Disney World 2013: Part 1


A couple of weeks ago, Louis and I enjoyed our 4th trip together to Walt Disney World in Florida. As always, it was so fun and magical, and we enjoyed it during Christmas, which is always extra special. We flew out of Bergstrom Airport in Austin on December 3rd, which frustrated me because it was my first time to fly out of that airport, and I was no longer a Bergstrom! 😉 We ate Salt Lick BBQ while we waited for our flight, and I started rereading Mockingjay, while Louis began a recently purchased Ender’s Game. We also tried the Toy Story antibacterial hand sanitizer I purchased just for our trip, and unfortunately realized it smelled like garbage (literally, like a dumpster). Shame on you, Walgreens $1 shelf.IMG_1333A little after we tossed the hand sanitizer, we boarded our plane to head to Orlando! IMG_1335A few hours later we touched down in sunny, HOT Florida! We slipped on our Magic Bands that we had been selected to test and checked in to board our Magic Express to our hotel. (So much magic already…) We picked red and green Magic Bands to celebrate our Christmas trip!IMG_1336We were greeted by a beautiful Florida sunset on our trip to our resort! We checked in at Pop Century and quickly headed to Epcot. It was going to be open late, and we wanted to catch their amazing Christmas fireworks show: Holiday Illuminations.

IMG_1338Before we could get into the park, we had to upgrade our Disneyland Annual Passports to DISNEY PREMIER PASSPORTS. We are BIG TIME, y’all. Basically, this pass allows us to visit any of the Walt Disney World or Disneyland theme parks for a full calendar year. I feel stupidly honored to be this type of passholder. Disney Nerd Alert. (In case it wasn’t obvious yet.)

IMG_1340 IMG_1341Our first stop (after the obligatory entrance shot), was the newly redesigned Test Track. Well…new to us! I think it’s been remodeled for over a year now, but we were excited to try it out! The track is basically identical, but all of the inside elements were changed. It was a lot more modern, and lots of the special effects were really cool! IMG_1342 IMG_1343Our favorite part of the remodel was the ability to design your own vehicle to be tested through each of the trials during the ride. You get to pick everything from the design to the engine to the tires to the color! Louis obviously let me pick the color :). IMG_1344After Test Track, we realized it had been quite awhile since we ate lunch, so we headed to Mexico in the World Showcase to enjoy some “authentic” Mexican food. We ate at La Cantina de San Angel, which was PACKED, but we were able to snag a table right by the World Showcase Lagoon. I enjoyed some yummy nachos, and Louis chowed down on some beef tacos. IMG_1346After dinner we rode Maelstrom in Norway and decided to stake out a spot for Illuminations. During Christmastime, this is probably our favorite nighttime show at the parks. After the regular Illuminations show there is an incredible fireworks finale set to “Let There Be Peace On Earth” that drops our jaws every time. We love it so much we made a point to see it twice on our trip, so I’ll try to add a video in my next post about Epcot! IMG_1350 After Illuminations the park was clearing out, so we took a little bit of time to explore some of the empty showcase pavilions. We strolled around Morocco for a long time, and realized we have never noticed the beautiful architecture and details. Each of the countries represented in the showcase are fully or partially designed and funded by their respective country. Apparently, the KING of Morocco personally selected items and details to be part of the Morocco pavilion in Epcot! I’m not sure if that means there just isn’t much going on over there or if he’s super into Disney, but either way, their pavilion is beautiful! IMG_1351 IMG_1352We made a quick stop in Canada for some obligatory phone booth pictures as well. Apparently, you can actually call the phones in these booths, so if you’re ever lonely or want to check the weather at Epcot give them a ring.IMG_1363 IMG_1364 Each of the 4 parks has its own 65-foot Christmas tree full of lights and ornaments. Epcot’s tree had ornaments representing all of the countries and twinkly multi-colored lights!IMG_1371 IMG_1380

We were pretty pooped at this point from our long day of traveling, so we hopped on the bus back to our resort…sort of. Pop Century’s bus line was crazy long, so we took a bus to the adjoining Art of Animation Resort and simply walked from there back to our room. Aren’t we such savvy Disney travelers? 😉 The Art of Animation is a brand new value-level Disney resort, and it’s really fun! We loved the details and enjoyed exploring the resort as we strolled over to Pop Century.

IMG_3763We were, fittingly, assigned to the 1990’s section of Pop Century, and laughed at many of the pop culture references to the generation we grew up during. I snapped a picture of the stack of floppy disks, and we joked about how most kids these days only know floppy disks as “the save button.” They’ll probably never realize it was something we actually used to use! IMG_3764 We had 5 full days left of exploring the parks, so we quickly hit the hay! I can’t believe we packed so much fun into just a few hours at our first park! It was a great sign for the days to come…

Siggy Autumn

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Yummy Breakfast Tacos

YummyBreakfastTacosA few weeks ago, I made a big batch of breakfast tacos to freeze, so Hoot Hubby and I could have a quick breakfast available on rushed mornings. Here are the quick easy steps that allow for an inexpensive, yummy breakfast for a couple of weeks!

First, gather your supplies. We kept it simple with eggs and sausage, but you could definitely add or substitute other ingredients that appeal to you (cheese, veggies, bacon, potatoes, etc.).

suppliesPrepare and combine your taco filling choices. First, I cracked and scrambled my 6 eggs. Next, I browned 1 pound of sausage. After my sausage was cooked through, I drained the fat and added my scrambled eggs. I continued stirring and combining my eggs and sausage until the eggs were completely cooked. Once my taco filling was finished, I set it to the side while I cooked my tortillas.

Steps 1 thru 4Hoot Hubby suggested making the tortillas for the breakfast tacos fresh. I wasn’t brave enough to make completely homemade tortillas, so I met him in the middle and bought a pack of the raw tortillas that you cook on the stove. The brand that I got was La Abuela, and I found it at Walmart. I’ve also used the HEB brand since then, and they also taste great.

Tortilla Collage


The raw tortillas are very fragile, so be careful! As you can see in the pictures above, I accidentally tore the first one I tried cooking. Don’t worry though, they still taste equally delicious. 🙂 Also note that the tortillas will burn if the stove is too hot (duh). The stove should be on medium to low heat, and the tortilla should be flipped each time it starts bubbling up. Also in the burnt tortilla picture you can see an uncooked spot on the left of the tortilla. When the stove is too hot the tortilla will burn in some spots while other parts remain raw. Make sure all of the tortilla is cooked evenly and none of these raw spots remain. It is okay if there is some slight browning on the tortilla as seen in picture three, just make sure the spots don’t get too dark.

IMG_1066Once the tortillas are cooked, spoon the desired amount of taco filling into the tortilla and roll it up! If you’re eating the breakfast tacos right away, this is your last step, enjoy!

However, we were making a large batch of tacos, so I proceeded to wrap two at a time into paper towels and then place them in Ziploc storage bags in the freezer. Once we were ready to eat them for breakfast, I simply popped them in the microwave for a minute to heat them up! Feel free to sprinkle in some cheese before you heat your tacos or dip them in some salsa for an extra kick!



Half a dozen eggs and a pound of sausage made about 16 breakfast tacos. You could make more (or less) depending on how much filling you use in each taco. Based on the cost of my supplies, I’d say these tacos are less than $.50 each to make! Not too bad, especially when you consider a Whataburger taquito is usually over $2! Hope you enjoy this easy breakfast idea! (And thanks to Hoot Hubby for the idea of making these yummy tacos!)

Siggy Autumn



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Night Al Goes to the Aquarium

NightAlGoestotheAquariumQuite a few weeks ago, Louis and I visited the Birch Aquarium here in La Jolla. We went on an overcast Sunday afternoon and enjoyed a few hours of walking around the building admiring both the amazing sea life and the beautiful views around the aquarium. Being so close to the ocean and being part of the Scripps Research Center and UCSD allows for the aquarium to have several interesting exhibits. And, of course, being built on a cliff less than a mile from the ocean allows for both great views and a large assortment of fish and species to research.

IMG_2162 IMG_2164 BirchAquarium

One of the first exhibits to greet us inside was their assortment of jellyfish. I could have stood there for hours and watched them. They were SO relaxing and serene looking. The coral jellyfish were my 2nd favorite type, and my favorite type were the moon jellies shown in the video I captured.


Another neat area was their Kelp Exhibit, which was one of the largest indoor aquarium tanks I’ve ever seen. They do several daily feeding shows you can watch, and they also have a live stream on their website called the Kelp Cam. I tried to include some children in the picture below so you could get a grasp of how large this exhibit was.


IMG_2182After we admired the kelp for a while, we journeyed over to a different exhibit. There, we saw a cute little fish that was scooping up rocks with his mouth and then spitting them out to form either a pile, a hole, or both??? I snagged a quick video while we observed him. There were no volunteers around for me to ask what he was up to, but we enjoyed watching him for a bit! I feel like I should have added the Rocky theme song to the video or something…too much?

We finally headed outside on the back deck of the aquarium to take in the beautiful views and enjoy the tide pool exhibit. In the tide pool there were different types of starfish and fish you could touch. Some were super slimy, and some were rough and spiky! We “pet” the different species and then stood around awkwardly looking for someone to take our picture 🙂

OutsideCollage AliandLouisOnce we were done on the balcony we headed inside to the seahorse exhibit. The coolest seahorse in my opinion was the Weedy Seadragon. It looked so wispy and fragile and was barely drifting through the water.

WeedySeadragonThere was also a bizarre video in this area explaining that the male seahorses develop the babies in their stomach and give birth to them. The video showed a male seahorse giving birth, and the only way I can describe it is that it looked like he was sneezing out the babies about 15-20 at a time. Seriously bizarre. It’s so crazy how diverse sea creatures are and how HUGE the ocean is. There is SO much of it that is totally undiscovered and unexplored. It’s like an entirely different world!

Our quick, educational visit was a fun way to spend our afternoon! I still have SO many things that have happened that I need to blog about! I’ll try to catch up in the next couple of weeks. Until then!


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La Jolla Life: Part 3

La Jolla Life

Oops! I’ve let too much time go by since my last La Jolla Life post! We’re currently on Week 7 (what!?!) of our summer adventure, so I have a lot to catch y’all up on. We’ve had visitors, explored more, and had several Disneyland excursions, but I’ll save those details for some other posts! Here is a summary of some of the other Cali “adventures” we’ve experienced.

I’ve been spending some time with Louis’s coworker’s wife and daughters while we’re all here for the summer. They have been so sweet to let me “hoard in” on their mother-daughter time! A couple of weeks ago, we spent the day exploring the Westfield UTC Mall and Mt. Soledad. The malls here are basically all outdoor due to the year-round beautiful weather, and I can’t complain!

WestfieldUTCMallWe explored the various shops and ate outdoors at their food court. The mall even had a Tesla store, which doesn’t mean much to me. However, that is Louis’s current dream car as it is apparently masterfully engineered and electric. Naturally, I had to take a picture of the store front for him, and we have since returned to explore the store and dream of future purchases.

After we had our fill of the mall, we drove over to Mt. Soledad. This “mountain” holds a memorial for veterans and offers an amazing panoramic view of all of La Jolla and San Diego.

IMG_2083 IMG_2084 IMG_2089As you can see above, it was a rare overcast day in La Jolla. However, the views were beautiful, and the memorial was very touching. While I will always be a Texas girl at heart, I do love the terrain here. The hills (mountains? cliffs?) offer so many wonderful views regardless of if we’re sightseeing or simply driving around.

Another activity that often occurs when I’m with “the girls” is hairstyling. Below is their youngest daughter’s creation with my hair on the left. She kept saying this was The Princess Style. I also got to try The Princess Jasmine Style and The Princess Belle Style. On the right, I’m proud to claim that fishtail braid. 🙂



Louis and I have also tried a few new restaurants since my last post. The first “restaurant” is none other than Krispy Kreme!

Krispy KremeWe each sampled their glazed donuts because, to us, that should be the heart of any donut establishment. Louis also tried a chocolate iced with sprinkles, while I opted for plain chocolate iced. Overall? Meh. The best part was the cute hat that Louis is modeling above. Now having tried Dunkin’ Donuts (YUCK.) and Krispy Kreme (meh.), I can safely say Shipley’s FAR surpasses any other donut chain. Honestly, that is one of the reasons we are most excited about going home to Texas. 🙂

Another California restaurant we sampled is Islands. Their main menu item is their burgers, but they offer other American food as well.



Their tag line is “Fine Burgers & Drinks.” I think they mean ‘fine’ as in high quality, but to us, it meant ‘fine’ as in yeah…it’s ok. Hah! Our burgers weren’t terrible, but they weren’t anything to write home about either. (I guess they were notable enough to blog about though? 😉 )

After Islands, we decided to branch out and try…wait for it…another burger place! Just kidding! This place does offer burgers, but they have several other options as well. Stacked is a trendy, cool restaurant located in Fashion Valley Mall. The coolest part about Stacked? Each table has an iPad on it, and that’s how you place your order! Everything from drinks to dessert! You can even request for your drink to be refilled from the iPad! The entire meal, I kept saying, “It’s like we’re living in the FUTURE!!!”



The iPads were so awesome and so simple to use. You just “drag and dropped” whatever you wanted to add to your entree, and swiped it to the right if you wanted to remove it. You could also drop things next to your entree if you wanted them on the side. We were even able to pay by simply swiping our credit card on the iPad attachment. If this is the way of the future, waiters and waitresses better start looking for new career paths! Our burgers here were delicious, and we hope to return here before we journey home! The mall it was located at is amazing, too! It is the mall pictured in my intro photo at the top of this post, and it was gorgeous to walk around as the sun was setting.

Another fun thing I wanted to add in this post, is a plug about the Aggie Network! I mentioned how I ran into an Aggie I know at the San Diego Zoo. Since then, I met a sweet Aggie here on a mission trip at our hotel, AND we saw a car with a Former Student Century Club member decal on the back of their Tahoe. I creepily left them the note below on their windshield. Even though they had no way of getting in touch with us, I still wanted them to know there was another unit of the Aggie Network staying at their hotel! Too much? Oh well. The Aggie girl I met at breakfast, said she actually reached out to them as well, and that it was a sweet couple that graduated in 1958! Looks like they’ve been carrying on the Aggie Spirit for quite awhile! Gig ’em!

aggienetworkFinally, I want to give a shout out to all of the landscape artists and gardeners around La Jolla. All of the greenery, succulents, flowers, and general beauty around here is stunning! I keep seeing a particular black succulent that I affectionately coined “the Louis plant.” I said if he was turned into a plant this would be him because it is so beautiful and unique, and his favorite color is black. 🙂



The outside is black, however the inside is a vibrant fuchsia. They grow up on a tan stem, which makes them tall…also like Louis 🙂 Their scientific name is the Aeonium arboreum Zwartkop, and they are also known as “Black Rose.”

black rose


Ok! Whew! That’s a long summary for now! Look for more posts soon including details about other experiences we’ve had here! Thanks for checking in…I’ll try to post more this week!






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God Bless America & Disneyland

Fireworks Instagram

Since Louis & I are in Cali, we couldn’t attend my parents annual 4th of July Party this year. To distract ourselves from that, we decided to spend our Independence Day at Disneyland. Nothing’s as great as being with family, but we definitely had a fun day! Since we are in a hotel, I didn’t get to decorate for America’s Birthday. To appease my pain, I decided to decorate my body as much as I could. Okay, that sounded weird. What I mean is, I wore red, white, and blue eyeshadow and painted my nails navy and glitter! It was probably too much, but when else can you be that patriotic and not be judged?

Red, White, & Blue Eyeshadow!
Red, White, & Blue Eyeshadow!

For anyone DYING to recreate this American look, the products are as follows: Blue-Ulta eyeshadow, Red-Urban Decay Gash, White-MAC Blanc Type. My eyeliner is Maybelline Unstoppable Eyeliner in Onyx, and my mascara is Maybelline Falsies in Blackest Black.

American nails!
American nails!

For my nails, I painted two coats of Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Navy Baby. Once that dried I added a stripe of Essie Beyond Cozy for some American sparkle.

Don’t worry, I don’t always do my makeup and nails this obnoxiously, but I figured I might as well go all out for the 4th!

Louis and I headed to Disney California Adventure first, so we could ride the thrills over there before heading to Disneyland for fireworks! It was a beautiful, sunny, hot day. We rode Tower of Terror THREE times without a wait! I guess everyone wanted to spend their day in Disneyland, and we were happy to have DCA to ourselves.


After Tower of Terror, we enjoyed the Disney Animation Academy building (a nice break from the heat), Toy Story Mania (Louis’s fave), California Screamin’ (another great way to cool off…it’s speedy!), and Soarin’ over California (one of my faves). Those are all favorites of ours, so I’m happy we were able to enjoy them! We figured Disneyland may reach capacity for the fireworks, so we headed over there around 3:30 PM to enjoy more rides. We grabbed lunch right away (corn dog for me! Yummmmm.) and enjoyed some people watching in Frontierland. After a bit of relaxation, we headed to ride Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion. Is there a better way to celebrate Independence Day than with Pirates and Ghosts? We didn’t think so. By then it was almost 6:00, so we decided to get a spot for Mickey’s Soundsational Parade.


The parade was cute and a fun way to see several of my favorite characters. We also had a great view of  Sleeping Beauty Castle and of Matterhorn Mountain.



As you can see, it was a beautiful, blue sky day! Another thing it was that day? CROWDED. The fireworks were scheduled for 9:30 PM that night. Louis and I assumed we could stake out a good spot around 8:00 PM. However, when we got our seats for the parade at 6:00 PM, there were already people saving seats for the fireworks! Even crazier, we talked to the people sitting behind us, and they had been saving their benches since 8:00 AM!!! They hadn’t gone on any rides or anything! They took turns grabbing food and using the restroom, and that was it! Louis and I weren’t that insane, but we decided to stay put to keep our spots for the fireworks show. While Louis saved our seats, I grabbed him a Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar and a nice cold Coca Cola to wash it down (along with some Space Mountain FastPasses!). The crowds were so crazy and thick, that it was almost impossible for me to get back to him!


The time went by surprisingly fast as we chatted with the fellow Disney lovers sitting around us. We all exchanged stories, tips, and memories, and had a great time. Soon the castle was lit up for the evening.

Night Castle

Finally, 9:30 arrived and the incredible fireworks show began! The entire thing was probably around 20-30 minutes with speaking interludes, fireworks synced to patriotic music, and projections on the castle. I can’t lie, I definitely teared up a few times, while thinking about how proud I am to be an American! The show was beautiful, whimsical, patriotic, fun, and magical! Everything I have come to expect from Disney! The pictures below are a small sampling of one portion of the show, but they definitely don’t do it justice. The final picture is from the finale, which was obviously too bright and amazing for my iPhone camera to handle! Haha!


When the amazing show came to an end, we headed toward TomorrowLand because I was craving a yummy Mickey Pretzel. We perused the gift shops until our Space Mountain FastPasses were eligible, and then we hopped on our rocket to outer space! Since Louis had work the next day, once our rocket returned to earth, we decided it was time to head home. I passed out kept Louis company on the drive back, and we got back to the hotel around 1:00 AM. After our showers, we fell into bed, exhausted from our long, exciting 4th of July. It was a fun-filled day and a great way to celebrate America!


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