Wednesday, December 31, 2014

January 2015 Calendar

As the last hours of 2014 wind down, it's time to look ahead to the new year!  What better way to do it than to print out a new calendar?  Welcome 2015 with my January 2015 Mickey and Minnie Free Printable Calendar!

These calendars are always some of my most popular posts!  I'm incredibly honored to share another year of calendars with you and to and bring joy to so many Disney fans!

Here's the link to download the January 2015 PDF version of the printable.

These calendars are perfect for trip countdowns or for teachers and their Disney themed classrooms.  They're also perfect for training calendars for runDisney events!

Feel free to link this post up to Pinterest or Facebook so your friends and family can have a fun Mickey and Minnie calendar too!  Let's spread the Disney Magic!!!  :-)

Have a great time celebrating the new year tonight!  Happy New Year!!!   °o°

Note: I've already gone ahead and made calendars through 2015.  (Yay newer, quicker method of making the calendars!!!)  However, I don't post the PDF links on my blog until the beginning of each month.  If you're looking for a particular month and would like me to email it to you ahead of my post going live, you can send my blog an email at mydisneylifeblog[at]  Then, I'll send you the PDFs directly.  :-)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 Year in Review

It's that time of year again- the time when people look back at the past year and do all of those year in review recaps.  2014 flew by for Eliot and me.  It seems like I was just sitting down to make my Blog and Disney Goals for 2014.  Now, I've reviewed my goals and I'm doing a year in review!  Wait, what?  Crazy!  Anyways... here we go!

January- The year started with a trip to Walt Disney World for Marathon Weekend.  It was our first runDisney race experience and we had a blast.  Eliot and I also had a great vacation in Disney with my family.

February- I officially listed my first Happily Ever Hatter items on Etsy!  Woo-hoo!!!  Eliot and I also spent a lot of time watching the Winter Olympics.

March- In March, my Grammie passed away.  She was a wonderful lady and I miss her, but I'm glad she's no longer in pain.  We took a quick trip to Boston.  I spent the end of the month working on a Disney Honeymoon Recap for our trip back in 2013.

April- We celebrated Easter with my family.  We also all registered for Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 2015!

May-(kind of) celebrated my first blogiversary.  We also celebrated my Nana and Papa's 60th Wedding Anniversary!

June- Eliot's sister Elissa came to visit us.  We hosted our Disney Side BBQ Party and did the Color Run with our friends.  I also participated in my first blog hop!

July- We went to my parents' house for the 4th of July.  Then we had a family reunion on Mom's side of the family.  We had a lot of summer fun before Elissa left to go home.

August- I did a few scrapbook group swaps.  My main focus was Isaac's 1st Birthday Party!  It was a blast!  At the end of the month, I went for my job interview!

September- I was getting ready to start my new job.  Then we had the fire and our plans changed.  I still started to work and we started to get back on our feet.  Eliot and I also celebrated our 2nd Wedding Anniversary!

October- I went to Walt Disney World with Key to the World for KeyCon 2014!  I had so much fun on that trip!  I seriously can't wait for KeyCon 2015!!!

November- I finally posted my KeyCon Recaps.  I also celebrated my 30th birthday with a Tangled themed Birthday Party.  We had a lot of delicious food at Thanksgiving!

December- Mid-month, we officially opened up our new office for my job!  Eliot and I also went to Connecticut to see the Frozen Ice Palace at the Westfarms Mall.  We went to Yankee Candle and celebrated Christmas!

Which brings us to 2015... so what’s next?

2015 is going to start similarly to 2014.  My family is heading back to Walt Disney World for Marathon weekend.  (What better way to start a new year?!?!  Woo!!!)  I've got a lot of goals and projects that I'd like to work on.  Eliot and I have big plans for our Happily Ever Hatter and Snowblade Creations businesses.  The biggest difference will be that I'm going to be working outside of the house as well.  I'm eager to see what's in store for me!  Finally, I'm excited to go to Universal Studios for KeyCon 2015!  And we'll probably see more of WDW in September as well... yay for annual passes!  

Thank you 2014 for a great year!  Bring on 2015!!!  °o°

Monday, December 29, 2014

Final Recap of 2014 Goals

At the end of the year, I like to reflect upon the year's events.  As most of you know, I made some specific Blog and Disney Goals for 2014.  This was my first full calendar year of blogging and I'm still learning the ropes.  I thought making some goals would help me with topic ideas along the way.

For those of you who are new to my blog, or if you don't remember what my goals were, here's a short version of the list:

Did I achieve all of my goals?

1.)  Go to Walt Disney World- Goal Met
When I originally wrote these goals, I knew I'd be going to Walt Disney World in January for the Half Marathon.  I thought it was a bit of a cop out since I was already booked to go.  What I didn't know at the beginning of 2014, was that I would go a second time for KeyCon!  Going to Walt Disney World is a goal of mine every year.  I was very blessed to be able to go twice this year.  (The only other time I've been twice in one year was when we had our wedding planning session and Disney Wedding!)

2.)  Participate in the WDW Half Marathon- Goal Met
I participated in the Half Marathon.  I didn't finish but I did my best.  I actually did better than I hoped considering my lack of a training plan and horrible right knee.  I'm very proud of myself for putting myself out there to do something that I never thought I'd try in a million years.  Someday, I'll complete a half marathon.  It just wasn't this year.

3.)  Make Disney D├ęcor for the Holidays- Goal Not Met
I guess this goal could be up for a bit of interpretation.  I originally wrote this goal with the intention of making something holiday related for each of the holidays.  I did not make something for each holiday, but I did make a few things throughout the year. I'm going to consider this one not met since I failed at my original intentions.

4.)  Do at Least One Tutorial Each Month- Goal Not Met
I definitely didn't get a tutorial done each month.  However, I did manage to do a few that were posted throughout the year.  I've learned that tutorials take a lot of time to write if you want to give clear, concise directions.  Next year, I'm going to work really hard on getting at least one posted each month!  I feel confident that it's possible.  In fact, I've already started working on over 15 tutorials in my drafts folder.  Here's a recap of the few tutorials I did post this year:

5.) Design an Imagineering Project- Goal Not Met
I really thought I'd get this done and then I was my own worst enemy.  I kept changing my mind on what I wanted to do.  I thought 'd settled on designing one float as a fun design exercise.  I wanted to make a Frozen themed float, but then I realized that Disneyland already had one designed similar to what I wanted to make.  Eliot and I daydream about future rides, restaurants, resorts and theme parks all the time so this is definitely something I want to put on paper.  I have a great idea for next year's Imagineering project so stay tuned for that.

6.)  Write 150 Blog Entries for the Year- Goal (sort of) Met
I calculated that I needed to post about 12-13 times a month.  I was doing really good with this until I didn't give myself enough time to finish December strong.  I'm going to end the year with 147 entries.  However, I'm going to give myself credit for this goal since I wanted to write 150 blog entries and I've been a guest blogger 4 times on another website.  So I did technically write 150 blog entries that were posted.  And I've got about 40 drafts in my blog folder.  I'm going to count this goal met.

7.)  Have a Few Friends as Guest Bloggers- Goal Met
I did have two friends stop by as guest bloggers this year.  BJ was generous enough to tell us all about celebrating his birthday at Disneyland!  Eliot (my husband) told us about his experience doing the Inaugural Avengers Half Marathon at Disneyland.  I've also already talked to a few friends and family members about joining us in 2015!

8.)  Have a Disney Themed Party- Goal Met
This is something that I've been wanting to do for a long time.  I'm really happy that we actually had two Disney themed parties this year!  First, we had our Disney Side BBQ Party this past June.  That was a ton of fun and might become an annual event!  The other was my Tangled 30th Birthday Party last month.  I've got so many party ideas it's not even funny.  Hopefully we can host a few more in 2015!

9.)  Blog About One Fun Find a Month- Goal (sort of) Met
This hasn't been as spectacular as I intended it to be.  I originally wanted to share things once a month.  I've gotten a lot better at it as of late but there's still room for improvement.  There are so many fun things that I've found online.  I'm currently working on a master "fun find" list so it'll be that much quicker and easier to share them with all of you!  However, I did get twelve fun find posts done this year even if they weren't posted monthly.  I'm going to give myself this one.  Here's a recap of the fun finds I posted in 2014:
This did not happen by a long shot.  I'm still planning on taking the visual storytelling class from Skillshare.  I actually signed up for it in November, but then I completely ran out of time with all of the Happily Ever Hatter orders and holiday gift projects I was working on.  This is definitely something that I'm going to complete in 2015.

11.)  Make Disney Accessories- Goal Met
I'm very happy that my Etsy store Happily Ever Hatter officially opened this year in February!  This has been a dream of mine since I "founded" the business in November of 2012!  After a lot of researching, designing, and dreaming, I finally took the leap of faith this year!  And I'm so glad that I did!  I've had over 50 items that I've sold and that was a personal goal of mine.  2015 is going to be even bigger and better!

12.)  Paint Disney Wedding Art for our Dining Room- Goal Not Met
I've had a lot of ideas for Disney paintings that I wanted to put in our dining room.  Our Disney wedding was a huge moment in our life.  I thought having some fun Disney artwork would remind us of that special day with our family and friends.  It did not happen this year, but I'm working on making sure I get a few pieces done for next year.

13.)  Finish Our Mickey and Minnie Bathroom- Goal Not Met
So close.  So very close!  I kept adding to the list for this.  Nana is working on the curtains for the bathroom.  We've got a few more art pieces that I want to make.  I've decided to have Eliot make a wood shelf to replace the metal one we have.  If I would stop adding to our "to-do" list, this would pretty much be done.  2015 will be the year.

14.)  Make Disney Sweets- Goal Met
I had (and still have) so many ideas for sweets!  I didn't get to make what I originally planned for our Disney Side BBQ Party or the Tangled 30th Birthday Party.  However, I did get some Disney themed cupcakes made for both events.  I'll give myself this goal. 2015 will be bigger and better though.

2014 Goal Results
Well, 8 out of 14 isn't too bad I guess!  Like I said back in January, this was the first year I've ever done goals and made them public like this!  Every year I have plenty of private goals for myself.  (I have to admit- this year I've checked off more of those than ever before.)  I didn't get all of these goals completed, but there's always room for improvement!  (I'm only human right?)  

Things I’ve Learned: 

  • Work on holiday projects in advance!  (As in way before each holiday!)
  • I do a lot better when I prep posts.  I have 40+ drafts right now. When I draft them in advance it's that much easier to complete them.
  • Life Happens- and that's ok!  Things are going to get crazy sometimes and I'm going to run out of time.  That's life and I will roll with the punches.
  • Live Life with No Regrets- I'm not going to be so hard on myself next year. This year, I gave myself plenty of guilt trips for no reason.  No Bloggers Guilt in 2015!!!  This blog is about FUN and it's supposed to be FUN!  I'm going to remind myself of that when I start to feel like I'm stressing about my blog.  Fun.  All about fun.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with how my Blog and Disney Goals for 2014 went!  Next year, I'm going to focus on getting the monthly posts done in their designated month! Plus, I've got 2015's goals ready and I can tell you that it's going to be a lot of fun!  °o°

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas 2014

Hi Friends!  I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

Eliot and I had a great extended weekend visiting with my family!  It was very relaxing after all of the craziness leading up to Christmas.  I fully intended on blogging while I was home, but I found myself so relaxed that I didn't want to push myself to feel like I needed to "work" on it.  Now, I'm playing catch up, but I'm ok with that!

Our Christmas was wonderful.  We were happy to spend the day with my parents, my brother Jeremy and my Nana and Papa.  It was a quiet Christmas this year since both of my parents were getting over a very rough strain of the flu.  Mom and Dad were completely wiped out, but we still pulled it off!  

Santa was very good to us.  Eliot and I got a new smoothie blender, a deep fryer and plenty of household cleaning products Santa knew we were in need of replenishing.

Santa also brought us fun gifts and it was definitely a very Frozen Christmas in our household!  Eliot got a ton of Olaf items since Santa knew how much he likes Olaf. (You can see from the photos below that he was ecstatic.)  I got him the Olaf stocking he'd been eyeing.  I also got him the new Olaf's in Trouble game.  Meanwhile, I got the Frozen Build-A-Bears I'd asked Santa for.  (It's not Christmas unless I get a stuffed animal.)  I'm going to build these sometime in the next few weeks and then they can wear the new Frozen Build-A-Bear outfits that I also got.  Eliot bought me Frozen socks and a picture frame for my photos with Anna and Elsa from last year at WDW!

My favorite tradition is watching the Disney Christmas Parade in the morning after opening our gifts.  We all gather around the television every year since as far back as I can remember.  This year, it was more of a lack of parade.  I was really excited for the Frozen theme, but the overall "parade" was a huge disappointment.  I missed actually seeing the classic floats that I know and love.  Disneyland was barely featured at all. The entire thing felt like one huge, very forced, promotional concert.  I was excited to see how Elsa "froze" the Magic Kingdom, and then it was so quick and fake looking that I thought it was really cheesy.  I'm sure some kids loved it, but I wasn't excited about it.  Overall, I'm still glad that I watched it but I'm really hoping they go back to the basics and have a parade next year!

The rest of the weekend Eliot and I hung out at my parents' house.  Eliot helped my Dad take some of his Christmas lights down.  I set up Nana's new tablet and taught her how to use it.  Nana and I examined my new Frozen patterns.  Eliot and I talked to my parents and watched a few Christmas movies with them.  It was pretty low key, but it was nice.  I think we were all glad for a short break before life speeds back up again. 

Now, Eliot and I are back home and ready for a quick work week and then more days off.  (Both Eliot and I have another extended five day weekend.)  After that, we have two workdays and then we're on our way to Walt Disney World!  I (finally) checked our countdown and we have nine more days!?!?!  Already?  We're in single digits!!!  °o°

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

Happy Christmas Eve Friends!  Today I wanted to share another fun find!  I don't know about you, but I think this is the perfect bedtime story for tonight!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!  °o°

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Frozen Ice Palace

This past weekend, Eliot and I went on a Frozen Christmas adventure!

I've been wanting to do something to get into the Christmas spirit.  Eliot and I have been really busy the past month and we still haven't gotten much decorating done around the house.  We thought about putting more decorations up over the weekend, but we decided to go on an overnight getaway instead.  For months now, I've been begging anyone and everyone in my family to go to the Yankee Candle Flagship Store in Massachusetts.  I haven't been in 10 years- since my 20th birthday.  Christmas is a great time to visit.  Then, in November, I'd heard about a Frozen Ice Palace at the Westfarms Mall in Connecticut.  (Hmm... they're only an hour away from each other... perfect!  The adventure begins!)

Photo Source: Google Maps
Eliot and I drove down to Hartford late Saturday afternoon to stay at a hotel near the Westfarms Mall.  Sunday morning, we got up and went over to the mall.  On the way over, we saw a Christmas display with Tigger and Eeyore!  (So cute!!!)

As soon as we arrived at the mall, I knew it was going to be a good day.  We saw a lady with a Sulley hat on in the parking lot.  The family walking into the mall in front of us had WDW sweatshirts on.  We entered the mall in JCPenney right next to the Disney section.  Finally, I saw a man with a Disney Store bag walking through JCPenney.  (Wait, what?  This mall even has a Disney Store!?!?!  Woo-hoo!!!)

Photo Source: Westfarms Mall (copyright Disney) 
We saw signs for the Ice Palace as soon as we got inside.  We made our way to the center of the mall and found the 30 foot ice palace.  The Frozen Ice Palace theme was designed to coincide with the November 18th release of the Frozen Sing-Along Edition of the movie.  The display was locally sponsored by the Hartford Courant.

Eliot and I got into line and it wasn't that bad.  We weren't there as early as we'd planned to be, but the line was still only half way down the first loop.  (By the time we left, it was almost all the way down the second one- probably a 2+ hour wait.)  We probably waited about an hour to an hour and a half.  Thankfully, I was there to see the display so I took a lot of pictures and kept myself busy dissecting the design aspects.

I loved the Ice Palace.  It had great details of snowflakes on it.  It was great how the columns and arches changed colors every few seconds.  My favorite part of the display were the snow globes.  There were a few snow globes scattered throughout the design.  One had Elsa, one had Olaf, and another had Anna, Kristoff, Sven and Olaf!

There were interactive activities throughout the display while waiting in line.  Some of the kids played with the karaoke machine.  (Cute until they started screaming into it.) You could leave a hand print in the snow at the Icy Hand Print experience.  (Brr!)  Or you could see how tall you were compared to Olaf and Sven!  (Fun!)

Once you were inside the Ice Palace, you could watch televisions with clips from the Frozen sing along.  They only showed a few sections of each song.  I wish they played the entire song.  I was surprised none of the kids were singing with the songs.  The only people I heard singing were Eliot and me!  (Because we're cool like that.)

The Ice Palace also had "snow" falling from the center.  There was a projector with a snowflake on the floor near where the snow fell.  The kids in line loved it.  In fact, a few of them were completely covered in it.  However, it wasn't real snow- so it wouldn't melt.  (Not such a great idea to roll in it before your photo op kids!)  The Ice Palace was really cute though.

After the Ice Palace, you had the option to have a photo taken with a plush Olaf at the Ice Throne.  This sounded like a must do to me, until we realized you had to buy a Santa package and it was an add on.  If you could just do the Ice Throne, I would have been all over that!  (I like warm hugs Olaf!!!)

Santa Claus was waiting at the end of the ice palace display.  Eliot and I let the mother and son behind us go through and we snuck past Santa.  We didn't want to pay for the full photo package.  Although, part of me was curious about the "special gift" Santa handed out afterwards.  (Aww man!  It was a Frozen look and find book!)

After Santa, there was a small "gift shop" with Frozen merchandise.  Eliot bought me a small Olaf make up bag and an Olaf back pack.  (Early Christmas Gifts!)  Both were half off the original prices!  (Score!)  We think they were just trying to get rid of it since there were only a few more days until Christmas!

We went upstairs and took a few photos of the display from above.  Then we made our way over to the Disney Store.  (Yay!)  We went to a few other stores and had lunch before leaving the mall.  I'm so glad we went; I had a blast.  (I'm a dork and I know it!)

After we left the mall, Eliot and I traveled an hour north to the Yankee Candle Village store.  We poked around and shopped for a few hours.  The best part of the store is that it's an experience all on it's own.  The store reminds me of a miniature Walt Disney World.  (Hey, a girl's gotta get her fix somehow.)  We checked out the Wax Works section where kids (and adults!) can make their own wax hands or jar candles.  There's even a show with animatronics like the Country Bears at Disney!

We also explored the Bavarian Village and Black Forest.  The Bavarian Village is a German-style village where it’s Christmas year round.  The Black Forest has Christmas collectibles like ceramic villages.  (I had to get a few pictures for ideas on how to display Nana's village at my parents' house!)  It also snows every 4 minutes.

We took pictures around the Nutcracker Castle and explored Santa's Workshop!  The countdown clock was there to remind Santa he only has 3 more days until Christmas! Eventually, we selected our merchandise and paid for it before starting the three hour car ride home.  (Totally worth it!)  The weekend was a lot of fun and I'm really glad we went!  I definitely felt the Christmas spirit!  °o°

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Fun Find: Gingerbread Wonderland

Hi friends!  It's time for another fun find!  Last year, I came across a website for Disney's Gingerbread Wonderland.  The display, created out of gingerbread, modeling chocolate and icing, was on display over at Epcot during the holiday season of 2013.  I was excited to discover that the website with the photos is still active!

Photo Source: Disney's Gingerbread Wonderland
The masterpiece consisted of gingerbread models showcasing all of Disney's different travel experiences: Walt Disney World Resort featured Cinderella Castle, Disneyland Resort featured Sleeping Beauty Castle, the Disney Cruise Line featured the Magic, Aulani Resort & Spa in Hawaii was included and finally Adventures by Disney featured the Great Wall of China, the Eiffel Tower and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Photo Source: Disney's Gingerbread Wonderland
On the website, you can get a closer look at the models.  You can do a 180 view of each design as well as look at detailed photos.  You are also able to watch videos about the making of Gingerbread Wonderland.  I love watching the design come to life! It reminds be of making models in my interior design classes during college.  The time lapse video shows you how they put the design together with the gingerbread "houses" and the scenery.  It's incredible to see the end result!  It took 15 pastry chefs six months of work to complete the display!  The coolest part is that everything is edible!

Photo Source: Disney's Gingerbread Wonderland
Another great feature is where you can make your own gingerbread castle picture frame!  (There's a link of the bottom right side of the page.)  Or you can click here to download the directions to build your own gingerbread castle frame!  Yum!  °o°

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fun Find: Disney Snowman Holiday Card

Do you want to build a snowman?

Photo Source: Disney Greeting Card Creator
Well, now you can!  Here's another fun find that I discovered while scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed.  Disney has created an online greeting card creator where you can "build" your own snowman and animated Frozen inspired greeting card to share with your family and friends!  Click here to build a snowman!

Photo Source: Disney Greeting Card Creator
You are greeted with an envelope and a "greeting card".  Once you click the snowflake, the animated card shows you graphics of Cinderella Castle from Walt Disney World, a ship representing the Disney Cruise Line, Sleeping Beauty Castle from Disneyland, Aulani in Hawaii and Norway from Adventures by Disney.  

Photo Source: Disney Greeting Card Creator
There is lively music playing while you watch your animated card.  It reminds me of the music from Frozen.  I also love the rosemaling patterns that are consistent with the designs in the movie!  I absolutely love those little details!!!

Photo Source: Disney Greeting Card Creator
Elsa and Olaf then appear.  Elsa blows the snowflake and uses her magic to help you build your very own snowman!  You can make all sorts of different snowmen.  I love all of the accessories!  You can pick from pirate hats, scarves, fairy wings, Santa hats, antlers, a Mickey ear hat, and more!

Photo Source: Disney Greeting Card Creator
Once you "build" your snowman, you can share it with your friends and family on Facebook, Twitter, or via email!  Make sure to tag it with #mydisneysnowman!  I don't know about you, but I want to build a snowman!  Come on let's go and play!  °o°