Category Archives: Travel

A new countdown begins!


It’s no secret that I’ve caught the traveling bug, and I think after going to Europe last summer for the very first time it got even worse. I vaguely remember coming home after 3 weeks in Greece with 3 of my best friends and feeling like my ACTUAL home would never be the same to me again. I was wrong, of course, but when that travel high went away I realized that what I REALLY wanted was simply to have the opportunity to travel MORE. Instead of spending all my money on ALL THE THINGS that didn’t matter, I wanted to save & see the world.

Coming home from Greece last year I remember feeling one thing for certain. I LOVED Europe & I wanted to go back and see many more of the countries there. However as a student, that trip was extremely expensive for me. I told myself that  I would go back when I was no longer a student struggling my way through expenses.

Turns out, I just can’ t stay away from Europe.

If you follow me on Twitter, Instagram or if we’re friends on Facebook you may have already seen my news but… I’m going back to Europe for almost THREE weeks in August! I’ll be spending 19 days with my best friend traveling through Italy, France, and parts of England. Things may change a little bit here and there (we’re still figuring out our itinerary) but basically that is what we have planned.

I’m SO excited. We’ve been talking about this trip for weeks now, but as of Saturday our flight to Rome (and leaving Paris) is BOOKED!

I’m so nervous, to be honest. I love talking about traveling the world but I think this trip will be my scariest yet. I have to find a backpack. I’m going to be traveling into different COUNTRIES. Just the two of us. Probably staying in hostels with strangers. I’m nervous because I’m going back to a country I LOVE and I have all these memories from my last trip. I know that traveling has been SO good for me. I’ve ultimately changed as a person for it. It makes me nervous to see who I’ll be when I get home on August 26th after three weeks of living from a backpack. Last summer I had so much trouble re-adjusting to being home and I just don’t want to go through that again.

But most of all? I’m excited. I’m SO excited. I’m going back to Europe.

I’m visiting places like this:






Europe 2012. Let the planning begin! 

If you have any suggestions, recommendations or tips for any parts of France, Italy or England… I’d love to hear them 🙂 


The Art of Scrapbooking


It seems like I’m rarely writing about all the goals I have to complete this year, and yet my 101 in 1,001 and 23 Before 23 are patiently waiting to have numbers crossed off. Today’s post is about #13 on the 23 Before 23 and #17 on the 101 in 1,001! 2 in 1, woo hoo!

While I was in Greece in August (yes, I am bringing up this vacation again!) I had the idea that I wanted to teach myself to scrapbook. I realize *teach* is a bit of a strong word, but I am seriously crafty-handicapped. I’ve never been great at it, but the idea of having a place where I could store photos & memorabilia that I collected along the way sounded enchanting.

The week I got home, I was at the craft store buying supplies. I found my scrapbook and a bunch of cute things to put in it all on the same day- we’re talking like early September. And then I proceeded to basically completely forget about my project. Well actually, that’s not really true. I needed to get my pictures printed, and with almost 1,500 photos to sort through I needed to find the time to do it. This is what I ended up printing:

Yes, that is two BOXES full. Pretty sure I printed about 500 photos! 

Finally, about two weeks ago, I decided to sit myself down and try to start my scrapbook. It’s been about 6 months that I’m home & I was already home from ANOTHER vacation after that one so I wasn’t really in the mood to do it… But you guys? I ended up LOVING it. I’d like to think my scrapbook turned out relatively well- it’s not done yet, I still have 4 pages to complete, but other than that? I sat down over the course of one weekend and I was un-stoppable!

I’m so proud of my new-found craftiness, I really wanted to share my handiwork. So without further ado, the scrapbook of a non-crafty person (not so bad, right?!)

… Sorry about the image quality, my iPhone wasn’t quite up to the task, it seems! 

I tried as much as possible not to ruin the beauty of the photos by cutting out too much of the view in the background, because that is such a big part of Greece. I think I did a decent job of preserving the beauty in the photos, and the ones that I didn’t was simply because I wanted the picture in there for fun. I added in a few little fun things I collected on the different islands I visited, which I thought gave it a sweet personal touch.

All in all, I’m really happy I gave scrapbooking a shot & I can’t wait to finish it up once I’m out of finals! It was such a lovely way to bring back tons of happy memories and become nostalgic once again for a time in my life that I absolutely adored. I still have a MILLION pictures leftover and I can’t wait to organize them and set them up in a photo album to look at any time I want to visit the vacation of my dreams!

Have you ever taken on a hobby that you didn’t think you’d enjoy? What kind of crafty things do you like to do?

It’s a promise.


Some days, I feel like the top of the world. Other days, I really just need someone to realize that I need a big hug and some reassuring words that everything is going to be okay.

I knew this was going to happen to me, it always does after a vacation: I start to get very sad. I didn’t even think it was going to happen THIS time, because I was only gone for about a week & I was trying to prepare myself beforehand… But I have to face the facts. I’m an emotional person and I tend to let my feelings get the best of me when I least expect it. 

Coming home makes me sad, because I always realize one big thing after the first couple days: I’m ready to leave again. My vacations make me feel AMAZING and FREE and like I can DO ANYTHING I want. I love it, and I know that one week just isn’t cutting it for me anymore. My heart is telling me that bigger things are waiting for me in this world.

So what’s holding me back? 

I’m not gutsy enough yet. I’m a worrier. I’m bad at saving money. I’m convinced I wouldn’t survive out there, even though I really want to. Maybe I’d miss home too much. Maybe I’d miss friends & family WAY too much. People might forget about me or lose interest in keeping in contact with me if I was gone for too long.

The list goes on, and on, and on, and on. 

But the feeling of wanting to leave? It’s still there. It’s been lurking in my mind for the last year or so, and it just isn’t going anywhere. I have very little motivation to complete my schoolwork because I don’t currently feel like I’m pursuing what I WANT to be pursuing. My heart just isn’t in it. I don’t feel like I’m living the life that I want to be living at 22 years old. I’m still young, there are so many things I want to do, and realistically there isn’t THAT much holding me back at home (other than friends & family that I would miss). The truth is, I want to pack a bag and I want to immerse myself in a far away land for a few months. Maybe I could study there, or work, or volunteer, or just roam the different cities and discover how different people live their lives.

I just know I want to go somewhere far. I KNOW I’ll miss home, but I *want* to miss home. Next time I leave, I want to come back and not feel like I’ve lost an opportunity somewhere.

What I’m saying is that I talk a lot about accomplishing goals, making lists and living life on my own terms, but there’s just SOMETHING I’m not doing right, because this isn’t how I should feel every time I’m back home. I LOVE home, I love my “me time” and I really love the people I have back home, but really really deep down? I know all these things will still be here after I throw myself out of my comfort zone for a little while. I want to stop being jealous of the stories I read of people living their dreams. I want to be the person writing those stories from a distant continent. 

I needed to write this post to remind myself that I need to take a look at myself and choose what’s best for ME, not for everyone around me or for the me in 10 years. I’m making myself a promise. A big one that I 100% intend to keep.

By the time I turn 25 years old, I want to be traveling the world in a BIG way.

It’s time to start planning and making this happen. I think that planning THIS kind of trip is going to make everything a LOT better for me.

I’m already smiling. 

Florida Adventures


Yesterday, I blogged all about my 3-day adventures at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but surprisingly enough I actually had time to visit OTHER stuff during my 5 day vacation to Orlando, Florida. Today I thought I’d try and re-cap the rest of my trip so that I could have some pictures and words to remember it all by!

On my second full day in Orlando, we decided to have a relaxing day by the pool to catch up on reading, music-listening, and basically just enjoying the fact that we’re on vacation in HOT weather when it’s COLD back home.

Unfortunately, after about an hour and a half outside, we realized it would not be a very good day to stay in the sun because… The sun was no longer out. Of course we chose the one cloudy day, sigh. Instead, we got ourselves prettied up & walked down I-Drive to the Ripley’s Believe it or Not for a little bit of adventure and fun picture-taking.


After learning all about lizard people, the tallest man, and people who made famous paintings out of food, we bolted back to the hotel with big, stormy clouds above our heads. We didn’t quite make it before the rain started because we ended up stopping in a little ticket booth where we purchased spontaneous tickets to the Pirate Dinner Theater show for that very night!

The show was SO awesome- I had never experienced dinner theater before, and the idea and set-up was just so cool. We were seated in a really BIG pirate ship that was split up into different colors. The color you sat in was the pirate you cheered and helped for the whole show, and we got green! I couldn’t take that many pictures because it was quite dark, but it was a really fun experience; I would recommend dinner theater to anyone who wanted to give it a shot!

The next day we decided it was time to head back to Universal and discover the second park, Universal Studios. Instead of leaving our hotel super early we caught the later shuttle (10:25) because we wanted to stay at the park until later this time without getting too tired.

Universal Studios was SO fun. I had no idea what to expect and I had a great time. It’s a little bit different than Islands of Adventure because it’s set up as different cities instead of themed worlds like Harry Potter. We walked through San Francisco, New York City, and Beverly Hills, we met some TV/movie characters, and we did all the themed rides there!


My favorite rides in Universal Studios were definitely the Simpsons Ride and The Mummy- even though I don’t like rollercoasters, The Mummy was a lot more exciting than some of the other rides there- but I still think my absolute favorite in the whole park was in WWOHP.

Overall I had a really great time wandering through Universal Studios, seeing which characters I would run into. Mascots in general tend to creep me out but I made the best of it! The Simpsons was such a fun experience because I grew up LOVING Bart Simpson (I had a doll of him when I was little that came with me everywhere). I was like a kid when I saw them taking pictures, it was so surreal even at my age!

We spent most of our day at Universal Studios, but later in the day we wanted to go back to Islands of Adventure to see the things we hadn’t seen on our first day.  This is what my 2 days at Islands of Adventure looked like:



I think overall, I had a lot more fun at Islands of Adventure, but not JUST because of Harry Potter. Jurassic Park was AWESOME and the ride (although terrifying) was a lot of fun too. I didn’t have very much fun at Poseidon’s Fury (it was more of a show, which we didn’t realize) but I loved walking through Marvel World, Toon World, and Seuss Landing. Islands of Adventure was BY FAR busier than Universal Studios, but that’s probably a big part due to WWOHP.

On our last full day in Florida the sun was FINALLY out, so we decided to spend some real vacation time outside by the pool in the morning. It was scorching hot and I loved the feeling of reading with the sun shining down on me. I ended up getting pretty sun-burnt before 3 in the afternoon, so we called it a day after about 3 hours outside. We made ourselves a hotel lunch (very yummy, I must say) and got ready to go out. Although we weren’t sure HOW we wanted to spend our last day in Florida, we ended up back at Islands of Adventure for 3 hours to enjoy a few more hours of WWOHP and finally we went to experience The Hard Rock Cafe.




We got back at our hotel around 10PM because we had a VERY early wake-up the next day for our flight home. Although we were delayed due to snow, I finally got home around 4PM the next afternoon.

I had SUCH a fun trip, I wished I could have stayed for just a few more days to escape the cold snap Montreal is having right now. I definitely plan on going back to Orlando to visit the theme parks again once they expand (read: when HP expands) because I was VERY impressed with everything there. Both parks were so well organized and the staff was always very nice to us.

Phew! That was a long post, but I really wanted to wrap up. Thanks for reading! Have you ever visited any of these places? What were your experiences like?

Florida & the Wizarding World of Harry Potter


I got home on Saturday (late) afternoon after an amazing five days and nights in Orlando, Florida. As if I hadn’t talked about it enough BEFORE going, I feel like I have about a million things to say now that it’s all over. Which, by the way? I can’t believe it’s already all over. But, such is the way vacations go, and I truly had an amazing time with one of my best friends.

I did something fun & special on each of my five days there, so I’m going to try and break it up into two or three posts throughout the next week!

First off, and maybe most importantly, was my experience at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. That place was the ultimate *reason* that I’ve been wanting to go to Orlando for the last couple years, it’s on my Life List, and I couldn’t wait to write my very own post about my time at the WWOHP to join all of the amazing ones I read online before leaving.

We headed to WWOHP on our second day in Orlando, because our first was the day that we flew in so we just wanted to explore. We woke up around 7am and caught the 8:30am shuttle from our hotel straight to Universal. We had no idea what to expect, but we knew the park opened at 9am so we thought we had done it properly. Turns out we had to wait in a MASSIVE line to get our tickets, and then another MASSIVE line to scan our tickets to actually get in to Islands of Adventure (the park where WWOHP is). There were a LOT more people than we had anticipated, but we quickly found out we chose Mardi Gras weekend and we might have to put up with ridiculous crowds for the whole trip. Luckily this was not the case, it was mostly just or our first day, and the park was well enough organized that it didn’t drive me TOO crazy.

We basically headed straight through the different worlds of Islands of Adventure to get straight to Harry Potter. I was SO excited- the minute we walked in I spotted Hogwarts and nearly had a panic attack! But we walked all the way there, through the Hogsmeade entrance, and explored the shops/took pictures for a good hour before doing anything else.




Everything is SO well done, I was more impressed than I even thought I could be. Each shop window was decorated as I had imagined, there was music playing throughout the whole park, all the employees were dressed up, the buildings and the ambiance made me truly feel like I had stepped into a Harry Potter book or movie.

After we felt like we had walked around long enough, we decided to look at what rides the park offered- there are three:

1. The Flight of the Hippogriff: a somewhat high-speed rollercoaster
2. The Dragon Challenge: an upside down, cork-screw, high-paced rollercoaster
3. The Forbidden Journey: some kind of mysterious ride INSIDE Hogwarts

I’m *really* not a roller-coaster person, and besides we knew that we REALLY wanted to experience Hogwarts, so we got ourselves our very first Butterbeer of the trip and settled ourselves into a 2 hour line-up into the castle. It was actually the longest, most winding line I’ve EVER been in and no picture could ever possibly compare. I know it was about 4 hours worse when the park first opened, but it’s important to know I am not a wait-in-line-person. Turns out that with a butterbeer and a castle walk to look forward to, time FLEW by. Once again, everything was so incredibly well decorated and orchestrated, and the line moved incredibly quickly so you were never stuck in one spot.


I would highly recommend getting a drink to wait in this line, especially if you’re a) going during peak season or b) a really busy time. Either way, you’re going to wait in line for this ride and it was really nice to have something to sip on that was so delicious. The glass that we have in the pictures above was an extra price, but we decided to go all out because you got cheaper refills on a bunch of drinks once you were done. Although we didn’t take advantage of that, it’s good for a lot of people- I just wanted the souvenir of my first butterbeer!

The castle ride was, in one word, unbelievable. I’m not even sure I could explain how I was feeling as I experienced it for the very first time. We were lucky enough to go through it THREE times during our stay (we learned that a good way to get on rides was to go to WWOHP as the sun set, that’s when people are leaving and lines are all under 30 minutes)… But honestly, for our first ride, two hours was SO worth it. Not to mention that halfway through the line-up you get to go inside the castle and they have tons of things set-up for you to see inside. I *wish* I could have taken pictures, but they ask you to stow your belongings in lockers beforehand.

**SPOILER** it’s basically a 3D (4D?) ride through Hogwarts. You’re flying, you’re playing Quidditch, you’re zooming in and out of the castle, you’re meeting dementors/the whomping willow/characters from the movie. As I flew down the Quidditch pitch in the MOST realistic and seamless 3D ride I’ve ever been on, I couldn’t help but tear up. It was like my life from age 11 until now, all summed up in two minutes. Everything you wanted to do as a child as you secretly waited for your very own Hogwarts letter.

Although we left WWOHP for a few hours that day to explore the rest of Islands of Adventure, we returned just in time for a late lunch at the three Broomsticks around 2:30pm, followed by some souvenir shopping before we headed home. We had great service there as well & were really impressed with the prices and the system they had in place to get you seated with your food.


We also decided to wait in line to experience Ollivander’s after lunch. At first we really didn’t want to wait an hour for a 5 minute show, but the two of us realized that we were at WWOHP and we didn’t know when we’d make it back. So we waited and once again, the line went really quickly. It wasn’t anything AMAZING, but we did get to see the inside of the wand shop. Also, in my true geeky nature, I went up to Ollivander (when I was supposed to be leaving) and I introduced myself & asked for a picture!


We ended our first day at Islands of Adventure soon after meeting Ollivander. We returned to WWOHP two days later around dinner time and we were able to go through the castle in 20 minutes, and we also got on the Flight of the Hippogriff in about 5 minutes because there weren’t many people around. We enjoyed our second Butterbeer on our way out of the park just after 7PM.

Our final day in Florida (February 24th) we decided at the last minute to go back ONE last time to experience WWOHP at sunset. We headed over there around 5:30pm and didn’t leave until they started to close up at 8:30PM. On our final visit we did the castle ride ONE LAST TIME and honestly? It never got old. I still smiled like a complete lunatic as I flew through the world I’ve read about for the last decade of my life.

We ended our trip with our third (and sadly, final) butterbeer, sitting on a random ledge in the middle of Hogsmeade. We just sat around and enjoyed the park that had become our most visited place during our vacation. It was all around such an amazing experience, I am 100% going back once they expand the park- which I have no doubt they will do. It’s constantly the busiest world in the ENTIRE theme park, and certainly the most modern and well done. As a long-time Harry Potter fan, I was extremely happy with everything I experienced there. Through all the chaos and activity, the employees remained in great moods and were always super helpful, and the quality of our experience never diminished because it was too busy or overwhelming. Of course it would have been nice on our first day to not have been stuck with almost no walking space, but it really is just part of the excitement of the Wizarding World!

*All pictures and opinions in this post are my own, if you’d like to use any of the images please link back here, thanks!


Have you ever been to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, or Wizarding World of Harry Potter? What was your experience like?! 

In 24 hours…


I’ll be in Florida!

Today is my last day at home before catching my flight BRIGHT and EARLY tomorrow morning! I’m so excited to get back on a plane, spend 6 days with two of my best friends, take a million pictures, cross off a number on my Life List, meet my first blogger, and just all around be in warmer & sunnier temperatures in a new city!

I have a LOT to do today, but it felt weird not stopping in to just write a goodbye post on my little internet space. I’m so rarely away from my blog for weeks at a time, I’m sure I’ll miss it around here! A little blog break never did anyone any harm though, so I’m going to embrace the time away to re-energize and just live in the moment. I’m sure I’ll pop in on Twitter, but other than that I don’t see myself doing anything too crazy on the internet while on vacation!

I know I’ll come home with LOTS to talk about, as I always do after vacations, and I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll find a way to do a giveaway with little things I pick up from Harry Potter World and Universal Studios. (I had so much fun doing that after Greece!)

I’ve been checking the Orlando weather regularly on my iPhone, and although there is a lot of possibility for rain, it’s going to be REALLY WARM and NOT SNOWING so I’m happy!

While I’m gone, I have a ton of people guest posting for me once again- there are a few days that have two people because I had such a good response to my call for guest bloggers! So please take some time to read their writing, for half of them it’s their first time writing for someone else, and I know they’d love your feedback 🙂 I’m *thinking* my giveaway when I come home will have something to do with their posts, so check them out, leave them comments & say hi on their blogs too!

Have a fabulous week, see you NEXT Monday! 🙂

My hotel in Orlando! 

Trip Planning


It’s no secret that I love traveling. I’m not as well-traveled as some of my friends, but I’ve definitely picked up the bug and I constantly feel like I’m working to pay myself another plane ticket.

Via Pinterest

And honestly? I wouldn’t have it any other way in my life right now. I wish I could do MORE of it, spend a year abroad even! I love EVERYTHING about traveling. I think my absolute favorite part though, besides the actual BEING there, is planning. When I booked my plane ticket to Greece I spent endless nights with my 3 girls around our various kitchen tables looking at pictures, hotels, hostels, ferry tickets and other things that we could do. I think the whole experience of actual trip PLANNING brought my friends and I closer together every single time I’ve gone somewhere with someone other than family.

I have a thing with to-do lists, ha 🙂

I read a book last year which stated that you can find more happiness in the activities you do if you learn to appreciate the anticipation and the planning of the activity. That line stayed with me because I realized just how TRUE that was. Ever since, I have learned to love planning and anticipating what’s to come. It really is half the fun! When I was finally in Greece and would arrive at the hotel that we had spent hours researching and reading reviews about, I got such a rush realizing what an amazing place it was. The four of us took so much time to pick places that we all intuitively felt good about, it was SO rewarding when the time we took to do things right paid off. Not to mention I have such fond memories of sitting with my friends, sipping coffee & and endlessly talking about everything our future was holding for us. 

As my vacation to Florida approaches, I’m getting really excited to sit down with my two friends and start deciding what we want to do. I was so exhilarated after we pressed the “confirm” button when we booked, but since then we haven’t had the chance to get together and talk about what we want to do. I’m leaving in exactly THREE weeks and I think it’s time I get back into the excitement of planning my trip. I’ve exchanged e-mails with some of my favorite Florida bloggers, I’ve begun planning who I’ll meet, where I want to go; all that’s missing is putting these pieces together with my girls.

I know that none of us want to fully book our 6 days while we’re there, we want to leave space for spontaneity, which I’ve learned is one of the best things. But I’m so excited to sit down and get MORE excited with them about getting on a plane and visit a new part of the world for the first time together.

I’m definitely most excited about visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (it is on my Life List, after all!) but I am genuinely just ecstatic at the idea of living out of my suitcase, spending every hour of every day with my friends, taking pictures, wearing summer-ish clothing, and forgetting about real life for a week.

I think this week the three of us will be getting together to really talk about what we want to do while we’re there, and I genuinely couldn’t be happier. Let the planning begin! 

What’s your favorite part about traveling? Are you a lover of planning like me?