Saturday, October 29, 2011

My Floridian Va-kate-tion

In January of 2008, my friend Katie and I took a vacation to New York City. You can read about our adventures here.

A few months later, I moved to Kenya, turned 26 and made a list of 30 Things which included #4 Go on another vacation with Katie.

As my 29th birthday approached, we crossed that item off the list with a trip to Orlando, Florida.

We left really, really early on the morning of my birthday (Monday, the 24th).
When we landed in Florida and checked in to our hotel, we headed out to dinner at Macaroni Grill. (We hadn't eaten in about twelve hours...a chain restaurant would have to do.)

As we were waiting for our check, the lights went out. Not just flickered-on-and-off and then came back on...actually shut off. And not just that one restaurant...the entire block...and both sides of the street.

Katie said it created a little birthday ambiance.The next morning we were at Universal Studios when they opened.
Oh, have I mentioned that we went to Florida to see the Harry Potter Land at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure? Well, that's what drew us to Florida.

I knew that there were very few people in my life that would allow me to walk through this park at my desired pace...and Katie is, most definitely, one of them.

As we walked under the Welcome to Hogsmeade sign,
we saw it: The Hogwarts Express.

We wandered from shop to shop...

As soon as we saw The Three Broomsticks, we knew that's where we'd have lunch.
Kicked off the morning with a little Butterbeer.

And stood in line (in the queue) to be fit for a wand at Ollivander's Wand Shop.

The window displays were so detailed:
Quidditch supplies and World Cup paraphernalia.

Gilderoy Lockhart books and (moving) photographs.
And then we entered Ollivander's...
So many wands to choose from!
Including those of each main character.
We had to test them out, of course.
I chose Sirius' wand, since he's my favorite.
Katie fell in love with the Gryffindor robes

The Monster Book of Monsters
Stopped for photos with the school choir

Finally, we made it to Hogwarts.
Before taking the tour (and riding the ride), we decided to grab some lunch back in The Three Broomsticks.

The Hog's Head (next door)

After lunch (fish and chips and roasted chicken), we made our way back to Hogwarts.

Hall of (talking) portraits
Dumbledore's office
DumbledoreDragon skeleton
Harry, Ron and Hermione greeting the guests
The Fat Lady
Notice Board & Daily Prophet
Marauder's Map
We walked back from the castle, decided to take a break from the park to see the 7th movie (again)...

A few hours later, we did one more park walk-through.
Sirius' wanted poster
We spent the following day at Epcot enjoying the Food and Wine Festival: taster-sized servings of food from around the world--Ireland's Fisherman's Pie was the best! And finished the evening with a FREE BoyzIIMen concert. (Such a delight!)

Our trip was short, but really fun.
I love traveling with Katie.
We've already begun conversations about our 20-year Friendiversary Trip (which is only about three years away!)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

With 367 Days Remaining...

Since tomorrow is my 29th birthday, it seems appropriate to update you on my Thirty Things To Do Before I'm Thirty list.

--> completed: 15
••• in progress
: 4

••• 1. Read over 100 books [56 as of today]
--> 2. Get a giant tattoo
3. Perform somewhere (in a club, bar, coffee shop)
--> 4. Go on another vacation with Katie Edwards [we leave for Florida tomorrow morning!]
--> 5. Fit in the green dress
--> 6. Read through the entire Bible
7. Buy a Louis Vuitton overnight bag
--> 8. Watch at least 75 of the 100 Best Films of All Time
9. Throw two giant costume parties
10. Visit: a. Las Vegas • b. Grand Canyon c. Mt. Rushmore d. Old Faithful
--> 11. Score over 120 in a game of bowling
--> 12. Take a ballet class
--> 13. Go golfing with my Papa
14. Fluently speak a second language
15. Make a mosaic table for my house
16. Run a 5k
••• 17. Invite at least 20 people to church
••• 18. Write a book (even if it's never published) [November is National Novel Writing Month]
--> 19. Own some high-heeled boots
--> 20. Bring at least 10 students to Kitale, Kenya
--> 21. Learn to read music
22. Dress up and have dinner at a fancy restaurant
--> 23. Watch 9 new series of TV on DVD
24. Skydive
25. Live in New York
26. Kiss someone (a really good kiss)
--> 27. Make a delicious--from scratch--dinner for friends
--> 28. Spend an evening in a room lit by dozens of candles
--> 29. Learn to live on budget
••• 30. Learn to play an instrument

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Here's To Happiness {part three}

ten things that make me incredibly happy

1. completing an artsy project
2. having friends over for a homemade dinner
3. well-sung harmonies
4. reading a book by the fire
5. an unexpectedly funny joke
6. being called alice
7. hearing a story of God's faithfulness
8. the smell of a brand new 3-ring binder
9. receiving the 'i really like you' look when i walk in a room
10. a piano or violin solo...or a piano/violin duet

how about you...
what makes you incredibly happy?

you can read part one here
and part two here
oh, and i stole this idea from lovetaza

Friday, October 21, 2011

Let's Be Beautiful

Do you ever have a song that you sing over and over (and over) again
...yet, for some reason, it doesn't get old?
It doesn't lose it's value?
It's almost as if it just keeps getting better?

Several songs that carry this feeling (memory. weight.) for me are by Tim Timmons.
("The Grateful" has been in my heart so deeply and for so long it became part of my newest tattoo.)

The way that Tim loves Jesus is inspiring.
I love the way he describes leading worship as "helping people to sing their prayers"
It is challenging to pray the songs he writes.

Recently, Tim left Mariners Church to begin what he calls "The second book in the trilogy of [his] life" and made a video to share about the beginnings of this journey.

Oh man, I can't wait to hear the songs that come out of this...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Online Items I've Loved Lately...

This 2012 wall calendar {crazy that 2012 is near enough to be checking out calendars!}

Find out how many slaves you have working for you based on your eating, shopping and living habits.

Incredibly tasty pumpkin chocolate chip cookies...which I've made four times in the last two weeks.

Gearing up to write a novel for National Novel Writing Month in November...