Looking back & ahead: New Year’s resolutions

 

I love the idea of a fresh start. The notion of reinvention and rebirth is fascinating and inspiring, and it’s something I think about often. That’s one of the reasons I love this time of year. Like most people, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting as the year draws to a close. Things I accomplished, things I learned, things I’m proud of, and things I could do better in the new year.

Here, I want to explore some of those and share what I’m aspiring to do in 2019.

2018 in review

What I’m proud of…

  • Finished writing my first book
  • Had my manuscript requested by agents
  • Launched my blog (woohoo!)
  • Transitioned my Instagram to a business account, focusing on Disney content
  • Completely revamped my mindset
  • Found joy in simple things
  • Started writing my second book

Lessons…

  • Happiness starts with the internal – not external. It’s on you.
  • Don’t let negative opinions dim your shine.
  • It’s scary to put yourself out there, but it’s so worth it.
  • Toxicity and negativity have no place here anymore.

Looking to 2019 

Goals…

  • Maintain a healthier lifestyle
  • Finish and revise my second book
  • Read two books a month
  • Buy more pink clothes
  • Keep a positive mindset

In short, my rule for 2019 can be summed up in three words: Good. Vibes. Only. As great as those external resolutions are (being healthy, financial responsibility, etc.), for me, the most important goals have to do with cultivating a good attitude. It’s not always easy, but it is always worth it. For me, it’s been life-changing.

And lastly, I want to say Happy New Year to those who follow and read my blog. I really appreciate it, and I look forward to awesome things coming in 2019!

Have your own goals and resolutions for the new year? Drop them in the comments below!

Happy New Year!

Elizabeth

 

 

Celebrating Christmas in Orlando!

211A2A98-0936-4E36-A64F-296F4D8FE766Since Thanksgiving is officially behind us and December is less than 24 hours away, you know what that means. Trees adorned with lights, stockings hung with care, colors of the red/green/silver/gold variety ubiquitously displayed, and of course, Christmas music in the air. This is truly one of my favorite times of year because it conjures up joyful childhood memories and brings family together. And although Christmas is only one day, I try to milk it for a while – weeks, really – in advance to soak up this short, sweet season.

This year will be my second Christmas in Orlando, and so I want to share a few fun, or jolly, things to do in the area to get hyped for Christmas!

#1: Take a ride on The Polar Express

One of my absolute favorite holiday movies is The Polar Express. I used to glance out our window when I was little hoping that the train would pull up in front of the house. Now, there’s no need to keep it to the imagination. The Polar Express Train Ride – Orlando takes riders on a trip to the North Pole from our very own Mount Dora! The ride replicates scenes from the movie, and you even get your golden ticket punched and hot chocolate served by dancing chefs. They do it all – you just gotta believe!

The last train departs on Dec. 30.

#2 Deck the halls – downtown

If you’re in the mood for a more downtown vibe, the city of Orlando is putting on tons of fun holiday events around Lake Eola. From movie screenings to concerts to parades, there’s so much to do to ring in the season downtown.

Events run through the month of December.

#3 Meet Santa at the Mall at Millenia

If you need a cheerful break from gift shopping, stop and take a moment to check out the extraordinary North Pole display at the Mall at Millenia. It’s free, and you’ll get some awesome photos of the jolly old elf! Get there early, though, as wait times to climb up to five hours close to the holiday. Hashtag your Santa photos with #MyMillenia, and you might get featured on their social!

Santa will be there until Christmas Eve.

#4 Take a Disney trip – they have all the Christmas things

OH BOY. You probably saw this one coming. 🙂 Disney World has so many festive activities and shows to get you in the Christmas spirit, and my family has made it a point year after year to visit the happiest place on Earth during the most wonderful time of the year. Whether it’s Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party hosted at the Magic Kingdom, the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, the Sunset Seasons Greetings projection show at Hollywood Studios or the adorable Disney-themed Christmas trees on the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail, there’s no shortage of holiday cheer at Walt Disney World.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – select nights through Dec. 21
Epcot International Festival of the Holidays – runs until Dec. 30
Sunset Seasons Greetings – showing until Jan. 6
Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail – open until Jan. 6

And that’s all I got! I’ve already checked out some of the events on this list, but I have a lot to squeeze in before the big day. Have a Christmas idea or tradition? Leave a comment below, and be sure to follow me on Instagram for holiday fun around the City Beautiful.

XO,
Elizabeth

 

 

Making positivity a priority

DSC_0763I wasn’t always the most positive person.

It wasn’t so much that I was overly negative before, but I’d say I was easily discouraged and highly impatient. Sometimes, I still am (no one is ever going to be perfectly positive), but I have learned to look on the bright side a lot more.

Often, whether it was school or starting a new job, a creeping self doubt would emerge because of internal frustration. Why wasn’t I a master at something as soon as I started? Why did I make mistakes? Did literally everyone know more than I did? This is incredibly flawed and unrealistic thinking, and it’s one of the things that caused a lot of anxiety and negativity in my life.

The good news was that I could change it. And I did.

Choosing to look at life through a positive lens will not only make you happier, but you’ll also become much better at problem-solving, and your work/school/relationships will likely improve.

The truth of it is that being positive is more difficult than being negative. It just is. Having a pessimistic attitude is pretty easy – especially when things aren’t going your way. Giving into discouragement is a breeze when you aren’t employing positive thinking regularly. And, hey, I am still guilty of it.

One thing I’ve learned over the past few months is that it takes strength to be positive and to show that attitude to others. I feel that people who choose to be positive are sometimes viewed as naive or oblivious. But in fact, when faced with adversity, it takes a rock-solid person to say “this is happening, here’s how we’re going to make it better or deal with it.”

Unfortunately, negativity is powerful. There’s no doubt about that. For example, think about your favorite band. Imagine telling someone you love that band, and that person saying “they suck.” How do you feel? Dumb for liking that band? Feeling like you have bad taste? A hesitation to be open and passionate about what you love in the future?

Reject those feelings, and recognize you’re dealing with a negative person. And ultimately, I’m not saying to agree with everyone to appear positive. It’s fine to voice your opinion if you don’t like someone’s favorite band/book/movie, obviously, but frame your thinking and words in a positive way. It’s better for everyone all around.

And most importantly, never let anyone dictate how you feel. Never let anyone dim your light or detract from your passion.

But just as negativity holds power, so does positivity. One of the most powerful things about positivity is its ability to be contagious. I started at my current job almost two years ago, and I was blown away by how positive and encouraging my colleagues were – and are. Sure, there are stressful times where it’s hard to look at the bright side, but they’ve taught me that everything is an opportunity to shine.

All in all, it takes a conscious effort to be a positive person. Sometimes, it’s much easier said than done. But if you take the time to be mindful and intentional with positivity, your life will be a lot better for it.

XO,
Elizabeth

 

 

Prepping for a Disney World visit!

A5DA5C88-755B-42AE-904F-A66CCA26B498As you might know by now, I absolutely love Disney World. I maintain that getting an Annual Pass earlier this year was one of the best decisions I’ve made since moving to Orlando. No matter how many times I visit one of the four main parks, I always find something new and exciting. Whether you’re an Annual Passholder like me, or somebody visiting a park for the first time, I thought I’d offer some tips on prepping for the big day.

#1 Download the Disney World app. Like, right now.

This app is an absolute game-changer. Not only can you view wait times for rides and showtimes, but you can reserve dining, book FastPasses, view annual pass blockout dates, and order food from park restaurants. It’s a necessity.

#2 Get FastPasses!  

It’s not a secret that wait times for Disney rides can get pretty long, so if you have certain rides in mind that you really want to ride, book a FastPass. You can do it directly through the app! I’d recommend doing this as far in advance as possible, as your options will be limited the day of. Keep in mind that for most Passholders, you can only book passes in one park per day. For example, if you get a FastPass for Space Mountain in Magic Kingdom, you can’t get one for Avatar Flight of Passage in Animal Kingdom on the same day. Good to know for park hoppers!

#3 Going to Magic Kingdom? Wait.

Magic Kingdom is my favorite Disney park for so many reasons, but let’s be real. It gets crazy with crowds and wait times. My tip for visiting this iconic park is to wait and go later in the day. Out of the four main parks, it’s the one open the latest (typically closing between 10 p.m. and midnight, depending on the day), so you still have plenty of time to enjoy the sights and rides if you head over in the early afternoon. At this point, you’ll have surpassed the hottest part of the day, lighting will be better for photos, and you’ll be inclined to stick around for the magical firework show since you just got there!

Not a fan of fireworks? Hit up some rides! The wait times plummet during the show, and it’s always cool to be on a roller coaster with fireworks painting the sky.

#4 Remember your parking spot!

As the Disney team members like to remind eager guests on the tram, Disney World has 15,000 parking spots. Usually, my husband will text our row number to me so we don’t forget (ex: Rapunzel 237). If you do it as soon as you park, you’ll have no stress trying to remember it when it comes time to head home.

#5 Pack your Mickey or Minnie ears!

Enough said. 🙂

 

Thanks for reading, and I hope you get to the Happiest Place on Earth soon!

XO,
Elizabeth

 

 

24 things I’ve learned in 24 years

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One thing I can tell you is you’ve got to be free.
– Come Together, The Beatles

Today is my 24th birthday! While I’ll be spending it at a Disney park and eating a boatload of chocolate (shocking!), I also wanted to take this chance to commemorate the last year I can call my early twenties (eek!) with some writing! I’ve compiled a list of lessons I’ve learned over the years – specifically in the past year, as there were a lot of lessons – to share. I still have to remind myself sometimes to take my own advice, and it’s not always easy seeing the bright side, but hopefully this serves as an inspiration.

  1. Change will come. Embrace it.
  2. You always have a choice.
  3. It’s a tough world out there. Cherish the ones you love, and make them a priority.
  4. Your health and happiness are the most important.
  5. Find joy in the simple things.
  6. No, you’re never too old for Disney.
  7. Try to see the positive, even when it’s the hard thing to do.
  8. Say what you need to say. (Stole that from John Mayer, but it’s so true.)
  9. Be honest with yourself and others.
  10. Letting go is hard, but sometimes it’s necessary.
  11. Good communication solves a lot of problems.
  12. Pursue your passions.
  13. Don’t be so concerned with other people’s opinions.
  14. A new attitude can change everything.
  15. Surround yourself with uplifting people and things.
  16. Give the benefit of the doubt – to an extent.
  17. Don’t give up.
  18. Have good posture. It does more than you think.
  19. It’s totally OK to re-watch The Office for the fiftieth time.
  20. Happiness is a work in progress.
  21. If you don’t have confidence in yourself, no one else will.
  22. Everything turns out fine in the end.
  23. Cuddle your cat as much as you can.
  24. Be excited for the next chapter.

That’s it! Thanks so much for being here, and I can’t wait to share even more things I’ll learn being 24. If you have your own personal lessons and inspo, I’d love to hear them! Feel free to comment or email me.

Now I’m going to put on my Minnie ears and eat too many fries.

XO,
Elizabeth