Thursday, April 27, 2017

spring blooms at the brooklyn botanic garden


in addition to seeing the cherry blossom trees at the brooklyn botanic garden on sunday, we also enjoyed walking around to see everything else that was in bloom.  there were tulips galore in every color imaginable!  ryan kept saying, "i didn't know there were so many different types of tulips!"

we felt like we were in holland surrounded by so many tulips.  each one more gorgeous than the last.  we're so glad we got the chance to visit the brooklyn botanic garden while so much was blooming.  despite the crowds, it was so lovely to walk around and see all of the colorful flowers!


love, laurie

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

cherry blossom trees!


for my whole life, i have wanted to see cherry blossom trees in person.  we just don't have them here where we live and they always look so beautiful in pictures that i've seen.  it turns out that the brooklyn botanic garden is among the top 10 places in the world to see cherry blossom trees.  who new?!  (booklyn is sure a heck of a lot closer than japan, paris, or even washington, d.c.)

on sunday, we took a quick trip into brooklyn to see the cherry blossom trees in bloom.  man, we sure timed it perfectly, because they were blooming in all of their glory.  rounding the corner after entering the gardens, the sight of the cherry blossom trees actually took my breath away.  i've never seen anything like it.  there were so many of them!  cherry blossoms as far as the eye could see.  it was absolutely magnificent.

of course, i think everyone else in brooklyn had the same idea we did on sunday because it was so crowded, but i didn't care.  i soaked in every moment of being under those cherry blossom trees.  walking through the rows of them was so incredible because they formed a beautiful pink canopy over our heads.  it was like walking through fluffy pink cotton candy.  you just can't help but smile when you are surrounded by that much pink!

i was so happy to finally be able to see these unbelievably beautiful trees in person.  it was a wonderful way to welcome spring and to celebrate our incredible mother earth since earth day was on saturday.  here are a bunch of photos that we snapped on sunday . . .


love, laurie

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

a video of our easter weekend trip to walt disney world



to conclude our walt disney world posts, here is a video of clips from our easter weekend trip.  we only took short clips on our phones, but somehow we came home with over 40 minutes of video!  it took me a few days, but i was able to narrow it down to just the highlight reel (which is still 10 minutes long!)

we had such a great time in disney.  i'm so glad we have all of these photos and videos to look back on to remember our trip.  (for those wondering, the music is selections from the magic kingdom entrance music loop.  you can hear the entire hour-long loop here.)

love, laurie

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you can see all of our disney trip photos hereherehere, here, and here

Monday, April 24, 2017

what we ate at walt disney world


you know, we can't go anywhere without taking pictures of food.  disney was no exception.  i'm glad we walked numerous miles each day, because we ate a lot of great food in the short time that we where there.  honestly, we didn't have a bad meal in disney.

before we went, a friend advised us that disney's portions are huge and that we should split meals whenever possible.  we took her advice and i'm glad we did because the portions really were insane.  splitting so many meals was also a good way to keep our waist lines and our wallets happy.

since we're food lovers, here's an entire post dedicated to what we ate in disney world . . .

we woke up really early on thursday (hello, 3am) to travel down to florida.  when we finally arrived at the pop century resort to check in, it was lunch time and we were starving.  we headed right to the everything pop dining area of the resort.  we ordered this vegetable sandwich which had just about every veggie on it that you could imagine.  it was so tall, i could barely get my mouth around it!  the sandwich came with two sides and it was absolutely humongous.  i can't remember that last time i've seen a sandwich that size.  we split it and it filled both of us.

on thursday afternoon, we explored disney's boardwalk.  we took an afternoon ice cream break at ample hills creamery to rest our feet and to soak in the gorgeous ambiance around the boardwalk area.  we shared 1/2 a scoop of "nonna d's oatmeal lace" and 1/2 a scoop of "baked/unbaked" as we sat outside.  both were so good, really high quality ice cream for sure.  i'm glad we shared that small scoop because it was plenty for both of us.

we finished out thursday evening by exploring disney springs.  we grabbed dinner while we were there at raglan road irish pub.  the weather was lovely, so we ate dinner outside on their patio.  i had "the big q" which was a red quinoa & white bean burger, and ryan had traditional fish and chips.  we both loved our dinners and left there stuffed.  (definitely should have split a meal for dinner for sure!)

we spent all day friday in the magic kingdom.  in order to save money (and calories) and since the park opened so early that day, we had cherrios with almond milk in our hotel room for breakfast.  i'm so glad i brought that with us, because we ending up eating it several times over the weekend.  i made sure we had a fridge in our room so that i could save the almond milk once it was opened.

since we ate cereal so early for breakfast, we were hungry for an early lunch in the magic kingdom.  we grabbed a quick service lunch at pecos bill tall tale inn & cafe and split the veggie fajita.  it came with several soft tortillas with a ton of fixings and sides.  goodness, it was a lot of food for two people (again, very glad we split).

several people raved about the mickey soft pretzels in the magic kingdom.  we grabbed one as an afternoon snack from the launching pad and it was really good.  (way to salty for my taste, so i ended up dusting off all of the salt, but good nonetheless.)

we were parched by the time the magic kingdom parade was coming by, so we pulled over with a starbucks iced coffee to watch the parade.  it's cute how starbucks has specialty cups for the disney parks.

for dinner in the magic kingdom we visited columbia harbour house for some seafood.  my grilled salmon was so yummy (and healthy) and ryan enjoyed his land & sea trio too.  (again, really large potions.)

there's popcorn everywhere you turn in the magic kingdom.  ryan and i never ever order popcorn out because the markup is typically so ridiculous.  while we were watching the last show of the evening at 11pm projected onto cinderella's castle, ryan suggested grabbing a popcorn from a nearby cart.  we did, and we both agreed that it was really great popcorn.  i don't know what they do to it because i'm not a fan of movie theatre popcorn at all, but they must have added some disney magic to it because we both loved it.

on staurday morning, we decided to forgo our cereal and had breakfast at the everything pop dining area of our resort because hollywood studios didn't open until 9am.  we split a veggie omelet, which came with a biscuit, and we enjoyed it.

for lunch in hollywood studios, we grabbed a veggie pizza at pizzerizzo which came with a cute little caesar side salad.  (the last time i was in hollywood studios, this pizzeria was toy-story themed.  they recently updated the decor and changed the name, but the pizza was still as good.)

we made reservations for dinner in hollywood studios before our trip because we knew we wanted to eat at the really popular sci-fi dine-in theater.  this restaurant is so incredibly cute.  the whole thing is themed like a 1950s drive-in movie theatre and you eat dinner while sitting in old-fashioned cars and watching the movie screen.  we loved the experience!  the food was great too.  i had the vegetarian shepherd's pie (which i can't wait to recreate at home) and ryan had the sci-fi burger which was topped with pulled pork and pickled apple slaw.

at the end of the night in hollywood studios, we grabbed dessert to eat while we were sitting in our seats and waiting for the hollywood studios fantasmic water/lights/fireworks show to start.  since it was easter weekend, we picked up this carrot cake cookie to share.  it was along the lines of a whoopie pie, with two cakey carrot cake outsides and cream cheese filling inside.  it was messy, but it sure was good (and huge).

after hollywood studios closed, we wanted to ride the monorail around to see the sites at night.  after riding around for a bit, we hopped off at the polynesian resort to check out their beautiful grounds.  we came across pineapple whip at the resort's pineapple lanai and couldn't resist sharing a cup.  (we loved the pineapple whip when we were in hawaii, and this was just like it!)

on easter sunday morning, we grabbed breakfast at our resort before spending the day in epcot.  most of the breakfast platters had meat on them, but the server was nice enough to substitute extra eggs, potatoes, biscuits, and mickey waffles in place of the bacon and sausage for us.  once again, so glad we shared.

we spent our morning riding a ton of rides at epcot.  we needed a quick lunch while walking around the world showcase, so we stopped in the lotus blossom cafe in "china" for a quick bite.  we shared the stir-fried vegetables.

easter sunday was pretty warm in epcot, so we took a pause in "france" to share an artisan ice cream from l'artisan des glaces.  we had a scoop of the "candied peanuts with chocolate peanut butter fudge" flavor and were pleasantly surprised that we didn't have to pay extra for a waffle cone!

ever since i was a little girl, i have wanted to eat at epcot's coral reef restaurant.  i made easter dinner reservations for the coral reef before we left home and i'm so glad i did.  the ambiance and the food were wonderful.  ryan ordered the salmon with pea risotto and i had the mahi mahi with shrimp-mango salsa and potatoes.

we finished out our disney trip at epcot on easter sunday evening by watching epcot's fireworks/water/lights show at the end of the night.  since we knew we would have to stand and wait a bit for the show to start, we popped into the les halles boulangerie-patisserie in "france" to grab a pastry for dessert while waiting in line for the show.  we ordered a chocolate tart, which we shared of course, and it was so light and fluffy.  the mini pie reminded us both so much of a chocolate pie that my mom makes.  it was a great way to end the evening and our easter trip!

love, laurie

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you can see more of our disney trip photos herehere, here, and here