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

Strolling Through Port Dover

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Welcome back loves! The weather has been absolutely gorgeous as of late!! I cannot believe we've finally been having consistently nice days. It's honestly the talk of my town, no joke. Anywhere you go, you can guarantee that somebody is going to bring up how nice the weather has been.

The other day, my mum, my boyfriend, and I decided we would do a little day trip together as my dad was out of town. Port Dover is a very small lakeside town on the northern shore of Lake Erie. My parents took a trip out there last year after we moved into our new house, and they absolutely loved it so I thought that since the weather was nice, I should take a trip down to see what all the fuss is about!!

It's about a forty minute drive down my county's main highway, which literally cuts down the middle of a bunch of towns so we had really lovely views of some cute small towns on the way there.

As soon as we got to Port Dover, I decided I loved it. I'm a huge sucker for small towns (obviously, since I moved to one) and especially local boutiques and cute restaurants. Port Dover is full of them!!! We walked down the main road right by the beach and popped into about a dozen small shops with clothes, soaps, home decor, antiques, basically anything you could think of. I'm obsesseddddddd. I took so many pictures of all the different shops we stopped at, so you guys can also enjoy the literal heaven that is Port Dover.

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It was just so beautiful and it had that really lovely small town feel (a woman came into a shop with her dog and the shop owner told us that he comes to visit her every day and she leaves out water for him omg I'm crying). It was a pretty lovely day to visit, although it was super windy which was not good for the dress I was wearing and the locals saw way more of me than they'd bargained for haha.

On our way back home, we stopped at a little local restaurant, The Argyle Street Grill. I've passed this place about a hundred times before and finally suggested we popped in there for a late lunch. It was soo good, even though I didn't even love my meal haha. My mum and I ordered drinks as my boyfriend was lovely enough to be the DD (thanks babe!!) and they were amazingggg. My mum had the strawberry margarita and I had a spiked raspberry lemonade, which is probably now one of my fav drinks ever. For my entree, I had a small bowl of asiago chicken linguine that was not my fav and a bowl of Caesar salad which was reallyyyy good. It was the perf way to end off the day, and I'll definitely be heading back there for dinner sometime!

What I Wore:
• Polka Dot Wrap Dress (x - out of stock in blue)
• Nine West Crossbody Handbag (x - similar)
• NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in Kitten Heels (x)

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Enjoy your week lovelies! 

Felicia x

#THROWBACK: My First Disney Trip

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Hello my loves! Today I just realized, out of the blue, that I have been visiting Disney World now for fourteen whole years. Where has the time gone!? I cannot believe that Disney has been a part of my life for so long now. Over the years, it has not only become one of my favourite places in the world, but my second home. So I thought I'd share with you all some of my favourite photos and memories from my very first trip!

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My first ever trip was in 2004. Not long before we'd left, I'd actually had surgery to clip a piece of my upper gum that was attached to the inside of my lip. And the day before I left was my sixth birthday. Soooo this trip was a v big deal to me.

On our first trip, we stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, which is right next to - you guessed it - the Animal Kingdom park and has an amazing view of animals walking around just outside your hotel room! We also stayed there in 2006. We later stayed at Coronado Springs in 2008, and Port Orleans French Quarter in 2009, 2011, and more recently in 2017.

These pictures are some of my absolute faves from my trip. Unfortunately, as I was so young, I only remember certain things that happened on the trip. One of the things I remember so clearly though was when the picture of Belle and I was taken - they had cancelled a show at the castle so they brought the princesses out for photos. Belle has always been my favourite princess and I was SOOO flippin' excited to meet her. I seriously cannot wait to be able to watch my own kids meet their favourite characters and to see them be as excited as I once was!!

So many things have changed since 2004 - it's so weird to look back on all these pictures and see not only myself as a kid, but also a ton of attractions that are no longer at the parks! A lot of my beloved rides and shows have gone onto the great beyond and they'll be greatly missed by me and probs many others forever. #rip y'all

Have any of you guys been to Disney World? I'd love to hear about your first trip! 

Felicia x

Friday Thoughts: Harry Potter + Snow

Happy Friday to you all! Another Friday... jeez, before we all know it, it will be Christmas Eve. Who's excited for Christmas!? I know I am. Seeing all of the Blogmas posts from blogs I follow has only amplified my excitement. Maybe I'll have to partake in Blogmas next year....? We'll have to wait and see! But, for now, here's my weekly update for you.

  • I've started to re-read the Harry Potter series! I'm not really sure why, but I suddenly got into a very Harry Potter mood this week. I watched the first and then the final films last night, and today I've been lounging around in my Ron Weasley sweater, reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. I'm already onto Chamber of Secrets lol
  • A few weeks back, on Black Friday weekend, I ordered two vinyl records from Urban Outfitters as there was a ridiculous sale on records (something like "buy one, get one 50% off"). SO I ordered the Moulin Rouge and the 500 Days of Summer soundtracks. Flash forward to this week, they still hadn't sent a shipping confirmation or anything so I started to panic. Then they said 500 Days of Summer was back-ordered. So Moulin Rouge unexpectedly arrived yesterday afternoon. And today, 500 Days of Summer arrived... along with another copy of Moulin Rouge hahaha, so I guess I have two copies now??
  • Exam season is upon us! I get lucky every time, being an English major who takes a lot of online classes and classes that prefer final papers over exams - I only get two or three exams per term. But my boyfriend isn't so blessed. He has two exams tomorrow, one mid-day and then the other at night. So tomorrow will be a sucky day for him :(
  • There is snow expected for tomorrow and I could not be any more excited. I love the first good snowfall of the season. I've been eagerly awaiting our first snowfall for weeks now, after a fifteen-min snow tease last month. My family thinks I'm nuts (they're not snow lovers). I don't even really like snow. I just like it in December, but once Christmas is over, I'm like bye. 
  • I'm getting very excited for my trip to Florida. We live Christmas day, as usual, and I can't wait to see all that Disney has in store for this magical Christmas season. I truly believe that Disney wins when it comes to holiday decor. I just love to see all their decorations - I promise to share it all with you guys!

Felicia x

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party | 2017

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I love Halloween. The decorations, the candy, the movies. What's not to love? And of course, having it blended with Disney World only makes the holiday better. For today's post I wanted to talk to you guys about one of my favourite Disney holiday experiences and that is the Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is an annual event held at Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom from the end of August through to the start of November. On the select nights of Not-So-Scary, the park closes to the general public at 7pm, which means smaller crowds for those who have tickets to the party, which means lower wait times for rides. Score. There's also exclusive entertainment, rare character meet and greets, and even trick-or-treating. Without further ado, here are some of my favourite things about Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.

HIGHLIGHTS

Dressing Up

One of my favourite parts about Not-So-Scary is dressing up in costume. Being nineteen years old and considered an "adult (*shivers*), I don't ever get a chance to dress up like this, so it's really cool to get to do this. The first year we came to Not-So-Scary in 2015, my boyfriend and I dressed up as Mickey and Minnie Mouse and I loved it. This year, we opted to go for Belle and the Beast (after he transforms into a prince) from my favourite Disney film Beauty and the Beast. I had the time of my life, no exaggeration. Belle has been my favourite Princess since I was a little girl, so being called "Princess Belle" all night was a dream come true haha.

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Trick-or-Treating

Trick-or-treating is something I haven't done since, like, middle school I think. But at Disney, everyone gets to be a kid again. And they hand out a lot of candy. I mean, a lot of candy. We ended up with about 20lbs of candy. Yes, you read that right! My dad and my boyfriend literally went to most Treat stands at least twice, if not three times. We got mini bars of Milky Way, Snickers, Dove, and much more, plus Starbursts and other kinds of sweet candies. At least now we have something to hand out to kids on Halloween!

Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular

Okaaayyy so this one is a big one for me. If you love Halloween, chances are you love Hocus Pocus. I for one am a huge Hocus Pocus fan, as I mentioned in my Favourite Autumnal Films post a few weeks ago. At Not-So-Scary, they put on a show on the stage in front of Cinderella's Castle that features the Sanderson sisters (!!!!) and other Disney villains. It's seriously so fun to watch. I mean, where else are you gonna be able to see a live performance of I Put A Spell on You, with Hades and Oogie Boogie dancing along?

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Decorations

Though the decorations aren't really particular to the event, I always love how Magic Kingdom is decorated for Halloween. They make everything so cute and photogenic. I love walking down Main Street and taking a billion photos of everything to post on Instagram or set as my phone background.

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Happy HalloWishes

If you ever visited Disney World between 2003 and the beginning of 2017, and you saw the fireworks at Magic Kingdom, chances are you saw Wishes or some variation of it. Wishes was the nightly fireworks show at MK until very recently (R.I.P Wishes) and for holidays, they show a special version of it. For Halloween, it's Happy HalloWishes. I love these fireworks. It's all about Disney villains and it's spectacular. I would recommend going to Not-So-Scary just for the fireworks (and the parade - we'll get to that in a sec).

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Mickey's Boo To You Halloween Parade

Last, but certainly not least, is the wonderful, the famous, the fabulous Mickey's Boo To You parade. Okay guys. This is hands-down, my FAVOURITE part of the night. The parade goes twice a night, at 9:15 and 11:15, and family waits for the later showing because we choose to end the night right haha. I am sooooo in love with this parade I could gush about it forever but I'm going to keep this short and sweet, for the most part. One of the really cool things about the parade is that it shows characters that aren't usually in the parks. My favourite part is themed around the Haunted Mansion ride - it has a float of the Hitchhiking Ghosts, dancers that are supposed to be the ballroom ghosts, and best of all, the Gravediggers. Search up a video on YouTube of the gravediggers, it's SO worth it. They also have Villains, Wreck it Ralph characters, Mickey and his gang, and Captain Jack Sparrow with Captain Barbossa from Pirates of the Caribbean. Oh, and did I mention it starts off with the Headless Horseman riding down Main Street?!

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BONUS: PhotoPass Opportunities

If you've been to Disney World before, you've probably used PhotoPass services before or at least heard of them. But, if not, here's the gist: PhotoPass allows you to have photos taken by professional photographers around the parks, with special effects or characters, available for purchase on the My Disney Experience app. During Not-So-Scary, there are special opportunities for photos including a very popular Haunted Mansion one, plus they use Halloween-themed special effects on the cameras (i.e. they'll add characters or graphics to your photos using their *magic* technology). I was walking around the park when I stumbled across the coolest PhotoPass opportunity ever: TANGLED FLOATING LANTERNS!!! I love Tangled so much, so when I saw you could take a photo with a floating lantern, with the Tangled restrooms as a backdrop, I had to do it. So my boyfriend and I had our photo taken, and it's the greatest thing ever. Inserting now for your viewing pleasure (and also so I can cry about it again).

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Until next year, Not-So-Scary!

Felicia x

My Favourite Things: Paris, France

"I simply remember my favourite things, and then I don't feel so bad..." 

Welcome to the very first post of my new blog series, My Favourite Things! I always find that when things get tough, or you're generally feeling a bit down, it can be so helpful to reflect on some of the more positive things in your life. It can really put things into perspective. So, my aim with this series is to share with all of you some of my absolute favourite things to hopefully inject a little bit of positivity in your day!

Paris, France

The minute that I stepped off the train at the Gare du Nord station, I fell in love with Paris. It had always been my dream to visit France and the short 3-day trip to Paris gave me a taste of something I definitely want to see more of. Without further ado, here are my most favourite things about Paris...

The Eiffel Tower

Bienvenue à la Tour Eiffel, mon amis! (There are my eight years of learning French hard at work haha). I know, I know. This is a terribly typical way to start off a post about Paris, but I mean it when I say that the Eiffel Tower stole my heart. If you've ever visited Paris then you'll know that you can see this tower from most anywhere in the heart of the city. Keep that in mind when I say that every time I saw the tower, I took about a dozen photos. It's safe to say that choosing just two photos for this post was a challenge. Oh, and please enjoy this picture of a very little sixteen-year-old me haha.

The Eiffel Tower will always hold a special place in my heart because it's one of the obstacles I've overcome. I was so overwhelmed at the idea of going up the tower, due to my fear of heights, and the night before I outright refused to do it. My parents wouldn't let me waste the opportunity and forced me to go, which I am so glad they did because it was such an experience. The view was unbelievable! It was extremely nerve-wracking but it's something I'll always remember. I even made it all the way to the Summit, which is the highest peak you can visit. I was so proud of myself for making it and I got amazing pictures.

Versailles

Oh my god, I have so much to say about Versailles but I'll try my best to condense it all. I am a huge history buff, but I hadn't heard about the French Revolution or the Palace of Versailles until this trip to France. Now, because of visiting the palace, it's my favourite era of European history. The palace is absolutely gorgeous in person, not even a million photos could do it justice.

My family took the Fat Tire Bike Tour which took us first into town, where we bought baguettes and fromage, and then through the palace grounds to a lovely spot of grass along the Grand Canal where we had our delicious French food. The tour included a full self-guided walk through of the palace itself which was incredible. I am so glad that we did this tour, I would do it again without hesitation.

Pont des Arts

This is a bit of a sappy portion of the post but bear with me. For those who don't know, Pont Des Arts is a bridge in Paris that crosses over the River Seine, leading into the main square of the Louvre. The Pont Des Arts is famed, as it was once known as the Lovelock Bridge, which you may be familiar with. Visitors would write theirs and their loved one's initials on a lock, then throw away the key. Of course, being sixteen and in love, I was dying to do this. I put my lock on the bridge, got rid of one of the keys (there were two - I kept one) and then went on my way. Unfortunately, in 2015 it would appear that the area of the bridge in which I placed my lock collapsed, which was pretty devastating at the time. I still have the key though and I keep it in a memory box, so I will always remember the sentiment of the Lovelock Bridge in a less destruction-of-property kind of way. :)

Nighttime in the City

In my eyes, there isn't much better than a sunset. But a sunset over Paris? Wow. I was only in Paris for a few days but every evening when the sun came down, the city came to life. They don't call it the City of Light for nothing! It was so wonderful to walk around the city at night, especially with all the people sitting outside of bistros and restaurants at tables, sipping wine and eating amazing food. Speaking of food, French food? To die for. My diet consisted of baguettes, crepes and croissants - mostly baguettes. Seriously, I'm still dreaming of the food.

There are a hundred other things about Paris that I could list here, but then you'd be stuck with the lengthiest post known to man and no one needs that! I hope you've enjoyed reading about one of my favourite cities in the world and I hope that it brightened your day in some way. I can't wait to share more of my favourite things with all of you!

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

Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights | 2015

Among every Christmas celebration I have experienced in my lifetime, the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios have always held a special place in my heart. No matter how many pictures you might see of it online, seeing the streets lined with millions of colourful lights while Christmas music chimes out is something entirely different in real life. It is disheartening for me to realize that this year is the last that the Osborne Lights will twinkle - that this year is the last I will walk those streets. Fortunaely, I got to bring Steven (my boyfriend) with me this year, so he was given the opportunity to see the lights once before they leave the world of Disney for good. I took over a hundred photographs to commemorate the event, to keep the memories preserved - I decided to share these photos with all of you so you might have a taste of the beauty before it's gone. For those who will be in the Orlando area anytime soon, the lights will dance until the third of January 2016.

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

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

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