Random Stuff: Stitch Fix Review

imageThis post doesn’t have anything to do with Disney, but it does involve an important aspect of Living a Disney Life and that is time management.  I enjoy writing this blog!  I love planning Disney vacations (currently, I’m working on the next three) and I am thrilled to be a co-host on The Disney Exchange Podcast with Nick and Dave.  All this Disney happiness during my non-working hours is taking a toll on my ability to enjoy one of my other favorite pastimes, shopping.

I can’t think of a single time in my life that I haven’t absolutely loved shopping.  I’m good at it, it’s fun, and retail therapy is an important stress-reliever for me.  Lately, though, between Disney-related hobbies, Megan’s wedding-planning activities, business and leisure travel and training for another half marathon – I’ve found I need some help with filling in gaps in my wardrobe.  Thus, I have jumped on the clothing subscription box bandwagon and have been receiving Stitch Fix boxes for the past couple of months.  As with most things in life – the results have been mixed.  I’ve put together some pros and cons for clothing subscription boxes in general and I’ll sprinkle those in throughout this…

Random Stuff:  Stitch Fix Review (YouTube Video for Fix #3 HERE.)

In a nutshell:  You complete an online style profile (you can link to a Pinterest board showing your fashion preferences and other social media if you like), pay a $20 “styling” fee (which goes toward the price of any item(s) you keep, wait impatiently for the email that says the box of items selected especially for you has shipped, then wait (with more impatience) for the delivery.  You can get clothing and accessories – you decide how much you want of each.  If you keep all the selected items, you’ll receive a 25% discount on your Stitch Fix box.  Pro:  Convenient and also fun to open the box and see what surprises are in there!

Your Stitch Fix box will always contain:

  • Five items (clothing and accessories)
  • A postage-paid return shipping bag (for anything you don’t want to keep)
  • An invoice detailing each piece and the total with discount (less $20 fee) for keeping all items
  • Style suggestion cards showing photographs of each item with complete outfits/accessories
  • A note from your stylist
  • A 3-day time limit to decide what to keep. (Con:  Busy schedule may mean difficulty finding time to try on all the items and see what’s already on hand for mixing/matching.)

My first box arrived – I’d been styled by a person named Heather.  My box contained a silver statement necklace (Romolo Hawkins Metal Feather Collar Necklace, $34), a black dress (Datherine Barclay Mallie Silk Dress, $104), a cream knit 3/4 sleeved shirt (Fate Celaya Mixed Material Knit Top, $54), a pair of distressed boyfriend jeans (Kut From the Kloth Kate Boyfriend Jean, $78), and a sleeveless blouse (Collective Concepts Lydia Floral Print Key-Hole Blouse, $68).  Honestly, I didn’t love anything and only liked the necklace enough to keep it so I wouldn’t completely lose my $20 styling fee.  Some of the items I actually hated passionately.  I’m all for trying new things – and I did try each item on with an open mind. Con:  Many of the items are pretty pricey for what they are.  Pro:  Getting to try everything on in your own home with items you already own!  Here are the results:

imageMy thoughts: The necklace is fine for both work and casual wear. I like silver.

imageThe black dress made me look like a box and to make matters worse, it had this giant flap of fabric dangling over the waistband in the front which was both strange and unflattering.

imageThe cream knit top was thin, short, and, as you can see, even Junior thought it left a lot to be desired.

imageThe boyfriend jeans were heavy, thick denim with baggy knees – there was nothing good about them.  I’d seen them in other reviews and on Pinterest and wanted to try them…they were just not for me.


The blouse was busy!  And it had that ONE medallion right over…well you can see in the picture.  I thought maybe I should edit my style profile and give the process another go and maybe I needed to pin more stuff on my Pinterest board, so I did that as well.

In a few weeks, Stitch Fix round two arrived.  This time, I had a different stylist, Lana,  who seemed to understand me better…I was prepared to dislike the two items I ended up loving from that box.  Yes, I kept TWO things this time.  Here are the results:


There are no pictures of me in this cardigan ($58) – it was absolutely huge and while it would have been great for our Disney cruise in Norway, I looked like I was playing dress-up in it.image image

This blouse (Sweet Rain Pax Chiffon Trim Blouse, $38) was very pretty, but I want wider straps!  At this point in my life, strap-less bras are not my friend.  Plus, if I have to wear a tank under a shirt to make it work, it’s too hot to wear here in a Louisiana summer.


In this dark, poor picture (I’ll do better, I promise) you cannot see that the pants are olive (Kut From the Kloth Siena Capri Pant, $58), super lightweight, and adorable (kept!).  The gray shirt is a thin, heathered sweater material – dressy enough for work, but also perfect for casual wear (RD Style Keira 3/4 Sleeve Split Back Knit Top, $48).  The split back is fun and interesting.  I wore this on the Disney cruise and it was very soft and comfortable.  Then I wore it to work and got a ton of compliments on it.

imageThis gold necklace looked cheap (Zad Winnie Pave and Spike Necklace, $28).  It also reminded me of either a wedge of cheese or a slice of pie and I couldn’t imagine ever wearing it…so, back it went with the print top and cardigan.  My hopes were high for round #3.

June Stitch Fix (#3) – Look!  The photos are fancier and I used them in this YouTube “Unboxing” video (if you want to check it out).  This time I was styled by Kristen M.  She had the right idea, but sadly, the fit was poor on all three of the shirts in this fix.


I like tank tops for summer, but this one was ill-fitting and made me look HUGE!  (Hem & Thread Aldwick Swing Knit Tank, 38)image

This top had lots of color and would have been versatile if it had fit around my hips, but it was too tight.  (Market & Spruce Coval V-Neck Top, $44)


This green tank had a beautiful back detail, but was not for me!  It wasn’t just a little bad, it was horrible.  It did look better under the navy blazer, but then the back would be hidden. (19 Cooper Marlow Crochet Back Detail Top, $48)


The navy knit blazer is a perfect year-round staple – plus it’s super soft and comfortable. (Tart Kaylie Solid French Terry Blazer, $128)


Yes, they are ridiculously expensive for pull-on pants, but the picture cannot do justice to the flattering fit of these britches!  I felt 10 lbs lighter!  Plus, they’re very comfortable and multi-seasonal. (Margaret M Emer Polka Dot Print Hight Waisted Cropped Pant, $98)

All in all, I’ll be giving Stitch Fix at least a couple more tries.  This time I fine-tuned my style profile a little bit more and tried asking for specific items like a white jacket or cardigan and dark-wash jeans.

If YOU are interested in trying Stitch Fix and you use my referral link, I will receive a $25 credit.If you have any questions, I’ll do my best to answer them.  Thanks for reading!







Disney’s Magic in Norway – Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen

RM-Tivoli-Gardens-ArchI’d be completely remiss if I didn’t tell you  how we spent the one pre-cruise evening we had in Copenhagen (after our Segway tour).  We spent several wonderful hours in Tivoli Gardens, but I’ll apologize right now for the lack of great pictures.  By the time we made it to the Gardens, we were indescribably tired, but very committed to experiencing this amazing, truly magical place to the fullest extent possible (under the circumstances).

Tivoli Gardens is famous for many reasons.  This popular Danish amusement park and beautiful gardens first opened in 1843 (2nd oldest in the world).  In the very heart of Copenhagen, Tivoli Gardens is a compact, excitement-filled novelty!  Restaurants, rides, entertainment (Elton John will be playing there this week!), attractions – even boasting its own aquarium – it’s no surprise to guests that this place was an inspiration to Walt Disney for Disneyland.  Both park’s are based on the premise that they’ll never be complete – always changing, yet maintaining the heart of the original design.  Tivoli-Small-World Tivoli-ChurrosSo much about Tivoli Gardens was unique, but many things were oddly familiar!

Our all-inclusive tickets (pre-purchased months earlier online) were a bargain at around 80 dollars US.  We’d get park admission, aquarium admission, all-ride access (rides are usually purchased a la carte), free ride photo of our choice, and a meal (limitations apply).  We arrived early evening and decided to get the lay of the land and knock off a few rides before getting something to eat and reassessing our ability to power on.  We received paper wrist bands for ride access and small, tear-apart paper tickets for our meal and photo.RM-Tivoli-Octopus-Ride

The rides varied wildly in age and thrill-level.  Some were quite old and others really new (and cutting edge) – all were outdoors and many resembled carnival rides.  Here’s where an open mind helped – the rides that looked tame were actually loads of fun!  The rides that looked super scary were actually thrilling yet smooth.  ALL were great fun!

“The Roller Coaster” built in 1914 and one of Tivoli Gardens most popular rides was incredibly fun.  “The Star Flyer” took all my bravery – it was basically two-seater baby swings hurling around and around on a single middle post – WAY up in the air!  Tivoli-SwingsLots more fun (and less sickening) than anticipated.  Also a testament to Denmark’s lack of crime – any and all possessions (empty pockets were mandatory) had to be left on the ground in unlocked “lockers” to be retrieved once the ride was over.  Our favorite ride by far was “The Demon” – imagine Rock’n’ Roller Coaster, but four seats across, outdoors and much, much smoother.  We were in awe!Demon-Tivoli-Ride-Photo Demon-Track-Design The-Demon-Tivoli-Gardens

Realizing how hungry we were, we decided on the Biergarten for supper.  It was the only option (as far as we could tell) for a meal that wasn’t a sandwich.  We’d each be getting a half a roast chicken, fries, pickles, and a beer.  Sounds great, right?  We presented our meal tickets at the counter and, after what we thought was a pretty substantial wait, our buzzer/flasher thing indicated that our food was ready.  Tivoli-BiergartenWhoa!  We did not go away hungry!  The chicken was of a generous size, the beer even more so, and the fries were without a doubt the best I’ve ever eaten.  I was alone in my love for the pickles, but thought they were fantastic!Tivoli-Biergarten-Beer

Giant Beer in Tivoli GardensFortified, we headed back into the park for a few more attractions and a tour of the aquarium.  Tivoli-OctopusWhile not large, the displays were well-done and full of interesting fish.  For the final event of the evening, Megan and Joseph rode “Aquila” which was a spinner ride experienced mostly upside down.  (I have short videos of a couple of the rides and the octopus from the aquarium that I’ll post over on our Facebook page.)  On the way out, Megan and Joseph stopped for ice cream and we slowly made our way back to the Tivoli Hotel.  At 10:30 pm, the sun was setting on our incredible day in Copenhagen – and our vacation had jut begun!

Up next, embarkation day, the sail away party, meeting new friends, and our first day at sea on the way to the first port of call in Norway – Stavanger.

If you have any questions or want to know more about anything in particular, please let me know.  As always, thanks for reading.

Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian – Studio

Happy Weekend!  Today’s installment of Saturdays With Nick is actually Saturday With Nick and Barbie!  Last year, this dynamic Disney duo took a fabulous Walt Disney World vacation that included a stay at the Grand Floridian’s Disney Vacation Club Villas.  This post offers some incredibly beautiful photos and a full description of Nick and Barbie’s studio and the entire Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.  Enjoy!

Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian – Studio

by: Nick and Barbie

First off, we’re going to say that The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian (VGF), the latest Disney Vacation Club property to open at Walt Disney World, is now one of our favorite places to stay on Walt Disney World Property.

To put it in context, we’ve stayed at every resort with the exception of the Polynesian, Contemporary (including Bay Lake Tower), Kidani Village at the Animal Kingdom Lodge (we have stayed at Jambo House), and Caribbean Beach.

But before we tell you why it’s become a favorite, we’re going to tell you what we didn’t like about the Villas, because we had a bumpy start.

Things began well enough. We had stayed one evening at the All Star Movies, and took a cab over to the Grand Floridian, and checked in at about 8:15am.

As soon as we walked into this resort we felt like we were surrounded by luxury.

Our room was not ready, which was expected, as check in for DVC rooms is 4:00pm. We were asked if we would like to receive a text or to be called when our room was ready, and we left a number to get a text. We took our bags over to the Villas building via a covered walkway, and left them with Bell Services.

The Villas lobby is lovely.

The fountain features the penguins from Mary Poppins.

Mary Poppins umbrella as elevator hands.

After checking our bags, we walked back to the GF main building and made our way to the second floor to catch the Monorail to the Magic Kingdom.

We had a great day at the MK, but as 3:30 approached, we wanted to get to the room and shower and rest before dinner. We still hadn’t been notified our room was ready. As we exited the park, we noticed a line for the monorail. We should have taken the boat, but, as we were on the monorail loop for the first time, Nick really wanted to take that mode of transportation.

Big mistake. There was a problem with the train ahead of ours, and each stop had us waiting for 10 minutes. We reached the Ticket and Transportation Center at 4:15, and decided to walk from the there to the Villas.

It was a very nice walk, and we had an opportunity to capture the VGF under perfect light conditions, but by the time we got the the resort, it was after 4:30 and well, Nick was getting a bit cranky.

When we walked in, Nick let the group of Cast Members gathered around the entrance know that we had never been notified that our room was ready. We didn’t receive an apology, just an explanation that they had been having a problem with their text system.
Nick was too tired to ask why they didn’t just call his cel if that was the case, and instead just asked if we could have our bags sent up to our room. We were told it would be about 15 or 20 minutes.

Nick said we would just take our bags up ourselves, we’d been out all day, and waiting that long for bags was unacceptable. At least the Cast Member who gave us our bags refused a tip due to the inconvenience, but, again, no apologies.

As we were lugging our bags to the room, Barbie said she couldn’t understand why Magical Express could pick up our bags at the airport and deliver them to our room at an All Star Resort, but bell services couldn’t have our bags waiting for us in our room here!

Okay, end of complaints! Well, almost. More on that in a bit.

We made our way to the second floor, room 1204. The hallways are very nice, with soothing colors, which is what we needed at that moment!

Upon entering the room, we were impressed with the wood floors, but really loved the bathrooms, which are immediately to the right.

Yes, we did say bathrooms. There are two separate rooms that can be closed off from one another, via sliding doors, one containing a shower and a sink with a granite counter top…

…the other, the toilet and a tub with a shower.

We loved the individual shower with the dual shower heads, mosaic marble tile floors, and all the amenities provided. And there is a TV in the mirror!

The kitchenette includes a small refrigerator and microwave.

The living space is beautifully decorated, a very calming color scheme, great after a long day at the park, crown molding, and furnishings that feel more sturdy than what is found at other DVC resorts. It was also much more quiet. We never heard our neighbors the entire stay.

Then there was our view of the Seven Seas Lagoon looking towards the Polynesian. Even the sight of construction vehicles building the soon to be DVC at the Poly couldn’t detract from the beauty. We spent every morning, afternoon break and evening with the sliding doors open, listening to the music, birds, sounds of boats going to and from the Magic Kingdom and even some Magic Kingdom sounds, including the train! It was amazing.

We really felt that this was the most well designed DVC room we’d ever been in.
Until we started to unpack and we discovered there is a rather odd design flaw.

“Where are the drawers?” Nick asked. Maybe here, under the television?

No. That’s right, we’d read about this feature, a pull down bed with a Dumbo theme. How cute.

Let’s see, ah, large drawers under the bed. Except, you can’t really use one whole drawer, as the nightstand is in the way!

We like to unpack when we stay in a room, and not live out of a suitcase. As it’s just the 2 of us, we did find enough storage for the most part, using the nightstand drawers…

…and the spacious closet, after we moved the extra bedding out of the way. We can’t imagine where a family of 5 would store everything and think the only way to accommodate a party of that size would be to live out of their suitcases.

Reading back, it seems like we’ve done an awful lot of complaining and you may wonder, why then is this now a favorite resort?

Well, we loved the atmosphere, the location and ease of access to the Magic Kingdom via a Monorail or boat. The Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC) is a relatively easy walk away, past the Poly which gives you access to Epcot by Monorail.

Nick loved the pool areas, one very close to the Villas.

There is an Alice in Wonderland themed play area next to this.

A little further away is a larger pool area with a hot tub.

And then, there is the Grand Floridian itself. We never got sick of looking at it at all times of the day.

We loved entering the lobby to see and hear, depending on time of day, a pianist, a harpist, or a band playing.

We enjoyed just sitting in the lobby listening to the music and relaxing between park visits.

Wishes at the Magic Kingdom can be seen from several spots around the resort. This is from in front of Gasparilla Island Grill, the counter service restaurant.

Speaking of restaurants, we’ve eaten at them all with the exception of Victoria and Albert’s, and enjoyed our meals at every one. We’ll have reviews of Narcoossee’s, Ctitricos, and the Gasparilla Grill in the future.

Even the bus stop is nicer than at other resorts. Instead of queues, or multiple stops, there is one with rows of benches, and a screen telling approximate arrival times. This last feature is new, and being tested at other resorts around WDW as well.

Finally, we’ll just leave you with a view of the Grand Floridian from a boat heading for the Magic Kingdom. Knowing that we would be returning to this picturesque resort at the end of the day made the trip all that much more enjoyable.

Follow Nick and Barbie on all their adventures!  You can find Disney Musings on all your favorite social media sites:  Disney Musings Blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, On Instagram, On Pinterest.

Disney World Breakfasts for Champions

Wheaties may be the “Breakfast OF Champions”, but when you need to fuel up mid-morning on a Walt Disney World vacation, there are a few great places we favor.  You may be asking yourself, “Champions”, Lisa?  Yes!  When we’ve rope-dropped and managed 4 or 5 rides before the first meal of the day we ARE champions…hungry ones.

Five Great Disney World Breakfasts FOR Champions

1. Starring Rolls.  Centrally located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this is one of our all-time favorite must-visit breakfast spots.  It’s the convenient location, the ample outdoor seating, and the variety of Danishes, bagels, huge sandwiches, and the latest in magical Disney cupcake-ery.RM-Disney-Olaf-CupcakeStarring Rolls / Red Velvet Cupcake

2. Main Street Bakery.  We like Starbucks and while there are some things we miss (about the pre-Starbucks version) at this Main Street USA location in Magic Kingdom, we can very happily pop in for a great morning meal.  RM-Main-Street-StarbucksWe love the coffee and the wide assortment of baked goods and hot sandwiches.  Seriously, I can even make myself feel like I’m being healthy on vacation with a tasty spinach and feta breakfast wrap.  We’re all about the grab and go here so we can get back out there and ride on.

3.  Sunshine Seasons.  This is a great place to relax in Epcot after Soarin’ and Living With the Land while waiting for World Showcase to open.  Sunshine Seasons BreakfastThe Chocolate Croissant is a perennial favorite, but Raymond and I also love to share the focaccia breakfast sandwich – it comes with fried potatoes and is very delicious…and filling.  Which is why we share it – saving room for lunch!

4. Gasparilla Island Grill.  We ducked in this tidy little eatery at the Grand Floridian after a massage at the Senses Spa there.  We were famished and couldn’t think about continuing on with our day without sustenance.  Our experience (Croissant Sandwich – YUM) made us fans of this underappreciated quick-service location.  While I recommend you do not order the grits here, the rest of our breakfast was delish!

5. Contempo Café (Contemporary Resort).  HERE is where to order grits (best we’ve found at Disney World), if you’re so inclined.  The Contempo offers an impressively wide array of choices for breakfast in a convenient location near Chef Mickey’s.  RM-Contempo-Cafe-Breakfast-SandwichBreakfast sandwiches, platters, Mickey Waffles, even steel cut oatmeal and assorted baked goods – huge menu, certain to please every member of your dining party.

Bonus:  We can and have enjoyed breakfast at the Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disney – but I recommend waiting for lunch.  Lunch is better there.

Where’s your favorite Walt Disney World breakfast location?

Earl of Sandwich Breakfast