Walt Disney World: Polynesian Resort

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One of my favorite resorts to visit, anytime, is Disney’s Polynesian Resort at Walt Disney World. While we’ve never actually stayed in any of the Disney Resorts, we love visiting them, eating at their restaurants, and just taking in the ambiance of each one. Jason and I experienced our very first trip to a Disney Park at Christmastime in 2009. Disney is even more magical at Christmas and we love visiting around the holidays! A couple of years ago, while living in Colorado, we decided to road trip it to Florida for Addy’s first trip to Disney.

We enjoyed a few days in the parks and then spent some time touring the resorts and taking in their decor and of course, their gorgeous trees themed to each respective resort. I have to say, I think the Polynesian Resort’s tree was my favorite. Perhaps it is because I have always had an affinity for all things Polynesian or that the resort has some definite nods to my favorite architectural style (Mid-Century Modern), but I really, really loved it. The Polynesian is one of only two Walt Disney World resorts that were there from the beginning (the second being my other favorite – The Contemporary Resort).

This time around, we had a delicious breakfast at Kona Cafe together. I may not have a picture of the Tonga Toast I devoured, but let me tell you, it was probably in my “Top 10 Disney Foods” I have ever eaten! We wandered around taking in all the retro-tiki (!!) vibes, taking fun photos wherever we found the perfect spot.

Do you have a favorite Disney Resort? Do you like to tour all the resorts during the holidays, admiring all the themed decor?

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Rail Yards, Albuquerque

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One of our favorite places to visit from Colorado is New Mexico. We have visited Albuquerque at least once a year, for the last 4 years. Normally, we do not get to explore too much, as we are often in town to enjoy the Balloon Fiesta. We visited ABQ back at the end of July, however, and really got to take in so much of the city and spend time with wonderful friends. One of the things we did this time was explore the Rail Yards Market. “The Yards,” which once housed the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Rail Yards complex, is now repurposed as a community market that showcases local talents and artists and their specialties of music, art, and food. We had such a fun time just meandering through the market, picking up fun things as we went along, while listening to music, and watching local performers. We also took the time to really appreciate all the history of the Rail Yards, as well. I love when historic places are not abandoned, but repurposed, so we can all enjoy the history and character of a place and imagine all that it once was and appreciate what it is now.

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Travel Log: Cooperstown, NY

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Recently, Jason, Addison, and I were able to spend some time in Upstate New York, where Jason is from. Jason and I have been together 14 years, and I had still never seen the place where he was born and spent the first part of his life. This summer, we had a dear friend who was celebrating a promotion and we really wanted to be able to celebrate with him, so we made a last minute decision to get to Delaware (where our friend is) and also to New York.

I was never really into many sports, but the one sport I always loved playing and watching was baseball. I played tee-ball, then softball, and grew up cheering the Texas Rangers on at home and at their stadium. Then, when I saw A League of their Own, I knew I wanted to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. So, when I found out that Cooperstown was only an hour’s drive from Jason’s hometown, it was a must-do! It was such a cool experience and I had no idea what a gorgeous place that Cooperstown is. It’s located right on Otsego Lake and is so picturesque.

We spent the first part of our day at the Baseball Hall of Fame, which we all loved. We also got to spend the day with Jason’s grandma and one of our close friends who now lives in the area – I envy both of them. 😉 After the museum, we just enjoyed meandering about town and a leisurely lunch, right on Otsego Lake.

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SICILY, Italy: Scooting Around Favignana

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While living in Europe, so many places were easily accessible by plane, car, or train. I normally shy away from plane travel, as I am a fearful flyer, but there was one trip I could not miss and that was one that was in celebration of a dear friend’s 50th birthday. The trip’s location was Sicily, Italy; Trapani to be exact. So, aboard the plane I hopped and off to Sicily we flew for 4 super fun days with the girls to celebrate a milestone birthday and wonderful friendship!

One of the coolest experiences we had while we were there was the trip over to the island of Favignana. We ferried from Trapani and then a group of us rented scooters to explore the island on. If I am being honest, I was pretty nervous and sure I would wreck the thing, but I also didn’t want to miss out on what was sure to be an only-in-Italy experience.

I am so, so glad I chose to climb on that scooter despite my fear! We were gifted with some of the most gorgeous and picturesque landscapes and glimpses of the water, we got to see so much more of the island than we might have on foot, and we made tons of lifetime memories.

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Durango: Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

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When Jason and I found out that we were moving to Colorado for a few years, one of the first things I told him was that I really wanted to take a trip to Durango. At the time that we found out about the move, we had no idea we would be adding Miss Addison to our family.

When I was about 8, my Dad took our family on a vacation to Colorado. We spent a day or two in Durango and while there, we rode the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Train. I have such great memories of that trip to Colorado with my family. Now that I am older, I understand just how much money it must have cost for us to take this trip when our family did not have the extra money for a vacation. I am so thankful that my parents thought it was important to make memories like this and take trips together. Now that my Dad is no longer with us, all I have are memories like these that I cherish.

When we knew Addison was joining our family, we decided to wait to take this trip until she could enjoy it with us. She will be 2 at the end of this month, and this was absolutely the perfect time for her! She has been really into trains for the past few months and loves to see “choo choos.” She was mesmerized by the train and once she went out to the viewing deck, she did not want to come back inside, despite the fact that it was quite brisk the morning of our journey.

The Durango railroad arrived in Durango in August 1881 and within a year, construction began on a line to connect Durango to Silverton. Once the line was complete, passengers along with freight were moved between the locations. The railroad was always promoted as a scenic route for passengers, but the line was constructed for the purpose of hauling mine ores in gold and silver from the San Juan Mountains. An estimated $300 million in metals have been transported on this line. (Durango Train)

Once we arrived back in Durango, we ate an early dinner at Steamworks Brewing Company. We started our meal with their cheese curds with jalapeños and a green chile dipping sauce – so good! I ordered their curry salmon that was baked in a banana leaf and Jason ordered the delicious fish tacos. We finished out our meal with a caramel apple skillet “Spent Grain” cookie.

 

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Addison’s First Haircut

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When we started planning for our Walt Disney World trip, I discovered that the Harmony Barber Shop was an actual working salon and that it was possible to make an appointment for a child’s first haircut. Miss Addy was in definite need of a cut months before our trip, but we decided that we would push it off so that she could get her first cut at Disney.

The Harmony Barber Shop was so great and the stylist that cut Addison’s hair was so patient and quick! Addy had a little spinner toy that she was given to keep her content during the cut and honestly, she was not even bothered by the fact that her hair was being cut.

It was a definite once in a lifetime experience and these photographs are some of my very favorites that I’ve ever taken. I hope one day Addy loves and cherishes them as much as I do.

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City Eats: Primrose Bakery, London

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If you know me, you know I really like cupcakes. While we lived in Germany, however, there weren’t too many places you could even find a cupcake. So, when I stumbled upon Primrose Bakery in London while planning our trip there, I was so excited!

This place was so fun and the cupcakes were absolutely delicious! The bakery felt cozy, funky, and eclectic all at once, and those are absolutely my favorite types of places. It took us so long to decide, but my sister and I finally decided on an Earl Grey cupcake and a salted caramel cupcake. I still can’t believe we only got two!

If you’re ever in London, have a cupcake (or two) at Primrose Bakery, you won’t be disappointed.

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