Disneyland Paris

While Walt Disney Studios left me slightly disappointed (and lacking a churro), Disneyland Paris was nothing short of the Disney magic I was used to, but with a Parisian twist. I especially loved their Disney Magic on Parade (below).

 What made it even better, was the fact I had never seen any of the Disney parks with their Halloween decor! It's something I've wanted to see, and I felt so fortunate to see it in Paris!

Not to mention, their It's a Small World ride was refreshingly, and adorably vibrant.

In the end, I still had no churro, but I loved the park regardless. I loved the selection of rides & fell in love with the fireworks show against the castle. At 30 minutes long, it's well worth the wait. Plus, what kind of blog would it be if I didn't include some long exposure photos for you guys? :) Hope you guys enjoyed the photo montage! love, JEN

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Inaugural Soiree

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After I visited Walt Disney Studios, the park closed an hour early & was reopened that night for half marathon runners only. There was music, unlimited free food, face painting, and an abundance of dancing characters, like Donald, Goofy, Sully, Chip & Dale.

It was honestly the most fun I've ever had with Disney characters. Goof & Donald were dancing up & down,  while Chip & Dale kept dragging people away from their meals to get up and dance.

Another plus, was that there was virtually no lines, for any of the rides. I rode Ratatouille 3 times back-to-back.

All in all, it made for a great first day & even better night! Still no churro, but that'll do. Next, Disneyland Park!

Running with the Dark Side

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I've learned that one of the greatest feeling you can experience in life, is accomplishing something you never thought you could do.  Accomplishing it twice, is even better. Growing up, because of my scoliosis & it's affect on my lung capacity, I've always felt that I just wasn't made for running.

Inspired by Chris Guillibeau's book, The Happiness of Pursuit (best read of my life), last year I decided to wield my own happiness through traveling & physically challenging myself. Through consistent & gradual training, I was able to run my first half marathon

Last month, I flew back to Florida, for the purpose of running my second ever Disney half marathon. Below is some of my pre-run swag I picked up from the ESPN Wide World of Sports. I generally don't like printed t-shirts, but I love these! They're something to be proud about.

With this being my second experience with Run Disney, I felt a lot more confident in what I was doing & how I approached the half marathon. I decided to stay at a Disney World resort for the first time, as suggested by my friend Colleen, to streamline my morning transportation to the run (5am start). It also allowed me to have access to an extremely convenient wristband that was the key to my room, my park tickets, fast pass, photo pass & credit card in the parks, all-in-one. I would highly recommend this to any Disney World goer. Everything in the world should run this way!

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As for the run, while I didn't train as much as did for my first half marathon (whoops), somehow it was easier. 

With any challenge you face in life, I would like to emphasize that how you approach it mentally, will be the biggest factor in your success. Your mentality can become your greatest obstacle, or your best catalyst. 

It was knowing that I once thought I couldn't, but I did. It wasn't thinking about how I had 13 miles to run, but thinking about just doing one mile at the time. The only person I was competing with, was myself. When there was music, I ran to the music. When there were characters I ran a little faster. When I needed to slow down, I did. It's not how fast, but did you finish? 

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Thanks again so much for reading! May the force be with you! - JEN

How will you challenge yourself?

Animal Kingdom

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Hey everyone. If you couldn't tell from my last post about manatees, I love animals.  So when I went to Disney World this past week, you can understand why I was most excited to go Animal Kingdom first, and rightfully so! With the exception of Magic Kingdom 2 years ago, I haven't been to any of the Disney World parks since I was 3 years old. Consider this my first go. 

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Walking into the Oasis, just after the park entrance, I quickly spotted a wide variety of colorful birds. (This one is for you Nicole!) Then in "Asia," I found myself making eye contact with a few black & white Gibbons. At first I though, "What adorable monkeys!" It turns out, Gibbons are a small type of ape. The difference is that monkeys have tails, while apes do not. If you look closely, the white Gibbon below has a baby with her.

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For the day, I decided to re-wear my Pocahontas Disney bounding look, but add a Katharine Hepburn vibe to it, with this Columbia hat I found at REI. Funny thing is, I actually ran into Pocahontas & Meeko, who quite accordingly stole my hat.

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I think out of all of the countries, I enjoyed Asia the most. Not because of my ethnic background, but because I found some of the most interesting animals in these parts of the park. I enjoyed the great detail that Disney put into the decor & their ability to invoke a holiness to some areas.

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In Africa, I found myself getting my first Henna!

Lastly, I ended my day with the Kilimanjaro Safari, where I got to see giraffes, elephants, rhinos, alligators, lions, and so much more!

I think if I were to ever go back to Florida, I would most definitely visit Animal Kingdom again. I don't think I could ever get enough of the animals here. I hope you guys enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed photographing it. Until next time. Love, JEN

Finding Something Worth Melting For

It's been a few days now, since my trip to Disneyland & California Adventures. I don't know if it's coming home from the "happiest place on Earth," and going back to the Seattle rain, but the last 2 days back home have been tough for me.

I've said this before, but as much as I love Seattle & as proud as I am to live here, I feel best under sunny blue skies or on ultra white ski slopes. I find joy in the constant hustle & bustle that comes with traveling & adventuring new places. For some reason though, Disney never gets old.

There's just some things in Disney movies that truly resonate with my soul. Ariel & Belle, both lead comfortable lifestyles. Ariel has so many "thingy-ma-bobs", but she looks past all those material things & wants more. Belle longs for more than her provincial life. Pocahontas is guided by her inner voice to live life colorfully & adventurously, instead defaulting with the "smoothest" & safe path. Mulan battles the inner struggle with doing what feels right to her heart, versus what expect of her to honor her family (been there). And lastly, I truly believe, that "Adventure is out there."

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Then again you have balance. Not everyone can adventure all the time, but I'm working on it. Work & play. Work to play. It won't be long 'til my next trip. In the mean time though, my pictures from California Adventures make me so happy! I think these are my favorite thus far!

If you haven't already, check out my California vlog (above). It was hard for me to hold in my laughter while editing this one. 

I hope you guys enjoyed my visual story of my trip. It's always a pleasure to go to a place you've gone before & capture it a totally different way. - JEN

Details on my look

Garage Clothing tee // Abercrombie & Fitch shorts // Toms slip-on

Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your souls on fire  

Walking Through Walt's Footsteps

Happy Monday everyone! I just flew home from California on a redeye last night & I already can't wait to share photos from my Disney adventures with you guys! This trip was extra special because I got to share it with my fellow Disney fanatic bff, Kristina. Also, because we started our getaway with a Walk Through Walt's Disneyland Footsteps Tour, where we got exclusive access to the Disneyland Dream Suite!

Also if you haven't noticed, this was also my first time Disney bounding. What do you think of my first attempt at Pocahontas? I was quite pleased with what I came up with & pleasantly surprised when Disney characters were waving "Wingapo" (or Hello) to me, like Daisy here!

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Ok back to this tour. :) Meet Ron, our tour guide for the day. Spiffy looking vest, I know. 

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Disneyland has Tours you can take with their signature plaid-vested people, aka Ron. On this particular tour, he gave us an in-depth history of Walt Disney's life, where he stayed throughout the park & access to sound clips from Walt himself. We even learned about his wife & daughters. 

We also got to go on 2 of the Disney attractions without waiting in line: the Alice in Wonderland ride & the Haunted Mansion. 

Not to mention, before heading over the the grand finale Dream Suite, lunch was provided & we also got our own exclusive tour pins! I've probably been to Disneyland over 20 times, sometimes twice in a year, but I've never had an experience or access like this. For a mere $109 per person, I highly recommended to all Disney lovers out there. You won't regret it!

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Thanks for reading once again guys & I hope you guys enjoyed the video as well :) - JEN