Thursday, July 31, 2014

It's the final countdown-vacation here I come.

Five hours. That is all that stands between me and a week and a half of vacation.

Make that four hours and thirty minutes if you want to get technical.

Hard to believe all the planning, the packing and the endless amount of talk around the dinner tables between my parents, Anderson and I have come down to five hours. Hard to believe is right.

I know what your thinking, you guys go all the time, you should be pros at the whole 'We are going to Disney World.' trip. And in many cases you are absolutely right. We are. But here is the thing, this is the first time in four years that we have had more than just the three of us going. Which means there is a lot more involved than just making sure we know what we are doing. There is my nephew and my parents. And making sure everything runs smoothly. Its checking-and often double-checking that all of reservations including the hotel for the overnight stay in Savannah is good to go.

Its making sure we have everything, including things we hadn't originally thought about. Vitamins, extra cards. Entertainment for the boys during the car drive down. Etc. Etc. Yes planning for a trip with six people is a whole lot different than our usual 3.

Four hours and twenty nine minutes. I envy my husband who is technically already on his, though running around making sure everything is taken care of? Well that part I do not. I wish him luck. I am pretty sure right now he is trying to make his way around the city, grabbing things and preparing for a day of packing the car, gathering odds and ends-we did after all leave Oswald behind-a fact in which little man may not like, but oh well.

There is always something to worry about, will they have a good time. It's Disney, how can they not! It's making sure everyone drinks water, knows where every one is. And making sure they understand how to use the magicbands. Because the last time they were there, magicbands were merely a thought. It's making sure the boys don't kill each other in the process of the vacation.

I am sure it will all go well, do I expect it to go smoothly all the time? No not at all. I have been through enough to know something is bound to and will happen but in the end it will all be fine. I am sure I will have stories to tell, experiences to share and a whole lot of magic to bring back.

Until then....

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sucked in to the final rose.

Yep.  I did it again. I got sucked in. I really really didn't want to. After all, don't I always say and vow to let the series go for one reason or another. I don't like the choice in who they choose to be the bachelor/bachelorette. I find the whole thing ridiculous. I am to busy.

Yadda yadda yadda...

But we all know in the end I will break down and watch, I will recruit my husband to do the same, though in all fairness this season he thought Andi is beautiful and one of the better looking ones they had. Hmmm should I be worried?? And whether he wants to admit it or not, I secretly think he enjoys the show just as much as I do, and even I am reluctant to admit it from time to time.

And my thoughts on this season? Well they too seem much like the ones in the past. I wouldn't say I was in love with any of the men. OK this is a lie, I liked Marcus and Chris. I have a sneaky suspicion that Chris is the next Bachelor (yes!) but my opinion changed at Marcus's  lie detector results. And if you watched the Men Tell All special, I am pretty sure you know what I am referring to. If not, well your loss, though I will say 20 plus?? Honestly.

As for what I thought of her final two, and ultimately who she picked? I think Josh and Andi  made a beautiful couple, and we can all roll our eyes should they ever have babies because you can pretty much bank on some pretty babies. Which lets be honest, it is not far to the rest of us. Not to mention,the fact that they lived five minutes away from each other doesn't hurt in the whole how are we going to keep this long distance thing going question. Because if that is the case, well better luck finding someone who lives any closer to you. Though how they managed not to met before hand is beyond me. You can't tell me living that close to one another the duo didn't know at least one person in common??

While I know several people who loved Nick, I on the other hand wasn't in to him from the get go. There was just something that made me feel very uncomfortable around him. Though what that is, I do not know, but it was there. I do acknowledge the pair had some amazing chemistry and yes I do feel as though she did lead him on in a whole lot of ways, if she didn't feel that way, then why did she wait until the day of..Surely she knew when they were in his hotel room the night before. But this is not my concern, nor am I going to judge because that is not fair to assume I know how someone else who I have never met feels.

But congrats to the happy couple, lets face it the two looked extremely happy last night. To the point I really wanted to punch the guy if he smiled and kissed her one more time.

Lets just hope they are still smiling six months from now when the Bachelor begins.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Nailed it.

How do I prepare for vacation? Especially one to Disney World? Well lately along with the twelve bottles of sunscreen and the five sets of sunglasses I throw in my suitcase I have been preparing in a whole new way. I figure out how to paint my nails. I get it sounds sort of ridiculous because it should be easy and all. But come on, a simple manicure was so 2009. 

Yes, I have fallen for the Show your Disneyside it seems in the form of nail art. 

In true confession I do not know when the whole thing started really. It’s not like I woke up one morning and decided you know I think I will paint Mickey on my toes. Rather I believe it was out of boredom and the fact I needed something to do, and my toes needed a paint job. After all it was getting to be that time of year.

And  I just happened to have some bright red nail polish staring me in the face like hello please use me. So I did. This brings me to this week. As I find myself 11 days out-or 9 if you want to be technical-until I head back down. So while I have a million things to do before vacation, including work and packing and worrying about making sure laundry is done, bills to pay and mail to stop, all things I know I should be doing what am I actually finding myself doing?

Searching nail art options. Because clearly I have oh so much time on my hands.

Deciding what to do of course is not as easy as one would think, because obviously I am no professional. And b, considering I can’t use my right hand I need help. Thankfully I have some willing victims’ volunteers. Right, that is exactly what they are. And while I am not against doing the same design as I did in June I did in fact do a Mickey and Pluto the last time, so it is off to figure out what to get my hands on this time.

I am thinking the Castle would be perfect. But then look, there is the mad tea party design. Clearly this is the most important thing to figure out here, forget packing.
Well maybe I will just hold out I mean I have time right?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The good old hockey game.

Sunday while the rest of the world was celebrating the final showdown of the World Cup against Germany and Argentina I was busy thinking, this is no hockey. I miss hockey.

I mean, really really miss hockey. 

When did I become so in love with the sport? Honestly I do not know. But it seems it has turned into a love affair.  I mean here it is the middle of July; hockey technically ended just a little over a month ago and I am already itching for a good hockey game. For the past twenty four hours I have done little but think-other than my impending vacation that is-is it October yet? Which is kind of sad given the fact I love, and I mean love summer. 

But this whole World Cup stuff, the news about Lebron James, which I still don’t get. And knowing that football will be starting up its preseason in about a month really has me dying for some hockey. Hey I have even thought about hitting a local ice rink just to watch a pick up hockey game. Who cares if I actually know anyone, or if it isn’t pro? It is hockey.

I will take it.

Yep. This is who I have turned into. I believe, whether he wants to admit it or not. I have turned even more obsessed than Anderson, which is hard to say since he actually works for the team. But yet, it is true.

I even roam various hockey blogs and websites to read anything hockey related, including the fact that Sidney Crosby decided not to have surgery on his wrist. And believe me; you know I am desperate when I start reading things on A) Crosby B) the Penguins. But hey one has to do what one has to do right?

Some girls dig football, for others its baseball-confession those guys do look pretty good in uniform. But if you ask this gal, they can have their sports. Give me a hockey fight, some ice and a good old hockey game and I will be more than a happy camper.

85 days. But hey who's counting.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Whatever we started: once a fan, always a fan.

Long before Kenny Chesney and the Backstreet Boys there was another love in my life. His name was Richard Marx and despite most of his followers back when he first came out, I was 7 when I first fell  in love.

Back then I didn't really have a clue about the music industry, the difference between a writer, a producer etc. At this point I was just another geeky seven year old whose mom popped in a tape of the guy and played 'Right Here Waiting for you.' I was hooked. Perhaps it was because my best friend at the time was leaving me to move to Hawaii, and the song just seemed to fit. I didn't care that it was meant for a love relationship. I just knew the song spoke to me. To this day it remains one of my all time favorite songs.

But that song was the start of it all. What followed in the years to come was years of wearing out tapes, and then running to get the CDs when the tapes went out of style. I was incredibly lucky to say at 9, my first concert was to go see Richard after my mom won tickets off a local radio station. Believe me at 9, I thought this was pretty fantastic.

I have followed his career the highs and lows of it all since the beginning. Both as an artist, and as a writer. I cringed just a little when he collaborated with NYSNC-as a BSB fan it went againt my judgement. Even if the song was beautiful.-and fell in love when he paired up with Keith Urban. And despite the number of ribbing of I get for still remaining a fan, I have knocked it on down. I did not listen when they told me he was no longer valid in todays music industry. Vowing he would return, and would be back.

And this week, he did, releasing his latest album Beautiful Goodbye. And let me say, the grown up version of yours truly is still in love. Except now I see him for the artist that he is. The record is AMAZING. Its a little bit of wonder, a little bit of heartbreak and a whole lot of truth in the lines. What's more it is brilliant. Even if he has been out of the scene to most of the mainstream population, it doesn't matter. Yes, the music is very up to par with today's music industry.And it reminds us that Richard is a fantastic well rounded artist. Providing the listener not only with beautiful lyrics but can actually sing them as well. And the grown up version of the fan finds it all to be sexy as hell.

Welcome back Richard, welcome back.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

So whats my favorite DVC resort?

A coworker recently caught me wearing my famous lightweight DVC jacket around the office. I say famous, because yes it is that cold in my office, and yes I am always wearing it. Even if the weather outside says its 100. Giving me a funny look he asked.

"Oh, you’re a DVC person as well. We just bought into it, or rather my wife did. I just got sucked into saying OK."

This sparked a conversation between the two of us. As a new member, he was looking for some "inside information" on resorts. The first question: Which is your favorite one to stay at?

Such a simple question, yet not an easy answer. Because choosing a favorite resort is hard, which is why we love the DVC so much. It allows us the flexibility to stay at any of the deluxe resorts DVC is connected to and never get tired of them. But since he asked, and since I try to please, I have narrowed it down to a few of my favorites.

Image is not my own.
Wilderness Lodge Villas:

This is for sentimental value alone. Back in 2000 my best friend invited me to head down to Disney with her and her mom, who was a DVC owner. It was my first chance of seeing what DVC had to offer. I fell in love with it right then. And it is pretty safe to say from that moment on I was hooked.

The first thing I look for in a DVC resort is the feeling of home and no other resort offers it quite like Wilderness Lodge for me. The moment I walk through those doors, and hear Welcome Home from the various cast members, home is exactly where I am. The resort is cozy, it's inviting and the fireplace that surrounds the lobby makes me want to curl up with a good book and skip the parks all together. Even without the fireplace in the DVC section, unlike some of the other DVC resorts Wilderness’ DVC side is small enough in which heading to the main lodge doesn't feel like a mile hike instead is just a short walk away.

Of course this cannot be the only reason to love a resort. I love the fact that Wilderness is a boat ride away from Magic Kingdom. Sure Bay Lake Towers at the Contemporary and the DVC wing of Grand Floridian have the Monorail (please note, Poly too offers the monorail, but as of yet has no DVC wing). But there is something magical about spending a beautiful morning on the lake, as the sun rises and catching the first glimpse of the Castle. An added bonus if you’re looking for a simple inexpensive romantic evening, catch the boat on the way home. If you plan it just right you get an amazing view of the fireworks, without the crowd.

Along the same lines, Wilderness offers a view of the electrical water parade at night. It always seems to be a great way to end the night on the quiet beach watching the parade of lights go right on by after what is usually a whirlwind of a day.

Boardwalk Villas:

I cannot say enough about this resort. It has the feel of an Atlantic beach scene, including street performers and all, without being at the beach exactly. We first stayed there with little expectation, but everyone raved about it. After staying there, I can honestly say this was one of those resorts that actually lived up to the hype and then some.
Image is not my own

I love the fact that this resort has so much to offer. Like the previous one it offers a small beach, along the boardwalk guests of the hotel–and even just admirers of–can enjoy the traditional offerings of a boardwalk.

Entertainers line the place. Face painting for the kids. Hair braiders and refreshment stands make anyone feel as though they aren’t at the happiest place on Earth, but an actual beach. Another bonus, there are plenty of food options for even the pickiest of eaters. As if that wasn’t enough, the shopping options are unlike any of the resorts around.

Ask my son, he would say he loves the pool slide, which resembles an old wooden roller coaster you may find on the beaches of the Atlantic. He could live in the pool and be perfectly happy, which is one of his favorite things about the resort. Honestly I couldn’t blame him.

And talk about location, location, location. While Wilderness may have a boat ride to Magic Kingdom, Boardwalk offers a boat to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios. But we prefer the walk over to EPCOT in the morning, which dumps us right into the back of the park and World Showcase. Being so close to the park is one of our favorite things about the resort and definitely makes the resort a must do on our list.

Animal Kingdom Villas:

Finally on my list would be Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas. When we first stayed here, I admit I never thought I was going to fall in love with the place. And we didn’t. But the second time around we had a two bedroom savannah view and the view alone sold us. Sure maybe it’s a little further out than the rest of the resorts, but step out on the balcony early in the morning, greet those animals and how could you complain? In order to wake up the giraffes you do have to get the savannah view, but even if you don’t you have plenty of opportunities to check them out throughout the resort.

Again, this is a little further away than most of the resorts on property. But we don’t mind. In fact we enjoy being able to unwind and chill for awhile away from the hub and hustle of it all. Staying at this resort makes me feel like I am on vacation at my favorite place one moment and in the next I am in some exotic land exploring and being away from reality the next. We tend to think of Disney World as every moment filled with Mickey Mouse, and its true to a point but sometimes I simply enjoy just being away from him for a few seconds as well.

If Wilderness felt like home, Boardwalk had the location then perhaps you are thinking what does AKV have? How about an amazing pool. Honestly who needs a water park ticket with the pool that this resort offers. My son is getting a bit older now but back when he was a toddler, he loved the kids play area, which is a lot like its own theme park in itself. So yes, the pool tops the list helping it make it one of our favorite resorts.

Another reason this makes our list is the activities that they offer. A couple years back we took my entire family to Disney World and wanted to show them everything, my mom however pulled out a guide the front desk provided and looked at the daily activities. "The resort offers pottery painting sessions, and jewelry making days." Wait you mean you don’t actually have to go to the parks if you don’t want to? Nope, and we didn’t. We spent a couple of mornings doing just that, enjoying the activities that the Cub Den offered–which you can check out and do yourself just ask a cast member for times. It may seem extremely simple but it turned out to be some of the best memories. 

So there you have it. My top three picks of favorite DVC resorts. Sure they change depending on year, my needs change and so I will stay at different places. But it is the tree above that have me coming back and returning to them year after year.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Here's to a long weekend.

So what happens when the 4th of July lands on a Friday?

The office is empty. And those that do tend to come in the before the long weekend, seem to head out by noon. Trust me on this. I know.

It is tempting. Awfully so. Especially considering I myself am heading out of town the moment I hit the doors. But I am trying to hang in there as long as possible. Seeing that it is 8 minute before noon and half my cube row is gone, I would say I am doing somewhat well.

This long weekend however also marks the first long weekend that I haven't had to do homework since the beginning of January. And how good does that feel? Pretty good my friends, pretty good. Not t hat doing homework takes up every single minute. Believe me it doesn't. I still have time to spend with family, and all. But it requires more planning and preparation. Plus I kind of like the thought that I can go away for a few days and not have to think about a paragraph that needs to be written. Well unless it is for creative writing purposes and then, hey I am all in.

So what then is the plan for the three day weekend? Disney planning-come on you didn't think I would not?-we have 30 days to go. Its crunch time. Especially since this go around we are bringing my parents and my nephew so that will require a little bit more of extra special planning and making sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to that sort of stuff. No sweat we have it.

Of course I have to get through the last few hours of the work day before I can even think the word mini vacation.

Here is to it.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A character of a tale: Not just for the kids.

Anyone who has gone to Disney World more than once knows that character interaction is a huge deal around the parks. From Frozen to Cinderella and Magic Kingdom to Animal Kingdom, at sit-down restaurants or just hanging out around the place, Disney does a fantastic job at making sure your little one has enough options to choose from on a daily basis. 

But here is a question:

 “Aren’t characters just for kids?  I mean we all know, Mickey Mouse is just someone dressed in a silly costume.” 

Yes, this was actually a question someone asked me. And perhaps I could see where they are coming from.  We all know what is inside the characters. I will even admit I am not one for standing in line to meet the characters themselves, nor is my son for that matter, at least not at this point. But this all being said, I will say this; my opinion changed during my latest whirlwind of a trip with my husband.

It was on the last evening we were there. Our dining reservations that evening was at Garden Grill, a family-style sit down restaurant located in the Land Pavilion of EPCOT. Where diners can enjoy a freshly made meal while the restaurant slowly spins, taking them through different locations from a farmhouse to the prairie. It is worth noting on this night however the restaurant was not rotating.  As dinner comes out, Mickey and his friends Chip, Dale and Pluto make their round from table to table.  For many this restaurant is overlooked, but it has turned into one of our family’s favorite places to eat on property.

This time however, without our five-year-old son, we weren’t exactly sure what the characters where going to do. See us, yes. Stop by and say “hi,” probably. But beyond that, we didn’t think there would be all that much interaction. After all there were so many other families that had kids.
How quickly we learned we were wrong.

It was nearing the end of our meal, our main course taken up and dessert was just being served. The only character we had yet to see was Dale, a fact that had the kid at the table beside us was sad about. But no worries, in true Disney fashion, we found Chip and Dale coming around the corner. Chip making his 2nd round of hellos at the tables, while he did so Dale had to hang out. And we all know how Dale is. The mischievous chipmunk that he is he grabbed the menus and flipped through them seemingly bored until Chip was out of sight. As Dale came up, he looked taken aback, and immediately started “flirting” with me. Yes, I never thought I would say this, but a chipmunk flirted with me. He of course ignored my husband and was trying to convince me to run away with him and as he did so, flung his open arms on to the table. Sending our water glasses flying all over the place. I have to say, there was no breaking character but rather it was as if you could see him grow three shades of red as he tried to clumsily clean up the mess, our waiter playing along and sending him into the corner ashamed. By this point we were rolling laughing…but did that end there? No. The moment he was cleared to return, he did so, pushing Anderson out of the way once more. I got to hand it to him the chipmunk is quite persistent. The whole thing took probably three minutes, but the attention and all, made it seem as though we were the only ones in the restaurant not only that but those three minutes where the highlight of the vacation! Both my husband and I got a kick out of the entire scene.

Was it silly? Yes. Did I know that Dale wasn’t actually a chipmunk? Absolutely. Do I realize at the moment I probably looked crazy and insane? Yes.  But I also realized at the moment, that none of those things mattered.

So my answer to the question: No, I do not think characters are just for the kids, but rather for the kid inside all of us.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Happy July.

I feel like a horrible blogger as of late. I know I know I keep saying this. And in a lot of ways you would absolutely be right. I shouldn't even be allowed near a blog the way I have ignored my own. But here I am.

Its not that I don't have things to write about, or want to talk about because I find I do. I can not tell you the number of times I have woken up saying, oh this. This I want to talk about. Whether it be Disney, or little man or the happenings around town. Believe me I am always thinking.

But things happen, as I have often said before. Work, commuting and the fact little man is getting ready to go to Kindergarten in the fall. All things that may not take up a lot of time, and I still have plenty. But I tend to forget that topic I was thinking about. And then my computer died last weekend. I am still working on getting everything back up and running with that one. Thankfully, I did not lose everything it is just a lot to get things back up and starting the way I had the old one.

This all being said, I do have some amazing things to talk about. And I hope that you bare with me to listen...