Custom Shampoo & Conditioner from Formulate (+ A GIVEAWAY!)

ENTER TO WIN YOUR OWN CUSTOM SET OF SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER FROM FORMULATE HERE!

Does anyone else spend what feels like forever walking up and down the haircare aisles at the store trying to figure out which products to buy? Some products promise volume but don’t protect from frizz. Some are anti-dandruff but aren’t for color-treated hair. Some are great for curly hair but you hate the scent. Surely you can relate. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could have a shampoo and conditioner created just for your hair needs and mailed right to your door? Enter Formulate.

Formulate reached out to me a few months ago to see if I would be interested in receiving a set of products created just for me to test out. As someone who struggles with oily, straight hair AND lives in a crazy humid climate, I was psyched to try it out! They sent over a fun, simple quiz to determine my hair needs, and then they started creating my custom formula. I was amazed at how the quiz really nailed my hair concerns!

As I mentioned above, I have straight, fine, oily hair. The goals for my haircare were to volumize, prevent frizz and thinning, and add thermal protection. Basically, I was hoping my hair would look thicker but still remain smooth and shiny. Plus, I was so thankful to have the anti-frizz component because every Houstonian knows what its like to battle the humidity! They take so many factors into account to solve a myriad of hair issues! The questions covered whether or not my hair was color treated, hair texture and length, scalp sensitivity, hair thickness and moisture, and more! You even get to pick your scent and the strength you want it.

One of my favorite things about the creation process is the fact that Formulate has actual chemists and engineers working on their formulas to ensure they’re perfect for each client. They even include a list titled “ingredient insight” with your package, so you can see some of the ingredients in your shampoo and conditioner and exactly how they’re helping to improve your hair. My other favorite thing about working with Formulate was their customer service. They were consistently checking in with me to confirm that my formulas were working out for me and seeing if anything needed to be tweaked. At one point, I mentioned the scent I received was too floral for my liking, and they immediately reformulated my products and sent a different scented option over. The exceptional customer service wasn’t just because I was collaborating with them either. I truly believe this is how they treat all of their customers!

I have been using my Formulate shampoo and conditioner for a couple of months now, and I’m in love! They have made my hair feel healthier, thicker, and more voluminous with minimal styling.🙌🏻 I just wash and condition my hair according to the instructions they provided, blow dry it wth my favorite blowdryer, and I’m done!

I love that now I have the perfect hair products created JUST for my hair type, and I would love for you to have the same experience! Using the link below, you can enter to WIN your own set of custom shampoo and conditioner from Formulate! I just know you’ll love it as much as I do…plus, think of all the time you’ll save not having to wander up and down the hair aisles. 😉

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY HERE!

This post was created in collaboration with Formulate, but, as always, all opinions are my own.

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Best Walt Disney World Accessory Under $15 – Magic Band 2 Puck Holder

A quick google search will prove there are literally thousands of Disney accessories out there you can buy. From ears to bracelets to handbags to scrunchies…the list goes on and on! I wanted to share one of the most useful AND least expensive things I’ve purchased that made our Walt Disney World vacation so much smoother! A Magic Band 2 Puck holder!

If you aren’t familiar with Magic Bands, they are bracelets you wear at Walt Disney World that function as your park ticket, hotel room key, form of payment, Fastpass+, and more! Basically they streamline almost everything you would need to use at Walt Disney World into these colorful little wristbands. When you receive your Magic Bands, they come in the packaging below and look like this. You can definitely just wear the Magic Band like a bracelet, and they function perfectly! We’ve done this on several previous trips.

However, this trip, we had our Apple Watches for the first time, and the idea of wearing more than one thing on my wrist didn’t really appeal to me. Enter Magic Band puck holders. In a Magic Band the oval-shaped area where you see the Mickey head can be unscrewed and popped out of the band. That little puck is what holds all of your information and gets scanned throughout the Disney Resort, so it’s the only “important” piece of the Magic Band.

These puck holders came with a tiny screwdriver to unscrew and pop out the puck, and after that I simply slid it into the holder and onto my Apple watch band! The whole process took seconds, and my puck stayed snug it its little holder our entire trip.

This could be a great solution for anyone else wanting to minimize their wrist accessories for the parks. It’s also a great idea if you’re traveling with little ones, and you’re worried they may take off and lose their Magic Bands. You can easily add their pucks to your band for convenience (and piece of mind!). As you can see, I went with a red puck holder to match my puck, Louis got classic black, and there are tons of other colors to chose from! Even if you don’t use an Apple Watch, I think these would work on FitBits or any bracelet that can be unclasped (so you can slide the puck holder on).

What are you favorite accessories to bring on a Disney trip?? I’d love to hear in the comments!

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Easy Weeknight Marinara Recipe

To me, nothing tastes as delicious as homemade marinara. Trust me, I won’t ever turn down a jar of Ragu, but sometimes it doesn’t hit the spot like fresh spaghetti sauce. However, I always thought marinara was complicated to assemble and had to spend an entire day simmering on the stove to turn out delicious. How wrong I was! My sweet friend Anne shared this delicious recipe with me, and I’ve since shared it with my mom and sister…we all love it! With only 5 ingredients and 30 minutes cook time, it really couldn’t be easier!

Ingredients

  • 1 large can whole peeled tomatoes (I always check to see if these are from Italy…no clue if that makes a difference, but it can’t hurt, right? 😂)
  • 8 garlic cloves diced (I typically use an entire head because you can’t ever have too much garlic, right?)
  • 1 TBS Italian Seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp Salt (or more to taste)
  • Basil (1 spring of fresh basil or 1/4 tsp of dried basil)

Directions

  • Crush up the tomatoes with your hands.
  • Heat 1/4 cup of Olive Oil over medium heat in a large pot
  • Add garlic and cook until fragrant (just about a minute)
  • Add in tomatoes with their juice
  • Add salt, Italian seasoning, and basil
  • Simmer covered for 30 minutes
  • Serve over your favorite pasta!

You can also add in ground beef, Italian sausage, or ground turkey (yuck.) if preferred. Note that you may need to adjust the salt or spices. I love to serve this marinara with homemade pasta, and I’m sure it would work wonderfully in baked ziti or lasagna as well!

Are there any recipes you thought would need tons of time and effort that turned out to be easy and quick? Let me know below! Also, it’s definitely not as quick and easy, but would you like a post all about my homemade pasta? It’s pictured above, and IT. IS. DIVINE.

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on these links or make a purchase using these links, I may receive a small percentage of the profit at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Hoots of a Night Al!

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Disney After Hours at Animal Kingdom Review

Disney After Hours at Animal Kingdom…is it worth it? What is it? Is it right for my group? In this review, I’ll attempt to answer your questions while sharing the experience Louis and I had at the event. Read on to hear my thoughts!

Disney After Hours at Animal Kingdom is a ticketed event that happens on select nights at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom (duh.). It costs $129 per person ($125 per person if purchased in advance), and allows you access to the park at 7:00 PM. The special event is from 8:30-11:30 PM when the park is only open to event ticket holders. Guests will receive unlimited popcorn, ice cream and bottled drinks and be able to enjoy the attractions listed below.

  • Avatar Flight of Passage
  • Na’vi River Journey
  • Pandora Drummers — Swotu Wayä
  • Expedition Everest — Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
  • DINOSAUR
  • Rivers of Light
  • Tree of Life Awakenings
  • It’s Tough to be a Bug!
  • TriceraTop Spin
  • And more!

Louis and I purchased tickets and attended Disney After Hours at Animal Kingdom on December 12, 2018, and *spoiler alert* WE LOVED IT. It may not be appropriate for everyone’s group, but it was perfect for us and we had an incredible time. We were already in the park before the event began, so we picked up our wristbands as soon as they were available near Discovery Trading Company. Disney cast members checked for these bands throughout the night to ensure only guests that had purchased tickets were enjoying the event.

Our main goal of the evening was to ride our favorite, popular rides as many times as possible since every ride had little-to-no wait time. We knocked out It’s Tough to be a Bug! and DINOSAUR first, since we wanted to spend most of our evening in Asia and Pandora. After DINOSAUR, we stopped for our first “complimentary” snacks in Dinoland U.S.A. We were happy to find popcorn, Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bars, Mickey Ice Cream Sandwiches, Strawberry Fruit Bars and bottled drinks. We grabbed a little bit of everything and set off to find the Yeti on Expedition Everest.

We were able to hop on and off Expedition Everest TEN times breaking occasionally for more free snacks (and/or to keep from barfing) and there was NEVER a wait. On a few expeditions, we were on an almost empty train! Expedition Everest is always one of our favorite rides, but it takes on a special quality at nighttime with the uplighting on the mountain and the extra dark interior sequences. We even caught part of a Rivers of Light performance from the mountain at one point! When we finally had our fill of Everest, we headed over to Pandora — The World of Avatar.

We had been in Pandora earlier in the day when it was swarming with guests, and it was amazing to see the land almost entirely empty. The lighting is beautiful and the atmosphere of the area is much easier to appreciate when you are some of the only people present. Our first stop was the Na’vi River Journey. Throughout our trip, the wait for this ride never dropped below 60 minutes, but at Disney After Hours we were able to walk on the ride, and ride it back-to-back in our own private boat! While the Na’vi River Journey is relaxing and beautiful, I wouldn’t want to wait an hour for it, so riding it during this event was the perfect solution.

Finally, we set our sights on Avatar Flight of Passage. This ride is INCREDIBLE and unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. If you’ve ridden it, you know what I mean, and if you haven’t, you simply have to try it! Since Pandora is still a new land (and this ride is so amazing), the wait times are always astronomical and Fastpass+ reservations are hard to come by. We snagged two Fastpass+ reservations for our trip, but we knew we would want to ride it much more. Multiple banshee flights during After Hours was the perfect solution! We squeezed in FIVE flights in around an hour, and it really sealed the deal that the Disney After Hours event was worth the money to us! The cast members even let us loop right around back into the pre-show, so we didn’t have to traverse the massive queue each time. Once we had our fill of Flight of Passage, the After Hours event was almost over. We grabbed as many free bottled drinks as we could carry, sprinted back for one last Expedition Everest ride, and then the event ended! Louis obliged my desire for some empty park pictures in front of the Tree of Life, and we caught the last bus back to our resort.

As you may have gathered, we LOVED our Disney After Hours experience. I wanted to share some tips in case you are considering if it’s a good addition for your trip!

Eat dinner before the event begins. Since you only get three hours in the park without other guests, you don’t want to waste prime ride time eating (unless it’s free snacks as you run between attractions!). I’d recommend our forever favorite Flame Tree Barbecue or the new, yummy Satu’li Canteen (pictured below!).

Enjoy any attractions or shows that won’t be open during the event between 7:00 PM and Animal Kingdom closure. Everything we were looking forward to was open during After Hours, but this is something to be aware of!

Consider the heights of everyone in your group before deciding if this is a good value for you. DINOSAUR, Flight of Passage, and Expedition Everest all have height requirements between 40-44″, so if everyone in your party isn’t tall enough to ride, it may not be worth your money to attend Disney After Hours in Animal Kingdom.

Stock up on those “free” snacks! We ate and drank occasionally throughout the evening, but before leaving we grabbed as many bottled drinks as we could carry. Literally. They’re unlimited, so it’s best to get your money’s worth! We loaded up our backpack, threw them all in our mini fridge at the resort, and drank them the rest of our trip instead of buying them in the parks! At Disney, a bottled soda is $4.50 and a bottled water is $3.50, so we “saved” quite a bit by stocking up when these were unlimited.

Make sure to soak up the ambiance as you walk throughout the park. Animal Kingdom is possibly the most beautiful park at Walt Disney World and the lighting and music really make it extra magical in the evening. One of my favorite parts of the night was walking hand-in-hand with Louis through the empty walkways in each area of the park. It was beautiful!

When all was said and done, we calculated that Disney After Hours in Animal Kingdom cost us under $5 a ride. Considering the cost of a Walt Disney World trip, we figured that was a great value for our time. Granted, we are only a couple, and this event would cost much more for a family. If you’re interested in Disney After Hours, but don’t love Animal Kingdom as much as we do, you may want to consider the events at Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios (there isn’t one at Epcot yet!).

Have you attended a Disney After Hours event? Let me know what you thought, and which event we should try on our next trip!

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Christmas Gift Idea: Fully Customizable PurpleTrail Planners

This post was sponsored by PurpleTrail, and I am thrilled to share their amazing products with you!

Christmas is just over a month away, and do you know what comes a week after Christmas? A NEW YEAR! That means new goals, new routines, and new dreams, and you know what goes perfectly with those? A new planner! A customized planner would make the perfect gift for anyone this Christmas, and PurpleTrail recently reached out to me to tell me all about their amazing planner selection

First of all, PurpleTrail planners are TOTALLY customizable. I don’t mean that in the way other brands do like you can add your name or pick between three preselected colors. I mean it in the TOTALLY customizable sense. Initially, you can select between their coil bound planners or their gorgeous, new library-quality, lay-flat sewn planners! I personally haven’t seen any other customizable hardback planners like these, and I think they add such a beautiful, professional touch.

In addition to various styles of planners, they also offer various layouts. For example, if you’re a big picture kind of planner, opt for the monthly planner style (hello, wedding planner!). If you like to list out every detail, maybe the daily planner is better for you. Somewhere in between? Go for the weekly planner! If you want to get even more specific, Purple Trail also offers specialty layouts. These are great if you’re gifting a planner to someone because you can shop by categories including: Mom/Parent Planners, Teacher Planners, Student Planners, Meal Planning, and more! They have truly put thought into each planner style to ensure the user gets the most value out of it.

Once you have decided on the perfect planner style and layout, the fun part begins…choosing the cover! PurpleTrail offers a plethora of gorgeous options from simple and chic to fun and artistic. However, if you don’t see anything that suits your vibe, you can totally customize your own cover! They have easy-to-use templates, where you can select everything from colors to fonts and even add your own photos. I love how much you can edit and personalize their templates to really capture your own style. If you get a coil bound planner you can even select between a hard book cover, laminated cover or sturdy synthetic cover. Each variety adds a different look to your planner

Does this all sound so awesome that you can’t even wait until January to start using one? No worries! You can order it right now and have it start in December! The great thing about PurpleTrail planners is that you can select any month for the start! I’m totally eyeing the planner below, and I can’t wait to customize it, so I can organize and plan my entire life! How beautiful is that pink ombre?

If you’re worried a planner is something too personal to order for someone, PurpleTrail also offers gorgeous journals, fun notebooks, beautiful stationary sets, and much, much more! Take a look around their site, and comment below telling me what you plan to purchase! 

Happy shopping! 

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