Monday, May 4, 2015

Disney World Tips!

I received quite a few questions after posting pictures during our Disney trip on Instagram so I wanted to put together a post on some tips!  My heart hurts writing this because I want to go back so badly!  Disney is all about the details, and I am a detail freak so it is a match made in heaven.  I also have never had bad customer service at WDW - is that just coincidence??  It truly is the most magical place!

See way too many pics from our trip here and here.



PLAN
Luckily, my SIL is even MORE of a crazy organized planner than I am, so we had our trip down to a science!  Granted, we strayed from our schedule here and there, but quite a bit of it we stuck to!  We both read tons of other people's Disney tips and blogs and kept notes on things we needed to do right away, or things that were ok to skip.  My Disney Experience is the greatest to really get you not only excited, but planned and ready to go!  If you want to spend money, the website touring plans.com is super amazing for really planning your trip.  This is what my SIL used and was perfection!  It helps you plan your trip around wait times and when things are the least busy, which is key at Disney!

I also read the Disney Food Blog to make a list of food I wanted to try.  You would never know which places to stop at without it!  Some of our must haves - Dole Whip from Aloha Aisle (MK), School Bread from Norway (Epcot), Pot Roast Mac and Cheese from Friar's Nook (MK), the list goes on!  I also searched different hashtags on Instagram like #disneyfood, #disneyeats, etc.  Everyone posts their delicious food finds and I am more than happy to check them out!



FLYING
Getting a seat for Bradley was a no brainer for us.  Not only does he sleep well in his carseat, but hello - SAFETY!!  I can't imagine if we hit turbulence and my already anxious self being nervous, and then trying to figure out how to safely hold him so our heads wouldn't bonk or something.  Just go watch the movie Flight and then tell me you don't need a car seat for your infant (I am cray cray).  Yes, it is more expensive, but it is truly priceless to be safe!


WHAT TO BRING
Pack lots of layers! I'm so glad I am an over-packer - we went from semi chilly on Thursday at MK, to rainy but warm at Epcot, to 80s on Sunday!  The weather in Florida is unpredictable so pack it all. If you have a stroller, you can just store it all on there.  We were so glad we had layers, changes of clothes, two blankets, and my mom had ponchos!  


STAY ON PROPERTY
I know some people do, but I can't imagine going to Disney and not staying on property - that is almost more of the Disney experience to me than the parks!  The perks are endless for staying on property - everything is still themed so you feel the magic, free transportation to any of the parks, Downtown Disney, etc, and you get Disney customer service everywhere you turn!  Plus, if you bring your baby they have free pack and plays.  

We stayed at Art of Animation and it was awesome!  Considered a "value" resort, but we wouldn't have known that!  They have tons of pools that feel like you are at a water park.  We stayed at the hotel one of our days and just swam and enjoyed the resort!


Art of Animation is like a theme park with sculptures like this all over!  We spent a few hours and just walked the grounds one of the days to see everything - so cool!


Take the cute soaps - you paid for them!  Each day I put them in my suitcase so they would be refilled by the cleaning lady the next day.  Don't forget to leave a few dollars for your cleaning lady each day, too!


WITH AN INFANT
There are tons of rides you can bring your infant on, but luckily we have a Grandma that wanted to hang out with Bradley instead!  Some of the rides that they say you can bring your infant on, I probably would NOT bring them.  Like Peter Pan's Flight is one - ummm that is kind of a massive drop if your baby suddenly lunged or did something you weren't ready for?  Yeesh!  

But it really is SO easy to bring a baby to Disney!  They allow you to bring whatever want - stroller, snacks, food, coolers, etc, into the parks, and there probably isn't a better place on Earth to be super relaxed and not worry about a crying baby ruining other people's meals or experience. :)  Plus, we need Bradley to be as Disney obsessed as our family is, so start 'em young! 

Also, the Baby Centers are amazing!  Each park has a clean, quiet, place with lots of changing tables, quiet nursing rooms with rocking chairs, and of course you can purchase items if you forgot anything!  They also have cute grandmas staffed at these locations if you need anything.  Disney thinks of everything.


There are ridiculous amounts of things to get to make bringing baby easy, too.  Check out this cute high chair contraption my SIL brought for us! :)



You can also ship tons of things ahead of time - the SIL had bottled water, bananas, beer and other things shipped and ready waiting in her room!  She used strollersandgroceries.com.  We will definitely be doing that in the future!

COFFEE LOVERS
One of the top priorities on our itinerary was Starbucks!  Yes, we are obsessed.  If you want to get Starbucks at a park, be one of the first to get to the park and head to Starbys first stop!  I read online that the lines can be hours long, so we literally RAN to the Main Street Bakery.  I am still kind of sad I didn't get the $80 tumbler for my unsweetened black iced teas as a souvenir. :(  It was magical looking (not really $80 but definitely not cheap).


MEMORY MAKER
We signed up for the Memory Maker and it was worth every penny!  It seems like a lot, but we got over 200 pictures and could have gotten hundreds more if we stopped every time we saw a photographer and covered everyone in our group.  It includes all of your ride photos, which surprisingly are way more fun than we thought.  So glad we have them!  It is cheaper if you purchase before your trip, too.  Definitely recommend!


They include pictures of places you stop at of characters, too!  Like we received the picture below because we stopped and took pictures on Main Street with the photographers, and received professional pictures of Spaceship Earth scenes because we rode that ride.  Really crazy and cool how they track all of that!



If you don't do Memory Maker, there are still tons of places to take your own pics.  Just don't forget to document your memories! :) 


STROLLER
Rent or bring your own stroller - worth it!  I kept reading everywhere to bring an umbrella stroller because they are light, but I highly disagree!  We don't even own an umbrella stroller because we are too tall for them, but I cannot imagine not having our big, easy to get around stroller with a huge basket underneath.  We were able to put our purses, diaper bag, toys, snacks, extra layers/change of clothes, purchases, leftovers, etc. all in the basket and not have to worry about carrying!  I'm an over packer but I discovered I had packed two of Bradley's blankets under our stroller and we used both the chilly day at Magic Kingdom.  

My brother and SIL rented one from Kingdom Strollers (included free grocery delivery!) and were very happy with it.  She said to make sure to ask for the rain cover!  If you don't have someone to watch your stroller, probably best to rent it and to NOT leave valuables in your stroller.  If you leave your stroller places they might move it without you knowing and then you have to search for it in stroller corrals like this:




Midwestern stroller meat at Disney. :)



FAST PASS
Fast passes are the greatest thing ever.  Some of the lines can have a crazy long wait, but if you have a Fast Pass you can get right on the ride!  Book your fast passes as early in the day as possible so you can add more for the afternoon once those are up (can use a kiosk or the Disney app).  

Rider swap we never tried out since my mom was amazing and hung out with Bradley if we went on a ride, but looks awesome if you don't have a dedicated Grandma with you! :)  

SOUVENIRS
Souvenirs are EXPENSIVE.  I read a lot of tips on other blogs that said to purchase some items and pack with you, then introduce a souvenir each day so kids don't want everything they see - so smart!  Since Bradley does't beg yet, it is more for me. :)  We had to purchase just two - a cute one piece and an Ewok because it looks like our little girls.



CHARACTER DINING
One of the best parts of Disney World is the character dining!  We had reservations at Crystal Palace for lunch and it was probably all of our favorite meal from the trip!  The buffet was awesome and they are so good at planning it out that you almost always have a character at your table.  The boys (and my mom) loved it! :)  We wanted to get into Chef Mickey's but because we planned our trip so late we couldn't get in.  Next time!



TRIP TIME
Stay longer!  We planned a long weekend - Thursday to Monday and it wasn't enough!  Next time we go we want to at least go for 5 days - one day at each park and then a pool day.  My dad said we need seven days. :)

Obviously these are all just tips from our personal experience - you can't go wrong with a Disney vacation!  Keep in mind everything is expensive at Disney, but you are paying for more than the item you are getting.  Your simple sandwich might be $10 but you are in an atmosphere unlike any other and the person serving it to you is from the country that sandwich is from and can tell you all about it!  We cannot wait to go back!

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Lilly Pulitzer for Target Recap

Ever since having Bradley, working on my wardrobe/styling has taken the back burner because I would rather spend my time with him!  Styling outfits is totally a hobby for me, so when  Nate's sister asked what I wanted for my birthday, I thought a Target gift card to pick up a few clothing items and spruce up my wardrobe options would be perfect!  Fashion is a way I like to express myself and try to show that I am a friendly person.  Ha!   It has always been a goal of mine to be one of those fabulous and fun grandmas someday with bright colored hair, tons of patterns and lots of chunky costume jewelry.  I know I am well on my way to that! :)  (Check out the funny at the bottom of this post).

My mom raised me to NOT be into brands and logos, but to appreciate quality.  So I didn't know much about Lilly Pulitzer before the launch other than there is a cute store in Key West that I would walk by and think looked adorable, but not walk IN knowing I wouldn't be able to afford anything! :)  When I saw the Target look book, I was so excited because I am all about fun patterns, whimsical dressing, and color at an affordable price!  

That being said, clothes are just that - clothes.  So it rained on my parade when I was all excited for the Lilly launch, then heard how INSANE and terrible people were for it in the stores.  Many called it a Target Fail.  Ummm...pretty sure it was a human fail!  Target sold out, you lost your damn mind. Before hearing about the  mayhem, I was able to get a sane online order through for a couple cute pieces.  If I had to go to the store and saw lines, I have turned around on the spot!  So just keep this all in mind...now here are my thoughts. :)

The items that caught my eye from the look book were the Satin Dress, scarf, button down, white kimono and yellow kimono.  We were in Iowa this past weekend for a family reunion and up late, so when we went to bed I checked online to see if any items were up and they were!  I placed an order for these three pieces with my gift card.



The order went through and we were golden!  Then on Monday, I stopped by a nearby Target to see if anything was left and picked up a dress, pineapple sandals, and a few kids items to see if I could trade on the BST (buy, sell, trade) sites for those other pieces I had my eye on.  I put a picture of one of the items up and literally in SECONDS I had about 10 comments and a few personal messages.  It freaked me out so I quickly removed them and just sold the items at cost to friends.  Not worth dealing with crazies for a cheap shirt!

One of my coworkers had a couple items she was planning on returning, and one was a turban so I purchased from her.  I posted this pic on Instagram.  First of all, how cute is Bradley?  He was like, "maybe you shouldn't be wearing a turban, Mom?"  Ha!  But I do like it, even if it might look goofs on me.  Perfect for gross hair on my day off. :)



Then yesterday I was at Target and they had a ton of makeup bags left!  I picked up the pineapple one for myself, and the giraffe for my SIL.  



That same day, my order came in the mail!  So fun!  I had to put them on right away.  The pineapple kimono was a shoe-in.  I love kimonos and mixing fun prints.  Done.  I might possibly have my mom shorten for me - it is crazy long, but might be fun like that?  My friend Rachel and I always joke that we someday want to retire by the pool in our kimonos and this would fit that well. :)  Ignore the laundry and random swimsuit combo.  I will definitely do some weird pattern mixing but probably not this combination. :)


How Target mixed the patterns - too cute!



The button down is also adorable!  I love button downs and this has cute gold buttons.  I laid out how I planned to wear the shirt for Friday. 


I definitely plan on using it as a swimsuit cover-up similar to how Target styled, too!  Love!


The white kimono is adorable, but not so much my style since it is white and not a crazy and colorful pattern. :)  I think the same coworker that I bought the turban from is going to get that from me so we helped each other out!  Woohoo!

So here was the final "haul" if you can call it that (the giraffe makeup bag is for my Chicago SIL).  Just the right amount of birthday goodness!


Here is a pic from this morning wearing the button down - and Bradley untying my shoes. :)


Now let's all wear our cute clothes but focus MORE on being good people. :)  If you have to throw elbows to get clothes, they aren't worth it!

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Recent Pictures

Recent happenings through the eyes of my phone camera.

Panera has a drive thru?!  Life = complete!


Old yet cute pic of Bradley getting ready for St Patty's! :)


Bradley loves his Aunt Jina


Chimi thinks Bradley's lounger is a great dog bed.


And Sprinks does, too!


Breakfast at Red Cow - so amazing!!


Sprinkles helping me pick out some clothes for Bradley.


The start of my Tsum Tsum addiction.


Playing with a (fake) pepper at daycare!


We got our carpets cleaned!  It was 'bout damn time!


Funny little man.


Love snuggles so much.


Enjoying a few nice days!


Lots of sippy cup practice.


Somebody would. Not. Go. To. Sleep.


More sippy cup practice!


Delicious sushi with girlfriends!


Matching on St Patty's Day!


We started swim lessons!


LOVE Bradley's new "cheese" smile!!


He wore the wrong colors!


Tall girl probz - cute dress but too short. :(


My cousin and her hubs came to town!  We had such a fun weekend!


Dad's turn at swim lessons!


I still wear the Liz Lange maternity tanks - and probably will for life!!


Somebody is sick of winter!


7 months old!



Smiling for mom.


Nate loves putting on Bradley's "hat". :)


On National Puppy Day I had to Instagram some of Sprinkles puppy pics - she was the cutest puppy!!


Sprinks looking hilarious balancing on the bump nest. :)


First time in the shopping cart!!  A little unstable but at least we know it works. :)


Bitch stole my look!  I cracked up when I opened US Weekly to see Gwen Stefani wore basically the same Mickey outfit a week after I did!!  


TRUTH.


The little girls love their brother. 


New toys from Papa!


Hanging with my parent's dog Bear.


When you are hungry in the car and your mom made you chocolate mousse, you use whatever utensils are handy! :)


What it looks like when made - the amazing berries in a cloud dessert!!


Playing with the toys from Papa!


The girls let us know when we keep them up too late.


Constant nail struggle - and why I can't be trusted with gel nails!


My poor baby was sick AGAIN!  So over it. :(


Snuggling with Dad.


Helping me with my wreath project. :)


Like most of my crafts I started it...but haven't finished!


Had to take my poor sick boy to Target because we were out of infant Tylenol.  #parentfail


My sexy mom outfit. :)


Loving Spring nails!!


Standard Target feeding. :)


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