My Spring FabFitFun Unboxing!

Hey everyone!

Hope everyone’s still holding up well! It’s definitely a strange week, but I find one of the best ways to make it through social distancing is making sure you have little things to look forward to. This can mean anything from little FaceTime dates, to special blog posts you’ve been working on forever, or a fancy face mask/spa night you’ve planned out for yourself. But one of my favourites is buying little gifts for myself online. That’s exactly why I love FabFitFun so much — the element of surprise in every box turns it into a little seasonal gift for myself.

I’ve been a FabFitFun member for over a year now, and frankly, they’ve never disappointed. First of all, the quality of the products they offer is INSANE. Not only that, but they really seem to add a selection of staples and items tailored for the specific season. I feel like people worry about receiving items they won’t need or use in subscription boxes, but that’s never been the case for me. Maybe it’s because all the items FabFitFun offers are so universal and great, or maybe it’s just a mix of luck and getting to select a certain number of items per each box. Either way, in the year and a half that I’ve been a member, I’ve used and loved every single product I’ve received.

This season is no exception. I’ve already put so many of my items from this season’s box to good use, and I can’t wait to share each and every one of them with you! Plus, if you love what you’re seeing it’s not too late to get a box of your very own! You can get your first box $10 off by clicking here and using my affiliate discount SPRINGLOVE! It might just be the perfect pick-me-up to get you through this social distancing season.

Donni Ribbed Sweater Coat

When I saw this sweater as an option, I just KNEW I had to get it. Cardigans and sweaters are something my closet is hugely lacking in, which is a huge pain during spring. I always end up struggling with choosing between being cold or having to wear outer layers that don’t really match my outfit, and while the type of weather that calls for that kind of transition never lasts long and I always just scrape by, it really is an easy fix. I’ve already gotten the chance to try out this little sweater jacket once and I’m all about it — it’s casual and classic, super cozy and will go with just about any simple outfit I have stashed away in my closet.

Murad Rapid Collagen Infusion

I’m absolutely in love with this serum. I know I haven’t been using it for that long, but I’m absolutely adding it into my regular routine — even after I use this bottle up. First of all, I’ve already discussed in many previous posts all the benefits collagen offers. I know I’ve shared before all about how much I love Tarte’s Rainforest Of The Sea Collagen Super Serum, and I’d still vouch for it as a product. However, I find the cream-formulation of this serum so be a lot less messy to apply, and it doesn’t leave behind any sort of residue on my skin. Also, the smell of this stuff is just unreal — I’d love to have a candle with the same scent because I really just love it that much.

Wei Two-In-One Purify and Glow Mask Collection

I’ve been trying to use this quarantine time to work through a bunch of face mask samples I have to help refine my collection to products that really benefit my skin the most. While there’s certain masks in my collection that I’m certain are here to stay — such as Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Mask and Fresh’s Instant Perfecting Mask, there’s others that I feel may not be the best suited for my skin compared to newer options, plus I just like to switch it up and see what’s out there. While I haven’t tried out the exfoliating masks in this little package just yet, I can already say I’m definitely repurchasing the golden root clay mask.

This mask left me feeling like I had a whole new face. Even for someone who spends a lot (maybe even too much?) time on skincare, I had never seen my skin looking as good as I had after this mask. The mask itself is so soft and feels lovely to apply (especially with the little brush they include with it) and the deep-cleansing results are immediately visible. If you’re looking for a solid clay mask to add to your collection, I’d highly recommend trying this one out.

Jabonería Marianella Imperial Jade Body Oil

I’m really happy I received this product in my box as it’s definitely something I would have never tried normally. Body oils are something I’ve kind of kept a distance from in the past as they have a tendency to be messy and if they don’t absorb well, will leave your clothes/bed sheets/life oily and stained too. However, this oil is thick enough that it’s easy to apply without worrying about making a massive mess. Not only that, but it absorbs quickly enough you can apply it in the morning and not worry about ruining your clothes, which is amazing. This oil is perfect for mornings, too, because the scent is a) so heavenly and b) really helps wake me up and help me feel energized after I apply it. (Plus, it’s packed with all kinds of vitamins that keep your skin glowing and healthy!).

AG Hair Fast Food Leave-On Conditioner

This is the only product I’ve received in my box I haven’t had a chance to try out yet, but I’ll be sure to report back once I have the chance. I love that FabFitFun often throws in products like this, though, since I’m definitely not as knowledgeable about hair care as I am about skincare and makeup. FabFitFun really has introduced me to SO many of my favourite products/brands over the years, and many of my all-time favourites have been hair care products. Items such as Aveda’s Damage Remedy, DryBar’s Prep Rally, and of course, the entire brand of Ouai, have all remained in my full-time rotation since I first received them. So I’m not worried, I’m sure this product wont disappoint.

This Works Deep Sleep Body Cocoon

FabFitFun has gifted me many of my favourite body moisturizers over the years, and this one is no exception. My favourite types of moisturizers are the kind that are light-weight and absorb quickly, because I hate that lingering feeling so many creams have that you can feel on your skin for ages after you apply it. This cream is both fantastic and lightweight, but the smell really does help me feel relaxed and ready for bed after I apply it. It’s formulated specifically with shea butter, Lavender, Vertivert and Camomile essential oils, and Crambe and Camelina sativa oils to help soothe your body and protect skin from aging. It’s super soothing and I just love adding it into my nighttime ritual, it’s the kind of thing that helps me fully unwind and prepare for a good night’s sleep.

Chic & Tonic Silicone Straws

I am OBSESSED with these. First of all — look at how cute they are. But past that, I’ve really been struggling to find the perfect balance when it comes to not using plastic straws. Metal straws are challenging to carry around, and the silicone-metal hybrid one I had purchased I found challenging to clean and store. Paper straws are kind of gross, too, so I usually end up just drinking directly from the glass (which I kind of hate — maybe it’s just because I’m a klutz, but I always end up spilling drinks with ice all over me when I drink them directly from the glass). Anyways, not only are these straws eco-friendly and adorable, they fold up for easy storage (and they even come with a carrying case) and I personally find them easier to clean than metal straws. So, basically, me and my accident-prone self’s life just got a lot easier.

Avène Thermal Spring Water

I’ve always been curious about this type of product after seeing the Evian version available in Sephora for years, but I’ve never actually made the leap to try it. When I was reading the instructions for this product, I was blown away by how many uses it actually had. Previously, I never saw the point in purchasing “just water”, but the uses of this product range from makeup remover, to sunburn care, to soothing aftershave (and even more, I honestly can’t list them all). As well, this water has been purified and can help to soften skin and doesn’t include any irritants. As someone who’s morning skincare routine consists of a gentle water wash as the first step, I’ve been loving this product for that — but I can’t wait to test it out for more of it’s many uses in the future.

Add On: Calpack Packing Cubes in “Sorbet”

As an avid traveller, one of my biggest pet peeves about packing is how disorganized my suitcase looks after flying — it really doesn’t matter how much effort you put into packing everything as neatly as possible before you fly, by the time you land everything just ends up being a jumbled mess. When I saw these packing cubes as an option, I knew I needed to add them on to my order. While I don’t have any travel plans in the immediate future, the idea of being able to keep my clothes separate and neatly folded already has me excited for my next trip.

And that’s it for my spring box! I’m already obsessing over SO many of the items I’ve received, and I don’t even feel that I’ve gotten the chance to really see how amazing they are in the long run. Everything in this box is not only useful but universal, so while I know I’m definitely going to get use out of everything, I have a hard time seeing how anyone could ever struggle to find use for their items. While I am a little sad I now have to wait a whole three months for my next box, I love the seasonal theme of FabFitFun — it really helps to ring in each season, and it’s always worth the wait!

If you’re still hoping to get a spring box of your own, there’s still time! Don’t forget to click here and get your box discounted with the code SPRINGLOVE — if you were already considering it, the discount is just a bonus!

I hope everyone’s holding up okay while social distancing! The best thing to do right now is keep productive, calm and find little things to look forward to or make you happy. If you need some extra ideas, you can always check out my fifteen tips to get through social distancing — but also just keep in mind to take everything one day at a time and to do your best to stay positive. The more seriously we take this now, the sooner it will all blow over anyway!

Much love, and happy spring!

Xo,

Meredith

Thursday Favourites: February 27th

Hey guys!

As some of you remember, I covered my two all-time favourite mascaras in this segment back in November. At the time, I mentioned how I’d be sharing another post later on all about my go-to waterproof mascara — and as promised, here it is!

I love this mascara for a whole lot of reasons. Anyone who’s familiar with popular mascara brands will immediately recognize Too Faced’s Better Than Sex mascara — it ranks amongst Benefit’s They’re Real and Maybelline’s Great Lash as one of THE most iconic mascaras on the market. I haven’t purchased the original Better Than Sex formula in years, but I’ve kind of been considering giving it a try again. I used to use it all the time after hearing all the rave reviews, but I always found that it transferred around my eye area and often came out clumpy if I wasn’t careful. I’ve kind of been feeling the need to give it a second chance lately — I remember it having some flaws, but at one point it was a staple for me and I’m in the mood to give it another chance.

Anyway, back to the actual product of the week. I won’t lie, I stumbled across this product when I was searching for waterproof mascara in advance of a past vacation (which is just about the only time I buy my mascara waterproof). I only chose to buy it for two reasons — firstly, I recognized the brand and while the original Better Than Sex wasn’t like, my all-time fave mascara, I did love it at one point. Secondly, I totally fell for the packaging. Yes, I know, it’s not a reason to buy a product — but I just can’t help it! Look at those fake little water droplets. I’m obsessed.

Anyways, I do like this product for more than it’s cute packaging, I swear. What I love most about this product is the same thing I loved most about the original formula back in the day: the results are SO dramatic. As in, I ended up ditching my falsies during my trip dramatic (and if you know me, that’s COMPLETELY unheard of). Between my lash lift and this mascara, I was absolutely set. It just looked fantastic. My lashes have NEVER looked so good.

On top of that — this stuff really is waterproof. I’ve put it through a lot over the years — I’ve taken it on every single vacation I can remember since high school. Unless you like, literally take an hour long shower with it on, it barely smudges. I’m pretty sure I’ve swam with this stuff on. I love it.

If you’ve been looking for a great waterproof mascara, you can find this product online at Sephora! Hopefully for those of you with fun trips of your own planned soon, or who just need a little waterproofing in your everyday makeup, it’ll be just what you need.

And that’s all for today! Stay tuned this Sunday to read all about my current fave trends for a beach vacation (or even just summer, it’s almost just around the corner!). Otherwise, I hope you’re all having a fantastic week. We’re getting so close to the end of February — for those of you who’ve been setting monthly goals in 2020, I hope you’re close to achieving your February goals! If not, no worries — you can always take part of March to catch up (that’s my plan, at least!).

Much love,

Meredith

Spend A Week With Me In Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!

Sailing Tour by Vallarta Adventures

Hey guys!

So, as many of you already know, I’ve been spending this week taking a (very much needed) vacation in Puerto Vallarta. This last month has been a bit of a rough one for me — between having the flu, my term papers, my job and just keeping up with life its been a lot. However, not only was I lucky enough to have this getaway planned (and right after my final papers were due!), but from here on out my life should be at least a LITTLE less hectic, so cheers to that!

Puerto Vallarta is a special place to me since this was actually the place I went away on my first ever vacation! To be fair, I was too young to remember it — but this is my first time coming back ever since, so it’s pretty exciting to take it all in. I also have to say, Puerto Vallarta makes a great vacation spot — its easy to access from just about anywhere in North America (which I know for a fact since my family flew in from Toronto while I flew in from Vancouver, and none of us had long or difficult travels). As well, the weather here is STUNNING — like seriously, every single day that we’ve been here has been sunny and warm, and there’s almost never a cloud in the sky. It’s insanely perfect — maybe it’s just that all the vacations I’ve taken in the last few years have been to places with variable weather, but I’m pretty blown away by this “constant sun” and “no fear of cloudiness and rain” concept.

My Last Trip To Puerto Vallarta!

As well, Puerto Vallarta has just about everything anyone on your trip could be interested in. Not only does it have the beach, the pool, the sun and all the typical things you’d want out of a beach getaway, it has a vibrant town and plenty of adventurous activities in the nearby area. Since I was here with my family and my main goal was to just chill out a little, I didn’t really take part in anything TOO adventurous — but there’s all kinds of activities ranging from zip lining, to snorkelling, to parasailing, to hiking and more. Oh, and our hotel came equipped with the biggest spa I’ve ever seen, so there’s that too.

The View From Our Hotel Room

Overall, I have to say — I’m pretty in love with it here. (Bonus points since our hotel even came with a little house cat — meet Mitzy!). I know I always say this, but I never wanna leave (or at least, I could use more than one week). But enough of that — let’s get into all the details of my little vacay!

Meet Mitzy!

Our Accommodations

Our Room at the Marriott

For this trip, we stayed at the Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort and Spa. This little resort has it all — it’s near, but not quite in town. It’s smaller and a little quiet, which I personally loved. It has a lovely, large infinity pool, it’s own private stretch of beach, multiple restaurant and bar options and a large and fantastic spa — but more on that later.

Marriott Puerto Vallarta Beach

Some of my favourite aspects of this hotel are the lovely beach and poolside chairs, the amazing hibachi restaurant, the poolside food and drink service, and the amazing little stand that makes fancy cocktails served in real coconuts. (I mean, just look at this — how much cuter does it get?)

The rooms are large and pretty comfortable — not that we’ve spent much time in them when it’s so beautiful out. There’s a good range of food options, and a VERY good range of drink options. To top it all off, our hotel comes with it’s very own cat (Mitzy!) and the view from out balcony is beyond spectacular — so overall, I’d say this place is a winner.

View From Our Room Pt. 2

Things To Do

Go On A Sunset Sail
Sunset Sail by Vallarta Adventures

So I’ll just start off by saying that no matter where I’m travelling to in the world, just about my all time favourite activity is to spend a day on a boat. Seriously, my life goal is to be able to buy a boat one day. I’ve been on plenty of boats during my travels — such as Thailand, Vietnam, and Honolulu, just to name a few — however, this one really was the best one yet. We specifically chose to do a sunset sail via Vallarta Adventures, and while boating itself is great, let me tell you — boating at sunset is better. This particular boating adventure came with all the bells and whistles too — little snack trays, music, and an open bar (!!!). The staff were beyond lovely, too. Overall, I’d say this activity was a serious 11/10, and definitely my favourite part of this trip. If you’re ever in Puerto Vallarta, you’ll seriously want to check this ride out.

Sunset Sail by Vallarta Adventures
Have A Spa Day
Marriott Spa

So, obviously, this was VERY much needed after the week I’ve had. The Marriott Puerto Vallarta Spa is unlike any spa I’ve been to before, too — it really is a whole experience. Like first of all, it’s absolutely HUGE. When you get any services done, you get full access to all their amenities as well. So, while all I really signed up for was the 80-minute Swedish Massage, I ended up getting a LOT more. We spent our day before and after enjoying everything this spa had to offer, including: a jacuzzi, a hot and cold plunge pools, a foot bath, a sauna AND a steam room — and that’s not even an exhaustive list, just the things I tried out. Overall, it was an AMAZING experience, and probably one of the most extensive and amazing spa days I have ever had (thankfully, since I needed it so much!).

Marriott Spa
Hit The Town
Me in Town, Puerto Vallarta

The town of Puerto Vallarta is so vibrant and fun — if you’re spending your time at a resort, like me, you’ll still want to take a day and go explore. The beachside town is filled with countless restaurants, bars, and a wide array of shops, which will cover all your souvenir needs. There’s also a boardwalk that stretches on for miles and miles — allowing you to explore easily. Plus, the beaches by town are gorgeous, and feature plenty of beachside bars and restaurants — which is ALWAYS a good idea.

Puerto Vallarta Boardwalk
Try A Tequila Tasting
Tequila!

This is basically a must-try if you’re in Mexico — I mean, where else would be better to try something like this? It makes for a great little afternoon activity, and it’s totally a fun experience you really can’t get anywhere else. Our hotel offered free tastings, however, with how much tequila there is in this town, you probably could try this just about anywhere. Even if you’re really not a fan of tequila, they certainly have the best tequila in the world — so it’s definitely worth a shot (or two!).

Puerto Vallarta Pier

Places To Eat (And Drink!)

Mikado
Sushi at Mikado

Maybe I’m just a sucker for Hibachi places, but this was one of my favourite places we tried on our vacation. While this restaurant was a part of the Marriot we stayed at, you can totally make a reso here even if you aren’t a guest. The restaurant features two separate areas — one Sushi, one Hibachi. While we tried both out, and the sushi WAS amazing — the Hibachi restaurant was both SO delicious and SO fun. It totally gave me throwback vibes to every birthday I ever had at Benihana as a child, so really, there was nothing not to love.

Banana Tempura at Mikado
Si Señor
Si Señor on the Beach

This bar and restaurant wasn’t just beachside — it actually had tables to sit at ON the beach (which was about everything you could ever want). We really only stopped in here for drinks, but wow were they ever good. If you go here, you HAVE to try the Palomas — maybe I’m biased since I love a good Paloma any day, but they were absolutely to die for. The drinks, the view, the beach — UGH. This place is absolutely a must-try if you’re ever in the area.

The Blue Shrimp
Arriero Style Octopus at the Blue Shrimp

This may already be obvious from the name of the restaurant, but if you LOVE shrimp, this is the place for you. It was basically all that was on the menu, and it was glorious. The appetizers were delish but the shrimp dinners (where you basically just ended up choosing which sauce and style you wanted your shrimp in) were beyond amazing. The whole restaurant had a very strong Maritimes/Canadian East Coast seafood dinner restaurant vibe, so it was also pretty nostalgic for me since I haven’t been to the east coast in years. (Have I ever mentioned that I have a farm in Prince Edward Island? I guess that’s just a story for another day!).

Portuguese Shrimp at the Blue Shrimp

And that’s it for my little getaway! I’m heading home tomorrow afternoon (or today at the time that this posts), tragically enough — I’m really not ready to leave just yet. I mean, I guess I have to head back to reality at some point, but does it need to be so soon?

Sunset Sail Tour by Vallarta Adventures

All in all, this trip was AMAZING, though, so I can’t complain. Puerto Vallarta is a stunning city with a little something for everyone and endless blue, sunny skies. Like seriously — this place had better weather than anywhere I’ve been in a while, and I couldn’t be more thankful. (I love Vancouver, but sometimes you just need a break from the rain, you know?). Puerto Vallarta even reminded me a bit of home, with the mountain and beach combination it has going on!

I hope you guys all enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you (and experiencing it!). Hopefully it inspired you to plan a little vacay of your own sometime soon — if you end up heading to Puerto Vallarta or trying out anything that I did, let me know! I’d love to hear that I inspired some ideas for some of your future travels.

As well, stay tuned next week for another — slightly different — travel post! I’m going to be sharing with you guys all my fave beach vacay style trends for this spring and summer, so stay tuned! I’ve been collecting photos of all my favourite makeup and fashion trends I’ve tried over the last week and I can’t wait to share.

Have a great week everyone, and don’t forget to take some time to relax! Even with how overwhelmed I was last week, I didn’t truly realize how stressed I had been until a few days into my getaway — so take a minute for a quick breather, a Netflix binge or some self care. It never hurts!

Much love and adios,

Meredith

Ps. Enjoy some extra bonus photos below — I had too many for one post!

HOW TO: Keep It Together During Busy Weeks

Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

Hey y’all!

Sooooo, once again, I’m delaying my Lash Lift post. I know, and I’m sorry! At this point I’ve had it done — I just really want the time to take good photos where you can see the effects and really perfect the post for you guys. It’s a post that’s been a long time in the making, so I just want to be sure it’s the absolute best and most informative it can be!

That being said, unfortunately, I’ve still been having a crazy week (clearly…my apologies for the delayed post — again! I swear this is the last time it’s going to happen). Between having a term paper due Thursday, Poetry class assignments (also due Thursday, because of course), a crazy busy week at work (between the amount of Canucks games, Lacrosse games and UFC Fights this week, its been a little overwhelming) and getting ready for my trip to Mexico (!!!) exactly one week today — I have been overwhelmed as heck.

Since I once again had to delay the post I had planned, I figured I’d share with you a little list of ten tips on how I’ve been surviving this week! Hopefully, for those of you with crazy weeks of your own coming up, you’ll find some advice here that’ll help you get through the busy and stressful times and make it to the other side in once piece.

  1. Get some sleep!!! It’s tempting to stay up super late to get everything done, especially when you’re on a roll. But not only will you end up regretting it the next day, but it’ll slowly start to build up and take more of a toll as time wears on — making it harder for you to keep up.
  2. Make sure you’re eating regularly. This one may seem super obvious — but when you’re having a really long day and feel like absolute garbage and can’t quite figure out why — you probably just need to eat more. Plan ahead for days when you know you may have to delay meals (for me, this is longer work days) and stock up on some snacks. My personal fave to get through long shifts are Clif Bar’s Nut Butter and Fruit Smoothie filled granola bars — soooooo good.
  3. Make sure you’re still keeping in touch with friends and family — you really need that support.
  4. Set aside daily time for self-care, but don’t overdo it! Taking time to take care of yourself is a necessity — but there’s a line between what you need and just procrastinating. If you’re having a ridiculously busy week, try to limit yourself to maximum one hour a day. You can always make up for it next week if you need to! But anything more than that may just be a guise to put off important tasks. If you need good self-care ideas to formulate a structured one-hour plan, be sure to check out my list here!
  5. Plan everything out well in advance. Even if you don’t follow the plan to a T (stuff always goes wrong — you can’t sweat it!) just having everything written down will ensure you don’t forget anything.
  6. On that note, be sure to limit tasks that need to be done ASAP to busy weeks — everything else can be taken care of later. Even things that feel super important to you and keeping your life together, such as cleaning, meal prepping, laundry, etc., can slide for a few days if it helps you complete all your tasks on time. Just remember — it’s all about balance!
  7. Obvious one — but stay hydrated.
  8. If you have a lot of tasks that are going to take a while to complete, try to break them up into smaller segments and switch it up every few hours. Maybe it’s just me, but I find this really helps me avoid burning out.
  9. Don’t overdo it on caffeine! It’s hard, I know. Sometimes during the crazy weeks it feels like that coffee is LITERALLY the only thing that’s going to help you survive the next few hours. However, if you’re already feeling kind of exhausted, you don’t want all that caffeine to impact your sleep. Even if you’re still falling asleep quickly, too much coffee can impact your quality of sleep — meaning you won’t wake up feeling refreshed and ready the next day. (If you really feel you can’t go without it, try decaf! If nothing else, hopefully the placebo effect will have you convinced it’s what you need).
  10. Be sure to reward yourself for completing tasks. You’ve been having a rough week — you deserve it! Not only that, but rewarding yourself for checking tricky tasks off your checklist will help to incentivize you to keep going. (It’ll also help to refresh you so you don’t feel like the week is one never-ending struggle — you need breaks!). Try to stick to little rewards after each task, and try to take a whole day off after you finish everything up — you need it! Take the day to relax and catch up on all the self-care, sleep, and alone time you’ve missed since your life got so hectic.

Happy Sunday everyone, and hopefully this next week goes well for you all! (And if it DOES happen to get a little intense, at least you have a little advice that’ll help make it easier!). If you have any other advice that helps you get through the tough times, or just want to vent about the week you’re having, drop a comment below! This week is going to be a bit of an intense one, but once I make it through to the other side I get to head down to Puerto Vallarta for a week, which is making it all worth it. Be sure to stay tuned for next week’s post about my experience getting a Lash Lift (seriously this time, I promise!) as well as TWO new travel posts coming out in the following weeks.

Here’s to surviving this week — or even thriving, if you’re lucky! I hope you all achieve your goals — we’re almost halfway through February, after all!

Much love,

Meredith

Spend A Weekend With Me In Disney World!

Happy Sunday everyone!

So, as many of you may already know, I spent my winter holidays this year travelling with my family down to Florida. We spent the first part of our getaway located in the Delray area of West Palm Beach (if you’re interested, you can read all about that here!) before moving on to Disney World!

My family and I are definitely amongst some of the more seasoned Disney travellers — we’ve been countless times, and we all know what we like and what we don’t. So, for today’s post, I’ve compiled a little guide based on our day-by-day of this years trip! This post specifically features Disney’s Magic and Animal Kingdom, as well as Universal Studios. However, if you have any other questions about Disney World and it’s other parks, eats, hotels or attractions that I didn’t visit/discuss this time around, feel free to message me! Chances are I’ve experienced it before, and I’d be more than happy to help anyone (especially if you’re planning your own Disney getaway!).

Our Accommodations

This time around, we chose to stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. I’ve stayed in this resort before, but not since I was very young, so it was a crazy little blast from the past. Not only is this resort full of beautiful decor and lush gardens, it’s just two monorail stops away from the Magic Kingdom — making it a very convenient place to stay for the duration of a Disney getaway.

This resort features a whole campus of buildings (and waterfront villas!!!), multiple pools, a restaurant and bar plus so many other activities — meaning if you’re staying for a longer trip, there’s no limit on fun stuff to do right at the hotel.

Our stay was rather short, so I didn’t really get the chance to indulge in any of these extras — but it was still a great place to stay with some of the most friendly hotel staff I’ve ever come across. (Plus, when you stay in any Disney Resort you usually get the option of entering the park an hour earlier than the general public!).

Friday: Universal Studios

Friday morning, my family and I woke up crazy early and took a little road trip down from Delray to Orlando. One thing that’s pretty important, especially if you’re not planning a week-long trip with all kinds of time, is to ensure you get to the parks as close to opening as possible to avoid crazy lines. The lines at just about any ride at Universal Studios are bound to be insane, but all of their biggest attractions (such as the rides included in Harry Potter World) can get to be hours long — so you need as much time as possible to fit it all in!

What To Do

Universal Studios, in my opinion, is definitely known for their crazy VR-type rides and bigger rollercoasters. While this definitely makes it a little less friendly for little ones, some of these rides are incredibly mind-blowing and an experience unlike any other. In terms of the absolute best, can’t-miss rides, I’d have to say the rides that combine VR-type video into the ride are the most important, since I’ve never experienced anything like them anywhere else. My can’t-miss rides would have to be:

  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
  • The Simpson’s Ride
  • The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong
  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster
What To Eat

I feel like I may be stating the obvious here, but the absolute can’t-miss food at Universal Studios definitely comes down to one thing: Butter Beer. Even if you’re not a Harry Potter fan, this stuff is absolutely delicious and totally worth trying. Otherwise, there’s all kinds of other Harry Potter themed food and candies you can try at HoneyDukes that are all outstanding. If you’re looking for a full meal, there’s countless restaurants at the entrance of the park, as well as stands that offer classic theme-park fare.

Helpful Tips

The lines at Universal Studios are the longest I’ve seen at any theme park, both in Florida and worldwide, so it’s definitely best to plan out your day as much as possible, and arrive as early as you can. Plus, if you’re willing to spend a little extra money to spend on Express Passes, it’ll definitely make your day a whole lot more action-packed and enjoyable.

Saturday: The Magic Kingdom

The Magic Kingdom is arguably the most iconic attraction at Disney World — everyone can instantly recognize the classic Cinderella castle from any picture, any time. If you’ve never been to Disney before, this is obviously the one park you can’t miss. And, like me, if you’ve already been — then the nostalgia that this park has to offer is basically unparalleled. Even though it rained through most of our morning here, we didn’t let that stop us from enjoying all of our all-time favourite rides.

What To Do

The Magic Kingdom, for me at least, is definitely more of a nostalgia experience rather than a day full of thrill rides and coasters. This year, there were a couple rides my family had to cut from the usual list (such as the Magic Carpets of Aladdin and Dumbo the Flying Elephant rides) due to weather and time restrictions, however, this really helped me narrow down my personal list of can’t miss rides in the park. While this list may change a bit person to person as it is, once again, rather nostalgia based, I feel like I’ve got down pretty much every classic you’d need to see if you’re going for a first-time vacation.

My absolute, all-time favourite rides that you HAVE to visit if you’re heading to Disney’s Magic Kingdom would have to be:

  • The Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Thunder Mountain
  • It’s A Small World (my sister’s all time favourite, she would KILL me if I didn’t add it to the list)
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • The Jungle Cruise
  • Space Mountain (a classic, although I do find it a little terrifying and whiplash inducing)
  • The Haunted Mansion
  • Splash Mountain
What To Eat

While there are countless snacks and sweets all around the Magic Kingdom that are absolutely fantastic, I feel I’d have to argue the can’t-miss classic this park has to offer would definitely be the Dole Whip. Not only is is sweet and delicious, it defiantly helps to have a nice, cool snack whenever the sun comes out in the Florida heat. My sister would definitely also argue the turkey legs are a can’t-miss, but I usually pass on those — they’re too barbaric for me!

Helpful Tips

Disney doesn’t offer a more expensive, express-pass type of ticket — however, you do get 3 Fast-Passes per day in each park that you can re-book for another ride as soon as you use them up. My recommendation would definitely be to try to book your three passes for some of the most popular rides — such as Thunder Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain — and try to arrive as early as possible to fit in as many others as you can. From there, you can always rebook your passes as you use them up for any other rides you don’t want to miss! As well, if you’re staying at a Disney Resort, they often feature a Magic Hour where you get the option to enter the park an hour before the general public. Don’t let the early hour dissuade you — it’s 100% worth it to wake up early and hit as many rides as you can before the lines start getting crazy.

Sunday: The Animal Kingdom

We finished up Sunday by heading off to the Animal Kingdom. While the overall vibe of the Animal Kingdom is a lot less ride-based than the other Disney parks, over the last ten years it’s developed a couple newer rides that definitely bring the thrills ride-lovers may be hoping for.

What To Do

One of the newest, biggest attractions Disney has to offer is it’s two newest Avatar-themed rides — Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. Both of these rides offer the best new ride technology Disney has to offer — the former with a similar VR-type experience to the rides at Universal and the latter with animatronics and live-action effects. While I only have three “can’t-miss” (confession: I actually haven’t been on one of these, but I really wish I had the chance) rides for the Animal Kingdom, these three rides honestly may be the best Disney has to offer. The top three rides, without a doubt, are most definitely:

  • Expedition Everest
  • Na’vi River Journey
  • Avatar Flight of Passage

I’ll give a little more explanation here because I feel these rides deserve it. Expedition Everest is not only one of the coolest rollercoasters I’ve ever been on — no VR or 3D effects required. Plus, it’s the biggest thrill ride that I can think of at Disney World offhand — it actually has huge drops and is more of a classic coaster. It’s so fun, the first time I ever rode it with my family we legit went on it about 13 times straight. It’s THAT good.

The Na’vi River Journey ride and the Avatar Flight of Passage are two of the newest to Disney’s parks. The rides are based on the 2009 film Avatar, which Disney will be releasing a sequel to later this year. This means that not only have they just installed these attractions, there’s actually and entire area of the Animal Kingdom built to replicate the Avatar world. I will admit — it was not only strikingly realistic and similar to the films, but also pretty awe-inspiring. While I (sadly) only got the chance to go on the Na’vi River Journey ride (and therefore it’s the only one I can really speak on), I have to say, I was beyond impressed. This ride is not meant to be a thriller, but rather a smooth water ride through a nighttime landscape straight out of the Avatar world. Not only was it incredibly true to the film and absolutely stunning — there were also a couple of incredibly realistic animatronic versions of a few characters from the film. I’m talking so real, it was almost a little scary. I’ve truly never seen anything like it before, ever. If you’re ever visiting the Animal Kingdom, trust me, you don’t want to miss this ride.

What To Eat
Photo by Andrijana Bozic on Unsplash

This park is full of just about any kind of cuisine you could ever want — since it has different areas themed after different parts of the world, there’s a wide array of food from all different cultures. While, obviously, we didn’t get a chance to try everything, I have to say the little food carts around the park really have some fantastic eats. My two personal favourites were definitely the barbecued corn on the cob in the African exhibit, and the stir-fried pork and rice in the Asian exhibit.

Helpful Tips

Since all my tips about Fast-Passes don’t differ much from those I shared about the Magic Kingdom, I’ll just leave you with this tidbit of advice: the new Avatar rides are just about impossible to get on if you don’t book a Fast-Pass for them in advance. Any other ride at the Animal Kingdom may have a wait, but if you want to experience these rides you won’t be wasting your advance Fast Passes booking both of them, that’s for sure.

Where To Eat

Morimoto Asia

Our first night in Orlando, we headed over to Disney Spring’s to Masaharu Morimoto’s Asian fusion restaurant. To start off, my family and I split a couple appetizers — a round of Shumai as well as some tempura-fried popcorn shrimp. To finish off appetizers, we split the chef’s famous spare ribs — which were beyond spectacular. If you get the chance to visit this restaurant, then trust me — these spare ribs are their signature dish for a reason.

For dinner I ordered a plate of Orange Chicken, which was both delicious and remarkably large. Not that I’m complaining, though — I was absolutely starving after the long day I had (we had to wake sip at 5am in order to make the trek from Delray to Orlando!). For dessert, we split an order of Mochi — which was not at all what we expected it to be, but absolutely delicious nonetheless. You can see it pictured below, but in case you were wondering — it was made of an almond-flavour pudding, fresh fruit, popping boba, and mango sauce. Overall, it was an amazing meal — I’d definitely recommend checking this place out if you’re planning a Disney getaway any time in the near future.

Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill

Okay, honestly, I wasn’t really expecting to eat one of the best meals of my life at Disney World — but this restaurant really delivered. The menu keeps it pretty simple, opting for a couple classics rather than an overwhelming list of options. However, there’s still all kinds of options for even the pickiest of eaters. My family and I ordered the three meatball appetizer and Burrata to share — and while you can NEVER go wrong with Burrata, the meatballs were absolutely to die for as well. Seriously, meatballs can basically never be bad — but these ones really took it to the next level.

For my entree, I ordered burrata-filled tortellini. I’m sure my comments above, both about the food quality and my love of burrata, probably give you a good idea of how I felt about this meal, but I’ll still say it, just in case: this was absolutely one of the most fantastic meals I’ve had. Its hard to go wrong with simplicity, and just pasta, tomato sauce and burrata can really be one of the best combinations food has to offer.

On top of all this, my family and I shared a vanilla bean creme brûlée (a classic favourite of mine), which was also fantastic. On top of all this, the cocktails were delicious and the service, while a little slow, was still pretty top-notch. Seriously, if you’re planning a trip to Disney any time soon, be sure to book this restaurant for at least one meal during your stay.

And that’s it for my Florida, USA travel segment! I hope you all enjoyed it, and hopefully if you’re planning a trip to the area anytime soon you got some useful tips and recommendations. I hope you’re all having an amazing week and that you’re absolutely crushing your January goals — be sure not to let up on that post-new years motivation!

Be sure to stay tuned next week to hear all about what it’s like getting a lash lift and my personal experience with it! Is it a worthwhile alternative to lash extensions, is it safe, is it long lasting? Don’t worry, I have all your questions (and more) covered! As well, if you’re hoping to feed your wanderlust just a little more, stay tuned for my next travel diary coming up next month — any guesses where I’ll be going next?

Much love,

Meredith