Oh Hey Friday: I’m Going to Disney World!!

Yep, you read that right!  This weekend I will be strolling down Main Street USA and frolicking around Epcot’s World Showcase.  I cannot wait to be back in my happy place.  It has been far too long since I’ve had what I like to call a “Disney fix” and this is just the right time.

So in honor of the fact that I’m going to the Happiest Place On Earth, I thought its ould be appropriate to dedicate my Oh Hey Friday post to the top 5 things I’m looking forward to most this weekend! 🙂

[one] Seeing all of my best friends from my second Disney College Program!  We’re all getting together this weekend for a Bachelorette Party for our friend Kelly.  She’s getting married in December and asked 3 of us to be bridesmaids but all 6 of us will be reunited and I am so excited for that to happen!  We haven’t all been together since 2009!  It’s always been 3, 4, or 5 of us…never the 6 of us.  SO YAY!

[two] Getting to re-create these two pictures.  They are two of my favorites!

[three] Going to Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival.  If you’ve never heard/been to it.  It’s a month and a half long event that happens everyday at Epcot.  The park puts up all kinds of kiosks dedicated to the countries of the world in the World Showcase.  Each kiosk offers foods, wines, beers, etc from that particular country.  It is one of Epcot’s best events every year and it’s getting bigger and better every year.

[four] I’m so excited to see the new additions to Magic Kingdom.  We won’t be spending a ton of time in Magic Kingdom, I’ve promised my friend we would be in and out.  I just want a few pictures of the 5 of us in front of Cinderella’s castle with my fancy cam!  And because they love me they will indulge me.  As long as we are literally in and out.

[five] Just being there.  My life revolved around Disney World from 2008-2014.  And there is nothing like going back for a visit.  So much has changed since I’ve been gone and I cannot wait to see it all!

Be sure to follow me on Instagram so you can follow along on our fun this weekend!  
Hope your weekend is MAGICAL! I know mine will be! 🙂
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A Wedding Weekend!

Hello Hello Friends!

I didn’t have the energy to pop out a post for Monday.  So I decided to share all about my amazing wedding weekend today instead.


This last weekend was without a doubt the busiest I’ve had in MONTHS.   There was absolutely zero time to lay around and watch obscene amounts of TV.   It was an on the go weekend and I loved every single minute of it.

I traveled all the way to Ohio for one of my best friends wedding.  Siad friend actually has a blog of her own, Jordan who blogs over at Former Kennedy.

Here were the wedding weekend highlights:

– Got to fly on a plane.  I LOVE airports and flying and travel in general.

– Got to see downtown Chicago from the sky.  Now that I’ve spent a good chunk of time in one of Chicago’s airports, I’m dying to see the rest of the city.

– Saw tons of Florida friends and got to have a lovely catch up session with each of them.

– Got to wear a pretty dress and get my hair and make up done.

-Cried at least a dozen times throughout the rehearsal dinner and actually wedding.  The amount of love between the bride and groom is so great.  Everyone was so happy and full of joy throughout the entire weekend.

– Took about a 100 different picture with the bride and groom and the rest of the bridal party and loved every minute of it.

– Watched as one of my best friends married the man of her dreams and got a new last name.

– Instagram-ed the crap out of the beauty that is Ohio in October.  Seriously y’all you have not seen fall until you’ve seen fall in the North.  We don’t have fall in Texas like they do in Ohio.  This basic girl was in heaven.

– Saw all four seasons happen in one day.  The wedding day started bright and sunny with clear sky’s, then it became a little overcast, and THEN it started SNOWING!!!! Yep you read that right, it snowed on Jordan’s wedding day.  My thin Texan blood handled it pretty well considering it was in the 90s last week.

– Danced pretty much every single dance the DJ played.

– Witnessed the sweetest first dance ever.  Jordan had her best friend growing up sing their first dance song.

– I CAUGHT THE BOUQUET!!!  And then experienced the most embarrassing thing ever.  They had they guy who caught the garter slid it up my leg.  The DJ said that if it was placed above my knee up on my thigh then the bride and groom would have good luck throughout their marriage or something like that.  I honestly think the guy who caught the garter was more embarrassed than I was.  His face turned bright red.

– Almost got stuck overnight in Chicago on my way back to Texas.  But the airport Gods must have been smiling down on me because a seat opened up and I was able to make it home on Sunday by about 8:45pm.

Everyone had a fantastic time.  The decor was gorgeous, the food was tasty, the DJ played all the right music, and the like I said there wasn’t a dry eye in the house most of the day/night.  Overall it was a beautiful wedding!

Well done Jordan! 🙂

Can’t wait for my next one!

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Vatican City: The Smallest Country in the World

The second half of our full day in Rome was spent touring the smallest country in the world.  Vatican City.  I am not Catholic, but I have always been fascinated by the traditions of the Catholic Church and by the history of the Catholic Church.  (Thank you Showtime for feeding that fascination with The Tudors and The Borgias.)  So I was very excited to sign up for our last and final excusion of our two week European Adventure.  
We started our tour exploring 2 of the 7 Vatican museums.  There is absolutely no way you would be able to see all the Vatican has to offer in just 1 day.  I’m pretty sure I could have gone back for 3 days in a row and STILL not seen everything.  But the bits we did get to see were truly amazing.  
After walking through the museums entrance and up it’s spiral staircase we entered the main courtyard of the museum and greeted the following sites.
The only negative thing about our time in the courtyard was that there was absolutely zero shade and our tour guide stood in front of a collection of billboards with images of the Sistine Chapel on them.  He used them to explain every thing we would be seeing once we got inside the chapel since you’re not allowed to talk while you’re in there.  

After that we traveled into the museum itself.  Now I wish I could say that I remember the name of every single statue, painting, mural, tapestry, and sculpture you are about to see but sadly I cannot.  Especially since this post is coming to you 3 months after my trip.  So just enjoy the pictures and if I remember the name anything I’ll be sure to throw it in! 🙂


This is the first sculpture we stopped at and I do actually remember this one.  It is a sculpture of the Greek God Apollo.  The sculpture’s official name is Apollo Belvedere and was created during the Classical Antiquity period.  It was found in Italy during the 15th century. 
I was amazed by all the mythological, both Greek and Roman, paintings and sculptures found around the Vatican’s museums.  Especially since the Vatican is considering the holiest place in the Christian world (for Catholics anyway).

I loved this view once we left the Roman and Greek mythology section of the museum and moved on to the Ancient Egyptian section.  In the back ground is a sculpture of the Greek God Hercules (one of my favorite Disney movies).  I loved the view because is showcases two different periods in ancient history.  But they seem to seamlessly flow together when you look at them from this angle. 

Our tour guide said this was a coffin for a young child probably from a wealthy Roman family.  I love the detailing on both the coffin above and the item below.

These were tapestries, hand sown during the 12th and 13th centuries. Both depicting scenes from the Bible.  There were at least 5 rooms with floor to ceiling tapestries.

This was the ceiling in a room called the Hall of Maps.  It’s a mixture of 3D paintings and moldings trimmed in gold.  Along the walls were maps of Italy drawn from each major century, from the 12-18th centuries.

It was one of my favorite rooms in the museum!

This room was dedicated to the Virgin Mary.  It held a collection of books spread throughout Christendom after it was determined by the Church that Mary’s immaculate conception of Jesus was free from the stain of original sin.  

After viewing the room dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it was finally time to see the Sistine Chapel. This is the Pope’s official chapel and as such you are not allowed to talk OR take photographs.  I did ok at the no talking part.  But I couldn’t help myself when it cam to the no pictures part.  I was very sneaky though and luckily none of the guards, who kept yelling “SILENCE”  it got too loud in the chapel from all the whispering going on, caught me.

So here is my contraband picture, taken via the front facing camera of my iPhone, of the Sistine Chapel, designed and painted by the famous Michelangelo (the painter, not the turtle).

After viewing the Sistine Chapel, we made our way through St. Peter’s Square and into St. Peter’s Basilica.  Which has to be one of the most beautiful churches I have every seen.  Thank you, Michelangelo.  He was tasked by the Pope to create the church, even though apparently he had been working on another project at the time.  But when you’re summoned by the head of the Church I guess you have to listen.

Thankfully, pictures were allowed inside the church as long as you didn’t use a flash.

This sculpture was also designed by Michelangelo and is called the Pieta.  It is a recreation of Mary holding Jesus after the Crucifixion. I remember having my students look at a picture of this when we studied the Renaissance period in World History.  Seeing it in person is 100% better than seeing it in a photograph.  It is placed behind a pane of bulletproof glass because in 1972 a man came in with a hammer, yelling “I am Jesus Christ, I have risen from the dead”, and destroyed a good portion of Mary.

This is also one of the only works that Michelangelo actually signed.  He did so because a few people had mistakenly given credit to another artist for the creation of the sculpture.  His name is placed directly across Mary’s chest.  I couldn’t see it and sadly my camera lens did not zoom enough for me to get a view of it.

This is the main pulpit in the Vatican and only the Pope is allowed to preach from it.  There are smaller chapels surrounding the main area of the church where cardinals and bishops may deliver sermons from but only the Pope is allowed to deliver them from this one.

There are a series of mosaics around the church that are utterly breathtaking.  They look like paintings from far away but when you get up close you can see that really it’s a series of thousands of pieces of colored glass.  I love how rich the color is and how detailed they are.

Well there ya have it.  A just a few of the highlights of the inside of the church.  We then had a few minutes to explore the courtyard where the Pope does his public appearances.  And the area the rest of the world sees on TV at various times throughout the year.

Our tour guide told us that Pope Francis has made 2016 a pilgrimage year.  So Rome will be expecting millions of pilgrims come next summer.  Thank goodness we chose last summer to go to Rome rather than next summer.

That tiny little chimney you see in the back is where the white and black smoke come out when a new Pope is chosen.  I kept having flashes of the movie EuroTrip while we were exploring the courtyard.

Overall I was blown away by the smallest country in the world.  The amount of history in this place is unreal and as a history buff I was soaking in as much of the information our tour guide had for us as possible.  Even if you’re not Catholic or super religious you will enjoy exploring all the country as to offer.

I would highly recommend having a tour guide with you  because there is so much to see that it can get overwhelming.  And definitely buy your tickets in advance.


Well there ya have it.  A complete recap of my epic European Adventure.  I still can’t believe the trip has come and gone already.  I am already planning where in Europe I want to go summer after next.  After seeing some of the highlights I want to see the rest! 🙂

Linking up for Travel Tuesday!

A Little Blogging Break!

Hi Friends!

Just want to let you know that I’m taking a little break from blogging this week.

I just need a little brain break from my little space of the internet.  But I fully intend to come back in full force next week!    I have some really excited stuff coming up in the next few weekends and I cannot wait to share everything with y’all!

Have a great rest of your week! Catch ya on Monday!

Enjoy my two favorite pictures from London this summer…..just because! 🙂

Currently [October]

Feeling…. Tired and excited.  Tired because school is coming and going fast and furious.  I mean it’s OCTOBER!!  And the first 6 weeks are already over.  The days are long and nights are far too short.  I feel like I’m not getting enough sleep!  I’m excited because the next two weekends are going to be AH-MAZING!  Jordan’s wedding is next and Disney World Bachelorette Party is the next.  Lots of travel and lots of fun!

Reading…. Nothing. Sadly. I’m itching to read a new book and haven’t found one that’s grabbed my attention since I read The Royal We…..so….I need suggestions! Book suggestions! Throw some of your favorites at me so I can make up a good reading list.

Drinking….Water/Ice that used to be a Dr. Pepper from Chick-Fil-A!

Watching…. Last weeks How To Get Away With Murder.  I swear it’s one of the best fall shows on TV.  Keeps you guessing the entire time.  If you haven’t seen it….you need too.  SO good.

Thinking about…. Student grades, Disney World, Weddings, the fact that in a few weeks I have to start coaching basketball: a sport I have never played nor really know anything about, oh and my gorgeous wreaths my friend Ashtyn made me this weekend!  In case you didn’t get to see them Monday, here they are again.  I’m obsessed! 🙂

Wearing….Volleyball practice attire.

Working on…. This post and lesson plans.  Next weeks lessons plans have to be finished by tomorrow.  I have a few more days to finish up.

Cooking….  Pasta dishes.  In the last two weeks I’ve made two different pasta dishes that have been so tasty.

Looking…. At fall clothes I’m dying to add to my wardrobe.  J-Crew and Old Navy have some fantastic fall clothes available.

Wishing…. For cooler weather.  It may officially be fall but Texas has clearly not gotten the message.  It’s HOT!

Loving…. Pumpkin everything…like any good basic girl does during this time of year.  I have a Pumpkin scented glade plugin in my classroom and I love having the kids tell me….”It smells good in here Ms. Norris!”  Why yes….yes it does.

Laughing at…. these funnies:


Have a great Wednesday friends!
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The Eternal City: Roma!

ROME!  Just hearing the name has gladiators, gods, togas, Latin, and Dean Martin flashing through my head.  We arrived in the Eternal City in the early afternoon after a quick train ride from Venice.  As we sped past vineyards and sunflower fields….Y’all the SUNFLOWER fields were amazing.  I was itching to get off the train with my camera and have a photo shoot in those fields. Ok sorry, got sidetracked thinking about the sunflower fields.
Anyway, after checking into our hotel which was located right across from the Ponte Sisto bridge one of the oldest bridges in the city, we started exploring.  Now Rome doesn’t not have any public transportation.  At least now in the sense that London, Paris, and Amsterdam do.  We were told that the best way to get around was to either walk or take a taxis.  And since we only had two days (really a had and half) we had to make the most of our afternoon in the city.
So we took out our map and made a plan.  Mostly because I had no desire to wander around Rome and not know where we were going and risk not getting to see the things we wanted to see.  Here was our plan:
        Head to the Pantheon via one the major piazzas (which I cannot remember the name of), take a taxi to the Trevi Fountain, and then walk back to the hotel from the fountain.  Sadly we didn’t have time to make it to the Spanish Steps.  But hey, that means I have something to see next time.    And the next day we knew we would be seeing the other major attractions.  So we were able to really enjoy our afternoon and evening getting to see the city by foot!
And now it’s time to let the pictures do the talking! 🙂

The Pantheon was so neat!  Especially the hole in the middle of the dome.  Which according to Google (we didn’t have a tour guide so we settled for the next best thing) architects cannot figure out how the Romans created it.  Apparently its an architectural marvels.  As it should be because it was cool!  This is also where the first president of Italy is buried and where the painter Raphael is buried (that’s the artist not the ninja turtle!)

After the Pantheon we jumped in a taxi, our one and only taxi of the entire trip mind you, and headed to the Trevi Fountain.  We had heard that it’s been under construction for the last year and half and that it was finished.  It was half done.  Luckily is was done enough that we could see the back portion of the fountain but the fountain itself was still drained of water and had walls around it.  See through walls but walls nonetheless.  Regardless it was neat to see, but we didn’t linger.  We were on a mission for an ornament and some food so after a few quick pictures we moved on!

After a delicious Italian dinner we headed back to the hotel.  I had seen on the internet that our hotel had a rooftop balcony that had a pretty sweet view of St. Peter’s Basilica.  And boy did it.  I was able to snap a few good pictures of the view, but this was by far my favorite!  Jenny and I had a bellini (a 10 dollar one! Talk about pricey!  That was the only alcoholic beverage we purchased from the hotel btw.)

I have no idea where I was when I took this picture.  But its a good one so I included it! 🙂

Day two in Rome was by far the busiest and the most interesting.  Our tour guide had the most fascinating stories about the city itself and he was a good storyteller so listening to him tell us all about the city and the Vatican was great!

For example, my favorite piece of history (well it’s probably more of a fact than history but whatever) I learned was the fact that Ancient Rome is actually buried about 30ft or so below what is modern day Rome.  I’m sorry what?! So cool!  All the ancient parts of Rome that we see today have been excavated and semi-restored.  In addition to that, there is constantly archeological digs happening around the city because people are always stumbling on ancient ruins.  When that happens the city takes over and determines where or not the ruins that have been found are of great importance.  If they are then the city takes control of the area and the excavating starts!  I mean how cool is that?!!!

We really didn’t have much time to see a whole lot save for the major attractions on day two but what we did was amazing.  Our first stop of the day was a guided tour of the Colosseum.  Which was truly a wonder.  I’ve always been fascinated with Roman history but there are so many stink in emperors that it’s hard to lee p them all straight.  The history nerd in me was salivating as we were told the history of such an important building to the Roman way of life.

I thought about giving you some details that I learned, but you know what, you can Google it and I’ll show off all the great pictures I took it instead! 🙂

View of the Arch of Constantine from the Colosseum. 

After the Colosseum, we headed to part of the Roman Forum.  Sadly we didn’t get to explore too much of it because we had to book over to the Vatican for our guided tour of that.  But my feelings for the forum were pretty much the same as when I was in the Colosseum.  The history nerd in me was jumping up and down.

According to our guide, a temple to the Roman God Jupiter aka Zeus used to sit behind that last yellow building you see in the distance.  For some reason this was so neat to me! Sadly we did not get to go and explore the inside of the Forum as we saw others doing but just being there was great.  Gives me something to explore next time!

Out last night in Rome was perfect.  We had a great last dinner with the rest of out tour group, we walked along river bank which just a hop, skip, and a jump from out hotel, and we snagged some perfect pictures. We really hit the jack pot as far as tour groups goes.  I have a whole review of Go Ahead Tours planned for next Thursday, so if you’re interested in taking a tour with them, be sure to come back then so you can read my review on the company itself! 🙂

As I’ve already said I LOVED Rome.  Much more than I thought I would.  It is definitely a city that I want to return to someday.  And it was the perfect ending to our European adventure!

I still have one more post coming about the trip!  I decided to dedicate a whole post to The Vatican since it is its own country and I took about 300 pictures of the 3 museums we were in alone.  So come back next Tuesday!

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