how to pack for a disney trip



I'm leaving for Disney World in exactly 9 days (eek!) and I think I've finally been there enough times to have some handle on what I should pack and what I definitely shouldn't. One of the things I love about Disney trips is that I feel like I can dress even more colorful and whimsical than usual. I know, I know...  I don't exactly wear business suits in my daily life, but most of my Disney ensembles push the boundaries of what I'd normally wear at home.

For clothing, I like to opt for simple sleeveless dresses in really fun, colorful prints or comfortable high-waisted shorts with tights underneath. I go a little polka-dot crazy on Disney vacations (blame Minnie Mouse!) and tend to pair most of my brightly colored pieces with pops of black and white. No matter how something looks, though, the key is always comfort. You don't want to be hiking down shorts, pulling up pants or adjusting your neckline when you should be having fun! I usually plan each day's outfit before I go, take mirror selfies at home, and then reference them when I get dressed in the hotel. It makes getting ready in the morning go super fast!



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During my last few trips, I opted to wear a backpack instead of a purse. It usually (depending on the size) can hold way more than a purse -- perfect for packing some backup deodorant (trust me, you want to bring it if you're visiting in the summer), some snacks and a sweater or wrap for chilly indoor attractions or cool Orlando nights. And if you're a pin trader like me, it holds way more pins than a pocketbook does ;)



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Shoes! I can't stress this enough -- make your shoe choice based on comfort, not style. Style-wise, polka dotted sneakers wouldn't be my first pick for any outfit, basically ever. But I'd much rather spend my vacation enjoying myself rather than limping along in blister-covered feet. Ouch! Unfortunately, I speak from experience. In 2011 I brought along cute shoes that weren't broken in yet and I ended up buying an emergency pair of crocs so that my feet wouldn't be howling at me for the rest of the trip.

My tried and true favorites are the saddle shoes from Payless (#1 below.) They're SO comfortable, I can't even. Plus they look slightly more stylish than crocs ;) In general though, I think any shoes that you KNOW are comfy will work. I've worn my favorite asos t-strap flats with hardly any arch support and my feet were fine. As long as you know the shoes can withstand tons of walking, they should be okay.



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In addition to the basics, there are some must-have accessories that I never leave out of my suitcase. If I'm going to be wearing any dresses or skirts, I always pack shorts to wear underneath. Depending on the dress, I'll wear bike shorts or slip shorts (btw, I wear slip shorts basically all the time, even when I'm not in Disney. They prevent wind-triggered flashing and help make unlined dresses look opaque. They're amazing!) This way you can enjoy all the freedom that comes with wearing pants, but you're wearing a dress. Wonderful!

Obviously you also need sunglasses. Extra points if they're pink and heart-shaped ;) But seriously, only bring ones that actually block out the sun. You want to be able to gaze up at Cinderella's Castle without having to squint.

I also always pack some kind of sweater or sweatshirt, even if I'm visiting in the hottest time of year. Some of the restaurants and rides can be really cold, plus after the sun goes down sometimes it can get pretty chilly.

If you have a cell phone, definitely bring a back-up battery. I take a ton of photos and use the Disney World app (it has maps, updated wait times, menus, etc.) so my battery is usually waning by the end of the day.

Last but certainly not least -- Ears!! Of course, you can buy ears at pretty much every store in Disney World, but if you plan ahead you can get some really cute ones from House of Mouse on etsy. They have themed ones for tons of rides and movies, plus these super pretty daisy ones that I have in my own ear collection. I can't wait to wear them with my pink hair next week :D



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I also like to pack a lot of the things I'd normally keep in my purse anyway -- hand sanitizer, lip balm, extra bobby pins, etc. If you're going to be staying in a Disney hotel, try to think of every possible toiletry you might need and bring it. They have some necessities in their gift shops but they can be pretty expensive. No matter how hard I try, I always end up having to buy something on every trip -- a toothbrush, safety pins, nail clippers, etc.

And while the rides and attractions are all incredibly fantastic, I highly recommend packing a book or a sketchpad & pencils. On every trip I try to take a little time to sit down and read or draw, and it's always one of the highlights of my vacation. Last September I sat on a bench in a little secluded area with a perfect view of the castle and read for a couple hours while listening to the enchanting music that Disney pipes through the park. It's a really relaxing, peaceful way to enjoy the magic.

And if you do a horrible job of packing anyway, end up with achy feet, freezing limbs and your sunglasses are doing nothing to shield you from the blinding sun, don't fret, Disney has you covered. Your packing folly comes at a price (and usually a steep-ish one) but the stores are well-stocked with everything you might need if you're in a jam ;)

shop my closet update!

http://sweetandlovely.storenvy.com/collections/273967-shop-my-closet

I just listed a TON of stuff in my shop my closet store. Lots of dresses, a ridiculous amount of shoes and another instant belt collection. I also listed two vintage dresses that are super hard for me to part with (like the one above) There are over 90 things in the shop! yay! Click here to take a peek!



DIY inner beauty artwork



I know this DIY isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I personally LOVE it and thought I'd share in case anyone else is equally enchanted with medical imagery.

First a little back story -- In 2005 I was getting crippling migraines, so my doctor ordered an MRI of my brain. After a super scary couple of weeks in between my doctor saying she thought I had a brain tumor and a specialist telling me I didn't (PHEW) I was left with some incredibly cool images of my brain. I've always wanted to find a way to turn them into artwork, but couldn't really figure out how. I also didn't really want to have super dark pictures on my walls, and these images are always mostly black. I finally worked this out a couple weeks ago and now I'm trying to talk my (super reluctant) family to do a really unique family portrait wall. haha!



Okay, so the first thing you need is a medical image. Basically MRIs, X-Rays, CT scans, etc. If you have a printout (like an ultrasound) you can skip this step, which helps to capture the negative image. Just hold it up to a light source, like a window or a lightbox, and take a close-up photo. This highlights all of the details that you normally can't see on the negatives sheet.



When you open the image on your computer, it should look like the first image here, with a dark background. You want to invert the colors, so that the background becomes light. I used photoshop, but you can invert colors in a bunch of different programs, even MS Paint! If you aren't sure how to do it in a specific program, just try googling "invert colors [program name]" :)

Now this is where you can start getting creative! I played around with the hue/saturation controls to get a really bright purple image. You can even do hue/saturation in Preview on a mac. Just drag the controls until you find the colors that you like best. After I settled on hot pink, I used the Fill tool in photoshop to fill in the background with a light pink color. You could always do this part manually, printing out your image, cutting it out, and then mounting it on a colored paper background! Another idea, if you don't have access to photo editing programs, would be to have the image inverted and then printed on bright colored paper at Staples or Kinkos!

I really wanted artwork that showed my whole head, but maybe you want a more discreet way of showing off your inner beauty? ;) Simply crop the image to create a really cool abstract art piece. Here I used a close-up from a CT scan of my sinuses.



If you have photoshop or a similar program that allows you to select specific parts of your image, you can change the colors in sections, instead of the whole image. Here I selected two little areas in the pink and then dragged my hue/saturation control so that the colors would be teal instead.

Like I said, I know it's not for everyone. Personally, I'm absolutely fascinated by images like this. I mean, my brain is processing the fact that I'm looking at a picture of my brain. That's so awesome to me!!



watermelon smoothie



Yesterday was my mom's birthday, and she opted for a nice relaxing day at home instead of doing anything fancy. We stayed in pajamas, played board games and watched a movie. I really love day trips but sometimes it's nice to just stay indoors and take it easy.

This week I'm trying to catch up on absolutely everything because in 12 days I'll be in Disney World! yay! I really can't wait. I say that before every trip but really, I'm looking forward to it so much. I'm also planning a little post about how to pack for a Disney trip, so if that interests you I should have it up this week. Also, that shop my closet update should be coming tomorrow or Wednesday :)



little boxes



The print on this dress is all houses! Isn't that adorable?

I'm having another drawing-a-blank day. I haven't really had the best week so I guess I just have too much on my mind to think of anything to write about. How about pizza? That's a topic that is ALWAYS on my mind when I'm having a bad week. I'm pretty sure that it (and cats and movies) are the only real cures for the blues.


belt - from another dress | lady tie - flapper girl

vacation brain



I have so many exciting trips coming up in the next two months that my brain is already in vacation mode. I just can't wait to be out and about! In about 2 weeks I'll be off to Disney World, then at the end of August my family and I are going to the garlic festival in the Poconos. In late September I'm going back to Disney World for Dapper Day (I started planning my outfit already and I'm so ridiculously excited about it) *and* Kyle asked if I'd want to take a weekend trip to Glacier National Park this fall. Heck, yes! He just got his first job this summer and originally wanted to save up for a truck but he's starting to come around to my way of thinking, that experiences are way more important than tangible items. I obviously love getting dresses but I'd choose a trip over a closet addition any day of the week.

Speaking of closet additions (or I guess subtractions, in this case) I have another shop my closet update coming up soon! I have so many dresses that I've been holding onto for years that I'm really just never going to wear. I've kept them through every shop my closet sale, thinking maybe *someday* I'd wear them. But I just don't. And SO MANY SHOES. I basically live in my bait footwear collection so I don't need the rest, haha. I just need to buckle down and take pictures... probably sometime either by the end of this week or early next week. Stay tuned! :)


dress - c/o oasap | cardigan - forever 21 | shoes - bait footwear
brooch - vintage | scalloped collar - romwe

#radicalselflovejuly









This month I'm participating in Gala's radical self love july instagram photo challenge, and I'm really enjoying it! I thought I'd share a little round-up of the first two weeks here. I really love some of the pictures I've taken for the challenge - the one of me and Arrietty reading in bed is probably my favorite photo I've ever put on instagram!

day 1 - silly selfie
day 2 - your idol (liz lemon!!)
day 3 - positive grafitti (no grafitti nearby so I chose art instead)
day 4 - your reflection
day 5 - radical self love date
day 6 - your best feature (my brain!)
day 7 - your favorite book
day 8 - draw yourself
day 9 - radical self love meal (fake pizza by everyday is a holiday!)
day 10 - throwback thursday
day 11 - radical self love bible (neil gaiman's make good art speech)
day 12 - what's in your bag
day 13 - no-makeup selfie. I skipped this one because I'm too insecure :\
day 14 - get physical (attempt at a jumping photo)
day 15 - your happy place (I'll be back there in 18 days! wheee!)

It's not too late to join in if you haven't already! I think I might look for some more challenges to do throughout the year, it's really nice to have prompts when you can't think of what to post each day :)

By the way I'm kategabrielle on instagram :)

your fan club shop update!



The first Your Fan Club shop update is live! I added 30 new pins to the shop, most of which were requested on twitter or instagram, so if you requested something take a close look -- it might be in there! :) You can check out all 75+ pins in the store now (!!) here!