Art of Animation Review

If you are a LOONG time follower you know that we stayed at Pop Century a few years ago and had a horrible experience. We’ve been reluctant to try Art of Animation ever since since they are twin resorts. But this last trip was all for Sharkie and she loves Little Mermaid. So Art of Animation was booked.

Sharkie loved the larger than life theming

We typically stay at Coronado Spring so the room was smaller than we expected but it’s laid out well.

Room Tour: Should have filmed at check in
Room Tour: Standard Room
Room Tour Bathroom Area

The room was super cute; but it didn’t have a ton of space. I like to unpack, we all do. It only had 3 tiny little drawers that weren’t enough to hold 8 days worth of clothing. Honestly that was my biggest complaint about the room. The beds are raised which is great for suitcase storage and keeping the room tidy. The shower pressure was great, and I have no other complaints.

If you’re not a fan of walking I will say that the Little Mermaid rooms are the furthest from Animation Hall. We love walking so it was perfect for us.

So cute!

We love to walk around our resorts and explore. Art of Animation has Cars and Lion King themed family suites. The Cars section was adorable. I love that the pool had little Cozy Cone Cabanas.

It was like walking through the movie!
Finding Nemo Splash Pad

The Big Blue Pool is still closed at the time of writing but scheduled to be open later in April 2021. But the splash pad is open and perfect for the toddler set. Sharkie loved it and spent two days there. Some of the spouts are turned off currently which aids with social distancing.

Little Mermaid Cupcake 10/10 according to Sharkie. So take that as you will.

Dining at Art of Animation was a huge disappointment. Nothing gluten free was available on the mobile app which meant I had to call in advance to order. Our orders were wrong 3/4 times. So we just started eating at other resorts.

Sharkie’s favorite part of the resort: the skyliner.

Art of Animation is a skyliner resort. The skyliner is my new favorite way to get around the parks. It’s so quick! It may be Sharkie’s favorite thing at Disney World. She came home with a Skyliner Funko. They service Caribbean, Pop, Art of Animation, and Riviera. The ease of travel was such a bonus for AOA.

I really hope they expand this.

AOA is right next to Pop Century. Originally intended to be the same resort. Pop was built pre 9/11. Only the Little Mermaid rooms were built at AOA pre 9/11. When construction resumed the idea of theming the first half of the 20th century was scrapped. This is why the resorts are differently themed today.

IMO: Pop has the better dining hall and gift shop. Definitely worth a walk over.
So cute!

Other than dining we loved our stay at AOA so I feel comfortable recommending!

Dragons at Animal Kingdom

This was so good!

Animal Kingdom gets a bad rap for being less fun than the other parks. But they have some of the best treats lately.

Available at the Anandapur Bus next to Expedition Everest the Mighty Mist Soft Serve is a strawberry and vanilla mixture colored to match Sisu.

I gave this a 10/10 as I love themed things. The cone isn’t gluten free; but @chasegiboney assured me it was really good.

Can’t wait to get this again!

Have you seen Raya yet? She’s really making her presence known at Animal Kingdom with other themed treats like the Tuk Tuk mousse available at Creature Comforts.

Currently at the Animation Experience you can learn to draw friends from Raya. I’m loving all the Raya inclusion currently going on at Animal Kingdom.

I’m not an artist, but I enjoyed it.

Anyone else hoping Raya is a successful film and Disney starts to think about Dragons at Animal Kingdom again?

Finding Guidance When God Says No.

Big Announcement Time

Sometimes in life things happen that you can’t control. But you can control how you react to them.

There have been three things I prayed for vehemently my life that God answered no. I now understand those No’s. God sees the big picture that you can’t see in the moment.

In 2009 I prayed my heart out to be able to afford to go to NCSU. I couldn’t without taking out a loan and I went somewhere else. If I hadn’t I would never have met Chase.

College Tara

In 2010 I prayed and cried nightly for God to save my relationship with my late high school/early college boyfriend. Thanking God everyday he told me no for that one. Chase is the man I’m meant to be with and that other man is a boy no one is meant to be with.

Chase circa 2014. So handsome!

In 2015 I begged God to get pregnant quickly after my miscarriage. God gifted me with more time in my marriage just the two of us, and Sharkie is the child I am meant to have.

Fresh Milk Shark

Now it’s 2021 and I have prayed so many nights but now I have to accept that once again God is answering me with no. I pray I’ll be able to see his bigger picture sooner than later.

If your in a situation where you’re vehemently praying and feeling unanswered, please remember: God answers all our prayers. Sometimes the answer is no.

I grew up in a small town, that I never thought I’d leave. Moving around the country with Chase awakened a nomadic desire I didn’t know I had. We moved houses frequently. Moving to a new city every couple of years the first six years we were together.

When we came to Kentucky in 2016 I couldn’t wait to move again in a couple years although I loved horse country and bourbon culture. I didn’t wanna stay.

Open to the Southeast; Chase got a job in Georgia in 2018. In the end we decided not to take it. I got pregnant with Sharkie later than year and we decided to stay until she was born.

With the Disney addiction only growing after Shark was born, we decided central Florida was the place for us. But nothing ever came up and we got tired of throwing money down the drain on rent.

So happy!

We entered into a new plan. We would build a house; and stay an additional 5 years. We didn’t just build any house. As I shared in my home tour earlier this week, we built our dream house. It only missed 2 boxes for us. The front porch isn’t huge like I wanted, and I’d like to have another bathroom upstairs.

Otherwise our home is a dream. We adore our house. Perfect location. Perfect set up. It’s amazing how tightly the invisible roots grow once you buy a home. We made friends. We started new traditions. I decided I didn’t ever want to leave Lexington. Life has been good.

It’s often said that you make a plan, and God laughs. I’ve never felt that more than I have the last couple months. Loving a home isn’t enough.

Things have changed at Chase’s work and we needed to make a change. Unfortunately we weren’t able to find anything in Lexington. Chase has accepted a job in Florida. We are moving in August.

I struggle putting into words how hard it will be to leave our house, to leave our friends, and our routines. So many tears have been shed.

It’s time to start embracing. I can now get to Disney World, quicker than I can get to the “good” target in Lexington.

But a home isn’t just 4 walls. A home is where Chase and Sharkie are. Where Tia, Jasper, Bagheera, Soph, and Jacque are. I can’t control what has happened, but I can control how I react. While more tears will be shed, I’m done wallowing.

Home is with you.

I’m moving to Disney World y’all.

Gluten Free in Epcot

Let’s face it, a gluten free diet is hard at home. On vacation it can seem impossible. One of my favorite things about visiting Epcot during a festival is all the yummy food I can try. I was so worried I would be able to this trip.

Topiaries during Flower and Garden are a can’t miss!

Fortunately Disney Parks do an excellent job providing allergy friendly foods. All items during the festival are marked with a G if they’re gluten free.

The orange G signifies Gluten Free.
This GF tostado in the Mexico Pavilion is my top pick.

While their isn’t a gluten free item at every kiosk most have them. I tried the majority of what was available.

This cornbread cake was delicious.
Popsicle trio at Refreshment Port. Lime is my favorite.
Macs are always available at Epcot and always gluten free.

I don’t have celiac, just a sensitivity, so my advice may not fit for everyone. All the kiosk food is prepared in the same kitchen so use your best judgment for your individual case.

So many beautiful topiaries. Nothing says Spring like Flower and Garden.

Gluten-free is possible at a Disney festival. Stay tuned for my full recap of F&G and a full post on Disney with allergies.

Wanderlust Aesthetics Review

So many of my readers thing I’m from Florida and with mostly Lilly Pulitzer and Disney content I can understand why. However calls Lexington, KY home.

I adore working with small businesses and I’m so excited to share my hosted experience with y’all.

Getting my relax on- I felt so warm and cozy, and definitely needed an hour of quiet.

Wanderlust is a one woman shop and I LOVED this. I didn’t have to worry about other noises or running into a ton of people. It made my facial so much more relaxing that ones I’ve had a spa bars or other places.

First getting my face all cleaned up.

Y’all know I’m super into my skin care routine and try to do right by my skin at home, but there is just no substitute for a professional touch. I loved that all the products made my skin feel fresh, without being overly smelly or painful.

It’s so satisfying to see gunk come off your face.

This was my first time doing Dermaplaning, but I loved it! My face feels so smooth and soft. I definitely want to do it again.

Feeling all fresh and smooth.
I even left with a goody bag. I love trying new skincare.

If you’re local to Lexington mention my name for $10 off your first service. She offers waxing, lash, and body services in addition to facials!

Tap the link to see a full list of services! Wanderlust Aesthetics

Toddler Road Trip Necessities

Lexington to Orlando is a 13 hour drive. It can be so hard to keep a toddler occupied. Here’s what’s in our car bag.

This Vera Bradley bag is amazing. Holds so much. We use it in the parks as well.
Pack a car bag with me
Sharkie’s must haves for the car trip.

I recommend packing snacks that are healthy, but less messy. We take goldfish and fruit veggie pouches. I pack snacks for myself too. It’s hard to eat well on the road. I pack dried apple chips and water flavoring for my water.

My road trip entertainment

My husband does almost 100% of the driving. So I have time to read or play games. But I try to talk to him a lot; nobody wants to be bored while driving that far.

Our favorite car game? Naming a Disney character let’s say you name Yzma, then the next place has to name one that starts with an A. Aurora->Alice-> Eugene. You get the idea. When you’re stumped your out. Last one standing wins!

Another travel tip I highly recommend. Everyone potty’s every time you stop. It’s non negotiable in our family. In the end it really cuts down on travel time. With Sharkie being 2.5 we do still travel with a car potty and if need be, Chase pulls off on the side for her to use it.

Definitely bring plastic grocery bags in case of a poop. Potty cleans up well with wipes.
A few other toddler park must haves

Traveling with a toddler can be difficult, especially at Disney. But it doesn’t have to be. These items help us a ton!

Packing for Toddlers

My daughter is 2.5 and sometimes it feels like they need so much stuff you’ll never get packed. Our family travels frequently and we go by the rule of one bag per family member plus a backpack.

Sharkie does travel a lot, so we are able to manage without some things. For instance she sleeps in a bed now so we don’t need a pack and play and I don’t pack a pillow.

She gets 2 outfits a day, and while she’s potty trained during the day she still wears a pull-up at night. I pack one for each day plus 2 spares.

Pack with me

Even though we try to be minimal, there are two things we can leave at home. Sharkie is afraid of the dark and we always travel with her light up elephant and her hatch.

My toddler must haves

Sometimes it feels like you can’t get everything in the bag, but packing cubes help us a ton!

Organizing my Disney Suitcase

With multiple trips to Disney per year we’re packing experts.

As a girl who loves outfits I’m a huge over packer. I typically have 2 outfits planned for every day we’re at Disney. I like to keep things organized and easy to find. Over the years I’ve developed a packing system. Packing cubes are key.

I can’t pack for anywhere without these 4 items.

I find that keeping everything in an organizer or contained space keeps my bag from over flowing while making it easy to find stuff.

I lay out everything I want to pack before I get started.

Once my clothes, shoes, and jewelry are packed. I move onto makeup and hygiene items. Since you need these items until the day you leave it’s easy to forget them. I hang my travel organizer in my bathroom and as I’m done with items I put them in the bag. Then roll it up and pack it the day we leave. I highly recommend the travel organizer from Vera Bradley. Linked above.

One last tip. I’m an anxious person by nature. We get on the road and I worry…did I lock my back door? Is the oven on? Is the garage door closed? To keep those nagging thoughts at bay on vacation I take pictures of anything I worry about while I’m gone so my mind is settled.

Typically I take “worry pictures” of…

  • Garage door
  • Door locks
  • Garage door
  • Candles
  • Area where I use my curling iron

If you’re anxious like me this is a huge weight off.

Recovery from Breast Reduction and Lift

Going in for surgery

In case you missed it or are new here I had a breast reduction and lift on 1/27. If you’re curious what lead me to plastic surgery I’m happy to tag you in that post.

Recovery… was not what I expected. My surgeon told me 6 weeks and I’m like sweet I’m a super healer so I’ll be back to normal by like 4 weeks.

Oh was I wrong. For 6 weeks I couldn’t lift anything but Sharkie, the only exercise I got was walking. It’s amazing how quickly your body can become weak. I have no muscle right now. But I’m slowly building back up.

I highly recommend having someone come to help if you have a small child. Chase took amazing care of me, but we honestly needed my mom here to get through the first week. I slept a lot and couldn’t do much.

Y’all know I can’t sit still so once mom left I really worked to do all my usual chores and side hustles, but I did have to take breaks in the afternoon. Listen to your body. I binge watched Criminal Minds.

The most painful part wasn’t the surgery itself, but the liposuction on my ribs. My breasts had very little pain. But my ribs are still sore at 7 weeks out.

This was the bruising the day I came home. Lipo is a really violent procedure.
About a week out

Waiting on the scars to heal is like watching paint dry. I have one that hasn’t closed completely yet, so another 4 weeks in the surgical bra and no weightlifting for me. I feel fortunate that that was my only complication. Otherwise things have gone really well.

If you’re thinking about this surgery you decide how much you want to reduce with your surgeon. I am down 2 cups sizes and 1 band size and the change from the lift is AMAZING.

That being said I really wanted to go down 3 cups sizes but surgeon didn’t recommend it for my body type.

Looking back he was totally correct, but when you’ve hated something about your body as long as I’ve hated my breasts it’s easy to just want them gone.

The confidence gained from this surgery is amazing. I feel so happy with the way my shirts fit and I don’t feel like I have to hide.

This was 100% the right choice for me and 10/10 would do it again.

My number one tip to help skin heal faster from any time of surgery? Collagen. I’m taking collagen powder and gummies plus a traditional hair vitamin. I started this regimen when part of my scar wouldn’t pull together and it cut the healing time in half! My skin and hair also look better than they ever have!

The current supplements I’m using. Plus one I give Sharkie. I couldn’t recommend this line more.

If you have any questions about my plastic surgery journey drop them below.

6 weeks post op. So happy!

Spring and Minnie Mouse

All my park essentials

Mask? Check.
Sanitizer? Check.
This mini makeup bag featuring Minnie Mouse is perfect to hold all the necessities you need for a 2021 day in Disney, while keeping them together in one place. 

Lined on the inside it’s easy to keep clean and wipe down with sanitizer when you get back home.

This adorable spring bag is a must have in my Disney backpack.

Perfect for Flower and Garden

Let’s hear it for the girls! 

Vera Bradley has a brand new Disney print this spring. The first ever only featuring my heroine Minnie Mouse.

This playful cotton wallet doubles as an adorable spring clutch, perfect for morning brunch or holding all your necessities while strolling Disney Parks. 

Whatever your style, Girl power is so 2021 and @verabradley and Minnie Mouse are here for it.

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