Travel

Wynwood Walls

When old college roommates embark on a spontaneous weekend to visit you in South Florida, Miami was the obvious city to go to!

Miami seriously has something to do for everyone and you can easily spend a 3-day weekend here, but we only had a few hours to visit this vibrant city. With only a couple of hours in Miami, we all decided to make Wynwood Walls our main event. Alec and I had driven the outer portion of the Wynwood District but never made it to the actual walls themselves.

We arrived at Wynwood in the early afternoon and was able to find parking in a nearby parking lot. Parking was $5 for 2 hours, which was plenty of time for us to visit the walls and walk to a nearby smoothie place to people watch for a little bit.

When we walked through the Wynwood Walls entrance, we were all shocked/pleased to find out that it was free entry. This was such a nice surprise for being in a city that is known for being expensive, however, we couldn’t even find a donation box which was disappointing because we all had a few singles to spare. If you’ve been to the Wynwood Walls and saw a donation box, please let ya girl know because if I visit again, I definitely want to show my love and appreciation for the amazing and talented artwork.

Seriously, the murals/artwork that we saw throughout were absolutely stunning and couldn’t even dream of ever being that talented! There are 3 main sections (big outdoor squares) that you walk through but to my surprise, this place is much smaller than I’d imagined. Still amazing but smaller than I had anticipated.

Here are some photos,

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(This is where you enter Wynwood Walls. Hi, Kitty!!!)

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(First wall you see when entering Wynwood & every time I look at this photo of myself the only thing I can think of is how pregnant I look; I can’t even call it a food baby)

Seriously obsessed with all the talent!!!!!!!!

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Can’t wait to see what new artwork will be displayed when we all go again 😉

Sincerely,

A Simple Wildflower

My Trip to Disney’s Magic Kingdom

Alec and I went to Walt Disney Worlds Magic Kingdom the day after Thanksgiving and boy, was it an amazing time! I will say however, it was flippin’ crowded! That will be my word of caution for this post because if you are worried about crowds, I can warn you that this day felt like a nine out of ten on the crowded scale.

With that being said, the two of us had such an amazing time and we decided to go on this trip because I found a reservation for the Be Our Guest Restaurant. The date and time that they had available when I checked were, yep, you guessed it, the morning after Thanksgiving but I reserved that time as soon as I saw it because until then, I had yet seen an open reservation for the restaurant pop-up on the Disney website. Alec, of course, was on board and the plan to go to Disney the day after Thanksgiving was set! We are very fortunate to live in a place that is only two and a half hours away from Orlando which allows us to make spontaneous plans to the park whenever we have for it. I wish it was whenever we please, but that will come someday. Because I had made the reservation for the Be Our Guest Restaurant, I continued to check the dining website to see what else would pop-up for that day and that’s when I stumbled on the Crystal Palace. Unfortunately, it wasn’t during their breakfast time – which they’re popular for their Mickey shaped waffles – it was for dinner. Crystal Palace has always been a place I’ve wanted to try because of their character dining experience with Winnie the Pooh, Tiger, and Eeyore.

With both restaurants booked, all that was left to do was wait which was the hardest thing to do! When the day finally arrived, we were both excited to get to the park BUT that also meant that we had to wake up early to get to the parks before our 8:15 a.m. reservation.

A lot of the hotels around Disney were pricey because of the holiday, as one would correctly assume, but we were able to find a reasonably priced hotel a mile away from Disney Springs.

We stayed at the Homewood Suites near Disney Springs and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a hotel near Disney or any of the parks. While many hotels could get quite pricey, we found this gem for only $122 a night and it came with free breakfast; seriously cannot beat that! After spending Thanksgiving with my family in Orlando, Alec and I made our way towards our hotel to check-in then went to Disney Springs. I am SO glad we were finally able to see the area because the last time we went it was still called Downtown Disney! Walking through Disney Springs, I was completely in awe of the changes they had made. It’s so grand and extravagant with so many fancy stores that it took a little bit of walking until I found an area that I recognized. I highly suggest visiting Disney Springs if you can fit it into your schedule because if you can practice some self-control like Alec and me, this trip can be a free one.

Let’s continue with the reason why the two of us even went on this trip, to begin with: the Be Our Guest Restaurant! I had visited once before back when Fantasyland first opened, so I noticed some big changes since my first visit. The first time I went it was like any normal sit-down restaurant; a hostess would show you to your table and ours was in the ballroom area near the wall-length windows. This time, the hostess opens the doubles doors and shows you down a hallway where you must wait in line, so you can order your food on an electric station. Thankfully, the line didn’t take terribly long, and the hallway resembled the hallway in the movie where its lined with knights. They hand you a menu so you can know what you want to order when you reach the station so it’s one, two, and out! We both stood for what seemed like FOREVER just watching these huge groups standing around the machines clueless of how to work it or control their family.

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Once Alec and I ordered our food, we walked out to the ballroom to a seat. I ordered the assorted cured meats and cheese and Alec got the fest a la Gaston. I would suggest both meals and a nice little touch that they do is provide a small selection of pastries free-of-charge.

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Our firsts fast pass of the day was for the Haunted Mansion, which is one of my favorite rides in the entire park! Fun fact: my second favorite ride is Pirates of the Caribbean! The one con the Haunted Mansion has is it shows a person hanging themselves in the mini-show before getting on the ride. Personally, I think it’s outdated and could be changed. Otherwise, it is a wonderfully creepy ride where I love to rest my head of Alec’s shoulder. AND while I’m thinking of it, another con is if someone is easily scared in your group this ride might not be the best because it has broken down every time I’ve gone on it. I’m speaking from personal experience because my poor cousin who was five didn’t want to go on and we told her it’ll be okay, and we’ll be there, and she didn’t want it to break and we reassured her it wouldn’t. WELL, it did break down and it was in the room with the floating crystal ball with a women’s head chanting spells. Yep, she screamed, and we most likely scarred her. She’s older now and seems to be fine, fingers crossed!

Because I had made a breakfast and dinner reservation, neither of us wanted to pay another Disney priced meal at the parks, so we went back to our car and went to Chick-fil-a drive through that was on the way back to our hotel. Another reason to love that hotel location! We left for lunch at around 2:30 p.m. which was a great time to leave the parks because it’s at the hottest and most crowded point of the day. We took our meal back to the hotel, so we could rest our feet and lay down for a few hours. It was also nice going back to the hotel because both of us could change into outfits that would keep us warmer in the cooler weather at night. I even changed my Minnie Ears into Disney’s holiday edition ears so I could get into the Christmas spirit because I knew they had the lights on Cinderella’s castle already.

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When we got back to the Magic Kingdom, we had some time until our second fast pass, which was Peter Pan’s flight, started. It had been YEARS since either of us had been on this ride because, for some reason, this ride is ALWAYS at a 90-minute wait and, honestly, we will not wait that long for a ride that may be 3 minutes. With our fast passes, we were quickly on the ride and I was so glad we went on because it really is a cute ride but would still never wait for 90-minutes.

It was time for our third and final fast pass: Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. I don’t know about this ride, Alec seemed to know where his laser beam was pointing and was able to rack up some solid points, me, on the other hand, is a completely different story. I couldn’t figure out where my laser was pointing, maybe because I wasn’t wearing my glasses, but I haven’t done this poorly before. Whatever the case may be, this was such a bad game for me and I was getting so tired of missing targets that my face looks SO uninterested in our photos. I really like this ride but I’m a sore loser, so I didn’t at the time.

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After we used up our three fast passes, we had some time before our Crystal Palace reservation, so we took this prime opportunity to take photos of Cinderella’s castle all lit up. One of my favorite places that I found to take photos of the castle was on the second floor of the entrance, where the train station is. This spot was particularly nice because you also got the Christmas tree in the background as well.

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Crystal Palace is a restaurant known for their Mickey shaped waffles during breakfast, however, the only time they had available this day was for dinner, so I booked it because I wanted the character dining experience. Let’s start with the food because we all want to know if the food is worth it and my gut is telling me no. At least for dinner and my reason is that dinner is a whopping $52, and the buffet was nice and had a good selection of food, except their dessert left me disappointed. The food was good, with there being a selection of salads, peel-n-eat shrimp, vegetables, mashed potatoes, and there’s even a meat carving station. Alec enjoyed the food while it sat heavy in my stomach and made me queasy all night, we both agreed it was not worth spending $104 plus tip, that’s just a lot of money for something with the buffet in the title. I honestly did not realize that it was that expensive, last time I remembered looking at prices it was in the ’40s but who knows, maybe I was looking at the lunch prices. I am still going to try booking a breakfast reservation because I REALLY want to try Disney’s Mickey-shaped waffles.

The BEST part of Crystal Palace was their character dining because I got to meet my childhood love: Eeyore! This was one of my mom’s favorite characters growing up and I remember her handing down her childhood toy Eeyore to me and loving him ever since. While we were seated at our table, we were told that it could take up to 90 minutes to meet the characters, and the only one we were able to see was the only one I REALLY wanted to see, EEYORE! I was talking with Alec and Eeyore walks up behind me and puts his hand on my shoulder, I jump and make a screaming noise because I wasn’t expecting someone to come up behind me. Eeyore is so embarrassed that he puts his hands over his eyes and leans on the wall. I was so excited to meet Eeyore that I couldn’t contain my happiness, even in the photos I’m too excited to function.

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After dinner, we went back up to the second story train station near the entrance to watch the fireworks show and we thought that was a great place to watch the show. We stayed for 8 minutes of the fireworks shows until we made our way to the monorail and let me tell you that was the PERFECT time to leave because as soon as we got on the monorail we noticed a bigger crowd of people leaving the show and making their way to the monorails and we knew once the show was completely over it would be a madhouse getting out. Every time you leave at night it feels like you are cattle slowly being herded into a cage because you are surrounded by thousands of people going nowhere. If you’ve never seen a Disney’s fireworks show then I suggest staying for most of it (it’s 18 minutes long); however, if you don’t mind leaving the show early then I cannot suggest it enough.

We took the tram to our car and made the 25-minute drive back to the hotel and that was our wonderfully packed day at Disney’s Magic Kingdom!

Now here are more photos of our day 🙂

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Sincerely,

A Simple Wildflower

 

My Trip to Boston

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that Alec and I traveled to Boston three weeks ago for Alec’s late birthday gift. Let me tell you, it was beyond amazing! We ended up waiting so long for this trip because we wanted the opportunity to see the Patriot’s play at Gillette Stadium! I also didn’t mind waiting until October to visit because that meant that this Florida girl could finally witness real fall weather! South Florida just doesn’t cut it when it comes to gorgeous fall weather. Florida has two seasons: summer and hurricane.

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We ended up flying to Boston with JetBlue. I didn’t choose JetBlue for any reason other than the fact that they had cheaper tickets for the weekend we wanted to travel. I also enjoy their extra legroom in the front of the plane; however, for an extra $70, we opted out of that option and saved the money. On our flight to Boston, we were able to watch Jurassic World II and although I didn’t have my headphones, it was still nice to watch something on our trip over. I forgot to pack something to keep me entertained so watching a movie with no sound or captions passed the time for me.

When we arrived at the Boston airport, we were greeted with cool and cloudy weather. I could not wait to get this trip started and immediately took an Uber to our Airbnb.

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Our Airbnb host, Brittany, was the sweetest host ever! She was so accommodating, and her home was in the PERFECT location: Beacon Hill!! If you’re looking for a place to stay in downtown Boston that is walking distance to most places, then look no further! During our stay, our host recently adopted a beautiful rescue kitten named The General, and honestly, this kitten was the highlight of our trip! But that’s also coming from the biggest cat lady ever!

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As soon as we dropped our bags off at the Airbnb that morning we were finally able to explore the city. Alec and I choose to travel without an itinerary. There may be one or two things we want to do while traveling, but no more than that because we love to walk around and take in each city. Having no itinerary has led us to meet people we wouldn’t have if we stuck to an itinerary. For example, in Las Vegas, we walked past The Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace and decided to walk in even though it wasn’t planned. Of course, when I see a Disney store, I had to walk in. WELL, you would not believe who was there selling her own paintings; the beautiful and talented Paige O’Hara!! Then while walking around Beacon Hill in Boston we saw John Kerry walk out of his beautiful home and into his car. While I got to sit and talk with Paige O’Hara about her paintings and life, Alec and I were only able to get a wave out of John Kerry but let’s be real he’s a busy guy.

The first thing we did on our trip to Boston was stumble upon the Charles River Esplanade. This park was stunning because it’s right next to the Charles River and the trees were already starting to change colors. The weather was perfect out, so we saw a ton of runners and dog owners out enjoying the weather.

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While we were walking the Charles River Esplanade, I asked Alec to look up The Mary Baker Eddy Library because I remember people talking about the Mapparium, which is a three-story, stained-glass globe. We were walking in the right direction, so we decided to do it and check it out. Overall, I am really excited I went to see it, however, I was NOT expecting the tour to last roughly 10 minutes. It’s not an expensive tour, we spent $12 total but if I knew how short it was beforehand I might have saved the money and we couldn’t take photos in the stained-glass globe.

While walking around the city of Boston, you will notice that the Freedom Trail is paved into the sidewalks so you can follow the trail yourself. We didn’t get to do everything on the Freedom Trail because we didn’t sign up for a tour and opted to visit the sites once we passed them.

We were able to see Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Granary Burying Grounds, Boston Common, Old South Meeting House, and Copp’s Hill Burying Ground.

In my personal opinion, all of the sites except the Copp’s Hill Burying Ground were completely worth it. Faneuil Hall Marketplace was one of the coolest spots because they had someone there working a printing press and the history buff in me went wild. He was printing the Declaration that first used the words The United State of America and while printing he was giving a history lesson on the printing press and the document itself. I can’t say enough good things about that presentation.

Granary Burying Grounds is the more popular burying grounds because there are prominent people buried there. Benjamin Franklin’s parents, John Hancock, Paul Revere, and Samuel Adams to name a few are buried at this site. While the Copp’s Hill Burying Ground is the final resting place of merchants, artisans, and craftspeople who lived on the North End.

(The two bigger photos are Paul Revere’s gravesite, not sure why he has two?)

The Boston Common is the oldest public park in America and it was nice to walk around. There was an autism walk going on while we were visiting so the park was packed and we almost joined the walk since I’m such a big fan of charity walks! They’re such a great way to get the community together to fight for a cause!

The Old South Meeting House was where the Boston Tea Party began, and this site was a pleasant surprise. There was hardly anyone else in the building and it basically felt like we had the whole place to ourselves which was a nice change. This is another tour that will cost you, but it wasn’t anything too expensive.

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The next day, we made our way to the Samuel Adams Brewery for their tour. This was for Alec since I don’t drink beer, however, our tour guide was so much fun and he made it a hands-on experience. Even though I hardly drank the beer, it was fun to rub the hops in your hands and to taste the barley that goes into their beers. After the tour is over, they offer free shuttle rides to Doyle’s Café. The reason for this is because Doyle’s Café was the first establishment to serve Samuel Adams beer, so they continue service with them to this day. We didn’t eat much at the café since we weren’t terribly hungry, however, we ordered the clam chowder soup and it was to die for. AND that was my first-time trying clam chowder soup!

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A friend of mine originally told me to visit both places and she was SO right! Even if you don’t like beer, like me, you still need to try this tour out because it was not only the highlight of my trip but also my friends.

After our Samuel Adams tour, we took an Uber to the Harvard campus. I do not want to bash the college campus by any means, but I wish I didn’t visit the campus. Alec really enjoyed walking around the campus; however, I was left feeling underwhelmed. I was expecting something else, something grander, especially if it’s the oldest college in the United States, but sadly, most buildings had a modern look to them. There were buildings that still looked timeless, but it was only a few buildings. We didn’t go on the Harvard Campus tour because we wanted to save our money and because I couldn’t care less what dorm room Mark Zuckerberg stayed in. I will say the small shopping area right before the campus was nice to walk around. Our Airbnb host mentioned that we should visit the Harvard Book Store which is a great place if you’re a book lover. I picked up the book Rage Becomes Her by Soraya Chemaly and I haven’t been able to put it down.

On the last day of our trip, we felt like we had seen so much of Boston already but that didn’t stop us from getting up early, making our way to breakfast and visit Acorn St. This was the one thing I REALLY wanted to see because our Airbnb was a less than 5-minute walk over. When we first got there, there was a professional photographer at the top of the hill waiting for an empty Acorn St. At the bottom of the hill, there was an engagement photo shoot going on and the poor guy looked so cold with his sleeves up. We managed to walk Acorn St. without getting in the way of the engagement shoot while taking amazing photos of our own. We managed to get to Acorn St. around 9am on a Sunday and there were still people there; for good reason, too, just look at these photos!

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After our short visit to Acorn St, we made our way to the Boston Public Gardens. This public garden is so breathtaking that I told Alec I wanted our engagement photos there and I wasn’t the only one with that idea. While walking the gardens there were multiple photoshoots going on from a maternity shoot all the way to an actual wedding!

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HOWEVER, the BIGGEST highlight of our trip was attending the Patriot’s vs. Chief’s game at the Gillette Stadium Sunday evening. We managed to get tickets from Alec’s uncle who has season tickets. If we didn’t have those we easily would have paid a fortune for this game. The weather was cold that night, even with all the body heat in the stadium, so we had to purchase beanies and a blanket to keep warm. The two beanies and the blanket set us back a full $100 but at least we can still use the blanket while in Florida…the beanies not so much.

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(Sorry for the bad lighting)

There were two ways of getting to Gillette Stadium; by train or by bus and Alec chose to take the bus. We both really liked this option because it was a far drive to the stadium from Boston and it was nice to be able to fall asleep on the way back. However, if you want to save a bit more money I believe the train was the cheaper option.

Now let’s get to the good part of the trip, the FOOD!

When we first arrived in Boston our Airbnb host sent us on our way to breakfast at The Paramount and it was a well-needed meal after our early morning flight. This breakfast spot is a bit hectic because you order and then you must find a seat. Our host says it’s almost like a game because you think you won’t get a table, but you usually will. We thought we weren’t going to snag a table until a worker told us this table was leaving and we could have it. The workers know how busy this place gets and how small it is, so they work with you on finding a table. The food here was amazing which is no wonder why the place is always packed.

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(Breakfast at The Paramount)

We went to Tatte Bakery for breakfast twice because it was down the street from our Airbnb and I had heard so much about this place beforehand. Both times we went to the bakery it was already packed and it was difficult finding a table here. The second day we sat outside and froze our butts a bit because there was zero seating inside. The bakery items were good on their own, but I was taken back that the bakery items were a bit cold. Their drip coffee, however, was really good! I would go back just for the coffee.

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(Breakfast at Tatte)

Originally, we planned on eating dinner at the Grotto, however, they did not have any tables open until hours later. While I was upset for a moment, we walked back outside and stumbled on the Tip Tap Room. This place was good but it’s not a place I would go back to because it felt like any other restaurant. Alec ordered the steamed clams and I ordered the smoked heirloom tomato soup and potatoes au gratin. Alec loved his steamed clams and I must admit the chorizo broth it came in was EVERYTHING. The potatoes au gratin were delicious; however, the smoked heirloom tomato soup was a little too smokey for my taste. This was also walking distance from our Airbnb.

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(Steamed claws and potatoes au gratin at the Tip Tap Room)

The last place we ate at was Democracy Brewing. We ate here for lunch and Alec enjoyed their beer selection. If you don’t drink beer you will not like this place because they do not sell any other type of alcohol; they only sell what they make and that’s beer. While I stuck to my water, Alec and I shared the Mac and Cheese and we couldn’t stop making weird noises with each bite. It was seriously that good!

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There is so much to do in Boston and I believe that we were able to cover a huge amount of ground during our four-day trip. There is still so much that we were unable to do, see, or eat but I guess that means we’ll have to make another trip 😉 I would still love to see a Red Sox game, eat a lobster roll, and visit more historical sites along the Freedom Trail. We didn’t stop at all that weekend and there was still so much that we missed – I promise you, Boston, I’m coming back for you!!

Sincerely,

A Simple Wildflower

Halloween Horror Nights 2018

Trip Details

September 21, 2018

Start: Boca Raton, FL

End: Orlando, FL

Duration: 2 H 50 M on the Florida Turnpike

Our Stay

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Lowes Portofino Bay Hotel

What a lovely hotel, it is seriously so stunning! Alec’s mom booked this hotel for our stay and it was beyond perfect! His mom and sister particularly enjoyed the Fast Passes that are included in your stay (sorry, not for HHN, but during the day). Alec and I REALLY enjoyed that we could take a ferry from the Portofino Hotel to Universal’s City Walk. The ferry ride was no more than 10 minutes and it was nice to sit before having to walk.

Things to Do

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We all know the main reason for visiting Halloween Horror Nights is for the HAUNTED HOUSES!! Although we didn’t visit all 10 houses, we were able to do more than half. But seeing all 10 houses is completely do-able, however, ONLY with a fast pass. Alec and I were able to see all 10 houses 2 years ago with my cousin, but we also had fast passes. If you’re trying to save a few bucks and DO NOT purchase a fast pass I have no idea how many houses you’ll see, but it can’t be more than 3. Those lines are RIDICULOUS!!

Below are all the houses HHN is offering this year:

  1. Stranger Things – BEST HOUSE EVER!! This is HHN main house this year and it did not let down! Alec and I are fans of the show and loved everything from the actors to the details. This one made me jump a few times. It was really well done!
  2. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers – Did not see. However, I believe this house was there two years ago and it was really scary. If you’ve seen the movie you will always love the amount of detail Universal puts into their houses.
  3. Poltergeist – Did not see. I saw the original movie so can only imagine how scary this house was. Sorry, I can’t do clowns!
  4. Trick ‘r Treat – This one is filled with scarecrows that are really creepy. The power ended up going out forcing us to wait roughly 45 minutes but besides that it was great!
  5. The Horror of Blum House – REALLY cool house! The first half is Happy Death Day then the second half of the house is The First Purge. I didn’t see either film but the layout of the house was really cool. My experience in this line was more enjoyable than the others as they play this kind of club scary music and a group of college students started to rave. This was right before the entrance so it was a nice adrenaline rush.
  6. Carnival Graveyard – Did not see.
  7. Dead Exposure: Patient Zero – This house had AMAZING detail. While standing in line I didn’t know if I would like the theme, but it was really well done. I don’t believe I was scared by this house if I remember correctly.
  8. Scary Tales: Deadly Ever After – This first room you walk into is PHENOMENAL!! There is a witch on the second story brewing something out of her cauldron and then every few seconds she’ll fly over you. Alec thought it was a robot at first until she flew over our heads. SO COOL! As we keep walking I, OF COURSE, get stopped by ALL THREE LITTLE PIGGIES!! Except they weren’t little, they were literally 6 feet or taller men with creepy pig masks on. I was convinced this house wouldn’t scare me but holy moly they proved me wrong!
  9. Seeds of Extinction – Another house with amazing detail!
  10. Slaughter Sinema – Did not see.

Other than haunted houses, HHN has Scare Zones. While growing up in Orlando, the talk of scare zones alone used to terrify me. There were actors with chainsaws but you couldn’t tell where they were; you could only hear the noise of the chainsaw. And then, BOOM they’re right behind you! I would never visit HHN while growing up because it was A LOT scarier. In recent years, scare zones have become more “scare-friendly”. All you need to remember with both scare zones and haunted houses is their main scare tactic is to jump in front of you to get cheap scares. They can’t touch you, so they no longer can do anything else other than getting a light jump out of you.

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The scare zones the HHN is offering this year are:

  1. The Harvest (Pictured Above) – BEST SCARE ZONE THIS YEAR!! I felt like I was engulfed in the haunted woods of Universal. All the trees were decked out in dark purple lights with walking pumpkins lurking in the dark. I couldn’t see the pumpkin people until they were next to me.
  2. Vamp 85: New Year’s Eve – Fun scary zone! This scare zone is filled with loud 80’s music and you can spot the actors a mile away because of their bright, stereotypical 80’s get up.
  3. Killer Klowns from Outer Space – Get all your HHN pics here!! The actors dressed up as clowns can barely walk or see. I saw every single clown take photos with guests because they couldn’t do anything else but waddle.
  4. Twisted Tradition – Did not see.
  5. Revenge of Chucky – Did not see. And I’m okay with that because I am not a huge fan of Chucky.

The next best thing about HHN are the rides! The rides that Universal keeps open are:

  1. Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
  2. Transformers: The Ride 3-D
  3. Revenge of the Mummy
  4. Fast & Furious – Supercharged
  5. Harry Potter & the Escape from Gringotts
  6. Men in Black Alien Attack

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Personally, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit is my least favorite ride out of everything listed and I haven’t even gone on #4. The Rip Ride Rockit gives both Alec and I extreme headaches and we normally aren’t people to get nauseous on roller coasters. This ride is bumpy and our heads knock against the chairs so badly. We vowed 2-years-ago to never ride it again.

If you do like this ride or want to ride it for the first time, tell the workers afterward that you couldn’t hear any music and they will let you ride it again without waiting in line. Don’t do this more than once though, they will catch on.

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This past time at HHN, we were able to ride Harry Potter & the Escape from Gringotts and the Revenge of the Mummy. Out of all 6 rides, these are personally my favorite rides at Universal’s (along with Men in Black Alien Attack!). If Revenge of the Mummy is in service, RIDE IT!! That ride is seriously always shut down for some type of repair. When I went to HHN 2-years-ago it was shut down for the whole night. Then this year, on our second time on the ride, it broke down towards the end.

Universal’s City Walk

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Before you walk to Universal or Island’s of Adventure, you first must walk through Universal’s City Walk. This area before the park is filled with restaurants, shopping, and entertainment.

Before we went into HHN, our group stopped by one of our favorite places to buy a drink. If you want one drink and you’re good to go then head to Pat O’Brien’s. They serve this big drink called the Hurricane and it’s just filled with alcohol. Seriously one drink for Alec is good. No more than 2!

My cousin and her husband showed us this place a few years back and we have been in love with it since. The food is also REALLY good and they have a live pianist at night. I remember one person playing who was unbelievably talented and he had the whole restaurant singing along to Sweet Caroline.

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(Toothsome Chocolate Emporium. Look how drool-worthy this it!!)

If Pat O’Brien’s doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, there are many other places to chose from! Some of my other favorite places at City Walk are Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen (best milkshakes), Voodoo Doughnut, Fat Tuesday and Cinnabon. They also have an AMC Universal Cineplex 20 with IMAX, I remember seeing Pitch Perfect on a date here back in college. Seriously, City Walk has it all!

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(Voodoo Doughnut was amazing!!)

If you’re traveling to HHN this year, what are you most excited for? If you’ve been in the past, what did or didn’t you like? I have only been to HHN twice but I’m kicking myself in the butt for not visiting earlier. Especially since I grew up 30 minutes from the parks!

Sincerely,

A Simple Wildflower

 

Ciao Cucina & Bar 

There is a HUGE brunch culture here in South Florida! And, honestly, what is there not to love about brunch!? Good food, unlimited drinks, and a great atmosphere! Brunch is a win all around!

We decided to try out a local favorite this weekend: Ciao Cucina & Bar.

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Let’s start with all things wonderful!

  • $12 UNLIMITED MIMOSAS!!!! Either buy ONE mimosa for $9 orrr get unlimited for $12. They know what they’re doing! AND, this is the cheapest unlimited mimosa deal around. Other brunch spots in our area fall in the $15 – $20 range!
  • FREE BREAD!! That’s all I have to say. Any place can win me over with free bread! The olive oil they provided as a dip was tasty and so fancy looking! It even looked like they put small trees in our oil! 🙂

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  • Our Food: I ordered the Nutella Waffle and Alec chose the Chicken Waffle Club. We both really enjoyed our meals, but it wasn’t the best meal we’ve ever had. That’s okay, though, because we were not expecting that. I will say my main complaint with the Nutella Waffles was the amount of Nutella they used. I NEED MORE. I want my waffle to bathe in Nutella! Alec really enjoyed the Chicken Waffle Club, while I thought it was dry. Maybe because it was missing syrup…

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  • The Vibe: Ciao’s website describes it’s atmosphere perfectly: “Italian with an edgy, gastro pub twist.” You definitely get that vibe when you step inside Ciao. They have vintage photos hanging on the wall, and the lining beneath the bread mimicked the front page of a newspaper on the day the Berlin Wall fell. There were small touches that really kept their theme alive!

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Now onto  one thing that could have been better.

  • Service: Overall, I believe this place has great service; however, our waitress was meh. She was attentive to the table next to us which we thought was puzzling considering she came to our table four times: to greet us, deliver bread and take our order, drop off food, and hand us the bill. I normally wouldn’t say anything, but I was thirsty! The manager eventually got me my refill. :’)

This is a local favorite and we’re so glad we tried it! With that being said, this will most likely be our only visit. We can’t come back JUST for free bread even though the olive oil is out of this world!

Sincerely,

A Simple Wildflower

 

After two years of living near Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens, I JUST decided to visit this past weekend. I will forever be kicking myself in the butt for not visiting sooner. If you’re visiting or passing through Delray Beach, Florida, you HAVE to take time out of your schedule to visit.

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Trip Details

July 22, 2018

Address: 4000 Morikami Park Rd

                 Delray Beach, FL 33446

Things to Do

  • The Gardens: After getting our wristbands inside, we walked outside to find the stunning gardens the museum is known for. When walking outside, you are slightly overwhelmed with the size of the gardens (maybe we were because we weren’t expecting the gardens to be so enormous). The website mentions 6 distinct sections of the garden which truly showcase its authentic Japanese roots. Fair warning: this activity is completely without air conditioning, so I recommend visiting in the cooler months, if possible.

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  • The Seishin-an Tea House: The museum offers a weekly Tea Ceremony Class every Sunday which replicates a traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony. Although we did not attend this class, we saw one in session. The room holding the class looks AMAZING as its designed to mimic an authentic Seishin-an Tea House. There is a beginner and intermediate class.
  • Sumi-E Ink Painting: Sumi-e is a form of Japanese ink painting that was brought over from China in the 12th century. The class description says, “students will grind their own ink using an ink stick and a grinding stone. Then they will learn to hold and utilize brushes to create the primary sumi-e brushstrokes.” I’m obsessed with the hands-on aspect of this class!
  • Ikebana Flower Arrangement: Morikami says, “the idea is the ikebana can be done by anyone, anywhere, with almost anything. Students will learn the basics of Sogetsu and create pieces each week to take home and enjoy.”

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  • The Art of Bonsai: Yep! You guessed it! In this course, you will learn how to properly trim a Bonsai tree.
  • Cornell Café: This café overlooks the Japanese gardens and serves a Pan-Asian inspired menu. With menu items like Mahi Mahi with Mango Chutney and Asian Eggplant, its worth trying out! Unfortunately (and ironically), Alec and I had sushi before the museum, so we did not try the café out. At the same time, it was super crowded, so we weren’t too upset.

All in all, this was a wonderful spot to spend our Sunday afternoon. Our stay would have been longer if we knew of the café and didn’t eat sushi beforehand. We also went during the peak of summer, so the climate was similar to a rainforest. I DEFINTELY advise you to go during the cooler months.

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Sincerely,

A Simple Wildflower