Filtering by Tag: Shakespeare

Disney's Flower & Garden Festival 2015: Let the Fun Begin


After missing Disney's Food & Wine Festival for the first time in forever (it still haunts me), I swore that nothing on this planet would stop me from attending Epcot's other annual festival: Disney's International Flower & Garden Festival.

This is not my favorite festival of the two. March is usually sweltering, and it certainly is again this year. Right on time. Also, my mom is notorious for jumping and screaming at the mere wing-beat of a bee or wasp - they are very, very attracted to her (she's like a Bella Swan for devilish insects). So all the beautiful flowers can be a (funny) obstacle course at times.

But in recent years, Disney has added a few irresistible new features, including food booths. Ooooooh yes.

I was so prepared this year to kick foodie butt with my passport and gift card loaded with money for eats (the gift cards are WAY easier to use that juggling cash, and way prettier too).

The new design for the festival too? Cute. I love the icons growing from the vines.

With only one day to spare this spring for the festival, I studied the menus ahead of time and planned what I was going to try from the booths. Some old favorites and new ones. What I hadn't expected was to be wowed by the gardens set up around Epcot. They are, as usual, very beautiful, but I lingered in some of the gardens and took too many pictures.

Both of my favorite gardens were in England. The first was the Shakespeare Garden. Be still, my English major heart! The Shakespeare bust in the back was charming, and I loved reading the quotes Disney had chosen to plant among the flora.

The other garden is the classic English Tea Garden, where you can wander in a maze of flowers and Twinnings tea, looking for your favorite among the bunch.

During the Flower & Garden Festival, you can get stamps from not only the food booths, but also the gardens around Epcot. So of course I got my stamp in this lovely garden as well:

I always have to stop at my favorite little German village, especially when there is a festival afoot. Quite the celebration, it looks like:


Then, there was the food. From left to right:

Teriyaki Curry Bun, from Hanami, the Japan Booth. 

(Totally delicious, but then, I have a weak spot for curry.)


"Piggylicious" Bacon Cupcake with Maple Frosting and Pretzel Crunch, from The Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews, the America Booth

(This could have easily been a disaster. I wasn't brave enough to try it last year, but... wow. I was wrong. The flavor combinations strangely worked well together. I really enjoyed it.)


Pulled Pig Slider with Cole Slaw, from The Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews, the America Booth

(Nothing fancy but... you can't go wrong with pulled pork.)


Oolong Peach Bubble Tea and Beijing Style Candied Strawberries, from Lotus House, the China Booth

(Okay, two different items here. I've had bubble tea before, and I love it, and it was THE perfect drink to have when walking in the 88-degree heat back to the car. So... thank you. 

I have two old favorites that made triumphant returns to the festival this year, and the candied strawberries are one of them. I LOVE THEM. I think the sesame seeds in the sugar is what makes this dessert so wonderful. And without fail, people always ask us where we got it. Usually with drool glistening on their chins, haha.)

Frozen Desert Violet Lemonade, Pineapple Promenade

(My other favorite oldie. Violet flavoring in anything is delicious.) 

Macaron Guimauve a la Fraise (large strawberry macaron), Fleur De Lys, France Booth

(I love it when Disney makes macarons, and this new one was fantastic. Marshmallow with strawberry jam packed into the middle? WRAPPED IN FRENCH NEWSPAPER. Perfection.)

The strawberries and bubble tea were the last items I ordered before going home. I missed a few of the foods that did not make it back this year (Oooh, how I loved thee, Hamani Sushi, with your violet sauce), but even if I had wanted to try a few more, my stomach was like, "Noooo, it's too hot outside, Kim. I can't." 

So I called it a day. 

Have you had any early springtime adventures or are you still stuck in the snow? No matter the weather, it's ALWAYS a good time to try new food and have fun. 

My Forest

I think that someone should write a song about midterm time. Perhaps the song would be deceptively cheerful, starting out with a xylophone solo so amazing that you'd find yourself wanting to squeeze the nearest teddy bear. But if you do know what it's like to go through midterm, especially in the spring, it would not surprise if the song suddenly switched to drums and electric guitar. In a snap. Your ear buds might even explode.

When I say midterm, I don't mean simply a midterm test - a plot devised by your teachers and professors to give you something incredibly hard to go right before spring break. No. It's more than a series of tests. It's a space-time crunch where suddenly everything that you have been working on or are involved in freezes. You, though, are still chugging forward. There will be a collision, and it's not going to be pretty. The only way to prevent this train wreck is to sacrifice your sleep to the academic gods.

Which I just can't do. I'll take the train wreck.

There's still grading to be done for my students. Some recording. Midterm grades, as you know. I'll be reading a somewhat embarrassing story about my life at the nonfiction reading next week. And, hopefully, I'll be joining hands with a friend to launch a new project into the endless abyss of the internet.

Wow. Midterm indeed.

I have two writing-related projects going right now (not my Figment novels). One of which you'll find out about within the next two blog posts or so, and the other, hopefully a few months down the road. We'll see how it goes. But both projects, in their own ways, have to do with forests.

What do you think of when you hear the word forest? What's a forest to you?

I don't have any real life experience with forests. I've never gone camping. I can't imagine camping because I've never gone camping. I admire people who do. Sometimes when I'm driving to school, I wonder what it would be like to pull the car over and wander into the scrubby brush of Florida wilderness. We don't have those beautiful woods you see in car commercials. Actually, when I'm looking on the side of the road (the one road that doesn't have shops flanking both sides), the ground is usually covered in water. I'd have to wear some serious rain boots if I wanted to trudge in there.

My idea of a forest is totally built on fantasy. It's the image I prefer, the one I've gotten from my steady IV of fairy tales and pretty photos. It's the forest of Arden, straight from Shakespeare's As You Like It. It's the original Arden from Thomas Lodge's Rosalynde. I think I've spent many an hour reading and re-reading Lodge's 16th century book, marveling at the chivalrous heroes and surprisingly strong heroines as they all explored the forest and discovered themselves. A pastoral romance at its best, I daresay.

I've recently discovered another way to enjoy this more idealistic view of the woods; it's called mori girls. Mori means forest in Japanese. It is a fashion and lifestyle created in Japan where girls (mostly) dress as if they live in a forest. They usually wear long, shapeless dresses and many layers, preferring natural materials and colors. Mori girls wear little, if any, makeup (the most defining coloring their cheeks to imitate the dolls they owned as children). In spirit, these girls seek out the small enjoyments in life, living at a slower pace, and they make choices for themselves instead of for others. Well, there's a lot more to it then that. But we're looking at the tip of the iceberg.

(Last two pictures are from the Japanese brand called Wonder Rocket)

I truly wish that I could step out of the house like this. These pictures make me sigh. Truth be told, I've always been a t-shirt and jeans girl. I tend to admire other people for fashion, and, in recent years, have made an extra effort to collect some clothing that makes me feel, well, bigger and brighter. Reflective of the me on the inside. I have a few dresses that, when it does get warmer, I'm looking forward to wearing. I guess I just have to deal with my students staring at me, confused, haha. If I do ever make it to Japan, I'm saving my money. I want to come home with some of these mori-style clothes. I haven't seen anything in the grand USA that even comes close. I'm patient, haha.

There is something incredibly endearing and fascinating about this fashion movement. Hopefully in the futute I'll be able to blog about it more. In the meantime, I'd like to leave you with one more thing pertaining to mori girls. I good friend of mine (and brilliant colleague, haha) has just launched her own blog: Hello Enaam. If you have the time, please check out her first post about mori girls and, of course, larger issues concerning self-expression and freedom:

The video Enaam talks about sent my hackles rising (if I had hackles). Really. It's more than a little unsettling - a makeover show gone wrong. Poor Stacy and Clinton. I think even they would be shocked by this. What do you think?

Good luck with your midterms, dear readers!