Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Jane Austen Gift Guide: Books to Buy an Austen Fan

I think there are quite a few Jane Austen fans around here, and in case you're still looking for Christmas gifts, I have a new gift guide up on my channel full of lovely Austen books!


Whether you're looking for something to give a Jane Austen fan or want to give your friends and family some hints, check it out. :)

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Walt Disney World Vlogs: May 2017

It's crazy to think how close we are to 2018! I've finally finished putting together my vlogs from our May trip to WDW, and it's been so fun to look back at all the "firsts" of this trip - a first glimpse of Pandora, trying Tiffins, Rivers of Light, and more. We stayed at two of my favorite resorts - the Wilderness Lodge and the Polynesian - and had an amazing time! In case you missed any of them, here are all 10 Disney World vlogs in this trip series...


Pandora was just days away from its official opening during our trip - unfortunately we didn't snag tickets to the preview/soft opening so we had to look on from outside. We did get to try the Nomad Lounge at Tiffins for the first time which was just fabulous!


This was our first time seeing RIVERS OF LIGHT! Animal Kingdom after dark was a new experience - luckily I picked up that gorgeous lotus blossom popcorn bucket to light the way. 👍


During our first full morning we had a lovely time at the Wilderness Lodge...

Thursday, November 30, 2017

November 2017 Quote Collection

"Go in hope, little brother...it is a long road to the feet of the One, but thither do we all travel."


It's time for another round-up of favorite quotations that I've discovered while reading this month! My books took me from India to England to France to dragon country.

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"A boy who can dodge over the roofs of Lahore city on a moonlight night, using every little patch and corner of darkness to discomfit his pursuer, is not likely to be checked by a line of well-trained soldiers."

Kim by Rudyard Kipling

(The opening quote also came from Kim! Such a vivid and immersive setting - I loved following Kim's adventures in India and all the different characters, landscapes, and beliefs he encounters along the way)

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"I am sure Mrs. Radliffe might have kept her heroine wandering about this house for 6 good pages."

Maria Edgeworth in France & Switzerland: Selections from the Edgeworth Family Letters

(Maria Edgeworth was a contemporary of Jane Austen - I loved her novel Belinda and have been enjoying her travel letters!)

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"All the same I have a strong suspicion I'm being managed. I should resent it very much, if I were not full of buttered toast and sentiment - two things which, as you may have noticed tend to go together."

Busman's Honeymoon by Dorothy Sayers

(Lord Peter and Harriet on their honeymoon...with a corpse and a murder mystery thrown in of course! I absolutely love these two and loved getting to read more of their story.)

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"A man who has a large and imperial dragon groveling before him may be excused if he feels somewhat uplifted."

Farmer Giles of Ham by J.R.R. Tolkien

"Things might have been different, but they could not have been better."

Leaf by Niggle by J.R.R. Tolkien

(I've been on a Tolkien short story kick this month! I liked Farmer Giles, but Leaf by Niggle was just wonderful.)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Emma in Edinburgh

During my trip abroad last year, I had the chance to visit Edinburgh for two short days. Admittedly that's way too short of a time, considering how very much there is to do in Edinburgh and Scotland at large, but I thought some Edinburgh would be better than none...


In spite of my limited time, I fit in a lot! I saw the one o'clock gun fire at Edinburgh Castle, walked the Royal Mile to see if the Queen was in at Holyroodhouse, ate a picnic lunch in Princes Street Garden, marveled at the brightly-colored buildings in the Grassmarket, lit a candle in St. Giles' Cathedral, got lost in Edinburgh's countless stone corridors and staircases, went shopping, and had the most amazing elevensies at the most amazing tea boutique called Eteaket.

As you'll know from my previous posts about this trip, you can see even more vlogs from Scotland, England, and Ireland on my Patreon page!

At the Edinbugh Airport, I saw a sign that said, "Haste ye back." My taste of Scotland definitely made me want to get back one day and explore more!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Walt Disney World Fashion Diary: Fall 2017

It's time for a new FASHION DIARY post! I started doing these last year as a way to write a mini trip report and share some Disney style at the same time, and it's been so much fun. ✨ Without further adieu, here are the highlights from our fall jaunt to WDW...

------DAY ONE------


We started the first full day of the trip with breakfast at Coronado Springs! The Pepper Market was delicious, and I love the bright and brightly-colored seating areas.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

My Disney Dooney & Bourke Collection

I ordered something new from the Shop Disney Parks app the other day - I was too excited to wait to do an unboxing video, but I had to share it with you guys...


In fact, while I was at it, I figured I'd share my entire Disney Dooney & Bourke bag collection! I just love the styles of these purses, wristlets, and wallets - I've used them as my bag in the Disney Parks many times, but I think my newest purchase might be my favorite yet. It's definitely the fairest of them all! ;)

Monday, November 6, 2017

Epcot Food & Wine Festival Favorites 2017

There are two reasons why I love going to Walt Disney World in the fall. The first is (as you'll probably already know) Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and all the spooky magic at the parks.

The second also probably isn't hard to guess...


EPCOT FOOD & WINE!


I just posted my vlog from Food & Wine and thought I'd share our favorite dishes on the blog as well...

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October 2017 Quote Collection

"He had burned everything there was the burn within him: he had scattered so many sparks to start so many things - and he wondered whether someone could give him now the spark he needed."

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand


October has been a really good reading month! I've been meaning to try something by Ayn Rand for awhile, but I actually didn't start with Atlas Shrugged. It was Anthem that first sparked my interest...

"The sky is like a black sieve pierced by silver drops that tremble, ready to burst through."

Anthem by Ayn Rand

(Ayn Rand's descriptions were so vivid and unique and beautiful!)

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"I began to think of all the things that might happen to a man that looks at a map and then plunges right into it, whether it's wet or dry, the way Daddy does."

Girls of Highland Hall by Carroll Watson Rankin

(I love that image of plunging right into a map! Just discovered Rankin's charming childrens books this month - Dandelion Cottage was also a treat.)

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"Everything belonging to Miss Nancy was of delicate purity and nattiness, not a crease was where it had no business to be, not a bit of her linen professed to whiteness without fulfilling its profession."

Silas Marner by George Eliot

(my favorite book by George Eliot, this story is so well put together - and I had to get a Victorian novel in for Victober!)

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"Clearly creativity emanates from something that rises, rolls, surges, and spills into us rather than from something that just stands there hoping that we might, however circuitously, find our way to it. In that sense we can never "lose" our creativity. It is always there, filling us or else colliding with whatever obstacles are placed in its path."

Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

(Just finished this and loved it as much as when I started it last month - a must read for everyone.)

Monday, October 30, 2017

Annette Funicello at the Magic Kingdom!

Who's the leader of the club that's made for you and me?

M-I-C-K-E-Y...


M-O-U-S-E!

One of the most common comments I've gotten online over the years - second only to "You look just like Snow White!" - is: "You look just like Annette Funicello!"


I always take it as a huge compliment because you don't get much more classy and fabulous than a Disney legend and original Mouseketeer like Annette!


We had an amazing time at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party this year as Scary Poppins and Bert, but I decided to bring a second costume on this trip to pay homage to Annette...

Monday, October 23, 2017

BOO TO YOU: MNSSHP 2017

When the moon climbs high o'er the dead oak tree, spooks arrive for a midnight spree...


If you follow me on social media, you'll know we just got back from a SPOOK-tacular Walt Disney World trip! I'd been looking forward to our return to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party for months...


...this year my brother Athos had a dark side Bert costume to match my Scary Poppins ensemble!


Mary Poppins is nothing without her parrot umbrella, of course... 😉

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Pros & Cons of Disney World Resort Hopping

If you're in the process of planning a Walt Disney World vacation then you probably know that you have lots of options. Not just in terms of what parks to visit, what rides to ride, and what restaurants to eat at but also in terms of resorts. There are so many amazing different Disney World hotels, you might want to pack more than one into your trip!


I recently posted a new video where we weighed the pros and cons of resort hopping or planning a split stay at Disney World...

PRO: You get to experience more than one Disney resort during your trip - that means multiple pools, multiple locations, multiple themes to enjoy.
CON: If the parks are your priority and you're only going to be in your room to sleep at night, you might not have time for the different resort amenities.

PRO: When you move to a new resort, it feels like your vacation is starting over again!
CON: Transferring between resorts can be time-consuming, getting everything packed up and moved, and you never know when your new room will be ready.

PRO: You can stretch your budget further by staying just a few nights at a deluxe resort and then staying the rest of the trip at a moderate/value.
CON: If you want to save your budget to spend in the parks, you probably just want to find the cheapest hotel possible.

For my family, the hassle is definitely worth it, and we've hopped between 3 or even 4 different hotels on trips in the past. But for some Disney fans, the parks are where it's at! Is resort hopping worth it for you?

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Bullet Journal: October/Halloween Plan with Me

Throughout the month of September, I generally try to keep my Halloween spirit to a minimum - but once October hits I'm in full-on pumpkin mode!


So it's no surprise that my bullet journal spreads this month are extra spooky... 🎃

Friday, October 6, 2017

Oh to Be in England: Travel Vlogs!

One of the things I've really loved about blogging and vlogging over the years is that it's like digital scrapbooking. I try to capture plenty of videos and photos when I'm on vacation and traveling, and it usually takes me awhile to get them all sorted and to actually sit down and edit them - but when I do, I relive the magic of a magical trip, whether it's to Disney World or (as in today's post!) ENGLAND.


I already shared the "snapchat vlogs" from London and Ely, but those weren't the only places we went to during our jaunt to the UK! Windsor and Oxford were also just marvellous - I had been dreaming of visiting Oxford's dreaming spires for a long time, and it was amazing to wander the streets and explore the Bodelian Library...

Saturday, September 30, 2017

September 2017 Quote Collection

"There's nothing so steadying, when you're in pieces, as reading something fine that you know very well."

A City of Bells by Elizabeth Goudge


I'm back with yet another round of favorite lines from my reading this month! There were lots of good books, and so lots of good quotes. In fact, A City of Bells, has so many amazing thoughts in it I could make up this whole blog post just from its pages....but I'll resist and only give you one more!

"But mind you do think. Don't just take out your feelings and look at them, which is what passes for thought with most of us pitiful, self-centered creatures. Look at the question from everyone's point of view."

A City of Bells by Elizabeth Goudge

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"If the ancestors that we carry shut up inside us take turns in dictating to us our actions and our state of mind, undoubtedly Grandmother Stark was empress of Molly's spirits on this Monday."

"Why, he [Shakespeare] makes men talk the way they do in life. I reckon he couldn't get printed to-day."

The Virginian by Owen Wister

(This book was so good it also deserved two quotations! I can't recommend this enough - Western adventure, a great romance, thought-provoking observations - just amazing!)

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"I can't help listening to speaking as though it were writing and thus the flowers which she brandished now and again looked terribly artificial."

A Writer's Diary by Virginia Woolf

(Another favorite! Just love these reflections on writing and living.)

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"Sometimes a word, a sentence or a poem or a story, is so resonant, so right, it causes su to remember, at least for an instant, what substance we are really made from, and where is our true home."

Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

(This book was recommended to me in the comments of one of my youtube videos, and I'm so grateful because it's poetic and practical and refreshing and just incredible!)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

New Mission: Space Green Adventure at Epcot

I have to admit it guys, Mission: Space at Epcot is one of those rides I tend to skip.

My stomach can be a bit particular about thrill rides, and the orange level has definitely made me queasy in the past.  I'm also not a fan of dark, enclosed spaces (I mean, who is?) - or maybe it's just the hundred and one warning signs telling you "IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO TURN BACK!!" that freak me out.


So it had been awhile since I last joined the Mission: Space team, but on our most recent trip my family dragged me on the green side because there was a brand new sequence! Previously you would blast off to Mars - now on the green level you're just taking a leisurely trip orbiting Earth.

I did enjoy the new pre-show and actual show inside the rocket - it was fun to see the northern lights and different countries. It wasn't blow-you-away graphics or anything, but it was fun - and it didn't make me at all motion sick which was lovely. I was realizing as I got off that not having 3D glasses probably helped my stomach - I know the 3D on Flights of Passage made everything worse motion-sickness wise.

Will you be trying the new Mission:Space adventure on your next trip?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Disney Trading Pins Minnie Mouse Display DIY

Raise your hand if you've ever had this problem: you have a ton of adorable Disney pins, but you have no idea how to display them so they just sit in a box in your closet. 😐


I finally have figured out a fun way to display some of my favorite Disney pins - I did a DIY Minnie Mouse shadow box! I really love how it came out, and it's so fun to have these pins out to enjoy now.

Are you into Disney pins or Disney pin trading? Tell me about your displays and favorites in the comments!

Monday, September 11, 2017

New Minnie Van Service at Walt Disney World

I've always thought the Walt Disney World monorail was very sleek and stylish, but there's a new mode of transportation on the block that takes vehicle fashion to a whole new level...


...it's the MINNIE VAN! This just debuted at Walt Disney World this summer and has been rolled out at only a few resorts: the Boardwalk, the Beach & Yacht, and just recently it was extended to the Wilderness Lodge. It sounds like they'll be rolling it out at more resorts soon, but you don't actually have to be a resort guest to use the Minnie Van!

Monday, September 4, 2017

The E Ticket Club at the Disneyland Hotel

I've done many posts on this blog about club levels at the Walt Disney World resorts, but the club levels at Disneyland's resort hotels have been more of a mystery to me.


We had never even stayed at the Disneyland Hotel, let alone explored its E Ticket Club Level, but this summer that all changed!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

August 2017 Quote Collection

"Big ideas in small places is what the garden of the Square du Vert-Galant is all about. Here's what I think: If you ever start to feel as if yours is a measly 2/3 acre life, remember the Square du Vert-Galant. And then nothing about you, your ideas, or your garden will ever feel small again."

Gardens of Awe and Folly by Vivian Swift


It's practically September, my friends. Isn't that kind of crazy? 2017 will be over before we know it! I felt like August got away from me reading-wise, although I have a bunch of books on my September TBR pile I've already been dipping into and enjoying...

"What was the Virginian going to do now? I began to know that the quiet of this man was volcanic."

The Virginian by Owen Wister

(This 1902 Western novel came highly recommended by my mom - already loving it!)

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"On every level, along every aisle, regardless of the classification, from A to Z, I am among friends and fellow bookmen, all alive and life-giving for me, regardless of the dates on their catalogue cards faraway upstairs. Chance encounters also occur that lead to friendships with books new to me."

The Little Package by Lawrence Clark Powell

(A chance encounter at a used bookshop brought this book of librarian essays to my hands, and I'm so glad to have discovered it.)

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"Sometimes a distant sail, gliding along the edge of the ocean, would be another theme of idle speculation. How interesting this fragment of a world, hastening to rejoin the great mass of existence!"

The Sketch Book by Washington Irving

(Irving can be a bit flowery in his writing, but I'm excited to explore this more.)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Pandora: World of Avatar Highlights

Oel ngati kameie. I see you, friends.


And in today's blog post, we're going to see the newest addition to Walt Disney World - Pandora: World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom!


Typically I don't think the floating islands really work from outside the park (they look super awkward when you're driving in through the gates and parking lot. sorry. it's true.), but I loved this glimpse of them through the bamboo from the bus stop!


I was really impressed with this new land - the Pandoran plants were so cool, the Na'vi theming was absolutely beautiful.


We attempted to rope drop Flights of Passage - you'll hear my thoughts on that in the vlog (the short version: not worth it, you might get trampled.) - but we ended up relying on our fastpasses instead...

Monday, August 21, 2017

Favorite Summer Dresses

I know the summer is wrapping, but it's never too late to share some super cute summer-y dresses!


I posted a new style video on my YouTube channel recently with a few of my favorites - gotta love a good sailor dress. 😄

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Monday, July 31, 2017

July 2017 Quote Collection

"What could I do! Facts are such horrid things!"

Lady Susan by Jane Austen




July was a pretty good reading month, and I found lots of new (and old!) favorite quotations...

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"Alice had no idea what Latitude was, or Longitude either, but thought they were nice grand words to say."

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

(Grand words are the best.)



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"With stealthy steps he crept to the head of the stairs and descended. One uses the verb 'descend' advisedly, for what is required is some word suggesting instantaneous activity. About Baxter's progress from the second floor to the first there was nothing halting or hesitating. He, so to speak, did it now. Planting his foot firmly on a golf-ball which the Hon. Freddie Threepwood, who had been practicing putting in the corridor before retiring to bed, had left in his casual fashion just where the steps began, he took the entire staircase in one majestic, volplaning sweep."

Leave It to Psmith by P.G. Wodehouse

(I know I've written about my love of Psmith before, but he's even better rereading!)

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"But for us this work is always merely a means and must never be an end in itself. To stand before the face of God continues to be the real content of our lives."

The Hidden Life: Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Texts by Edith Stein

(I spend a lot of time creating "content" for my blog and youtube channel - but I liked St. Teresia Benedicta of the Cross's reminder of what real content is.)

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"Considerable study will be necessary to tell about the decorations in the Tower, but you'll get lots of practice and it won't be long before you began to rattle it off ' parrot fashion' - and when it comes to that point, I won't love you any more."

Mary Colter: Builder Upon the Red Earth by Virginia L. Grattan

(I loved learning about Mary Colter who designed many of the gorgeous buildings we saw at the Grand Canyon - such a cool lady!)

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Let's Go to London: Travel Vlogs!

I'm whisking you away to London with today's blog post, guys. 😄

When I'm traveling, I often like to use snapchat to quickly share short videos and photos, fun things I see, cool geofilters I find. But the adventures I document are so fun, I don't want to lose them after 24 hours!

This was *especially* the case for my trip to England and Ireland last summer - so I made absolutely sure to save my story at the end of each day, and now I'm finally getting around to editing the stories together into England snapchat travel vlogs!


The first one covers our time in London and Ely: just a quick taste of so many awesome adventures, delicious eats, lovely shops, and beautiful sights.

If you're interested in seeing more, I am sharing the longer travel vlogs over on my Patreon page!  There's a new one posted every week, and I go a lot more in depth into what we saw and did in England.  Thank you so much to those of you who have become patrons already! 💕

Monday, July 24, 2017

Top 5 Underhyped Disney World Restaurants

There are a lot of Walt Disney World restaurants that are pretty hyped up, often deservedly so.

But then again there are some hidden gems out there that often get passed over - the underhyped Disney restaurants that no one talks about...


Athos and I recently did a new top 5 Disney World video with our picks for best table service restaurants that you don't hear about. It was so cool to read the comments and hear your picks for best underhyped eateries at Disney too!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

For the Love of Classics Book tag

There's a new booktube tag video up on my channel this week! I've been wanting to do this one for awhile...



It's the "For the Love of Classics" tag, and it's got all sorts of fun questions about my favorite kind of books: classics! Had to restrain myself not to answer every single one with a Jane Austen novel, but I love the questions: what's the first classic you ever read, what classic literary places would you like to visit, what's a mistitled classic.

Click here to watch and find out what I answered!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

New Disney Fireworks: Happily Ever After from Outside the Park

On our recent trip we got to experience Happily Ever After, the brand new Walt Disney World fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom - but it wasn't from the perspective you might expect.


We were staying at two fabulous resorts - the Wilderness Lodge and the Polynesian Village - so we watched the fireworks from OUTSIDE the park, across the Seven Seas Lagoon! I would really like to see these from inside the park sometime soon, but I loved experiencing Happily Ever After from the comfort of our resort, watching the sparkles reflected in the water. 

Friday, June 30, 2017

June 2017 Quotation Collection

"...provided that nothing like useful knowledge could be gained from them, provided they were all story and no reflection, she had never any objection to books at all."

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen



I've got some favorite quotations to share from my favorite summertime reads so far!

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"The determination to preserve such beauty as remains to us is also a form of courage."

"Mentally it satisfied me as all true rhythm soothes."

Country Notes in Wartime by V. Sackville West

(picked this up on a whim at the library and really enjoyed it!)

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"I have some wounds upon me, and they smart to hear themselves remember'd."

"Rome and her rats are at the point of battle."

"You souls of geese, that bear the shapes of men..."

Coriolanus by William Shakespeare

(if you're in need of creative insults, this is the play to turn to. Coriolanus dishes out plenty of them.)

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"In this world we possess nothing but the passing moment. Polish it as you would a jewel. It is the only wealth to which you have any right. All your other moments belong to God alone."

"Had she expected that those lovers in the Valley of Roses would never grow older, never become battered by the storms of the sea to which the silver stream ran down? I am not such a fool, she said to herself, and one must trim one's sails to the storms as they come. But the stream and the crowned swan are as real as the sea and we shall find them again."

The Child from the Sea by Elizabeth Goudge

(for incredible insights, strong characters, and beautiful writing, Elizabeth Goudge never disappoints.)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Peter Pan's Flight Interactive Queue

"But Peter, how do we get to Neverland?"

"Fly, of course!"

On our last trip to Disney World, we actually got in the STANDBY line for Peter Pan's Flight.  Crazy, I know, but there was this brand new interactive room I'd been reading about! The queue now takes you into the Darling house, and there's magic about in the nursery. Tinkerbell is flying around and might even turn you into Captain Hook!


I'm so glad we made the time for this new pixie dust - it was so magical!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Bullet Journal: June Update

We're about halfway through 2017 (when did that happen, right?), so I thought I should fill you guys in on my bullet journal progress!


I have to admit, I kinda fell off the bullet journal bandwagon in April/May. The spring months always seem so busy! But I sat down and did some new spreads for June which I'm really loving. I do feel like my bullet journal helps me to stay organized, and I love getting creative and drawing out new pages - it's just finding the time to do the spreads that I find challenging!


In case you missed it, I also did an update video in March with some springtime designs and some of my favorite quotations. :)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Walt Disney World Fashion Diary: Spring/Summer 2017

I've really enjoyed doing these fashion diary blog posts from our past few Disney trips! I love planning out my Disney wardrobe, so looking back at my outfits is kinda a great way to summarize our adventures in the parks and resorts. 😄 Today I have some brand new style and magic from our Disney World vacation in May...without further adieu...

------DAY ONE------


Nothing beats that just-arrived-at-Disney feeling! The dress is from ModCloth, the shoes are Sperry's. We arrived in Florida in the afternoon and headed straight to the Animal Kingdom - we were hoping for a soft opening for Pandora that day - alas, no luck. But instead we got to experience...

Monday, June 12, 2017

Bookstore Bliss: Topping & Co. in Ely, England

Bookstores are one of my favorite places to visit when I travel, and when exploring the cathedral city of Ely in England last summer, I discovered what might be my favorite bookshop EVER.


It's called Topping & Company, and they have locations in Bath, St. Andrews in Scotland, and Ely.  There were three floors, windows with cozy seating looking out over the cathedral towers, and a wonderful assortment of books to peruse. They also give you FREE coffee or tea - proper coffee and tea with a polka dotted cup, pot, cream, and sugar - and a little biscuit (aka cookie for Americans) in the cutest little tray. Seriously I kinda want to buy one of those trays to use at home.


We were visiting Ely because Elizabeth Goudge, an author I absolutely love, used to live there, and I've read that the city in her book Dean's Watch is based on Ely. As I mentioned in the Topping & Co. video, I'm sharing the complete vlogs from our England and Ireland trip on my Patreon page, so there are more videos where I talk about Elizabeth Goudge and share our trip to the cathedral (we even got to go up on the roof and see the towers up close!) on Patreon.  There are about a dozen #EmmainEngland vlogs up on Patreon right now, and a new one gets uploaded every Friday. Any patrons giving $5 a month or more get access to all the videos, so if you're interested in watching more or would like to help support my content, I hope you'll check it out! :)

Have you ever been to Topping & Co? What's your favorite bookstore to visit?

Friday, June 9, 2017

All the #DisneyWalls: Top 4 WDW Instagram & Photo Tips!

I don't know about you, but when I'm happy and having a good time, I always end up taking lots of pictures. I just get shutter-happy - I want to remember the moment!


So it's no surprise that I take plenty of photos at Walt Disney World and of course like to share them online. But you probably knew that already. 😉

I just uploaded a new video with my top Instagram and photo tips for Disney on my YouTube channel, so I thought I'd share them with some of my favorite Instagram shots here as well! And I should probably mention that the photos of me were taken by my lovely mom. She's always loved photography and taking pics of my brothers and me, and her shots are gorgeous.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May 2017 Quote Collection

"She sometimes suspected she had nice ankles but nobody had ever mentioned it before."


It's time for another quote collection! Without further adieu...

"Barney Snaith had a way of saying things that gave them poignancy. When he said good evening you felt that it was a good evening and that it was partly his doing that it was. Also, you felt that some of the credit was yours."

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

(The first quote is from The Blue Castle as well - did a buddy read of this with some lovely booktube ladies, and we all just loved it - a treat!)

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"It so happened that Lucy, who found daily life rather chaotic, entered a more solid world when she opened the piano."

"Cecil made one talk in his way, instead of letting one talk in one's own way. This tired one. Was that it? And Cecil was the kind of fellow who would never wear another fellow's cap."

A Room with a View by E.M. Forster

(Could barely keep up with all the quotations I wanted to copy out of this book. Quirky and sometimes pretentious but also self-consciously and delightfully absurd - and yet exploring these really interesting insights and truths buried beneath the absurdity.)


You can hear more about A Room with a View in my Garden Book Tag video!

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"Mrs. Corner would have disbelieved the statement if she could, but she could not disbelieve it; nobody could be in Mrs. Duff's company for ten minutes without realizing that here was a woman who scorned untruth."

Summerhills by D.E. Stevenson

(So charming, heart-warming, and well-written - D.E. Stevenson never disappoints. Mrs. Corner, by the way, is, according to the character Nannie in the book, a "sumph." What a great word.)

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"The ways of joy like the ways of sorrow are may; and hidden away in the depths of Judith's life - though as yet she knows it not - is the germ of another life, which shall quicken, grow, and come forth at last."

Reuben Sachs by Amy Levy

(Found this Persephone Book for $3 at a used book shop and ended up quite liking it. Rather melancholy, but there was a Jane Austen quality to the writing and the insight into the characters that I really liked.)

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"And how about Rome? Don't even let yourself think that it can't be. Say at once that it shall be."

"How strange it is rummaging in all that old metaphysical lumber." (about Schoepenhauer)

"[Henry James] talks, thank heaven, more lucidly than he writes."

The Letters of Edith Wharton edited by R.W.B & Nancy Lewis

(Highly literary and intellectual, full of European adventuring and little evocative descriptions and scenarios that take you straight back in time to the moment - really enjoying these letters!)

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Flower & Garden Food Favorites | Is the Violet Lemonade Worth the Hype??

The 2017 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival ends this weekend, and I'm so glad we got to experience it on our trip last week! The topiaries, the floating flowers, and of course...the food!


My brother Athos and I had to continue our tradition of Disney Top 5 videos and share our top picks from the snack booths...


...sooo delicious!

 

The drinks are just way too cute - on the left is the maple popcorn shake from Northern Bloom, on the right the violet lemonade from Pineapple Promenade. I feel like you see the violet lemonade EVERYWHERE on instagram and social media, and obviously it's adorable, but here's the million dollar question: does it taste as good as it looks?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Top Disney World Packing Tips | Video Series

All Disney fans know that while being at Walt Disney World on vacation is the absolute best, there's one other thing that comes pretty close in awesomeness - and that's preparing for your Disney vacation. The anticipation is half the fun. 😄

I posted three new videos on my YouTube channel recently to walk you through all my packing tips!



We started out with travel makeup recommendations - be sure to check out the comments on this video as well, because I got so many amazing tips from you guys of new products to check out!



Then we moved on to the all-important Disney Style. I just love planning out my wardrobe - look for a new fashion diary post here on the blog soon!



Last but not least, the do's and don'ts list of packing - all the essentials I like to make sure I remember and a couple of things I leave behind.

Share your Disney packing tips, tricks, and rituals down in the comments!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

My Top 4 Mystery Authors & an Epic Library

When my friend Kate from BookTube asked me if I was interested in meeting up with her to check out a mystery exhibit at a gorgeous library, I knew it was time for a weekend bookish adventure.


We had such at amazing time at the Parkway Central Library at both the exhibit and the Gumshoe Experience going on - we got to become sleuths like Sherlock Holmes and run all around the library looking for clues and trying to solve a mystery!

I packed some other adventures into the vlog as well - bookshop browsing, lunch at Le Pain Quotidien (AHHHmazing), exploring the Barnes Foundation, and finally wrapping things up by sharing four of my favorite mystery authors. :)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Walt Disney World Vlogs: January 2017

I've been trying out a new style of videos on my channel lately - generally I like to make one video on a certain topic: a room tour at a resort, a review/vlog of a certain restaurant or ride. But I thought I'd do a series of longer overview vlogs...


There are a total of four in the series! They take you from our flight to our first evening at Disney Springs and our first full park day at the Magic Kingdom...

Thursday, May 4, 2017

May the Fourth Be with You!

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...


It's STAR WARS day, guys! So of course I couldn't resist making today's new video on my YouTube channel a Force-filled one. It was so much fun to answer all the Star Wars questions...check it out!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Quote Collection: April 2017

"Funny how things worked out. You never knew what was best for you in the long run and it was the long run that mattered."


It's been quite a reading month! There's a brand new (and somewhat lengthy!) April Reads video up on my channel, so I thought I'd get a new April Quote Collection up here on the blog. That first quote is from one of my favorite reads of the month, and since I can't resist, here are a few more from that same book...

"Mr. Pinnegar said nothing, which, in any argument, is always a trump card."

"There's still room for a bit of kindness in the world, and the next time you feel like taking a short cut across people's feelings when you want to get somewhere in a hurry, you might bear that in mind."

"Among his many great qualities, Mr. Addis had a straight eye and a rare sense of color. His daffodils marched two abreast along a road that was the shortest distance between two fixed points. No stragglers. No little clumps bivouacking in some sunny corner."

Old Herbaceous: A Novel of the Garden by Reginald Arknell

(Just talking about this book makes me want to pick it up again - a quick read, absolutely charming, so British, lots of flowers - all about the life of a head gardener in an English manor house!)

********

"Why was it that one always regretted change? Things were not made to stay fixed, preserved in amber. Perhaps the only acceptable amber was memory."

Rose Cottage by Mary Stewart

(I'm so glad I finally got around to checking out Mary Stewart's mystery novels - this one was so well told, loved the way the story unfolded and the suspense!)

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"I wish I had known that girl...so interesting and a really remarkable face, though perhaps not strictly good-looking, and all the more interesting for that, because good-looking people are so often cows. I have been reading one of her books, really quite good and so well-written, and I didn't guess the murderer till page 200, rather clever, because I usually do it about page 15."

Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers

(Finally got around to the first book in the Lord Peter and Harriet Vane series - I somehow read them in the totally wrong order - Gaudy Night was my favorite, but I loved this one too)

********

"She had a kind of genius for being amazed by the world and by herself, all her life she remained a virtuoso marveller at things. As she said in her memoirs, this was the origin of fiction-writing: it began at those times when 'reality should no longer be taken for granted.'"

At the Existentialist Cafe by Sarah Bakewell

(That quote refers to Simone de Beauvoir, who I would now like to read, along with at least a dozen other phenomenologists, existentialists, and philosophers mentioned in this book)

********

"It was the hour of unreality - the hour, that is, when unfamiliar things are real. An older person at such an hour and in such a place might think that sufficient was happening to him, and rest content. Lucy desired more."

A Room with a View by E.M. Forster

(Just started this one and already enjoying it hugely!)

********

"...then the soul is in God and God in the soul, just as the fish is in the sea and the sea is in the fish."

The Dialogue by St. Catherine of Siena

(I know I just had a bunch of quotations from this last month - in case you missed it, I did do a review video!)


What books have you been loving this month?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Top 5 Disney World Breakfasts

Prepare yourselves, friends. This post will probably leave you hungry.


Athos and I recently sat down to go through our top 5 Disney World breakfasts. It kinda turned into our top 5 Mickey waffles, because what's a Disney breakfast without Mickey waffles?


You'll have to watch the video to find out which restaurants we picked - there were a few in the parks, a few at the resorts, a mix of buffets and off-the-menu places. As soon as we were done filming, though, I was thinking of all the amazing places we didn't mention.


Maybe we should have made it a top 10...but then I think breakfast might be my favorite meal at Disney!

What are your favorite Disney breakfasts?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

My Vera Bradley Collection

I took a fun stroll down fashion memory lane with last week's new video...


I dug out all my old Vera Bradley handbags to share favorites from my collection! I still use many of them, but it was fun to pull out some styles I had forgotten about.  I associate many of the patterns with the year they came out, what I was doing at the time, what Disney trip I used them during - lots of fun memories!

Do you have a favorite Vera Bradley pattern or bag style?

Monday, April 17, 2017

WE'RE DOING A PODCAST | Disney World A to Z

If you're following me on social media, you'll probably have already heard the news...


...we're doing a PODCAST!  I feel like the question/request for a podcast has popped up intermittently throughout all the time I've been blogging and youtubing, so I'm SO excited to be able to finally tell you YES, a Disney podcast from yours truly is actually happening...but I'm even MORE excited to tell you who I'm doing it with!

My co-host is Josh Taylor - he's a podcaster extraordinnarie, one of the triumvrate who runs my family's absolute favorite YouTube channel (seriously go check out Blimey Cow right now if you don't know it already), AND he's a Disney vacation planner and huge Disney fan!


We've already had so much fun recording the first episodes - we're working our way through the alphabet Walt Disney World style, so we've hit A for Animal Kingdom and B for Budget tips so far. What will "C" be? You'll have to tune in to find out!

Subscribe on iTunes here, Google Play here, or check out the website.

...also follow @DisneyWorldAtoZ on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up-to-date on new uploads and to submit questions to be answered during our Q&A segments!


Monday, April 10, 2017

Where to Go to Catholic Mass When You're at Disney World

If you've been following my blog or YouTube channel for awhile, you may have picked up from occasional references to going to Mass or quotes from my favorite saints that yes, I'm a Catholic. My whole family is Roman Catholic, and one thing we love about traveling is discovering different churches all around the country. One place we obviously love to travel to is Walt Disney World, and many is the time we have paused the magic for a jaunt to Sunday Mass.

(but let's be real, it still follows us to church...nowhere else in the world will you find so many people in the pews wearing MagicBands...)

I've gotten several emails over the years from fellow Disney-going Catholics asking for advice on where to go to Mass while at Walt Disney World, and I'm surprised it's taken me this long to think of writing up a blog post about it!  So without further adieu, here we go...

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

DISNEY SPRINGS: Top 5 New Favorites

In the olden days, I have to admit that Downtown Disney was one of those skippable places at Walt Disney World. Not that we didn't enjoy going there - we had awesome lunches at T Rex Cafe and enjoyed the shopping and of course had to get Earl of Sandwich as often as possible - but when you had to choose between DTD and one of the theme parks or even a resort, it wasn't a difficult decision.


Now things are a different. I have to admit that Disney Springs has left me very impressed and eager to explore more.  I love the new stores, the new walkways and town center are beautiful (have you guys been in the new guest relations? it's so nice you want to sit and stay awhile!), and the new food stops are super tasty. So without further adieu, here are my top 5 new favorites at Disney Springs so far...

Friday, March 31, 2017

Quote Collection: March 2017

"Live life today like there is no coffee tomorrow."

quoted in The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking


I hope everyone is having a Happy March!  We're on the eve of April, so I thought I'd share a summary of my favorite quotations from this month's reads, and since we're on the subject of coffee...

"Husserl liked coffee: long before Aron talked abou tthe phenomenology of apricot cocktails, Husserl told students in his seminars, 'Give me my coffee so that I can make phenomenology out of it.' "

At the Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being & Apricot Cocktails by Sarah Bakewell

(Sarah Bakewell makes existentialism not only accessible but absolutely charming. So cool to get to know these famous philosophers better.)



Both the Hygge book and the Existentialist Cafe book were new acquisitions this month - watch my book haul/unboxing to see more!

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"He sauntered through life with a cheerful insouciance, and up to the age of twenty-five had only once been moved by anything in the nature of a really strong emotion - on teh occasion when, in the heart of Bond Street and at the heigh of the London season, he discouvere that his man, Meadowes, had carelessly sent him out with odd spats on."

Mulliner Nights by P.G. Wodehouse

(That 'cheerful insouciance' is what you read Wodehouse for - can't be beat.)

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"I am a product of long corridors, empty sunlit rooms, upstairs indoor silences, attics explored in solitude, distant noises of gurgling cisterns and pipes, and the noise of wind under the tiles. Also, of endless books."

"You can do more with a castle in a story than with the best cardboard castle that ever stood on a nursery table."

Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life by C.S. Lewis

(Just started this and already am enjoying it SO much!)

********

"Discernment is that light which dissolves all darkness, dissipates ignorance, and seasons every virtue and virtuous deed. It has prudence that cannot be deceived, a strength that is invincible, a constancy right up to the end, reaching as it does from heaven to earth, that is, from the knowledge of Me to the kowledge of oneself, from love of Me to love of one's neighbors."

The Dialogue by St. Catherine of Siena


I mentioned St. Catherine of Siena along with some of my other favorite spiritual writers in my Lenten reading video! This is the perfect time of year for that sort of reading. 😊  We'll close things out with a few more words of wisdom from St. Catherine...

"So your justice is not lessened but proved by the injustices of others. That is, you show you are just through the virtue of patience. Likewise, your kindness and mildness are revealed through gentle patience in the presence of wrath. And in the face of envy, spite, and hatred your loving charity is revealed in hungry desire for the salvation of souls."

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