Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Summer Wind Down

Summer is winding down and we're heading into fall.  The signs are all here.  I have already spotted a few stray leaves on the ground.  The nights are getting colder and sun is setting a lot earlier.  I even wore leggings when Eliot and I went out to meet up with some friends Saturday night in Kennebunkport.

Today, I had every intention of doing my 2022 Summer Bucket List results post.  But after this weekend, my gut told me to hold off.  I kept looking at some of the stuff that I wasn't able to cross off of my list... and a lot of those goals are things we plan to do in the coming weeks.  And it just wasn't sitting well with me.

Technically, we still have another three weeks until it's officially fall...

I was willing to forgo those extra three weeks of "summer" since our trip to California was taking up a good chunk of that time.  I had fully prepared to switch gears a little earlier than usual, to say goodbye to summer and move on to fall.  But what I wasn't ready to do was give up on my summer bucket list.

So, I'm going to run with it.  I'm going to keep pushing to complete more of my Summer Bucket List.  It's technically still summer until fall starts on September 22nd.  That gives us one more full weekend after we get back from California.  And since that's also the weekend that Eliot and I were originally supposed to be traveling down to Walt Disney World to celebrate our 10th Wedding Anniversary... I plan to make it count.

Sure, right now my thoughts are shifting to our California trip, the 2022 D23 Expo, and Disneyland.  And when we get home to Maine, I'm sure it's going to feel like fall.  But... it's still technically the summer season for a little bit longer, and Eliot and I are going to get as many of those things crossed off as possible.  °o° 

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Reflecting on Four Years of Being Self-Employed

It's hard to believe that it has already been four years since I left my job to work from home full time.  This is also the point where I have officially been working from home as long as I was at my job, and longer than I worked at my previous job (3.5 years).

I've done a little bit of self-reflecting and I have a lot of mixed feelings about it... 

Before I say anything else, I need to state that I'm so proud of our accomplishments.  

I'm so proud of how much Snowblade Creations has grown since we pivoted and really started pushing to make desk accessories in 2020.  I'm so proud of how well the businesses are doing now after all of the struggles of the past few years and COVID.

I'm so proud of how Eliot and I handled COVID and our small businesses.  It would have been really easy to throw in the towel when things looked bleak.  When the parks were closed, we were down in our Happily Ever Hatter sales a lot.  I was nervous since this is my full time job.  I didn't know if we should hit pause while I got something to tide us over, or if we should just hold tight.  Eliot and I both agreed that we should hold tight and see how things went.  We didn't panic, we continued to work hard, we added more items to both shops, and we stayed the course... and our businesses bounced back.

In my moments of reflection, I also found some points of disappointment.

I'm disappointed that Eliot and I still haven't launched our home decor line yet.  We have a laser cutter sitting in our basement that we've only used a few times.  Granted, we need to learn how to use it.  We have big plans and ideas for what we want to do with it.  But we need to find the time to learn how to use it to accomplish those ideas.

I'm also disappointed that I haven't launched my clothing line.  This is beginning to be a joke... I've talked about it for years but I've struggled to take the plunge.  I have some new ideas of ways to get myself to jump off of the end of the diving block though.  So hopefully this will be something I can dive into sooner than later.

Finally, I'm also a little bit disappointed that we haven't expanded Happily Ever Hatter's product line more.  I have so many ideas, and I think that's part of the problem.  Eliot and I don't have the capital to do all of them at once, so we've got to focus on one thing and see how that goes.  The hair clips were not as successful as we had hoped they'd be, but I have a lot of other ideas that I think will be great additions to the shop!

The most exciting thing for me is how inspired I am.  Being home full time has allowed me the time and space to explore things I wouldn't be able to at a "normal" job.  If I think of something in the middle of the day, I can stop what I'm doing and brainstorm, research and flesh it out.  These are my favorite days... hours can pass with me on my phone or laptop while the gears in my head are spinning almost out of control.

In fact, I think I have more ideas flowing through me right now than I have in the past four years.  I've got a few new business ideas that I'm kicking around and I'm hoping to dive into a few of those, as well as the clothing line, in the next few months.  

Winter tends to be quiet (sales-wise) after the holiday rush, so I'm hoping to use that to my advantage to get caught up with business stuff, ahead on other stuff, and to get my supplies organized.  Once I'm a little more organized, I'll be able to tackle some of these new business ideas, and make some new products for Happily Ever Hatter.  

Hopefully Spring of 2023 will be full of new products and surprises!

As you can see, there are so many thoughts bouncing around my brain right now.  But the overwhelming sense I'm feeling is that I'm proud that I believed in myself enough to take the risk.  I'm proud that we could do this.  I'm grateful to have a husband, family and friends who support me.  And I'm forever thankful for every one of our followers, supporters, and customers... because without them, none of this would be possible.

Make a wish, and do as dreamers do... and all our wishes, will come true.  °o°

Monday, August 29, 2022

Magical Merchandise: 2022 Hot Topic & Her Universe Disney Halloween

Candy corn heaven.  I am in Disney candy corn heaven!!!  And the universe knows it. 

Last Friday, I randomly woke up around 6 am and couldn't fall back asleep.  After a few attempts and failing, I took it as a sign that I should be awake.  I started playing around on my phone while laying in bed and that's when I came across it... a post from my Disney Dress Shop group about Her Universe having the candy corn dress online.

I won't deny it; I've been low-key stalking Hot Topic's website and all of my favorite Disney merchandise Instagrammers for weeks now... ever since I first heard of the new candy corn dress and sweaters existence.  Eliot and I even went to our local Hot Topic a few weeks ago.  (They had the sweater, but not in my size.)  They had originally said it would be online "mid-August" but since that came and went... I've been afraid that I'd miss it.  My biggest fear was that everything would pop up while we were in California and I'd totally miss it.  And those fears weren't completely unfounded... last year's Disney candy corn sweater sold out in mere hours in the middle of the night.

I immediately popped out of bed, got dressed and crept downstairs.  (Eliot was sound asleep and I didn't want to wake him.)  I got on my laptop and went to check the HU website.  Not only did Her Universe have the dress, but there it was, the entire 2022 Disney Halloween collection!  The next thing I noticed was two candy corn sweaters... 

I immediately jumped over to Hot Topic (their sister site) and the Halloween collection was available there as well.  I put the candy corn dress and sweater in my cart and checked out right away.  I tend to purchase from Hot Topic over Her Universe because I get free shipping from them, and I also earn points to get rewards.

After the rush of relief and excitement over getting the items when they were in stock and barely anyone knew they were even online, there was no way I was falling back asleep... but it was worth it!  Sometimes it pays to randomly wake up early and the universe definitely had this Disney and candy corn lover's back!  

Now that I've had a few days to come down off of my candy corn shopping high, I wanted to share the 2022 Disney Halloween collection with you!

Let's start with one of the Our Universe products.  This Mickey Mouse Mummy Hoodie comes in unisex sizing so men and women can wear it.  I love the tie dye look!

This Stitch Devil Raglan T-Shirt is another cute option... especially if you love Stitch!

I thought this Winnie the Pooh Sweatshirt was really cute!  I wish it had Eeyore though!

This is another unisex Our Universe product for both men and women.  I think Eliot would love this Mickey Halloween Button Up Shirt!

I didn't buy this yet, but I think this Bat Wing Collar Button Up Shirt is really cute too!  I love the bat wing collar and the Mickey and Minnie embroidery on it!

The Disney Halloween Shortalls were the surprise item in the collection.  These are completely sold out on both Her Universe and Hot Topic... except for a few plus sizes.

Now, we're getting to my favorites!  Here's the Mickey and Minnie Mouse Candy Corn Collared Dress.  I absolutely love the candy corn colored skirt on it!

Here's a close up of the embroidered details on the collar.  Isn't this adorable?!?!

Here's the 2022 version of the Mickey Candy Corn Stripe Hooded Cardigan. This year, they added really cute pumpkin buttons down the front.  The embroidery designs on the sleeve are also a little bit different from last year's design.  There's cute Mickey pumpkin on the front.  And this year, there's a hood that has mouse ears! 

Finally, the "other" sweater that I saw on Her Universe's website is a HU exclusive, that's why Hot Topic didn't have it.  It's very similar to last year's design.  In fact, I think it's the exact same patches on the sleeves, the only difference is that it has a black stripe added to the candy corn pattern instead of just being orange, yellow and white.

Aren't all of these items adorable?!?  Obviously, I'm a sucker for all of the candy corn stuff, but I think the rest of the collection is cute as well.  I hope Her Universe continues to keep their Disney holiday collections coming!  I'm definitely 100% hooked!

I hope you enjoyed this sweet post!  Have a wonderful week friends!!!  °o°

Sunday, August 28, 2022

A Teal Reveal

It's 8/28 and since those are the jersey numbers of my two favorite Sharks players, I thought it was only appropriate that I share some exciting news with you today... 

There are only 41 days until the San Jose Sharks first game of the 2022-2023 NHL season... their season opener against the Nashville Predators over in Czechia... 

And there are only 48 more days until Eliot and I get to see them in person at their first game back stateside, their home opener in San Jose against the Carolina Hurricanes!!!

Yes, that's right!  Eliot and I are going to the San Jose Sharks home opener this fall and I'm really excited.  I've never been to the first game of the season, and I never thought I'd be able to.  Eliot's probably been to a ton of them back when he was a kid, but this will be my first and I'm super pumped about it!

Plus, this is also that game where Brent Burns comes back to the Tank.  It will be bittersweet to see him out on Sharks ice wearing red, but I'm glad that Eliot and I will be able to give him a proper send off, along with the rest of Sharks Territory.

If that wasn't awesome enough, we are also going to the Sharks game the following night.  That evening, they'll be having a recognition of Doug Wilson- the Sharks former General Manager who stepped down back in April.

These are the only back-to-back home games of the Sharks' entire season, so it's the weekend that made the most sense to fly out to California.  We were hesitant about it at first, but once we cancelled our anniversary trip, it made more sense since Eliot wasn't taking as much time off in September.  (Another silver lining.)

There is one other weekend home game that Eliot and I are planning to go out for if we're able to.  They're having a retirement ceremony for Patrick Marleau in February and we're trying to get out to San Jose that weekend as well.  Hopefully, everything works out!  Eliot and I would both love to be there when they retire #12!!!

We've still got a ways to go before hockey season starts, but things are moving in that direction.  Training camps are starting.  The guys are conditioning.  Pre-Season games will be starting later in September.  And Eliot and I have a few games at the Shark Tank to look forward to!  Time to break out my nail decals for their home opener debut... °o°

Saturday, August 27, 2022

California Prep- Things Coming Together

Only 8 more days until we leave for California!!!  A week from today, we'll be doing any necessary last minute preparations before we officially head off on vacation!

We have been busy the past few weeks getting everything finalized.  Last weekend, Eliot and I worked out our D23 session registrations.  We find out what ones we each got selected for in a few days.  Then, we'll work out a game plan based off those.

I've been hard at work looking into a few fun things to do on the days we aren't going into the parks.  We have about a day and a half where we aren't going to Disneyland or the D23 Expo, so I've been trying to get that all sorted out!  I'd tell you more, but some of it is going to be a surprise for my parents, so mum's the word!

I've also gone over the rest of our itinerary with a fine tooth comb.  I've got all of our plans, flights, reservations, confirmation numbers, etc. written down in a note on my laptop.  I've organized emails and gotten everything all together.  It's a lot of stuff to keep track of for five people, but we should be good to go!!!

Now, I'm shifting my gears towards some of the less "important" stuff.  It's still important to me, but it's not as critical as everything else we've had to get organized.

I'm working on finalizing my bucket lists for Disneyland, the D23 Expo and California.

Eliot and I are also trying to get any last minute supplies together.  We already got cooling new towels, neck fans, wireless headphones (for me), reusable straws, and more that we've been trying to gather.  We're also planning to go shopping for any toiletries, gum and snacks that we might need sometime next week!

I desperately need to get my hair cut.  It's longer than it probably ever has been in my entire life, and that's probably because I haven't cut it in over two years.  The last time I had a haircut was when Elissa and I went to JCPenney in July of 2020!  Yikes!

Most importantly, we finally know where Nana is going to be staying.  I alluded to some behind the scenes things going on when I posted two weeks ago.  It was basically that we were unsure of where my Nana was going to be during this trip.  We thought we had something all set up with the place she went one other time when Mom was in the hospital, but that didn't work out.  My Mom had an incredibly stressful 2+ weeks trying to find a nursing home that would take her for a few days of respite.  Thankfully, things came together last week and we secured Nana a spot at a facility... and it's in Portland; so Eliot and I will even be able to visit her before we leave on our trip!

Yes, it finally feels like everything is coming together!  And I'm so relieved!  Now, I can try to focus on getting the rest of these Etsy orders finished and packing for our trip!

Ahh!  I'm getting so excited for this trip!  I can definitely tell that my brain is ready to check out.  I've found it increasingly difficult to focus on working.  It's been a while since Eliot and I took a break from our businesses... and I'm clearly in need of a little bit of time away from them.  Of course, trips to Disney usually give me ideas, so it's not really a complete break, but I enjoy the creative energy that the parks generate.  This trip will be a great chance to kick back, have some fun and recharge!!!  °o°

Friday, August 26, 2022

Fun Find: Dog’s Day at Magic Kingdom Video

Today is National Dog Day and to celebrate, I thought we should have an appropriately themed Fun Find Friday!  And this was the perfect opportunity to share this fun video! 

Photo Source
A few years ago, Disney hosted a special day for 101 dogs where pet owners could bring their pre-selected four legged furry friends into the Magic Kingdom before park opening.  Not only was it part of their Disney Side promotion, but it was also part of an Animal Planet special called "America’s Cutest: Disney Side Howl-O-Ween".  They had a doggie dance party, a costume contest and a walk through Cinderella Castle.  The 101 special dogs were also treated to the green carpet treatment!  (Read more here.)

Photo Source
This experience is like a dream come true for me... Disney and dogs together!!!  I bet it was so much fun to witness!  Check it out in this highlight video!

Wasn't that adorable!?!  I wish Disney would do this more often.  I'd love the chance to bring our future fur babies into the place that's so magical and meaningful to us!  °o°

Thursday, August 25, 2022

#tbt My Bridal Shower

Exactly 10 years ago, we celebrated Eliot's and my upcoming wedding with my bridal shower!  Last week, I showed you some of the preparations for it, but since it was on August 25th, and today is Throwback Thursday, I knew that I needed to go more in depth about the actual event today.  So let's travel back in time 10 years ago today... 

Saturday, August 25th was a beautiful summer day here in Maine.  We were grateful for the great weather so we could have my bridal shower out on the deck.  My parents' house has a huge deck that Dad built, so there was plenty of room to put everyone!  I remember being so excited about it, because a few of the people coming to my bridal shower weren't able to go down to Florida for our Disney Wedding.

That morning, Eliot, Katie D. and I got to work getting the final decorations set up and hung.  Eliot got on the ladder to hang some of the giant cupcake pinatas from the big tree.  We also set up all of the stuff for everyone to sign and all of the food.

I don't remember much of the actual party, but I remember parts of it.  I recall everyone doing the questionnaire that Katie and I had prepared.  I remember Elissa Skyping with us since none of Eliot's family were able to make the trip from California but she still really wanted to be part of it.  I also remember sitting on the deck opening all of my presents.  (There were lots of pink and lime ones to match our wedding colors!)

While I can't recall everything from it, I have a lot of great photos that always make me smile!  I thought that I'd share some of those with you today!

BJ and Katie N. were some of the first people to arrive.  Eliot and BJ were going to go spend the afternoon together during my shower.  

Naturally, they were being mischievous before they left on their adventure...  BJ even stole my crown for a quick photo!  Look good BJ!

There were cupcakes and ice cream decorations everywhere!

I used cupcake liners and handmade ice creams as hanging decor.

Mom hung up one of Elissa's bat mitzvah Mickey towels on the deck door.  Then on the other side, I hung photos from our wedding planning trip to Walt Disney World that April.  (Side note, I didn't even remember this... I'll have to hunt these photos down because I don't think I have them.  They might be hard copies that my Mom has!)

I loved the hanging outdoor decorations!!!  Lanterns and poofs and cupcakes, oh my!

My party favor bags even coordinated with the overall bridal shower colors!

We also had these homemade ice cream bath favors that I made.  The bottom "cone" part is brown sugar and body wash, and the "ice cream" top is a little shower puff!

Katie was in charge of the candy bar and it did not disappoint!  Yum!!!

My favorite part was the little wedding M&Ms!

I set up the signing table with a few things for party guests to sign.

This handmade bridal shower plate was my pride and joy.  I worked really hard on it and I was so excited about it!  You basically draw on a plate with Sharpies and then you bake it to set the marker.  I don't ever plan on using it since it's a great keepsake!

I was really happy with how all of the little details came out.  These aren't great photos since they're from a digital camera ten years ago... but you get the idea.  I think the Mickey Mouse cherries at the corners of the plate are my favorite part!

I also decorated a few scrapbook pages for people to leave a longer message.

Of course, you can't have a cupcake and ice cream themed party without having some food.  The spread was quite delicious!  And I was so excited to use my special ice cream sundae topper bowl.  It was a cute centerpiece and practical!

We found a Disney Princess cupcake stand for the "ice cream sundae" cupcakes.  I think Katie D was the one who made the cupcakes...

Speaking of my maid of honor, Katie was a rock star helping my Mom plan this entire thing!  Once I got into my dress, she and I got a quick photo before everyone arrived!

I was showered in so many gifts from everyone!  They took over the futon!

The silliest part of the day was the toilet paper bride game.  Everyone was split into three groups to make a wedding gown, veil and flowers... my Aunt Janie, cousin Kaitlin and Aunt Jeri were the good sports about getting all dressed up in toilet paper!

I also had a special moment with Katilin's son Emery when we gave him his party favor gift.  He was our ring bearer- even though he was only 20 months old at the time and a bit young for it.  Eliot and I had bought him a little Mickey plush so he'd have something to play with before our wedding.  (Eliot and I knew we were having Mickey come to our wedding reception and we didn't want Emery to be afraid of him and Minnie Mouse!)

Finally, we had to take a photo with me and all of my party guests! (If you look closely, you can even see Elissa on my laptop!)  Thankfully, we let Daddy stay for the party, so he was able to take it for us!  Plus, even though he's not in these photos, he was there for my entire bridal shower, and I think Papa was too!  I'm so grateful to all of these women for coming to spend time with me before our big day!

As you can see, my bridal shower was pretty "sweet"... get it?  (hehe.)  But in all seriousness, I had a wonderful day and it was a blessing to be surrounded by women who mean so much to me.  Thank you to everyone who made it special for me!!!  °o°