Category Archives: travel

Disney Vacation Day 4: Afternoon Nap?

Disney Day 4 started with a scream—literally.  MamaDi has a penchant for insanely long, steamy showers, so just as I was blinking angrily at the alarm clock (I had planned on getting up at six thirty and it didn’t go off) the fire alarm shrieked.  I slipped on a sweatshirt and opened the door to our room because I initially thought someone had tripped the alarm in the whole building.  Then I remembered one of my apartments in Florida, where we had to leave the porch door open whenever someone was in a shower to keep our alarm from going off.  I told LilSis to try and get the window open as I held the door to our room open to the hall.  A few people poked their heads out of their rooms to glare at me.  MamaDi kept asking what was wrong, was it the whole building?  No, just our room, just the steam from the shower.

An inauspicious start to our final day of park fun, but I have to say I was sure we’d have a great last day anyway.  We lounged around the hotel and didn’t leave until ten o’clock.

LilSis and the Fiancé love Disneyland

When we got to the park, we headed straight for Tomorrowland to get Fastpasses for Space Mountain.  For those unfamiliar with the Disney parks, Fastpasses are available to everyone by putting your ticket in the machines at popular rides.  The Fastpasses allow you to take a shorter line later in the day (you can pick up a pass every two hours or so).  If you time them right, it really helps you skip long waits for crowded attractions.  Fastpasses in hand, we hopped in the stand-by line.  Half an hour later we were screaming in the dark on one of my favorite coasters.  It’s definitely a classic!

By 11:00 it was 80° and sunny—time for a little break in the shade 😉  I was craving fried food and fish and chips were near at hand.  Score!  I have to say, it’s pretty easy to eat pescatarian (if not particularly healthy) in the Disneyland area (a small section of Anaheim), but if you’re a vegetarian you’re stuck with soup or junk food.  I wish I had remembered to take pictures of my food this week.  Highlights included: teriyaki tofu rice bowl on the Wharf at California Adventure (scarfed down while waiting in line for the California Screamin’ Roller Coaster), buttermilk flapjacks and eggs at the local Original Pancake House, fresh-popped popcorn in a collectible bucket, shellfish sampler at Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion, and shrimp in a spicy broth at Bubba Gump’s.

We took the afternoon off since Disney vacations can be tiring.  MamaDi met with me after I ran a mile and a half and we walked this route.  Now MamaDi and LilSis are napping while I type.  Try as I might, I’ve never gotten the hang of midday sleep.  Tonight we’ll head back to the park for the fireworks show.  I can’t wait 🙂

7 Wallet- and Eco-Friendly Things Our Grandparents DidSix Surprising Superfoods
Healthy D-Fense: What’s so Great About Vitamin D?


Disney Vacation Days 2 & 3 in Pictures

I’ll eventually get a chance to write up a full recap, but those of you who’ve been to Disneyland or Disney World before know how long and happily-exhausting it can be.  So for now, here are some pictures.

One of my favorite rides as a kid was Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, so we always endure the twenty-plus minutes wait to ride that antique car to hell.  (If you’ve been on the ride, you know what I’m talking about!)

LilSis loves the landscaping at the parks, so we’re always sure to snap a few pictures in front of the train depot out front.  Check out the Mickey flowers!

MamaDi’s favorite touristy restaurant is Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. (themed after the Forrest Gump movie with Tom Hanks) so we had to head over there the first night.  There was a bit of a wait, but when you have a camera that’s not a big deal 😉

And what better way for a single girl to start the day than some Jack Sparrow over at the Pirate’s of the Caribbean?


Disney Vacation Day 1: Childhood Memories and a Roadtrip

The smell of buttery popcorn mingling with the cavity-inducing sweetness of caramel apples and cotton candy.  Running in terror from giant fuzzy animals walking around on their back legs.  Laughing at animatronics bears.  Sitting on my dad’s shoulders and gasping as colored lights exploded over a towering dream of a castle.

Those are the more vivid memories I have of my first trip to Disney World.  I was almost three years old.

My first trip to Disneyland came later, when I was eleven or twelve (no one in my family distinctly remembers which summer month our trip was in).  I was just old enough to not be whiny and exhausted at the end of a full day of waiting and heat.  I was just young enough to still immerse myself fully in the magic of the experience.  It’s probably one of the greatest weeks of my entire life.

Now it is ten years later, four years since my most recent Disneyland visit, and I’ve discovered something.  The excitement and the magic will never die for me.  Somehow Disney manages to bring out the perpetual startled toddler, the mesmerized middle-schooler, the kid in me.  Last night I was almost too excited to sleep; I felt like it was Christmas Eve when I was a kid listening hard for the sound of hooves on the roof.

By the time you’re reading this I’ll have already finished a super-speedy morning run.  My family will be bundling into the car and heading to the park for the Fiancé’s first visit. 

So I still have hope for a lot of things in my future.  I’m not going to worry about becoming too jaded to enjoy new experiences.  I’m not going to worry about the day that comes when I don’t love the magical experience of sitting down in a movie theater to watch a story unfold.  I’m not going to worry that I’ll grow tired of surprises.  I’m not going to worry about birthdays being routine.  Because.

Because now I’m sure there’s still magic in my world.

I hope there is in yours, too.

On road tripping:

I love driving cross country.  Piling into an overstuffed vehicle with your family and being stuck there for seven or eight hours may be a recurring nightmare for some of you, but somehow we get along better on road trips than we do at any other time.

Wind farms just after we crossed the California state line

Papo and I packed up snacks this morning while MamaDi, LilSis, and the Fiancé finished packing.  Magically (I’m going to throw magic out there as much as I want on these Disney posts), I was mostly packed the night before so I had time to work out this morning.

MamaDi liked her book more than the wind farms

According to my training plan I could strength train or cross train (non-running cardio) today, so I kind of did both.  First I did twenty minutes of newbie-modified cardio yoga (which I maintain is strength training—that made my muscles shudder under the strain) and followed up with fifteen minutes on the elliptical machine in our basement.

Who knew southern California was so green?

I have to say, the elliptical is growing on me.  The country club in town was selling their “old” ones since they were purchasing new equipment.  My parents got a great deal on it and we’re all pretty excited because Papo’s knees aren’t what they’re used to.  He’s an elliptical junkie 😉  At any rate, the elliptical is slightly less loathsome than it used to be simply because of the convenience factor when it comes to cross training.  I don’t have a gym membership and rarely have access to other cardio machines.

Ready for Spring Break in the sunshine

After everyone was showered and packed, luggage-Jenga ensued.  Maybe we just pack more than so-called “sane” people *scoffs*  I don’t know how we always end up with so much crap in the car when we go on vacation.  This time we squished everything in MamaDi’s Yukon without needing a car-top carrier (a feat right up there with climbing K2 or running an ultra).  Right now we’re about 150 miles from Los Angeles.  The day’s views consisted largely of distant brownish mountains and scrubby desert; if they hadn’t I would’ve filmed/taken more pictures.

My computer’s about to die, but I wanted to type this up quickly while I knew what I wanted to say.  Hope everything is well in Blogland, where you reside outside your computers.

Anyone up for luggage-Jenga?


Shopping, A Survey, Baseball, and a Big Fat Surprise

Well, Blogland, it’s been a pretty hectic day.  There was shopping (day 2 in a row of my least favorite activity), spending time with LilSis (her flight into Phoenix was two hours late last night), meeting up with LilSis’s school friends, and a spring training baseball game (just me, Papo, and the Fiancé like baseball so more shopping was had by LilSis and MamaDi).  I was dying without a camera to show you all everything, but I have an exciting secret to ease the guilt of no pictures today:

On Tuesday you guys are coming with me to Disneyland! 🙂

Okay, you’re not really coming (that would be a bit awkward—we’ve just met, after all).  But my camera will be surgically attached to my hand and you’ll get to see the whole adventure.  This will be my first trip to Disneyland since 2007 and I’m really excited to experience the place as “an adult.”  That statement really does require quotation marks.

So no photos, but I saw a fun a-z blog survey going around and took the time to fill it out after the game.  For your reading pleasure:

A. Age: 21, I’ll be 22 in July 2011

B. Bed size: Queen

C. Chore you dislike: Scrubbing the tub/shower!  It’s probably the most physically uncomfortable of the chores I do on a regular basis.

D. Dogs:  None, but I like to walk BigSis’s black lab when I visit her in Montana.

E. Essential start to your day: Something with peanut butter—usually a whole wheat english muffin.  Yummy!

F. Favorite color: Green closely followed by blue.  But my favorite color to wear is gray.

G. Gold or silver: Silver.  I look weirdly jaundiced if I wear gold.

H. Height: 5’4”.  I’m actually in between 5’4” and 5’5”, but I usually just say 5’4”.  Because saying this takes too long.

I. Instruments you play(ed): I still play the piano (took lessons for about twelve years) and previously played the cello (sold it in high school and never looked back).

J. Job title: Student/Blogger/YouTuber

K. Kids: No thanks! 😉

L. Live: Near Phoenix

M. Mom’s name: MamaDi, Dianna Lynn, Di, Disey (like daisy)

N. Nicknames: Lee, Kellshell (my middle name is Michelle), Kell, Mickey, Klowb (BigSis couldn’t say my name when I was born so Klowb came into being), KlowbShowb

O. Overnight hospital stays: 12 (I used to be a sickly creature!)

P. Pet peeves: Nail-biting, walking slowly in front of people on impassably small paths while smoking (specific to my old school), adults who bring their undisciplined children to upscale/quiet venues and let them act poorly

Q. Quote from a movie:  Adventure is out there! -Up

R. Righty or lefty: Righty.

S. Siblings: BigSis (Teddi) and LilSis (Shawn)

T. Time you wake up: Depending on the day between 5-10:30 am.

U. Underwear: uh…yes?

V. Vegetables you don’t like: Can I count fungus as a veggie?  I hate mushrooms.

W. What makes you run late: Playing too long with my ridiculous makeup collection.  I used to do some freelance artistry and now I just have a tone of makeup!

X. X-rays you’ve had: lungs a few times

Y. Yummy food you make: pancakes, stir-fry, grilled corn, cookies, roasted veggies…

Z. Zoo animal favorites: pandas!  Seriously, you have no soul if you don’t love pandas 😉

Alright, kids, I’ll see you back home tomorrow 😉

Time for some link-love:

The Possible Dangers of “Healthy Fat” Acceptance
Five Easy Veggie Frittatas
Beckman Institute Study on How Sports May Positively Focus the Brain


Spur of the Moment

What’s a girl to do when she’s got a spur of the moment weekend trip?

Forget her camera, that’s what!  So, this will be a quick post (on slow hotel internet) of old pictures with new words 😉

The morning started out with this: 

Mimi's looks the same pretty much everywhere 😉 Always tasty!

The Mimi’s shown is actually one I went to while living in Florida (note the rain), but they all look pretty much the same.  For those not blessed enough to have eaten at Mimi’s Café, they do breakfast-lunch-dinner but truly shine in the breakfast category.  Their baked goods are legendary (muffins the size of small children come to mind) and the service is almost-universally excellent.

This morning I had the Two “AA” Large Eggs breakfast, one egg over-hard the other scrambled.  Those hot and tasty eggs came with fruit stolen from MamaDi, a heaping pile of red skin breakfast potatoes (which were passed along to my sister’s fiancé, whose early arrival was the cause of said weekend trip), a glass of orange juice (which was passed along to MamaDi, since I’d just brushed my teeth before its arrival), and a huge buttermilk spice muffin.  The spice muffin was not passed along, although I did share so I only ate about 2/3 of it.  After a little digging I’ve discovered the muffin was about 500 calories with around 10 grams of protein.*  I’ve often said muffins were calorie bombs (come on, I could eat a cupcake instead!), but holy cow!  It’s a good thing I don’t eat breakfast out that often because this wasn’t as filling as the breakfasts I usually eat at home. :/

Anybody have a calorie bomb they indulge in occasionally?  Besides muffins I occasionally indulge in super-fudgy chocolate cake (not any time soon, since I gave up chocolate for Lent).  I try to keep small indulgences in my daily diet so there aren’t a lot of things I truly think of as calorie bombs.

Well, it’s time to hit the mall and look at tuxes—I swear my life has been taken over by this wedding and I’m just a bridesmaid 😉  Here’s hoping your weather’s as nice as ours: 72° and sunny! 

Wish you were here?

*I want to throw out there that I do not count calories, but I do try and stay aware of the contents of my meals: calories, fat, protein, fiber.  Since going mostly meatless, I’ve tried to be very conscious of getting enough protein and healthy fats.

Time for Some Link-Love:

How to Stop Hating Exercise from Health
Study on the Effects of Mercury in Fish on Heart Health
Jenna’s Pizza Rolls Recipe over at Eat, Live, Run