Every Picture Tells a Story – California Screamin’

Watching California Screamin' riders fly by!

My just-turned-three year old is slightly obsessed with roller coasters. One of his favorite pastimes is watching YouTube videos of Disneyland coaster rides, including California Screamin’ at Disney California Adventure Park. At 40″, Dillon is just now tall enough to ride many of the Disneyland classic coasters like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Space Mountain. He has another 8″ to go until he can ride the loop on California Screamin’ but in the meantime, he has a grand time cheering the riders on and waving at them when they pass at breakneck speed!

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“I Want to Save More Money” – 5 Basic Questions to Ask Yourself

"I Want to Save More Money" - 5 Basic Questions to Ask Yourself

It’s not simply enough to say that you want to “save more money”. Money has a way of disappearing from your bank account and wallet so quickly if you don’t keep track of it. If you want to save more money, the first thing you need to do is set your goal!

When my husband and I were working with a broker/Realtor to purchase our first house, he told us the minimum we’d need in cash for a down payment/closing costs. We set our monetary goal, figured out the timeline and made a savings plan. Within four months, we had more than enough set aside in our savings account. We’ve continued putting money aside in our savings account, though not as aggressively as when we had that particular goal. What a great feeling to have cash in the bank to fall back on when brakes on the car need repair, your husband is laid off for six weeks or your ceiling has a leak (all things that happened to us last year!)


Get that dream Disney vacation you've always wanted! "I Want to Save More Money" - 5 Basic Questions to Ask Yourself

Get out your note pad and make it real by answering these 5 basic money saving questions —

1. What is your monetary goal? 

Write down a number. Best to overshoot and make the number higher than you think you’ll need.

2. What are you saving for?

Keep your savings on track by pinpointing what the money is earmarked for. Whether it be you’re saving up for something grand like a home down payment or you just want to buy that gorgeous Dooney & Bourke handbag, make the goal real by writing it down. Maybe even print a photo that you put in a prominent place to keep you on track!

3. How long will it take you to reach your goal?

Set a deadline for yourself that’s within the foreseeable future. If your ultimate goal number is really big, break it up into quarters and set a date that is close at hand to help keep your savings spirits up!

4. What are you willing to give up to make saving possible?

Make sure you know your True Budget first and see where the extra savings money is going to come from to make your goal savings a reality. Try using this helpful worksheet. What’s in your budget that you’re willing to sacrifice to meet that goal? I’ve covered this topic in my articles Learning to Live Without and Realistic Ways of Cutting Back in Your Budget.

5. Is your savings plan reasonable?

The last thing you want to do is crash and burn on your goal because it’s too stressful or unrealistic. Make sure your budget has flexibility to continue to allow for fun things or emergencies.


Get that dream Disney vacation you've always wanted! "I Want to Save More Money" - 5 Basic Questions to Ask Yourself

Once you’ve answered all these questions, figure out exactly how much you’ll be setting aside each month to meet your goal.

Simple formula: Total amount you want to save divided by the months that it will take you to reach the goal = How much you need to save each month


It’s never too late to make meaningful changes! Please read up on the other topics in my Resolution Series –

I Want to Start an Exercise Routine

I Want to Look More Put Together Head to Toe

I Want to Eat Healthier

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A Spur of the Moment Disneyland Weekend – Trip Report

Bandleader Mickey at Disneyland!

Mornin’ Mickey!

I run a tight ship when it comes to my Disneyland vacations but well, sometimes life gets in the way and things don’t always go on schedule. It’s best to be flexible! Turns out that pretty much any day spent at Disney is a magical day, no matter how you slice it!

We got up up just after 6am to get ready for the drive. Fortunately we’d packed up mostly the night before so after a quick breakfast we were in the car and on our way. We did have to pick up the stroller from Grandma’s house and fill up the gas tank which added time to my already 20 minutes late time schedule! We live in San Diego, around 90 minutes drive from Anaheim and the Disneyland Resort. This day however would prove to be about 2 hours though, since we ran into a bit of traffic on the way up. The Santa Ana winds that blow in from the desert were warming up the air, which was nice (it was near 80 degrees on this January day!) However we were also getting the crazy fast winds that blow dust and tumbleweeds across the freeway!

About an hour into the drive it dawned on us that we’d forgotten our preschooler’s shoes at home! Ugh…so, after a quick side trip to Target for new kicks, we were soon pulling into the Woody parking lot. To be totally honest, I had no idea that there was a Disney resort parking lot in this area. I knew about the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure and had parked at one of the other “off-site” lots but didn’t realize that there was this lot until we passed it on the way to the Target. Parking was so much easier here than at the Parking Structure! We simply boarded one of the Toy Story buses that drove a few miles down the road and dropped us off right in front of the esplanade. There was no waiting for the trams and no long walks, I loved it!

Taking the Disneyland shuttle from "off-site" parking lots

We picked up my daughter’s Disability Access Service (DAS) card at Guest Services and found out that the system has changed even since our recent visit in October. I’ve outlined the system here. Guest still visit the special kiosks scattered through out the Park to receive their designated return time for a particular attraction. However now instead of receiving a small paper log with a return time, guests are now instructed to turn over their Park tickets at the return/Fastpass line of each ride.

New Disability Access Service (DAS)

Cast Members have scanners which scan each ticket and a photo pops up on their screen with the number of people in the party and the designated return time for verification. My daughter wasn’t cooperating that morning and refused to pose for the photo inside City Hall but the Cast Member was kind enough to take a photo of a photo from my husband’s camera phone so there would be an image for the scanner. The new update to the system worked out nicely and the process was much quicker without the Cast Members having to log rides and times on a piece of paper!

New scanners at Disneyland for the Disability Access Service

After receiving the DAS, my daughter was moody and upset and didn’t want to ride anything at first. I took the boys on the King Arthur Carrousel so my husband could get her relaxed and acclimated to the Park atmosphere.

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The entrance bridge through Sleeping Beauty Castle is currently closed, presumably in preparation for the big Diamond Celebration, Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary! Snow White’s Grotto and the Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-through are also currently off exhibit.

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After a snack and a rest in the shade, Alonna was ready to join us for a ride. We kick started the day with a bang…Big Thunder Mountain Railroad! Dillon just turned three only two months ago, but at 40″ high we were ready to have him try a few of the Disneyland coasters. He’d wet his feet on a few of the coasters at Legoland a few weeks ago but we weren’t sure how well these more “high speed adventures” would go over! We needn’t be worried…while he’d  scream throughout the rides and grip onto the bars tightly, afterwards he was all smiles and excitement. He kept saying, “That was AWESOME!” And so we marched on!

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Disneyland CA

After riding a few more favorites, we made our way across the esplanade to Disney California Adventure Park. As Disney Chase Visa members, we receive a personal Character meet n’ greet and a free 5″ x 7″ photo! We met up with Minnie, who was greeted warmly with a big hug from Dillon like they were old pals!

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In the same area (Hollywoodland), FROZEN FUN is currently taking place! It’s a highly popular (and highly populated!) new area that features a meet n’ greet with Anna and/or Elsa, a sing-a-long theater show, real snow play, specialty foods and snacks, shopping (naturally) and warm hugs from Olaf himself. My kids love the movie but none wanted to participate in the activities since it was quite busy in this area. They were anxious to get on more rides, so we drove ourselves over to Carsland!

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It was my son’s first time riding the Radiator Springs Racers and he was so excited! At each ride that had a 40″ height requirement, Dillon was checked several times through the ride (first at the entrance and then again, usually half-way through the line). This is such a wonderful ride, we were so glad he was able to join us on it this time. And he, of course, loved it! More, “This is AWESOME!!” greeted us through the exit line!

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We took a spin on Tow Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree before jogging through the underpass and onto the Pacific Wharf for lunch.

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I’d not eaten at the Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill before and it did not disappoint. Large portions that we shared between the five of us, vibrant flavors and we were accompanied by the darling Mariachi Divas. My husband loved the spicy pasilla-tomatillo sauce that came with the tamales. My Hacienda chicken Caesar salad with pepita dressing was enormous and really hit the spot! Total bill for this meal was $35 and it fed all five of us (we didn’t purchase drinks but brought in Gatorade and water bottles). You receive 10% with your Disney Chase Visa or Disney Redemption Card from the Disney Chase Visa program.

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One of my favorite parts of a Disney day is the Character interaction. We happened upon Donald alongside Paradise Pier looking so dapper in his nautical get-up! He was delighted to see himself not only on my son’s t-shirt but featured on his hat too! Donald even tried to put the hat on and danced about a bit, to the joy of my son.

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The big kids went with Dad on California Screamin’ while Dillon and I watched the riders whizzing by! A spin on King Triton’s Carousel, Toy Story Mania and the Jumpin’ Jellyfish followed.

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We hit up Bug’s Land and then headed back over to Disneyland Park for ice creams and more adventure. While in line for waffle cones, nap time happened and Dillon missed the special treat. It’s okay, we splurged and got ice cream again after dinner too!

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The little guy woke up ready for more! We rode Star Tours as well as Space Mountain! I wasn’t sure how he’d like being in the dark with all that spinning but he did great and again, it was “AWESOME!”

As evening came we headed for our favorite dinner spot, the French Market in New Orleans Square. We ordered the meatloaf with mashed potatoes, veggies and a roll, the grilled chicken with double-veggies and a roll and a bread bowl overflowing with steaming hot corn chowder. Again, we received 10% off for being Disney Chase Visa card holders and the total bill was $35. It was all so delicious (but too dark for photos at this point).

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My eldest son, who suffers from occasional migraine headaches was starting to develop one, so after dinner we stopped off at First Aid for children’s acetaminophen and an ice pack. We took things easy for a bit, allowing the medication to work and walked slowly over to It’s a Small World, which was still decorated for the holidays. Somewhat odd, it being a month since Christmas to still have the holiday overlay but I believe it comes down this week. We hummed along to “Jingle Shells” with the mermaids all the same!

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While using the restroom, we happened upon the beginning of Mickey and the Magical Map, a newer show that I’d not yet seen. The show had just begun and Cast Members had already roped off the entrances. I’m not sure what my husband said to him but we were escorted through the ropes and down into a special area with padded bench seats and an amazing view! So bright and fun with wonderful dancing and costumes. And the live singing was fantastic, we absolutely loved this show!

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Earlier in the day I’d picked up Fastpass tickets for the 8:45 Fantasmic! show. With the new viewing areas we were going to be able to stand in specific sections to watch the show. Unfortunately the crazy wild Santa Ana winds that had been plaguing us all day reared up again and the show was “delayed”. With my son still not feeling well, we decided to call it a night and beat the crowds by leaving a bit early. Within ten minutes we were boarded on the bus to take us back to the truck. I have the feeling the Fantastic! show as well as the fireworks display must have been fully cancelled because the winds never did die down.

In any case, even with the abbreviated evening, we still had a magical day. So much fun being able to ride so many things with my preschooler for the first time. It was nice not to have to wait at the stroller with him too. It will definitely be a new phase in our Disney vacations from now on, with all of us being able to ride together! Even though our day didn’t go exactly as planned, it paid to be flexible and we still had a wonderful Disney day!

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As a blogger, I received two complimentary 1 day Park Hopper passes from Disney; all thoughts and views are my own.

Healthy Eating – Making Changes in the Kitchen Towards a Healthier You!

Healthy Eating - Making Changes in the Kitchen Towards a Healthier You! Tons of ideas for getting out of your eating rut and getting healthy.

These are my top 11 tips for ditching the bad eating habits and getting healthy in the kitchen. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring but it does take a certain commitment. Fortunately healthy eating pays off in the end, with more energy and a healthy body.

I am probably the last person on earth who would ever have given healthy eating advice. Several years ago, before I remarried I was a self-confessed fast food addict. There were days when I ate fast food meals three times a day. Needless to say I gained quite a bit of weight and felt sluggish. Getting off the fast food drive-thru track wasn’t easy. It was a die-hard habit and I absolutely went through withdrawals.

Do I still have pizza or burgers on occasion? Yes, but it’s the exception and not the norm. That’s one of the most important thing to remember when choosing healthy eating. There are a few things that kept me sane and yes, it does get easier to eat healthfully!


One thing at a time

Changes like this are hard to make overnight. It’s ingrained in you that you go out for breakfast after church each Sunday. Or that you always buy cookies for the kid’s lunches, because well, you’ve always bought them. Take things one at a time. Best to make a list of changes that you’d like to make and be specific. Several years ago my list would have said, “Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, eat out less, control portions, eat a better breakfast, quit drinking Diet Coke”. I started with the portion control which is probably the best and easiest place to start. Then I moved towards eating out less simply by packing lunches each day and preparing a dinner plan so I wasn’t scrambling each night. I definitely eat more veggies and am still working on getting more fresh fruit (I do aim for an apple a day!) And I am proud to say that I am one month free of my Diet Coke addiction. Those resolutions took me several years, nothing happened overnight. Choose one thing off your list and start now. When you feel like you’ve hit your stride in that area, work on the next item!

Healthy Eating ideas - Cast iron skillet cornbread with Walt Disney's Chili

Walt Disney’s Chili


Have someone who holds you accountable

There are times now when I’d love to pick up burgers and fries for the family instead of cooking. And I’ll admit it, sometimes we do hit In n’ Out but those moments are few and far in between and not the norm. My husband helps to hold me accountable for what we choose to eat. Do I think he’s a meanie sometimes when I really want to order a pizza and he says he’s grilling chicken instead? Yep! But that’s okay, because he has our family’s best interest at heart. And I know if I didn’t have him holding me accountable I’d be eating all sorts of junk that I shouldn’t. Do I still go out to pizza with my girlfriends? Yes, I do but I temper the heavy-calorie days by packing my healthy lunches and eating lots of fresh greens the rest of the week. Who in your life can hold you accountable for your meal choices? Choose someone you’ll still love and respect, even after they’ve given you that look when you reach for a second helping of dessert!

Choose freshly prepared

I grew up in a household that thrived on boxed rice mixes. You know the kind with the sodium-laden seasoning packets? I used to buy them too until I got my rice maker and realized how easy and inexpensive it was to make your own rice. A huge bag of brown rice from Costco is so cheap and our $25 rice maker stops when the rice is done so it doesn’t over or under cook. We add chicken broth or our own seasonings to the water when cooking if we want additional flavor but most of the time we eat it plain. Consider all of the boxed, canned or frozen convenience foods that you could be making in bulk on your own. It’s wonderful to know exactly what ingredients we are eating too. I’ve started mixing up our own salad dressings, cooking beans from scratch and only baking treats like cookies from whole ingredients.

DIY Creamy Pesto Salad Dressing (Old Spaghetti Factory recipe) - My favorite dressing, and so easy to make at home!!

Creamy Pesto Dressing


Take it with you

I’m not a leftovers lover. I don’t really want to eat last night’s rewarmed meal but I often do. Some foods are better than others the second time around, naturally. Given a night in the fridge, meatloaf, lasagna and salad dressings have had time to let their flavors develop and meld. To avoid the temptation of hitting the fast food drive-thru or the office snack machine, make sure you are well-stocked with healthy snacks. Pack your lunch the night before so you only have to grab and go in the morning.

Every few hours snack on a little fat, some protein and a carb to keep up your metabolism (a cheese stick, a few almonds and a small piece of fruit is appropriate). Snacks should hover around 100 calories. Pack things in a cooler lunch bag if you plan on being out and about. My husband makes it a point to keep snacks with him at all times, usually a small bag or nuts to nibble when hunger strikes. It’s nice to have when we’re out running errands and we aren’t close to home. Having the snacks with us helps us resist the urge to stop at a convenience store for treats.

Stay home

I love eating out. It’s nice to get something that you don’t prepare at home and to have someone else clean the dishes. But do I really think that it’s worth the $15+ plate of food when that could easily be enough to feed my entire family several meals at home? I very rarely eat out because it’s expensive, portions are too large and it’s unnecessary when we have food to prepare at home. When you eat at home you know what you’re putting in your food, how much salt or butter has been added to the vegetables and you can control the portions.

Little swaps

Switch out things in the pantry towards healthier choices. White rice for brown. Whole wheat bread instead of white. Fresh oranges instead of processed orange juice. Vegetarian night instead of a meat dish once or twice a week. Not adding butter or salt to the steamed veggies. A dollop of Greek yogurt in your taco instead of sour cream. Fresh fish instead of steak.

If your family is used to doing things a certain way, you may hear some grumblings. Believe me, I was a big time grumbler when my husband brought home a huge bag of uncooked pinto beans. I’ve never liked beans but after preparing them fresh, I actually enjoy them (don’t tell him that!) Think of little swaps that you could make in your meal planning that could remove fat/calories/cholesterol and move your dishes into a more healthy zone.

Healthy Eating ideas - Crock Pot Pinto Beans...cheap & easy! {Saving up for Disney}

Slow Cooker Pinto Beans


Cook in bulk and your leftovers will be your own “fast food”

When making things like beans, biscuits or soups, I tend to prepare double and freeze the leftovers. On those days when your cupboards are bare or you just know that you aren’t going to have it in you to cook dinner that night, simply pull out a bag and let it defrost. Voila! You’ll just have to reheat when you get home and have a hearty meal that’s healthier, cheaper and just as fast as anything you’d find in the drive-thru.

Eat at Home & Save - Recipe for using leftovers - Turkey & Rice Soup

Use Those Leftovers! Turkey and Rice Soup

Love the slow cooker

Toss in fresh ingredients in the morning and have a healthy meal when you get home. Pair it with freshly steamed veggies and you have a balanced dinner (hopefully with leftovers to eat at lunch the next day). We never seem to have leftovers with this amazing dish by Fabio Viviani! A small amount of meat is perfect when cooked in a hearty sauce so you won’t need much to satisfy. Resist the recipes that call for a bunch of canned ingredients as this is going to increase the sodium intake and calorie count. A search for Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes on Pinterest revealed tons of fantastic looking recipes!

Healthy Eating ideas - Crock Pot spare ribs

Start the morning on a good note

I am a terrible breakfast eater who is trying to reform herself. In the old days, a “good” breakfast was either a slice of pastry that my dad had bought at the grocery, a breakfast sandwich picked up from a drive-thru or a doughnut from the convenience store (with a Diet Coke, of course!). Talk about a major blood sugar spike that would have me crashing by 9:00 am! I have started waking up about 15 minutes earlier to cook my kids a healthy breakfast. Sometimes it’s scrambled eggs with a little cheddar cheese, toast and a half a banana. Sometimes they have oatmeal with apples and a glass of milk. I like to make myself a fresh fruit smoothie or just a single piece of wheat toast with a thin spread of peanut butter and a half a banana. I know that if I eat a healthy breakfast at home when I first get up, it’s helps satisfy the tummy-grumbles, gets my metabolism moving and I’ll be less likely to stop and grab junk food.

Log each bite 

Definitely a great place to start, especially if you are a mindless in-front-of-the-computer nibbler like I am. Are you eating right now? *wink* Get a tiny note pad and log your food every day, even the small bites of your kid’s leftover mac and cheese. This is just to give you an idea what you are consuming and put your intake in perspective. At some point you’ll want to figure out the calories to see where you’ll been falling approximately each day. I’ve personally used the Lose It! app on my phone and love how I’m able to plug in my calories, scan bar codes, add in exercise and search for foods. It’s a helpful food log that you can check through the day to make sure you’re staying on track.

Portion Control

One of the “tricks” that I learned right away when I started on the healthier eating bandwagon was to drastically cut my portions. It really snapped things into perspective when I started serving myself half of my normal portions…and I was completely full and content! If you’re used to serving yourself two slices of toast with breakfast try just one. You can still have a cookie, just have two instead of four. Do you find that you’re still hungry? Double the fruits and veggies and continue to half the other portions. Serve up meal plates in the kitchen and promptly refrigerate leftovers to resist the temptation to go back for seconds.

Healthy Eating ideas - Summer Pasta Salad recipe {www.savingupfordisney}

Summer Pasta Salad


I still struggle with certain aspects of healthy eating. But I’m human and I know that “slow and steady wins the race”. Any changes that I make have to be implemented slowly in order for them to stick! I am a work in progress and I’m happy with the changes I’ve made so far.

What are your healthy eating tips? Anything helpful that keeps you on track? Share below in the comments!


I am not a doctor so please consult yours before trying any of these tips.

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SoCal Guide – Stack Up the Fun at LEGOland California!

Stack Up the Fun at Legoland California! -What to ride, see & eat at LEGOland Ca.

LEGOland is a wonderful park for a wide variety of ages. There are play areas for toddlers, rides that will please older kids and LEGO displays that will put any adult in awe. Here’s what you can expect of a day at LEGOland, California.

It had been at least 5 years since I last visited LEGOland California. My two older boys and I were annual passholders for several years and LEGOland was one of our favorite weekend spots. We loved the LEGOland Brick or Treat Halloween Party, sharing a tub of Granny’s Apple Fries or simply building creations inside the Imagination Zone. On each visit we enjoyed a stroll through Miniland USA, the heartbeat of the Park.

With a drive of 30 minutes from our house, my kids and I were happy to escape our Saturday chores last weekend and visit LEGOland California for the day!

What to do at Legoland California

Since it had been so long since my last visit, I was looking forward to seeing the changes that Park had made over the last few years. You can’t miss the largest addition, the LEGOland Hotel located at the front entrance of the Park. My kids stayed their last summer with their grandmother and said it was so much fun. LEGOland is known for their unique, tongue-in-cheek humor so it was no surprise to me that the hotel features a disco ball in the elevator and a treasure hunt inside the rooms!

What to do at Legoland California

I noticed right off the bat that there were more large LEGO figures. A lifesize Darth Vader greeted guests. There were more animals on the Safari Trek and more figures on the Fairy Tale Brook. The addition of LEGO Star Wars to Miniland was a highlight.

What to do at Legoland California

What to do at Legoland California

My stepdaughter has Autism so I inquired with Guest Services at the start of our visit. She supplied me with a simple “Assisted Access Pass”. This business card had the date, number of people in our party and my daughter’s name. Instructions on the card let us know that we were permitted to enter rides through the exit and wait there so we didn’t have to stand in a crowded queue. This definitely helped alleviate any stress (helpful for me since I was the only adult on this adventure!)

What to do at Legoland California

This day marked the first time that my preschooler had been to LEGOland. I familiarized him with a few of the rides on the LEGOland website beforehand so he was excited to try them out! He has just reached 40″ tall (yes, at only 3 years and 2 months old!) so he was tall enough to ride several of the coasters. He braved the Coastersaurus first thing and after a few “Oh, my tummy!” moments on the ride, he was craving more!

What to do at Legoland California

Duplo Village was a hit, as I expected it to be! There are quaint little houses set up like a town including a firestation with a pole and tons of stairs and slides. A tiny train, the LEGOland Express, rides around here as well. Plan for plenty of time in this area if you have a preschooler, they absolutely love this place!

What to do at Legoland California

What to do at Legoland California

Fun Town really is…fun! Skipper School and Driving School with their trackless vehicles are can’t miss attractions. There is even a Junior Driving School for little ones aged 3-5. My preschooler got about a quarter of the way around the track before crashing, it was adorable to watch the little ones in their cars! The Adventure’s Club walk-through is a favorite for my older ones though my preschooler was too nervous of the dark areas.

What to do at Legoland California

What to do at Legoland California

The new LEGO Star Wars area in Miniland USA did not disappoint. There are some amazingly detailed scenes from the movies featured here! This area was incredible and a must see for any Star Wars fan.

Star Wars Miniland at Legoland California

What to do at Legoland California

We ate lunch at Burger Stop which had hearty sized Angus beef burgers. There are many unusual and healthy dining choices throughout the Park, including salad bar, panini sandwiches, stir fry or homemade soups.

What to do at Legoland California

After lunch we made our way over to the Land of Adventure, where my kids slid down the Dune Raiders slide several times, I rode the Cargo Ace with my little one and we shot laser guns in the Lost Kingdom Adventure ride.

 

What to do at Legoland California

My little one was ready to conquer the Dragon coaster in Castle Hill, in which more “Oh, my tummy!” moments occurred! LEGOland is full of sweet areas that highlight their master builder’s works including the Enchanted Walk which features woodland animals. The big kids braved the Knights’ Tournament and the LEGO Technic Coaster.

What to do at Legoland California

We ended the day on the Coast Cruise, where more of that silly LEGO humor is on display. Poor George, he’s getting his ears cleaned out!

What to do at Legoland California

What to do at Legoland California

An enjoyable day was had by all! Next time we’ll plan our visit when we can don our bathing suits and get splashed at one of the LEGOland water parks (additional admission fee required). They are closed in the off season but reopen in the spring. If you have extra time, plan a visit to see the SeaLife Aquarium  (separate admission required).

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Best Shoes for Disney Parks – Why I Love Sandals!

Feet can really take a beating while touring in the Disney Parks all day! They are standing in queue, walking countless miles, standing for fireworks and possibly getting wet. I have reviewed four different women’s styles that I personally own and wear when I go to Disneyland.  I have also included choices for children as well!
Certainly during cooler months, sandals aren’t the best option and instead I wear Keds with socks or my Ugg boots to keep my toes warm. However you’ll find that open-toed sandals are appropriate in California and Florida for about 9 months out of the year.
Best Shoes for Disney Parks - Why I Love Open-toed Sandals!

My 7 1/2 months pregnant feet walked the Disney parks in Crocs!

Welcome to the next stop on Magical Blogorail Green. Today we are discussing the best shoes for Disney Parks. I am going to share my love for open-toed sandals…how very California of me, right?
Please note that I use affiliate links in this post. Clicking through and purchasing through these links helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Best Shoes for Disney

Why I love Open-toed Sandals:

  • They allow for feet swelling; All that pavement stomping can cause feet to puff up and even just the tiniest bit of swelling can be uncomfortable. The last time I wore closed-toed shoes (a ballet-flat type) at Disneyland my feet had swelled so much by mid-afternoon I was developing blisters. My husband trekked back to the car to fetch me another pair of shoes.
  • Sandals are cool and lightweight.
  • They look cute! Sandals are much more flattering when wearing shorts or capri pants than socks and sneakers ever look. They also showcase pretty Disney-style toe nails so nicely!

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Things to Consider when Choosing an Open-toed Style:

  • Are these going to be appropriate for concrete walking? Flat beach-type plastic flip-flops aren’t going to offer the support you need for walking on concrete all day.
  • What is the support they offer? I highly recommend shoes with cushioning and a bit of a lift in the back for a comfortable shoe that you can wear all day.
  • Does the shoe have traction on the bottom? Especially when walking around puddled areas near water rides or after a Floridian downpour, you’d hate to slip and fall. Choose a shoe with traction (all of my choices have it).

For the ladies…

Best Shoes for the Disney Parks – Why I Love Open-toed Sandals!

Crocs Womens Women’s A-Leigh Floral Flip Flop

I not only wear these to Disneyland, I also took them with me on my European Adventure. They held up just as well on the pavement as they did on uneven cobblestones. The leather upper is soft and flexible and they feature Croslite™ material footbed cushions. The cork-wrapped wedge gives a little lift in the heel which makes being on my feet more comfortable.

And how can you resist the pretty floral accent? I have these in black but think I will have to pick up these lovely pink ones, just because!

My Crocs in the Czech Republic!

Hi-Tec Women’s Soul Riderz Strap Sandal

This was my go-to shoe for the past few summers, including my European Adventure. They are flexible and feature a cushioned footbed and sculpted EVA midsole that absorbs impact. I appreciate the adjustable hook-and-loop straps so I can accommodate for any foot swelling at the end of the day.

The straps on these shoes have a soft lining that wicks away moisture and never rubbed or caused blisters. These shoes are also extremely light weight!

Trekking through Europe in my Hi-Tec sandals

Trekking through Europe in my Hi-Tec sandals

Fitflop Women’s Flora Flip Flop
I’ve had a pair of FitFlops for the past 3 years and they are a summer staple. FitFlop doesn’t appear to carry the bejeweled black pair that I have anymore, but I was really drawn to the elegant etched and laser-cut details on this pair. The patent and leather are soft and comfortable for all-day walking.

For sure you need to get your body used to FitFlop’s “Microwobbleboard midsole” before trying to walk in them all day or your thighs will be screaming by the afternoon!

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I won a giant giraffe pillow at SeaWorld San Diego while wearing my FitFlops!

Nike Womens Comfort Thong Flip Flops

Like walking on a cloud! I’ve had two pairs of the Nike Comfort flip-flops; one in black and another in white and turquoise. They have a soft memory foam foot bed that simply hugs and comforts your feet while you walk.

Other Open-Toed Options!

I don’t have these sandals but have them on my radar to try as potential Disney Park shoes in the future! Skechers Go Walk Move Solstice , Vionic Womens Rest Amber Strappy Open Toe Sandal, Naturalizer Women’s Cassie Gladiator Sandal, Vionic Muir – Womens Strap Sandal, Teva Women’s Verra Sandal


For the kids…

Best Shoes for the Disney Parks – Why I Love Open-toed Sandals!

My littlest has been wearing pediped since he was born! I love Pediped for kids because they are lightweight, durable and very soft and flexible. This means there is no “breaking in” period and are comfy from the first wearing. Also a very nice feature is that many pedipeds are machine washable.

Choosing the right shoe for your Disney vacation can make or break the trip! See my choices for best shoes for your summer Disney vacation.

This is my son at Walt Disney World wearing his pediped Flex Sahara Sandal.

Best Shoes for Disney Parks - Why I Love Open-toed Sandals!

pediped Flex Nikki Sandal, pediped Flex Navigator Water Sandal, pediped Sidra Flex Dress Sandal

These pediped are so sweet and pretty and much more comfortable on little feet than the plastic dress up shoes that I see some of the tiny princesses shuffling around the Parks in! Please, leave the plastic shoes at home and make sure your sweetie has a comfortable pair of shoes that she can wear all day. These pediped Delaney Flex Mary Jane are perfect because they are a rubber soled shoe disguised as sparkly Princess attire!

Choosing the right shoe for your Disney vacation can make or break the trip! See my choices for best shoes for your summer Disney vacation.

My two littlest ones at Disney World, both wearing their pedipeds!

Other Shoe Tips:

  • Bring an alternate pair of socks & shoes and keep them in a backpack or rental locker. When your socks get soaked on Splash Mountain you’ll have a replacement and if your shoes are irritating you for any reason (like mine did), you’ll have a pair to switch into.
  • “Break” your shoes in first and wear them several times before wearing them in the Park.
  • Bring along items in your travel First Aid kit that can easy any foot issues. I have New-Skin Liquid Bandage that can be painted onto the skin and when it dries, leaves a waterproof “bandage” that eases friction.
  • Beware of sandals with multiple straps that may potentially rub or pinch skin.

Choosing the right shoe for your Disney vacation can make or break the trip! See my choices for best shoes for your summer Disney vacation.


Magical Blogorail Green Loop

Thank you for joining Magical Blogorail Green this month. We will be back in next month with all new loops and themes. Keep checking in with our blogs in between loops to keep up to date with newest posts, photos and stories. If you are looking for more Disney magic, you can make your way over to The Magical Blogorail website to see all our members and their blogs, as well as all our previous loops.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop – Heidi’s Head – No-Nonsense Shoes for Disney Comfort 

2nd Stop – Ashley Aspires – A pair of shoes can change a girl’s life.

3rd Stop – Disney Nouns – Best Shoes for the Disney Parks

4th Stop – YOU ARE HERE: Best Shoes for the Disney Parks – Why I Love Open-toed Sandals! 

 

 

 

ENTER TO WIN! – Review and Giveaway of Jamberry Nails

GIVEAWAY CLOSED – Thank you to our winner Teresa F!

I tried Jamberry nail wraps in October of last year and my nails haven’t gone without a Jam on them ever since! I started off with French manicure white tips and they looked so polished and professional that I just had to buy more.

I have streamlined the application process and it takes me less than 45 minutes from start to finish to apply my Jamberry nail wraps. There is no waiting for them to dry which means I’m done and ready to go on with my life immediately! And the Jamberry wraps last for up to two weeks which never happens for me with polished nails. I’m usually a chipped mess after just a few days, but my Jamberry wraps still look great.

LET’S PARTY!

I show my Jamberry nails to everyone, so I knew I had to host a party… Come on over to January Jamberry Jam with Julie for games, giveaways and fun!

ENTER TO WIN a fantastic Jamberry giveaway at Saving Up for Disney!

Kiss Me Ombre


THE GIVEAWAY

I am so happy to be collaborating with Patty from No Guilt Jams for this giveaway. She has very generously offered up these fantastic prizes!

This giveaway includes a Jamberry mini-heater which would make the application process so easy. I currently use my blow dryer which works fine but can be cumbersome to hold along with holding the Jamberry wrap or the cuticle tool. There is also a Jamberry application kit which includes everything you’ll need to apply your Jamberry wraps.  Last but not least, these fabulous custom Mickey & Minnie True Love Jams so you can show your #DisneySide! Thank you again Patty! Read on for info on how to enter.

ENTER TO WIN a fantastic Jamberry giveaway at Saving Up for Disney!

GIVEAWAY PRIZE – Jamberry application kit, Jamberry Mini-Heater, Custom sheet of Jamberry nail wraps


So what is a Jamberry?

Jamberry is a heat-activated adhesive nail wrap. They come in fun and colorful designs including Love Spell and Mint Green Chevrons. If simple is your style, there are also beautiful solids like Rose Gold Sparkle or the classic Pink & White French Manicure. Or go all out wild with Fur Real! There are even Jamberry Juniors for little gals, like this whimsical design, Bright Imagination.

ENTER TO WIN a fantastic Jamberry giveaway at Saving Up for Disney!     ENTER TO WIN a fantastic Jamberry giveaway at Saving Up for Disney! ENTER TO WIN a fantastic Jamberry giveaway at Saving Up for Disney!ENTER TO WIN a fantastic Jamberry giveaway at Saving Up for Disney!ENTER TO WIN a fantastic Jamberry giveaway at Saving Up for Disney!

I change mine out every 10 days usually because my nails start growing out. There are handy video application tutorials on the Jamberry website. You can also find countless images and advice links for Jamberry on Pinterest on learning how to apply the wraps. I have found that after the heat application, trimming my wrap closely to the nail edge and using the “plastic baggie” method works perfectly for me!

I tried Jamberry wraps on my toes as well and they lasted an astonishing 5 weeks! In fact I only had to take them off because my toenails had grown so much. Simply soak for about half a minute in nail polish remover and the wrap slides right off.

One regular sheet of nail wraps can be used for two to three applications, depending on the size and length of your nails. Jamberry wraps are longer lasting and less expensive than nails done at the salon, so they are extremely budget friendly. You can also mix and match coordinating wraps to create your own unique style!

ENTER TO WIN a fantastic Jamberry giveaway at Saving Up for Disney!

If you place an order through this link, you’ll receive one FREE wrap for each three that are purchased (custom, collegiate and sorority wraps excluded).

Stop by my Facebook party for more games, giveaways and fun! Feel free to invite friends you think might be interesting in trying Jamberry and considering hosting your own party. And while you wait for your Jamberry order to arrive, please enter below for this amazing giveaway, sponsored by Patty at No Guilt Jams.


ENTER THE GIVEAWAY HERE

Enter to Win this fantastic Jamberry giveaway at Saving Up for Disney!

Fashion & Style on a Budget – Looking Good on a Dime

Fashion & Style on a Budget - Looking Good on a Dime. Dozens of tips for looking fashionable & stylish without breaking the bank.

I love to look fashionable but I don’t have a lot of extra money to spend or time for much effort. Fortunately it’s not that hard to work with what you have in order to get fashion and style on a budget.

Once upon a time, I was accepted into the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. Unfortunately my family simply could not afford for me to go to this college and I settled for junior college. It was a major let-down in my dream as a fashion designer but I eventually started designing, sewing and selling my boutique items on Ebay & Etsy.

Now, I’m not a fashionista by any means. But I do believe that I know what works for me. It’s up to you to find out what works best for you in creating your own style and flattering look. And it doesn’t have to be a pricey endeavor…it just takes a bit of organization, planning before purchasing and thoughtful accessorizing (did I sound a bit like Tim Gunn there?) In any case, read on!


Organize and look more fashionable on a budget!

SEASONAL STOCK

Keep out only what’s in season and pack away the rest. I have a teeny-tiny closet and don’t have the space to keep sundresses and tank tops hanging up during the winter. I have two bins under my bed that I use for my seasonal wardrobe. When the weather starts to change, I hang up the sweaters and coats and put away the swimsuits and flip-flops. It’s also much easier to find an outfit when I’m not pushing aside summer clothes when it’s 40 degrees outside!

Organize like items together. Bathing suits and sunhats go into one box on the top shelf with scarves and winter hats in another. Take the time to arrange clothes, placing like items together. I have dresses on the far left, then jackets, pants, tank tops, short sleeved tops, long sleeved tops, then cardigans. Having my closet organized makes it so much easier to find what I’m looking for.

Fashion & Style on a Budget - Looking Good on a Dime. Dozens of tips for looking fashionable & stylish without breaking the bank.

LAY IT OUT

Take everything out of your closets and drawers and assess what you have. Only in doing so can you really determine what you are lacking and what you’ll need to purchase. Weed through items that haven’t seen the light of day in 6 months or longer and determine if you want to keep or donate. If those pants make you look lumpy in places you’d rather they not, then why bother keeping them? Or that blouse that never quite fit properly across the bust? Put them in the donate pile! Sweaters with holes or blouses with missing buttons? Fix them within the week or put them in the donation box, do not put them back in your closet until they are repaired and in wearable condition again. Keep only clothes that make you happy and make you look fabulous. Better to have a minimal wardrobe that makes you feel good rather than an extensive collection that you either don’t wear, is uncomfortable or is unflattering.

Plan your outfits in advance. Figure out the night before what you planning on wearing to avoid a scramble in the morning (or the temptation to wear your sweatpants to work!) Set your outfit aside, including your jewelry so you can grab, dress and go!

Fashion & Style on a Budget - Looking Good on a Dime. Dozens of tips for looking fashionable & stylish without breaking the bank.

DETERMINE YOUR TASTE

How do you want to look? What pieces catch your eye? What colors and styles are you drawn to? What outfit to you currently own that you love and feel is flattering to you? These are the pieces that you should be replicating in your closet.

Find a few images on Pinterest that you like or are inspiring to you. Choose one or two things new to try to see how they fit your personal style.

Fashion & Style on a Budget - Looking Good on a Dime. Dozens of tips for looking fashionable & stylish without breaking the bank.

LOVE LAYERS

Layers add depth to your style. I personally love cardigan sweaters and own them in every color of the rainbow. Button just the two middle buttons and a cardigan hides any midsection bumpy bits, makes a flattering V-shape at the chest and nips in the waist. A brightly colored cardigan can jazz up even the most plain tee. Top it off with an eye-catching necklace as the final top layer. I like pairing my lightweight summer blouses with a long sleeved tee for winter.

Know how to layer your looks. If you are going with upper body layers (like a tunic with a loose cardigan) pair this with slender-legged pants. Likewise if you are wearing loose-legged pants,  something with details like cargo pants or a long flowing skirt, pair it with a body skimming tee or a blouse that nips in at the waist to avoid looking baggy. Keep in mind this rule: Loose on top, go more form-fitting on the bottom. Form-fitting on top? Keep the bottom more loose.

Fashion & Style on a Budget - Looking Good on a Dime. Dozens of tips for looking fashionable & stylish without breaking the bank.

EMBRACE COLOR AND PATTERN

Color & pattern make all the difference. What colors do you have in your closet? Consider adding in pops of brightness that you can pair with black, gray and navy. Strategic use of color in your wardrobe can be your best friend. Place color and pattern where you want eyes to go. I have a petite upper body and wider lower half. I like to wear a small scale patterned top in a neutral that I pair with a bright cardigan that draws the eyes up to my face. If you have slender legs and a larger top half, you could wear a small scale print pant or a trouser in a bright color with a neutral on top.

Fashion & Style on a Budget - Looking Good on a Dime. Dozens of tips for looking fashionable & stylish without breaking the bank.

ACCESSORIZING

Little details from head to toe accentuate your style and add charm. The key to taking a drab wardrobe to something eye-catching and fun is definitely in the accessories. A bib necklace, colorful cardigan, dangling earrings or a bright scarf can turn an ordinary outfit into something special. Take a look at what you already own and set aside the pieces that you wear most often. These should be given a prominent place in your jewelry box/organizer. If you haven’t worn a piece in forever, donate it or sell online. Sentimental pieces or dressy items that you don’t wear often but want to keep should go in a place that is out of the way.

I’m a petite 5’2″ and feel overwhelmed when I’m wearing too much jewelry so I’ll choose one piece only, either a necklace, bracelet or earrings and not all three. Especially when wearing a large “statement” piece, it’s best to choose just one and let that piece speak for itself without too much else going on. I like to wear long necklaces to lengthen my figure when I wear colored pants. I wear shorter chokers or earrings for drawing the eye upward when wearing bright colors on top.

Fashion & Style on a Budget - Looking Good on a Dime. Dozens of tips for looking fashionable & stylish without breaking the bank.

I also love to accessorize with Jamberry nail wraps. Whatever Jamberry wraps I’m wearing that week definitely sets the tone for what colors I wear. Having pretty nails definitely keeps my spirits up and I’m more excited to plan a cute wardrobe when my nails are done.

Fashion & Style on a Budget - Looking Good on a Dime. Dozens of tips for looking fashionable & stylish without breaking the bank.  Fashion & Style on a Budget - Looking Good on a Dime. Dozens of tips for looking fashionable & stylish without breaking the bank.

BASIC BRUSH-UPS

Bra and underpants are the first layer. Just because they hide under your clothes doesn’t mean they should become an afterthought. A well-fitting bra and panties that hold everything in place and look invisible & smooth under clothing are worth spending good money on. Request a fitting at a lingerie shop and start small with one bra and one pair of panties in your skin tone and add another set in black. I choose practical pieces that hold up to every day wear and disappear under clothes (no lumpy lace or sequins).

Fashion & Style on a Budget - Looking Good on a Dime. Dozens of tips for looking fashionable & stylish without breaking the bank.

THE DETAILS

Changing our your handbag or purse can put a whole new spin on your style. My brother bought me a gorgeous charcoal Coach bag for my birthday. I’ve never had anything like it before & I was afraid to use it! After keeping it in the closet for a few months, I finally got over my fear of taking it out of the house and now it’s my regular bag. I certainly walk more confidently with that lovely bag on my shoulder! Like-new accessories are within your reach at ThredUp (affiliate link), where someone’s resell becomes your beautiful new designer (reasonably priced) handbag.

Organize and look more fashionable on a budget!Organize and look more fashionable on a budget!Organize and look more fashionable on a budget!

The same with shoes, as a pair can easily make or break your outfit. I have a confession to make: I don’t like buying new shoes! I find them awkward and uncomfortable to get used to and I very rarely find a pair that fits me well right from the start. I’m probably buying the wrong brand, because shoes really shouldn’t require “breaking in”. I prefer to purchase with comfort in mind. A friend discovered these wedge Crocs heels; they are comfortable and super cute! I like having pretty shoes without sacrificing my toes or developing blisters!


Share your fashion resolutions in the comments! What changes would you like to make in your style?

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Contest Alert – World of Color Sweepstakes

contest

You’ll be able to design your own Walt Disney World vacation in this generous giveaway from Urbane Scrubs! Play once a day through January 29th, 2015. (You do not have to “Like” Urbane Scrubs and the essay question is optional).

Prize is for:

  • $4,000 Gift Card for DeltaVacations, specifically promoted as a trip to Walt Disney World

Here are the quick entry details:

  • Enter once a day for the best odds
  • Entries must be received by January 29th, 2015.
  • Bonus given to contestant with the most friend referrals
  • Read the Official Rules for all the details

Good luck!

I’m going to host a #DisneySide @Home Celebration!

I received a very special invitation earlier this week from Disney and MomSelect about hosting a #DisneySide @Home Celebration!

I love parties! I love planning parties! I love to host parties! And of course, I LOVE Disney, so this opportunity is a dream come true!


Last year’s hosts were sent party supplies including table coverings, plates, crafts, snacks & favors in a specific theme. There was even a rolling suitcase in the box! The contests of each party box are a surprise until hosts receive it so nobody knows yet what is in store for party hosts this year. This is my first opportunity to participate and I’m a’twitter with excitement.

I was given the theme of a “multi-generational” party so I’m not sure exactly what my supplies will look like or what they will entail. Some of the other hosts were given more specific themes including villains, princesses, Mickey & Friends or Cars. Can’t wait to see the box on my doorstep so I can start planning in earnest!

In the meantime, I’m Pinning #DisneySide inspirations on a Pinterest board I’ve called SHOW YOUR #DISNEYSIDE PARTIES & CELEBRATIONS. I’m filling it up with unique and creative party planning ideas to help me with my #DisneySide @Home Celebration.

         


Please check back (consider signing up for my newsletter) so you’ll see the reveal on the contents of my surprise box and later, the details from the party itself. I will also be sharing on my Facebook page, Instagram account and on Twitter. Come over and follow me!

I can’t wait to share, this is going to be such a zip-a-zee-do-da-day!

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