Airboatin’ Through the Everglades

IMAG1281When I first moved to Florida from Chicago, I had a hard time finding activities to do outside of going to the beach. It’s not that there wasn’t anything to do, it was more that it wasn’t right at my fingertips. In Chicago, I was surrounded by architecture, museums, and tours galore. There never was a lack of places to go and things to see, especially when I had visitors.

Moving to Florida, I figured I would spend every weekend sitting by the ocean and reading novels. Well, it only takes one major sunburn to scare a girl away from the beach. After a few months of sitting by the window, peeking out between the blinds, waiting for something to happen, I vowed to explore what Florida has to offer.

This past weekend, I went on my very first Airboat ride through the Everglades. Thanks to Living Social, I found an awesome deal that basically made 4 tickets for the price of 1. My intentions were to use it while my family was visiting back in early March, but due to frigid Florida temps, we opted not to use it then. Since this was the last weekend to use it before it expired, it was now or never.

Danny and I grabbed our friends Jon and Michele and headed out to the Everglades. It was THE PERFECT weather; sunny with a nice breeze and not too humid. We signed in and while waiting for our tour, checked out the wildlife animal exhibit. They had huge turtles, iguanas, snakes, boars, alligators and some other crazy wildlife.

Thank goodness for the fence!

Thank goodness for the fence!

They had a baby alligator that you could hold. After watching tiny children hold the little guy, I worked up the courage to get in line.  The moment that he was passed to me, I felt the fear pass over me, resulting in the very awkward picture below. There also was a snake that you could take a picture with, a la Britney Spears, but for anyone who knows me and my extreme fear of snakes, this would have only resulted in something awful.

P1040114

The airboat ride portion was just as exciting. 30 seconds after leaving the dock, we spotted a gator before he ducked under water. Did you know that alligators can hold their breath for 2 hours? AND in cold water, they can hold their breath for up to 8 HOURS! Needless to say, after her went under water, we moved on.

IMAG1277IMAG1278

 

 

 

 

 

We glided through the sawgrass and made our way towards a 12 foot alligator. I could not believe how close we were able to get without the gator moving! Our captain said that he was probably just waiting for a “hand out” from our boat, but really? We were like two feet away! It felt like he could board our boat at any minute.

IMAG1291

All in all, the airboat ride was very entertaining.  I would highly recommend it to ANYONE looking to try something new. It would make a great family day/couples date/business outing or whatever you want to make it.

IMAG1286

New Glass Slipper Challenge Revealed!

It’s no secret that I love runDisney races. Back in February, I completed my first half marathon by running the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Earlier this month, I signed up for ANOTHER half marathon at Walt Disney World’s Marathon Weekend. This race weekend was recently revamped with the addition of the Dumbo 10k and the Dopey Challenge on top of the other FOUR races/challenges that go on during that weekend. How cool, right? I mean, imagine walking around with six medals clanking together!?! You might feel like this guy:

michael_phelps

Just today, it was announced that the 2014 Disney Princess weekend will be getting a little facelift. There now will be a chance to earn TWO MORE shiny, beautiful metals in ONE WEEKEND! Are you as excited as I am?

Added to the lineup are the Enchanted 10K and the Glass Slipper Challenge. For the Glass Slipper Challenge, you sign up for both the Enchanted 10K on Saturday AND the Princess Half Marathon on Sunday. There also will be an additional day added to the Expo (yay! This year was too crazy…). The race weekend for 2014 is February 20-23.

Photo Credit:Run Disney

Photo Credit: runDisney

As if that wasn’t big enough, for those who participate in the Coast-to-Coast Challenge by completing the 2014 Tinker bell Half Marathon and the 2014 Princess Half Marathon will receive an oh-so-girly pink Coast-to-Coast metal.

princessc2c

With my upcoming nuptials being the focus of my funds, I might have to miss out on this inaugural challenge, but let it be known: Glass Slipper Challenge, I’m coming for you!

Can I count you in?

DIY: Cleaning Stove Drip Pans

This past weekend I had an extreme cleaning session. One of the areas in our house that needed a little extra attention was our prehistoric stove and the drip pans. After removing the burners and inspecting the pans, two things occurred to me.

1.)     I’m not sure that the pans had ever been cleaned beyond the assembly line it came from.

2.)    Our stove has seen its fair share of messy cooks.

IMAG1216

Ewwww!

I was so happy to find this easy tip from The V Spot for cleaning drip pans.

To clean your drip pans, remove them from stove top. Place the pans in ziplock bags. Add a splash of ammonia. Seal and let sit for 24 hours.

THAT IS IT! I was an eager beaver and took out my pans a little sooner than recommended, but I still found great results. I will say that there still is residue on the pans, but they are LEAPS and BOUNDS cleaner. Plus they look so shiny! You actually can tell they are silver….

Check out the before and after:

PhotoGrid_1366223957195

Now my stove is looking soooo much better. Check that off the Spring Cleaning checklist! I hope this works for you!

IMAG1222

My Heart Bleeds for Boston

I still am in shock to the bombings that took place yesterday at the Boston Marathon.  My heart goes out to the victims and their families who were affected by the bombings. The person or group behind this heinous act is composed of an evil beyond my scope of imagination.

Thank you so much to the heroes of yesterday. Thank you to all the first responders, volunteers, and bystanders who jumped in and helped where they could. Thank you to the runners who finished the race and went to the hospital to donate blood. I know that I’m not saying anything that hasn’t already been said a million times, but I can only hope that after such a tragic event, our nation will reunite and only be stronger.

boston-marathon-bombing-brooklyn-music-yankees-red-sox-king

He Put A Ring On It!

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been extremely busy. While a majority of my time went to the holidays, I also was pre-occupied with something else. On December 16th, my boyfriend and I made plans to go on a beach walk before meeting for brunch on the beach with friends. Little did I know, this event was a master plan of something BIG.

Since we live in Florida, we try and take advantage of the ocean whenever we can. Since it had been a long time since we went to the beach, this morning walk seemed like a great idea to me. That morning, after we parked and started to make our way to the ocean, my boyfriend started to ask me some of my favorite memories with him. I’ve answered this question many times, so I didn’t have to think too hard. After I had listed off a few, he dropped down to one knee and asked me to marry him.

282854_10102870104918554_649074269_n

That’s right, I’m engaged! It took me a good five minutes to calm myself down and stop saying “Oh my goodness, oh my goodness!” and finally gain a grasp on what had just happened. The proposal was so very special and perfect to me in every way.

564771_10102870105806774_677500955_n

From there, little details of the day started to fall into place. The brunch with friends? My boyfriend (now fiancé!) had arranged that with our friends to announce our engagement to friends! He even had our friend, who is a photographer; capture the engagement from behind the bushes. This was revealed to me later in the day once our friend had sent over the pictures.

396828_10102870106131124_350669160_n

Prepare yourself for some wedding themed posts. I am in full wedding-planning mode and have 18 months until the big date. I can’t wait!

574883_10102870168880374_512432047_n

My Marvelous Mantle

Happy 2013! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season.

First off, my apologies for my total lack in dabbling. There has been a whole lot going on in the past month, but I will get to that later. Today, I wanted to share my holiday decorations. Never mind the fact that they are already packed away in boxes, they still need to be highlighted.

My pride and joy of my apartment this year turned out to be my mantle. I wanted something clean and different, yet traditional. Since I opted to wait for those after Christmas sales to buy a Christmas tree (have you seen the prices of those babies?), I made sure to make use of some pretty rad ornaments by hanging them above my mantle. With the help of my boyfriend, we decorated our homemade chalkboard to say “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas”, perfect for Florida. I also spray painted paper mache letters with red spray paint and the Glitter Blast paint to form my “JOY”. It is difficult to see in the picture, but on top of the mantel, we have mason jars with Christmas lights in them, creating a beautiful glow. I topped this all off with a glittery Christmas tree cone. I.loved. this.

PhotoGrid_1357670532659And now, here is the rest of my Christmas décor. You will see that I love Pinterest for my decorating ideas!

PhotoGrid_1357670153220PhotoGrid_1357668748900

While this post may be a month plus late, I hope you were able to find some inspiration for Christmas next year.

Ultimate Holiday Movie List

As I said before, I have a personal rule that I will not listen to any Christmas music until after Thanksgiving (if I can help it). Well my friends, Thanksgiving has come and gone and I am jamming out to “Sleigh Ride” this very moment. Along with the Christmas music, I will not watch any Christmas movies until after Thanksgiving. My main reason for refraining from watching them is that they are so special to me and I don’t ever want to be sick of them!

Today, I have gathered a list of my top ten favorite Christmas movies. Hopefully your favorite is on the list!

Polar Express

10. Polar Express: As my boyfriend will tell you, I love anything with Tom Hanks in it. Beyond my irrational love for a 56 year-old man, this booked turned movie always brings a tear to my eye (okay, it leaves me bawling).

 

dr-seusss-how-the-grinch-stole-christmas-mobile-wallpaper9. The Grinch: I am going to put both the animated version and the Jim Carrey version together on this one. The first time I saw the animated movie, I was in high school. After hearing that I had never seen this movie, my friend planned an intervention and sat me down to watch it. I instantly loved it. The animated movie is bursting with Dr. Seuss’s genius and has THE BEST music. While the Jim Carrey version may not be as iconic, it has sentimental value to me as my sister and I quote many lines from this movie (Jury duty, jury duty,                                 blackmail…).  I could not leave it off my list.

Prep-and-Landing-DVD

8. Prep and Landing: This is a relatively new kid on my Christmas movie block. It is a short and clever Disney film about the behind-the-scenes team who helps Santa get the job done on Christmas Eve. If you haven’t seen this, I would highly recommend it. Not only will adults and children like this just the same, it also has a phenomenal message behind it.

the-muppet-christmas-carol-poster-121452

7. Muppet’s Christmas Carol: Like many children of the 80s, I adore the Muppets. This movie tells the story of Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol, but with the Muppet spin. It is a little dark at times, but with the Grim Reaper as a character in any movie, that might be hard to avoid.

 

MV5BMTYyODQzNDk1OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTM3MTU1MQ@@._V1._SY317_CR5,0,214,317_6. Home Alone 2: Can a sequel really make it if it is the same movie as the first in a new setting? I would say so! When I was younger I could often relate to Kevin when he shoves Buzz in the beginning. Getting in trouble acting on something one of my sisters started was my life story. This movie may not be as amazing as the first, but still holds a special place in my heart.

 

51QMi5zCK1L5. Elf: Will Ferrell might have been my favorite SNL cast member ever. I went into this movie expecting it to be good, but didn’t know I would be laughing the entire time.  As if the hilarity of this movie was not enough, the soundtrack is rockin’.

 

MV5BMTI1OTExNTU4NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzIwMzQyMQ@@._V1._SY317_CR5,0,214,317_4. Christmas Vacation:  This Christmas classic is special to me as it is uniquely relatable to my family. The scene where the family is walking through two feet of snow to get their Christmas tree? Been there, done that. The scene where Clark under estimate how large the tree is and it consumes his living room? Happened pretty much every year for my family.  This movie makes me feel at home, even when I’m a thousand miles away.

SantaClause1MoviePoster3. The Santa Clause: Even though I spend half of this movie being so mad at how bratty Charlie is, this movie makes my top three. It may be directed more towards children, but I love this movie. It is so fun to see Tim Allen transform into Santa and what the job really entails.

 

 

MOV_192f8ebe_b2. Love Actually: If you haven’t seen this movie before, go rent it now! It has almost every British actor you have ever seen.  I can promise that you might spend the first half hour being confused, but hang in there. It is one of those movies that have 10 different stories going on, but they all tie together at the end in a very special way.

 

images1. Home Alone: What an amazing movie, pure cinematic genius. One of the saddest moments ever caught on film would be when Kevin doesn’t have the chance to eat his macaroni and cheese dinner before kicking some bandit butt. With all the one-liners and creative traps, it would take a lot to knock this movie off of #1 for me.

 

I have yet to watch any of these movies, I better get started!

Another Easy Holiday Wreath!

I have been thinking about decking my halls since I’ve moved into my apartment back in September. Thanks to Pinterest, I have discovered gorgeous yet affordable ways to give my home that holiday glow. As I mentioned here, I have been on a serious wreath binge. I have three done, with one more to go.

When I saw the Coffee Filter Wreath from the Frugal Homemaker, I know it had to be mine. Earlier this year, I spent much of two weeks making coffee filter peonies, and so my love for coffee filters began.

For the wreath form, I used the Tubular Pipe Insulation method that seems to be all to rage on Pinterest. I bought a $.97 piece, sliced it in half, taped the ends together, and was ready to go. If I were to make this wreath again, I would use the thicker version of the pipe as the glue melted through the pipe.

Using a hot glue gun, I folded the coffee filers in quarters and started gluing them around the pipe. I wasn’t sure how close to place the coffee filters, so in the beginning they were very close. I began to grow impatient so I started spacing them out quite a bit. I even went back where I started and thinned some areas out. A few hours and two burnt fingers later, I had a beautiful, lush wreath that I can’t wait to show off!

I would highly recommend this project to anyone. It was so easy and leaves you with a big impact wreath.

Color Run Miami

Two posts in one day? I’ve been busy, give me a break!

Two weeks ago, I participated in the Color Run Miami. For those of you who haven’t heard about the Color Run 5K, the idea is that you start out with a crisp white t-shirt and every kilometer, you pass through color stations where colored powder is thrown on you. By the time you cross the finish line, you should be looking like a bag of skittles.

Besides the 5:00 a.m. wakeup time, I was pretty excited about this race. We had a group of friends who all signed up for the race, all who we have a great time with. Due to a traffic backup, we arrived to the race a few minutes before the first wave was hitting the course. We found that this was no issue as there were probably 15 waves of people… holy moly. I even had time to purchase my awesome Color Run shades from the merchandise tent.

The course was not that great for Miami. We actually ran behind a sewage plant, complete with broken glass and noise-tingling smells. It still was a great time.

I made sure to run in the “high color lanes”, right next to the people who were throwing the color. I wanted to be sure to be as colorful as possible at the end. Either I wasn’t getting hit with color or it wasn’t sticking, because my tee was still looking pretty fresh at the end.

One of the coolest parts of the Color Run would be the party afterwards. Every 15 minutes, they do a color throw, where everyone throws their package of color that is given to them with registration. The result?

This was a very fun race to be apart of. If the Color Run is coming to a city near you, I would highly recommend you sign up. By no means do you have to be an expert runner, you can even walk the 3 miles if you would like. I’m already looking forward to the Color Run 2013!

The Countdown Commences: Holiday Wreaths Part One

Happy November 1st! As we speak, the candy corn on the Target shelf is being pushed into the clearance corner, making way for the holiday candy canes.   It seems that every year, the stores try and force the Holiday season upon us earlier and earlier.  While I love the holidays, I don’t embrace this notion and have a few rules to keep myself from being sick of Christmas. For example, I do not listen to Christmas songs or watch Christmas themed movies until after Thanksgiving. That being said, I tend to feel overwhelmed at Christmas time with the amount of projects I want to complete. After having this feeling last year, I vowed that I would strive to complete Christmas projects as far in advance as possible in the years to come.

So far, I have stayed pretty true to this promise. I have started one of the major homemade gifts and have completed three homemade wreaths, all extremely affordable.

The first wreath I made was pin-spired Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happy Hour and is made from Dollar Tree ornaments and a wire hanger. The ornaments cost me about $8 total from the Dollar Tree and I used a hanger I had around the house, pretty awesome!

When picking the ornaments, gather a variety of colors, textures, and sizes. You need about 70-80 to complete the wreath.

First step, carefully take off all the top hooks from the ornaments. Using hot glue, dab a little glue on the top of the ornaments and secure the hooks on the ornaments. Be careful, that glue is HOT!

As the glue is cooling, bend the hanger into a circle. Unwind the wire ends and straighten as much as possible.

Slip the ornaments onto the wire, alternating size and color. Continue until wire is filled. Be gentle on your ornaments! Some of my Dollar Tree ornament hooks broke as I was clustering the ornaments.

The hardest part for me was securing the wire ends together. I tried gluing it, taping it, taping while gluing… nothing. I ended up bending the ends backwards and hooking them together. Once they were hooked together, I clamped the ends down.

For the last part, add a pretty ribbon and admire the (not so hard) work!