Wednesday, November 30, 2016

My 32nd Birthday

I can't believe it's already been 10 days since my 32nd birthday!  We've been so busy since then; it's like it passed in the blink of an eye!  Eliot and I had a wonderful time with his sisters last week.  I'll be posting more about their visit, but for now, I thought I'd do a quick recap of the celebrations on my actual birthday!

As you may recall from my birthday post, Eliot and I had a lazy morning watching Netflix with his sisters before we all got ready.  My Mom, Dad and Nana were traveling down to meet us for lunch!  It took us a little longer than expected to get ready, but I had a special birthday outfit I wanted to wear, and I also had asked Elissa to braid my hair!  Two dutch braids and a whole lot of Rapunzel later... and I was ready to party!

We met them at the South Portland Chili's restaurant.  (I absolutely love their mex bowls so that's why I picked Chili's!)  What I wasn't expecting was my brother Jeremy to surprise me!  My Mom hadn't told me in case the weather wasn't good, but he had been planning to come the entire time we were making plans!  I'm so glad he joined us!

We had a wonderful meal filled with laughter.  It was nice to have Sara and Elissa with us as well.  The girls told my family how the school year was going so far.  I enjoyed my mex bowl, and I had plenty of leftovers!  The waitresses even sang me a birthday song and brought over a small bowl of vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce.  Yum!

After our meal, my parents went out to the car to get my cards and present!   It was wrapped in Frozen gift wrap!  When I saw the package, I already knew what it was since I had only asked for one thing.  You can see how excited I am!  Haha! 

Of course, it was my Tsum Tsum Advent Calendar!  I'm so glad my parents were able to get it.  It didn't sell out instantly, but it did sell out on the Disney Store website!  I can't wait to open the windows each day in December.  I've already seen sneak peeks online, so I decided to open it daily instead of all at once!  Then, I can enjoy it longer!

Before leaving Chili's, Jeremy brought over my gift from him.  I had asked him to see if his local Disney Store had a Pua (the pig from Moana) plush, but I wasn't expecting him to purchase one for me!  He gave me a Pua and Hei Hei set of plush!  He told me he'd return it if that wasn't what I was looking for, but one glance of Pua's little ears moving back and forth while he oinked and I was completely in love!  In fact, I think everyone was after we showed my parents and Nana.  Then, we had a lot of laughs about the 32 year old who got a bunch of plushies for her birthday and was in heaven.

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Finally, it was time to say goodbye.  It was pretty cold outside and the girls were half frozen. We bid my parents and Nana farewell and decided we were going to stay in Portland for a little bit to go shopping.

First, we went to ToysRUs and Jeremy joined us since he also wanted to go there.  We spent quite a bit of time poking through all the stuff.  They had a ton of fun Christmas stuff in the front.  I found the Tsum Tsum stocking I'd been looking for.  Then, I caved and spent a little of my birthday money on the Vinyl Tsum Tsum Advent Calendar, a small game, the Tigger Lip Smacker and a Tsum Tsum reusable bag.

After, we said goodbye to Jeremy and headed over to the Portland Mall.  We got sidetracked by the signs all over FYE and realized it was going out of business.  We found quite a bit of good deals there!  And, after a few minutes, we ran into my brother who had also gone over to the mall!  We each bought a few things at the store since everything was on sale.  I got three Moana Pop Vinyl figures and Eliot and I got a Finding Dory Christmas stocking.

We went around to a few other stores in the mall.  The girls made purchases at Build-A-Bear and American Eagle.  Eliot and I bought our donkeys Hanukkah shirts.  Then, we called it a night as the mall was closing at 6:00.  Plus, we'd decided to go see the 7:00 ish showing of the movie "The Edge of Seventeen."  Elissa and Sara really wanted to see it and it was actually pretty good!  Before the movie, we even got a chance to take pictures with the Moana sign!

When we got outside the theater, I thought it was raining, but after a minute, I realized it was snowing.  It started to come down faster as we drove home.  By the time we got home, it was sticking to the ground and we were having our first snow of the year!  It's the first time it's ever been on my birthday!  It was a great way to end the day!

I had a wonderful 32nd birthday and I'm very blessed to have spent it with my family and Eliot's sisters.  I think 32 is going to be a great year!  °o°

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Shop Small

Hi friends!  I just wanted to pop in quickly to remind you that today is Small Business Saturday!!!  As a small shop owner, it's really important to remind people to support their local business owners, as well as us handmade makers who sell online!

I make a lot of purchase at "big box" stores, but I always look for more unique items from handmade sellers.  There's something special about opening something from those people. I really love receiving an item from someone who put their heart and soul into it.  It makes the item more special, and certainly more unique!

Of course, Eliot and I have our own small shops: my shop Happily Ever Hatter and his shop Snowblade Creations.  And for those of you who don't know, I'm also a travel planner for Key to the World Travel.  If you're planning a trip to Disney, I'd love to help!

However, this year I wanted to highlight a few of my favorite small shops.  There are so many, and I've discovered and followed a ton of them through Instagram!  These are a few small shops that I've personally purchased from over the past year!  (You've probably seen a few of these, but a lot of them I haven't shared on here before!)

Recently, I've started purchasing a few ear headbands from other sellers.  I wanted to support my fellow ear makers!  My favorite shop that I've purchased from is Elephant and Mouse.  Maggie makes great designs and I already own 4 of her creations!!!

Earlier this year, I was able to purchase a hand painted pendant necklace by Savanna Rodriguez.  I've admired her work via Instagram for awhile.  I was fortunate to grab one during a recent shop opening.  It's absolutely stunning!

I love these postcards that I got from Artist Marnie.  She paints beautiful paintings and I had to get some of her postcards for my art wall that I'm dreaming of!  These are stunning and I hope to purchase some prints from her soon!

Earlier this year, I got some accessories from Le Petit Mouse.  I ordered a Rapunzel Pendant Necklace and a Starbucks Necklace/Brooch.  I love them!  I'm sure I'll be ordering more items from her soon!

I also got these custom dresses from Shadows13Bows.  They're awesome!

For Valentine's Day, I bought this limited edition Rapunzel ring from AOS Design.  I've been admiring these from afar and my only regret is that I didn't order one sooner!  I just wore it for the first time the other day and it's perfection.

I also had to get something special for our house.  I finally worked out a theme and design for our open concept kitchen,dining room and living room.  I found these pillows from Carlson Quilt Fabrics.  I love them!

As you've probably gathered, I'm really into scarves.  They're the perfect accessory in the winter.  At this point, I have a giant Disney scarf collection!  I absolutely love my Mickey and Friends Cupcake scarf from PlayItByEars!  My Tsum Tsum scarf is from MadeByMelephant.  I love it.  It's so soft!

I ordered my first fascinator this year for Spring Dapper Day at Disneyland.  I decided to dress up as Diamond Celebration Minnie so I had to get this from Hat and Mouse.  I also got this cute brooch from LilSweetumsBowtique.

Speaking of brooches, I've also ordered a ton of them from LilSweetumsBowtique on her Instagram page.  She does sales about once a month on ready to ship items and my brooch collection is huge.  Here's a small sample of the ones I now have from her!

My favorite Disney jewelry sweet shop is Enchanted Candy Carousel.  April makes amazing designs and my collection of her handmade items is also growing!  I have a few new designs for Christmas on their way soon, including my second fascinator!

I purchased my first order from Pretty Little Monograms earlier this year when they had an awesome sale!  I had been wanting a nameplate necklace in the Disney font for a while and this was the perfect opportunity.  I also caved and bought myself a hot pink monogramed shirt!  I love it and will probably be ordering more next year!

Finally, I'm absolutely loving my clothing from Oh Sew Magical.  Linsay makes awesome adult leggings and skirts.  I have one pair of her leggings, a few skirts, (a few more on order...) and an autograph shirt!  I love them and know I will be ordering more!

I love all of these small shops and hope that you will consider supporting one this holiday season!  We all love and appreciate each and every one of our customers!  

"When you buy from a small mom or pop business, you are not helping a CEO buy a third vacation home.  You are helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy get his team jersey, a mom or dad put food on the table, a family pay a mortgage, or a student pay for college.  Our customers are our shareholders and they are the ones we strive to make happy.  Thank you for supporting Small Businesses!" - unknown  °o°

Friday, November 25, 2016

Fun Find: Black Friday Deals

Hi Friends!  I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday!  Eliot and I had a wonderful day surrounded by family.  Of course, this means today is the official kick off to the Christmas holiday season.  I'm so ready for candy canes, Christmas trees, carols, snowmen, wreaths, sparkling lights, gingerbread everything and Santa!  And, it's also the big shopping day... Black Friday!

We're not big Black Friday shoppers.  Eliot and I are night owls, so we could easily go shopping at midnight, but there's nothing that we need that would warrant standing out in the cold for hours just to enter a store.  I'm not all about the crowds, rushing and general chaos that today brings.  However, we have been known to do a little shopping later in the day, or even better... online.  So, for those of you who are also staying in, I thought I'd share a few of the deals that I've spotted!

Disney Store is running a 20% off everything sale which includes their toys, Christmas merchandise, clothing and more!  There's so much on their website that I love.  A few of my current favorites are Pua and Hei Hei from Moana (which I have and they're completely adorable), and these Disney Christmas plates!

In addition, the Disney Parks App is having a sale with select items at 25% off.  They're also selling Alex and Ani bracelets at 15% off!

JCPenney is having a sale on many Disney items as well.  (There are a ton of toys on sale!)  However, something else that stuck out to me was their Disney watches.  I found some great deals on these Tinker Bell, Ariel, Vintage MinnieSilhouette Mickey and Minnie, Belle and Sketched Mickey and Minnie watches, but there are a TON of them on sale- literally pages and pages of watches on sale!  Check it out!

JCPenney is also having a sale on their Tsum Tsums!  They're half off of their regular prices... so they're only $3!!!  If you're missing any of these, now is the time to buy all the Tsum Tsums!!!  I might actually order a few to display in our Tsum Tsum bathroom.

Of course, ToysRUs has a ton of great deals on toys today.  My personal favorite deal is for the Mickey and Minnie Tsum Tsum Vinyl Display Sets.  They're like giant tsums that open up to reveal more tsum tsums!

Amazon has timed deals all throughout the day.  After a quick look, I've spotted specials for Pop Vinyl figures, Disney dolls, board games and more.  My favorite deal of today is the Disney Princess Lego sets!  Some of them are up to 20% off!

Amazon is also doing a deal on Christmas Sweaters!  I love the Mickey and Minnie designs; I might have to get one!  You can never have too many Christmas sweaters!

Walmart also has a ton of great deals going on.  In fact, I had a hard time getting their website to load, so I'm sure there are tons of other people looking for great deals!  My personal favorite was this Cinderella Castle dollhouse.

Although, my second favorite was definitely the Frozen Ice Castle.  I wish they had these types of castles when I was a kid!  I used to think my Barbie dollhouse was the greatest thing since sliced bread... if only it wasn't frowned upon to be 32 years old and to ask Santa Claus for a dollhouse.  I'd be all over that!

Anyways, I'm sure there are plenty of other deals out there!  Remember, these prices are subject to change, and they could sell out!  But, don't fret because Cyber Monday is only a few days away!  I'm sure there will be plenty of deals online then too!  And if you are out braving the stores today, good luck!  May the Force be with You!!!  °o°

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!  I hope you've had a wonderful day filled with family, friends and good food!  We've had an awesome day with my family and are incredibly thankful that both of Eliot's sisters were both able to join us this year!  

This time every year, I like to reflect on everything I'm thankful for.  (Here are my past posts for 20132014 and 2015.)  This year, it seems especially important considering how much negativity and uncertainty surround us.

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First, I'm thankful for our house.  It's become more and more like home everyday.  And while we're still working incredibly hard to make it "ours", Eliot and I are so blessed to have a roof over our heads, and something that we can call our own.

I'm thankful for both of our jobs.  Eliot and I both enjoy our jobs, love going to work and I'm so thankful for that!  I'm also thankful for my Key to the World travel agent job.  I love being able to help others plan their vacations.

I'm thankful for our side businesses.  Eliot and I have worked hard with both Happily Ever Hatter and Snowblade Creations.  And we're only getting started.  I have another business that I'm hoping to launch in the next few months, and I still have quite a bit up my sleeve.  I'm so thankful for all of our creative ideas!

I'm thankful for our friends and family.  This has been an incredibly busy year and we've barely seen our friends.  But that only make me more thankful for the time we do have together.  I'm thankful for my KTTW friends and for lots of laughter.  I'm so incredibly thankful for our family.  They truly are our rocks and I cherish every single moment we spend with them.

And it may sound cliché, but I'm thankful for our health and happiness.  Eliot and I have both decided that we need to take better care of ourselves.  We're both doing the Princess and Tinker Bell Half Marathons in early 2017, so hopefully that will help on our journey to even better health!

Of course, I'm always thankful for Disney!  I'm so glad I followed my whim and started this blog.  I love interacting with other Disney fans!  I've also made Disney friends through other social media outlets.  I love to find people who also share a love for Disney and the sense of community we create.

Finally, I'm incredibly thankful for my positive outlook on life.  Sometimes, it's easy to get sucked into the negativity, sadness and anger, but I've got a lot of wonderful people and things in my life.  We definitely live in an uncertain time, but I'm looking forward to new beginnings, and to making all aspects of my life even better in 2017!  °o°

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

DIY: Mickey Mouse Pilgrim Hat Decorations

Hello Everyone!  I wanted to share a project that I've been working on!  Actually... I've been working on this project for a while now.  It's was left half completed and waiting in the wings for about three years now.  I had the idea when I first started my blog back in 2013, but I never had/took the time to sit down and finish it!  I was planning to last year, but then we were in the moving into our new house.  This year, I decided it was finally time to get it done.  Although it's the night before Thanksgiving and none of you will have time to make it for this Thanksgiving, I just really needed to post it so it wasn't hanging over my head another year.   Anyways... 

As I'm sure you know, it's really hard to find Disney Thanksgiving items, so I decided that I'd make a few of my own.  I've been trying to find something to put on our table as a centerpiece.  These Mickey Mouse pilgrim hat decorations are perfect!

Want to make your own Mickey Pilgrim Hat decoration?  Here's how I made them:

Terra Cotta Flowerpots (I used 5" diameter pots)
Acrylic Paints (brown, black)
Paint Brushes
Newspaper (to cover your work area)
Black Craft Foam (I used thicker 1/4" foam that I found at Michael's)
Something round to trace for the ears (I used a cup)
Clear Sealant Spray (optional)
Black Ribbon (I used 7/8" for my larger pots)
Thin Yellow Craft Foam
Hot Glue Gun

1.) Paint Base and Second Layers
Flip your flower pots upside down and paint them brown with a base layer.  If you'd like, you can paint the inside of them.  (I painted mine black to make them look more finished.)  After the base coat is dried, paint a second coat over the first.

2.) Make Mouse Ears
While waiting for your paint to dry, you can start working on your mouse ears.  Find a small cup or something else that's about 3" in diameter.  (If you're using pots that are smaller or larger than I did, find something that looks about the correct ratio of hat to ear.)  Trace the cup onto your black craft foam using your pencil.  You'll need two ears per flower pot.  Cut them out with scissors and set aside.

3.) Spray with Sealant (optional)
Once you are satisfied with your paint job, it's time to seal the paint!  (Acrylic paint is water based so you need to seal it to make sure you won't accidentally mess up your hard work.)  Go outside or in a well-ventilated area since sealant is toxic and pretty smelly.  Follow the directions on your sealant.  Most sealants will have you spray 2-3 thin coats.  Make sure that you cover the inside and outside of the pot.  (I actually forgot this step, but since my hats are going to stay inside, I'm ok with that!)

4.) Prepare Mouse Ears
Once your flower pots are sealed, you can start to attach the decorative items.  First, take your mouse ears and line them up with the upside down flower pot.  I drew a small line across one side of the ear.  Next, I cut off that section of the ear so I'd have a flat surface to attach to the pot.  Cut the same amount off each ear making sure not to take too much off.  (See photo above for example.)

5.) Cut and Attach Ribbon
Next, measure your ribbon by wrapping it around the flower pot.  I cut off a little bit extra.  Then, use hot glue to slowly attach it around the pot.  The pot gets smaller so the ribbon will not fit completely flush with the pot.  Just make it as tight as you can.  If you have extra, you can also cut it off once the ribbon is attached.

6.) Make and Attach Buckle
Cut off a small rectangular piece of yellow craft foam.  I really just guesstimated the sizing, but my circles were probably about 1" x 1.5".  Make a small hole in the center of your buckle with the pencil, then use your scissors to cut out a center rectangle.  I left about 1/4" on the edge of the entire buckle.  Then, use your hot glue to attach it to the hat over the ribbon.  I attached mine over the ribbon overlap, or where there was a place on the ribbon that I wanted to hide.

7.) Attach Ears
Finally, use hot glue to attach your mouse ears.  If you're looking down on the flower pot, picture it like a clock: with the buckle at the 6:00 position, you want to attach your ears at the 9:00 and 3:00 positions.  This is the easiest way to figure out where to attach them.  Make small pencil marks before gluing down if necessary.  You're done!  

Find a place display your creation and enjoy your new Mickey Mouse Pilgrim Hat Decoration!!!  I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!!!  °o°

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Happy Birthday To Me!!!

Today is my 32nd birthday!!!  Happy Birthday to me!!!

The celebration kicked off on Wednesday when I arrived at work to find four "Birthday Princess" balloons attached to my desk chair.  It definitely surprised me!  My boss also got a big kick out of me wearing my magenta scrub top- it matched the balloons!!!  If you look closely, you can see me reflected in the balloon.

Naturally, that meant I had to wear my turquoise scrubs on Thursday so I could match them again!  During our staff meeting, both doctors surprised me with a Mickey Mouse birthday card and a generous gift.  It was the perfect way to kick off the celebration.

Of course, Mickey and Minnie's birthday was Friday.  I joined the celebration when the birthday gift I bought myself arrived a day earlier than I expected it to!  (I bought myself the Rapunzel tiara replica I'd had my eye on and I jumped when it was on sale.)  Once I opened it I had to chuckle as I saw my balloons... Birthday Princess indeed.

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This morning, Eliot and I have enjoyed a lazy Sunday watching Netflix with his sisters, Elissa and Sara.  We're getting ready to go meet up with my parents and Nana for a late birthday lunch up in Portland!  I'm not sure what we'll do later on this afternoon and evening, but I'm sure we'll find something fun to do!

In the meantime, I'm going to rock out to this birthday video I found on YouTube:

I'm sure 32 will have many adventures in store for me.  Ch"EARS" to a great year!  °o°