Disney Bride Halloween Costume Parade 2014

It’s almost Halloween, which means it’s time for my annual Disney brides Halloween costume parade! Every year I ask my Disney bride and groom friends, along with all of my wonderful readers, to submit their Disney Halloween costumes. This is one of my favorite posts to put together every year, because I love seeing the creative costumes you all put together. You guys out-do yourselves every year!!

Last year, Walt Disney World bride Michelle and her family dressed up as the Monster’s Inc clan: Mike, Sully, and little Boo.

Disney Bride Halloween Costume Parade 2014

This year, little Gabby wanted to be Mulan! (ALL THE HIGH FIVES FOR GABBY!) The costume was made by Jessica of Ena’s Bazaar.

Disney Bride Halloween Costume Parade 2014

Disneyland bride Jenna looks lovely as “land” Ariel.

Disney Bride Halloween Costume Parade 2014

Disneyland brides Renee and Diana look great as Mickey and Minnie! LOVE the sparkly heels!

Disney Bride Halloween Costume Parade 2014

Jessica and her real-life prince Chris look great as Cinderella and Prince Charming! Jessica tells me this is also the day Chris proposed to Jessica at Disneyland! Awww.

Disney Bride Halloween Costume Parade 2014

Mike and Becca are a very convincing Gaston and Bimbette from “Beauty and the Beast.”

Disney Bride Halloween Costume Parade 2014

Christine and Anthony did a costume/DisneyBound as Lotso and Mr. Potato Head at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at WDW. They told me their dachshund back at home was their honorary Slinky Dog.

Disney Bride Halloween Costume Parade 2014

Walt Disney World bride Jessica couldn’t decide on just one costume for little Mauricio! Her mom knitted the Olaf costume and the Yoda hat.

Disney Bride Halloween Costume Parade 2014

Disney Bride Halloween Costume Parade 2014

Newlyweds Lacey and Paco dressed as The Rescuers – Bernard and Miss Bianca – at Disneyland’s Mickey’s Halloween Party earlier this month.

Disney Bride Halloween Costume Parade 2014

Anita sewed this Haunted Mansion hostess costume – isn’t it perfection? The nametag is from when Anita worked at Walt Disney World.

Disney Bride Halloween Costume Parade 2014

Disney Bride Halloween Costume Parade 2014

Mary tells me this picture was from her first date with her boyfriend … they look like a good match to me!

Disney Bride Halloween Costume Parade 2014

Disneyland bride Katie really gets into the Halloween spirit. For one event she dressed as the Haunted Mansion portrait “cat lady”. Meeeeow!

Disney Bride Halloween Costume Parade 2014

And then another event as Princess Mononoke, part of the Studio Ghibli / Disney family.

Disney Bride Halloween Costume Parade 2014

Walt Disney World bride Megan purchased the Olaf hat, but handmade the rest of this great costume. I think little plushie Sven is a great touch!

Disney Bride Halloween Costume Parade 2014

Disneyland Bride Melanie and all her kids – Melanie as a Haunted Mansion Hostess, Andrew as Starlord, Austin as Jack Skellington, and Mojo and Rex as Tigger and Eeyore. Cute!

Disney Bride Halloween Costume Parade 2014

Ari and Mookie’s little ones are adorable as Snow White and Dopey!

Disney Bride Halloween Costume Parade 2014

Disney Bride and Groom Jenn and Peter make a cute (Asian) Anna and Olaf!

Disney Bride Halloween Costume Parade 2014

Courtney and her family look adorable dressed up as some famous Disney ducks. I can’t even handle the matching father/son Donald outfits.

Disney Bride Halloween Costume Parade 2014

And finally …. which Alice is the real Alice?!? Walt Disney World bride Faith (on the left) gives the real Alice a run for her Disney Dollars.

Disney Bride Halloween Costume Parade 2014

Thank you to everyone who sent in your photos! I think this is our best batch of costumes yet! Be sure to follow along on Facebook so you don’t miss out on next year’s call for submissions. Have a happy Halloween everyone!

10 Things to Look for at Hello Kitty Con

10 Things to Look for at Hello Kitty Con

Last night I attended a media preview for this weekend’s first ever Hello Kitty Convention. The Geffen MOCA in Little Tokyo Downtown Los Angeles served as the perfect setting for this event, with plenty of indoor/outdoor areas and exhibit space. Hello Kitty Con 2014 runs through this weekend but it is SOLD OUT! So if you do not already have tickets, you will have to experience Hello Kitty Con through the magic of Instagram hashtags.

If you ARE lucky enough to be headed to the Geffen MOCA this weekend, here are my top 10 things to look out for at Hello Kitty Con.

10 Things to Look for at Hello Kitty Con

1. Hello Kitty Cafe Truck – Right when you walk in you’ll see the large pink Mercedes bus-turned-pop-up-shop where you can purchased Hello Kitty themed treats. The debut of the Hello Kitty Cafe truck is a preview of what’s to come at the very first Hello Kitty Cafe coming to Southern California next year. Mama like. I picked up a box of deliciously themed donuts, macarons, and a bow water bottle, because I’m a total sucker for anything Hello Kitty. *Throws money at Mercedes bus.*

10 Things to Look for at Hello Kitty Con

10 Things to Look for at Hello Kitty Con

2. Lovely Kitty Wonder Hello Kitty Inspired Couture and Wedding Dresses – Holy hotness. Some really amazing looks curated by JapanLA clothing AND pay attention … some of those mannequins are ALIVE! ;) The models were awesome and really friendly and animated when posing for pictures. Work it, ladies.

10 Things to Look for at Hello Kitty Con

10 Things to Look for at Hello Kitty Con

10 Things to Look for at Hello Kitty Con

10 Things to Look for at Hello Kitty Con

10 Things to Look for at Hello Kitty Con

3. Custom Art from Yuko Yamaguchi – Yuko is head designer of Hello Kitty and will be on hand at various times to draw custom art for you! Naturally the line was very long so I decided not to wait – and kicking myself now. LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES!!

10 Things to Look for at Hello Kitty Con

4. Free Tattoos – OH YES. You can get yourself a free REAL tattoo at Hello Kitty Con. There are around 100 images to choose from and obviously it’s a first-come-first-serve thing, so if you want one, get there early and get your name on the list. If you’re not up for ink of the permanent kind, the staffers were handing out temp tattoos at the pop-up parlor’s entrance.

10 Things to Look for at Hello Kitty Con

5. Target Presents: The Adventures of Hello Kitty and Bullseye – I spent A LOT of time at the Target section! What a fun collaboration. There are three animated GIF photo booth set-ups and also fun games you can play for prizes! I won a nail art kit, a multi-color pen, stickers, and temp tattoos from about 10 minutes of play. Don’t forget to stop and get your fortune told while you’re there!

10 Things to Look for at Hello Kitty Con

10 Things to Look for at Hello Kitty Con

6. Unique Art Installations – In a tiny corner of the Art Corner area there is some really cool Hello Kitty modern pop art. Worth a quick look.

10 Things to Look for at Hello Kitty Con

7. Vintage Village – A behind-the-glass collection of old school Hello Kitty merch from the last 40 years. Very cool to browse through and notice that the basics of Sanrio and Hello Kitty have not changed too much!

10 Things to Look for at Hello Kitty Con

8. Character Interactions – Who can pass up a selfie with Badtz Maru? NOBODY.

10 Things to Look for at Hello Kitty Con

9. Super Supermarket – From Sephora, to Party City, Mighty Fine, to TOPPS, to Dylan’s Candy Bar, to Ju Ju Be, there are more unique Hello Kitty goodies here than you could possibly dream up. Highlights for me were the Japan LA x Hello Kitty Collection, especially The Simpsons pieces – lots of really cute clothes here for those of you with a little extra money to spend, MakerBot – see 3D printing in action, and custom drawings from Hello Kitty animators at the Sanrio Signing Booth.

10 Things to Look for at Hello Kitty Con

10 Things to Look for at Hello Kitty Con

10. Friendship Station Pop-Up Shop – If you have any money left, head up the ramp to the Hello Kitty pop-up shop for Con exclusive items and fun rarities, like this Hello Kitty taco plushie that I’m kind of obsessed with.

10 Things to Look for at Hello Kitty Con

10 Things to Look for at Hello Kitty Con

10 Things to Look for at Hello Kitty Con

10 Things to Look for at Hello Kitty Con

Do you have tickets to Hello Kitty Con this weekend? You’re going to have an amazing time!

Healthy Halloween Snacks Round Up

Healthy Halloween Snacks Round Up

We all love Halloween for the costumes and the candy, but let’s face it – no one needs the sugar rush that comes standard with this holiday! I wanted to gather up some recipes that were on the healthier side but still fun and delicious. These healthy treats are great for both adults and kiddos, so any of them would be a fine addition to your Halloween party or just to snack on while you hand out goodies to the trick-or-treaters. (Remember to have some non-candy treats on hand for those kids with allergies, too!) Let me know if you try any of these healthy Halloween snacks!

Pumpkin Granola from Thrifty Jinxy
Paleo Pumpkin Bars from Confessions of an Over-Worked Mom
Dark Chocolate Candy Corn Bark from Food Done Light
Veggie Jack-o-Lantern from Mom Endeavors
Apple Nachos from Thinking Closet
Carrot Hummus from Nap Time is My Time
Vampire Sparkling Water from The Bold Adobe
Chocolate Dipped Banana Ghosts from Bombshell Bling
Pretzel Bones from A Worthey Read
Healthy, Halloween Snacks from Chew Chew Mama

What’s your favorite Halloween snack?

Bar Cart Ikea Hack

I just need to get something off my chest …

*ahem* …

I LOVE MY NEW BAR CART!!

Bar Cart Ikea Hack

Ever since we replaced our hallway built-in shelves with an actual closet for coats and things, our sizable booze collection has been in limbo. Haphazardly placed in cardboard boxes and stored in the laundry room. That’s really no way to treat something that has been so good to you.

I’ve been hunting for the perfect bar cart, something vintage and classic looking. I’ve been coming up short in secondhand shops, and pieces on Etsy and eBay are, wow, expensive.

Ikea and a little bit of elbow grease to the rescue!

Browsing through Ikea a few weeks ago I saw this little cart in the kitchen section. Ah RASKOG, you old charmer, you! I thought it would a decent temporary booze storage solution until I came across the perfect bar cart. I bought it in turquoise because I thought that was the prettiest color option, but once it was home and put together, it just … didn’t “go” with the rest of our decor in the dining/kitchen/family room area. So off to Michael’s I went, to browse through the spray paint selection. Staring at the shelves and shelves of colored caps, it hit me – BRONZE. Bronze has that “vintage” feel, doesn’t it? I bought a can of bronze and a can of white primer and hightailed it home, after stopping for a Krispy Kreme, since it’s across the parking lot. I’m only human.

Bar Cart Ikea Hack

Outside, I set up the cart on a drop cloth, donned my sexy dust mask, and got to priming. Right about now I was wishing I purchased the beige RASKOG, but oh well. I just did one coat of primer; it didn’t completely cover the blue but I figured it would be better than nothing.

Once the primer dried, I applied my first coat of bronze paint. Once THAT dried, I flipped the cart and applied another coat. All in all, I applied about five coats over two days (although the last coat really was just touch-ups) and went through the entire can of bronze paint. It was just enough.

After the final coat was dry, I sprayed the entire thing with a coat of clear glossy polyurethane to protect the surface. I let that dry overnight to be safe, then put the wheels on the sucker and loaded it up. It ended up being JUST PERFECT for all our booze bottles, even the monster suckers from Costco.

Bar Cart Ikea Hack

This was purchased to be temporary storage, but I actually love the final result that I think I’m going to keep it for a while. We won’t be wheeling it around since it could potentially damage our new hardwood floors, but it’s small enough that it could fit into several places near our kitchen. I just adore it.

My First Let Go Day: Celebrating One Year of Self Employment

My First Let Go Day: Celebrating One Year of Self Employment

Saturday was my Let Go Day. The term Let Go Day was coined by Pat Flynn, a blogger and podcaster I’ve been following and admiring for several years. In fact, it was Pat’s podcasts that first made me think that I could truly make a living by creating online content (and his monthly income reports inspired me to start my own blogging reports). Starting last year, Pat celebrates his Let Go Day – the day he was laid off from his corporate job. Like Pat, being laid off from my job was the scariest but also the best thing that could have happened to me, something that really should have happened long ago, and an act that would change my life in ways I couldn’t even imagine. So I “borrowed” this idea from Pat (thanks, Pat!) and decided this was a day worth celebrating.

I spent some time wondering how I should celebrate on Saturday. Naturally my first thought was to go to Disneyland, but I knew it would be crazy crowded on the final Saturday before Halloween. I considered making dinner plans with some fellow entrepreneur friends but our schedules didn’t work out. Mr. BFT is out of town. So, I did what I do best … I worked. I spent almost my whole Let Go Day working, with a break for a runwalk in the morning and yoga in the evening. But otherwise, I worked. And it was great. Working on my blogs was the best way I could have spent my Let Go Day.

So this means I have been self employed full time for one year. You would think that’s enough time to figure it all out, right? WRONG. I’m learning that self employment is an endless journey of challenges and discovery and adaptation. Right now I have four jobs (blogger/writer, vacation planner, virtual assistant, jewelry consultant) and I’m struggling to find the balance, and even wondering if I need to restructure my sources of income (aka quit a couple of my jobs) or if I’m just really bad at time management. The thought of giving up any kind of income source, even if it is to focus on another income source, is extremely difficult right now, so I’m endlessly trying new ways to schedule my day to find something that sticks.

Sometimes, I look at other full-time bloggers, other entrepreneurs, and I wonder how come they seem to have it all together when I don’t. But I know it’s not fair to compare myself to others, especially entrepreneurs who have been at it for years.

I always try to keep it real here so I’m going to tell those of you who aspire to be your own boss, it’s not easy. I work 7 days a week. I am never not thinking about my blogs, about what my next post will be, about what will grab attention and what will entertain my readers. I’m always keeping an eye on my income streams and my savings account and doing math. I’m constantly wondering what I could do better and what can be improved.

My First Let Go Day: Celebrating One Year of Self Employment
Image Source: Quotes Says

Being self employed also means a lot of rejection, and I never have been great with rejection. It’s the reason I didn’t follow my high school dreams of being a Broadway actress! (Never mind my lack of singing and dancing talent!) When a post doesn’t do well, it’s a form of rejection. When I pitch an advertising campaign to a brand and the email gets no response, that’s a form of rejection. When I see other bloggers at fun events I wasn’t invited to, that’s a form of rejection. When I apply for an ad network and get rejected, well, that’s actual rejection. It happens a lot and it simply is part of the job. You have to remind yourself that failing means you are trying. I’m getting better at accepting it and brushing it off.

I’ve touched on some of the tough parts of being a #girlboss, so it’s only fair to share the positives as well, and there are many!

– I can go to Disneyland whenever I want. And I do! I probably go too much, if such a thing is possible. Meaning, I should probably stay home and work instead of going to Disneyland sometimes.

– Despite the rejection, applying for and getting chosen for that one brand campaign you really, really wanted feels wonderful.

– Compliments are the best. Once in a while I get an email or a comment saying that something I wrote/made/shared helped them out. Those emails make my whole week. It makes all the struggles worth it. And helping people is my favorite.

– My daily alarm clock is a thing of the past. I’ve never been a morning person and I actually do my best work after the sun goes down. Waking up naturally and setting my own work hours has been bliss.

– Reflecting on my blogs’ growth is my best motivator. In the last year, one blog has grown by 150% and the other by over 500%. That means that despite all those negatives I touched on earlier, I must be doing something right. I can’t even imagine what the next year will bring.

I just want to thank all of you who have offered me support and encouragement over the last year, and even before then. A few years ago I could have never imagined I would be living this type of lifestyle. Despite the struggles I feel extremely fortunate. I’m already looking forward to celebrating next year’s Let Go Day.

“All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney