Thursday, January 01, 2015

The Goals of 2014 in Review

Last year I wrote down all of my goals on sticky notes and placed them on my fridge.

Save $ for car (200/month) and Buy a new car: We did not do super well at actually physically setting the money aside, but we were able to pay for the car with some cash we had saved up! I still love my Honda Fit quite a bit, and we have taken "Fitzy" from 17 miles to 9,300 and we have used her in many different ways, particularly for my "back to school" shopping trips for work, hauling wedding decor around, and vacation!

Eat more vegetables: I have to admit, this was a sad goal to make.. mainly because I had written in under that goal by saying (once a day?) haha! Well, I am sure there were some days I did go vegetable-less, but in the summer time Harrison and I were really good about packing little bags of carrots, celery, and tomatoes. (that's 3 vegetables in one day!!)

Send more mail--birthday cards, thank you notes, etc: I did not do very well at this one... I think I sent out like 5 birthday cards.

Take notes in church: failed. Maybe I did this twice. Counting Conference. ;)

Journal? Yeah. I took my conference notes in my journal and that about wraps that one up...

Make Russian Photo book: another fail, I did start going through all of my photographs to try to decide which ones to use, but that is as far as I got.

Recipe book: This is something I had kept secret all year in hopes that I would make it as a gift to give out at Christmas, but another fail. It was hard getting my family to give me the recipes I was looking for and also hard to find the time to make the meal, photograph it in an awesome way, etc.

Eat out once a week (2 times for Harrison): This didn't work too well..

Go to Grocery Store once every two weeks: I think I did okay with this one, it helped when we got a Costco card, but when we were trying to eat more vegetables it would sometimes go awry. I did find a little system that I enjoyed. We would look through our cookbooks and find one or two new recipes to try, write down the ingredients on a sticky note, we would also write up a few of our favorite or go to recipes and put all the sticky notes on the fridge. Then we would shop and have all of those ingredients on hand, so while I had two weeks of meals planned, we could decide which day we wanted to do which meal. I would then move the sticky note to a paperclip magnet, showing that it is no longer an option to make.

Work out 2.5 hours a week: Yeah....

Temple once a month: We were fairly good with this one, I think we got a 10/12.

Blog 4 times a month: This was mainly for my music blog... but still, did not happen. I find it hard to continue to write or review the music when I don't have anyone commenting on the posts.

Clean house once a week: My place has never gotten out of hand... but I did not consciously clean each week.

Read and Pray daily: not perfect at this one yet...

Graduate in May: DONE!

Vacation Goals for 2014
Tuachan for anniversary: We went and saw the Little Mermaid, not quite as an anniversary get-a-way, but Harrison's family came down and we all went!

Camping with Aubrey and Shane: We were able to go camping with my parents at a family reunion, but my sister and brother-in-law were unable to make the trip.

Visit Rachel in Arizona: This goal ended up with Rachel visiting me in Utah! We did 27 things for her birthday and it was a full day of fun!

Washington?: Seriously, sometimes my goals are questions but I understand it exactly. Haha! We did go to Washington for Christmas and Harrison's brother's wedding, success!

Disney- Halloween or Christmas? Well, we didn't complete the holiday portion of the goal, but we did go to DisneyWorld for a week as my graduation/birthday present and!

Overall I think I succeeded on 10 out of  20. 50% isn't too bad!

Saturday, November 08, 2014


One of the blogs I read is a book review type of blog.

I love to read, and saw a new post and that she had read a book called Landline. Her review sounded intriguing, so I checked it out from the library.

Oh my goodness! This book made me feel so many emotions!

First off, the book is about a woman who has a career and a family, and she is the one who works outside of the home. She has two kids and a husband who is a great cook. Unfortunately, she chooses her career over the family. Her husband takes the girls his parent's for Christmas. She can't ever get a hold of him, and finally calls him from her mother's landline. In doing so, she reaches her husband...but in the past. During a time they were still dating. (The Story Girls' review is much better than mine)

There was something about this book that just made me hug Harrison tighter each night. She didn't treat her husband the best all the time, she had a lot of doubts. But my goodness, it made me want to treasure my time with Harrison that much more, tell him how incredible he is that much more, and just hold his hand or hug him that much more.

Be warned, there is quite a bit of swearing in the book, but if you are as curious about how this book made me cherish my husband more, or more simply understand what it would be like to call your husband and reach a version of him from when you were dating, give this book a chance.

There was one night whilst reading I leaned over to Harrison and asked if he could talk to a his past self, if he would give himself any advice regarding me... and that's really a post for a different time!

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Magic Kingdom, Day 5

Day 5 we slept in a little bit, and tried to take our time, walking slower, just enjoying it. This was my actual birthday, and we were very excited about exploring inside of the Beasts' Castle and enjoying the food we had heard all about!

Waiting for the line to move. You get a "Rose" and when you check in, the rose is a sensor that alerts the staff to what food to bring to what table!!

Such a beautiful stained glass style mural of Belle and the Beast

Waiting in line, Harrison mimics a Knight in Shining Armor

Inside the main dining hall

The very regal Soda Fountain

A peak into the Beast's Forbidden West Wing, The painting him changes from Human to Beast every few minutes with a crack of thunder!

A statue of Belle and Beast dancing, it rotates! Rumor has it, Belle's Father Maurice carved it for them.

I ordered a Croque Monsieur,
Grilled Sandwich of Carved Ham and Gruyere Cheese and Bechamel with Pommes Frites

Harrison ordered a Grilled Steak Sandwich with Garlic-Herb Butter Spread and Pommes Frites

We had to have dessert, Triple Chocolate Cupcake: Chocolate Sponge Cake, Chocolate Mousse Filling and Chocolate Ganache AND They Grey Stuff! Called the Master's Cupcake, Chocolate Sponge Cake topped with Lumiere's special "Grey Stuff" (it IS delicious!!)

The Rose alongside the Mirror
This was a very special experience. It was for lunch with made it a little more casual, but it was still a very romantic atmosphere. I highly recommend eating here!

Since we were taking a little more of a leisurely day, we stopped and watch the Festival of Fantasy Parade and the Dream Along with Mickey in front of the Castle.  We also did the Interactive Pirates Adventures. With the Magic Bands, we could follow the prompts on a map that lead us to different stations that would talk to us, that controlled poles that blew air at us simulating darts, or brought up a treasure chest from the river! It was really neat!! I sat down to rest my feet and let Harrison run all over finding the "treasure". It is a great attraction. We also kept all the maps and plan on using them to decorate the apartment for Halloween!

My favorite float!

Bubbles trailing behind Ariel's Float

A Fire Breathing Dragon!!

Princesses and Dancers for Dream Along with Mickey

Fireworks after Dream Along with Mickey

To give my feet a rest, we enjoyed a few rides on the Walt Disney World Railroad, The Hall of the Presidents (where I almost fell asleep), People Mover, Prince Charming's Regal Carrousel, and a surprisingly awesome and hilarious, Monster's Inc Laugh Floor.  There is a hidden group of comedians that improv with the audience! Depending on where you sit, you might be picked on!

We also found time to ride: Dumbo, The Barnstormer, Ariel's Under the Sea journey, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Pirates, where we accidentally got seated with another couple in the very front row... and got sooooo drenched!!

We ended the evening by watching the Electrical Parade, Wishes, and the Castle Fireworks. Afterwards we treated ourselves to a final Le Fou's Brew.

Day 6:
Our final day was spent exploring the shops at Downtown Disney. Our flight didn't take off until the evening, so we slept in, then took the bus over to Downtown Disney. We got a nice chocolate shake at Ghiradellis, looked around all the shops, and Harrison designed a custom t-shirt! It is probably one of his favorite things ever.

We took the boat back to our hotel, it was a great way to see all the areas around the hotels and say goodbye to everything.

If you have any questions about DisneyWorld, ask away!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Animal Kingdom, Day 4

We started off day 4 in the parks by going to the Animal Kingdom. Harrison was very excited for this park, and we had talked to a lot of people and heard many times that we needed to go to the Safari first thing to see the animals out and about instead of napping in the afternoon heat. We hardly even stopped to look around because we were so focused on just getting to the safari.
A short 30 minute wait, and we were on the Kilamanjaro Safari.


Rhino in Mud...

Rhino covered in mud!

The Safari was fun, lots of animals to see, and always nice to put my feet up.  Be prepared that it is quite the bumpy ride!

We decided to wander over to Expedition Everest for a ride before our fastpass, but we stopped for a photo first. You can kind of see the mountain in the background.

We waited for about 30-40 minutes, it was nice to experience the que, but it was kind of a long wait! We met a mom and her teenaged son in line, who ended up being in the same train as us--in the very front! There's a part where the track is mangled and ends, and this lady did not expect that, and then the ride goes backwards! It feels like you go through a loop, but it is mainly because it pulls you backwards so fast. It is by far our favorite ride in Animal Kingdom.

After the ride we decided to go towards the front to get our very own Wilderness Explorer books, because they have a lot of booths and activities so that you can earn badges (stickers) for the book.

We got Wilderness Explorer Books and were off to fill it with the activities to get the stickers!
 After we got the books and were walking back, we saw Dug and Russel! We couldn't resist.
Harrison meeting Dug (the hug lasted nearly a minute)

Harrison handing his Wilderness Explorer book to Russel to be signed

Dug made sure Harrison understood he wanted his head scratched!

SQUIRREL! (Russel did NOT get the memo!)
We met Dug and Russel and that was sure fun! Dug gives real long hugs and Russel made Harrison do the Wilderness Explorer sign and calls. (The Wilderness MUST be explored, Caw ca CaW, ROAR)

After getting our explorers book we walked through the Pangani Forest Trail to earn a badge, and we also walked through the Maharaj Jungle Trek to earn another badge. Then it was time for our fast pass for Expedition Everest, and this time we were in the VERY BACK! It was interesting to see both ends of the track, and especially to see all the teens in front of us holding their phones up to take selfies on the ride! (Whereas we had ours in the backpack tied to our legs because we were worried we would lose them.

We spent some more time walking around and earning badges before it was time for the Kali River Rapids. Overall, it is a fun ride, worth going on to get  wet in the heat of the day... but it sure was no Grizzly River Run like in California Adventure! It is a much shorter ride with only one drop. But it was fun.

Afterwards we ate at the Yak and Yeti, and enjoyed some good Chinese food. We walked a loop around the park, filled in some more badges, and then we felt like we had done all the things we wanted to... so we got a frozen coke (with a paper straw that Harrison is very passionate against) and left the park! It was fairly early, like 3 in the afternoon, but we decided to head back to the hotel for a quick nap.

We decided to go back to Epcot to see the Illuminations show again. We made reservations for the Beirstein, a German Buffet styled restaurant. They seat you in a table for ten, and you sit next to people you don't know, and share your table. There was also a German band and there was Polka to be had, but mostly the little kids went down and danced like fools while the rest of us tried to make the most out of this $40aperson buffet. It was tasty food, but not entirely worth the price tag for me.. The family we sat next to was fun, one of them works in the Parks as a Jungle Cruise director, so they were telling us about how the parks change from the Halloween to Christmas decorations, and those are incredible stories to hear.

My dessert plate!

We found a spot on the opposite side of the park we had been last time (Last time we were near Canada and this time we were just outside of Germany) to watch Illuminations. We were a lot closer this time and it was relaxing to just watch and enjoy the show.

After the show was over we decided, against our better judgement, to go to Magic Kingdom for magic hours! For us, the park would be open til 2. The line to get on the monorail was so long! We made friends with a family and chatted with them while we waited around half an hour to get on. It is kind of confusing to take the monorail, there is a part where you have to get off and change trains but it felt like the same train and we were all confused. You do go through one of the hotels, and it was quite extravagant.

Overall, we only lasted maybe an hour. We knew that we were going to be back in the morning and would spend the day in Magic Kingdom, so when our legs hurt too much to bear, we left!

Three parks in ONE day??? We have reached a whole new level--we could now be respected by season ticket holders!

Notes: I think that Animal Kingdom is a little more kid friendly, there is a whole section for Dinosaur Land... but we felt it is quite crowded, small walkways, and there seemed to be a lot of politics about recycling and conservations--which isn't bad, but felt like too much. As a couple, half a day is a good amount of time to experience this park.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Hollywood Studios, Day 3

For our third day in the DisneyWorld parks, we decided on Hollywood Studios.

I was most excited about Tower of Terror! Harrison hates that ride more than anything, so I made a deal with him that we would only go on it once.

On the bus ride to the park we found out it was a Star Wars Weekend, and we had no idea... but were curious about how it would affect the number of people in the parks. (all in all it ended up helping the rides to not have such long lines, because everyone was there to stand in line to meet characters!)

We didn't have much of a plan going in to the park, so when we first got there we thought we would go to the Great Movie Ride. It is a delightfully fun ride, similar to the Jungle Cruise, where you are being talked through the ride and awfully awesome lame jokes all the time. This one is done by car. We walked straight on to the ride since it was the first thing in the morning, but I might not have minded waiting a little bit in the que, there were costumes from movies and some interesting things to keep your attention. The ride is 20 minutes long, so it seemed like it would be a good ride for when your feet need a break--and let me tell you, it was day three and I had a HUGE blister. So even though it was our first ride, it was about time that I needed to rest my feet! (Que foreshadowing...)

Since it was still early we thought we might check out Toy Story Mania, but it already had an outrageous wait time and while we love the ride, we did not think it was worth the wait.

So we walked through the Walt Disney: One Man's Dream. It is a nice walk through exhibit with bits of history and a little video at the end that talks about how Disney came to be. It is really neat, especially for those who love Walt Disney himself.

It was finally time for our delightful ride on the Tower of Terror! As we walked up, I somehow was so excited that I ran into one of the poles and got a huge bruise. Was this park out to get me?

I LOVED Tower of Terror, it is different from the one in California Adventure, and I delighted in the change and thought the ride was perfect, but since Harrison hated it so much I felt bad for making him go... we did not end up returning.

We are in the back corner

Post Tower of Terror, it was time to finally get some breakfast! We stopped at Fairfax Fare. It was alright breakfast food. We did have a lovely visitor...

We had some time before our fast pass to Rock N Roller Coaster with Aerosmith, so we walked the street and looked at some of the gift shops.
Harrison found the Power Rangers!
 The Rock N Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith blew. my. mind. I was no prepared for this ride! In the que, you stop by the sound studio and find out that Aerosmith is late for their concert, but they want to take you with them in a high speed limo! So you walk through the doors and get into a stretch limo... once strapped in, you ease around a corner and see a sign that counts you down, and from there on out you are going 60 MPH! As soon as you shoot off they take your picture.

I had no idea, it is a neon and black light kind of ride, and wow. I think I was a little unsteady getting out of the ride because it is so fast!

Rocking out after the ride
Next stop was the Studio Back Lot Tour, which was pretty neat. We saw how a ship/water scene was pieced together with a random family from the audience who got soaked, it was fun to see them act it out and then for the camera guys to stitch it together in a different sequence and make it epic. You then walk through a storage room of props, then you get on a bus and experience a fire and flash flood scene which was awesome! We saw Herbie.
Harrison channeling his inner Nicolas Cage, stealing the Declaration of Independence

Water tower with Mouse ears and a plane


Harrison with Indiana Jones' whip
After the ride you walk through a memorabilia exhibit and then to a bookstore/gift shop --very clever.

They had promoted the Lights, Camera, Action Stunt show, so we went to that next. Before you enter the stands they have bottled drinks--the first time I saw something other than Coke! So I got some Mellow Yellow.

The car stunt show was incredible! I wasn't too interested in it to begin with, but it was really fun. They show you how cars drive backwards, how they jump things, people falling off buildings, everything catching on fire... it was awesome.

Ballet Chase
Ballet Chase

Lightning McQueen showed up

A forwards driving car and a backwards driving car

Man about to catch on fire

Everything on fire
The show was a lot more exciting than I had anticipated, and it was a great time to put my feet up! It's about a 40 minute show.

Jumping Jenni Star Wars Action Figure!
Harrison Collier, Star Wars Action Figure

We were hungry after the stunt show, so we went to Pizza Planet Arcade for lunch. The pizza was quite greasy, but the Darth Vader Chocolate cupcake was soooo good!

 We got in line for our fast pass to the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! Luckily we sat on the front row and Harrison got chosen to be a part of the show!! I took pictures with one hand, while filming with the other, and it was just great. Lots of stunts were explained and then shown. And of course, Harrison got asked to strike a pose, and I have video of when he was asked to walk like a model.

 Having seen the Aladdin live action broadway-esque play in California, I was certain that Beauty and the Beast would be just as good, and I needed to rest my feet again, as while we were walking to the play my blister popped. (sidenote, I had broken in my shoes, but my feet were not use to walking 10 miles a day.) So we went to the play with high expectations. It is in an outdoor theater, covered...but already Aladdin was winning in our books because theirs in indoor with lots of great air conditioning. The play fell very short in our opinion. The acting was not very good, but Gaston, he stole the show for us. As he was rallying to gain a crowd to defeat the beast, he gets distracted by his reflection in his knife, it was truly the best part of the show. It did not seem like anyone was actually mic'ed, and it was not our favorite. We now have a joke about roaring though, because the beast's roar was him literally saying Roar. so bad.

After that we needed to have something better, so we walked and were able to walk straight on to Star Tours! and it was delightful as usual. We thought we might just do it again since we were able to walk on, but we stood in the same spot for five minutes and did not move.. so we left.

You should know that by this time, we had already walked the park probably 4 times, because we didn't really understand where things were or how it was set up, and we didn't have a good plan of staying in one area at a time, we kept popping in to other places. so our feet were dead.

We decided to walk to the back of the park to take the singing in the rain photos, and on our way we saw a Storm Trooper.

"Charlie's Angels"

 Every so often the umbrella would start to rain! That was fun.  Well I found on the map a Little Mermaid show called The Voyage of the Little Mermaid, 15 minutes long. so we walked across the park to check it out. SO GOOD! There are lazer lights, bubbles, glow in the dark fish, so much better than the Beauty and the Beast show. It was only 15 minutes, and it was awesome. After that we went to check out a pirates themed something, so we got a pass to come back later to that because they decided it should be a ticketed thing.

 I had thought that the Backlot Express would be right next to the Back Lot Tour... but no. It is next to Indiana Jones. So, we had walked the long way to get there. Did I mention how many times we walked the park? How dead my feet were? Oh well. The food there was awesome, it was really good. I got a salad and Harrison got a burger, and we split the Yoda Hazelnut Cupcake.

We liked it a little bit better than the Darth one. It seemed a lot lighter in the flavor, not so much Death by Darth.

After dinner it was time to walk across the park to go to the pirates thing, which ended up being interesting... since my feet were dead and it is a standing exhibit, movie?something... I did not love it. But it was fun, you got an introduction into the life of a pirate, you had a ship battle, it was a good experience. It was getting close for Fantasmic to start, but we had too much time to go and sit there, so we went back to the Little Mermaid, and even the second time it did not disappoint, it only got better!

We almost ran to Fantasmic because we were both so excited about it. I don't know where they find the space, but it is in an outdoor amphitheater, probably half a miles walk from the sign.

Waiting for Fantasmic to start
I did not take any photos, but man, it is a good show! I don't love the Fantasmic at DisneyLand because it features a lot of older Disney movies, but this one had a lot from more recent or at least my childhood type of movies, especially Pocahontas. Mickey seems to battle each of the evil witches, and we just loved the show.

The park would be closing soon but we thought we should try another ride... so we went back to Rock N Roller Coaster, and again, even though I knew what to expect this time, I was blown away! So good. As we were waiting in line we heard massive explosions because they were doing the Star Wars Fireworks. We did not see any, but I am fairly certain they destroyed a planet or too.  Since I knew when the photo was taken this time, I tried to do blue steel... but we were going so fast my face just looks funny!
Blue Steel face fail. Harrison rocks out

End of the night photo with the Mickey Hat in the background

16 attractions visited, 11 miles walked (at least!!)
 All in all, we loved Hollywood Studios... but please. Save yourself the foot ache of looking at the map before hand, and maybe getting there a little later in the day so that you do not walk more than you have to. We felt that there were a lot of times we just sat down to kill some time, which is always a good idea, but that we did it too much. I am glad we never waited in line for Toy Story Mania, because a 3 hour wait is not worth the games, they are super fun, but no. The streets can get crowded particularly in this park. And always remember, you can ask for water anywhere and they will give it to you!

Oh and last tip-- do not see Beauty and the Beast unless you what to hear what the "roar" is all about.