Friday, October 16, 2015

Enchanting Rose: Tea Cup Exchange

Just recently Stephanie over at Enchanting Rose hosted a tea cup exchange, and this was my first year participating! (I've just been a bit late getting my post up as I've been fighting a cold here.) The way it works, various ladies from all over the world sign up, and Stephanie matches us up.  We send to one person, and receive from another so there is the opportunity to make two friends through the exchange! 
I sent a tea cup to Lexi from Times and Seasons of a Beautiful Life.  I had so much fun putting a package together for her and looking through her blog (which you should go check out!)

I received a tea cup from Cryslyn who blogs over at Joyfully Inspired.  It was such a delight to get her package in the mail, decorated in special butterfly stickers.  Inside it was filled with lovelies.  A mosaic-styled tea cup and saucer with many shades of my favorite color; a delicate white doily; delicious berry teas; and this amazing necklace in the shape of a book - none other than Pride and Prejudice. <3  I absolutely adore all that Cryslyn sent me - thank you so much for being so generous!

Many thanks to Stephanie for putting this all together! I thoroughly enjoyed myself and am looking forward to the next exchange.  Hugs and thanks to all! <3

Friday, October 9, 2015

Do and Don'ts of Visiting Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure

It's becoming a thing now.  You've decided to go on a trip.  What is one of the very first things you do? Search the internet for information of course.  Pinterest, blogs, message forums, and a select few websites become your friends over the months of travel plans (and dreams.)  There is a surplus of information out there about Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, but I wanted to list a few things myself, a few Lesser Known Tips for thoroughly enjoying Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure.


Get the Express Pass/Park Hop Tickets

This may not seem like a big deal, especially when you think about two of the Harry Potter rides don't take the Express Pass.  Trust me, it's worth it.  You'll have the opportunity to do things multiple times this way, and then take the time you would have spent waiting in line and meander the parks without feeling rushed.

Also, just get the park hop ticket.  Especially now with the Hogwarts Express taking you from one park to the next, it's just much easier to be able to visit either park at any time during your stay.

Ride Men In Black: Alien Attack more than once

This ride.  It surpases any other shooting game, and was probably the ride we rode the most times.  Here's the thing: once is not enough.  To get the full effect of this ride, you realize that it is a game.  The first time is just your warm up.  Listen to your instructions and follow them closely, and really use the first round to get the hang of shooting the aliens.  There is another team you will be competing against, which just makes it all the more fun.  Trust me, this ride is worth doing until you reach 100,000 + points.  By then you will be addicted and want to bring it home with you.

Be nice to the workers

In a park this size, something is bound to go wrong at one time or another. One of the days we were in the park, the Escape from Gringotts ride was broken down all morning and afternoon.  There was a crowd of workers who had the unfortunate job of telling park guests the ride was closed.  They had the area blocked off, but didn't mind letting us in to take a picture with the goblin statue that was normally used as extra seating and hard to get a picture of without people all around it.  Random nice worker jumped in our picture and ended up talking with us for a while after that.  While other people scowled, complained, or were even rude, the workers appreciated our understanding.  In fact, this guy was awesome enough to call ahead and send us to the front of the line at Hogwarts, The Forbidden Journey, giving us almost an extra hour to enjoy the park our last day that we normally would have spent in line.  They work hard to make this place magical, it doesn't hurt to be kind.


Miss the side shows

We meandered quite a bit throughout our 4 1/2 days, and at times we were tired and just wanted to sit for a while.  We realized that there were shows and performances and parades throughout the day. Some are themed (the Harry Potter Beauxbaton and Durmstrang performance; the bunny's from Hop; etc.) while some are just for fun (pet tricks, Fear Factor Live, magic shows.)  I had no idea I would enjoy these, but they are worth seeing, if you are spending a couple days in the parks.  I ended up buying a kit after the magic show to try and do at home.

Bother with Poseidon's Fury

Like, seriously.  The outside is all intricate and pretty, and the restaurant is pretty good (and air conditioned!) But the show itself? There were too many people standing who couldn't quite see or hear what was going on, and the story in the show was just okay.  At best.  So maybe there is a chance it will be better next time, but I don't actually think we'll try it again to find out. There are just way too many other awesome things to see and do without trying to fit this into what I'm sure is an already packed schedule.

Forget to leave room for souvenirs!

Or you will ride home with a broomstick, Hedwig, Arnold the Pygmy Puff, 2 robes, and an extraordinary amount of Honeydukes candy sharing  your seat...