Star Wars Weekends 2013

Wednesday was my birthday, but we celebrated last weekend, as we have for several years now (see 2011 and 2012), at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Star Wars Weekends.

This year we got to stay at the Yacht Club Resort, which is within walking distance of the park.  I have decided I absolutely adore this resort and would stay there again in a heartbeat (but only if I can get a fantastic rate again…because even with the comparatively low rate, it was still a splurge).

Aside from loving the decor (the theme is “coastal New England”) we could walk to two theme parks (Epcot and Studios), and they have one of our favorite hidden gems in all of WDW, a cozy little rowing/boathouse themed bar called Crew’s Cup.  It’s never crowded, they have 3 types of Sam Adams beer on tap, and their menu includes truffle fries (my weakness).  Love that place!

Anyways, the close proximity to Disney’s Hollywood Studios made getting there at 6:45am on Saturday a smidgen easier.  The walk was very pleasant, as the weather wasn’t too hot, and we got some pretty scenery along the way.

By the time we got there, the line to get a pass to be able to meet Jeremy Bulloch (who played Boba Fett in the original trilogy) was already this long:

The assigned times to meet him were long gone, but we managed to get waitlist armbands so we could try to meet him if he had extra time.

The day was spent pretty much solely doing Star Wars-related events.  We visited “Darth’s Mall”, which was the merchandise area, where Tadd got his yearly Star Wars Weekends commemorative baseball cap, and we got this neat limited edition pivot pin with Han Solo and Boba Fett.  Then we met up with some friends and got a spot for the parade, which is one of my favorite events every year.

After the parade, we rode Star Tours, then got our picture taken with Boba Fett.

We had a nice late lunch at Mama Melrose during the hottest part of the day, and eventually Tadd finally got to meet his buddy, the real Boba Fett, Jeremy Bulloch!  He signed the baseball cap he had purchased earlier in the day and got a few photos.  Jeremy was very sweet and even commented about how much he loved Tadd’s Boba Fett watch and hat.  Turns out the real Boba Fett is also a collector of Boba Fett merchanside.  Tadd really enjoyed getting to meet Mr. Bulloch.

From there, we saw a couple of the special shows.  One was a martial arts demonstration with the very handsome Ray Park (who was Darth Maul in the Star Wars series, but has also been in Heroes, GI Joe, and X-Men).  The other was a show about voice acting by James Arnold Taylor (he is most notably the voice of Obi Wan Kenobi in the Clone Wars series).  During that show, James does dozens and dozens of voice impressions in rapid succession, which is extremely entertaining and amazing.


We ended our day with the hilarious Hyperspace Hoopla show, which is a dance-off between the rebel and Empire characters.  Here’s a video of my favorite part…Chewbacca dancing to Hey Ya.  We were dying laughing!

Thanks for tolerating me being a bit self-indulgent in these past few posts.  I recognize that I have seem to have hit somewhat of a creative lull in my life.  I hope to get back to sharing new recipes, crafts, and sewing projects soon!  We have just been SO busy lately, which has left little time to do anything else.  It looks like so far the month of June might be a bit slower for us, and I have been in the mood to get crafty!

Buon Compleanno (“happy birthday” in Italian!) at Via Napoli

January has turned into a bit of a blog hiatus for me.  Unfortunately, I am still dealing with issues stemming from my accident (I officially hate car insurance companies!), still dealing with traces of my cold on and off (although I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOO much better), and work has been pretty insane too.  I swear, I couldn’t believe when I woke up yesterday morning that it was ONLY Wednesday.  It felt like it should have been Friday many times over by that point.  To say this month has been challenging for me would be an understatement.  Although I do know that it could be much, much worse, and for that I am grateful.

Last Saturday, we took a break from our life stresses to celebrate my good friend Elizabeth’s birthday at Epcot, where I got to try several new things for the first time!  Having lived in Orlando for over 2 decades, and having been a Walt Disney World passholder for several of those years, I get excited when I get to try something new in the parks.

First stop: New Test Track.

It’s basically an upgraded version of the old ride.  The footprint and track of the ride are exactly the same as they always were.  However, the look and “story” of the ride are totally different.  Now the ride basically looks like you have stepped into the movie Tron.  Lots of dark spaces contrasted with neon outlines.  Everything looks more slick and futuristic.  Also, now you get to design your own car via touch screen kiosks before you ride, and your design gets pitted against the designs of the others in your ride vehicle as you go through various “tests” (stuff like sudden breaking, handling on curves, aero-dynamicness, and everyone’s favorite…SPEED!).  After each test, there is a little leaderboard that shows how your imaginary car fared against the others.

The queue looks totally different now too.  The focus seems to be on the science of car design and concept cars.  I am not a huge car person, but I could see where this would really interest someone who was into that kind of thing.

Later on in the day, we surprised Elizabeth with lunch at Via Napoli for her birthday.

This was another first for me.  This restaurant opened in the Italy Pavilion of World Showcase back in 2010, and it was a place that I had always wanted to try, but just had never gotten around to it.  They are known for their authentic Neapolitan cuisine, including delicious wood fired pizzas.  What I think is the coolest feature of this restaurant are the three very striking pizza ovens shaped like the faces of the patron gods of each of the three active volcanoes in Italy: Stromboli, Vesuvio, and Etna.  So cool!

The pizza was delicious.  It’s traditional oven-fired style pizza with thin crust, ever-so-slightly charred on the bottom with great toppings.  We got a delicious white pizza with artichokes and truffle oil, and some kind of custom-ordered prosciutto and sausage monstrosity that I wouldn’t touch (I don’t like meat on my pizza…I’m a veggies-only kind of girl, but my friends really loved it).

Then the birthday girl got serenaded by the waitstaff!  She got some kind of lemon cookie mini-dessert.  But really, the cookie was just a vehicle for the AMAZING chocolate and raspberry sauce drizzled all over the plate.

I would say all of us really enjoyed it and I know I would definitely go back.  The pizzas are pricey when compared with regular takeout pizza ($30 each for the large), but they were a good size and two of them were the perfect size for the 6 of us.  I didn’t think it was bad at all for a filling, sit-down lunch at Disney.  I know I left stuffed.

My WDW escapism continues this weekend at Magic Kingdom…We have reservations this Saturday for dinner at Be Our Guest, the brand new restaurant in the Beast’s castle in New Fantasyland.  I had to book these reservations back in August (three plus months before the place even opened!), so they are quite coveted.  I am psyched!  If only this week could mercifully end so I could get back to the fun stuff!

A zippy wallet for the birthday girl.

One of my best friends had a birthday over the weekend.  I decided to take another crack at Noodlehead’s zippy wallet for part of her gift.  Love this tutorial!  It’s easy, cute, and takes a teeny bit of fabric.

I made one for myself awhile back and used it for the first time in my wristlet as a mini-wallet during our ghost-hunting bachelorette party night out on the town.  It easily and securely held my ID and credit card in the front pocket, with paper money and coins in the zip pouch.  It took up almost zero room in my wristlet, but was big enough to very easy to fish out whenever I needed it throughout the evening.

The photo below is before the snap was added to the tab, but you get the idea.

And here’s the one I made for the birthday girl this past weekend:

Cute, huh?  If you are looking for something cute and small to make for a little gift, this tutorial is a great option!  Thanks to Noodlehead for always offering some of the best tutorials for us beginner sewers!

  shabby creek cottage

Finally a new sewing project: Camera/Gadget Case!

As I mentioned in my previous post about the wristlet I made for my grandmother, I was actually in the process of making one more.  I finished it yesterday, and gave it to my good friend Melanie as a birthday gift.  She loves anything pink & black, and I knew I already had the perfect fabric to use for this project.  I seriously love these fabrics together!  Especially the pink & white floral.

I had a little bit of these fabrics leftover from this project, and was surfing around, trying to find something new to do with them.  Pinterest to the rescue, once again!  I stumbled upon this fantastic tutorial from Sew, Mama, Sew for a camera/gadget case.  What a fun, easy, cute project!  I absolutely love how it turned out, and it was really easy!   All you need are 2 rectangles of fabric and 1 rectangle of cotton batting (all three pieces should be 14″x5″), a 4″ length of thin elastic, and a button.  The whole project took me all of 30 or so minutes.  Love projects like this!

Linking up!:

 shabby creek cottage

Projects for a very special occasion.

Sorry for another quiet week around these parts.  Life has been rather hectic lately, and there just hasn’t been much time for the creative stuff that’s fun to share on the blog.

I did want to do a quick post to share a couple of the creative projects that I completed prior to my trip to Boston.

First, the letters that I showed you in this picture:

We used them at the guestbook table at my grandmother’s birthday party.  I just bought the letters pre-painted at JoAnn’s (on sale!), and four coordinating sheets of scrapbook paper.  I used my Mod Podge to paint a thin layer of glue on the letters, stuck them to the paper, and then cut away the excess paper with a craft knife.

They were a huge hit with the guests, but if I were to do it all over again, I would do a couple of things differently.  I would use a thinner layer of glue (and be more careful about wiping off the excess while still wet), and I would let them dry more thoroughly before using the craft knife.  You can see the “D” has some scuffy spots on the edges, and the “N” and “A” both have ripped spots.  You couldn’t tell unless you looked closely, but I knew they were there and it bugged me!  Honestly, between everyday life and getting ready to go out of town, I did not devote as much time to this project as I would have liked, so I’m sure that contributed to the imperfections.

Also, I wanted to handmake a gift for my grandmother.  I decided to make another wristlet (based on this clutch tutorial), and she adored it.

She said it will be her new bag for when she goes to play bingo.  So cute!  I have to say I really love this project for gift-giving because everyone seems to really appreciate both the looks and usefulness of the finished product.  I’m actually working on another one now.  At some point I need to break out and try something different, but for now I will stick with this gathered wristlet as my go-to gift of choice!

This was right after I gave her the wristlet. She's holding it and telling me about her sewing skills from back in the day.

Love my Nana!  I hope she had a fabulous 90th birthday!  So glad we got to attend!

Sewing Projects: A wristlet and a headband!

I have a couple of new sewing projects to show you.  One I have been holding onto for awhile because it was a birthday gift for a friend who reads this blog!  Couldn’t give away the surprise too soon.  Her birthday party was last night, so now that she has it in her possession, I am free to share!

I took the gathered front clutch tutorial I used for this project, and turned it into a wristlet with a removable wrist strap!  Just like the original clutch, the interior has a spot for 2 credit cards, plus a large divider pocket.

The other project I whipped together as soon as I got home from work.  Using this tutorial from (which includes a printable template that I traced onto a piece of cardboard), I made a very cute, very easy reversible headband.

I love easy, quick projects like this that use up scraps from other projects.  And I love headbands, so this is one I will definitely use too.  As a matter of fact, I wore it to the aforementioned birthday party last night!

Tadd’s Birthday Party at Oblivion Taproom!

Hope your weekend went well (or for you lucky souls who have MLK Day off, hope it is still going well).  Tadd’s birthday celebration extended into this weekend, so that was the major focus for us.

We had about 25 friends meet us at Oblivion Taproom on Saturday night.  Oblivion is one of our favorite local hangouts.  They always have interesting food & beer to try (they are famous for their craft beer selection, burgers, and rotating daily specials…almost everything is made from scratch, even the ketchup!).  And they were incredible at handling our party size on a Saturday night with only a few days notice.  They not only let us bring in our own birthday cake, but they also brought it out to him with his Darth Vader candle lit and had the whole restaurant sing to him!  Several staff members wished him a happy birthday and constantly made sure we had everything we needed.  Everyone had a great time, and I can’t say enough great things about this place.  If you are local to Orlando, give them a try.  They are on East Colonial Drive (Hwy 50) between Bennett Rd and S. R. 436, east of the Fashion Square Mall.

The birthday boy with his stout beer flight.

Happy birthday to Tadd!

Thank you once again to Oblivion Taproom, and special thanks to all of our dear friends for joining us and making his birthday celebration such a great and memorable night!

Happy birthday to my better half.

Perhaps you will indulge me a bit today to talk awhile about this handsome guy…

Today is the 31st birthday of my husband Tadd.  To celebrate, I thought I would share 5 things that you may or may not know about my better half.

1. He was born in West Palm Beach, FL.  Well, technically Boynton Beach (just outside of WPB), but close enough.  Yes, even though he is a huge Boston sports fan (especially Pats & Sox), he married into it and embraced it from that perspective.  Which of course makes my family adore him that much more.

2. He was a skateboarder in high school.  He also broke a lot of bones, and got lots of scrapes, bruises, and cuts during that time of his life.  Lots of trips to the ER!  He also has a ton of entertaining stories from that era of his life.  Like the time he and some friends played “manhunt” near the police station (which, to them, was a responsible and safe move), and yet they still got the cops called on them by some passerby who thought they were up to no good.  Hooligans!

3.  He is a very sensitive guy who loves kids and animals.  Isn’t there some saying somewhere that says a woman can learn a lot about a man by the way he treats babies, animals, and his mother?  Tadd is great on all three fronts.  Remember those kitties he rescued right around 4th of July?  And then it hurt his heart too much to part with all three, so we ended up keeping Terror Kitty (aka Jacoby).  Awww…he is a very sensitive guy who loves his kitties.

Ok, so not the best picture of Tadd, but look how much Logan & Stella adore him!

4. He has a very random sense of humor.  He is always making me laugh. I wish he used Twitter more, because when he did, he always tweeted stuff that had me giggling.

Note the userpic of him wearing a very stylish Boba Fett helmet.  I love that he doesn’t take life too seriously, because sometimes I can…and he is always there to remind me to look on the bright side.

5. He has a passion for video games.  Really.  A big passion.  He has a dedicated “man den” in our house specifically designed with a video game enthusiast in mind.  It includes a mini fridge, two TVs displayed side by side, and a collection of over 200 classic NES cartridges (NES = original 1980s Nintendo). Think I’m kidding?  Check this out:

This is the one room in the house that I don’t get ANY say in the design/decor (unless asked, of course), and I am fine with that.  I love that he has his own space, so that his gadgets and computer parts (he works in the IT field) and “man stuff” doesn’t leak into the rest of the house.  It definitely helps our marriage.

Also, I am a Skyrim widow.  And if you are too, you know exactly what I am talking about!  But it’s ok, because it makes him happy.

So happy birthday to my wonderful husband.  You’re not perfect (no one is!), but you are so perfect for me.  I love you!

Weekend Update

Friday night we got some Publix subs and a bottle of white zin on the way home from work, then relaxed per usual and watched a couple of interesting documentaries on lovely Netflix.  I love documentaries and I love Netflix.  What a great intersection of entertainment!

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early to meet a friend to go on our blueberry picking adventure, which you can read all about at the link if you haven’t already.  We had such a great time!

On the way home, we spotted the Citrus Tower, which is one of those old-school Florida attractions that pre-dated Disney World.  Neither of us had ever been to the Citrus Tower before, so we decided to stop and check it out.  We entered through a very charming little gift shop (of course!) and paid a nice woman $4 to go up in the elevator to the top of the 22 story tower.  Would it shock you if I told you we were the only ones there?  Kind of sad, really.  But when you get to the top, you can see why.  The tower was built in the 1950s, when the area was literally blanketed with citrus groves.  Now, you can see some pretty lakes (Lake Apopka, Lake Minneola, and Lake Minnehaha) from the tower, and lots of subdivisions, highways, and strip malls, but not quite so many citrus groves.  It was still a fun little diversion, and I like that we were supporting an important landmark from the history of our area.

Here’s a video I found about the Citrus Tower’s history and significance in mid-century Central Florida:

Anyways, after our blueberry picking and Citrus Tower adventures, we headed back to Orlando, picked up a quick lunch and then I headed home to shower and clean up for the evening.  When I got home, Tadd informed me that he could not bear to give all three kittens to the shelter as we had intended, so he made the decision to keep one.  I was a bit taken aback, because I wasn’t expecting to take on a newborn kitten with everything else we have going on right now, but I relented in the end.  So thanks to this little guy, we are now a 3 cat household.  His name is Jacoby, and he is growing on me very very quickly.  Look at that face…how could I not wuv him?

Pinnacle Whipped Cream Vodka

Saturday night, we drove out to a friend’s house in Deltona to celebrate a birthday.  The big hit of the evening were cocktails made with Pinnacle Whipped Cream Vodka.  Have any of you tried this stuff yet?  We mixed it with rootbeer for a rootbeer-float-tini and with Orange Crush for a creamsicle-tini.  Good stuff!  I have had it once before at a restaurant/bar, but it seemed to taste extra good while sitting on a patio outside surrounded by tiki torches and good friends.  Although I must admit, that patio got quite humid after awhile and we retreated into the air conditioning before the end of the evening.  I cannot wait for the Florida Summer to be over!  Counting the days!

Sunday Tadd helped a friend who had been having car issues.  We had planned to get some of the powder room done that day, but the garage was occupied with the car-fixing stuff, and it took much, much longer than expected, so we never got to it.  I am starting to think that this powder room project might never end!  Tadd promises we will finish it by the end of July, so we’ll see.  I spent the day doing a little cleaning and organizing.  I put the 4th of July decor away and redecorated our entry table to have more of a non-holiday-specific summertime look (which I may show you later!), and did some various other things around the house.  By the time our friend left with his car, it was around 8pm, so we just relaxed for the rest of the evening until bedtime.

Another weekend, come and gone.  Looking forward to next weekend though!  It’s going to be a big one!  More on that later…

Weekend Update

My weekend definitely wasn’t long enough.

Friday night was nothing special.  Happy hour with a coworker where we had a much-needed vent-fest.  Then Tadd and I stayed in, cleaned the house a bit, ate Subway subs, and watched The Soup.

Saturday we got our day started bright and early, relaxed a bit, then ran some errands.  Tadd got a much needed haircut!  He always looks so handsome after getting it cut.  We got some super secret birthday supplies for the surprise party later on.

We also had brunch at Keke’s Breakfast Cafe, which I found to be good, but overpriced.  Tadd got the eggs benedict (because if a menu has eggs benedict, he orders eggs benedict…period), which he declared is the third best he has ever had.  In case you were curious, first place is Carnival Cruise Line’s eggs benedict (which he has enjoyed on 2 different ships), second is White Wolf Cafe, and now demoted to fourth place is First Watch.  I had a turkey, tomato, and cheese panini and french fries.  Mine was good, but unremarkable.  What WAS remarkable was the fact that the little kid sitting in the booth behind me bounced continually in his seat for our ENTIRE meal.  So annoying…

Fun with the birthday girl!

Saturday night I was a key player in a surprise party that went off without a hitch, mostly because the birthday girl actively suggested that we go to the very place where the party was already planned to be held, even though she had no idea other people were already congregating there to surprise her.  The plan was to take her to a girls only dinner with me and another friend, while everyone else gathered at a nearby bar.  I was supposed to casually suggest that we go to the bar for drinks after dinner to keep the evening going, but it turned out I didn’t have to.  Imagine her shock when she entered the bar and saw several more friends waiting to surprise her!  We laughed when her initial reaction was: “But this was MY idea! How did you know?”  Ha ha ha!  After that, it was a nice, relaxing, and fun evening for everyone.  I was just relieved that everything went so smoothly.

Brothers, reunited!

Also Saturday night is when my brother in law Keith arrived from Tennessee.  So far so good with that.  Sunday, he and Tadd were very productive…They worked on the car together, did some grocery shopping, and worked on the lawn a bit.  He has already applied to one job and should be applying to several more today while Tadd and I are at work.  Fingers crossed that he finds something very quickly so he can start his road to independence.  While the boys stayed busy, I mostly relaxed.  Played a little Sims 3, watched TV, cleaned the kitchen a bit, and made spaghetti for dinner.  Much to my surprise Keith actually complimented my cooking and thanked me for dinner!  He is definitely on his best behavior right now, which is very refreshing to see.  It truly does seem like he wants to do the right things now.  Of course, yesterday was only day 1.  Let’s see how this lasts when the newness and excitement have worn off.  But so far I am optimistic.