i confess part 4 {disney world edition}

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i confess… the first time i went to disney world, in 2001, i was scared i wouldn’t like it. i’d been wanting to go for so long, i was worried i’d be let down after having built it up in my mind for so many years. but nope, i fell right in love with it!

I Finally Met Mickey!
my first time ever meeting mickey mouse!
august 2001

i confess… i both love and hate the wealth of information out there about how to enhance the park experience. i love it because of all the neat stuff i now know, but i hate it because everyone and their mommas know it too. and somehow that makes it less special because everyone wants to be special. #disneyhipster

i confess… the chocolate covered pineapple i had on my last trip continues to haunt me because it was JUST THAT GOOD.

i confess… i wasn’t sure about all the changes happening at disney and i almost skipped out on going this year because of it. magicbands, fastpass+, all the preplanning one has to do now. but you know what? i went on the trip with all that and still had a wonderful time.

i confess… disney amazes me with how it brings magic to kids of all ages. there are people in forums who say that they never get “magical” moments when they are not with kids, but i find that not to be the case with me. i’ve been given free stuff, gotten hugs from strangers, even been selected to be in a parade, just to name a few of the cool things i’ve had happen to me.

Jammin' Jungle Parade

i confess… i like mickey’s not so scary halloween party just a tiny bit better than mickey’s very merry christmas party.

Us with Witch Minnie

i confess… meeting a princess still gets me all starry-eyed.

Meeting Naveen & Tiana
especially if it’s princess tiana

i confess… every time i go without aidan, i feel guilty. so that’s why i always immediately book a trip with him to happen within the year.

i confess… taking my mommy to disney was one of the best things i’ve ever done. she loved the trip so much and i loved making her so happy. i don’t think i’d ever seen her smile and laugh as much as she did on that trip.

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look at her smile! and this was even before she’d ridden soarin’!

i confess… i have been to disney world 10 times and i still can’t wait to go back!

taking stock part 2

The last time I did this, it was more than a year ago. Time really does fly.

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kinda how i’m feeling right now

cooking: nothing right now but i may make myself a bit of spaghetti because i’m hungry and spaghetti is yummy.

drinking: water

reading: living violet by jaime reed. again. i really love that series of books.

wanting: an ipod touch. i’m scared someone will steal my ipod classic and try to sell it for thousands of dollars so i won’t go anywhere with it anymore.

looking: at my computer screen.

playing: a million match 3 games, and also criminal case. all facebook/ipad/iphone games.

wasting: time. always time.

wishing: i didn’t feel like such a loser. that i was super duper wealthy. that i could finish writing this book and be done with it.

enjoying: the christmas tree.

waiting: for packages to arrive.

liking: that criminal case game on facebook. which surprises me. i resisted playing it for a long time.

loving: the dailey method and how it makes me feel.

hoping: i can get my flat tire fixed soon.

smelling: old taco wrappings because adam did not throw away his dinner trash.

wearing: mickey mouse pajamas. with feet! and a hood with mickey ears!

noticing: christmas trees, decorations, lights…i love them.

thinking: about all the work i have to do to get my hair to look presentable tomorrow.

feeling: tired and a little cranky.

Meh. This was depressing. Sorry.

moving right along.

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…and it’s already December 10. Only 15 days until Christmas. Who’s excited? Not prepared? Already going crazy?

A few weeks ago, I’d said I wasn’t going to decorate. That didn’t actually happen. I did decorate, although a LOT less than I have in the past. Aidan and I did the heavy lifting while he was here for Thanksgiving. I did all the heavy cleaning BEFORE Thanksgiving.

I’d wanted to hire a cleaning service, but the company I wanted didn’t have availability until December 1. We were having guests for Thanksgiving. So yeah, that wasn’t going to work. I cleaned so much that I was sore for three days. But the place is sooo much better. The bathroom is no longer frightening. Things are gleaming. It’s nice. Now it’s just dealing with clutter (like the big pile of unwrapped gifts I am looking at) and day-to-day living. No place I live will ever be a showcase unless I can get a big enough dwelling that part of it will be the “showplace” and the rest will be the “living place.” I also am not great a decorating unless it is for Christmas so there’s that.

Random things that have happened since I last updated:

Aidan came for Thanksgiving and we went to WGN to hang out with Patti Vasquez on her Pretty Late radio show. I love going there. It’s just a cool atmosphere, Patti is the COOLEST, and she even lets me get on the air sometimes. :)

Hanging at the WGN radio station again with @thepattivasquez and @adamselzer #doingcoolshit #chicago #wgn ???? Aidan is cool.  ????
hanging out at wgn

We didn’t shop on Black Friday–instead we went to see Big Hero 6. Such a cute but heartbreaking movie! I saw Baymax at Hollywood Studios when I was there but I had no idea who or what he was, and when Lola saw him she did four-year-old equivalent of “oh hell no” and get away from him fast! I wish I’d have met him but it’s OK that I didn’t. He’s adorable, though.

Aidan and I did go down to State Street to shop on Saturday and it was a MAD HOUSE. I knew it would be because the weather was beautiful–mid-50s! And there were a lot of tourists in town. It was crazy. So crowded. But Aidan and I got to see the Great Tree like we do whenever we can:

The Great Tree
the great tree and aidan

My Christmas shopping is finally winding down. I went crazy this year like I always do even though I say I won’t EVERY SINGLE YEAR. I have a big pile of stuff to wrap. Some people will be spoiled and I am OK with that. I’d wanted to have the Selzer stuffed mailed out by um…today? But yeah, that’s probably not going to happen. So shooting for Friday. My absolute deadline is Monday, the 15.

I lose an entire planning day Thursday–I got booked to play a coffee shop patron on Chicago PD. Should be fun! I hope the day is not too long but it’ll probably be 12-13 hours as usual. Then Friday I have a workshop at Moksha with Tias Little. Very much looking forward to that. If I can find time, I might squeeze in a Dailey Method class.

I started going back to The Dailey Method on Sunday and it’s so great to be back. I got my butt sufficiently kicked on Sunday but Tuesday’s class was so so so good. Now I just need to get back to my yoga practice as well and maybe by summer I will be lean and toned!

The challenge is going to be January and February, when we’re in the deep freeze. I will NOT want to leave the house if I don’t have to, and I just realized that my Dailey Method class credits are good for a YEAR (not just the month like I’d thought) so I will probably only venture there to watch the kids in the kid’s room to earn my class credits until it warms up.

Ugh, winter.

I bought a sweater from Old Navy and didn’t even blink when it didn’t have a tag. Now I know better. I got it home, took it out of the bag and sniffed it. It smelled like Chinese food and BO. So amazingly gross. I was really worried they wouldn’t take it back because it didn’t have tags, but I had my receipt and they were totally cool about it. I exchanged it for a clean one!

Someone hacked into my Spotify account and ruined my music algorithms for the year. They listened to nothing but Turkish music and now Spotify thinks I like Turkish music? I knew something was weird when I’d be listening to it on my phone or iPad in my room and then the song would stop and a message would come up saying “your account is being used on another device.” I thought it was just bugging out–I do have it on an iPhone, two computers, and an iPad. But then I realized that a bunch of new playlists were being added, so I changed my password. Someone told me to check my authorized devices and sure enough, there was a Android device using my account. I don’t have Android devices. I use iOS, or Windows (on Aidan’s computer), or OSX (my computer). I signed out of all devices and haven’t had any problems since.

Except everyone who follows me now probably thinks I have some fascination with Turkish music. What I don’t get…Spotify is FREE as long as you want to deal with the ads. I do get premium, but still.

Ugh, so annoying. Buy your own shit.

Work for clients is winding down for the season, I think. Last week I had so many deadlines, and I had a deadline for today that I just uploaded. So now, I wait. To hear from clients. For checks to arrive. For call info. You know.

The Container Store had this amazing paper. It was this candy striped prismatic paper. Sold out. Some guy bought ten rolls of it in the store the other day. TEN ROLLS. WHO needs that much wrapping paper? Well, I went to a store and found a reasonable knock off today and it was 60% cheaper. So there, Container Store and your beautiful prismatic candy striped paper. Hmph.

Ugh. It’s time to go. One of the cats is expelling stuff from both ends and it’s about to get nasty up in here. Lucky me.

Here’s a photo of me from BEFORE all that nastiness. Good times.

Just me on a Tuesday night. ???? #selfie
i woke up like this

Till next time…

holiday wish meme 2014.

Magic Kingdom Christmas

For the 2014 holiday season, I have so much to be excited about and thankful for!

– My awesome Aidan. He’s now eleven years old, in sixth grade, and absolutely the best little boy ever. EVER.
– My family.
– All the cool stuff I got to do this year! Acting classes, TV shows, movies, and more.
– The neat places I got to visit this year: Los Angeles, New Orleans, Jekyll Island, Disney World.
– My work study opportunity at Moksha Yoga. It’s still awesome.
– My friends, old and new!
– The abundance and blessings that have been and keep being rained down on us.

It’s now time for the Holiday Wishes meme. I started doing this in 2006, and I encourage you guys to do it as well.

Step One
– Make a post (public, locked, filtered…whatever you’re comfortable with) to your LJ/blog. The post should contain your list of up to 10 holiday wishes. The wishes can be anything at all, from simple and fun (“I’d love a Doctor Who icon that’s just for me”) to medium (“I wish for _____ on DVD”) to really big (“All I want for Christmas is a new car/computer/house/TV.”) The important thing is to make sure these wishes are things you really, truly want.
– If you wish for real possible things, make sure you include some sort of contact info in your post, whether it’s your address or just your email address where Santa (or one of his elves) could get in touch with you.
– Also, make sure you post some version of these guidelines in your entry, or link to this post (it’ll be public) so that the holiday joy will spread.

Step Two
– Surf around to see who has posted their list. And now here’s the important part: If you see a wish you can grant, and it’s in your heart to do so, make someone’s wish come true. Sometimes someone’s trash is another’s treasure, and if you have a leather jacket you don’t want or a gift certificate you won’t use—or even know where you could get someone’s dream purebred Basset Hound for free—do it.
– You needn’t spend money on these wishes unless you want to. The point isn’t to put people out, it’s to provide everyone a chance to be someone else’s holiday elf—to spread the joy. Gifts can be made anonymously or not—it’s your call.

There are no rules with this project, no guarantees, and no strings attached. Just…wish, and it might come true. Give, and you might receive. And you’ll have the joy of knowing you made someone’s holiday special.

With that said, here are my wishes for 2014.

1. A gift card, or for you to make donations to, DonorsChoose.org. DonorsChoose focuses on education. Teachers ask for classroom project materials. We donate. The kids learn. Most of these schools are high poverty, and the teachers are already doing all they can. Any amount is welcome.

2. Donations to Paws Chicago, the shelter where we got Helena. It’s a cage-free, no-kill shelter, and they are run completely on donations; they receive no city, state, or federal funding. It’s a great place. A shelter situation is stressful for the animals involved, and every animal I came in contact with there was happy and friendly. They have an extensive screening process to make sure you’re aware of your decision and commitment, and if somehow things don’t work out, the animal always has a home at PAWS.

3. Anything from my Amazon wish list. BUY ME ALL THE THINGS I mean wait what?

4. Gift cards to bookstores. I love bookstores. And books. But you already know that.

5. I also wouldn’t mind gift cards to Old Navy, Nordstrom Rack, Target, or Kohl’s.

The things that I’d like your prayers/happy energy for:

1. My mom to be as healthy as possible and to live a long time.

2. My friends and family to be happy, healthy, comfortable, and secure.

3. Myself to be happy, healthy, comfortable, and secure.

It’s December now, the holiday and giving season really is here! YAY!

all hail mickey mouse.

Disney World 2014 Collage

Guess who recently returned from a really cool Disney vacation? If you guessed ME, you’d be right! :) I didn’t post much about it here because well, it was such a random, sorta last minute thing. See, my brother-in-law Eli and his wife Melissa both work for the Disney company in California, so they get free tickets (four each!) and discounted accommodations for the parks. They also run marathons and crazy things like that. They came to Orlando to do the Wine & Dine Half Marathon and then to vacation a bit. Adam’s family was joining them, along with Melissa’s mom. That left one space for me! I just had to pay for my flight and contribute a bit to the room cost, which was VERY VERY reasonable, what they asked. And of course, buy my own food, etc.

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the gang!

The trip was from November 7-15. I had to be with Eli to get let into the park, and then I could do whatever I want the rest of the day. Sometimes I stuck with Adam’s family (his mom, dad, sister, and niece), sometimes I hung with Melissa, Eli, and Vicky. Sometimes we were ALL together. A lot of times I went off by myself. I took a lot of selfies! Ha.

Back at Epcot!! ???? #Epcot #disneyworld #selfie #disney

The Magic started right away, when I went to check in and the guy at the desk gave me a pile of stickers and coloring books and crayons and buttons! And it just kept continuing, with people doing nice things, my friend Joe getting us into Garden Grill for dinner even though it had been booked for months, big hugs from Mickey Mouse and the gang, and so much more.

Here are the things I’ve learned the times that I was on my own at Disney World:

1. It’s an interesting experience. I loved the freedom of doing what I wanted when I wanted. It was much faster and easier to weasel my way through crowds when I was by myself. I enjoyed just answering to myself. If I wanted to do something, I did it. I didn’t have to get approval or wait for people, I could just go for it. And single rider lines for rides are the best. I pretty much walked right on to Test Track more than once. And there are some really warm and open people at Disney World. I talked to one wonderful woman about ten minutes and by the end of the conversation, she was embracing me. Little girls seemed to love me–so many would just stop and smile and/or say “hi” to me or just start talking to me. Little boys, too! And I got a free churro because I was at the Christmas Party by myself. If I wanted to sit and people watch, it was OK for me to do that. I didn’t feel like I was putting people out when my tiny bladder made its needs known loudly and often. If people in the group were doing something I wasn’t all that into, I liked being able to say “I’m going to do [some other thing] and I’ll catch up with you later.” I loved that.

2. Eating was so cheap when it was just me! Before I left for Disney, I purchased $150 in Disney gift cards from Target (using my RedCard so I’d save 5%), and I didn’t use all of it. Granted, one meal was an expensive one and I paid for that NOT using the gift card, but the rest? Well, I came home with $20 left, and I’d even bought a souvenir with some of the gift card money. This was done with some extra help though: I had granola bars and Pop-Tarts in my room. I bought one bottle of water and kept refilling it, and I also bought a refillable drink mug (with a gift card!) to use when I was at the resort. Seeing as I was there so many nights, it was a good investment, especially on my resort day. I also have a small appetite, so many times, the kid’s meal was adequate for me. I also forgot about my gift cards and got a couple of Food & Wine entries with cash. So, truthfully, I probably spent about $180 to feed myself at Disney World for nine days, including a refillable drink mug, a fancy sit down meal, and novelty snacks. I’d say $20 a day isn’t bad.

3. During a long trip like this, a day in the middle to do NOTHING is a fantastic idea. I never knew the value of it until last week. I realized that I am absolutely capable of melting down like the toddlers at the end of the night (or morning or whenever) who have had ENOUGH. I was like that Monday night after the Christmas party. I was just DONE. Then I dropped my brand new phone INTO the Murphy bed that I was sleeping on (which was very comfortable by the way). I didn’t sleep well. By Tuesday morning, I was a mess. I got on my computer while waiting for maintenance to come and help me get my phone out. I took my medication, and tried to calm down. It worked. Maintenance came and my phone was rescued and unharmed. The meds kicked in. I pulled on my bathing suit and decided to stick around the resort all day. I hung out at the pool and had a drink, and talked to my mom and Aidan on the phone. Then I took a nice, hot bath before heading to the food court for something yummy to eat. (Probably corn dogs, seeing as I can’t seem to get enough of the things lately.) It was a nice, relaxing, much-needed day of downtime and self care. I highly recommend a resort/pool day for all long Disney trips.

Poolside drinksies!!!! #vacation #goodlife #disney #disneyworld #selfie ??????????

I got to spend time at Disney with a little kid, which doesn’t happen often. I mean, there are kids THERE, but they’re not with me, so yeah. Hanging out with Lola was great. To hear that little voice say “I want to sit with RONNI” was soooo fun!

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how cute is this?

And I had to admire how they kept her fed and happy with PB&J, fruit, cheese sticks, popcorn, etc. They didn’t have to spend a lot of money on her nor worry about feeding her since she can be a picky little eater. And because she was in her stroller, they could just feed her just about anywhere. Chris and I didn’t do that with Aidan! Not that he’d have eaten PB&J anyway….

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I got to do some new things this trip. I finally got to see Fantasmic! :) I’d been hearing about this fireworks show for years and years but it always seemed like a pain in a butt to get to. You had to line up a million years before to get a good seat or even a seat at all, blah blah blah. But FastPass+ made it possible for Cassidy and me to get front row center seats (now, we’d have normally never wasted a Fast Pass on a show but that’s about all they had available by the time we made it to Hollywood Studios that evening), so there it was. And I LOVED it! It lived up to the hype for sure!

I sat at the Pinocchio restaurant and waved to people riding it’s a small world. That was fun.

The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is so much fun! Such a cute coaster!

I saw Finding Nemo: The Musical. I liked it, but The Festival of the Lion King wins. I missed the Jammin’ Jungle Parade. So sad it’s gone. I heard it is coming back after all the work is done in Animal Kingdom. I hope so.

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Animal Kingdom in the dark! That was certainly new! It either closes so early or it stays dark so late that I’ve never see it at night. It’s just as pretty.

And there was Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, where I got to meet these guys:

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And see Main Street look like this (complete with fake snow):

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The pictures do not do the castle justice, how pretty it is. It’s incredible, and now they’ve incorporated Elsa and Anna and Olaf (from Frozen) into the castle lighting in a very clever way. I approve! :) Here’s a video of the very ending, complete with a “wooo” from me.

And oh oh oh, I got to see the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights! It was sooooo cool. Definitely will put you in the holiday spirit, as long as you can handle the crowds!! Here’s a snippet!

Honestly, I cannot even begin to put all the stuff I got to see and do. It was just a nice, long, awesome vacation. If you’d like to see more photos, click here! There’s lots to see! :)

And I leave you with a photo of Mickey and me. Because yes.

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Till next time! :)

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