Monday, October 10, 2016

Disney Dream Cruise- Vacation Tips

About 6 months later I am finally getting around to posting my Disney Dream Cruise review. My mom and I went on this cruise back in March out of Port Canaveral. The Disney Dream is beautiful! If you enjoying cruising and you love Disney; I promise you won't be disappointed.

Pre Cruise Tips

Before going on your cruise there are some things I recommend doing. My mom and I did the 3 night itinerary that went to The Bahamas and Disney's private island Castaway Cay. 

Tip 1: Make a packing list and stick to it

Mom and I packed so many extra outfit options that we didn't even touch. The things that are most important are swim wear, dinner attire, day clothes, and a light jacket. Of course I packed about 6 different dinner outfits for this trip (even though only 3 would have be appropriate) 

Tip 2: Make Door Decor for Your Stateroom

On Disney cruises door decorating is a huge trend! I was nervous to decorate the door for fear that we'd be the only ones doing it and would look silly. It seemed that about 30-40% of the rooms had door decor (some even had Fish Extenders, a pocket like hanger used on the door to exchange trinkets with other cruisers) I printed our door designs (each Mickey was the size of an 8x11 piece of paper) laminated the sheets, cut the shapes, then applied magnet strips to the back. The decorations stayed on the door with zero issue. My Mickey was inspired by Marie from The Aristocats (one of my favorite animated characters), and my mom's was inspired by Eeyore. The smaller Mickeys and anchors are filled with tropical Lilly Pulitzer patterns. These are also very helpful when you can't remember which room is yours!

Tip 3: BYOB- Bring Wine On Board

Most people don't realize that each passenger (21+) is allowed to bring 2 bottles (750ml) of wine or champagne on board with them. This is a great way to help the cost of alcohol on board since Disney doesn't yet offer drinking packages. However, this wine cannot be consumed in public areas (you can have it at dinner with a corkage fee). 

Tip 4: Research!

Researching before your trip is so important. If you are reading this you on are the right track! There is so much to do onboard the Disney Dream that you could easily miss some of the headlining activities if you didn't plan ahead. Pirate night requires planning ahead (unless you want to drop $60 for an onboard costume) as do certain excursions and dining reservations. 

Tip 5: Arrive The Night Before

If you are coming from far away I highly recommend getting a hotel in the Port Canaveral area the night before your cruise begins. This way you can get to the port early and hop right on board stress free. The Disney Dream began boarding around 11am when my mom and I went in March. 

Stay tuned for the full cruise review! 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Checking in: October

I am re-designing my page! Since I am beginning my blogging journey all over again I decided a new page layout and theme (and of course official domain name) was in order. The checking in theme is going to be re-vamped as well, but in the mean time, please enjoy my October check in!

Making: Buffalo Chicken dip for football season and Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip with ginger snaps (also for tailgating) 
Eating: Beef, and tons of it (finally gave in on the vegetarian thing) 
Shopping: Online, Amazon Prime is a dangerous thing/ Also on the quest for winter boots 
Drinking: Still on that seltzer water kick- also been craving a root beer float badly 

Celebrating: Halloween month! So many costume ideas
Following: Lots of fitness and yoga accounts #inspiration 
Watching: Parks and Recreation (Still prefer The Office, but I'm giving it a go)
Listening: Chainsmokers- Closer (it just doesn't get old)
Discovering: My new iphone 7, I am like a kid in a candy store on that thing (upgraded from a 5)
Buying: Leotards
Traveling: Heading home to Atlanta for Thanksgiving! 
Planning: My trip to Chicago
Hashtagging: #MNSSHP - love looking at the costumes
Learning: How to properly use the gym equipment (twas a struggle) 
Hoping: Ohio State football doesn't lose their winning streak 
Considering: Creating an Etsy account to sell things (but what things is the issue?) 
Goals: I have accomplished the gym attendance goal. My new goal is to attend at least 4 nights per week, consistently, 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Heading To The Windy City

The trip is booked! I am heading to the Windy City in less then 2 months! My best friend Hillari has invited me to spend a long weekend with her and her hubby (and of course the two fur babies!)

Short story about Hillari: We have been friends for over a decade and grew up performing in theater shows together. We ended up attending the same college and are even sorority sisters. Sadly, she nows lives in Chicago with her hubby, BUT this means I get to explore a new place and see one of my best friends at the same time!

We have so much planned, and I am SO excited to explore a new city. I have started making a mental to-do list (with the help of Hillari), and what better way to compose my list than to blog it! I need to get back into the groove of blogging and this is my kick start.

Whisk for Brunch

Hillari recommended a super yummy sounding brunch spot called, Whisk. The best part about this place, it is BYOB! Most of their breakfast entrees are candy bar themed and of course the tribute to Ron Swanson on their website header caught my eye. 

The Bean- Millennium Park 

The Bean, "Cloud Gate," is one of the first landmarks that comes to my mind when I think of Chicago (besides the Oprah Show, RIP) The best part about this attraction, it's free! I'm excited I have a new phone that has the storage space to hold all of the selfies I intend to take here. 

Hamilton- The Musical

This one is a long shot but, we plan to go to the Private Bank Theater and attempt the ticket lottery every night I am in town. Fingers crossed we can score some tickets. If not, at least I can get something in the gift shop (Hamilton Obsessed) 

Willis Tower- Sky Deck

This is another must do on my list! I am dying to snap that iconic photo sitting in the glass box that hangs over the city. 

Lawrence Fish Market

Hillari follows a fish market on Instagram that posts vivid, beautiful photos of massive sushi platters. Hillari and I both have a weakness for amazing sushi, so this is an item on the to do list. Check them out on insta  (@Lawrence_Fish_Market) Warning: you will crave sushi after viewing their photos. 

Sue, The T- Rex

The nerd inside of me is dying to go to The Field Museum. Fun fact, there is a replica of Sue in Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park, but I am pretty pumped to see the real thing. The Field Museum also has some other exhibits that sound pretty amazing as well.

Christmas In Chicago

Christmas decorations are one of my favorite things. Hillari has overwhelmed me with Christmas events we can partake in. From caroling at The Bean, ice skating, and the ChristKindlMarket.

The next big step to this trip is attire....I realized I don't own a "real" pair of gloves, let alone a wind breaking winter jacket. Florida life has spoiled me with flip flops and swim suits. Any packing tips for this Florida girl who can't handle temperatures below 60? I would love to hear some ideas of things to do as well. I want to have the tourist experience of course and see all the "must dos", but I also want to feel like a local and check out the "hole in the wall" places as well. 

I can't wait to pack my bags and head to The Windy City of Chicago!