix, and then watch them once I get onto the plane!

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Book. It would be very unlike me to not bring a book with me when I travel, especially considering I bring a book with me literally everywhere I go! Even on shorter flights, like the two and a half flight to Florida, I find that reading is the perfect distraction from everything going on. On my last flight in February, I read three-quarters of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. So it's safe to say that I can't be without one of my beloved novels on these types of journeys!

Journal. I've been journaling for a very long time since I was about 7 or 8 years old. Not only do I think that it's good for self-reflecting, but I think it's a great way to document some of your favourite memories to look back on later! Of course, some of the memories I most want to remember are from when I travel so I always make sure to tuck my journal into my carry-on before I head out the door. Currently, I'm using this brown leather journal from Pier 1 Imports to jot down my memories in. 

Medications. When I travel, my anxiety tends to go through the roof and that typically translates into a number of different symptoms - stomach aches, headaches, etc. So when I travel, I take this little blue plastic container with a couple pills inside just in case I have any issues whilst travelling. I also take a travel sickness pill for if I get uneasy on the flight. 

Sweater. Airplanes can either be extremely warm or extremely cold. But when it's cold, I always seem to forget a sweater. So here's my little reminder for you guys to always bring a sweater with you on plane journeys! Even if it's warm outside, it could be cold on the plane. I typically bring a cardigan as it's not too bulky and it's easy to put on/remove. 

Gum. It's extremely unlikely that you'd ever catch me on a flight without gum. If I do forget to pack it in my carry-on, you best believe that the first thing I do when I'm past the security checkpoint is head to the duty free shop for a pack of mint gum. The last time I forgot about gum, I found out they don't carry gum at the Orlando airport (or at least they didn't a few years ago). My favourite gum is the 5 Cobalt one. Not only does it help with your ears popping, but it also freshens your breath and is good for managing anxiety - at least for me. 

What are your must-haves for your carry-on bag?

Felicia x

My Long-Term Travel Bucket List

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I've been a traveller since practically the day I was born. By the time I was a year old, I had visited Italy, New York City, and Jamaica. My parents were avid travellers from before I was born - my dad was even a travel agent - and they continued to globe-trot even with their lil baby aka me.

Not surprisingly, I was also bitten by the travel bug, and I've been lucky enough to travel to many places over the years! All in all, I've visited 9 U.S. states, 3 Canadian provinces (including my own ofc), at least 13 Caribbean islands, and 3 European countries.

But even that's just scratching at what the world has to offer. There are so many places that I want to see in the world, so I've created myself an ever-growing bucket list of places I want to go someday!

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MY LONG-TERM TRAVEL BUCKET LIST

1. Travel to Santorini & Mykonos - It's my boyfriend and my dream to visit Greece someday. Every time either of us sees a picture online of somewhere in Greece, we immediately tag the other in it. The two places we most want to visit are Santorini and Mykonos, for their beautiful sights & amazing nightlife!

2. Visit the Amalfi Coast - Technically speaking, I have been here before. But I was a baby so that hardly counts. I need to go back to Italy and see the Amalfi Coast properly.

3. Stay at Disneyland California - I've obviously spent a large chunk of my life in Walt Disney World, but I'm desperate to visit the original park to see where it all began!

4. Vacation in Nice, France - If you've ever seen pictures of the French Riviera, I'm sure you know how beautiful it is and why I'm soo desperate to go there.

5. Go to The Resort at Paws Up - It's super unlikely that I'll ever go here unless I win the lottery or something, but a gal can dream!! Paws Up is a luxury ranch-resort in Montana that's heavenly - it's super secluded and looks like the perfect relaxing vacay spot!

6. Take a Viking river cruise in the Mediterranean - This is probably one of the top things I want to do in my life! Viking river cruises take you to places that regular-sized ships can't get to and it's soo luxurious. Every now and then I just go to the website just to look at the pictures of the boats and the destinations haha

7. See the Christmas decorations in NYC - As you guys will know if you've been here for a while, I've been to NYC a few times. But I've never been during Christmas time which is one of the most beautiful times to go!

8. See the Mona Lisa at the Louvre - Unfortunately, when I went to Paris, we were only there a few days and we didn't have time to go to the Louvre, so I never got to see the Mona Lisa. But hey, now I have a reason to go back!!

9. Visit the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam - Van Gogh is by far my favourite artists of all-time. So seeing the world's largest collection of his art would be a dream come true.

10. Do the Highclere Castle tour - IF you don't already know, I'm a massive fan of Downton Abbey, so seeing where the series was filmed would be soo cool. Imagine standing in the Crawley's sitting room!!

11. See the Trevi fountain - Of course, when I make my long-awaited return to my relatives' home country Italy one day, for the first time as a non-baby, I will have my Lizzie McGuire moment!! Also, this is kind of a redemption thing for my parents because when they went to Rome, the Trevi fountain had been drained lol

12. Go to Disneyland Paris - Yep, we're back on the Disney thing *shrugs* not sorry!! I've heard a lot of good things about Disneyland Paris and the castle is way cute so ofc I have to make my way over there sometime!

13. Visit the Jane Austen House Museum - I LOVE Jane Austen! Until recently, I didn't even know that there was a Jane Austen museum but I've been taking an online course on her work and they mentioned so obvs now I need to go

14. See the Rainbow Row in Charleston - I've just recently added this one to my list, after seeing someone on Instagram visiting there. It's adorable!! I love me a good pastel-coloured building, so this is very much up my alley. Also, Charleston looks BEAUTIFUL and I still can't believe I've not yet been to the Carolinas

What's on your long-term bucket list? 

Felicia x

A Parisian Cafe

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IMG_3832IMG_3833IMG_3835IMG_3836IMG_3837IMG_3839 I am completely in love with cafes. I think that a quiet coffee shop is the loveliest place to spend a few hours relaxing and recharging. This evening, my mum and I took a trip down to idrive 360 on International Drive in Orlando to try out a cafe that we noticed the other day.

The cafe, iCafe de Paris, caught our interest because of how cute the patio is (seriously, it's adorable). We ordered a crepe to share, the Bella Paris (which is topped with Nutella, bananas, and strawberries) and each ordered a cup of coffee - my mum had a cappuccino, I had a caramel macchiato. The set-up of the cafe is really nice because they give you a number card to place on your table, and they bring your order straight to you. We took a seat on the patio (of course) and it didn't take long at all for our food and drinks to be brought to us.

The crepe was amazing. Seriously, it was absolute heaven. We both loved our drinks and would definitely return to this cafe in the future. But for sure, the setting of the cafe was what tied it all together. Our table on the patio faced directly onto the Orlando Eye (the large Ferris wheel, similar to the London Eye). We arrived just before sunset, so we got to see the Eye during daylight as well as at night. It's such a spectacular view. Not to mention, the cafe was playing great music haha :) We had an amazing night, chatting and sipping our coffee.

 

Nashville + Tupelo

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Good evening all! I am finally back to writing for this blog, after what seems like forever of being away. I have been so incredibly busy these last few months with moving house, settling in, hosting numerous dinner parties and getting in as much time with my friends and boyfriend as I could before leaving for the summer. But now, I am in Florida and you can expect a huge flood of posts this summer for sure, as I plan to keep very busy with things I'd love to share with all of you! Recently, I was lucky enough to get to visit two of the places I have been dying to visit for a very long time, those places being Nashville, Tennessee and Tupelo, Mississippi. If you've been following this blog for awhile, you may already know that I am a huge fan of Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. Thus, when we passed through the southern United States on our drive to Florida, we just had to stop at the Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville and Elvis Presley's Birthplace in Tupelo.

Our first stop of the two was the Johnny Cash Museum. Immediately, when we arrived in the city, I was head over heels in love with Nashville. It is a beautiful city and I wish I could have seen more of it, but sadly we were quickly passing through just to visit the museum and head straight onto Tupelo. Around mid-morning, we went from our hotel just outside the city in Goodlettsville to the museum. IMG_0756IMG_0779IMG_0788

I was particularly excited about the display they had on the film Walk The Line, which showed a couple of the costumes that Joaquin Pheonix and Reese Witherspoon wore as Johnny Cash and June Carter. Walk The Line is one of my all-time favourite films so I was in heaven seeing their costumes right before me.

 

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Another really cool artifact in the museum was this chair, which was featured in Johnny Cash's unbelievably moving music video for his cover of "Hurt". It was just so crazy to be up close to such important pieces of musical history.

After finishing up at the museum and buying a few cool things from the gift shop (a t-shirt, a pin, and a leash for my dog - yup, you read that right), we made the three-and-a-half hour drive to Tupelo, Mississippi. Finally, after what seemed like a hundred hours on the Natchez Trace Parkway (look it up, it's nuts), we arrived at Elvis Presley's Birthplace.

You always hear about how poor Elvis' family lived when he was growing up, before his big break at Sun Records. But until you stand in front of his house, you really don't understand how hard his life and the lives of his parents really must have been.

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The white, small house has only a plain porch to its exterior, with a swinging chair hanging from the front. In person, the house is even shorter in length than pictures make it out to be. IMG_0833IMG_0834

The house is made up of two rooms: the bedroom and the kitchen. The bedroom is home to an average-sized bed, a dresser, a fireplace, and some chairs. The guide informed us that it doubled as a bedroom and sitting area/living room, and that Elvis and his stillborn twin brother were born in that very room. IMG_0839IMG_0836

The second room, the kitchen, was just as small as the first. As the pictures show, it really doesn't fit more than kitchen appliances and a small dining table with four seats. And that is all. Just two rooms that this family of three lived in. It truly puts so much into perspective to see it up close.

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Another interesting site in the nearby area was the church that Elvis attended as a child. It wasn't originally located where it sits now - a few years ago, the whole building was actually transported from down the street to its current location, to be better accessible for guests visiting Elvis' birthplace. We went in just before closing and were treated to our very own showing of a film which gave a reenactment of a typical service that Elvis himself would have attended. It gave a really good idea to how the music he heard at church would later influence his own personal music style.

In a split second, I would go back to visit both Nashville and Tupelo. Southern USA is so beautiful and lush, it really is so heavenly, and the history of some of my favourite artists is so present there. I can't wait to go back someday.

NYC: On-foot sightseeing, The Met + Broadway Musical

Welcome to the very last post of my New York City series, I hope you've enjoyed your stay!! For days 1 through 3, follow the links here, here, and here.

The last day we spent in New York City happened to be our most eventful, in terms of how much we covered in just one day. We wanted to get everything on our to-do list accomplished before we left, so once we were out the door, there was no stopping! The first thing we did was head to Times Square, where we waited at the TKTS booth to buy tickets to see Chicago, my all-time favourite Broadway musical. While my parents waited in line, my boyfriend and I sat on a concrete bench a few feet away and took a bunch of pictures, including the landscape of Times Square below. We were so incredibly lucky, as we ended up getting four tickets discounted at 50%, in the ninth row from the stage for the show at 8pm that night!

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After we had our tickets, we immediately set off on a long journey to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. To put it into perspective, the TKTS booth sits at 47th street and the Metropolitan Museum of Art sits between 80th and 84th streets. We had a lot of walking ahead of us. Fortunately, what we walked through happened to be my favourite area of NYC: the Upper East Side. We walked along the sidewalk for awhile on Fifth Avenue, and just took in the architecture I love so much. It also happened to be a beautiful day outside, which made the experience that much more enjoyable.

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For awhile, we dipped into the edge of Central Park, and I got some photos that I have been repeatedly looking back at since arriving home. It was such an amazing day to take a walk in Manhattan, and I wish I could go back to it now that I'm stuck in the rain at home haha!

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Almost immediately after finding ourselves back on Fifth Avenue, we came across the most wonderful sight that I have ever laid my eyes upon: a gigantic Strand kiosk. This book-filled kiosk covered both sides of the sidewalk, taking up quite some space with two sheltered step-in areas and a long foldable table. It was filled with books - old copies, rare editions, classics, fiction, contemporary, everything you could think of - and bookish items like bookmarks and little knickknacks. I was in book heaven! I went on a mad hunt for Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale - instead of diving into the new series, I am opting to read the novel first like a good English major - but was disappointed to find that the new shipment that came in that day had already disappeared. Instead, I picked up The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, as well as a cute button for my denim jacket.

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Finally, a long while afterwards, we came across the Metropolitan Museum of Art, alternatively known as the Met. The Met is a massive museum, consisting of a bit of everything, but primarily historical artwork and artifacts. Coincidentally enough, we visited the Met the day after the Met Gala occurred this year. Due to this, there was still some remnants of the cover over the stairs left behind, which obstructed the photos of the steps that I had dreamed of taking. Nonetheless, the Met is a beauty, inside and out. The architecture of the building is beyond comparison. As you can tell from the photos below, I was a huge fan of the interior, haha.

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After taking our time to view as much as we could of the museum's collections (which was seriously a task, considering it is two floors and almost 1/4-mile long), we headed back out to the streets to make our way back to the hotel to freshen up for Chicago. The walk was arguably worse on the way back, considering we had already walked it once, we were walking further (our hotel was further South than Times Square), and we had just walked the entirety of the Met. However, we made it back in one piece and rushed to get ready to go back out.

We had dinner at Chick-Fil-A, partially because it was easy, quick, and located just a five minute walk from our hotel, but also because it is my favourite fast-food restaurant and I did some begging. After a rushed meal, we walked up to Broadway to the Ambassador Theatre and there we saw the spectactular show that is Chicago. I've seen it once before, however it was so long ago that I couldn't remember a specific moment of the show, but I can now say with full certainty that it remains my favourite musical. I have always loved the film adaptation, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, and although the Broadway original is far different from the movie, it is absolutely incredible. If you find yourself in New York City, searching for a well-done musical on Broadway to see, I highly recommend you see Chicago. And with a cost of $70-something for ninth row seats, it was completely worth it.

Unfortunately, that marks the end of our trip. The next morning, we got up early, headed down to our breakfast place one last time, and then embarked on a seven-hour drive back to Canada (commencing in New York City rush hour, yippee) where I stayed at my boyfriend's house, as I didn't have a home to return to in my hometown!

Have any of you visited New York City? What's your favourite sight to see or thing to do in the Big Apple? 

NYC: Rockefeller Center + Museum of Modern Art

Welcome back to my New York City blog series! This is the third day of my mini-holiday in the city. If you're looking for my day one and two New York City posts, you can find them here and here!

In the morning, my boyfriend was, unfortunately, unwell, so we stayed back at the hotel while my parents went to see Rockefeller Center and Central Park. They walked around for a couple hours while my boyfriend rested in the hotel and I kept him company, and though we did miss out on some of the sights, my parents got some amazing pictures to share with us. This also happened to be the day that we decided to start to experiment with my camera's Super Vivid filter, which you can see made a huge difference in the quality of the photos.

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In the early afternoon, we met up with my parents and headed to the Museum of Modern Art, which was one of my definite must-dos while in the city. I'm a huge art fanatic so I was really excited to see what the MoMA had to offer. This museum offers more recent artwork, dating back to the 1800's up until the present. Though I'm not hugely keen on contemporary art, I found myself liking quite a few pieces including Andy Warhol's work and the Drowning Girl painting by Roy Lichtenstein. Above all, however, my absolute favourite contribution to the museum was Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night, which is arguably my favourite painting of all time and the main reason why we visited the MoMA.

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After the Museum of Modern Art, we headed to Times Square to dine at the Olive Garden. We were lucky enough to get a table at the window which looks out over a portion of Times Square, so we had a nice view while we ate. Afterwards, we popped into both the giant M&M's and Hershey's stores and awed over the huge selection of chocolate in each. We spent the rest of the night walking around the city, enjoying the nighttime atmosphere, before heading back to our hotel room to rest up for our last day in the city.

The last post, day 4, is located here.

 

NYC: Double-Decker Bus, 9/11 Memorial + Madame Tussauds

Welcome to Day 2 of my New York City adventures! Again, here's the warning (and apology!) in advance for a word heavy post, but I promise there will be a tonne of lovely photos included as well :) But before you go any further, make sure you've read day 1 which is linked here.

Our first full day in New York started off at Pure and Fresh, a cute little place literally a minute's walk from our hotel, where we had a quick breakfast. My mum had a bagel, my dad had just a coffee, and my boyfriend had Cheerios. I opted for a chocolate croissant and a Mochachino, for a bit of an indulgent treat to start off my morning!

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We then quickly headed a few blocks away to a pick-up location for the Big Bus double-decker hop-on-hop-off tours. We got a two-day pass and as it was unlimited for those two days, we were able to use the bus as many times as we wished within the two-day period. We chose to get picked up near the Empire State Building and take the Downtown line all the way to the 9/11 Memorial. The views from the open top floor were AMAZING. It was a chillier day, about 14 degrees Celsius, but it was a sunny morning so the cold breeze was bearable. We saw some beautiful sights, including a gorgeous church, the Washington Square Arch, and, my personal favourite, the Flat Iron Building.

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The 9/11 Memorial consists of two main parts. One is the actual memorial, which consists of two massive waterfall structures in the ground where the World Trade Center towers once stood. The edges of the waterfalls are engraved with names of the victims of the 9/11 tragedies. In the background is the One World Trade Center, or Freedom Tower, which is the sixth tallest building in the world. The memorial was absolutely beautiful, and it was so heartbreaking to be standing in the place where these buildings stood tall not too long ago.

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Not far from the 9/11 Memorial was St. Paul's Chapel, which is the church just opposite of the World Trade Center. Not only is the church the oldest surviving one in Manhattan (since 1766), but it also survived the 9/11 attacks without a single broken window, which is seen by many as a miracle given its proximity to the site. I was also interested to find out it had a long history, as summarised in the blue sign outside its gates.

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The second part of the 9/11 Memorial was the museum. It was unbelievably huge. We spent about an hour or so walking through the museum, which was full of pieces of the buildings and other artifacts that showed the damage of the attacks. There was a whole room dedicated to showing the pictures of all the victims, which included some glass cases of belongings of some of the victims. It was so personal and so very sad. I am far too young to remember 9/11 (I was only three years old at the time) but it is still so tragic to hear all the stories and especially the recordings of voicemail messages left on loved ones' phones by people who were in the towers or on the planes.

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We then made our way to Century 21, a massive department store just a few blocks away from the 9/11 Memorial. It's about six floors of discounted designer clothing and we went to town. I bought a bunch of stuff, which I'll make a post about later. It took us two whole hours to get through the whole store, plus the extremely long line to pay. So, once we were done, we were starving - and it was off to dinner!

We dined at a restaurant in Little Italy where we ate in 2010, called Caffe Napoli. The windows at the front of the restaurant were opened so that the seating inside flowed with the outside patio, but it would have been much nicer if it hadn't been about twelve degrees at that point haha. We ordered the Bruschetta for an appetizer, and I had the Gnocchi Pomodoro for an entrée.

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 After dinner, we rushed all the way to another Big Bus location and got on the Uptown loop which took us to Times Square, where we got to spend an hour going through Madame Tussauds. I've been to Madame Tussauds in London and Orlando before, so it was interesting to see the difference in wax figures from city-to-city. I got a few pictures of some of my favourite wax figures, including Prince Harry, Melissa McCarthy, and Johnny Cash. IMG_0494IMG_0506IMG_0518After that, we just walked around Times Square, popped into a few shops, and then headed back to the hotel for the night!

Ready for the next post? Follow this link for Day 3.

NYC: Travelling, Fifth Avenue + Times Square

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first of my New York City vacation posts! Be prepared for a veryyyy wordy post ahead.

My four-day vacation started on Friday (April 28th), although we didn't actually arrive in New York City until the 29th. On Friday evening, my parents, my boyfriend, and myself drove from my boyfriend's house to the Genesee Grande Hotel in Syracuse, New York. We decided to stay there overnight because we didn't want to do the 7-hour drive all in one go on Saturday, and then feel too tired to do anything that afternoon. The hotel was quite nice considering how inexpensive it was, and we really enjoyed our stay there for a rest before our long weekend. I didn't get any pictures of the hotel though because I was too tired and it simply slipped my mind.

In the morning, we left the hotel around 9am and headed a few blocks away to try out a breakfast diner called Modern Malt. Getting there from the hotel was fairly straightforward, our only confusion was that there was a Modern Malt bakery a few stores down from the actual restaurant, so we were sidetracked but the people working at the bakery were kind enough to point us in the right direction!

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The restaurant itself is quite new, established only a few years ago. The interior was very hip and colourful, with cute little details in the design (i.e. clipboards instead of receipt folders, glass jars holding gumballs and lollipops by the door). You could tell the atmosphere was very relaxed, as the waiters didn't seem to be prepared for the speedy service we were hoping for, but we were hustling to get on the road ASAP. Our waitress was very nice, and came around for a few coffee refills, which was nice. I ordered plain waffles (pictured below) which came with a blob of butter, a blob of whipped cream, and a sprinkle of icing sugar over top. They were so delicious! So fluffy, I was in heaven. My boyfriend had pancakes, my mum had eggs, and my dad had a breakfast poutine - and we were all pretty pleased with our meals. Once we were done, it was time to hit the road! FullSizeRender-2

After a four hour drive, we were finally in New York City! As we neared the city, the traffic became far denser and people became way more impatient haha. We were booked at the Executive Hotel Le Soleil NYC, which is located in the Fashion District. It's pretty close to Times Square and is an easy walk to most major attractions in the city, which is a major plus especially since our trip was so short. When we arrived, I was dying of heat, as I wore a uni tshirt and black leggings for the car ride and it was a beautiful 31 degrees Celsius in New York. Fortunately, after a little wait, we got up to our room and we were able to change before heading out to start exploring the city. Our room was pretty spacious, a good size for the four of us with a room for my parents and a room my boyfriend and I, separated by a bathroom and vanity area. I really liked the vanity, as it was brightly lit and had a huge mirror.

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Right after changing into more weather-appropriate attire, we all headed out of our hotel and down the street to Fifth Avenue. Our hotel was located on 36th street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenue, so it was a very short walk to Fifth Avenue. From there, we headed north, popping into stores like Sephora, Adidas, and Banana Republic. Along the way we saw some beautiful buildings, such as the New York Public Library, which I was very excited about (book nerd here). I bought a few things, which I'll make a post about later on when I've got everything gathered together.

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Also on Fifth Avenue, we stopped at Tiffany & Co. to recreate one of the most iconic scenes in cinema (and my personal favourite): Audrey Hepburn standing outside of Tiffany's with a coffee in one hand and a Danish in the other, clad in a black gown and massive sunglasses. I thought it would be fun to mimic her pose, and it totally was!

By the time we got through Fifth Avenue and hit the edge of Central Park, it was well past five o'clock and we were starved as we had only had coffee since breakfast at ten o'clock. So, we headed down Seventh Avenue, towards Times Square, and ended up at a diner we ate at back in 2010, called Lindy's. Seven years ago, we came here for dessert, as they boast their 'World Famous Cheesecake', but this time we decided to try the entrees as well. The menu consisted mostly of sandwiches, and as I'm not a huge sandwich fan, I opted for the appetizer-size chicken tenders and a side of onion rings. The onion rings weren't my favourite, but I did enjoy the chicken tenders. And, of course, we had to have the famous cheesecake. My boyfriend doesn't like cheesecake, so my parents and I shared a slice of plain cheesecake with strawberry toppings. It was SO good, and massive too.

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Afterwards, we headed down to Times Square for the first time of the trip. I always love visiting Times Square, it's so vibrant and exciting. Always something happening everywhere you turn. We climbed up the red stairs that cover the TKTS booth and I got some really good pictures, including the ones below of the full area, my boyfriend and I, and the New Years' Eve Ball with the 2017 sign.

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On our way out of Times Square, we passed by a pop-up stand for the Strand Bookstore - the full-size shop being on my to-do list, I insisted we stopped for a moment to browse the mini collection of books and bookish items they had on display. They had a pretty wide variety of novels, from contemporary novels to The Handmaid's Tale, which got me extremely excited for the actual shop! Also, we checked out the MASSIVE Disney Store in Times Square because, hello, it's Disney. I was not disappointed in the slightest.

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After a very long day, we headed back to our hotel to relax for a bit before going to bed and getting ready for the next day of NYC fun ahead of us!

If you're interested in more, follow this link to hear about Day 2 in NYC.

A Caribbean Adventure

As my first week of university has now come and gone, I look behind me at the summer that's gone by and realise just how great the past months were. My two-month-long holiday - which started in the final days of June in Memphis, Tennessee - went by so quickly that it seems like a distant, albeit amazing memory. In all of the whirlwind months in the sun, I lost track of time and neglected this blog, despite making a promise to myself to get back to regularly uploading posts. But when it comes down to it, there is, in my opinion, no better way to refresh my blog than with a picture-post (and short video) documenting my favourite part of my summer: the two-week Caribbean cruise that wrapped up my travels.

I've been on around 15 cruises in the twelve years since I took my first one, but this one made a case for being my favourite. The Carnival Magic lived up to the name and was enchanting the entire fourteen days that my family and Steven's family were aboard her. It's a been quite some time since I have taken a two-week cruise and despite being a frequent (and long-time) cruiser, there were still some ports on the itinerary I had yet to visit which made it exciting for everyone in our group.

To add to the fun, I celebrated my eighteenth birthday mid-way through the two weeks. At the stroke of midnight the entire bar sang me "Happy Birthday", the chorus lead by the bartenders behind the counter. Then on the way back to the cabin, I was approached by the cruise director, Good Reverend Dr. E (whom my family has become close with over past cruises) who had remembered to wish me a happy birthday. Those are just two of the ways that Carnival crew members go above and beyond to make a cruise special for you, which is why my family keep coming back to the same cruise line over and over again after all these years. Carnival doesn't just treat you like guests; they treat you like family, which makes the line so beloved to my family.

Over the course of the two weeks, Steven and I worked together to collect as many videos of our memories as we could, using a GoPro for a large portion of it. Now that summer has come to an end, I've put little bits of our film footage into a short video for a keepsake of our travels to share with friends, family and all of you. It was a tremendously exciting and adventurous two weeks, and I hope to be able to cruise again soon!

https://youtu.be/bHXX-Gr3EIw

An Evening in Celebration 

        

  

Yesterday evening, my parents, boyfriend and I went to one of my favourite places in the world: Celebration, Florida. Founded and mostly controlled by the Walt Disney Company, it's an actual real-life Pleasantville and I absolutely love it. Every year around Christmas, the little town holds a big event where there's a fake skating rink and fake snowfall with festive tunes blaring out all around. We went down to see it all, and we also ate dinner at an old-fashioned diner called Market Street Cafe. It was all so beautiful and lit up - even all the residents of the old southern-style home got into the Christmas spirit. Afterwards, once we got home, Steven and I acted as the children we truly are and coloured in a $2.00 Disney children's colouring book. All in all, it was a very lovely evening

The Perfect Getaway

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Hello everyone! So, as you might have noticed, I have been AWOL for the last little while - and by while, I mean a month. Typically, I'm the type of person who would post no matter what but the past three weeks I took a bit of a vacation from my technology-obsessed life and I spent my time on a road trip to Florida with my mum, my best friend and my boyfriend.

Before this trip, I was a one-hundred-percent road trip virgin. The longest drive I'd ever taken was to Montreal (which is about six hours away) so a drive that takes up two days - with a break overnight in between - and is 12 hours each day was incredibly daunting to me. Luckily, thanks to my lovely fellow travellers and a body pillow my boyfriend's sister bought me, I managed to get through the trip without hassle. Woo!

During the trip, we did a million different things, so much so that I can hardly remember everything we did. We went to Disney World, Universal Studios, I celebrated my 17th birthday on the 20th of August, and in the middle of the trip we went on a surprise cruise. Well, it was a surprise to me, at least! The five-day cruise through the Caribbean was my birthday gift from my parents which was so amazing.

So, in lieu of my absent posts throughout the past few weeks, I decided to post my favourite photos from the trip. I hope you guys enjoy a little peek into my trip! Warning: the rest of this post is very photo heavy.

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Gorgeous sunset off the side of the ship out at sea

Professional photo of the boyfriend and I on board the ship

My favourite destination on our cruise: Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

You can always find the calmest water in the CaribbeanYou can always find the calmest water in the Caribbean

At Madame Tussauds Orlando, I got to take a photo with (a wax figure of) my all-time celebrity crush, Mr. David Beckham

Sometimes we take nice photos

Myself and my very good friend sitting on an ice cream bench in Bahamas

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