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! :)

30 week blog challenge-week 15: your celebrity crush

This week’s blog challenge topic is “your celebrity crush.”

Y’all. Let me tell you. No, let me show you.

smallsideways

You’re not convinced? How about this:

goldentheo

You’re welcome.

This is Theo James. I first spotted Theo James while I was watching Downton Abbey with my friend Jen. This fool came riding up on a HORSE and I almost fell off the couch.

horse

His character was a rotten bastard on that episode, but I was intrigued by the actor. I remember googling to get more information on him. There wasn’t much. Theo wasn’t well known yet, he was British, and wasn’t getting a lot of exposure over here in the States. I don’t even know if he was getting a lot of exposure in England. He was on a few TV shows and had been in a few movies, but as of a few months ago, he could walk down the street and take the tube in relative anonymity (as long as you don’t count the two fangirls who recognized him and kind of stalked him onto the train which is how I know this).

thumbsup

But then CBS cast him as one of the leads in the show Golden Boy. I was thrilled, glued to the TV every Tuesday night. You know I don’t watch a lot of TV, so I don’t have a lot of characters that I get vested in. I ended up falling in love with everyone on the show, and I was really disappointed it when CBS cancelled it in May.

bitchplease

So, that happened. But it was probably for the best. Golden Boy was a good show, but now things are going great for Theo. More people are learning about him because he’s Four in the Divergent movie. Which was FILMED IN CHICAGO. I was even an extra for Divergent but he may as well been back in England for all the good it did me those two days on set. Not that I went there trying to meet him or anything… I mean, HELLO, I was going to be on set for a major motion picture. That kind of eclipsed anything else. (I wrote all about that experience here.) Meeting him would have been a nice bonus though.

Then… as TV star crushes go, you put them in the back of your mind. They’re fun, but they’re not real life. I’m married, and I’m–along with anyone else who pays the least bit of attention–pretty well convinced he’s in love with his Divergent co-star, Shailene Woodley. They are insufferably cute together.

sheo

Things I Like About Him:

– He’s silly. He has no filter. Just watch interviews with him. Expect anything and everything to come out of his mouth. It’s great. I imagine that his friends spend a great deal of time alternating between choking, screaming laughter and face palming when Theo really gets going.

yup

– He seems modest. He knows he’s good looking, but he seems matter-of-fact, if not downright annoyed, about it. He does get irritated when he goes on interviews to talk about his work, and people only want to talk about how good looking he is. I hope this makes him sympathetic to his female co-stars, who have to deal with that shit nonstop.

frustrated

– He is really an amazing actor. Seriously, he is one of the best I’ve seen in the entertainment industry. He’s got a great face, but he knows how to use his face, something I’ve noticed that British actors generally seem better at than American actors. He works hard but he makes it look effortless. He can play a hot headed detective, an angsty psychic, an insufferable douchebag, or a snobby, passion-filled welp, and he’ll OWN EVERY ONE of those roles. I love watching him act because he is sooo good at it. There are only a few others I can say I feel that way about (Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lawrence, Johnny Depp….). His work is inspiring to me. It is also intimidating.

ok

I think he’s got a really bright future ahead. On the one hand, I miss the days when no one really knew who he was, but on the other hand I want him to be successful and happy, and I know that means he’s going to get really famous and become that much more inaccessible. All I can do is keep hoping (please please please!) that I’ll get to meet him one day and tell him in person how much I admire and genuinely enjoy seeing him work. And also give him a bag of Cheetos.

Today also happens to be his birthday, so I hope he’s having a good one, wherever he is.

wink

* some gifs from Theo James Gifs, Jen7Waters, and Theojamies, and my personal collection which probably came from those sites.

* Honorable crush mention goes to Josh Hutcherson.

Had A Good Week

In My Element
loving the sun and warmth!

Yay! Had a happy week. Got to work at BOTH places I enjoy freelancing at, my other project’s finally kicked in, and that means $$ will be coming in for me again.

This is a good thing. No. It is an EXCELLENT thing.

Tuesday’s teacher training was canceled, which was a YAY because I got an extra free day, but the reason was a BOO because my teacher had a family emergency. :( Still, I got to go to Mia‘s class, which I haven’t in months, and it was so nice to be there again.

I’m seriously drawing a blank about Wednesday, except there was an AWESOME Amber Cook class involved. But that’s all I remember. Weird, right?

Thursday night, I attended a food healing workshop with Moses & Zeina. Oh my goodness. I learned SO MUCH. And got to taste some yummy things (cheesy kale for the win!)…. and I got to taste some things that made my tongue very angry. Yeah, pesto made from cilantro and onions? NEVER AGAIN.

Friday night, I attended a Kundalini workshop (another Moses & Zeina special) that included a fire ceremony and gong meditation.

OH MY GOD.

I never realized how beautiful a gong could sound. My fault for only really knowing of them from The Gong Show, I suppose. Anyway. Every savasana should include gongs. Or wind chimes. (I once took a workshop and there were wind chimes and that was also amazing.) But this GONG. Wow. I’m actually looking up gong meditation albums on emusic.com. I don’t know if my iPod can replicate what it’s like being in the room with a gong, but seeing as I’m not going to be carting one around with me, listening to it in my iPod will have to do. :)

Although, I believe Kundalini Yoga In The Loop has gong meditation regularly….must research this more. AND THEN ATTEND ASAP!!

Speaking of Kundalini yoga… I’ve done it before, but wanted to try it in a class setting. It’s so so so different from what one thinks of as yoga. There are no asanas; there are kriyas, which is a set of kundalini exercises. The thing about Kundalini is that it’s hard core. It can bring up some stuff. The kriyas are uncomfortable, confrontational, and cleansing. Therefore, they are awesome. And scary.

I am so grateful for the opportunities I’m getting during my teacher training. Chances to push my practice. Chances to meet great people, learn new things. It’s seriously been insane in the best way possible. And I’m only what, 10 weeks or so into the program? There is so much more learning to be done, so many more experiences to have. I’m excited!

This journey is filling me with so much joy, and I want more! :D

(I also got the cutest pair of yoga pants. Tie-died and pink with purple piece signs on the butt. My friend Christine says they give new meaning to the phrase “Piece/peace of ass.”)

The weather’s been great all week! Nice and warm, hot some days. Beautiful. Blue skies, sunshine. My favorite! Of course, it’s going to get cool and rainy by the end of the week, but for now? Loving it! This is the best Memorial Day weekend weather I’ve had since I moved here!!

I’d forgotten that I’d purchased a Disney Parades CD when I was at Disney World during one of my trips. Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade is a track on that album. WHAT. That song had only been stuck in my head for months since I was in the parade. OK, and only that first part because that’s the part of the parade Adam and I were in, so we only heard that loop over and over for 20 minutes BUT THAT’S NOT THE POINT. The point is that I’d had this CD, and had apparently already imported it onto my computer. I could have been listening to the parade all this time! And also hearing the REST of the parade at that. So, I’ve been making up for lost time. :) Brings back happy memories!

Jammin' Jungle Parade

I also looked on YouTube to see if anyone happened to record and post a video of my parade, but NOPE. Someone posted one from the DAY BEFORE, though. Oh well.

**many hours later**

OK, so I started this entry many hours ago. This is what kept distracting me from finishing:

1. Aidan called.
2. I ate dinner.
3. Aidan called again.
4. I ate a 2nd dinner while watching the O.C.
5. Aidan called again.
6. I talked to my mom.

So now, it’s 1am, I’m trying to decide if I should get this gong meditation CD: Gong Suite: Six Meditations, but I need to be braiding my hair and getting to bed. LONG awesome Sunday ahead, and I need my beauty sleep!

I leave you with a photo of me reading one of my favorite magazines, more than 12 years running:

I read old people magazines. :)

I’ll decide about the CD tomorrow/today. Right now, I’m going to sleep. Well, I’m gonna braid my hair first, probably have a snack, THEN sleep.

Byeeeee! :)

Random McRandomness

Lilacs
there are lilacs!!!!

I had a good weekend. I spent Friday relaxing and reading. It looks so pretty outside, but it’s still so cold. I don’t know about you, but 50F in January feels a lot warmer than 50F in April, and the temps have barely been making it out of the 50s these days. I know this is typical here, and I know I whine about this every year, but the fact is that I am so ready for it to be warm that it’s not even funny. Oh well. At any rate, I didn’t go anywhere Friday because I just wanted to stay inside where it was warm and dry and full of cuddly cats.

It’s not fair that it looks like this outside:

Around The Neighborhood

…but feels like this:

Wicker Park

(At least the lilacs are out, right? They smell so good, you guys! I love lilacs!)

Anyway.

Speaking of cats. Helena is back to peeing in bad places again.

It had been years since she’s done that (although I’m just suspecting that maybe she’s been doing it all along and I’ve been mistakenly blaming Crookshanks, who is more apt to poop in a naughty place rather than pee, but he has a history of that as well), but it started again when I bought a bath mat for the tub. You see, our tub has gotten slippery over the years and I didn’t like feeling like I was going to slip when I went for a shower. So I got a bath mat from TJ Maxx which was probably my first mistake because it had a nasty skunky rubbery scent to it. But it was comfy and kept me from slipping! Then, Helena started peeing on it. We got rid of the mat and she just kept peeing in the tub. Now, as far as a cat peeing somewhere naughty, the tub isn’t the worst place, right? I even joked that it was time to start toilet training her. She had the room right, you know?

But then it got worse. Adam got a new couch, identical to the one we had before. (Don’t ask what happened to the other one. It’s a long sordid story best left in the past.) Not the most comfortable couch ever, but it does the job. Except I started noticing a pee smell from the slipcover. Adam would wash it, and then it would appear again, this time in a different spot. We removed the slipcover, and Adam put a table cloth over the couch. The table cloth looks and feels like fabric, but it does not absorb liquid. If a cat pees on it, the pee gets on his/her foot, thus theoretically discouraging further elimination on the couch. HAH. HA HA HA HA!! See, I wasn’t completely convinced it wasn’t Crookshanks because as I said, he has a pretty checkered history, that one. THEN Adam actually CAUGHT Helena in the act.

Seriously? Seriously? WTF Helena. She’d been so good all these years! (Or maybe not, now that I think of it.) We have THREE litter boxes for those brats. I’m tired of cleaning up after cats who can’t/won’t eliminate in the proper places. Hmph. Maybe I’ll just start peeing anywhere *I* feel like it. How would you like that, huh?

Cats are the gifts that keep on giving. IN THE ANNOYANCE DEPARTMENT. Why does this happen whenever I practice yoga at home??

Every Damn Time!
every damn time!

Hmph. Well I’ll just keep lowering from chatarunga (which is hard enough as it is!) on to him every day and see if that changes his tune.

They’re lucky they’re cute and cuddly and so darn loveable.

Yesterday, I went to bookstore because although I have a couple of eBook copies of The Secret Garden, I really wanted a hard copy. I found a paperback that wasn’t too expensive, and a copy of the Bhagavad Gita that was also very nicely priced. :) Yesterday evening, I watched Juno and Mean Girls, played some games, and read The Secret Garden–the hard copy. I PARTY HARD, Y’ALL.

So, randomly. I LOVE getting packages. And sometimes that means I go shopping online just so I can have packages arrive for me. Today, I finally used some of the $35 I had in Amazon credits to get a copy of The Secret Garden/A Little Princess DVD combo pack, a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s baby mild soap, and the black and white Skull Shores Frankie Stein Monster High doll. So excited! I used to collect all the Monster High dolls, but now it’s just out of control. There are too many. I decided to focus only on Frankie Stein because she’s just awesome.

Frankie Stein
This pic is outdated. I’ve gotten at least one new one since.
I wish I was more creative with posing them. Some people are great at it.

Once I get this particular doll, my collection will be complete, at least until they come out with a new Frankie Stein. Then my sights will be set on the Katniss Barbie. WHO IS AWESOME.

Today I read and read and read. Then I headed out for a hatha yoga class. The class was fantastic, even though we had to do that blasted utthita parsvakonasana which I hate! (There are some poses which make me all verklempt when I have to do them, this is one of them. I should make a post about that someday.) Anyway, I was rewarded with a lot of wonderful forward folds and deep twists, and you guys know how I feel about forward folds, right? The teacher would say something like: “When you’re ready, come out of the pose” and I’d be thinking “But I’m not ready to come out of this fold!” But I’d come out because well, I didn’t want to be stuck behind everyone else in the class, right?

So, Sunday is winding down and another week begins. Here’s what’s on my plate:

· yoga classes
· yoga teacher training
· yoga teacher training lecture
· yoga teaching practice
· library
· urban priestess workshop
· master teacher roundtable
· reading
· homework
· farmville (shut up, it’s fun and relaxing)
· life

What about you?

Broadway Baby

It takes a lot to get me into a musical, but once I’m into it, it becomes an obsession. (Ask me anything about RENT and I’ll more than likely have the answer for you.) I was lucky enough to see RENT twice–once when it was still on Broadway in New York City, and once when it was here in Chicago with the original Mark and Roger.

Rent!
rent in nyc

RENT in Chicago
rent in chicago

There are pictures of me pretending to be Mimi on the fire escape singing Out Tonight, and pretending to film a movie using Mark’s camera. Don’t believe me? Check this out:

Ouuttt Tonighttt!

December 24th, 9pm...

RENT is my absolute favorite, I especially love LES MISERABLES, but around 2004-2005, my obsession was with WICKED. I didn’t get to see that one until late 2006, but oh man, IT WAS SO WORTH THE WAIT. The theatre did this lottery thing, and Adam and I both won front row center seats (Or was it second? Doesn’t matter, we were freakin’ close!) AND got to meet some of the cast backstage. But I was even more thrilled when I got the opportunity, a few years later, to actually PLAY on set!

That Time I Got to Play on the Set of Wicked
stage right!

That Time I Got to Play on the Set of Wicked
hello oz face

That Time I Got to Play on the Set of Wicked
trying on a costume.
it is much too large.
and the photo is fuzzy.
but this is still dang cool.

That Time I Got to Play on the Set of Wicked
baby elphaba

That Time I Got to Play on the Set of Wicked
throne

That Time I Got to Play on the Set of Wicked
green stuff

That Time I Got to Play on the Set of Wicked
costumes

Super neat, right?
There are a few things about Chicago that I hate.
But the chance to do stuff like this?
Makes it all worth it. :)

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