Category Archives: Life

Hurricane Irma

It’s been a crazy week in the Hancock household in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. We started hearing about this huge category 5 hurricane over a week before it even made landfall. Ray and I are both Florida natives, so we’re pretty familiar with tropical storm and hurricane threats. In fact, about 5 years ago during a tropical storm, a tree fell on our house. We know the drill. Get clean water, charge the devices, prepare snacks, find flashlights, gas up the cars.

With hurricane Irma showing up just weeks after devastating hurricane Harvey over Texas, the entire state of Florida was in panic mode. I went to Publix last Tuesday, 6 days before north Florida felt any impact, and they were completely out of bottled water. In fact all of our local grocery stores ran out of water as soon as they received new shipments. The same was happening with gas and bread and canned goods. It was truly nuts. WHO NEEDS SO MUCH BREAD?!?! The Keys and Miami were put under a mandatory evacuation, so thousands of people were driving north up the the state, passing right by Lake City. This just added to the craziness… and lack of gas.

Ray and I both went to work as normal on Friday. We hung out, slept in, did our laundry, washed our dishes, and then attended a hurricane party Saturday night. I woke up early Sunday morning because it had already started raining and I was on edge. The news had been so conflicting. One minute we were going to see a direct category 5 hit. The next minute we were going to just experience outer tropical storm bands. The storm was predicted to travel either the east coast of Florida, the west coast, or just go straight up the middle. We just didn’t know what we were in for.

Sunday evening we had a few friends over to play a game and podcast. Our friend, Charles, brought over tons of food so we had a true feast. By midnight, the storm was wild! The air pressure was heavy, the wind was blowing like crazy, and the temperatures had dropped down to the low 60’s. Honestly, as scary as it can be, experiencing minor hurricanes can be really fascinating. We stood out on the porch for a while just watching the wind and the rain. Around 2:00am, we lost power (boo) and went to bed around 3:00am.

Monday morning was full of wind and rain. Once the worst past over us, we ventured out to survey the damage. Lake City was really lucky and only saw minimal damage compared to other counties in the state. There was some flooding, trees down, and LOTS of power outages. Probably 90% of our county lost power. We were out of power until Tuesday evening and there are still people waiting for their power to return! Unfortunately, many roads and bridges are closed and flooding is expected to get even worse in the next few days.

Living without power is, well, not awesome… but we tried to make the best of it. Ray used our tiny grill and cast iron skillet to cook up several meals. Temperatures were uncharacteristically mild, so we were only warm and not sweltering without a/c. I spent Tuesday reading, cleaning up the yard, and hanging out on our porch and balcony.

So, that’s pretty much what we’ve been dealing with over the past few days. Hurricanes are no joke! I hope you and your family are safe and at home!

San Francisco Weekend

I spent a golden weekend in the golden state celebrating my friend Jenna’s birthday. We visited Chinatown, the mission district, the full house house, Sausalito, the ferry building, and Ghirardelli square. We walked 35 miles (this is almost accurate), climbed so many hills, rode a cable car, explored Muir Woods, and biked across the Golden Gate Bridge. We ate delicious food and drank not enough cocktails. We packed so much into three days! This was my first time visiting San Francisco and hopefully won’t be my last. It was a wonderful weekend and I wanted to share some of my photos with you!

June 2017 Favorites

June 2017 Favorites:Growing cacti – Early this year we moved most of our cacti and succulents outdoors. They just didn’t seem to be getting enough light in our sunroom. Guys, they’ve been flourishing! Several have had beautiful blooms over the last month.

Rainy Days – the beginning of June was extra rainy this year, which lead to a few slightly cooler days and greener grass.

Staying Home – Our spring was filled with trips and events, which were all wonderful… but in June we actually had several weekends in a row at home. We were able to sleep in, recover from the work week, get chores done, and be overall lazy. It’s been very relaxing!  

The Jeep – Guys, we were a one car family for a very long time. We made it work, but it wasn’t always easy. Finally, this month, we purchased a second vehicle. We took our time, saved money, did research, and ended up buying a new-to-us (but with very low miles) Jeep Cherokee! 

Lavender and mauve nail polish –  These two colors, in various shades, have been my jam!

T-shirt dresses – Lately I’ve been LOVING easy casual tshirt dresses. I can dress them up for work or down for the weekends. They’re so comfortable and cute! My favorites are the jersey swing dress from old navy (currently on sale) and the lularoe carley (here’s a link to my fave consultant).

Lemon Lara Bars – For the month of June, I was on a restrictive eating plan (very similar to the Whole30) to try and relieve some fibromyalgia pain I’ve been experiencing. There weren’t a lot of “grab and go” type foods I could eat, BUT I could have Lara Bars! Lemon is my favorite flavor and apple pie comes in close second.  

Coconut Milk – I’ve been drinking coconut milk with my coffee lately and really loving it. It’s very summery!   

Riverdale – Ray turned Riverdale on a few weeks ago while we were eating dinner, and after one episode we were both hooked! Riverdale is based off the Archie comics, but it’s not just apple pie and boy scouts. Riverdale takes a slightly darker approach to the beloved Archie characters. It’s awesome and you should definitely check it out.   

Mommy, Dead and Dearest – Mommy, Dead and Dearest is an HBO documentary featuring Gypsy Rose Blanchard, who killed her mother after living her life being the subject of her mother’s Munchausen by Proxy. I love true crime and this case is so bizarre and interesting.

The Dollop – I’m forever on the search for a good podcast. The Dollop is a podcast focusing on hilarious stories though out America’s history.    

Pandora : World of Avatar Review

Animal Kingdom’s Pandora: World of Avatar
Several months ago I read a rumor that annual passholders might get an opportunity to check out Pandora before it officially opens. A few days later, someone in a facebook group I’m part of posted that preview sign-ups were up on the website. I quickly reserved my spot for a day Ray and I were already planning to be at Animal Kingdom. Within the next 30 minutes all the reservations were accounted for!
Last Sunday Ray and I were at Disney World spending time with our family and celebrating our cousin’s graduation/birthday (more on that trip to come). We spent the morning at Animal Kingdom riding Everest, the Safari, and Dinosaur. After a break at our hotel, we made our way back to Animal Kingdom for our 6pm Pandora reservation.
Walking into Pandora was an incredible experience. It truly felt like I was walking into a different world. Here’s the breakdown:

Valley of Mo’ara

So, let’s start with Pandora’s most obvious and breathtaking feature, the Valley of Mo’ara. The landscaping is stunning and intricately detailed. Every view is a photo opportunity… waterfalls, alien vegetation, oh, and floating mountains. FLOATING MOUNTAINS. The details are bananas. Glowing sidewalks, native weavings, tiny bioluminescent flowers… I could go on and on. The theming extends to the ride queues, which I always appreciate.

Na’vi River Journey

The Na’vi river Journey is an evening boat ride through Pandora. It features glowing plants and Pandoran animals. Disney has created some new magic using video screens, projections, and tradition 3-dimensional sets. I have no idea how all of this works together, but the outcome is beautiful. The ride concludes with the Shaman of Songs (I had to look that up) which is hands down Disney’s most life like animatronic. Its arms move so fluidly it’s hard to remember it’s actually a robot.
Overall this ride is relaxing and beautiful. The queue, while mostly unairconditioned, is beautiful. It’s a must see.

Flight of Passage

Flight of Passage is the most technologically advanced ride I’ve ever experienced. It’s a flight simulator of which you ride on the back of a banshee (but why aren’t we just calling them dragons?) through the planet’s different environments.
Because we went to a preview viewing of Pandora, we walked through the fastpass line for this ride which is MUCH shorter than the standby queue. I’ve read that if the entire queue is full it’s about a 4 or 5 hour wait. Thankfully, the theming is very well thought out and at least half of the queue is air conditioned. You walk through the jungle, some rocks, and a laboratory. Once you make it through the laboratory, you’re taken into a 16 person room to get the background story of the ride and prepare for your flight. A video plays, it talks about your consciousness, blah blah blah. Honestly, this part was rather boring to me but I know it’s what they needed to do to set up for the ride. You’re then led into a room with what almost looks like stationary bikes or motorcycles. You’re handed 3-D glasses and told to “mount” the seat. Once you’re seated, back and leg restraints deploy.

To start the ride, the room goes dark, there’s a flash of light, the screen in front of you disappears, and suddenly you’re immersed into the world of Pandora. You fly up, down, and around experiencing the various landscapes. Oh, and you can feel the dragon breathing beneath you. The video is beautiful and well synched with the ride vehicles. You truly feel as though you’re flying!!
The Downside:
Apparenlty, if you have large calves or a larger middle, you may not fit on the ride. There have been tons of reports from people not being able to experience Flight of Passage due to the size of the ride vehicles. That’s a super bummer. When we went there were no test vehicles outside the ride, but hopefully that will change soon because waiting hours for a ride, then not fitting properly is a truly un-magical experience. Also, while I felt fine, there is potential for motion sickness during Flight of Passage.

Pongu Pongu
Pongu Pongu is currently the only refreshment kiosk in Pandora. It offers several drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, and a few snacks. Ray and I ordered a Night Blossom and a Mo’ara Margarita.
The Mo’ara Margarita is a mix of strawberry and blood orange flavors and topped with boba balls. It was good, but nothing special. I probably wouldn’t purchase this again.
The Night Blossom is a mix of limeade, apple and pear, and topped with passion fruit boba. This drink was delicious and because it’s non-alcoholic everyone can enjoy! Also, it’s very instagram-worthy. Definitely get this on your next trip to Animal Kingdom! Satu’li Canteen
The Satu’li Canteen is a great change to the Disney parks. This “fast casual” restaurant offers primarily healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. At the time of our visit, Ray and I only saw the lunch and dinner menu so that’s what I’ll be talking about. There are two main options on the menu, bowls and pods. For the bowls you choose a protein (slice grilled beef, chopped grilled chicken, fish fillet, and crispy tofu), base (quinoa salad, red and sweet potato hash, mixed rice, and romain and kale salad), and a sauce (onion chimichurri, black bean vinaigrette, and creamy herb dressing). Ray chose sliced beef over rice with the chimichurri sauce. It was DELICIOUS! The pods come with two options, cheeseburger and vegetable curry. I ordered cheeseburger pods, which were also very good but I wish I had tried the curry. We also ordered the beautiful, yet underwhelming blueberry mousse dessert.

Things of Note:

Windtraders
Windtraders is a unique store in Pandora. We were only inside for a few minutes, so I can’t give a real review, but it sold tons of interesting and pandora-like objects. Also a banshee adoption center.
Scent
One of the best parts of the theming Disney incorporates is scent. To me, most of Pandor smelt like jalapenos, which I loved.
Night Viewing
We visited Pandora during the late afternoon before it was dark. The Valley of Mo’ara is supposed to be beautiful at night, all light up with bioluminescent plants. I can’t wait to see it!
Moss Wall
Find the moss wall. Take an instagram. #mosswall
The Movie
I’m coming clean and letting you know i’ve never seen Avatar. Honestly, I’ve never wanted to. But guess what… I still LOVED Pandora : World of Avatar. If you haven’t seen the movie OR if you didn’t like the movie, don’t let that stop you from going!!!

 

We had such a wonderful time and I can’t wait to go back!