Saturday, October 21, 2017

A most magical Minnie Mouse painting party

We went to the most magical birthday party ever.  It was a "Minnie Paints the Dots" party hosted by TaraMarie at Growing Up Main Street for her daughter CJ's third birthday.

TaraMarie set up a table with easels and canvases for everyone to paint.  The artwork that was created was amazing and the memories produced were priceless.

My favorite part of the event was the amazing cake created by Something Sweet by Roe.
As delicious as it was beautiful!

The dessert/candy bar was like none I've ever seen before.  It had everything your sweet tooth could imagine and more!

I can't wait to see what CJ's next party will be!  I am hinting for a Bambi or Daisy Duck theme so that I can relive my childhood but whatever it is I am sure it will be perfect.

Monday, October 16, 2017

It's incredible to be here!

I've been procrastinating about writing this post for two weeks. I simply could not sit down and put into words how excited I am to be taking over Picturing Disney!

One of my fondest childhood memories is sitting on our fuschia velvet couch (I'm not kidding) every Sunday night to watch "The Wonderful World of Disney" on ABC. I've always gotten the Sunday night blues and for that short window of time each week my worries melted away. I've never really figured out a way to completely squash the Sunday blues but I can tell you that spreading the Pixie Dust certainly helps! With that said, we are going to continue to deliver the Disney Magic! I promise to bring the same whimsical fun that Melissa and Monique brought so passionately to all.  

We have a lot of fun planned starting over on Instagram. Don't know if you've noticed but we've been participating in the Fall into Disney Style October photo challenge! Picturing Disney started out as a Photo Blog and we will always stay true to our heart. Pictures capture our love story with Disney and we have a lot of stories to tell. Tara has been posting some fantastic photos over on our Instagram. Please check out her fantastic perspective.  It is fresh, it is whimsical and it is everything that you are going to come to love about our new vision. If you are not following us on Twitter please jump on board!  We like to sneak in some flash giveaways over there so if you are not following you will miss out!

I just realized that today is October 16th.  The Disney company was born on October 16, 1923! In that pioneering spirit I encourage you to share your Disney photos and experiences with us. Drop us a post on Facebook or tag us on Instagram for a chance to be featured.  We'd love to build a magical community with you one snap shot at a time!

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Only Way To Say Goodbye

The First Picture Ever Posted on Picturing Disney: 11/20/11

As many of you know, I founded Picturing Disney almost 7 years ago. We started out as a small little photo blog devoted to pictures I had taken in the parks over the years. This was a hobby of mine, to take pictures, to be creative, to see things people hadn't noticed before. But as I did this so did many, many others. In that I found my blog changing shape. I found my creative ways of raising trip money became posts with huge views, that people liked my trip reports, that people enjoyed that I shared my printables and crafts and my recipes which I have been reposting all summer, and that companies loves my writing style enough to send me free stuff to write about and take pictures of. I found that I had a little community here. And without realizing it, I had come to need that.

You see, my Disney trips were not just because I loved Disney World, there was something bigger at play. My high school sweetheart, my boyfriend, my fiance, my husband (all names he had from me over the course of my blog ownership) he had a lot of anxiety and travel was a trigger for him. He had traveled to Disney as a child, and to some beach vacations and therefore he didn't have much issue with Disney Parks or various Beach trips we had taken. I wanted more than just laying on a beach and repeating, I wanted a place I could have adventures. I found that place in Disney. Don't get me wrong, I went to many beaches up and down the east coast and even got him out to the Bahamas once. I tried to get him out to Cali once and we had to change our entire trip on the spot (and on my credit card) to Disneyland to stop an all afternoon anxiety attack that ensued upon landing.

In sickness and in health was something I was prepared to handle. I was here, I had my PD community, I had a great community of Disney friends, and I had my family and wonderful friends at home. I woke up one day and I realized I had been gaslighted. I realized I had been in a cycle of abuse. And the more I woke up to it, the more I realized I couldn't get out. I focused on ways to fund Disney trips while he was out of work, while he was back in school, while he was going to classes but I was doing to research papers and working full time and getting my Masters, and all the while GUILT GUILT GUILT and PAIN PAIN PAIN. I was so busy taking care and control in BOTH of our lives, so busy getting everything done, so busy giving him ALL of my sunshine that all that was shiny and beautiful inside me was dying. I was withering away because I had forgotten to save some of my sunshine for myself.

And then the unthinkable happened. Those moments in life that when they are happening and in the immediate aftermath you think "I will never forget this" but then somehow your own defense mechanisms make you forget everything but how you felt inside. Something happened between us that had happened before but never like this. And as he pulled back his arm, I could almost watch all of my sunshine go to black, see him pulling from me all that I had fought for over the years. And in a moment of intense emotional rewind, my brain brought me back to that same face in a different place. Suddenly his face was not angry and sad and overwhelmed and filled with all the things from his childhood he'd never dealt with.

Suddenly, we were on Prince Charming's Carousel at 3am during Spring Break Magic Kingdom Extra Magic Hours. He was smiling and laughing like a kid. I was giggling. His eyes were happy, they had a shine to them, a sparkle. My heart was full. The air was cold and I had the hood of my sweatshirt pulled up. There was no anxiety in either of us, no pain, no fear, just two kids celebrating my 30th birthday. Suddenly, in that moment I knew I needed to leave him here. I knew I needed to be that happy every day. I knew that this glittering moment that happened 10 months and a lifetime before was how I should remember my high school sweetheart, boyfriend, fiance, husband, and ex husband. And so I did.

I could not continue my life as I once had. That was when Monique of Only One Mark Inc took over the site. She was wonderful and Picturing Disney flourished for the 3 years she was the owner. OOMI has ballooned and become her full time work (and she is incredible!!! she designed my housewarming invitations, engagement announcements, and wedding invites!!).  Over that time that Monique was the owner and manager of PD, I found my sunshine. What is incredible about it was that I thought this whole time that it was important that I make my own sunshine, that I find a way to grow and do it within my own soul. Then I met Jason. I met the man who has redefined what the saying "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine" means in my world. I have never felt more loved and more overwhelmed with happiness than I do every single time I meet his eyes. I have always wondered about soulmates, about what love truly is, I questioned everything after my divorce. I never questioned Jason. He never questioned me. We met and that is all there is to it. We were never going to be whole again without each other.  Our lives have been filled with love and adventures since the moment we met and I have never in my life been so excited to grow old.

I found my happy place and it has been wonderful. We have a family together, we got engaged in Disney World. We are going to be married next month! And when Monique asked me to manage Picturing Disney and take the reigns back, I was so happy to take this step of my journey with my family! We shared the fun in doing Disney Publishing reviews. My youngest is our LeSportSac backpack reviewer extraordinaire, and I found a way to come full circle. I found a way to make peace. And in the year that I have been running the site again I have had a wonderful time.

In my time managing the site, I have also found someone who truly loves this site, who has worked with us for years, and who has been running her own site Kid Congeniality with heart and compassion that PD has always craved. I could not be happier to introduce Michele as the new owner of Picturing Disney. She has a breadth of social media knowledge that I could only dream of, she lives in the greatest city in the world, she loves all things Disney, and we share the same ideals of love, harmony, and sprinkling pixie dust wherever we go.

To celebrate this lovely happenstance we are going to run a little giveaway through Picturing Disney on instagram. Featuring our lovely account, Kid Congeniality, and my StepMommy Blog: StepMusings, you will be able to win a wonderful prize pack from LeSportSac and Disney Publishing, just in time for a spooktacularly special October!

I urge you, like Walt (and I like to think myself now too), to keep moving forward.
I will be around from time to time, but lets all give Michele the warmest of welcomes as Picturing Disney embarks upon a new and most exciting adventure.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Power Up Your Next Vacation with NintendoxLeSportSac!!!

LeSportSac has done it again! 
Here are Picturing Disney we just LOVE the collaborations that we see coming out of LeSportSac over the years! We have featured their Disney collections, as well as their pairings with Mr. Men and Peanuts. And as a girl who still has her original NES hooked up in her living room (and still can't beat World 8 on Super Mario Bros 3) this pulled at all of my heart strings! 

Nintendo x LeSportSac features two distinct lines: Power Up Burst and Mario Travel (and also some adorable Gamer Accessories).

We got to check out two awesome products from this collab for review. 
LeSportSac Weekenders are our FAVORITE travel bags! They are perfect for someone who packs light and wants an easy-to-slide-under-the-seat-in-front-of-you carry-on bag or a great sleepover pack! And the material is easy to clean and lightly waterproof! 

We also got, to my daughters complete and udder joy (as her initials are SMB) the Essential Backpack in Mario Travel

As always, the theme is tried and true and the smallest details make our hearts flutter, like the coin zipper pulls! These are my favorite backpacks of all time. And while they are pricey, so are any of the best quality bags and while those boast lifetime guarantees, we've never had a LSS backpack break in the last 6 years of use! 

We, of course, can never ever enjoy beautiful items sent for review without getting some giveaway items as well! We are teaming up with two of our favorite accounts, LeSportSac, and Disney publishing for a Spooktacular Giveaway on Instagram featuring these two beauties:
The Piranha Plant Pouch and Square Cosmetic are amazing quality (and worth a combined $60) in a giveaway with another $40 worth of great storybooks coming your way soon!