Thursday, July 31, 2014

Disney Quick Tip - Gift Cards

Are you planning a Disney trip any time soon? Whether it's in a few months or a few years, you will find yourself overwhelmed at the cost at one point or another. Sure, you can spread out the expenses by paying for it little by little in advance (ie. your hotel room, park tickets etc.), but you still need money for when you're actually there! If you're anything like me, you will be tempted with merchandise around every corner just begging you to buy it. Or if merchandise isn't your thing, you might find yourself drawn to the various dining options in the parks. Either way, one thing is for sure: no matter how hard you try, you will spend more money than you thought once you arrive. After all it's vacation, YOLO, right?

So how much do you need? Since everything else has a set price, you are left with trying to figure out how much to bring with you for food and fun. A general rule of thumb I follow is to plan for $50 per person per day (everyone in your party over the age of 3). If you know you are going to be dining at nice restaurants and indulging in adult beverages, I would add a little more to that number.

Since that seems like a lot of money once you do the math ($1400 for a family of 4 for 7 days). you need to come up with a savings plan. I have always had a hard time saving cash for a trip because it feels like something always comes up and I end up spending that money. So over the years I've come up with a much easier way to save: gift cards.

Where do I get them? You can find Disney gift cards almost anywhere: Grocery stores, Target, The Disney Store, Walmart and the list can go on and on. Every time I find myself in one of those stores, I grab a $25 or $50 card and activate it. Now my Disney money is locked up and I can't spend it on stupid things. Before you know it, you will have quite a collection of cards! You can even save money on these by going to a Costco type store where they are slightly discounted.

Ok, this sounds great and all, but now I have a giant stack of $25 gift cards that are going to be super hard to manage and annoying to carry around once I'm on vacation. Good thing I've got a few solutions for you!

Your first option is to take them to guest services as soon as you arrive and have them combined into one card or a few if you plan on handing them out to everyone in your party. Your other option is to add them to your room so when you are charging your dinners and merchandise to your Magic Band or room key, they will automagically (see what I did there?!) be deducted and your actual credit card won't be charged until the gift cards are depleted. This option is nice because then you don't have to worry about carrying them around the parks. If you ever want to know how much you have left, you can always go to your hotel and ask to see your bill. It will tell you how much credit you have left before it will start charging your credit card.

Hopefully that helps make the expense of a family Disney trip a little easier to handle. I guess I should take my own advice and get to the grocery store to pick up a few gift cards considering my trip is next month and then again in 3 months!

Friday, July 25, 2014

High Five For Friday

  1. My friend gave Charlotte her first Lilly and I absolutely LOVE the print, the only problem was I needed a matching dress. After hunting through Ebay with no avail, I stumbled upon this matching dress via Facebook! It came in the mail this week and I cannot wait to match my little Minnie!
  2. As I mentioned earlier this week, I went sunflower picking with a friend over the weekend! I don't think I ever posted a picture of the sunflowers I picked, so here they are. Aren't they gorgeous?
  3. We treated ourselves to a fun family breakfast where I caught a special Daddy/daughter moment on camera (they were checking out the fun cars driving by).
  4. Nothing like a fresh batch of embroidery koozie blanks to keep you busy for the whole week!
  5. How can you resist Batmanbaby?! I have no words, just that this is one of my favorite pictures...I think it's the cape!
Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for H54F!
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

WIWW - Hi-Low Dress

Are we still talking about all things hi-low? To be honest, I'm not really sure, but I do know that I found this handy little dress at Walmart and thought it would be the perfect addition to my summer wardrobe. That's right, I said Walmart. Every now and again I will stumble across something somewhat trendy and cute for less than $20 so I go for it!

This dress was no exception. I fell in love with the color and the hi-low style of this dress seemed to work just right for me.

For a more laid back casual look that I can wear to work and out on the weekends, I paired it with a white jean jacket, my Jack Rogers and one of my handy dandy bow bracelets.

What do you think? Do you ever find some of your favorite pieces at a bargain store? If so, which one?

Linking up with Lindsey @ The Pleated Poppy

pleated poppy

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sunflower Picking - Burnside Farms

This summer I discovered an awesome new place. Burnside Farms is a little farm in our hometown that plants different crops of flowers in the summer and a pumpkin patch in the fall. I first found Burnside Farms when I went to pick a bouquet of tulips for my mom on Mother's Day. The tulips are gone, but they've replaced them with sunflowers!

What I like most about this place (besides how close it is) is that they offer an unlimited pass for each crop of flowers for just a dollar more than a one-time visit. You better believe I took advantage of that, and for a mere $4 I can go back as often as I like to pick fresh sunflowers until they are all gone. 

My friend and I had planned that we would go to Burnside Farms this past weekend thinking that for sure they would be open and the flowers in full bloom. Good news was that they were open, however, because of the terrible storms we had a few weeks ago, the flowers were a bit behind and only about 20% were bloomed. Good thing I bought the unlimited pass. Now next time I go there will be even more!

Nonetheless, it was still beautiful and so much fun to walk up and down the rows of sunflowers with a basket and scissors in hand deciding on which ones to cut and take home. They charge $1.50 a stem, which isn't much considering you only need 4 or 5 to make a nice bouquet.

 Another cool thing about this little farm is that they place props throughout the flowers so you can go and take fun photos. Lucky for us, Charlotte woke up from her nap just in time for us to pose her in this adorable baby Adirondack chair and vintage bike!

Even though she looks a little sad in these pictures, I assure you she was not. I think she was still trying to wake up from her nap and figure out where she was.

If you live in Northern Virginia, you should definitely go check out Burnside Farms. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram for daily photos and updates of the flowers!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Darby Smart - DIY Clock

A few weeks ago I discovered Darby Smart and quickly became obsessed. What is it, you ask? Well it's a DIY site that showcases a bunch of trendy projects that you buy as a kit to make at home. So instead of spending tons of money and time at a craft store trying to gather the supplies needed for your latest Pinterest endeavor, you just find the project you want to make and it comes in a handy dandy box!

When you sign-up you get a $10 off your first purchase which is an awesome deal considering a lot of the projects are only $19. I decided to try the monthly "To DIY For Box" and got it for three months, used my $10 off code and only paid $27! My very first box came in the mail and I couldn't wait to see what project was inside (they are special surprise kits, so you never know what you're going to get).

This month's kit was a clock. At first I was intimidated by such a blank canvas to work with, but once I read through the instructions online, I started getting ideas of how to design this clock and make it mine.

What design did I chose? That's right, I'm making a Minnie Mouse clock. Shocking?! Here's the thing, I can draw Mickey and Minnie in my sleep, so instead of agonizing over what to draw or risking messing it all up with a new design, I decided to go with what I know best. 

Always lightly draw your design in pencil before you bust open the paints. Also, you'll want to keep your design small and towards the center so as not to interfere with the numbers.

Painting definitely was the longest part of this project. I used only the colors they gave me because I wanted that clean modern look of white, black and gold. I did however, have to bust out a few small paint brushes to help me with the intricate parts.

I hate waiting for paint to dry because once I start a project, I want to finish it and just having it sit there while it dries is always torture to me. Luckily that was not the case with this paint. It dried super fast so that by the time I was done with it I could almost immediately start placing my numbers.

The numbers that came in the clock kit were self adhesive so it was super easy to apply. I simply placed the 12, 3, 6 and 9 on first and then evenly spaced out the rest. They recommended using a ruler, but I was too lazy to go looking for one so I just trusted my eye.

Once all the numbers were on, the only thing left to do was to add the clock mechanism. This was just a matter of following the simple directions on the back of the clock kit. And....done! It was THAT easy! I can't stand how cute this turned out. Not to mention how perfect it looks on my new desk!

Linking up with Molly @ Still Being Molly
still being molly

Friday, July 18, 2014

High Five for Friday

I totally forgot to post this last night, so here are my high fives from the week. Better late than never, right?!
  1. It seems that Milo has recently developed a higher level of tolerance for Charlotte. He chose to sit next to us and even let her pet him!...until she got a handful of his fur and then he left. 
  2. One of the kids at daycare celebrated a birthday and they had a party for him. Charlotte was super excited to be included now that she's getting bigger. When daycare sent me this picture, I'm pretty sure my heart melted. I love seeing how happy she is!
  3. I saw that someone had taken Lilly Pulitzer images and uploaded them to Cafe Press to make hand towels and other small items. So then, brilliance happened. I found a Google image of the vintage Disney/Lilly Pulitzer print (same one I used for Charlotte's bookcase) and uploaded it make a phone case! I had a 40% off coupon, so I wasn't going to be too upset if it didn't turn out. But it turned out great! I am so happy that I now have a unique phone case in my most favorite Lilly Print!
  4. Now that Disney has Magic Bands that you wear while you are on vacation, many people have capitalized on making accessories for them. I found this one company, My Fantasy Bands that makes cute vinyl character stickers for your band. I of course got the Ariel one and I LOVE it! I can't wait to wear it on my next trip!
  5. Due to a pretty uneventful week, this post is full of Charlotte. So lastly, I had to add this picture of her sporting a casual Minnie Mouse outfit for the day. 
Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for H54F!

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Warning: This is an extremely Disney Nerd post - proceed with caution.

For a few years now, I've seen these Disney inspired outfits on Pinterest where they modeled an everyday outfit after a Disney character. But it wasn't until last week, that my friend told me it's a real thing. People take these outfits that they create on sites like Polyvore and wear them to the parks; it's called DisneyBounding, and apparently it's pretty huge. In fact, there is a whole tumblr account dedicated to it. 

Since I have a few trips coming up, I figure why not give it a try and see if it's really all that it's cracked up to be. After all, I already subconsciously dress in Disney themes while I'm there, so this is the same thing just with a little more planning involved, right?

What I like about this is it allows me to show my Disney side without sacrificing fashion by looking like a tourist. So off to Polyvore I went to create a few looks that I'm going to give a try. 

Disneybound Minnie Mouse

I already own most of this outfit (shocking, I know). The goal is to actually be able to recreate these looks without going broke from having to buy tons of new outfits. The ears, bracelets, jeans and purse I already own, so I just need to get some yellow shoes and a good Minnie Mouse polka dot top to sport this look.

Disneybound Ariel

This Ariel outfit is probably my favorite. So much so that I would probably wear this to work. The belt, shoes, bow and dress (similar) I already own. I just need to get some fun seashell jewelry and a purple cardigan and I'll be all set! 
Disneybound Donald Duck

Nautical is so in right now so I thought I'd give Donald Duck a try. This one I don't have much for, but I think I could do it on the cheap. I just need to get a good sailor dress, some nautical earrings and reuse the yellow shoes from the Minnie outfit.

So hopefully you are still reading and aren't judging too hard right now, but I totally understand if you are. I know this isn't for everyone, but I just wanted to let my Disney nerd side out. These DisneyBound outfits give me something different to plan for and do while on my trips. Stay tuned for them in action!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Craft Room Makeover - Part Deux

The reason this is a "part deux" post is because over a year ago I reorganized my space to look like this. Since then it has been changed a few times, but today I can honestly say this is by far my favorite. When I first had my craft nook, I hardly used it so it was small and not functional. Since then, I have grown my blog, opened an Etsy shop and had a baby. Needless to say, I need a space that can do my embroidery, blog and sew all at the same time (multi-tasking at its finest).

I apologize in advance for the craptastic pictures, I was lazy and took them with my phone. Since this area gets no natural light, it is nearly impossible to get good shots even with my nice camera, so phone it was.

As much as I liked my Ikea Expedit bookcase with the attached desk, it just wasn't enough surface area. With a computer and two sewing machines, it was impossible to have everything I needed on the desk at one time. So as you can see, I resorted to switching out my machines after every project and putting one on the floor while the other one was in use. Let's also not forget that this area was long overdue for a little cleaning/reorganization.

I'm so embarrassed with how messy and dysfunctional I let this area become. I realized I was wasting so much time setting up machines and then putting them away. It was taking me way too long to complete my Etsy orders because I never had what I needed at my fingertips. So to fix this, I needed to gain surface area while not breaking the bank, so off to Ikea I went!

Less than $100 and two hours later, I had this! I'm so happy with my new space and I LOVE that it fits everything with room to spare!

To make this L-shaped desk, I bought two tabletops and nine legs. One tabletop was 78"x 23" ($45) and the other was 47"x 23" ($16). Since the first one was so long, it called for five legs ($3.50 each) instead of just four so there is a middle support. Since I'm used to crazy complicated Ikea furniture, just attaching the legs made this project seem too easy.

I didn't get the black/brown color to match my bookcase for a few reasons, the main being that it was out of stock. Another reason is that because this is such a small space, I worry that if everything was dark it would look cramped and heavy. My last reason for using the white was for pictures. Whenever I would photograph a new item for my Etsy shop I was forced to use the black background of my desk because nowhere in my house do I have a nice clean white surface. So to tie it all together and not have it look completely disconnected, I bought black legs and white tabletops. My husband calls this the tuxedo look.

Some before/after side by side pictures for comparison:

Linking up with:
still being molly

Friday, July 11, 2014

High Five for Friday

I am so ready for this weekend, it's not even funny. While we had a blast last weekend down at the river, I couldn't be happier just staying home for this weekend with absolutely no plans. I have been up late every night this week sewing, so it will be nice to get caught up on sleep as well. Thank goodness the week flew by!
Here are my highlights from the week!
  1. Charlotte donned her bathing suit and braved the water over the weekend. She didn't actually go in or even explore the boat since we kept her strapped in her carrier the whole time unless we were docked. But she did look the part! Selfies on the boat!
  2. We've had a rough week with what I think is teething. It could also have been a cold. Regardless, my friend told me about these teething sticks so I decided to give them a try. So far so good! Charlotte really likes gnawing down on them.
  3. Since this weekend consisted of a lot of boat rides, what would a high five post be without an awesome selfie of my sister-in-law and me?! This was taken after our family let us drift away on a raft and were finally rescued.
  4. My crazy cat lady self came out. I couldn't resist these awesome cat outfits for Charlotte while running an errand in the mall. I can NOT wait to put these on her!
  5. If you follow me on Instagram, then you already know about the real highlight of my week; meeting Gio Gonzalez (pitcher for the Washington Nationals). I went to the game with my mom on Monday night and he was signing autographs in the teams store. I of course had to stop and say hi, get an autograph and of course a picture to document!
Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for H54F!
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Thursday, July 10, 2014

DIY Disney Painted Toms

I've seen custom painted Disney Toms floating around on Etsy for a few years now and it wasn't until I saw Dixie Delights post on how to do them yourself, that I decided to take a stab at them. After all, I draw Mickey and Minnie heads during meetings everyday, why can't I custom paint my own Toms?

To be clear, I didn't have the guts to paint a fresh new pair of Toms; what if they turned out horrible?! I couldn't stand the thought of ruining a $50 pair of shoes. So off to Walmart I went to buy some bo bo shoes. They only cost $9 and Target wanted $20 for their fake Toms, um no thanks!

What you'll need:
Toms or look alike Toms
Paint brushes - variety of sizes
Fabric craft paint - I didn't end up using the yellow and red glitter
Pattern/stencil if you are not going to draw freehand
Black Sharpie
Mod Podge (not pictured)

Once I had decided on how I wanted them to look, I went ahead and sketched out the images I wanted. If you don't trust yourself to draw, then print and cut out the silhouettes so you can trace them.

Using a fine tipped paint brush, I outlined the edges in the black paint and then used a larger brush to fill in the ears. I did the same thing for the red. Once dry, I went over everything again to make sure I had it all nice and even.

Next, I used a fine tipped brush again to do Mickey's white buttons and Minnie's bow dots. Once everything was mostly dry, I went over the edges with a black Sharpie to clean up the lines a bit

All that's left is to cover your seal your image with Mod Podge. I used the dishwasher Mod Podge that I had from another craft and decided it would probably be best because it is water soluble and if you've been to Disney, you know it rains almost everyday in Florida. This way they will be protected.

I did not have high expectations for the finished product (hence me buying fake Toms) but am really happy with how they turned out! An hour later, it was the best $17 I've spent in a long time.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Charlotte's Six Month Update

Today is Charlotte's half birthday and you know what that means? Another monthly update! I love watching her change from month to month and documenting all her milestones. Hopefully, one day she will look back on all these posts as a sort of time capsule of her little life.

Eating: This past month was spent exploring new foods. We introduced baby food and to say she loves it is an understatement. Seriously, she has not made a face at anything we've given her. We started with vegetables and introduced a new one every three or four days to make sure she had no issues. This week, we will start introducing fruits which I'm sure she'll love just as much, if not, even more. Currently, she eats two meals a day of baby food, with about 26-28oz of formula which is much better than the 36oz of formula she was eating last month.

Sleeping: We have started to face some challenges on getting Charlotte down for the night, but in the grand scheme of things, it's nothing. She starts acting tired around 7pm so we get her ready for bed and put her down. Then the screaming begins. We know there is nothing wrong with her (besidses the occosaional teething pain), but she will roll around in her crib screaming. After 15 minutes, one of us will go in and give her her pacifier and another kiss goodnight. Usually she will cry for another five minutes or so and then fall asleep for the night.

Mornings are usually pretty easy. She gets up between 5:30 and 6 and after a quick diaper change and a bottle, she will go back to sleep for a few hours, which is especially nice on the weekends.

Charlotte has become much more interactive over the past few weeks and I can tell she is going to be hard to keep up with! She loves playing, bouncing and talking to her animals in her exersaucer. When she's not in that, she loves to independently sit on her own and play with toys that are in her reach. I think in the next month or so she will be able to scoot around or better yet, crawl. She likes to stand while holding your hands and will hang out there for minutes at a time. She still has such a sweet personality and will smile at everyone.

Starting to like Minnie more and more. Look how far she's come!

Check out her other month updates:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

July 4th Recap

I hope everyone had an awesome holiday weekend and got to enjoy some much deserved time off! We spent our weekend down at my in-laws river house and had a blast! Here is a recap in pictures of our weekend.

My in-laws bought half a bushel of crabs to have for lunch on July4th. Seafood is not my thing, so I stood back and took pictures. It definitely looks like a lot of work for just a little crab meat, but everyone seemed to really enjoy it!
Charlotte had 3 July 4th outfits so we were constantly changing her so we could see them all! I think this one was my favorite. I don't have any pictures of fireworks, but there were plenty, I just didn't bring my phone. For once I wanted to enjoy them not behind the camera lens.
I took my Lilly Pulitzer 4th of July fabric and made some pretty sweet shirts and bows so we could match on Saturday. This is us rocking them out at the community cornhole tournament!
Speaking of cornhole, I didn't get very many pictures, but they had about 15 sets of boards lined up and about 70 people entered into the tournament. It was so much fun! My dad even finished in the top 8!


 We finished off the night with an evening boat ride complete with a bonfire and s'mores. Life really doesn't get much better than that!

Before we left on Sunday, we took the boat out one last time and Charlotte loved it! She slept for most of it, but once we docked, we let her "drive"!

It was such a fun weekend, but I'm so glad to be home and back to our normal routine. I hope you too had an awesome 4th of July!