Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Tick tock! tick tock! 

We're getting closer and closer to our next Disney vacation, and I am so excited!!

I've checked us in for the Cruise and at Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, FastPass+ selections have been made, ADRs are all confirmed, everything is coming together.

I need this so badly, it's been far too long since I've visited the home of my heart. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Holiday Cards From Minted.com Help Share Your Family Adventures

Happy Holidays!  I know, I know… you think it’s too early to start thinking about Christmas cards but the winter holidays are really just right around the corner.  If you enjoy sending out a custom greeting to friends and loved ones, now is the best time to start planning.   I love the current trend of using holiday cards to share family vacation photos, and have ordered from many online printers over the years.  However, the one I go back to time and again for the most unique designs and highest quality paper products is beyond a doubt Minted.com.

I discovered Minted back in 2011 when I was looking for bridal shower invitations, and I’ve been a customer ever since. Minted’s revolutionary model crowd-sources design and art from independent designers around the world, then sells their best designs as fine stationery products, wall art, and home d├ęcor for the holidays, and many celebratory occasions. There’s always something fresh and new arriving in their store that can be even further personalized to create a special product just for you.
Minted offers hundreds of beautiful and unique card designs that can be easily searched through on their website.  Just check the boxes and their smart store will narrow down your choices by number of photos, format, or printing type.  If you turn on the “find it fast” button, it will even insert your personal photos into the previews.

Many families go for the traditional single shot of everybody on their holiday cards, and that’s nice, but as the family photographer I can tell you that it’s not always easy to get everyone together for one great picture.  Minted however offers a wide range of designs that can use multiple photos to help share adventures and whole family having fun.  Minted cards are a great way to share the highlights of your Disney vacation!  Yes, with multiple photos used to complete a design, even the family photographer can make it on these cards.

Once you’ve selected the design you like best, Minted’s website will walk you step by step through their customization process.  You can add in your photos and customize the text of your card, pick from several color schemes, chose a card shape, and even use all the space available by making the back of the cards personal too.  I love all the different options that Minted has to create a truly custom product.  Interior and backer upgrades often include a photo collage options so that you can share special moments from throughout your year.

Hand addressing all those envelopes can be a pain, literally!  So this year I’m taking advantage of Minted Envelopes too.  Users can easily upload an .xls file of their Holiday Card address list to the Minted website, and Minted will do the all heavy lifting.  This year there are 30 special holiday envelope designs being featured that you can chose from (note not all styles available with all cards).  Just match a beautiful envelope and address design and the outside of your card becomes just as special as the inside


Oh hey - The FTC says that I need to let you all know that this has been a “sponsored post,” and Minted compensated me with a store credit.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services that I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I’m a true fan of this company and it’s my honor to spread the word. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

DVC Conciegre Collection: Hotel del Coronado

I love to travel, and believe it or not I've even been known to head off to a location other than a Disney Resort every now and again, but even on those trips being a Disney Vacation Club member has come in handy more than once.  As many a geek knows getting a great hotel room for the week of San Diego Comic-Con International is an experience more ten times more difficult than snagging a Magic Kingdom View on the Fourth of July.  I was thrilled that when I called up DVC member services to see about booking a room on DVC points at the famous Hotel del Coronado for Comic-Con week I had no trouble what so ever.

Before I get into my review of the Hotel del, let me say up front that using your DVC points for a Concierge Collection Hotel is NOT an economical way to use your vacation club points.  If you are a point miser who likes to squeeze every bit of value out of your DVC, rent out your points and book on cash.  Using points on this trip was the only way that I could afford to go, so for me using points was perfect. On to the review!

Disney Vacation Club's Concierge Collection is a group of carefully selected non-Disney resorts and hotels that DVC members can stay at using points.   These exquisite resorts offer options in some of the most popular vacation destinations both in the US and abroad.  I've had the opportunity to visit two of these  Concierge Collection properties so far and enjoyed them both very much.  Though the number of points that need to be used per night is high, so is the quality of the properties.


The Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, California is a National Historic Landmark and for more than 125 years, has been the symbol of Victorian elegance and refined luxury.  "The del" has been a destination for Presidents, Royalty, and in the Golden age of Hollywood it was the "it" destination for glamorous starlettes and movie power.   An idyllic beachfront family retreat, it has earned a AAA four diamond rating as well as a slew of other awards in its substantial history.   It is widely considered one of the top hotels in the world.  The conical turrets and orange roof against it's white Victorian gingerbread featured inspired Disney Imagineers in building Walt Disney World's flagship hotel, The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.


This may be one of the most beautiful and luxurious resorts I have ever stayed in outside of Walt Disney World. The historic lady has not lost an ounce of her charm. Our room was not in the Victorian building but instead was in a newer section of the property. just off the main pool.  At first I was disappointed - but as we were lead down the hall by the charming bellman I had to chuckle.  The inside felt just like I was walking through the comfortable halls at the Grand Floridian, only in highlighted yellow instead of peach.  When we walked into our room all disappointment faded away, it was spacious and absolutely lovely, decorated in a beachy turquoise and lime color palette with a mid-century feel to it.  The pretty white shutters over the window let in ample amounts of light during the day.  Those shutters had their ups and downs though, because I had been looking forward to sleeping with black-out curtains and these let in more light that I cared for early in the morning.



The large bathroom allowed plenty of space for two people to get ready at the same time after everyone was done showering.  The one puzzling feature to me was that the closet was inside of the bathroom, and hid behind the bathroom door when it was open.  It proved a slightly awkward location if nothing else.  However the closet was large, with many hangers, had complimentary robes for us to use, extra pillows, and a small safe similar to those at Walt Disney World.

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Stepping out onto the balcony it became apparent that we had a great view of the main pool, turret building, and the ocean in the distance. How could you not be happy with that?  Plus PALM TREES! The grounds were an absolute plethora of palm trees. So many different types! I miss palm tress so much when I'm at home, and I never really realize it until I arrive some place that has them. I don't think Becks knew quite how obsessed with palm trees I actually am. I will note that the pool was really loud during the day full of families splashing and enjoying their time at the resort, but was locked up at 10pm each night so it didn't cause a problem at all when trying to sleep.



Staying at the Hotel del Coronado may have actually turned me into a beach girl. The soft sand sparkled and glittered in the sun. The cool pacific waters were fun to play in, even though we only dipped out toes. The U.S. Navy was frequently running exercises off-shore and we were able to watch helicopters, ships, and Navy Seals training to protect our country. I didn't stay at the bech for long but I am so glad that I did make the effort. However I much preferred sitting under an umbrella on the sun deck with a cocktail in my hand. I could easily lose hours or days just sitting back and enjoying the ocean view and breeze.



Turn-down service is provided to resort guests upon request, so I decided to indulge. All it took was one simple phone call to the front desk and when we returned at night after en evening out on the town our comfortable beds were turned down neatly with a small gift of seashells on our pillows. I love turn-down service, it always makes me feel especially pampered and it is one little treat I really appreciate. Though I often have trouble sleeping on vacation and can't always get comfortable on hotel beds, this was not one of those times. The Hotel del Coronado has very comfortable beds and ample numbers of pillows for cuddling and support.



Without a doubt my favorite part of this trip was the beautiful Hotel del CoronadoMy time spent here was lovely and relaxing, the ocean views nothing short of spectacular.  The weather was absolutely perfect with steady ocean breezes and the smell of salt air.  I wouldn't hesitate for a second to stay at the Hotel del again.  It was everything I dreamed it to be.

More Concierge Collection Hotel Reviews from the DVC Mom can be found at the links below.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Katie's #DisneySide - Retro Minnie Mouse Dress

Minnie Mouse icons take the place of cherries in this fun retro-styled sundress from Hot Topic.  It's the perfect #DisneySide look for her to wear to the Hoop-Dee-Doo.  Shopping for new clothes is one of my favorite parts of Disney planning!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Back to Planning: 2015 Land/Sea Advanture Part II

I told you about  our Walt Disney World plans for the first half of this new adventure, however after those first four nights two of us will get to continue on a second leg.  While Geordon, Kirk and Katie head back home, Tori and I will be embarking on a Disney Cruise!

This second leg is a research and business trip for both Tori and myself. She has been dreaming  of working as a youth counselor on the Disney Cruise line for years, but had to be 21 in order to apply.  She turned 21 back in May and now we're headed off for a trail run at sea to help determine if a sailor's life is for her.  Tori is on a research mission to determine if she enjoys being on a ship, to see what her work environment would be like, and to chat with people in her desired job to get a better feeling of what they do and if they enjoy it.

By Sea

The dreamer...We "Dream Girls" are headed off on a 4 night cruise to the Bahamas on-board the exquisite Disney Dream.  It's just a short voyage but I'm really excited to be able to cruise again.  I love being at sea, and with less work for me on this leg of the trip, this is where I'll finally get a vacation too.

Our Stateroom: It's an Inside Stateroom on deck 6 for us this trip, but with a Magic Porthole we'll have a virtual view and some fun Disney friends to pop up and say hello. 

Rotational Dining:  The Disney Dream offers a rotational dining arrangement that allows us to eat at a different restaurant on every night of our cruise!  Aside from the restaurants that are included with our cruise there are also two adults only choices that offer "fine dining" at sea.  I'm really hoping that we will be able to secure a reservation at Palo for Northern Italian cuisine, because it's one of my favorite overall Disney restaurants.  We will probably skip the chic and magnificent Remy, Tori and I are a bit picky and I'm just not sure that there would be enough for us to eat there.  I'm not worried about the overall food situation because, well, it's Disney!  I just need to make sure that I have enough cash budgeted for coffee and cocktails.

Port Excursions:  We have two ports of call on this cruise, Nassau and Castaway Cay.  I know that we'll be getting of the ship at each, I'm just not sure what we'll be doing yet.  It's OK though we still have time to plan!  My thoughts right now are shopping at the Straw Market in Nassau just to say that we did, and hanging out at Serenity Bay on the private island.  We'll see if I can budget for anything greater.

Fish Extender Exchange:  We all know how much I love swag and largesse, so I headed over to a Disney forum I usually avoid and signed up for the Fish Extender Gift Exchange!  I've been getting craft while making cute little favors to pass out to the people in my group.  Not sure what a Fish Extender is?  Check out the FE Fun For All website.

Have you been on a Disney Cruise?  
Leave a comment and let me know what your favorite part was!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Back to Planning: 2015 Disney Land/Sea Adventure

Though I took a trip to San Diego using my DVC points in 2014 (the famous Hotel del Coronado is in the DVC Concierge Collection and is amazing) until recently my family didn't have any concrete plans to return to Walt Disney World.  This was a sad fact and to be honest, fairly depressing (not to mention, bad for business). However, thanks to an unusual turn of events we're back to planning for a 2015 Walt Disney World Vacation!  Read on and see how the pre-trip is stacking up.

I will be spending the first 4 nights of this February adventure at Walt Disney World in work mode, but that doesn't mean that I can't enjoy myself and we managed to arrange for Geordon and all three of the kids to come along as well.  The second 4 nights Victoria and I will head to sea on the Disney Dream.  This is going to be quite a vacation and it may very well be the last trip all five of us take as our family core.  Kirk is looking at joining the Air Force next year, and Tori may be applying for a job with the Disney Cruise Line.  With the prospect of two of my kids leaving the house, 2015 has some big changes coming up and a few days together at Disney will be a blessing to have.

By Land

Flights:  For the first time ever I'll be flying out of Milwaukee's airport on Southwest Airline.  I have fought using Southwest for years because I had thought that the closest airport they flew out of was 3 hours away from me.  However after flying with them out of that airport with Becks in July I decided to look and see if they had departures a little closer.  To my joy I discovered that they fly out of an airport that's only about 1.5 hours away as well.  Our flights are booked and we're hoping that all goes well with this new airport.  A bonus here is that it's going to cost left than half to park our car than it would if we took United out of Ohare.

Entryway StatueThe Resort:  Once again my love goes out to DVC for being able to provide us a room that we already have paid for.  I booked a beautiful 2 Bedroom Villa for 4 nights at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa.  I know that many folks aren't fond of Saratoga Springs, but it's the first Disney Resort that Geordon and I stayed in together so it's full of wonderful memories.  This is DVC's largest resort and it really is lovely. I'm looking forward to trying the new menu at Artists Palette as well as checking out the new pool and spa that went in since I last stayed there.

Disney Dining: We're on the Disney Dining Plan! Though the standard plan doesn't really save money, I am a BIG fan of having everything paid for before we leave and not having to worry about watching the bank account when we travel.  It's a bit of Disney magic that I'm more than happy to indulge in.  We'll be trying several restaurants on this trip that we haven't been to before (like Bongos and Raglan Road) and we snagged a reservation for the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue Dinner Show.  I'm really looking forward to the Hoop-Dee-Doo because the last time Tori, Kirk and I were there it was the first vacation after I left their biological father.  It sort of feels like things have come full circle.

Touring: We'll be at Walt Disney World 3 full days, however our Park tickets are limited.  We have a day planned at the Magic Kingdom, one at Typhoon Lagoon, and visiting non-Park options such as hotel hopping and shopping in Downtown Disney. 

That takes care of the first half of this adventure - stay tuned to hear the plans soon for our adventure by sea!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Manicure of the Month: Mickey's Red Pants

Send your girls back to school with a friend at their finger tips.  This cute and stylish Mickey Mouse Manicure that's perfect for nails of any length and for any age.  Fun and whimsical this paint job is easy to create and just plain makes me smile.  Thanks so much to Beautifully Disney for the idea inspired by Mickey's brand new look being shown in the current Disney Channel shorts.

Mickey Red Pants Nails

Monday, August 4, 2014

Manicure of the Month: Animal Kingdom Tribal

The summer continues to sizzle and these tribal nails inspired by Disney's Animal Kingdom are the perfect way to say Jambo!  Have fun, get creative, and hide as many Mickey's as you want on your finger tips. The key here s to take your time and let the base coats dry completely before decorating with the tribal designs.  When using the cosmetic sponge technique it can get a little messy, be sure you have some nail polish remove soaked q-tips on hand for clean up on your skin.

Animal Kingdom Nails

Monday, June 30, 2014

Manicure of the Month: Patriotic Mickey Nails

Red, White, and True Blue Mickey - This Patriotic manicure will be the hit of your 4th of July BBQ!  If you don't think you have the skill to accomplish this on your own hand, grab a girlfriend and have a nail party!  You can each bring a couple of colors and then help each other get this look that is Beautifully Disney.

Patriotic Nails Beautifully Disney

Monday, June 2, 2014

Manicure of the Month: Finding Nemo Nails

Is it June already?  Happy Summer-time!  Grab you flip flops and hit the beach, but don't forget to create some super cute summer nails inspired by Disney PIXAR.  You can bring Nemo and the gang along for some wet and wild fun.  This manicure takes a little time and a steady hand, but I just love the bubbles!  If you can't see yourself sporting this bright design on every finger, just pick one or two accent nails to compliment a solid polish in a complimentary color.

Finding Nemo Nails

Monday, May 5, 2014

Manicure of the Month: Simply Minnie

This is my favorite type of Disney inspired manicure from Disney's Senses Spa.  I'm a sucker for a Minnie Mouse nail.  Carefully classic yet whimsical and fun,  polka dots and bows are where it's at.  I think that the red is a show stopper, but if Clubhouse Minnie is your favorite there's no reason you couldn't do this with pink!  It takes a little bit more skill to pull off this look, but if you've been following along and trying out some of the previous designs you shouldn't have a problem.

MInnie Nails From Disneys Senses Spa

Friday, April 25, 2014

Disney Junior's Genevieve Goings To Release First Solo Album

Genevieve  Goings is launching a new album and we here at The DVC Mom's Traveler were sent the single of "My Telephone Number is" to review.  As an influencer with Entertainment New Media Network we'll recieve compensation for this post but as always thoughts and opinions are always our own.  Self described "fun parent" Erik got to work to find out just what the number is.

Genevieve has been entertaining and teaching children on the Disney Junior Network for the past ten years. She started as the upbeat, perky and fun loving conductor on the Disney show; “Choo Choo Soul with Genevieve” singing wonderful remakes of classic Disney songs while also teaching toddlers those important fundamentals that they will need as they take their first steps into the world. She has also voice many of the ‘learning bumps’ that appear between shows and during commercials, to continue the positive learning experience for young kids and their parents.

Taking her next big step, Genevieve is ready to put out her first solo album “Do You Know?”  with the same sense of positive learning and upbeat musical songs that will have both children (ages 2-7) and their parents dancing, singing, and learning together. The first song, off her new album, “My Telephone Number Is”  is a bright and upbeat track that helps young children learn their telephone number by placing their phone numbers in a fun musical beat that anyone can do. “My Telephone Number Is”  is currently being offered on iTunes and you can watch the video right here!

For parents and children to get a taste of Genevieve’s positive style and obvious passion to teach and entertain children.  Other songs on Genevieve’s first album, “Do You Know?”, will focus on many of those important things that preschoolers will need to know as they go out into the great, big beautiful world like telling time and knowing their phone numbers but will also showcase some of the more personal aspects of growing up like potty training and one’s hygiene. This album will be a mix of great songs and fun videos to delight children during this important stage of learning in a way that talk’s to them without talking down to them.

GG2With pre-orders for this first, inspiring album coming in early May (with the release date scheduled for June 3rd 2014), several great bonuses have been created to go along with the launch. Genevieve has a great app in the iTunes store that showcases many of her songs for toddlers and preschoolers called “Sing with Genevieve”. This free app can be downloaded from the iTunes store here.

Another wonderful bonus is that parents who pre-order this positive and enjoyable album, “Do You Know?” will also receive the second track called “Gotta Do My Business” instantly and free.

Genevieve Goings can be followed on Twitter @ChooChooGirl
on Facebook at Facebook.com/GenevieveGoings and
and on Instagram at Instagram.com/GenevieveGoings

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mom's Night Out: Have You Had One Lately?

I'm so excited to share with you one of the cutest movies I have heard of in a long time, it's called Moms' Night Out.  Right off the bat it screamed to me "grab your girls and head to the theater!"  This fun romp is all about Allyson and her friends wanting nothing more than a peaceful, grown-up evening of dinner and conversation.

Haha!  But I'm a mom - and most of you are moms too.  We know that it's never quite as easy as that.  In order to enjoy a little grown up girl time they must leave their husbands in charge and watching the kids for a few hours!   What could go wrong?

That just may be a dangerous question.  Check out this fun filled trailer - 

How FUN is that!?!?  Is that not totally would happen in your house?  I know - right?

Moms' Night Out Opens Friday, May 9th in theaters everywhere!  
Just in time for Mother's Day

Visit the Moms' Night Out Website for more information! 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Manicure of the Month: True Blue Cinderella

Speaking of princess perfect hands (were we?) check out this Cinderella inspired manicure from Disney.  If a dream is a wish your heart makes, why not have something bibbidi bobbidi beautiful to inspire your travel planning.  Stuck typing away at work rather than pinning your dream trip?  Sparkly princess nails will make you smile and remind you what you're working for.

Cinderella Polish From Disney

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Sing Into Spring Givaway With Walt Disney Records

It's been a long and frozen winter in Illinois this year, but we're finally starting to thaw out up here.  Even my tulips have begun to push through the ground in search of a sunny spring day.  I was delighted when a  complimentary collection of CDs arrived on my doorstep this week to celebrate the season with some fantastic music.

Sing Into Spring
The real winner of this collection in my daughter's opinion was the sound track to the highest grossing animated film of all time.  Disney's Frozen. We started out with the tunes of "Do You Want To Build A Snowman," and listened through to the Academy Award Winning "Let It Go" genuinely enjoying the music.  Other CDs that arrived with the set included great dance tunes from the Disney Channel Play It Loud, and fun stuff by Austin & Ally, and some super fun tracks that will bring the summer heat from Teen Beach Movie.

Along with the delightful package that I received from Walt Disney Records, as part of Entertainment New Media Network Walt Disney Records is sending some seasonal fun to two lucky readers of mine as well!  I've got CDs to giveaway (one set geared towards tweens, and one set geared towards preschoolers) so that you can pump up the volume and welcome back the warmer weather with some hot tunes.

The tween music set includes CDs of fantastic music from Frozen, Austin & Ally: Turn It Up, Disney Channel's Play it Loud, and the Disney Channel summer hit Teen Beach Movie! Use this first entry form to enter to win the tween music collection.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The preschool music includes CDs from Doc McStuffins, DJ Shuffle, Jake and the Never Land Pirates / Yo Ho Matey, and of course the smash musical sensation Frozen! Fill out this form to enter for the preschool set.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Google+ Hangout With Zachary Levi

I'm so excited!  Today I'll be hanging out on Google+ with Flynn Ryder himself! You can even watch the video below!  Actor Zachary Levi is promoting his current Indiegogo campaign to help fun the epic Nerd HQ event this year.  What's Nerd HQ you ask?

Nerd HQ is a fantastic fan driven event that happens in San Diego, California.  Run by Zac's company The Nerd Machine, Nerd HQ is a mini-con that offers alternative programing to the hustle and bustle going on across the street.  This unique event is known for connecting fans with their favorite actors in an intimate, and fairly unmoderated format. There are places to hang out, eat, recharge, test out some of the latest and greatest video games, play in a retro arcade, watch movies, listen to music, and dance the night away!  The best part is that most of Nerd HQ is offered absolutely FREE! And - when the panels do have a fee it goes completely to charity.

Exciting programing like the famous Conversations for a Cause and Smiles for Smiles help to raise money for Operation Smile, which provides life changing surgery to children with cleft lips and palates.  All this while giveing fans access to their favorite celebrities like no other event.

But what if you can't attend?  Well that's where Nerd HQ really shines!  Unlike many other conventions that offer a virtual pass for a price (usually the same cost as a full attendee badge), Nerd HQ offers all of it's panels streaming LIVE online completely FREE.  That means that even if you can't be there in person you can still participate, and this year Zac has said the folks at home will have even more chances to interact with the actors on stage.  

I'm supporting the #IWantMyNerdHQ campaign and today Zac and I will be hanging out so that you can learn more about it too!   Every $5 contribution helps and goes towards making something magical to bring you together with some of your favorite stars.   You can contribute at IWantMyNerdHQ.com we're a long way from the goal and we need your help!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Pirate Smiles

Disney just plain makes me smile - Tom Hiddleston makes me smile - Tom singing as a Disney Character absolutely sends me over the moon.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Manicure of the Month: Disney French Manicure

Simple enough for work, this beautiful French Tip accented with Mickey is the perfect every day manicure. Add a Mickey to just one accent finger or sport the mouse on all ten, these tips are perfect to make shorter nails look divine.  At home or from a nail salon, this simple addition from Disney's Senses Spa is the perfect way to express your #DisneySide.

Looking for ways to keep your fingers in tip top shape? 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Rustico Leather Travel Set Review

There is nothing that quite matches the sensual joys of using a well-crafted item made of real leather.  This is true of the items that I recently received from Rustico Leather, which sent me a complimentary leather passport cover, a leather and wool felt luggage tag, and a "Good Book" leather soft-cover journal.  When I opened it, the entire set screamed "Geordon!" to me - so I turned it over to him to tell you all about it.  Thanks so much to my husband for this lovely Rustico review.

There's not a whole lot of "wow" that can go into a luggage tag and a passport cover, but these do admirably.  The passport cover is sized to hold a standard passport, with a full edge pocket in the back and a slip pocket in front.  It is (handsomely)  machine stitched around all four edges and laser engraved with the word "PASSPORT" on the front.  The leather has a sort of velvety feel which is quite pleasant, and the rough underside is textured in such a way that it will not shed little particles of leather all over. This item  can be personalized with up to two lines of text of up to 20 characters, for $10.00 per line, and is available in five colors, for a cost of $ $24.50

The luggage tag is backed with a very nice wool felt (ours is in grey, though other colors are available) with a leather frame for the front panel, with a clear plastic sleeve to protect the contact information.  The clear sleeve seems to be either glued or sewn into the whole thing, but I'm not certain.  The tag is machine stitched around three edges, with a leather hang loop to attach it to your luggage securing the contact information page.  I would have liked to see the plastic protection sheet fully cover the contact info, but it doesn't.  It leaves about 1/4 of an inch exposed, which means that it could feasibly get caught and damaged in shipping.  It is available in seven colors of wool for $18.00.  There is a hand-sewn version available for the same price, with the same seven colors.

The real winner, though, is the "Good Book" journal.  Before I go into this, I feel obliged to admit that I am a book dork.  I love hand-sewn books, and have done some hand bookbinding myself.  I own several books dedicated to bookbinding, I love the feel of pen on paper (especially liquid inks), and own more journal books than I should, even though most of them are empty.

Anyway, back to The Good Book.  In technical terms, it is bound with an exposed long-stitch spine and five, 8-folio signatures.  In other words, the book has five sections that are made up of 16 leaves for a total of 160 pages, and is sewn directly to the leather that makes up the cover. The cover is unadorned, but can be personalized with up to two lines of text of up to 20 characters, for $10.00 per line, and is available in five colors, for a cost of $44.75

The cover is a nice soft (but not floppy) leather with waxed threads along the outside of the spine, and a flap secured by a wrap-around strap to close the book.  The inside of the leather is manually (machine) textured, rather than being "raw" and is not likely to shed bits and pieces of leather through use.  The leather, while imperfect, is smooth and evenly dyed.  The strap is self-secured to the flap, rather than being sewn to it.  I think this has a very nice aesthetic to it.  Though initially unblemished, the leather will almost certainly develop scuffs, scrapes, and signs of wear that will give it great character as time passes.

The paper is rough cut, meaning that the edges are not smooth, even though each section (signature) of the book block was cut together.  The edges of the pages in each sewn section have the same distinct and random pattern, which gives the book character.  The paper had a definite texture to it.  There was no watermark or makers mark in the paper that I could see, but there was the marking from the web that the paper was made on.  It was a nice weight to take writing and page turning with gusto.  Being the information junkie that I am, I would have liked to know more about the paper, such as the weight and what (if any) finish it had.  I would have been interested to know who made it, because it's nicely serviceable paper.

As I said, I'm a book nerd, and I love writing paper.  Because this paper was not familiar to me (and there were no details given by the company about the paper), I used three different writing instruments to get a feel for it.  First off, I used a 1.15 mm pencil (Retro 51 Tornado) to write a few lines.  The paper felt soft under the pencil and the pencil marks left un-marked areas in the line due to the texture of the paper.  I would call the paper "toothy" under the pencil.

Next I used my Retro 51 Tornado rollerball pen, which has a liquid ink.  The paper took the ink really well.  It wasn't sucking the ink out of the pen, and the liquid ink did not bleed through the paper.  There was only minor show through on the flip-side of the page, just a faint shadow.  I expect that a fountain pen, though, would bleed into the paper rather heavily.  The liquid ink pen felt a little like writing over sandpaper due to the paper texture.  I would not like to write with that pen on this paper for very long.

The last pen that I used was a Fisher Space Pen ballpoint which has a paste ink similar to what you would find in most commercial pens (though not a gel pen, which I don't like).  The paper took that ink very well, too, and the texture of the paper was such that that the pen didn't skip.  A couple of days on, though, and the ink is a little smear-y. I don't have this often with the notebook that I carry in my pocket, so think that this might be partly due to the paper not absorbing the ink very much.  Writing with the ballpoint in this book was the happy medium between the pencil and the rollerball.  There was enough feel of the texture to know it was there, but not enough to be annoying or uncomfortable.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Manicure of the Month: Happy Hands In 5 Steps

Living up north, I know that winter weather can truly be hard on hands.   Often becoming dry and chapped from the cold by February my hands always need a little extra TLC.   With the help of  Disney's Senses Spa I've rounded up a few trick to help me (and you!) keep the magic at my fingertips. 

Now that your hands are super soft, how about a Mickey Bar Manicure!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Manicure of the Month: Mickey Bars

I found this on Pinterest Today.  I am absolutely in love. I have a long way to go until our next Disney Trip, but I think it's safe to say that when I go, it's going to be with a Mickey Bar on at least one of my nails.

Mickey Bar Nails