Over The Top Mommy

Emi

Getting Ready to Go ON THE ROAD for the Disney Social Media Moms Conference!

The day I got an email in my inbox inviting me to attend the Disney Social Media Moms on the Road Conference in Arizona was a Magical One!

OTR invite

I’d connected with so many other Disney-loving moms online who are also in the social media world and this was finally going to be my chance to connect with many of them in person! I was also excited about the location of the conference, The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort! The property looked like it had so much to offer when I checked out the website. Emi was excited for the pools and Sonoran Splash, which are the watersides. I just couldn’t wait for all of it!

As the conference date neared, I started to plan out which necessities I’d need. I made a list of road trip necessities, in-room necessities, and conference necessities! Since Emi was going to be traveling with me to Arizona, although she wouldn’t be attending the actual conference, I wanted to get some extra special things for our trip to maximize our dual Disney Side.

First of all, let’s talk EARS! I love wearing ears. I wear ears when I’m in the parks. I sometimes wear ears when I’m teaching. I wear ears when I’m cleaning the house, unless I’m already wearing a tiara to clean! I will find any excuse to wear ears. Emi and I both already have black and red ears but I was in search of new ones for this special occasion.  I came across an adorable local (to me) shop on Facebook called Popsikle Shop. She makes custom ears, so I decided to order a pair for both emi and I, matching of course!

popsikleNext we went shopping for warm weather necessities. Wait, I didn’t mean warm weather, I meant HOT weather! (Have you ever been to Arizona at the end of June?) Emi wanted to find some items that were matching and Disney-ish. We really lucked at Walmart! Their Juniors section had a ton of really cute bathing suits and swim shorts. Hot pink with white polka dots was VERY “Minnie”

twinsSo adorable, don’t you agree?

visorsDo you like our hot pink visors, too? 

matching dressesWe also found matching polka dotted coverups at Walmart that we wore as sundresses!

Walmart had everything we needed for our trip. We found sunglasses, water shoes, some other summer clothes, sunblock, and even snacks for the road trip! Not only did they have everything we needed, but it was also very affordable!

shirts

We also packed the personalized t-shirts we had made for Disney24 to wear in the room as part of our pajamas. I think this was the first trip we’d gone on where we had almost exact matching wardrobes. It was pretty cute!

I knew I needed to find something special to bring to this conference and hand out with my business cards. I racked my brain for something that I could make, but I truly had no extra time to really make anything by hand. Then I came across a post from a friend of mine, Xenia, who had recently hosted a Disney Junior Familia Party. It was on that post that I discovered alfajores! I KNEW immediately that they where what I needed to bring to the conference. Melo made me some AMAZING Mickey-shaped alfajores in both pink and white animal-cookie flavor and churro flavor! She was sweet enough to wrap them individually for me to pass out to friends. Needless to say, they were a hit!

mickey alfajore

eat alfajores stickerEmi and I picked out a road trippin’ buddy to take with us.  It only seemed appropriate that we chose Minnie Mouse. She sure loved to take pictures with us on our trip.

holding minnieWe even went to Michael’s to buy some chalk paint pens and the night before we left, we wrote on our car windows! We had to be the most prepared car driving through the desert! Emi even wrote “Honk if you love Disney” on my rear window!

chalk painted windwownI  DO think it’s weird that not one person honked though!

Oh well, more Disney for us, right?

 

The Day We Met Olaf (Josh Gad) at Disney’s 24-hour event

I must admit that I was a little hesitant about attempting the Rock Your Disney Side 24-hour event at The Disneyland Resort with Emi. I have an immense love for Disney, I just wasn’t sure how it would be with a 9 year old by my side. We did some pre-planning for the day and even organized a little bit, thinking it might help make our experience a little easier. (to see that post, click here.)
I originally planned on arriving at The Disneyland Resort around 5 a.m. but waking up Emily was a little more difficult than I anticipated. We still made it by 6:30 a.m., which actually turned out a little bit better for us, because those initial crowds were already inside of the parks. We parked in the Mickey & Friends parking structure and that’s where the Magic started for the day! Emi had a HUGE smile on her face after the CM gave her these.

Disney even offered carpooling perks for guests carpooling to the event!
Here we are going down the escalator to the tram…at 6 a.m.!
The parking structure didn’t seem very crowded nor were the trams. After exiting the tram and going through the security bag check, we spotted the media area in the Esplanade with sand sculptures in it. As we walked towards the giant Olaf sand sculpture, we were both in awe of its beauty. Clearly we had no idea there was an even better surprise over there!
After walking around the media area to see if any of our friends might still be over there, I recognized the amazing Lisa Robertson of Babes in Disneyland and saw that she was taking a picture with someone, right in front of the Olaf sand sculpture. That’s when Emi tugged at my shirt and (practically) shouted, “Mommy LOOK…it’s Olaf!!!” Lisa was actually taking a picture with Josh Gad, I guess I just didn’t realize at first! I try not to fangirl but THIS WAS OLAF! Emi and I walk around on a daily basis talking like him, quoting him, doing his snowman dance…we LOVE Olaf! When we saw Josh had walked over to the other side to take a few fan pictures and sign some autographs, we walked (very quickly) over there too. He was so kind and genuine with the fans, taking time with each one. He chatted with them, signed autographs, took pictures with them, and even recited a line from the movie for one girl, as she recorded it. It melted my heart when my daughter backed up to make more space for a guy in a wheelchair, so he too, could have access to Josh. It melted my heart more when Josh approached him and the guy’s face light up as they took a picture together.  I then overheard a high school kid next to me say, “Oh my gosh, this JUST made my entire graduation trip here SO MUCH BETTER!”
At this point I was already overjoyed about our day and it was only 6:45 a.m.!
We chose to start our day in the parks inside Disneyland. I loved walking in and seeing Alice and Mad Hatter dancing in the entryway with some children to the music of The Disneyland Band. I loved being inside Disneyland this early in the morning because there were still lights on that you’d normally only see at night and it just feels like you’re getting a view of Disneyland that you normally would never get during a regular visit. I loved seeing all of the guests in costumes. I already loved the ambiance. I think I loved a lot of things that day!
As Emi and I walked down Main Street, U.S.A., we just kept running into social media friends. First we saw our friend Caryn from Rockin’ Mama and we got to meet Heather from It’s a Lovely Life and Nicole from Presley’s Pantry too. Next we spotted Pattie from Living Mi Vida Loca, who was channeling her inner Snow White. Then we got to sit for a little while on the patio of The Jolly Holiday and have coffee with Liz from Family is Familia
We LOVED our Maleficent buttons that they gave us at the Main Gate!
A little later it was time for some fun in Fantasyland. Surprisingly, the lines weren’t very long. Emi and I have several mandatory things we must do in Fantasyland each time we visit Disneyland. Some of them include a ride on King Arthur’s Carousel (specifically on Jingles), a ride in the caboose of Casey Jr. Circus Train, and a spin in the blue tea cup over at Mad Tea Party.
Jingles is so beautiful!
From Fantasyland we strolled over to Big Thunder Ranch to visit the animals. We have a special bond with the goats and sheep over there, and taking pics and selfies with them has just become something necessary for us on each visit. We’re even starting to know each one by name. (you can learn their names from the tags on their collars). I’m convinced that the Disney goats have actually learned how to pose for a properly for photo. What do you think?
We were fortunate enough to run into the ladies behind Disneyfluentials while we were there and got one of their cool buttons! 
We also got to watch an interview they did with one of the goats. 
You HAVE TO check out that hilarious interview below!
I love how festive Mickey is in his Spring suit!
All of the socializing really made us work up an appetite, so we cruised over to Stage Door Cafe next. We were on a mission to try the Red Velvet Funnel cake, which was offered exclusively for the Disney 24 event! After one bite, it was like…..WOW!!! We were fighting over who was getting bigger bites and who was eating more of the cream cheese frosting! Sometimes it’s just hard to share!

We headed over to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad next but the line was a little longer than we were prepared to wait, so we just grabbed a fast pass for each of us. This is when we ran into The Disney Sisters! I’m telling you, it was a super social media day and, although we had never gotten to meet in person, it was fun to chit chat with them for a little while!

I feel like we did so much walking, talking, eating and tweeting all day long until we found ourselves in the early evening. Emi and I were both exhausted but neither of us was willing to admit it to the other one. We decided to take a walk into Downtown Disney for a little while to break up our day and re-energize with a Frozen Strawberry Lemonade and some Cinnamon Bits at Wetzel’s Pretzels.  As soon as we both sat down, outside of Wetzel’s Pretzels, I think I knew what was going to follow. We were both exhausted and I don’t think either of us had any energy to walk back to the parks. I felt like we accomplished a lot in the 13 hours that we did rally that day! Honestly, it was one of the BEST days we’ve had at The Disneyland Resort! We saw so many of our friends and got to do so much and let’s not forget, WE MET JOSH GAD!!!! I think THAT one is going to be hard to top!
Are you ready for my grand finale shot? Here ya go……….
Should YOU attend the next 24-hour event that Disney has? TOTALLY

The Day We Partied With Barbie and Ken at Farrell’s

Barbie turned 55 yesterday! She’s looks absolutely amazing for her age, don’t you think?
I grew up loving Barbies. I think Barbie was a favorite of most little girls and still is.
Emi and I had the chance to attend Barbie’s birthday celebration at Farrell’s Restaurant. At each of their participating restaurant locations, there was a special celebration which included appearances by Barbie and Ken, games, prizes and even a special Barbie Birthday Zoo for the kids to share.
We arrived a little bit early to find several little girls anxiously awaiting the start of the party and playing with their own Barbies outside of the Farrell’s door.

When the doors opened and we were welcomed into the party room,
we saw that the room was decorated for Barbie’s birthday.
Emi insisted that we bring her own Barbie table and chairs and she set it up right on the party table. (notice Barbie’s own tiny banana split and homemade birthday card on her table). 
All of the children were so excited when the party host first introduced Ken! Everyone clapped and Ken appeared in the room. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud because he kept the stiff posed arms throughout the celebration. The Ken they chose was so adorable and had so much personality!

Soon after, Ken introduced Barbie and when she came out,
with her stiff arms too. Barbie was as adorable and talented as Ken was.
They were the most amazing performers that this Farrell’s could’ve found for this event and were both beyond animated, beautiful, and never broke character. You could just tell that “Barbie” and “Ken” were genuinely having fun with the kids. I certainly appreciate their version of this Barbie song…

The kids  were so excited to play games with Barbie and Ken. First they played a trivia game, to see how much they knew about Barbie! Emi actually won TWO prizes in the trivia game! I have no idea how she knew Barbie’s full name, but that was one of the questions she answered!
Then they played “Hot Pig” (it’s like Hot Potato) with Barbie while Ken played the drum.
 Did I mention that this Ken is amazing on the Farrell’s drum?
After the games, the kids all got to share the special Barbie Zoo! What a treat!
Emi was in heaven getting to have ice cream at 10:30 a.m. and before lunch!
At the end of the party, the kids got to have their pictures taken with Barbie and Ken!
The most powerful part of the whole event for me, was the statement Farrell’s made, without saying a word! For them to show the children (and adults) in attendance at Barbie’s birthday celebration, that Barbie and Ken are NOT ALWAYS blond-haired and blue-eyed with white skin, was something that I wish more companies would do.  I don’t think there was one child at the party who noticed anything different about this Barbie and Ken, which is what makes me smile most! I thanked the manager, Chad, not only for hosting this fun event, but also for opting to feature a non-traditional Barbie and Ken to the kids! I honestly think there needs to be more of these kinds of occurrences in our society! Thank you Farrell’s! You really wowed me…again! 

DIY Festive Masks for Mardi Gras

We decided to celebrate “Fat Tuesday”, this last day of Carnival (Mardi Gras), by decorating some festive masks to wear! Emi and I love anything and everything with a little bling, so when we made a stop at Hobby Lobby, we threw a big container of multi-colored rhinestones and some brightly colored feathers into our shopping cart, along with a couple of plain white masks.

 As soon as we got home, our “Battle of the Glue Guns” began!
(note: Emi is almost 9 and now uses the glue gun on her own, but only when I’m supervising her)

I think we each had a different idea in our head of how we wanted to decorate our masks. I tend to gravitate towards the pinks. Emi, on the other hand, was determined to make more of a rainbow arrangement of gems on her mask and started by gluing the larger-sized stones down to the smaller ones. She also included eyelash details on her mask.

Little did I know that when Emi finished her mask, she wouldn’t just stop there, she needed to grab one of her Barbies and get HER ready for Mardi Gras! After Barbie was done receiving a festive makeover, Emi looked at me and said, “Look Mommy, she’s ready for Barbie Gras now!

Doing something like this is so easy and quite therapeutic. It was nice for me to put aside my cell phone and my long to-do list and for Emi to procrastinate doing her homework (hehe!) so that we could just sit and talk while, we sorted and glued gems and decorated our masks. I think this kind of activity also ties in with what I blogged about in my last post, getting back to what’s really important..these moments. It makes me realize that I should UNPLUG at times like this and enjoy that moment WITH Emi! It isn’t just about letting her be a kid or having time for imaginary play or having time for being creative, but it’s also about me getting down there with her and interacting with her.  I think so often as parents, we just get our kids situated with something, like a toy, a show, or an activity, and then go do what we need to do, whether it be to wash dishes, make dinner, fold laundry or get online. We’re all so busy all of the time, that we’re missing the moments. Of course we also have to be realistic because all of things also DO need to get done, but there has to be a way to find balance and/or let some of it go, so we can focus on our kids more. End of rant.

Our Own Oscar Party at Home

I literally spent the weekend cleaning the house. I actually felt like I’d accomplished something in the way of achieving “clean house status” yesterday, and the way I know I’ve reached that point is because I finally vacuum everything and make vacuum lines to finish off a room. Let me just tell you that cleaning my house always includes a sorting of Legos, Calico Critters, Strawberry Shortcake toys, American Girl accessories and a grip of art supplies. Although I do enlist Emi’s help with this, I also need things to be put back in an orderly fashion, so obviously I’m heavily involved in the organizing.
After I mentioned something to Emi yesterday afternoon about watching “The Red Carpet”, a lightbulb must’ve turned on in her head! It seemed that she immediately started planning her own version of an at-home Oscar celebration. She started pulling out every towel in our linen closet that had red in it, and was taping them down, on the floor together along our kitchen floor, with regular scotch tape. Then I watched her make a minimum of 4 trips up and down the stairs to get bring every trophy she’s ever earned, down from her room, which she let me know were going to be our “Oscars”.  At first I was hesitant and found myself saying “not right now” about what she was trying to do, because I didn’t want the living room to get messed up after I’d JUST cleaned it all up. That’s when I stopped to think about whether that was really so important? She’s 8 and has the most incredible imagination ever and why would I want to put a stop to that? So I could have my clean living room? THAT’S what I had to ask myself and it was at that point I decided to just sit back and let her do whatever it was she intended to do. Emi envisioned our Red Carpet to look a certain way and was planning our entire Oscars event, and that’s just what I allowed her to do.

After she was done laying down our beach towel version of the red carpet, she proceeded to make each of us a “VIP Ticket”, which we had to wear around our necks. Every time we entered or exited the kitchen, she had to check it to make sure it was us.

She also had a clipboard with the names of those who were allowed to enter the our Oscar ceremony.  If your name wasn’t on that list, you weren’t getting into OUR Oscars ceremony last night!

Did I mention that the area was roped off, with curling ribbon, and we had to wait until she cut the ribbon to get in?

In the seating area for our Oscars, aka the living room, she had chairs set up with drinks at a little table and a sign on the table that said “Reservation”. (I think she meant “Reserved”)

She tried her hardest to get me to change into a fancy dress, but I was already a lost cause in my pjs, as was her daddy. As we sat on the couch, watching the real Oscars on TV, Emi kept presenting us with “Oscars” for different things, as she stood underneath the TV. I think I won for “Best Female Chef” and another one for something else that’s hilarious but I won’t mention here on my blog! (hehe!) Daddy won the Oscar for “Best Male Chef” and something else too. We were both lucky because each time we won, Emi was the one who stood up and made a speech for us!

Emi never ceases to amaze us with her imagination and creativity and I couldn’t stop giggling when she came over and presented us with our “swag bags”! Each one said “Swag” on it, and contained a snack-sized bag of either Christmas or Valentine’s M&M’s, a JIF peanut butter to-go, and a hot pink paper straw! Seriously, does she know how to hook us up or what?

Did I mention that Emi got our cat to walk our red carpet to accept her Oscar for “Best Kitty”?

It was so much fun watching the Oscars while we had our own celebration at home with Emi. Don’t get me wrong, by the end of the night, my living room looked like someone threw a high school party in it, but I have to ask myself if worrying about having a clean house is worth her NOT getting to have that time to engage in imaginary play? I know many parents would probably not allow this. I’ve even heard people making comments about how when they were little, they could ONLY play like that in their own room, but I think the tradeoff is worth it. My house isn’t on the market and up for sale. I didn’t have guests coming over later. My mother-in-law wasn”t coming over anytime soon to do the white glove test. If there’s no real reason to say no, then why do so? I’m fine with knowing that sometimes I’ve gotta go with the flow and live in the moment! How many more moments like this are going to come along? This is what life is all about for me…living in these moments with Emi!

Fun at the Newest Farrell’s in Buena Park!

We were so excited to attend a pre-opening VIP event last weekend at the new Farrell’s in Buena Park. It actually didn’t feel like we even went to a restaurant, it was more like this giant party with 200 of our newest friends, that just kept on going!
Upon our arrival in the parking lot, the girls immediately spotted the Medevial Times mobile and insisted on posing for a picture with it! (Little did they know, they’d soon meet the actual knights inside the restaurant!)

I love the location of this newest Farrell’s because it’s very close to so many of the family attractions that the city of Buena Park has to offer, including Knott’s Berry Farm and Medevial Times. After checking in with the Farrell’s hostess, we were greeted by Alesha from Medevial Times. She had a promotional table set up and was handing out Medevial Times swag and coupons for the attraction. Alesha really interacted with my girls and even visited our table a few times, once we were seated.

Two of the Medevial Times’ Knights were walking around inside the restaurant, passing out t-shirts and crowns and helping the Farrell’s crew deliver some of the exciting desserts that require a whole lot of singing and hoopla! The girls REALLY wanted to order The Zoo, which is one of those desserts, JUST so they could have it delivered by the knights, but we also knew there was NO WAY that the four of us could finish a dessert that had like 1000 scoops of ice cream!
The energy of the entire staff at Farrell’s was amazing and it was something you could feel right when you walked in the front door! I think this is why it felt like we were at a party. While you’re at your table, you are constantly being invited to participate in songs and clapping and although it does seem like there’s non-stop drum banging occurring throughout your entire visit (because there is), you’re so busy having fun that you don’t seem to mind it nor the fact that your child or children are NOT sitting quietly at your table and that’s OK under these circumstances!

We started off with Farrell’s Ooey Gooey Cheese Sticks as an appetizer. For lunch, I ordered the Fabulous French Dip sandwich and the girls all ordered the sliders off of the children’s menu. There was even an option to upgrade the regular fries to chili cheese fries, so of course they hopped on that opportunity right away! We were careful NOT to eat too much regular food since we were ultimately trying to save room for some of their infamously crazy-good desserts! 

Farrell’s isn’t just a fun family restaurant, it’s a total entertainment package, something that you don’t get at typical restaurant. This was apparent after just a few of the talented and energetic crew spent some time at our table, amusing the girls. First, “Max” stopped by our table, and the girls immediately spotted one of the buttons he was wearing which had a pickle on it. He then explained to me that the button was actually Mr. Bob Farrell’s original motto. 

I think the girls took that as their cue to not only start asking him for pickles every time he passed by our table, but also to nickname him “Mr. Pickles“! Not long after that, we came to learn that “Mr. Pickles” was actually half of an infamous entertainment duo that you can probably meet at just about any Farrell’s community event, and at a future Farrell’s openings. The other half of the duo was nicknamed “Mr. Jake” by the girls. Jake is best known as “The Purveyor of Good Times” in the Farrell’s world. These 2 guys were so good with my girls, brought them stickers, pickles and took boatloads of pics with them. I think the girls instantly became lifelong fans after spending about 5 minutes with this duo! 

The girls were extremely impressed when they got to witness an epic ice cream eating contest between the Medevial Times knights and the team of “Mr. Pickles” and “Mr. Jake“.  Each team took a very different approach to how they were going to beat out the other one. While the knights continued mowing through their trough, the Farrell’s duo actually utilized glasses of water to wash it down, while stirring the ice cream and making it more liquid. I couldn’t actually watch for very long, but the fact that “Mr. Jake” did it all with a camera headband on is even more hilarious! I’m kinda wondering where THAT video footage is? 

When it came time for our own desserts, we decided to share an order of the “Ice Cream Nachos” (yep, they exist) and a “Banana Split” and yep…our desserts were accompanied by drumbeats and a song! Both of these desserts were giant and yummy! I jokingly told the girls, who are all competitive cheerleaders, that if this had been one of their cheer competitions, that they would’ve placed first! (I may have helped them a little bit) 

 Everything about Farrell’s is so nostalgic. Their menus are printed on newsprint and you actually can take them home with you. The drinks are served in (plastic) vintage Coca-Cola glasses and there are little American flags stuck into just about every appetizer, burger and dessert. The decor is mostly black and white, with touches of red here and there and each table has an old-fashioned stained glass lamp hanging above it. The servers wear uniforms adorned with armbands and these adorable straw hats that are available for purchase in their shop.

Each Farrell’s location features a shop where you can buy logo merchandise and choose from a HUGE variety of old-fashioned candies. The shop also has a ton of other fun trinkets available, including Farrell’s mustaches. 

My daughter and her entourage just didn’t want to leave the place! I don’t think we were there any less than 3 hours!  After they spent time getting their posters autographed by their staff favorites, and taking MORE pictures with them, it was finally time to say goodbye! 

Whether you remember Farrell’s from its way-back-when original locations, or you are just learning about it now, it’s something you need to experience just once! Emi hasn’t stopped talking about it since the other day and is just begging to go back again. It was THAT much fun! 
                                                Farrell’s in Buena Park is NOW OPEN! 
                                                                               650 Beach Blvd.
                                                                         Buena Park, CA 90620
                                                                       Phone # (714) 484-9700

 

 

It’s Time to Show My #DisneySide…..Again!

If you aren’t familiar with Disney’s most recent campaign, Disney Side, it’s this really fun campaign spotlighting Disney lovers’ own love for Disney, whether it be showing their #DisneySide while in a Disney park or on a Disney vacation or showing it off at home or just in their everyday life, it’s a chance to have some fun and show the rest of the (social media) world at the same time!
One of the latest opportunities to participate in this campaign was the chance to host a #DisneySide @Home Celebration. There were 1000s of applicants who applied to host one of these parties at home, to be held between February 15 and March 1st, integrating a party kit which they chosen hosts would be receiving. I decided to apply for it but felt discouraged at first when January 10th came and went and I didn’t receive an acceptance email. I didn’t talk about it to anyone, but I was disappointed, until I saw some other people mention online that they also had heard nothing nor had they heard of others getting an acceptance email. At that point, a little bit of hope re-ignited inside of me. I still chose not to talk about it to anyone though. I sometimes feel like if you talk about something too much, it won’t happen. 

And then I got this……. I was ecstatic!!! 

My Facebook newsfeed was blowing up with a ton of people who had also received the magical email, as were my Instagram and Twitter timelines. It was such an exciting day for so many of us. I don’t think I slept that night because all of a sudden my brain wouldn’t shut off with ideas for my #DisneySide party! I was literally up for work at 2:30 a.m. that next morning because my wheels wouldn’t stop turning enough for me to sleep. I think this euphoria stayed with me for about 2 days before I could go back to being normal again, whatever that is. 
 Next came more excitement because at this point, the chosen ones were now all waiting for our “magical boxes” to be delivered by UPS! My mind started spinning again because it seemed like every post I’d see was relating to the date of delivery, the weight of the box or boxes, people trying to guess what was going to be in the boxes, people trying to ask others if they knew about the contents of the box, etc. It was nuts! I understand how excited and anxious everyone was, but for me, I just wanted to be completely surprised and I knew my box would come at some point! I tried to stay away from anything posted that might give anything away and I definitely didn’t worry myself about when my box was being delivered. One day I got the email about my delivery and coincidentally, I happened to be home on the day my box was delivered. Not only was I home on that day, but I was home at the moment the UPS guy rang my doorbell, which is rare, since I’m hardly ever home for more than 5 minutes at a time! Boy was he in for a surprise! Just as he was trying to hand me the big box, with the magical blue #DisneySide tape on it, I asked if we could take a selfie? At first he seemed confused, and actually acted as if I were making a joke. It didn’t take him long to learn just how serious I was! Yep, as I started to explain WHAT the importance of the box was, I also stressed that it was vital I make “as big a deal as possible” about the delivery of my party kit! 

I swear our UPS guy was cut out for this stuff! After we took the first shot with my iphone, I realized that it didn’t get the wording on the box in, plus it was actually my bad side, so we switched spots! 

Then he kept offering to switch poses and spots and try different angles! He was HILARIOUS and the best sport about it! He told me that he often chats with my husband when he delivers to our house, so he was no stranger to convo on my porch! I’m seriously considering inviting him to my #DisneySide party! I mean, he WAS one of the first highlights of this process. People who saw the pic, LOVED how fun our UPS guy is!
Next came the box opening. Unfortunately my box was delivered around 2pm and my daughter was still in school which meant that I HAD to wait until I picked her up from school to tell her about it and actually open it. 

Emi was so excited about all of the goodies that were inside of our box, but her biggest “WOW!!!” came right when she opened the box and saw there was an American Tourister suitcase!!! And it was purple!

 I think the suitcase may have been the coolest part for Emi! 
 

We were both overwhelmed by all of the goodies inside of the suitcase though! There was a whole bunch of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse plates, cups, cupcake liners and a matching tablecloth with some coordinating hanging decorations! There was a hostess planning kit with suggestions for games and even a face painting guide. There were Craisins, like they serve in the parks, and these adorable rubber bracelets and stickers and some adorable Minnie and Mickey prints, all to give out to our guests. There was also a huge box of printer photo paper from HP! I know there were other things too. The list just goes on.  It was all so Magical! I mean seriously, how amazing to have been chosen for this opportunity and now this generous pile of things to help us with our party? Wow! 
I guess it’s  time to get to planning! Stay tuned for more details and a post about our #DisneySide Party!  http://disneyside.disneyparks.disney.go.com

We Love Casey’s Cupcakes!

I absolutely LOVE anything pink! One of my main nicknames is actually “Pinky”! The first time I Casey’s Cupcakes boutique, I was in awe of all the details. With so many cupcake stores open in Orange County and so much competition, it really takes something special to stand out above the others. If you’ve spent any amount of time in a Casey’s Cupcakes boutique, like maybe to enjoy one of her cupcakes and a coffee, you can also watch the episode of “Cupcake Wars” that she was on and that she won! Yep, not only is she adorable, but she can bake….and bake under some major pressure!

Recently, Casey’s hosted a photo contest on Instagram. I didn’t NEED an excuse to go into her Fashion Island store and enjoy a Confetti Cupcake, but if I had needed one, this was it! The store looked extra beautiful because it was all decorated for Christmas! Although there were so many cupcakes to choose from, including her Flavor of the Month: Glamorous Gingerbread, but Emi and I are still always drawn to the Casey Confetti Cupcake. This cupcake is so yummy, I swear I could eat two in one sitting, all by myself! I’m not even sure if I like the frosting or the actual cupcake more? Both parts are amazing! Before I let Emi sit down to enjoy her cupcake, I had to snap a couple pics of her in front of the adorable Casey’s Christmas tree!

I think this expression on Emi’s face says it all! 

This is definitely our favorite cupcake of them all….Casey’s Confetti Cupcake!

So…imagine our excitement when we found out that we’d won FIRST PLACE in the photo contest! I told Emi that we’d split the prize package, since it was her photo that won the contest, but it was me that submitted the picture. Emi actually negotiated with me that I also get her one of the Casey dolls. I thought it was a fair deal! We returned back to the Fashion Island store to pick up the prize package on Christmas Eve,wearing our matching hot pink jackets! You have to DRESS the part, right?

As if we hadn’t already loved Casey’s Cupcakes already, now we’re even bigger fans! If you haven’t visited one of her 5 locations, you need to get yourself to one soon! She also offers packages for “Decorate Your Own Cupcake Parties and a very special “Tea Party and Tiaras exclusively at the Woodbury location, which is something that Emi is hoping to do next! Have you visited a Casey’s Cupcakes location yet? If so, what was your favorite cupcake flavor?

A Christmas Fantasy Parade at Disneyland

A Christmas Fantasy Parade is my favorite parade to watch at The Disneyland Resort. This year, Emi and I had the opportunity to be in the park on one of the days that ABC was filming for their Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade Show! It was so exciting to be able to see things that aren’t normally in the regular Christmas Fantasy Parade.

We loved seeing all of these characters from Toy Story, who normally appear in the Pixar Play Parade at DCA.
It was also fun to see a bit of Cars Land over on The Disneyland Side!

Although we weren’t able to sit in the area where all of the cameras were filming, we did secure a spot on the curb, right in front of Plaza Inn, which is where the floats and characters entered the filming area. This meant that almost all of them had time to look our way and wave prior to entering the main filming area on Main Street, U.S.A.! What a great spot to be seated!
This is one of my favorite pics. It’s just something you never see at Disneyland…Sulley next to The Matterhorn!
It was fun to see all of the little guest dancers that were invited to dance in the Monsters University part of the parade. You can tell how excited they were by their big smiles!

I always get excited for this part, which is the traditional opening of this parade. She’s my favorite dancer in the parade!

More of my fav characters…mainly Wendy! (for obvious reasons)

Look at the giant balloon! So cute! Emi loves these elves because she thinks they know her own elf on the shelf!

So many smiley faces, so many great characters!

The First Lady of the North Pole!
I adore watching this parade and notice something new each time that we do. I love the music, I love the costumes, I love the dancing and I love how much it reminds me of childhood.
What’s YOUR favorite part of a Christmas Fantasy Parade?

Christmas Eve Morning at The Disneyland Resort With Our Elf on the Shelf!

What do you do when it’s Christmas Eve day, you don’t have to be at dinner until 6:30 p.m. and you still haven’t had a chance to take your daughter to see Santa yet? You head straight to The Disneyland Resort, that’s what you do! What a beautiful, sunny, Southern California morning it was, too! There aren’t too many places you can be where you actually NEED to wear sunblock on December 24th!

Emily & I decided to visit Disney’s California Adventure first! There was NO LINE to see Santa over at Elias & Company! We walked right in and Santa immediately struck up a conversation with Emily. As you can tell by this photo, she was mesmerized by him.

I’m pretty sure she’s asking him for the Frozen castle here.
I love everything about the setup of this Santa location. It’s just so old fashioned and Christmas-y and if it hadn’t been so blazing hot, I would’ve put Emi in her actual Christmas dress for the photo. Regardless, I think we got some beautiful pictures to add to her memory book.

Santa also had an absolutely beautiful elf named “Tinsel” that was helping him and passing out candy canes to the guests as they exited from sitting for their photo. I couldn’t resist snapping a pic of Emi with her also.

Seriously though, how adorable is this elf?

Emi and I also had another mission on our visit….we had to bring her Elves on the Shelf with us! Yep, they had written her a note, asking if she could take them to Disneyland! They told her that Santa had given special permission for Mommy to touch the elves to move them and take them to Disneyland. We just hadn’t had much time during December to visit the parks and since the elves were returning to The North Pole that evening, this was our LAST chance. The tricky part about this was that 1)only Mommy could touch the elves, because children DON’T touch the Elf on the Shelf and 2)We needed to be careful as NOT to spoil any magic for other children at The Resort. I carried the elves in our backpack and we took them out for a few photo opportunities. There was one incident when two small children spotted them and were trying to tell their mom they had seen them, so we just sat back and pretended not to notice the elves and then as soon as the children were long gone, we grabbed the elves, stuffed them BACK into our backpack and ran! It was pretty funny to have elf shenanigans going on!

Our elves INSISTED on wearing these buttons!
There are always a lot of “good parts” about each trip to the parks but on this particular day, Emi was REALLY excited about getting to ride in the front of Monorail Blue….WITH her elves! Since there weren’t any other children up there with us (who might’ve gotten freaked out), we could have the elves out of the backpack!
Patiently awaiting the front spot on Monorail Blue!
This is Disney Magic at work!
CM Manuel even let the elves help navigate, once we started moving and had to sit down!

It was such a great Christmas Eve morning at The Disneyland Resort! We are so blessed to be able to just run over to the parks for a few hours and be able to do something like this! Happy Holidays!

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