Monday, February 25, 2013

It's Bachelor Night! Bring On The Fantasy Suite!

Happy Monday, blog readers! It's Bachelor day!

I saw Chris Harrison tweet thins morning that there are 3 women getting fantasy suite (aka overnight) dates this week, so I was like "Sean, you slut!", and knew this should be amusing.

They're in Thailand this week, for who knows what reason. Sean spends a ton of time telling us why he's super into each of the three women, and I use this time to eat a bunch of cookies. I toootally could have napped an extra 10 minutes.

Usually by this phase in these Bachelor/Bachelorette shows, there's that one person that you're really rooting for, thinking "I bet those crazy kids could make it work." I don't have one this time. I just don't feel like Sean has hit a point of depth in any of these relationships that would translate to becoming engaged soon.

Lindsay is up first, and she gets bonus points for wearing a minty green skirt just like the one I made a while back. (Oh, hey, I really need to blog about that!) One of the things that Sean says he likes about her is that she "never seems to have a bad day". That alone should be proof you don't know her that well, dude! You're still on your super best behavior around each other.

They go shopping in a Thai market, and there are dozens of crates of neon colored baby chicks, which is probably the saddest thing I've seen all week. They wander around, they buy some stuff, they eat some stuff (no neon chickens), and Sean decides to test her by seeing if she'll eat bugs. What is with his need to put these girls through all kinds of "physical challenges"? Is this dating or Double Dare, dude?

Dating Tip: If I have to watch you nibble on a giant grasshopper, I am TOTALLY not kissing you anytime soon.

Dating Tip #2- If you take a girl all the way to frickin' Thailand, maybe come up with something more fun to do than eat snacks and bugs?

They go to eat dinner amidst a bunch of parade floats, which light up as they approach. "All of a sudden, all these lights turn on and I am just blown away!" Oh. Lindsay is blown away by the concept of electricity. I guess that explains why she finds Sean so exciting, too?

Sean hands Lindsay the envelope inviting her to spend the night with him in the fantasy suite. These are super cheesy, but I guess it's a step up from the Bachelor just randomly being like "So... I have this penis..."

In the suite, Lindsay tells Sean she loves him, but it is sooooo painfully forced. She basically just wanted to say it to keep from being eliminated. (I'm not saying she didn't feel it necessarily, just that she didn't seem ready to actually say it AT ALL.)

(Sorry for the lack of photos in this post, btw, y'all. ABC stopped posting "sneak peek" photos a few weeks ago, so I've had nothing to steal since I watch on TV like an old-fashioned person and thus can't do screen grabs.)

AshLee gets date #2, and we all know from the previews that he's taking her snorkeling (or something water-y) through a cave. To me, that is waaaay more freaky than shopping and eating bugs. But of course, in true Sean fashion, he wants to test her to see if she can give up some control. I totally wish one of these girls could make Sean do something he hates in return.

(In a side note, I want to punch the camera person in the face for AshLee. This girl has an AMAZING body, but the camera dude manages to find the one angle that is reeeeally unflattering on her when she's in a bikini. You suck, camera dude.)

All the TV lighting takes away a bit of the cave's deep dark creepyness, but it's still pretty creeptastic. If this was me, I'd be like "Ya know what? Have a great marriage with one of the other girls. I'll just get a cat. Later."

Closest I could find.

So, here's the annoying thing, while we're on a commercial break. I've avoided reading all of the Bachelor blogs this season, because I always seem to end up getting spoiled by the comments. I was patting myself on the back for the fact that it would actually be a surprise this season. Then, just now, I was Google Imaging pics of the three girls to use here and... I got spoiled. NOT HAPPY. If people want to know spoilers, I really don't care, but don't ruin it for everyone else!

Anyway, back to the episode!  There's this moment on AshLee's date (when she sais "Stop it! Tell me more.") that she suddenly suuuuuuper reminds me of Rachel Zoe. Now that's all I will hear!

Catherine is Date #3, and I am pretty sure she just chugged like a 2-liter of Red Bull, because she is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo excited. For the first half of the date, they basically lay around on a boat and talk.

Okay, wait. Lindsay had to eat bugs, AshLee had to swim through a super creepy cave, and Catherine got to work on her tan? SO UNFAIR. They snorkel, and then there's a bunch of kissing while it storms in the background and all I can think is a) they are totally going to get electrocuted and b) Sean obviously never learned much from Arie's School of How To Look Good Kissing On Camera.

It's Fantasy Suite date card time, but Catherine is all "LOL NOPE!". Just kidding. But that is totally the reaction I'd have if Sean tried to get me alone with him. I am so bored at this point that I find myself cleaning the area around my laptop, and then remembering that I'm supposed to be blogging about this crap.

I do have to give Sean some clever points for phrasing his Fantasy Suite invites as "I just want to spend some alone time with you!" so the girls can say yes without worrying as much about how TV viewers will judge them. It's kind of creepy to think about though. Imagine being the 3rd girl and wondering if he's been gettin' freaky with the other two the past two nights.

This is the week where all 3 girls make a video message for Sean that he watches before he eliminates someone. I remember watching Emily's face when she watched these last season, and knowing from her expression that she was gonna off Sean. I'm pretty sure from Sean's reaction that I know who is going tonight, but we shall see! (After a message from our sponsors!)

Okay, it's rose time.

How did it take me so many weeks to make this joke?

Oh, right, time to break someone's heart so they can go find a less boring man. There's a weird torch burning behind Sean, which makes this feel even more like Survivor than when they were eating bugs.

Rose number one goes to Lindsay, and the second rose (after the longest pause EVER) goes to Catherine. I'm pretty sure AshLee saw it coming, because she was shaking her head the whole ceremony. She looks pissed, and I can't blame her. She doesn't even want to let Sean talk, she heads straight for the car, but he talks her into letting him explain himself. I don't think anything he says helps- it's more about making him feel better than her. At first I'm impressed that she doesn't cry, but then I remember that she's had a lot of practice at being super controlled.

Next week is "The Women Tell All", and then the week after that is finale time! I'm admittedly not that excited for the finale. I just don't feel invested in either relationship.

Who do you guys think will win? Or are you kinda "meh", too? Would you go to the Fantasy Suite if you were on the show?

Upcoming Giveaway!

Hey everyone! I'll be participating in this giveaway next month. If you're a blogger, you can join in, too!

Looking for bloggers to help promote a blogger sponsored  Giveaway, a $559 Value. 
The giveaway dates will be 3/11 through 4/8. You will receive either Facebook or Twitter link for free (with announcement post HERE) for helping me with this awesome giveaway. NO Google + 
Additional links $3 
Host pages available for $15 (4 links and follow page) 
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Go HERE to sign up!! 
There is a referral prize of $25 Paypal!
Only taking 75 blogs...all Facebook links will be on their own GT's.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

NY, London, and Milan Fashion Weeks

Whoa, I got behind on Fashion Week! (Shocking, I know. It only happens every single season.) It's missed ONE day of NYFW coverage, and suddenly I look up and London has already happened, and Milan is underway. OOPS.

I read an interesting post on IFB (Independant Fashion Bloggers) the other day about how the number of comments tend to go down when it comes to Fashion Week posts. I found it amusing because that totally happens to me! While most posts usually get at least a handful of comments, hardly anyone ever comments on my Fashion Week posts. I saw a lot of bloggers comment on that article that they just don't cover Fashion Week anymore, since they don't get as much interaction on those posts, but I have no plans to stop. I love looking through all of the shows, and I like having my favorites (and utter disasters) on my blog where I can easily compare what I loved last Fall vs. this Fall. I figure that if runway fashion's not your thing, you can always scroll to the next post.

Anyway! I left off towards the end of New York Fashion Week. (I never call it Mercedes Benz FW. I just don't.)

So... this happened at the Jeremy Scott show. Okay.

I feel like Marc Jacobs forgot something when he designed this look, but I can't quite put my finger (hand?) on it...

That's it for me for NYFW... let's move on to London!

It's not a good runway show until someone ends up wearing a lamp shade, am I right? Other models in this Fashion East show carried stuffed fish or teddy bears.

Okay, ready for the depressing part? That's the only show from London that I felt compelled to comment on. Out of something like 70 shows! Since there was so little to remark on from London, I thought I'd go ahead and check out a few Milan shows today, too!

Given that we got about an inch of ice yesterday (not snow... ice.), this Max Mara ensemble suddenly doesn't seem quite so silly.


So, at first I was like "THANK YOU, Dolce & Gabbana! I was waiting for a collection like this to shake things up a bit!"

But then they tried to make this poofy diaper thing happen, and I was mad at them.

...but then they pulled it back together, and we were cool again.

UGH, it's just SO GOOD.

It's just SO GOOD.

I want them.

Okay, after that Dolce and Gabbana-palooza, I'm going to wrap things up for now. I'll be back with more Milan soon! Ciao, babies!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Working For The Mouse: Traditions & Training

If you're just joining us, I've been working on a whole series of posts for people interested in relocating to Orlando and/or working at Disney World. You can find all of the posts in this series by clicking here!

Today I'm talking about the subjects I've probably gotten the MOST questions about- Traditions and training! It's totally common to wonder what the heck is going to happen to you when you're starting your new job, and I think it can be really calming to have at least some idea of what to expect! This was originally going to be my first post in this series, but when I started writing it, I realized just how much there was to cover, so I wanted to invest a few extra weeks in it. I have a feeling I'll need to do at least one or two more posts on the subject, but at least this is a start!

First, let's break down an outline of what your first week or two (or more) might look like.

1) Traditions- This is the very first class that any new Cast Member will attend. I believe that for College Program people it's a half day class, but for everyone else it's a full day. This is the day you (generally) get your name tag (yay!) and your cast ID, which is also your ticket to the parks! It introduces you to the company and parks, and goes over basic rules and info. This is also when you find out exactly where you will be working! Yep, up until this point, you may have known "Magic Kingdom- Tomorrowland Attractions", for example, but you don't actually know which attraction until now!

image source

2) Classes- Most  roles involve taking classes before you begin your on the job training. There's even a snazzy building called Disney University just for learning! Oooh, ahh! Depending on what your role is, you may only have a day or two of classes, or you may have more than a week! The classes for each role are totally different, but they're generally core info that you need to know before you begin training, such as how to run the cash register if you'll be working merchandise, or safety procedures for food-related jobs. I was always super impressed with the set-ups for classes! For instance, for my resort front desk classes, we had a separate "lab" area off of the main classroom that was set up with a mock front desk and computers so that we could practice checking guests in! Let me tell you, it is SO nice to get to practice that in a classroom environment instead of having to learn in front of guests!!!

3) Location Orientation- This day is spent learning your way around wherever you'll be working. In general, you'll take a tour of ALL of wherever you're working (for instance, Magic Kingdom or the Caribbean Beach Resort). This day gives you the basic "lay of the land", and will probably give you a little history and info about this new place where you'll be spending so much time. I've seen people have this orientation both before or after the classes from #2. This is the class that I used to facilitate, so I could talk all day about this topic! They used to literally pay me to!

4) On the Job Training- Once you learn the basic info about what you're going to be doing, it's time to actually head out into your location! Just like with classes, this training will vary in length depending on what you're doing. At the end of the designated training period, your skills will be assessed to make sure you're ready to start working on your own.

As you can imagine, all of that can be a LOT to handle, especially if you've also just moved to the area and are still getting settled into a new home, too! It's a lot of new info and new people and new routine (or lack of one) all at once! That brings me to my first two major tips:

Tip #1- Give yourself permission to be a beginner. No matter how smart and capable and generally awesome you are, chances are you are going to kinda suck at whatever you're learning at first. You're going to make mistakes. You're going to feel uncomfortable sometimes. You might feel scared or overwhelmed or have one of those "OMG, what did I get myself into?" moments.

My very first night in Orlando, I woke up in my hotel room (having not even found an apartment yet) at 3 a.m. and Freaked. The Freak. Out. How on EARTH had that day taken me 1,000 miles from home to a city where I knew exactly one person, to a whole new life? There was a moment where I sat up in that hotel bed, looked over at my still packed suitcases, and momentarily considered just booking a plane ticket back home the next day, as if it had never happened. I'm really thankful now that I didn't turn around and go home, but for a good half hour or so there, it was a definite possibility.

My job in attractions wasn't that hard to pick up, so I never stressed too much learning that role, but when I moved to front desk and concierge, there was a period during training and my first few days on my own where I was pretty sure I would NEVER get the hang of this stuff. There was just so much info to learn!
I don't think there's anything you can truly DO to prepare yourself for those first few days. There's just no other job experience like it. I mean, I worked front desk at a hotel for three entire years before moving to Florida, but working front desk at a Disney resort was a totally new experience in every way possible. Yes, I was still checking people into rooms and handing out keys and such, but it looked and felt nothing at all like what I was used to.

Of course, a few years later I was at the point in that role where I'd seen and handled so many things that I was totally confident in my ability to handle almost anything that came up. You probably could have run up to the desk and told me that flying vampire zebras had just invaded the food court, and I would have just been like "Okay, cool, I'll handle it."

The point I'm trying to make, I guess, is that if you go into your first days on the new job worrying about impressing everyone and doing an amazing job and being the best ever, you're probably going to stress yourself out like crazy. Try to keep in mind that nobody expects you to be perfect. That's why we stick that big, bright red "Earning My Ears" ribbon on your name tag. Yeah, you might screw up, but it's okay. It really is. Chances are, your trainer has seen other people make the exact same mistakes a million times before. Go into it with the attitude of wanting to do your best, but be gentle with yourself. Which brings us to...

Tip #2- Prepare Yourself For Those First Weeks
I spent the night before Traditions sick as a dog with no cold medicine and no furniture. (It was my first night in the new apartment, and the delivery of all of my stuff had been seriously hindered by a snowstorm hitting my old home.) I slept on my living room floor with one pillow and blanket that I'd picked up at Wal-Mart that day. I sniffled my way through Traditions the next day, sipping a mixture of the free coffee and hot chocolate that had been set up in the back of the classroom to try to keep me alive after only about 3 hours of sleep. I often had to take a moment to remind myself that this was the big day I'd been looking forward to for so long.

I am far from being the only person to feel gross during Traditions, or to have a totally not fun bug during training. All of the stress and work and crazyness that comes with moving and starting a new job is bound to wear your body down. No matter what job you end up doing, training is exhausting. For some roles it can feel pretty physically intense (Most of us just aren't used to a job where we might be walking for hours and hours at a time!), while others drain you mentally. With a lot of roles you'll be outside, which can be a pretty major shock to the system if you're coming from Minnesota and are now spending several hours in a row out in 100 degree Florida heat and humidity.

Gearing up for the first couple of weeks is definitely on my list of "Things I'm glad I know how to handle better next time"! Here are a few suggestions:

*If you can afford to, try to leave at least a week between moving into town and starting work. I arrived on the evening of the 10th and had Traditions on the morning of the 15th. I REALLY wish I'd allowed myself a few more days to settle in, especially since 2 of those 4 days were spent apartment hunting! I know that not everyone can afford to spend an extra few days without working, but chances are you'll really appreciate it if you can! (No, you won't be able to go to the theme parks for free until after Traditions, but there are plenty of other things to do until then!) Having a few days to settle into your new place and nest a little can do wonders for you mentally, in terms of feeling like you have a "home" to relax and unwind in after a crazy day of learning new things, rather than some weird new apartment full of boxes you haven't had time to unpack yet.

*Have you ever felt like you might be coming down with something, and tried to fight it off by taking vitamins and drinking lots of fluids, eating super healthy and getting lots of rest? I'd suggest preparing for your first week of work in a similar way. Do everything you can to boost up your immune system and energy level so that your body is a little more prepared for everything you're about to throw at it. You might want to add something with vitamins and antioxidants to your routine (I'm personally a fan of Emergen-C Raspberry, but there are all kinds of options). I know that this makes it sound more like I'm telling you to prepare for a marathon than a first week at work, but this is what I'm planning to do when I go back! Your body will naturally start adapting to your crazy new schedule after the first few weeks, but anything you can do to make the transition a little easier is a good thing! (When I worked attractions at Magic Kingdom, I would sometimes get home from work and have to sit in my car for a few minutes, staring at the stairs that led up to my apartment until I could summon the energy to actually climb them to go home!)

*Have something comforting waiting for you at home. Due to the storm I mentioned above, I was in FL for more than a week before the people I'd hired to deliver my car actually dropped it off. The only problem was that they were now dropping it off while I was at my very first day of training at Magic Kingdom. I got off work and found a bunch of new voicemails telling me that their truck had been unable to fit through the gates to my apartment community, so they had dropped it off in the parking lot of a grocery store on their way to another drop-off. (I'm not even going to get into this whole crazy story, but it's way back in the archives here and here you want to read it!) When I learned that my car was now 20 miles across town and the only person I knew in the entire state wasn't available to help me get it home, I sat on my living room floor with a giant cream cheese brownie and a glass of milk, and wept for a solid 15 minutes while I ate it. After that, I was able to pull it together and work things out, but I needed that moment of breaking down and  gobbling up some comfort food first.

When you're suddenly surrounded by so many new things at once (New city, new home, new job, new people, new things you're expected to do, new clothes you're expected to wear...), having something familiar and comforting can be a total life saver. Taking some time during your first couple of weeks to chill out in a bubble bath with a glass of wine, or watch your favorite movie while eating too many cookies- whatever ritual helps you to really, really relax and totally turn your brain off. A lot of people get sucked in to spending every free minute in the parks when they're new, and while that's super fun, you're going to wear yourself out big time if you don't plan for some downtime, too!

One final, sort of random tip: For Traditions and any classes at Disney University, take a jacket or sweater with you! Even if it's the middle of August! It seems like every time I've been there, no matter what time of year, the classrooms have been FREEZING. If the temperature ends up being okay, then no big deal, you just brought an extra item with you. But sitting still through an 8 hour class while freezing your rear off is no fun at all! In my experience, I've always been welcome to bring a beverage, too, so if you know you can't get through the afternoon without your favorite soda or tea, bring one along. You'll have plenty of breaks to get your caffeine fix or just plain re-hydrate!

Speaking of things to wear during Traditions, I have a post in the works that will be full of suggestions for what to wear for Traditions and your classes! A lot of people get freaked out by trying to find clothes that meet the Disney Look guidelines, so I'm giving it a whole post of its own!  I'll probably come back and revisit the topic of training in more depth, too. If you have questions, let me know and I'll do my best to help!

That handy disclaimer: All opinions posted here are based off of my own experiences, and are in no way official or guaranteed to work for everyone. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Bachelor Recap: Hometown Dates!

Happy Monday, blog friends!  It's Bachelor time! If you're new, you should know that I type my recaps while I'm watching, so they're pretty stream of conscious! This week is full of home town dates with the final 4. Should be good! I always like seeing the crazy come out when families come into play.

AshLee is up first, and I'm guessing that her home town date will be pretty boring, since there are no clips of it in the preview. I noticed something interesting during this date- When AshLee tells Sean how good-looking he is, he just replies something like "Awww" instead of returning the compliment. I'm gonna have to pay attention to how he takes compliments now!

AshLee's family seems sweet, and their meeting doesn't give me all that much to mock. She's obviously super into Sean, but I don't necessarily get the feeling that he's as into her. I'm pretty sure she'll make it to next week, though, unless he freaks out about the prospect of breaking her heart and damaging her.

Catherine is up next, and it's interesting to see how he acts with her vs. how he is with AshLee a few minutes ago. They seem to have a lot of fun together, but it seems like they're in a very early "crush" phase.

Interlude here to say: There's still something I don't like about Sean, and I can't quite put my finger on it. I think it has something to do with always saying the "right" thing. It makes him seem disingenuous.

Catherine annoys me by saying that if Sean proposed, she'd say yes because she'd want to "try it out". That sounds healthy. (heavy sarcasm voice.)

Because everything doesn't go perfectly, Sean suddenly isn't sure how to go forward with Catherine. You mean their month long relationship isn't rock solid? GASP!

Lindsay is Chick Number 3, so Sean is off to Ft Leonard Wood, which is about 2 hours from where I grew up. Wheee. Sean seems way more concerned about what her dad will think of him than he has about the other families, so I wonder if that means he's more serious about Lindsay?

At the end of their day, Lindsay tells Sean she's falling in love with him. AshLee did last week, so at this point we're 2 loves and 2 who haven't said it yet. Hmmm.

Desiree is last, which we know means that her date will be the craziest. She meets him wearing colorful workout clothes, which makes me wonder when my Feb. subscription box from Ellie will get here. Sean is wearing the same ugly pink shorts he has worn in several episodes.

I have to give Des some props for her date planning. She takes Sean hiking, since he's active and outdoorsy, and then has him help prepare dinner, which is a very coupley thing. Of course, then her "ex-boyfriend" shows up and goes on and on about how in love with her he still is. Things escalate quickly. Then, of course, she tells Sean that it's a prank to pay him back for his prank on their first date. (Sean also pranked Emily on his hometown date in her season, so he should have seen this coming!)

Des's brother gives her a ton of crap and calls her relationship stupid, and you can just tell he's a delightful dude to be around. When he talks to Sean, it's interesting to see someone who doesn't immediately think the sun shines out of Sean's ass. You can tell he's used to being able to talk his way out of things, but that he's not used to being not liked, too. I can't figure out why everyone seems afraid to really confront the brother, nobody really just steps in and tells him to stop being assy.

Sean is concerned that he can't marry into a family where he doesn't get along with the brother. That seems incredibly dumb to me. I can see perhaps reconsidering if her entire family hated you, but you might really throw the relationship away because one guy is a dick? I feel like getting along with someone's family is awesome if it happens, but totally not a deal breaker. Sean also says he didn't want to ruin the evening by getting into a fight with her brother, but wouldn't you rather get into one fight and figure out where things stand than just give up on the relationship? I'm guessing Des would probably rather have you yell at her brother than send her home. Just sayin'.

At the beginning of the rose ceremony, Sean says that he's still not sure at that moment who he is sending home. Wait, dude. seriously? Like, fo-reals? This doesn't seem like a decision you should make on the fly. Ask the producers to give you another couple of hours to think.

AshLee gets a rose, Lindsay gets a rose, and then (drumroll....) Sean walks out of the room.

So, here's what I'm thinking at this point. Catherine's family was hard on her, but it seemed to be because they thought she wasn't in a "ready to settle down" place in her life, and that (rightly) she was still in that fresh, new relationship phase with Sean where everything is bunnies and rainbows, and he hadn't quite seen the real her yet. On the other hand, Des's brother just plain doesn't like Sean. To me, someone's family saying they're not in the right place for a serious relationship is a way bigger red flag than someone having a brother that's a pain to be around.

Sean comes back and gives the rose to Catherine, and I feel really bad for Des. Poor girl didn't pick her brother. Some people have crappy siblings, Sean. That's just life. As they're having a little chat before Des leaves, I can't help but wonder why they didn't have a major conversation at her house, after things went down with her brother. Why wouldn't you resolve things then, rather than letting him stew on it until the rose ceremony? Their goodbye is hard to watch, y'all.

I have this theory about pranks on the hometown dates, by the way. Emily sent Sean home after his hometown, and now this with Des. Even though the fact that they both played pranks doesn't really have anything to do with getting eliminated technically, I have to wonder if they kind of DO. By playing a prank and freaking the Bachelor/Bachelorette out on a major level, they make them wonder "Whoa, do I really not know this person at ALL?" It puts in a major moment of doubt, and gets their adrenaline going. I can't help but wonder if that has some kind of impact?

There's a "Sean Tells All" special tomorrow night. Not sure if I'll blog it or not, I guess it depends if it feels like there's much to comment on! Tonight's episode was fairly boring until the end, so I apologize if this was less amusing than usual!

Who do you guys think will be the "winner"? I'm about 90% sure Catherine will be eliminated next, so it really seems to be between Lindsay and AshLee now!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Newman's Own Organics Cat Food - Review & Giveaway!

As I'm sure you all know, I am a total crazy cat lady. We go through cat food in this house like most people go through... um.. what do normal people go through quickly? I have no idea.

We got to try out some Newman's Own Organics cat food, which I was SUPER excited about because I spend approximately the GNP of a small country on cat food each month. If you have cats, you know how picky they can be, so I'm always curious to see how cat food reviews will go!

First up, we got a bag of their dry cat food.

I know that what I think looks appetizing and what a cat finds appealing are two totally different things, but to me, this stuff looked pretty good!

Extreme close-up!

Luckily, most of my cats agreed! My house has a mix of picky eaters, cats that will eat anything, and those that fall in between, so we're probably a pretty accurate sample. Given that cat taste preferences are so subjective, I was happy to see that this is available in a 1 lb bag, so it's easy to see if your cats are going to enjoy it without having to invest in a larger bag. I wish all cat food companies offered 1 lb. bags, it would make life so much easier! (The dry food is also available in 3 lb. and 4.75 lb bags). If you have cats that love to chase pieces of dry food across the kitchen floor like mine do (cats love to "hunt" their food!), you'll find these round pieces roll especially well!

Next, we got to try 6 of the 11 varieties of canned cat food that Newman's Own Organics makes. I decided that the can pictured at the top left had to be just for Tallulah, because the cat on it looked just like she did when she was younger!

Still pretty close.

As you can imagine, the small (3 oz.) cans were gone in a flash, and the larger (5.5 oz) ones didn't last much longer! There was one small can where the pate formula seemed... squishier? (for lack of a better word) than most, and some of the cats turned up their nose at that one, but the rest seemed to be enjoyed by everyone.

My cats are always happy to taste test new foods!

Given that the term "organic" is thrown around so much these days, you might be wondering about the ingredients in these foods. There's a handy "What's In It?" section on the official site, but I'll do my best to sum up a few of the points here! Basically, the chicken used for the food is fed an all natural diet and raised without growth hormones or antibiotics.  The vegetables and grains are grown without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, and are certified organic by USDA-National Organics Program. You won't find any artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors, and there are no poultry by-products or GMOs in there.

The only challenge I've encountered so far is trying to find these products in the store. I am currently living in Southwest MO, and the closest store to carry them is in NW Arkansas. There was a moment of false hope when I discovered my local PetCo carried Newman's Own Organics dog treats, but they didn't have any cat food at all. I used their store locator to see if they'd be easier to find near where I usually live in Orlando, and found that one Wal-Mart in Kissimmee does carry them. I'm hoping that they'll become easier to find soon! I was really sad because they were nice enough to send me a stack of coupons to use on future purchases, but I wasn't able to use them before they expired.

For more info, check out Newman's Own Organics on Facebook!

Newman's Own Organics has been generous enough to offer up a prize package (similar to the variety of products I got) to one lucky reader! I know that as a cat nerd, I get more excited about cat food giveaways than just about anything else, so I'm hoping you guys do, too! This giveaway is open to US residents. Just enter via the Rafflecopter widget below!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Grammy Fashion 2013: Worst and... Worst?

I started out to do a "Best and Worst Dressed at the Grammys" post, but then I realized that I don't have ANY "bests"! How crazy is that? There were dresses that I thought were pretty okay, but for the most part, the red carpet was full of worst dressed moments! (I can NOT WAIT to watch Fashion Police tonight!)

WTF, J-Lo? Who dressed you, girl? There is so much wrong with this! The hair looks like what I do when I need to run to the grocery store and just want it out of my face. The dress manages to make her look flat-chested and out of proportion everywhere else. It almost reminds me of a $12 witch costume you get at a Halloween superstore- the fabric looks so cheap!

Florence's dress got a lot of hate, but I think it's kinda fun and it suits her persona. I do wonder how uncomfortable those spikes on the back were to sit on, though!

YIKES. Someone needs to give Maria M.. um.. Menu... Menon... Um, this chick, that a deep slit up the side of your dress is nice, but a deep slit heading straight up to Ladyland is not so classy.

I've never heard of D'manti, but from these photos, I am assuming she is a mermaid who got stuck in a net? Am I close?

I feel like Ashanti's dress would have been one of my favorites... IF only she had just worn something underneath it!

I've seen Katy Perry on some people's best lists, but to me this looks like she got drunk and attacked a dress with a glue gun and $50 worth of beads from Michaels. Not a fan of this one.

Taylor Swift is another dress people seem to love, but I feel like she looks SO skeletal in her chest that it ruins the dress!

A lot of people loooved this dress, but I feel like the placement of the cut-outs are soooo unflattering on her legs!

If you did a best/worst dressed post, too, leave me a link in the comments! I'd love to check it out! (Or just tell me whose outfits you loved/hated!)

All images by Getty Images and

The Nail Files - Valentine Special!

I'm linking up for The Nail Files again this week!

I wanted to do something fun and Valentines-y this week, but my first attempt did not work out AT ALL.

The single heart on my pinky is kind of okay, but trying to do multiple hearts was a hot mess! And as you can probably see, I lost two of them before I could even take the photo! (The piece of cat hair stuck to my nail is just a bonus. You're welcome.)

Since THAT was kind of a fail, I decided to go glittery instead!

Much better! (I hope!)

Be sure to head over to the link-up by clicking the button at the top of the post to see what everyone else has posted, if nails are your thing!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

New York Fashion Week Part 3!

It's 4:15 am and I'm awake (because let's face it, I'm always awake!) so I thought I'd take the time to catch up on blogging the past few days of runway shows! There were a few from the 10th that I was really excited for (Zac Posen, Catherine Malandrino, DVF), but surprisingly nothing that I felt was blog-worthy! Luckily, the 11th and what I've seen so far of the 12th have made up for it!

I need this Alice + Olivia dress in my life! And what are those shoes?? I wish there was a close-up!

I want to wear everything about this look. (Also Alice + Olivia)

My favorite Elie Tahari looks were the ones that faded from solid to print.

I loooove this Naeem Khan gown! And the fit is spectacular!

And this one! How great is that fabric??

What all the best-dressed Pop Tarts will be wearing this Fall. (Thom Browne) I get what he was going for with this collection, I just wish he would have really gone for it and pushed everything one step further.

I liked pretty much everything in Thakoon's collection (especially the use of the dandelion printed fabric and the dragonfly embellishments) but this is the dress that I kept having to go back and inspect more closely. So great! One of my favorite collections so far.

The shoes were great, too! These are so wearable!

More to come, of course!

All images via

Working for The Mouse: Hours and Benefits

So, know what's overwhelming? Trying to plan out blog posts about Disney and Orlando! HOLY COW, you guys, this is a huge project. I have so many notes that I've been trying to organize and enrich over the past several weeks that it's gotten a little out of control. I'm actually planning to pick up a few pieces of poster board so I can map out future Orlando/Disney posts better, because all of the pages of notes in notebooks, Google docs, notes on my phone, and tons of e-mails I've received have turned into a big jumbled mess!

In the mean time, I wanted to go ahead and put out this little blog post that is pretty introductory and explains a few key points that will come in handy later when I get into the actual Disney work posts! So let's dive in!

CM- Disney refers to its employees as "Cast Members", since everyone is a part of the show. You'll sometimes see it abbreviated as CM or just "cast". Likewise, jobs are referred to as "roles". I have another post in the works that will be up soon that will explain some of the major categories of roles available, including some you might not have thought about, as well as the pros and cons of working in the parks vs. the resorts.

FT/PT/Seasonal/CP/ICP- Holy cow that's a lot of letters, am I right?
The first three on that list distinguish how often you work.

Full time means 5+ days, or more than 32 hours a week, just like most jobs. What is different here vs. at the average job is that Disney is a 24 hr a day, 365 days a year company, so schedules can get crazy. It's not at all unusual to work a shift opening the park at 6 am one morning, and then be scheduled on a closing shift from like 6 p.m.-2 a.m. the next day. They usually try to schedule at least 8 hours between your shifts, but if you have a half hour drive home and need some time to get ready for bed/get ready in the morning, you can easily imagine how that 8 hours can quickly be reduced to about 4 hours of sleep.

Of course, not every role has that crazy of a schedule. Of the parks, Animal Kingdom has the shortest hours, (usually 8-5, give or take an hour or two) so you get a lot less fluctuation in schedule if you work there. At the resorts, the concierge desk is only open 7 a.m.-10 p.m., so you know that the earliest you'll be scheduled is 6:45. (The opposite isn't true for closing- although I was usually only scheduled until 10:30, I was there until 11 or later a LOT, either because the desk closed late because it was busy, or because I wanted to follow up on something I was working on for a guest, etc.) Similarly, almost all housekeepers work mornings, and lifeguards primarily work daytime hours.

The reason that I mention the crazy schedule hours under full time rather than the other two is that full time means you are giving your full availability. You can't say "Oh, I can't work past 4 p.m. because that's when my kids get home from school." You can request morning hours, but that does not mean you'll get them, so if working a certain time of day is really important to you, it's a good idea to seek out a role that improves your chances of being scheduled at that time. (There are a lot of jobs like third shift custodial for people who prefer to work overnight hours.)

This can make it really tough to make plans. Imagine there's a band that you really want to see playing next Tuesday night. You usually work mornings, so you're pretty sure you can go, but you really don't know until a week ahead of time if you might be scheduled for a double that day, so do you risk buying the ticket anyway? I mention all of this not to freak anyone out, but because I think a lot of people go into it not realizing just how crazy hours can be, especially when you're new and have zero seniority.

Number of hours can vary a lot, too. Full time is described as "32+ hours", but the actual number of hours you work may be totally different from week to week. Mandatory doubles or 6th/7th days are pretty darn common during holidays and busy times of year. When things get slow, you may find yourself only working 32-34 hours for several weeks in a row, which can get pretty tough on the ol' paycheck.

Part time is 3 days a week. This is up a bit from a few years ago, when it was 2 days. Again, you are offering up your full availability during those 3 days, so you could get scheduled to come in at 5 in the morning or 8 at night, or any other hour you can imagine. Part time may be a great option for you if you're a student that knows they need Tues & Weds off for classes, or if you're just not up to working a full time schedule. It's also a great way to "get your foot in the door", since finding a full time role in the category of your choice can be really tough.

Seasonal cast members may only work a few days here and there, primarily during busier times. A few years ago, seasonal cast members were only required to work something like 40 hours per year to maintain their status, but it has since jumped up to 150. (150 hours works out to about 19 8 hour days, if you don't feel like doing the math.) That's made things a bit more complicated for those who were living out of state and just popping down for a few weeks a year to get their hours in, I'm sure. The perk of being seasonal is that you DO get to determine when you're available, as in "I can work any time the weeks of Christmas and New Years, but not at all in the summer." The down side is that if you find yourself in need of some income in slower parts of the year, you may have trouble getting shifts. (Although there was one seasonal CM at my resort who we all knew *loved* any hours she could get, so we'd call her up when we had a shift we needed to give away.)

The latter two abbreviations refer to participants in the College Program and International College Program. You can find alllll kinds of info about that on the official site. I'm just mentioning the term so you'll know what I mean if I say CP or ICP. In short, they're temporary cast members that are usually only with us for a few months, but work full time during that time.

I've had a few questions about the benefits that come with the job. Most people know that we get into the four major parks for free, but what else do you get?

*Full time cast members can get medical/dental/vision insurance. There's actually even an awesome clinic right in the Epcot cast parking lot. (It became my home away from home my last few months there! One of the nurses even said I deserved my own parking spot.) There are several different health plans to choose from, which range from a few dollars a week for a basic plan for just yourself, to quite a bit more if you want to cover your family, too.

*Full time CMs also get a few paid sick and vacation days each year. Pretty rad.

*Full and part time CMs get a "main gate pass", which allows you to admit your friends/family into the park with you a few times a year. (The number of days varies depending on status and seniority. CPs get 6 days, while full time CMs who have been with the company for 15+ years may have an unlimited number.) Your main gate also works at Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, etc.

*Unlike the 4 main parks, we don't get unlimited free admission to the water parks and DisneyQuest, but we do get discounts. Additionally, the water parks usually offer a period in the fall (usually around Oct/Nov) when cast gets in for free.

*Most roles get an annual raise. Depending on jobs you've held in the past, a raise once a year may either sound awesome or like not enough. Since I was coming from a hotel job where I'd gone almost 3 years with no raise in pay, now knowing I could count on a few extra cents each October made me pretty happy.

*All cast members, regardless of their full time/part/etc status get discounts! You get a discount on almost any merchandise in the parks and resorts, rooms at the resorts, and a fair amount of dining. A lot of local businesses also offer discounts for CMs. (My apartment complex gave 5% off rent. Woo!)

*Sneak previews and other cast-only stuff! Usually when there's a special event coming up, like Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, cast members are allowed to attend the dress rehearsal of the parade (or a soft opening of a new attraction, for example). There are periodically cool (and usually free!) classes or tours you can take, like a backstage tour of the Haunted Mansion. (I always really wanted to do that one, but it was held at 7 a.m., which is an hour you will never see me awake if I can help it!)

*You get to wear unbelievably sexy costumes, like this:

*Events/Parties/Team Building- These will be different depending on where you work, but at my resort we had barbecues several times a year, a summer party with food and prizes, various pot lucks, etc. There was one especially awesome time when I was a concierge where over the course of about 2 months, I got to go parasailing, ride in a race car, and get paid to eat at Restaurant Marrakesh at Epcot. Not a bad gig!

*There are a lot of random other things that I can't even begin to list, because they're so varied. There are softball teams, hula dance clubs, theater groups, lending libraries stocked with all things Disney, and on and on and on.

*Some (I believe most?) full and part time positions offer a retirement plan option.

*The main "benefits", in my opinion, though, are the experiences you get to have and people that you get to meet. You get to see and do so many things that people with "normal" jobs would never imagine. (I remember one night while working at the Tomorrowland Speedway, I was driving one of the cars backstage to be stored for the night while the Wishes fireworks were going off overhead, and it was such an "I get paid for this?" moment.) You meet and work with people of all ages and backgrounds from all over the world. You see things that make you laugh and things that touch your heart, you shed a few tears, you learn an absurd number of things, you get yelled at now and then, you discover you're capable of things you never expected.

...and YIKES. What was supposed to be a quick post to define some terms and give some background info grew long so quickly! I hope it was helpful, though! If you have questions (about this topic of ones you'd like to see me cover in the future), leave a comment or shoot me an email, and I'll do my best to reply or work the answer into a future post!

Handy disclaimer: All I can do here is offer advice and info from my own experiences. I haven't worked every single role, nor led every single lifestyle, so I'm not going to know everything. Getting upset about that is just plain silly. However, I'm more than happy to do my best to answer any questions you may have, or refer you to other resources if they're about an area outside of my expertise. Also, any info or advice I offer is as current as possible, but things are always evolving, so things may change to make something I say no longer accurate. All opinions are my own- if you want the "official" word, check out Disney's official sites or contact them directly.

Spring 2013 Couture - Oops!

I was just trying to find a post in my drafts folder on Blogger, and I discovered that I forgot to ever hti publish on my post about the Spring '13 couture shows!  Oops!  So, this is a bit late, but I thought I might as well go ahead and put it out there anyway!

I looooooove couture runway shows! It's always fun to see what the designers come up with when they pull out all the stops! Here's what's been on the runway this (*cough* LAST) month!

The Alexis Mabille collection reminded me a bit of a few seasons ago when Black Swan was a thing, and so there were a ton of ballet-inspired looks. Since I'm into refashioning old clothes into something new, I drew a lot of inspiration from this! The whole collection was filled with fun textures and shapes, so much fun to look at!

This dress (also Alexis Mabille) reminded me of Peaches n Cream Barbie. Who else had her?

As much as I enjoy Karl Lagerfeld...

All things Chanel felt like they were made for Helena Bonham Carter to wear to an awards show.

Not a surprise, but I loved the whole Elie Saab collection. I can't even imagine the work that went into the construction of these gowns!

This Jean Paul Gaultier look!

I wasn't that into this collection until I looked through the details. This shoe! And the foot painted purple!

I got the biggest kick out of the Ulyana Sergeenko "Americana" collection! I vote it for "best use of burlap on a runway, 2013".

Valentino was just plain dreamy. It's crazy to think about the hundreds of hours of work that went into each piece!

Did you have any favorites?