Friday, March 13, 2015

High Five

  1. I seriously can't believe how big Charlotte is getting! In the past few weeks she has learned a handful of words, can respond to questions (with her actions) and is now properly using a fork?! I love how she learns something new everyday!
  2. In case anyone was worried, Milo is still getting attention. It's not always when he wants it, but I think he's slowly learning that after Charlotte goes to bed, he gets us to himself. You can tell it's his favorite time of day....being held like a baby.
  3. Charlotte has discovered Minnie Mouse this week and I can't handle how sweet she is when she gives that over-sized stuffed animal a big squeeze as if they are best friends.
  4. Alex and Ani released a Disney Vacation Club bracelet that sells out within hours. This was the second release and I missed it again! Lucky for me, I found someone who bought two and sold me her extra. Talk about my lucky day! Most people are selling their extras on ebay at over $100, so you can only imagine how happy I was to hear she would give it to me at retail! 
  5. I've always wanted to try my hand at the fun vinyl letters that you see everywhere now. If I can't embroider it, I should sticker it, right?! So my mom gave me her old Cricut machine to give it a try. I haven't had time to test it out just yet, but you better believe I'll be busting this baby out over the weekend.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Be Our Guest - Dinner Review

Exactly 180 days out from our trip, I called Disney Dining in hopes to get a reservation at the elusive Be Our Guest Restaurant. This is one of Disney's newest restaurants which means it's THE hardest to get a reservation for. Of course, knowing that it's so difficult to get in, only makes me want to eat there more. Lucky for us, there was one reservation left and it was for our last day in the parks (I still find it ridiculous that they are booked 180 days out by 10am).

I truly had no idea what to expect. I felt like I had won the lotto just by getting a table. But since I had 180 days before I would actually be inside Beast's Castle, I forced myself to lower my expectations for fear of getting disappointed in the whole experience.

It was finally here. The day of our reservation! We couldn't have planned it better as we had the first reservation of the day. Sure, it was senior citizen's dinner hour, but it allowed me to get some great shots of inside the restaurant before it filled up!

The restaurant has three dining rooms (it's quite amazing that they book up every day), the west wing, the ballroom and the rose gallery. We ate in the ballroom where snow falls right outside the window.

Now it was time to order. Since we had just ran the half marathon that morning, and we were so excited to have gotten this reservation, we decided to go all out. We started with a bottle of wine (which was a must considering this is the only place you can get alcohol in Magic Kingdom) and a meat and cheese tray. For our entrees I got the strip steak with Pommes Frites (fancy word for french fries) and I think they were the best part. The cooked them in truffle oil which gave them such a unique flavor. Rachel ordered the sauteed shrimp and scallops that came in a puff pastry which was also very good.

In between dinner and dessert, the Beast made his grand entrance into the ballroom and then on to the throne room to meet and great guests on their way out from dinner.

We were going to just try the grey stuff for dessert, but after seeing all the other options from the dessert cart, we had to get two desserts.

Since part of the experience was meeting the Beast, we couldn't leave without partaking. We made our way to the throne room and stood in line for about 15 minutes before it was our turn to take a picture. We had a little magical moment when I dared Rachel to sit in his chair while the people in front of us were taking his picture. When he heard of what was happening, he tried to keep his composure until the people in front of us were gone. Then it was our turn for a picture, but first he had to brush off his seat to rid it of Rachel's "germs". He then sat down and claimed back what was rightfully his.

Probably one of the best moments of the trip!

All in all I would say to definitely try and get a reservation at Be Our Guest Restaurant. While it is one of the more expensive places to eat, I found the food to be very good. I loved that the menu was different enough from other Disney restaurants so you didn't feel you were eating the same things. The ambiance of the restaurant was also amazing. They definitely got all the details right. I also loved that fact that you could order a bottle or glass of wine in a park that it's forbidden in! Lastly, the experience with the Beast is one you can't get anywhere else.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Back on Track

Mondays don't get the credit they deserve. Everyone is always complaining about how awful they are, but to me I see it differently. Mondays are good for one thing...a fresh start. With the snow melting, the sun staying out later and temperatures feeling like spring means it's time for my fresh start and to get my butt back in gear. I've been so lazy about so many things this winter, but that's all going to change starting today.

The half marathon I ran (mainly walked) two weeks ago proved that I was more out of shape than I thought. It also reminded me that I do enjoy running (when I'm in shape) and it's time I make it work as a mom. For the past year, Charlotte has been my excuse, and to be honest she's been the best excuse, but it's time to do this for me, no excuses. 

Running isn't just about what it does physically to my body but mentally as well. When I'm exercising regularly, I find that it reflects on all aspects of my life and makes me a happier wife, mother and employee.

So to start, I have set a few goals for this week: To drink more water (anything will be an improvement from before when I was drinking next to nothing), pack my lunches (no more gorging on sit down lunches with friends or raiding the vending machine when I'm too busy to go out) and to run at least three times this week (now that it stays light until after 7pm I really have no more excuses).

If you're like me and need to get back on track with your diet and exercise, stop talking about it and just do it! I'd love to hear about your plans and progress along the way, so be sure to leave a comment so we can encourage each other. Here's to a fresh start!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend 2015

I can't believe its been a week since I ran my second Disney Princess Half Marathon (DPHM) and my third half marathon ever! The last time I ran the DPHM was in 2012 and I was pleased to see the improvements they've made to the weekend in just three years. runDisney certainly knows what they are doing with these races!

After driving through the night, we arrived first thing Thursday morning to hit up the expo at opening. Things went super smooth at packet pickup with basically no lines. There was still plenty of merchandise to purchase and all the lines were organized and moved fast (which is important when you have other things to do like play in the parks!).

Beer at 10am on vacation is totally acceptable, right?!

With the expo crossed off our list and the race not until Sunday morning, we had a few days to enjoy Disney. We did all sorts of fun things like dinner at Hoop Dee Doo Musical Review, drinks at the Polynesian, meet and greet Elsa and Anna and carb loaded at Mama Melrose the night before the race!

We laid out our outfits and called it an early night on Saturday, after a senior citizen's dinner (4pm reservations), to get our beauty sleep sleep since we were waking up at 2:30am! We figured we would get plenty of sleep as long as we were in bed before 8pm. Mission accomplished!

We waited less than 5 minutes before a bus arrived at our hotel (I think it helped that we were at DVC resort so there weren't as many racers). Lucky for us, the low that night was in the 50s so it made the long walk to the start bearable. We were prepared this year with cheap sweat suits from Walmart to wear while we waited for the race to start and even for the first few miles. You can just shed that layer whenever you want and they have people along the side of the course picking up the clothes to donate to charity. Easy peasy!

I noticed that this year the corals were easy to find and organized. They had volunteers at the entrance to each coral checking bib numbers to keep them even and manageable. The start of each coral began with fireworks which is always magical so since we were in coral I we got to watch lots of fireworks before it was our turn. The race started at 5:35am but we didn't cross the start line until 6:00am.

 Considering I didn't train AT ALL I was quite happy that I ran as much as I did during the race. Of course, we stopped plenty of times to get pictures since in 2012 we didn't stop once which we instantly regretted. My goal was to finish in the upright position, have fun and take plenty of selfies! As you can see, I think I accomplished just that!

Since the lines were 30 minutes long for each picture, we decided to skip the lines and take selfies instead!

One of my favorite parts is running under this underpass with a super fun DJ wearing giant Mickey gloves blasting music. This is about mile 4 and the perfect place to get pumped!

 My face as I'm about to run through the say I'm excited is an understatement.

 Quick! Let's take a picture with the castle behind us! If only the selfie stick was smaller, I would have been able to get some better pictures, but the old fashioned way works too! 

 Passing through the castle and who was there to cheer us on?! Kristoff, Anna and Elsa!  

 Around mile 9 I was running out of gas, but these little inspirational signs helped.

For some reason, this sign just cracked me up, had to make Rachel take a picture since she was dressed up as Belle!

Truly dead at this point, but we were on the homestretch! Mile 12!

Just feet before the finish line was Mickey and Minnie, I couldn't resist. The perfect way to end the race!

By 9:30am we had run 13.1 miles. So now what?! Go to Magic Kingdom and play in the parks...after a shower of course! 

Friday, February 20, 2015

High Five

I know I've been MIA this week, but so many things have thrown me off my normal routine! Monday was a holiday, then we had a snow day on Tuesday and Wednesday I left for Disney World to run walk  the Disney Princess Half Marathon! But don't worry, even if my blog is looking sparse, you can always see what I'm up to on my Instagram.

  1. So excited to show you our costumes for the Disney Princess Half Marathon! We finally got the finishing touches done today and I couldn't be happier with how they turned out!
  2. As part of all my crafting projects for the race, I thought I would try my hand at a MagicBand bow. I thought they added to our awesome race day outfits!
  3. Charlotte had her first experience with a's the little things. Of course I couldn't help but snap this little selfie of her playing with her balloon and our matching duck faces. Again, it's the little things. :)
  4. We have been so lucky to have a baby that isn't really picky when it comes to food. But I must say, she definitely favors fruit over meat, that is until now. We went out to lunch and she demanded that she eat a hamburger slider. 
  5. This picture just cracks me up. When Charlotte sees herself in the camera, instead of smiling, she makes this face.....such a ham!

Friday, February 13, 2015

High Five for Friday!

  1. Like most people in our area, we took advantage of the beautiful weather we had last weekend. We had so much fun playing outside and now that she's at an age where she can play on a play-set, it's even more fun!
  2. I went to lunch at a local resort this week and it was amazing! The library was my favorite room with wall to wall bookshelves full of books to borrow and this luxury Monopoly game. I could have spent hours just sitting by the fire, sipping a glass (or two) of wine and playing board games.
  3. I took some much needed time off my little side business of embroidering, but am slowly getting back into it with some special requests for friends that have come in this week. I especially loved these little Frozen ears I did for a friend's upcoming trip!
  4. Charlotte was styling in her gold moccs and bow that I couldn't resist snapping a picture. Of course within 5 seconds of the bow being placed on her head, she decided it needed to go. 
  5. With Valentine's Day being tomorrow, I just had to share this little applique design I did for another friend. I liked it so much, that I made a Valentine's Day shirt for Charlotte just like it!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Easy and Fun DIY Valentine's

Even though this is Charlotte's second Valentine's Day, it is our first experience with buying Valentine's for her friends at daycare. I wanted to do something that all the little kids could enjoy but at the same time stay out of trouble with their parents. Most of her classmates are under 3 so candy would not be a good option. My friend offered to order me rubber ducks since she would be doing the same thing for her daughter's daycare. So, rubber duckies it was.

Now that I had a dozen Valentine themed rubber ducks, it was time to come up with a cutesy way to package and distribute. To the Pinterest machine! I stumbled across Formula Mom who came up with this idea!

What You'll Need:
Rubber Ducks - Oriental Trading Company
Tape - double sided is best
Free Printable from Formula Mom
Card stock paper to print on
Fancy pen to sign them with

Simply print out the design on card stock paper (they will print 2 per page), then trim the edges. Have your little one sign the card now before the duck gets in the way, unless of course they can't write yet and in that case you will sign the card. Then tape the duck to the center of the Valentine and that's all there is to it! Handmade Valentine's in less than 30 minutes!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Pretty, Comfortable and Functional - WIWW

I apologize yet again for the poor quality of these photos as I'm still using my iPhone since my DSLR camera charger is MIA. Maybe by next week we'll be back in business!

Multi-functional outfits are a must for me these days since I go from Mommy mode, to work, to errands then back to mommy mode, with no time in between to change clothes. I managed to wrap all of my favorite things into one outfit by keeping it pretty, comfortable and functional.

Boots, tights and cardigans are my everyday winter essentials. But throw in some pretty jewel tones and a skirt with an elastic waist, and I'm in heaven. For whatever reason, I feel like I can conquer the world and can actually live in this outfit.
Linking up with Lindsey @ The Pleated Poppy for WIWW!

pleated poppy

Friday, January 30, 2015

High Five for Friday!

  1. We had so much fun last weekend just by staying in and playing around the house. Listening to Charlotte giggle uncontrollably is one of my favorite parts about being a mom. In that moment, nothing can be wrong. All my worries, fears, anxiety and stresses disappear and I get to laugh with this little girl.
  2. My (new) selfie stick came! My husband got me a selfie stick for Christmas and it broke due to the weight of my phone (stupid iPhone 6 plus). So I sent an email to their support department and they sent me a new and improved one that was meant to hold the phone, and guess what?! It's PINK! 
  3. This little girl needs to seriously stop growing up! She drinks out of cups with straws and doesn't even need me to hold it for her!
  4. How stinkin' cute are these?! I've been eyeing gold moccasins since before Charlotte was born, but when I saw these little beauties with bows on them I just knew they were for me (er, I mean Charlotte)! BriellaBo does such a nice job making these! Oh and if you use code JAN15 at checkout by Jan 31st, you get 15% off your order!
  5. I don't think I've mentioned it on here yet, but next month my friend and I are headed to Disney to run the Princess Half Marathon! (I know what you're thinking, "OMG, I had no idea you were even training!" Unfortunately, I haven't, but it will still be fun right?....this should be interesting!) Here is a start on my costume, can you guess who I'm going to be?! Stay tuned for the tutu! 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

5 Things That Helped Us Survive The First Year

While I was still pregnant with Charlotte, I remember my sister-in-law telling me that a baby only needs three things: a safe place to sleep, a car seat and clothes to stay warm. It was just the thing I needed to hear after wasting too many nights stressing over what brand of bottles and bibs to put on my registry. She made me realize that at the end of the day Charlotte would have her basic needs and survival is the only thing that matters. I know that sounds dramatic, but sometimes that is the best you can do until tomorrow.

Now that we have been parents for a year, I thought I would share some of the things that we couldn't have survived without. The funny thing about every single one of these items is they never made it on our registry, they were purchased in an attempt to solve a problem. Hopefully these items will help other first time parents get a little more sleep so they can enjoy the first year for all the fun that it brings.

This turned out to be the best money we spent in the first few months of Charlotte's life. We quickly found out that sleeping completely flat was painful to her, so we tried putting her down in her bouncy seat and it was the longest stretch of sleep we got. It didn't take us long to realize we needed the Rock-n-Play as a safe place for her to sleep in at night.

We kept her in this in our room for about three months. It was portable enough to bring around the house wherever we were, it vibrated which would instantly put her to sleep and it was at the perfect height by my bed so if she woke up, I could easily rock her back to sleep just by stretching my arm out next to me.

Moving Charlotte from our room to her crib was harder on us than it was on her. We were so worried she would know we weren't there and would wake up crying. We were wrong. But to help in the chance she did wake up, we got this little Giraffe that makes white noise and sings lullabies. You can put it on for 23 or 45 minutes. We have only changed the batteries once and we've used it every night for the past 10 months. We traveled quite a bit with Charlotte during her first year, so being able to bring this little giraffe with us everywhere we go has helped create a familiar sleep environment for her.

There are a lot of different schools of thoughts on video monitors and whether they are good top have or not. Some people think it's lazy, but for us it has been a huge help. We both are sound sleepers and have to keep ours and the baby's door closed at night so having a sound monitor is a must. However, the video part has helped us assess if she's truly in distress or not. I know I should know her cries, but sometimes in the middle of the night it's hard to think clearly. Being able to just look over and watch her try to go back to sleep has eased my mind on many occasions. Often when she wakes up she doesn't cry, so it helps us determine when we need to go and get her and when she is content on having quiet time in her crib.

Another huge benefit for us is being able to sit downstairs and watch TV or do work without constantly worrying if she's ok. She has a habit of sleeping with her blanket by her face (it's the only way she'll sleep) so being able to check on her periodically without going into her room and risking waking her up has been a lifesaver

Now that Charlotte is off formula, we have to always be prepared with a snack in case of a meltdown. A bottle used to solve everything, but now we have to be more creative. My mom discovered these little Buddy Fruits at the grocery store one day and we haven't been without them since. They are easy to throw in your purse or diaper bag for a quick snack, plus they have more nutrition value than cereal or puffs. I think Charlotte just likes being able to hold it on her own.

5. Family

It's not a product, but probably the most important factor to surviving our first year as new parents. We seriously could not have done this without our family. Whether you use them for advice and moral support or to help when you need a little break, having family and friends willing to help is the only survival tool we need. At the end of the day, there is always someone to listen to you rant about the hard times, but even better, they are there making memories with you along every step of the way.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Confident and Classic City Chic - WIWW

I must first apologize for the quality of this week's pictures. My camera charger is missing and I've officially killed the battery, so these pictures were taken with my phone. If I still don't have my charger by next week, maybe I will do a What I Wore Wednesday post using my selfie stick! Yep, you read that correctly, I have a selfie stick and I'm not ashamed to admit it. 

So there I was, out for one of the first times since having Charlotte and I came across this poncho at Ann Taylor on the clearance rack. It wasn't like anything I've ever bought, but when I tried it on, the transformation was instant. I no longer felt insecure or frumpy; I felt stylish and chic! Needless to say, this little gem went home with me. And now over a year later, I still find it to be one of my favorite pieces especially on a day when I need a confidence boost!

Outfit Details:
Poncho//Ann Taylor
Black Jeans//White House Black Market

I can't help but feel like Mary Tyler Moore when I wear this outfit which for some reason raises my sass level tenfold (I feel bad for my colleagues). Regardless, we must all have an outfit that makes us feel a million bucks no matter what the day throws at you. This goes to show that you don't always have to be super dressed up to feel fabulous. 

What is your go to outfit that makes you feel on top of the world? Do you wear it enough? I challenge all of you to dig out that outfit, article of clothing or even accessory and wear it this week to give yourself a well deserved ego boost!

Linking up with Lindsay @ The Pleated Poppy for WIWW

pleated poppy

Friday, January 23, 2015

High Five for Friday!

I typically don't miss a High Five for Friday post, but last week was beyond my control. Our entire family came down with a terrible stomach bug. The only good thing about bugs like that is they are usually gone within 24 hours. Needless to say, I missed my high fives. So to make up for it, I am doing one big high five to cover the last two weeks. Enjoy!

  1. Charlotte enjoys feeding herself at dinner, but I think her favorite part of dinner is licking the plate. She started this little trick the other night and I just HAD to document it.
  2. We of course had her 1 year check up last week and just as I was trying to take a picture of her stats, her little fingers crept in. Maybe it's just me, but those two little chubby fingers sneaking in just cracks me up!
  3. I've shared this picture on Instagram and in her Birthday post, but it's still one of my favorites right now. The pure joy on her face can make a bad day instantly better.
  4. Here is another one of my favorites. Charlotte insists upon brushing her teeth whenever she sees me with a toothbrush. She will fuss and cry until I give her hers.
  5. I made this perfect little Disney decomesh wreath for Charlotte's birthday and I've decided that it will now be my everyday wreath.
  6. One of my wardrobe staples as of late is this amazing onsie by OnePiece (don't worry I got mine on super sale!). It's made of sweatshirt material, so no static and doesn't have feet, which makes it absolutely perfect. As soon as I get home, I change into this for the evening. Can we say obsessed?!
  7. This is a little snapshot of how my mornings go. When I'm trying to get ready, she insists on being as close as humanly possible to me. It makes doing my hair with a 400 degree flat iron interesting to say the least. 
  8. On Monday I spent the afternoon making food for the week. I cannot say enough how much this helped us this week. I managed to make chicken pot pies, chili, cornbread and baked ziti. 
  9. One of Charlotte's birthday presents was this awesome little talking chair complete with a remote control on the armrest. From time to time I will catch her watching TV in it and suddenly she is no longer a baby!
It's going to be a nasty weekend with rain/snow/sleet so you will find my family in their jammies all day tomorrow and I can't wait! Have a great weekend and stay dry!