spreadsheets and suitcases

organization + travel = family fun

Bits & Pieces: T-A-G, Elena of Avalor, Crayola Store

  • Remember my post about Disney T-A-G, and how I hoped more items would be available on DisneyStore.com eventually?  Well, I got my Disney wish!  I got an email this morning offering 25% off plus free shipping (use code: PARKDEALS) when you order any Disney Parks item…including newly added T-A-G offerings.  There are 20 items listed, ranging from $14.95 for a curling iron case to $199.00 for a 28″ rolling suitcase.  Oddly, the umbrella that I bought is not among the offerings.  But this lovely Jewelry Organizer is:

Why do I love this so much?  If you know me in real life, you know that I never change my understated earrings, can’t stand to wear anything around my neck, and only wear bracelets on very special occasions.  So I really have no use for this.  But…pretty!

  • Elena of Avalor: Disney’s first Latina princess!  She is independent, bilingual, has a smart ‘n spunky sister, great hair, and rides a magical flying jaguar.  Yes, as a matter of fact I am flattered that Disney Channel chose to create a show based on my life story.  Hahaha.  Anyway, the show is cute, funny, and includes wonderful messages about believing in your own strengths and abilities.  Disney Parks Blog has announced the debut of Elena at Walt Disney World, with a special show in front of Cinderella Castle called “The Royal Welcome of Princess Elena of Avalor,” to be live-streamed online.  The first show on August 11th is the one to be live-streamed, but after that they will have it several times a day for Park guests.


  • Finally, a shout-out to Crayola’s online store!  I decided to create something in the Crayola My Way section, which allows you to create a custom crayon box where you choose the colors you want.  I repeat: YOU CAN CHOOSE YOUR OWN CRAYON COLORS, for 8-count and 64-count boxes.  You can also add a photo to the front of the box, choose holiday and birthday-themed boxes, customize an art case, and even get your kids’ doodles made into stuffed animals.  Anyway, the shout-out is for their Customer Service team….I got an Amex Offer for the Crayola Store, and loved the idea of customizing a crayon box.  So I went on the site, created something, ordered it, and completely forgot to use the card that had the Amex offer attached to it.  I realized it an hour later when I noticed that I hadn’t received the “You’ve just used your Amex Offer!” email.  I called them, and spoke with a rep, who stated that because it was a weekend she couldn’t make any changes to the order, and a manager would call me on Monday to see what they could do to change the payment type.  On Monday, I called again, and a different rep said she would have a manager call me right away.  10 minutes later, I spoke with the manager who unfortunately couldn’t make the change, because of course the payment was already authorized to the card I had used, and as custom order, there were no refunds/cancellations.  So I didn’t get my statement credit for using the Amex Offer, but guess what?  I didn’t really mind, because all 3 of the ladies I spoke with were so kind, friendly, and genuine in wanting to help me.  I messaged the company on Facebook to praise their service staff by name.  It was my mitzvah for the day.


    I clapped with delight upon seeing this on my screen!



Leave a comment »

New travel gear :)

Hey, so I mentioned that I had totally scored on my ideal travel backpack, and I’ve since received it.  It’s fabulous, and I did a “test-fill” to see how it would hold up to my usual carry-on packing needs.  Here it is, with most of my typical carry-on stuff, roughly clockwise: rubbah slippahs, Travel Planning Binder, puzzle book, pashmina, water bottle, powder flavoring, spare clothes, makeup bag, glasses, gum, inhaler, chargers, hair clip, smartphone (see how the phone case matches the backpack? squee!), chargers, watch, pen/highlighter, travel wallet, snacks, small first aid kit (in the red pouch), portable charger (the shiny blue thing), headphones, 7-day med case, Charmin To-Go & Wet Ones, and 3-1-1 bag with toothpaste/sanitizer/lotion.  Plus, the new backpack of course!  It fit beautifully, with space to spare.


test carry

Not pictured: my neck pillow, which I would clip to the top handle of the bag, more protein-y snacks like pepperoni, and my iPod Touch (because I took this picture with it)!


Also, remember this post about the Disney TAG (Travel-Accessories-Gear) collection?  Well, one day I received a free shipping code from Disney Store, so I decided to browse around the site.  What did I come across but the single solitary item from the TAG collection available on DisneyStore.com?  So, I hate umbrellas, and usually just get wet rather than use one, never mind carry one around.  But this one is adorable, and I had the free shipping code, another offer for 25% off Disney Parks items, and 3% back from ebates.  For $15.63, not including the ebates rebate, this umbrella is mine and the children/husband have been instructed to never ever touch it, lol.  So now I have something from the TAG collection, and it gives me hope that other items will be sold online in the future.

TAG umbrella1

Also, you guys, I’m seriously considering ending the blog.  Posts get very few views, and with so little feedback, I’m not sure what people are wanting to hear about.  The renewal date is coming up in a few weeks.  Just FYI.

We’re moving right along on the Quinceañera planning…finalizing invitations in the coming weeks!


Disney Pre-Trip Report: wearables

Rocking Disney Gear

  • Make Your Own

I’m a low-tech graphic design buff.  I love making custom images, but I only use free clipart/fonts and Powerpoint to make them because I don’t want to pay for stock images and I don’t have Photoshop.  I design my local university alumni chapter T-shirts that we use for fundraising each year.  Those are pretty good, I must say- we always sell a lot of them.  It’s a lot of fun!

Here’s how I use this skill for the Mouse…I make shirts for every Disney trip!  I’ve shown this image here before: custom shirts back

I force my family to wear the matching shirts on our first Park/Cruise day so we can get an official photo.  After that, they can wear them (or not) whenever they like.

The layout is the same when I start to make a trip shirt design: a background image or color related to the trip (for the Alaska cruise it was the Disney Wonder in Tracy Arm), and individual WordArt letters filled in w/pictures from previous Disney trips, spelling out the word “Disney.”

I try to choose different “picture fills” for the letter each time (explained below), but have a goal of including personal pictures from WDW, Disneyland, Aulani, and Disney Cruise Line.

You can use any lettering to make a WordArt, but I’m partial to the Disney font, of course, properly known as Waltograph.  It’s free, and you can download it at DaFont.  BTW, they also have a bunch of fun movie fonts like Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, The Godfather, etc.

So I start with a blank slide on Powerpoint (ahhhh, the creative possibilities).  I search my pictures or the internet for an appropriate background image.  For this trip, I might choose something like this:

It's my little buddy's 1st time, and I don't know which will be his favorite Park.  Solution: include all of them!

It’s my little buddy’s 1st time, and I don’t know which Park will be his favorite. Solution: include all of them!

Since this will be the background of my picture-filled WordArt letter, I need to make it less bold and more background-y<— New word alert!

The solution lies in the Color menu, then the Recolor submenu.  There’s an option called Washout, which preserves the sharpness of the image, but dials way back on the colors without making it black & white or gray.  Now we have a suitable background image that won’t compete with the busy, detailed letters in front of it.


Then I start creating individual WordArts for each letter.  It’s important to do them individually IF you want to “fill” with a different pic in each letter, like I do.  An example using a different font, at size 200 for clarity:

From the left: a chrysanthemum image filling the letter T, a hydrangea  filling the letter H, and tulips filling the letter E.

From the left: a chrysanthemum image filling the letter T, a hydrangea filling the letter H, and tulips filling the letter E.

If you want your photo to be distributed among all the letters, do the WordArt for all the letters at the same time, and fill with just 1 picture like this.  It also looks cool, especially with flags- I use this technique in my other designs often.

Here, the chrysanthemum image fills across all 3 letters.

Here, the chrysanthemum image fills across all 3 letters.

Experiment with different pictures, some will look weird because of the shape of the letter.  I use my own images, but don’t use any that show the kids’ entire faces due to privacy concerns.  I definitely want to be able to see the background details that identify the location, so it takes some time to choose the right picture.  Be patient here.  Don’t worry, you can also just fill in the letters with your favorite color instead!  Or even just leave them as an outline.  You can customize the color and width of the outline, too.

Here’s an example of what the final product might look like using Waltograph font with this background image.  This would be the back of the shirt:

From the left: Castaway Cay, a World Showcase emblem, Toy Story Midway Mania attraction poster,

Picture fills from the left: Castaway Cay, a World Showcase emblem, the Earful Tower, a Toy Story Midway Mania attraction poster, Aulani, the Disney Wonder.

And I usually like a small pocket detail on the front of the shirt, too.  Maybe like this:

final blog shirt back

Use Powerpoint’s handy pop-upguidelines to make sure the letters are lined up properly; they show up on the screen as you move things around, or you can always click View, then Show Guidelines.

Once satisfied, simply use Avery iron-on transfers on a PRE-WASHED cotton shirt.  You print the image backwards, then follow the instructions.  Peel off the backing once the image is totally cool, and you are ready to rock your matching shirts!  Tip: round off the corners on your transfer before ironing on, it’ll be less prone to lifting up at the corners.  These should last through at least 5 washings before starting to deteriorate.

  • Buy:

If you’ve gotten this far and are thinking, “ain’t nobody got time for that,” let others do the work!  I love Hot Topic for contemporary Disney merchandise- picked up this bad boy recently:



All the big box stores have Disney stuff: Walmart, Kmart, Target.  There are many items available on Etsy as well, but I don’t support copyright infringement, and most of those sellers don’t have permission to sell licensed merchandise, so I avoid it altogether when it comes to Disney stuff.

Zazzle.com has its own Disney section, which offers many different custom items in a billion different character options.  I bought shirts from here once, and they were a little pricy, but very good quality.  The screenprint certainly lasts many washes longer than my DIY option above.

And of course, there’s the Disney Store.  If you have a local one, they offer a great deal on t-shirts 2-3 times per year.  If you refuse to pay Park prices (appr $26.99 for most adult shirts, more than that for polos/sweatshirts), look out for those sales.  I like to buy Park-exclusive items, with designs from the rides/Parks rather than just the characters, so I just save and buy when I’m there, since they don’t sell that stuff at my local Disney Store.  There’s plenty of cute stuff for everyday use though- this made me laugh:

grumpy shirt

And this Inside Out bag, is, appropriately, reversible:

inside out bag inside out bag2

If you haven’t see this movie already, GO.  It’s really good.

A last note on wearables, Mickey Ears chapter. They are available on the Disney Store site, but I buy the embroidered Ears at The Chapeau on Main Street, USA, because I can’t imagine doing it anywhere else- it’s traditional.  Can’t wait to get my son his first pair of Ears 🙂

Do you readers have any Disney wearable traditions?

Leave a comment »