Flower & Garden + Star Wars Rival Run Weekend - Disney 2019

It’s been a month since I got back from our most recent trip to Disney World. We went for both Flower and Garden festival and the Star Wars race weekend.

This trip was a bit different than what we’ve done in the past. There are rides we missed and things we did that we usually don’t and even two brand new rides we’d never done before! I also packed everything in carry-ons as a challenge to myself. This meant carefully planning out each outfit ahead of time. Plus I incorporated quite a few handmade pieces!

Day 1:

We flew in as early as possible to maximize our time! We checked in and I instantly ran off (pun intended) to the race expo to get my race swag. I even waited in line to visit with R2-D2 and Boba Fett! I hardly ever do character meet-and-greets! Then I rushed to Epcot for our dinner reservation at the Coral Reef. I decided to get to Epcot by taking a bus to one of the resorts close enough to walk to Epcot. The race expos don’t have buses directly to the parks, so this ended up being a great option. It makes me want to stay in that area of the parks sometime! We usually stay close to the Magic Kingdom, but the Boardwalk is lovely and I’d like to do more than rush through! We ended the evening with a few rides in Epcot. We watched Illuminations because it’s leaving soon! I’ll miss it but I am excited to see what comes next!

Food themed outfit details:

Ice cream bar ears - Donut Purse - Ice cream bar Alex and Ani Bracelet - Macaron Shirt - Make It Minnie Ice Cream Bar necklace - Kate Spade Keds - Donut Earrings by Gracie Makes Things

Day 2:

This rainy day started off in Universal! We took a Lyft from our hotel to Universal Studios, which, aside from realizing we should have requested it before we got to the lobby and our driver not remembering where the right drop off is, worked out pretty well. Cheaper than renting a car and paying for parking! My homemade touch was my Marauder’s Map skirt (and the Marauder’s Map top my sister is wearing) and I got lots of compliments on it! People often ask me if I sell my stuff after I say I’ve made it, which is a great compliment, but I have a full-time job and other hobbies, so I don’t have the time to make a business out of it!

The Universal parks closed at 6 that evening, so we went back to Disney and grabbed a drink at Trader Sam’s, then hit the Magic Kingdom for a couple hours.

Hogwarts outfit details:

Marauder’s Map Skirt - Radish Earrings by Gracie Makes Things - Spectrespecs - Wand - Hermione’s Bag - Crocs - Time Turner - Platform 9 ¾ Alex and Ani bracelet

Day 3:

10k day! I wore the Chewbacca shirt I bought at the expo and my Star Wars Aloha Ears! I love that these ears are 3d printed and interchangeable! Definitely check them out! I took this race pretty easy, and it felt GREAT. Best run I’d had in a while. BUT I made the mistake of chugging a Powerade right after and my body was not pleased. Not making that mistake ever again - luckily it didn’t mess with our day too much. I still made it to Epcot in my Flower and Garden inspired outfit. The Epcot ears are another set from Aloha Ears! I did add some ears to a “rose gold” fanny pack, so I still sort of had something handmade! We drank around the world (sharing drinks and hydrating is KEY), and tried some of the food from the special carts there for the festival - a fun way to try several things and not have to sit down for a whole meal! The topiaries they have this time of year are gorgeous, too! After Epcot we ate dinner at The Wave at the Contemporary, then we headed to the Magic Kingdom for the fireworks and a couple rides. 

10k outfit details:

Chewbacca Shirt (from expo, couldn’t find link) - Victoria’s Secret Leggings - Aloha Ears - Flip Belt - Brooks Adrenaline Shoes

Flower and Garden themed outfit details:

Madewell Shirt - Universal Threads Shorts from Target - Alice in Wonderland Shoes - Rose Gold Fanny Pack - Aloha Ears

Day 4:

Half Marathon morning! I actually made my top with amazing floral Star Wars swim fabric from Knitorious and the Deer + Doe Zephyr pattern (they’ve got dress styles and a crop/skirt option). The half ended up feeling pretty good, but my watch and the mile markers on the race were NOT the same. My watch said I went an extra 0.7 miles! If I trust my watch, I think I might have PR’d (not saying much because I’m slow 😉), but my official time was not a PR. Disney isn’t necessarily the right place to try for that anyway. Most of the courses seem to be longer than they’re supposed to be, and many people decide to stop for character photos. I only stopped for one photo, and it’s cute so I’m glad I did. Hubby met me at the end and he can vouch for this - I’ve NEVER been sweatier in my whole life. By the end of the race, it was almost 80 degrees and something like 95% humidity. I was sopping 😂

The only thing I don’t like about Disney races is how long you wait in your corral early in the morning. Otherwise they’re generally well-run, with lots of hydration stops, and lots of on-course entertainments. I mentioned the photo-ops above, but for this one, they also had huge screens with clips from the Star Wars movies playing. Around mile 2, they dimmed all the lights and had lasers coming from the trees on either side of the road and it felt like being in a Star Wars battle! Plus you get to run THROUGH DISNEY WORLD. There are definitely more runDisney races in my future.

After the race, I hopped in the pool for a couple minutes. Felt great on my body, plus I wanted some photos of the swimsuit I made from the same fabric I used for my running top! Oh, and I ate a donut bigger than my face.

Then we headed to the Magic Kingdom - I wore another version of the Deer + Doe Zephyr, this time both the crop and skirt from another color of the Knitorious floral Star Wars fabric. I made hubs take a bunch of pictures. None of them are as great as I want because of crowds, but they’re cute enough (and life isn’t all about Instagrammable moments, I need to keep reminding myself of this!). He’s such a trooper for putting up with me asking for pictures every five minutes.

We had dinner at the House of Blues in Disney Springs (a little nostalgic since it’s where we got “engaged”) and did a little shopping, then ended the day at the Magic Kingdom again.

I went over 50,000 steps that day! Hubs said he could feel the bed sheet moving because my feet were throbbing when we finally went to bed 😂

Both outfit details:

Deer + Doe Zephyr top (and top and skirt) using Knitorious fabric - Lululemon Leggings (similar) - Aloha Ears on a Dad Hat - Brooks Adrenaline Shoes - Goodr sunglasses - Band Buttons

Day 5: 

We started early at Animal Kingdom because we wanted to do the two Avatar rides! Nathaniel hadn’t ever done them, and we didn’t have fast passes, so this was the best way to do it! My sister and I wore matching mermaid tops that I whipped up with my new Cricut Maker cutting machine! I used iron-on glitter vinyl on plain white crop tees I got at Target, and they turned out super cute!

We ate at Yak and Yeti that day, which is always a good idea - we highly recommend it! Then we headed to the Magic Kingdom where I got stuck by the Festival of Fantasy Parade, but ended up having the best view I’ve ever had because of it! Nathaniel also discovered the Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom game which was great because he’d beaten the Pirate scavenger hunt game, and needed another game to play.

We had dinner at ‘Ohana then headed to Hollywood Studios (in the rain, typical!) where we got to go to the new Toy Story Land and ride the Alien Saucers. It was fine, but not something I’d wait in a huge line to do. Maybe if I were with a small child. We had FastPasses to Toy Story Midway Mania, and then tried to get in line for Slinky Dog right after (just before park close), but it ended up shutting down for the evening. They did give us FastPasses for the next day, though, which was a good consolation.

We again ended the evening in Magic Kingdom. We got there during the fireworks and WALKED onto the Seven Dwarves Mine Train. Never have I seen a line so short for it! My sister and I decided to go on Peter Pan as the wait wasn’t too crazy. They redid the queue to look like the Darling’s home, and there is an interactive game app to help pass the time now!

Mermaid outfit details:

White shirt from Target with iron-on’s made by me - Mermaid Leggings - Rainbow Ears - Make It Minnie Shell Necklace - Scrunchie

Day 6:

We started the day in Hollywood studios so we could go on Slinky Dog! I also got a Jack-Jack Num Num Cookie which is giant and delicious 😋 It was hot and humid that day, so wearing my Outdoor Voices polka dot workout dress was perfect. I had really wanted to see the Easter Eggs at the Grand Floridian, so we stopped there next. We finished up our trip by going to the Magic Kingdom for some shopping and some more game-playing for Nathaniel. And Mickey ice cream bars in the rain. We took the latest flight out we could, again to optimize our time in the parks

Outfit details:

Outdoor Voices Workout Dress - Rose Gold Ears (new version) - Goodr sunglasses - Make It Minnie cloud necklace

This trip was super packed and yet we still missed plenty of my favorite attractions (Voices of Liberty, Imagination, Pooh). I think the race weekend definitely played a part in that - it’s hard to do everything and have enough energy to run and stay upright! But we had such a great time and I’m already itching to go back again. And maybe next time I can have handmade items everyday!

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A Quick Renaissance Festival Outfit Refresh - Flower Crown:

On a bit of a whim, we decided to go to the Renaissance Festival in June. I ended up re-purposing fabric from a skirt I had made, but I decided I also needed a flower crown. Because, who doesn’t?

So I went off to Joann’s and got floral wire, floral tape, and a few different fake flower bunches (which happened to be on a crazy sale!), and for under $10 I was able to put together something I am really proud of.

I loosely followed Lauren Conrad’s tutorial on her blog, and I also used some hot glue, since I was using fake flowers with stiff plastic stems. I decided to just do the back half of the crown, because I liked that picture from her blog the best. I didn’t really want to figure out how to keep a half circle on my head, though, so I made a full circle. And I suppose I could wear it with the flowers in front, too!

Wrapping the floral tape around the entire circle before adding flowers was a bit tough because I couldn’t think of the right way to keep the tape from getting tangled. I ended up twirling the hoop rather than moving the tape roll around, and I think that’ll be my strategy for next time, too. Ripping smaller pieces off for attaching the flowers worked nicely.

It probably could have stayed on my head all by itself, but I decided to secure it with a few bobby pins. And I still have enough flowers to make another, or to replace any flowers that might fall off (it is my first attempt, after all) or get damaged.

If you’re looking for a good afternoon project (I did this while waiting on hold for hours), or for something to wear to any number of festivals (music, Renaissance, conventions), this one is very accessible to all skill levels, and can be totally customized based on your needs - you could use fall foliage, feathers, beads/gems, pom poms... Now I just want to make more!

Feeding my favorites at the festival. And this is probably the best shot of the back of my head so you can see the detail 

San Jose & WWDC 2017

Several weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend WWDC! This year it was in San Jose, rather than San Francisco, which I was a bit bummed about, but I decided to do some exploring!

As I was landing I noticed these gorgeous purple trees, called Jacaranda, that are the same as the ones Nathaniel and I discovered in Lisbon last year! I couldn’t believe my eyes. I guess these trees are pretty common in places with climates like Portugal and Southern California, but my Colorado heart was so happy to see them again!

I stayed very close to the convention center, and nearby was a beautiful Catholic church and a couple museums. I didn’t have the time to go inside because of the conference, but walking/running by them was lovely. There’s also a bit of street art (both the walls and ground) nearby.

If you can, walk along the Guadalupe River Walk a bit. I tried running down it and ended up hitting a dead end one way, but it goes pretty far through the town, and has nice street markers on the ground. One of the parks along it even has a giant Monopoly board on the ground!

As far as food, here are a couple good spots I’d recommend:

Get an interesting cocktail (I got the Habanero Matador) and the octopus at Firehouse No. 1.

If you need some Italian comfort food, go to Original Joe’s.

Happy hour at Mosaic is reasonably priced. I got tuna tartare, pot stickers, and a cocktail (Firecracker Sour).

If you need food late, try Cafe Stritch. This is the jambalaya.

If you want a silly-named Mexican drink, look no further than Chacho's. This drink was called "No Panties" 😂

Definitely get an ice cream sandwich at CREAM (Cookies Rule Everything Around Me), where you can choose 2 cookies and your favorite flavor of ice cream, and even get things like sprinkles around the circumference of the sammy.

Don’t forget more dessert at Milk & Wood, where they have interesting popsicle flavors that you can drizzle chocolate and other toppings on 😋

Now, because this isn’t a blog about technology or coding, I won’t go into crazy details about the conference, but here are some of the highlights:

  • The keynote is always fun, because they announce new technology. You can, of course, live stream it, but there’s just something about actually seeing Tim Cook in person and being there in a room full of nerds.
  • Michelle Obama came and spoke! I love that she’s encouraging women to keep working in STEM. Plus I got interviewed for the local news while waiting to see her speak. 😜
  • They have a series of lunchtime talks throughout the week. We got to hear from:
    • Hidden FiguresChristine Darden and how she excelled in a career at NASA.
    • The Quadfather - a man who became a quadriplegic at a young age, and how programming and technology makes his life so much better.
    • iLuminate’s Miral Kotb, who combined her love of coding and dance to create light up costumes for blackout dance performances.
  • On the Thursday evening, there’s always a big party with a concert. This year they got Fall Out Boy, so my inner high-schooler, One Tree Hill loving heart and Disney girl were all happy 😉
  • The swag was fun! Developers got black Levi's denim jackets, and pins! If you went to special events, they had extra pins to hand out, as well.

Budget Wedding Planning: Part 7 - Celebration Logistics

It's been a little over a month since everyone came to celebrate with us. We had a very belated "reception", which allowed everyone to come party in a low-key sort of way. We didn't have much structure to the day, no seating charts, minimal decorations... just a giant party. And while this day was definitely much more expensive than our intimate celebration, it still doesn't even compare to the national average cost of a wedding, which is over $25,000!

Now, while I've been detailing small projects as ways to save money, I thought I'd share a bit about the ACTUAL party, and show you where we cut costs, and what we splurged on.

Sanitas Brewing Company in Boulder, CO

So, here are the details of our July Wedding Celebration:

Our venue was Sanitas Brewing Company, here in Boulder. A lot of my family from across the country was able to come, along with Nathaniel's family, and countless friends who made this party even better than I ever could have imagined. We had close to 200 guests.

AH-MAZING beer

We had tacos for dinner provided by McDevitt Taco Supply, and for dessert we hired a cupcake truck called The Dessert Stand. I would highly recommend both for any events you may be planning! We had an open bar, which exclusively served the beer the brewery had on tap. Adding other types of alcohol would have made it so we needed to modify their liquor license for an extra $1,000, pre-buy all the beer, and purchase all the other alcohol. We decided for financial reasons and ease that we would just have unlimited beer.

Our wonderful DJ :)

Our wonderful friend Jason was our DJ. He set up playlists, spun some sweet sets for fun dancing, snuck in some Disney, reminded me when it was time for me to sing, and coordinated a very sweet first dance. We also had Dazzling Photo Booth come, and it seemed to be a hit! They even provided a scrapbook! Check out the pictures here.

Most of our photos were taken by our good friend Jesse. My uncle John, Nathaniel's dad Marc, my cousin Alexa, and my sister Maddie also took some that are peppered throughout this gallery.

Here is the cost break-down for our vendors:

  • Securing Sanitas for the whole day: $5,000
  • Beer: $1,000
  • Tacos: $2,400
  • Cupcakes: $700
  • Photo Booth & Guestbook: $800
  • Tips: $400

Other expenses included:

  • A white mailbox, painted like the mailbox in Up, and some balloons tied to the flag ($40)
  • Mason jars and baby's breath ($40)
  • Personalized sunglasses from LogoLenses, and a crate from Joann's to put them in ($300)
  • Soda, water and ice ($100)
  • Picture frames turned into Instagram hashtag signs ($20)

So in total, we spent under $11,000. We never ran out of anything, and everything went smoothly. The only times I got stressed out were when I was getting ready to sing, and for a bride, I think that's pretty good. Yes, this was very expensive, but we got through it alive, and for less than half the average cost. By having a friend DJ and a friend photograph, we saved a ton, as well. We tried to pay them, but they wouldn't let us! I'd still say this puts us in the category of "budget" wedding. I decided to not include the expenses from March that we re-used in July (for example, my dress), because I'm focusing on the party itself. If we had had one day where we did everything, (and if we had a bridal party who needed to carry flowers, among other traditional things we discluded), it would have been more expensive. I just wanted to give you all a breakdown, and show that it's possible to throw a kick-ass wedding celebration without touching that $25,000 price tag.

The most expensive part for us was securing the venue. We had thought about doing it at a local park, which would have been a fraction of the price, but had we done it that way, we would have needed to rent tables and chairs and a generator for the sound system, get approved for a liquor license, figure out lighting once it got dark (and worry about park hours), buy and transport multiple kegs, worry about cops busting us for being loud, and then clean it all up afterwards. This probably wouldn't have quite reached $5,000, but I do think it would have been a pretty decent chunk of change, and it would have stressed me out. I have zero regrets about how we did things, and it seems like everyone had a great time. Can't beat that :)