Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bay Lake Tower in Final Sell Out Phase

As the Disney Vacation Club Mom I wanted to make sure you were aware that Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort has officially entered the final phase before selling out! Time is almost up to buy at this fabulous, modern Vacation Club location. No other DVC Resort puts you on the monorail, or is close enough to walk to the Magic Kingdom. No other DVC resort has an exclusive members lounge with arguably one of the best fireworks views on site.  With it's stylish rooms and breath taking views, Bay Lake Tower is a spectacular treat.

and... what's here today, may be gone tomorrow.




I want to make sure that all my readers know, as a result, the price is set to increase on March 7th!  If you've been thinking of purchasing DVC Membership at Bay Lake Tower, now is the best time!   The savings of locking in membership before the price increase and before it’s sold out completely is incredible. New members now are also able to take advantage of a big per point discount off per point and receive matching points from 2010!

Let me know if you have any questions,
I'll put you in touch with my fabulous Vacation Club Guide.

Owner/Shareholder Disclaimer: http://cmp.ly/4/kqq7ss

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Skintervention pt 1

Like other Mom Bloggers across the country I'm getting ready to fly to Florida for a celebration and meet-up extraordinaire. I've bought some new clothes and a swim suit, but there are a couple of things I want to do that will take a little more work. I'm not normally a health and beauty blogger, but as I get closer to hitting the big four zero, I'm becoming more concerned with holding back the years. Lately I've been obsessing about the wrinkles on my forehead. They just don't seem to go away like they used to. I want to look my best for the upcoming Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, so I thought that I would give Olay Regenerist 14 Skin Intervention a try and Vlog how it goes.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Tower of Terror

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Twitterpated Date Night

Last night my husband and I had the fabulous opportunity for a rare date night, and attended a screening of Bambi at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.  As a D23 member I have the opportunity to attend exclusive member events that take place coast to coast, but this was my first opportunity to enjoy a fan filled evening close to home.

There was a winter storm warn that loomed over the night, but we climbed into the car for the two hour drive to Chicago.  It was a easy trip and the weather held out, we arrived in the very windy city several hours before the event.  Together we spent the time exploring Michigan Avenue and the Water tower Place Mall.  We at dinner at Wow Bao, which is a great fast food experience.  They serve soft, warm dumplings filled with steamy Asian goodness.  I hadn’t had steamed bbq pork dumplings since I was a child and these really hit the spot.  It was my husbands first time having Bao and he was just as delighted. 

After we ate we walked over to the Museum of Contemporary Art to join the crowd of Disney fans that were gathering in the lobby.  I checked us in at the desk and was give an adorable Bambi plush and some seed packets.  We milled around a bit and I was excited to meet Jeffery, who is widely known as the Official D23 Disney Geek.  Jeffrey is friendly and charming with energy to spare, his enthusiasm is contagious.  We discussed the hope for more Chicago events, and that sadly Jeffery will not be down in WDW for  the Social Media Moms weekend.

We took our seats in the theater and settled in for the screening.  The room was filled with adults and children that were just as excited as I was.  I amused myself before the film started by counting all the different Mickey purses around the room.  We found the film to be hauntingly beautiful, but not a movie that would be appreciated by most children.  Bambi’s impressionistic art and classical music created a sweeping view of the circle of life from a perspective of the forest and it’s creatures. With only 900 words of dialog the overwhelming message is that man does not belong in the forest and brings death and destruction wherever he goes.

After the screening we were treated to a question and answer session with the voice of young Bambi and a Disney Animator.  Geordon, being the tech geek he is, was enthralled with new technology which was on display in the lobby.  The Blu-ray & DVD Diamond Edition of Bambi will be in stores everywhere on March 1st.  This release hails Disney’s first DVD Blu-ray movie to incorporate the fantastic Second Screen technology.  Driven by a set of audio fingerprints, Second Screen allows the viewer to experience exciting interactive extras that come alive on their laptop or iPad in sync with what’s happening during the movie.  The new Second Screen technology was cool  enough that Geordon says we be buying a Blu-ray system soon.

Overall we had a wonderfully twitterpated date night with Bambi. Our thanks to Walt Disney Studios and D23, who brought this fun member event to Chicago.  It was a great night and I look forward to attending more D23 events in the future.

Next week you’ll be able to read more details about the my trip to see Bambi on The Disney Driven Life.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Airfare Success!

It’s well known that the cost of airfare keeps going up, and some places are harder hit than others, but you can still find 2008 prices if you just keep at it.  I was horrified at my $450 flight from Chicago O’Hare to Orlando International for the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration in March.  It’s almost twice what I have ever paid before to getaway.  While booking that flight last November, I checked on other dates I would be needing in 2011, then I checked again in January.  Across the board Chicago to Orlando was higher than ever before.  I resigned myself to the understanding that I would need to budget a little tighter to pay for my flights.

This morning however I found what to me is a little miracle. When checking pricing for my May and October flights I discovered that rates had gone back down under $250.  An audible gasp came out of my mouth that was loud enough to concern the family sitting around me.  “What’s wrong!” they asked.  I sat in stunned silence staring to the computer screen.  “Tickets on United to get to Orlando have gone down.” I stuttered.  For some reason though, no one understood my joy.

I quickly grabbed a piece of paper and started scribbling down numbers, trying to figure out if I had the money to book today, before the rates began to climb again.  Madly I moved funds from alternate bank accounts, my heart was racing, my hand shook as my fingers flew across the keyboard.  My family laughed at me, while watching what they surely thought was Mom having a nervous break down.   And then, in a moment… success!   I was booked for every flight I needed for the rest of 2011, and I had paid $600 less than what the costs were last time I had checked.

If you're looking to fly out of O'Hare Airport on United Airlines, head out to the website and check your flights today. 

I haven’t been able to find the magic bullet for getting the best price on a flight.  I’ve read up on the subject and as best I can tell you might as well be pulling your ticket cost out of a hat.   Today however I feel like I won a little lottery.  I’ve confirmed my flights for our Disney Dream Vacation in May and for Food and Wine Festival in September/ October.   It always feels more real once I get my flights booked.  I can’t wait!  I’m going to Disney World!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Souvenirs, The Magic is in the Moment

Memories are an important part of our lives, they connect us to loved ones, to special places, and to moments in time.  We share our memories with others, we gather together and reminisce, indulging in our own memories as well as the memories of others.  However, memories can be fleeting and time will fade these precious moments into the mists of our past without renown.  Some memories have always been considered more special and humans have developed ways to help recall a certain place or occasion to precious to forget.

The birth of a pearl necklace for my
10th wedding anniversary.
The magic is in the moment.
Medieval pilgrims often leaving their small villages for the first time would gather in groups to travel to unique and special sites.  Along their journey they would collect little pewter badges to wear as mementos of their travels.  Not unlike Disney pins, the badges were cheap and mass produced, intended to be worn around the neck, on clothes, or hats to show and share with others where one had been.  These badges would connect the pilgrims with each other as sharing an experience, but most of all, they would be a touchstone to the act of remembering.  The French call the act of remembering, and something that serves as a reminder to it a souvenir. 

If you look up the word souvenir in a variety of dictionaries you will get a variety of answers.  What most have in common is that they suggest a souvenir is a token of remembrance that recalls a special place or occasion that has been visited.  In a strictly grammatical sense there are no rules to a souvenir and where it comes from, you could easily by a souvenir after you got home that symbolized your vacation memories; but I was raised a traveler, and one very special part of each vacation was when I got to purchase my souvenir.  To me, and in my family, finding the perfect souvenir that will help you recall the joys of the vacation is an important part of the trip.  We save our money, and think about what unique objects we may find to bring home for months before we leave.  It’s an opportunity to capture moments in time with a special touchstone that we couldn’t have gotten anywhere else.

The memories surrounding the 
purchase of this hat could have 
never been replicated ordering 
it online.
The magic is in the moment.
This brings me to one of my greatest pet peeves, and I apologize in advance if it offends, but I feel very strongly about this subject.  There is a trend in the budget driven, coupon clipping, money saving world of Disney trip planning to purchase your souvenirs at discount houses BEFORE you leave on vacation and take them with you.  WHAT!?!?  Why on earth would you do that?  Good grief people, get a grip!  What good is a memento that has been forcibly inserted into a situation?  Where is the magic?  How does the memory of heading to Walmart to buy a cheap Disney t-shirt recall the extraordinary experience of walking down the middle of Main Street USA?  I just don’t get it.  To me, this takes extreme budgeting so far that it sucks the special out of vacation even before you get there.  Yes.. oh yes… Disney is expensive and it is designed to separate you and your money as quickly as possible.  Deal with it.  Save for an extra month or two so that you can experience the madness.  Don’t be a cheapskate on vacation people, roll and revel in the pixie dust. 

Buying your souvenirs at your vacation destination creates special memories of their purchase for you.  Yes, it’s true that very young children may not understand the difference of what’s been done.  But do you as a parent want the memory of giving your child a Mickey plush you picked out and ordered in advance at home, or do you want to buy the plush that makes your child light up and almost jump out of the stroller it excites them so?

From my perspective pre-purchasing your souvenirs is stealing memories away from your family.  It’s cheating yourself out of that special moment just in order to save a buck.  Magical moments are spontaneous, you can’t pre-plan what will capture your memory and be the thing you want to reminisce well into the future.  Don’t limit your touchstones with objects that you thought might be good before the magic even happened.  

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Fairy Godmother


29 Days until I leave for Disney Social Media Moms Celebration!

Monday, February 14, 2011

#DisneySMMoms Chicagoland Meet

Update! 2/27/11  We've got 10 great families of Disney Fans & Mom Bloggers coming out to meet us at the Doorway to Dreams! Pin & Vinylmation trading, door prizes, kids club, snacks, DVC swag and a look at Aulani!  Why don't you come on out to join us too!

Disney Social Media Moms
Chicagoland Meet
Sunday March 6th, 2011 at 9:30am-11:00am
Doorway to Dreams in Woodfield Mall
Schaumburg, IL

The Disney Vacation Club has offered to host our meet up at the Doorway to Dreams Center in Schaumburg, IL! Come out to meet other area bloggers and Disney fans as we mix, mingle and find out about just a little about the Disney Vacation Club before we head down to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. DVC is excited to have us and sprinkle a little pixie dust before we head down to Walt Disney World. As we’ll be meeting before the mall opens, the center and staff will be all ours to answer any questions you may have about DVC.

All area Disney fans and Mom Blogers are welcome to join the #DisneySMMoms participants for this fun meet!

Please let me if you will be attending and if you will be bring kids. I may be able to get them to have staff in their kids club, but it depends on how many of us there are attending. The Dreams Center staff wears lanyards for pin trading, and there are Vinylmations that can be traded by kids and adults alike!

So let's get together and have a real good time! RSVP to dvcmom (at) gmail.com so that I can let DVC know how many of us to expect!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Night Fab

I made a stop at the local wine shop to see if I could find some fun sparkling wine to try.  The Barefoot Bubbly Rose' Cuvee' I reviewed in December was fun and fruity, so I thought I would see what else was out there.  I came home with a bottle of  Yellow Tail Bubbles Rose'.  I hoped that I would enjoy the wine, but  what really intrigued me about this bottle was the resealable cap.  Good thing I bought it for the cap.

At $8.99 for the bottle it wasn't a great loss that I was less than impressed by this wine.  It had slow, large bubbles compared to the Barefoot Bubbly Rose' and the Yellow Tail went flat in my glass before I was done drinking it.  The aroma is nice with grapefruit and flowers, but the flavor just falls short.  In the nose there is a promise of fruity goodness, in my mouth it dried out and lost any umph it could have had.  Yellow Tail Bubbles Rose' seemed like it wanted to be a bright sweet wine, but it was more like a grim shadow.  Overall my husband and I were bored, bored, bored. 

The star of this show by far is the Zork Resealable Cap on the bottle, which the Hubs thought may work on other bottles as well.  We sadly discovered that it wouldn't fit the spare bottle that we tried out the theory on.  It breaks my heart when I don't finish a bottle of bubbly before it goes flat.  I really hope that more bubbly makers follow suit and invest in this awesome new bottle closure.

The Drinks Report also has some great information on the Zork.  Nectar Tasting Room and Wine Blog has a video that demonstrates how the new Zork cap works.  We will note here that he calls people like me who don't finish a bottle in a night weird.  I'm okay with that. :D  As a full time Mom, I don't have a lot of opportunities to finish off a bottle of bubbly on my own.  One must stay on their toes you know.   

Disclaimer: All opinions contained within are my own and no form of compensation was received for this review.  Also posted on snooth.com

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Disney Vault 28 HARVEYS Release

 Vault 28 Release & Signing with Dana Harvey
February 19, 2011 from 3pm to 6pm

Make your way to Vault 28, at the Disneyland Resort's Downtown Disney District to get your special edition seatbelt bags from HARVEYS.  Creator and designer, Dana Harvey will be on hand to debut and sign some brand new swank bags for the Disney Classic Comic Strip Signature Collection at Disney Vault 28.

Stunning new selections from the Disney Classic Comic Strip Signature Collection will include the Black and White Boat Tote, Make-Up Bag, Men's Wallet, and Messenger Bag.  Also on hand will be bags from the super adorable and girlie Minnie Mouse inspired collection.

While supplies last get a Special HARVEYS for Disney Couture gift with any HARVEYS for Disney Couture B&W Seatbeltbag purchase of $100 of more. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Disney Junior Launches February 14th!

Have you heard? Playhouse Disney is becoming "Disney Junior"! Disney Junior is devoted to the smallest fans and their families. Geared towards children ages 2-7 Disney Junior invites parents and caregivers to join in the magical experience of music and stories. Lovable characters, both classic and new, with spin engaging, entertaining tales while using important learning and developmental themes. Famlar Playhouse Disney friends such as "Mickey Mouse," "Handy Manny," "Special Agent Oso" and the "Imagination Movers," will stay onboard as staples of Disney Junior. These classic shows however are joined by a whole new line up with new friends to meet!
  • "Jake and the Never Land Pirates" is an animated adventure combining new and classic Disney characters Captain Hook and Smee from "Peter Pan”
  • Disney Poetry Shorts which showcase poems for children set against classic Disney animations.
  • Two short form series, "Mickey Mousekersize" and "Special Agent Oso: Three Healthy Steps," will encourage healthy lifestyles for preschoolers and families focusing on the fun of exercising and encourages children at home to get up and move along.
  • "Babar and the Adventures of Badou," is an updated version of the classic that introduces King Babar's energetic eight-year-old grandson, Badou, as he friends as explore the world of Celesteville with friends.
  • "Tinga Tinga Tales," opens up cultural understanding with its vibrant animated adventures inspired by traditional African animal folktales and the art of Tanzania.
This post was featured in Disney Blog Carnival #18

Wordless Wednesday - Mara

Where in am I?

This is one of my very favorite spots out of all of the Disney Parks. Do you know where one can find earthly riches, eternal youth, or visions of the future? The only condition is that you may never gaze into the eyes of Mara.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

On Top of the World at the DIsney Driven Life

Some days my head spins with memories and reflections of my Walt Disney World youth.  My aunt made magic for me all year long, and always kept Disney in her heart.  She took me to so many special places, and we had so many great vacations.

Today on The Disney Driven Life I remember the original "Top of the World", how it's evolved, and what new opportunities exists to see that most spectacular view of the Walt Disney World Resort. So surf on over to the DDL and check it out!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Things we don't talk about...

I’m on a liquid diet until Wednesday when I’m having a gastric procedure done, and may I just say... I’m HUNGRY!!   I did two days very low fiber and now I have two days of liquid.  I’m here to tell you all that there are only so many soft frozen lemonades that one can eat before they go crazy.  A big thank you to Minute Maid for at least having 4 different flavor choices.  I think I’ve gone through an entire box in the last two days, and I have another box in the freezer.   Cup of Soup is also my friend, though I have to pick out the noodles today.

I tried to go on Twitter to distract myself, but people keep talking about Chocolate, BBQ and Cheese Burgers.  It makes me want to cry.   Let’s not even talk about the Pot Roast that’s in the crock pot my family gets to eat for dinner!  Sheesh!  Do I need to be sequestered and unwired to survive.

What’s a girl to do?  So much yummy food and so little I can eat.  I hate the thought of going to get this colonoscopy.  But, here’s the thing… “Colon Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related death in America today. This year alone, more than 131,000 Americans will be diagnosed with colon cancer.”  25,000 American women just like you and me, will die from it this year.  A woman’s risk of developing colon cancer doubles ever five years.  When symptoms arise, you know, back there, you can’t take it lightly or blow it off.  Especially because colon cancer is one of the most curable forms of cancer that there is.  Early detection is always the key.

It’s easy to ignore your rectal health because it’s embarrassing, or you think that you can handle it on your own.  A little bleeding now and then is no big deal, right?  WRONG.  It can be, so don’t assume that it’s just a little hemorrhoid.  Many people don’t even want to discuss it with their doctor, and that my friends, is how this disease gets out of hand.   If you have signs or warnings such as the following for more than two weeks, you need to see your doctor.
  • A change in bowel habits: diarrhea, constipation, or stool consistency changes
  • Narrow, “pencil-thin” stools
  • Rectal bleeding: blood in your stool on more than one occasion
  • Persistent, abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, bloating, or pain
  • A feeling that your bowel doesn’t completely empty
  • Sudden, unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite
  • Constant fatigue
This is the last thing that I really wanted to be talking about on my blog.   I’m sure I’ve offered TMI, and you have much better thing to read about.  Then I realized, that is what’s wrong.  No one talks about it, it’s a taboo, and that’s why people ignore signs and symptoms that could be telling them that there is a problem.   I care about you all too much to sweep things under the carpet and pretend that they don’t exist.   It’s okay to think about your whole health, and talk to your doctor if you think there may be a problem.  I did, and Wednesday we'll find out if it really is "nothing."

Medical information used in this article as well as much more about Colon Cancer can be found on the following websites:

Update: 2/9/11
Just wanted to let you all know that I am cancer free!
Also, the procedure went very easily. They gave me drugs to make me feel very relaxed and it didn't hurt one bit during or afterwards. Everyone was wonderful and it wasn't bad at all. I think that the worst part of the whole thing was the prep the days before. Colonoscopy may sound scary, but in actuality it was a piece of cake. If you're due for one or experience symptoms like above, don't hesitate to call your doctor right away.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Wrong Mouse!


My best friend Bekah and I with the wrong Mouse during our November Winery Trip. Soon enough we'll be on our way to #DisneySMMoms and we'll have our picture taken with the real deal. I know everyone is posting their snow pictures today, I'm just trying to think warm and sunny!