Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Free Souvenir + Cheap DIY: Walt Disney World Coaster

One of the reasons so many love staying at the Walt Disney World Resorts is the attention to detail. Certainly we love the theming, the environment, and the dedicated Cast Members, but it's also the special little touches that are uniquely Disney.

I try to bring little subtle touches of Disney into my home and there are none better than those right from your Walt Disney World Resort stay. Everyone thinks to take the little soaps and shampoos and lotions from your resort room, but on my last stay, I grabbed two of the thin paper coasters under the drinking glasses on top of the refrigerator near the ice bucket  I looked up on Pinterest a number of techniques to DIY coasters (using photos, for example). Well, with the cost of supplies and effort involved, I could have just purchased a set of Disney World coasters! Also, I love the idea of using an item at home that you can only get visiting WDW.

So all I did was take the two coasters to be laminated. I went to Staples but you can go to any store with laminating services. I asked for the thickest laminating they had available, 7mm or 10mm. The cost is by sheet (the two easily fit on one sheet). I cut them out myself at home with just a regular scissor, being careful to leave at least an 1/8 inch boarder. My total cost was around $3.00. If you have your own laminating machine, you could do it at home; however, mine only takes flimsy laminating sheets and I wanted something much thicker, almost rigid, that I knew would hold up and last.

I keep them on my nightstand and they add just a little magic to my bedtime routine. What other free/cheap and creative souvenirs have you taken home and used from Disney World?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Candle that smells like Disney World

I, too, I have Googled those exact words.

In the ongoing effort to make my home more magical with little accents that remind me of Walt Disney World, I'd been looking for a candle that reminds me of any of the unique scents of the Disney parks. I was very surprised that no Disney branded or partnered line exists! Seriously, Disney Parks people, get on this!

Then I found Strawberry Buttercream by Yankee Candle. This is the closest you can get to inhaling the divine aroma of Main Street USA at home. The Strawberry Buttercream candle definitely evokes the Main Street Confectionery Smellitizers...aka heaven.

The candle has a sweet light scent without being cloying. It has a medium throw... Not in-your-face like its being pumped into your living room, but you get whiffs every now and then of powdered sugar, berries, cookies, vanilla, and cotton candy all at once.  

Now I cannot take credit for this find. This candle I.D. was made over at Sparkly Ever After, one of the best Disney and lifestyle blogs around. Check out that original post here: 

Have you found any other candle scents that remind you of Disney? Comment below!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Blogger / Vlogger Obsession: Pretty Neat Living

A couple of months ago, I stumbled on to a blogger known at the time as OrganizedJen. Jennifer Ross, queen of all things organizational, maintains a regularity updated lifestyle blog and a YouTube channel with over 120,000 subscribers. (Which is crazy to me since I get excited when my blog view count for the day skyrockets to 8.)

Just click on one of her videos and you can see why she's so addicting to watch. As if I didn't love her content enough (she's inspired me to do a home purge and upped my cosmetics game by about a thousand), she's also an avid Disney fan. She and her husband are regular vacationers at Walt Disney World and she has quite a number of Disney-related vlogs - everything from booking a Disney trip to what she packs for visiting WDW. They are definitely worth a watch. Here are some of my favorites:

She just relaunched her brand as Pretty Neat Living which represents well the content she's been putting out there for five years now. Far more than just organizing, Jen invites you into her delightful little slice of the world in which suitcases are always big enough and no task is insurmountable with help from The Container Store. Go check out Pretty Neat Living!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Garden Grocer Rave Review

Today I want to share my review of Garden Grocer, an online grocery delivery service based out of Orlando that specializes in deliveries to the Walt Disney World Resorts. 

Before our second trip to Disney World last summer, I’d done a lot more research on sites like MouseSavers and DISboards than our first go around…Disney is really just one of those things you need to experience to understand how it all works. Don’t get me wrong, first-timers will have an incredible trip without reading all the guidebooks, but for subsequent trips, you definitely know what you need to prepare, pack, not pack, and plan ahead. For my family, one of those things was strategizing a way to cut down breakfast time to be able to get in a little more sleep and a little more magic. Additionally, we found that, for us, that the meals at WDW are so filling, it’s unnecessary to have a full breakfast every day.

Now, while I’m not usually looking for more than a big mug of coffee and a piece of toast, my husband is a “breakfast person;” but even he insisted that a bowl of cereal and piece of fruit was more than sufficient, especially considering all the fabulous Advanced Dining Reservations at Signature restaurants we had planned for dinner throughout our stay. My research led me to the wonders of shipping items to your resort to arrive ahead of your stay. Enter Garden Grocer. 

Every aspect of ordering from Garden Grocer was perfect start to finish. The website is easy to navigate and the prices are reasonable (an absolute bargain compared to New York City prices, and certainly WDW food costs). Before even signing up for an account, you can browse the online shelves a bit to get an idea of what they have (answer: everything). When you create an account, you can even favorite items so that you can mull over your list before putting them in your shopping cart. What really sold me on this particular service was the communication. The follow-up phone call order confirmation gave me confidence in dealing with this company for the first time and the text message I received letting me know my groceries were waiting for me at the Wilderness Lodge while I was en route on Disney’s Magical Express from MCO gave me great peace of mind. Furthermore, the accuracy of my order and the freshness of the products I received were of the best quality (– fresh fruit salad and milk were part of my order). 

The products I ordered were there as promised. I simply mentioned it at the check in desk and I was sent just a few feet away to the bell hop counter. Less than 10 minutes after I got to my room, the bellhop was there with our groceries! And as promised, all of the refrigerables (not a word but I’m making it a word!) were kept cold by my resort until I was ready for them. 

One of the features of having placed an order (and therefore having an online account) with Garden Grocer, is that you can view past orders to remember what you purchased last time. Based on 4 adults for a 6 day stay, I ordered:

1 package of bakery fresh blueberry muffins
12 cereal single cups, assorted cereals
2 packages of Nutri-Grain Cereal Bars
1 box of Quaker Instant Oatmeal Variety Pack
1 half-gallon of milk
6 pack of yogurt, assorted flavors
1 container Tropicana orange juice
1 bowl of fresh mixed fruit
2 cases of bottled water, 32 count each

Including the $14.00 delivery fee, sales tax and gratuity, the bill came to $100 on the nose. This was more than enough food for all of us for breakfast (I wanted to have a variety for my husband and brothers-in-law to choose from) and came out to $5 per person, per day, including ALL of the bottled water we used on the trip! (At $2.50 a bottle in the parks, we paid $.25 a bottle using Garden Grocer.) Everything fit well in our little refrigerators, split between our two rooms and we restocked the water in the fridge nightly. For just one of the mornings we made an ADR for Kona Cafe which was a great experience and a nice break from the small and quick in-room breakfast. Needless to say, lunch was skipped that morning! (Tonga Toast = HEAVEN)

The only thing I would add for next time is either purchasing some disposable bowls, plates, and cutlery or bringing some light plastic reusable ones from home. We ended up having to take what we needed every morning from the quick service cafeteria when we went to go fill our Resort Mugs with coffee. 

It was a real luxury to eat breakfast in our rooms and to not have to pay extra or use a Quick Service credit on such a small meal. I highly recommend using Garden Grocer for anyone staying at a Walt Disney World resort. I won't hesitate to use them on all of my next stays at WDW!

This post is neither endorsed nor sponsored by Garden Grocer or My opinions are based on my own research and experience. I did not receive any compensation, discount, or incentive for using this service.  

Friday, May 22, 2015

Disney Savings Jar D.I.Y.

Hello all! Long time, no post! Sorry about that...I work at a university and April and May are months we tell ourselves to "just keep swimming!"

My husband and I already did a bit of traveling this year, so there will be no summer trip to Disney World for us, as we've done for the past two Augusts. My next Disney goal is to visit WDW during the various holidays that Disney does up so famously. So I am shooting for a trip this December for the Christmas season.

In order to do that, I've got to start saving up. I've received a bit of cash as gifts over the last few months which I'd stuck in an envelope, considering it as the start of a savings plan for this trip. Since I'm a big visual learner, I wanted to have a special piggy bank I could display to encourage me to save. 

I first checked Etsy and found some adorable options for less than $10... which are completely worth it if you're not a crafty person...but I was discouraged by the idea of spending money in the effort to save up money, so I decided to try my hand at making something with [mostly] stuff I had around the house. 

I started with an empty plastic jar (this one had jelly beans in it). I chose this particular one because it's plastic, it has a flat side (for ease of writing on it), and it has a black cap which I thought went with the color scheme. 

I used this great trick for stenciling on a jar. Type out on the computer (in Word or similar) whatever you want to write on the jar and/or any images you want to use. I used the Disney font "Waltograph" (here for free at and some Mickey heads (found here on I found all sorts of cute ideas for wording on Pinterest: "Mickey Money," "Disney Stache" (adding a little mustache to a Mickey silhouette!), or simply "Our Disney Trip," but I went with "Disney Dollars." 

Play around with the font size and print. Then, cut out your design and tape it steady on the inside of the jar, facing out. Now all you have to do is trace! I used a plain old black fine-point Sharpee marker that I had, but a paint pen would have worked very well, too. (Actually, if you're using a glass jar, you'll want to go with the paint pen. You could use a paint brush but I found a pen to be much easier to control.)

I was very happy with the finished product and it would have been cute as-is but I wanted to add a little color. The cap of my jar was a 1/2" thick, so I used a combo of 3/8" ribbon (red) and 1/8" ribbon (yellow) to glue around the cap using tacky glue. Now I didn't have the size ribbon in the colors I wanted around the house, so I went to my local craft store and bought just a yard of each for under $1 total. I measured how much I would need to wrap the cap, I lined the cap with tacky glue and affixed the red ribbon, and then beaded a bit of glue over the red to attach the yellow. Voila! 

You can search around Pinterest for some magical additions... gluing a tiny Mickey figurine on the top of the lid, tying a red polka-dot bow around the neck of the jar, or using vinyl lettering instead of a marker...but for me, these would have cost extra money, and personally, I'd rather throw it in the jar than use it to decorate the jar. (The $100 dollar bills, by the way, were gifts I received for various occasions....I found that if I received a gift in twenties, I'd spend it immediately but the three $100 bills stuck around on my desk waiting for deposit for a while.... so I think when I save up another hundred dollars, I'll go to the bank and ask for a single bill so I won't waste it on Starbucks!)

Whatever you come up with and whatever trick you use, it's a fun way to stash away some Disney cash for you and your family. I know there are lots of great sites out there with advice, like What are some of your ways to save for Disney?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Catholic Commentary on Cinderella

Since I'm still inflicted with Cinderella fever, I wanted to share this vlog from one of my favorites: Fr. Robert Barron comments on the Christian symbolism he finds in the movie. Naturally, I loved it because finding a way to combine my love of Disney with my love of my Catholic faith pretty much makes my head explode with joy. So if you're interested, check out the 8 minute video below. Enjoy! And happy Holy Week!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

10 Things that Cinderella 2015 Teaches Us about Cinderella 1950

I just saw Cinderella in the theater this weekend and I loved it! Afterwards, my husband remarked about me to my brothers-in-law (who were invited along) "Look how happy this little girl is!" - and it's true. I was beaming. All I needed was a tiara and some glitter and I would have been in heaven!

Since the 1950 Cinderella is my favorite Disney movie, I was thrilled with the direction this 2015 version took. I saw it as more of an embellishment than a whole new story, meaning today's version fleshes out some of the plots and backstories of the original. I adored the results! So here is my list of 10 new things we learn about the original from the new film:

Warning: The following contains spoilers!

10. Parental back story: the original animated feature starts with the narration:

Once upon a time in a faraway land, there was a tiny kingdom; peaceful, prosperous, and rich in romance and tradition. Here in a stately chateau, there lived a widowed gentleman, and his little daughter, Cinderella. Although he was a kind and devoted father, and gave his beloved child every luxury and comfort, still he felt she needed a mother's care. And so he married again, choosing for his second wife, a woman of good family, with two daughters just Cinderella's age, by name, Anastasia and Drizella. It was upon the untimely death of this good man, however, that the stepmother's true nature was revealed: cold, cruel, and bitterly jealous of Cinderella's charm and beauty, she was grimly determined to forward the interests of her own two awkward daughters. Thus, as time went by, the chateau fell into disrepair, for the family fortunes were squandered upon the vain and selfish stepsisters while Cinderella was abused, humiliated, and finally forced to become a servant in her own house. And yet, through it all, Cinderella remained ever gentle and kind, for with each dawn she found new hope that someday her dreams of happiness would come true.

The live action film shows us firsthand her two loving parents and the life she lived before her stepfamily moved in. Now we know where Cinderelly gets her good nature and kindness from.

9. Why she stayed as long as she did: Meeting her parents also explains why she stayed at the chateau for so many years: keeping it and staying there was how she kept her parents with her since it was special to the three of them and where all of Cinderella's happy memories took place. Everything she loved most in the world was gone, except for the home that reminded her so much of her parents. (Other than the fact that centuries ago, a girl couldn't exactly just move out and get an apartment in the city.)

8. Her name: though the introduction of the animated movie identifies her as Cinderella, it would make sense that this is not her birth name. Ella, as she is introduced in the 2015 version, is not nobility by birth but a princess in the eyes of her parents.

7. Timing of events: everything seems to happen in the same day in the 1950 classic but the live action film makes it clear that months pass in between the events. (For example, the search for the owner of the glass slipper doesn't happen until after a mourning period takes place following the death of the King.)

6. The King's illness: though His majesty lives to see the wedding between Cindy and P.C. in the animated version (recall the scene at the very end when our girl once again loses her shoe, and the blissfully bashful monarch places it back on her foot before the married couple boards the carriage), he passes away in the new film. This helps us understand why he was so pushy about his son getting married... It was as much about securing their kingdom's future as much as it was about wanting to see him settled down and happy.

5. How long the night of the ball lasted: We know the whole stroke of midnight thing, obviously, but how long did that fateful dance last? Well, we know that Ella leaves for the ball after her stepmother and stepsisters (cue Fairy Godmother to work her magic). I estimate that Ella had a good hour alone with Charming. Although the animated film makes it seem like all they had was one lousy dance before falling in love - in actuality, in think their singing of "So This is Love" to one another in the animated version was representative of a conversation that took place between 11pm and midnight in which they got to know each other... And I guess that when you know, you know. How did I arrive at this timeline? Simple - it took a while for Lady Tremaine and Anastasia and Drizella to be introduced at court and we know they arrive at the castle at 10pm, since in the live action film, Wishes is just starting as they pull up. While this is happening, Ella is back at the chateau getting a makeover. Accounting for travel and traffic, this would put her at the castle around 11 o'clock.

4. The Prince and Cinderella met before the night of the ball: Though not shown in the animated classic, the two meet before the famous waltz takes place. This is what prompts the invitation for the ball to go out to "every eligible maiden" at the prince's insisting. Otherwise, why wouldn't the King just have arranged a marriage?  It makes more sense that all of this backstory happened - which could have easily been the case in the 1950 version because all we are told is that the invitation goes out "by royal command."

3. The Prince is actually present when the whole glass slipper moment goes down: all we see in the animated movie is the Grand Duke slipping the shoe on her foot and then wedding bells are ringing. I like to believe that "Kit" was waiting outside on his horse for her, and Cindy got her moment to walk out with her beloved hand-in-hand, leaving the cruel Tremaines all alone.

2. Lady Tremaine has her own complex story: I'd like to believe that she was once a happy person who (maybe not as much as Ella's family) was content in life. She's made the way she is after Lord Tremaine's death. We get a glimpse of this in today's version.

1. Cinderella freed herself: Since Cinderella is my favorite Disney movie, I always hate to hear so much hullabaloo over her being a bad role model because she teaches girls that you need to marry someone you just met to be happy. This isn't the message we get from Cinderella, and the Lily James version makes that so much clearer. Cinderella, in either movie, is strong and courageous and kind. It wasn't her unmarried status that was holding her back. No, by agreeing to marry Prince Charming, Cinderella was making her own decision - a choice for love and someone who cared for her tremendously - who, by the way, falls for her not for her beauty but for her kindness and courage and unique view on life. (And once again, the time period should be explained to children... It's not like Cindy could have enrolled at the local community college...) As Cinderella is walking out the door of her parents' chateau, she knows that her final act of courage toward her wicked stepmother is more for her own benefit than for Tremaine's. In the end, Ella isn't made free by Kit's proposal, she's set free by speaking three simple words to Lady Tremaine: "I forgive you." Ella knows that there are prisons far worse than a dusty attic. There's the prisons we put ourselves in, made of thick bars of greed, jealousy, meanness, and cruelty. Cinderella remained at the chateau for as long as she did because she knew that as long as she had courage and treated others with kindness, she had a freedom that money couldn't buy - freedom that people like Tremaine will never know because her's is a prison of the heart. Cinderella's act of forgiveness set her own heart free from anger and resentment. And that's the message that both Cinderellas leave us with: "a great secret that will see you through all the trials life has to offer: have courage and be kind." This is what makes Cinderella a princess worthy of the title - a princess all little girls can be proud to emulate.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Mickey Cookie Cutter and Silicone Pancake Mold

Cheap souvenir alert! I picked up these babies on our last trip to the World and they have gotten so much use since! If you are looking to pick up a little memento on a few bucks, these are it. In the last few months, I have used these to make pancakes, cookies, Rice Krispies Treats, and eggs, just to name a few. And my favorite part is that I use them to create treats that bring me right back to Disney... they're the mementos that keeps on making magic!

The pancake silicone mold takes a little practice...and in retrospect, I would have picked up more than one since you need to leave the mold on for quite some time to allow the pancake to set up. Even though it's just my husband and I right now, a rate of one pancake at a time is a little slow! Even still, it works like a charm and at only $6.95 it was worth the price!

Now the small metal mold with handle is the most versatile out of the two.... I've made pancakes in this one as well and they turn out just great. For making sugar cookies, I use the Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix in the bag - there's a version of the directions on the back for making cutout cookies. The applications for this cutter are endless... Mickey grilled cheeses! Mickey fruit cutouts! Mickey shortcakes! Mickey brownies! Mickey ice cream sandwiches! (Ok, you get the idea.) And this one is only $3.95!

I bought mine in the Emporium in the Magic Kingdom, but I know they're also available at Mouse Gears in EPCOT. While you can get them though eBay and other retailers online, they're twice the retail price or even might want to wait until your next trip to get your paws on these cuties.

What are your favorite inexpensive souvenirs?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Real Bokeh: Get Mickey Shapes on Your Photos!

Finding this app started with a Google search for "How do you put sparkles on your Instagram photos?" Many of my favorite Instagramers regularly use these effects on their Disney photos to make them even more magical. From here I learned that these added shapes of sparkles, hearts and dots, etc. are called "bokeh."

Now, the term bokeh actually refers to the blurry look of spots of light that is produced in a photograph when the camera lens captures out-of-focus light. This dreamy effect is very much "on trend" right now and Pinterest is full of tutorials on how to produce a photo with bokeh (the Christmas tree is a popular subject.) There are even tutorials on how to manipulate the shape of the bokeh by carving a tiny shape of your choice into a card and placing it over there lens as a mask.

"Now, shapes, you say? How about Mickey bokeh?" I've seen these translucent Mickey heads popping up on pics every now and then, and I am sure that some have produced this effect with a professional camera lens, and more enterprising IGers have used Photoshop to get this lovey effect - an effort and a dedication that I admire and applaud! However, I've been seeing these Mickeys more frequently in recent days and speculated that some app out there somewhere accomplishes this faux effect for us iPhone-only shutterbugs. Enter Real Bokeh.

Available for $1.99 in the Apple App Store (also available for Android), this fairly easy to use app delivers what you're searching for - the elusive Mickey bokeh and many more shapes to choose from.

Here's a photo I've already doctored with my favorite photo editing app VSCOcam (free!) that I uploaded to Real Bokeh. As you can see, the editing choices are few and fairly simple. The bokeh shapes menu is located at the bottom left of the screen (where you see the Mickey, since that's the last one I used.) Clicking there opens a number of options - 30 shapes and the ability to change the size of the shape that you'll apply to your photo. I went with "mixed" which includes a smattering of all the sizes at random.

Back on the main menu, the next icon over is an artist's palette that allows you to choose the colors of the bokeh. I chose shades of blue, green, and yellow. Your can choose as many or few as you'd like and the sliding bar with a sun icon above the color choices adjust the brightness of the colors themselves.

The other menu choices represented by the sun and magic wand icons can apply various filters over the photo - since my photo was already edited to my liking, I did not utilize these options this time.

Then you're ready to decorate! You can either run your finger along your photo to leave a neat trail of the Mickey bokeh or dot them in by tapping the photo in various places. In the finished photo below, I ran my finger up the left side and across the top, and dotted the Mickeys by tapping along the right side and bottom. Both leave the desired effect.

All in all I am very happy with Real Bokeh! Right now this is the only app on the market that I know of that allows you to add these colorful Mickeys to your photos. For the bit of enjoyment I get from smattering my WDW pics with a little more magic, I think the $1.99 is well worth it. There's not a lot of frills in this app, but it gets the job done.

Have you tried Real Bokeh yet? What other photo editing or "bokeh" apps do you use? Tell me in the comments!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

How Obsessed With Disney Are You?

I found this fantastic checklist quiz on Buzzfeed: How Obsessed With Disney Are You? [clickity click!] 

I got 75/120: "You are a true Disney head. If there is a Disney thing, you know about it."

This is one step down from "You are full-on Disney obsessed..." which I suppose is true enough since I've never "gotten a Disney tattoo" or "participated in the Disney college program." However, this list made me realize that there are a few places that I can really up my Disney game! There are 18 movies on this list I have never seen! 18! I can't even blame the Vault on this one. (For SHAME!)

Additionally, I know that someday I will absolutely throw a Disney-themed party, see The Lion King on Broadway, and I hope in my lifetime to visit Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. 

For the record, though, I contest that "started a Disney blog or website" should be more heavily weighted than "Figured out the difference between Disney World and Disneyland" thankyouverymuch! :) 

Happy checking, Disnerds!  

Friday, January 16, 2015

Review: Disney Sketch Crossbody Satchel by Dooney & Bourke

For Christmas, my husband gave me my first Disney Dooney. I'd seen this bag and pattern while shopping at the Marketplace Co-op in Downtown Disney and I fell in love. Luckily, it's available online so I added it to my wish list:

When I opened it up, I was not disappointed!

Now one of the gambles that you take by purchasing it online is that you can't pick the exact pattern you'll be receiving. In fact, the product page states "Each piece is unique. Pattern elements may vary." Now as far I was concerned, I loved the Disney Sketch pattern and as long as all of the different elements were somehow featured, especially Mickey and Minnie, then I was a happy girl. As you can see, the front displays an ear hat, Mickey balloons, Tinkerbell, and other cute characters. The back has Mickey and Minnie, one of Mad Hatter's teacups, a Mickey Ice Cream Bar, Cinderella's glass slipper and a couple of Minnie bows. And the bottom has a bonus Mickey and Minnie.

Disney Sketch is my favorite pattern out of all the Disney Dooneys. First of all, I love that it was "created especially for Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort," and is a unique design - it's not just a repeating pattern. I also love that there's so much going on and it's not like any other purse I own. It doesn't look costume-y either...only when you examine the print do you see it's individual Disney details. It's bright and cheerful and lets me take a little piece of Disney wherever I go!

As for the size: the reviews on are right on. The general consensus is "adorable but small." The actual measurements are 7.5 inches tall (from base to zipper), by 10 inches at it's widest part at the base and 8 inches wide at the zipper. The depth (more like thickness, as seen in the photo directly above) is about 3.5 inches. 

The interior is lined in a deep and vibrant red with tan leather details rimmed in blue. The back wall has a large zipped pocket and a large open pocket. The opposite size has a smaller open pocket beside a wider pocket with button closure. I'd imagine that the smaller open pocket is supposed to be for a cell phone but I find it too small. Instead, my iPhone usually goes in the buttoned pocket and I keep a pen and a lipgloss in the other pocket. There is an attached "key hook" on a lanyard. All of the metal, including the zipper, on this bag is gold colored. Also included is a 26 inch strap that can attach to little rings on either side of the top of the bag. I haven't used it yet but I carry it around with me in the bag's large pocket. 

Even though I have a bag obsession, I usually don't carry all that much with me. In fact, when I use my larger handbags, I always end up carrying other people's stuff! In this bag, I could fit a few more things but not much. In it I have: sunglasses in a case, the attachable crossbody strap, my keys, a pen, my wallet - which is a Vera Bradly Smartphone Wristlet (so my phone is inside), a small lotion and a lip balm. As you can see, they all fit easily inside this satchel. 

I love this purse for everyday use. (Some of the online reviews suggest that some people will use this to visit the parks...I would never bring a bag this small or this expensive, but what I use for and pack in my Disney park bag is another post for another day!) Originally, I thought I wanted something larger, like the Champsac, in this print but I have so many bags that size. This is unique in pattern, in color and in size. Though it is a bit small, I am glad this is the one I received.

I can't wait to get my LeSportsac Classic Hobo in Minnie Floral Park in the mail next week!

Ok, I *might* have a bag problem. But hey, I don't have any Disney Vera Bradleys yet!


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Instagram: Disney World Accounts You Need to Follow

Here's a list of my favorites! Click each account name to go directly to their page and follow so you can scroll through the magic each and every day! 

10. disney_nuts

Luis is "just someone who visits Disney too much" as his profile reads. His professional grade photos taken with his Canon T3,T5i capture WDW exactly the way it's meant to be seen. This is the account to follow anytime you want to take a virtual stroll through the Most Magical Place on Earth.

9. disneyworldaily

This IGer enchants her audience with the vivid colors from the photos she finds and reposts from all over WDW. Her daily photos are accompanied by a "question of the day" that keeps her 15.6k followers engaged.

8. disneyworlddelights

The adorable Giana Beverly Austin truly has the heart of a child...and the eye of a world class photographer. Her pictures freeze in time moments that can easily be missed but really capture what Disney is all about. Aptly named, Giana's account is positively "delightful."

7. imagineerinsta

Chase gives us a little bit of everything around Walt Disney World in the colors that dreams are made of. Need another reason to follow him? Let's just say that 50,000 followers can't be wrong.

6. milymainstreet

The words "wistful" and "romantic" come to mind when when scrolling through Emily Bonnet's account. Whether she's snapping pics of WDW, Disneyland, or Disneyland Paris, she show us the magic through the rose colored glasses we all wish we could wear permanently.

5. disney_frump

Kristen Rosso is "a Disney girl frumping through life" and we're oh so lucky to frump along with her. This lovely lady's posts are inspired and inspiring. Kristen's profile tells us that she's going to be in the Disney College Program in 2015... I just can't wait to see all of her adventures to come!

4. itallstartedwithamouse71

It's not hard to see why this is one of my favorites. This IGer is apparently one of the best friends of my #1 pick whose account has a similar feel. I adore her use of ears to frame a shot. I dare you to resist the urge to make every photo on this account your lock screen.

3. sparklynicole

Nicole Siscaretti is queen of all things glitz and glam over at her well-known Disney, beauty, and lifestyle blog Nicole's love of sharing the sunshine via social media is an inspiration to bloggers like me. Her Instagram account is just a little peek into her life... that'll make you want to sit back in the PeopleMover with a Starbucks along side her like you were BFFs. Do yourself a favor and go follow her... and head on over to her website while you're at it.

2. ferdalump

If you're not following little Miss Lane  (her parents really) you are missing out. Her mom, Jennifer, is a talented and creative seamstress who started crafting costumes for Lane when she was just 10 weeks old, and has continued to help her dress up, reportedly to overcome shyness - it's obviously worked because you can tell this little lady loves every second of it! Jennifer scours thrift stores for threads and upcycles any fabric that might work into incredible creations. Lane and her family have been featured everywhere from Today, to E! to Buzzfeed. Click to follow, but be prepared to have your day MADE.

1. takeme2disneyworld & bibbidibobbidibrooke

Two accounts, one awesome person. Brooke, Takeme2disneyworld, is the quintessential Disney girl who whose account showcases the Disney life you wish you had. Her Instagram plays out like the scrapbook of a perfect WDW vacation. Picture of your Magical Express luggage tags? Check. Photo of the most beautiful dessert ever baked? Check. Perfect angle on the Partners Statue? Check. She's known for regularly "shutting down the Magic Kingdom" or being the last soul to leave Main Street for the night. The resulting photos of a serene Cinderella's Castle all tucked in for the night is nothing short of swoon-worthy. Brooke's use of objects and unique perspectives leaves me double tapping for days.

Her other account, BibbidiBobbidiBrooke, showcases her fabulous Etsy account of the same name. Here you can find the most beautiful handmade custom Minnie ear headbands ever. I haven't decided on a pair yet but you can be sure I'll have some BBB ears on for my next trip to Walt Disney World! (And, yes, those ARE Vera Bradley ears!!)

Honorable [Disneyland account] mention:

Disneyland_mermaid - I've never been to Disneyland but if I ever get there, I only hope it will be as dazzling as it looks in Ashley's photos! Absolutely spectacular.

There were so many, it was hard to narrow it down! Who are your favorites?

I do not own any of the photos posted. Credit to each account marked on photo. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Mickey Rice Krispy Treats

I've been wanting to make these lovelies since my last visit to Walt Disney World in August. On our last day, in an effort to use all of our remaining snack credits, we raided the Main Street Confectionery. I'd picked up one of these chocolate dipped treats as a way to bring the magic home and wanted to come up with a simple version to make myself that had the same look.

I'd bought the cookie cutter at the Emporium on Main Street which turned out to be a great purchase... Doesn't everything taste better with ears?? I'd made the all-Rice Krispies version a few times before with my cookie cutter but wanted something with more of a park authentic look. (And without having to deal with melting chocolate and dipping.) So in came Cocoa Krispies...the result was perfect and they couldn't be more simple to make!

First follow the standard recipe to make Rice Krispies Treats and repeat with the Cocoa Krispies. You'll need:

1 box of Rice Krispies (12 oz.)
1 box of Cocoa Krispies (12 oz.)
6 tbsp. of butter
2 bags of Marshmallows, (10 oz. each)
1 or 2 large pots (think pasta pot size)
Large dish or pan (I used a glass 9"x13" Pyrex)
Cooking Spray
Spoon or Spatula
Small piece of wax or parchment paper (optional)
Mickey Mouse Cookie Cutter (any but I got this one with the little handle at WDW)

Press the mixed Rice Krispies Treats into the pan. This "row" should be about 4 inches thick. Repeat with the Cocoa Krispies Treats above (same thickness). Make sure the Cocoa Krispies are molded to the Rice Krispies, so it's one big sheet. Let it cool just for a few moments... they're much easier to work with while warm.

Coat your cookie cutter really well with cooking spray (and all of the tools you use for that matter!) Line up your cookie cutter so that the dividing line is the ears portion. Then jam it down, using a wooden spoon to assist if necessary. Carefully take it up and repeat twice. 

Then fuse together the remaining treats so that you have another solid block, and repeat with the cookie cutter. I was able to get 9 of these treats out of this batch (the last three were difficult to mold since they had cooled and hardened) and just cut up the scraps for snacking.

The ones I made were super thick, like what you'd find in the parks - probably twice the thickness of the cookie cutter itself. However, if I was making them for a party favor, for example, I would use the same process but spread the mixes out on a rimmed cookie sheet with 4 rows of treats (Cocoa, Rice, Cocoa, Rice), and be able to get more out of this batch. (I would estimate that I could get 15 thinner Mickeys out of this recipe that way). And to clean up, don't fight with the marshmallow...just let your pots soak in warm water for a few minutes and it'll come right off. 

These would be so adoreable wrapped up in plastic bags cinched with a ribbon to give out as a party favor...and I love that they're simple enough that the kids can help make them, too. Or you could just make them to add a little magic to your week, like I did!