Friends forging a course together through the unexpected

Disney Recap Part 2 February 25, 2015

The next park on our list was Magic Kingdom. We set off early on Saturday morning and still hit the crowds. I was amazed how packed Magic Kingdom was compared to Epcot. Thankfully, despite the crowds we were able to find one my friends who we had planned to meet up with for the day.

First on our plan was Pirates of the Caribbean followed by the Jungle Cruise. I loved the Jungle Cruise! We had so much fun laughing at the corny jokes. Next we hit the Enchanted Tiki Room and Thunder Mountain. Then we went to the Haunted Mansion. With a long line we decided to have our PB&J lunches that we packed and look for a few “Hidden Mickey’s”. After being spooked we headed off to relax on the Blue Line People Mover followed by Peter Pan and It’s A Small World. Peter Pan was probably my favorite ride. I loved being suspended from the top like you were flying over London and Never Land.

It was time to pick up the pace a bit so we checked out Buzz Light Year and Space Mountain. Both were a ton of fun! Especially when I ended up beating Matt’s score on the Buzz Light Year ride. I was shocked he didn’t demand an immediate rematch. We ended our day at the park quite fittingly at the Hall of Presidents.

Hanging out at California GrilleWe headed back to the hotel to drop off our backpacks and freshen up before dinner. One of our splurges was dinner at the Contemporary Resort’s California Grille. Our friends had recommended the restaurant because the food is amazing AND because you can overlook the fireworks from Magic Kingdom from the restaurant’s balcony on the 15th floor.

Our meal started with cocktails followed by sushi for an appetizer. We then paused our meal to enjoy the fireworks. The restaurant dimmed the lights and piped in the music from the show. The views were breathtaking. After the show we ordered our main meals. Matt got the beef tenderloin medallions and I ordered a seafood mole. And of course we saved room for dessert. Matt ordered the cheesecake and I ordered a molten nutella cake. We were both in heaven, the treats were so good! I definitely recommend checking out the California Grille for a great dining experience and for the spectacular views during Magic Kingdom’s fireworks performance.

Next week I’ll be talking about our fun times at Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios!


Brilliance on the Cheap

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 1:10 am
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I haven’t written in a long time which I feel bad about.  I have been working on quite a few things from my aspiration list though so I thought I’d share.  I feel like I am working on these much earlier than usual which is promising for accomplishing more than I’m accustomed to.

  • Did some volunteering this month reviewing resumes for community members who were about to attend a job fair.
  • Kept up with a regular Yoga practice minus a slight break when I had Bronchitis.
  • Saw The Addams Family Musical with Karla at the Mercury Theatre.
  • adamsBought a new to me car and sold the old one (this was very difficult work because I had trouble finding a resource that could tell me all the steps I needed to take. I am working on my own how-to guide so that may show up sometime next month)
  • TiggyOrdered 2 chargers so I have no excuse to not use my currently dead Fitbit
  • Started and halfway finished a sewing project which I will share when it’s fully done. I underestimated the length of time it would take, but now that I had some practice it should be easier.
  • Hosted a Galentine’s Brunch with a heart theme…there was even heart shaped bacon!
  • brunchAttending a Spa party my friend is hosting this Friday and I’m going to try acupuncture for the first time!
  • Created a heart wreath at the end of January and made my own jewelry cleaner yesterday!

Okay I think that is enough updates for one night.  But I did want to share the jewelry cleaner with you real fast.  It was so easy to throw together and the results were impressive!  Here is what you’ll need:

Ah! Look at how dirty that water is!

Ah! Look at how dirty that water is!

1 tbs salt
1tbs baking soda
1tsp dish soap
1 cup warm water
Aluminum foil
Old toothbrush
Dirty Jewelry

  1. Line the bowl with aluminum foil
  2. Place the first 3 ingredients in the lined bowl
  3. Add the warm water (It’s going to fizzle)
  4. Next add the jewelry (The first set of jewelry I did was silver, but then I did a second batch of gold)
  5. Leave it in the solution for 10-15 minutes
  6. Retrieve each piece of jewelry and scrub with the toothbrush
  7. Rinse each piece in water and set it on paper towel to dry.

I must say I was a bit skeptical when I read about this solution on POPSUGAR’s website, but it worked like a charm and I didn’t even have to spend any money on fancy jewelry cleaner!  Try it out some time!


Disney Recap Part 1 February 18, 2015

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 8:42 pm
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Vacation recap time! Matt and I usually escape to Florida in January/February to remember what it feels like to be warm. We arrived on a Wednesday evening to Tampa, Florida. By the time we got back to my parents place it was about 10 p.m. and we were ready for a comfy bed. The next day we had a leisurely breakfast and my mom took Matt and I around their town house facilities. Then we were off to visit my aunt and uncle who also live in Florida before heading out to our main destination…Walt Disney World!

We stayed at Spring Green, which is a military resort on the grounds of Walt Disney World. The hotel provided transportation to all of the parks or if we were up for a little walk, we could jump on the Monorail at the Polynesian Resort across the street. After we checked in and got settled my Mom, Matt and I headed to Downtown Disney.

IMG_2321[1]Our first stop was the Lego Store for some fun photo opportunities with life-size sculptures as well as time for Matt to be a kid again. We looked in at a few other shops before we realized it was time for dinner. After checking our options we settled on Fulton’s Crab House. Our waiter was amazing and hilarious. We had a great time joking around with him and of course, following his recommendations. My mom ordered and enjoyed amazing crab cakes while Matt and I split an order of calamari and fish tacos. The food and drinks were delicious and filling. So much so that we walked around for a little longer before heading back to the hotel.

With a good night’s sleep under our belts we headed to Epcot and boy did we need it! I’m still impressed with everything we fit in one day. It started with Spaceship Earth followed by Captain EO (a must for Matt), Test Track and Mission Space. Before we knew it was time to head over to the World Showcase and meet up with my parents for lunch at Germany. The lunch buffet was great, but not as good as Mom’s home cooking (I’m a little spoiled). Once again with our bellies full we took a walk around the world stopping in at the different shops for trinkets, drink samples and impromptu shows by Disney cast members.

IMG_2338[1]As we were making our loop, a staff member stopped us and gave us two tickets for the fireworks show, IllumiNations, from a private balcony. Score! With time to burn we checked out a few more rides including The Seas with Nemo and Friends and Ellen’s Energy Adventure. We did another loop around the world and caught a few movies at China and France before we grabbed dinner. Hearing live music we stopped in England and enjoyed a cover band rocking out to all the English classics. Once they finished it was time to head down to the private balcony to enjoy IllumiNations. The area couldn’t have been more perfect. Our location was a little island in between England and France at water level. The show was spectacular from that vantage point.

After the fireworks we booked it over to the ride Soarin’. Apparently everyone else had the same idea because when we got there it was a twenty minute wait but by the time we went on the ride it was back up to an hour! During the day it was over an hour and unfortunately we weren’t able to get a FastPass for it. Luckily our plan worked out perfectly.

Stay tuned for next week’s post featuring our adventures at Magic Kingdom!


Finally on the Wall February 4, 2015

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 12:21 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Last year’s aspiration list had an item about creating a new work space at home.  I did buy a new desk and chair, but I never hung all the art I planned to hang.  I have a lot of art accumulated from many a Renagade Craft Fair and a few Etsy shops along the way as well.  It’s all been sitting around waiting for me to display.  I have been slowly purchasing 3M products so that I won’t make any marks on my landlord’s walls (dang those hooks are expensive!)  One day I just laid all the pieces out on my bed along with the frames I have unused around the house.  I measured the length of the desk and placed the measuring tape across the bed and then used that as my starting point for placing everything.  Then I forced myself to create something I liked.  I kept trying to give myself excuses, like I don’t have enough frames, or that the items didn’t go well together.  But I pushed through and made myself hang things up.  I knew I wanted the marquee arrow to point to the print that says, ‘This Little Light of Mine I’m going to Let it Shine.’  I used that as a bit of an anchor and arranged everything else around it.


I used hooks and velcro to hang the heavy frames and the lighter things have a binder clip attached to them and are hung on a clear plastic 3M hooks.  Perhaps I’ll add some more frames after a while, but I actually like the casualness of the binder clips.  Now I actually get to look at the art I’ve worked so hard to choose and collect instead of it gathering dust under my bed.


Cheat Sheet

  1. Light Bulbs by TwoTonePress (I purchased at a Renegade Craft Fair (RFC))
  2. La Petit Prince- by Nacnic (Sorry no longer available in this shop)
  3. Get Your Sh*t Together by Orange Beautiful Design Studio (My sister gifted this to me for a housewarming gift)
  4. This Little Light of Mine, I’m Gonna let it Shine by littlethingsstudio (I purchased at a RCF)
  5. Marque Arrow from Target (Sorry no longer for sale, I bought it a few months back)
  6. It’s Not What the World Holds for You by littlethingsstudio (Sorry no longer available. I purchased at a RCF)
  7. House Key by Ace Hardware (One of a kind!)
  8. A Ship at Sea is Safe, but that’s not what Ships are Built for by Unknown (I can’t for the life of me remember the artist)
  9. 4127 Grove Watercolor- by BlueHousePaperie (Custom watercolor of childhood home, my sister commissioned)
  10. Be Kind Even to Mean People- by TheDetroitCardCo (purchased at a small pop up craft fair)

DIY Gifts- Vanilla Extract & Cookie Jars January 28, 2015

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 1:40 am
Tags: , , , ,

A long while ago, in October I instagramed this photo:


Homemade Gifting 2014 Begins

I did follow through with my plan and I made homemade vanilla extract and cookie jars for my friends.  The vanilla was simple but time intensive so you do need to plan ahead for it.  The cookies were easy to put together and hopefully a nice treat for people who don’t like to measure everything when they are baking.  Here is the finished product:


I didn’t want to post about these before Christmas because it would spoil the surprise, but how perfect would these be for a Valentine’s gift?!  First let me tell you about the vanilla.  I researched this quite a bit because I was amazed you could make your own vanilla extract.  There are exactly 2 ingredients necessary for this creation: vanilla beans and vodka!  I ordered the beans off Amazon.  I planned to use Quart sized Ball jars for the cookies so I grabbed two of them to make the vanilla in.  The first step is to slice the beans lengthwise and then in half.  I had a total of 25 beans.  I will warn you that this process is a bit sticky and awkward since the beans have a tough skin.  After a few beans, I really got the hang of it and it became easier.


I placed have the beans in one jar and then started pouring in the vodka.  Once each jar was filled, I tightened the lids and placed them in a cool dark place.  I bottled on October 26th so there was plenty of time between then and Christmas for the vodka to take in the vanilla flavor.  Each week I would give the jars a good shake so the flavor would be stronger.  When Christmas was pretty close I decided to bottle the vanilla.  I struggled with how to strain the beans, but in the end I used my metal colander and coffee filters.  Once it was filtered, I used a funnel to pour the vanilla extract into the amber bottles and added a bean to each bottle to increase flavor further.

Next piece of my handmade gift is the cookie jars.  The idea here is that each ingredient for a cookie recipe is premeasured and included so all someone has to do is mix the contents of the jar with some butter, egg, and vanilla and their cookies are ready to go in the oven! The hardest part was actually choosing a cookie recipe.  I wanted to choose something I would want to eat so when I found the Christmas Crunch Cookie recipe and the only thing I disliked was white chocolate chips, I decided to go with it.  I simply switched that part of the recipe to milk chocolate chips instead.  The only tip I have here is to make sure to tamp down all the ingredients after you add them to the jar.  You can see in the picture below I used an ice cream scoop.  You can also see in the picture next to it, how much higher the flour is when I didn’t tamp it down.  It was annoying to do, but all the ingredients won’t all fit if you don’t take that step.

jars 1

Last thing was the presentation of the jar.  Since the ribbon on the tags I bought were too short, I just taped the ribbon to the top of the jar’s lid.  Then I decided to use red tissue paper to cover the taped top of the jar.  I started by cutting two layers of tissue into squares.  Then I screwed the lid on to make indentation in the tissue, removed the lid, cut out the new shape of the tissue and screwed the lid back on.  I think they turned out pretty cute!  Lastly, I printed the recipe and taped it to my Joy Tag.

jars 2

If you are interested in this particular cookie recipe, I found it through Pinterest and it linked me to Katy & Abby’s blog- Blue Eyed Bakers.  Here is the recipe.  Remember I changed the white chocolate chips to milk chocolate!

Christmas Crunch Cookies:
The Jar Contains:

¼ cup sugar



½ cup M&Ms

½ packed brown sugar ½ cup rolled oats
1 ½ cups flour ½ cup rice krispies
¾ tsp baking soda ½ cup chocolate chips
¼ tsp baking powder

Beat together ½ cup butter, ½ tsp vanilla extract, and 1 egg in a large bowl.
Add the contents of the jar and stir until well mixed (the dough will be crumbly).
Drop rounded spoonfuls of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350°
for 10-12 minutes until puffed and golden.


Countdown to Disney World January 21, 2015

Eight years have flown by since I first gazed upon Epcot and Magic Kingdom in all their splendor. Our senior year of college, my friend Jill and I decided to spend spring break near Orlando. We went to Discovery Cove, the Strawberry Festival, caught a Detroit Tigers spring training game and, my personal favorite, spent a few days at Disney World!


Flash forward and it’s 2015. I cannot wait to see how much the parks have evolved since my last visit. I’m also excited to build new memories with Matt. I can see us running around like excited little kids and my parents attempting to corral us without much success, especially when my Dad decides to join Matt and I. Looks like my mom is going to have her work cut out for her!

Matt and I started planning a few months ago when we invited our dear friend Lei and her mom (one of my adopted mom’s) over for dinner. They are frequent visitors to Disney and we were hoping to gather their tips and tricks for our upcoming stay. I was overwhelmed with how helpful they both were. We pretty much planned our entire itinerary after dinner! My adoptive mom even gave us two books, one to help us research and one to keep us entertained while waiting in ride lines. We were definitely set.

What am I most looking forward to? Here’s my list in no particular order:

  • Drinking delicious adult beverages around the world in Epcot
  • Going for a ride on the test track
  • Enjoying the Toy Story ride with Matt and my Dad where we will find out who is the best marksman
  • Seeing the animals up close on the safari at Animal Kingdom
  • Seven Dwarf mines ride
  • Buzz Light Year ride
  • Splash Mountain (with the entire family…it will be EPIC!)
  • Peter Pan ride
  • Dinner at the Contemporary Resort
  • Taking on Everest, at least the ride, Expedition Everest

Guess you’ll have to wait a few weeks for the highlight reel :)


Favorite Winter Beers January 14, 2015

Winter is a great time for excellent beer in the Midwest. Since November Matt and I have been eagerly sampling our favorite holiday seasonals as well as a few standard porters and stouts. Thus fCabin Fever beer, New Glarusar in 2014-2015 here are my favorite 10 winter beers.

If you’re curious about Matt, here are his top 10 winter beers in no particular order:

Did we miss any? Let us know in the comment section what other beers we should try before winter is over!



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