The Many Faces of Cinderella’s Castle

No matter how many times we have been to Disney World we still take exactly 452 pictures of the castle every single time. It never gets old, and it manages to look a little bit different throughout the entire day. Here’s a few shots we took during our recent trip.

If you get to Magic Kingdom early enough you can get a nice picture with NO ONE in front of the castle!
If you get to Magic Kingdom early enough you can get a nice picture with NO ONE in front of the castle!


The castle from a distance.
The castle from a distance.
The castle at Christmas is the best!
The castle at Christmas is the best!
Getting our picture in front of the castle is a must every single trip.
Getting our picture in front of the castle is a must every single trip.


What the castle might look like if it was exploding.
What the castle might look like if it was exploding.
Cinderella's castle has a hundred different looks throughout the day.
Cinderella’s castle has a hundred different looks during the fireworks show.

After working, vacationing, getting engaged, getting married, and honeymooning at Disney you would think we would tire of this place. Somehow, the magic has yet to fade. We still proudly sing along to “Wishes”, and annoy every single guest around us. Thank God I found a Husband who loves Disney’s cheesiness just as much as me!



Friend Pictures

As an adult, I find it very challenging to make new friends. I have moved around quite a bit since high school, and only made a handful of close friends. This may have a little bit to do with the fact that I am still incredibly close to a handful of my high school/hometown friends.

A couple of my best girlfriends have also moved away from home, and we all stay as close as we can through phone calls, emails, and Facebook. A few more of my best friends still live back home, which is great for me! Any trip I make to Texas, I spend as much time as possible with these beautiful ladies.

We all somehow found each other as teenagers and have never separated. I don’t know how I manage to surround myself with the wittiest, most beautiful, and thoughtful group of girls, but I am so grateful to have them in my life. We are soul mates, just as close as Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha, closer even.

We are all married now, half of us have children, and life seems to be moving faster than ever. So fast, that I am afraid we will forget all these rare moments we get to spend together. In order to capture this time in our lives we decided to take “Friend Pictures”.

It wasn’t east to find time over a holiday weekend for all of us to get together with a photographer, but we worked it out, and the pictures turned out better than we even imagined. Chris Roach was our photographer. He was very patient. We had temper tantrums, tears, wiggle worms, and frowns, and that was just the adults! Somehow, he managed to make us all look great!

We LOVE these pictures so much that we may turn this into an annual event.

Husband took his own set of pictures during the photo shoot to catch all the candid moments.

Nothing’s better than baby hugs.

Way TOO cute!
I cannot get enough of my friend’s adorable kids!
This was all of us trying to get the babies to smile and look at the camera.

Has anyone else ever taken Friend photos? A few people thought I was crazy for wanting to take these, but my friends are family, and if we take family photos, why not friend photos?

Big thanks to my friends for being the best, and a very special thank you to Chris for capturing these moments for us!


It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

The weekend we went to Disney was the opening weekend of The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights! I have seen these dancing lights a handful of times now, and they never get old. The whole event is beautiful, magical, and topped off with artificial snow


Disney began this show in 1995 after getting the lights and the idea from the Osborne family. The Osborne family is a real family from Little Rock, Arkansas who spent God knows how long transforming their house into a crazy spectacle of over 3 million lights synced up with music every holiday season (I’m sure the neighbors were thrilled.) Their idea was so successful and unique that Disney had to be a part of it.

Look at this crowd!

After a few court cases from disgruntled neighbors, the Supreme Court actually shut down the entire display. Disney thought this was too magical to disappear so they talked with the Osborne family and decided to move the entire display to Hollywood Studios.

Now, 17 years later, Disney has added a couple more million lights and over 40 hidden Mickey’s.

Can you find the hidden Mickey???

It’s so magical to stand in the “snowy” streets of Hollywood Studios in the midst of thousands of people all staring at the dancing lights and singing along with the Christmas music.

I officially felt festive and in the Christmas spirit after seeing Disney’s famous lights. Let the Christmas shopping, constant carol singing, holiday movie marathon, and fattening food consumption commence!


Turkey Day in Texas

Spending Thanksgiving in Texas went as expected….lots of food, lots of family, and lots of new memories. My family is enormous. Every family occasion involves at least 40 people.

This is only my Mother’s side, and only half of us!

Having a giant family is fun because every event is like a giant party with way too much food. The downside is that there are so many of us its impossible to stay in touch with everyone. Most people I only see once a year (if that), and when I do see them I am trying to play catch up with everyone.

Turkey, ham, and homemade chicken and dumplings are all part of our Thanksgiving tradition.

Thank God for Facebook. I can at least stay half caught up by stalking everyone’s walls. With a family this big we have a new baby, new engagement, new divorce, or some other big occasion always happening.

Some beautiful cousins
The only way to have room for everyone is to eat in the garage!
Caught! ….and I was wondering how that dog was getting so chunky…

On Thanksgiving, for example, we were also celebrating my and my Mother’s Birthday, a cousin’s recent engagement was revealed, and my sister announced that she’s having a baby boy!


Of course, all of this good news is accompanied with gossip, secrets, and a little bit of awkwardness, but what’s a family affair without an ounce of drama?

and a lasso contest

Let’s not forget the family games!

We aren’t the most athletic family, but we enjoy our volleyball tournaments.

Keep in touch Texas; I’ll be back in January!


My Smudge Proof Nails

During Miss Sandy I had so much free time that I did my nails…twice. Since it was Halloween weekend, and I love dark nails during Fall and Winter, I chose black and black with glitter. The first polish I used was Sally Hansen’s Insta Dry in black. This was my first experience with “Insta Dry”, and about 30 seconds after polishing I accidentally bumped my nails on my keyboard (this is a common occurrence immediately after painting my nails). I sighed, rolled my eyes at myself, and lifted my hand to assess the damage.

Shockingly, there was not even a smudge! It was dry…Insta-dry!

Not only did it dry instantly, but it was super easy to use. The brush is wide and the polish is thick so application can be done in basically one swipe. It doesn’t even need a second coat! I was positive that this polish and I were destined to be soul mates. It goes perfectly with my impatience for drying time, and my tendency to always be in a hurry.

Sadly, our love affair proved to be a fling, a one-night stand even. Not even 24-hours later I had some serious chips on a few fingers. To be fair, I am really rough on my nails, but this chipped faster than most. On the bright side, it only takes 30 seconds to touch up the chipped nails.

After a couple of days, I was tired of the chipping and the touching up, so I tried Sally Hansen’s Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips in Lust-Rous.

I love these nails for the same reasons I love the Insta Dry polish. It’s fast, easy, and I don’t have to worry about smudges.

Step 1: Select the right size sticker for your nail and apply. (It comes with several sizes.)

Step 2: Use this pointy stick thing to press down and get off any edges that hangover. The stickers will not be a perfect match to every finger, but it’s really simple to remove the sides that hang off your nail.

Step 3: Use the nail file to file down the ends, which removes all the extra sticker hanging off the end of your nail.

Step 4: Put on a clear top coat and marvel at your fancy new manicure!

I love how simple these nails are, and how professional they look after application, BUT (like Insta Dry) these didn’t last for too long. A couple of days later I caught the edge of one in my hair, and another in my pocket and it peeled the sticker right off. The good news is that the box comes with extra stickers! The bad news is I’m an idiot and threw all mine away.

Currently, my nails are 4 different colors as I’m trying to decide which shade to try next…any ideas? tips? challenges?

Special thanks to Sally Hansen for sponsoring this post! Keep those awesome colors and quick drying polishes coming!


P.S. I also helped Zoey with her nails, which turned out much better!


In case you haven’t heard, Hurricane Sandy is currently hitting NYC, and several other cities. We are very fortunate that we live on the Upper East Side and therefore are not in any danger….yet. I have a feeling it will stay that way too. This hurricane has caused a lot of problems already, like canceling LOTS of flights, including one from TX that is supposed to be carrying one of my best friends and her husband. Boo.

Sucks…BUT the bright side is that I get at least one extra day off work AND I get to spend all day inside in my pj’s! I LOVE days like this! All there is to do is eat, drink, paint my nails, watch TV, read, and relax. Husband, however, can’t stand to sit still (and neither can his Father), so the two of them spent the day walking around the virtually empty city before the weather gets too rough.

The East River, not flooded yet…

Almost every store and restaurant is closed, so there is really no reason for anyone to be outside.

Even the parks closed
My gym is taking advantage of the storm by offering “hurricane deals”.
A few of the local bars are going to stay open and have their own Hurricane party.
Sad…no Starbucks
I guess they figure they’ll get a lot of business since there’s nothing else to do…

The stores that did close took precautions by taping up their windows and lining the doors with sandbags.

So odd to see the steps of the MET completely empty.

Tonight we’ll have a little Hurricane party complete with cookies and pumpkin carving!

Stay safe NY and anyone else being affected by the hurricane! Also, thanks to the many people who have called, emailed, and messaged us to make sure we are safe. We feel so loved!


Finding the Perfect Pumpkin

Union Square Farmer’s Market

One of the very best things about Halloween (maybe the best thing) is carving a pumpkin. Husband and I have made some pretty kick-ass pumpkins over the years. Two years ago we carved an all green Albanian pumpkin with our friends in Albania. One of which had never carved a pumpkin!

We each carved a side of the pumpkin. Mine’s the puppy face in the upper left corner.

The year before that we had a contest in Tennessee to see who could carve the best pumpkin.

I obviously won this contest…

This year, I plan on trying some new tricks, but first I had to get a pumpkin. I did not want to take the easy route and pick one up at the grocery store on the corner. Instead, I drug Husband down to the Union Square Farmer’s Market bright and early to pick out a fresh locally grown perfect pumpkin!

I’ve walked through this famous farmer’s marker a few times, but this was my first shopping experience. I’ve got to say, it was a little overwhelming. There are organic fruits and vegetables, pickled veggies, jarred jams, cured meats, farm fresh eggs, cheeses, flowers, wine, syrups, and honey. Some of it is a pricey, but most of it is reasonable.

yellow cauliflower
black soy beans
fresh artisan bread
purple broccoli

The market was full of restaurant owners, chefs, students, and regular people like us. We bought a fresh donut, some hot apple cider, and test tasted ripe cherry tomatoes. There was even a cooking lesson in one booth. The chef was showing us how to cook sweet potato greens. I didn’t even know sweet potato greens existed! He sautéed garlic, fresh ginger, and the stems until they were soft, then added the leaves from the greens. He was also making boiled peanuts, one of my most favorite things! Everything smelled so good that I bought the greens and the peanuts.

brussel sprouts

The market was fun, and even though we had a giant bag of veggies and a pumpkin, I wasn’t ready to go home. We decided take Belle to the dog park in Union Square. Its too bad Belle hates other dogs and dog parks. I did a poor job socializing her when she was just a pup. She spent the entire time in the park on the bench shaking, and I ran around playing with the other dogs.

I tried so hard to get Belle to befriend this cute chihuahua.
This man LOVES his pug….

We went home and cooked up some greens, but have yet to carve our pumpkin. Hopefully, that post can be written some time this week!

Our produce pickings