End-Of-July Check In 

I made a summer bucket list a while back and I wanted to do a quick check in of things that I’ve already done! My summer doesn’t end until work starts up again so I still have quite a bit of time to do more but I think keeping tabs on myself helps keep my goals in check. 

1. I went to a Spinning Pottery workshop


I signed up for a one-off Spinning Pottery class when I made my list and I went the week I came back from Florida! It was a bit intimidating because I was the only one who signed up. Oops. 

Turns out weekdays at 4PM isn’t a very popular time for them, so my “workshop” turned out to be a one-on-one session. I felt a bit awkward taking photos for my blog considering all the attention was on me, but I ended up really enjoying it! The instructor was very nice and I was able to produce one wonky looking pot, which I then painted w/ colored glaze and left in their hands for baking. 

I’m supposed to get a text within two weeks to go pick up my masterpiece, but I didn’t leave the shop empty handed! My teacher was telling me about how her job was cool because she was allowed to make all sorts of creations in the clock and I spotted this little guy… and I just had to have him. 


He’s a character called Lion from Steven Universe, and the girl made him by hand! I love supporting local artists and she was so excited that I wanted to buy her artwork. He has a special little place on my desk now. Isn’t he adorable! 

2. I got a proper mani-pedi


I think I conquered my fears of salons. I went with my friend to get the mani-pedi (originally I kind of wanted to conquer the fear alone) but she only got a manicure. So, technically I did the whole shebang on my own. 

I don’t know why I’m so scared of these places. Its probably just a combination of me not used to being in that environment and being afraid that they’ll say something mean about my feet. I’ve never actually gotten a pedi, so it was nerve wracking and a bit terrifying if I’m honest. 

I’m so glad I asked around for recommendations because the salon I went to was wonderful! They had great music and they were very clean about everything. I’ve heard some horror stories about nail salons, so I’m just grateful that this experience was a good one. 

As for colors… I did want to be adventurous and go for something bright, but I ended up getting a mauve color on my pedi and the good ol’ Samoan Sand on my mani. Maybe next time I’ll venture out into something else. 

3. I read three books


Books I Read: 

  • A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle
  • Many Waters by Madeleine L’Engle
  • The Martian by Andy Weir 

I finally finished my reading of the Wrinkle In Time quintet! I’ll have to reread the first one before the film comes out next year but I’m happy I got to experience that universe again. I’ll probably make a post about the series because I have so much to say about it! The Martian was also amazing and I’m so glad I waited to watch the movie until I read the book. So worth it. 

Currently reading: 

  • Good Omens 
  • How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are 

That’s about everything that I’ve done up until now, which isn’t as much as I wanted! I don’t think the trip to our local beach is happening, but I am traveling to a foreign beach with friends! So that’s happening soon. I have a lot of things to try and accomplish come August. Wish me luck! 

xx 


 

6 TV Shows I Want To Catch Up On

I gave up watching television around two months into my new teaching job last year, and I think it’s around time that I start catching up on all the shows I used to watch before things got kind of haywire with time and scheduling.

Note: I’m not implying any of these are good shows. In fact, I know that at least one of these has actually gotten so bad in terms of storyline that it’s a bit ridiculous that I’m still watching. But hey, old habits die hard don’t they?

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1. The Walking Dead

Last Episode I Saw: Season 3, Episode 3 “The Cell
Things were just heating up with Neegan and his crew, and I know the comics have some intense things going on with Carl soon. I’m a die-hard Daryl fan (because who doesn’t love being a cliche) so I’m mostly gonna go back and watch to see Daryl live and survive. Also to see Michonne and Rick be cute together because why the hell not.

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2. Bates Motel

Last Episode I Saw: Season 5, Episode 1 “Dark Paradise
I actually watched season 4 of Bates during winter break, and had to stop once I hit season 5 because school was starting up again. I’ve really been looking forward to this season! I know Rihanna guest stars, so I’m really excited to see that happen on screen.

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3. Supernatural

Last Episode I Saw: Season 12, Episode 3 “The Foundry
This is one of those shows that I know isn’t so great, but it’s just been stuck on me for so long that I have to see it through to the bitter end. Also, my family is really into it and I’d like to join in on the weekly pizza supernatural watch parties again. Interested in catching up with the hopes that the next season might be their last? Maybe? Who knows.

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4. Teen Wolf

Last Episode I Saw: Season 5, Episode 20 “Apotheosis
Teen Wolf isn’t my usual cup of tea, but my friends are really into it so we enjoy watch parties of the show. I’m about half a season behind, and I hear it’s very Stiles oriented which is always good because Dylan O’Brien is cute. New season starts soon, so I might make this one a priority so I can watch along with the rest of the world.

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5. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Last Episode I Saw: Season 2, Episode 13 “Kimmy Finds Her Mom!
This series is hilarious! If you haven’t given it a try then I’d highly recommend it! The only reason I’m not caught up on this show is because I didn’t even know a new season had premiered already. It’s a Netflix original, so I guess it wouldn’t have been promoted anywhere on actual television. I can’t wait to experience more glorious Titus Andromedon.

6. Shameless

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Last Episode I Saw: Season 6, Episode 12 “Familia Supra Gallegorious Omnia!
I was pretty devastated by spoilers I’d seen from season 7, so I never really made the jump into starting it. I might have a go at it, just to find some kind of closure, but I’m not in any hurry to get to a particular episode to be honest.

That’s about it! I’m hoping to have more time for television this year considering I’m a bit more grounded in what I’m doing job-wise. What television shows are you watching right now? I’m always on the look-out for new shows to look into.

xx
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Day 6: Jump Scares & Sore Feet (Islands of Adventure) 

The truth is in the name, Islands of Adventure always proves to be some kind of adventure or another. We went in with the energy of someone who knows they’re in the last leg of a race. That is, with great enthusiasm only barely covering the masked pain. 

I checked our Health vitals on my phone, and we’d been basically covering 8.5 miles a day. And that’s considering my phone was in a locker for a good portion of time. 

Once we entered (on time, I might add), we headed straight to the new attraction in town. 

Skull Island


As of now, Skull Island only has one attraction: The Reign of Kong. Its a pretty great ride! There’s 3D goggles involved, and you get to ride an “expedition vehicle” (which basically looks like a huge jeep). 

The 3D effects are quite impressive and there’s also some really cool animatronics involved near the end. 

My only complaints about it were: 1. I hate giant worms, 2. The Skull Island natives scared the shit out of me, and 3. Did I mention I hate giant worms? 


If you hate giant worms like I do, I’d recommend sitting on the far left side of the tram, where I thankfully happened to sit. As for the natives, the people at Universal decided it would be a good idea to hide scare actors in the queue. As you’re walking through the darkness, at any moment a “Skull Island Native” could jump out and scare you. 

I may or may not have let out a blood-curdling scream. I got really scared ok! 

Jurassic Park

I love this area, its such a classic. The Jurassic Park River Adventure is always one of my favorites, although this time around we kept getting told off for taking pictures while the ride was in motion? 

 

 I really wouldn’t have a problem with this, but their only rule had been no flash photography, beforehand. Our phones were in a plastic protector! Nothing would’ve happened. It kind of harshed my mood while on the ride, but it was still lots of fun like always. 


My favorite newish attraction in this area is the Raptor Encounter, where you can meet with a raptor trainer who lets you pose for photos with an animatronic velociraptor. 

I knew that it was an animatronic but somehow it was still scary? The raptor reacts in real time to anything you do and the noises are so lifelike! For a moment I was genuinely terrified. 

Seuss Landing


This area is great for kids! As a teacher I kind of went wild buying things in this area, because, well, finding good Dr. Seuss merch is nearly impossible. 

All the rides are geared towards children in this area, so it would be a great destination for little ones. 

The Lost Continent

 This area used to be a lot bigger before the integration of the Harry Potter area, so The Lost Continent now boasts a total of two attractions: The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad (a live stunt show) and Poseidon’s Fury (a walk-through show). 

Both of these are great but haven’t been updated in a very long time. I’d say Poseidon’s Fury is my favorite of these two, just because the effects are super cool. 

Marvel Superhero Island

 

A part of me loves seeing the old comic book heroes come to life in this area of the park. There’s something very nostalgic about the cheesy, old-fashioned, original superhero costumes that makes me happy. 

The Hulk is the must-ride roller coaster in the park, its so good! Fast and thrilling, the coaster never stops being a favorite. 

We also happened to eat in this area, we did lunch at Captain America’s Diner, where sure enough, Captain America was hanging out for photo ops. 

Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hosmeade

The crowning glory! Who doesn’t love seeing the Hogwarts castle in the distance? It made me all kinds of emotional. 


The Forbidden Journey is the ride inside of the castle. We did the whole queue despite single rider being available because, well we wanted to walk through the whole castle! 

I think its possible to do the walk through without having to do the ride, but I love the ride so I didn’t actually bother asking. 


After a quick ride in the Twiwizard Tournament Dueling Dragons, we sat for a quick frozen butterbeer. It did wonders to combat the Florida humidity. 


We did a bit of shopping and saw the Twiwizard Tournament Pep Rally, where you get to see Drunstrang and Beauxbaton students perform on stage, much like their intro in Goblet of Fire. 


Like I said before, I really do love the performances over in Diagon Alley much more, but both of the ones in Hogsmeade are still worth a look. The second performance is the Hogwarts School Choir performing various acapella songs, complete with frogs! 


It just so happened to be International Ice Cream Day on the day we were in Hogsmeade, so I nipped in to The Three Broomsticks to get a bit of ice cream to celebrate. I got Strawberries and Peanut Butter while my little sister opted for a Butterbeer Ice Cream. I liked mine but I really wish I had gotten the Butterbeer flavored one, it was delicious. 

The biggest issue with Hogsmeade is space. While it is technically rather big, it always feels so cramped with space! There’s never anywhere to sit. Thankfully, this year I discovered a bit of a hidden nook! 


Next to the Girl’s Restroom, where Moaning Mrytle lives, there’s a small passageway that leads to the back of the Hog’s Head. 


Tables galore! And with wonderful shade no less. We spent a good half hour here. This seating area has wonderful views of the lake and of Hogwarts! It seems like most people don’t know about it because it was practically empty. 

I love that I can still find secrets at Hogwarts, no matter how many times I’ve visited. 

We called it quits rather early. Not only we’re our feet insanely sore and bruised up from so much walking, but my inner thighs had a rash from so much rubbing together. Thick thigh girl problems, eh?

Either way we were able to finish this park surprisingly early, considering how long it took us to finish Universal the day before. Not that I’m complaining, I needed a rest. 

xx

Day 5: Mostly Potter (Universal Studios) 

Since the last time I’ve been to Universal, there hasn’t been a great many positive changes other than one: the new Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon attraction.


However, the Twister and Beetlejuice Concert were given up as a result to this. I can say that the ride was fun and the queue inside of “Fallon’s Studio” was a blast. They had live performances from the Ragtime Gals! 


Hashtag Panda also made an appearance but by the time he stepped out on to the stage to dance, our ticket color had been called for “recording”. 


Maybe it was because the day before had granted me the best motion stimulator ride I’d ever been on, but Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon was just … alright. It’s worth getting on, especially since the queue is basically watching a performance, but it was just alright. 

More to the point, it seems like this year Universal had more removals than additions to their park. Previously mentioned Twister and Beetlejuice Concert were retired, as well as the Disaster Studios ride, which is one of my classic favorites. 

I couldnt really stay angry though, considering that the Harry Potter Diagon Alley section is still something that exists. 

  

Its every Harry Potter fan’s dream. Everything from interactive “magic” points that you can do with the wands at Ollivanders, to the shops and food sold on location. 


Diagon Alley is actually my favorite place to chill out in-park. It feels like it has much more space than Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure, and the performances are so much better! 


The Tales of Beetle and the Bard are told using elaborate puppetry by very talented puppeteers. Its absolutely beautiful and you cannot miss it! 


In the same area, every hour on the hour, magical songstress extraordinaire Celestina Warbeck performs the top hits, including Molly Weasley’s favorite “A Cauldron Full Of Hot Strong Love”. 

 

The featured ride in this area is the Escape from Gringotts Bank, where you get to escape the safest bank in the world via dragon riding. 

Universal kind of surprised us a bit by cutting Single Rider queues for a few of the rides. We usually depend on those to cut our waiting time, so we had to wait the full 30 minutes to get on the bank cart. 


I wasn’t too upset about this because 1. the queue is in air conditioning, and 2. it’s just really fucking cool. 

For lunch time, we boarded the Hogwarts Express to cross over to Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure. We went to our usual, and absolutely best place to eat: The Three Broomsticks. 


We had to pay for park-to-park tickets beforehand to board the train but I think it’s well worth it. The next day’s schedule would be too hectic to allow lunch at Hogsmeade. Our usual order is The Great Feast. Its a platter for four people and a cool chef in a funky hat brings it to your table. 


How good does that look? Its insanely delicious, I’ll tell you that. With our bellies full and appetite sated, we boarded the train again to go back to Universal and hang out in Diagon Alley. 


My little sister bought an interactive wand and had lots of fun figuring out all the spells throughout the area. I’m an idiot and left my interactive wand at home, so I spent my money on something I’d been wanting for a long time. 

A robe! 

Slytherin Pride!


Univeral Studios is honestly more shows than thrill rides, so we got a slight rest on our feet after hour days of walking parks from morning till night. We did leave a bit early to rest up for our final day, but not before taking the required photo at the phone booth in London 


If you happen to visit this phone booth, be sure to call the number on the phone for the Ministry of Magic! There’s a cute little message that plays. 


By 8 o’clock, we were heading back to our hotel. One more day and my feet will get a breather! 

xx 


Day 3: Drunk Envy and Swollen Eyes (Epcot) 

For the first time since this trip started, we got off on the right foot! We had our FP+ Passes sorted out and we got there on time. Things were looking up! 

Family selfie in front of Spaceship Earth

I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Epcot. Its a tragically underlooked Disney theme park, mostly because of the lack of kid attaractions. I guess you could say it’s the most “adult park” available at Disneyworld.

Epcot has one new ride since we’ve been here last. It’s Frozen themed, and sits in a small corner in the Norway section of the World Showcase. I’m assuming this addition is to remedy the lack of Disney brand integration, and to bring in a bit more traffic by the way of piquing childrens’ interest. 

We caught “Frozen Ever After” at a measly 30min. queue!


The World Showcase is an area in Epcot that features a collection of pseudo-countries representing the real deal in terms of shopping, cuisine, and replicas of famous landmarks. It usually opens at 11AM, while the rest of the park opens at 9AM, but given Frozen Ever After’s incredible popularity, they’ve opened Norway at the same time as the rest of Epcot for a while now. 

Fake Norway at The World Showcase

The ride itself was really good! I remember this ride pre-refurbishment, when it was a Vikings themed ride, and they translated it very well over to the Frozen theme. Amazingly, we were able to beat the crowds! By the time we got out the line queue had gone up to 45 minutes, and growing. The ride is definitely worth it though, for the kids especially. Its a nice touch of Magic Kingdom Disney in an otherwise adult centered park. 

In general, I think Epcot is the park in most need of updating. While I grew up watching these men and the movies they starred in, younger visitors probably wouldn’t be very invested in the characters.

My childhood had a lot more cooky scientists than I’d realized

They have been changing things up recently! A 4D showing of a Michael Jackson short film has been changed to a “Disney + Pixar short film festival”. 

“Feast” is my favorite of the three that we saw!

I’ve heard rumors that there’s plans to update a vast portion of the front end of the park, and I’ve even heard that there might be some additions to the World Showcase! (Brazil, anyone?) I really do think the change is needed, but if they ever do get rid of Ellen’s Energy Adventure I might actually cry. 

The entire first half of the day went well, up until 3PM when it started pissing it down with rain. We were forcibly exited out of the Test Track ride right before we got on our vehicles! It was so frustrating! 

Fish & Chips in Fake England


We cut our losses and instead of bothering to wait for the ride to re-open, we went straight for the World Showcase and had ourselves some Fish & Chips from Fake England. 

The World Showcase is beautiful, but I’ve never been able to properly see it. My family always skims through everything because they find it incredibly boring. 

This time, I convinced them to give it a shot! We spent around 30 minutes in each country, give or take, except Canada. Not because I hate Canada or anything, we just ended up running to Fake England for food. 

Fake Morocco


Everything in each country is so beautifully detailed, from the tiling on the floors to the props on the walls. Many of the countries had short film that took you in a short journey of the country’s most breath-taking landscapes. 

I had read a review saying that France’s video was the least interesting, but I have to disagree. It was beautiful! I suppose the music could be a big lulling if you’ve been in the heat all day, but I absolutely loved it. 

Fake Japan


The shops in Japan were my favorite, they had so many cool things that didn’t cost the usual “minimum $10” apparent disney rule.  

Snow White in Fake Germany


The World Showcase does try and involve traditional Disney in some way, they have characters in their native country doing meet & greets, like Snow White and Rapunzel in Germany, Alice and Mary Poppins in England, and Aurora in France. I think this is the best park to get photos with Princesses, the ambiance is really chilled out and there’s not so much queue as in Magic Kingdom. 

Fake China

Around 4PM, right after this photo was taken actually, my Dad started feeling a bit weird. He has taken a pain reliever earlier for his back and kept complaining about a headache. Suddenly I realized that his eye was swollen! 

I’m talking eyeball whites swollen around the pupil kind of swollen, it was terrifying! Thankfully we were in China around this time and we sat down for a Chinese acrobat show indoors. The AC seemed to help him a bit. We sat around for a bit and tried to figure out what had happened before we realized it was probably an allergic reaction to the pain medication. 

Unfortunately there was really nothing we could do at this point. Whenever he gets allergic reactions like this, he has to wait it out. And that’s what we did… in Italy. 

Fake Italy


We sat with some gelato and took it easy until the pressure in his right eye felt less intense. It was right around this time that I realized how many drunk people were around us. Apparently there’s a sort of bar-hopping-esqued activity that you can do to try alcohol from around the world. 

It looked like so much fun! But, unfortunately, I’m really not the type to drink around my parents. I want to come back to this park with friends and experience it, everyone looked like they were having so much fun! 

Fake Mexico


Near the end of our day, we stopped by a building near the Starbucks at Epcot called “Club Cool”. My little sister had read about it and wanted to stop by. 


It’s a Coca-Cola owned establishment that lets you try different sodas from around the world! My personal favorites were Zimbabwe, Brazil, and Japan. 

Soda flavors from around the world!


The Italy one was just horrible though, never again. 

The sun was starting to set and the Spaceship Earth Epcot ball was starting to illuminate, but we didn’t stay for the night show this time around. 


After three days we needed an early night, especially with my Dad’s eyeball swelling up. Back to the hote for sleep, and an early start for tomorrow again. 

xx