Sunday, April 30, 2017

Almost Half a Decade

Hello All,

As of yesterday I have officially been blogging for four years! I was a bad blog runner and completely forgot to write a post to go live yesterday. But I'm here to mark this milestone now. Which made realize just how long four years is. Its amazing to think that is 364 short days I will have been blogging for half a decade. Which as far as I can see I will be still be blogging, as irregular as I am at blogging. 

Over the past year or so my blog as really grown to become a travel and book review style blog. Part of the reason is that I'm busy and for me writing and producing blog take a while. From editing pictures (finding picture when needed), watermarking pictures that are taken by me, writing the posts, editing the post, scheduling and promoting posts. And I enjoy the process but it takes a good amount of time which is why I don't attempt to post on a schedule. 

Moving forward I'm not going to make a blanket statement about what this blog is going to be. I like not having a niche. I do plan to continue my travel post and book reviews. But sometimes I might throw some other type post in here as well. I actually have one that is churning in my head as I write this. 

So, if you guys have been reading since the beginning (if you want to see the post where it all started click here) or this is the first time you've even seen this blog thanks for stopping by and reading. It means the world! 

And as always the top 5 post in The World According to Emma history:

Thursday, April 27, 2017

GRADUATION CRUISE 2017 || All Aboard {Day 3}

Hello All,

It's time to hop into the exciting part of the this trip and these recaps! Because today we are talking about the day we boarded the Disney Fantasy. The day that Mama Judy and I had been waiting for for over four years! If you missed the first few post you can find them on the master post by clicking here.

Our morning started out super early. Mama Judy woke me up to re-pack my bag but what she didn't know what that I had re-packed it the night before. But I was too excited to fall back asleep. Mama Judy on the other hand fell back asleep like a rock. Around 8AM the bellhop came to pick up our luggage to send it over to Port Canaveral. 

We had to be out of our room by 11AM because it was check-out time for Port Orleans: French Quarter. We took our time walking over to the main building and took some pictures along the way.

The building we stayed in. So close to everything!

Then we waited in the main lobby for about an hour before the Disney Cruise Transportation picked us up. This is an additional fee but from myself and Mama Judy it was worth the price and cheaper then getting limo, uber or renting a car. 

While we waited Mama Judy and I both went to the shop to get sweatshirts because it was cold that day. Finally we boarded the bus and headed to the boat. The ride is about an hour and half. If you take Disney transportation and they play a promotional video and then some Disney cartoons. Mama Judy played on her phone and took a cat nap. 

When we got to the port it was super busy, I guess a lot of people had decided to get to the port at the same time. But the Cast Members opened another line and we got  in that one and barely had to wait! When we got up to the main check in area we hoped in the Castaway Club line.  (Castaway Club is the Disney Reward Program, which you become a member of on your second cruise) When we got to check in we hit a small bump in the road because for some reason Mama Judy's record had gotten mixed up and she wasn't showing up as a Castaway member. The Cast Member made note of it and it was cleared up later in the trip. Other then that small hiccup it was a speedy check in. 

We were given our Key to the World Cards (AKA your room key), our Daily Navigator which tells you everything that will be happening that day, plus the restaurants menus, weather and dinning dress codes. We also were given directions on how to download the Disney Cruise app. Which when hooked up to the ships wifi gives you access to everything in the navigator plus a messaging happ that you can use within your party or people you meet on board. I high recommend downloading this app. Plus if you have it before your trip it had a countdown built in.

Once we done checking in it was open boarding so we hopped on board. By that time we were both starving so we headed up to Cabana's for a buffet style lunch. It's always crazy when you get there on the first day because everyone's heading up at the same time but the food is really good. Trip Tip: If you aren't sure you want to deal with the crowds of Cabana's check your navigator because sometimes one of the sit down restaurants will be doing a buffet at the same time!

After lunch we headed back to our room to put down our carry-ons and basically learn where it was. We then went on to explore the ship and basically hang out. I'm not sure why I don't have any pictures of this time. I must have left my camera in the state room. 

Eventually it came time for the Musterd Drill. Mama Judy and I were happy to find out that our meeting spot was inside because of how cold it was outside.  The drill was pretty uneventful. After the drill I normally would go to see the Sailing Away show but when I found it it was going to be outside I decided to skip it and take a nap instead. Mama Judy did some exploring while I napped.

On the first night we decided to skip the show and took our time getting ready for dinner. If you don't know about Disney Cruise Dinning there are two seatings. You eat during the same seating every night, with the same table mates and the same servers. The changes is that you rotate restaurants depending on the day. 

The first restaurant we ate was Animator's Palate. This is often one of my favorite meals because I love the Baked Potato soup they have on that night. We also got to meat our table mates. We were dinning with two girls traveling together who were in their early twenties as well as another mother/daughter duo. They both were super sweet. 

Outfit of the night
Shirt: Old Navy
Pants: Old Navy
Shoes: Target

After dinner Mama Judy and I went The Tube which is one of the night clubs on the boat. On that particular night they were doing a Newlywed Game. It was really funny and very enjoyable. The host was so charismatic and hyped the crowd up really well.

And that ended the third day of our trip.  

*This post was not sponsored by any of the linked sites. All thoughts and opinions are strictly my own 
and I was in no way compensated for mentioning them ***

Thursday, April 13, 2017

GRADUATION CRUISE 2017 || Magic Kingdom Day {Day 2}

Hello All,

I can't think of a catchy opening so I'm going to jump right into the post. If you missed the first day of this trip you can read it by clicking here

We decided that our goals was to leave Port Orleans: French Quarter around 10AM. I work up around 8:30 so I could get ready and we could stop in the quick service restaurant for breakfast. Mama Judy was moving a lot slower because she hadn't had a good night sleep. But eventually we got on the road. We got breakfast at the quick service restaurant there. I had beignets for the first time and they were sooo good. 

Finally it was time to head to the park. We didn't have to wait to long before the bus showed up. When we there we had to stop at guest service to buy tickets as well as redeem the points we had earned from being Disney Visa cardholders. Once that was all sorted out we headed in with our first stop being the Main Street Bakery which now offers Starbucks. I got a drink and then had a mini photo shoot in front of the castle.

Quote on the shirt: There's nothing a little Starbucks and Disney can't fix
Shirt: YouNameItEmbroideryG

After that we made our way to "new" Fantasyland because Mama Judy hadn't been to Disney since it opened. When we got there we saw that Gaston was meeting so we decided to hop in line. I will say that my meet and greet with Gaston was kind of boring. I'm not sure if he was tired after being out for a while or if he is just better with young kids but it is still always fun to meet him.
View of the castle while waiting
Side of Gaston's Tavern

Mama Judy testing out my camera

After that we decided to hop in line to go on the Little Mermaid ride which is always a cute ride especially if you love the story. 
View of Prince Eric's castle

Posing in front of my favorite Prince's castle

Cute Disney detail

After that we headed over to the Tomorrowland so that we could ride the People Mover. A favorite for both of us. 
View of Astro Orbiters form the People mover line

Did you really ride the People Mover if you didn't take a shoe pic?
When we got off the people mover we had some time to kill before our reservation for Be Our Guest. Since Donald is my favorite character we were going to try and meet him in Storybook Circus unfortunately the line moved a lot slower then predicted and we had to hop out of line.

We had lunch at Be Our Guest. The food was good but Mama Judy did say that she probably wouldn't eat there again unless we were on the Disney Dinning Plan because it was super expensive. My favorite part is that it looks so much like the rooms in the 1991 version of The Beauty and the Beast. And the food is pretty good. Especially the grey stuff...don't worry I asked the dishes. 

After lunch we headed over to Liberty Square to see the wait times for some Adventureland rides but got stuck by the parade. I got a few pictures but our view was pretty terrible.

Mama Judy got a call from work and by the time she was done we decided to stay in that area and see The Hall of President before Trump gets added in. While we waited we got to see the new muppets show. 

It was cute and great time to rest your feet. We watch Hall of Presidents and then headed back to Tomorrowland to Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, which is one of the corniest and cutest shows at Disney and I totally recommend it. 

After the ride we hopped back in line to meet Goofy and Donald in Storybook circus. Donald is always on my list and it's always so much fun meeting him. Later in the trip I have a great interaction with him but you'll have to wait.
Me and Goofy

Me and Donald
Mama Judy had pretty much hit her Disney wall at this point so we used our last joint fastpass and went to see Phillarmagic which if you like Disney music you'll love the show. Mama Judy left after that while I stayed. 

The first thing I did was go over to Princess Fairytale Hall where I had a great interaction with both Rupunzel and Tiana. 

After that interaction it was almost time for my Haunted Mansion fastpass. If you don't know Haunted Mansion is my favorite ride every! Like I am obsessed with it! I even have an obscure Haunted Mansion quote on my laptop. 

After that ride I headed over to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to see how long the wait time was and ultimately decided to hop in line because it was only about 50 minutes. Normally I love doing solo Disney time but in this particular case it kind of sucked because I was in between two groups of people my age and it was a little lonely. But when I got to the ride it was worth it. I never asked to be in a specific row on a ride but this time I was put in the back row. And it was so much fun!  One of the best experiences ever!

After that I left the Magic Kingdom and headed back to the hotel. I took a quick shower and repacked my bag to get it ready to go in the morning. Then I crawled into bed and went to sleep dreaming of the cruise starting the next morning. 

And that is the end of day 2. I will be back (hopefully soon) with more of these posts plus posts from another vacation I just back from.

*This post was not sponsored by any of the linked sites. All thoughts and opinions are strictly my own 
and I was in no way compensated for mentioning them ***

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


Hello All,

I have officially finished book 4 of my 2017 reading goal! In case you've missed the reviews so far this year you can catch them there ---> Since You've Been Gone & As Old As Time (I didn't write one for the second book I read because I was so busy right around the time I finished it). According to Good Reads I am 27% of the way through my 2017 reading goal of 15 books! But that's not why you guys came here, you came here to read a book review so let's get started.

The fourth book I read this year was Just One Day by Gayle Forman (I added the Good Reads link because it tells you places where you can buy it).  Which follows the character Allyson through one year of her life. It starts at the end of her summer trip the summer between high school and college. The biggest and most exciting summer of your life. On the last day of the trip she meets a Dutch boy named, Willem and the two of them go to France for just one day. The next morning she wakes up and Willem is gone and she spends the rest of the year attempting to find Willem again as well as find the girl she was that day in France. 

This book has been on my To Be Read list for such a long time. Mainly because I loved the books If I Stay and Where She Went by the same author, Gayle Forman (You can read the joint review I wrote here). I had heard in a few different places that these books was not as good as the fore mentioned novels. But I still wanted to give this book a chance. And to be honest I agree with the opinion I've seen floating around the internet. 

I guess I should start with my biggest issue, I didn't like the main character of the novel. I felt like she spend the majority of the novel complaining instead of doing something about her issues. She also came across as very judgy in my opinion. In fact I think the only character she didn't judge harshly was Willem. 

After reading the back summary of the novel I knew that the majority of the book would follow Allyson life post the day with Willem but she spend 100 of the 360-some odd page novel with Willem. Which was good to build the love connection between Allyson and Willem but it made the rest of the book feel rushed. There were pieces of her life post that day that I would have loved to learn more about. 

The ending to me also felt like it drew on forever. Like I kept thinking I was at the end and there was still like twenty more pages. Maybe if I had liked the character more then I would have like how drawn out it felt but I just wanted her to figure it out what she wanted.

As much as I didn't like the book I do plan to eventually read it's sequel, Just One Year which follow Willem through the same year. Maybe I'll like Willem more. Although I won't be reading it right away because I need a break from these characters.

I'm not sure who I would recommend this book to. I don't want to say no one because there is a very huge chance that because I didn't like the main character I wasn't able to see the positive side of this book. I feel that this book has the potential to be read by someone at that exact time in their life when they need to read it and have the message help them through whatever hurdle they are struggling with. So, maybe I would recommend it to anyone who is sitting on the edge of who they were and who they are going to be, people going through a huge life change.

I like to rate the books I read on a scale of 5. I've gone back and forth about what I was going to rate this book and I have decided that this book is getting a 3.25 on my scale. The writing was good and the story was a good concept I just didn't love the other elements. 

Have you read Just One Day? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below.


*This post was not sponsored by any of the linked sites. All thoughts and opinions are strictly my own 
and I was in no way compensated for mentioning them ***