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.

xo.

Things I Wore (and Did) in October 2018

To say that October was kind of the best month would be an understatement — like, so many good things happened I don’t even know where to begin.

  • Celebrated Bill’s 30th birthday!
  • Saw Hamilton in Boston!
  • Took an incredible, Halloween-themed trip to Disney (full post to come)!
  • Got great news (which I can share soon)!
  • Made serious progress on a writing project!
  • Hosted a spooky dinner party!
  • Had friends over!
  • Celebrated Halloween with Obi as a Beanie Baby!
  • DID I MENTION HAMILTON AND DISNEY WORLD? I mean. COME ON. It really doesn’t get better than that, people!

I don’t want to seem like the kind of person who pretends only good things happen to her because that isn’t true. Behind the scenes, I struggled with some family things, I caught a viral infection on the way back from Disney and was out of commission for 48 hours, I worked a lot (some nights I worked, left, brought my laptop home, worked more, then did it all again the next day), I didn’t have enough time to pursue hobbies, I stressed about politics a lot, and I didn’t eat super well.

I say this not because it wasn’t an incredible month (IT WAS), but because I think it’s unrealistic to pretend like things were all good. There’s always good and bad, but I just love reminding myself of how relatively happy and fortunate I am in my life.

To start: here’s what I wore!

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I’m never mad to be twinning with one of my work favorites, Kelsey. Interestingly enough, we wore these outfits on the same day not once but twice in October. We even tied our hair back both days. #FRIENDSHIP

Outfit details

  • Dress: Fashion to Figure
  • Cardigan: Old Navy
  • Leggings: Old Navy (OMG, guys, all of my Old Navy leggings suddenly developed holes in the legs at the exact same time so I’m down to just one pair and it’s depressing)
  • Shoes: Tieks

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Outfit details

  • Dress: Amazon
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: Rainbow

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: Target
  • Skirt: LuLaRoe Cassie
  • Shoes: Payless

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: Old Navy
  • Skirt: Ross
  • Shoes: Payless

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My favorite outfit of the month because it’s suuuper 90s inspired. I had originally purchased an overall dress with this shirt, but the dress was a touch too small. I kept waiting to “lose the weight” but never did and said fuck it, I want to wear this shirt! I separated it from the dress and repurposed it and now this is one of my go-to looks.

Outfit details

  • Shirt: Target
  • Skirt: Forever 21
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Shoes: Rainbow

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I’m sensing a clear theme with these tights/boots combo.

Outfit details

  • Dress: Amazon
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: Rainbow

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Outfit details

  • Sweater: Forever 21
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Boots: DSW

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Outfit selfie with Bill because this is what we wore to see Hamilton! Ahhhh! Plus, peep the Hamilton bracelet I wore (below), a gift from Bill.

Outfit details

  • Shirt: Forever 21
  • Skirt: Forever 21
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: Rainbow
  • Bracelet: Etsy

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🎶 “With a comma after dearest…” 🎶 — one of my favorite lyrics from the song, “Take a Break”

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I had a presentation to give to about 40+ people… on Halloween. I really wanted to wear my Halloween dress, but I felt like I needed to dress it up a little, so I stuck a blazer over it and rolled with it.

Outfit details

  • Dress: Amazon
  • Blazer: Old Navy
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: Rainbow

And, a glimpse of what I did via photos.

 

October, I love you always, and I’ll miss you dearly. Until next year!

xo.

Things I Wore (and Did) in August 2018

Things have been interesting — a mix of good, bad, and stuff in between. At work, August was one of the busiest months I’ve had as it led right up to move-in weekend (arguably the most hectic weekend of the year for marketers in higher ed!). At home, Bill and I have done a little bit of travel, but we’ve been working really hard to get our finances in order — and KNOCK ON WOOD it’s working. Yay!

In August, in between all of the work (and there was a lot), I had lots of fun. Bill and I went to see Queen Bey and Jay’s On the Run II show, which was incredible. We’ll ignore the fact that we were stuck in traffic to and from the venue and that we missed our beloved Chloe x Halle’s performance because of it, but the show itself was everything. Obviously. It’s Beyoncé! (And Jay Z.)

We also visited Cape Cod for the first time, spending a weekend in Provincetown and Wellfleet, both of which we loved. Originally, we booked the trip because we had tickets to see our favorite drag queen, Trixie Mattel, perform her stand-up show. Unfortunately, Trixie cancelled on a few shows, including ours. We’d already booked the hotel, though, so we just enjoyed ourselves in the Cape. It was so much fun! It was raining when we arrived but held off for the rest of the weekend so we could explore the area. We especially loved the Cape Cod National Seashore (the views were beautiful) and everything about P-Town. We’d love to go back.

The next weekend, my cousin, Adam, got married and we had so much fun at the wedding. It was great for Bill and I to spend time with my close family and let loose. I also think Bill liked watching me get super drunk and dance terribly and now he has video evidence which he can blackmail me with until the end of time! Also in August, Bill and I visited the Plainville Hot Air Balloon Festival, a staple of our respective childhoods (we both grew up in the same time) but an event we hadn’t been to in years. It was a blast and great to be back in our old stomping grounds.

Here’s a look at some of the outfits I wore throughout the month!

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Outfit details

  • Dress: Forever 21
  • Shoes: Payless

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My Beyoncé outfit! It was 90 degrees out in the evening and I wanted to look cute without dying from the heat.

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Outfit details

  • Body suit: Rainbow
  • Shorts: Rainbow
  • Shoes: Amazon
  • Earrings: BrunoMars.com (not a joke!)

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: Old Navy
  • Shorts: Rainbow
  • Shoes: Converse

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Outfit details

  • Dress: Fashion to Figure (when it was still really good!)
  • Shoes: Payless
  • Giant-ass ring: Norwegian Cruise Line

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Outfit details

  • Dress: Faces
  • Shoes: Amazon

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Outfit details

  • Dress: LuLaRoe
  • Shoes: Payless

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: 25 Central
  • Skirt: Forever 21
  • Shoes: Payless

Here’s what I did through photos.

 

All in all, a good month and now I’m OVER-THE-MOON that it’s September. Fall is my time, y’all. Bring on the pumpkin spice!

 

I Turned 30 in Honduras and It Was Everything

How do you want to celebrate your 30th birthday? My husband, Bill, asked me this a while back and I couldn’t come up with a good answer, so we tabled the discussion for a long time.

Then one of us mentioned it would be nice to resurrect a dream we’d had at 25. To celebrate that milestone birthday, we had wanted to take a big trip together. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out then for a multitude of reasons (a serious loss in the family, money, timing), but we found ourselves wondering if maybe it’d be feasible for 30.

We waffled. We were just about to pay off our joint credit card debt, so we weren’t sold on the idea of incurring more debt. We went back and forth and back and forth until finally we said: fuck it. We’re only going to turn 30 once and we might as well make a big deal of it. We decided on not just one but two trips—one near my birthday and one near his.

My birthday was up first, so when the right deal popped up, we booked a week-long western Caribbean cruise that would take us to Honduras, Belize, and Mexico. Though we’d been to Mexico before, Honduras and Belize were new to us, so we were excited. (We’d also booked this trip in the dead of winter so the idea of spending a full week in the sunshine on the beach really appealed to us.)

The trip ended up being the perfect blend of relaxing and serene and fun and exciting. We spent a lot of time laying out in the sun, drinking, sampling food, and exploring. What more can you really ask for? Here’s what we did in each port!

Roatan, Honduras

I turned 30 in Honduras—a phrase I can’t believe I get to say. We watched the sun rise and, for our excursion, we were taken to a private island and greeted by goddamn sea lions. Bill and I broke off from the group so I could take a picture with Ting the sea lion. I ended up getting to do a couple of tricks with him, like shaking his hand, feeding him fish, and even getting a kiss.

We wandered through the “zoo” comprised of animals that had been rescued and then found the beach, which was more picturesque and serene than I imagined. Though the day had begun a bit cloudy, by the time we’d wandered to the beach, the sun was out and the water was clear and we couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day. We got some local beers, laid in the sun and in the shade, splashed around in the water, and relaxed. As I think of it now, I feel like I can still feel the sun on my face and hear the rustling of the trees (as well as the occasional squawk of the parrots who were nearby, but that’s all right).

Midway through the day, we got some local food including rice and beans, chicken, fish, and plantains, which I still maintain was the best food we’ve eaten on the trip. After lunch, we had opportunity to feed some monkeys as an optional part of our excursion. I was in, and Bill offered to take some photos of me. When we got to the monkey cages, we learned that Bill would have to join me in the cage while someone else took the photos, and he kindly agreed to do so, even though he wasn’t crazy about the idea—especially after they said the monkeys would gravitate toward the tallest object in the cage (AKA him).

But we were set up with two bowls of food and ushered into the cage. Two monkeys jumped onto Bill immediately and eventually some jumped on me, too. The sweet little noises they made sounded just like puppies and they were a whole lot gentler than I expected given that there were tiny mammals climbing all over our heads. Bill and I laughed a lot during these couple of minutes and it was great.

After another hour or so on the beach, we explored the replica Mayan ruins, stopped in the gift shop, and then went back to the boat, concluding what might have been my best birthday ever.

Harvest Caye, Belize

Harvest Caye is a private island owned by Norwegian Cruise Lines, which made it the perfect destination for another beach day. It was truly stunning, both from a distance and up close—and, honestly, who wouldn’t want to spend the day on a private island?!

We rented a clam shell beach tent to keep us out of the sun because it was hot as early as 8 a.m. But I really loved this port and I never say no to a beach day. I even found a perfect seashell that I snuck into my bag and brought back home with me.

Costa Maya, Mexico

In Costa Maya, Bill and I (already sunburnt) opted out of spending a day on the beach and instead wandered around the shops. We caught a show featuring “pirates” (which was actually pretty good!); admired some of the Mexican wares; watched majestic dolphins playing; and drooled over some beautiful conchas. There was even a bird sanctuary featuring flamingos to check out. It was fun!

Cozumel, Mexico

How do you say farewell to a vacation that’s already been incredible? YOU SWIM WITH DOLPHINS. Yeah, you heard me.

I’ve always loved water animals and the idea of swimming with dolphins seemed like… well, a lot like magic. Bill insisted we do it, saying we’d love it, and he was absolutely right. It was the highlight of the trip!

I was so excited that I could barely keep my cool, and when we finally got in the water with the dolphin, the trainer asked, “Is everyone excited?” and I gave such an enthusiastic “YES!” that I volunteered myself to go first. IT WAS THE BEST.

The trainer pulled me away from the group and told me to hold onto my life vest. The dolphin would then come and give me a kiss on the cheek, the trainer said. She DID. I DIED. Then I got to give her a kiss, too! The trainer instructed me to hold out my hand and the dolphin would come put her nose in my palm, but instead, she gave me ANOTHER kiss on the cheek. I felt like we were besties, obviously. Then she put her nose in my palm and I was able to pet her. For the last trick, I had to hold out both hands and touch her flippers. It was incredible and I was so, so happy, which I think you can tell from my photos.

I also loved watching Bill interact with the dolphin, too. He was so kind and gentle with her. It was sweet. And, of course, he took the best photo.

In between each trick the dolphin did, the trainer shared facts with us, let us get up close with the dolphin, and the swim wrapped with a couple of tricks. In all, we spent about an hour in the water with her, and it was glorious.

In all, the vacation was lovely and just what we needed after being vacation-free for about a year. I’d highly recommend the vacation to anyone looking for an ultra relaxing trip!

xo.

Things I Wore (and Did) in May 2018

May was a truly magical month. I always tend to love May: warmer weather, longer days, and it’s my birth month so I’m very biased.

But this May was extra great. First, I was promoted at work, and as of June 4, I’m officially back in the social media realm! I’m so, so, so excited (and it’s been fantastic so far). I also had so much fun spending time with Bill and friends and Obi.

Also: I turned 30.

And, I didn’t just turn 30. I turned 30 in style. Like, as a spoiled 30-year-old princess and I loved every single second. It started with an incredible gift from Bill—meet-and-greet tickets to see my favorite drag queen, Trixie Mattel. I MEAN. I’m not exaggerating when I say that night was one of the best of my life.

If you’re a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race, or if you’re even just a fan of Trixie, then you know she’s hysterical. I’d been dying to see one of her live shows, which mixes comedy with her folk music. Bill and I had meet-and-greet tickets to one of her shows back in September but, unfortunately, weren’t able to go. So this was everything!

Before the show, WE GOT TO MEET HER. I was so nervous that I got drunk, despite having done this once before and despite knowing she’d be perfectly lovely, which she was. I was also able to give her a gift: an adorable beaded Miss Vanjie bracelet. When I handed the bracelet over to her, rambling about how I bought it for her and didn’t make it, she put the bracelet on her wrist and said to me, “You had to buy this? You dumb bitch.”

Trixie Mattel called me a dumb bitch I expect to see that on my gravestone. 

I also got to take a photo with one of my favorite local drag queens, Mia E Z’lay, who performs regularly at Drag Brunch in Holyoke, Mass., which Bill and I love to go to. It was awesome!

Then there was the show. I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in a really long time; I laughed until my stomach hurt, until my throat ached, and until I cried, and then I laughed some more. I laughed so hard that I made friends with the (very drunk) couple in front of me who couldn’t stop laughing every time I laughed. Trixie’s show was the perfect mix of smart comedy and terrible puns, 90s music that’s so bad it’s good, skits, high-brow jokes, low-brow jokes, drag jokes, and folk music. I loved literally every single second of it, including the time I spent inhaling two bags of peanut M&Ms in between my bajillion glasses of wine.

That alone would’ve been an incredible birthday.

But then the next day Bill and I left for a seven-day cruise to the Caribbean. I KNOW. Whose life is this?!

More details on the cruise to come, but here’s what I wore during this momentous month!

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Outfit details

  • Dress: Old Navy
  • Jean jacket: TJ Maxx
  • Shoes: Tieks

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Outfit details

  • Dress: LuLaRoe Amelia (shortened because my lil legs weren’t built for Amelias)
  • Shoes: Payless

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How cute is this 90s kid T-shirt? It was a gift from my cousin and I have no idea where he bought it, but I wanted to include it anyway!

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Outfit details

  • Dress: LuLaRoe Carly
  • Shirt: Marshall’s
  • Shoes: DSW

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Ya girl’s Trixie Mattel outfit. It’s not every day I rock a see-through top, but this was my favorite drag queen’s comedy show, and if you can’t show your bra to a drag queen, who can you show it to?

Outfit details

  • Bra: Cacique
  • Dress: Amazon
  • Shows: Payless

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: Target
  • Skirt: Forever 21
  • Shoes: Tieks

Cruise outfits

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Outfit details

  • Body suit: Rainbow
  • Shorts: Rainbow
  • Earrings: 25 Central

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Outfit details (me)

  • Bathing suit: Charlotte Russe
  • Skirt: LuLaRoe Maxi
  • Shoes: Amazon
  • Backpack: Target

Outfit details (Bill)

  • Shirt: Target
  • Shorts: Marshall’s
  • Shoes: Nike (“On discount!”—Bill)
  • Sunglasses: “Those sweet babes are from a store in Honduras.”—Bill

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Outfit details

  • Bathing suit: Charlotte Russe
  • Skirt: Forever 21
  • Shoes: Amazon

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Outfit details

  • Bathing suit (clearly, I lived in this): Charlotte Russe
  • Shorts: Rainbow
  • Shoes: Amazon

And, here’s a peek at what I did. (Does not include cruise photos!)

 

 

 

Thanks, May, for being dope. And thank you, Bubby, for making my birthday extra, extra special.

xo.

Living Without Fear in 2018

The end of 2017 is here, and I imagine there are many of us who are pleased to say farewell to the year. While I had many moments of personal triumphs, some days, it was hard to exist as a woman of color in Trump’s America. Nevertheless, I persisted. Nevertheless, we persisted.

As a society, we were challenged by this year—at times, vexed, angered, exhausted, overwhelmed. But we were also determined, committed, disciplined, hopeful, and driven, and that’s got to count for something.

I’ve been seeing so many resolutions for 2018 and, perhaps it’s just me, but they seem to be much more thoughtful than I’ve seen in years past. Resolutions to be kinder, to live more meaningfully, to be patient, and one I’ve seen again and again is to live without fear.

As someone living with anxiety, living a life without fear simply isn’t possible for me. But I do think I often let fear hold me back from pursuing things I’m interested in. I’ve gotten better about that in recent years and, as I get ready to look 30 in its face, I’d like to try to adopt a modified version of that motto for 2018: live with less fear. It doesn’t sound as pretty, but it feels more achievable for me, so I’ll try to embrace it.

I spent 2017 trying to live a life I could look back on and be proud of, and I think I mostly achieved that. I traveled. I went on adventures. I laughed. I cried. I persevered. I took leaps of faith. I challenged myself. I tried new things. I said goodbye to things I loved. I said hello to things that scared me. I loved. If I can do all of that again in 2018, it will be a good year.

Here’s to some of the lovely (and not-so-lovely) things I experienced in 2017*…

*some of the captions below may not make sense because they’re part of old posts, but just roll with it!

 

…And to a 2018 with less fear.

Happy New Year, all.

xo.

Portsmouth, NH Might Be My New Favorite Place

Sometimes you fall in love with a city, and that’s what happened with Portsmouth.

Last December, Bill and I decided that we would forgo traditional Christmas gifts and instead try to gift each other memories in the form of weekend getaways. We would each pick a place that we felt the other would enjoy visiting and, as part of the gift, hand-pick a few places to visit that we thought the other would enjoy.

Bill knocked it out of the park.

While I gave him a weekend in Portland, Maine, Bill gave me a weekend in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a place neither of us had visited before but that we had heard good things about. As part of his gift, Bill actually put together a presentation (!) showing me all of the reasons he thought I’d like it, including quaint gift shops; delicious places to eat; and books, books, and more books.

He knew I would love it and he was right.

It started with breakfast, which technically wasn’t in Portsmouth, but that’s okay. We stopped at Eat, in Springfield, Mass., where I ate a grilled blueberry muffin and drank pumpkin coffee and everything felt right in the world. (There was also a delicious omelette and hash browns but I’m really here for the muffin, guys.)

The drive up was as foliage-filled as it could be. It’s no secret that the foliage this year was subpar, but the drive up to New Hampshire at least gave us a small taste of what the foliage looked like.

And what’s not to love about downtown Portsmouth? It felt like a quintessential New England town, living up to all of its to-be-expected descriptors such as “quaint” and “darling”, while managing to be eclectic, weird, and witchy (yes, witchy).

We visited so many shops that had interesting items for sale and I spent way more money than I intended, but by and large my favorite thing we did all weekend was spend time at the Portsmouth Book and Bar. Its name speaks for itself—it’s part-bar, part-used book store and I was obsessed the moment I walked in. I scoured the store and ended up with an armful of books, enjoyed a glass of wine, ate some delicious food, and Bill taught me how to play chess. I lost, but it was so much fun that I didn’t care. We spent hours there on Sunday morning and I wouldn’t have wanted to spend it anywhere else or with anyone else.

Some of my other Portsmouth favorites:

For Sight-Seeing

  • Portsmouth Athenaeum—A 200-year-old library that every book lover or enthusiast absolutely must visit because oh my god it’s a 200-year-old library!
  • Prescott Park—A beautiful park by the water, which I imagine is even better in the summer. Be sure to stop by the docks (for views of the water) as well as the garden.
  • Pickwick’s at the Banke—Technically a store, but it’s also part of Strawberry Banke Museum and you don’t have to pay to get in. The best description of this place comes from its website: “[A] shopping experience reflecting Portsmouth’s colonial maritime heritage, welcoming visiting schoolchildren as well as museum visitors and local shoppers with a uniquely theatrical shopping experience.” Also, you can buy a giant pickle if that’s the kind of thing that you’re into.

For Shopping

  • Portsmouth Book and Bar—A perfect (YES, perfect!) place for book and booze lovers.
  • Bull Moose—A must-visit music, video, book, and video game store. I scored a “Hocus Pocus” DVD for $5 and the entire “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” series for only $45 and yes, it was worth every penny, thank you.
  • Gus & Ruby’s Letterpress—The shop is a bit pricey, but the wares are really cute, especially if you’re into office supplies like me. My $16 Beyonce mug was absolutely worth the cost. I use it every day!
  • 20 Below Boutique—Who doesn’t love affordable clothes? This is like a TJ Maxx or Marshall’s in that it offers name brand clothes at a steep discount, but without the florescent lights and chaos. I scored two beautiful sweater dresses from Ann Taylor for just $40 total.
  • Diversions Puzzles & Games—If you like games and/or puzzles, definitely stop in here. I’m not even a huge game or puzzle fanatic, but it was so great inside! Bill and I picked up some new dice for our ongoing Dungeons and Dragons game that we play and I also snagged a Harry Potter Christmas puzzle, which we absolutely will be assembling before the holidays.
  • Off Piste—Another pricey, but very cute shop that’s worth checking out. They offer an eclectic mix of things for your home, books, pins/patches, and more.
  • Macro Polo—We wandered into this shop not knowing what to expect and we were laughing at how weird everything inside it was. They offered everything from joke mugs to butterfly hair clips (yes, from the 2000s!) to books to miniature plastic hands. It was great.
  • Pickwicks Mercantile—A very cute shop with books, jewelry, perfumes, and more. I loved it, especially its Harry Potter section.
  • Deadwick’s Ethereal Emporium—A witchy shop featuring all things related to folk magic, crystals, and more. If you love witches or Halloween (which I do), this is worth checking out.

For Food

  • La Maison Navarre—An unintimidating, modern yet warm place to stop for a bite to eat. Bill spotted this place and when he saw that they served crepes, he knew we had to visit. (I love crepes!) We got one with butter and local maple syrup, so it tasted like a pancake. We also got half a dozen macarons and they were delicious!
  • The Friendly Toast—This place has weird decor, but the food is on point. We went for breakfast and we both loved our meals. Bill got MAAAAAAAAAA, Meatloaf Benny and I got the French toast (on cinnamon raisin bread) with caramelized apples and bacon. So good! Service was a little slow, but the food made up for it. Go early to avoid the long wait!

In all, it was an incredible weekend in a fun little city and I can’t wait to go back. Portsmouth, we’ll be seeing you again soon.

 

There were a surprising amount of great signs in Portland, too. Here are some of my favorites.

 

xo.

Things I Wore (and Did) in October 2017

What a great (but busy!) month. In October, I…

  • Decorated pumpkins with friends
  • Decorated pumpkins with Bill
  • Visited my brother in Boston and spent the day at New England Aquarium
  • Spent time with friends
  • Celebrated Bill’s 29th birthday (I outdid myself this year with the gift, which was entirely Star Wars themed and included a weekend of watching all of the Star Wars films—in machete order—and tickets to the midnight showing of the newest movie, out in December)
  • Went to a show featuring RuPaul’s Drag Race queens
  • Celebrated Halloween

It was a good month.

Here are some of the outfits I wore.

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: Marshall’s
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Boots: DSW

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(Photobombed by my furry child, Obi.)

Outfit details

  • Sweater: Forever 21
  • Shirt: Old Navy
  • Pants: Old Navy
  • Shoes: Tieks

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Outfit details

  • Dress: Fashion to Figure
  • Cardigan: Old Navy
  • Leggings: Old Navy
  • Shoes: Tieks

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: H&M
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Shoes: Tieks

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Doing my best impression of the 90s with this one.

Outfit details

  • Shirt: Old Navy
  • Dress: Old Navy
  • Shoes: Tieks

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Outfit details

  • Dress: 25 Central
  • Leggings: Kohl’s (They’re by Lauren Conrad who, as you know, I love!)
  • Boots: DSW

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Sometimes you gotta do a joint outfit pic. We took this pic on the way to dinner for Bill’s birthday! (Photobombed by Obi again, too.)

Outfit details (for me)

  • Dress: Amazon.com
  • Shoes: Tieks

Outfit details (for him)

  • Shirt: Old Navy
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Shoes: Target

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And one more double outfit photo. For a friend’s Halloween party, we went as “casual Princess Leia and Han Solo”!

Outfit details (for me)

  • Dress: Amazon.com
  • Belt: Forever 21
  • Shoes: Payless

Outfit details (for him)

  • Shirt: Old Navy
  • Vest: Amazon.com
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Boots: Target

And, some things I did this month!

Things I Wore (and Did) in September 2017

September makes me think of new beginnings. For that reason, the month brings me comfort.

I kicked off this month with a visit from my mom, who was in from California. It was so nice to see her, though hard to say goodbye! With her and my grandma, Bill and I visited my little brother in Boston. We wanted to see his new place (beautiful) and also to see him because we don’t get to see him enough. It was a fun day in the city and he was an awesome host.

In September, I also spent time with friends eating good food and drinking wine (obviously), for which I was grateful. Bill and I visited the Big E—him for work, and me to watch him work. The Big E is a giant fair with tons of food and it’s essentially mandatory for everyone in the Connecticut/Western Massachusetts area to attend at least once every year. We did and, for the first time ever, we watched a burger-eating competition. The winner ate 52 burgers in 10 MINUTES. It was so gross and I don’t ever want to watch it again, but what an experience, right? (Fun fact: I was once in a buffalo wing eating competition for charity! Our team lost.)

And, of course, Bill and I visited DragCon NYC and spent the weekend in New York.

Here are some of the outfits I wore.

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The only appropriate thing to wear on Beyonce’s birthday is a #LEMONADE-inspired dress.

Outfit details

  • Dress: Forever 21
  • Shoes: Payless

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I didn’t actually wear this dress yet, but COME ON. How great is it?! In October, Bill and I will be attending a spooky rendition of Sleepy Hollow and I’m hoping to wear this AMAZING Halloween dress.

Outfit details

  • Dress: Amazon.com

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Outfit details

  • Blazer: Target
  • Shirt: Old Navy
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Shoes: DSW

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: Old Navy
  • Dress: Old Navy
  • Shoes: A gift from my beautiful grandma

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Aside from my Converse shoes, I’ve never had a pair of sneakers I felt super cute in. This solved that! I splurged on some Nike Rosche Twos, which are stylish and comfortable. (The only problem is they got dirty quick. Wish me luck in trying to clean them!)

Outfit details

  • Shirt: Old Navy
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Shoes: Nike

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I love, love, love this RuPaul’s Drag Race dress from RedBubble. It was the perfect outfit for DragCon NYC, and the queens I met all seemed to love it.

Outfit details

  • Dress: RedBubble
  • Jacket: Marshall’s
  • Shoes: DSW

And, some things I did this month!

 

 

Thanks, September, for being good to me!

xo.

Things I Wore (and Did) in August 2017

Sometimes life goes by faster than you realize and, before you know it, it’s mid-September and you haven’t posted your August outfits yet. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

In truth, August is not one of my favorite months, as by then, summer has gone on a touch too long for me. I get tired of the heat and find myself getting antsy for some cooler weather. Also, politically, life is a real shit show right now, so I’m just trying to make it through.

Work-wise, August was a busy month, a month in which I started to really sink my teeth in at my new job and lead my first big project. It was exciting, terrifying, stressful, and rewarding, and I’m glad to have done it.

Bill and I had a few adventures, too, the most notable being our wonderful weekend getaway with our dog, Obi! We also ate some delicious food (as we always do), celebrated our two year anniversary in our beautiful home, and made the most of the rest of our summer. Independently, I met up with my old colleagues and enjoyed the incredible solar eclipse that reminded me that it’s important to look around and appreciate the world around you every now and then.

Here are some of the things I wore and did, in photos!

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I became obsessed with these dresses in August, so much so that I ended up with three of them in different colors. This hot pink, Barbie-inspired dress is so flattering and easy to wear. I love it!

Outfit details

  • Dress: Amazon.com
  • Shoes: Payless

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Outfit details

  • Top: Amazon.com
  • Leggings: Old Navy
  • Shoes: DSW
  • Cranky expression: Yours truly

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This dress is Barbie pink dress’s best friend! Isn’t it lovely in navy, too?

Outfit details

  • Dress: Amazon.com
  • Shoes: Target
  • Necklace: Target

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Not quite a traditional outfit pic, but I do love this dress. It served me so well this summer.

Outfit details

  • Dress: Target
  • Shoes (not pictured): Target

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: LuLaRoe Perfect T
  • Skirt: LuLaRoe Cassie
  • Shoes: DSW

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This is an Eeyore onesie because I deserve it.

Outfit details

  • Eeyore Onesie: Target

And, some things I did (in photo form!).

xo.