Making Magic Happen

Disney, Disney World, Anxiety and Travel, OCD and Travel, Child with OCD and Travel, Mental Illness, Children with Mental Illness and Travel, Vacation Anxiety, Travel Anxiety, Child Anxiety, Disability Access Service, DAS, Disney Disability Pass, Disney Disability Support Services, The Everyday Journalista, Everyday Journalista

We have just returned from a trip of a lifetime to Disney World in Orlando. A few short years ago this trip would have been impossible for us. With a child who has multiple anxiety disorders as well as OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) I thought that a trip of this distance (we live in British Columbia, Canada) and magnitude would simply be too much.

I can’t tell you how proud I am of how far my son has come in these past two years. He has put in an immeasurable amount of work in his constant battle against anxiety and OCD. Disney Parks have also done an amazing job of providing support and tools for those with a variety of needs and disabilities. In this post I hope to share with you what I did to prepare for our trip and how Disney Parks support and systems helped make our time at Disney World truly magical.

 

A trip to Disney World, in my opinion, is not something to be done spontaneously. The more you plan the more you can get out of your visit. For us this trip was a year in the making.

PLANNING AHEAD:

A few months prior to our visit I really started to research our visit and what it was going to look like. In our case we were going to be in Orlando for a full 7 days. Considering the distance we were traveling and some of the other things we wanted to see and do while in Orlando (another post coming on that soon), as well as our experience at Disneyland last year, I thought that we would be able to do and see everything we wanted over a four-day period. To save a little money we decided not to purchase the park hopper, which allows you to visit multiple parks each day. We also took advantage of the Canadian Residence Special that Disney is currently offering.

We planned to spend one day at each of the 4 parks: Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, and Epcot. We visited one park each day and made the most of the full day at each location. For us it worked out amazingly and I would highly recommend this if you’re looking at ways to save. In my opinion it had no negative impact on our experience.

Next I started searching Disney World crowd calendars for the 4 days we would be in the area. This is a really helpful tool for figuring out what days may be the best for you to visit. I used Kenny The Pirate and found it to be really helpful.

ONCE YOU ARRIVE:

The first thing I did when we got into Orlando was to download the My Disney Experience app. Now keep in mind that you are able to book a FastPass+ up to 30 days ahead of your visit, but we did visit during a relatively quiet time of the year (January), and we had decided not book any character dining or other specific experiences as we had done that in Disneyland previously. If those are things that are a priority for you I would highly recommend booking those as far in advance as possible. For more information on FastPass+ click here.

DISABILITY ACCESS SERVICE (DAS):

I knew that this was something I wanted to look into getting for my son. Disney parks go above and beyond when it comes to helping those with special needs. I’m not just talking about those with physical disabilities (although they offer services for those people as well). I’m talking about a huge range of needs, including those with cognitive disabilities and mental illness. Without the support and services available with the DAS we would not have been able to experience Disney World. Disney really does an amazing job at making their parks magical and accessible for all children.

Wdwprepschool.com defines those who maybe eligible for the DAS as “anyone who has a disability or condition that necessitates waiting outside a traditional line environment”.

It is a bit of a process to get the pass set up but once that’s done you’re good to go at any of the 4 Disney parks. We knew this going in so we made sure we were at the park (we did Animal Kingdom on our first day) right when it opened in order to get everything set up.

 

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As I mentioned above we had pre-purchased our tickets so once we got through security we headed straight for Guest Relations. The amazing cast member who helped us was able to set up our park cards as well as the disability pass for my son (A very grateful shout-out to Amy-Lou at Guest Relations Animal Kingdom). She let me know about break areas in the case of over stimulation and provided me with a document called Attraction Details for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities.

 

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This invaluable tool goes through every attraction at each of the four parks identifying details that could be possible triggers (loud noises, smells, and elements of surprise, to name a few). It also includes information on ride duration and restraint type. I can’t express how helpful this was. I was able to use this tool, not only to help me select which rides were appropriate for my son, but also to help prepare him for those rides we selected. Not knowing what’s coming can be debilitating for him so letting him know that Star Tours – The Adventure continues has periods of darkness, 3D effects, and lasts 7 minutes was really effective in helping him prepare for what was to come.

DURING THE TRIP:

Every evening once we returned to our hotel and I got the kids to bed I spent some time planning our next day. I would review a park map for the park we were going to visit (I printed these prior to our trip), I looked through the Attraction Details Handbook and made a list of what we wanted to accomplish for the day. I would then book our FastPass+ and lay out a plan for what we would do around our FastPass+ times. I tried to plan our day to cover the rides around our FastPass+ times so we weren’t walking across the entire park for a FastPass+ ride time.

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With the DAS we were also able to get Return Times for rides. In order to obtain a Return Time for a ride at Disney World you must go to the FastPass+ entrance of the ride you wish to go on and arrange for a return time. My son’s card would be scanned in order to verify his designation and then we were given a card or verbal time to return within half an hour of the current time. Upon returning we would enter in through the FastPass+ line.

 

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For the most part, this system worked really well for us. A few times we returned to find that the FastPass+ line was really long. In these cases we chose to return later. This and the fact that you have to return at all can be an issue for some children.

In Disneyland they have designated areas you can go to get return times that are separate from the ride. This makes things a lot easier for those children who have a tough time leaving a ride without riding it and having to return later. For us, either my husband or myself would go and get the Return Time while the other kept the kids busy with some of the million other things there are to see and do at Disney World.

 

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So that’s what I did to plan before and during our trip to Disney World. If you have a child who struggles with a disability, be it physical or mental, I hope you will find this helpful in some way.

I’m planning a series of photo focused mini posts, one on each park that we visited highlighting our experience. So please keep an eye for that.

 

ONE MORE THING

There’s been a lot of talk in the media lately about mental illness. It’s a conversation that is long over due on a topic that affects a staggering amount of people on some level or another. As excited as I am about initiatives like #bellletstalk, change is slow and despite our best efforts there still exists a huge amount of stigma and misunderstanding when it comes to mental illness.

For those who struggle with OCD they may often be faced with the mainstream use of the term OCD. If you know someone who truly struggles with OCD you know that every thought and action can be a battle. What can be harder is that those who struggle with disorders like anxiety and OCD look just like you and me. Their war goes on inside, often in secret.

My point in all of this is that when you visit a Disney Park they get it! Whether you are limited physically or mentally they are there to support you and your children. Disney has allowed my family to have experiences and make lifelong memories, which without a doubt we would not have been able to make without the support and systems they have in place.

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A Mickey Mouse-tastic Birthday

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When my daughter came to me asking for a Disney themed birthday party I was not at all surprised. We visited Disneyland for the first time a few months ago and she has literally fallen in love with anything and everything Disney. Who can blame her, after all, it is the most magical place on earth ;).

We narrowed it down to Mickey Mouse from Disney which was great because there is just so much available from party supply stores and even the dollar store with the Mickey Mouse theme.

The following are some photos of what we came up with. Hopefully this will give you a starting point or some inspiration if you are considering a Mickey Mouse party for your child.

Mickey Mouse, Mickey Mouse Birthday Party, Birthday Party Ideas, Mickey Mouse Cake, Mickey Mouse Table Decorations, Mickey Mouse Pinata, Mickey Mouse Goodie Bags, Menchies Bar Birthday, DIY Menchies PartyI painted this Mickey Mouse head on our front window. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out :).

roomIMG_5465Here’s a view from the inside. I just fell in love with these red and white polka dot balloons and bunting!

Mickey Mouse, Mickey Mouse Birthday Party, Birthday Party Ideas, Mickey Mouse Cake, Mickey Mouse Table Decorations, Mickey Mouse Pinata, Mickey Mouse Goodie Bags, Menchies Bar Birthday, DIY Menchies PartyMore polka dots! We made these Mickey Mouse serving platters by attaching two smaller black plates to a bigger one. Easy peasy and the kids thought is was awesome.

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Another angle of the window.

Mickey Mouse, Mickey Mouse Birthday Party, Birthday Party Ideas, Mickey Mouse Cake, Mickey Mouse Table Decorations, Mickey Mouse Pinata, Mickey Mouse Goodie Bags, Menchies Bar Birthday, DIY Menchies PartyThis back drop not only was amazing at helping to create the Mickey Mouse feel but I also used it for one of the party activities. We pulled the table forward and then I held a ‘photo shoot’ with Mickey, the birthday girl and all their friends. It was a lot of fun!

Finding the Magic in Everyday Finding the Magic in Everyday

For the cake, I just baked two regular eight inch rounds and then cut out two circles from one of the rounds for the ears. Simple icing and then edged the cake with these super yummy white and milk chocolate Kit Kat bars. The kids could not wait when they saw it!

Mickey Mouse, Mickey Mouse Birthday Party, Birthday Party Ideas, Mickey Mouse Cake, Mickey Mouse Table Decorations, Mickey Mouse Pinata, Mickey Mouse Goodie Bags, Menchies Bar Birthday, DIY Menchies PartyThis is a cake I did for part of the ‘family’ party we had the next day. But I wanted to show you the pinata that we used for the ‘friend’ party that is in the background. We were all so excited about the Mickey Mouse Pinata but I have to say I was really disappointed with it. As luck would have it the very first string that was pulled was the one that opened the bottom area up for all the candy to fall out. But nothing fell out! Each child had a turn and pulled the ribbons and… nothing. I finally had to grab the pinata and rip the bottom out more and dump the candy out. Then of course the chaos ensued :). I felt the pinata itself did not work as it was supposed to :(. Of course the kids still got the candy so I think they were fine with it, lol.

Mickey Mouse, Mickey Mouse Birthday Party, Birthday Party Ideas, Mickey Mouse Cake, Mickey Mouse Table Decorations, Mickey Mouse Pinata, Mickey Mouse Goodie Bags, Menchies Bar Birthday, DIY Menchies PartyFor the goodie bags I found these neat popcorn type boxes from the dollar store. The kids had the candy from the pinata and we also filled them with a Mickey Mouse themed giant eraser, Mickey and friends pencil, tape and noise maker. The kids also took home one of these Mickey and Friends note books shown in the foreground.

Mickey Mouse, Mickey Mouse Birthday Party, Birthday Party Ideas, Mickey Mouse Cake, Mickey Mouse Table Decorations, Mickey Mouse Pinata, Mickey Mouse Goodie Bags, Menchies Bar Birthday, DIY Menchies PartyOn the second day of birthday celebrating we had some family over for a Menchies Bar Party. My daughter loves Menchies! She is lactose intolerant and this is one of the ice cream/ fro-yo places she can go because they always offer a diary free option. I bot the Fro-yo, Sherbet and a couple of the harder to find toppings at Menchies and found the rest in the bulk section of my local grocery store. This was a ton of fun and I would definitely recommend it. Menchies was really helpful as well!

I hope you enjoyed this post and perhaps picked up an idea or two if you are considering a Mickey Mouse themed Party for your child. If you have any questions or comments you can leave them here or you can also find me on Instagram @theeverydayjournalista.

Hope you are having a Mouse-tastic Day! :)

 

 

Christmas Crafting: Kid Friendly Cornstarch Dough

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Christmas is fast approaching and with it all the fun traditions and activities that make it my favorite time of the year. As I type this, my home is filled with the scent of buttery whipped shortbread baking in the oven. A Christmas tradition in our family for generations and one I fully intend on passing down to my children.

Along with baking, tree decorating, the annual Christmas puzzle, and advent calendars we always end up doing some kind of craft. In the past we have made salt dough ornaments, decorated a special plate for Santa’s cookies with Sharpie and baked it, painted our windows with Christmas cheer and of course written and decorated letters to Santa.

This year my daughter convinced me that we had to make our Christmas craft not to decorate our home but the home of her Barbies in her doll world. She has built this entire town down in the toy room and it would be an understatement to say that she takes this doll ‘world’ very seriously. She spends hours down there creating just the right set up for her ‘girls’.

I partially blame YouTuber My Froggy Stuff for this ;). If you haven’t heard of My Froggy Stuff you should definitely check it out. This mom and daughter team craft up anything you could possibly imagine in doll scale. It’s really impressive.

Anyway… back to the craft at hand. Inspired by My Froggy Stuff we recently tried our hand at cornstarch dough and made some food and home accessories for my daughters’ dolls. The recipe is super simple and you can make just about anything you can think up. We had a lot of fun together making, baking, and decorating these.

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So as I mentioned before, my daughter came to me wanting to make more cornstarch dough, and this time to make some Christmas items for her dolls. She wanted to do a video for her own YouTube channel Happy Puppy and I thought this would be a great family friendly craft post for my blog. So here we are with a “collab-post” between the Happy Puppy and The Everyday Journalista.

Christmas crafts

I’m going to do a brief overview of what we did here and if you want to check out the how-to in more detail you can visit the full video Christmas Crafting with Cornstarch Dough.

 

 

What You Need:

Christmas Crafting, Christmas Craft for Kids, Cornstarch Dough, Kids Crafts, Doll Foods, DIY doll accessories, DIY doll food, The Everyday Journalista, Everyday Journalista,There are only three ingredients, which is great, and it’s stuff you likely have on hand, which again is great!

Cornstarch

Baking Soda

Water

 

What You Do:

  • Mix 1 Tbsp of Cornstarch, 2 Tbsp of Baking Soda, and 1 Tbsp of Water in a microwave safe bowl.
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  • Heat it in the microwave for about 20 seconds.
  • Kneed together into a dough when cool enough to handle.

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  • Store unused portions in a plastic bag while shaping pieces, as it tends to dry out fairly quickly. We just kept wetting our fingers a little bit if the dough started to get a bit dry.
  • Bake in a 175 degree oven for 1 hour
  • Cool
  • Paint or decorate to your hearts content. We used a variety of media to decorate our creations. Paint, nail polish, powder eye-shadow, glitter, Sharpies, ribbon and some tiny twigs. We also used a low temp glue gun to stick the Olaf together :).
Finding the Magic in Everyday Finding the Magic in Everyday
  • You can Mod Podge these at the end as well to increase their longevity. We didn’t bother as my daughter simply couldn’t wait to start playing with them.

This was such a fun and simple project that got our creative juices flowing and gave me a chance to spend some quality time with my daughter. After all, it’s that what Christmas is all about?

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I hope you get a chance to try this out with a special little person in your life this Holiday Season. If you do please share a pic to Instagram and tag me @theeverydayjournalista #everydaychristmas

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November Favorites

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I love birthdays! I love celebrating the day that my friends and family were brought into this world. Life is worth celebrating and no matter how many birthdays you have had it’s a great time to reflect and have some fun. I look at it as just one more opportunity to find magic in the everyday.

When November hits I start to shift into Christmas mode! It’s also my birthday month so between the excitement of starting the Christmas season and the fun of celebrating my birthday with friends and family there have been no shortage of favorites for me this month. Here are just a few things I was loving in the month of November:

From the Kitchen

Coconut Milk Beverage by So Delicious in Nog and Mint Chocolate

November Favorites, Monthly Favorites, Baking, Christmas Baking, Rolo Cookies, Gingerbear Cookies, Coca-Cola, Flowers, Quik Pik Flowers, Birthday Flowers, Ipsy, Ipsy Glambag, Dogs, Corn Starch Dough, DIY doll food, Crafting, Lise Watier, Lancome, Lancome Foundation, So Delicious Nog, Coconut Milk NogWe’ve been loving both these yummy holiday coconut milk treats from So Delicious. I personally prefer the Nog, but my kids loved both the Nog and the Mint Chocolate Coconut milk. A great alternative for those who are dairy free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Baking

This is a favorite time of mine every year. I sit down and create my baking ‘wish’ list for the holidays. There are some that are a given and make the list every year. Then I also try to add a few new choices to try out on my friends and family. I don’t always get everything on the list made but our family really enjoys helping and sampling during the process :). 

I LOVE baking! It’s a wonderful time to create something with love and a time I love spending with my children as they love to join in.

Finding the Magic in Everyday Finding the Magic in Everyday Finding the Magic in Everyday

 

Beauty Obsessions

Teint Miracle Foundation by Lancome

I purchased this foundation at a beauty event I attended at the beginning of November and I have been wearing nothing else since. It has really buildable coverage and I feel like it leaves my skin with a really healthy glow.

November Favorites, Monthly Favorites, Baking, Christmas Baking, Rolo Cookies, Gingerbear Cookies, Coca-Cola, Flowers, Quik Pik Flowers, Birthday Flowers, Ipsy, Ipsy Glambag, Dogs, Corn Starch Dough, DIY doll food, Crafting, Lise Watier, Lancome, Lancome Foundation, So Delicious Nog, Coconut Milk Nog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magnifix by Lise Watier

I also bought this at the beauty event I mentioned above and I have to admit I felt like it was a bit of an indulgence when I bought it and that it wouldn’t be something I would use much. Boy was I wrong. This stuff is awesome! It really does help my make up stay put all day and of course it has an amazing smell as it contains white tea. I have been really happy with this product just as I have been with my previous Lise Watier purchases.

 

November Favorites, Monthly Favorites, Baking, Christmas Baking, Rolo Cookies, Gingerbear Cookies, Coca-Cola, Flowers, Quik Pik Flowers, Birthday Flowers, Ipsy, Ipsy Glambag, Dogs, Corn Starch Dough, DIY doll food, Crafting, Lise Watier, Lancome, Lancome Foundation, So Delicious Nog, Coconut Milk Nog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November GlamBag from Ipsy

I know, not again, but I can’t help it. I love Ipsy! This months fun galactic bag and awesome selection of beauty products make me giddy :). I just love getting a chance to sample all these great brands every month. Michelle Phan knows what we beauty product lovers want and Ipsy delivers month after month. Love it!

November Favorites, Monthly Favorites, Baking, Christmas Baking, Rolo Cookies, Gingerbear Cookies, Coca-Cola, Flowers, Quik Pik Flowers, Birthday Flowers, Ipsy, Ipsy Glambag, Dogs, Corn Starch Dough, DIY doll food, Crafting, Lise Watier, Lancome, Lancome Foundation, So Delicious Nog, Coconut Milk Nog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wearing it Out

Fluffy Cat Sweater from Urban Behaviour

November Favorites, Monthly Favorites, Baking, Christmas Baking, Rolo Cookies, Gingerbear Cookies, Coca-Cola, Flowers, Quik Pik Flowers, Birthday Flowers, Ipsy, Ipsy Glambag, Dogs, Corn Starch Dough, DIY doll food, Crafting, Lise Watier, Lancome, Lancome Foundation, So Delicious Nog, Coconut Milk Nog

Who can resist a fluffy cat sweater? I bought this sweater about two years ago and not only do I love it but I always get numerous compliments whenever I wear it. It’s so soft and cozy, has these awesome golden cat faces on it and it’s kind of over-sized so it’s that perfect mix of comfortable and put together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tanya Time

Flowers from Quik Pik

Got these for my birthday and as usual Quik Pik did an amazing job. This ultra trendy little flower and gift shop always makes me smile with their use of beautiful flowers and unique design and style.

November Favorites, Monthly Favorites, Baking, Christmas Baking, Rolo Cookies, Gingerbear Cookies, Coca-Cola, Flowers, Quik Pik Flowers, Birthday Flowers, Ipsy, Ipsy Glambag, Dogs, Corn Starch Dough, DIY doll food, Crafting, Lise Watier, Lancome, Lancome Foundation, So Delicious Nog, Coconut Milk Nog

 

November Favorites, Monthly Favorites, Baking, Christmas Baking, Rolo Cookies, Gingerbear Cookies, Coca-Cola, Flowers, Quik Pik Flowers, Birthday Flowers, Ipsy, Ipsy Glambag, Dogs, Corn Starch Dough, DIY doll food, Crafting, Lise Watier, Lancome, Lancome Foundation, So Delicious Nog, Coconut Milk Nog

 

Here are a couple of other things that made me smile this month. The first is my very own Coca-Cola!

My son saw this and just had to get it for me for my birthday! That boy knows me so well :).

 

 

 

 

November Favorites, Monthly Favorites, Baking, Christmas Baking, Rolo Cookies, Gingerbear Cookies, Coca-Cola, Flowers, Quik Pik Flowers, Birthday Flowers, Ipsy, Ipsy Glambag, Dogs, Corn Starch Dough, DIY doll food, Crafting, Lise Watier, Lancome, Lancome Foundation, So Delicious Nog, Coconut Milk NogThe other is a little craft my daughter and I did. We made cornstarch dough and created some little food items and a couple of boxes of tissues for her Ever After High and Barbie dolls. It was so fun!

I hope you enjoyed reading about some of my favorite things from November. If you have any questions or would like me to do a more detailed post on the recipes I baked or the cornstarch dough please leave me a comment above. You can also find me on Instagram @theeverydayjournalista. I would love to hear from you :)

 

Disneyland Tips & Highlights

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I thought that maybe it could be helpful to share with you some of the things that we did on our resent trip to the Disneyland Resort that really helped make our trip smooth and memorable for everyone. So lets just get right into it :)

We stayed pretty much right across the street from the entrance to the Disneyland Resort at the Anaheim Fairfield Inn by Marriott. This was so convenient! We didn’t need to rent a car, which really helped with the budget. We were extremely happy with the hotel as well. They offer Disney themed rooms (we requested the princess theme and it was awesome!), a pizza place and arcade inside the hotel, and a nice pool area. We were on the 7th floor which gave us an amazing view for the fireworks on the evenings we weren’t in the park to enjoy them. It was so great to be able to be so close to the park. We even got into the routine of going early to the park and then coming back to the hotel for a swim, relax, and dinner and then heading out for ‘round two’ in the evening. It was perfect!

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The view from our room
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Our Princess themed room

 

When you get to the park entrance you have to go through a security line and then another line to get into the park you want to go into, be it California Adventure or Disneyland. These lines can be pretty long, but we found that if you choose one of the lines farther to the left you will get through a lot quicker. I had heard about this somewhere before we left and didn’t give it much thought until we were up against a huge line-up on our second morning. So we tried it and we couldn’t believe how much shorter the lines were and how quickly we got in. I can’t explain it. All I can say is “keep to the left” :)

Definitely take advantage of the FastPass where possible. FastPass kiosks are located near the rides they are offered for (Radiator Springs Racers, Soarin’ Over California, Indiana Jones Adventure, Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, and Star Tours were our favorites). These passes give you a time to return to the ride so you are not stuck in line for 90+ minutes. There is still a wait but it’s a lot more reasonable.

A quick note on the rides mentioned above. AMAZING! Each one of them was spectacular for different reasons and I would say each of them are not to be missed experiences :)

We purchased 5-day Park Hopper Tickets. This allowed us to come and go as we pleased between downtown Disney, California Adventure and Disneyland. It also gave us one Magic Morning early admission. We thought the magic morning admission was going to be some exclusive thing, but as it turned out it almost seemed busier the morning we went. Then once we got in we realized that only selected areas were open. So not quite what I thought it was going to be. But the 5-day Park Hopper is definitely the way to go! I honestly don’t think you could have fit more into a day than we did and we were hard-pressed to fit everything we wanted to do into our 5 days.

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Radiator Springs Racers- my favorite ride!

Be sure to check out the Jedi Training Academy. There are numerous shows each day. This is a fun opportunity for your child to be selected for Jedi Training and the chance to battle Darth Vader or Darth Maul. Thankfully both my children were chosen when we went (that would have made for a jealous rage by the left out one otherwise).

They got to wear a Jedi robe and use a light saber. Mace Windu and friends teach the chosen younglings a choreographed fight sequence and then they get a chance to test their skills against one of the dark lords. It is an awesome experience and the ‘host’ Mace Windu is full of hilarious comments as Darth Vader tries to convince these younglings to come over to the dark side. In the end they also receive a certificate that congratulates them on becoming a Padawan. Fantastic!

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Sticking with the Star Wars theme, be sure to go on Star Tours. This ride blew my mind. This ride is a simulator with 3D-effects the features characters and scenes from the Star Wars films. We went on the ride 3 or 4 times and had a different experience each time. Apparently there are 54 different versions to experience! That’s right 54!!

For days I checked for a lull in the coveted Dole Whip (pineapple soft serve ice-cream) line-up but was shocked each time as to the absolute insanity of the line length. This made me all the more determined to have one. And that I did on our final day at Disneyland. I found out that it opened at 10am. We were in line to meet Princess Jasmine right beside the Dole Whip stand as we hung around waiting for it to open, and it was perfect. We were one of the first few through on the day and we hardly had to wait. And it was oh so worth it! YUM!

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Just as the Dole Whip was my must have treat at Disneyland my husband’s was the Turkey Legs at Edleweiss Snacks in Fantasyland. It’s like you are back in the caveman times walking around gnawing on this gigantic turkey leg. He loved it! So much so that he had another one a few days later :)

If you have a little girl like I do there are a couple of things I would recommend experiencing while you’re at Disneyland. This seemed a bit strange to me but if you want to meet the Frozen Princesses you will have to go to California Adventure. You need to get there first thing and head down to the Animation Academy in Hollywood Land. About half way down on the right there is a station where you can get a ‘Return Ticket’. This will give you a time to return to meet Elsa and Anna. Apparently these tickets can run out within an hour of the park opening so get there early.

Meeting Elsa and Anna was a real highlight for my daughter. And as with all the characters we met they do an absolutely amazing job of making each child feel special. Another great spot for princesses is the Fantasy Faire in Fantasyland. There can be quite a line-up but you can meet numerous princesses one on one. So fun!

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Olaf likes warm hugs
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We found Aurora at the wishing well

 

Another experience not to be missed by princess lovers is dining at Ariel’s Grotto. It’s on your right as you cross over the bridge into Paradise Pier at California Adventure. I made reservations for my daughter and I to go for lunch. There is a dinner option available too.

I had brought a nice little shimmery sundress for my daughter to wear but many, many little girls were dressed to the nines in their princess dresses, shoes, and crowns. When you get called down for your seating you go down a spiral staircase and Ariel is waiting for you at the bottom to have her picture taken with you and to greet you. Of course later you are shown these beautiful photos in a package, which you can purchase for $35 or something like that. How could I say no? Anyway… then you are led into the formal dining room which is decorated in an under the sea theme (so pretty).

My daughter was treated like a princess from the moment we arrived. The entire menu was under the sea themed and no detail was missed. My daughter kept going on about how this must be how real princesses have lunch, it was awesome. As you are enjoying your ‘royal’ lunch you are surprised by the arrival of a princess! For us it was Rapunzel. She came around to every single table and talked and took pictures and signed autograph books. My daughter was almost in tears with joy. I could see in her eyes how special she was made to feel by this one on one moment with each princess.

We were visited by a total of four princesses during our lunch. It is on the pricey side at about $50 per person. Just us girls went and left the boys behind and it was truly a magical experience.

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Cinderella
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Belle

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If you get the chance be sure to see the Aladdin Musical Spectacular. It’s a stage show that runs four times per day at the Hyperion Theater in California Adventure. My kids were reluctant as we dragged them in, but were blown away by this wonderful show performed by some very talented people. Apparently the show is ending forever in January of 2016 so if you get the chance check it out before it’s gone.

While we were there we also saw Mickey’s Soundsational Parade, Paint the Night, Disneyland Forever, and the World of Color-Celebrate, the wonderful world of Disney. Each one was more impressive than the last. From beautiful costumes and fireworks to jaw dropping floats, dancing, projections, and effects with lights, water, and fire (they even made it snow outside). I walked away from each experience wondering how Disney could possibly top that … and they did, day after day, night after night.

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World of Color – AMAZING

The final thing I would recommend is to plan ahead. It doesn’t have to be much but if you have an idea of some of the things you really want to see each day and whether they have FastPass availability you will save yourself a lot of waiting. We also sort of mapped out what parades, nighttime entertainment, and fireworks we wanted to see and what nights they were showing while we were there.

I would just close by saying that a trip to Disneyland is not a vacation you go on to relax. We were up at 6:30 or 7am every morning and the kids usually did not get to bed before 10pm. But it’s one of those trips you will never be sorry you took. I loved Disney before we went but never really bought into all the hype of Disneyland. Well let me tell you after this I am hooked, 100%.

Walt Disney got it right! Disneyland is this magical place! For both kids and adults. My kids were made to feel special as they interacted with some of their favorite Disney characters. They got to go on amazing adventures on the rides and have amazing experiences watching the fireworks and light and water shows. The shear level of detail found everywhere and in everything continually blew my husband and myself away. You can go on any ride numerous times and see things and details you did not see before. You can ask for a specific kind of mug and the staff (cast-member) can tell you where to find from anywhere in the park. Their philosophy truly seems to be that they want everyone to have a memorable magical experience, and for us that’s exactly what it was.

October Favorites

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October is always such a fun month around our house, and this year was definitely no exception. From the changing of the seasons and Thanksgiving, to our first family trip to Disneyland and Halloween. This month has been packed full of favorites. Here are just a few:

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Fall would not be complete without jumping in the leaf pile :)

 

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Disneyland World of Color. Absolutely amazing experience!!

 

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Mom and daughter Halloween pumpkin.

 

From the Kitchen:

Epicure Perfect Petites Mold

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This month in the kitchen it hasn’t been so much a food item, but rather a food ‘tool’ that I have been loving. It’s the Perfect Petites Mold from Epicure. This thing is awesome! I have been using this at least once per week since I got it and I just keep coming up with ideas for more things I can use it for.

What I really love about it is the portion sizes it creates. These two bite little treasures offer just enough of whatever you end up making. This has been fantastic for kids lunches and class parties so far and I think it would also be amazing for appy’s, Christmas baking, or for a baking exchange. One tray gives you 30 portions so you get a lot of bang for your effort.

So far I have made several batches of brownies and I have also made some mini carrot cake petites. I also can’t wait to try cookie dough, two-bite cheesecakes, and I’m thinking an appy of some kind using puffed pastry would be really cool to try as well.

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Beauty Obsessions

Ipsy October GlamBag

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I think every month I could say that my Ipsy GlamBag has been one of my favorites for the month. I just love getting my little pink pouch of surprises each month and then I love using and learning about the products I find inside.

Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado

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I have heard and read so may great things about this eye cream, so when I happened across a Kiehl’s store while changing flights in Portland recently I couldn’t resist the chance to pick some up to try.

This cream is thick and moisturizing with a very mild fragrance. I have an extremely sensitive eye area that is prone to dryness, especially in the fall and winter months so this creams thick formula is perfect. I have found it so difficult to find an eye cream that really moisturizes my eye area that doesn’t end up in my eyes or irritating the skin around my eyes. I am absolutely thrilled with it so far and will definitely be repurchasing. Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment isvwell deserving of all the hype it receives.

 

Wearing it Out

Scarves

Finding the Magic in Everyday Finding the Magic in Everyday

I’m that person who is always cold, and as the colder months approach I find myself looking to layer and bundle up for both indoors and out. For me, that involves the wearing of a lot of scarves. It’s like jewelry that keeps you warm and takes the place of my hair to keep neck and upper back warm when I want to wear my hair up. I don’t really get too fancy with my scarves, I just kind of fiddle with it until I’m happy with it, but with all the scarf tying videos out there the possibilities seem endless.

 

Tanya Time

Outlander Season 1 – iTunes

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I know this is the third time I have had an Outlander related item in one of my posts, but honestly I can’t help it. For a while now I have been hearing and reading about how great the Outlander TV series is, but have been skeptical to check it out for fear of disappointment.

I tend to become really committed to the character images I create when I’m reading a book and if a movie or show depicts the character differently than I have imagined it, then that show or movie is a complete write-off for me. That is why I will never see the 50 Shades movie. The casting of Christian Grey completely wrecked any chance of me liking the movie.

A..n..y..w..a..y to make a long story longer, after really needing a brain break from work a few weeks ago I sat down to veg out in front of the TV for a bit. Scrolling around I came across the Outlander Season 1 on iTunes. I decided to buy just one episode, convincing myself I would only be out 2.50 if I ended up turning it off after 5 minutes.

Well, needless to say that didn’t happen, in fact I ended up buying the next episode right after I watched the first :). I was blown away by how closely it depicts the book. Right now to the finest details, and although the main character looks slightly different that I pictured him, the strength of his character and the way its acted is spot on. I am hooked!!

iPhone App

Pinterest

October Favorites, Monthly Favorites, Fall Favorites, Fall, Fall Leaves, Halloween, Baking, Epicure, Pinterest, Kiehl's, Kiehl's Eye Treatment, Outlander Series, Outlander Season 1, Ipsy, Scarves, Fashion Accessories,

If you have read any of my other blog posts you will know of my deep love and addiction to Pinterest. This is not just my favorite app this month but perhaps my favorite app … EVER! Thanks to Pinterest I have no need for cookbooks when I’m looking for a new recipe to try or an old favorite to recreate, no need to buy magazines to look for inspiration for decorating, fashion, or motivation, and an absolutely endless source for ideas for everything for kids; from birthday party ideas to what to pack them for lunch. I use it almost everyday, if not everyday, and I consider it an invaluable resource for pretty much anything. You can find me on Pinterest @FindMagicDaily.

Well that’s it for another month of favorites. What have you been loving in the month of October? You can leave a comment here or tag me on Instagram @theeverydayjournalista #octoberfavorites. I would love to hear from you.

The Everyday Journalista

 

 

 

The Magic of Disneyland

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Part of my personal mission statement and the basis of this blog is to find the magic in everyday. To me this means being present in the everyday moments of life. Finding joy in the little things, the details of the everyday. Recently I was able to find a very special kind of magic in my everyday. The magic of Disneyland! My family and I were fortunate to be able to take a vacation to the happiest place on earth. Disneyland lived up to that reputation and then some.

I have been having difficulty trying to explain our experience there. To say it was magical seems an understatement. As with most things that impress me it was the absolutely endless attention to detail in everything they do that just continually blew my mind over the 5 days we spent at Disneyland and California Adventure.

This kind of vacation is not for the faint of heart. It is exhausting with early mornings and late nights but in my opinion well worth every second to share in what, for us, was a truly magical family vacation.

I have included just a few shots from the first two days of our time at Disneyland. I’m hoping to do another post that will include some more photos along with some tips and must see recommendations.

I hope you’re having a magical day :)

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Dinosaurs along the Disneyland Railroad
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Minnie and Pluto at the Main Street Parade
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Arendelle Castle (Storybook Land Canal Boats)
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No trip to Disneyland would be complete without It’s a Small World
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It’s a small, small world.
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Mickey’s Soundsational Parade is not to be missed
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Princesses and more Princesses
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Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough
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We just love happy endings
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Jungle Cruise, lots to see and lots of laughs
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Watchout for Darla in Finding Nemo’s Submarine Voyage
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Jedi Training, these younglings are ready to battle Lord Vader

Subscription Box Review: Nerd Block Jr. Boys

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Subscription boxes are so popular right now and not just for beauty box obsessors like myself. There are monthly subscription boxes for kids now as well! My son has been trying out a popular monthly box for kids over the last three months. I have been asked by a number of people if this box is worth the hype? I have also had a number of requests to blog on the this. So read on for my thoughts on the Nerd Block Jr. Boys.

Nerd Block Jr. is a monthly subscription box that is geared towards boy’s ages 6-11. Now if you don’t fall into that category, not to worry, Nerd Block offers 6 different Nerd Block options. One for every Nerd: Classic, Arcade, Horror, Comic, Boys Jr., and Girls Jr.

Prices range from 13.99 – 19.99 per month depending on which block you choose. This monthly price goes down if you subscribe to 3 months or more.

I purchased three months of the Nerd Block Jr. for my son for his birthday. With that the monthly price came to down to 12.59 per month. Of course if you were to commit to a year it would come down even more. Also keep in mind that shipping is on top of that.

The box usually ships around the 15th of the month and arrives in this cool blue nerd box :)

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Once open you will find 4-6 items inside. The items my son has received over the past three months have included toys, stuffies, books, stickers, temporary tattoos, figures, stationery, and buildable toys. Each item in the box is also from a different toy platform ranging from Transformers and Monster’s Inc to toys and brands I have never seen before. The value of each Nerd Block Jr. is approximately $60.00.

This is what came in this month’s Nerd Block Jr.

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Unlike some other subscription boxes there is no itemized list and description of each toy, but I think with toys it’s pretty self-explanatory.

First off we have a Ty Beanie Ballz of Sulley from Monster’s Inc. Super cute! My son was actually really excited when he opened the box and found this on top.

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A little Kreo Bumblebee Transformer blind bag that you got to build. (We are long time Transformer fans in our house!) A little pack of 25 Avenger Tattoos.

Finding the Magic in Everyday Finding the Magic in Everyday

This book written by actress Evangeline Lilly. At first glance this book looks a little strange but after reading the back the story line seems like a good one, although we have not had a chance to read it yet.

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And finally, this crazy cool Electrokid toy! This thing is awesome! It’s hair actually dances when you talk to it or play music around it. It even came with an extra set of batteries!

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This was a pretty impressive haul and my son has absolutely loved getting this super cool box of surprises in the mail every month.

If you are looking for something a little different for your child and they like getting things in the mail you may want to consider Nerd Block. Whether its for 1 month or 12 there’s a lot of fun in every block :)

Here is a link (non-affiliate) to the Nerd Block Site:

https://www.nerdblock.com/jrboys

If you would like to see the block being opened here is a link to my son’s YouTube video of the Nerd Block Jr. Boys opening:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6NnwsZpN-4

I would love to hear about any subscription boxes you are enjoying :). Let me know in the comments by simply clicking on the little speech bubble at the top of the post.

 

A Family that Journals Together…

This past Christmas I received a gift card for Chapters from my Mom. This was one of my favourite gifts because with the end of December comes the New Year and with that a new journal for me :). Let’s just say I’m quite particular about my journal. I am the Everyday Journalista after all ;)

I always find myself drawn to the all the beautiful journals at the bookstore. Shelves of books that keep all our thoughts, feelings, lists, dreams… our everyday, bound together with an inspiring design or encouraging word. There is something just so amazing to me about that. I have decades worth journals! Many different layouts, styles and designs, and yet I am always on the hunt for that next ‘special’ book.

Anyway…

After purchasing my journal of choice with my gift card I had a little money left. So I kept looking. I was making my way through the shelves when this book caught my eye and I knew I had to take a closer look.

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Just as the title so clearly indicates this is a book of questions that you ask your kids. Everyday of the year has a page that is divided up into three sections. The idea is that you will go through this book with your child each day of the year and answer the questions. Once the questions have all be answered you start all over with the same questions, and do that over 3 consecutive years. So, for instance, every November 20th you will ask the same question. Over the 3-year period you will be able to see and share with your child their answers as they grow and mature.

This is such a cool idea! In my ‘everyday’ journal I’m constantly writing little things my kids say and stories they share in an attempt to capture who they are as people today and how that changes and develops over time. This book allows you to really see and enjoy that process in the best possible way and the kids get to be a part of the fun as well.

Needless to say I did not look at another book that day and we have been filling it out for the last 9 months. The great part is you can really start these types of books any time of the year.

Now, I want to be honest and tell you that we do not always get the chance to fill it out everyday but it’s no big deal. We just get caught up the next time. No pressure :)

It has been so much fun for me to listen to the answers my children come up with and to watch them as they contemplate the answers to questions like:

  • When were you brave?
  • If you could fly right now, where would you go?
  • Would you rather travel back in time or go to outer space? Why?

The variety in the types of questions is great and often ends up sparking a lively conversation.

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Now this book is marketed towards one parent and child, but I have adapted it to suit my two children quite easily. Each evening I just draw a little line down the center of the page and before we start our bedtime story we spend a few minutes talking about the day’s question. If we are sharing story-time together I make them take turns on who answers the question first. My kids are very different and are not likely to copy or be influenced by each other’s answers but I like to give them equal opportunity to take the lead in answering. The other rule is that you are not allowed to say an answer you think the other should give. It gets pretty funny sometimes :)

I cannot say how cool I think this is and how very much my children and I have enjoyed going through it together.

I have personally enjoyed it so much in fact that at the beginning of summer I was once again perusing the journals at my local bookstore when I came across this…

Q&A a day, Journaling, The Everyday Journalista, Everyday Journalista, Family Fun, Parent Child Relationship,

Yes, that’s right! It’s a Q&A a day for couples! This book is essentially the same as the kids version in that you are presented with one question each day that is repeated once per year over the 3 years of the journal. It is different in that both you and your spouse have a designated spot to answer each question…red lines for one and blue for the other under each day.

So since July 1st my husband and I have been filling out our little journal. Once again we have not been able to complete the question every single day. But we just catch up when we can and it’s been a lot of fun so far. It’s almost like having a little note you’re passing back and forth. I fill out my question usually at some point during the day and then place it on my husband’s bedside table. He usually will take a few minutes with the journal before bed at night.

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It’s been a lot of fun answering questions like:

  • What’s your partner’s favorite beverage?
  • What do you need to throw away?
  • If your partner were a superhero, what would he or she be called?

And more thought provoking questions like:

  • What keeps you grounded?
  • Trust feels like ________
  • What’s the prevailing theme of your life?

I think it will be really cool to revisit these questions over the next three years. Re-reading old answers and adding new ones.

I’ve other Q&A style books like this out there as well. There are versions you can complete just on your own, as well as one line a day journals.

Whether you are an avid journaler or have never journaled at all the Q&A a day journals are a great introduction to journaling as well as a great way to connect with your children or partner through journaling.

 

August Favorites

August Favorites, Monthly Favorites, The Everyday Journalista, Everyday Journalista, Pixiwoos, Pixiwoo Madness, Sam Chapman, Nic Chapman, Voice Memo App, Simple Skin Care, Simple, Beauty, Rose Gold, Triangle Necklace, Jewelry, Menchies, Frozen Yogurt, Dinner, Summer, Corn on the Cob, August was an amazing month full of family fun, sun and adventure. I am actually quite sad to see it come to an end. It was difficult to narrow down my favorites for the month, especially in the area of beauty, but to keep this from being a novel I have stuck to just one favorite per category. So without further delay, this is what I have been loving during the month of August.

 

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Favorite Sweet Treat: Menchies

Typically I post a recipe here but this summer has been so warm that I haven’t done much in the way of baking or dessert making. This does not mean that I have missed out on satisfying my sweet tooth. Menchies, as I’m sure you are aware, is a self-serve frozen yogurt shop. There are an ever-changing number of flavors to choose from, including sugar and dairy free options, and you just help yourself. Then you move onto the toppings: candy, sprinkles, fruit and sauces; and again you come up with your own concoction. Then you take your bowl to the register and you pay by weight. It’s a lot of fun and we went a couple of times in the month of August. Just a little warning here: Keep a close eye on your kids, their eyes can be bigger than their tummies and you can have a $10 bowl pretty quickly, just ask my 11 year old son :).

 

August Favorites, Monthly Favorites, The Everyday Journalista, Everyday Journalista, Pixiwoos, Pixiwoo Madness, Sam Chapman, Nic Chapman, Voice Memo App, Simple Skin Care, Simple, Beauty, Rose Gold, Triangle Necklace, Jewelry, Menchies, Frozen Yogurt, Dinner, Summer, Corn on the Cob,  

Favorite Beauty Product: Simple Skin Care

If you follow me on Instagram you will know that I love this brand. I’ve been using Bioderma non-rinse cleanser for years and it is amazing, but it can be a little pricey. I heard about a similar product by Simple that was a fraction of the price. Convinced it was too good to be true I was reluctant to give it a try but finally decided that for the price, if I hated it I wouldn’t be out of pocket much. Well that was three bottles ago! The Simple Cleansing Micellar Water removes all my make-up and is gentle on my sensitive skin, and as I mentioned the price is very affordable. But my love for the Simple Skin Care brand does not end there. I also use their Foaming Cleanser (read about it in my recent post about What’s In My Shower) and it is another amazing product. My other go-to product from Simple is their nourishing 24-Hour Day/Night Moisturizing Cream. I love this stuff!! So many moisturizers make my skin break out, but not this one. It’s gentle but moisturizing and does not irritate the more sensitive areas of my face; I even use it on my eyes. I only wish it came in different packaging as I would personally prefer a pump ;). I have been trying two other products from the line recently as well, the eye make-up remover pads and the revitalizing eye roll-on. A little early to make a recommendation but so far I am enjoying them. I would however, highly, highly recommend the cleansing water, foaming cleanser and moisturizer. I love this brand!

 

August Favorites, Monthly Favorites, The Everyday Journalista, Everyday Journalista, Pixiwoos, Pixiwoo Madness, Sam Chapman, Nic Chapman, Voice Memo App, Simple Skin Care, Simple, Beauty, Rose Gold, Triangle Necklace, Jewelry, Menchies, Frozen Yogurt, Dinner, Summer, Corn on the Cob, Favorite Dinner: Corn on the Cob

Okay, this may sound like a lame choice but that is perhaps because you don’t live where I live. Chilliwack is the Corn capital of Canada, or so I’m told, and for good reason. Around these parts corn becomes part of the summer, sold at road-side stands all over town and the constant source of small talk concerning which corn is the best (Tuxedo, Peaches and Cream, SuperSweet… the list goes on). It’s simple to make, fun to eat and of course with a little butter and salt it’s absolutely delicious! All I do is bring a big pot of water to a rolling boil, add a tsp of sugar or so (yes sugar), add in the cleaned corn, and about 8-minutes later remove the corn or drain the water. I’m getting hungry just writing about it. Around here corn means summer… Yum!

 

August Favorites, Monthly Favorites, The Everyday Journalista, Everyday Journalista, Pixiwoos, Pixiwoo Madness, Sam Chapman, Nic Chapman, Voice Memo App, Simple Skin Care, Simple, Beauty, Rose Gold, Triangle Necklace, Jewelry, Menchies, Frozen Yogurt, Dinner, Summer, Corn on the Cob,

Favorite Online Personality: Pixiwoo

Pixiwoo is made up of British sisters Nic and Sam Chapman who have been sharing their skills as make-up artists on YouTube for the last 7 years. These two ladies are awesome! They are knowledgeable, beautiful, and very likeable. The thing I like the most about them is that they are not twenty. They have fine lines and busy lives with children so the products and techniques they recommend are relevant to me. They have experienced quite a bit of success with a makeup brush line and a huge YouTube fan base and yet truly seem like really nice women :). Here is a link to there YouTube channel: Pixiwoo.

 

August Favorites, Monthly Favorites, The Everyday Journalista, Everyday Journalista, Pixiwoos, Pixiwoo Madness, Sam Chapman, Nic Chapman, Voice Memo App, Simple Skin Care, Simple, Beauty, Rose Gold, Triangle Necklace, Jewelry, Menchies, Frozen Yogurt, Dinner, Summer, Corn on the Cob, Favorite App: Voice Memos

This app comes standard with the iPhone and honestly I’ve never really paid it much attention. That is until recently when I was coming up with how to make the 6-minute Miracle Morning work for me (Read about it here in my post: 6 Minutes for me). I used the voice memo app to record my daily affirmations. This gives me more flexibility when it comes to listening to them. I can listen to them while walking or while meditating. It’s actually a really handy app and I think it could also be really cool to record a visualization or a list of my current goals. I think listening to something like this keeps these ideas, thoughts, and goals front of mind, and that can only lead to more progress toward those things.

 

August Favorites, Monthly Favorites, The Everyday Journalista, Everyday Journalista, Pixiwoos, Pixiwoo Madness, Sam Chapman, Nic Chapman, Voice Memo App, Simple Skin Care, Simple, Beauty, Rose Gold, Triangle Necklace, Jewelry, Menchies, Frozen Yogurt, Dinner, Summer, Corn on the Cob,

Favorite Accessory: Triangle Rose Gold Necklace

I bought this necklace in a super cute shop while on vacation in August. I have been looking for some Rose Gold to add to my jewelry collection and when I saw this little triangle necklace I knew I had found what I was looking for. It’s so delicate and pretty, and the really neat part is that the packaging explained that the triangle is a symbol of overcoming obstacles. I’m all about wearing things with meaning, so that just sealed the deal. I love it! And have been wearing it pretty much nonstop since I got it.

Thanks so much for letting me share my favorites from the past month with you. Please let me know what you have been loving this month in the comments (just click on the little comment bubble at the top of the post).

 

Just one more way we can find magic in the everyday ;)

 

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