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Before I get into the recap, I have a quick question for you guys: Is it possible for women to get “man flu”? I’ve been sick the last two days, but in a way that has me feeling really pathetic and sorry for myself. I am trying to keep it at bay, but the urge to suffer dramatically is strong. So very strong.
Anyway, fortunately, my dramatic illness did not strike before our day trip to Orlando, and we had such a good time. I got to have face time with Verhanika, one of my favorite people, and bond a little more with her little guy. Seriously, the kid is going to be a heart breaker. I love few things in life as much as I enjoy getting to be “Aunt Julie”. Andy was completely cool following us around and participating in any shenanigans we decided to indulge in.
That’s right, bask in the awesomeness that is our friendship. Also, I was very pleased that I didn’t end up with all of those lines sunburned into my chest. Thank god for travel sunscreen and cloudy days. With a lot of the state still dealing with the fall out from Irma, I was a little concerned that Disney Springs wouldn’t be its usual magical self, but of course, things were running smoothly, and with the exception of some decorative construction walls here and there, you’d never even know that there were repairs still being done. Verhanika and I decided that this would be an excellent place for a “mermaid grotto”. I bet there are any number of girls who’d be completely happy to rock a tail and leisurely brush their hair for photo crazed tourists. Heck, if they didn’t mind chubby pink haired mermaids, I’d sign up for the job!Seriously swoon worthy gelato: Black Cherry on one side; the best Pistachio EVER on the other. I fell in love with this shop. I mean, come on guys, they’re “dealers in whimsy”, and I am all about the whimsy! I picked up some cute little baubles for stocking stuffers, some I may end up keeping for myself. I am regretting leaving these gorgeous shades behind at Anthropologie. I checked online, but they aren’t available. (sigh) After half a dozen visits, I finally broke down and tried the little Micky Butt cake at Amorettes. It was really good, and I can see why it is a fan favorite. Andy’s little lemon blueberry cake was pretty great too. Despite the temperature being securely in the 90’s, most of the shops were sporting all the traditional fall favorites. I think poor Andy was half deaf from all the excited squealing going on (on my end). So many lovely items, so many reasons I need to make a lot more money than I currently do.
Verhanika and little guy had to say goodbye to us about midday on Friday; it was his nap time, and he’d been such a trooper, definitely earned a nice air conditioned car ride home. Andy and I walked around a bit longer, but the sky turned grey and we had diabetic fur babies that needed their evening insulin shot, so we bid a reluctant farewell to the Disney magic and headed home. I already want to go back.
As I mentioned in my previous post, although our Orlando trip was technically a “Universal/Islands of Adventure” trip, we did manage to squeeze in a quick visit to Disney Springs on Thursday night. 1 – because I love Disney Springs and 2 – because my mom hadn’t been there since it was Downtown Disney. #2 was basically an excuse for me to indulge in #1.
One of the things that had to happen was Andy & my mom experiencing the delight and sheer wonder of the the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM. Although they missed the best part because they turned around to excitedly tell me it was working and missed the whole camera to the cupcake robot part of the transaction. *Sigh* It wasn’t disappointing enough to buy another $6 cupcake though. There really should have been an in between shot with the actual cupcake, but it seems when you put a single cupcake in front of three starving adults it doesn’t last long…… And of course we had to make sure we picked up some candy from The Ganachery “for later.” If you get the chance, do yourself a favor and try the Dark Chocolate & Orange and the Dark Chocolate & Pistachio. You’re welcome.
Even though we were there for several hours, there was a ton we didn’t see, and we just quickly ran through a lot like the Undersea Bar at T-Rex. And then spent way to much time in others like the new fascinator/corsage area in the Co-Op (completely my fault). I’ve also new decided that I need a large bow hat with feathers. I’d wear it to afternoon tea and the grocery store. You know, the important things. I’ll do a full post on our vacation dining choices later, but the chandelier at Frontera Cocina was too good not to share. It reminded me of all the lanterns they released in Tangled. We wrapped up the evening with a visit to Amorette’s Patisserie to procure some pretentious pastries, also for “later”, and to admire the prep work the the pastry chefs were already undertaking to garnish the desserts for the next day. I found out that they offer (for a fee of course) a class where you can learn some decorating techniques and walk away with your own Mickey butt cake. I’ll need to do a bit more research, but I might have to try it the next time we visit.
Even though this trip was slated as a Universal/Islands of Adventure vacation, we still managed to squeeze in a quick visit to Disney Springs after checking into our hotel on Thursday evening. In the last few years, Disney Springs has undergone a huge transformation, leaving only the vaguest traces of its less glamorous former self aka Downtown Disney. I’ve had the opportunity to visit a few times in the last two years, and it just keeps getting better. One of the newest additions to the Disney Co Op stores is a charming little vintage inspired boutique called The Dress Shop on Cherry Tree Lane. I had seen a few articles about its opening, and blogger Penny of The Sconnie Sling lamented the fact that it opened mere days after she left Orlando. It was at the top of my hit list for our very brief visit.
My husband was so lucky we weren’t Magic Kingdom bound on this particular trip. Otherwise, there would have been a serious dent put in our credit card. This place is the most fun a grown up Disney princess wanna-be can have since we aren’t eligible to be styled at the Bippity Boppity Boutique (yes, I checked). This fascinator was my absolute favorite thing in the shop (closely followed by the white rabbit bag with fluffy tail), and, were it not for my unfortunately fine tresses, it would have been mine. My degree is in apparel design, and I thought it was a nice touch to have pieces of the inspiration boards for each “collection” framed for everyone to see. Also, as you can see to the right of the “Minnie” dress, the shop also carries crinolines for anyone who wants to amp up their look just a bit more.
The other thing that I LOVED, that’s right all caps, LOVED was that all the dresses I saw had sizes that accommodated more full figured ladies like yours truly. I am about a 16/18, and I saw options that would easily work for ladies who need 22/24. Trust me, there is nothing worse than wanting in on the game of dress up only to be told you can’t play because you’re not a standard size. On my next Disney vacation, you better believe I will be hitting up this spot for a park perfect ensemble.
On my recent trip to Orlando, my friend Verhanika and I were in search of caffeine and pastries to start off our day, and after checking out the Disney Springs directory, we walked over to Amorette’s Patisserie. Unfortunately, the place did open until 11, so we had to find breakfast elsewhere, but after walking around for a bit, we decided to hit it up on our way back to the hotel.
Something you should understand about me is I am a fancy food junkie; I watch every pastry special, cupcake war, and cook off challenge I can find, and I love every minute of it. When we decided to “grab” a pastry for the road, I was expecting something along the lines of a Disney-fied Starbucks. I was completely unprepared for the elevated offerings ensconced in the large glass cases. I probably should have been tipped off by the fact that they had a guy behind the counter painting translucent stripes of gold on printed white chocolate eclair toppers. Had there no been a time constraint, I would have gladly stood around watching the elaborate confections being assembled for as long as possible. I have also decided that I need to order one of these gorgeous flower cakes (which I believe are the Amorette’s Signature Cakes). Since I knew it’d be a while before I was in Orlando again, I went a bit over board and purchased a mini opera cake, a pistachio eclair, and a three pack of snickerdoodle cookies. Everything was wonderful. Andy, of course, practically inhaled the cookies declaring them some of the best snickerdoodles he has ever had. The eclair was so incredible, I only shared one teeny bite with him. Seriously, no exaggeration, the best eclair I have had ever. It would almost be worth the four and a half hour drive just to have another one. Almost.I really do have to tip my hat to the magic makers at Disney. When they do something, they do it all the way. The food was great, the presentation was perfection, even the boxes and bags they sent their treats home in were beautiful. This place just shot to the top of my “must do” list for every subsequent trip I make to Orlando.
This was a crazy weekend. It kicked off with a lot of promise; after sleeping in, Andy and I met some friends to go see Dr. Strange, which was awesome BTW, but as the movie was ending, my poor hubby got really pale and started feeling sick. I got him home as quickly as possible, but it turns out that the poor guy had food poisoning, and he spent the rest of the weekend trying to sleep in between bouts of….well….you know… Unfortunately, this meant that he was in no shape to drive down to Orlando or visit with my friend Verhanika and her family with me like we had planned. He did however firmly insist that I not miss the chance to catch up with them and meet the newest addition to their family.
We actually ended up staying at the same place we stayed on our Disney Trip this past February. The hotel was under lots and lots of construction the last time we were there, and it still kind of is, but you would not believe the difference a few months have made. I mean, look at the pool! I didn’t get a chance to use it, but there was the pool, a splash pad, AND a lazy river you could float down in an pool float. I am already trying to figure out how to con Andy into another Orlando visit just to I can try it all out. The other cool thing about the hotel is that it is literally across the street from Disney Springs, so while my friend’s husband was doing the work convention thing, she and I loaded up the stroller and headed across the street for some Disney Springs Christmas awesomeness. So much of this was also under construction in February. I can’t believe that this beautiful sophisticated shopping/dining mecca is the same place that used to be kitchy, slightly boring, Downtown Disney. Now, I could spend a couple of days just walking around and blissfully kicking back in one of the cafes with a fancy beverage and a good book. The Disney people really did pull out all the stops; the river that ran past all of the restaurants was a perfect Caribbean blue (something that as a Florida resident can tell you is not naturally occurring in this part of the state), and they had colorful buoys and skillfully crafted faux cypress knees to give everything that “natural” look. There was even a Sprinkles cupcake ATM. A. CUPCAKE. ATM. SERIOUSLY! And yes, I totally over paid so I could get a cupcake from the machine, and you know what? I’d absolutely do it again. The day ended in a much more laid back fashion; we had Thai food delivered to the hotel, and then we stayed up talking, eating, and half watching The Food Network. It was over before I could blink, but it was a great day, and it was truly wonderful to see my friends. I hate how far we all spread out after college. Clearly, I just need more vacation leave and more money to travel.