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Me, my thoughts and my life

Disney World Christmas

I have a love hate relationship with Disney World during the fall and winter holidays.  I love the parks, decorations and some of the special events (some just aren’t wroth the money).  I hate all of the crowds.  Yes, I do realize that I am spoiled since I am able to visit the parks anytime and often wait just walk onto some of the rides. 


My favorite Christmas season event at Disney is Epcot’s Candlelight Processional.  When I first heard the name I thought it was one of Disney’s parades; Its not.  Disney describes it as “the stirring story of Christmas as told by a celebrity narrator, accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and mass choir.”  They invites high school choirs from around the state (and I think Georgia too) to come and preform.  There are 2-3 shows each night starting right after Thanksgiving through New Years.  The performance itself is free with park admission though it is held in the American Theater so seating is limited.  To me the best way to enjoy this is with their Dinner package (my friend, Rachel, and I have done this for the last 3 years).  The package is a set price (depending on the restaurant) for the meal, lunch or dinner (hint: lunch is more affordable), and provides you with guaranteed seating at a specified show time.  It is so worth it.  There is queued seating as well but I have heard of people standing in line for hours to get a seat for the performance.  Be honest, if you are going to see this you are most likely going to be eating in Epcot anyway.  The package isn’t that much more than the price of a normal meal.

Blue Ice Castle

My second favorite thing at Disney during Christmas is Cinderella’s Castle in Magic Kingdom.  Every year they drape the castle in white lights and it looks like ice.  Just beautiful!

Osborne Lights

My third Christmas favorite is the Osborne Lights at Hollywood Studios.  Sadly I found out this year is the last year.  On the bright side it mean something new is coming next year!  Now the story is that this collection of Christmas lights started at the Osborne’s house several years ago.  However, their collection got so big that it started to cover multiple houses.  When Disney first purchased the collection, in 1995, there were about 100,000 lights.  It has now grown exponentially to cover the whole main street section and is set to music.  Every night once the sun goes down the turn all of the lights on and cycle through a variety of Christmas carols.  It is so fun to watch and there are lights everywhere!!

Main Street         Peace



What I am currently reading:  Lover Avenged by J.R. Ward

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Keys Vacation pt 3

The southern most key is Key West so obviously that was my last stop on vacation.  Well, technically it was the middle stop but, it was the last new stop.  Realistically the trip was Orlando – Key Biscayne – Key Largo – Key West – Key Largo – Fort Lauderdale – Orlando.

DT KW Sign

Anyway, back to the point (I’m good at tangents, aren’t I?).  The first time I stayed in Key West I stayed in a Bed & Breakfast on Duval.  While I liked where I stayed last time this time I decided to try the DoubleTree Key West (can you tell I like Hilton brands?) which is on the northeast side of the island. 

DT KW Dolphins

Now, I have to admit I did not do my research on this hotel.  Normally I read the whole website before I visit somewhere.  If I would have done my research I would have know that they provide a complimentary shuttle to their guests from the resort to downtown.  This was a wonderful surprise!  If you have ever been to Key West you know that parking is difficult to say the least.

Banyon Tree.JPG             Southern most point

When I arrived to check-in my room wasn’t quite ready so they pre-checked me in and I took the shuttle downtown.  I love walking around Key West.  There is so much to see!  Now, I am not a partier so for me the clubs and bars are not the draw, though there are lots of them as well as some amazing restaurants.  For me it is all of the old houses (I love the Victorian and Queen Anne style), historical sites and natural landscapes like the banyan tree above.

KW Rooster          Tutle

In addition to all of the history, houses, bars and restaurants in Key West there are also lots of surprises.  During my walk I ran into both of the cute critters above.  The rooster is just one of many in Key West.  They all roam free and are protected.  According to a website on Key West History the current generations are a cross between domestic chickens and Cuban chickens that were breed for fighting (barbaric, right?  Good thing it isn’t common anymore).  The turtle (or turtle cousin, not sure on the exact species) is part of the aquarium and was just out for a stroll.  One of my other discoveries was the giant statue below.  Now I am sure this was there last time I was in Key West but since my visit to Sarasota I have started to take notice of these giant pieces of art.  My favorite art medium is glass but the details on these statues are beautiful.

KW Statue           Statue Plaque




What I am currently reading:  Lover Enshrined by J.R. Ward

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Keys Vacation pt 2

One of my favorite things about visiting the Keys is the drive, well the part through the keys themselves, the drive to get there I can do without.  This trip though I was lucky enough to be able to stop in Key Biscayne to see my friend Vicki who was home from Boston with her boyfriend, John.

Key Biscayne

We meet in Key Biscayne (for those of you who don’t know this is a key between Fort Lauderdale and Miami) because John really wanted to eat at Oasis Café (aka. Oasis Sandwich Shop).  He has gone there with family since he was little.  The food was fantastic!  It is one of those great hidden gems.  Now, if you go plan on it being take out.  There isn’t really anywhere to sit.  We took out collection of food to the beach (what else do you do in south Florida in December?).

US 1 break

Anyway back to the keys.  The Overseas Highway has some spectacular views and the water is some of the most beautiful shades of turquoise.  Now the highway is very straight and can kind of hypnotize you.  The good news is that there are lots of little parks (overlooks and state parks) along the way to stop and stretch your legs or fish

Pigeon Key

US 1 rules                       US 1 Piling


What I am currently reading:  Lover Unbound by J.R. Ward

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Keys Vacation pt 1

I love vacations! (who doesn’t right?)  When I planned this vacation last year I hoped that at least 1 of my friends would be able to go with me but unfortunately that didn’t happen.  Vacations are more fun with other people but sometimes going by yourself is relaxing and rejuvenating.


My 1st stop was the Hilton Key Largo (well not my very 1st stop.  I visited a friend in Key Biscayne on the way down).  Have you ever stayed at the Hilton Key Largo?  It is wonderful.   Most of their rooms are actually suites and they all have balconies!  It is also located right on the beach and has some amazing views of the sunset.

KL Sunset 2

One of the other cool things is that they have turned themselves into a resort.  There are 2 pools, 2 beaches (1 is a hammock beach) pool bar, beach bar, restaurant, room service, Watersports rental, dock, spa, fitness center, gift shop and meeting space. 

H KL Adult Pool

One of the things that I thought was really cool is that they have a self guided nature trail for kids.  They have these boxes and informational plaques set up throughout the grounds that give facts on the local flora & fauna (one of those Latin words means animals, right?).  Along with the plaques there are boxes containing bracelets for kids to collect.  Each box has a different color.  If they find all of the plaques then they get to go on the wall of fame.

H KL Scoutabout                                H KL Sign


What I am currently reading: Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward

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Yes, I know I am about 2 weeks late with this but I was on vacation!!

For the 1st time in over 4 years my sister and I live in the same state.  Granted it is for a grand total of 4 months and we live 6 hours away but it still counts.  Since this was the case we decided to get together for Thanksgiving.  Before we planned this I had already agreed to watch my friend’s cat so my sister and brother-in-law came to me!!

With only the 3 of us for Thanksgiving we decided not to do the full spread.  Instead I made a ham, au gratin potatoes, salad and brown sugar carrots. Adrian made a dessert out of pretzels, strawberries and fluff (whip cream and something else).  I have to say it turned out pretty good.  There was the perfect amount of food for the 3 of us.

The next day we went to Epcot.  CJ had never been and Adrian hadn’t been for several years.  For me it was fun to watch them.  To make the most of the day we rode almost every ride.  We even waited in line for over an hour to ride the new Test Track.  The queue, like all Disney queues, had lots to look at.  This queue has been sponsored by Chevrolet and has some future cars on display.  This was my favorite because it drives itself!!

photo_1(6)                           photo_2(6)


What I am currently reading:  Fire and Ice by Julie Garwood

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... the musings of a BARELY thirty-something, married, Southern librarian with a wildly inappropriate sense of humor, an inability to gauge most emotional cues, a dear best friend since ninth grade, and a stubborn, mouthy, redheaded country boy to accompany her through life.


Me, my thoughts and my life

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