My Wild Imagination Teamed up With Xanax

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While watching Fantasmic at Disneyland recently we sat quietly during the pre-show to hear the famous speech that introduces the show every night….

….Nothing is more wonderful than the imagination, for in a moment you can experience a beautiful or an exciting adventure…

At this point I whispered to Husband, “My imagination is a bit scarier”.

…But BEWARE nothing is more powerful than the imagination, for it can also expand your greatest fears into an overwhelming nightmare…”

I lean into Husband, “That sounds about right”.

…Are the powers of Mickey’s incredible imagination strong enough and bright enough to withstand the evil forces that invade Mickey’s dream”?

“If Mickey had Xanax this wouldn’t be a problem”, at this point Husband gave me the stop talking and watch the show glare.

I am no expert, and I haven’t done the research, but from my experiences I would say the majority of people on anxiety medications have two prescriptions. One is a daily medicine. This one is typically an SSRI (a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) and helps keep the constant daily anxiety at bay.

The second is an “in case of emergency medicine”. Most people are prescribed a Benzodiazepine. You’ve probably heard of Klonopin and Xanax.  These drugs act as sedatives on the nervous system, can become addictive and should not be taken everyday.

I have both prescriptions. My daily one is a lifesaver! Oh my, I was terrified to take the medication (part of having an anxiety disorder), but soon after starting I realized I felt like myself again. Like I can make it through one day without sweating profusely, digestion problems and chest pains. The difference of being on the medicine and off the medicine is night and day, life and death, caffeine and decaf.

My “in case of emergency” medicine scares me. It has more side effects; it’s stronger, more serious and completely foreign to me. Over the last month there were times that I needed it. Times when I couldn’t breathe, my chest hurt and my pulse raced, but I refused to take a pill. What if I have a bad reaction? What if it knocks me out? What if I become addicted?

Our first day at Disneyland I became “excitedly overwhelmed”. I don’t know if it was the crowds, the excitement or the rush I felt to do it all, but something got to me. I had to sit and focus on breathing….in and out.

Husband suggested taking my medication, but I resisted with the normal excuses. After a half hour of being miserable in the “happiest place on Earth”, I decided it’s worth a try, and I took my first “emergency pill”.

It worked, it made me sleepy, but it worked. My fear of taking it isn’t gone, but it isn’t as prominent.

Like Mickey, I have a big imagination. I also have evil villains trying to turn my dreams into nightmares. Mickey needs Peter Pan, Princesses and fireworks to protect his positive thoughts. I need Xanax, and thanks to Xanax I was able to sit and enjoy all of Fantasmic without stress or fear.

It’s getting better. Next step: find a therapist.

Cheers!

Some Left Over Magic

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There’s still a little bit of Disney magic and romance left to share from my surprise vacation. I never even got to the food we ate, and this may have been the best Disney food we’ve experienced….except maybe our meal at the Beast’s Castle. Did you know that Disney now has Starbucks?! And not the “we serve Starbucks’s coffee” here Starbucks, but an actual Starbucks, with frappacino’s lattes, soy milk and everything!

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We ate lots of snacks and goodies all day, but that did not keep us from indulging in the famous Disney Dole Whips! This dairy free ice cream-like pineapple flavored desserts are little cups of heaven.

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We didn’t just eat junk though, in fact, we had two really nice meals. Our first fancy meal was at the Blue Bayou in New Orleans Square. This restaurant is actually part of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride! We sat at a table right by the water and watched the boats float past as we ate dinner…amazing. The restaurant is inside, but is designed to look like you are eating outside under the light of paper lanterns next to a southern bayou. I grew up next to real bayous and I must say this bore no resemblance….no, it was much better. Big plus: no mosquitos.

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We got to enjoy the sounds of the Royal Street Bachelor’s as they serenaded the streets with jazz music. We were their number one fans so they tossed me some Mardi Gras beads as a thank you! Muah! Love you Bachelors!

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Our second fancy dinner was at the Carthay Circle Restaurant on Buena Vista Street in California Adventure. This restaurant is a replica of the theatre where Snow White premiered. It is very snazzy, so snazzy that they do not give you a buzzer or yell out your name when your table is ready…. When we checked in we were told to have a seat in the lounge, order a drink, and someone will find us when our table is ready.

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As we sipped our cocktails we wondered how the hell the waiters know who to find for each table. We watched as they walked up to certain people (some standing, some sitting, some at the bar) and then took them to their table. When our waiter eventually found us we had to ask, “How do you do it?!?! Is there some sort of secret code?? Were you told to find the most attractive couple in the room??? The ugliest couple?!?!”

Nope turns out he was told to find “the gentlemen in the black and orange jacket”.

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If you haven’t heard, Disney’s theme this year is “limited time magic”. This means that throughout the year there will be special events that last a short amount of time…pretty self explanatory I guess. For the week of Valentine’s they had “True Love Week”. There were several special events happening at every Disney park, but the coolest being that the princes were out doing meet-and-greets with their princesses!

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Alright I know they aren't exactly royalty, but gosh I love Mary and Burt!
Alright I know they aren’t exactly royalty, but gosh I love Mary and Burt!

One of my favorite memories from this weekend is Husband’s new sweatshirt. Our first night at Disneyland got unexpectedly cold. So cold they we had to splurge and buy ourselves some sweatshirts. Apparently, every single person in the park had the same idea. By the time we started shopping they were sold out of almost every sweatshirt. After a half hour of searching I found one I was willing to buy and wear….Husband wasn’t so lucky.

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Oh man, “Turkey Leg”. hahaha This shirt is so terrible and yet so great.

Husband will never wear it again.

That brings me to the end of our Anniversary Disney weekend. We have officially been to each and every Disney park! Next will have to be a Disney cruise!

Cheers!

 

 

The Most Perfect Purse

For most of my life I have carried around a ridiculously large purse. In high school I used it to tote books, snacks, water, notes, extra clothes and makeup. In college I used it to carry my books, snacks, water, notes, extra clothes, makeup and my phone. In my career…well you get the idea. Over the last 5 years I have gotten horrible back problems (though I’m sure the giant purse and bulging disc are in no way related) so I have tried to convert to a smaller purse.

Most days I can manage to use a small sling bag, but some times I just need more space. Some days I need my laptop, sometimes I need an extra pair of shoes, and sometimes I need an extra sandwich. Luckily, I recently discovered the Gisele.

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This bag is the perfect purse. It is created by Loblee, and she claims that it’s the ultimate camera bag, perfect for Mothers, and can accommodate basically every girly need. I was lucky enough to receive this magical bag, but I thought it sounded a little too good to be true, so I decided to put it to the ultimate test….a day at Disneyland.

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As you can see, it’s a big bag, but it holds EVERYTHING. The strap is comfortable and has a shoulder pad so it never cuts into my shoulder or collar-bone.  I was able to carry my camera, phone, snacks, water bottles, wallet, maps, anxiety medication, and mascara easily and keep them all organized. This purse is uber-organized. Like most ladies, I am guilty of losing everything in the black hole that is my purse, but this bag makes that nearly impossible.

I walked around with this bag from 8am until 11pm and I must say it was very useful and rarely a burden. I could bring it on EVERY single ride, but it did get a little heavy after about 6 hours of walking around the park. Thank God Husband doesn’t mind carrying a purse every once in a while.

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The bag and I both needed a break.
The bag and I both needed a break.

Now that we are back in NYC I have been using the bag for work and I love how easy it is to locate all of my stuff! I can only imagine how useful this bag would be for Moms! There are little pockets and special zippers hidden all over this bag! There are even special tiny pockets for memory cards, so handy!

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Thank you Loblee for letting me check out your product! It is awesome and what every woman needs! If you are interested in getting your own Gisele, you can get it here, and they have even given us a code, just for Positively Panicked readers, for $35 off your purchase, +PANICKED (all caps), so you really have no excuse not to get one!

Do you any of you have a favorite bag or type of bag you use everyday?

Cheers!

Cars Land!

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Husband’s favorite part of our trip, by far, was the new Cars Land at California Adventure. Not to be stereotypical, but it is a very boy-friendly land. Lots of cars, trucks, tires, gas stations, neon signs, junk food and Lightning McQueen of course. Cars was not my favorite Pixar movie, in fact it’s at the bottom of my list, but I must say…I LOVED the land almost as much as Husband.

Disney is the “theming” master, but they outdid themselves in Cars Land. It felt like we were actually in Radiator Springs. The road appeared driven on, every store and station featured in the movie were there, and Tow Mater himself was hanging out in front of the Cozy Cone.

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Our first goal in Cars Land was to ride the Radiator Springs Racers. This ride is similar to Test Track in Disneyworld’s EPCOT, but so much better! We got to ride in a car through Ornament Valley with the Cadillac Range Mountains as our backdrop. All the famous characters from Cars meet us along the way, and we even got a touch up at Ramóne’s, tires at Luigi’s, and then sent off to race another car through the hills and caverns! Luckily, they offer a “single rider’s” line because the fast passes ran out in about an hour and the “stand-by” line was a 2-hour wait!

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The next ride was Luigi’s Flying Tires. This ride was not near as exciting as the Racers, but the floating tires that acted as bumper cars were pretty cool.

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The food in Cars Land is reason enough to visit. The Cozy Cone has Frito Pies served in a bread cone, ice cream cones, pretzel bites in cones, popcorn in cones (pop-cone) and some delicious frozen drinks. We got Red’s apple freeze, but I’d like to go back and try the pomegranate limeade with berry foam. I’d get it “high-octane” style….(vodka added).

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The best part of Cars Land is how the appearance changes once the sun goes down. That’s when the Neon lights up! I loved comparing our daytime photos to the ones we shot at night.

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I suggest seeing this park a few times throughout the day to view the changes, listen to the music and grab a few snacks. It was definitely the highlight of our day!

Cheers!

Our California Advenutre

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Our second and last day at Disneyland was spent in their second park, California Adventure. I had no idea what to expect in this park. Since it was a surprise trip from Husband I had no time to do my normal research. We did a bit of studying the night before and planned to hit the main attractions first. We entered the park through the super special not-so-secret entrance for hotel guests in the Grand Californian and went straight to Paradise Pier.

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California Screamin’, the giant fake wooden roller coaster, was scary, but it was nothing compared to Mickey’s Fun Wheel.  Over half the carts on this Ferris Wheel swing and sway around giants ovals as the wheel turns. It’s hard to explain, but this video will help…

If that didn’t help, then just look at this photo…

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We went to Cars Land next, but I have to save this land for it’s own post…it’s just that good!

In Hollywood Land, we were transported back in time to Hollywood’s Golden era, stars roamed the streets and there were shows at every corner. Mickey put on a song and dance on Buena Vista Street and Aladdin had his own “musical spectacular”.

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I also took a lesson in animation… don’t worry, I’m not about to quit my day job.

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For a little more excitement we headed to the Tower of Terror.

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Then, chilled out at the Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar. This “cellar” reveals future project that Disney will soon reveal. Currently they are showing the plans, the process, the photos and the models of Fantasyland’s “Fantasy Faire”.

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We were able to do everything on our “must-do” list that we had time to play in Grizzly Peak. This wilderness adventure is made up of tree houses, rope bridges, log slides, rock climbing and is definitely meant for children….not 28 year olds. Whatever.

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After a romantic dinner at Carthay Circle we went back to Paradise Pier to find our reserved seats for the “World of Color” show. All I knew of this show was that it is a water show with projections, similar to Fantasmic. Before it began, Husband and I wondered if we would even like it. Why would they make another water projection show?

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Because this show is unbelievable, that’s why! It was hard to take photos because we did not want to look away for even a second. There were moments where I thought, How is this possible? This is actual magic!.  This show is an absolute must if you visit Disneyland.

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We stayed at the park until the gates closed and fell asleep exhausted from two days of parks, 30 hours of walking, but full of hundreds of new Disney memories.

Best surprise ever.

Cheers!

Disneyland, the Final Frontier

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Arriving to Disneyland was a surreal experience. After realizing that we are finally experiencing EVERY Disney park in the world and the very FIRST Disney park ever made, I had that sinking feeling that everything is just too good. I don’t deserve this…something terrible must be lurking in the near future.

I hate that when good things happen my mind turns to fear and tries to twist a positive event into impending doom. Before we even arrived to our hotel I was already sad that we were checking this off our bucket list… In my mind something good has to be balanced out with something terrible. Thankfully my Celexa prescription and Husband’s calming reminders quickly stopped my destructive train of thought. The negative thoughts tried to take over throughout the weekend, but I never let them win.

Sunday morning we were up at 6am and excited to see what Walt himself designed years ago. We basically ran through Disneyland’s gates right down the middle of Main Street. My first thought is that it is very similar to Magic Kingdom, but much more nostalgic. I was worried the park might look old or outdated, but who was I kidding, it’s Disney! How could it be anything less than magical?

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The biggest difference is that every land is much closer together than in Magic Kingdom. We started in Adventureland and began making our way around the park. The lines were surprisingly short and the weather was surprisingly cold.

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Tarzan's tree house
Tarzan’s tree house
Toontown!
Toontown!

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A few of my favorite things? First, Haunted Mansion because it is just be-a-utiful! I love the New Orleans themed mansion.

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I also fell in love with the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. You actually get to go underwater and on a journey to find Nemo…so stinkin’ cute!

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The Pirates of the Caribbean is enormous, has a restaurant inside the ride, AND a Disney Dream Suite in the attraction!

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The pancakes only because they are Mickey pancakes. Do they have these in Disneyworld??? I only remember Mickey waffles…

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AND, this Disney park has a petting zoo with goats, sheep and even a baby cow!

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We ended the night with two amazing shows. First, Fantasmic…just as great as the Fantasmic in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and almost identical. The biggest and best difference was the pirate ship scene that featured a battle between Peter Pan and Captain Hook. I wish we got better photos because this one does not to it justice.

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The last show was the fireworks show at Sleeping Beauty’s castle. It was similar to Wishes (my fav fireworks show), but included fireworks around Main Street, fire, and some laser action.

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Before they kicked us out of the park we spent a little time admiring Walt’s apartment. He had a real apartment on Main Street right above the firehouse and they still leave a lamp lit for him every night.

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Day one was magical! Stay tuned for our day at California Adventure!

Cheers!

Surprises

Husband and I love to plan surprises for each other, but we plan them very differently. I plan out surprises months in advance and am so excited that I tell him all about it, or even give it to him, before the special occasion. I have no self-control. Husband plans out his surprises and never ever even hints that he has devised anything at all, and then BAM, surprises me with the world’s best most unexpected surprise.

He told me a few months ago that he would plan something for our anniversary and I could plan something for Valentine’s Day. I bought him something he desperately needed, a new camera strap, and planned a romantic dinner out for two..which I told him about the second I booked a reservation.

I bought Husband a camera a few years ago, right before a trip to Japan. While traveling he realized he really needed a strap, but did not want to buy one. One day, while entering Tokyo Disneyland he found a bright sequined scrunchie, picked it up, attached it to his camera with a hair-band, and he has been using that as a camera strap ever since. Husband could care less that he looks ridiculous, he is just happy to have a free camera strap that has lasted him almost 3 years.

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For Valentine’s I bought him a nice new innovative strap that I found on Kickstarter from a cool company called Peak Design. He was a little sentimental about saying good-bye to his dependable scrunchie, but he is thrilled to have a real camera strap that won’t garner stares from strangers.

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We had dinner at Crudo, a romantic Italian restaurant in Little Italy that offered a vegetarian and non-vegetarian prix fixe menu. Like most NYC restaurants, it was small, cozy, and candlelit.

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I was happy just to get dressed up and go out on a real date. Not that I don’t love our nights inside watching Walking Dead marathons…that’s probably my favorite kind of night.

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The next night Husband tells me to pack a suitcase. At first I was a little concerned…Are you kicking me out? Is this because I threw out your scrunchie? Turns out he had planned a surprise trip for our 8-year dating anniversary!  Within ten minutes I went from SUPER duper crazy excited to highly anxious freak-out mode.

What should I pack? How many days? What’s the weather? Are you taking me to a psych ward? Are we flying? Do I need my passport? Swimsuit? Coat? Boots? Flip-flops? Laptop? Nook? Raincoat? Camera? Snacks? Medicine? Heels? What about Belle? What about work? 

I couldn’t stand not knowing. I am a planner! He refused to answer half of my questions so I threatened to serenade him with Adele songs until he tells me the surprise. After singing all of Someone Like You as loud as possible and missing every single note, he told me he is never surprising me again…

Fast forward to Saturday afternoon: We arrived to JFK airport and Husband handed me this..

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As soon as I saw “Los Angeles” I knew we were going to Disneyland!!!! I could not have been more excited! After a 6 hour flight, we arrived to the most comfortable Disney hotel room I’ve ever stayed in, special Disney pins and Mickey balloons. And the weekend just kept getting better….

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Can’t wait to tell you more!

Cheers!