Merry Christmas!

Well, this is a long overdue post. I’ve been busy and haven’t had time to sit down and blog. I’m currently in Tulsa visiting my family for Christmas. A lot has happened since my last blog and I’m probably going to miss some stuff but here’s my best shot:

For Thanksgiving I stayed in Florida and spent it with my girlfriend’s family. It was my first Thanksgiving away from my own family but I still had a good one.

My girlfriend and I checked out all the special Christmas events at the parks the past month. We did Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom early in the month. It was fun, but I don’t think it was worth the money, especially compared to the Halloween Party. They had a lot of characters in special Christmas outfits, but other than that, it felt like a normal night at the park, just a little less crowded than usual. They did have free hot cocoa and Snickerdoodle cookies, but you can only eat so many of those before you get sick. With the Halloween party you got to take home a bag of candy. I also thought the lighting effects were better for Halloween. I was very unimpressed with the Christmas lights – only the Main Street area is decorated, not the rest of the park. We had fun but we won’t be doing that again next year.

We also saw the Osbourne Lights at Hollywood Studios which, as usual, were amazing! And we did Holidays Around the World at Epcot. I like how each country is decorated a little differently and I enjoyed the special food offerings. We saw the Candlelight Processional, which was special for my girlfriend because she actually performed in it when she was in high school. It was her first time actually seeing the show as a guest.

Closer to home, we went to Busch Gardens’ Christmas town a couple of times. The event is included in admission this year and it was pretty cool. Each area of the park has a different theme and I thought the decorations were well done. The first time we went we did Mrs. Claus’ Family Feast. It’s a buffet dinner with a mini-show starting Mrs. Claus and the elves. It was definitely oriented towards kids but we still enjoyed it. The food was good and Mrs. Claus didn’t mind posing with us adults for a picture. (The Santa Claus at Disney actually didn’t interact with us at all presumably because we’re grown ups).

But my favorite Christmas event had to be SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration. I wasn’t expecting it to be much, but I left very impressed. They went all out with the decorations – even the street lights are painted to look like snowmen! They have the normal shows in the daytime, but at night the park transforms. There is a neat little village with different shops and food stands. There’s a special Christmas Shamu show – it was okay. I liked the guy playing the saxophone, but there’s not a whole lot of splashing by the whales until the end. The coolest part of the event is the Sea of Trees. The lagoon is filled with hundreds of LED Christmas trees that dance to the music. We sat up high for the ice skating show and we were able to see the show as well as the entire Sea of Trees so it was a very immersive experience. They have a pretty decent fireworks finale also.

So we had a lot of fun this month exploring around. I love Christmas time! It’s nice to be back home, but I am also missing my girlfriend and I know she misses me as well. I return to Tampa on Sunday and we won’t have much time until our next adventure. New Year’s Eve is my birthday and we’re celebrating it at Epcot. It’s gonna be extremely crowded, but the fireworks show will be amazing. Epcot is definitely the best place to spend your birthday!

Oh one more thing: I’ve now been blogging here for ten years! I started this blog way back in middle school and I never thought I would keep it up this long. Looking back on my old posts, my grammar has definitely improved a lot over the years. I know I haven’t been posting as much since I moved to Florida, but I’ll try to remember to keep it up.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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Posted by on December 24, 2014 in Personal



Falling in Love

It’s been about two months since I first met my girlfriend and life has never been better! There’s something different about this girl versus my past girlfriends. Amber and I have a lot of things in common – we’re both IT majors, we both love to go to theme parks and travel, we both love trying new foods, and we share the same views on religion and social issues. All that is great, but more importantly, her personality is what really makes her a keeper. She is a genuine, no-bullshit kind of person and I can tell she really cares about me. She actually likes the fact that I’m super nerdy! I feel like we can talk about anything and everything.

The other day when she brought up that it’s almost our two month anniversary, I was like “Wait… it’s only been two months?”. We get along so well together that it seems like we’ve known each other for a long time.Our friends all see that we are perfect for each other too!

I’ve said “I love you” to my past girlfriends, but looking back on them, I didn’t really love them… This time I feel like I am truly in love. I feel a deep connection with this girl that I can’t say I’ve ever felt before. I can definitely see spending the rest of my life with Amber. I know she feels the same way back towards me. It’s a great feeling to finally have a companion in life. I have had a pretty good life so far, compared to a lot of people, but I always had that missing piece to the puzzle. Amber is that piece and she fits perfectly!

I’m so glad my friend convinced me to try online dating and that she sent me that first message two months ago. I feel really lucky to have such an amazing girl in my life and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us! :)

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Posted by on October 11, 2014 in Personal



Epcot Food & Wine Festival and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party!

Last weekend was awesome! My girlfriend and I experienced two special events at Disney – Epcot Food and Wine Festival and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party!

We went to Food & Wine on Saturday. This is one of my favorite events all year! After picking up our passports and purchasing a tray, we made our way to the World Showcase. We started in Greece and worked out way around counter-clockwise. There were some of the same items from last year, but also many new additions. I tried the Tzatziki Martini from Greece – it has cucumber vodka in it and it was probably the most disgusting alcoholic drink I’ve ever had! Another interesting, but this time good drink was the Sparkling Peach Sake Gell from Japan. It is like alcoholic Jello! The Canadian Cheddar Cheese soup was of course delicious, and pretty much all of France was amazing. The escargots are baked into a pastry with spinach and bacon this year!! And you can’t go wrong with creme brulee! We both loved the Hawaiian Pork slider. We only made it halfway around before we were completely stuffed and also had a good buzz from the drinks. We went on a few rides and were able to find room for a couple more things for dinner. We will have to come back again to try the rest of the food!

Sunday night we went to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom. This is a hard-ticketed event that costs about $60 per person. The park closes to normal guests at 7 and there are lots of special things to do. Most people come dressed in a costume. My girlfriend and I went as Mike and Sully from Monsters Inc. MIMG_2028-0.JPGy costume was kind of lame – just a t-shirt and hat, but my girlfriend had a Sully dress with tutu, furry legs and a horn headband. She got a ton of compliments from other guests. My favorite costume that I saw someone wearing was the guy from Carousel of Progress – he even talked about sarsaparilla, just like on the ride! Next year we plan on doing a Captain EO couples costume. I will be the captain and she will be Fuzzball. Guess I better start practicing dancing now!

The first thing we did was line up to meet Jack Skellington and Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas. We got in line at 6:20 and there was already about 15-20 people ahead of us. My girlfriend is a huge fan of the movie so she enjoyed meeting them (I hadn’t seen the movie yet at this point). After that, we went to the Emporium and I bought a limited edition MagicBand that is only available to party guests. It will activate a special light show at the FastPass+ entry points the next time I go! We then met Mickey dressed in his Halloween outfit. The group in front of us in line was a bunch of giggly girls that had to take a million pictures. Even Mickey was getting tired of them. I hear there is sometimes a talking Mickey – we didn’t get that one, but he still interacted with us pretty good.

We had to stop by the Monsters Inc. Dance Party since we were dressed as monsters. Sully gave my girlfriend a HUGE bear hug! Some other characters we met were Lotso from Toy Story, Daisy Duck, Donald Duck dressed as a pumpkin, and all seven dwarfs from Snow White. The party had many special treats available and of course I had to try them all! First I tried the Pumpkin Spice Bubble Tea. I love bubble tea, but this one was just okay – I think it’s because I’m not a huge pumpkin fan. The better boba drink was the Buggy Brew which is a frozen lemonade dyed green with boba. It was very sweet but delicious. We both had a candy corn cupcake – it was just a vanilla cupcake with orange and white frosting, but it was very good. I also tried the candy corn ice cream. Unfortunately, it is just orange and white colored, and is plain vanilla flavored, but there was pieces of candy corn in the bottom of the cone which was nice.

The party only goes until midnight and there is absolutely no way you can do everything. We were able to catch some of the HallowWishes fireworks show, but we did not get to see the parade. We also never made it to the left half of the park, so we missed Club Villain and some other characters. As time ran out, we hit up a few of the trick-or-treat spots and filled out bags with candy to take home. We also fit in a ride on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and the Haunted Mansion. They had really cool lights shining on the mansion and there was a hologram lady that talked on the lawn. I wish the event was open later so we could have experienced it all, but we still had a great time with what we did get to do. At the end of the night we were both exhausted. I usually don’t get super worn out going to the parks, but for some reason I did this night. I took a vacation day on Monday to relax and I’m very glad I did so.

We had an amazing weekend! My wallet is a bit thinner now, but it was worth it. And P.S.: I am absolutely loving my iPhone 6!






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Posted by on September 23, 2014 in Personal, Travel


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New Girlfriend!

I’ve been waiting a long time to write this post! My friends recently pushed me to try online dating, so I created an OkCupid account. At first I wasn’t very successful. I had chatted with a couple of girls but things didn’t go anywhere. Of course it doesn’t help that I’m scared to make the first move on girls. I was about to give up on it and then I got a message from Amber. She is a computer science major and OkCupid said we are a 99% match! Turns out we have a lot in common. She loves going to theme parks too and she has a lot of the same views as me on things. I went out on a limb and asked her out after chatting for a bit.

Our first date was dinner at Olive Garden. We were both EXTREMELY nervous and it was very awkward. We both look back on the first date and laugh now. Since then we have spent a lot of time together. She has a great personality and she a cutie!. She even dyed her hair red for me! We’ve made a Relationship Bucket List of all the things we want to do together, and we’ve already crossed off quite a few items! We also have a list of foods that we wanna cook for each other.

I got her a Disney pass for her birthday and we have gone there every weekend since. I love that she’s a kid at heart, just like me. We went around got our pictures taken with a lot of the characters. This coming weekend will be amazing. First of all, the Epcot Food & Wine Festival is back. Amber and I are both drooling over the menus and absolutely can’t wait until Saturday. On Sunday we will go to Animal Kingdom in the daytime, and we are going to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party that night! I’ve never done that before so that should be a fun new experience. They have candy corn ice cream! Plus we will get to meet some rare characters!

Though I’ve only known her for a short amount time, it has been great and I’m looking forward to spending more time together!

Besides being excited for my new girlfriend, there’s one other thing that I’m super excited about: I pre-ordered the iPhone 6 and I’m switching carriers to Verizon! Barring any FedEx screw-ups, I will get it this Friday! I can’t wait to have a bigger screen and Apple Pay and I’m glad I’m finally getting off AT&T’s horrible service. Don’t worry AT&T, my parents are still staying with you, for now….

Look for some exciting blogs about Food & Wine and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party coming soon!

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Posted by on September 16, 2014 in Personal


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A Year of Cooking

One year ago, I read in the Tampa Bay Times about a service coming to Florida called Blue Apron which delivers weekly boxes full of pre-portioned ingredients to cook gourmet meals. Being the curious person that I am, I decided to give it a try, and it changed my life! Before Blue Apron, I hardly ever cooked anything. You always see these recipes and are daunted by all the ingredients you have to buy to make them. First of all, even finding some of these ingredients is a challenge, but then you often have to buy more than really need (eggs for example), so you end up throwing away your hard earned money. Blue Apron has really allowed cooking to be approachable to me by only sending me what I need and delivering it right to my door. I have lost over 33 pounds just by eating good food. Believe me – I do not exercise; the pounds just melt away once you stop eating fast food processed crap! In fact, I am disgusted when I eat fast food or typical theme park food now. And if I ever do find a girlfriend, the fact that I can cook is sure to be a turn on for her!

Here are some of my favorite meals that I’ve cooked in the past year. I’ve even been nice enough to link you to the recipes if you wanna give them a try yourself!

Thai Chicken Burger with Hoisin Mayo and Potato Wedges

Short Rib Burgers on Pretzel Buns with Hoppy Cheddar Sauce & Sweet Potato Rounds

Blood Orange Roasted Salmon with Chickpea & Cucumber Salad

Swedish Meatballs & Braised Kale with Lingonberry Jam & Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Roasted Sweet Potato & Caramelized Onion Pizza with Creamy Béchamel, Fontina Cheese & Arugula Salad

Fresh Beet Pasta with Swiss Chard, Goat Cheese & Walnuts

Heirloom Tomato & Fontina Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Dijon Green Beans

Chicken Sate with Peanut Sauce & Marinated Green Tomatoes


Did I make you drool?? I’m looking forward to another great year of cooking – my skills get better with each meal.

Note: I was not paid by Blue Apron to write this post; I really do love the service that much! You should learn how to cook!

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Posted by on August 6, 2014 in Personal


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Atlanta Trip!

This weekend I went on an amazing trip to Atlanta! I knew it would be a good time, but I wasn’t expecting it to be this exciting!

I took Thursday and Friday off from work and we got on the road at 7 AM Thursday. It is a long drive! Georgia felt like a completely different country. As soon as you cross the border, all of the billboards are either for God, guns, liquor, or strippers. There were cops everywhere nabbing people for speeding. I hardly ever see that in Florida, but we passed at least 15 different people getting pulled over along the way. Thankfully, I am not a speeder so I didn’t have any problems. We stopped midway at the Farm House Restaurant in Lake Park, Georgia. I had missed Southern food so much! Surprisingly, there really isn’t much authentic Southern food to be found in Tampa.

We finally got to Atlanta around 3:30 PM. The main reason we went this weekend was for the Southern Fried Gameroom Expo, which had over 100 pinball and arcade games plus retro consoles and special guests. It was at the Atlanta Marriott Century Center hotel and I was able to get a special rate of $89/night. Man, this was a nice hotel! It is triangular shaped, and 15 stories tall. In the lobby you can look all the way up to the top and watch the elevators go up and down. We were on the 11th floor so we had a nice view. The bed was the most comfortable bed I had ever slept on. Seriously, if I had $3,000 to blow, I would totally buy one!

The expo didn’t start until Friday, so the first night, we went out to Stone Mountain Park. The park has many different attractions, but its namesake is a huge granite mountain with a carving of Robert E. Lee on it, which is actually a little bit bigger than Mount Rushmore! We rode the Skyride to the top. They cram up to 80 people in a box on a wire and send you up 825 feet to the top of the mountain which is 1,672 feet above sea level. The view up at the top was awesome! It is a huge mountain and you can walk all around the top, and you can even walk down it if you really wanted to. We ended up going down a little ways without realizing it, and the trek back up to the Skyride station was so painful! I’m used to flat Florida, not extreme hill climbing.

We rode down to the ground and had dinner at one of the park’s restaurants. The food, unfortunately, was terrible. I ordered fried chicken and it was way over done. The skin was super crispy and the meat inside was inedible because it was so hard. And they charged about $15 for it. That sucked, but I needed food badly after the workout on the mountain. At night they have the Lasershow Spectacular in Mountainvision, which is a huge laser show projected on the mountain. The show was very different from anything I’d seen before. It was like a redneck version of the Epcot fireworks show. We did have a very rude girl sit in front of us who was taking countless selfies of her family with the flash blasting right in my face. Other than that, I did enjoy the show.

Friday was a big day. We first went to Six Flags Over Georgia. As you probably know, I LOVE amusement parks, so I couldn’t wait to get there! Over Georgia is the sister park to the original Six Flags Over Texas. There were a lot of rides there that were similar to their Dallas counterparts, but all of the rides were much smaller. The biggest coaster there is Goliath at 200 feet. It was a great ride, but my favorite is still Titan at 245 feet. We got to the park before opening so we got a great parking spot and I got to go on four coasters in the first hour. We did have an interesting situation on the Georgia Cyclone, a wooden coaster. As we were going up the lift hill, the ride stopped. Eventually a worker came up the hill to talk to us. I guess some safety sensor got tripped which shut down the ride. After about 10 minutes the ride did restart, and we got a simple "sorry about that guys!" at the station.

The park has a brand new water park, Hurricane Harbor so we finished the day there. The water park is pretty small, just a kids area and two slide towers, but it’s nice that it is included with admission. While we were there, we saw something completely unexpected… They were filming an episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo! There were two camera men and a couple of directors, but they didn’t close off the area they were filming in at all. I got right up close to the whole family. I still can’t believe that I went to Georgia and got to see Honey Boo Boo in real life. What are the odds of that? It’s definitely a story I’ll be telling for a while. Below is the best picture I could get, you can see Sugar Bear with Honey Boo Boo peeking behind him.

After an exciting time at Six Flags, we went back to the hotel to check out the expo. They had two ballrooms full of games, as well as a room for retro consoles, including some really old ones that I had never heard of, an XBOX room, a room with cocktail tables, and a movie room. They had my two favorite pinball machines – Whirlwind and Terminator 2. It was definitely bigger than the Southern Pinball Festival in Orlando I went to last year. Pacman himself was also there, and I got to meet Billy Mitchell, the King of Kong! We played games until they closed for the night. It was a lot of fun. I wish arcades were still around today. Someday I will buy my own pinball machine, I just gotta get a house first.

On Saturday we went to the Centennial Olympic Park area of Atlanta. Finally after waiting my whole life, I got to go to the World of Coca-Cola! It was amazing!!! It felt a lot like being at Disney World in a way. They had lots of memorabilia, a 4D movie (which shakes the crap out of you), a photo op with the Coke Polar Bear, an exhibit on the bottling process, the vault that houses the secret formula, and the best part – Taste It where you can try over 60 flavors of Coke from around the world! My favorites were the international Fanta flavors. Why can’t America have Melon Fanta? After trying every flavor, I felt a little sick, but it was awesome. At the exit, you get to take home a commemorative glass bottle of Coke. Coke World was like heaven to me!

After that we walked around the park and saw the famous fountain of rings. We went inside the CNN World Headquarters building. It is huge! Everyone I talked to said the CNN tour isn’t that great, so we didn’t do it, but we did do SkyView Atlanta. It is a 200 foot tall Ferris wheel that overlooks the park. The cars are air conditioned so it was really cool.

Before heading back to the hotel we stopped by the world’s largest drive-in restaurant, The Varsity. This place is HUGE! There is a two story parking garage for it and there is either a traditional Sonic-style drive-in, or inside counter service. We went inside and it was packed. There are like 20 lines to order and each one has at least 10 people in it. The food is your traditional drive-in food – hot dogs, fries, and fried pies. It was pretty good, but definitely not something you should eat every day. After eating we went back to the expo and played games until midnight. We did have an interesting ride in the elevator with Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper. Let’s see, that’s how many celebrity sightings so far?

After an awesome three days, it was time to drive back to Florida today. We stopped for lunch in Juliette, Georgia, the town where the movie Fried Green Tomatoes was filmed. I had never heard of this movie before, but my friend wanted to go there and I’m glad we went. There is a little street with a bunch of little shops and the main attraction is the Whistle Stop Café which is featured in the movie. Our waitress told us we sat in the only original booth from the film, where the sheriff sat. I had a fried green tomato sandwich which was really good. I’m really gonna miss Southern food! I didn’t get home until 7 PM, and I am super tired right now.

It was definitely an incredible trip, but now it’s back to the real world. June 17 was my one-year anniversary at my company so I am now allowed to work from home 2 days a week! It is gonna be great to sleep in a little bit tomorrow and stay in my pajamas all day to recover from the trip. Now I need to start planning my next big adventure!

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Posted by on June 22, 2014 in Personal, Travel


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A Year Since Graduation

Today marks one year since I graduated from college. I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence! Time in the real world goes by so much faster than ever before…

May 4, 2013 was a proud day in my life, but it was also the end of the easy life and the beginning of the real world. The very next day, I hopped on a plane to Tampa to find an apartment. Just one week later, I moved halfway across the country to begin my new life. I remember the first month or two were so difficult. It felt like I had moved to a totally different country. My family and friends were 1,200 miles away and I was here all alone… Then in June, my job started and I had to adjust to the grueling 40 hour work week that so many Americans endure. Thankfully, I work with a good group of people who took me under their wings.

I have learned a valuable life lesson: Don’t waste your weekends! You only get two days a week to do fun stuff, so you gotta live them to the fullest. Thankfully, living in Florida, there is plenty to do. And I’ve recently met some new friends! Back in March I went to a Meetup at Epcot, and became really good friends with the people in that group. Since then, just about every weekend we have hung out, and we have every weekend for the next month planned out, plus a trip to Atlanta in June planned. It’s great to have friends again; friends who are interested in the things I’m interested in.

So, one year later, I’m thankful I have a good job and I’m thankful I have new friends to hang out with. The future is looking up!

PS: Last week was the 5 year anniversary of my car! It’s still zipping me along!

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Posted by on May 4, 2014 in Uncategorized


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