Last month I included “paying it forward” in my goals and I wanted to revisit the topic today in more detail. If you haven’t heard the phrase and are wondering what it means to “pay it forward,” it’s giving back with a random act of kindness to a stranger.

I’ve always loved the concept, especially after reading the Kids Random Act of Kindness book and seeing the movie Pay It Forward a solid 15+ years ago. But over the weekend I decided to rewatch the movie when I saw it on Netflix (yay!) and am feeling totally reinspired to make a difference in lives. Even the smallest of actions or words can make such a huge impact on people. Think about it. If someone gives you a compliment or smiles at you, doesn’t it really help to brighten your mood a bit?

Over the next month, I’m going to do three random acts of kindness for strangers, and I challenge you to do the same! Not sure where to start? Here are a few simple ways to pay it forward.

We could definitely use more kindness in the world! Read these simple ways to pay it forward!

  1. Pay for the coffee of the car/person behind you in line.
  2. Smile and say “hello” to people you walk past.
  3. Leave a bigger tip for your waiter when dining out.
  4. Give up your seat for someone who could use it more on the subway/bus.
  5. Drop some change in parking meters for people who are running low on time.
  6. Spend an afternoon volunteering at a local charity.
  7. Compliment someone on their outfit, hair, talent, etc.
  8. Let someone with less items than you go first in the grocery line.
  9. Bring baked goods into the office to surprise your colleagues.
  10. Leave encouraging notes in random places (e.g. in the middle of a book, on a shelf).
  11. Give your leftovers to a homeless person when driving home from a restaurant.
  12. Share your umbrella with someone who doesn’t have one when it’s raining.
  13. Hold the door/elevator for the person walking up behind you.
  14. Make care packages for an organization (e.g. military, cancer patients)
  15. Ask someone how their day’s going and really listen.

 

Have you ever done a random act of kindness? I’d love to hear your story!

It’s Thursday… already?! Not that I’m complaining (bring on the weekend), but I blinked and this entire week flew by. But I must admit, it’s been a pretty crazy one between work, and starting back up with classes (this is the last one I have for my graduate certificate program)! Plus, I was planning for a low-key weekend last weekend and ended up doing a lot of cleaning + furniture rearranging and spent a day at Disney, so I can’t wait for the weekend where no alarms are to be set!

Friday-Minions

I moved extremely quickly through my binge-watching of Gilmore Girls and finished all 7 seasons a few days ago. It’s been in my Netflix queue for a while but I figured with the sequel series coming out later this year I should probably watch them all in order since I’d just seen random episodes over the years. I hate how open-ended the series was considering after all the time invested I needed some closure, but I’m happy that we’ll find out what’s going on in the lives of the Gilmore girls soon! Oh, and if you’re wondering, I’m Team Jess! How about you?

Zetus-Lapedus! Is “Zoom/Supernova Girl” stuck in your head now? Yesterday news broke out that there’s a potentially Earth-like planet just outside of our solar system. Plans are being discussed to send some technology out there to scope things out, but it’s kind of crazy to think that there might be other life outside of Earth – or even our solar system!

I did a crazy thing a few weeks ago and woke up at the crack of dawn and got into the queue for tickets to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – the play in London. While spots were “randomly assigned” I somehow managed to snag spot ~4800, while I watched the number of the people behind me quickly shoot up to hundreds of thousands. INSANE. But luck was on my side because I managed to snag tickets! So, SURPRISE! Looks like I’ll be planning a trip back to London at the end of next year! While I haven’t thought any of that detail through yet (although I’m already starting to think about the bigger trip), I’m super excited that this is on the horizon. After all, London is my favorite place in the world and as you know, I love all things Harry Potter!

Have you heard about the insane price increase for EpiPens? Apparently in 2009 they cost $100 and now the price is $600! This isn’t the first pharmaceutical company to do a steep increase over the years, but on the surface it seems incredibly greedy for them to hike the price up so high for something that could could be a life/death situation for someone. The issue has already made its way to Congress and I have a feeling addressing this is something they’ll actually be able to agree on.

Did you know Britney Spears is releasing a new album on Friday?! This will be album #9 for her since she started her career in the 90s. I’ve only listened to snippets of a few songs on Glory but it seems like there will be several different musical styles used – I hope there are some good ones on there! Also in Britney Spears news, Lifetime confirmed that they’re producing a 2-hour biopic, Britney, to premiere next year. And yes, her split with Justin is one of her life events in the plot line.

 

Tell me, what’s running through your mind today?

 

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The Be Our Guest restaurant at Disney’s Magic Kingdom opened a few years ago with the renovation of Fantasyland and ever since it’s been THE most popular dining option in all of Disney World. Wondering what’s so great about it and how to land a table? Here’s the scoop.

Curious about Disney's newest dining option, the Be Our Guest restaurant? Find out everything you need to know!

Reservations Required

The restaurant opened in 2012 and has been jam packed ever since! If you know you’ll be planning a trip to Disney well in advance, be sure to secure your reservation for breakfast, lunch or dinner exactly 6 months in advance, when slots open, for your best chance to get the date/time you want. If you’re planning a last minute trip (or are a local), your best bet is using the My Disney Experience app, which will let you search for (and make – if available) same-day reservations. While it’s rare that you’ll be able to snag a reservation on the same day, it can happen. My friend Jazmyne and I lucked out using this method during one of our recent trips to the park!

Pre-Dining

You’re asked to check in at the kiosk in front of the restaurant 15 minutes prior to your reservation so they can get your table ready. After checking in, we explored a little more of the outdoor castle grounds, admiring all of the detail that went into the castle. Within a few minutes we were summoned to the main castle doors!

Curious about Disney's newest dining option, the Be Our Guest restaurant? Find out everything you need to know!

The Be Our Guest Restaurant Experience

I must say I was a bit disappointed that Lumiere didn’t greet me at the door singing “Be Our Guest,” but the view walking in was pretty fabulous. The hostess gave us a quick overview of what to expect during our dining and that post-meal we could check out the east and west wings of the castle, since we were eating in the main ballroom area.

It’s hard to tell from the photo since the room was dim but the lighting was bright (if that makes any sense), but snow was falling outside the windows in the back, which was just spectacular, because it reminded me of Christmas!

Ballroom-Be-Our-Guest

While we looked over the menu, our host of the evening, Beast, made his way through the dining hall, waving to all of us guests, and making his way to the front of the castle near the exit where everyone stopped on their way out for photo opps. He was pretty tough to capture walking in since he moved so swiftly through the hall, but we were able to see him emerge twice, so didn’t feel as bad with our total fail on capturing the moment in the first go-around.

Be-Our-Guest-Menu

For the main course I decided on the pan-seared chicken and Jazmyne went with the shrimp and scallops dish. While the chicken dish was a little smaller than I imagined in terms of rice and veggies, it was pretty tasty, and while I’m not a seafood fan, Jazz reported that her meal was delicious as well! Note: Both of these dishes are some of the top-sellers/favorites at Be Our Guest, according to our waitress!

Chicken-Be-Our-Guest

Although we were pretty full by the time dessert rolled around (literally.. on a dessert cart), we knew there was no way we were passing up dessert. In fact, we even discussed the idea of splurging and getting one of everything to split, but settled on 3 options in the end.

  • The “Grey Stuff”: After all, this is what we hear so much about in the movie. It’s kind of the speciality!
  • Triple Chocolate Cupcake: Need I say more? This one was Jazmyne’s favorite.
  • Strawberry Cream Cheese Cupcake: Vanilla sponge cake with lots of strawberry flavor – yum (my favorite)!

To end our dining experience, we popped into the east and west wings, and of course, met the Beast himself! Obviously the forbidden wing with the rose was my favorite, and is definitely the place I’ll request to be seated next time around. The other wing of the castle was equally exciting though, with beautiful portraits of Beauty & the Beast scattered throughout the room, and a rotating statue in the middle.

Red-RoseBelle-and-BeastBeauty-and-the-Beast-Glass

Overall Thoughts

We were pretty impressed with the Be Our Guest restaurant and definitely plan to visit again in the future! Dining here is definitely more of a splurge (especially for dinner), but hey when you’re at Disney, you’re already splurging! If you’re looking for a place to dine in Magic Kingdom that’s more than a food court-type option, this is one of the top places to go, in my opinion (Crystal Palace is the other)!

Curious about Disney's newest dining option, the Be Our Guest restaurant? Find out everything you need to know!

 

Have you dined at the Be Our Guest restaurant?