Drinking Around the World

I recently celebrated my 21st birthday by drinking around the world in Walt Disney World’s Epcot World Showcase!¬†I had spent months planning and researching the best drinks in each country only to completely forget my notes in the hotel room. So, when entering each country we would explore to discover all of our options and choose which drink¬†sounded the best. What made this experience even better was that it was currently the International Flower and Garden Festival which is an annual celebration of spring that fills the park with more than 70 Disney-themed topiaries, vibrant gardens, flowers everywhere you look, and 17 outdoor kitchens (which meant more drinks to choose from)!

We started off in Norway (we bypassed Mexico because we planned on ending our day there with dinner). While waiting in line to meet Frozen’s Anna and Elsa, we sipped on an ice coffee flavored with¬†Kamora Coffee Liqueur and Baileys Irish Cream. It was tasty (probably one of Shelby’s favorites) but definitely didn’t make it to the top of my list.

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Viking Coffee from Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe, Norway — 7/10

We made our way to China and this is when I actually bought my first drink with my ID РYAY! We visited an outdoor kitchen РLotus House Рfor our drinks here. I ordered the Kung Fu Punch (Vodka, Triple Sec, Mango, and Orange Juice) and we also got the M.S.G. (a cooler of Mango Wine, Strawberry, and Ginger Ale). I ended up trading for the M.S.G. Рit was so good and very refreshing.

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M.S.G. from Lotus House, China — 9/10
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Kung Fu Punch from Lotus House, China — 6/10

Next stop was Germany and I knew we had to try the “famous” pink grapefruit beer. We were also very tempted to order the jumbo pretzel because it looked incredible, but we knew lunch was right around the corner in the next country. Anyway, this beer was perfect to cool us off since¬†the Florida sun was getting really warm.

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Schofferhofer Pink Grapefruit Hefeweizen from Sommerfest, Germany — 8/10

Even after drinking our beers, we were so ready for lunch and made our way to Via Napoli for our reservation. We ordered a large pepperoni pizza and I don’t think Shelby and I could have been any happier (see photo below). I also ordered a Bellini (Prosecco Sparkling Wine with Peach Puree). It was really sweet, but definitely delicious. However, the pizza won my heart!

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Bellini from Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria, Italy — 8/10

Home sweet home – America was next on our trip around the World Showcase. There wasn’t much to offer that caught my eye, so I stuck with what I could remember from the research and got a hard root beer from Fife and Drum. It would have been much better if it would have been iced, but because it got warm pretty quick, I wasn’t such a big fan.

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Not Your Father’s Hard Root Beer from Fife and Drum, America — 5/10

Surprisingly, I think my favorite drink was from Japan! I originally thought I would have to find an appealing sake while stopping in this country, but the drink I got was so good that we each got one. And TBH I can’t really remember what this delicious drink was made of, but just get one!

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Rising Sun from the Garden House Sake Bar, Japan — 10/10

After Japan, our next stop was Morocco. Here we stood in like to meet Jasmine while still sipping on our yummy Japanese drinks. Afterwards, we found a little counter in Tangierine Cafe and ordered a strawberry daiquiri. I didn’t think I could go wrong with that, but it definitely wasn’t the kind of daiquiri I am used to. It wasn’t sweet by any means and it was unanimously decided to be the worst drink we tried all day. It also came in this white cup that didn’t allow for very good pictures.

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Strawberry Daiquiri from Tangierine Cafe, Japan — 4/10

After that drink, we had to recover and what better place to do so than France? I was really wanting to try the Ice Cream Martini from L’Artisan des Glaces, but I just knew I couldn’t fit that into my bloated stomach at this point. Instead, we all sipped on a Grand Marnier, Rum, Grey Goose Orange, and Orange Juice Slush that can only be described as an alcoholic orange creamsicle slush. This drink was popular among our group (and it seemed it was popular among other guests too).¬†It also came in this super cute, photogenic martini glass.

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Now, I have to be honest. At this point we were all extremely bloated, tired of the hot sun, and were not wanting the only thing that the UK had to offer – a.k.a. beer. So, instead, we skipped the alcohol and opted for a very refreshing (and free) iced water. After exploring around the UK (basically me looking for pins to add to my collection) we were wanting to catch another ride before our dinner reservation, so we also skipped Canada.

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Free iced water from any quick service restaurant — 10/10

We ended our day in Mexico at La Hacienda de San Angel looking out over the water that is the center of the World Showcase. The salsa was hot, the food was delicious, and the margarita was incredible!

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Strawberry Margarita from La Hacienda de San Angel, Mexico — 10/10

So, I really didn’t get to complete my goal of “drinking around the world” but I had the best time trying to do so! After my experience, I do have some tips: SHARE DRINKS and eat smaller snacks throughout (and not as much pizza as you can) and maybe you will be able to compete the trip around the world!

xoxo,

Kali

My Thoughts On: What I am Reading

As you may know (from reading my post about my 2017 goals) I plan on reading at least one book each month this year. I used to read non-stop; I would walk with my nose in a book down the hallways in high school. But ever since I started college, I have had less and less time for reading.

So far this year I have read Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick, and Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly. And I am currently (finally) reading The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer.

Talking as Fast as I Can¬†is a¬†must¬†read if you like¬†Gilmore Girls!¬†Seriously, it was such a fabulous insight into Lauren Grahams’ life. It makes you realize that¬†the similarities between¬†Lorelai¬†Gilmore (the character) and Lauren Graham (the real life person) are uncanny. If you ever watched¬†Parenthood¬†– if you haven’t, you should – this is also a good read for you. She talks a lot about her experience on the set of¬†Parenthood¬†and her relationship with her co-star (it’s super sweet).

If you are looking for a thriller¬†fiction that you just can’t put down read¬†The Girl on the Train.¬†It is written from 3 different women’s perspectives in journal-like format. I have never really read thrillers, but this one was the perfect book to start with. I haven’t been able to get my hands on the movie yet, but I can’t wait to now.

If you have ever watched¬†Pitch Perfect, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates,¬†or¬†The Twilight Saga (yes, she was in¬†Twilight) then you have probably laughed out loud at Ms. Kendrick and have at one point in time wished you could be as cool as her – and sing just like her.¬†If this has ever happened to you, read¬†Scrappy Little Nobody.¬†I couldn’t put it down because it was so funny and interesting¬†to read. To be honest, I feel like Anna and I are now BFFs because the book is written in such a down-to-earth way. If you need a good laugh, pick up this book!

Lost in a Book¬†is a book I just happened to stumble upon in Barnes and Noble; I spotted “Disney Beauty and the Beast” on the cover and immediately rushed to the register so I could call it mine and start reading. This book is considered a children’s book, but that made it really easy to read within 2 days. If you love¬†Beauty and the Beast¬†as much as I do – which is a lot – this is definitely a fun read. It is extremely similar to the original storyline with all of the same characters. However, it takes a whimsical turn and¬†Belle finds an enchanted book in the Beast’s library.¬†She is pulled into its pages and into a glamorous world that offers her a lovely life (obviously better than being captive in the Beast’s castle). She has to uncover the truth about¬†Nevermore¬†(the book)¬†before she “gets lost in it forever.” So, yes, it’s pretty magical but what Disney story isn’t.

What have you been reading? I would love to have some suggestions! I’ll let you know what I think of Amy Schumer’s¬†The Girl with¬†the Lower Back Tattoo¬†soon.

xoxo,

Kali

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Thing’s Your Bridal Stylists Wishes You Knew

It’s now what we call Bridal Christmas at David’s Bridal. After my Facebook news feed was full of pictures of sparkling diamonds, kissing couples, and engagement announcements over winter break, I was ready to work with all these brides-to-be¬†to help them find their dream dress. If you are one of those brides-to-be, read this and know that these are the things your stylist wishes you knew.

Make getting your gown a priority

You need to give yourself time to shop. Most women come in without a clue that the dresses take time to come in (sometimes up to a year depending on the designer and the materials used). Make sure you have dress shopping on the top of your to-do list so you are sure to get it done in time to get the dress in and have alterations done on it.

Come prepared to see yourself looking like a bride

No dress is going to give you that wow factor if you came in after packing up all your holiday decor with a messy bun and no makeup. Do you hair and put on some makeup (but keep it natural and neutral). Doing this will really help you look good in the gown and be able to picture yourself on your wedding day.

More isn’t really merrier

I am a terrible decision maker and always call my mom and Ben before making nearly every decision. So, I totally understand the need for a second or third opinion, but when it comes to your entourage more isn’t merrier. Once you get more than a few people there are too many conflicting opinions and the bride’s seems¬†gets overshadowed.

Don’t put pressure on the experience¬†

And when I say that, you don’t need to expect tears in “the one.” It is okay not to cry. Honestly, it rarely happens (and when it does it is usually on the TV shows).

Realize your budget

Sit down with your fiancé before you begin wedding planning to set a budget. The average gown costs about $1,000 without accessories and alterations. Expect to pay at least $100 more for accessories and alterations (aka plan that in your budget too). With that being said. . .

Don’t try on a dress outside your budget

Please don’t break your own heart by doing this. When you try on a dress outside of your budget, it will be the perfect gown. A more expensive dress is made with better material, it is made more comfortable with a perfect fit, and it is embellished with more beautiful appliqu√© and beading. You will love it more and you won’t find anything that you love more.

Bring your heirlooms and accessories

If you want to wear your mom’s veil or your grandma’s pearl necklace – bring it. If not, how will you know that the dress will look good with these important pieces. However, ¬†please don’t search for a dress solely based on it matching because you can always incorporate the pieces in another way if they don’t fit with your dream gown.

Bring the funds to purchase the dress 

With that being said,¬†why waste¬†time leaving the shop and having to come back to order later. This allows time to second guess yourself (a big no-no) and pushes back your dresses delivery date. This also is one of a stylists’ worst nightmares!

Branch out

Just about every girl dreams of her wedding gown from day one – GUILTY – and she thinks she knows the exact dress that she wants to walk down the isle in. The problem is: most of the time these dresses don’t exist. Be willing to branch out from what you think you want.¬†If the dresses you’ve tried on so far aren’t working for you, trust your stylist and have an open mind when she / he brings you a gown you would have scoffed at on the rack. You’re 100% certain you want a mermaid but you haven’t found one that accentuates your hips right – well, maybe you need a ballgown instead.¬†But . . .

Don’t try on every dress¬†

Every dress is fabulous and beautiful and when you start trying on each and every one of them, you will get lost in the jumble of white tulle and you will lose track of what you actually like.

Don’t worry about size

Gowns fit differently from your everyday clothes (even differently from other dresses and formal gowns). Don’t stress about the number on the inside of the dress – NO ONE ELSE SEES THAT AS YOU’RE WALKING DOWN THE ISLE! They will notice a dress that is too small so don’t fret about the size of your dress.

Take photos in each gown to compare later

When you try on multiple gowns in an hour or so, the details can be lost. Take pictures of the front and back of each gown you like to compare side to side. (This also helps when you don’t want to re-try on each gown you like to compare again).

Remember you can customize

Have you found the perfect mermaid gown but it is lacking in the bling department? Add a sash. Do you feel beautiful in your dream ball gown but you feel uncomfortable without straps? Add a jacket, straps, or a topper. There’s always ways to customize the little details to make your dress unique to you.

Don’t hold back your true feelings about the dress

You are the one that is wearing the gown so don’t hold back your opinions to not hurt your family’s, friend’s, and the stylist’s opinions. THIS IS YOUR GOWN.

Trust your instincts

You love the very first gown you try on but think that you shouldn’t go with the first one? I mean, don’t you need to visit a few other boutiques and dwell over it for a week or so? NO! No, you sure don’t! Trust your instincts!

Don’t buy a dress smaller than your current size

I know you will loose weight by the wedding, but go ahead and order the size you fit into now! You can always take in but you can’t always let¬†it out.

The undergarments are just as important – buy them

At David’s Bridal we put undergarments on our brides (a bra and a slip). The dress looks so nice and doesn’t scratch your legs because of these pieces. Therefore, you should buy them! Without the support of the undergarments the dress won’t lay the same or fit the same. Another tip about undergarments: definitely bring the with you to alterations.


With all of that being said, go shopping for your most important dress of your life and enjoy your experience. Let me know any other tips you have for brides when looking for “the one” (the dress, not the man)!

xoxo,

Kali

2017 Goals

This year I decided not to make New Year’s Resolutions because, let’s be honest, who really keeps them. Instead, I made a list of actual, reachable goals. I want to spend this year bettering myself and being happier. To do that I plan to:

  • Read (at least) a book each month
  • Pay off one of my student loans
  • Teach Dixie to clean up her own toys
  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Kick sweets to the curb (mostly)
  • Learn calligraphy
  • Get in a great skin care routine
  • Volunteer more
  • Recycle
  • Learn the basics of a new language
  • Drink my daily water requirement
  • Exercise 3x each week
  • Disconnect a little more

Happy New Year (a little late) and I hope you keep your resolutions and reach all of your goals in 2017.

xoxo,

Kali

Nashville Eats

One of my Christmas gifts from Ben (my fab boyfriend) was a 3 day trip for the two of us to Nashville, Tennessee! I have been wanting to visit the city for a while now and I was beyond excited to know that I would get to spend time exploring Nashville with him before my winter break ended.

Just like before any trip, I researched all about the food scene in the city. I couldn’t wait to try hot chicken and find the best ice cream shops. Sadly, we didn’t make it to all the places on my list but this is what we did get to:

The Pharmacy Burger Parlor and Beer Garden¬†– Pharmacy Burger with Tots (although I didn’t have one the Creamsicle soda at the table next to me looked delicious)

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Known as Nashville’s “Wurst-Burger” Joint this place is fabulous! Don’t go to Nashville without grabbing a bite and a soda from the old-fashioned soda maker. I do suggest using the No Wait app to get a jump-start in line!

 

Five Points Pizza¬†– 14″ Woodstock Classic and Root Beer

This meal won the trip overall! Five stars for Five Points Pizza! That’s all there is to say.

Jeni’s¬†Ice Cream¬†Brambleberry Crisp¬†and Ndali Estate Vanilla Bean

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Holy delicious! I could go to each of the 3 Jeni’s locations in Nashville over and over again! There are scoop shops in Columbus, Cleveland, Chicago, Atlanta, Charleston, Los Angeles, and St. Louis if you can’t make it to Nashville; you can even order online or join the Jeni’s Pint Club.

Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery РClassic Mac & Cheese

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Rock Bottom¬†wasn’t on my list but we happened upon it while exploring downtown while our stomachs were growling and we were trying to escape the rain. This mac & cheese was definitely worth the stop!

Hattie B’s¬†– Tender’s Plate (mild) with French Fries and Baked Beans

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No wonder Hattie B’s is famous for their hot chicken! I normally don’t like anything hot but the flavor in this chicken was super yummy! Not to mention crinkle fries.

Pied Piper Creamery РOreo Speedwagon and Strawberry Fields Forever

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This ice cream shop is cute from the outside, a little wacky on the inside, and the ice cream is so yummy! They have original house-made flavors with punny names. They have 12 permanent flavors (including the strawberry) and 12 other flavors. The Oreo Speedwagon was a coffee flavored ice cream with crushed Oreos Рit was good, but did not beat the Strawberry Fields Forever.

Five Daughter’s Bakery¬†– Chocolate Coffee Crunch and Vanilla Cream

This adorable bakery is owned by a couple with even more adorable daughters (yes, 5 of them). You can’t get these donuts anywhere other than Nashville, so you need to make the trip. I tasted the Chocolate Coffee Crunch and Vanilla Cream. The Vanilla Cream was very tasty but I can’t imagine any donut¬†better than the Chocolate Coffee Crunch made with homemade rice crispies.¬†I got the King Kong flavor for my dad – he said it was one of the best things he has ever tasted!

Desano РPepperoni Pizza

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This place is pretty unique! The Pizzaiolas (master pizza makers) create true Neapolitan pizzas right in front of the customers in wood-burning ovens! Oh, and it is delicious! (P.S. Try a cannoli for me.)

Let me know what your favorite restaurants are in Nashville, Tennessee and let me know if you try these out!

xoxo,

Kali

Christmas Sweets: Peanut Butter Fudge Recipe

My Meme sleighs Christmas (sorry for the cheesy pun). Not only does she put up a gorgeous tree with a ridiculous amount of lights but she redecorates the entire house – including each bedroom and the china hutches. Everyone has a stack of gifts wrapped in their very own paper; if you are younger than 5 years old your stack will be taller than you.

The decorations create a magical atmosphere to rip open gifts (and gifts and gifts). But what really makes you know it is Christmas time at Meme’s house is when you walk in and the counters are covered with baking ingredients and you’re hit with a wall of fresh-baked-cookie smell.

There are chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter blossoms, decorated cut out sugar cookies, creme wafers, chocolate fudge, peanut butter fudge, white chocolate fudge, and more. I live off of a sugar high the days leading up to Christmas, and my favorite treat is the peanut butter fudge.

Peanut Butter Budge

Rich, sweet, creamy candy.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 stick of butter
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 can evaporated milk
  • 1 jar marshmallow fluff
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of creamy peanut butter

Directions

  1. Combine butter, sugar, and evaporated milk in a pot.
  2. Cook to 234 degrees; stirring constantly.
  3. Remove from heat and mix in marshmallow fluff, vanilla extract, and peanut butter.
  4. Pour into a parchment paper lined pan.
  5. Let harden; cut into bit sized pieces with pizza cutter.

You can even add nuts to the recipe; just mix them in between steps 3 and 4.

xoxo,

Kali

My Favorite: Christmas Movies

Christmas is by far my favorite holiday and it could be due to the unlimited amount of great Christmas movies to get you in the spirit. Here is a list of my favorites (in order).

  1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas – definitely the live version!
  2. Elf
  3. The Holiday
  4. Christmas with the Cranks
  5. The Polar Express
  6. Miracle on 34th Street
  7. Home Alone
  8. Love Actually
  9. Frosty the Snowman
  10. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

What are your favorite Christmas movies?

xoxo,

Kali