Best Shoes for Walt Disney World

I quickly learned during my first visit to Walt Disney World as an adult that footwear is everything when it comes to all-day comfort, and those stylish but flat sandals do not cut it.

My feet actually burned in pain after spending 12 hours our first day walking from one side of Magic Kingdom to the other and back in an extremely cute pair of sandals that had zero support.

Honestly, walking in those shoes all day was the equivalent of walking barefoot on concrete. If I had to take one more step in those, I probably would have laid down on the sidewalk and pitched a hissy fit that could put a tired and hungry two-year-old to shame.

That was the first and only time I made that mistake.

Nothing ruins a day in your favorite park quicker than painful feet. You are going spend several hours each day in whatever shoes you choose as you navigate parks (I average about 30,000 steps each day at WDW), so it is important to be thoughtful in regards to footwear.

Continue reading

Memorial Day on Lake Norman

Memorial Day Weekend Recap and the Realization that I Would Be A Lot Happier if I Stopped Talking About the Future

I have a bad habit of constantly looking ahead to the future — to things I have no control over — and trying to plan life event after life event. And that annoying pet peeve in my personal behavior has never been more apparent to me until this past Memorial Day Weekend.

I love MDW because it signals the beginning of warm days here in Carolina. Traditionally, the fella and I welcome summer on Lake Norman each year with family and some of our closest friends. We grill out, drink beers, float in the water, and just have good, old-fashioned fun.

I was bobbing in the lake with a brewski in one hand and my new waterproof speaker in the other, having a major heart-to-heart with my best gal pal, when I started actually listening to what I was saying, and I was getting on my own nerves.

“This is our last summer in our current house, I want to get a picture of us in front of it.”

“Yeah, I plan on being pregnant next summer so I want to make the most of this one.” 

“Next year when we buy a house …” 

“Next year this … Next year that …”

Oh my gosh, just shut up and be present in the moment.

Memorial Day Weekend on Lake Norman

I would be a lot happier if I stopped talking about what may or may not happen tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year, and just live for the joys I have today.

Continue reading

Planning Our Walt Disney World Honeymoon with Tips & Secrets

Truth be told, I did not want a Disney World honeymoon.

Because we visit the house of mouse every other year (on average) I wrinkled my nose and shook my head from side to side whenever someone asked if we were planning to do Disney for our honeymoon.

“We want to do something different, something we have never done together before,” I would say to anyone willing to believe me.

For several months I researched cruises, Sandals destinations, and numerous other tropical getaways. I pitched idea after idea to my fella, but I never truly felt excited about any of the options I presented.

Finally, one day, we reached a decision. We were going to go as far south as we could in the United States. We were going to Key West.

We picked out our hotel, started a list of restaurants to grub at and bars to stumble out of, and we even saved ideas for fun excursions.

Then, we totaled it all up and our jaws hit the floor.

“We could take three Disney vacations for the cost of this one,”
were my exact words to Justin.

And that was that — that is the story of how we decided on Disney World for our honeymoon.

Continue reading

Hali’s NC Brew Tour Month 3: Birthday Beers and the Arrival of Spring

I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, but 2017 is zooming by. I feel like I am running behind a bus, trying to catch it as it leaves the station. Come on now, it was just Christmas yesterday. Is there a pause button we can hit so I can stop to catch my breath?

While I would love it if time worked like that, I was actually excited to flip my calendar to March.

The third month of the year is always my favorite because it is my birth month and we see the first signs of spring as new life begins to blossom in the warming sun.

Catawba Peanut Butter Jelly TimeMarch is also when Catawba Brewing releases Peanut Butter Jelly Time. 

I was lucky enough to come home on the evening of my 27th birthday — after a long day at work and school — and find two cans of PB&J tucked behind a birthday card in my refrigerator.

My husband-to-be knows me too well.

That first can was the perfectly sweet treat I needed to end my birthday. The light brown ale blends together roasted peanuts and raspberry puree to create a unique flavor that truly tastes exactly like a PB&J sandwich in a glass. I say this as I release a heavy sigh of pure joy and delight.

Continue reading

Hali’s NC Brew Tour Month 2: Gearing up for summer brews and my aversion to hops

For those who aren’t aware, North Carolina had exceptionally beautiful weather in February with weekend temps hitting the low-80s and providing us with a small taste of what to expect in the coming months.

With warm weather comes good, cold beer, and I must admit that I broke the stout streak that I had going from January. It has simply been too warm for those dark, heavy beers I do so enjoy.

Continue reading

Hali’s NC Brew Tour: Month 1

I (unofficially) kicked off Hali’s NC Brew Tour and began sipping away at my new “beers” resolution the second weekend in January as I spent Sunday Funday brewery hopping with friends.

Now, I call this the unofficial start because this particular outing was unexpected and last minute. I received a text message from one of my girlfriends that morning inviting Justin and I to meet up with her and her husband later that afternoon for drinks at NoDa Brewing. So, we joined them and one thing led to another, and before we knew it, we were sipping suds at Birdsong Brewing before ending the day at Free Range Brewing.

When I first thought up the idea of Hali’s NC Brew Tour and began planning, it didn’t occur to me how much craft beer I would be consuming at a time and how that might alter my memory of the brews I sample. On this first day-drinking stop on my brew tour, I learned that I need to take the time to carefully document my thoughts, capture images of each pour, but also have fun while doing it. Therefore, in this first monthly recap, you will not see many photos and my recollection of beers is based solely on what I plugged in to my Untappd account.

Continue reading

My New ‘Beers’ Resolution: Drink More NC Brew

Despite — or perhaps because of — the crap storm that has been 2016, this year actually was the year of good beer for this gal.

This was the year that I jumped head first into craft beer and learned to fully appreciate the art of brewing — particularly, in my home state of North Carolina where the craft beer industry has more than a $1.2 billion impact on the state.

I grew up just outside of Asheville — a small town in the mountains of western North Carolina known for being a leading city in the craft beer scene — so good beer made by good folk has always held a special place in my heart.

Therefore, in an attempt to not only show my appreciation for this industry but also to expand my palate, continue the streak of good beer I began in 2016, and share my finds with those who also enjoy a quality pour, I am making only one resolution for the new year: To only drink beer made in North Carolina.

Continue reading

Mountain weekends

As someone who often feels out of place in this big ol’ city of Charlotte, I talk a lot about my mountain roots. Let’s be honest, I miss Asheville and would probably move back there at the drop of a hat if the right opportunity came along.

Until then, though, I’ll be down here in the Queen City daydreaming of the rolling hills of Carolina and escaping on weekend getaways to my hometown when I am able.

This past weekend happened to be one of those special times. As I mentioned last year, Highland Brewing’s Cold Mountain Saturday has become somewhat of a tradition for Justin, myself, and two of our very best friends. If you follow me, you know that I am a North Carolina beer chaser. Therefore, when the holy grail of craft brews is released every winter, there is no way I am going to miss that celebration. Continue reading