Masthead header

February flew by. Why? Because I spent 11 days of it in Hawaii! My Hawaii post + photos will be a little delayed because the end of the month snuck up on me… and I’m tired today. But it was a damn good month. Here are my non-vacation photos from this month. Happy March, everyone!

The month of hearts and love. // Mom & I participated in a trivia night to benefit our local school district… it was fun (but we love trivia!)
The collection is getting out of control but I LOVE IT SO MUCH. It literally makes me happy to look at all those colorful mugs. Luckily, I really hate the design of the new Starbucks mug collection… so no more mugs (for now!).
Sadie! The ceiling of a townie bar. And my Aloha mat, which taunts me now that I’m back from paradise.
More Sadie. The look I rocked when I had an inflamed cornea (super fun, you guys).
I have reached the age where coffee + going on a drive = the perfect Sunday activity.
We went to Madison and had a lot of fun. My sweetie was happy to stop so I could take my photo with the PINK ELEPHANT! I mean, we’re twinsies!
Everything is so pretty. Even the milk bottles.
UW Alumni park is beautiful — can’t wait to see it in the summer! And we stopped at the Old Fashioned… for Old Fashioneds and dinner.
The day before we left for vacation was Fat Tuesday — I brought treats to the office. And got some last-minute snuggles with Gracie. PS: I love Denny and his magnifying glass.
The best part about any vacation is coming home — and returning to the ones you love.

The end of the month brought the celebration event for our UWay campaign.  And the release of Coco, the best and most beautiful Disney Pixar movie ever! (Thanks to Denny for buying it for me – what a gem!)

Aside from my awesome trip to Disney World at the beginning of the month, January has been pretty lackluster. It feels like it should be January 74th, not 31st… does anyone else feel this way?!

When I got back from Florida (my parents extended onto Boca Grande), I was faced with ALL THREE DOGS picking up a stomach bug at the kennel. Do you know how fun it is to take care of ALL THREE DOGS when they are vomiting and poo’ing? Multiple visits to the vet, many ruined beach towels, and countless hours of lost sleep later… they are all back to normal. #BLESS

The rest of the month has been delightfully uneventful. So much so that all I really have to show for it are a lot of Sadie photos! February will bring more excitement – a family vacation to HAWAII! Can’t wait.

We celebrated Paul’s birthday at our last UWay meeting. And the porgs are the best part of the new Star Wars movie!
I loved my jawbreaker nails. I always like to do fun things while I’m on vacation, because certain looks just don’t work in my conservative profession. For example, I’m going to rose gold my hair in Hawaii! Don’t worry ma and pa, it only lasts 2 washes :)
Gracie was the first pup to get THE SICKNESS.
I love our new local newspaper. And Christmas is out in my house, Valentine’s Day is in.
Adventures in Dating continues – he’s a good egg. Sadie continues to cling. And my non-fiction collection continues to grow.
Fog is awesome.
Gracie’s feeling better and Sadie was not feelin’ my snuggles. And delicious breakfast with Auntie Ra!
Vote on April 3rd! And, as I told you, the parade of Sadie photos continues.
The entire internet made those cookies — and the entire internet knows what’s up. They. Are. Amazing. Chocolate chunk shortbread cookies. Ahhhh yes. Additionally, I had to get Sadie new copper-colored dishes at Target cause she’s faaaaaancy. PS: wouldn’t it be cool if rainbow hair could be a thing?
MORE SADIE! See, I told you I didn’t do anything exciting this month. Oh, but I did go the reveal event for OSK’s new headquarters — phenomenal.

I’ll be back next month with more exciting things… like beaches and palm trees!

This was my 10th visit to Disney World. Words will never adequately express how much it means to me and how much it pulls at my heartstrings. My parents and I visited together for just a few days, then I flew home and they continued on to Boca Grande to visit friends. I don’t think my Dad loved it — as his hips and knees were hurting (and we all know that Disney involves a lot of walking) — and he and my mom both developed colds (damn snot-nosed kids!). But I had a wonderful time and I can’t wait to go back. WHEN CAN I GO BACK?!

Here are some observations:

  • January is an ideal time to visit, if you don’t mind cooler temps. The 40s and 50s felt nearly tropical to us, so we didn’t mind! HOWEVER, we didn’t realize that the Disney Marathon would be going on — so that brought more people and activity to the parks.
  • We stayed at the Contemporary, which is now my favorite Disney resort. It’s within walking distance to my beloved Magic Kingdom, it’s on the monorail, the rooms were recently revamped, and it’s just a cool, retro building. LOVE IT. I’ve also stayed at the Grand Floridian (nice, but a little too fancy pants), the Polynesian (lovely, but a little too dark… literally.. everything is brown), the Boardwalk (beautiful! and within walking distance to EPCOT), the Yacht Club (eh, it’s alright), and the Caribbean Beach (blehhhh).
  • We didn’t go on many rides because a) we didn’t have much time to work with, b) the wait times for many of them were 100+ minutes, and c) the FastPass system is bonkers and you almost have to plan out every minute of your day.  I understand why they started the system, but man, it takes all the spontaneity out of your experience.
  • The Magic Kingdom is still my favorite. Forever and always. And I love how they’ve expanded Fantasyland!
  • Speaking of the Magic Kingdom, we had breakfast at Be Our Guest and it was such a disappointment. When I was last at Disney (with Andrea in 2014), I ate dinner at Be Our Guest and it was such a wonderful experience — music, Belle & the Beast, good food, the “Grey Stuff”, table service, etc. Breakfast was none of that. Such a bummer!!
  • Hollywood Studios is a shell of its former self; it’s sad. Hopefully once the new Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge opens up, it’ll bring more life into that park.
  • EPCOT was okay. The rides I wanted to go on had long wait times; and unless you want to eat and drink the day away, there isn’t much to do in the World Showcase. However, I loved seeing Coco incorporated into the Mexico pavilion! That movie was so beautiful and touching.
  • I bought 5 t-shirts from an online shop called It’s a Magical Adventure; so you will see the variety in the pics below! It was kind of a joke — how many times will Annie change her shirt in one day, just for the photos?!
  • Retail was a success – bought a fun pair of Minnie shoes (to wear on my next Disney adventure), a few cute magnets, MANY coffee cups (hello, I’m addicted, I need a 12 step program), Star Wars Mickey ears, and some ears for Sadie (my Dad insisted… as I think he’s finally realizing that my dog may be the closest thing to a granddaughter that he’ll ever get).
  • Eating at Disney is becoming a chore. For table service, you need to book reservations weeks (if not months) in advance. Good luck if you just walk up and want a table for 3. Again, it takes all the fun out of it and involves too much planning. And I love to plan! Quick service is OK, but it’s quick service — you don’t necessarily want to eat Mickey pretzels or “fast food” for every meal. But Disney’s not gonna change because I don’t like their ways — so on my next trip, I will have to plan more and make reservations!
  • But… PS: Dole Whip is still the best food ever and I love it more than words can say.
  • Even though you’re eating junk food for days on end, the walking makes up for it. I walked 10 miles one day! TEN. MILES. Yeah!
  • While my parents may not have loved their Disney experience this time around, I loved being there with them. I’m keenly aware that they are getting older — and who knows what Disney trip may be the last. They’re the reason I love the parks so much; I’m grateful that they took me to Disney World as a kid and gave me that experience… because I know it’s expensive, tiring, and not always magical… and that parents endure all of that in order to give their kids happy, safe, and fun memories. I’ll be forever grateful.

This was on the walkway between the Contemporary and the Magic Kingdom.

The view from our hotel door – isn’t the open concept cool? And the monorail runs right through the hotel.

One of my many Magic Kingdom-themed t-shirts!

Looking toward Tomorrowland.

The castle covered in dreamlights.

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

I relate to this Dumbo.

Making an early morning breakfast reservation is neat because it gets you into the park before everyone else :)

I am Mickey balloon-obsessed.

So I randomly ran into my friend Kelly. RANDOMLY. I was walking up to the Walt + Mickey statue to take photos and she grabbed me and screamed “HEY GIRL!” I nearly had a heart attack! But how cool, right?! What are the chances?!

Be Our Guest

My Dad bought me one of these when I was a little girl. A pink one. I still have it.

Momma was not feelin’ it. Look at that smirk!

Denny + me. I remember sitting with him when I was 5 years old, eating M&Ms in Tomorrowland, and waiting for my mom to get off of Space Mountain. Always happy Magic Kingdom memories.

Another shirt! And look at that Dole Whip. Precious, precious Dole Whip!

Big Thunder Mountain

I also found this shirt and had to have it! It’s a kids shirt, but I bought an XL and it works! I mean, come on, it’s perfect for me. My body was composed 90% of Mickey-shaped foods at this point.

Cheshire Cat Tail – which is a warm chocolate chip-stuffed croissant drizzled in icing. Hot daaaamn.

Dole Whip is a must in Adventureland.

Look at all those Mickey-shaped treats!

Had to get a Mickey pretzel, obviously.

Aren’t my Star Wars ears awesome?

The Christmas decorations were still up! Added bonus!!

This might be my favorite Disney photo that I’ve ever taken. It’s not technically perfect, but oh, the nostalgia of it. Childhood… safety, happy memories, a simple life — we all chase what we can’t have back; but when you’re at the Magic Kingdom, it really is possible to feel it in split-seconds.

We had a great dinner at the Boathouse at Disney Springs. We didn’t have a reservation (oops) and were told that the wait would be 4 hours. But we stalked their bar and waited for three seats to open up. We enjoyed cocktails, good seafood and burgers, rested our feet after a long day, and mentally regrouped (read: ate something, became less hangry and therefore nicer to each other). It really was perfection in that moment.

EPCOT is next!

Look at these cutie pies!

The Germany Pavilion

The Mexico Pavilion; I bought one… I had to! Look at how beautiful they are!

My mom and I hopped over to Hollywood Studios. We didn’t stay long because, well, there isn’t much to see there anymore!

I’m still endlessly happy that they got rid of the big hat. Hollywood Blvd looks so much better now!

Mickey neon at the Contemporary.

Of course I had to chase down all of these mugs. OF COURSE!

’til next time, Disney World. I’ll love you forever.

PS: Here’s Sadie in her ears. They are infant-sized and still too big!

Am I the only one who still laughs a little when I think of Hermoine saying, “It’s leviohhhhhhsa, NOT leviosaaaaa”? Oh, how I love the world of Harry Potter. My mom was itching to see the newest Harry Potter park at Universal Studios, so naturally, we visited!

There are two Harry Potter worlds at Universal — Hogsmeade (located at Universal’s Islands of Adventure) and the newer Diagon Alley (located at Universal Studios Florida). If you want to visit both, be sure to buy tickets to BOTH theme parks. It’s so adorable how they move you between the parks — you board the Hogwarts Express! It really does feel like you’re in the movie — it’s magical.

I had been to the Hogsmeade portion a few times, but my Diagon Alley experience was new. It was AMAZING. The attention to detail blew my mind — and I teared up a few times, because you really do feel like you’re there. The entire Harry Potter story is brilliant, creative, magical, heart-wrenching, and most of all, fun. If you haven’t read the books, get on it! You won’t regret it.

Here are some photos from our day at the two parks.

The view from the entrance to Islands of Adventure.  I’d love to return to Universal someday and stay longer than a day — they are beautiful and exciting parks!

Seuss Landing walks the fine line between whimsical and creepy!

The Harry Potter adventure begins! Isn’t the train station adorable?

Candy shop in Diagon Alley.


loved how they made Gringotts come to life. Look at that sweet dragon!

We had to buy some frozen butterbeer. It’s a must. And in case you’re wondering – it’s a really delicious combination of marshmallow, butterscotch, and creme soda. I know that sound disgustingly sweet, but somehow they make it work!

Back at the Hogsmeade portion of the parks…
Cute parents.

We then moved onto the Jurassic Park portion of Islands of Adventure. Cause y’all know how much I love dinosaurs!

Eating some Jurassic Pop in Jurassic Park.

And this is a little out of order, but I ran into the Grinch in Seuss Landing… and had to get a photo for my friend (and Grinch lover) Paul.

We had a great time at Universal.  Can’t wait to go back someday!

December is one of the best months of the year. Coziness. Ultimate hygge. Christmas lights. Excessive eating and drinking. Gatherings of friends and family. Christmas lights. Snow. Cookies. Have I mentioned Christmas lights? But the month is always gone in the blink of any eye. Then we’re left with that weird week between Christmas and New Year’s when no one knows what day it is and everyone is uninspired.

Here’s to December and the end of another healthy, (mostly) happy, and fun year.

Michelle threw a great Christmas party.

Best new ornament = BURRITO!

My pants are now a little snug.

Went to my first Wisconsin Herd game… it was more fun than I expected!


Mom is not great at taking photos :)

German Christkindlmarket.

Got all glitzed and sequin’ed up for a big party at the Waters!

Annual gingerbread decorating extravaganza!!

ISN’T MY SNOOPY HOUSE ADORABLE? It turned out better than I thought! And of course, I had to visit the Qualleys! Love them all.

Home for Christmas. It’s like a warm hug.

Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve / I’ve been lucky to always have happy, safe, and healthy holidays with my family.

Check out my PEN WHEEL! :)

Pete and I took a day trip to House on the Rock. I loved it and how kitschy it was. I think the man who started it had to have been an OCD schizophrenic who did a lot of drugs.

There was a real, live mouse in one of the rooms. Poor thing!

Have a happy new year, everyone! See ya next month.