Happiest Here: Tips for Disneyland First-Timers

Happiest Here: Tips for Disneyland First-Timers

IMG_4385
A pic from our very first trip together back in June 2014!

 

Disneyland—the Happiest Place on Earth—has always held a special place in our hearts.

I grew up going to the California Disney parks, and Disney was a huge part of my childhood—but that’s another story. It wasn’t until Chris and I began dating when I realized the magic that Disney can and does have on adults. Sure, Disneyland was absolutely magical when I was a kid. But when Chris and I started going to Disney together, that magic transformed for me, and I realized just how special the parks truly are.

Chris and I had our first Disney date two months after we started dating, and it has been a part of our relationship ever since. From annual Disneyland getaways to our epic first-ever Walt Disney World trip (to even concocting plans for the international Disney parks?!), we’re undoubtedly addicted to Disney.

So here it is: my blog post with my best advice for your first-ever trip to the Disneyland Resort. The best part about DLR is that there is always something new to see—especially for a first-timer! So grab a cup of coffee and read on as I share my tips for your first visit to Disneyland.

Relax

IMG_9050

If you’re planning a trip to Disneyland, you already know that it is the Happiest Place on Earth. The parks are magically filled with hundreds of beautiful sights, smells, and sensations, and there is no way that you could possibly see everything in only one day.

Relax! That’s how it’s supposed to be. If the magic of Disneyland could be summed up in 12 hours, there’s no way people would visit as often as they do. So enjoy yourself! Don’t rush it. Breathe in the churro-scented air, gaze up at the windows on Main Street, U.S.A., chat with the cast members as you stand in every ride queue, and realize where you are. Grab a “First Visit!” button from City Hall and smile!

Screen Shot 2017-11-18 at 8.09.02 PM

Have a General Idea of What You Want to Do

Screen Shot 2017-11-18 at 8.09.24 PM
Take me back to the Disneyland 60th…

You do not by any means need to plan out your entire day(s). I remember when Chris and I were planning our WDW trip, everyone said that you need an itinerary for every day: fast passes, dining reservations, parade times, and fireworks seating all had to practically be memorized!

Disneyland isn’t like that. With around 70% of attendees being Annual Passholders or locals, there’s no way the parks could require us to have each day planned out every time we visit.

However, it is a good idea to have a general idea of what you want to do. Want to eat at a specific restaurant, like Carnation Cafe on Main Street or Blue Bayou in New Orleans Square? You should make a reservation 2-8 weeks ahead of time, just to be sure. But when it comes to what to ride or watch, just have an idea of which lands you want to conquer and go through your day accordingly. Grab your fast passes for Space Mountain and Indiana Jones when they’re available, utilize the single rider lines if you want to, and know what time the parade will come through.

Having a general plan for your day will help you worry less so you can have way more fun! But don’t forget that this is your time to escape reality, so take advantage of strolling through the park in the evening and people watching on a bench in the afternoon.

IMG_9080
Carnation Cafe breakfast = A M A Z I N G 

IMG_8721

IMG_8743
Don’t miss World of Color!

 

Don’t Miss the Hidden Gems

IMG_8725

There are so many hidden gems throughout the Disneyland Resort, and don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for them!

There are hidden Mickeys everywhere, names of notable Disney Imagineers and Legends on the windows on the second story of Main Street buildings, and fun Easter Eggs (references to things in the Disney universe) throughout rides and attractions. So grab a caramel apple, take a seat somewhere, and look and listen. You never know what you’ll see or hear!

Some experiences we love include

  • Watching the neon lights turn on one-by-one in Cars Land while listening to “Life Could Be a Dream.”
  • Sitting on the corner of Main Street and counting how many “family reunion” t-shirt groups we can see
  • Strolling through New Orleans Square and gazing longingly at the entrance to Club 33
  • Buying a caramel apple at the Candy Palace and eating it while watching a nighttime parade
  • Ride Dumbo at night to take in all of the Fantasyland lights from a new perspective
  • Grab a gingerbread cookie and hot cocoa from the Grand Californian during Christmastime

 

Screen Shot 2017-11-18 at 8.10.28 PMIMG_9008

 

Decide When You Want to Visit

IMG_9053

Are you planning a trip for the middle of summer, or are you visiting during the holiday season? Are you a Halloween or Christmas fan? Do you want to go for Mickey’s birthday or Disneyland’s anniversary? Is Easter or Spring Break your scene?

Take a look at the average weather for Anaheim during the time you’re planning to visit. Chris and I have gone in the middle of summer during Disneyland’s July heat, and we’ve visited in the winter on rainy days. It all depends on what you want to see while you’re there (and when you can fit the trip into your schedule).

For a first-time trip, I suggest getting a two day, one-park-per-day ticket. If you can swing it, go for three days with the park hopper option. But ultimately, do what is in your budget and best for you.

IMG_8706Screen Shot 2017-11-18 at 8.10.42 PM

 

And that’s it! That is my advice for any Disneyland newbie. And just for fun, here are a few things I always love to eat, ride, and do 🙂

  • Try a Monte Cristo sandwich at least once.
  • Ride Space Mountain at least TWICE. 
  • Be surprised at the boulder every time you ride Indiana Jones (it always gets me!!)
  • Thank and compliment cast members who are simply sweet or go the extra mile.
  • Tell every dressed-up little girl she is a beautiful princess!
  • Meet characters (and show them you’re excited!): bow at the Queen of Hearts, address Dr. Facilier properly, and tell Tinker Bell you know the water fairies where you’re from.
  • Eat a churro every time.

 

IMG_9074IMG_9083

IMG_9095
The most magical night, even with the rain.
Advertisements
EPCOT with my Best Friend 💞

EPCOT with my Best Friend 💞

Events - 479

Welcome to another WDW blog post! This time, I’m taking you along with us to EPCOT!

EPCOT was absolutely stunning. From the moment we walked into this park, I knew it would be a favorite. Who am I kidding, I knew I would love it even before we got on the plane! EPCOT is a breathtaking park with so much going on: from Future World to the World Showcase, every section of this park is a different vibe. If this day wasn’t incredibly hot and humid, we would have been strolling through at a much slower pace. This is definitely a park I can’t wait to revisit again.

At the time of our visit, the Food and Wine Festival was going on, and you bet Chris and I tried as much food as possible! We vlogged our whole experience (and EVERYTHING we ate) so check it out here.

This day was by far a vlog-more-photograph-less day, meaning most of what we did is documented in our video. But here are some of the photos we took!

Events - 481
It was so amazing to finally see Spaceship Earth in person! Such a cool ride. 🙂 
Events - 482
BEST. FOOD. EVER.
Events - 495
Pork belly and black beans!
Events - 498
You could get lost in the Morocco pavilion! So cool and immersive. 

Events - 502

Events - 506
The views in every corner of EPCOT are stunning. 
Events - 512
My bff and I!
Events - 515
Visiting the Japan pavilion only made us want to visit Japan even more than we already do!

Events - 518

Events - 519
Lobster roll. Chris can never resist lobster!
Events - 528
Seared scallops.
Events - 542
Loved the Mexico pavilion!
Events - 549
Gotta go to China soon!!!!
Events - 560
A selfie in every place. This one’s Germany!

Events - 563

Events - 570
So hot, so humid, so sweaty, so tired. This Frog Toggs towel was a life-saver!
Events - 575
Italy! 
Events - 578
THE. BEST. THING. I. HAVE. EVER. EATEN. The food in the France pavilion was my favorite. This is a croque glace (an ice cream sandwich): mango sorbet with raspberry sauce in between a brioche bun. AMAZING. 

Events - 581Events - 582Events - 583

 

All in a Golden Afternoon

All in a Golden Afternoon

IMG_1485.jpg

Hello everyone! Today I have another fashion post for you. This is one of my favorite outfits for this season because it has all of my favorite pieces in it!

I want to post more about fashion and style to share how you can dress fashionably without breaking the bank. All of the pieces in this outfit are totally affordable and were either purchased on sale or at low prices! I just graduated college in June, I’m paying off student loans, and I’m a pretty busy girl, so the last thing I can do is buy a ton of expensive or designer pieces all the time. Here is a classic outfit of mine that encompasses everything I love! Check the captions for outfit details. 🙂

 

IMG_1460
My cardigan is from Urban Outfitters and I got it on sale last Winter! My turtleneck is my new FAVORITE shirt and it was $15 (!!!!) from Uniqlo. Pro tip: Uniqlo is a great place to get basic stylish pieces at really affordable prices. This shirt was regularly priced!
IMG_1464
My jeans are from Hollister and I got them for under $40. Hollister jeans aren’t the best quality, but they fit my body type the best because they are stretchy and come in a long size, and the high-waisted fit is SO comfortable!
IMG_1473
My slip-on blush pink mules are from Amazon and were $16! They took a little bit of breaking in, but now they are super comfortable, and I wear them almost every other day! 
IMG_1468
My Alex and Ani bracelet is from the Disney Parks! I got it on our recent WDW trip. It was totally a splurge, but it was the number one souvenir I wanted for myself, and it’s my first Alex and Ani! I wear it all the time. My knot ring is a gift from my precious boyfriend, but he got it from Nordstrom a couple years ago, and they have similar affordable styles there still. 

 

IMG_1479
These tassel earrings are super on-trend right now…but I snagged mine for $8 from AMAZON. Go get some!

IMG_1483IMG_1484

Our First Time Ever at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World!

Our First Time Ever at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World!

Events - 134

Hey everyone! It has been too long since we got back from our epic adventure in Walt Disney World. Here is my second post about the trip!

I have included SO many photos of the trip in this post, from our gray stuff at Be Our Guest to our lovely encounter with the princess herself at Cinderella’s Royal Table. We rode every ride we wanted, ate every snack we wanted, and saw every show we wanted on this beautiful (yet SUPER HOT AND HUMID) summer day in Disney World.

Here is a link to our vlog of this day, and below are our photos. I can’t wait to share more! I want to do a reflective post of the whole trip in which Chris and I recap our tips and tricks for WDW first-timers! Let me know what you think 🙂

 

Events - 124Events - 129Events - 133Events - 159Events - 163Events - 175Events - 182Events - 188

Events - 200
My amazing bf made me these ears for my 22nd birthday, and I got to wear them on our trip 🙂 
Events - 207
Cinderella Castle is breathtaking!

Events - 208

Events - 241
The dishes recommended it 😉
Events - 251
Kisses everywhere!

Events - 268Events - 289Events - 329Events - 331

Events - 348
I LOVE JOFFREY’S COFFEE!!

Events - 355Events - 369Events - 372

Events - 373
ABSOLUTELY EPIC FIREWORKS!
Events - 380
I was completely starstruck when I met Cinderella!

Events - 381Events - 383Events - 389Events - 410Events - 429

Events - 436
Prince Charming 🙂 
Events - 444
Super sweaty smiles

Events - 446Events - 448

Events - 455
Perfect ending to a perfect day!
WDW Day 1: Travel Day!

WDW Day 1: Travel Day!

Hey everyone!

Today I’m starting to share some pictures and a video of our first day in Walt Disney World! We had so much fun on this day. Traveling from CA to FL was no joke. It took us 9 hours with a layover, and we were totally exhausted when we arrived, but we were so hyped to be there that none of it mattered.

I only have a few pictures from this day, as well as our first WDW vlog of the trip! Let me know what you think! 🙂

 

Events - 097
Outside the Magical Express! I loved taking this bus to our resort. We watched info about the Disney World parks and a few short Mickey Mouse cartoons. 🙂 
Events - 102
I loved our hotel! Shoutout to Paul from Syracuse for snapping this pic of us. Memories of these special moments while checking into the Pop Century will forever be etched into my brain. I can’t believe how nice everyone is! 
Events - 110
And our dessert from The Boathouse….this wasn’t in the vlog, so I had to share it here. SO. GOOD.

And here is our WDW vlog! I hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed this day. 🙂 

My Post-Grad Life: How I Maintain Optimism After College

My Post-Grad Life: How I Maintain Optimism After College

DSC_1557.jpg

 

Life after college can bring a rollercoaster of emotions. And if you’re anything like me, you were completely terrified to graduate. And that’s okay. Here are my tips for maintaining an optimistic attitude even after you leave the happiest place on Earth (yes, I mean college).

1. Apply, apply, apply

Months before I graduated, I aggressively applied for jobs. This may be because I had friends who graduated years prior to me, and I know that they had a hard time finding work. Being the planner and go-getter that I am, I wanted to make sure that I left college with a next step firmly in place. I may not know where I will be five years from now, but I wanted to know where I would be five months from graduation. I stuck to Indeed and LinkedIn for my two online job boards, and I ended up finding my now-job after six months of applications.

I applied to hundreds of jobs before landing this one last April. It wasn’t a walk in the park finding it, but I am so grateful that I started applications in October. It allowed me to get used to the idea of rejection early on.

Even if you don’t have a job by the time you graduate, keep applying. Filling out apps will allow you to always have an end goal in mind: get the job. You could find one sooner than you think!

2. Always have something to look forward to

When Chris and I were planning out Walt Disney World trip, we wanted to pick dates that would be months after we graduated college. This trip is a celebration for us, and we wanted to make sure that as we began working our post-grad jobs, we had something to look forward to. And after we get back from this trip, we plan to pick our next trip ASAP (in our case, it will hopefully be a springtime trip with our college friends!!).

I realize that traveling is not accessible to everyone, but you don’t have to have an expensive trip in mind in order to be looking forward to your future. A weekend brunch date, a new podcast, or even a delicious breakfast every morning can give you the same sense of optimism. Making sure you always have something to look forward to will help you get over the fact that you won’t be returning to your undergrad life.

3. Work toward a goal every day

I am a very goal-oriented individual, and I believe that you should have at least one goal that you are working toward every day. This can be a goal at your job, in your home, within your hobbies, or anything that you can think of that makes your heart beat. It is highly important that you work to achieve something, big or small.

Because I am planning on attending grad school within the next three years, the new goal I will be working toward is studying to retake the GRE. But every day I work toward a goal of booking more meetings at work. Every week I strive to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Every month I aim to learn something new, whether it is from a book or a podcast.

We learn and grow so much during our undergraduate years. Why can’t we continue to do so post-grad?

 

These are just a few tips that I use to make sure I am optimistic during this weird and emotional time of my life. I still miss college—I just barely graduated!!—but keeping these things in mind really helps me understand how wonderful life can be. Hey, if you’re like me, we’re just getting started.

Taking Life Slowly

Taking Life Slowly

Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 8.13.40 PM.png

 

I have officially been working at my first full-time job for two months. Two months! When I first started, I could hardly imagine what it would feel like to say that I had been working for a couple months. I know that is a silly thing to say, but it’s true: full-time work straight out of college is a swan dive into the unknown. But it’s been grand, to say the least.

There are ups and downs, whirlygigs and flipper-floppers. Some days feel like a monotonous routine of traffic-work-traffic-sleep, while others feel exciting (such as when I book a few meetings for some AEs or I eat at a new restaurant). But today I was reminded of how amazing and blessed it is for me to even have these days at all. How thankful I am to have ups and downs, because they signify that I’m alive.

Today, I told myself I would take life slowly. During shavasana at our weekly Yoga in the Park (I know, it’s amazing that we do this at work now…my job rocks), I focused on being completely present. I set the intention that I would become more present in everything I do, from something as simple as chewing my food and paying attention to how it tastes, to something as complex as truly focusing on my productivity in the office. I have written about intentional living a lot on this blog, but I think living in the present is a big part of that. And I believe wholeheartedly that being 100% present in everything I do really helps me thrive as an individual. I am more productive, happier, and healthier when I practice presence.

So this evening, as Chris was hard at work in the ED, I took myself on a dinner date. I ate at a vegan cafe that I’ve been dying to try but Chris hasn’t been interested in. I brought my book and my headphones. I ordered an avocado roll and dou hua and a latte (and I even spoke to the owner in Chinese!!). I chewed my food. I tasted my dessert. I burnt my tongue on my coffee. And I read. I fell in love again and again with every breath I took because this experience of solitude amid the busyness of my days felt truly magical.

Take a breath. Realize that you’re here. It’s okay if you don’t know why yet, but you’re here. So be present.

Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 11.18.53 PM.png

Our Walt Disney World Plans

Our Walt Disney World Plans

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 7.39.23 PM
Photo by @shelbyrevis

Woohoo! Next month, Chris and I will be in Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL! This will be each of our first times visiting the Florida Disney parks, and we’re so excited to be doing it together!

We have been working with a Disney travel agent who has booked our dining reservations and fast passes for us. So awesome! Some of the things we are most excited for are

  • Eating lunch at Be Our Guest, a restaurant modeled after Beast’s castle
  • Riding Rock n Rollercoaster (okay, this one’s allllll Chris)
  • Walking around the Epcot World Showcase and dreaming about all the countries we want to visit together
  • Taking in Liberty Square (we don’t have it in CA!)
  • Going on a safari!!!!! (I CAN’T WAIT)
  • Watching the Star Wars fireworks

We’re also so happy to be visiting Disney World during the annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. We have never attended the festival at California Adventure, so we’re stoked to be going to WDW during this time at Epcot!! Chris already has his heart set on a Le Cellier steak from one of the booths. This event might be one of the things we are most excited for—we got park hopper tickets so that we could take full advantage of it during as many days as possible!

While planning our trip, we watched a TON of Disney vlogs (shout out to Disney For 2 for being the best out there!!), read all the Disney Tourist Blog posts we could find, and poured over every restaurant menu. We wanted to make sure we made the absolute best out of our trip! We’ll be there for one week (Chris thinks it’s plenty of time, while I’m still begging to extend our trip).

This trip is especially magical for us because Disneyland is where Chris and I truly bloomed as a couple. We visited for the first time together during the first few months of our relationship, and ever since we have held Disneyland in a special place in our hearts. it is so wonderful to get to experience WDW as first-timers together, taking every inch of the parks in through fresh eyes. We’re itching to go!!!

I’m already planning my outfits, we got some new comfortable sandals, and Chris keeps asking when our Magic Bands will come in the mail. Are we eager, or what?

Thanks for reading! If you have any tips or tricks for navigating the parks, or if you want to share your favorite Disney World memories, send them our way!

Tea Time & Life Lately

Tea Time & Life Lately

IMG_9764IMG_9756IMG_9757IMG_9758

 

You can’t tell much from these pictures, but this tea place in San Jose was totally adorable. There were tree stump stools and tables, chalk board menus, and succulents everywhere. Too. cute.

One of our favorite things to do is explore new places to eat. So we decided to get out of the house on Saturday (well actually, I was in a bit of a funky mood and Chris agreed to take me out hehehe) and try a tea place we hadn’t ever heard of: Tea Lyfe.

Settled in Vietnam Town in East San Jose, this place is super cute and definitely a hidden gem, in my opinion. I got the Matcha Sensation, and at 80% sweetness, this was definitely my cup of tea (lol). Chris got the Mango Rose, which wasn’t his taste, unfortunately, but we both think he should stick to what he likes, more often than not. If this wasn’t so out of our way, I’d definitely go back sometime soon (okay it’s really not that far, but I mean who would say no to Share Tea?!).

Life lately has had its ups and downs. I’ve definitely gotten waves of homesickness since moving to the Bay, but keeping myself busy definitely helps a ton. I think just taking time to do new things with Chris helps me recenter myself and feel great. We started volunteering weekly together, and today he went to yoga with me. It made my heart so happy!

I’ve also been looking into grad school more and more lately. I just miss school so much already, and I only graduated two months ago! Learning is just my favorite. I’ve been reading a lot of articles and blog posts lately to feel inspired, and this book I’m reading has also been keeping me from getting into a grub life slump.

That’s all I’ve got for now! Thanks for reading 🙂

On Magic & Love

On Magic & Love

Screen Shot 2017-08-19 at 9.02.30 AM

Our love works because I believe in magic, and you’re open to the idea of it. And that’s enough.

. . .

 

I have always believed in magic. As a child, I would say prayers to Santa Claus, wish to become a fairy, and dream almost every night of Peter Pan taking me away to Neverland. I would go to bed squeezing the tops of my ears in hopes that they would look elfish, and I sincerely thought that all of my lost things went to the same place.

So when I feel head over heels in love for the first time in my life, you could say it hit me pretty hard. The feeling of loving another person so much that you cannot think of anything that could happen to make that love go away…well, that could only be magic, right?

Magic and love have many things in common, but their biggest tie is this: neither can be explained. If you asked me to explain how much I love Chris, I would probably have to give you a list of things I could compare it to.

It’s like waking up on a Monday and realizing you have the day off from school. 

It’s like going to sleep on a Saturday night knowing you still have one more day of the weekend. 

It’s like walking on the beach in the winter, the chilly wind blowing in your face, cozy in your favorite sweater. 

It’s like not ordering dessert at a restaurant because you know you’re stopping by your favorite cafe after dinner (the one that gives out cake samples and has your favorite hot cocoa). 

I could go on and on, but like magic, love isn’t something you can hold, or even see. It’s a feeling.

Screen Shot 2017-08-19 at 9.02.45 AM

 

Now when I talk about things like this to Chris, he isn’t much for explanations that can’t be linked to science or reason. He’s more of the “your-brain-releases-chemicals-and-your-attraction-to-someone-else-is-biological-and-blah-blah-blah-hormones-science-brain-stuff” kind of guy. I could go for hours talking about magic, and he wouldn’t necessarily agree with me…but he won’t really disagree, either.

When I start to speak about it—when I tell him how our love works and how I believe he’s magical—he shares how he, too, believes that I was made just for him.

Chris may not believe in magic as much I do. But he’s open to the idea of it. And that’s why our love works.