Our Disney World Trip/Epcot’s Flower Festival

Friday, June 25, 2021

Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival

Our trip to Walt Disney World was beyond fun, during the 6 days we were there we visited four parks. On day one we settled in and checked out Disney Springs, on day two we went to Epcot for the Flower & Garden Festival, then day three we checked out the Magic Kingdom, day four we went to Hollywood Studios and day five we went to Animal Kingdom, as well as more of Disney Springs while we did some shopping and dining, then finally on day six we ended up back at Disney Springs to meet family for dinner and do a little more shopping. As not to make the post absurdly long, I’ll be breaking the trip up into 5 posts. One for each park, then a last one for all the amazing Mickey shaped food and sweets I found. Trust me when I tell you, Disney World isn’t just for kids. They have so many fun activities for people of all ages. The last time I was at Disney World I was around 12 years old, so as I’m sure you can imagine it was a whole different park. We touched down in Florida around 10am, so by the time we took the Magical Express from the airport to Disney, and got settled in at the “Art of Animation” resort, it was about 11:30am. Thank goodness for the online check in process, it’s super easy, not to mention it makes the process quick and convenient. Let me tell you what a fun place to be, out of the 25 resorts on the Disney property, ours seemed to be the coolest family resort. It also has the largest swimming pool of all the resorts, along with tons of fun decor themed around the Disney classics: The Lion King, Finding Nemo, Cars, and The Little Mermaid. Our family suite in particular was so much fun, all of the furniture was Lion King themed. There were two bathrooms and two beds, a living room area and kitchenette with a microwave and fridge. There was literally everything one would need, and more than enough room for a good sized family. 

There is a restaurant on the grounds of the resort where you can order some food like burgers, hot dogs and sandwiches. To do anything on the Disney property like go into a park, order food, or make reservations to eat, you will need the Disney Experience App. It enabled us to do everything and social distance at the same time, so our trip touch and worry free. One thing I can say is Disney was on point with all COVID guidelines, so we felt very comfortable and safe. 
Once we unpacked, showered and changed, we headed right back out to explore. By that time we were both hungry so we decided to take the bus to Disney Springs and get lunch. There are two ways to get around on the Disney property and they are the bus or the skyliner. Luckily both stopped at our resort, and they run from 7:30 to 8am all day until 10 or 11pm, depending upon the day. They are also free, so you can ride on them back and forth all day long. 
After eating lunch, doing tons of window shopping, and making our way back to the hotel for a nap, we headed back to Disney Springs to meet my friend Julie for dinner. She is a Disney blogger (@TheDisneyDinks) that used to live in Baltimore, her and the hubby recently moved to Orlando Florida, about 30 minuted from Disney. We all met up at a spot called Raglan Road Irish Pub, where we had some relish food and drinks, while Julie gave us some fantastic recommendations on food and fun where the parks are concerned, because she knows them inside and out. For our meals I ordered the baked chicken, Rob as always ordered the fish and chips, and Julie a turkey sandwich, paired with some great cocktails we had a great time. There's nothing better then great company, conversation, and food, I was sad we had to go. 

We took the bus back to the hotel, once we got in the door I think after 10 minutes we were in bed and sound asleep. It had been a super long day and at 8am the next morning we were were set to head off to Epcot and see the Flower & Garden Festival. You guys know about me being a floral designer, and how much I love flowers, so needless to say I was more than excited. I would say we arrived at Epcot around 8:30am, had breakfast there shortly after and headed off to see the amazingness Epcot had for us. The first thing I noticed and loved was all of the gorgeous topiaries all over the park. My favorites where the Winnie The Pooh characters, along with Kermit and Miss Piggy. We also saw Beauty and the Beast, beautiful big butterflies, and so many gorgeous flowers in every different color. There was even a butterfly tent where tons of little butterflies of all kinds were fluttering around, wow are they beautiful. 

Epcot is set up like different countries and in each area are different food and drinks, we had lots of fun exploring everything and trying all the available foods. One of my favorites was the pineapple shortcake and the pineapple on a stick, I know the second one sounds odd, but it was really good and refreshing. Especially since it was about 90 degrees, I had no idea just how hot it got in Florida. Not to mention I forgot to put on sunblock, let's just say I was a lobster by the end of the day. For lunch we stopped into a Moroccan spot that Julie recommended, and boy was she right because everything was amazing. It was a yummy chicken and pita meal with some hummus and pomegranate, so far everything we had eaten by this point on the trip was so so good. 

After lunch we ended up getting on a ride called Soarin', Oh.My.Goodness... if you guys go to Epcot make sure you get on this ride. It was so much fun and super realistic, it's like you are literally soaring over all of the most amazing places in the world. They even pay attention to details like smells and breezes in certain places. Wow did that ride blow us away!! 
After hours of walking (22,000 steps ..omg) and eating like crazy, we headed back to the hotel to enjoy some time by the pool before our awesome dinner plans. We went to a spot in Disney Springs called Wine Bar George, can I say what a spot. The food was fantastic and our waitress was super helpful. She gave us a breakdown of the menu and the best recommendations. I ordered the chicken yet again, along with some charcuterie and bruschetta. Not only were the plates beautiful, everything was more than delicious. This was definitely one of our favorite meals of the trip. 

For dessert we splurged and had a little bit of everything. We really loved the wine and chocolate experience, which was 3 different types of wine to enjoy, with 3 different types of chocolate. Wow did that hit the spot and end our second day perfectly. 
Well this is the end of day one, make sure you come back for the second post when we go to Magic Kingdom. I got some beautiful style shots as well to share with you guys. Now the Disney outfits start getting amazing so you don't want to miss out.

Read More

Spring Ice Cream Tour Part B/New York City

Sunday, May 2, 2021

New York City Amazing!!

Ok so let's talk about our stop in New York City, for the next part of this year's Ice Cream Tour. Since we were in the midst of a pandemic flying was not the first choice, so we put our Florida ice-cream tour on the back burner until things get a little more normal, or we get vaccinated. (which at this point I'm happy to say we finally are) Putting everything into perspective we decided to make it a road trip, so this is why we chose New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Now I know New York was part of our last tour, but think about it, New York has always been the hub of amazing eats, no matter how many times I go and how long I stay, I always leave feeling like I wasn't able to even touch on the many amazing places available. That way we would still be able to go to tons of new places, only visiting the favorites a second time. We arrived in New York on a Monday at just after 10am, hoping to avoid the weekend rush. I had no idea that it would be a quarter the normal amount of people. Usually the streets are packed with bustling people, on their way here and there, and the streets jam packed with cars. Not this time, it was definitely a different vibe because of the COVID situation, to be honest I can't say it was horrible because it made it so much easier to get around and see everything. When we arrived we checked into our hotel StayPineapple, it's the only place we stay when we go to New York.

All of the employees are always so welcoming and helpful, not to mention it's super comfy, clean, and pet friendly as heck. They provide dog beds, bows, and pet accommodations as well as human. The hotel also has a colorful and artsy vibe, with a pineapple theme all throughout that will make you smile from ear to ear. It's the one hotel where we feel completely at home whilst away from home. The New York location is on 36th street, which is so convenient and in walking distance of Time Square. It's also in close proximity to so many restaurants, stores, and fun entertainment spots. They also have other locations all over the US. Which is why whenever we are traveling I look to see if there is a Stay Pineapple in the area, because they are literally our first choice. 

Once we unpacked, were rested and showered, we headed out to find a late lunch and scope the general area, which led us to The Sugar Factory. Another fun spot, with amazing freakshakes, and colorful food. They have rainbow sliders and rainbow pancakes, as well as plenty of candy, which is what they are known for. Since we weren't super hungry and planned to eat dinner later, we ordered a turkey club to split, which came sided with fries. Can I say that turkey club was delicious, along with the huge order of fries, it was more than enough for both Rob and I. Once we finished eating our sandwich, we ordered a few freakshakes to shoot and share with you guys. 

The first one is the Princess Make A Wish (the pink one), it's a delicious white chocolate dipped milkshake glass, that has been covered in pink sprinkles. The shake itself is made up of vanilla ice-cream, blended with vanilla sauce and rainbow sprinkles, then it's topped with whipped cream, a marshmallow wheel, a white chocolate Kitkat and a pink frosted cupcake with a birthday candle. The other shake is the Giggles Snickers. It's a chocolate dipped milkshake glass, covered with snickers and pieces of rainbow sprinkles. The shake itself is made up of cookies and cream ice-cream, blended with toasted peanuts, then topped with a caramel waffle, whipped cream, and sprinkles.

Which one would you choose?

In the shot below we have the Cookie Monster Make a Wish. It's a chocolate dipped milkshake glass, covered in chocolate chip cookie chunks. Then the shake itself is made up of cookies and cream ice-cream, blended with vanilla sauce, then topped with whipped cream, a blue glazed donut, chocolate chip cookie and a blue frosting cupcake, with a birthday candle. Aren't they gorgeous? I just love the presentation of The Sugar Factory freakshakes. 

Next up is the Campfire S'mores. It's a dark chocolate dipped milkshake glass, that has been dusted with graham cracker crumbles and covered in Hershey bar chunks. The shake is made up of chocolate and coffee ice-cream, blended with espresso, toasted marshmallow, Virginia Black Wiskey, then topped with a 7 layer S'mores cookie. It's super dramatic and over-the-top like all of their milkshakes, which is what I love about The Sugar Factory. You can get all of their milkshakes with or without alcohol, to make it a Boozy Milkshake!

After we finished eating a shooting it was almost 3pm, so we decided to go back to the room for a couple hours until dinner. I would say it was about 8pm when we decided to head back out for for some amazing food from Thep Thai, one of my favorites. There is such a classy vibe, from all the sleek decor, and matching serving dishes. I also can't forget to include the bar, which is where they make the best cocktails, oh.my.goodness they are more than beautiful by the way. Each one is garnished with a flower, fruit or both, and they are mixed to perfection. Not overly-strop and bitter but refreshing and tasty, theres noting better than a cocktail you can't get enough of. 

Whenever we are in the area we stop in for dinner, and it's always good. The Wonton Soup and Pineapple Fried Rice are divine, the fried rice comes served in a fresh half pineapple, that they hollow and make into a bowl. We also love to order the Chicken Satay, which is very flavorful and tender, it also comes with some amazing peanut sauce. As always the meal was perfect from start to finish, we left very full and happy as we made our way back to the hotel for a good night's sleep. The next morning we woke up pretty early to get a head start on the day, we wanted to shoot a couple style shots with the walls we found. The first was a fun, pink, floral piece, that worked perfectly for the new Adidas, bomber jacket, that I had scored especially for the trip. 

Shop this look here -> "DanaStargazerTruitt"

Once we were finished with the style shoot, we headed to Surreal Creamery, what a cool spot that was. All of the items they put out have a fun and playful twist. They pair all kinds of amazing flavors and treats, like soft serve ice cream and bubble tea. The shot below is (left) Brown Sugar Bubble Tea with Earl Grey Vanilla Soft Serve, garnished with a couple chocolate wafer straws. Then the other one (right) is Taro Bubble tea with a Matcha/Taro Swirl Soft Serve, garnished with a butter wafer cookie. They were both not only beautiful, but amazing flavor-wise.


Then there was the Strawberry/Almond Swirl, garnished with whipped cream, rainbow sprinkles, marshmallows, two butter cookies and teddy graham cookies. Talk about amazing, each one I tasted was better than the other. This is another MUST-TRY spot!! 

They have a few locations in New York, we stopped into the 2nd avenue location which happened to be right up the street from Tipsy Scoop, which is known for their amazing liquor infused frozen treats. Now I have to be honest, I thought the ice-cream would taste bitter like the liquor. but wow I was so so wrong, you literally couldn't tell because it tasted amazing. This is such a cool spot, and they also have more than one location in NYC. They also have sorbets, which were also outta this world delish. Even Rob was eating away and he's not a sweets person like me. He rarely does more than takes a taste, so I was pretty surprised to see he ate almost the whole cup. 

Shop this look here -> "DanaStargazerTruitt"

After we left Tipsy Scoop we started wandering around looking for some lunch. As always there are a million and one places to eat, so we just decided to grab a slice of pizza, then head back to the room and relax for a few. The sky was clear with zero clouds and the temp got up to 75 degrees so needless to say we got some sunburn, mix that with a day of walking and we were exhausted. We spent the rest of the evening in the hotel, aside for coming out for dinner. The next morning started off much like the one before, early morning style shoots, then around 11am we headed to Black Tap to grab and shoot a couple of Crazyshakes. They were a tad messy but delicious as always. 

I ordered two of them, and sadly because of COVID they were not in the usual milkshake glasses, they were being served in the plastic to-go cups. There is the (above) Cookies & Cream Supreme which is an Oreo milkshake, in a chocolate frosted rim covered in crushed Oreos, topped with a cookies and cream ice cream sandwich, crumbled Oreo, lots of whipped cream and a chocolate drizzle. Then there is the (below) Strawberry Shortcake, its a strawberry milkshake in a vanilla frosted rim, covered in crumbled cake. Topped with a strawberry shortcake ice cream bar, a pink and white twisty pop (or in my case pink rock candy), tons of whipped cream, strawberry drizzle, crumbled cake and a cherry on top.

Needless to say I made a serious mess on the sidewalk with the strawberry one, but oh well it was more than worth it, because as always the milkshake itself was just fantastic. After we left Black Tap and started heading back to the hotel, but along the way we stopped into Milk & Cream Cereal Bar which is one of my faves. They are always doing a fun collab of some kind, last year they were doing something with Care Bears. Wow were they some cute sundaes. What they are known for is mixing cereal into soft serve ice-cream, and wow is it good. This is another spot I stop into whenever I am in New York. Here is the Care Bear's one from last year's trip, soooooo cute right?

After eating dinner and returning to the hotel, we woke up early the next morning because we decided to stop into one last place before we headed off to Connecticut, it's a great spot called Stuffed Ice Cream, and wow did they blow me away by making an ice-cream cone with hella scoops on it as you can see below....lol! They have so many amazing flavors in every bright color you can think of. They also sell stuffed ice-cream donuts that will blow your mind.

It's always a ton of fun to find and explore new shake and ice-cream spots, especially in a new city. Since New York always has new spots popping up weekly, it’s always an overturning wealth of fun places. I have a huge mater list of all the great spots I have seen while gazing Instagram, I have a folder for each state, and even some countries. We will be leaving for Walt Disney World on the 16th of May, so I'm more than excited to shoot all the Mickey themed treats for the 7 days we'll be there. I've been compiling a list of everything I have found online and Instagram so far. Well there’s only New Jersey left, which I’ll be posting in the next couple weeks. Keep an eye out so you don’t miss the last leg of our Spring, 2021 Icecream tour!! 

Also if you ever want to see unposted or unseen footage of all these amazing treats or trips just follow me on my Instagram or Pinterest at @DanaStargazerTruitt, both platforms have their own unique content.

To check out the last Ice Cream Tour just click here-> "First Annual Ice Cream Tour"

Read More

Spring Ice Cream Tour Part A/Connecticut

Monday, March 22, 2021

The Connecticut Portion of Our Trip!

I'm so excited to share our Spring Ice-Cream Tour with you guys. It's a road trip that spanned many states and many amazing stops along the way. We stopped in Stamford, Connecticut for 3 days, then New York City for another 3 days, then New Jersey for another 2 days. I will be doing a blog post on each stop as not to make them too long, and for the first post we will be getting a view at our stop in Stamford Connecticut. There were two main spots we stopped in Stamford for, one is called Elm Street Diner, and the other is called Bona Bona. We arrived in Stamford around 2pm at which time we checked into our room at The Stamford Hotel. Our stay solidified the fact that it's the ONLY place to stay while in the area, and below you will see why. 

The room and bed were both very comfy, clean, and more than roomy. There were also plenty of common areas, a full gym, a swimming pool area and then some. Not to mention the staff was super nice and helpful when we asked for local recommendations on food and shopping. Everything in downtown Stamford, such as restaurants, bars, and shopping, is a 5 to 8 minute drive from the hotel, which makes it super convenient. They are also pet friendly, so that means next time we come Piper will be able to accompany us. 

Downstairs as you enter the hotel, there are several common areas that are really nice and roomy. I love the fun colorful vibe, I'm even happy to say I found some fun purple stairs to match my new Under Armour outfit...loll! Once we got settled into the room and rested up for a few hours, we headed out to find some dinner and do some quick shopping. Originally the trip was supposed to be 6 days, but we stretched it out a bit more when we decided to stop in New Jersey for a couple extra days. Rob and I picked up a few things (one being a new CK dress that I'll show you below) and wandered around the mall for a bit.

We ate dinner at a cute little Greek spot not far from the hotel, I had a chicken and lemon orzo soup with a greek salad, Rob had the same. By the time we made it back to the hotel it was almost 10pm, and we were exhausted. After driving all day, some serious rest was needed. Plus we had to be up early the next day to check out Elm Street Diner, which was also right up the street from our hotel. I was more than excited because Elm Street had been in my mind for some time, they have the most amazing over-the-top milkshakes and desserts. We arrived there bright and early the next morning, after a VERY good nights sleep. We were greeted by John the owner, who graciously helped us to pick the most insane items for pictures. 

Prepare to be blown away...!!
First up is the Nutella Kinder Donuts, this is a stack of donuts  with Kinder Bueno, Peanut Butter Cups, and covered in Nutella and other divine sauces. It's nothing like you have ever seen or tasted, and wow so sinfully sweet. As you can see it definitely put a smile on my face, but wait this is nothing compared to what's coming. 
There's so much more.  

Next up is the Waffle Tower, yes I said waffle tower. It's basically an ice-cream sandwich made out of waffles, then piled high with more ice-cream, donuts, cake, cupcakes, chocolate bars, a chocolate chip cookie ice-cream sandwich, Nutella, an eclair bar and then some. Talk about a cheat day treat, I have never seen anything like it. I asked them to blow me away and they sure nailed it. I have to tell you Rob fell in love with the chocolate cake, he ate the whole piece by himself. 

 Ok next up is my favorite item because of the beautiful coloring, it's called the Cotton Candy French Toast. It's the most amazing french toast, topped with a delish vanilla ice-cream, cotton candy, rainbow sprinkles and the most amazing pink, blue, and white icing. When I say amazing french toast I mean it, wow was it good....definitely my favorite food item from this stop. 

Ok so next up was the St Patrick's Day Freakshake, the day we stopped in was the Saturday before St Patty's Day. We were excited to get something themed for the holiday and WOW did they deliver. What you see below is a piece of 4 layer cake, topped with a donut, 2 cupcakes, a lollipop, a clover sugar cookie, rock candy, and lotsa pot of gold vibes. All piled high in a vanilla frosting rimmed glass, with chocolate coins and pearl candy sprinkles. Oh...My....Goodness was this by far the coolest St Patty's Day Shake I've ever seen. 

 Ok we have one more ....Last and certainly not least is the Strawberry Shortcake Freakshake, and WOW will it freak your tastebuds. This shake is also piled high with lots of yummies like a slice of cheesecake, a cupcake, rock candy, cherries, a strawberry, a strawberry shortcake ice-cream pop, all piled high atop a yummy strawberry milkshake, in a vanilla frosting, chocolate chip and rainbow sprinkle rimmed glass. 

As they say save the best for last, I absolutely love anything strawberry related especially when it involves ice-cream. I would love to know in the comments which one you would pick. If you guys keep an eye on my Instagram -> (@DanaStargazerTruitt) you will see the video views of each item shown above, which always makes them look so sooooo much better. Also what do you think of the cute new Calvin Klein dress? This is one of the new items I picked up from the Macy's in Stamford Mall. The colors were to perfect, I couldn't help myself. I also got a beautiful blazer to match, which you will see in the next blog post, on our stop in New Jersey. Then the third and final blog post on the trip will be our time in New York City, which will by far be the biggest. By the time we ate breakfast and finished shooting Elm Street Diner it was around 4pm, so we headed back to the room to relax for a few hours. I caught the most beautiful sunset from our window that overlooked most of Stamford. It was the best end to the day. 

The next morning, after another great night of sleep, we went out for breakfast at a cute little diner, again right down the street from the hotel. After we ate breakfast, we headed back to the hotel to pack up, check out and head onto the next stop, which was a spot called Bona Bona. It's located on our way out of Connecticut, so it worked out perfectly. They have the coolest unique flavor that I wish I could get here in Baltimore. What they do is add a house-made custard to the tops of their cones and scoops, then they char it like you would a marshmallow. It tastes soooooo good. It tastes kinda like marshmallow, but the consistency isn't gooey like marshmallow, it's literally like a fluffy custard. I wish I could email you guys one, because you would love it. 

Ok so here just above is the Bona Bona waffle cone, now keep in mind they make their own ice cream, with some of the best unique flavor combos. They also have trucks where they sell as well as doing events. Hint...Hint...Come to Baltimore Bona Bona!! The ice-cream I tried that I absolutely loved was the frosted animal cracker ice-cream, with some of the custard on top, it's shown below. That was one that I completely finished all on my own, because it was just too good to stop eating until it was allllllll gone...lol! TRY IT, I promise it's an amazing flavor combo.

They also have some really good milkshakes, I tried the Over The Rainbow and The Italian Campfire. Both shown below. 

I really loved the smoothness and flavor of their ice-cream, which was perfect for a milkshake. I had them top the bottom one with the custard, instead of the usual whipped cream. I think it tasted amazing and looks fabulous. I really enjoyed their store, it's super fun and colorful inside. There is one room with rainbow sprinkles all over the walls, then the outer room has pink walls on one side, and rainbow on another. It's the perfect atmosphere for such delish treats. If you live in the area look them up, it's a must try spot.

Well that's all for the Connecticut portion of our trip, make sure you keep an eye out for the New Jersey post coming soon.

Thanks so much for followingAlso if you ever want to see unseen footage of all these amazing trips, just follow me on my Instagram or Pinterest at @DanaStargazerTruitt, both platforms have their own unique content.

To check out the last Ice Cream Tour just click here-> "First Annual Ice Cream Tour"

Read More