Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for Fandom Lovers

Disney Style, Musings, Style

If you follow this blog then it’s very likely you’re a fandom lover like me! There’s something about fandoms that really resonates with me and I’m sure many of you. To find people out there that love something as much as you do is incredible. Then you start bonding and helping build that little (or big!) community and in a flash you inherit a family that gets your love of movies, games, magical things, or comics.

So I’m super excited to share my second gift guide of the season, a Holiday Gift Guide for Fandom Lovers! Obviously, there are a lot of Disney-related items mentioned here, but many of the shops listed also carry licensed products from Nintendo, Studio Ghibli, Star Wars, Golden Girls, and Looney Tunes just to name a few. I also mention a lot of apparel and accessories items on this list, but a handful of the shops mentioned also carry books, home items, and toys!

Cakeworthy: Apparel & Accessories, $20-$80
Cakeworthy is one of my go-to shops for licensed apparel. Most of their collections are Disney, but over the past few years, they’ve expanded their offering of licensed collaborations — including The Golden Girls, Nikelodeon, Looney Tunes, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Nintendo! The character quote flannels specifically are great gifts since the colors, quote, and details are all designed around a specific character or franchise. And one of their newest ones is inspired by Buddy the Elf! But the totes, all over print t-shirts, and dresses also make great gifts for fashion-loving fans.

Buckle-Down: Accessories & Pet Supplies, $16-$30
Buckle-Down is another shop that sell products from a variety of licenses. Aside from Disney, they also have licensed products for DC Comics, Warner Bros., various car brands, and even Grumpy Cat! Known mostly for their buckle belts, Buckle-Down recently introduced quirky licensed crossbody bags to their assortment. The bag is on the smaller side, but still roomy enough to carry everything you need! Other items that make great gifts are their Signature D belt collection and purse straps!

PARC Collection: Crossbody Bag Straps, $28
This small shop just released their newest item, polka dot crossbody bag straps! The crossbody straps are meant to be paired with their travel cases, but the clips make it possible for you to attach it to any of your other Disney bags. Although these aren’t officially licensed, I love that the oversized dot print really evokes that classic Minnie style look. I may have ordered both colors and I can’t wait to pair them with my Minnie Mouse Disney bags!

BoxLunch Totoro Sweater

BoxLunch: Sweaters, $60 (but check for sales!)
The holiday season is pretty much synonymous with sweater weather. And when I saw BoxLunch’s collection of fairisle-inspired licensed sweaters, I was obsessed! All the designs are so adorable and the sweater itself is soooo cozy. They’re perfect for those homey quarantine nights with a toasty hot chocolate in hand. Aside from sweaters, BoxLunch also has tons of other apparel, accessories, home decor, figurine, and beauty gifts. Plus, for every $10 you spend BoxLunch donates a meal through Feeding America.

DIFF Eyewear: Star Wars Sunglasses & Frames, $95-$105
DIFF Eyewear released a capsule collection of Star Wars sunglasses and frames I’ve had my eyes on them. When the time came for me to write my holiday wishlist, I immediately knew these would be on my list. Each pair is super wearable and has that hint of character inspiration. And they also offer the same frames as blue light blocking glasses, which is great for anyone who is staring at a screen all day, aka me!

DisneyBound Dress Disney and Make It Fashion” by Leslie Kay

DisneyBound Dress Disney and Make It Fashion by Leslie Kay, $17.99
DisneyBound is now officially a book! Written by the DisneyBound creator herself, Leslie talks about the myriad of ways everyone can DisneyBound and how it’s ultimately a way for Disney-lovers to express their own style and creativity. Although it’s written with newcomers in mind, this is still a great coffee table book for the most avid DisneyBounders. And the outfit illustrations are too cute!

Chronicle Books: The Disney Princess & Star Wars The Jedi Mind Books, $15-$50
A couple other great coffee table book options are The Disney Princess and Star Wars The Jedi Mind from Chronicle Books. The Disney Princess book looks like it’s filled with beautiful illustrations and histories about our beloved princesses and I love how Star Wars The Jedi Mind is pretty much a mindfulness book in Jedi wrapping.

BlackMilk Bambi Slip Dress from Poshmark

BlackMilk: Apparel, $42-117
From Pokemon to the Mandalorian, BlackMilk has released so many amazing licensed collections that I literally could not not get everything. Ok, not everything, but I adore the innovative ways they use characters to inspire their fabrics and prints. The cuts of their dresses are also really flattering and you can’t resist the urge to twirl. And gifting the joy of twirling sounds like a pretty great present if you ask me!

Poshmark, Depop, Etsy: Vintage or Unique Apparel & Accessories, prices vary
If you’re looking to shop sustainably this season, definitely turn to shops like Poshmark, Depop, and Etsy. These sites are great for finding vintage or unique Disney finds, but I love when I get lucky and find pieces from past collaborations that I missed out on, like old BlackMilk collections. And of course, you can also find other fandom licenses, like Harry Potter.

Loungefly The Child Wristlet (Background: Cakeworthy The Child Shirt)

Disney Store: Accessories, prices vary
An obvious pick for this Holiday Gift Guide, but I want to talk specifically about all things Grogu and the character stretch headbands. With season 2 of The Mandalorian, baby yoda merch, or should I say Grogu merch, is on the rise! Some of my favorite Grogu merch from the Disney store is the Loungefly wristlet and ear headband. Another great stocking stuffer is the character stretch headband, which is available in a variety of characters. I don’t believe they’re available at Disney Store locations, but you can easily order them online. They’re perfect for those self-care nights when you need to keep hair out of the way while wearing a face mask!

Giving your friend or family member a present that supports their fandom is such a meaningful way to say “I support you and what you love.” And for those of us that found each other through our shared love of fandoms, you’ll be able to create an even stronger bond and passion over the mouse that started it all, little animal villagers or even senior citizen cheesecake lovers. For me, passions for fandoms is what brought some of the most important people into my life.

If you’re still looking for more fun gift ideas, check out the Galentine’s Day Gift Guide for Disney Lovers that I posted earlier this year or jump back to the first gift guide I posted this week of gifts that support BIPOC brands and shops.

Happy Holidays!
ABW

Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts that Support BIPOC Brands, Shops, & Creators

Musings, Style

It’s the first day of December which most likely means I’m already behind on holiday gift shopping. And if, like me, you haven’t quite gotten around to finding that perfect holiday gift for your friends, family, and loved ones, then I hope you’ll find this Gift Guide helpful!

I’m excited to share one of the two Gift Guides I’m putting together this year. But this Gift Guide is especially significant to me because all the gifts on this list are created by or support BIPOC! Even better, most of the shops included are considered small shops. So not only are you supporting BIPOC, but you’re most likely supporting a business that truly values your business.

FOR THE FASHIONISTA

Marte Egele Toy Ese Top Handle Bag in pink

Marte Egele: Toy Ese Top Handle bag, $120-$150
I learned about this brand through Melissa Soldera who showed off the Ese Top Handle bag. I immediately fell in love with the unique shape, but once Melissa raved about the quality, I was sold. Made in limited runs, Marte Egele bags are designed by Nigerian native Uche Egelecarefully and handcrafted by local artisans. So it’s perfect for the fashion lover!

Urban Native Era: Apparel, Hats, & Accessories, $14.95-$64.55
Urban Native Era is a brand that specializes in clothing design that that increase the visibility of indigenous peoples. The clean designs also make the apparel, hats, and accessories super versatile and wearable. Or pick up a stickers, patches, or pins for less than $13!

Sunflowers & Honeycombs Flower Earrings

Sunflowers & Honeycombs: Sunflower Earrings, $8-$15
*cue Post Malone’s “Sunflower”* You can’t help but smile when wearing these bright sunflower earrings! What I love most about these earrings is that they’re the perfect size to standout and make a statement, but not so big to be distracting. Bree crafts flower earrings and hairpins, but you can also find colorful sugar scrubs, necklaces, and sage sticks.

Warren Steven Scott: Earrings, $45-$70
If sunflowers are too floral, try Warren Steven Scott’s geometric shapes instead. As a member of the Nlaka’pamux Nation, Scott’s designs with a modern image of fashion through an Indigenous lens. Go for a more classic looking metallic mirrored pair of earrings or choose something mismatched and colorful!

Second Wind: Face Masks & Chains, $38-65
Masks aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. So why not invest in a timeless mask handmade by master tailors? Everything about Karen Perez’s masks feel super luxe, from the sleek cut to the chic chains. And I love that all the colors are neutrals so they literally go with everything!

iluvit Upcycled Gucci Face Mask with Chain

iluvit: Face Masks & Chains, $25-$50
Time for the shameless plug! My mom and I also started our own little shop to sell handmade masks. Like I mentioned, masks aren’t going anywhere. And I love having a matching chain so I can easily take my mask off the second I get back into my car and not have to worry about where to hang it. With most of our masks and chain sets under $30, it’s an easy and stylish holiday gift! Did I also mention most are adjustable and reversible?

FOR THE BEAUTY GURU

The Lip Bar Liquid Lipsticks

The Lip Bar: Liquid Matte Lipsticks, $13
For only $13, Lip Bar’s vegan & cruelty free liquid matte lipsticks are perfect beauty stocking stuffers. They work really well for the price point and one person even did a mask wear test and there was barely any smudging! My favorites are the darker and punchier colors, but honestly we need all of the colors.

Cheekbone Beauty: Liquid Lipsticks, $23
Another BIWOC beauty brand that has also gotten stellar reviews for their liquid lipsticks is Cheekbone Beauty. I haven’t tried any of them yet, but I can’t wait to get my hands on some of their high quality and cruelty free products.

Rare Beauty: Soft Pinch Liquid Blush & Eyeshadow Palettes, $20-$25
Probably one of the hottest beauty launches this year was Selena Gomez’s Rare. After trying out a few different things from the collection, I think my favorite products are the soft pinch liquid blush and the holiday eyeshadow palettes. And If you need some inspo, I’ve been obsessed with Rare’s Global Stylist, Cynthia Di Meo.

KNC Beauty Star Eye Mask

KNC Beauty: Lip and Star Eye Masks, $25-40
Self-care night never looked so cute! The all natural and retinol-infused star eye masks are so fun to wear and really depuff and hydrate my eyes. The collagen-infused lip masks are equally fun to wear and my lips feel so silky afterwards. The packs come in adorable matching pouches making these sets another great beauty stocking stuffer!

Scrubtious Inc: Dry Face Masks, $17-22
If masks are more your speed, try one of Scrubtious Inc’s dry face masks. Vegan and made of natural ingredients, the shop offers a variety of mixes that address different skincare needs. And as a first-time dry mask user, I thoroughly enjoy pretending I’m making a witchy concoction and manifesting brighter and softer skin.

FOR THE BOOK LOVER

“Bad Girls Throughout History” & “Legendary Ladies” by Ann Shen

Nevertheless, She Wore It by Ann Shen, $22.50
As a fashion and art lover, I’m so excited for Ann Shen’s newest book. Her books are such an easy way to learn about incredible women, who are very often barely recognized. Speaking of, other great gift options are her previous books, Legendary Ladies and Bad Girls Throughout History!

The Boba Book by Andrew Chau & Bin Chen, $22
Everyone might argue over who makes the best boba, but no one can deny that boba has become more mainstream, especially thanks to The Boba Guys. And this year, Boba Guys Andrew Chau & Bin Chen finally published a cookbook sharing step-by-step guides and recipes on how to make your favorite boba drinks at home. This book is a feast for the eyes and our bellies.

This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell & Aurelia Durand

This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell & Illustrated by Aurelia Durand, $14.99
Because of the importance of the BLM movement, this book is a great way to unlearn harmful habits and learn proactive ones. Packed with history and research in a digestible format, even the most unwilling will be able to learn something. Pair that with activities that challenge readers to reflect on themselves and how they fit into the world, it’s a great gift for everyone. Yes, if you’re daring enough, even for that stubborn family member that never seems to understand why this matters.

Gmorning, Gnight by Lin-Manuel Miranda & Illustrated by Jonny Sun, $22
I’ve added this book to my wishlist because who couldn’t use a little extra encouragement and love. Originally writing uplifting tweets before his name was widely known, Lin-Manuel Miranda has finally gathered his best words of encouragement into one precious little book. Plus, I love how cheeky the illustrations look!

FOR THE MODERN WITCH

“Black Mage” by Daniel Barnes & D.J. Kirkland

Black Mage by Daniel Barnes & Illustrated by D.J. Kirkland, $19.99
Since she who shall not be named revealed how problematic she is, find that same sense of witchcraft and wizardry with a racial twist with “Black Mage.” With the main character named Tom Token who is accepted to an academy through the “Magical Minority Initiative,” it’s obvious how cheeky the references are. And while it’s meant for kids, the nerdy adults in your life will also appreciate this fun story.

Heritage Apothecary: Smudge Sticks & Stone Candle Holders, $5-$105
Find an array of home & energy balancing products at Heritage Apothecary. I picked up the obsidian candle holder earlier this year and I love it. It’s beautiful and striking as a home decor piece and I gladly welcome the extra protection that obsidian is said to provide. Find a variety of affordable smudge sticks, cleansing kits, shells, crystals, and stones, which are the perfect gift for the modern witch.

Teas with Meaning Loose Leaf Tea

Teas with Meaning: Tea Blends, $22-25
Created in the heart of Oakland, Teas with Meaning is committed to providing organic loose leaf tea blends with a dash of magic. Kamilah Mitchell is a brain tumor survivor and began learning more about herbs after she was first diagnosed in 2017. She now uses her knowledge of herbs to make magnificently balanced tea blends. Plus, each season she offers seasonal blends!

I hope this Gift Guide encourages you to find presents that support BIPOC brands, shops, and creators this year! After what’s been a ridiculous year, I’m excited to support shops and brands that will actually value my business this season. What other BIPOC brands and shops do you love? I’m always open to finding a few extra gifts for myself!
ABW

#TravelResponsibly: A Safe Vacation Trip to AutoCamp Russian River

Travel

After several months of sheltering in place, it’s a huge understatement to say that I miss traveling. And I’m sure many of you feel the same way. When September rolled around and restrictions finally seemed to lighten up a bit, I was determined to find a way to #TravelResponsibly.

When I started researching, I knew I didn’t want to stay in a hotel where there were lots of shared spaces. And as much as I love the cottagecore aesthetic, I knew I’d get restless staying in an isolated cabin out in the woods. After looking at tons of standalone suites and small villas, I finally stumbled upon AutoCamp. A glamping escape that was less than two hours away from San Francisco and filled with the promise of endless s’mores.

So we set off on our short drive to Russian River. When it was time to check in, we were notified via text and also given the gate code to enter the lot, airstream suite number, and airstream door code. Since our parking pass was left inside our suite, the whole check-in process was basically contactless. But if you prefer to chat with a real person, there are front desk attendants at the Clubhouse. AutoCamp also texts a link to a digital map so you can easily find the location of your airstream. The airstreams sit about 12 feet apart from each other, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but the layout prevents you from encountering any shared spaces with your neighbors aside from the gravel walkways. Noticing that our airstream was on the further end of the lot, I definitely didn’t pass up the opportunity to use the iconic Radio Flyer Red Wagons.

Before dinner, we decided to quickly take a look around the AutoCamp site. It was smaller than I expected, but never felt crowded. In the center was a small grass field with a huge communal fire pit. And next to the firepit were some picnic tables led up to the clubhouse. The clubhouse houses the communal bathrooms, front desk attendants, a small sundries and souvenir shop, and a small open flame fireplace. The communal bathrooms are spacious and modern and if we weren’t still in a pandemic, I would’ve enjoyed the private shower rooms. And the shop conveniently stocks “heat and eat” meals, s’mores kits, and souvenirs. All of which could be ordered by text!

So now that we’ve gotten through some of the basics of AutoCamp, let’s answer some of your questions!

What’s the difference between the tents and airstreams?

The main differences between the tents and airstreams are that the airstreams are equipped with private bathrooms and a small kitchenette that includes a sink and minifridge. Guests that stay in luxury tents must use the communal bathrooms in the Clubhouse and have an icebox and basic cookware like a pan, cutting board, and cooking utensils. Airstreams also have a fan and heater system while the tents are equipped with an electric blanket. For hotter days, guests staying in tents can request a fan. However, all tents and airstreams are given their own private fire pit area, which includes two chairs. This is great for people looking to lounge outside their rooms, but not have to use shared spaces.

What does the airstream look like inside?

The design of the airstreams is super modern and minimalist. And the efficient use of small space reminds me of an Ikea store. On one end of the airstream is the bedroom, which includes a wall mounted TV with lots of cable channels. Right outside the room is the kitchenette and some storage cabinets. And on the other side of the airstream is a full bathroom — sink, toilet, and shower. The airstream also includes a small futon if you happen to need more than one bed. I’m sure the dogs that visit AutoCamp probably love the futon. It’s a vacation for them too afterall!

Is it clean? How’s the bug situation?

Yes! Our airstream was clean and tidy. However, if you plan on using the futon, bring a fitted sheet since futons are tough to clean in general. There were no bugs in our airstream unless we left the door open and food out on the counter, which attracted some fruit flies. We also bought a huge citronella candle and I kept that candle lit throughout the evening to also help ward off unwanted bugs.

Did you bring your own food or do you have to buy it from AutoCamp?

We bought our own food from the Safeway that was less than five minutes away from us. However, you can also buy food from the front desk shop, like eggs and heat and eat foods. We also bought our own supplies for s’mores, but AutoCamp was gracious enough to provide us roasting sticks when we failed at finding our own s’more worthy tree branches. We also bought our own fire logs and coal, but AutoCamp sells these items as well.

I read some reviews saying they are providing single use plates and utensils. Is that still the case?

Yes! To minimize the amount of shared tools, AutoCamp is providing prepackaged recyclable plates and utensils to guests. They leave four sets of plates and utensils in your suite, but if you require more, simply send them a text or pop by their front desk to pick it up.

Are you in the middle of nowhere? I watch too many horror movies to be alone in the woods.

For the Russian River location, you are definitely near civilization! In fact, the Russian River location is actually located within a residential area. So right outside our gate were peoples’ houses and cabins. We were also less than five minutes away from Guernville’s main street which had lots of cute shops and restaurants. We definitely felt safe, yet still felt like we were camping.

Is there security? Am I going to get murdered?

It feels very secure. There’s a gate to enter the AutoCamp lot that requires a code and for the Russian River location specifically, you are in a populated area that is not super secluded. We even heard the neighbors walking their dogs across the street from the back of our airstream. Additionally, the airstreams each have keypads and after using the initial code to check in, guests can change it to a number they’re familiar with.

What kind of stuff can you do at AutoCamp?

Aside from the private fire pits, which I enjoyed for hours, you can also rent out AutoCamp bikes! These adorable cruiser bikes aren’t anything fancy, but it’s a fun way to get around the neighborhood. AutoCamp also currently provides access to pre-recorded activities like yoga classes, meditations, and “fireside chats.” Borrow a yoga mat from the Clubhouse or bring your own to use on your airstream deck or out in the communal areas!

If you’re looking to #TravelResponsibly, AutoCamp is definitely one of the best options out there. And not gonna lie, it’s definitely a little pricey, but for me it was worth it to have a minimal contact, socially distant, and unique traveling experience. I was never in the Girls Scouts, but if I were, I definitely would’ve been part of Troop Beverly Hills. I’m no wilderness girl, so AutoCamp was a great compromise between the comfort of a hotel and the grit of camping. However, we’re definitely hoping to experience the Yosemite site if we ever head back to AutoCamp. After doing a little research, it definitely seems like that site is further out in nature. And this glamper is ready to rough it! With a side of s’mores of course. 😉

AutoCamp glamping, what a thrill!

#CityDisneyStyle: 5 Easy DisneyBounds!

Disney Style, Style

I remember when I first stumbled upon the DisneyBound tumblr almost seven years ago.  I was immediately obsessed and scrolled through page after page of these creative and colorful outfits.  My first DisneyBound was a dapper Elsa for Dapper Day and I racked my brain for weeks leading up to my trip trying to put together the perfect “clever” outfit.😆  Looking back, it wasn’t even anything crazy!  I wore a light blue dress that had clear beads on the neckline, clear jelly pointed flats, a silver belt, and white gloves and clutch.  But putting together a DisneyBound doesn’t have to be a chore!

With the March Disneybound Challenge well underway, and with everyone practicing social distancing, I thought it would be great to do a round up of incredibly easy DisneyBounds!  And participating in the March DisneyBound challenge is a great way to keep the magic alive while you’re at home and the parks are closed.  So here are the outfit formulas for 5 super easy DisneyBound outfits!

1. Ballgown Belle from Beauty and the Beast

Outfit Formula: yellow dress + rose accessories

Belle’s yellow ballgown outfit is one of the easiest DisneyBounds out there.  Find any yellow dress, add a rose accessory, and you’re ready to dance with your Beast!🌹  To top it off, style your hair into a half-up topknot!  For shoes, there are a few options.  I opted to wear yellow shoes, but white would also be a fun option to mimic the petticoat under her dress.  A nude sandal would work just as well!

 

2. Benjamin Clawhauser from Zootopia

Outfit Formula: denim on denim + cheetah accessories

“Oh em goodness!” I love this DisneyBound because it’s basically an easy, polished weekend outfit.  A denim jumpsuit would also be great for this DisneyBound, but I decided to go with a Canadian tuxedo because it’s what I already had in my closet.👍  Add in a bunch of cheetah print accessories and your DisneyBound is complete!  And I’m sure Clawhauser would appreciate any donut accessories, like a bag charm or earrings.🍩

 

3. Gord from Ralph Breaks the Internet

Outfit Formula: brown sweater + black or brown pants + loafers or oxfords

Who knew that a bug-eyed assistant would wear one of the most timeless outfit combos; pants and a cozy sweater.  I decided to pair my brown mock neck sweater with black denim, but dark brown trousers would work just as well.  Add some polished shoes like loafers or oxfords and you have your Gord DisneyBound!  But to mimic his peculiar buggy face, I added white oval sunglasses and a pink hair accessory.

 

4. Audrey Ramirez from Atlantis

Outfit Formula: denim overalls + fiddler hat + black shoes

Probably the toughest female engineer is Disney animation is Audrey Ramirez.  Audrey can fix some of the most complicated machines, but putting together this DisneyBound is simpler than ever.  Start off with a medium blue denim overalls and throw a white shirt underneath.  Then wear a black or blue fiddler hat with black shoes or boots and you’re ready to explore The Lost Empire!🌊

 

Lizzie McGuire Movie Disneybound Trevi Fountain Italy

lizzie mcguire movie hilary duff trevi fountain5. Lizzie at Trevi Fountain from The Lizzie McGuire Movie

Outfit Formula: blue pinstripe shirt + chunky pendant necklace

If you have plans to visit Rome, definitely channel Lizzie McGuire and wear a pinstripe top to throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain!💧  Lizzie’s style in The Lizzie McGuire Movie is definitely reminiscent of the early aughts.  But the blue and white pinstripe shirt she wears to the Trevi Fountain is a timeless pattern that you can easily find in stores, especially during spring!  Add a chunky pendant necklace and patiently wait for Paolo to whisk you away on an Italian adventure.🛵

I hope you found these easy DisneyBounds helpful!  DisneyBounding is what propelled me into this vast Disney communitiy, so I’m glad I was finally able to write a post about it.  It’s the perfect way to combine my love of Disney with fashion!  If you’d like to see more of my DisneyBounds, follow me on Pinterest or Instagram!

💖Galentine’s Day Gift Guide for Disney Lovers

Musings, Spotlight

Chocolates and roses are nice, but your gal pals are extraordinary and deserve something just as special!  For me, I actually met many of my close friends through our love for Disney.  So I was excited to think about what kind of small Disney gifts I could give to friends this Valentine’s Day! If you have Disney friends in your life, here are some great Galentine’s Day gifts they’ll love!

1. Disney Headbands

We’ve seen these cute headbands make their way to the US parks after their popularity spiked at Tokyo Disney Resort.  I’ve definitely started quite the collection.😆  But I especially love the ones from BooHoo because you can also find fun Disney PJs for you and your bestie!

2. Park Photo Session

Since I met many of my close friends through social media, booking a mini photoshoot with a friend is such a fun way to bond and get some memorable photos!  I highly recommend Edwin and Kevin, who both have an amazing eye for getting that unforgettable shot!📸

 

3. Disney DIY Earrings

I’m not super crafty, but if you’re wanting something truly unique for your one of a kind friend, try DIY’ing the most extra Disney earrings!  Erika’s DIYs are so clever and her tutorials are super easy to follow!

4. DisneyBound Book

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I met many of my close friends because of our love for Disney.  But more specifically, I met many through DisneyBounding! And honestly, we’ve become so close because DisneyBounding is such a great way to bond and get to know new people! If your friend is unfamiliar with DisneyBound, the official DisneyBound book is the perfect introduction!

5. Basin Soaps and Bath Bombs

If you want to pamper your bestie, consider getting them some soaps or bath bombs! And for the Disney lover, the only thing that makes luxurious bath bombs even better, is a bit of Disney magic. I especially love visiting the Basin store at Disney Springs because they have SO many cute Disney designs!

6. Disney Luggage Tags

It’s no surprise that I love a fun Disney trip. And I can never say no to a Disney trip with friends! So show your Galentine how excited you are for your friends getaway with a Disney luggage tag! I love these Mickey and Minnie ones from American Tourister!

 

 

7. Wishable

I’m not usually a plushie person, but I couldn’t resist the spam musubi and shave ice Wishables from Aulani! Because Wishable are blind bags, it would be so fun to have a Charlie and Grandpa moment, à la the Chocolate Factory, with your bestie and open them up together! Sorry, no lifetime supply of chocolate, but you get a lifetime supply friendship!😆

Getting a little something for your friends is always a kind gesture, but it can never replace the emotional support and quality time that you and your friend give to each other. So this Galentine’s Day, don’t forget to tell your friend how much you appreciate them and make some fun memories together!💖

ABW

#CityDisneyStyle: 3 Tips to Finding the Perfect Dressy Disney Bag

Disney Style, Style

With the holidays upon us, so to are the numerous dressy parties and gatherings.  And adding a touch of Disney flair to your dressier outfits is a piece of cake with a Disney bag!👜  It’s just another way to bring Disney magic out of the parks and I love how it adds that unexpected touch of magic.✨

Here are some tips on choosing the right bag to compliment your dressy, festive outfit!

Tip 1: Find a bag that can be carried as a tophandle or clutch!  These kinds of bags tend to be dressier than a backpack, fannypack, or crossbody since they don’t obstruct your beautiful outfit that you worked so hard to put together!  Conversly, if you feel like your outfit looks too fancy and needs a little edge, try adding a more casual bag!

Tip 2: Try to veer away from bags that use more casual materials, such as canvas, and go for something that looks a little luxe, like faux leather or faux fur!  Hard case bags, like this Pixar tophandle ball, also tend to look dressier because it has structure.  And nice, quality hardware also help elevate the overall look of the bag.

Tip 3: A more “basic” Disney bag can easily pair with fun prints!  Because let’s face it, you probably have some fun prints in your closet and it can be hard to find that bag pairing.  I always have difficulty mixing prints and patterns, so my default is to carry a solid bag!  Preferably in black.🖤😆

Now that you have some tips on what Disney bags can complete your dressy outfits, go out and be your fanciest, festive Disney Style self!

 

 

13 Halloween Shows & Movies that Pass the Bechdel Test

Musings, Spotlight

And the countdown begins! We’re only 13 days away from Halloween! And we all have our favorite Halloween movies on repeat, but how many of those movies can actually pass the Bechdel Test?!🤔

This Halloween season, I’ve been proactive about watching movies and shows that pass the Bechdel Test. And honestly, some of these barely pass. I used the most basic measurements which are 1. Incorporating at least two female characters, 2. Two female characters must talk to one another, 3. They must talk about something other than a male. Some uses of the Bechdel Test require the female characters to have names, but I chose not to include that as a requirement for this list.

So in no particular order, let the binging begin!

1. Maleficent: For all the misunderstood, fairy witch queens out there, Maleficent is an obvious movie choice for Halloween.  And even more exciting, the sequel is out now!🖤🧚🏼‍♀️💜👑

2. Us: One of the best horror movies from this year!✂️

3. Get Out: Everyone knows you won’t get out of your seat while watching this first Jordan Peele thriller.☕️🥄

4. Stranger Things (2 & 3): Season 1, I dump your ass!  To be inspired by determined female characters, travel to the upside down in seasons 2 & 3!🍦

5. Kiki’s Delivery Service: Studio Ghibli is known for producing movies with strong female leads.  Kiki’s Delivery Service is no exception.🐱🥖

6. Halloweentown: Because Halloween is cool and being normal is vastly overrated.Image result for halloween is cool halloweentown gif

7. Practical Magic: It’s hard to not love witchy sisters that always have each others’ backs.  And midnight margaritas.🍹

8. American Horror Story: While Ryan Murphy has given us numerous intriguing female characters, I’m especially bewitched by the witches in CovenApocalypse.🔮

9. Hocus Pocus: This classic Disney Halloween movie puts a spell on everyone.👁🕯

10. Addams Family: Because Christina Ricci as Wednesday is just to die for. *duh duh dun dun, 👌🏼👌🏼*

11. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: I admit, I didn’t watch the series until this year.  But it’s so wickedly addicting.😈🐗

12. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: This is one of the only HP movies that passes the Bechdel Test.  And it only passes by a werewolf’s hair!  But the shift to a darker mood in the series is…well, A MOOD.🐺

13. Ghostbusters (2016): The power of Patty compels you!…To love this witty re-make with smart female leads!👻

And that’s 13!🙌🏼 How many of these shows and movies have you seen?! To help you keep track, use the template list below to check off what you’ve binged so far this season and then share it in your stories on instagram so I can see it too!👀  If you have other movies and/or shows that you love to watch for Halloween and pass the Bechdel Test, let me know and I’ll add them to the Honorable Mention list below!🏅Halloween Watch List (1).jpg

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Freaky Friday (2003): I actually really love the songs from this movie!🤘🏼

The Labyrinth: This also barely passes the Bechdel Test, but who can deny the babe with the power?💁🏻‍♀️🔮

Twitches: Another Halloween DCOM, but vastly underrated.  This made for tv movie also deserves bonus points since it’s lead characters are WOC!✊🏾 The only reason this isn’t on the official list is because I haven’t seen it in ages.😅

The Craft: Because we’re all weirdos.😎

 

 

 

 

 

Home Tour: Boo to You!👻

Disney Style, Home

DSC08971.jpgIf you were watching my Instagram stories earlier this year, you’ll know that I was renovating a new place with my boyfriend, and a couple months ago, we finally moved in!😱🏠 It only took us over a year thanks to a contractor that worked at a snail’s pace.🐌🙄 We’re still in the process of getting everything in its place and really making it a full fledged “home,” but Halloween was the perfect opportunity for me to have a little fun with home decor!

DSC08884.JPGLiving Room

This whole home decor frenzy really started after I spotted the cutest ghost pillow and throw from Home Goods! Since my boyfriend and I tend to like more monochromatic palettes, the name of the game for our couch is texture. So when we spotted a 3D grey tweed ghost pillow, we knew it HAD to come home with us! And just as if a spirit was conjured, we immediately stumbled upon a cozy ghost blanket. At that point, we were devoted to a ghost themed couch, so the Mickey Boo to You ghost pillow was a necessary spoopy purchase.👻DSC08889.JPG

DSC08922.JPGSince we still have no artwork for our living room walls, I focused on getting trinkets and decor for the coffee table to help bring some life and color into the room.  But because I went a little crazy buying anything that was cute, it’s a little bit of an odd mix.😅

One of my favorite purchases is the Jack Skellington candle holder from the Disney Store.  I love that it was actually pretty affordable ($15!), and that any kind of small candle can fit in it.  And for Christmas, it would look so festive with some poinsettias or cranberry stems coming out from the top!DSC08903.JPGThe other great and inexpensive item I picked up is a glass pumpkin jar from Target!  It’s perfect to show off my souvenir treats from Wizarding World at Universal Studios.  But once the treats are gone, it would look so magical with tiny LED lights!

One of the biggest pieces on the coffee table is a large Mickey etched glass vase from Ethan Allen.  It’s not necessarily Halloween themed, but it gave me the perfect opportunity to add some color to our mostly neutral living room.  I picked up bright marigolds from the farmer’s market that are a great contrast against all the grays and blues that dominate the living room.DSC08917.jpg

Tea Corner

Another area I loved decorating for Halloween was my tea corner!  I’m constantly drinking tea and hot water, so you can imagine my excitement when I realized I could buy lots of Halloween mugs and decor for this area!😆  One of the simplest ways to revamp this area is with a spooky sign.  I especially loved the simple typography of this Hocus Pocus sign and the obvious nod to a Disney Halloween classic.DSC08858.JPG

The other functional way to give this area Halloween flair, is with cups!  Though some are outright Halloween mugs, like a ouija board and ghost Mickey, others just have that spooky vibe.  I also like the mix of bigger, chunkier mugs with more delicate teacups.  The varying sizes make the whole mug tree look more interesting!

Bathroom

Another part of the house that was easy to update for Halloween is the guest bathroom.  During my recent trip to Orlando, I HAD to stop by Basin and pick up some seasonal soaps!  And what I especially love about visiting Basin is that you can easily find seasonal Disney soaps!

DSC09019.JPG

I usually pick out the soaps based on the scents.  Since I’m not a huge pumpkin fan (I know, SHOCKING for someone who loves Halloween so much), I picked out soaps that had more wood and citrus based scents. And to my luck, the Sorcerer Mickey soap matches nicely to my white star and moon pumpkin and the orange bats match my Little Green Alien Halloween mochi cup from Tokyo Disneyland!🎃

Another simple Halloween update are these Sally jars. They’re more festive than my usual wood or fabric containers and perfect to display my makeup and brushes on the counter. I also love that there are three separate jars so I can easily separate my mascaras, lip products, and brushes!DSC08975.JPG

Nightstand

The last part of the house I added some Halloween flair to was my nightstand! Since the light switches are far from the bed and I’m not a huge fan of lamps, this Zero nightlight is perfect for my needs — my need for cuteness that is!😆  And honestly, it’s the combination of two things I love, ghosts and dogs.😂  It also has a timer option so it can automatically turn off after 15 minutes!  And if you need another reason to love this little trinket, Zero’s ears can also double as a ring holder.💍😏DSC09052.JPG

Halloween is definitely one of my favorite holidays, so I can’t wait to improve my Halloween home decor skills for next year!  There are still some areas I’d like to spruce up some more, but for only being in a our new place for 2 months, I think it’s a great start! But I definitely need to create a seasonal inspo board over on Pinterest to really be in full swing next time!🙌🏼  Maybe I should start my holidays inspo board tomorrow.😆

ABW

#CityDisneyStyle: NYFW

Disney Style, Style

Disney Style New York NYFW H&MxMoschino gold sequin parka Forever 21 Mickey sweater Pixar purse

Snowy hair, don’t care.

For February’s #CityDisneyStyle post, I was originally planning to share how I style a Disney sweater multiple ways.  But when I found out I was able to get small peak of NYFW during my trip to New York, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to put together a Disney Style outfit that was a little more…extra than usual.😆  And speaking of extra, can we just take a minute to appreciate the hilarity of these “smoke” photos?!☁️🤣

So let’s jump right in and break down this outfit.  And we’ll start with the most obvious piece — this crazy H&MxMoschino gold sequin parka!  I’ve been meaning to break out this bad boy for the perfect occasion.  So when I was packing for New York, I knew it would be the item that I built my outfit around.  PLUS, it’s a padded parka that was perfect for the cold weather.

But what to wear that would simultaneously compliment, but not compete with the gloriousness of the jacket? 🤔  With Ilana‘s advice to wear a Mickey sweater, I knew this cropped Forever 21 sweater featuring a dazed Mickey would be perfect. I love that the graphic stands out from the jacket, but isn’t too busy to compete with it.  And the yellow stars were such a fun way to play up the shimmer of the jacket.

Disney Style NYFW Moschino H&M gold sequin jacket parka Mickey Forever 21 F21 Pixar bagFor pants and shoes, I wanted to wear more “basic” items.  But as I mentioned in last month’s #citydisneystyle post, I like to choose interesting basics to help keep my outfits from looking too boring.  Instead of just wearing any pair of black pants and shoes, I wore these wide leg, velvet burnout pants and chunky velvet sneakers.  The patterned pants are subtle enough to not overpower the outfit, but still add texture and interest.  And the platform soles on these Supergas help give the whole outfit a more street style vibe.👟

Disney Style New York NYFW H&MxMoschino gold sequin jacket Forever21 Mickey sweater Pixar ball purseAnd of course to complete the look, I chose a fun, graphic bag!  For the shows, I actually decided to carry my Cakeworthy Mickey hand bag, but I also like how my new Pixar hard case bag looks with this outfit too!  I especially like how the star plays off of Mickey’s dazed stars.  And the tophandle came handy since the parka is so puffy.  Have you ever tried throwing a bag strap over a puffy jacket before? Not. Easy.

And as a BONUS, here’s one other way I wore this crazy sequin parka with some Disney Style flair!  After picking up this black and gold Mickey bag from the Shanghai Disney store, I knew it would look amazing with my gold parka and a sleek black outfit.  And for an extra touch of Mickey, I wore these gold Mickey stud earrings I picked up from the parks a year ago.  It was the perfect outfit for a late night dinner out in New York and SO easy to put together!

Since I didn’t get to share the original #citydisneystyle outfit I wanted to post for February, keep an eye out for it next month!  I’m going to share the different ways I like to style a Minnie sweater!🐭🎀 And since February is already over, I promise you won’t need to wait long.😉

ABW

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort Travel Guide

Travel

Hong Kong DisneylandFrom Tokyo to Hong Kong!  Next in my international Disney park travel guides is Hong Kong Disneyland!  Some of these photos are from a few years ago, so please pardon the lower quality photos (they’re iphone 5 photos).😅  BUT the advice and tips are still solid.👌🏼  So here’s what you need to know about the quaint park nestled in the mountains!

Transportation

HKD is located on Lantau Island, so depending on where you stay, the transportation time may vary.  I’ve stayed in both the Mong Kok area and in Discovery Bay on Lantau Island.  If you’re not staying on Lantau Island and not too strapped for money, I would suggest just getting a taxi to the park.  Taxis are pretty affordable for the most part (from Mong Kok, I believe it was less than $30 to taxi to the park).  But if you do take the metro, Disneyland has its own stop near the gate entrance making it easy for guests to find their way.  From Mong Kok, the metro ride was around 45 minutes to an hour outside of rush hour.

If you stay on Lantau Island, most, if not all, hotels should have complimentary shuttles that can take guests to the parks.  Just be mindful of the departure times!

Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel Hidden Mickey ShoefieWhere to Stay

Where you stay should be determined by how you are structuring your visit.  I would say if you are only doing HKD, then a hotel on Lantau Island might be best. Hotels on the island are surrounded by lush greenery and if you’re visiting during the hot season, it’s almost like a mini tropical vacation!  However, that kind of natural beauty isn’t necessarily cheap. 💸

But if you’re planning on exploring and visiting HK on your trip, then I would suggest finding a hotel in Hong Kong proper or on the north side of Hong Kong Island.  And for an easier commute to the park, try finding a hotel that is close to a main metro hub!

Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel Crystal Lotus Disney Dim Sum Olaf Baymax Toy Story Little Green Men AlienFood

Probably the most infamous food at HKD isn’t actually in the park.  Located at Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel is Crystal Lounge, where Disney Dim Sum is served!  The hotel is walkable from the park entrance, so if you’re doing multiple days at the park, you could easily have dim sum in the morning at the hotel and then walk over to Disneyland for a fun day at the park. The menu changes slightly every season and I believe you’ll need a reservation at least a few days in advance to tell the restaurant what dishes you’re wanting to order.  So be sure to call if possible!

 

Can you spot the Mickey head boba?!🐭

Inside the park, probably by far the best food find is…MICKEY SHAPED BOBA.  Not Mickey shaped jellies…BOBA.  This flavored soda boba drink is sold at various places around the park and is served in a souvenir sippy cup! (Yes, they call it a sippy cup!😆)  The boba itself isn’t especially flavorful, but the novelty of it is worth it!

Also stop by Clopin’s Festival of Foods!  Cleverly named after “Festival of Fools” from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, this cafeteria style “restaurant” in Fantasyland is where you can find more Asian influenced dishes that are great for lunch or dinner!

Hong Kong Disneyland Baymax Disney MugMerchandise

Merchandise in HKD is pretty similar to the parks in the states.  I excitedly bought this Baymax mug a few years back without knowing it was available stateside.🤦🏻‍♀️  The other souvenir I was really excited about finding at HKD is a Mickey face watch that was sold out when I visited Disneyland Paris that same year.  But if you are compelled to bring back a souvenir, I would suggest picking up an umbrella! HKD sells tons of umbrellas because of the unpredictable tropical rains. I especially love the compact umbrellas because they’re easy to pack for rainy travel destinations!

Hong Kong Disneyland It's A Small World Disney ParkPeople

Guests and cast members are for the most part, friendly.  However, efficiency is their M.O., so cast members can be a little short with guests.  But I think that’s the nature of Hong Kong communication and culture in general — not necessarily rude, just efficient and to the point.  But similar to my advice about communication in my TDR travel guide and Shanghai solo travel tips, just be sure to carry a park map in both English and Chinese.  Even though most cast members in HKD understand a fair amount of English, it’s always smart to have a map in a cast member’s primary language to help make communication easier!

Hong Kong Disneyland Mystic Manor Disney Dark RideUnique Rides/Attractions

Hong Kong Disneyland feels smaller than Disneyland, but there are some unique park rides and attractions that you definitely need to do when you’re there!

Ride Mystic Manor!  Albert, the monkey is all you need in life.  Also the building is GORGEOUS and reminds me of SF’s Victorian houses.  It’s a tracklass dark ride and is HKD’s “Haunted Mansion” if you will.  Guests embark on a tour of the house and watch Albert get into all sorts of fun trouble.

Hong Kong Disneyland Iron Man Experience Disney MarvelThe Iron Man Experience is probably the newest attraction at HKD and it’s definitely a great addition to the park!💥  It’s the same ride format as Star Tours, but instead of touring the Galaxy and saving the rebel spy, you soar around Hong Kong with Iron Man and help him save the world!

 

Fantasy Garden is unique to HKD and has LOADS of photo spots, which I guess shouldn’t be too surprising as it’s sponsored by Kodak.📸  But here is where you’ll find lots of fun whimsical places to get “not so basic” park photos!

HKD also has Toy Story Land!  But now that we have Toy Story Land in Orlando, it isn’t as much of a novelty.  But it’s still worth walking through if you don’t find yourself in Orlando often!  I especially loved seeing Toy Story Land during Halloween!  Many of Sid’s toys make an appearance to make the area feel spoopy!  And if you love Toy Story merch, make sure to shop at Andy’s Toy Box!

Hong Kong Disneyland Disney Mickey MinnieOverall Thoughts & Suggestions

HKD is probably the smallest of all the Disney parks.  Therefore, I wouldn’t advise making a trip out to this park unless you intend to also visit and explore Hong Kong or fly to the other Asia Disney parks afterwards. But HKD definitely has it’s gems that are worthy experiencing!

You could do most of the highlights in a single day, but if you want to thoroughly enjoy every aspect of the park, I would suggest visiting for at least a day and a half.  For me, one day is usually enough!  And pro tip, try to visit the park during a “holiday” season!  I’ve visited during the Lunar New Year and Halloween seasons, and both times the park had extra decor up to celebrate. I guarantee it makes the park visit that much more magical and special, so definitely try to go during a fun time of year!

I hope this short guide helps you plan your first (or next) visit to Hong Kong Disneyland! Tag me @abitwong so I can live vicariously through you!😆

ABW