August 7, 2017

August Beauty Favorites

Even though I have not blogged in some time my love for makeup products has not wavered. I still am a huge makeup junkie and my bathroom is filled to the brim with products...I literally have a mini Ulta as a bathroom. It drives my husband insane but if you ask me, you can never have too many products to choose from. Over the past few months I have my favorites and I will share them with you!

L'Oreal's Infallible Total Coverage foundation ($10) - This stuff is amazing and seriously has some full coverage qualities. It's not like your typical full coverage foundation because it doesn't leave your skin looking dull and cakey. It covers and blends out well; and they have several shades to choose from. Once it's on it stays put all day and you won't sweat it off either. So it's good for an all day application! 

"Luminoso" Baked Blush by Milani ($7) - I have worn this shade for several years and it's been mentioned in my blog several times. You can't go wrong with this as it's great for any skin tone; including darker tones. It provides just enough shimmer and sheen with a high color payout. It's a beautiful shade of peach and coral. It stands to beat it's rival by NARS in Orgasm. Save your money and purchase this instead; you won't be disappointed. I've repurchased it several times now and I am in love with the product.

Maybelline Master Strobing Stick ($10) - This is easy peasy to use if you are new to the contouring world. It has just the right amount of sheen to give a nice highlighting effect. It's glides on without fuss or streaks. I have found the best way to blend this out is the old fashioned way...your fingers. Make sure you hit your nose and cupids bow for a beautiful effect. They make several shades for different skin tones but I use the "Fair/Iridescent" because I like the effect it gives me face without making me look like a disco queen or a frosted princess. 

Tarte Shape Tape Concealer ($25) - Yes, I know that is steep for a concealer but as we age some things you just have to bite the bullet on and I need some concealing these days. This stuff is AMAZING and covers pretty much anything you want/need covered. Forewarning, a little goes a long way! You don't need much of this or you will get a cakey effect and it will crease. You can set it with a powder if you choose but I use it alone just making sure not to apply with a heavy hand. 

Urban Decay Perversion Mascara ($25) - Another high end product but the proof is in the pudding. It goes on ultra black and thick! It makes your lashes pop almost giving a falsies look. I love this mascara and it's my daily go-to. It stays on all day without transferring to my lids but it's easy to take off with remover or a makeup wipe. I generally apply two coats of this beauty in a tube and I am set for the day. Yes, I still swear by L'Oreals Voluminous mascara but this is also a staple in my makeup collection. Even if you buy it for special occasions...make the purchase. You won't be disappointed. 

LipSense lipstick & gloss ($50 start up and $25 thereafter) - I was just introduced to this product last month and I am addicted. I have 7 shades now and love them all besides one that I can't really see on my lips (Caramel Apple). It's highly pigmented and it's completely SMUDGE PROOF and BUDGE PROOF. Once you apply 3 coats of this and the gloss it isn't going anywhere for at least 4-12 hours depending on the wear you put it through. Mine typically lasts around 6 hours. I am a huge fan of this and so glad it entered my beauty world. You have to buy this through a rep so let me know if you are interested and I can point you in the right direction!

Of course, I have so many other products I enjoy but these are the standouts for this month so stay tuned to see what I come across for September! Take care <3

July 30, 2017

"Hello Fresh" saved my sanity!

Many of you have asked me what's the deal with "Hello Fresh" and my opinions regarding the newest meal delivery service. I decided to write a blog post to RAVE about how much I enjoy this service that presents itself to my doorstep every Saturday like clock work. 

I am a good cook, I enjoy cooking and I love filling up the stomachs of my family. However, I absolutely loathe meal planning and going to the grocery store. With this nifty new service I kill two birds (more like 3-4) with one stone. 

I first heard about this service on the streets in Atlanta while Mike and I were on vacation. And as always, Mike is notorious for stopping for anyone and everyone trying to sell a good deal . This drives me bananas so obviously when they were doing their little speech about how great their product was and how we could save money it fell on my deaf ears. I kept trying to drag my husband away as he was intensely listening on how we could help keep dollars in our banking account. Finally, he nicely declined as he always does and I was aggravated we stood there five minutes listening to their crap.

Hold up, I just called it crap....far from the truth. As we drove home from vacation I started thinking about this whole meal delivery concept and it hit me like a ton of brick.....this is the answer to me spending less time in Satan's Playground (Wal-Mart) and keeps me from stressing out on how to make our meals from becoming the same every single week. I am a creative person, I thrive on coming up with neat and fun things but meal planning ain't one of them. Crickets just go off in my head as I sit there, pen in hand trying to figure out dinner ideas. 

I googled Hello Fresh when we got home and downloaded the really cool app on my phone. I was amazed at how simple it was to use and how many choices you really had when it came down to it. There is something for everyone; even if you don't eat meat. They even have a couple of breakfast items to choose from if you really want to switch it up at meal time. I signed up as fast as I could when they mentioned $40 off my first box. 

In the app you can choose how many meals you want a week, what meals you want, how many you want to feed and the delivery day of your box. I decided on just feeding two because Victoria is no longer home and Brody is as picky as they come. I have only chosen three meals a week because I typically only cook on Monday, Tuesday and Thursdays. My box is delivered early on Saturday so I can put everything away for the week and prepare for Monday's meal. I freeze the meats because I don't want them to go bad in case something arises and I can't use it that week. It's super quick to defrost them in a sink of cool water; takes literally less than 30-40 minutes. The other cool thing about the app is you can look at your meals for up to 5 weeks and can make changes up until two days they fill your order. 

Your box will contain a paper bag labeled for each entree with the ALL of the ingredients you will need besides oil, salt and pepper. When you open the box for the first time you think they have failed to send you the main ingredient; the meat! Don't fret, it's in there, its in the bottom of the box covered with two heavy duty frozen ice packs covered with cardboard. I know several people who panicked thinking they were meatless so this is your tip for today! You will also receive large, easy to read recipe cards that tells you STEP BY STEP on how to prepare your meal. It also gives you the list of ingredients and the nutritional values in case you are into counting that stuff. 

I will forewarn you this meal won't cook itself or prepare itself. You have to do the work. You have to cut up the meat if needed, cook it because it is organic and fresh. All of the vegetables will need to be washed and cut up as well. However, I do not mind that part at all, I actually enjoy and prefer it that way. Most meals only take 30 - 40 minutes max to prepare and cook. Totally winning at this point. I also like the fact that all of the ingredients are fresh, organic and most are gluten free. 

All in all, this has been a lifesaver for me and my nerves. I pay $59 a week for three meals that is only supposed to feed two but the portions are large enough that Brody could have a plate if he so desired. I spend way more than that at the grocery store and local meat market if I have to do the planning myself. I don't spend an hour aimlessly walking around the playground looking for ingredients to use to perk my typical boring meals up.  I highly suggest this if you are in a rut or just in a rush sailing through the week. The meals are delish and we have had 7 now from the service....and we cleaned our plates each time. That says something in itself. I also like the fact that I am not obligated to buy something each week. There is no meal minimum and you can't just skip weeks if you are out of town or not feeling what the menu choices are for that week. 

I encourage you to take advantage of the savings off your first box which you can access online or on the Hello Fresh app when you sign up. I promise you, you will be pleased as punch! 

July 29, 2017

Well, well, well....I'm back!

Well, it's been two long years since I have been in the blogging world so I am a little rusty! I am beyond thankful for my sweet husband purchasing me a new laptop so I could get back to my therapeutic world that I once loved so much. Writing has always been an outlet for me to express myself freely without reservations. The good, bad and ugly.

So much has happened in two years that I can't possibly catch you all up on everything and nor do I really feel like it, honestly. It's been a roller coaster two years but as always I have managed to come out on top with numerous prayers, nightly insomnia and the love of my peeps. Life is crazy like that I suppose.

It's really insane how much can happen in 24 months; as children they creep by but as an adult they flash before your eyes. I wish time could just slow down a bit so I can catch my breath. My kids are growing up before my eyes and I can't seem to inhale every moment as they happen. I am entering my 10th year as a wife with Mike and I would like the anniversaries to stop rolling around so quickly so I can have some more time with him before they are over. I know that sounds morbid but we will be dead before we know it.

And my parents....I can't even think about that one. Time doesn't slow down for them either and as they age their time on this lovely planet is diminishing too. They are my lifeline and major support system so I will just stop right here with that paragraph....they can't go anywhere so moving along before I depress myself.

Most of you keep up with my daily life on Facebook so I guess I will wrap this first blog post up. You know what I have been up to and how life is currently. I live in a zoo, my work life is going great and I am just plugging along at this thing called life. Can't wait to get back to another post soon!

Take care y'all.

February 21, 2015

My Favorite "ipsy" Products

A little over a year ago I joined a monthly beauty subscription called "ipsy" . This subscription costs you $10 month and each month you get a cute little cosmetic bag filled with fun products based on a quiz you took on their site. Depending on how you answered, you get products sent to you that match your beauty product interests. I am not much on skincare and haircare so mine is tailored mostly to makeup products. I always look forward to my bag because there is ALWAYS something in there that I absolutely fall in love with and end up buying the full size product. I have never received a bag that I ended up hating or not using, never. That speaks for itself. I am also amazed that for $10 a month they send you products that are not cheap, mostly all name, high end brands. For the price you can't beat it. I would highly recommend this subscription to my beauty loving friends. I have went through all my ipsy products and picked out my favorites to share so you can see what the hype is all about. Some of these can't be found at your local beauty store (Ulta or Sephora) so I will list the website for those. I will also include the price point in case you're interested in purchasing these great items for yourself!

NYX eyeshadow in Innocent ($4.50) is a great champagne shade that works well for highlighting or all over shadow base. It gives Stila's kitten shadow a run for it's money. It isn't very shimmery and gives a nice glow, lightening effect on your lid. The color payoff is amazing and it lasts all day long. I wear this a lot when I don't want to do a full face but want to give my eyes a pick me up!

Malin + Goetz Mojito Lip Balm ($12.00, 20 oz) is my ride or die when it comes to lip balms. This stuff is magic in a tube. I received this a year ago in the trial size (,35 oz) and I am just now at the end of my tube. A little goes a very long way and I will be purchasing the full size once I can't squeeze any more out of my little tube. This balm is ultra hydrating, it soothes and replenishes and tastes yummy. I have not had dry or cracked lips as long as I have been using it which is crazy. I use it every night before bed and in the mornings -- my lips thank me for it. It produces a nice shine and sheen to your lips so you can use it alone or under your lipstick.

Urban Decay Perversion Mascara ($22.00) does exactly what it's tag line states; it gives you "bigger, blacker and badder" lashes. I am a mascara whore and this is currently my favorite to use when I am not using my fiber lash mascara. Even when I do where my fiber lashes I use this bad to the bone stuff as a base coat. This will definitely be a repurchase because it's the best mascara I have found and even beats Benefits "They're Real" which was a MUST have in my opinion.

Bye Bye Under eye concealer by it Cosmetics ($24.00) is hands down the best concealer on the planet for dark circles. I have already purchased a full size tube of this little miracle worker. I won't go into a huge rant on this because I just posted a review of it on my last post so you can just check it out there. However, a tiny bit goes a very long way so you can justify spending the $24 for it -- it's SOOOOOOO worth it if you suffer from dark circles. Go get yourself some now!!

J.Cat Wonder Lip Paint in Mad Splatter ($1.29, Ulta) is a fun filled tube of precious lip color. This looks kind of bright and crazy but goes on a nice shade of pink. After checking online this company has a large array of crazy colors to choose from along with a few modest shades. The color pigmentation is great and it lasts for hours. Figuring out how to use it is a bit daunting at first since it's in a tiny tube but it's pretty simple after the first try. I will definitely buy a few of their more toned down shades!

Star Looks Lip Pencil in Nude ($14.00) has been my most used liner in months. It has a creamy matte formula that blends well and lasts all day. It goes on so smooth and I use it almost on a daily basis. I have also used it as an all over shade just applying lip gloss over it because it's the perfect shade of nude. It comes in 23 shades so I am sure you can find the pencil for you!

Crease/Shadow Duet brush by Crown Brush Line ($6.99) is two brushes in one! I use this on a daily bases because the bristles pick up just the right amount of shadow and blends it with perfection. I like that it's great for travelling and the quality is amazing. This is a a professional series makeup brush so the bristles are high quality. The site offers great deal on sets and individual brushes at discounted prices that are very reasonable. There is also a array of types of brushes (synthetic, sable hair, etc.) so there is a ton of things to choose from that will meet your personal needs. 

February 3, 2015

Tastey Tuesday: Easy Taco Dip Recipe

I meant to post this recipe before the Super Bowl but life happened and I got side tracked. However, it is a great recipe to keep on hand for parties or just a weekend snack! This taco dip recipe is super simple to make and everyone will love it! You can make this a "skinny" recipe by just substituting the ingredients below with low fat ingredients.

Easy Taco Dip

- 8 ounces of Cream Cheese

- 8 ounces of Sour Cream

- 16 ounce jar of mild Salsa

- 1/2 packet of Taco Seasoning

- 2 cups of shredded lettuce

- 1 cup of shredded cheese (I always I add  more than this; I just eyeball it)

- small can of sliced Black Olives


In a large bowl mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, salsa and taco seasoning. Spread evenly on the bottom of a large shallow glass dish. Top with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese and then olives. Serve with tortilla chips.

January 30, 2015

Beauty Blog: My Favorite Eye Trios, Quads and Palettes

I am always buying new eyeshadow trios, quads and palettes so I thought I would share with you which ones are my favorites! I picked the ones that are my most used and the ones that I think would be a great addition to any makeup collection. Most of these are for all eye colors so they're pretty universal. They also range from matte shades to shimmery ones. I do tend to lean more to shimmery and frosted shades but I do have a few matte ones to share that I use often!

"Autumn Coppers" by Maybelline ($5.00)
This is a nice quad that is easy for a beginner because it tells you exactly where to put each color. It has minimal fall out and blends easily. I wear this mostly in the Spring & Fall. 

"Comfort Zone" by Wet n Wild ($5.00)
This palette contains 8 shades that you can do numerous looks with. It also is easy for a beginner as it tells you where to put each color. These are highly pigmented and blends easily. This color palette is great for brown and hazel eyes. I wear this one more in the Fall & Winter. 

"Florence" in the Fierce Foils collection by Milani ($6.99)
These are highly pigmented cream foil shadows that are stunning. It does take some time to get used to using. These are blendable, they do not crease and they last all day. I have worn these this winter. The copper shade really brings out my hazel eyes. 

"Metropolitan" in the Photoready collection by Revlon ($8.00)
This is another palette that is easy for beginners and you can do various looks with the shades provided. This is a great palette to own if you have hazel or brown eyes. 

"Naked Basics" by Urban Decay ($29.00)
The shades in this palette are very neutral and offer both shimmer and matte shades. There is some fall out with these but they are highly pigmented. If you are wanting to try any of the Urban Decay "Naked" palettes this is the one to buy because it's the most popular shades to use. Great for brown eyes!

"Suede Collection" palette by Nyx ($12.00)
I absolutely love this shimmer palette from Nyx and have used it a ton this past Fall and Winter. The shades are HIGHLY pigmented and blend nicely. This would help accentuate brown and hazel eyes. 

"Dusk til Dawn" Dream Catcher palette by Nyx ($12.00)
This is a must if you wanted to try the UD Naked 2 or 3 pallets but didn't want to fork over the money. They have very similar shades and in all honesty this is a better palette. There is very little fall out and the color pay off is phenomenal. 

"Pocket Palette" by Sephora ($10.99)
I got this palette around Christmas so I am not sure if they even make it anymore but it's a great one to own. This has both shimmer and matte shades that are highly pigmented. They are buildable and blendable. 

"Silent Treatment" by Wet n Wild ($3.99)
This is probably my favorite trio by WnW because it's so versatile. You can do a day to night look with this palette by simply adding the darker (center) shade. WnW produces highly pigmented shades that are affordable. You can't go wrong with adding this to your collection. 

Beauty Blog: My Recent Favorites

It's been forever since I last did a beauty post and now that we are on the mend I felt like it was time to start these posts again. I went through my beauty drawers and picked out a few products that I have really enjoyed using the past few months. So, let's just jump into it!!

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater ($7.00) - This is something I picked up on vacation while in Savannah at Urban Outfitters on a whim. I love hydrating mist sprays because I suffer from dry skin and it helps add moisture to my face throughout the day. This particular spray caught my eye because it contained rose water and I love the smell of roses. I know that it sounds pretty high maintenance using a "hydrating spray" but don't knock it until you try it! This is a multi-purpose spray because you not only use it for hydration but you can use it to help set your make up and just give your skin a light boost throughout the day. It also smells wonderful so you can spray it all over if you want. I keep this handy at all times and spray it whenever I feel that my skin is feeling dry or irritated. It's also great to use on your skin if you are suffering from irritation as it helps soothes the inflammation/irritation. An added bonus is that your skin feels baby soft after applying it! You can pick this up at Ulta, Sephora or Urban Outfitters. 

Smashbox Photo Finish Pore Minimizing Primer ($38.00) - I am a sucker for primers because I do have larger pores that I try to minimize. I received a sample of this in my ipsy bag one month and after using it I was totally impressed. It's nude in color and spreads nicely without a lot of tugging. It's thicker than lotion so it minimizes your pores nicely. I can tell a huge difference when I use this because not only do my pores appear smaller, my makeup goes on so much smoother and I use less foundation. This is 100% oil free so you don't have to worry if you have oily prone skin and it does give a matte effect once applied; it also lasts up to 8 hours before you need to reapply it. 

it Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye ($28.00) - If you have read any of my beauty blog posts you know that I am constantly looking for a great product to conceal my dark circles that I inherited. This is another product I received in an ipsy bag that I can't live without. I can't rave enough about this concealer because it's INCREDIBLE. I would have never spent $30 on something unless I knew for a fact that it worked wonders. This concealer hides my circles as well as a few spots of hyperpigmentation that I have on my cheeks. A little goes a very long way with this stuff; I literally apply half a dime size to my hand, rub it in a circular motion until it's warm and smooth then pat it on my problem areas. To set it, I use my HD powder from elf cosmetics. It doesn't run, crease or fade after hours of wear. I would buy this product over and over again because it's that awesome. You can also justify spending the money on it because the tube will last you forever if you use it correctly (as I stated above). Another perk is that this comes in 4 shades so you can pick the one that matches closest to your skin tone; I use the neutral medium shade. This concealer also contains collagen, Vitamins K & C. 

Nyx Jumbo Eye Pencils ($4.50) - I love any product that is multi-functional, high quality and also saves me money. Like most Nyx products these are a steal! I picked up several of these at Ulta when I had a coupon and honestly didn't expect much but I was shown otherwise. These jumbo pencils are amazing and provide a great, high end look. The color pigmentation is amazing, they are blendable, they don't crease and they last all day long. These cream shadow sticks are really worth adding to your makeup collection and I use them more often than not. The three that I would suggest buying if you wanted to try them are: Sparkle Nude, Iced Mocha and Black Bean. If  you are into a smokey look these make it super simple. I use the Black Bean to line my upper rim and it doesn't fade throughout the day. There are 23 shades to choose from so I am sure you can find the perfect one that suits your needs! 

Love Alpha 3D Fiber Mascara ($5-8.00) - This is a product I contemplated buying because it ships from China and I wasn't sure about the hype. Everyone in the beauty world has been approached about buying Younique's Fiber Mascara and before I shelled out $30 for it I wanted to do the research on what was out there. I ran across the Love Alpha on a review website and it had hundreds of reviews that beat the Younique brand. So, I jumped on the bandwagon and purchased myself a tube of fiber mascara. HOLY COW!!!!! This stuff is oh-maz-ing. You all know that I am a mascara junkie so if I say it's's good. It doesn't irritate my sensitive eyes or contacts, it doesn't run and there is no fall out from the fibers. The only downfall is the directions come in another language but it's pretty self explanatory. You first apply the transplanting gel to your lashes and then layer and build up your lashes with the natural fibers. To add a more dramatic look I usually apply one coat of my Benefits They're Real mascara and then use the Love Alpha mascara. The thing I really love about this product is you can build up your look as much as you like and it never looks like spider legs. You actually look like you have extensions or falsies on. The other great thing that about this is it's not a pain in the ass to remove! I purchased my tube on Amazon and they have tons of vendors and different sets you can buy so just browse the site and pick which one you like best. It took me about a week to receive my order once it was placed. 

Viva La Juicy Gold Couture ($72.00) - I am absolutely in love with all the Viva La Juicy fragrances and the Gold is my favorite right now. The scent is a blend of caramel, vanilla, white floral, sweet and woodsy. Every single time I wear it I am usually stopped and asked what perfume I am wearing. I would say the only downfall is that the scent isn't as long lasting as the original Viva La Juicy but I think that's because it's not as heavy as a scent -- it's a tad lighter. However, I love the fragrance and would purchase it again. If you do want it to last longer I would just layer it with the Gold lotion and it will give you a longer lasting scent.  

July 31, 2014

Beauty Blog: Summer Favorites

So much has gone on in my life the past few months that I haven't been great about posting my monthly beauty favorites so I figured I would do one that consisted of my summer favorites. I must admit that I have been slack with applying makeup this summer because I have stayed at home more and spent time by our pool! However, I do have a few products that are worth mentioning. When I did wear makeup these were used the most....some of them have been mentioned before but are definitely worth mentioning again. Enjoy!

Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse Foundation ($8.99) - This has been my go to foundation all summer long! It gives a nice luminous finish that is blendable, buildable and poreless. It's lightweight and doesn't feel like you have a ton of product on your face but gives a medium to full coverage effect. It claims it gives an airbrush finish and I would agree. I think this is perfect for normal to dry skin types but would be weary if you have oily skin. I do like that this has a pump so it makes for an easy application with your fingers or brush. I could see this being a "Holy Grail" item for me because it's that good! My shade is Sandy Beige - medium 1. (Another plus is they have a lot of shades to choose from!)

Maybelline Master Hi-Light in Nude ($8.99) - I have mentioned this in a previous blog post but it's all that I have been using for blush the past few months. I love that it gives color along with a nice hi-light effect that is natural. There isn't an ounce of sparkle or glitter, it's all sheen. It has great pigmentation and is long wearing. I own two other shades in this line but my favorite is Nude. I do couple this with another hi-lighter but that's because I prefer it that way but it gives enough on it's own that you don't have to.

Nyx Dusk til Dawn palette ($14.99) - I ran across this when I was at Ulta and fell in love with the colors. There are 8 shimmery shades and two matte shades that you can create day to evening looks with. They are highly pigmented and are long wearing. I have reached for this palette more than my Naked 3 one. This is super affordable and gives you some of the same shades you will find with the UD Naked Palettes. There are 2 other pallets in the "Dream Catcher" limited edition series; Stormy Eyes and Golden Horizons.

Benefit "They're Real!" Mascara ($23.00) - HOLY CRAP! This is hands down the BEST MASCARA ON THE PLANET! This mascara is amazing and I think everyone should have a tube of it. Within one or two coats your lashes look like falsies. It's crazy. It does everything you need it to...lengthens, curls and separates your lashes. It's like a one stop shop for mascaras. As far as I know it only comes in black and it doesn't say it's waterproof but I have never had a problem with it going anywhere even during tearful moments. I would never tell anyone to go buy a $23 mascara unless it was worth every penny.....and this is. Go get yourself a tube!!!!

famous Dave*s Pro Series Mousse Self Tanner ($32.00) - Even     though I have a pool and get some rays from the sun itself I prefer to keep my skin healthy by applying sunscreen s. naturally,  I don't achieve the tan I  would like. I tried this mouse that was sent to me by "famous Dave*s" and I must admit I was impressed. The scent was very light and didn't have that strong odor you typically get from self tanners. It was easy to apply with the mitt and even though it is colorless it's still easy to see where you're applying it. It produces the prettiest and most natural shade of "tan" in a  few short hours (3-5) with NO streaking. I applied it one night after I showered and exfoliated and woke up happy with the results. I will say the only "con" is that it's a tad sticky and I felt like my clothes were sticking to  me but I can deal with that due to the fact the final product is worth it. For me, the tan lasted around 3 days so this is something you would have to apply on a regular basis but it beats laying in a tanning bed or in the sun exposing yourself to harmful rays.
There you have it! My summer beauty favorites! I hope to get back to my normal monthly blog posts in August. I do so much better once the kids are back in school and I have the house to myself! See you next month!

June 18, 2014

Things I learned from Disney....

We took our first BIG family vacation to Disney World last month and it was an amazing experience. We all had a blast and made memories that will last a lifetime. Being the first time Disney guest I really didn't know what I was getting into because there is SOOOO much to do and see. I didn't know the "in's and out's" like frequent Disney visitors do so it was all trial and error for us. First, our situation was a bit different because we are military so we got a special rate but that doesn't include the "coveted" Disney armbands that most long for. We also didn't stay on a Disney property because we had 6 in our party and I wasn't about to fork over $600-$1000 a night for two rooms just to stay at Disney. I found a 3 Bedroom/2 Bath very nice condo in a gated community 5 minutes from the main gate for $85 a night.....that was a no brainer. Without rambling too much here is what I learned from our week at Disney.

- If you have a child that is 5 or under be prepared to use a stroller. It's a lot of walking and if you go in the summer your child will melt and later have a full blown meltdown. We didn't bring one but quickly learned the first day that our stop after leaving Downtown Disney would be to Target to purchase a cheap stroller for Brody.

- Carry a backpack or camel back and stuff it full of water bottles and snacks. Your wallet will thank you. Your body will also appreciate the fact you are keeping it hydrated. It's nothing but the sun and pavement so you can quickly become dehydrated. There are tons of fountains placed throughout the park so you can just fill your water bottle up when it's empty and it is FREE.

- If you don't stay on the Disney properties you don't get a nifty little armband aka Magic Band....NO WORRIES!!!! They sell them on site for less than $20 and you can link your tickets, fast passes and memory maker to them. You don't have to feel like the red headed step child in a sea of Magic Bands.

- Fast Passes can be your friend or foe. I had a love/hate relationship with them because in MOST cases I could stand in line for a ride and get through before my Fast Pass time. It does come in handy if you want to visit with the Princesses at the Princess Fairytale Hall because every day we were there the wait was over 2 hours! Also FP's were already gone when I tried to get Brody hooked up to see the Frozen Princesses.

- I can't say anything good or bad about the Character Dining because we didn't do those but Brody didn't seem to care or notice.

- We purchased the Memory Maker and I felt it was a good investment. We paid $150 and got about 150+ photos so I paid $1 for each versus $15 for one.

- Alcohol is not sold at the Magic Kingdom (that I saw) so if you want to get your drink on Epcot is the place to go.....and there are tons of places to choose from and you can taste beer, wine, liquor and whatever else your heart desires from all over the world. I wish I could have eaten at every single restaurant there.

- Since we didn't stay on a Disney property we didn't have a meal plan option and honestly it was OKAY. We didn't spend a ton of money on the property and it wasn't that we were being cheap it just wasn't what we did. We ate breakfast before entering the park, packed snacks but still purchased a few during the day, we did eat lunch on the property all days which cost us around $8-9 each and then we did dinner on the way back to the condo. We did do a nice dinner at Epcot one night and it was expensive....each entree was $20 and our margaritas were $15 each. So, for us, I don't think the meal plan would have been beneficial.

- At least one morning you need get there early enough to see the Magic Kingdom Welcome show. It's a lot of fun and Brody loved seeing them open the park.

- At least one night you have to watch the Main Street Electrical Parade and watch the PHENOMENAL Fireworks afterwards at the castle. We had Fast Passes for this event but we scratched that idea (and I am glad we did) and decided to watch them on Main Street. The Fast Passes would have had us set up right at the castle and we were afraid it would block some of the fireworks. The parade starts at 9 and we sat down on the side of the street around 6:30 to save our spots. People start lining up before that but we took our chances and it worked out.

- If you do Animal Kingdom you need to get there first thing in the morning before it's too hot or you won't be able to see a lot of the animals. I highly suggest the Safari because it was neat to see animals that you typically do not see at the zoo. I was impressed.

- Personally if you have small children I wouldn't waste time going to Hollywood studios because there wasn't a whole lot there for smaller kids. The only rides there are for older kids and adults. This is just my opinion but I didn't enjoy it as much as the other parks. However, we did enjoy the Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage and Disney Junior Live on Stage. I do wish that we could have seen the Fantasmic but we didn't have enough time the particular day we were there because the fireworks didn't start until 9:30 & 10:30 and we already had plans to see the ones at the Magic Kingdom.


- You will spend a ton more money if you have a little girl....a lot of things are geared to your little princesses.

- Disney is a melting pot of people from ALL OVER the world. 

- With that being trends are all over the place. 

- Europeans wore the least amount of clothing....and provocative clothing at that.

- Asian cultures really love themselves some Disney. I mean, decked out from head to toe. 

- Deodorant must be optional in come countries - Yuck.

- You really do feel like a kid again when you enter the gates of the Magic Kingdom.

- If it's your child's first visit they will have sensory overload and possibly meltdown as soon as they step foot in the park.

- Americans are actually very polite when it comes to Disney....can't say too much about others. But all cultures are different in that respect.

- Take tissues for the fireworks, they are beautiful and you will cry or at least tear up. It's amazing.

- You could stay 2 weeks and still not do everything you wanted to do at Disney.

- I don't get the whole "Hidden Mickey" thing but maybe I just don't pay enough attention or get intrigued with that sort of thing.

- As an adult I still enjoyed all the kiddie rides and would ride them even if I wasn't there with Brody.

- I brought a camera but only used it a handful of times. I also DID NOT bring my nice Canon as it was too bulky, I opted for a smaller digital camera.

- Download the Disney app on your phone as it is your friend.

- I barely used my phone while I was there because I was having too much fun.

- If you do bring a stroller make sure you mark it with something so people KNOW it's yours. So many of the strollers are the same name and make. Ours was mistakenly taken (and returned) while we were on a ride and it caused a 30 minute cardiac arrest as our backpack was with it and it contained our car keys.

- Disney must give their workers some type of happy pill because it's seriously the "Happiest Place on Earth" as all of the workers smiles and were super polite. It was like visiting Chick-Fil-A all day....kind of creepy in a way.

I am sure there is a ton more I could come up with but that is all I could come up with right now. We will definitly plan another trip within the next two years and eventually Brody will beg to stay at a resort so we will. You can count on your trip costing a pretty penny ($3k+) if you aren't Florida residents so make the most of it! It truly is an amazing place and I can't wait to go back. 

Foodie Post: Super Easy Sundrop Cake

I have been in a baking mood recently and I guess I have also had "home" on my mind because I have been baking Sundrop cakes like crazy!! Many people around here (GA) aren't familiar with the delicious Sundrop that we all crave in Concord....they are missing out! I have a Sundrop cake recipe that was passed down to me from my Mammaw but it is very time consuming so I was thrilled when I ran across a SUPER easy one on Pinterest that uses boxed ingredients. I was skeptical because I mean I was basically cheating while making this but it turns out that it tastes the same (if not better) than the handed down recipe.....*gasp*. I have had several people ask for the recipe so I figured I would share it in a blog post because it's just that darn good. Enjoy!

Cake Ingredients

1 box of Lemon Cake Mix
1 box of INSTANT lemon pudding
3 eggs
3/4 cup of oil
12 ounces of Sundrop

Icing Ingredients

1 cup of powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons of water (I've always used 2)
Vanilla flavoring (I use a capful)

Baking Instructions
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix all the cake ingredients together and pour into your  greased bundt pan. Bake for 40 minutes. Let your cake cool before removing it from the pan or you run the risk of your cake falling apart. Pour (or drizzle) icing over cake when it has been transferred to serving plate.