All Ears!

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that we gave all of our guest their own pair of “ears” to welcome them to Disney World when they checked into their hotel.

A few of our friends and family members texted me, or posted to Facebook, pictures of themselves in their ears! They are all just so stinkin’ cute I could not help but share them with you!

Trying on a pair of boy’s baby ears before putting them in a “welcome bag”.

a couple in the front have them on…


And the very best one yet… My MawMaw.

My wonderful, sweet, beautiful Grandmother could not make the trip to Florida for the wedding, but we sent her a special goody bag and letter to include her as much as possible. My Mom texted me this picture when she gave the bag to my MawMaw, and it brought tears to my eyes and a huge smile to my face.

I’ll have to frame that one.

Hope you enjoyed the ears as much as I did!



Not Ready Yet

Our wedding invitation…drawn from a photo by our very talented friend Trent.

I’m home.

No longer a bride. Just a dumb wife. Wedding is over. Honeymoon is over.  Back to the real world.


JK…I’m not really so glum. Just sad about the fact that this very wonderful 3 week vacation is over and I have to actually put on real clothes and go to work tomorrow, and I just have a need to be a little over dramatic when trying to express myself.

Before leaving you and the concrete jungle 3 weeks ago, I made a promise to myself that I would be “technology free”, give myself a real break, and take in all of the special moments awaiting me.

If you are a Facebook Friend you know that I kept that promise for about 3 minutes. I was just so excited to share our joy and our MANY many photos, and EVERYONE around me conveniently had a laptop. It was like the universe was begging me to upload photos, write excited status updates, and “check-in” all over Costa Rica.

Please forgive the obnoxious amount of pictures I’ve been posting…if you haven’t already deleted me.

I have no self-control. But, I did not write a blog, so I should get some points for that.

The down side of not working or writing is that I am not sure how to jump back into it. I mean after a fairy tale wedding, a magical Disney vacation, an adventurous trip to Costa Rica,  and lots of panicky moments, where do I even begin?!? Also, I have only had 2 hours of sleep in the last 40 hours so it’s hard for me to even tell if I’m typing or just dreaming that I am being productive.

I guess I should start from the beginning…the preparations.

After flying to Florida at the crack of dawn with Zoey, we immediately went to her old house, (wonderful and generous roommate still lives there), to open up the bazillion packages I’d sent myself and start putting all the pieces of the wedding together.

Thanks for being my storage center Liz!

Husband (I need a better name than that…) and I have been determined to make our wedding very personal and unique. We really wanted each guest to feel like they are not only special to us, but to also be a part of our story. Each detail was carefully planned to relate to some part of our relationship.

The inside of our invitation for example…the left side has traditional Disney stars under my picture…and the right side has Nintendo stars under Peter’s picture.

(Right after getting engaged, I read an article about a girl who went to a wedding as a “plus one”, meaning she had never even met the couple getting married. She wrote about all the personal touches the couple had at their ceremony, and how by the time the reception was over she felt as if she’d known the couple for years. That is exactly how I wanted our guests to feel.)

Part of our plan was to prepare a “Welcome bag” for each guest or family. Everyone had traveled and spent a pretty penny to attend our wedding, and we wanted to show our appreciation. In each bag we put our favorite snacks (twizlers, hot fries, snickers, gushers, etc), gum, personalized water bottles, door hangers, and of course there own pair of Mouse Ears!

I hand-wrote a note to attach to each bag. We spent hours upon hours organizing bags and individualizing them for each group, but by far the most difficult part of this task was finding out where each person was staying.

Please ignore my sloppy hand writing.

I had to contact every single guest and ask them what hotel they were staying in and what day they were arriving…I am POSITIVE most people thought I was being obsessive, crazy, and way over controlling. All of which are qualities I possess…so I guess they were not too far off.

After all of this organizing Zoey drove me to each resort, and waited patiently as I went in and spoke to at least a hundred bellmen, receptionists, managers, and coordinators. Luckily, every hotel was pretty accommodating and gladly handed out the bags as our guests checked in. Whew.

Another personal touch was our theme: Traveling! Obviously we love to travel and consider it a necessary part of our lives. To express our love of exploring the world with everyone at the wedding we created luggage tag favors that doubled as escort cards. (These luggage tags were placed in little suitcases for each person to pick up before finding their seat.) Hand-writing and putting together all of these was the most tedious of our task. Mr. Panic and I completed this chore by ordering lots of Mexican food and watching a full-day marathon of Gilmore Girls.

The longest task, but not the worst, was our decision to write a personal letter to each and every guest. Again, we wanted to let everyone know how much we appreciate them, love them, blah blah blah. Although time consuming, it was nice to sit down and write to so many people I care about, decorate the envelope with vintage stamps, and tie them up with twine. We even used airmail stationary to tie into our travel theme.

Mom and Dad reading their letter

And, to complete the travel touches, our table numbers. Each table number was actually a different country that we had traveled too. AND each postcard was actually created from a photo that we have from said countries/states. (My other half made 13 of the postcards…I made 1.)

The final bits of preparations were the little gray and yellow boxes full of lemon drops that we placed at each seat. (Thanks Mom!) And THANK YOU to all my friends who stayed up in my hotel room and helped me put all the boxes together, and then celebrated by having a dance party with me.

After months of tedious chores, and a few very full busy days in Florida, we did it. We were completely ready for our Disney Wedding.

To be continued…

I have to get ready for bed…boo.


Shopping list? Check!

I am supposed to be finishing my vows tonight. So far, I have swept and mopped the whole apartment, picked out my clothes for the rest of the week, made 4 new lists, and decided to write this blog.  I tend to procrastinate when I am afraid of tackling a big chore.

To clear my mind of all the vow brainstorming, I’d like to write about something else dear to my heart. Shopping.

It must seem to all of you that I have a shopping problem, and by problem, I mean addiction. Obviously, I love shopping. It just feels good to buy something beautiful. Take it home in a nice bag. Open my new present and gaze upon it. Then, when the right day comes, put it on and feel beautiful and brand new. Retail therapy may be the most effective therapy for this girl.

I should be honest though, and admit that most of my shopping this year has been window shopping, actual and virtual window shopping. I made a vow to myself, after moving to NYC, that I would only purchase new clothes, shoes, or accessories, if they were “needed” (Fiance hates when I use this word) for the wedding or a wedding event (i.e. shower, bachelorette party, etc)

I guess I also have to be honest and say that I slipped once and bought a few things I did not need. Just a few, and they were 50% off! Whew, feels good to get that off my chest. 

I have always had a love of shopping and getting new clothes. While growing up, my Mother would take my sister and I shopping for new school clothes each year, often on tax-free weekend. After our all-day shopping spree, I would come home and lay out all my new clothes on my bed. I would re-arrange them into different outfits, then put them in order of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd day of school. Making a fashionable impression the first day of school was always high priority. I am sure my 5th grade classmates were very impressed with my choice of blue jean overalls.

My Mother also got us new outfits every year for Christmas, Easter, any other really special occasion, and a new swimsuit for the summer. I should probably thank her for instilling a sense of fashion and an importance of new clothes for special occasions. Or, at least make Fiance call her when he gets tired of hearing, “But, St. Patrick’s day is a holiday, and it does require a new outfit!”

So, over the last 10 months I have been purchasing clothes and accessories when I thought, “Oh this would be perfect for a wedding shower!” or “This tank top is exactly what I need for Disney!” or “Pink? Rhinestones? 5 inches? The perfect wedding shoe!”

The other night, I started rummaging through all of my purchases (I kept them hidden so I wouldn’t be tempted to wear them early), and realized that I had EVERYTHING I needed for the wedding, the week at Disney, and even Costa Rica. Everything from a Mickey and Minnie in love tee, to a travel themed dress for the rehearsal dinner. I was so impressed with my ability to buy the exact number of needed pieces, AND even more impressed with my own determination to NOT wear any of these new clothes for months!

Fiance was not as impressed.

I tried to further impress him by describing the budget I created for myself.

“SEE! I even sat aside money for hair appointment, manicure, Disney car rental, our rehearsal dinner…AND I still have money set aside to get the last minute necessities from Sephora! I am so responsible!”

Again, he was not impressed.

Fiance and I have a difference of opinions when it comes to what I NEED.

I didn’t let his lack of praise phase me. I headed to Sephora right after work to pick up my final items (travel soaps and shampoos, perfume, eye makeup remover, and travel-sized lotion). That’s it. I am completely done shopping for the wedding.

I think that tomorrow will be packing day!

Or, maybe, ACTUALLY finish my vows day… We’ll see.



Tears of Joy

Have you ever been so happy you could cry? Or, maybe you actually do cry. I know I have. I mean I cry pretty easily anyways, but I can very clearly remember some special moments that pure joy brought me to tears.

The first time Fiance took me to  New York was our one year anniversary, and I thought I was flying to Ohio to visit Fiance at school. It wasn’t until I was screaming at the poor lady working behind Continental’s desk that they must have screwed up my flight, that Fiance called to let me know that I indeed was flying to NYC. Surprise.

The surprise didn’t end there. Our second night in NY, he took me to see Wicked, 8th row dead center, seats. I had never seen a broadway show, and I had been obsessed with Wicked from the moment it opened on Broadway. I was in disbelief through the entire show. When the curtain came down for intermission, tears were just streaming down my face. Fiance looked surprised and asked what was wrong… “I am just SO happy.” It felt like a dream.

Aww young Hilarie and Fiance

While teaching elementary school in Tennesse, I was also coaching dance, and middle school drama. I put every single bit of me into these 3 jobs. I was working often over 70 hours a week, Monday through Sunday, through literally blood, sweat, and tears. (Luckily, I was not alone in this. My friend Marsha was working with me side by side through the whole year.) We were eating, breathing, and sleeping school, but mostly drama. The drama club was our baby and we were determined to rock everyone’s socks off.

By the time the end of the year rolled around, my 1st graders had taken their state standardized test and blown it out of the water, the dance recital was the best one yet, and all that was left was our first full-on broadway-esque performance of Seussical. The night Seussical opened was insane. Fiance was scarily ill (out of nowhere!), my family had flown in to see what I’d been spending ALL my time working on,  hundreds of people were filing into the auditorium, and our precious middle schoolers were nervously applying their stage makeup backstage..

The curtains opened. The students sang, danced, and acted unbelievably well! The curtain fell, the crowd roared with applause, and before I knew it, I was on stage holding a microphone attempting to thank everyone for coming and supporting our students. Before I knew it, tears were streaming, and a sweet student stole the microphone to thank US for our hard work and dedication. That was one of the happiest and proudest moments of my life. I cried tears of joy the rest of the night.

Several of my friends have gotten married…I cried at every wedding. Now, lots of those friends have children.. more tears of joy. It just warms my heart to see my friends start their beautiful families!

Being a very anxious person, can cause “tears of joy” to be very tricky. Sometimes this happiness quickly morphs into fear, and often guilt. Let me explain…

The day after we returned from Albania (about a year ago) I woke up about before 6am (yay for jet lag) and found myself sneaking out to my parents back porch in Texas to watch the sunrise. I sat in a large rocking chair contemplating all the amazing things that had occurred over the last few days.

-Fiance and I were so thrilled to be done with our year in Albania. Even though we had lots of fantastic and unforgettable memories traveling through Europe and making new friends. 

Some of my favorite friends in Albania

-We had just completed a three week journey through Scandinavia with some of our favorite people.

Exploring Norway

-Within hours of flying back to the states we were at our most favorite place – Disney World.

-Fiance proposed!

-And, in a blink of an eye we are on a  flight to Texas to share the great news with my family.

Everything was so surreal. I felt the warm summer breeze on the back porch and thought, “Damn, I’m lucky.” My eyes started to well up with tears. I was just so happy, and could not believe how everything in life was unfolding. But, then it hit me.

The panic monster. “Im too happy. I shouldn’t be so lucky. There are so many less fortunate people in the world, what have I done to deserve this happiness? Surely, something terrible is lurking just around the corner.” All I could think about was impending doom…and my tears of joy soon changed to tears of panic.

I had a very similar experience today. Fiance and I have been working our little tails off on several special DIY projects for the wedding. Fiance mentioned that he felt like he “is working in a sweat shop” this weekend, but I think that has more to do with the fact that the AC was off and it’s been 85 degrees outside. I was laughing at all his jokes, as we sat sprawled out on the floor trying to convince one another to cook something. It got quiet for a few minutes, and I looked at Fiance, who was writing a very nice letter to someone he cares about, and I became overwhelmed with joy.

I get to marry this wonderful, smart, caring, and hilarious man in just 12 days. Damn, I’m lucky.

Daydreams of our dance party/reception began to fill my thoughts, when out of the blue, Mr. Panic sneaks up on me. The same terrible thoughts consumed me. I don’t deserve to be this happy. I don’t deserve him. Surely, something horrible is going to happen before the wedding. No one is this lucky or this happy.

I tried to hide what I was feeling, but Fiance sensed something was wrong, as usual, and I broke. I’ll spare you all the rest of the conversation. But, it ended with a decision to take a break, go to the park, get some fresh air, and enjoy the summer-like weather.

Now, after all of this. I do feel much better. We came home and finished our projects while watching Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Thankfully, I have  fiancé who knows exactly what to do in my times of need. He reminds me that it is okay to be happy, I should feel happy, deserve to be happy, and it in no way means something terrible is forthcoming.

That’s something I’ll have to talk to a psychologist about, next year, once that insurance kicks in! I should probably start making a list: Hilarie’s List of How She’s Crazy.

I guess I’m feeling pretty damn lucky again. I may even feel some joyful tears coming on…

Geez, I am going to be such a ball of mush at this wedding! Have your hankees ready!

Happy Memorial Day…We can all be happy to have our freedom!


Extra! Extra!


Read all about it! I think I could pass for a newsie.

We saw Disney’s new show on broadway, newsies, with one of our visitors this weekend and it was really fun and impressive!

The only production Ive ever seen of Newsies is a middle school production so this was quite the upgrade. From what I understand there have been a few big changes ( a prominent love story) and a couple new songs (all were great), added to Disney’s new version.

The musical did start out a little slow, but it picked up, and I loved the show more and more each scene. It just kept getting better and I honestly didn’t want it to end.

And the dancing, omygosh the dancing! I never knew that a bunch of men dancing on broadway could be so hot! The moves were all very fast, difficult, and masculine (as masculine as broadway gets). These young men were very talented and definitely kept me entertained.

Positively Panicked gives the Newsies 4 stars!





Circus Ole!

When I was in high school, we watched several different Cirque Du Soleil performances in my French class…I learned very little French in high school. Every time our teacher played the video I heard him say, “Today we are going to watch Circus Ole!”  Consequently, this is what I called this incredible show for years. Made sense to me…

You can imagine my surprise, and humiliation, when I first met Fiancé and he corrected my pronouncement.

I said something clever like “We should like totally go see that Circus Ole show in Downtown Disney!” I must have at least looked cute when I said it because we did end up going to the show together.

In the last 7 years we have been to 7 Cirque Du Soleil shows together. (Our favorite is still the one in Downtown Disney.) Obviously, we love these shows. Whenever we got wind of the fact that the new Cirque show titled “Michael Jackson: The Immortal Tour” was going to be a traveling show, stopping in NYC for three days, we were psyched!

Fiancé bought our tickets as a Valentine’s/Anniversary present. Unfortunately, he got called to work in Nashville for 3 weeks, and will not be coming home until MJ’s Cirque show has come and gone.


Zoey, however, was more than happy to fill his shoes and attend the show with me last night.

When we arrived, we found that our very expensive seats, turned out to be terrible seats with a blocked view! Like always, we refused to except anything less than the best, so we moved to the second row right behind Tracy Morgan….who turned to be really obnoxious, and glittery. Right, Zoey?

Once I managed to ignore the bedazzled and chatty celebrity in front of me, I focused upon the talent on the stage.

Wow! Cirque never ceases to amaze me. They transformed Madison Square Garden into a crazy pop music dream full of various MJ’s, the Jackson 5, the Neverland Ranch, and crazy creatures that I thought only Michael himself could have dreamed up.

There were statues of children that came to life and morphed into break dancers, robot and machine-like humans that danced and tapped while attached to various chords and metals, a “boneless” being that emerged from a giant book of nightmares (which eventually introduced Thriller!) giant dancing, silver gloves, and so much more!

A few of my favorite performances were the scantily clad rock star chick who killed it on the violin, the most phenomenal pole dancer on the planet, and a group of boys who could tumble around like synchronized monkeys.

My iphone doesn’t exactly have the best quality, but you get the idea.

If Cirque Du Soleil is ever coming through your town I can promise you that it’s worth the steep ticket price. AND, if you are taking a trip to Disney World anytime soon (say, around June 9th??), you should definitely get tickets to their Cirque show La Nouba. It’s the most memorable show you will ever see!

Ole yall!

Wedding Bells and Stuff

Like many little girls in the world, I have been a cliché, and have been planning my wedding day for years and years. For as long as I can remember, I have dreamed of getting married outside, having a huge dance party, being the center of attention, getting lots of presents, and marrying Prince Charming.

I am happy to say that all of that is actually happening. I mean, Faince’s name is not actually “Charming”, and he is not literally a prince. He’s close though. Fiance is very funny, he cooks, he walks our Belle, he loves me when I’m crazy, tells me I am pretty when I look hideous, and does not get mad at me for writing whatever I want about him on this blog. Plus, he’s one hot stud muffin.

After Fiance proposed to me, I made him “propose” every morning for two weeks. Once just wasn’t enough, and it made getting ready in the morning SO much more exciting. He rolled his eyes every morning while proposing, but the fact that he still did verified that he will indeed make a good husband.

From the moment I said, “Are you serious?!? YES, I’ll marry you!”, I have been putting together our Fairy Tale Wedding. (I have actually been planning this wedding for the last 7 years, so now I’m basically just filling out the paper work and finding every excuse I can to buy new outfits.)

I needed these new shoes for the wedding! Okay… for a wedding event…a wedding-planning event….to buy your ring….ugh, fine! I bought them just to go shopping for your ring….. and I ended up buying another pair of shoes for the wedding.”

Fiance has been really involved in the wedding planning. He is not the average sitcom-fiance that fooled me into believing that all guys could care less about the wedding. Aren’t they all supposed to have this “All I gotta do is show up!” attitude, as they drink beer and scratch or something? Well, not Fiance.

Most of the time he has been pretty helpful. He helped me decide on my wedding dress (Yes, he’s seen it. No, I don’t care.) He looks at all my Pinterest ideas, and actually likes a lot of them. Most importantly, he actually reads the to-do list I send him via Facebook, AND does not even complain about me nagging him! Which I have to continually do because someone often forgets to follow through on the instructions I keep sending him. If you would just listen the first time!

It’s hasn’t all been easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy, (that’s right I work with preschoolers) though. So far our biggest fights have been over food selections (why can’t we have a French Fry bar???), song selections (Uh,NO Three Six Mafia cannot play our wedding song), his wardrobe (Seriously….purple velour? You know you’re straight right?), and pre-wedding expenditures  (Yes, Fiance, mani/pedi’s, facials, teeth whitening, spray tans, and a gym membership are all necessary! Stop hassling me, Charming.)

After 7 years of dating, 4 years of living together, and 487 trips to Disney, we are finally just about 2 months away from tying the knot. I know I am incredibly cheesy and sentimental about everything this year, but I really do feel like “the luckiest girl in the world”.

I may seem like quite a catch to all of you(right???), and everyone thinks “Boy, Fiancé is one lucky guy!” But, Fiance knows the REAL me. The always running late, anxiety basket case, no makeup on to cover my zits, REAL me. AND he still wants to sign papers saying he has to wake up to my morning breath everyday for the rest of his life!

All that’s left to do now is seating charts, present buying, vow writing, make place cards and table numbers, book our honeymoon, buy a whole new “just married” wardrobe, book a few more reservations….. eww, this list is getting much too long.

Hey, Fiance, if you’re reading this (and I know you are, you don’t have anything else to do at work), don’t forget to edit that music I sent you, insure my ring, get your groomsmen’s shoe sizes, buy our tickets to Costa Rica, and can you refill my Starbuck’s card while you’re at it? Thanks.

Can’t wait to tell you more in two months!


The Bride