Catching Up – October 2013

Continued from the last post


This was the start of my favorite time of year to visit the WDW theme parks.  We attended Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival with friends.

For Halloween, Tadd and I dressed up as a wild west saloon girl and bartender.  Tadd had an awesome handlebar mustache to go with this getup, but it just wouldn’t stay on.  So sad!  I honestly didn’t care much for my costume, but wanted to wear it to go with his costume because I loved Tadd in the saloon bartender costume.  He even had a beer holster belt…and of course, the arm garters!


My favorite time of year!

Hi all!  Sorry again for the extended hiatus.  Life is finally starting to slow down a bit, which is great, as I am in serious need of some down time.

I just wanted to make a quick post to show some fall decorating that has taken place in my house over the past few weeks, in between all the craziness.  This is the first time I get to decorate my new living room, so I am excited to share!  Most of my living room decor focuses on my Boney Bunch collection.  It’s fun to be able to display it in one central location, since for years it was scattered all around the first floor.  The bookshelves are the perfect place for the majority of these pieces.

I realize the lighting is a bit dark (these were taken with my iPhone early one morning, before work), but I think you get the idea.


I think my favorite spot in the living room is the console table behind our sofa.  Remember the table runner I made last year?  By the way, the candies in the right-hand bowl are Caramel Apple Milky Ways, which are just as good as they sound.  Mmmmm…

When I was at the Magic Kingdom in early September, I came across this little Ghost Mickey Jim Shore figurine that I just couldn’t resist.  He’s the newest member of my Halloween decor collection.  Again, sorry for the dark pic.

Not really decor, but I could not resist when I saw these at Target…  I’m not really a HUGE soda drinker (at least by comparison to my soda-guzzling husband), so I love that these are tiny cans.  The caramel apple soda is actually delicious.  It kind of tastes like carbonated apple juice with a little something extra.  Tadd picked the blood orange soda…I’m not really a big orange soda fan, but it was okay.  If you like orange soda, you would probably like it.  But I just love the cans.  So cute and festive!

I will be back soon with tales and pictures of where I have been all this time!

Are you getting into the fall/Halloween spirit yet?

A Very Special Glamping Weekend

Hopefully there are still people reading this blog after my extended hiatus…

I am finally back from a whirlwind week-and-a-half filled with glamping, business travel, and a much-needed long weekend of recovery.  I’m ready to share with you again for a few weeks, before more crazy insanity comes my way.  As much fun as I am having with keeping so busy with so many wonderful and exciting events, a part of me is longing for October, when my life will (perhaps) start to resume some semblance of normalcy.

I did want to tell you a little bit about my glamping experience with these lovely ladies:

We rented a cabin at Fort Wilderness for the whole weekend, which was awesome.  It sleeps 6 (1 full size bed and bunk beds in the bedroom, 1 full size murphy bed in the living room), and has a full kitchen!  It was perfect for our group.

We spent Friday night hanging out in the cabin, eating taco salads (graciously and expertly prepared by my wonderful friend Melanie), roasting marshmallows, drinking cocktails, and celebrating the bride, Carrie, with love and gifts.  There were some of your typical bachelorette gag gifts…  But also some meaningful ones.  Like this tote bag, which is a MUST for any Twilight fan bride-to-be that happens to be marrying a man named Jake:

My friend Lara, who is also involved in the wedding helped me put together these INCREDIBLE goody bags for all of the girls, filled with “glamping supplies” (all kinds of cosmetics, sunscreen, and some other fun tchochkes).  I bought these colorful mesh drawstring bags on, and they worked perfectly.  The girls can reuse them in the future too, they make great beach/pool bags.  I also made personalized tags for each bag, using glittery sticker letters on pre-cut manila rectangles, and tied them, along with a silver skeleton key (keys are somewhat of a symbol for our group…long story), to each bag with pink or purple baker’s twine.  They were a big hit!

Saturday was spent exploring Fort Wilderness…

And Saturday night, we got all prettied up (using all of our new cosmetics from the glamping supply bags, of course!), and headed out to the monorail loop for dinner and drinks.  We had dinner at The Wave in the Contemporary Resort, then rode the monorail to the Polynesian Resort, where we had a round of drinks and watched Wishes (Magic Kingdom’s fireworks show) from the beach behind the resort, then had one last drink at the Grand Floridian, before taking the monorail and boat back to the Fort and our cabin.

The next morning, we packed up everything, and headed home…Where I promptly unpacked and repacked, since I had a 7am flight to Boston the next morning for a full week of training for my new position.

I think the weekend was perfect for our group.  We laughed, ate, drank, reminisced, and even shed a few tears together.  We had lots of time to just be together, strengthen our bonds, and most importantly, celebrate the bride.  I often think of how grateful I am to have such a tight-knit group of girlfriends that truly care about each other.  It’s so important in life to have places where you feel like you truly belong, and I know I belong in this group.  It was so nice to have a weekend that focused on celebrating that, in addition to celebrating the lifetime of happiness that begins with Carrie’s rapidly-approaching Big Day.  These happy, emotional times of togetherness are what life is all about.

Sorry to get mushy, but if I start talking about this group of ladies, it’s going to happen!

Anniversary Staycation Weekend – Animal Kingdom Lodge

For our anniversary, Tadd and I decided to treat ourselves to a little weekend staycation getaway at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort.  We stayed two nights on a discounted Passholder rate, using a giftcard received for my birthday a couple months ago as part of the deposit.  We booked a (MUCH cheaper) standard view room, but upon check-in we mentioned our anniversary and we were lucky enough to receive an upgrade to a savanna view room at no additional charge.

We did not set foot in a theme park all weekend…we just hung out at the resort, relaxed, went to the pool, read, and watched the animals (giraffes, zebras, ostriches, red river hogs, etc) from our balcony.  Heaven!  We did book a couple of fun dinners…First was a Sanaa, which is on the Kidani Village side of Animal Kingdom Lodge (we were staying at Jambo House, which is the original/main side of the resort).  They specialize in more exotic foods with an Indian and African flair.  So delicious!  The second night we booked the Spirit of Aloha luau dinner show at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, which was a lot of fun.

Having now stayed in a number of Disney resorts (Caribbean Beach, All-Star Music, Port Orleans Riverside, Fort Wilderness Cabins, The Dolphin, Pop Century, Yacht Club, and now Animal Kingdom Lodge), I think I can say that AKL is my favorite so far.  It’s not within walking distance of any of the theme parks like Yacht Club (which is a HUGE perk), but it’s SO cool to wake up, step outside on your balcony with a cup of coffee, and hang out with some zebras.  Also, the theming really appeals to me.  You really feel like you’re somewhere else when you are there, which makes for a very relaxing time.

We are going to try to swing another staycation weekend in December, if I can get another great discount code.  I am shooting for the Wilderness Lodge this time.  No promises that it will definitely work out, but I am going to try my best.  Holiday time in Walt Disney World is unbeatable, and staying on property for a few nights makes it even better.

Star Wars Weekends, Take Two!

Tadd and I went back to Disney’s Hollywood Studios yesterday for round 2 of Star Wars Weekends.  We took our new video camera, and stitched together this compliation of all the things we did and saw.

Now that we have a dedicated video camera, I am going to try to post much more frequent videos.  So if you haven’t already, go over to my YouTube Channel and subscribe!  Thanks and enjoy!

I do love a good mystery…

As I mentioned on my previous post, on Monday, Tadd and I checked out a few places we had been meaning to visit for awhile.  Another place we visited was Theme Park Connection.  This is basically a Disney parks memorabilia thrift store/warehouse in Winter Springs, FL.  They have all kinds of souvenirs, posters, props, signage, cast member costumes, etc.  Much of it has been used in the park at one time or another.  Some of it is vintage, and some of it is pretty new.  Their inventory is constantly changing and you never know what you might see on any given visit.

Tadd and I spent a long time perusing the shelves and shelves full of stuff.  What ended up catching my eye was a pair of vintage wine glasses.  The logo says “Walt Disney World Village Wine Festival”, but the logo does not mention a year.

I know that what is now Downtown Disney used to be called “Walt Disney World Village” in the 1970s and 1980s before being changed to “Disney Village Marketplace” and then eventually “Downtown Disney” in the 1990s (soon to be “Disney Springs” once the recently-announced refurb is complete), but I had never heard of the wine festival.  My online research has proven sketchy, with no solid dates for the start of this festival (I have seen several different sites with different years mentioned; 1977, 1981, 1982, and 1986, among others), and nothing really discussing when it concluded.  It seems that this wine festival was precursor to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, which began in 1995.  Unfortunately, based on the info I have, I can really only narrow down the time frame of distribution for these particular glasses to a very vague range: late-1970s to mid-to-late 1980s.  I searched for any kind of collection of wine festival logos, but those searches did not return anything.

If you have any information on these wine glasses please let me know!  I am so curious to know more specific details, especially what year they are from.  But even if I learn nothing more, they are still my new favorite WDW souvenir items.  I just love them!

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!

Happy Earth Day!

In honor of Earth Day, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s 15th anniversary, I thought I would share some of the pictures we took during our recent visit to Animal Kingdom.  One of my favorite moments of the day was seeing the tigers up and active!  Every time I haved visited them in the past, they have been fast asleep in the shade.  They were stalking each other and playing together.  So cute!


Epcot the Ghost Town

I’m about to let you all in on a little WDW secret!  Shhhhhhhhh!

Tadd and I recently spent an early morning in Epcot’s World Showcase.  Normally, the World Showcase section of the park opens at 11AM, while the rest of the park opens at 9.  However, the bakery in the France pavilion was recently remodeled and reopened with new hours!   They now open right at 9 with the front of the park.  BUT!  The France pavilion is literally as far back into the park as you can get.  Nothing else is open back there before 11…It’s literally JUST the bakery (which, as I’m sure you can imagine, serves some pretty fantasic pastries for breakfast!).  And word hasn’t really gotten out yet about this hidden gem.

What this means is, if you can get to Epcot at park opening, and immediately walk straight back into World Showcase, you basically have that whole area  to yourself.  While everyone else is racing to The Land pavilion on the other side of the park to get Soarin’ fastpasses, you will get to stroll past the completely empty Canada and UK pavilions on your way to your delicious breakfast in France!

There is something SO cool about feeling as if you have a whole theme park to yourself.  We are so used to seeing these places full of crowds, noise, and hustle-bustle.  Being able to take our time and really enjoy all the sights and details in peace and quiet was well worth the hassle of getting up extra early.  Of course, we had to take our sweet time and take a ton of pics!

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!