Fast Passes for Disney World

IMG_5190Disney World. Thinking about this place makes me smile. My family and I have been fortunate to be able to visit this magical land. Once you arrive, the parks can be daunting to navigate. They are large, spread out and packed full of people. If you are not prepared, you can waste valuable vacation time. When we visit, our goal is to maximize our vacation time and minimize the wait time. The wait time is the ultimate challenge.

Fast Passes allow you to reserve access to select rides and character greetings. Basically, Fast Passes allow you to skip the long lines and head to the front of the line.

If you stay on Disney property, you are already at an advantage. You can book fast passes 60 days in advance. We were unable to get fast passes last time for the Avatar ride (an extremely popular ride) the result was that we waited in line for 2 1/2 hours. In case you think this is long, my daughter waited in line for 5 hours.

As we prepare for our upcoming trip, my daughter (exactly 60 days from the date of our trip) woke at 6 in the morning, and when the fast passes opened at 7 AM Eastern Time, was able to obtain fast passes to the Avatar Flight of Passage ride.  YAY!

If you do not stay on Disney property, you can get Fast Passes 30 days in advance of each day of  your theme park visit.  You can get 3 Fast Passes per park per day. Trust me, we tried getting 2 Fast Passes at one park and 1 at another park, it didn’t work. Once you use your 3 Fast Passes, you can get one additional Fast Pass the day of your visit. If you use this additional Fast Pass, or the time frame on the Fast Pass expires, you can get another Fast Pass.

If you have a smart phone, I highly recommend getting the Disney World app. The app allows you to book Fast Passes, dining reservations and it also lists wait times at the various attractions. The maps of each park are also useful in navigating.

Help! I didn’t get Fast Passes and I’m headed to Disney World in 15 days. What do I do? Don’t despair. Get whatever Fast Passes are available. Sometimes, Fast Passes become available. One time, I wasn’t able to get a Fast Pass for the Seven Dwarfs Mine. I checked every day on my phone and, the day before our trip, I was able to get Fast Passes for this ride.

Other ways to book Fast Passes are online, via a computer, or at Fast Pass Kiosks located in the parks. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to visit disneyworld.disney.go.com.

Last, another perk to staying on Disney property (and some non-Disney property–check with the hotel) is extra magical hours. Extra magical hours are offered on certain days of the week at certain parks. The extra magical hours allow you to enter one hour early or stay up to two hours later than normal park operating hours.

I’m going the middle of October when schools are back in session. Do I really need Fast Passes? I’ve gone in the middle of October and the place is still packed full of people. Disney World is so popular and there are always events going on from Food and Wine Tasting to Star Wars events. Fast Passes are free, so there’s no reason not to get them. You can also cancel and/or select another available Fast Pass.

Fast Pass your way to a magical day!

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Luscious Lips

I have never been a huge fan of lipstick, but I do love lipgloss. You would think it would be easy to find the perfect lipgloss. Wrong. I have tried all kinds of different brands from cheap department store finds to higher end brands. Usually, if I find the perfect shade the formula is sticky. If a piece of hair gets blown into my face, my lipgloss ensures that it will stay there for eternity, or until I pry it loose.

I especially love high gloss, shimmery shades. A couple of months ago, I came across a gorgeous peach/gold shade. I wore it twice and promptly disposed of it. Every time I applied the gloss, I felt as if I face planted into the sand.

My perfect gloss comes in a variety of shades, goes on smoothly and makes my lips feel soft and moisturized. Imagine my delight when I purchased one of the Marc Jacobs Enamored Hi-Shine Lip Lacquer Lipgloss.

 

So far, I have two of the lip glosses, one in each finish. The one on the left is a shimmer finish called Sugar-Sugar which is a champagne-gold shimmer. The one on the right is a high shine bubble pink finish called Pink Flamingo. If you are not a fan of these shades, not a problem, there are 14 shimmer finish shades and 17 high shine finish shades from which to choose.

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I am always suspicious of designers who branch out into the beauty business. So far, I have been extremely please with Marc Jacobs High Liner Gel Eye Liner and the Enamored Hi-Shine Lip Lacquer Lipgloss.

The Greatest Gifts

I write this knowing that my youngest will turn 20 next month. As I reflect back on my kids and their childhood years, I can not help but think of my own upbringing.

My parents always told me that I could be anything I wanted to be as long as I was willing to work hard. My mother, in particular, sang my praises far and wide. She told me constantly I was smart, talented and beautiful. I often questioned these three adjectives on my journey to adult hood. When you’re 15 years old and battling acne and struggling to survive your freshman year in high school, you doubt a great many things.

Anytime I messed up, my parents never saw it as failure, but as a learning tool. When I harshly criticized myself, they were there to encourage and inspire me. Until the day she died,  my mom constantly reinforced how smart, talented and beautiful I was. She said it so many times that I finally believed it. To have self confidence is a powerful tool, indeed. I know I can do anything, if I apply myself.

My parents did not always agree with my decisions, however, I knew they always loved me and were there for me.  I miss being able to call my mom and talk. There were times when our conversations bordered on the inane. I did not realize how blessed I was.

As I raised my three kids, I strived to provide the love and belief that my parents gave to me. On this journey, I saw other obstacles that did not necessarily exist on my pathway to adult hood. The intense competition between kids and their parents whether it be sports, popularity, or who has the latest technological gadget. In contrast, my parents wanted me to be a good person and maintain good grades, so I could pursue the college education that they were not able to have. Most of all, they loved me unabashedly. Their love never wavered according to my achievements.

The world can be cold and cruel. Reality has a way of rearing it’s ugly head. Regardless of the obstacles that have been thrown in my path, I know I have the tools to deal with them: love and self confidence. Thank you mom and dad for these beautiful gifts.

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The Perfect Look

Growing up, I was unhappy with my look. The popular girls were tiny little things with perfect hair and makeup. They all shopped at the same trendy spot. I, on the other hand, struggled to keep my hour glass figure from becoming something more and struggled with acne and braces. My mom loved Montgomery Ward (the precursor to WalMart) , especially the bargain rack with old women clothes. I looked and felt like a freak.

As I struggled to fit in, I studied magazines and tried to emulate the models in the pages. The result was a hair style, perfect for just about anyone except me, and dark, somber makeup.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I got a part time job and started purchasing my own clothes. The problem was, I bought outfits that I saw the popular girls wearing. FYI, I looked and felt ridiculous.

I decided when I was 18 that everything would be perfect if I died my hair black. Surely if you look great that your world will be great. My light blond hair paired with porcelain skin and blue eyes was doing nothing for me. Off I traipsed to the store in search of a box of black hair color.  Three boxes of hair color later, and voila, raven black hair.

I knew I looked fabulous. None of my friends agreed, notably the guy who had a crush on me for three years.

“How do you like my hair?” I asked twirling around.

“It’s different,” he finally reluctantly admitted.

“Isn’t it great?”

“It’s different.”

As you can see, I really didn’t care what anyone thought, or so I believed.

A couple of weeks later, my hair turned brown and started coming out in clumps. It seems that you shouldn’t color your hair three times in one week. Off I went to the dermatologist who told me to cut my hair to shoulder length and stop dying it.

Since I knew better, I ignored him and continued to lose hair. After a couple of weeks, I came to the conclusion that I really didn’t want to be bald, so I cut my hair (cried like a baby) and stopped dying it.

I wasn’t the only one unhappy with the way I looked. My barbie doll friend wanted bronze skin and black hair. My petite friend with black hair and brown eyes wanted honey blond hair with porcelain skin and blue eyes. She also wanted to be eight inches taller. Obviously, there are some things that you can’t change.

There’s nothing wrong with exploring different looks. Before the black hair, I tried red, purple, green (by mistake), and silver (it went with the outfit). I wasn’t afraid to try extreme fashions. My barbie doll friend openly gasped when she saw one of my outfits. At the time, I was going for the shock factor in order to get more attention. I was tired of being drab, dreary me.

It wasn’t until I reached my mid-20’s that I finally stopped trying to look like someone else. The result was that I started feeling comfortable being me.

Nowadays, it seems like any and all looks are being depicted in the media. We’re encouraged to celebrate diversity, however, it seems that we’re still not happy with the way we look.

Thanks to modern technology (Yay virtual artist) you can experiment with different makeup palettes, hair colors, hair styles and wardrobe. For makeup, I love the one on the Sephora website, instead of trial and error (although that’s still a lot of fun), you can try on makeup anywhere. There are other sites where you can experiment with hair styles (I like Loreal’s). Other sites offer hints to assist you in dressing for your particular body type (InStyle.com let’s you try on styles with a model based on your body type). What I especially love about the three sites I mentioned is that they’re free!

There’s nothing wrong with trying to improve yourself by eating healthy or exercising. If you want to color your hair, shave your head or wear a ball gown, go for it. The perfect look should be the look that celebrates the unique individual you are. If it makes you feel good about yourself then go for it. Happy experimenting!

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Yay! It’s Monday!

This morning as I walked into yoga class, I passed through the door, caught my mat on the frame and tripped into the room. I started laughing, and the somber faces on the floor smiled back and started laughing as well. Starting off a Monday with laughter is a good way to get the week started.

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When I was growing up, I mentally labeled the days of the week:

Monday – Ugh!

Tuesday – Are you kidding me?

Wednesday – I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

Thursday – There’s hope

Friday – Yay!

Saturday – YAY!

Sunday – Blues (What do you mean?)

Honestly, I think Sunday was the most depressing day of the week for me. For most people, the Sabbath is a day of religious observance and abstinence from work. For me, even if I went to church with my family, all I could think about was the rapid approach of Monday. Plus, it made me sad that a lot of places, notably stores, were closed or didn’t open until 12 noon. Not because I wanted to go shopping, although I do love to shop, but because the number of places closed depressed me.

Gradually, over the years, my perspective changed. I still love Friday & Saturday, don’t get me wrong, but now I welcome every day. For instance, Monday is the beginning of the week and new beginnings, almost like the beginning of the year. Sunday has turned out to be a day of rest and contemplation for me. The biggest discovery I made is that everyday I can wake and greet the world is a wonderful day. A day full of potential. Maybe, I can even make someone smile or laugh.

Happy Monday!

Wild About Eyes

A few years ago, I discovered Chantecaille’s makeup palettes. The first palette I purchased was the Tiger Eye palette. This palette became my go to palette due to the strong, long wearing pigments coupled with an accompanying blush. Other palettes I’ve purchased include the 15th anniversary palette, Save the Sharks palette and Save the Bees eye & cheek palette (which was perfect for spring/summer).

Chantecaille has always had a deep concern for our endangered environment and animals at risk. Besides bringing awareness to the animals featured in their palettes, a small percentage of the proceeds is donated to organizations that support these animals.

 

This is my latest favorite. The down side to these palettes is the price. The Protect the Lions Eye Shade Palette retails at $85. I justify this expense by enjoying the gorgeous colors and knowing that 5% of the proceeds of the palette will be donated to the Lion Guardians. The Lion Guardians is a conservation organization that is dedicated to finding and enacting long-term solutions for people and lions to coexist.

Check out these palettes and don’t be afraid to go wild with them.

 

 

A Beautiful Smile

It’s been six months since I started taking yoga. I’m in the gentle yoga class, which is about all I can handle. As I was attempting to perform a challenging position, challenging for our class, the instructor said, “Okay, now lift the corners of your mouth upward and smile.”

Everyone started laughing. I think, however, that it was one of the most important moves we did in class. Yes, we’re in class to get in shape, but we should also be enjoying what we are doing. Plus, it can’t be easy for the teacher to look around the room and see her yoga students in visible pain.

Have you ever gone into a store and a smiling employee greets you. That smile instantly makes you feel welcome. Likewise, if you enter a store and an employee barely acknowledges you, it makes you feel, in a sense, worthless and angry.

My daughter once told me that I’m very approachable.

“Come again?”

“You always look happy, so people aren’t afraid to approach you and talk to you.”

That comment made me so happy. It seems like there are so many angry people in the world. If my smile can make even one person feel good then it is worth it.

I’v also found that a smile is a valuable beauty tool. If you want to light up your face, smile.  You’re beautiful. IMG_7446