Goin’ Back to Cali, Cali, Cali

My parents, my grandma, and I have officially mastered the four-day, cross-country vacation. This happened the first time in March 2017 and did a repeat this month — likely my final trip before baby arrives — and I couldn’t have asked for a better visit!

In truth, it will likely be a while before I can make another trip across the country to California, so I really wanted to make sure I could sneak at least another in before I hit the “do not travel” mark of pregnancy.

Last trip, the four of us managed to sneak in a Vegas trip; a trek to the beach; hikes; and more. This time around, we had a busy trip, too, but my tired, pregnant body was happy for some additional reprieves and rests at home, hanging out with each other and the dogs, too.

My mom and dad have started fostering dogs in Bakersfield to help prepare them as they transition from rescue to shelter to fur-ever home, so we were treated to EIGHT wonderful dogs: Cody, Reilly, Lexy, Zai, Denali, and Turbo (my parents’ dogs) as well as Sugar and Charlie, two fosters. It was honestly a puppy paradise full of dog snuggles, which is the best way to spend a vacation.

Plus, we also…

  • Searched for wild flowers and took in some gorgeous sights. California is truly breathtakingly beautiful. Even just a drive to and from certain places feels like an adventure because of all of the scenery to take in. We spent our first day there doing just that and it was great! Cali MUST be the king of rolling hills.
  • Conquered an Escape Room. I’ve always wanted to try an Escape Room, but never bit. It was so much fun to try one out with family. NBD, but we killed it in the Knight & Rook room at Bakersfield Escape Room.
  • Went on a Ross shopping spree. I am not so fortunate to have a Ross nearby, which is a true tragedy, so I love hitting up that store and spending lots of money when we’re there. This time, we were able to get some cute things for baby, too!
  • Toured Heart Castle. Bill and I toured Hearst Castle during our last visit, but my grandma and I didn’t get a chance to do so, so it was fun to go back there. We got an inside look at the stunning cottages! I fell in love with the roofs (and dedicated an Insta album to them here), but the entire place is magical and unreal.
  • Mused at the elephant seals at Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery. The seals are too cute to be ignored and given that we were already Hearst Castle, it made sense to take a look at these cuties again. Bonus: beach views!
  • Visited The Last Bookstore in LA. My mom sent me a link to this place a while back so it was a must-visit for me and I’m so happy we were able to make it happen. I love all bookstores, but this one was Instagrammable AF. Part bookstore, part art exhibit, it was like a slice of heaven for book lovers like me.

A great trip all around and so wonderful to see my parents. The next time they see me, I may have a little person around!


Being Fat and Pregnant

I’ve spent a lifetime hating my body.

I was a fat kid who turned into a fat teen who became a fat adult and I live in the U.S., where we are actively taught that being fat is not just unattractive, but unhealthy, worthy of ridiculedeserving of discrimination (even by medical professionals), and something you should actively be working to change at all times no matter what.

I also grew up in a household where I was told I was beautiful and didn’t have to change for anyone, while also knowing that these same family members were unhappy with their bodies, which very much looked like mine. And who could blame them? We are not immune from society and the world around us tells us that fat bodies are broken. I spent years trying to “fix” my body to make it something more appealing — not so much because I cared about my health but because I bought into this idea that my fatness meant I could never be worthy of good things. It didn’t help that I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which made gaining weight breezy.

About two years ago I did lose a significant amount of weight for two real reasons: I was starting to experience some health issues; and my husband and I wanted to have a baby someday and I knew it would be easier if I weighed a little less. But I still never really appreciated my body. There was always something, I felt, that should change or be better.

Weirdly, getting pregnant has finally made it so I see the value in my body as it is.

I won’t lie: I still feel bad about my body most days. I’m putting weight on, obviously, and feeling much less confident in a body I had finally felt good in. I get down on myself because I don’t have the “perfect baby bump.” I fret over the fact that many well-meaning folks say they “can’t even tell” I’m pregnant. I stress.

But then I remember: I’m growing a person.

And doing that while actively battling against the odds of PCOS, which makes getting pregnant and staying pregnant hard.

Every day that passes feels like an accomplishment. Every tiny little kick feels like a victory, a reminder that my body is incredible as it is now, as it was, and as it will be.

I know I won’t feel beautiful and comfortable in this skin every day, but for some moments, I can. And, for the first time in my life, I am finally learning to appreciate this body of mine for its tremendous strength, for its growth, and for its resilience. To my body: thank you. And I’m sorry I haven’t loved you the way you’ve deserved.

Things I Did (and Wore) in February 2019

Thank baby Jesus that February is done and gone. I could deal with the winter if it was just, like, December and January. But that it extends into February? The AUDACITY!

I have serious pregnancy brain, too, meaning I can hardly remember what I did in the month. (Can still feel the harsh cold on my numb cheeks, though.) Thankfully, there are iPhone photos to remind me that I actually had a lovely time:

  • Celebrating Galentine’s Day with friends
  • Celebrating love on Valentine’s Day with my husband at our favorite tapas restaurant, Bocado (and, yes, we did take tons of photos of that food)
  • Enjoying Wormtown Brewery (beer for Bill, watching Bill drink beer for me)
  • Organizing the baby’s room and all of her magnificent clothes
  • Receiving the best gift ever for baby from a friend/colleague in the form of a Backstreet Boys hair bow (I’m just modeling it, I swear)
  • Fawning over our OG baby, Obi
  • Peeping up at the giant Super Wolf Blood Moon

Here’s what I wore, which was mostly just shades of the same thing…


Outfit details

  • Dress: Shein, a place I actually do not recommend purchasing from because they cannot get proportions right and the sleeves on every single thing I purchased where a nightmare.
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: TJ Maxx


Outfit details:

  • Dress wif pockets: 25 Central
  • Leggings: Kohl’s
  • Boots: DSW


Outfit details

  • Dress: Target — dreamysigh. I just love this dress.
  • Cardigan: Target
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: TJ Maxx


Outfit details

  • Dress: Old Navy
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: TJ Maxx


Outfit details

  • Top: Shein (again, DO NOT RECOMMEND)
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: TJ Maxx

And what I did through pictures!

BTW, I’m digging myself out of a backlog of posts, so expect a few in the next couple of days.


Getting Ready for Two Babies: A Girl and a Book!

What’s better than one baby? Two!

First: a beautiful, wiggly, growing baby girl that Bill and I are so excited to welcome into our lives. My due date is June 19, 2019, meaning there’s just 99 days until we say hello to her.

It’s been so much fun preparing for her arrival. Oddly, Bill and I feel calm and excited more than frantic and nervous. There’s a bit of that, too, of course (especially when I think about the delivery), but mostly we’re feeling organized and prepared in a weird kind of way that we never expected.

We’ve been completely overwhelmed by the love and support from our friends and families, each of whom have thrown themselves into helping us prepare for girl in all of the best ways.

Family has pitched in to help with things like the baby shower and getting the nursery ready to go. Friends have offered hugs and real advice and pitched in to generously gift or loan gently-used items for the baby. It has been such a humbling experience.

At times, it is a little stressful. There are so many things to check off of that to-do list in just nine months — plus, preparing for a baby shower (which is not quite my thing) sometimes feels like the end of the world. But we’re all slowly chipping away at things together and soon, we’ll get to have a little person in the world to say love and teach and watch grow and that’s a pretty amazing feeling.

And then there’s Book Baby. Like Baby Cunningham, Book Baby is still cooking. I finished writing my first young adult novel in December 2017. I revised and revised and revised… and then it sat and sat and sat. In August 2018, I thought: what the hell am I doing? Why am I sitting on this? What if I just… tried pitching this thing?

Aside from reading a few Google articles, I had no idea what I was doing. But I was floored when I heard back from a literary agent who was interested in my book.

I’m SO pleased to share that I’m officially represented by the incredibly talented Tamar Rydzinski and Context Literary Agency!

I’m even listed officially as an author on the site, guys. I just. NEVER THOUGHT I’D SEE THAT.

I am still so shy and reluctant to talk about it because I’m fearful I’ll jinx things or no publisher will be interested in my book or it won’t go anywhere at all — but I want to someday teach my girl to be brave and sometimes bravery means sharing things that are scary.

My career as an author is very much still a work in progress, one that’s been slightly derailed by the exciting news of Real Baby, but I’m very much looking forward to nurturing both babies — which will each bring about new and wonderful challenges and enrich my life in ways I never thought possible.

To exciting things happening and a future that looks bright!


Things I Wore (and Did) in January 2019

Some months you only manage to snag two outfit photos because your body is changing and expanding and you don’t feel really comfortable in it yet so that’s that.

I may only be five months along, but it became official in January that I needed to switch out of my normal wardrobe and switch to a leggings + sweaters or tights + flowy dresses type of look and frankly, despite all of the wonderful parts of being pregnant, I wasn’t feeling my best physically, so I didn’t document much.

Here are the two photos I did nab.


I wore this to go to the local casino and felt pretty cute, though the dress was a little on the long side. (Downside to having short legs!)

Outfit details

  • Dress: Old Navy
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Shoes: Marshall’s


All right, y’all — my first piece of maternity wear! Yay!

Outfit details

  • Shirt: Target
  • Leggings: Kohl’s
  • Boots: DSW


And, my first “baby bump” pic! It’s not much, but my belly is sticking out further than my boobs now, so that’s an official — if not quite noticeable — bump. So exciting!

In January, I hit five months, found out the gender of the baby (sharing in a post soon), spent time with family and friends, explored downtown Springfield, and worked with Bill to accomplish a lot toward getting ready for baby. I’m just sorry I didn’t take more photos!

A glimpse:


Until next month, when hopefully I’ll take some extra pics! xo.

Favorite Books of 2018

Read any good books in 2018? I definitely did. Here are a few of my favorites!

Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay by Phoebe Robinson


It’s hard to write a book that dissects feminism, cuts to the heart of racism and sexism, and also makes you want to pee your pants because you’re laughing so hard. “Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay” is very that, though. Phoebe Robinson is brilliant and hilarious, sharing personal essays that will make you laugh until tears are streaming down your face while you’re on your miserable 45-minute commute to your job driving through the country backroads of western Massachusetts (Amherst is not easy to get to, guys). Each essay was excellent, but I’ll admit it: hearing all about meeting Bono was my absolute favorite. I highly recommend the audiobook for this, too. Though you miss out on some of the photos (you can just stalk her on Instagram to find them!), you get to hear Phoebe read this aloud as it’s intended. Plus, there’s nothing better than when she starts to laugh at her own jokes.

Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Other Four-Letter Words by Michael Ausiello


You’ll need tissues for this one — a moving, real-life love story of TV writer Michael Ausiello and photographer Kit Cowan. Ausiello moves seamlessly between the building blocks of his relationship with Cowan to the present-day horror of what it’s like to find out that the love of your life is dying from cancer. This book will gut you and you’ll find yourself hoping that the title was a mislead, that the hero really doesn’t die in the end, and you’ll be shaken to the core when he does. Still, it’s a beautiful story about life, love, grief, and the adventure of being in a relationship with your person. It devastated me; I loved it.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara


Michelle McNamara has a way of weaving together details about the Golden State Killer in such a way that, at times, you forget you’re reading about a serial killer — but in the best way. Though the book is a true depiction of McNamara’s obsession, it also tells a lot about McNamara, too, from her childhood to what attracted her to this case to her process. Learning about her search is every bit as interesting as the details of the case itself. But fear not: if you’re a true crime lover, the book is every bit as chilling as you think it is; there were parts that gave me chills. I only wish McNamara was around to know how influential her work was.

Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older


I’m so pleased that this will be a series. “Shadowshaper” is a fantasy young adult novel that tells the story of a young girl named Sierra who uncovers a supernatural world. It’s hard to describe the plot without spoiling anything, but the Goodreads description had me hooked:

Sierra Santiago was looking forward to a fun summer of making art, hanging out with her friends, and skating around Brooklyn. But then a weird zombie guy crashes the first party of the season. Sierra’s near-comatose abuelo begins to say “Lo siento” over and over. And when the graffiti murals in Bed-Stuy start to weep…. Well, something stranger than the usual New York mayhem is going on.

Sierra is a great YA character, the kind that you can see so much potential in and root for over and over. The pacing of the book is great, with a great balance between the action and focus on the story’s relationships. The book is exciting and spooky and has supernatural elements that feel pretty believable. All in all, a great read!

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez


It is can be tricky to tackle mental health in a tactful but real way in YA novels. Erika L. Sánchez does it beautifully. She writes of grief and loss, of loneliness and despair, of family and growth in lovely ways. But I am truly grateful for — and impressed by — her no-holds-barred portrayal of what it’s like to deal with depression as a teen. Julia is an unforgettable character with wit and spunk; she’s tough, but lovable as she searchers for the truth about her older sister Olga, who passed away, and may have a secret life Julia never knew about. The book perfectly combines grit with humor as it covers important themes like the immigrant experience, mental health, cultural expectations, family pressure, and chasing your own ambition.

All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir by Nicole Chung


This was perhaps my favorite book of the year. It was a book that truly transported me; I could picture and feel everything Nicole Chung experienced so fully, despite my life being nothing like it. The book is a memoir of Chung’s life and of her search to learn more about her biological family, set against the backdrop of her own life and motherhood and experiences with her adoptive family. The writing in this book is breathtaking at parts and so vulnerable. Chung’s feelings are ripe and raw for the reader’s consumption and her story truly moved me like a memoir hasn’t before.

What were your favorite reads from 2018?

(Book photos credit to Amazon.com)

Let’s Do This, 2019

2018 was good to me. It is weird to feel like you’re thriving personally while the world is sort of crashing around you. I’m not immune to the terrible things that happen — but in my personal life, I’m happy and things are actually going well.

Last year, I vowed to live 2018 with less fear and anxiety and I’m proud (and a little surprised) to say I’ve stuck to it — from small things, like trying to reach out to friends more, to big things, like deciding to try for a baby.

In 2018, I lived big and laughed a lot. I’m so, so fortunate for all of the adventures I get to embark on and that I get to do it with the love of my life and my very best friend by my side. Though there were some hardships — some difficult family circumstances certainly challenged me at times — for the most part, I felt like I was able to live the life I’ve always dreamed of as a kid.

I’ve worked on myself quite a bit in therapy, too, making personal strides, learning to better live with my anxiety, unlearning bad habits, and working on treating myself a little better. Plus, Bill and I proudly got our finances in order (a huge, huge accomplishment, going from poor college students to steady adults). We traveled to countries we’ve never been before and explored museums and drag shows and Disney.

And, I got pregnant.

Professionally, it was a big year, too — I got a significant promotion at work, and I’m happier than I’ve ever been at my job.

Shortly after, I finally started sending my completed young adult novel to literary agencies. And I’m so excited that one was interested; I’m now represented by Context Literary Agency! I’ve been writing stories since I was just a kid and now I have a completed book and, with the help of an incredible agent who believes in my work, I’m one step closer to making my dream of publishing a book a reality.

So, big, exciting things are already happening. Where do I go from here?

I think, in 2019, I need to work on little things that amount to a lot by working to appreciate everything while also being less affected by others. In short, I guess I’ve got to take learn to roll with it.

Speaking of appreciation, I’ll start by appreciating some of the wonderful things from 2018. (Some of these captions may be a little off because they’re part of old posts, but that’s OK!)



2019 is going to be one of the most significant years of my life — for myself, for Bill, for our relationship, for our family — and I can’t wait. To 2019!


Things I Wore (and Did) in December 2018

So long, December. Saying it’s been quite the month might be a little bit of an understatement! But first, a few of the things I wore…


Outfit details

  • Dress: Old Navy
  • Leggings: Kohl’s
  • Shows: DSW


Outfit details

  • Shirt: Target
  • Skirt: Forever 21
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: DSW


Outfit details

  • Dress: LuLaRoe Julia
  • Cardigan: Forever 21
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Shoes: Rainbow


Outfit details

  • Dress: Old Navy
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: DSW

All right. Onto the big stuff:


I’m three months pregnant!

Bill and I are so, so, so excited! We found out the news while in Disney World, the most magical place on Earth, which is perfectly apt. We confirmed the news when we got home from vacation and it was truly incredible having a little secret, just the three of us (four of us, counting Obi), for a few months. We waited until Christmas to share the news with loved ones, which meant I was already into the second trimester. Baby is now the size of a little peach (according to The Bump app)! It’s been magical and hilarious watching him or her grow into different fruit sizes over the last couple of weeks.

I’ll be frank and say we were incredibly hesitant to share this news publicly. As someone with PCOS, getting pregnant and staying pregnant is a challenge and there is a real possibility this pregnancy won’t be the easiest. But here we are, and so far so good (!), so we’re celebrating and taking everything one day at a time.

Seeing our baby on an ultrasound really helped make things feel real. Bill and I couldn’t help but get emotional watching our baby move around and, later that afternoon, we heard the heartbeat. It was one of the best sounds we’ve ever heard.

Our friends have been elated by the news, offering immense and significant support and love. Their outpouring of love has meant so much to Bill and to me and we really feel like we are so fortunate to be surrounded by good people who are so good to us.

Of course, family can’t wait to meet the little one! Here’s a peek into part of how we shared the news with family. Each of the soon-to-be grandparents and great-grandma got a card, a framed photo of the baby’s first ultrasound, and the announcement from Obi above. Everyone else got a onesie-shaped cookie with a tag letting them know of their soon-to-be status. It went so well and everyone seems really happy for us!

Aside from that super big news… here are some of the other things I did in December! Not pictured: Our beautiful, finished kitchen floor. Hopefully I remember to nab some photos soon. Also, yes: that IS a signed Spice Girls poster!!!


More soon.


What I Wore (and Did) in November 2018

It’s so far away from November that I barely remember what I wore or what I did, so I’m keeping this one short and sweet. The month flew by in a whirlwind for reasons I’ll share soon (but not yet) and somehow, it’s literally the end of December and 2018.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get many pictures during the month, though I did get to do plenty of memorable things, like…

  • Accompany one of my besties and my adorable nephew, O, to meet Daniel the Tiger
  • Vote
  • Travel up to Brattleboro, Vt.
  • “Graduated” from therapy (heeey, y’all, I’m kind of emotionally stable)
  • Nabbed another pair of “Hamilton” tickets because once isn’t enough
  • Had dinner with friends
  • Gave a presentation at work for many of our campuses
  • Started installing a new kitchen floor (OK, fine, I watched my husband and father-in-law begin to start on the kitchen floor, but I did paint most of the sunroom)

Here are some of the things I wore.


I was super excited to be gifted this T-shirt from actress Yara Shahidi’s “Eighteen x 18” campaign and to wear it on Election Day. We turned it TF out!

Outfit details

  • T-shirt: Eighteen x 18
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Boots: DSW


Outfit details

  • Sweater: Old Navy
  • Tank top: Old Navy
  • Pants: Marshall’s
  • Boots: Rainbow


Thanksgiving looks!

Outfit details

  • Sweater: Old Navy
  • Tank top: Old Navy
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Boots: DSW


“[H]er hair is so big. It’s full of secrets.”

Outfit details

  • Shirt: Old Navy
  • Leggings: Kohl’s
  • Boots: DSW


Shout out to my visible belly outline (VBO), which I’m still learning to be OK with.

Outfit details

  • Dress: LuLaRoe Julia
  • Sweater: Old Navy
  • Tights: WeLoveColors
  • Boots: Rainbow

A super brief glimpse into November through pics.



Until next month (which is just days away). xo.

Spooky (Not-So) Scary Halloween at Disney World

Disney is definitely one of my favorite vacation spots. It reminds me of my childhood and it’s just so magical and light and fun. So, for Bill’s 30th, we thought there was no better place to celebrate than in the Happiest Place on Earth!

Day 1 – Disney Springs

For the first time ever, Bill and I visited Disney Springs and really checked everything out. In years past, we’ve typically stayed toward the center of Disney Springs without really venturing out and this year, we realized how much we had been missing out on! There’s so much more to see and do there than we originally thought.

It was a little warm when we arrived — in matching shirts, no less — but it was the perfect way to spend our first day in Disney. Our flight had landed in the morning, so we spent the afternoon immersing ourselves in Disney stores, realizing Disney prices are more expensive than we remembered (haha), and getting excited to finally see Disney in the fall. In addition to most of the stores having spooky, Halloween decor, the whole of Disney Springs was complete with fall decorations. So cute!

Favorite moments: Stopping at Amorette’s Patisserie for champagne and a little Mickey Mouse cake; getting silly in the stores.; picking up a nice piece of Disney art; watching the sun set on the water.


Day 2 – Animal Kingdom

We woke up and the sun was shining so it made perfect sense to start our day down by the pool! This time, like last, we stayed at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort, so we were already familiar with the entire resort and settled into a routine quickly. We wanted as much sunshine and pool time as we could get!

After a morning of swimming, it was off to Animal Kingdom. Bill and I wanted to try our hand at “Disney bounding” this time around — what the Pinterest/Instagram world calls wearing an outfit inspired by a Disney character without fully dressing up like that character — so we opted to be Piglet and Pooh. (Shout out to Amazon.com for our $10 character ears.) We got a surprising amount of compliments on them all day long, which was super fun.

We visited our favorite staples in the park, like Kilimanjaro Safari, where we saw giraffes and elephants and hippos, and walked the trails to see tigers, zebras, monkeys, and more. I loved it. Depressingly, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, which Bill and I discovered for the first time last trip, was closed! But a quick Google search revealed that they are planning to reopen in spring 2019. Woohoo!

We also tried some new (to us) things, like the Up!-inspired bird show (super cute); A Bug’s Life show inside of the Tree of Life; and the new Pandora/Avatar world. Pandora is nice during the day and really quite beautiful at night! We decided to brave the line for Flight of the Passage and waited a whopping three hours. We ended up missing the night fireworks show, but at least the ride was pretty amazing!

Favorite moments: Grabbing lunch at the Nomad Lounge; getting up close to the giraffes on the safari; walking the animal trails; getting lots of fun compliments on our Piglet and Pooh ears; and eating a Mickey ice cream bar, not even joking.



Day 3 – Magic Kingdom and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Magic Kingdom and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party was the day I was most excited about and kind of the whole inspiration behind our trip! We were both so excited to finally be able to experience Magic Kingdom near Halloween.

I decided to dress up as Minnie, while Bill went as Mickey. And let me tell you: this day/night did not disappoint! I wasn’t sure there would be enough fun and magic to make up for the fact that the Halloween party was a whole separate ticket/fee, but there was so much to do.

We started by taking a bazillion pictures of the decorations and in front of the castle. You don’t go all the way to Disney and then NOT take dozens of photos in front of the castle! Then it was off to Tomorrowland; Fantasyland; Liberty Square; Frontierland, and Adventureland.

In Tomorrowland, I whooped Bill during the Buzz Lightyear ride. Fantasyland was such a blast. I tried a pumpkin churro (delicious), we got some treats in the circus-themed gift shop, and by sheer luck, the wait time to meet Minnie Mouse was only 10 minutes long, so I got to meet Minnie for the first time ever! In Liberty Square, we visited the Haunted Mansion (of course) and pored over the gift shop. In Frontierland, we sat through the bear show and laughed a bunch because oh my gosh it’s so silly.

As the afternoon shifted to evening, it was time for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party! The crowd thinned out a little and we started seeing incredible costumes everywhere, so much so that we felt seriously underdressed. I loved seeing everyone’s over-the-top looks. So fun! With the park a little quieter, we rode the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and then decided to walk through the whole park all over again to check out all of the cute Halloween additions and changes.

We started in Tomorrowland and trick-or-treated in the Monsters Inc. Laugh Factory, where a bunch of adults (and kids, of course) rushed through the building getting free candy. BEST. NIGHT EVER? Plus, by sheer luck, I spotted RuPaul’s Drag Race season 3 icon Alexis Mateo!!! Dressed like Mickey Mouse, she was trick-or-treating with her friends, but was gracious enough to let me nab a photo. I love her so much! WILD.

Then we ventured towards the Halloween dance party with Mike and Sully; watched the Boo to You parade; was mesmerized by the Hocus Pocus show (Hocus Pocus celebrated its 20th anniversary this year so the merch was incredible); and watched the fireworks. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN! If you ever have a chance to go Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, I highly, highly recommend it.

Favorite moments: Meeting drag queen Alexis Mateo (!!); trick or treating in the Monsters Inc. Laugh Factory; watching the Boo to You parade; dancing with Sully and George Sanderson during the Halloween dance party; meeting Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck; getting a free pretzel in Tomorrowland AND a free chocolate-covered strawberry in Fantasyland because it was Bill’s birthday (woohoo!); seeing everyone’s amazing costumes; riding the Winnie the Pooh ride at nearly midnight and purchasing an adorable Winnie the Pooh and Piglet stuffed animal; watching the spooky fireworks.


Day 4 – Hollywood Studios

After a really busy day at Magic Kingdom, Bill and I were excited for a more low-key, Star Wars-filled day of fun at Hollywood Studios. To me, Hollywood Studios is still finding its footing, especially as they revamp a huge portion of the park and gear up to launch the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, so there isn’t a ton I’m personally invested in outside of Star Wars and Toy Story Land. But still, we were in for a great day!

As is tradition, we stopped at the Star Wars ride first and then watched the adorable Jedi Academy. Then we booked it to Toy Story Land and were in awe of how beautiful everything was. We loved the details like Andy’s (giant) footprint, seeing the green army men walk the park, and the sheer amount of toys everywhere. We stopped by Woody’s Lunch Box for a snack, where we tried one of their hash brown dishes (yum) and Disney’s version of a homemade Pop Tart (DOUBLE YUM). Toy Story Land is also home to my official new favorite ride: Toy Story Mania!!! YOU GUYS. It’s sort of like the Buzz Lightyear ride from Magic Kingdom only 10 times better. It’s a shootout game, but it moves so fast and you have to try it! Even the interior is beautiful, full of gigantic replicas of games like Uno and Twister.

After spending a thorough time hanging out in Toy Story Land, we left and ran into Phasma, watched the Indiana Jones show, got some beers at Baseline, and then it started to get real warm, so we called it a day, went back to the hotel, and lounged by the pool.

Favorite moments: Riding Toy Story Mania and the Star Wars Ride; meeting Chewbacca; lounging in the sunshine.


Day 5 – Epcot

Epcot always leaves me with belly aches because I eat too much, but I still love it. Though the weather wasn’t so nice and it rained, Bill and I were really excited to check out the Food and Wine Festival. Plus, I was pumped to rock my new Minnie Mouse earrings I had just purchased because aren’t they fabulous (see below)?

I loooved what they’ve done to Mexico by adding all of the Coco displays and merch. I even got a little choked up at one display. Plus, Bill got serenaded with a birthday song by a mariachi band in Mexico, too! I have it all on video and I look forward to blackmailing him in the future.

Mostly, though, we ate, and we ate A LOT. In addition to the normal countries, there also were new, pop-up countries that offered delicious food selections. Since this was the Food and Wine Festival, we felt compelled to try a lot and, like last time, I started to feel sick halfway through and needed a break. But we soldiered on!

Some of my favorite foods:

  • Spicy Tuna and Salmon Handroll in Japan
  • Maple Bourbon Boursin Cheesecake at The Cheese Studio
  • Short Rib Tostada in Mexico

We loved watching the sun set on the water and then, by nightfall, we ventured into the ride area, which was pretty much deserted. We got onto the Finding Nemo ride in seconds and we got to go on Journey into the Imagination with Figment by ourselves. It was great! In the aquarium, Bill and I spent a lot of time watching the dolphins and fish because it was so relaxing. Then it was off to IllumiNations (my first time!), which we wanted to see before the show wrapped for good.

Favorite moments: Eating that maple bourbon cheesecake; riding Journey into the Imagination with just me and Bill; playing around in Journey into the Imagination’s music chamber; watching the dolphins play.


Day 6 – Magic Kingdom (Reprise)

Our final day at Disney was spent back at Magic Kingdom. We wanted to revisit some of our favorites (Haunted Mansion, Ariel’s Grotto, Winnie the Pooh) and we also got a chance to see the daytime parade. We watched from Pecos, the restaurant, which had a patio that offered an incredible view of the action. Tiara even waved at me, guys. I’m kind of a big deal.

Sadly, we couldn’t stick around long as we had a flight to catch, but it was still a super fun day.

Favorite moments: Watching the parade; getting waved at by Tiana; being with Bill.


Then we said farewell to Orlando and wrapped our magical vacation. It was truly a spectacular one full of fun and adventure and excitement (and expenses — lots of those bad boys, too), and I hope we can go back soon.