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Minnie Paints the Dots Birthday Party

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Earlier this month, we celebrated CJ’s 3rd birthday with a Minnie Mouse painting party. CJ loves  all things art (I may have influenced her just a bit) and the hilarious Mickey shorts cartoons, so combining this with Minnie Mouse seemed like such a natural fit.

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As with her other parties, it was really important to me to make as many of the decorations as possible, or at least buy handmade. My cousin made her invitations, while my co-worker made the mouse ear signage with her name that we put on the dessert table. My mom made the desserts, including most amazing 3 tiered cake – complete with Minnie ears and a bow. I made the tissue paper mouse heads and a few banners that we hung around the room. I also had a failed attempt at a “photo booth” wall.






I would like to point out that this is only the 2nd fondant cake my mother has ever made! 


The most important handmade thing we purchased for the birthday was CJ’s Minnie Mouse outfit. The amazingly talented Little Gun Tank made her a gorgeous Minnie outfit complete with a retro daisy hat like Minnie wears in the cartoons. The outfit was 3 pieces – a black top, polka dot skirt with crinoline layers, and white pantaloons. It was perfect! CJ also wore a polka dot bow from Mina Loves Bows when she was running around with her cousins.


cheater photo because she was running around so much!



We set up a table with easels and canvases for everyone to paint. This was my favorite part of the whole party. I got the table easels so cheap at Jo-Ann’s with 50% off coupons.  The kids, and many adults, had a blast. So many beautiful artworks were created!!

Surrounded by talent!!

We also had temporary tattoos!!!


I had such a fun time planning this party. I cannot wait to see what CJ is in to next year to start planning her fourth!



Friday Five: Disney World Preparation Edition

I think I may have mentioned before, that I am currently in graduate school and writing my thesis on Copyright issues and the Walt Disney Company. With graduation almost here, it is crunch time for my paper. I still have a long way to go and while I was hoping to get to the Walt Disney Family Museum to complete it, airfares to California are insane. Fortunately, I have a very thoughtful funny who is willing to drive me to Florida to get some first hand interviews at Walt Disney World. So, in a few weeks, we will be driving there. Lucky for us, the Flower and Garden Festival will have just started and crowds will be low because it is not yet Spring Break. Even though this is a “business” visit, we are still planning to pack as much fun into our short trip as possible. So, to get us ready for that trip, I bring you this week’s Friday Five – a look at some of the things we are bringing with us!

1. Le Ears Custom Ears – shortly after Halloween, I entered an instagram contest to win a pair of custom ears from the super talented Nancy of Le Ears. Nancy indulged my need for a pair of ears that reflected my graduate school work. Together, we came up with the most awesome (well I think they are), one – of – a – kind ears featuring Disney inspired fine art from Keith Haring and Andy Warhol. I have been waiting months to wear these to the Wonderground Gallery!



2. Lost Boys Club T shirt – Hunny has a spectacular collection of Disney T shirts. Junk Food Clothing makes some great ones, but they are kind of generic. They all feature images of characters. Recently I stumbled upon Lost Boys Club shirts and I fell in love. These shirts are unique and perfect for die-hard Disney Fans. How can you not love a shirt that has a Mickey Mouse ice cream bar on it??


3. Little Gun Tank Outfits –  Ok, so I know I have gushed about her before, but Charlotte is amazing. Thanks to her, CJ will have the most epic wardrobe for our very short trip. I am sure we will have to do 3 clothing changes a day to fit everything in, but it will be so worth it. Make sure you head to her instagram page and ask for a tag when she opens up for orders again in March. And while you are there, enter her 3,000 followers giveaway.

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4. Minnie Mouse Jamberry Nail Decals – I admit it. Unlike most women, I do not like to get my nails done. I can count on one hand how many manicures I have had in my adult life. I usually do them myself and the results are underwhelming. I always look online and see the most adorable Disney themed nails and want them for my trip, but don’t really want to deal with getting them done.  Jamberry nails have changed everything for me (I’ve mentioned this before). Earlier this month, the company unveiled their Disney line and they are EPIC! Gorgeous Disney nails that you peel and stick. No nail salon required. No hefty bill for gel nails or intricate designs. They are super easy to apply and last for about two weeks. Each sheet you order can do at least two full manicures. I purchased the Mickey’s Girl design for this trip (and for CJ’s Minnie themed Birthday party), but I cannot wait to order more………Ariel, I’ve got my eye on you!


5.Customized Celebration Buttons – I love that the  Celebration buttons from the Disney Parks are free. If you are really on a budget and not buying souvenirs, you can still get a button to celebrate your trip. There are so many different Disney-themed celebration buttons for sale, but my favorite are the Child Identification / Emergency ones made by Crowley Castle.  The last time we were in Disney, CJ still was not walking. Over a year and a half later, and things are much different. Having one of these buttons with our information makes me feel a bit more at ease. The buttons are also able to be customized with any allergies or handicaps your child may have.



While there are so many more things, I would love to buy for our trip, I think funny would kill me for spending the money! What are your favorite things to have during your Disney vacation? Let me know in the comments.

Little Gun Tank

It’s no secret that I have an Instagram obsession. I’ve “met” so many wonderful moms and fellow Disney lovers on the app. Instagram started my vintage clothing obsession for CJ, too. I do a lot of shopping via Instagram and I enter every single contest that I can. I’ve won some pretty amazing things, but nothing ever can or will top winning CJ’s Halloween costume this year.

Late this past summer, I stumbled across a fairly new Instagram account, @littleguntank while looking at the explore page. The photo was of the cutest ever dress made out of a pair of vintage pink Princess Jasmine sheets, exactly like I had on my bed in my late teens/early twenties. I clicked on it immediately and scrolled thru all of the photos and fell in love. Across the world, in Australia, was another Up-obsessed, Disney fanatic, who made the most gorgeous children’s clothing out of fabric that reminded me of my childhood. I immediately contacted Lottie, the genius behind little gun tank, and asked to be put on the waiting list for one of her creations. She was so accommodating and made the ordering process so easy.

Little Gun Tank, named after a nickname Lottie had for two friends from school, is not her full-time job. This amazing woman, creates such quality clothing in her spare time when she is not working as an animator for children’s programming. Lottie is one of the lucky ones. She gets to get up every day and go to her dream job, then come home and immerse herself in Disney movies, her favorite being  Tarzan. Lottie’s pieces have a nostalgic feeling to them. She has always been obsessed with older styles, in particular clothing from the 1950s, and it shows in her work. She meshes this appreciation for vintage clothing with her love of Disney, which adds a whimsical and fun element to the pieces. Lottie knows how much Disney and the company’s characters mean to the fans. Knowing that some of these pieces will be worn in the parks or by children who love Disney means a lot to her; “getting to be part of that magic makes me incredibly happy.” Like many of us Disney fanatics, Lottie turns to Disney whenever she needs a pick-me-up. “If I’m ever having a rough go of it, or feeling blue, watching a Disney film or listening to the soundtracks can really turn my day around. It’s got a lot of happy memories attached to it.” She truly encompasses Disney Magic!


The attention to detail on this dress is incredible. Lottie indulged me with an embroidered collar. The bow on the back is already formed and sewed in place. It attaches to the back of the dress with velcro (GENIUS!).



Lottie is unlike any other seller I have ever come in contact with. Not only is she generous (donating items to multiple auctions for various causes), but she also gives so much back to her followers. Lottie is constantly holding giveaways on her page and offering chances to win (FOR FREE!) one of her gorgeous creations. Her prices are more than fair. The work that goes into them is unlike any I have ever seen. We were lucky enough to win CJ’s Timothy Q. Mouse Halloween Costume from @littleguntank and there are no words to describe this piece. As if the attention to detail on the dress was not enough, the hat Lottie made was absolutely perfect. It was really a piece of hand crafted art. CJ was so excited to wear her costume. She shouted to everyone we passed, “I’m Timothy Mouse.” It made her day. There is no way that we would have ever been able to afford such a high-quality costume and we are forever grateful to have won it.




If you would like a chance to win a costume, you are in luck! Little Gun Tank is holding another Costume Contest on her feed. Just head on over and look for the image of CJ as Timothy Q. Mouse, then clock on it for information on how to enter! Good Luck. If you stop by her page, Congratulate @littleguntank on hitting 2,000 followers on Instagram!



Friday Five: Handmade Christmas

This Christmas, I decided to buy as many handmade presents as possible. I am always in awe of the talent that people possess. Etsy and Instagram are full of super talented people who make the most amazing things. While it might be too late to order some handmade gifts for this Christmas, it is never too early to think about next year! Here is today’s Friday Five.

1. Minnie & Mickey wooden bracelet –  Two of CJ’s favorite things are “Ninnie” and jewelry, so these bracelets were a no brainer! The Plum Pickle makes the most adorable wooden bracelets for boys and girls (and adults, too).



Available on Etsy 

2. Lilo Watercolor –  Art is extremely important to me. I love collecting art for myself and hope that CJ will love to as well. I started a small collection for her based off of things she loves and what is happening in her life. Currently, her favorite movie is Lilo and Stitch and since she was Lilo for Halloween, I wanted to get her something to remember this stage. Original art can be quite expensive, even on Etsy and instagram. AnnaMarie Teresa’s shop has the most gorgeous small watercolor paintings. They are postcard sized, have amazing attention to detail, and are extremely affordable. I cannot say enough good things about this talented woman. Her work speaks for itself!!! Check out her instagram account that is full of beautiful art.




3. Sweet Littles Handmade Custom Doll –  This is my favorite purchase ever. I am head over heels in love with her. I have ordered from Sweet Littles Handmade before and have never been disappointed. I am particularly fond of the tiny dolls because they are so easy to stash in my jacket pocket or diaper bag and always keep CJ happy. This doll was custom made with CJ’s “coming home” plaid dress and her newborn heart pajamas.

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4. Ha’Andah Products Men’s Grooming Kit – 


A good beard requires grooming and maintenance, just like a good haircut. I know I wouldn’t go out without fixing my hair, so I assume most bearded men feel the same way.This is the perfect gift for any men in your life that are serious about their facial hair.For only $25, you get the beard oil, mustache wax and balm (which is much more affordable than the big name shaving/grooming stores).



Available here

5. Going To Disney Luggage Tag – 

This adorable luggage tag 

is perfect for anyone in your life that loves to visit Disney. While, I did not buy this, I have to confess that I put it on the list in hopes that someone buys it for me! It’s adorable and will definitely make finding your bag at the airport a little easier.


Available on Etsy 

There is less than a week until Christmas and I could not be more excited to celebrate with my loved ones. I hope you are enjoying a wonderful holiday season.

Art Lessons: Creations By Hailey

As an artist, a collector of art, a hopeful museum curator and a Disney fanatic, stumbling upon Hailey Haddox ‘s work was a dream come true. I want to own everything she creates. Hailey makes replicas of Disney movie props, as well as other Disney inspired art. Her work is complex and extremely detailed. It is like Hailey brings the animation to life.

Hailey was born in California and spent much of her childhood visiting Disneyland. She still holds an annual pass to the park and visits every chance she gets. She currently lives in Austin, Texas but she is moving to Orlando in the spring of 2015 to pursue her dream of working for The Walt Disney Company. Hailey has big goals. She would love to design the props used on park rides and in parades, as well as design the Limited Edition Disney collectibles. If her current work is any indication, Hailey is on the right track.

It amazes me that Hailey has never formally studied art. She has an amazing technically ability, in addition to her artistic talent. Hailey works with many different mediums, such as wood, paint, glass and jewels, but her favorite to work with is lights. Her most recent piece, a painting in honor of the late Robin Williams, is a beautiful scene inspired by Aladdin. The genie is surrounded by glimmering stars, which Hailey details with lighting that can be turned on or off.


Hailey is a very generous artist. She constantly hosts giveaways for her work on both her Facebook and Instagram. She also takes commissions. Hailey is not creating your run of the mill Disney items. She is making 3 dimensional objects that are featured in movies, like the baby hornducks from Alice in Wonderland. Her work is detailed and is something I would expect to purchase in the different art galleries in and around the Disney parks.  I really appreciate the unique objects Hailey chooses to make. So many artist focus on making pieces based on super popular Disney films, but Hailey is making pieces that appeal to her and her love of Disney, like Madame Leota from the Haunted Mansion ride. When she could not find a replica of the  poison apple from Snow White, she created her own and in doing so, started a fantastic business. I see big things in Hailey’ s future. Take a peak at Creations By Hailey and try to contain your excitement. Her work is amazing.


Friday Five: Favorite Etsy Shops

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I have always loved buying handmade items, but ever since CJ was born, it has become an obsession. I love having unique items for her that you can’t find in any random store and knowing that I am contributing to a small business rather than a chain makes me happy. Etsy is the go to place for all things handmade. Today’s Friday Five features some of our favorite Etsy shops. Make sure you check them out.

1: Mina Loves Bows – Anna, the owner of this shop is simply amazing. She’s the superwoman of Etsy and Instagram. Each month she hosts a bow swap so various Instagram users can pair up and swap handmade bows. She is also one of the most generous women out there, donating her items to charity auctions and giveaways. As if that wasn’t enough, this mother of four has her own Etsy shop where she offers gorgeous bows of various styles and custom orders. Anna is a Disney fan and it shows in her work. She just created a custom Alice in Wonderland themed leather bow set for a customer. Check out her shop here and her Instagram.


2: Megan Carrigan Fine Art/18th Century Shop- Some people have the talent to create things that take your breath away. Megan Carrigan is one of those people. Her paintings truly are works of art. Megan paints in oils, water colors and acrylics. Her miniature framed water colors are my absolute favorite. The colors are vibrant and she truly captures the spirit of every character she paints. Megan also takes commissions, so contact her to paint something wonderful for your home. Check out her Etsy shop and Instagram.


3: Wild Darlings Shop – Moccasins are all the rage in baby fashion, but with so many shops selling them, it’s hard to know where to make your purchase. Mackenzie, the woman behind Wild Darlings Shop has made it impossible to shop anywhere else with the release of her Neverland Collection. This limited edition collection of moccs celebrates one of my favorite movies of all time, Peter Pan, with four pairs of shoes: Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Tiger Lily and a Lost Boy. I am eagerly awaiting CJ’s Tinkerbell pair – coming all the way from Okinawa, Japan where her husband is stationed in the military. Hurry to her Etsy shop now and check her out on Instagram, as well.


4: Piece Love Paper- It is no secret that I adore the movie Up – My personal Instagram name is Elliefredricksen. Stephanie, the owner of Piece Love Paper, has a fondness for the film also, but that’s not why I love her shop. Stephanie’s Etsy store sells beautiful notecards and paper goods that anyone would love to receive. Stephanie donates a portion of each sale to the Rheumatoid Arthritis Foundation, so anytime you make a purchase, you know that not only will you be getting something fun, but also giving to a good cause. Check out her Etsy shop and Instagram.


5: Sweet T Baby Boutique – Headbands, crowns and bows are mandatory for most baby girls. Tessa’s Etsy shop is filled with gorgeous, glittery and unique pieces that will compliment all your baby’s outfits. While all of Tessa’s items are gorgeous, her Disney crowns are simply perfect. Made from lace, they are painted and dipped in glitter. While I am partial to the Minnie Mouse crown, Tessa also makes Anna and Elsa for all of the Frozen fanatics Check out her Etsy shop and Instagram.


Have a great weekend!

Art Lessons: Savanna Rodriguez

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Savanna Rodriguez is the super talented 25 year old artist behind one of my favorite Instagram accounts @artsavanna. Just from stalking following her IG, I know we would be great friends. We already have so much in common. We are both married with one child. We love all Disney characters, but Tinkerbell holds a special place in our hearts. And we both want to work for Disney. Savanna aspires to work for them as an artist and with her talent, I definitely see it happening! Oh, and Savanna can sing.

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Savanna works primarily in small scale. It is amazing the attention to detail she has, even when painting tiny lockets and canvases. Savanna is a self taught artist. Although she took a few art classes in junior high school, Savanna has honed her craft on her own. Most of her paintings are of traditional Disney characters and scenes, but occasionally, Savanna will surprise you. Case in point: her reimagined Haunted Mansion stretching portraits. Savanna’s version is a crossover with characters from The Nightmare Before Christmas. I truly believe that Sally was meant to be the Girl on a Tightrope.

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Savanna has a large Instagram following, and unlike many artists, she has no problem with fans using her work as inspiration for their own. In fact, she frequently showcases the art that others have made based on her work. Savanna loves “knowing that others feel encouraged to try something new.” Her outlook is refreshing and one that other artists should adapt because it forges a sense of community and encouragement, rather than competition. Savanna does commissions, so if you are looking for a new piece of art or jewelry, check out her etsy store. For those of you on Instagram, follow her. You will not be disappointed.