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!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Touring Plans

Just yesterday, my husband called me to ask me for help for one of his colleagues. She is starting to plan a trip to WDW for the end of June but was looking for some advice. Clearly she knew the right people to come to!

She was asking about the crowds during that time of year, the weather, and if I knew of any helpful blogs and planning sites to recommend. I gave her a list of my favorites, but the top of the list was, hands down,

I was first introduced to Touring Plans after reading The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. After being bitten by the mouse on my first trip to WDW, my research for my next trip led me to this wonderful book. I only wish I had known about it before my first visit. When I read the first few pages of this guide, I knew I had found my kind of people - not just Disney World fanatics, but Type-A obsessive researchers. Len Testa and his incredible team of analysts, statisticians, researchers and developers created Touring Plans which takes the guess work out of taking on the World. 

Since I have the experience of visiting WDW before and after reading this guide and investing in a membership on, I can tell you definitively that this will be the best twenty bucks you have ever spent. They cover any question you might have about planning a Disney vacation, based not only on their own in-depth research but also scrupulous reader surveys. These people are obviously in love with Disney but aren't afraid to tell you the honest pros and cons of a Walt Disney World Resort. Any reader will remark on the impressive investigation that went into writing such a manual, but when I got to part where resorts were rated on lighting and pillow quality that I realized that these people took this business seriously and that their advice was worth following. In the Unofficial Guide, Testa and Bob Sehlinger will give you advice on everything from what to say when requesting your resort room and what steps to take for your best chance in landing a hard-to-get advance dining reservation. Reading this book made me more confident in my Disney vacation choices, and not once did I regret any of their advice. 

Touring Plans take your WDW vacation to the next level. I had already had my own extensive list of the attractions I most wanted to see and those I'd prefer to skip (remember the part about obsessive researchers being my kind of people??). Touring Plans not only told me which day would be the best day to visit what park, but I could input which attractions I wanted to see, what time I was planning on arriving at and leaving each park, where and when I was going for meals, and out came a personalized plan for the day of what attractions to see laid out in chronological steps. In the end, seeing what I wanted to see in their recommended order and using the FastPass+ selections they suggested made a world of difference. I don't think we waited more than 20 minutes on any single attraction, despite visiting in August, one of the heavier trafficked times of the year. 

The site also has ready made Touring Plans that you can use depending on how much time you have for each park and who is in your party (for example, if you are a group of adults that has one day to see Hollywood Studios, they will give you a full day plan including all of their "not to be missed" attractions for adults in HS.) These are great for those who are looking for some guidance but may not know exactly what they want. 

I used their Personalized Touring Plan feature. You simple click "Create a Plan" and it takes you to a screen where you start filling out some basic info:

It's helpful to know at this point what park you might like to visit on what days. For strategizing, their Crowd Calendar and Crowd Tracker features are invaluable. Next you choose the attractions/rides/shows, etc. that you'd like to see and the number of times you'd like to see them. Next you add in any meals and planned breaks you'll be taking, accounting for travel time. 

Finally, you add in your optimal walking speed, and what kind of balance between waiting on lines and distance walking between rides you'd prefer. Often, to minimize waiting, you'll have to walk from one end of the park to the next in every step. In order to experience attractions that are nearby one another, you may have to wait a bit longer in line. Ultimately, we went for a "relaxed" walking speed and a "balance" between waiting and walking. 

Also here is where you add in either any FastPass+ reservations you already have, OR how many FastPass+ opportunities you have in each category and they will recommend what FastPass+ reservations you should make. (In EPCOT, for example, you probably will not be able to have a FastPass+ for Soarin' AND TestTrack since they are in the same group. Touring Plans will tell you which you are better off using the FastPass+ for - depending on the date you visit and the time you arrive in the park.)

In the end, I had a completely customized 19 step plan for my day at the Magic Kingdom. At the bottom of the plan includes a map enumerating the steps, and options to optimize your plan "based on latest estimates and real-time lines data." Absolutely magical. 

How did my personalized plan pan out? Perfectly, even though I had to make some calls on the fly to skip some attractions and come back to them later. The Touring Plans are stringent enough to give you a serious plan of attack yet flexible enough to withstand whims. Even though my family is more laid back than I am about travel itineraries, I think they were happy to have some direction that didn't wear us out while allowing us to see everything we wanted to see. Needless to say, I highly recommend Touring Plans for your next Disney vacation!

Check 'em out at !

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Minnie Mouse Nails

My nails are kind of my thing. I'd been getting them done professionally since I'm 14 years old up until about 2 years ago when I was introduced to Kiss Everlasting French Nails. These babies are amazing and last as long as professional tips/wraps. These are *not* your Mama's press-on nails! Always favoring the old classic french manicure and tired of spending so much time and money in the nail parlor, these have been my go-to nails...they're inexpensive, I can do them at home sitting on the couch anytime I please, I can fix them myself if I suffer a dreaded break, and they always look flawless. [Click here for a great review/tutorial I found on YouTube.]

So when it came to my next visit to the World, I wanted to do something special with my nails, and what better inspiration than my girl Minnie! Even still, I was determined to stay out of the salon since 1) I had an exact vision of how I wanted them to come out and 2) I wanted to be able to repair them myself should a nail get chipped on the trip. So I took to Pinterest for some inspiration and here’s what I wound up with…

Materials I used:

Kiss Everlasting French Nails in Real Short Length (Style 54248/EFS01 – Clear Pink color)

Any red polish...I used Pure Ice Nail Polish in color “Hit the Floor” – a perfect sparkly red!

Any white nail polish

A thick, shiny clear top coat

French tip polish guide/stickers

Mickey Mouse Nail Decals from Etsy seller PolkaDotGiftShoppe:

A toothpick or a pointy stick (cuticle stick comes with nail kit)

The advantage of using the Kiss nails is that you can decorate them all with your dominant hand and from any angle, and you can do the different steps in stages so you can ensure they are completely dry.

Here's what I did: after picking out the size nails I needed (marked with size numbers) plus a few extras in back-up sizes, I taped all of them with the French sticker guides. I probably could have painted the red on freehand, just using the already affixed white line as a guide, but I wanted to make it easier for myself.Using the guides, you can set the red line to be as thick as you'd like. Then I painted on all the red (at least 3 coats), removed the stickers, and let them dry completely overnight.

The next day, I painted on the white dots on the red line. I used the the pointy end of the cuticle stick that comes with the Kiss nail kit, but a toothpick will do just fine. I poured a little white polish on to a paper plate to use as a painter's palette. Dot gently and sporadically.  I recommend that you decorate the "back-up" nails first, or even practice on some extra nails in the pack that you can't use so you can get a feel for the process. Continue with all the nails and allow to dry overnight. 

Finally, when all is dry, add the Mickey Mouse nail decals. Originally, I purchased the nail art kit with the black, white and silver polish because I was going to paint on the Mickeys myself. In the end, all of my Mickeys were off looking, so these stickers were perfect and I was easily able to achieve the design I was looking for. After putting on the stickers (I chose to do them on every nail), I sealed it all with a nice thick topcoat, and let it dry overnight. 

I applied the nails according to the directions the day before I left for WDW and packed up the back-up nails and the bottle of topcoat and a tube of glue in a travel soap case. Ultimately, I ended up replacing one nail at the end of my vacation because of one too many soaks in the hot tub!

I loved this manicure and got so many compliments on them! They were a lot of fun to do!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

First Post!

Hi Disnerds and Mouseketeers and welcome to my blog! My very first trip to Walt Disney World was two summers ago at the age of 28, and all I can say is that I've been bitten by the Mouse!

Though I thought I'd researched well, nothing prepared me for WDW...there's really no place

Iike it! My very first experience of the parks was seeing Celebrate the Magic and Wishes at the Magic Kingdom...and I still cry just thinking about it! I know now why they call it "The most magical place on earth."

After that trip I became a self-professed Disney fanatic, and for my second visit this past summer, I was more than ready! I was better prepared, better packed, and armed with first hand experience. For example, when I first went, I didn't own any Disney apparel or accessories which I now know adds to the fun of the experience and the preparations; but Walt Disney World and all-things-Disney, as we all know, can be a bit pricey, so as a person who loves being crafty I got to work! On this blog, I hope to share with you my own research, experience, reviews, product finds, tips, tricks and DIYs.

Feel free to comment, ask questions, or just say hi!