Thursday, October 24, 2013


I am so happy and honored that I have been asked to partner up with 21st Century Media's Michigan Group where my blog will be featured on several major Southeast Michigan newspapers including The Oakland Press, Macomb Daily, Daily Tribune in Royal Oak, and Heritage Media in Wayne and Washtenaw Counties. Looks like I better get busy!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


     “A dream is a wish your heart makes” –Cinderella
When: October 13, 2013

Where: Fairytale Entertainment  I found her online but she comes right to your house- in the Metro Detroit area.

Cost: $175/ 1 hour plus we gave a $25 tip-it was worth every penny. I would've even given her more of a tip but that was all the cash I had left.

Why this is on my list: I wanted to give my daughter a birthday party to remember! When I came across this online I knew having Cinderella come to her party would make the most perfect party gift ever! How many kids get to get to have their favorite princess at their party?

Something I'd recommend? YES. This woman is incredible. She was as pretty as a princess, her gown, hair and make up were flawless and high quality-she perfectly looked the part. And she played the part to utter perfection as well. She made a grand entrance with music she brought, then she sat down with the girls and in a voice that could only belong to the one and only Cinderella she sang them songs, played games, danced with them, read them a story, blew bubbles, passed out surprises, made balloon wands and then without skipping a beat painted their sweet little faces. The transitions from one activity to another were seamless. She had a magic bag of tricks along with an iPod speaker that had everyone including the adults mesmerized. I thought the adults would just transfer into the other room and chit chat while the girls played with Cinderella but no one could take their eyes off her. After the face paintings she took pictures with all the girls. I was so happy I had had an area dedicated for photos which made a lovely 'backdrop'. She also gave my daughter a special birthday gift just from Cinderella! It was a ring that was similar to one that she was wearing.

My daughter asked me when we were going to eat cake- I didn't want to respond with "after Cinderella leaves" because I knew the idea of her leaving might create a panic with the children but before I had a chance to answer her question she said "After Cinderella has to get in her carriage and go back to her castle?" "Yes, actually that's exactly right." But before she left we all gathered around Z's princess cake and Cinderella sang Happy Birthday to my daughter. What a lucky little girl.

Will I do it again? Absolutely. My daughter had an enamored look on her face the entire time, her friends loved it and I myself couldn't stop smiling. My heart filled with even more joy when my girlfriend whose daughter is 3 years old too came up to me and said "This is so nice, I just want to cry." I felt the same way...I think we all did. Having Cinderella at my daughters party filled our house with sheer joy.

Since this was such an over the top girly princess party we only really invited our daughter's female friends but one of the girls has a brother who came and Cinderella was also very accommodating to him making him a balloon pirate sword and a pirate face painting. As a matter of fact my Step Dad also couldn't resist joining in the fun and had her paint a spider web on his bald head! It was the perfect princess party and since this very talented woman does everyone from Merida to Snow White to Sleeping Beauty, I think she'll be a part of our parties as long as my very girly daughter is into princesses! Check Fairytale Entertainment's website to find more characters include SpongeBob, Captain Hook, Batman and more!

"Have faith in your dreams and one day your rainbow will come shining through.” –Cinderella 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

10 Tips to enhance your trip to Disney World

  1. Get the Photo Pass- I was disappointed that I didn't learn about this option until we were literally walking out the door to go home. The Photo Pass cost $200, you wear a card and every time your picture is taken they just scan that card. You get ALL the images for this cost. To put it in perspective, I spent $120 on 8 images. Disney took at least 100 pictures of us or more. You get the photography rights so you can print out as many as you'd like and you can create fun borders at no additional cost. It would have certainly been worth it every penny. 
  2.  Character Dining- Do not go to Disney World and NOT do the Character Dining. This was absolutely our favorite aspect of the parks. The food is surprisingly good, mostly buffet style. I am not typically a fan of buffet style dining but like everything else in Disney it's clean, good, lots of choices, well prepared and the service is first class. Each of the Character Dining restaurants feature 5 characters...this means, you don't have to stand in line. The characters come right to your table! You can take as many pictures as you want and they do not rush you. I was so impressed with how much attention each Character gave to my daughter...and even to me! So it's like dinner and a show FOR NO ADDITIONAL COST. *We had the deluxe dining meal plan, which meant that whether we ate a soup and sandwich or had a huge buffet with all the characters it was the same value. ALTHOUGH THESE RESERVATIONS MUST BE BOOKED 3-6 MONTHS IN ADVANCE. The sooner the better...but take a lesson from me...don't make reservations for breakfast. You have to allow a lot of time to get around and wait for the shuttles as well as walking from point a to point b so when we had 9h30 reservations that meant that we had to get up at 7h in the morning and leave by 8h! I was not too pleased with myself, but I had booked late and this was all that was available. I also didn't realize how long it took to get around Disney World, it's humongous. 
  3. Stay at a Disney Resort- Similarly, I would not recommend going to Disney World without staying in one of their outstanding resorts. Of course the cost is a little higher but there are innumerable amenities that are included. And I don't how many times we said that we would not have enjoyed our trip had we not stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. The Character Dining and Animal Kingdom Lodge were what made our trip truly special and unique. The way I look at it is that you're going to spend a lot of money...might as well spend a little more to get the full experience. I'd rather spend a ton of money and be completely pleased than spend a lot of money and just have an 'alright' time. 
  4. Book you whole package through GO DISNEY- I booked our reservation through Disney's exclusive 'travel agency' at 407-934-7639. I got the tickets to the parks, our meal plan, and accommodations all on 1 phone call. In order to book your reservation all you need is to deposit $100/person and you can make the reservations 8 months in advance. Then the trip has to be paid in full 45 days before your stay. It's a travel agency just for Disney parks, cruises and resorts. It is very convenient and they treat you like you're the best customer they've ever had. It is also nice to have access to all your reservations in one spot. Either with one phone call or simply visiting their website you can make changes to your reservations, I preferred to call in when I had to make changes to my reservation because they could answer any questions I had. Also, I highly suggest the travel insurance it's not that much of an extra fee (maybe $60 if I remember correctly) and could be totally worth it. I actually changed the dates of our trip 3 times with no penalties or additional fees. 
  5. Get the Deluxe Dining Meal Plan- With this we had 3 meals per day-we could sit down and get a full service meal at a restaurant or a quick service meal (like a fast food meal-but MUCH better) actually one of my top 5 best meals I've ever had in my life was at one of these 'quick service meals' in downtown Disney. We also got 2 snacks each (chips, cookies...) and we each got a Disney refillable mug. It was plenty of food and since our daughter was not yet 3 we did not have to get a meal plan for her.
  6. Fast Pass- The fast pass had me positively confused. I think I get it now though. You get 3 Fast Passes with your ticket per day. You go online to pick which attraction/ride you wanted to go to and pick a time. Then you get to totally bypass the entire line. This worked out for a few times. Some attractions, like meeting Pocahontas, did not have the option. It is a great convenience, and was awesome to walk right in while others are standing in a 45 minute line. Makes you feel like a VIP. For instance when we went to meet Belle, there was a 45 minute wait in line, we walked right up, swiped our Magic Bands and walked right in- it was wonderful. 
  7. Magic Bands- Unfortunately we had some problems with our Magic Bands because I had added on an extra night last minute, but the idea of them is very cool. You go online, pick your color and character. Then the bands are overnighted to you. Your magic band is everything, your room key, your meal vouchers, your tickets to the park, you also scan them when you want to make a purchase at a gift shop, at the bar at your's everything...and they're water proof, you can wear them in the pool. Our bands didn't work flawlessly so I'll just say that Disney World more than made up for the problems we experienced with our Magic Bands. The Magic Bands are new to Disney and they are still working out all the kinks. 
  8. Stock up on some things for our hotel room- With our Deluxe Dining Meal Plan we all got a Disney Refillable mug that we could fill up with pop or water all day free of charge at our resort. However, we all drink a lot of water and it was kind of a pain to go downstairs to the cafe where we could get the drinks every time we wanted something. I would have liked to have had about 3 cases of water to have in our room...which came with a fridge.
  9. Park Hopper- We didn't get the Park Hopper and I was mad at myself for it, it was only a difference of maybe $20-$30 extra/person/day (so only $120 total). I had it in my head that we would only be in one park/day and have no reason to go to more than one park. First of all, to be able to take advantage of all the character dining you would need this option. We had to be very precise when making all of our reservations and plans. Incidentally we had limited ourselves by not having the Park Hopper. Luckily there was one day where our hotel gave us the Park Hopper passes for free because we had some problems with our reservation. It was so nice, that day we had gone to the Animal Kingdom, then back to our hotel and in the evening we were able to go to the Magic Kingdom to see the fireworks at night. We wouldn't have been able to that if they hadn't given us the Park Hopper that day. Unexpectedly this ended up being a very interesting evening for us as it was the day we met the English family and spent 6 hours with them! 
  10. Do not rent a car- Don't waste your money, unless you are certain that you will be going off the resort. Disney World is gigantic, it's actually larger than 17 different countries. There is a shuttle to take you anywhere you need to go and everything else can be delivered at a reasonable cost. Also if you fly a Disney Shuttle will pick you from the airport. I made sure to take note of those who chose to drive into the was quite a long walk to the entrance. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


“All our dreams come true if we have the
                    courage to pursue them” Walt Disney 

When: August 2013...for the third time, my Aunt took me twice when I was younger, maybe 9 & 11 years old.

Where: Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida.

Cost: Well I'll probably be in the minority in saying this, but I thought everything was very reasonable. You get what you pay for and for every cent spent we got 100 times its value. None of the prices surprised me. You're not shopping at the dollar store after all. I have heard a lot of people complain that it's "too expensive". Well, Disney World is the size of a small country covering 30,000 acres, with 58,000 employees payroll is $1.5 Billion dollars annually. It cost $100 million each year just to maintain the Magic Kingdom alone. Disney World would not be what it is if they had value menu prices. We spent a lot of money but we got to do a lot, we stayed in a 4 star resort with endless amenities, ate delicious food all week and had made so many unique memories. I would like to emphasize that you really get the most bang for your buck if you choose the inclusive packages, that's the best way to go. I think you'd end up spending more money in the long run without the package.

Why this is on my list: Even though I had been there when I was younger there was 2 things I always knew I wanted to 1. Go back as an adult and 2. Take my daughter. I booked the trip 1 year ago, while we were having a world of problems with our new house and just needed something to look forward to. I'm happiest when I have hotel reservations booked no matter how far away it is. I also wanted to take my daughter while she was still young enough to fully be mesmerized by the magic at Disney World. Some people say that they want to take their kids when they're older so they'll remember it, well I was 11 the last time I was there and I barely remember it, and I liked it of course but I wanted to take my daughter when she'd be jumping up and down with excitement. We take our little girl on a lot of trips and to special things-none of it is about her 'remembering' them. It's about making memories for us to have, having the pictures and videos. Also the way I look at it is, every time we give her an experience it gets the gears turning in her brain, I can see her taking everything in and learning all sorts of new things. I want a well rounded child, who's not afraid of trying new things, who gets to meet people from all over the world and who has a more impressive LIFE LIST at the age of 3 than some adults I know. But more importantly I want my daughters childhood to be filled with as many smiles and giggles as we can squeeze in. My goal of every day is to ensure that my little heart is healthy, safe, and happy.

. A few weeks ago I asked her if she wanted to say some prayers before bed she yes, cleared her throat and said "We went to Disney World, I love Disney World. Mermaid is Mommy's favorite, Belle is Daddy's favorite and Cinderella is my favorite. Amen".

Something I'd recommend? Of course. Though, I think it is best to go as a very young child (3-5) or as an adult. I think these are the times that it will be most enjoyed and most appreciated.

Will I go again? Most certainly. One day we walked down to the shuttle to go to the Magic Kingdom, our daughter in her Cinderella dress sat on a bench next to 2 little girls from England, one in a sleeping beauty dress, the other wearing Belle. This family FROM ENGLAND told us that this was their 3rd trip to Disney in 8 months. I'm not surprised. It truly is a magical place, at every corner you receive top notch service, and you can't imagine how much there is to do. It's like visiting a whole other world. Besides, the first trip there in my adult life was a learning experience, now I know all the tips and tricks so that our next visit will be even more amazing.

“When you are curious, you find lots 
                              of interesting things to do.”

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


"The greatest mistake in the treatment of diseases is that there are physicians for the body and physicians for the soul, although the two cannot be separated.”  -Plato
When: July 25th 2013

Where: It was near Detroit.

Why this is on my list: I specifically remember the moment when I decided I wanted to try acupuncture. About 6 years ago I was in the backseat of my dad's car, he and my step mom had taken me to lunch at a little French restaurant and I saw a sign for an acupuncture center and thought 'who would ever do that?...well maybe I will'. Then I looked across the street and saw a Polynesian Dance center and thought 'wow that would be fun too'. I was so intrigued about this very foreign practice and surprised to have found it in such a small town in Michigan. As soon as I got home I ordered an 'Acupuncture for Dummies' book and was totally fascinated about this 3,000 year old medicine. I called a place to check on prices, it was too expensive for me at the time but as soon as I started seeing it on groupon for $25 I was anxious to buy it.

Cost: It was a birthday gift to me from my husband, he found it on groupon for $25-a regularly priced session at this facility cost $75 which is comparatively low.

Will I do it again? I've mentioned my motto before 'when it comes to my brains, bones, bloodstream and organs I tend to stand on the borderline of becoming a mental health patient. Where I was excited to try acupuncture I was also just a tad nervous that the following could happen; unsterile needles would lead a mountain of diseases including HIV and all the hepatitises, paralysis, infertility and permanent nerve damage. I suppose now that it's written down this may seem a little irrational to constantly assume the absolute worst case scenarios, but you're a product of your environment. Recently my mom told my daughter not to put dirt in her mouth because she would get botulism poisoning...she also used to tell me when I was little that if I played with my gum I'd get polio.

Something I'd recommend? If you read about my experience below you will see that this was not my favorite experience. However, I wholeheartedly believe in it's healing agents, would certainly recommend it to anyone who had any medical ailment, and even I would have it done again...what I wouldn't recommend is doing it just to do it....I am generally against having experiences this way but when groupon buy before time runs out!

My take...

A few days before my appointment I started to get pretty nervous about the whole thing and like many of my adventures of this nature, with even the smallest potential for something to go awry, I'd like a 30 minute long introduction explaining what will happen, what to expect, what are the possible scenarios for disaster followed with some statistics and 8-12 minutes of solid reassurance that I will be ok. That's not what happened on this day. In fact the acupuncturist walked in on me while I was still undressing (down to undies and bra which I was totally not prepared for) it didn't seem to bother her that I was still removing my pants when she walked in....tough it bothered me for it isn't often that I'm standing practically nude in front of a total stranger. I learned a lot about our cultural differences that day.
Oh so eloquently I hurled myself onto the bed and pulled the Louis Vuitton sheet over me as quickly as I could....only so it could be removed immediately. Within 2 minutes of entering that building Dr Xu had inserted the first needle as I layed there intense panic and anguish I felt like I was going to lose my mind. After she put the first one in my skin, the same thought ran through my head as when I jumped out of a plane "oh my God, I just committed suicide". She didn't explain anything, she was just jabbing needles in me like I was a dart board. The Dr asked what I was there for where the real answer was 'I had a groupon that was about to expire' I simply said 'weight loss' because I knew the chances of those needles ending up in my back or face were pretty slim with the weight loss response as opposed to what I probably should have told her, that I have a small tendency to be anxious.
She started putting needles in my stomach...ok, I can handle this. Then she asked if I wanted more children....'what, why would you ask me that...are you wanting to endanger my baby making organs?!?!' ok....I can't handle this. Then she started putting them in my upper thigh....and when I say 'upper thigh' I really mean as close to my vagina as my full coverage underwear would allow her. So ok... you can only imagine that at this moment my level of stress was about to just max right out.
The 'willy nilly method' of inserting the needles took less than 2-3 minutes then she pulled out a machine and told me that this was for 'electromagnetic shocks'-I very seriously told her "oh I don't think I'm going to like that very much." She didn't argue with me and put the machine from 1984 back under the table out of sight.
She turned off the light and said "try to relax, I'll be back in 30 minutes".

"What? you're leaving?"....YOU'RE LEAVING...FOR 30 MINUTES!!?? WHAT IF I GO INTO SHOCK?!

"Close your eyes, take a nap"

'Oh my God. Take a nap? Are you out of your mind?!? I don't think my eyes were ever opened so wide, like I had been given a shot of enough adrenaline to awaken a comatosed hippo. Part of me wanted to shout out to the lobby that I was done and wanted the needles out...the other part of me started to giggle thinking 'what have I gotten myself into now' I tried to focus to be in the moment. After all Dannie from My Ultimate Life List just did this and she seems to be alright. Let me take this all in, here you are laying on a bed with 40 needles in your naked body in the office of an acupuncturist who learned this ancient medicine from her mother when she was a little girl- be in the moment, be in the moment....nope, I can't do this. Yes you can, the famous basketball player Tayshaun Prince comes here, she must be pretty good, he's got enough money to go anywhere and chooses to come here. I was searching for anything to ease the mental meltdown I was having.
Thankfully another, older, Chinese woman walked in to check on me, I felt a huge sense of relief until she looked at me with the most distressed look on her face asked "Are you OK?"...I said "yes, why, is there something wrong?" Why was she looking at me like that, had they put a needle in the wrong spot and wanted to make sure I still had my basic functions available to me? She answered me in Chinese and then walked out of the room. Now I was more frightened and confused than before. Five minutes later she came back in...and with the same look of alarm on her face she asked again "are you ok??" "Yes, I think so, what do you think? How much longer?" she said something in Chinese and walked away again. Another five minutes went by and she came in again...asked if I was ok and then while motioning with her hands said "Massage?" I said "what? with the needles still in? Does it cost extra? What do you massage?" She said something in Chinese and walked away. I was interested if I would see her again. 5 minutes later, my buddy reappeared, this time she had about 15 needles inserted into her corner of her eyes- she pointed to if I hadn't noticed and said some things in Chinese- I said "I don't want you to do that to me"...true to form, she said something in Chinese and walked away.
The next time my intermittent visitor came in she brought the dr with her...they both started plucking out the needles. The acupuncturist, undoubtedly looking for confirmation or appraise, said "Most people find acupuncture very relaxing" I looked at her without batting an eyelash and said "Oh."
She told me to put my clothes back on and then she was going to put some seeds in my ears. I couldn't even imagine what in the hell she was talking about but I was emphatically certain that I did not want this person to put any seeds in my ears. I was hoping I could just sneak out and she wouldn't notice me. As if. She was waiting at the front desk with her little seeds, she gave no explanation other than it would help with the weight loss and that it cost $5 more. "oh, you know what, maybe next time!" I would have told her anything just so I could get my little seedless ears out of there as quickly as possible. I was ready for this LIFE LIST experience to be over with. On my hour long drive home, all sorts of neurotic thoughts filled my head and I had wished I had not done it, especially not 1 week before our big trip to Disney World. I called Joel and asked him to look up all the possible side effects to acupuncture, They didn't seem too bad, nothing life threatening but in general I still felt very weird. And during our 4 day drive to Orlando I kept announcing that my arm felt weird.

All in all I did think her office seemed very clean and she claims to have a lifetime of learning this tradition passed from generation to generation, I liked that she didn't receive some certificate from a 6 month long program however, culturally I think Americans need more sugarcoating...this American does anyhow.
Though I do have a very adventurous spirit, it does not mean that I do these things without extreme trepidation. I should start calling myself  "The Trepidatious Traveler" "The Anxious Adventurer" "The Fearful Flyer" - you heard it here first! I hope I don't talk anyone out of having acupuncture, I think the idea of it is great...I'm just a nervous nelly.

“There must be something to acupuncture…
                    you never see any sick porcupines” 

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