I’m Whitney and this is my personal blog on all things lifestyle- beauty, fashion, food, and anything else I find interesting. I didn’t discover the beauty of concealer, the wonder of eyeliner, and the luxe of a Dior lipstick until 19 years old and have been hooked on since. Apart from experimenting with beauty products, I like to dabble in fashion and post my outfits.
One of the most things I was excited to purchase when I was in Japan were bath products. I LOVE soaking in a hot bath and it was so relaxing to sit in an onsen in Japan. I was looking for satches with a variety of flavours and when I visited Tokyu Hands in Shibuya, my shopping crazy level went up a notch when I saw shelves of bath products. Shoutout to my patient boyfriend for getting me a basket!
I’ve only seen a few of the Bison Bakkanto Hot & Sweat Bath Salts at my local T&T Supermarket, but there are SO many more different flavours in Japan; I only regret not buying more. For years, these are still my ultimate favourite things to throw in my bath. Not only are they super relaxing, they make me sweat out the stress and leaves the skin feeling moisturized. Every scent I’ve tried is lovely, from Coca cola to rose; and I’m excited to try the cooling bath salt from Bison!!
Bison Bath Salts
I picked up a few of these soda bath tabs; they have a bit of weight to it so I hope they realize a lot of scenty goodness!
I believe these are tea bags to soak in the bath, based on feeling outside the sachet and interpreting the photos on the back. If these are good, I shall let you know!
To bring some back of the Japanese bath onsen experience with me, I purchased a box of these Hakugen onsen bath salts. I’ve tried two of them so far and they were utmost relaxing when I was sick a few weeks ago. Dang it, why didn’t I buy a few more boxes?! (I bought these bath salts from BIC Camera and options were much more limited in that department store – but they did have SO many thermos bottles.)
So more random bath salts with cute packaging….super intrigued about the Honey Lemonade Bath though!
I don’t enjoy drinking milk, but I wouldn’t mind giving my skin some TLC in a milky bath!
And finally, these bath salts feel and look more medicinal. My back/neck is pretty stiff so I hope these make me feel relaxed.
Thank goodness I did some online research for the best places to shop for Japanese bath products; Tokyu Hands did NOT disappoint. I also followed their WeChat for 5% off my purchase AND if you spend over 5000 yen, you can claim your tax back as a foreign visitor. My only regret- not buying enough!
Do you love a good bath, and if you do, which products do you like to use?
I’m back and just recovering from throat infection/ cough/ stuffy nose! Not sure if I got sick from not getting enough sleep when I came back, or I went outdoor swimming in Vancouver, or the stress of being a bridesmaid – but all is well! In the midst of a busy Asia trip in the city, my boyfriend and I wanted to experience the quieter countryside of Japan. We made an overnight stop at Magome, in Nakatsugawa. Getting to Magome was more confusing than we planned for but the beauty of the town is worth it if you have time for a getaway within the business of Japan.
I looked a lot of information on the internet on how to get to Magome via Nakatsugawa but we ended up going from Kyoto -> Nagoya -> Magome which was one less train transfer. There wasn’t a lot of information but my boyfriend and I eventually made it through a combination of Google Maps and asking people and answering with “Arigato!!”
We left Kyoto around 11am and took the JR train to Nagoya. From Nagoya, we took a 1 hour 40-minute bus ride to Magome, and then walked ~2km to where we were staying.
The confusing part was finding the bus in Nagoya. We originally thought that it would be a regular bus stop that we can hop on and use our IC Cards (like Hong Kong Octopus cards, used for transit) to pay. Turns out, we had to pre-purchase bus tickets from Meitetsu Bus Center which costed around 1860 yen per person. You will get reserved seating on the next scheduled bus, and also have the option to purchase a ticket for the way back as well. The Meitetsu Bus Center is under the Meitetsu Department Store and we only found it by seeing a sign and decided to go inside to ask how to get our butts to Magome.
We hopped on a city bus around 5pm and it was a nice smooth ride, which I most definitely passed out on. The bus stops at a Toll Road Rest Stop/ base of a path that goes up to Magome. We were staying at Manpukuan Eisyouji Ryokan, which was around a 20-minute walk uphill from the rest stop. (Basically, to get to the town you have to walk this short portion. Our luggage was shipped to Tokyo so we didn’t have to worry about transporting it around.) We tried to find options to avoid this walk but there was no way around it so dress appropriately according to weather. It was very hot when we were arriving at Magome and rainy when we left.
The view on our walk up to Magome. (Not as fun when it’s raining though, as we experienced.)
There are a few ryokans to stay overnight at Magome. A few that we were looking online at were sold out and we ended up staying at Manpukuan Eisyouji Ryokanwhich was AMAZING; we found it via Agoda. Manpukuan Eisyouji Ryokan used to be a temple with a 200-year-old garden. As it is a very old place with a few renovations to be used for staying, it was very nice and cozy. We slept on a futon in a room with traditional Japanese walls and there was a heater – I can see this area getting very cold in the winter, so I’d definitely recommend visiting during spring or summer. The hostess is absolutely the loveliest and sweetest woman ever; she cooked us dinner and breakfast and gave us a pen that doubled as a mini flashlight for a gift. She made sure we had everything we did and gave us an extra kettle o hot water.
As pretty much everything in Magome closes at 4-5pm and we had no WiFi or TV, we slept pretty early and spent our next day walking around enjoying the scenery. The next day, when we left, it was pouring buckets and I assure youJ- it was not a nice walk downhill to the bus stop after that. My socks have never felt like soggy wet piles of crap before so I highly recommend an emergency umbrella!
Managed to get a shot before the visitors started showing up
PS – I also recommend not bringing any luggage here, but rather ship your luggage via KuraNeko (a luggage transport company,) as the roads aren’t paved well for your luggage to roll around. Bring enough clothes to keep you warm at night.
If you’re looking for a more zen experience in Japan, Magome is a beautiful stopover before heading back to the hustling cities. I personally wouldn’t spend more than one night, but it was definitely a memorable experience of Japanese culture.
It’s been a while I’ve done a makeup review/wore makeup on here!! As I have been cleaning my room/ narrowing what products to bring for my Hong Kong/Japan trip; I might as well throw the makeup on my face and talk about it here. I’ve been holding on to some products from Clarins‘ Fall and Spring collection – which includes their new SOS Primers and more!
A staple in everyone’s makeup stash: eyeliner. The Graphik Ink Liner ($30 CAD) in the colour 01 Intense Black was part of the Fall 2017 collection. I tried it on for around nine hours, and most of it stays put (even for hooded eyelids,) but I noticed the corners were smudging a bit. Removing it is also indeed very graphic, it’s like an eyeliner died in my lash line as there was so much black on the cotton pad when I removed it. I recommend an oil makeup remover as I even had trouble removing it completely with Bioderma Micellar water. It dries to a bold black with a bit of shine. I find the pen a bit harder to control than Kat von D, I just wish the felt tip was a little bit longer. Unfortunately, the Graphic Ink Liner is a miss for me as it doesn’t stay on completely and it was a bit cumbersome to remove.
I love pretty much all of Clarins lip products and the Instant Light Lip Balm Perfector ($26CAD) is no exception. The Instant Light Lip Balm Perfector is like a lip balm and lipstick in one- and it pays off perfectly with the right amount of pigmentation and hydration. Two new shades was part of the Spring collection and I got to try on 08 Plum. You’d expect that a plum colour is more suited for Fall, but this one slides into spring season quite nicely. It is quite sheer and adds a shine on the lips and dropped the right amount of colour to make my lips stand out but it doesn’t take all the spotlight. It also makes my lips feel so smooth – yes it does transfer on cups and napkins, just like most creamier lip products do. It also smells like Cadbury mini eggs – if you enjoy that sweet flavour.
I took a before photo but turns out it was blurry! Here’s a used photo of it now!
Swatches of the Instant Light Lip Balm Perfector in 08 Plum, and Graphik Ink Liner
Back to the SOS Primers ($39 CAD.) I haven’t worn foundation for a while, hence I slowed down on primers. Most primers I’ve tried have the silicon feel that makes your skin and pore free, but I prefer not to. The Clarins SOS Primers makes your skin look great on its own already!
There are a total of six SOS Primers: 00 Universal Light, 01 Rose, 02 Peach, 03 Coral, 04 Green, and 05 Lavender. I have been playing around with 00 Universal Light and 04 Green, which is probably the two shades I’d want most in my arsenal.
00 Universal Light is a pearly shade that brightens skin tone and adds radiance. 04 Green minimizes redness. The texture feels like a light moisturizer and it’s easy to blend this with your actual moisturizer or foundation. It’s also easy to blend it seamlessly into your skin. I like to just use Universal Light as a highlight as well, like patting it on my brow bone, cupid’s bow, and cheekbones. The 04 Green is used mainly around the corners of my lips, bottom of my cheeks, and around my nose area.
As you can see in the second photo below when I blended out the primers, my knuckles lightened up (with 04 Green,) and there is a sheen with 00 Universal Light. Now imagine that on a face instead of my grubby back of hand!
The SOS Primers also keeps the skin hydrated with organic sea lily extract (it has a light floral scent.) I was really pleased with both of these; Clarins certainly knows how to take care of skin inside and out with makeup.
Final makeup look!
Sorry for the long makeup rant! Though the Graphik Ink Liner was a miss, it may work for non-oily eyelid users. However, the primers and the Instant Light Lip Balm Perfector gave me a clean and awake makeup look that I could wear to work or a night out.
A few weeks ago I had a great dinner event with a side of amazingly scented body washes, Le Petit Marseillais (pronounced mar-say-yay!) Le Petit Marseillais is the number one bestselling body wash in France and there are two new scents. I’ve only heard about this brand from reading other blogs but never personally tried it. They’re sold in many places including Shoppers Drug Mart and London Drugs – so they’re affordable too!
First, I just want to throw in some photos of the table setup at dinner, which was hosted at Botanist inside Fairmont Pacific Rim. The team went all out and it was nothing short of beautiful. The Lemon Polenta cake at The Botanist was the bomb.
The two new scents launching are Apricot & Hazelnut, and Mandarin & Lime. I’m currently using Apricot & Hazelnut, which has a creamier texture of the two and it smells SO good. Mandarin & Lime has a more refreshing, zingy scent that both men and women would enjoy using. I definitely smell more lime than mandarin, but as I love anything limey, it was fine for me. My boyfriend also enjoyed using it as well. Both left my skin feeling soft, and even not putting on body cream after was ok! I’ve also been really itchy lately and I noticed that my skin felt less scratchy now!
I also took home one of their original scents, Lavender Honey. I haven’t broken into this one yet but I’m excited to drench myself in some honey lather when the shower time comes! One note to make; the Lavender Honey body wash uses Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate whereas Apricot & Hazelnut and Mandarin & Lime both contains Sodium Laureth Sulfate. If that is something you are sensitive to, then keep an eye out!
Serious shoutouts for the beautiful event and it is reflected in Le Petit Marseillais shower wash products as well. France has been on top of my travel list and when I go, I’d definitely will pick some up plus other products in their lineup too (they have way more stuff over there than just body washes here!)
I get a LOT of comments of what I carry in my purse because I’d be digging in it for hours when my friends ask if someone has some particular thing. Usually, I do. It’s legit my safety net. If I’m lucky, I’ll even have an extra pair of socks or ziploc bag that day. The stuff I carry around ranges from what typical young adults would have (am I STILL A YOUNG ADULT?! T_T) to what a grandma would use. But hey, if I have a headache that isn’t going to stop me from whipping out my minty oils. More on that later.
Firstly, I want to talk about my purse – the Grind Shopper Tote Bag by Marc Jacobs. I was eyeing it at The Bay for a while and when Shopbop had a sale a while ago, I snagged it as the size is perfect for work! (Though I am not sponsored by Shopbop with monetary compensation, I am one of their many partners who gets store credit which allows me to purchase a few goods and share you some awesome sales.) I did look for alternate tote bags on Shopbop, but I stuck with this one as I like how light the bag is, yet it can be filled with sooo many things. The classic lock and key detail completes the overall look of the bag.
Unfortunately, my bag is no longer online but Marc Jacobs have a mini yellow version of the bag hereand their Always Full Small Tote is quite adorable! Currently, Shopbopis having a sale until April 14th, 2018; you can use code EVENT18 to receive 20% Off Orders Under $500, 25% Off Orders of $500 or More!! This includes regular price and sale items, while some exceptions apply.
Time to get to the nitty gritty part.
Fulton Umbrella: Last year, I did a mega redemption at Shoppers Drug Mart and this umbrella was one of my purchases (and best purchase ever, especially for someone who lives in a rainy city.) Tiny, almost weightless- perfect for small purses to backpacks! It’s so compact that it makes a great day to day umbrella or for carrying around travelling.
Kick Stick: I picked one a few of these up when I was at the PNE fair (it’s a Vancouver thing haha, with games and carnival rides) last year and I was addicted instantly promoting this to all my friends. Even my boyfriend keeps one around for the stuffy days. The Kick Stick is a 2-in-1 aromatherapy stick. It separate into two parts; if you remove the green lid, you can inhale a refreshing blend of eucalyptus, menthol, and camphor oil. If you twist the bottom of My friend lent me a similar product she got from Thailand last year, and Kick Stick is the North American version of it.
So yes, sometimes I look weird from far away because it looks like I’m smelling a lip balm rather than applying it somewhere. As you get older, you really don’t care what the general public thinks and I sniff that when I have a headache or there’s someone with bad BO on the train. I also whip this out in front of my coworkers; I need a pick me up or a brain refresher at work and this does the trick!
I carry it around so much that the exterior is so battered!
Saucony Vigor Jacket*: I recently received this as a wonderful press sample and it’s been with me almost daily since then. The Saucony Vigor Jacket* is lightweight and once you fold it, it’s like half the size of an iPad. Although thin, the jacket insulates super well and there are also reflective details along the seams and pockets. This is definitely going into my travel bag. I am doing the Vancouver Sun Run in less than two weeks and was deciding what jacket to wear, and this may be the winner! It even has zippered pockets – I feel like a lot of women’s activewear LACK POCKETS! Luckily, a few pieces of Saucony clothing has pockets woven in and I am very appreciative of this detail.
I really wanted to do a whole “What’s In My Purse” post but it would’ve taken a wee bit too much time. Maybe a video would help…….one day, perhaps I can try.
So what are your most useful things that you always have to carry around?! (And have you checked the Shopbopsale for the sale?)
Between studying for Harry Potter trivia, trip planning for a bachelorette (stay tuned for upcoming IG stories) and Japan, and looking to take part time school in Vancouver…. I’m freakin’ exhausted. Also- going on an Instagram detox once in a while is GREAT!
Even I feel like I lost my sense of style… I rotate between two pairs of jeans for weeks in a row and basically like three sweaters. When Opticallyreached out to me if I wanted to try a pair of frames, I was excited to do something to change up my look! Bonus that Optically is a Canadian eyewear website!
From the Women’s Glasses section, I chose the Oxydo Ox550 Obb Gunmetal Glasses. The cost is currently on sale for $162 including prescription (scratch-free) lenses and coating! I am particularly fond of the two tones in the temple – the gunmetal and the tortoise is a nice contrast. As these are metal frames, they are a bit weightier. No fear though, Optically carries glasses made from metal, titanium, plastic, or the bendable type (I don’t have an official name for that.)
I’ve been wearing plastic glasses for a while and almost forgot how metal rimmed glasses felt- and with nose pads! Preferably, I would’ve liked a tad bit more cushion in the glasses but they didn’t slip off my nose unless I was doing a more intense exercise (my other pair of plastic rimmed glasses with no nose cushion slips off my nose all the time!)
As I was looking on Optically – I learned that switching out your old lens for existing frames is called “reglazing”! Wearing glasses for around 20 years now, I had NO clue there was a term for it. If you love your frames but the prescription changed, you can send your glasses to Optically for a fee and have the new lens glazed to your new prescription.
I definitely feel a bit more ‘mature’ looking with these glasses on so now I can kind of switch from looking like a student to my own age depending if I want to be ID-ed or not LOL.
Let me know your thoughts of these frames and whether or not you buy your frames online or in store!
Gifts with purchases are always super fun and who doesn’t love hoarding samples of beauty products. Currently, until March 7th, customers who spend at least $125 at Murale receive a tote bag of 25 samples worth over $350! You get a mix of skincare, beauty, and perfume samples in a cute tote bag. Some of them come in a decent size that is great for travelling or keeping in your purse for touch ups on the go!
I’m so glad that the samples weren’t saturated with perfume minis and I do love the a mini rollberball! The perfume samples are:
Aura Mugler (1.2mL)
Narciso Rodriguez For Her Fleur Musc (1mL)
CLEAN Fresh Linens (5mL)
I love the selection of skincare and the money is definitely here. I’m already using the Bioderma cleanser and the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Serum, and the Clarins mask – so I’m thrilled to have mini cute versions of them. Customers will get:
Immunocologie Night Protection Cream (5mL)
MyChelle Dermaceuticals Perfect C Serum (5mL)
EVE LOM Gel Balm Cleanser (5mL)
Darphin Chamomile Elixir (4mL)
Filorga Meso+ Absolute Wrinkle Serum (10mL)
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II (7mL)
Lancome Advanced Genefique Serum (8mL)
Shiseido Bio-Performance Glow Revival Serum (7mL)
Clinique Fresh Pressed System with Pure Vitamin C (1.5mL)
Elizabeth Arden PREVAGE Anti-aging Daily Serum (5mL)
StriVectin Wrinkle Recode Line Transforming Melting Serum (7mL)
Clarins SOS Hydra (15mL)
Bioderma Sensibio Foaming Gel (8mL)
Some miscellaneous items that I don’t use often but are good to have around include:
St. Tropez Gradual Tan Plus Sculpt & Glow (50mL)
The Art of Shaving Sandalwood Shaving Cream (30mL)
I know the shaving cream is more of a dude product but I think my legs could feel FANTASTIC with this so yeah, I may use this on myself.
My eyes zoomed on the cute Paul & Joe bottle and the Rodial compact when I emptied out the samples bag. The makeup samples include:
Rodial Banana Powder (2.5g)
Juice Beauty Ultra- Natural Mascara (3.8g)
Yves Saint-Laurent Beaute Dessin Du Regard Eye Liner Black (0.8g)
Stila Stay all Day Liquid Lipstick in Baci (1.5mL)
Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer (7mL)
Paul & Joe Moisturizing Foundation Primer S 03 (10mL)
Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Pearl Primer (3mL)
I’m mostly excited for the Rodial Banana Powder! Not only can it work as a highlighter or setting powder, but also for neutralizing blue under eye circles. I don’t think mine are blue, but they do look like shiettt under the sun so will definitely report back if I notice good results! There are also quite a few primers in here so it’ll be a battle of primers for the next few months!
It was super fun to go through the bag of samples and there’s a lot of new things I want to try. (Or is it old things but I’m behind in the beauty trends lately so I don’t know what is new and what is old anymore!!) I’ve definitely been shifting over to using more skincare products lately versus makeup but I may reverse that now with all the new things!
I’m a few years away from being 30 and my cooking skills are as embarrassing as my ability to put staples in my work stapler (it took three people to figure it out!) When it comes to deciding what kind of meal to cook, I’m stumped on where to begin. Should I try baking a steak? Frying a vegetable?
And that’s why I appreciate things like Fresh Prep, a meal delivery service based in Vancouver. It’s easier being told what to cook rather than me sifting through the internet deciding what’s easy/simple/and not expensive. (Vegetables are getting pricier these days, right?!)
The concept of Fresh Prep is delivering healthy meal kits, with pre-measured ingredients, and you can cook your meal in 30 minutes. Depending where you live, the kits arrive once a week at a time period. The ingredients come in an insulated cooler bag so if you aren’t home to accept it, the proteins and such would not go bad. The meats are in sealed bags and all the vegetables, seasonings, spices are cut or measured ahead of time so you have exactly what you need. You also get a text message when your food is on the way – and they are very on time once you get your message!! Definitely appreciate that.
In January and February, boyfriend and I did two weeks of Fresh Prep delivery. Each delivery comes with 2 portions of 2 different meals (worth $44 – $11/portion), so that’s two days of dinner!
The first Fresh Prep delivery we ever had was the Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs with Chopped Ricotta Salad. The turkey did arrive pretty frozen (I’m glad it was though, cause SAFETY FIRST,) so the overall time to cook the meal was a bit of over 30 minutes as we had to do some defrosting. You can see below how the ingredients look when they come. Everything is already pre-portioned and in containers or sealed plastic.
Making them turkey meatballs! I used my hand to make them but you can also use a spoon too for less mess!
Our final product of Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs with Chopped Ricotta Salad
Making home cooked food look pretty in photos is very hard ;_;
The Red Curry Poached Cod with Gingered Rice was my favourite of the four meals as I LOVE the idea of gingered rice (we will re-make this again!) and red curry is delicious if you like spicy plus it’s easy to make. As an Asian, I can’t believe I never tried putting ginger in rice; but I’ve mixed ginger and onion sauce IN rice. I would’ve preferred another protein but this was a soul warming meal that was super simple. The choice of veggies – zucchini and peppers, paired will with the sauce.
Cooking the Thai Red Curry Lingcod !!
Red Curry Poached Cod with Gingered Rice
The roasted cauliflowers were excellent with the Chicken in Coconut Pan Sauce with Curried Couscous – but I felt like the proteins didn’t mix well with the couscous? I would’ve maybe preferred rice or vermicelli but to each and their own. The curry sauce was yummy, but mang was it hard to plate this meal!
Ungh my cooking photos are so subpar compared to beauty product photos. (But I got a new camera now so I’m hoping for better photos in the future!) The experience of Fresh Prep was pretty fun, as I got to make things I’ve never tried before and the instructions were simple to follow. The portions for some items were a bit small (such as the salmon.) Each plate of food/portion is $11 which is comparable to quite a few of restaurants in Vancouver. But it is great if you come home at night and want to eat something healthy and simple – Fresh Prep is a great way to step into that (and learn a few cooking techniques too!) From Fresh Prep, I got to make meatballs, zest a lime, and glaze a salmon.
If you want to try Fresh Prep Vancouver, you can use code MACARONSFRESH18 for $33 off signing up – that’s 3 free plates! You can order your first plates online here!
This post took forever to do because I literally had hundreds of photos to narrow down and half the time my photos weren’t even that good. And I’ve been a huge slacker lately. It’s been way over half a year since I’ve been to New York City.
When I go on vacation, the number one thing I look for is DEALS EVERYWHERE. Travelling to another city is expensive enough, so I like to figure out where I can save money while doing tourist-y things. I’ve had a great experience in the past using CityPASS when I was in Toronto, and again when I went to New York City earlier in summer.
The CityPASS is a booklet that allows you to visit attractions in the city with savings up to 50%. You pre-purchase the booklet and on the first day you use it, you have 9 days to visit the attractions that are available. Inside the booklets are admissions to museums and tourist spots, such as the Empire State Building. The CityPASS is available in 12 cities: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Southern California, Tampa Bay, and Toronto.
For New York City, there are two options of the CityPASS you can get. My friend and I used the CityPASS option ($160.20 CAD) and we ended up going to five different attractions.
The fun bit is seeing how much you save. Let’s break down the costs
Empire State Building (the CityPASS lets you go in the daytime and same day at night): $49
American Museum of Natural History (includes one giant screen film): $28
Metropolitan Museum of Art (The MET): $25
Top of the Rock Observation Deck: $34 / Guggenheim Museum: $25
Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island: $25.50 / Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises: $30-42
9/11 Memorial & Museum: $24 / Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum: $33
If you calculate all the most expensive options, it would cost over $200. Who doesn’t like saving money on vacations right?! We were so glad we had the CityPASS (although we got these passes as a complementary gift, I have purchased them before for Toronto and had a great experience as well.)
The spots my friend and I hit up were: Empire State Building, Museum of Natural History, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Top of the Rock, and 9/11 Memorial & Museum.
Top of Empire State Building
Top of Empire State Building
Top of Rockefeller Centre
Top of Rockefeller Centre
Ever since I’ve been to the Natural History Museum in London, I kind of want to hit up other natural history museums in different cities now. The Museum of Natural History in New York was a must-see for me, as I love scientific collections but it was also mentioned in the book, The Rosie Project.
Almost wanted to bring home a plushie planet with me.
SPACE IS COOL!
Hello ancient one.
Was eerily fascinated by this. My friend was not.
The roof on the MET is absolutely gorgeous! My only warning – don’t bother spending your money on lunch on top of the MET unless you’re absolutely desperate for food. Overpriced and subpar compared to your New York food truck (I miss those halal rice bowls!!!)
Inside The MET
None of my photos does New York City justice and I’d definitely go back. The food, life, and fashion is so much fun and I got to live a bit of my ‘Gossip Girl’ dream during my week in the Big Apple. If there is another city that I’m visiting that has the CityPASS, I wouldn’t hesitate getting another one as it makes the process of getting into something easier (and more affordable!) For now, I’m going to focus on planning my next trip – Hong Kong and Japan!
So I did three Disney World parks in one day during the Christmas period…am I crazy or not?! Surprisingly, a lot of stuff was accomplished. I don’t really have much tips on how to conquer Disney in a day ( I highly recommend NOT to,) but if you only have one day to spare – maybe you will gather some inspiration from this post! It’s been like two weeks since I went to Disney World but I’m already missing it and repeatedly playing the soundtrack when I’m driving.
Cinderella’s Castle during the holiday season
I had a full day plan assuming we get to the parks at 9am (when they open) and go to Animal Kingdom first thing. Our resort, The Point Orlando, had a shuttle departing at 8:20am going to Magic Kingdom. However, traffic getting into MK was pretty bad so our shuttle driver dropped us off at Epcot instead of Magic Kingdom as planned, but hakuna matata, Animal Kingdom is only accessible via shuttle bus from all three parks so we took the shuttle to AK.
Our first FastPass+ was at 10:15am for the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride, so we had around an hour exploring different areas of the park and look at animals, like naked mole rats, snakes, and turtles. (** Quick Disney vocab define time – You get 3 FastPass+ per day which means you can select a time where you can go a ride and skip the standby line. Since we had park hopper tickets though, we could only select 3 rides in one park, after all of the FastPass+ were used up, we could book for another ride later in the day.)
This is the second time I’ve done Kilimanjaro Safaris and it’s a different experience every time depending where the animals are roaming around and what they are doing at different times of the day! Afterwards, we went to watch the Festival of Lion King. I used a FastPass+ on it, thinking most people would just go through the standby entrance for a show (that happens every hour,) but I was SO wrong. The FastPass+ line was long AF and the standby line was super empty. That means the show must be that popular and after watching it- you can see why, every performer was AMAZIN G. The stunts were superb and there was great audience interaction. A definite watch for kids and adults! Plus, who doesn’t love Simba?!
Hippo viewing from the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride
After the Festival of The Lion King show, it was time for food! Since I left Disney World in May before the section Pandora- World of Avatar opened, we went there to explore and eat. Pandora- World of Avatar is a smaller section of Animal Kingdom and opened earlier this year. There are two rides that I would’ve loved to go on but the wait times were too intense and I was too late to do a FastPass+ for them. Next time!
I haven’t had the healthiest of meals in Orlando and I opted to go eat at Satu’li Canteen in Pandora as I read good reviews on popular Disney blogs. A bunch of people seemed to have the same idea and the line up was LONG. Luckily, being a ‘millenial’ (honestly not sure if I’m too old or too young to be one LOL,) means that doing a mobile order is easy peasy and worth a try. There are a few quick service restaurants at Disney where you can mobile order on phone and then tap when you arrive at the restaurant so they know when to prepare it. Satu’li Canteen was one of them and I was extremely impressed with the speed of getting the food. There must have been 50+ people ahead of me if I lined up.
We ordered the Slow-Roasted Sliced Grilled Beef and Chopped Wood-Grilled Chicken Bowl, both with a Quinoa & Vegetable Salad base and chimichurri sauce. The quality of food was definitely worth the $11.49-$12.99 price tag.
After lunch, we did a quick stroll through the rest of Pandora, then headed to our next park. I wished I had more time to walk through the Valley of Mo’ara, as the pictures online looked BEAUTIFUL. I’d definitely come back at night too when all the bio-luminescent lights are on.
Since “time is racing toward us,” (that’s from Mulan ;)) we hopped to our second park after Pandora-ing. We took the shuttle to Epcot from Animal Kingdom, which luckily didn’t require too long of a wait. Last time in May I waited 40 minutes for a shuttle once – and it sucked. We managed to walk through the 11 countries featured at Epcot World Showcase. It’s neat to see how Disney does such an amazing job in capturing the essence of each country’s culture in the park (there’s even Canada!!)
During this time, it was Epcot International Festival of the Holidays and each country had different snacks and drinks pertaining to this event. While walking around we got hungry, we stopped at the Morocco section and bought a “Confit of Chermoula Chicken Drum” (with Cinnamon Granny Smith Apple, Toasted Almonds, Brussels Sprouts and Pinot Noir Syrup) for $7USD. It was alright, the sauce was tasty and interesting but wish the portion size is a little bit bigger. Though we were in a theme park, I’m not expecting a bang for your buck kind of deal. It was a nice mid afternoon pick me up though.
Confit of Chermoula Chicken Drum, Cinnamon Granny Smith Apple, Toasted Almonds, Brussels Sprouts and Pinot Noir Syrup
One of my favourite stops at Epcot to quench your thirst – Club Cool where you can drink sodas from different countries! And LOL while looking at this picture, I realized someone put a “Please Try Another Flavour” under Italy – it is Beverly and it’s a bitter soda which I quite like – but most people don’t. My favourites are the Sparberry (raspberry cream soda) from Zimbabwe, Bibo from South Africa and Fanta from Thailand.
Then to the most magical of parks…Magic Kingdom!!!! I wanted to come here just before the sunset and then wait around for the Happily Ever After fireworks. We took the monorail from Epcot to Magic Kingdom and I knew it was going to be busy the moment we walked in.
Main Street during Christmas
Behind Cinderella’s Castle at Tomorrowland
At Magic Kingdom, we got FastPass+ for Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (without it would’ve been an hour wait!) and after that we used another FastPass+ for It’s A Small World (sadly there weren’t many FastPass+ available at night unless it would lead us to miss the fireworks show.) In between, we grabbed a Mickey pretzel and a Dole Whip and walked around for a bit.
I realized that my stomache cannot digest Dole Whip or something- instant stomache pains after!! The sadness!!! Between shopping for gifts, going on rides, and eating dinner at Columbia Harbour House (meh – but at least you can online order and there’s a lot of seating. The washroom is a bit far though,) we managed to watch “A Frozen Holiday Wish” where Elsa comes out and transforms Cinderella’s castle into a glimmering ice palace. SO freaking gorgeous!
The Happily Ever After fireworks showed started at 9pm and we also caught the Once Upon A Time show at 9:45pm. Both of these involve projections on Cinderella’s Castle and the fireworks during Happily Ever After definitely leave you feeling SO content. It’s something I could watch everyday and be amazed at how Disney did this.
Would I do Disney World in a day again? Probably not – but since I went only a few months ago I found it way easier to plan and navigate the second time around. I would probably do another 4 day Disney World vacation and go to a park a day – but since we spent most of our trip at Universal Studios, it was nice for a one day Disney getaway. I can’t wait to plan out other dining places and other rides that I would’ve reserved a FastPass for 30 days ahead of time! I already have some ideas on what to do on my next Disney trip.
Have you been to Disney World? What are your favourite bits? What are your tips? Please share!