How to Enjoy the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival On A Budget

How to Enjoy the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival On A Budget

The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival is my favorite festival at Epcot! I love the bright flowers, the interactive exhibits and, most of all, the tasty foods and drinks!

But let’s face the facts: dining at Disney can be VERY expensive! That’s no secret. So when my sister and I decided we wanted to explore the Flower and Garden Festival, we knew we had to be smart about what we spent our money on.

With 24 outdoor kitchens offering everything from meat and potatoes to vegan desserts, and beverages ranging from dark beers to light cocktails, there are so many options it’s practically overwhelming. So we knew we had to strategize in order to try the best foods and drinks without spending too much money or missing something we’d want to taste.

Here’s what we did to make sure we had fun and didn’t go broke doing it:

Check Out the Menus Beforehand

We looked online and made a list of everything we wanted to eat and drink at the festival, then went back through it a few times, canceling out items that were similar or that we weren’t in love with until we narrowed it down to only the items we knew we absolutely had to try. It was a bit excessive, but my sister and I are Disney experts (we went every other weekend for the first eight years of our childhood and now we’re both annual passholders), so we knew efficiency was key! That’s how we found our must-try items, like the Frushi (fresh pineapple, strawberry and melon rolled with coconut rice and topped with whipped cream, berry sauce and toasted coconut) from the Hanami booth in Japan ($5.95.)

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“Is It Really Worth It?”

For every item you see and think you want to try, ask yourself, “Is it really worth it?” Remember, eating and drinking at the Flower and Garden Festival is an experience! So, if there’s a pricy drink you would love to try that you can’t get anywhere else, like this Watermelon Cucumber Slushy with Gin from the Florida Fresh Booth ($11.75), then it’s more worth it than a $9 glass of wine that you can buy from the grocery store. If the price doesn’t compare to the quality of the product or the experience that comes with it, cross it off the list.

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Watermelon Cucumber Slushy with Gin

Go With What You Know

I’m all for trying new things, but when it comes to spending money on food I find it best to stick with what you know! Like, if you know you don’t like barbecue, don’t try food at The Smokehouse booth. If you don’t like tequila, don’t try a new margarita. No matter how pretty something looks or how “insta-worthy” it is, it’s not worth wasting you money on something you probably won’t like.

As Italian girls, my sister and I know we love pretty much any form of Italian food, so we made sure to try Primavera Kitchen in Italy. Do yourself a favor: Get the Tri-Colored Cheese Tortellini served with sage butter and chicken veloute ($9) and the Frozen Italian Margarita with Limoncello and Tequila ($10) for the best combo ever! The tortellini were probably the best I’ve ever eaten and the margarita was perfect!

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Tri-Colored Cheese Tortellini
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Frozen Italian Margarita with Limoncello and Tequila

Find The Best Bang For Your Buck

I always try to scope out the food and drinks before I buy them at Epcot because sometimes the descriptions sound amazing, but the food doesn’t live up to the hype. Sometimes the portions are too small to warrant the price or the food just doesn’t look appealing. For example, my sister really wanted to try the Grilled Street Corn from Trowel & Trellis, but when we walked by and saw it didn’t have a lot of seasoning on it, she decided to pass. The best bang for your buck dish we had was the Potato Pancakes from Bauernmarkt: Farmer’s Market in Germany. They come with two large potato pancakes with either apple sauce ($4.50) or caramelized ham, onions and sour cream ($4.75). Definitely a cheaper food option and they were delicious and filling.

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Potato Pancakes with Apple Sauce
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Potato Pancakes with Caramelized Ham, Onions and Sour Cream

Sharing Is Caring

As far as Disney treats go, my policy has always been Sharing Is Caring! That way you don’t have to spend money on multiples of the same item and you can try more foods and drinks! We got the pineapple soft-serve ice cream with Parrot Bay coconut rum (basically an alcoholic Dole Whip for $10.25) to share and it was such a good choice! Not only was it a huge serving (of both ice cream and rum!) but it was also my favorite drink of the day.

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Dole Whip with Rum

Overall, we spent $56 at Epcot Flower & Garden, which came out to $28 a person! That is SO cheap compared to what it would have been if we went in without a plan and without sharing our treats. Next time you go to Epcot remember these dining and drinking tips so you can treat yourself on the cheap!

Four Favorite Spots In Gainesville

Four Favorite Spots In Gainesville

I’ve been living in Gainesville for nearly two months now and I have just fallen head over heels for my new city! From the beautiful parks to the bustling downtown, Gainesville has a big-city feel with small-town perks.

I moved from Orlando to Lake City in 2016 and that was a HUGE culture shock. Going from a metropolis to a small southern town was a big adjustment. Orlando was just a little too big, and Lake City was just a little too small. Gainesville feels just right!

I’ve gotten to do some exploring since moving to Gainesville and I’ve discovered some places that I absolutely love! So I thought I’d share a few of my favorites with y’all!

Here are four of my favorite spots in Gainesville:

Celebration Pointe

Celebration Pointe is relatively new to Gainesville and I’ve gone there like once a week since I moved here! It’s an outdoor shopping and dining destination with plenty of entertainment. There is a beautiful promenade going right through the center with tons of seating and sometimes there are live musical performances! There are also restaurants (I’m obsessed with Midici Pizza), stores, an amazing movie theatre and my new favorite day spa, Azulene! It’s definitely a great date-night spot or a fun place to go with your friends!

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Depot Park

I’d visited Depot Park a few times on my lunch break, but now that I live in Gainesville I get to go a lot more often! It’s a beautiful outdoor park built on an old train depot. There’s a playground, picnic areas, walking paths and more! There’s also a general store selling snacks, drinks and fresh-made meals, a beer and wine garden and a pizza spot! It’s a beautiful place to spend a warm Florida day. I love taking time to get out of the office and eat my lunch there!

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Haile Village

If you haven’t been to the Haile Village Center in Haile Plantation, you’re seriously missing out! It has total Stars Hollow vibes (if you don’t know what that is, I’m not sure we can be friends) with it’s tree-lined streets shading adorable small shops and restaurants. Every Saturday they host an amazing farmers market packed with local vendors selling everything from flower to artwork to delicious homemade muffins. I wrote a whole blog post about it a few months ago, which you can read here!

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Downtown Gainesville

You can’t pass up a night out in downtown Gainesville. There are some amazing restaurants and bars located all along the streets! One of my favorite things to do is to walk around and look at all the amazing murals! There are some seriously stunning ones. Let me know in the comments if you want me to do a whole post on Downtown Gainesville specifically!

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Florida Skincare Essentials

Florida Skincare Essentials

Let’s face it, the Florida weather, although mostly beautiful, can wreak havoc on your skin. The sun and humidity can turn your complexion from peaches and cream to tomato-like in minutes.

I have rosacea, a skin condition that causes your face to turn really red, especially on your cheeks. So, I have to be extra careful with what I put on my skin. The hot Florida weather can make my skin extra irritated, but luckily I’ve found some amazing skincare products that are cooling, calming and make me feel refreshed!

These products are perfect for any Florida or warm-weather-living gal. They have great ingredients and are perfect for relieving your skin on a hot day! Here are my Florida skincare essentials:

Cucumber Face Masks

Cucumber is a great soothing agent for your skin. There are tons of facemasks out there, but I’ve found that ones with cucumber work best for my skin. My favorite ones are the Yes To Cucumbers Calming Paper Mask and the Cool As A Cucumber Sheet Mask from Bath & Body Works.

Cool Off Gel Lotion

This is the best lotion for hot days or after a workout! I don’t use it on my face but I do use it on my arms, legs and chest to cool off quickly. The lotion is made with aloe, cucumber, vitamin E and kaolin clay. It’s made by Bath & Body Works but they no longer sell it in stores or online. But it is available on Amazon!

Clinique Redness Solutions Soothing Cleanser

The Clinique Redness Solutions Soothing Cleanser is THE BEST cleanser for people prone to redness. It’s extra gentle and helps calm visible redness and irritation while melting away makeup and impurities. My skin always feels so cool and clean after I use it.

ULTA Active Cooling Hydration Face Stick

I never leave the house without this. I run the ULTA hydration stick on my cheeks whenever I feel them getting red or when I’m sweating. It cools my face off instantly and it doesn’t leave it feeling greasy.

S.W. Basics Peppermint Water Spray

I just bought this peppermint water spray by S.W. Basics a few weeks ago and I’m obsessed with it! It’s only ingredients are peppermint and water, and the cooling face mist makes my skin feel instantly refreshed.

Finally, one final pro tip: buy yourself a jade roller and keep it in your freezer. What, the freezer??? YES! The cold jade roller will feel absolutely amazing on your face after a long day. This is the one I use.

Let me know in the comments if you want to see more posts like this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My First Real Fall: Exploring Blue Ridge, Georgia

My First Real Fall: Exploring Blue Ridge, Georgia

I’ve spent my whole life in Florida, where fall is just a slightly cooler version of summer. So, when my boyfriend and I decided to plan a vacation, I knew I wanted to go somewhere and get the full fall experience, changing leaves and all.

After plenty of research, we settled on Blue Ridge, Georgia. It had the small, mountain-town vibe with an adorable downtown area and plenty of outdoor things to do. It was perfect and after a few days there, I can’t wait to go back. It was probably my favorite vacation I’ve ever been on!

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Top Fall Events in North Florida

Top Fall Events in North Florida

When most people think of fall weather, their minds don’t automatically go to Florida. Fall in Florida pretty much means the temperature drops from 90 degrees to 80. But, North Florida is special. Up here, we do get fall leaves, cool breezes and sweater weather. There are plenty of fall events to get you in the mood up here in North Florida, from fairs to festivals. Here are just a few fall events I’m looking forward to this season.

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Foodie’s Top Five: Best Bites in Gainesville Under $5

Foodie’s Top Five: Best Bites in Gainesville Under $5

Do you ever have those moments where you’re suddenly hungry, but not quite starving enough for a full meal? Or, feel like a snack but don’t want to shell out $6 for a protein bar from the gas station only to feel hungry an hour later? Same. Luckily, Gainesville has plenty of places where you can grab a small bite on a budget. From sweet treats to cheesy and salty snacks, the options are pretty endless. Here are just five of the best bites in Gainesville under $5.

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Exploring High Springs, Florida

Exploring High Springs, Florida

If you’re looking to visit a place with small-town charm, High Springs is the perfect place to start. Located halfway between Lake City and Gainesville, High Springs is known for its beautiful, natural springs. However, they also have a downtown area that is full of places to explore.

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