Prepping for Disney World When its Busy as HECK (week after Christmas,Spring Break, Summer)

Going to Disney World the Week after Christmas is one of the most daunting, frustrating, rewarding, and high energy things I have every done. My family and I can really only go together during this week due to super busy schedules and living in different countries, but we have turned it into a yearly ritual for nearly 5 years now. We have learned A LOT of tips, tricks, do’s and don’ts about visiting WDW during this chaotic period, and I wanted to share them with you… just in case you need extra assurance that it will indeed be worth it (believe me, it will). If you are going in March or Summer then these may be good tips for you too!

  • Minimize number of bags

    • As you would expect, Disney is very vigilant in checking all guests with bags. I like this policy, but it can really sap the amount of time you have when the park first opens.
    • For example, if you are a family of 4, then try packing 2 bags instead of 4 and taking turns carrying them.
    • Always have all pockets and pouches open when you go through bag check. They will ask to see inside every nook and cranny of the bag. And make sure to say Thank you!
  • Stay all day

  • If you have kids this may not be an option. Having a mid day nap is NECESSARY for kids and sometimes adults too whenever tensions are running high (in both good and bad ways) for such a long amount of time. However,  if you do leave the park (even park hopping) there is a good chance you will not be able to get back in if it reaches the max capacity. This rarely happens, but if you are visiting during a peak day (like New Years Eve for instance), it may be a good idea to stay put and find a rest area where you and your family can take a chance to just chill together. See below for rest area ideas!
  • Fastpasses

  • Did you know that Magic bands can be purchased and used even if you are not staying on the Disney property? Well, they can! You can purchase them online and link them to your tickets 24 hours before you arrive at WDW. The magic band is your key to setting up fast passes and easy entry onto rides. Here’s the rides I recommend to use FP for in the different parks:
  • Magic Kingdom: Seven Dwarves Mine Train, Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain. Less Thrills but just as fun: Buzz Lightyear Ranger Spin, Dumbo, Teacups or Haunted Mansion 
  • Hollywood Studios: Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror, or Rockin Rollercoaster, Star Wars

  • Animal Kingdom: Safari, Flight of Passage, Everest 
  • Epcot: Soarin or Test Track, Spaceship Earth, Mission Space
  • Take Advantage of Rest Areas 

    • The parks are fully of areas to chill and relax, even during the most hectic of times! Here’s some of my favorite places to rest my feet and regroup with the fam:
      • Magic Kingdom:Rapunzel Tower and Tangled Restrooms – a great rest stop that includes phone charging stations! You can relax and take in the view of the floating lanterns and even look for Pascal(s) in the little creek!
      • Hollywood Studios: Sunset Showcase – this is a hidden GEM. It is air conditioned. There are restrooms. There is seating. And sometimes there are characters inside having an awesome dance party! Located behind Rockin Roller Coaster.
      • Animal Kingdom: Rafiki’s Planet Watch – while this is an attraction, I find that it is very low key. I love animals, and this is your chance to hear about all of the love they get at Disney!
        • Dinoland – Don’t let all of the bright colors, sounds, and hulabaloo fool you. Dinoland has a few tables and chairs to sit and relax! The carnival atmostphere is not the most relaxing, but if you’re just looking for a place to gather your family or your thoughts, this may be just the place.
      • Epcot:Canada Vision: the Canada pavilion is GORGEOUS. Take a walk back to see the water falls and don’t miss the showing of Canada vision -a panoramic display of all that Canada has to offer (it’s one of my favorite hidden spots!)
        • Bridge in Venice, Italy: This is a great place to stop and eat some gelato. The bridge has a great view of spaceship earth and it is so relaxing to stop and take in the world showcase from this vantage point.
        • Porch at Tapan Edo: this porch has a special place in my heart. It is in this place that my husband (on his first visit to Disney), told me that he actually liked it. I was afraid he would hate all of Disney World around the busy season (he doesn’t like crowds), but we took time to rest and center ourselves in Japan.  This place is also great for viewing the fireworks!
  • Portable Phone chargers 

    • Data and Phones are the essential tool for navigating Disney world. Between checking the WDW app, taking pictures, and keeping in touch with your party, your phone battery will probably want to give up before it is time for fireworks. Packing 2 portable chargers is a game changer and assures that no one will get a low battery notification. Disney also sells portable charger sticks in the parks that you can exchange repeatedly. Use up all the charge in your stick? Just go get a new one! It’s pretty genius, but the chargers do cost about $30 each (which is more than one you could get in the dollar section at Target).
  • Take time to look at Decorations

    • Disney always has special decorations around the holidays, and though you will be astounded when y seem pretty amazing at first glance it is easy to forget to stop and appreciate them as you travel throughout the parks.
    • During the rest of the year: Epcot’s festivals (The Food and Wine festival in the fall and the Flower and Garden festival in the spring) also have amazing decorations. Don’t let them pass you by!
  • Weather 

    • While we all associate Disney with sunshine, it can be pretty unpredictable. If you are going in the winter, never assume it will be WARM. One year we were in near triple digit weather, and the next it was almost below freezing before noon! Always check to see if there is a cold front coming through or if it is likely to rain before heading to the parks! Packing an extra jacket, poncho, and pair of pants can really save you on spending extra money if there is a sudden change in weather.
  • Don’t Miss the Holiday Shows:

    • Have you seen the Cinderella castle at night around the holidays? It is fantastic. The fireworks show around Christmas and New Years is extra special because the castle is extremely festive and makes for a great picturesque moment to top off your day at MK. You MUST stay for the show and to see the castle in all of its glory.
    • Jingle Bell Jingle BAM! at Hollywood Studios is a very sweet and festive show. It is very geared around Christmas, and I have heard rumors that they make it snow! I have never been to the show myself and regret it since it has such a great reputation in the Disney community.

That’s it! I hope that this helps to alleviate any potential stress of visiting Disney when it is very crowded. It is still magical when you have to share it with extra people, and I hope that reading these tips helps you to experience the magic to the fullest!

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Laneige Mini Holiday Hydration Kit

The Holidays are my favorite time to try out skin care products because of all the variety and value sets that are released at Sephora and Ulta. I usually have my eye on a few products and brands that I want to take for a test drive, and this year I was dying to try the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask. I have heard great things from Youtubers and stalked so many glowing reviews about this mask, but I was still skeptical of how hydrating it could actually be and if it was really worth the $33 price tag. The Hydration Kit is a perfect starter for the brand and also  comes with the exact product I wanted to try — I bought it instantly. 

I have been testing these products for 2 weeks in order to give an experienced review. The online blurb at Sephora boasts of super hydration as well as aiding dullness and uneven texture.  After using the products, I can definitely attest to the hydration. My skin is usually quite dry in the winter (especially in windy Toronto). The toner and the water essence feel so luxurious after I wash my face; however, the moisture cream is by far my favourite night time moisturizer that I have ever used. It is light, creamy, easy to spread across my face, and also smells like a spa I could never afford.

The Water Sleeping Mask is truly magnificent. It doesn’t feel sticky on your face or leave a bad residue when you wake up in the morning (although I do recommend washing your face off before applying any other product). I can tell a difference in the hydration of my skin, and I also think that it has helped my under eyes perk up as well. I usually don’t shell out for facemasks, but this mask feels like it is a SUPER EXPENSIVE product. Paying 33 dollars feels like a steal because of how elegant and pampering it feels.  

As you can see, the samples do look small. The toner will definitely run out quickly if I use it every day; however, the cream products will last a long time. A little goes a long way.  This set is only available online and I would give it 5 stars in an instant. Each product works well together as a system, but I have no doubt that the mask and moisture cream would be great staples for any skin care routine, especially if you like to treat your self. I can’t wait to try more from Laneige!

Outfit of the Day: Wonder Woman Bound

Do you ever wake up and realize that you will need more than just a venti coffee to get you through the day? This has happened very often to me this season. One of the most recent discouragements is waking up every day and seeing a headline of a new outed celebrity assault on women. These headlines make me cringe and in some ways feel on edge I venture out into a male dominated work place. I’ve experienced blatant sexism and also several remarks about the way I look: too young. It seems as if equality and empowerment are pipe dreams sometimes.

When I saw this little collar clip on Instagram I knew I had to have it. While it’s only a mere accessory, it’s the perfect material reminder of my inner strength. Wonder Woman is one of the most inspiring figures for me, especially since the recent film. I watched Justice League growing up, but I didn’t find her character as empowering in cartoon form. Maybe I just took her for granted? The newest depiction of Diana is the exact encouragement I need — to always seek truth and justice.

I adore the vintage vibe of this clip. My outfit is definitely more a “Wonder Woman bound”, and I think the clip could be toned down with a simple cardigan and camisole. In any case, it is definitely one of my favorite and most unique purchases I’ve made in a long time.

Holiday Season Bucket List 2017 –

Perhaps one of the best parts of the Holiday Season is the chance to take extra opportunity to spend time with your loved ones. With busy schedules, traveling, and a tight budget, I want to take time to plan out what I really want to do this year with my friends and family. This is something that I have been doing for a long time so I don’t miss out on any of the holiday cheer. I wanted to share my bucket list and also encourage you to write your own. What are some of your must-do items this year? Share in a comment below!

Holiday Season

 

Blush Pink Gift Guide 2017

My best friend and I used to have a saying: “if there’s ever a choice in life, the answer is always pink”. So if you are asking yourself what you should get your sister, BFF, or your office secret Santa this year, then you now know your answer: PINK.

Blush pink (aka millennial) pink is quite possibly one of the most recognizable trends of 2017. It’s popular, lovable, stylish — Who wouldn’t want a little pink gift under the tree? From make-up to decor, this gift guide has got you covered.

Here’s where to get started on buying the perfect blush pink gifts (click the link under the picture to shop!) :

Perfume

Palette

Blanket

Mug

Bracelet

Zodiac Print

Scarf

Sperry Shoes

Kate Spade Passport Holder

Where to Find Holiday Ears for Disney – Small Shop Edition

Holiday

Christmas time is here! If you’re lucky enough to go to Disney World or Disneyland (or any of the other parks around the globe) between now and December 25th, you’re probably in the market for some great holiday ears.

Shopping at small shops on Etsy and personal platforms offers you a more tailored and organic shopping experience that allows you to celebrate the spirit of Christmas and giving by supporting the dreams of individual creators. I love showing off the hard work of creative artists or “makers”, especially for Disney themed items. The market for home-made goods is booming because of the quality and price of items, and all of the shops below come at customer recommendation (basically, these ears are tried, tested, and top notch). Take a look at the great holiday finds that Minnie herself would love!

Perfect Poof:  Mouse Life Ears

Instagram: @mouselifeears

Mouse ears come in several shapes and sizes. Mouse Life Ears specializes in the perfect stuffed ears that are “poofy” without being too bulky. The  holiday ears are topped with a sparkly bow that will make you look polished and ready for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! This shop is ALWAYS open on Etsy, so you can place your order right now, people! The price point for these festive ears is only $20 and definitely worth it.

Festive Floral: Flowers Gleam and Glow

Instagram: @flowersgleamandglow (visit for coupon code!)

If you live under a rock then you have a good excuse for not being exposed to the wonderfulness of the wire floral ears. Flower Gleam and Glow has taken this trend to a whole new level for the Holiday Season by combining crisp florals, happy poinsettias, and lively pine branches. These ears basically are a Christmas song in themselves. The price range never goes above $30, and her shop has a great variety of ears so you can pick up an extra pair while you’re there!

Trendy Plaid:  Simplicity by Emma

Instagram: @simplicity.by.emma

Anyone else OBSESSED with Buffalo Plaid? If you are, then put down your Starbucks cup right now and go order these perfectly plaid ears from Emma’s shop.  These ears are stuffed and poofy, which helps to channel all of the cozy aspects of the holidays: chestnuts, hot chocolate, fuzzy slippers etc. You can pair this trendy print with a plain bow or even a sparkly one for extra pizzazz.

All About the Details:  Lo and Grace

Instagram: @lo.and.grace

When I started this post, I had multiple people contact me and ask for this particular shop to be highlighted. It is definitely a shop supported by its customers! The ears have the cutest details on the bows without looking too busy. The ears are flat, which means they are also easy to pack and also carry in the parks. The shop also has a pair of Coco inspired ears (eep!) if you want to show your love for this season’s newest movie release. While you are there, make sure to check out their new shirt too to match your new ears!

Pom-Poms for Days:  Zipadeedesignco

Instagram: @Zipadeedesignco

I’m dead because the poms on these ears have slain me. But really, these ears hit all the bases when it comes to the Holiday check list: great prints, sparkles, baubles, and the poms are the perfect finishing touch of fun! They are full package accessory for your holiday vacation. I also admire the non-bow pairs. While I love a good bow, the option is minimal and could be a unique addition to the ear lover’s collection.

Character Ears: Stroke of Midnight Co

Instagram: @strokeofmidnight_co

The variety available from this shop is amazing. I fell in love with the Star Wars pair. Then the Gingerbread pair. Then the Mickey Santa pair. They are all magical and amazing in their own way (and the shop has even more beautiful character options listed too). Besides the overwhelmingly cute fabric designs, the headband also stood out to me with these ears. If you have never worn ears, the headband MATTERS. A lot. It can make or break the accessory in an instant. I noticed hair grips on these pairs and it seems so practical! Her reviews also sprinkle compliments on the maker like pixie dust!

The Best Gift Ears: All Ears Boutique Company

Instagram: @allearsboutiqueco

Merry and BRIGHT describe these ears perfectly. I love the array of cheery colors in this shop and the attention to detail in creating the perfect happy Disney aesthetic. The Christmas ears come in a wonderful and festive variety for any taste or outfit goal. The shop also has a great selection of ears that you can easily gift to family and friends. The small world ears give me White Christmas vibes, but are amazing for any time of the year. Want a discount? Use forrestdear at checkout to save a little money!

And there you have it! I fully admire the hard work, time, and effort that each of these makers put into creating special accessories for the parks. Supporting the creativity of people is 100 percent in line with the Holiday spirit!

I was not paid nor did I receive any form of compensation for this blog post. 

Easy Monday Outfit of the Day

Monday mornings are very difficult for me. I’ve been learning tips about waking up on time and having a good morning, but my biological disdain towards being a morning person (especially on a Monday) hasn’t changed. It’s definitely a work in progress and I’m starting from rock bottom.

My first baby step to having a better Monday is to dress nicer (aka: to not dress like a bum). Even if I wake up late and I dry shampoo my hair till it’s an official health hazard, my one goal for Monday is to dress like I woke up on time and to look ready to conquer the day.

I’m a grad student, so wardrobe is negotiable. I can show up to class looking like  Rory Gilmore after a Wookiee hook-up, but I’m trying to make the choice to consciously prepare my outfits the night beforehand as an act of care for myself. Self care can come in a variety of ways, and I think putting effort into self-presentation is a part of it (since I do want to look nice, but I never feel like I have the time).

My easy Monday outfits consist of 3 things: skirt, plain top, and scarf. It’s a fail safe outfit. There’s no fuss (besides tights if it’s cold). It’s Easy as Monday Morning.

So this is my first step to becoming a morning person. It does help in the smallest amount to know that I won’t have that helpless moment in front of the closet five minutes before I’m supposed to leave feeling like I have NOTHING to wear. Any small step is a good step!