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10 Things You Need Before Bringing a Puppy Home

I recently got a sweet puppy that we named Zuzu. He is a Maltese and he’s 11 weeks old. It has been so much fun being a dog mom so far! I’ve made a list of some of the things I got before we brought him home.

1. Crate: It is important to crate train your puppy for their own safety when they are young. At some point everyone has to sleep and it’s the best way to keep them and your home safe.

2. Different Types of Toys: This is important because as puppies they are big chewers, a lot of the time because they are teething. Having different textured toys is really helpful in teaching them to not chew on things they find in your home. This is one of Zuzu’s favorite toys!

3. The Food they were Eating before you Got Them: Many puppies will have a better appetite and easier time digesting like this.

4. Pet Odor Removing Spray: Face the facts, your puppy will have accidents in your home. Having a spray that removes the odor where they won’t go right back to the same spot really helps (and trust me, Lysol just doesn’t work).

5. Leash: The leash I got was 6 foot. It was very inexpensive. It’s important to train them to walk on the leash if you ever want to take them anywhere.

6. A Brush: This is the brush we got. It was really important for us because Zuzu is a Maltese. Their hair can become matted if they aren’t brushed daily.

7. Shampoo and Conditioner: For obvious reasons you will need shampoo but conditioner is especially good for dogs with longer hair.

8. A Low Calorie Training Treat: It’s important for the treat to be low calorie because they should be getting a lot of them. You can get the treats we got here!

9. A Collar and Tag: This is essential. If your pup were to wander off from you you’re going to want them to have a collar and a tag on.

10. Information: This is by far the best thing to have before you get a puppy. You should do your research on different breeds. You should ask yourself what you are wanting in a dog. If you plan to be really active, go for an outgoing breed like a lab or golden retriever. On the other hand if you are wanting a dog that’s more of a couch potato, go for something like a French bulldog or Maltese (like Zuzu) because they can get most of their exercise running around the house. Once you find your perfect breed, research other things. There will always be things to catch you off guard but there shouldn’t be too many things.

Thanks for taking the time to read my list. If there is anything you want to add, feel free to do so in the comments!

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Magnolia Table Vol. 2 Review

In my last post I reviewed “Magnolia Table”, Joanna Gaines first cookbook. I loved that cookbook so much that I had to get her second book.

I have to say I went into this book with high expectations and it did not disappoint! This cookbook has some really cool features including: a spice guide (showcasing different spices and how to make different spice blends), a charcuterie board guide, and “The Art of Gathering” where Joanna talks about what entertaining means to her. Overall, this book was very well-rounded. Here’s the recipes I’ve tried so far:

Braided Loaf: this homemade bread recipe was surprisingly simple. Add a little butter to the finished product and it’s a pretty yummy bread!

Focaccia: I really enjoyed this bread recipe! However I did add some oregano, basil, and garlic powder to the top of my focaccia. My only complaint with this recipe is that it did smoke up my oven a little bit, I assume because of olive oil to the top before baking.

Old Fashioned Corn Casserole: this is just your basic corn casserole, it tastes great, super filling and savory. This is one of my favorite side dishes!

Old Fashioned Corn Casserole and Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff: the sauce came out so creamy for this dish. It was a very hardy and tasty dinner!

Shrimp and Grits: this dish was my favorite dinner recipe from the book. It plated beautifully and tasted even better! Highly recommend checking this one out!

Dutch Oven Lasagna: this lasagna was EXCELLENT! It fed so many people! My parents, grandparents, sibling, and cousin came over, it fed all of us with some leftover. It’s extremely decadent with the fresh slices of mozzarella! A must try if you own this book!

Black Forest Cake: this is probably the best chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted, however I’m not a fan of using whipped cream as an icing. I like something a little more substantial for my icing. Next time I make this recipe I might do a cream cheese icing instead.

Tres Leche: last but certainly not least, tres leche. This cake was super yummy. I wanted to do this cake because Nathan goes to a Spanish bakery in our town for their tres leche, it’s one of his favorites. He loved this cake and so did our family.

What I Look Forward to Trying Next: Silo Cookies. With how much I enjoyed the chocolate chip cookies from the first book, I’d really love to try these next!

Thanks for reading my review! If you are interested in buying this book you can get it here! If you already own this book let me know how you’ve done with it!

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Magnolia Table Cookbook Review

It’s no secret to those who know me that I am a huge fan of Joanna Gains. I love her decor style, I love her HGTV show “Fixer Upper”, and I loved her store the two times I was able to visit it. I Now have two new reasons to love her work: her cookbooks! I’ll be talking about her first cookbook, “Magnolia Table”. In this review I’ll recount the recipes that I’ve made and what I thought about each one.

Chicken pot pie- A pretty loose recipe for chicken pot pie, she recommends to serve it over mashed potatoes and I definitely agree. The flavors are really great and overall it’s an easy meal to feed a lot of people.

Chicken spaghetti- I’m obsessed with this dish, I made it for the first time last week and I plan to make it again this week. It’s creamy, cheesy, and decadent. If your a fan of pasta, like I am, I urge you to try this recipe.

Chicken and dumplings- This was the first meal I made in my home so it’s dear to my heart. It was really simple but tasty. I liked the Pillsbury Grands biscuits in it, they made for nice doughy dumplings.

Meatloaf- I’m not a big fan of meatloaf, I can easily say this is my favorite recipe for it. It was met with high praise by my family!

Homemade Whipped Cream- This is just your traditional whipped cream recipe but I made it and I liked it!

Aunt Opal’s Banana Pudding- Aunt Opal knows her way around a banana pudding! My family raved about this dessert, everyone wanted to know the secret ingredient!

Buttermilk Blueberry Puff- This was actually the first recipe I made out of the cookbook. I had fresh blueberries at the time and thought it would be the perfect time to make it. The best way I can describe it is like an elevated bread pudding. I really liked this one

Chocolate Chip Cookies- By far my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe!

Favorite Savory Dish: chicken spaghetti

Favorite Sweet Dish: chocolate chip cookies

Dish I want to try next: Jojo’s biscuits

Other things that can be found in this book include: a pantry essentials section, kitchen tool essentials section, and some beautiful photography! With the pictures in this book it definitely deserves to be displayed! Overall, I can’t recommend this book enough, I love it’s simplicity and plentiful recipes. There is still so much for me to make from this book! If you are interested you can pick up your own copy . Thanks for reading!

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My DIY Centerpiece

Every table needs a centerpiece. I struggled to find something that spoke to me when looking at Pinterest. I like pieces that mean something to me. This idea came to me when we had to cut a tree down in my yard.

I had my Grandpa, who was cutting the tree down, slice three pieces out with his chainsaw. A relatively thin piece, a thicker one, and then finally the thickest. After being cut they feel moist, so I left them on the porch to dry out.

After they dried out, I picked up some semi-transparent stain (you can find the one I used here) . As the wood dries it loses that beautiful color that it once was, and the stain helps with that. A little goes a long way, I brushed this on lightly before shellacking it.

Next, I picked up some shellac spray (which you can find it <a href="http://Rust-Oleum Zinsser 408 Bulls Eye Clear Shellac Spray 12 oz“>here), it is what helps to seal the wood and make a nice finishing top coat.

After the shellac is applied I gave it a day to dry before I brought it off of the porch. This is what it looked like while drying:

Finally came the task of what to do with the wood I had finished.. I knew I wanted it to be a focal point of the house but I didn’t know where. Eventually I did decide on the kitchen island so I could look at it everyday. I finished with some little decor pieces that I found at Hobby Lobby.

My finished product!
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Things Every New Homeowner Needs

I recently became a new homeowner. A question I got used to hearing by my friends and family is “what do you need?”, and I didn’t know how to answer. Truth is, you don’t know what you need until you need it! This is a list of things I think you’ll want to have around.

Cooking Needs:

  • Bakeware Set: I love to bake, and this particular set has met my baking needs and is reasonably priced. You can find these here.
  • A Cute Utensil Holder: I am OBSESSED with this utensil holder. I personally have decorated my house in the farmhouse style but I feel that this piece could go with any style. It is simple and clean looking. I have mine in white. You can find this one here.

Decor Needs:

  • Wax Warmer: Wax Warmers are so neat and they put out so much scent. It will not be hard to find the wax refills, I see them everywhere! I really like the look and price point of this wax warmer. You can find this one here!

Random Needs:

  • Spare Key Hiding Spot: The times of slipping it under the doormat is over! I found this little rock and knew I had to have it! You can pick it up here.

I do hope the items on this list have inspired you whether you have a new home or you’ve been in your home for years. If you do decide to buy and use these links I will get a small commission from them. However, I have used everything on this list and truly recommend them. Thanks for reading!

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Friday Faves

This week was my first week in my new house, so for this Friday Faves I’d like to give the spotlight to things I’ve been loving for my home.

Kitchen

-Tasty Knife Set: My Tasty knife set has been something I have used every day. It’s a handy little set for the price! A great starter piece in my opinion. It also comes with a really cool block for the knives to go in. If you are interested you can purchase it right here.

-Pioneer Woman Cookware set: Another great starter piece, this cookware set is quality for the price and pretty cute too! Another plus is it comes with a gorgeous casserole dish. You can shop it here.

Bedroom

-Amazon Comforter Set: such a simple and elegant look. This comforter is very warm and affordable. It also comes in many colors, we went with the light grey. You can pick this set up here.

Bathroom

-Bath and Body Works foaming hand soaps: These hand soaps are a great edition to any sink and with so many scents to choose from, you are likely to find one that fits your style. Get them quick because they are on sale!

Books

Magnolia Cookbooks: I’ve used both of these books so much in the past week. Every recipe I’ve tried so far has been quality! Not to mention the photography in the books is stunning, they are the perfect cookbooks to display. You can get volume one here, and volume two here.

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5 Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List

Summer is one of my favorite seasons to read. It seems as if life slows down a little and leisurely activities like day trips or relaxing is more common. I hope you enjoy a list of my favorite books I’ve read so far.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

This is probably my favorite book of all time. If you enjoy a good mystery I recommend this wholeheartedly! The story is masterfully written and you will be on the edge of your seat from the moment you begin.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

I actually read this book a long time ago but it’s setting has stuck with me. There’s something about the circus that feels magical! I usually don’t gravitate towards stories that use time travel, but this is my exception. I think it’s worth the read.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

I’m OBSESSED with this book! I’ve heard whispers of it possibly becoming a movie and I sure hope that it does. This story has a little romance, some mystery, and a lot of heart. The setting feels alive and the author really makes you feel for her main character. This is a perfect summer read!

A Blood Thing by James Hankins

This book I actually won in a GoodReads raffle and I’m so glad I did. This book is a thriller! It brings the question to everyone’s mind, how far would you go for family? Such a provocative thought, brought about in a great way. If you want to be thrilled this is the book to pick up!

The Best Place to Be Today : 365 Things to Do & The Perfect Day to do them by Lonely Planet

This book can easily be explained by it’s title. The pictures throughout are beautiful. I consider it the perfect summer book to inspire your future travels or just your imagination.

Maybe some of these books will transport you from the difficulties of your everyday life. Some of us had vacations planned for this summer and are unable to go because of Covid-19 or other reasons. Books are the closest thing to a vacation when you have to stay home.

Comment your favorite books below!

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Friday Faves

This week has been a really good one! I’ve been counting the days until I can move in to my new home. I’m really excited! I hope you all had an amazing week. Let’s get into some favorites!

Music

-IVORY by Tobe Nwigwe. (I’m obsessed!)

-How Do You Sleep? (Acoustic) by Sam Smith

-Someone You Loved covered by The Jonas Brothers. I love this cover even better than the studio version. You can listen here.

TV

– Mrs. America. This recounts the events of the women’s movement in the 70’s. It’s fabulous, I devoured the show. I’ve described it to friends as “Game of Thrones, except more modern and all women”. It’s streaming on Hulu if you are interested in watching it.

Podcast

-Up and Vanished (Season 1). In many of these true crime podcast, each season will be a story. This podcast is no different. The first season of Up and Vanished got me through many commutes to and from work. If you like a good mystery, you will definitely like this podcast!

Beauty

-Not Your Mother’s Dry Shampoo. I’ve tried and loved every version they have put out, but the volumizing one has my heart! You can buy here.

-Burts Bees Chapstick. Any flavor. Any time. You can get it anywhere. Best chapstick, period.

Fashion

-Old Navy Midi dress. This dress is on sale for 17$! I bought it on sale and I just love it. It’s so casual and comfortable. The midi length is so flattering. You can buy here.

That concludes this weeks favorites. Feel free to leave a comment with some of your favorites! Subscribe for more content! Thanks for reading.

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5 Tips for Healthy Hair

My family never let me cut my hair as a kid. I had hair almost to my butt, it was beautiful and healthy. In 8th grade I finally got permission from my mom to cut my hair, as rebellious teens do, I rebelled and cut my hair chin length. After getting over my stubbornness, I realized this look wasn’t flattering to my face shape and decided to start growing my hair out. Ever since I decided to grow my hair out, I’ve grown an appreciation for my hair along with the inches and I decided I wanted it to be healthy. These are my tips for healthy hair.

Don’t Wash Your Hair Everyday

This tip is one that has been repeated over and over again but it really made a difference in my hair so I must mention it one more time. My hair is straight and pretty flat so I will wash my hair every other day. I’ve tried going longer but my hair just begins looking greasy and flatter. If you can go longer do it, my max may be two days but yours could be more.

Reduce The Amount of Heat Styling

This was another thing that made a big change in the way my hair looked. In school I would flat iron my hair almost every morning, thus frying the hair and making it look dry. When I quit using the flat iron so much my hair started to look alive again. Now I use the blow dryer after I wash my hair to give it some volume, but I wait until the hair is almost dry to do it. Also I curl my hair maybe once a month or on special occasions. I recommend if you do heat style your hair, you use a protective spray.

Utilize Oils

Every now and then I’ll rub my whole head down in organic coconut oil to soften the hair. I’ll leave it on for as long as I can and then wash my hair really good. The result is shiny hair free from frizz. However this isn’t the only way to use oils. I have the OGX coconut oil spray, that you can shop here, I like it for after I blow dry my hair. I’ll spray it towards the ends of my hair and I think it helps with breakage but also with frizz.

Invest in a Quality Hairbrush

I only buy brushes from the brand Wet Brush because they are said to reduce breakage. However, I never brush my hair when it’s completely wet. I like to use this one when I brush my hair damp and this one for when it’s dry. I also try not to brush it too much, only when I need to style it or right before I blow dry.

Be Mindful of How You are Putting Your Hair Up

This part is important for managing breakage. I have two points to make in this section. First, invest in some silk or satin scrunchies because they are more gentle on the hair. When you wear other hair ties, they will often damage your hair at the place where they are tied. Second, use various ways to put your hair up. Do a low ponytail one day, followed by a high bun, and then maybe a braid. The reason for this is wearing your hair continuously in one spot causes breakage and it will become noticeable with time.

Bonus tip: The safest way to wear your hair when you sleep is in a single braid.

That concludes my tips for this post, but it does not have to end the conversation. Feel free to comment your own tips, we can all learn from each other!

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Father’s Day Gift Guide

Father’s Day is quickly approaching! If you haven’t picked up a gift for the father figure in your life yet then this is the post for you! I’m going to go through a few things that I think would be good gifts for all kinds of dads at all kinds of price ranges.

Lush Father’s Day Gift Set

With two of Lush’s luxurious bath bombs, this is perfect for the dad that just wants to relax. It already comes gift wrapped so no need to buy a bag or wrapping paper. I feel the price point is really good too. You can check it out here.

Custom Cup

This cup I actually got made from someone locally. I found the design on Pinterest and she did a great job. In my experience, dads are a sucker for cups that keep their drinks hot or cold. This gift can also be expensive by making it a Yeti cup or more affordable by using an Arctic cup.

“Big T” is what we all call my stepdad, he loves to fish so this design was a hit!

Custom Fishing Lure

This is perfect for the dad that loves to fish. Luckily for me, all of my father figures do so they have all received this gift at some point. This gift is really thoughtful. I would put something like “World’s Greatest Dad” and have his children’s names on it or I even did all the grandkids on one for my grandpa. You can check out the one I bought here.

Gift Card

Sometimes the best gift you can give is a gift card. It can be from somewhere they love to eat or shop and they will appreciate you for it! Honestly, gift cards are what I go with for most holidays.

Photo Wallet

I think this could work for any dad, everyone has to have a wallet right? This is such a personal gift, you can use a family picture and even leave a message saying anything you want on it. This is slightly more expensive than the other items I’ve shown, but far worth it in my opinion. You can shop for it here.

Homemade Care Package

This is something that I LOVE to do. Gather up some snacks they like, then maybe a piece of clothing or a blanket, sprinkle in a few items they could use for work or a hobby of theirs, and put it in a nice box. Really anything can go in these packages and they can also be themed. I have done one in a popcorn bucket that had a bunch of snacks and popcorn, put “Netflix ‘N’ Chill Starter Kit” on the front. This is also a great idea for everyone because it is so personal and you can pick your price point.

Gaming Chair

If you have a father figure in your life that likes to play games this is the perfect gift. The good gaming chairs are a little pricey so they probably haven’t gotten themselves one. They can be found by a simple Amazon search. I won’t link one because I have one on the way and don’t know how it will be.

I hope you enjoyed my little list of ideas. I actually got inspired myself for some Father’s Day gifts that I was still scratching my head about. I think the main thing is, we need to let our family know, as often as we can, how much we appreciate and love them. Thanks for reading!

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Friday Faves!

I’d like to come to you on this Friday to show you some of my favorite things! I love making lists, its a love of mine, so here’s a list I made of things I have been loving this week.

Fashion

– Dr. Scholl’s Slip-on Sneakers

These are my FAVORITE shoe right now. I’ve bought so many tennis shoes that are advertised to be comfortable and none of them measure up to this shoe. I wear them casually but also when I work and they have passed the nurse test. Hands down the most comfortable shoe that I’ve owned. You can check them out here!

Really love these shoes, I wear them with just about everything!

– American Eagle Mom Jeans

I just picked some of these up for the first time last week and they have become an instant favorite. The style I got was on sale for 19.99$ at the time and I just couldn’t pass it up. I actually wore them for the cover picture of one of my recent post “Quarantine & Chill” (which you can check out here). I searched for the particular one I got online and couldn’t find them, however these do remind me of them.

-Wicker Purse

It’s finally that time of year again, we can all pull out our summer accessories! My wicker purse was my most used accessory of last summer and I was giddy to pull it out again! You can pick up one like mine here!

Me, my bestie, my favorite movie, and my favorite purse of the week.

Beauty

-Madison Braid

Okay so for those of you who don’t know, a Madison braid is a headband that looks like real hair braided. I just got mine about a week ago and I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m not someone who is good at hair so this has been a simple thing to add to a look. This is mine, I ordered it in the color brunette and I think it matches perfectly!

I decided to wear it for work and it really stayed put and looked cute all night.

-Witch Hazel

At a time when every time I go to work I have to wear a face mask for 12 hours, Witch hazel is my best friend. It’s gentle enough that it doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin and it has kept me from getting any breakouts. I just picked mine up from Walmart.

Somewhat Random Buys

-64oz TAL Water Bottle

I decided I wanted to try to start drinking more water because of it’s many benefits. This water bottle (I call it a jug) has made it so much simpler to get the right amount of water. It definitely keeps water cool for a long time. I got mine here, and I can’t believe how cheap it is!

My best friend made me this sticker!

-Love Letter

So I did mention Love Letter in one of my previous posts, however, My family and I have been playing it so much this week. We are big board game/ cards people so this game is right in our ballpark. You can pick it up here, thank me later!

What I’ve Been Watching

-Fixer Upper

Honestly, I pretty much watch an episode (or more) of Fixer Upper a day. It’s on Hulu for streaming. I do quite enjoy watching JoJo work her magic.

Songs I’ve Been Listening To

– “X” by the Jonas Brothers feat. KAROL G

-“Seeing Blind” by Niall Horan and Maren Morris

-“My Oh My” by Camilla Cabello feat. DaBaby

Podcast

-Office Ladies

If I’m not watching Fixer Upper I’m likely rewatching The Office. This podcast is hosted by Angela Kinsey (played Angela) and Jenna Fischer (played Pam). They recount every episode and give stories about filming. A new episode comes out every Wednesday, and I always listen right away!

Recipe

-Lemon Cream Cheese Bars

I made this recipe last week and I swear it was all eaten in a day. It was a task trying to get my family to wait for it to cool. It’s so easy to make but taste amazing! Here is the recipe. Enjoy!

That concludes this list of favorites. If you decide to check any of these things out, please let me know! Until next time.

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5 of My Everyday Beauty Essentials

We are creatures of habit, when you find a beauty product that works, you will usually buy it in surplus and use it forever. I’ve made a little list of my everyday beauty products, and I hope you enjoy and find some inspiration in it!

TooFaced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer

This primer is perfect for sensitive skin! It hydrates and brightens the skin in a way I have never seen another primer do! It can be used with or without makeup. You can snag this product for 34$. Shop here.

Buxom Full-On Plumping Lip Polish

This is probably my favorite lip gloss I have ever owned. Nothing stays on longer or gives a more natural looking color than this. I have the colors “Samantha” and “Hailey”. It’s a little pricey but I use it everyday so it’s totally worth it for me. Best 21$ I ever spent. Shop here.

Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circle Treatment Concealer

Okay, that was a mouth full! This concealer is best for dark under-eyes, which is my biggest problem. It goes on really smoothly and brightens the area you use it on. You can purchase this for 9.99$, Shop here.

Urban Decay All Nighter Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray

No other setting spray compares. Period. You can pick it up for 33$ right here.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer

The shape of this brow pencil makes it really easy to carve out the brows in a natural way. It comes in plenty of colors, I get soft brown. You can purchase it here for 23$.

These are just a few of the products I use everyday! If you enjoyed this post feel free to give it a like and subscribe for more!

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Quarantine & Chill

In the U.S., many states are starting to loosen restrictions on businesses in an effort to return to a sense of normalcy. However, experts are saying we could see a rise in Corona cases with this change. Whatever your political stance on this is, I think we can all agree that staying home has never felt safer. As a nurse my life hasn’t changed very much, I go to work and then I come home. Being the homebody I am, I’d like to extend some of my favorite things to do while in the house.

-Things to Enjoy Alone-

  1. Taking a hot bath. I know this has been said many times, but there is something so therapeutic about a hot bath. I like to add some fragrance to mine by using bath bombs from Lush (the only brand that is sensitive enough for my skin).
  2. Learning to cook or bake. Personally I love to bake, I try to bake something at least every other week. Recently I got the two Magnolia cookbooks by Joanna Gaines and its been so inspiring! Im determined to try my hand at bread one of these days!
This recipe is from the first Magnolia cookbook.

3. Binge a new show. There are plenty of shows out there to binge these days. Some funny favorites of mine include: The Office (U.S.), Parks and Recreation, The Good Place, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. If you care for reality TV, try Say Yes to the Dress, The Great British Baking Show, Fixer Upper, The Masked Singer, or Too Hot to Handle. If drama is what you’re looking for try: Criminal Minds or Ozark. Every show I mentioned is available for streaming on Netflix or Hulu

4. Animal Crossing. This game can be found for the Nintendo Switch/ Nintendo Switch Lite. I can’t say enough about this game. Its soothing to the soul in a way that transports you away from your worries. Its a vacation you can take without leaving your living room.

-Things to Enjoy with Family-

  1. Love Letter. This fun card game is best played with adults or teens because it can be a little complicated at first. Once my family and I learned how to play we could not stop!
  2. Multiplayer games for the Nintendo Switch. My switch is a great source of entertainment for my family. We have games like Just Dance, Mario Party, Jackbox Party Packs (we have them all and love them), and Monopoly! I love each one of these games and how they bring the family together, even just for a few moments.
  3. Watch a movie together. Watching a movie together is something so simple but it gets a conversation started. A great movie to stream is Disney’s Onward (found on Disney Plus). The movie is heartwarming and something the whole family can enjoy.
  4. Spend some time outside. My family and I have spent 30 minutes to an hour almost everyday sitting on our porch. We have watched birds, talked about life, listened to music, and played with our pets. It’s refreshing.
This is one of our little fur babies.

I do hope that some of these ideas can be incorporated into your everyday life. No matter where you are in the world I pray you stay safe.

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10 Tips for your Disney Trip from a Passholder

  1. Be mindful of the events they have throughout the year. Disney’s Epcot has festivals that go on through the different seasons, they include the Flower and Garden Festival, The Food and Wine Festival, and the International Festival of the Holidays. These are all really fun to attend and cost you no extra to get in, the Food and Wine Festival is my favorite! On the other hand, Magic Kingdom has a Halloween party and a Christmas party that they close the parks down early for and only the people who pay to get in are allowed in. I have been to the Christmas party and I would say it is definitely worth the money, the lines are shorter, there are free snacks at certain spots in the park, and an exclusive parade/shows. Whether you want to work around these events or attend, it’s good to know when they go on.
  2. Download the app. The Disney World app is a handy tool for making fast passes, reserving seats at restaurants, and seeing wait times. Planning out your day at Disney is huge if you are trying to see a whole park in a day. There are always certain rides, like Avatar Flight of Passage in Animal Kingdom or Peter Pan’s Flight in Magic Kingdom, that you’ll have to build your day around. This app comes in clutch when dealing with those situations.
  3. Bring some water bottles in the park with you. It is so important to stay hydrated when in Disney because it’s nothing but heat and walking! Water bottles in the park cost like 3.50$ a pop, which adds up when you are tired and dehydrated.
  4. If you want a nice meal, reserve your seats! Restaurants like the Beauty and the Beast’s castle in the Magic Kingdom are sometimes difficult to get seats for. Personally, I think if you have your dates you should go ahead and book your sit down restaurants and fast passes.
  5. Dress appropriately for the weather! I can’t stress this enough, Orlando (especially in the summer) is HOT! I recommend light tank tops, shorts, and a very comfortable pair of shoes. My favorite pair of shoes to wear to Disney are my Nike flip flops because they are comfortable but also allow for air flow to the feet. I’ve been miserable in a long line and wishing I had worn something else, it’s the first thing to ruin a day at Disney.
  6. Research, research, research! I recommend looking into all of the rides, shows, and eateries ahead of time. Then make a list of the sights you really want to see and rank them on what you want to do most. This, of course, all depends on your preferences. I don’t like thrill rides so my itinerary looks different than someone who’s top rides are Splash Mountain or Space Mountain. It’s easy to get caught up in lines and not get to see some of the top things on your list by the end of the day.
  7. Disney is expensive! If you have looked into Disney World for any amount of time you’ll know it is expensive. There are endless ways to spend money, and you should be prepared to spend some. However, you can often cut corners by buying your Disney shirts outside of the park, bringing in your own water bottles, and having a meal outside of the park (I always like to do a good breakfast before the park).
  8. Have a cast member take your picture with your phone. The first time I went to Disney I remember feeling pretty awkward when asking the photographer to take our picture with my phone, but they are super nice about it. Whenever I see a cast photographer who is taking pictures in a certain spot I have them take some on their camera and some on my phone. The pictures you can buy from Disney are very overpriced, so having them on your phone too is such a relief. 
  9. Celebrate with Disney! I’m sure if you have ever been to Disney you have seen people walking around with buttons on their shirts that say “1st visit” or “It’s my birthday” but it extends further than that. I have a friend that when she finished nursing school came to celebrate at Disney and mentioned it to a cast worker. They gave her a button and free parking for that day. When wearing a button the cast members will congratulate you and sometimes do things like that too. 
  10.  If you enjoy Disney and plan to go often, get a pass! The pass has a lot of perks if you plan on going multiple times throughout the year. I have the weekday pass, which really works for my work schedule. It paid for itself in no time at all. As a passholder you get 20% off things in any of the shops, select restaurants, and most places at Disney Springs. On top of that you get a discount when staying at Disney’s resorts and a free magicband.
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