Wednesday, February 26, 2014

In Which Jenn Makes the Cheater's Grilled Cheese

I do not pretend this is a great idea. I do pretend that it's a fast and flexible idea. I give you: The Cheater's Grilled Cheese.

You cheat because you don't use a pan or grill or anything like that. Yes, you lose out on the buttery goodness of the standard recipe, but you gain the following things:

  • No butter or oil - fewer calories!
  • No cleanup to speak of afterward
  • Fewer supplies needed
  • Super speedy - great for when sick or, shall we say, inebriated
  • Safe - no hot pans or stovetops and no flipping
  • No stovetop? No problem!

Here's how it works:

1. Assemble your ingredients. Cheese and bread of course, plus whatever fillings you require. The healthier your add-ins, the healthier your sandwich! (Please don't judge me for the American cheese; I'm a sharp cheddar girl but this is what my roommate likes and I roll with it.)


2. Stick your bread in the toaster. Toast to your liking and remove.
3. Stack your cheese and fillings on the bread as you would normally and close 'er up with the top slice.
4. Put the sandwich on a plate and nuke in the microwave for about 20 seconds - however long it takes for the cheese to melt without bubbling out of the sandwich proper.
5. Consume!



Yeah, I know - it's not a PROPER grilled cheese. But you get the crispy bread and gooey cheese tastes of a grilled cheese sandwich with all the advantages listed above. This is great for kitchenettes and dorm rooms and such where you only have access to basic plug-in appliances. Try it and tell me what you think!

What are your favorite food hacks?

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us atfairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Fairest Week In Review: 2/25

JENN: Last week we speculated that not running this week might be a thing. Did you?

MOON: I did run, but very little.

JENN: I did intervals. Slow, terrible intervals.

MOON: I am actually in a music slump.

JENN: Oh, that invariably sucks.

MOON: If I'm not excited about my music then running more than 3 miles becomes dumb.

JENN: Agreed!

MOON: I had a nice run outside today! The weather was beautiful. When I went it was barely 50 degrees, but I decided to enjoy it as much as I could.

JENN: Awesome!

MOON: My lungs were ice, but it was nice to be outside and not on the lonely treadmill...

JENN: Your lungs are so much braver than mine!

MOON: Or more desperate.

JENN: Well, whatever gets you there!

MOON: That sounds healthy! So, what's your plan for the week?

JENN: I took it easy this weekend as I was sick, but I'm feeling better - I'm hopefully that I can run on Tuesday and get it back!

This is how Jenn spends sick days.

MOON: I asked Liz to run with me on Tuesday and Thursday. I think having another person running with me will get me going again.

JENN: AND THEN SHE CAN DO THE RUNDISNEY WINE AND DINE 5K IN NOVEMBER!!

MOON: All roads lead to November.

JENN: YES THEY DO.

And all week in review entries lead to the roundup.

- The Runner's Guide to WDW offers ten tips on tackling runDisney challenges.
- Get ready to run a sub-four hour marathon with Carrots 'n Cake.
- Run Walk FastPass Repeat has the best race day hat ever.
- Speaking of race costumes, transform yourself into Donald Duck with We Run Disney.
- I MADE NICOLE OF PINK ELEPHANT ON PARADE GO TO BALLET. It was awesome.
- Experience Lunch with an Animal Specialist at Sanaa with Extra Walt Disney World Magic. I tried to get this ADR for my December trip but it was already full. Someday!

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

In Which Moon Has A Brilliant Idea

JENN: Well, this was your brainchild. Would you like to explain our new project?

MOON: Okay. We were in a Disney park (Disneyland) for the billionth time and I realized that most of my photos of Jenn are her... in front of Disney property.

JENN: Where I belong.

MOON: And EVERYONE blogs these days... Soooooo, a Tumblr! jenninfrontofdisneythings.tumblr.com.


JENN: Entitled "Jenn In Front of Disney Things." Featuring Jenn in front of Disney things.

As the artist behind this innovative new media installation, what do you hope your work will say to the masses?

MOON: Jenn effing loves Walt Disney World?

Jenn: A Study Of Identity and a Sense of Home.

JENN: Glorious.I guess we'll have to go back to WDW for more material.

MOON: Well, if I can source Facebook for a moment: there are roughly 650 photos of you tagged. I believe, according to your photo maps, 611 of those were taken in WDW. I found that rather telling.

JENN: Oh, that can't be right... can it? No. That can't be right. I don't think.

MOON: We also have PLENTY of photos for now, no need to return to WDW so soon

JENN: QUIT TALKING CRAZY.

Anyway. Jenn In Front Of Disney Things: a tumblr for a generation. Or something.

MOON: By the way, we might market this hard.You'll get what I'm saying next week. We have a single dropping.

JENN: Get your iPods ready!

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us atfairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon! 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

In Which Jenn Convinces the Business World of Her Disney Cred

Fact: I have been known to bring up Disney park customer service practices and enhancement programs in brainstorming sessions at work. They tend to go over like GANGBUSTERS. Seriously. You should try it.

Before Moon and I left for Disneyland, the CEO of the organization where I work jokingly told me that he'd pay for my food expenses if I brought back 25 business ideas from Disneyland. I knew he didn't mean it, but just the same: CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

Which is how I came to send the CEO an email last week, encompassing everything from name tag formatting to wandering performers to, yes, feral cat colonies, because A GIRL CAN DREAM, OKAY? (I may have amended this to hummingbird feeders. But only reluctantly.)

And then a day later I discovered that he had forwarded my email to my new boss with glowing praise. My boss's response? She loved my list. But it was the last thing she said that killed me: "You should go to Disney more often."

Lady, you have NO IDEA.

ME. IT'S ME.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out 
Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us atfairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon! 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Fairest Week In Review: 2/18

JENN: Ready to do some blogging?

MOON: Yep!

JENN: So how was your week?

MOON: I didn't quite make it to any new running horizons, but I did run most days!I don't know about you, but for me winter is rouuuuugh. All I want to do is eat pretzels and hide under blankets.

JENN: Agreed.My runs the last week have been pretty terrible. I'm almost considering taking a week off from running.

MOON: HMMM! Maybe we should/We can ironically blog about NOT running next week.

JENN: I've been sluggish and incompetent and I wonder if I need legitimate recharging.But then I worry that I'm just giving up and being lazy. So I dunno.

MOON: I think it's winter.

The perp.

JENN: I think there's something to that.

MOON: Really.Winter blows.

JENN: It's supposed to be good for running! Chilliness, I mean.

MOON: Chilliness I can handle. Heart-crushing subzero temperatures is just depressing.

JENN: As of right now it seems to mostly sap me of my energy. Siiiigh. I just don't know. I want my mojo back! I had it for a bit there!

MOON: 
What can we do about this? We need a remedy.

JENN: Put it to the readers, I guess. What should we do? Take a week off? Push through? Something else?

While you're pondering, here's the roundup: 

- Food Fitness Fantasy tackles this Biggest Loser scandal stuff. Katherine produces really great posts about body image.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us atfairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Fairest Trip Report of All: Food Reviews

Hi guys! Tragically, here is the final regular installment of our trip report, highlighting our time in the Disneyland Resort. Hope you enjoy! To read all the posts in this report, click here. 

JENN: And now we come to our final moment of nostalgia: food review from our Disneyland trip.

Let's start in Downtown Disney with La Brea Bakery, where we got grilled vegetable sandwiches. As a vegetable expert, what were your thoughts? I know you felt there wasn't enough ketchup.


MOON: Hmm. Vegetable sandwiches are always so uniform. I feel the approach to a vegetarian sandwich is "just take the meat off and put some peppers on it, maybe a mushroom." However, I did appreciate there was no cheese on mine.

JENN: California tends to be good about providing vegan options. And I liked that they gave us vinegar and oil to go with the bread basket. Very continental.

Were the french fries to your liking? You tend to have strong feelings regarding french fries.

MOON: Ehhh. They rate mediocre on my french fry scale.

JENN: Burn!

One perk: when we were at La Brea, I tweeted that fact. Of course. Because Disney trips require excessive live documentation, clearly. In this case it worked out for us beautifully, because Nicole informed me that they honor a Disney Visa discount. According to the waiter, they only apply this discount unless you specifically ask, so fellow Disney Visa holders: do your research! (Or take Nicole with you everywhere.)

Next up, we have the Earl of Sandwich, where you got tomato soup and we SPLIT! a spicy tuna wrap. I thought it was good but not remotely spicy. I did appreciate that the tuna, while not dry, was neither over-mayonnaised. And the black olives were a nice addition. Still: NOT SPICY.

MOON: Yes, I agree. There wasn't even a hint at spicy. The tomato soup was pretty good, but I always feel okay with tomato soup. :)

JENN: Did it make you feel any better? (Moon was sick the day before the race.)

MOON: It made me feel warmer!


JENN: I also ran over to grab a bread pudding from Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen Express, because I am a bread pudding FIEND.

I don't think Moon tried any so I'll take this one: good. It came with a nice vanilla bean sauce. But it wasn't quite gooey enough for my taste and the flavor was primarily just sugar, nothing more subtle. I feel like bread pudding is one of those things that you just can't beat when it's homemade.

Now for our post-half-marathon lunch at Jolly Holiday Bakery at the end of Main Street in Disneyland. We both got the same thing: the Jolly Holiday Combo, tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich cut into strips for dipping.

MOON: MORE TOMATO SOUP! :D

JENN: And how was that tomato soup, connoisseur?

MOON: Also pretttty good.

JENN: I enjoyed the combo very much. But. There was something not quite right about the grilled cheese sandwich. Initially I thought it wasn't quite enough cheese, but after further analysis I came to the conclusion that the bread, while buttery and delicious, was just a leeeettle too thick. Kind of undermines the cheese factor. And the cheese factor is key.


MOON: I've only ever had one grilled cheese sandwich I truly liked, so I feel my opinion on this matter doesn't offer much.

JENN: Ha, where was that?

MOON: Austin, TX! They would put pears on your sandwich. Mine had a fried egg.

JENN: Nice. Jolly Holiday has promise but much to learn.

Next: the famous peanut butter sandwich! I got this from the candy store on Main Street after reading about it in the Disney Food Blog. Basically, it's a graham cracker slathered with peanut butter and covered in milk chocolate. So: an open faced sandwich.


It was delicious, because peanut butter is delicious and chocolate is delicious and peanut butter + chocolate = delicious, but I can't help but feel that what I ate was, essentially, a very large and expensive buckeye. The graham cracker didn't really enter into the taste equation; I think it was only there for support.

Moon tried a bite - any thoughts?

MOON: Hmm, I thought it tasted like chocolate? What we can all take away from this blog: Jenn knows her food. Moon tastes Jenn's food and generally feels okay about it.

JENN: "Jenn knows her Disney. Moon tastes Jenn's Disney and generally feels okay about it." Yep, still works. ;)

MOON: Hahaha, interchangeable nouns!

JENN: Okay, let's move on to Uva Bar at Downtown Disney, where, in Moon's own words, she ate her weight in guacamole.

MOON: The menu was limited for vegetarians! I opted for the guacamole. The plate arrived with a MOUND of guacamole.

JENN: Was it at least delicious? I remember it arrived with slices of radish sticking out of it.

MOON: Yes, it was quite delicious! If you remember (which I know you do), I ate nearly all of it. Radishes included.

JENN: Excellent!

I got the tuna "tacos," called "tacos" because they were really more fried tortillas, I guess, rather than any more formal Latin wrapping? I don't know. The tuna was raw, so naturally they were unaccountably tasty. The avocado accompaniment helped a great deal. I rather wish the shell had been soft, but that's a personal preference.

Sadly in the value/hunger area, you only got three quite small tacos, so I also ordered a machengo cheese salad, which was great - nuts and fruit and wonderful hard cheese. I would recommend this if you're looking to add some roughage to your diet.




Next up we have Paradise Garden Grill at Disney's California Adventure. I got a Greek salad here. I felt more nutritionally secure because I was eating greens and greens are good for you therefore health, but... my GOD was it salty. That's all I remember about it: salt. That briny, olive-y, feta-y salt, which means it was GREEK salt, but still.


How was your kebab? You got tofu with... what kind of sauce again?

MOON:  Ha, I have no idea. I remember asking the attendant which she preferred and I went with her choice.

It was okay. Just grilled veggies with a square or two of tofu. Unremarkable, but healthy nonetheless.


JENN: I think you got chimichurri sauce... you seemed lukewarm about it at best. How were the sides?

MOON: Vinegary. I think I had a cucumber salad and some rice.

JENN: Sounds about right. Worth eating?

MOON: Sure, but I would probably pick a different venue next time.

JENN: Speaking of: let's move on to Lucky Fortune Cookery, home of Asian Food!

MOON: SIIIIIGH.

JENN: Now, in fairness, they do offer Thai coconut curry sauce. So that's, like, at LEAST two countries represented. And I had that sauce, with the tofu and veggies and rice, and it was very tasty. Mind you, I'm sure Thailand proper could do better, but for a reasonably healthy, filling theme park meal I was not displeased.


MOON: Under that distinction, I would agree. Nothing was fried and there were vegetables. I was happy enough.

JENN: How was the teriyaki sauce?

MOON: Tangy. Not so much teriyaki sauce, but it was all right!

JENN: The tofu was a good, silky texture. Overall I would eat there again.

MOON: Same. Definitely beat out the weird shrimp salad that will never be spoken about again.

JENN: For our penultimate review, my greatest disappointment: the Starbucks cupcake from the Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical Cafe on Buena Vista Street.



It LOOKED reasonably epic. The only reasonably-epic-looking cupcake in all of Disneyland.
The top was chocolate-coated chocolate mousse, and once you hit the cake portion it was filled with whipped cream and raspberries. By all accounts lovely, but... WHERE IS THE FROSTING??? No frosting, no epic. The end.

MOON: Pssst. It's really not about the cupcake. Can you tell?

JENN: The cake portion is merely a means of conveyance. Frosting is priority. This is true. Oh well. At least WDW has me covered where frosting-y cupcakes are consider. Disneyland needs to step it up.

And finally: the Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney. We went here because it was convenient to the movie theater, but actually had a nice time. I had a perfectly good though unremarkable Cobb salad that came with some surprisingly great focaccia.


MOON: I really loved our bartender. She's a person you want to ask to come with after.

JENN: Indeed! She gave me a vodka soda that was almost all vodka. Keep that in mind if you like that sort of thing.

MOON: I can't remember what I ate, but it was in a wrap with no cheese. Maybe mushrooms. I approved!

JENN: Haha, I think it was a hummus wrap?

MOON: Most certainly not. I haaaate hummus!

JENN: Oh, right. Then I forget. But I swear there was a wrap involved. Anyway. Any final thoughts on Disneyland food offerings? Besides the fact that they seem weirdly expensive, even by Disney standards?

MOON: Nope!

JENN: Well. There you have it, folks. The food of Disneyland. Well, not really. I didn't eat any beignets. OR a Monte Cristo. There's work still to do. We'll just have to go back!

This concludes our Disneyland trip report, although we will at some point in the future hit you with the obligatory WDW vs. DLR post. It's a rite of passage. Stay tuned!

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us atfairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

An Open Letter to Pace Charming


Dear Pace Charming,

I alluded to this in our Tinker Bell Half Marathon recap, but I wanted to tell you formally: you saved me.

When I first saw you in corral B, I knew vaguely that you were important, in the universal sense. I knew that I could tell how well I was doing, based on whether you were ahead of me or behind me. I thought your sign was funny, so I took a picture. But I had no idea how vital you would be for my time.

I pulled ahead of you at the start of the race, and, despite a rough start, by the time I hit Disney's California Adventure I was feeling good. The miles through the parks passed quickly and happily.

Yet once I exited Disneyland and hit the streets of Anaheim, I was dragging. I found myself under-stimulated by the scenery. I walked through every water stop and started up again only with great mental effort and the knowledge that Moon was ahead of me and I could not lose sight of her because if she was still going then I was too.

So. Moon was my rabbit. You were my kick from behind.

First, around mile eleven, I saw you next to me. I realized two things:

  1. If the 2:15 pacer was next to me, I was in danger of dropping behind that pace.
  2. I was actually on pace for 2:15. OR FASTER, if I could just speed up.

I surged forward and left you behind.

But it was still not my race, and after a while I began to flag again. Then I heard you behind me, somewhere ahead of mile thirteen. You were calling out motivational things to your clustered group of followers: "We're almost there! You can do it!" Better things than that I'm sure; I don't quite remember. Yet as we passed by the thirteen mile marker and the finish line came into view I knew that if I could just keep it up for .1 more miles I would finish ahead.

My official time was 2:14:39.

Pace Charming, you pushed me into a finish ahead of 2:15. But also, just generally, you pushed me into a finish much faster than I would ever have accomplished otherwise. If you hadn't been there to let me know exactly where I stood in the race - if you hadn't been there to give me a clear point against which to measure myself - if I hadn't know that the moment you passed me was the moment I gave up and accepted that today I would be slower - I almost certainly would have eased up. I might've even walked for a bit.

But you were there.

You were a wall.

I ran to beat you.

Thanks.

Love,

Jenn

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us atfairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Fairest Week In Review: 2/11

Hokay. So. Here's the earth.

No, wait. That's not right. Let me start again.

Hokay. So. Just Jenn here today again. Moon and I spent the past weekend at a bachelorette party and, while I can very much assure you it was not as raucous as you might be imagining in your head, Moon is still catching up on her sleep. We went go-karting and ice skating and barhopping and that kinda thing takes a lot out of a girl, y'know?

But first: bank robbing.
(Just kidding; they made us wear those under our helmets
at the go-kart place.)

I did manage to ask her how her running went this week. She said: "Terrible. But I have high hopes for this week - it's going to be a beast." And so it shall no doubt come to pass.

As for me, I missed my Sunday run because I was on the bus back from NYC. I made up for it with a 16 miler on Tuesday, which went well until my knee started to give out. I was still able to finish out my runs for the week, but I've been babying the knee ever since. Good news: it seems to be recovering nicely.

It's going to be a good week on the blog, on think - we're finishing up our Disneyland trip report, for one thing. Be sure to check back. And in the meantime: roundup!

- Running Toward the Prize considers the Dopey Challenge.
- Mom's Magical Miles discusses a first visit to Disneyland. (We will have our own thoughts on this soon!)
- A Pinch of Pixie Dust highlights the Earl of Sandwich's BROWNIE CREME BROWNIE CREME BROWNIE CREME BROWNIE CREME.
- Prairie Princess Runners have wise words on how running impacts our lives.
- The DisBroads talk about running fuel.
- The Disney Hipsters rightly point out that THIS IS AWESOME.
- Speaking of things that are awesome, The Disney Food Blog has a collection of Disney-themed cocktails.
- MousePlanet offers a runDisney expo comparison.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us atfairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: 1/22

Hi guys! Time for another glorious trip report, highlighting our time in the Disneyland Resort. For the sake of flow, this report will be written by Jenn with Moon popping in for notes - don't worry, these will be clearly delineated. As with my last trip report, a lot of food reviews will be held for a later post, so stay tuned for that. Hope you enjoy! To read all the posts in this report, click here. 

I hadn't planned on doing a full day's report for our travel day home. No one likes traveling home. Especially west coast to east coast; you pretty much lose an entire day.

Heck, I can't even fall back on the always post-worthy tradition of complaining. Everything went fine. No problems driving to the airport. Both flights were on time and landed early. We had plenty of breathing room when it came to making our connection. Moon's boyfriend picked us up from the airport in his sweet, sweet minivan, dropped me off at my car, and I got to go home. We didn't even experience weather-related problems, and Maryland had recently been hit by snow, so we could have.

And yet here I am, and it is because of these photos. Let Moon explain.

MOON: On the flight home, I noticed a degradation of Jenn's posture and mood... This warranted proper photographic documentation.




 Says it all, no?

The trip report proper is over - but we're not done quite yet! Tune in next week for everyone's favorite post: the food review.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us atfairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Fairest Trip Report of All: 1/21

Hi guys! Time for another glorious trip report, highlighting our time in the Disneyland Resort. For the sake of flow, this report will be written by Jenn with Moon popping in for notes - don't worry, these will be clearly delineated. As with my last trip report, a lot of food reviews will be held for a later post, so stay tuned for that. Hope you enjoy! To read all the posts in this report, click here. 

Our final full day in California. Sigh.

The parks weren't opening until 10AM on this particular morning, which meant that we could sleep in. Which meant that we woke up about an hour ahead of schedule. Naturally. So we hung around the room for a bit before readying ourselves and walking down to the resort.

Disneyland was offering Extra Magic Hours (or whatever the equivalent is over there) for their hotel guests, but we decided to go in anyway. We were corralled at the hub for a bit until 10AM sharp, then set free.



Our first stop? Buzz Lightyear, as I had heard from many sources that the detachable guns made for a superior experience to its WDW counterpart. In theory, this is correct - they did FEEL easier. But I must have gotten used to the stationary WDW guns, because my score was pretty pitiful, all things consider. Moon smoked me - but then she's always been better at first person shooters than I am. (And so are you. And so is everybody, ever. WHY CAN'T IT EVER BE MELEE?)

MOON: I’m a boss at laser tag, too!

I got the bright idea to check in on the wait time for Space Mountain. Moon did not appreciate this, but upon seeing the 10 minute posted wait time she allowed herself to be herded into line. Our ride photo would not indicate an improvement for her the second time around.

Pathos.

No one in this photo is enjoying themselves except me.

Post-Mountain, we bounced over to Fantasyland, where we proceeded to take ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS pictures. It was awesome.

MOON: I’m sure there are going to be a lot of those…






So awesome, in fact, that we decided to go around the entire park taking silly photos. As we passed Big Thunder Ranch, I saw a HORSE! Yay! Unfortunately this guy wasn't as accommodating as the pair I met during the Tinker Bell Half, but it was still nice to see him.


THIS IS TRUE.

And even nicer to see Woody. I coached him and Moon into their pose and the CM on duty suggested a "Woody's Angels" spin-off. Do you think we could resurrect Bo Peep for that? I always liked her.


I was still bound and determined to find myself a cupcake, and we checked the Hungry Bear for exciting desserts as we passed. Admittedly the honey lemon cupcake was a feast for the eyes and I'd heard great reviews... but I didn't want a LEMON cupcake. Too light. I WANTED a honking sugar-fest. But a GOOD honking sugar-fest, with vanilla or cream cheese frosting for preference and some sort of frosting-intensive filling. In retrospect I probably made a mistake, but we moved on.

The Winnie the Pooh dark ride was practically next door and had no line to speak of, so we took a ride in a hilariously-named honeycomb. Okay, I might be imagining things, but I remember the WDW version as being WAY better. The story at Disneyland lacks clarity. Am I making things up?

Oh, bother.

By this point I was in the mood for a snack, of which there were many inside the Pooh Corner gift shop. Despairing of ever finding a glorious, WDW-worthy cupcake in Disneyland, I gave up the ghost and bought one of those generic colored cupcakes that are all over both properties. It was fine, sugar-fest-y, even, but an underperformer compared to anything I could get at Starring Rolls. Disneyland bakers need to step up their game.

MOON: If I may be so bold and repeat my favorite tweet: "I just stuffed cake into my BFF’s mouth. The trip has climaxed." There you go, guys. That’s the highlight of my trip.

Subpar.

We'd photographed our way through Fantasyland, New Orleans Square, Frontierland, Critter Country, Adventureland, AND Main Street and it was time to head across the yard to DCA. On the way out we stopped in a gift shop so I could look for a shirt I liked, but they didn't have it in my preferred size and color so I vowed to look in the World of Disney store later.

Over in DCA, I made a beeline for the roller coaster, and Moon was kind enough to wait for me and take photos as my train took off. Then we stopped in at the Golden Vine restaurant, but the menu didn't inspire us to spend that kind of money; we went back to Pacific Wharf and got tofu bowls from Lucky Fortune Cookery (another one for the food review post).


Our next stop was Carsland, where Moon got a churro cone. I guess they make them fresh to order, because Moon informed me it was going to take six minutes for hers to arrive. She gave me leave to run off and look for Stanley stuff in the gift shops.

I checked through pretty much every single gift shop in the place and came up with exactly one lame t-shirt and a magnet. I mean, Stanley has a freakin' STATUE here; shouldn't he be more heavily featured? Moon called, churros accomplished, and I directed her over to me for discussion. I ultimately bought magnets for my mother and grandmother. The cashier guy was super nice - he gave us First Visit pins and Mickey stickers (which now adorn my cubicle wall and my cell phone case, respectively).

I FOUND IT!

Also, Moon gave me her cinnamon chocolate dipping sauce from the churros because she's not a huge chocolate fan and I drank that stuff like it was hot chocolate. Question: reasonable behavior or cry for help?

MOON: I’m sorry for being a fatty and eating all the churros!! But I couldn’t find youuu and I was hungry. :/ But at least there was sauce, right? You ate that like a champ!

It being vacation, it was time to imbibe; we hit up the wine place next to Golden Vineyard. The guy there was also very nice, offering us different pours if we didn't like what we got and describing our potential purchases. I got a glass of Malbec and Moon got a Cabarnet, and we took our glasses over to the benches in front of California Screamin.' (On the way, Moon was accosted by a lady who wanted to know WHERE DID YOU GET WINE?????)

I snagged a FastPass for the roller coaster and we sat and sipped our wine for awhile. I finished my glass at the EXACT moment my time opened up. Moon had fallen asleep, and upon my return she was STILL asleep. It was adorable.

MOON: Zzzzzzzzz...


I did rouse her after a time, and we decided to approach DCA the same way we had Disneyland that morning - circle around and take pictures. So we did that. And as we walked past Grizzly River run, I saw him: DUG!


Oh, and here's a bear from the gift shop.


Also, at some point we took pictures with Chip and Dale. I don't remember when so I'm just going to stick this photo here. Chip tried to mime me into giving him money for food, but I refused because HE DOESN'T DESERVE ANY. (Confession: I don't like Chip and Dale because they're mean to Pluto. I harbor the same distaste for the Roadrunner and Jerry Mouse.) 


It was then that I made my most exciting discovery of the entire trip: one of the famed DISNEYLAND KITTIES! Disneyland sets up feeders to support feral cat populations that keep the rodent numbers down. Cast members warned, and rightly so, that they were wild, but this particular cat was incredibly sweet, rubbing against my hands and everything. Until some stupid kid came up and started yelling MEOW!!!!! at him which freaked him out and he ran away. Why do people continue to bring CHILDREN to Disneyland? I just don't understand it.


We continued our tour with Condor Flats, but there wasn't much there beside Soarin' and we get that at WDW. After that we found ourselves back on Buena Vista Street... so I went into Starbucks and bought ANOTHER cupcake. Because it LOOKED epic. I say LOOKED... but more on that later.

I was so young and full of hope.

Moon convinced me to leave the parks, but I wasn't ready to let go. She went back to the hotel while I headed into Downtown Disney and the World of Disney store to find my shirt. It was pretty much exactly the same as a shirt I had almost bought at WDW, but it said Disneyland instead; I figured since I still liked the design it would make a good souvenir. Unfortunate WoD didn't have red in size small either, so I settled for purple. Whatever. Purple brings out the green in hazel eyes, right? The universe knows what it's doing. I also found a shot glass and got a small pack of notepads for coworkers, but otherwise I managed to hold on to my money.

What I couldn't hold on to was my sense of perspective - as usual, the prospect of leaving Disney property bummed me right the hell out. A normal person, having completed their business, would then go back to their room. I chose to walk alllllll the way down the DTD street to the Disneyland Hotel and back, ducking into a few shops for no reason whatsoever. My initial plan was to pick up the monorail and ride it into Tomorrowland before exiting, but it was down... which also saved me from the temptation to stay in Disneyland, so I guess that was just as well.

Goodbye... sniff...

Eventually I was able to drag myself away; I met Moon back at the hotel and we pondered the remainder of the day. Various driving excursions were considered, but as I am a nervous driver in new situations we abandoned those ideas in favor of staying safely close to home.

Step one: hot tub! At this dinner-ish hour, the pool area was practically empty. There was one family there, but they left shortly after we arrived. We did have one admittedly cute encounter - their little boy came up to us just before they departed and asked us very gravely if we would like him to turn the hot tub jets on for us. I don't even like kids and I found that adorable.

Eh.

Much better.

Step two: dinner. We settled in at the Rainforest Cafe because it was right across the way from the DTD movie theater (we will get to step three shortly). This will serve as the final section of our Disneyland food review post, but let me just say now that they don't skimp on the vodka.

Step three: movie. The reason we wanted to drink was because we had selected Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones as the evening's film. WAIT HEAR ME OUT. Moon and I have a tradition with some friends that we watch horror movies together, both good and bad, and mock them and/or clutch each other in terror. We KNEW a PA movie would be mockable, but we hoped it would be a fun mockable. There is a method to our admitted madness, okay?

As you might have guessed, however, this particular PA installment was passable at best. The most interesting part was that when we walked in - a few minutes into the previews at that - we had the ENTIRE THEATER to ourselves. A couple came in shortly after, but they left about halfway through (if that informs you of the quality). Meanwhile, Moon literally stretched out across the seats and fell asleep about a quarter of the way in. The most frightening thing about the entire experience was sitting in the dark alone.

MOON: There's also a tradition of me drinking a little too much in excitement for being scared and then my subsequent snoozing. I had a nice nap. Much better than the movie, I'm sure.


I woke Moon up at the end and we walked back to the hotel in the hush of Disneyland Resort at 11PM at night and went to bed shortly after. Our vacation was essentially over. In the morning: TRAVEL TIME.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us atfairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!