Thursday, October 29, 2020

In Need of a Little Magic

This year has been rough and lately I've been in need of a little magic.  Each time I see the Walt Disney World commercials for the holiday season, I get misty eyed.  This time last year, Eliot and I were eagerly preparing for our back-to-back Disney Christmas Cruises, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party and a few fun filled days at Walt Disney World with both his family and mine.  That seems like a lifetime ago now...

I finally came to the conclusion that I needed a little bit of Disney magic.  Since we won't be going to the parks anytime soon, I knew what we needed to do.  I needed to go to a Disney Store... just to soak in a little Disney magic.  We haven't been to our closest Disney Store, at the Burlington Mall, since March when we went to buy the Frozen 2 dolls.  A few short days later, everything shut down due to the coronavirus.

Eliot and I discussed my desire to travel to Massachusetts and we made a plan.  We'd go down on Saturday, October 17th so we'd have at least 2 weeks before we'd be seeing my family.  Then, I called my brother Jeremy to coordinate with him.  The night before, we confirmed that we all still wanted to do it and that we were symptom free.

The morning of Saturday October 17th, Eliot and I both slept in a bit later than we should have.  As excited as I was for our adventure, I wanted to be sure that I was fully rested to drive down to Massachusetts and back.  Our plan was to drive down to Burlington, then to go up to Nashua, then Merrimack where Jeremy lives and travel back through Manchester before returning to Maine.

Our plan was only a little derailed by sleeping in.  Unfortunately, it got more off course when my 'check tires' light came on.  After stopping at the Kennebunk rest stop to get some more air, we had a safe trip down to Massachusetts and arrived at the mall about 2 hours later than I'd planned to; but I was so excited that I didn't care.

Eliot and I headed right in.  After a quick stop at the restrooms, we joined the line to get into the Disney Store.  We were so far back that there wasn't even a 6' sticker for us, but thankfully it was moving quickly.  Jeremy arrived at the mall about 10 minutes after us and was able to join us when we were a few groups back from the entrance.

I was so excited to enter the store.  Upon entering, I took a hard right towards all of the bright red Christmas merchandise.  Heaven.  I can only describe it as heaven.

Christmas clothing.  Christmas ornaments.  Christmas toys.  Christmas home decor.

I immediately felt a weight lift off my shoulders.  The world has been a complete mess this year, but Disney hadn't lost it's magic.  If anything, being there was more magical.

Eliot, Jeremy and I took our time looking over the merchandise in the store.  I felt like a kid in a candy store.  Every turn brought some new discovery.  They had the Ink and Paint collection from the parks that I'm in love with.  They had plush.  They had a wide variety of toys.  They even had a few of the collectible items from the website in store.

After thoroughly checking every nook and cranny out, we decided to complete the rest of our mall adventure before coming back to make our purchases.  Then, we wouldn't have to carry them all over the mall with us.

Next, we headed over to the Lego Store.  It also had a little bit of a line, but thankfully it wasn't too bad.  A few of the employees recognized us, even with our face masks.  We had a blast checking out all of the Lego sets.  I wanted to get a few ideas for our Christmas wishlists and I definitely did.  Plus, I enjoyed looking at the Harry Potter and Disney sets.  They also had the new Diagon Alley set in the display window!

After that, we made a quick stop across the way to the Pottery Barn Kids store.  There wasn't a line to get in and I was curious if they had any of their new Disney kids dining sets.  They had a few of the Halloween items in store, but it was so small there wasn't room to display much.  Still, it was nice to see it in person.

We decided that it made sense to walk to Build-A-Bear next.  Sadly, upon our arrival we realized that the store was closed.  They had a small sign saying they were temporarily closed.  We weren't sure why, but my guess was that someone in the store, or who went to the store tested positive and that they had to close so the employees could quarantine.  Still, they had the new Harry Potter bears and the Hogwarts wizard clothing so we were able to admire them in the window.

Next, we headed over to Newbury Comics.  We had one person in front of us when we arrived so we had to wait as each person exited the store.  Eliot and I told Jeremy to go in first since he had more items that he was looking for.  Then, one more person exited and I went in.  I didn't get too far before Eliot walked up behind me.  We had a good time checking out all of the new Funko Pop Vinyl figures. 

When we were done with our window shopping there, we headed back over to the Disney Store.  Luckily, the line wasn't too long that time.  I made a beeline straight over to the Christmas section to pick out the Cinderella ornament and the Gingerbread Key ornaments that I wanted.  While I checked the paint on each ornament, Eliot and Jeremy looked at a few other things around the store.  However, we only ended up getting the ornaments.  After making our purchase, I took one last took around and I silently bid the store farewell, promising myself that I'd be back again soon.

After that, we all headed out to our cars.  Jeremy had found our car and parked next to us.  We hopped into our cars and went towards our next destinations.  Eliot and I went to the Nashua Hobby Lobby while Jeremy ran over to the Target around the corner.  I wanted to check out the Christmas stuff in Hobby Lobby, and I also promised Jeremy to look for a pink paint pen that he needed for a project while there.

While soaking in some Christmas magic in the seasonal section of Hobby Lobby, Eliot kept pestering me to come over to one spot.  I finally obligated and he'd found a singing and dancing Elmo plush.  Those silly little singing and dancing plushies are very popular in my family, and both my Dad and Eliot can't help but press them every time they see them.  Of course, once Elmo started singing and dancing I was also entranced by how cute it was.  Before I knew it, we were heading to the check out counter with Elmo.  I had a coupon, but he was already 50% off anyways!

After adopting Elmo, we headed down the road to the Friendly's restaurant where we were meeting back up with Jeremy for dinner.  The three of us decided we would eat dinner in the restaurant.  Jeremy hadn't dined in a restaurant since COVID started and Eliot and I have only been out for our anniversary.  We've all been overly cautious due to Mom's surgeries these past few months.  However, since we'd already hopped around the mall in MA, we decided dinner wasn't too risky.  Thankfully, they seated us in a corner anyways.  Plus, it was nice to spend more time with Jeremy over dinner.

After dinner, we drove around the corner to the Merrimack Outlets.  We had about 45 more minutes before the Disney Store Outlet was closing.  We weren't looking for anything in particular but I did want to see what they had.  There was a small section of Christmas stuff along with many toys, make believe sets and costumes for kids.

When we finished browsing, the three of us walked back to our cars.  Eliot and I followed Jeremy out of the shopping complex and back to his condo.  We needed to stop at Jeremy's condo to pick up the Disneyland 65th Funko Pops he bought us at Target.  While there, we also showed Jeremy our new dancing Elmo which made him laugh.  We talked for a few minutes before we said our goodbyes.  Finally, we bid my brother farewell and Eliot and I headed home to Maine.

Unfortunately, we weren't able to make it to Manchester before everything closed.  We completely forgot about COVID hours and how the mall closed earlier than usual.  Our main reason for going was to go to the new BoxLunch store; I've been waiting months for it to open.  (No lie, I have legit stalked their website waiting to see 'Now Open' replace 'Coming Soon'.)  The closest store to us before this new one was all the way out near Six Flags- which we've only been to once but Eliot and I loved it.  We shop online from BoxLunch often and I'm excited to have one closer to us!

I had a well-planned trip around the mall to include stops at BoxLunch, Build-A-Bear, Torrid and finally Hot Topic.  While we weren't able check it out this trip, we're planning to execute it another time... possibly a weekday when the mall will be less busy.  It's hard to go on a weekend when you have to wait longer to get into the stores.

Nevertheless, it was a successful trip and we returned home feeling exhausted but grateful.  I was so happy that I got to feel a little bit of Disney magic.  It was good for my soul.  Plus, seeing all of the Christmas merchandise was the cherry on top!  While the magic is definitely a bit different, it's still there.  °o°

Monday, October 26, 2020

Magical Merchandise: Wishes Come True Blue Collection

I'm seeing stars!  Last Thursday, Disney released a brand new collection of Wishes Come True Blue merchandise.  Eliot and I were surprised by the Thursday drop, since most new items are released to the website on Monday.  Nevertheless, I was excited to see the new merchandise in my email and I jumped right over to the Shop Disney app.

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What I found took my breath away.  There was a new color collection of 20 clothing and accessory items in a beautiful shade of crisp, bright blue.  I'd actually seen a sneak peek of the Loungefly backpack online and everyone assumed that it was just a new Sorcerer Mickey collection.  While the current items don't scream Sorcerer Mickey, it's definitely a subtle nod to our favorite sorcerer's apprentice and his hat.  I am in love with the bright blue, silvery sparkles and the stars and moon design.

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This new collection was made to honor the 40 year partnership of Disney and Make-a-Wish.  For all items purchased in the Wishes Come True Blue collection between now and World Wish Day (April 29, 2021) in the US, Canada and Europe, Disney will donate 25% of the profits (up to $500,000) to Make-A-Wish.  According to Disney, there will be three merchandise drops so it appears as if there is more to come!

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Make-a-Wish has always been important to me.  In the past, we've participated in the Share Your Ears event, a Walk for Wishes fundraiser and Eliot and I have donated a few pairs of mouse ears to a few Wish Kids going to Disney.  I've also done many virtual races to benefit Give Kids the World Village, which is where the Wish Kids and their families stay while visiting Walt Disney World.  It's so important to me that these kids have their wishes fulfilled.  We've been blessed to go on many trips to Disney.  It brings me joy to know that these kids will get to experience the magic too.

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So not only is it stunning, but this collection is extra special to me.  Today, I wanted to share a few of my favorite pieces from the collection.  Unfortunately, a lot of it is already sold out online.  (It's unclear if Disney will be restocking those items or if they'll return in one of the future merchandise drops.)

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The thing I was most excited about were the Spirit Jerseys for both Walt Disney World and Disneyland.  They had them in adult sizes, as well as a style for children and for your pets!  There are also Face Masks to match the Spirit Jerseys.  Of course, there are also mouse ears that match the collection.  However, this time, Disney has also made their first ever adjustable mouse ears (with a chin strap) for people who might need something a little more comfortable.

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My other favorites from the collection were the leggings, super sparkly Crocs, Alex and Ani bracelet and the sequined Loungefly Mini Backpack.  I love how the Crocs and the leggings both had the moon incorporated into them too.  They'll be perfect additions to a Sorcerer Mickey outfit!  Just look at that sparkle!!!

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I am absolutely in love with this collection!  Thankfully, I knew enough to purchase my favorites when I saw them as I was worried these items would sell out quickly.  (And they did.)  I'm happy to report that the WDW Spirit Jersey, Leggings, Loungefly Mini Backpack and Crocs jumped into my cart and will be on their way to me soon.  (Even while checking out, I had problems with the Spirit Jersey jumping in and out of stock.)

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If you have your eye on something that's still in stock online, don't wait too long to order!  And you can feel good about it, since not only is the collection beautiful, but 25% of the sales are going to a great cause.  "Starlight, star bright, first start I see tonight.  I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.  Make a wish, and do as dreamers do.  And all our wishes, will come true."  °o°

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Small Shop Saturday: Headbands (Part 2)

You might recall that back in July I finally got my hair cut and got rid of my quarantine hairdo.  It's now a little shorter than shoulder length which is pretty short for me.  I haven't had it this short since Eliot's and my honeymoon in March of 2013!  Back then, I got it cut before we left for Walt Disney World and it was so short that I couldn't even pull it back in a ponytail.  (I had pig tails our entire honeymoon.)  This time, I was sure to tell the hair stylist that I needed to be able to pull it into a ponytail for working out, cleaning the house and working on projects and mouse ear orders.

Part of the reason that I wanted my hair cut was so that I could start to wear it down more often when the weather cools off.  I'm notorious for putting it back in a bun and calling it good.  I used to actually take the time to do my hair, but staying at home all the time has made me lazy.  I'm hoping to start wearing it down more now that the fall is here... which means I need options to keep my wild red curls tamed.

Enter the headband.  Back when I cut my hair short in the summer of 2011, I went and bought a bunch of headbands from Claire's.  This time around, I've been obsessed with handmade designs found over on Etsy.  I already bought a bunch of them prior to my haircut.  (You can read about those here in Part 1.)  After I got my hair cut, I bought a bunch more and I thought I'd share those too!

I can't seem to keep myself away from Sew Tangled.  I've placed most of my orders from Tammy as she offers both knot headbands and stretchy knotted headbands.  I've received five more orders since the first one and I absolutely love them.  I've found tons of fun designs- from Disney Dooney inspired patterns, to monorails, to Mickey colors to the Bubblegum Wall and of course a few Harry Potter designs!  In fact, my most recent order arrived on Thursday- just in time to make it into this post!

I bought a lot of Halloween and fall headbands from Sew Tangled.  The candy corn designs are a personal favorite.  I'm pretty obsessed with candy corn and they'll match my Walt Disney World Candy Corn Spirit Jersey and my Loungefly bag from last year!

Sew Tangled also had Haunted Mansion patterns like the cast member maid costume and the tightrope walker's skirt.  I had to get the Mickey wallpaper design!  Of course, I also couldn't say no to the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party cast member costume prints.  I love the Halloween Party and these headbands are so cute!!!

This time around, I also bought a few headbands from Custom Threadss.  I've been admiring a few for awhile now, and I finally purchased my favorites!  I absolutely love the Cinderella pink dress headband and how the knot bow is a tape measure!  I've bought a few Loungefly bags and dresses that match this theme so it's perfect!

I couldn't help myself; I had to have the Wilderness Explorer headband.  I'm also loving how the bow is fabric with all of Russell's patches!

I also bought this stretchy Rapunzel headband from Custom Threadss.  I love it!

A few years ago, I introduced you to my friend Maggie and her shop Elephant and Mouse.  She still makes mouse ears, but she's also branched out to making knotted headbands!  She's had so many fun designs so of course I had to get a few.  So far, I've bought one for fall and one for Christmas, but I've got my eye on a few more of her new plaid Christmas designs... and they've already found their way into my shopping cart!  (You'll probably see another post with those down the line...)

As you can see, my headband addiction has grown into a full blown obsession.  (Send help!)  Seriously, I love them.  I'm hoping to behave myself between now and when the rest of the Christmas designs start to show up... I guess we'll see how that turns out.  

In the meantime, Eliot and I are in the process of collecting supplies to make a display for my growing collection.  Then, it will be easy to find what I'm looking for each day.  I'll be sure to update you once the headband display project is completed, as well an update on how my collection looks a few more months from now.  °o°

Monday, October 5, 2020

Magical Merchandise: 2020 Holiday Decor from Lowes

Happy Magical Merchandise Monday!  It's been a while since I posted about new merchandise so I thought it was high time for another one.  I mentioned in my latest update post about how Eliot and I have been checking out the holiday merchandise at Lowes.  They always have fun Disney Halloween and Christmas decorations and this year's collection certainly did not disappoint!

Today, I thought I'd do a post about some of the merchandise that we've found for both holidays.  Many stores are already pretty picked over- especially for Halloween.  But, after going to three different stores, we can safely say that you never really know what you'll find at each of them as the selection did vary quite a bit! 


We've been to both of our local Lowes stores twice on two different weekends, and then we also went to the August Lowes when we had to make the hour and a half trek go pick Eliot's car up from being serviced.  One of our local stores has absolutely no Disney Christmas merchandise out so far, while the other was preparing for the set up the first time we went, and had the display fully out the following weekend!  (We were also a little naughty and took a peek at the display plans sitting on the empty shelf...)

Seeing the Halloween and Christmas displays brought me so much joy.  2020 has been really rough and I find myself craving the holiday season and my favorite time of year.  I love the fall and celebrating Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years and my birthday also falls right in the middle.  It always goes by fast, but I really cherish this season and the decor and fun that comes along with it!

For Halloween, there was a lot of the stuff that Eliot and I have grown to expect- lots of Nightmare Before Christmas inflatables, and a few Mickey and Minnie items.  This year, we were really excited about the new Mickey Bat inflatables.  Last year, Eliot bought two of the Mickey Ghosts, so this year we added two bats to complete our front porch set up!  We were excited to see the hanging ghosts return as well!

We were also pretty excited to see Zero in addition to all of the Jack Skellington inflatables we usually see!  There was also a big Jack Skellington inflatables with him on top of the hill surrounded by lots of lighted pumpkins at the base.  We're not huge Nightmare Before Christmas fans, but even I liked how festive that one was.

I really liked this year's Mickey and Minnie inflatables in the tonal gray.  We have so many different Mickey and Minnie Halloween inflatables, but I think we might still grab a pair of these.  I'm actually thinking about putting them in our master bedroom.  Our bedroom is mint with gray tones, and these would fit right in perfectly!

Finally, the last Disney Halloween inflatable, and the hardest to find, was the giant Mickey Mouse Pumpkin inflatable!  I first saw him on Instagram when a ton of Disney fans were posting pictures of him in their yards.  Right then, I knew Eliot and I had to get one.  Mickey wasn't available in any of our local stores, but we were able to order one online and to have my brother Jeremy pick it up in New Hampshire on his way home for Labor Day weekend!  (It ended up being quite a little saga, but thankfully, Mickey arrived safely and he's absolutely perfect!)  We haven't set him up yet, but he'll be joining the rest of our decor soon!

As for Christmas, I'm always so excited to see what Lowes has in their Disney Magic Holiday Christmas collection!  They've had this exclusive merchandise line since 2016 and every year for the past 5 years, Eliot and I make the trek to Lowes around our wedding anniversary to see what new additions they have for that year.

This year, my absolute favorite thing from the collection is hands down the Mickey Snowman Blow Mold... and I haven't been the only one.  If you actually can find one of these at this point, count yourself as very lucky.  Ever since news of him broke on Instagram, Disney fans have been looking high and low for him.

Eliot and I saw his box during our first trip to our local Portland Lowes.  We went back the following weekend and thankfully, there were still two of them there!  Although, Eliot got to the aisle way before me, had them both in a shopping cart and then stood in front of it so I wouldn't see them.  I was completely crushed when I turned the corner and their spot was empty... but then I was so excited when he stepped aside to reveal them!  (I literally squealed out loud.)  Two of them still there- exactly what we wanted!

This year, they've also added a few other new items.  Another one that I loved was the new wreath made with pinecones.  It's a fun alternative to the usual Mickey wreath.

I'm in love with the Santa Mickey rainbow lights.  I think we might get a few of these for our living room.  Eliot and I both love the little Santa hats on them!

Another new item I love is the Mickey and Minnie Lighted Tinsel Yard Sculpture.  I love how Mickey is inside of the chimney.  The only thing that would make it cuter was if Mickey popped up and down out of the chimney!

A sculpture that does move is the new Mickey mailbox!  It's so cute but it's hard to see in pictures!  (It's at the top right of the Disney Magic Holiday display.)

We also love the Mickey and Minnie blow molds.  I sent a picture of them to my Dad who texted me back that he wanted a Mickey.  (Blow molds are really special to me since we have a few that Mom and Dad had ever since I can remember.  Dad's big Santa and Snowman blow molds always make me smile.)  After a few more texts back and forth, both Mickey and Minnie joined our snowmen to come home with us for my Dad.  They've been sitting in our living room since then.  At this point, Eliot and I are probably going to get a set for ourselves as they've grown on me even more!

Of course, there are a few Mickey and Minnie inflatables.

Finally, we did find Mickey and Minnie porch greeters at the Lowes that didn't have a full Disney display.  It's a bummer that they don't have the full collection out (yet... possibly at all?) but they did at least have these cuties along with the inflatables.

We're really excited for all of these fun holiday decorations.  I can't wait to get a little spooky and then to deck the halls.  2020 may have sucked the souls out of most of us... but it can't take away all of my holiday cheer!