This blog was written in partnership with the EZ Dis Travel Agency. All opinions are truthful and my own.
With 2018 coming to an end, it’s time we look forward to the new year, and all the amazing adventures it could hold! For me, it’s always looking forward to my next Disney trip. Unfortunately, 2018 slipped through my fingers, and was a little less magical than years past, so I’m looking to make up for lost time in 2019!
Here are the top 9 things (in no particular order, because everything is amazing) I look forward to on my next Disney vacation!
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This doesn’t even scratch the SURFACE of all the things I love, but these are what popped instantly to mind when thinking of getting started booking my next trip.
I’m not much for New Year’s Resolutions, but I would like less stress in the coming year. Disney Vacations are amazing experiences, but they can cause a lot of exactly that. The planning, coordinating, scheduling. When to go, where to stay, what rides to book in what order, where to eat– it’s a LOT, even for an expert. Easiest way to avoid this and enjoy your 2019 with a little less stress is to put your trip in the hands of someone trained and capable (and FREE). The company I trust the MOST to do this is Ez Dis, a full-service concierge travel planning service, that can be as hands on, or hands off as you like. They can help find the best time to go, which resort or hotel is right for you, help book your dining reservations (and keep trying if the place you want to eat as is booked) and MORE. Best part is, it’s absolutely free to you. I can’t recommend enough.
Now, I know it’s a little late, but I do have some things to give away this blog as well. These could help fill your time until your next Disney trip, OR, occupy your kids on your journey to the land of the mouse!
THREE Disney coloring/activity books. Not just any coloring books, they come straight from the parks themselves! HOURS worth of fun. All you have to do to enter to win is leave a comment below and tell me what YOU look forward to before your Disney vacations. If you haven’t been, what do you want to do the MOST?
(Winner will be drawn 1/1/19 at 8:00pm EST. Please enter your email address below when commenting. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to the notification email that their name has been drawn, or a new winner will be drawn.)
It’s been a long time since I sat down and typed to you all here. I do apologize for that. I’ve been doing some healing, and a lot of thinking, and I think it’s time to finally sit down and try to explain what is going on, and what is going to happen as best I can.
My oldest child is eleven years old. I’ve been writing this blog for over ten of those years. It’s been my outlet when I had nowhere else to go. Somewhere to write out stories to share with all of you that I thought would make you laugh, or make you feel better; sometimes even make you cry. I shared my life, and you shared yours with me–in comments, e-mails, guest blogs. I’ve gotten lovely “fan” mail when I never thought of any of you as fans, but more as family, I’ve gotten hate mail that made me laugh because it meant I was doing something right, and I’ve gotten amazing opportunities. I keep all of that in mind in making decisions on how to move forward with my life, and decisions are never easy when things change.
For seven of the ten years I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve done so through debilitating, chronic pain. It’s not always been easy, but I always got it done, because I loved writing. It gave me something to look forward to. Over time, I think, the pain changed… or it changed me. It’s hard to say, because I didn’t realize it was happening until it already had. Pain/illness is funny like that. You don’t know just how far it’s gone, or how much it’s taken, until you look up and there’s not much left.
Six plus months ago, I had a set back. This isn’t unusual, I have them often with my pain, but they always heal. This one didn’t. In fact, it’s only gotten worse for the past six months. I went to a new doctor and got on a list for a procedure that could get rid of my pain, at least most of it, for months to years. I know I usually go deep into detail, but over this past decade I’ve learned that divulging ALL the details of ones health on the internet sometimes comes back with negativity you aren’t prepared to hear, so for that reason, we’ll leave it at that for right now. Not to mention, I think we’d all prefer I not make this single blog a book. I could, maybe one day I will. I know that’s cryptic, I’m sorry. I think I’ll be more ready to talk about it once the whole situation is over.
Waiting for this procedure, watching my health decline, coming to the realizations of how much I’ve changed over these past seven years has been a rough few months for me- mentally and physically.
The easiest way to put it is: I’m not okay. I’m not well. I’m maybe not me right now. I hope to be soon. Of course, I’m not going to put all of my hope in one procedure’s basket, but there’s hope I’ll get my life back once this is all over. I also have to accept that I’ve changed permanently. I’ve fallen out of love with what once used to give me great joy, and at this point in my life, I have to fill my life with things that bring me joy. I’ve pushed myself to do everything at once, because of obligation, because I felt like it was what I needed to be doing, and I crashed, hard. I can’t afford to crash again.
I know this all sounds ominous, it always does. I can’t say it isn’t, I guess. I still love this blog. I love sharing stories with all of you, and when you share your own. This is NOT goodbye. It’s not even a “see you soon”- but it is me taking a step back from writing as a full-time job. I’m halfway through writing my 3rd book, and I am committed to that, but I think for the time being, I will only be blogging when I feel well enough to. I’m still figuring things out, honestly. It was hard to write this blog being so uncertain of what the future holds, because it’s possible that once my health is under control, I’ll come back full time. It’s also possible I won’t. Life shifts, it changes, it grows, and we aren’t always prepared for that. I sure wasn’t. I fought it for a long time, but it’s time to follow the change and see where it takes me.
I appreciate those of you who have stuck around and read my ramblings, even with Facebook snatching me from your newsfeeds. I appreciate those who have laughed, and cried with me. I’ve loved watching your children grow up with mine, and reading your stories. I’ve appreciated your letters, and your comments. Just remember, this isn’t the end. You can ALWAYS find me somewhere, and I hope you do.
I live stream on Twitch most days per week. This is where most of my attention will be focused from here on out- http://twitch.tv/holdinholden
I will still ne updating the Holdin’ Holden Facebook page
I am active on Twitter, and Instagram
I WILL see you around, I hope all over- but especially here. We’re not done here by a long shot.
Christmas Town may not open until this weekend, but I got to take a tour of all the new, magical things to see, so that I can tell you- it’s not to be missed!
This is the 10th year of Christmas Town here in Virginia, and Busch Gardens always does an amazing job of thinking about how to outdo themselves each and every year- this year being no exception.
Ten years and ten MILLION lights later (actually, a little more than that this year if we want to get really technical), if you love, or even like Christmas- this is the place you’re going to want to be, and admission is now INCLUDED in your pass membership for the first time.
Me and a group of bloggers and media were ushered into the park one dreary Friday morning, and were instantly greeted by a group of the most cheerful elves, Christmas music, and a park being transformed into a winter wonderland.
They were finishing up decorating the O’ Tanenbaum Tree, found in the center of Germany, which is always one of my favorite sites in the park
From there, we were ushered in to the Fest Haus to hear from the park president about all the new things the 10th anniversary of Christmas Town- and there’s a lot to share with you! BUT FIRST
MERMAID TAIL STOCKINGS? Yeah… I know what I’m getting next time I go to Christmas Town, along with some signature hot chocolate.
Up next was the tour of Santa’s Workshop- which is honestly amazing, no matter your kids (or your) ages. It’s beautifully decorated, and we even had special guests stop by
Mrs. Claus served us the breakfast of champions: Hot Chocolate and a GIANT Smore (both of which can be purchased in the park, and I highly recommend. Unfortunately, Mrs. Claus will be tending to Christmas duties, but the Busch Gardens employees can certainly handle the task!)
It was so good. If that doesn’t get you into the Christmas Spirit, nothing will!
Now let me tell you about what’s NEW this year at Christmas Town!
Christmas Town Express – The familiar Choo Choo of the Busch Gardens Railway will signal an unparalleled experience around the world’s most beautiful theme park. Park guests can sing along to favorite holiday songs while enjoying the lighted decorations along the park’s popular train route. The experience will feature festive caroling, two million stunning Christmas lights and themed holiday vignettes meticulously placed around the 1.5-mile tour.
Wilkommenhaus – Located in the park’s German village, the Wilkommenhaus transforms into a fantastic visual Christmas spectacle through beautiful projection mapping. The sweet smell of Christmas treats from the Cookies & Cocoa Shop wafts through the air as virtual gingerbread men make this festive village come to life nightly, every 15-minutes during Christmas Town.
Sesame Street® holiday show: Elmo’s Christmas Wish – Elmo’s Christmas Wish debuts this year on the stage at Sesame Street® Forest of Fun™. Guests can enjoy this holiday musical show with Rosita, Grover, Zoe and Cookie Monster as they help Elmo find his Christmas wish.
Battle For Eire™ – The innovative virtual reality attraction joins an exciting lineup of rides that also includes roller coasters InvadR™ and Verbolten®.
Not to mention the classics, like Santa’s Workshop, the wonderful live shows around the park including Twas that Night, headlined by Olympic figure skater Elvis Stojko, meet and greets with characters from the classic Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, all kinds of delicious holiday food, and THE LIGHTS! Don’t forget about the lights!
Busch Gardens is open 2 – 10 p.m. on most Christmas Town operating days and
12 – 10 p.m. on Saturdays from Nov. 17 through Jan. 5. For more information about Christmas Town and operating days, visit www.christmastown.com/va.
The best way to enjoy Christmas Town and other park events and attractions all year long is through the newly-enhanced Busch Gardens Williamsburg Membership Program. Guests can receive unlimited visits to Busch Gardens, Howl-O-Scream and Christmas Town for as little as $9.99 per month. For more information, visit www.buschgardens.com/joinBGW.
Hard to believe that this Halloween marked my SIXTH dressing up as Disney Princesses….and subsequently killing them off. This year I didn’t get to be one of my favorites, which just made the kill that much more enjoyable, and I still have so many left to go!
It’s no secret that I LOVE the Disney Princesses. A lot. As I type this, I’m wearing a Snow White t-shirt. Artwork featuring them decorates the walls of my house. I have an entire shelf in my closet dedicated to my Disney clothing- there’s that much. I sing Disney songs all day, and even when people try to bash the princesses for being bad role models, I’m the first to snort laugh and explain exactly why they’re awesome. Even with a
freakish obsession love as strong as mine, I still have a sense of humor, which is why when Halloween comes around every year- I don’t do the whole “sexy” princess thing to show my love, with the stupid tutu skirt and cleavage hanging out (as if I have any anyway). I kill them. I kill their happy endings. I ruin precious Disney dreams everywhere. WHY?! Well, why not?? Disney has a dark side, and a sense of humor- and the original fairy tales these stories came from don’t usually have a happy ending anyway, so why not twist it all up for one night a year and have some fun with it? Luckily, I haven’t sent any kids screaming in the other direction just yet, but I’m only 6 princesses in, and I’m adding to this each year (so come back after Halloween to see how I knock off the next poor unfortunate soul!) *Please note- I am NOT a professional makeup artist. This is all amateur at-home do-it-yourself attempts, but I’m pretty proud of the results!
Dreams of more than a provincial life, and ever the optimist, thought she had found that with Beast, for Belle always sees the beauty within people- and that is the real “beauty” in Beauty & the Beast. BUT- what if? What IF Belle was wrong? What if Beast never changed? What if the Beast was just…. a beast? I mean, he DID tell her to stay out the West Wing. Homegirl just couldn’t listen, and that is where she met her true fate.
Such a shame! The yellow gown I actually found at a thrift store last second for something like two bucks, so I smashed it into the dirt, splattered it with fake blood, and tossed it on. The deep facial slashes were created with glue and toilet paper, if you can believe it!
While everyone else was going Elsa crazy, I decided to dress up as Anna. And then kill her. My love runs that deep. Anna of Arendelle is smart, plucky, and completely ordinary- at least, according to her, and that made me like her even more.
But… WHAT IF? What if, when Elsa struck her in the heart with her icy powers, and the trolls told her “An act of true love” would melt a Frozen heart…. what if it flat out didn’t work?
Frozen. Frickin’. Solid. Oh, and Olaf didn’t make it, either.
This look was easily created with white cream makeup mixed with blue eyeshadow, thick layers of cream makeup in my eyelashes and eyebrows, and swirls of darker blue and white
The defiant youngest daughter of King Triton who had dreams that reached beyond possibility, yet still, she never gave up on them. Despite Sebastian’s warnings, she was still desperate to be where the people were, to have legs of her own. To walk. To dance.
What poor, unfortunate fate could befall upon our favorite mermaid friend?
WHAT IF? What if, when Ariel found out Ursula had tricked her, and had put Eric under a spell- when she jumped into the ocean to swim after his boat and stop the wedding, she never made it? Ariel may have always wanted legs, but she never learned to use them to swim. WHAT IF she sank to the bottom of the ocean to decay, never getting to Prince Eric in time to save him from marrying Ursula? There would be no happily ever after. Instead, there would be this
Are those barnacles on her face? Why yes. Yes they are. Along with scales- because magic can only go so far- and not only did Ariel rot on the ocean floor, but she changed back into a mermaid as well.
The look seems complicated (or so I’m told) but it was easy! We created the barnacles over the course of a few days using two things: liquid latex, and CHEERIOS! Yes, Cheerios! I found the easiest to use were the ones already stuck together in the box, and then dripping the latex over them, some in individual stacks, and some in clusters
Once they were stuck in place using a little more liquid latex, I used eyeshadow for a metallic look, and cream-based white paint to paint the barnacles to give them a crusty look I also drew on the scales one by one and filled them with some white paint and metallic eyeshadows in different shades of green, blue, and a little purple. Here’s a close up (after trick or treating and dinner- so there’s some wear & tear)
I. frickin’. love. Rapunzel. It’s the movie that got me back into Disney as an adult. She’s creative, funny, goofy, a little clumsy, brave, and resilient– even after being locked in a tower her entire life by Mother Gothel–she isn’t bitter.
A woman who knows what she wants and will not stop until she gets it, even if it means chartering into dangerous territory. She always tries to see the best in people, maybe when they might not deserve it, because she knows there is good in everyone.
A princess after my own heart
But… WHAT IF? In Disney’s Tangled, Rapunzel meets a thief named Flynn, who comes to be not only someone she cares for, but someone who could come back to save her from Mother Gothel once he found out that she is the lost princess, and Mother Gothel isn’t her mother at all, but an evil witch who kidnapped Rapunzel as a baby to keep her powers all for herself. What if, when Flynn enters back into the tower, only to be stabbed by Mother Gothel, instead of making the ultimate sacrifice for her by cutting of Rapunzel’s locks before she can use them to heal him, thereby freeing her from Mother Gothel forever, he missed, slashing her throat instead?
This deep slash would cause Rapunzel to quickly bleed out and die, leaving her unable to save Flynn with her hair, nor her tears (as she did in the movie).
They die just minutes apart, and Mother Gothel shrivels away to nothing. No one lives happily ever after.
This look was easy, yet frustratingly difficult to achieve! First, I started with face makeup–covering my face in a layer of grayish white face paint and setting it with translucent powder, and then darkening my lids, the places where dark circles naturally appear, and right around my nose with a mix of gray and purple and a little red. I also used bronzer with gray eyeshadow layered over it to hollow out my cheeks and nose. This gave my face the appearance of having zero life to it (I also call it the “tired mom”)
For the gaping neck wound, I went the Belle route and used a mix of toilet paper and regular ol’ Elmer’s glue to create the effects. Super sexy.
I used a “wound” kit I got from Spirit Halloween to bloody and bruise up the cut and surrounding area and then foundation to blend it into my skin. Was more difficult than Belle because the neck moves much more!
And now for the 2017 reveal!
We all know the story of Jasmine. A lonely princess locked away “for her protection” who longs to see more, to do more, to be more. She hates the thought of being tied down, of having to settle for ANYTHING, and bucks against tradition and what is expected of her at every chance.
Hard not to relate!
She sneaks into the marketplace where she luckily bumps into the “street rat” Aladdin, who, with his quick thinking, saves her from the palace guards. But really, she ends up saving him.
“Unhand him, by order of the princess!”
She’s strong-willed. She’s confident. She knows what she wants. She’s basically a bad-ass. And of course, she gets the Happily Ever After she deserves after she, Aladdin, Genie, and Abu defeat Jafar and take back the kingdom.
BUT WHAT IF…
When Jasmine walked into the marketplace to see what “normal” life was like and got caught “stealing” an apple- Aladdin doesn’t jump in to save her. He’s nowhere to be found.
Instead, as punishment, Jasmine has one hand chopped off and is sent to the dungeons.
With Jasmine out of the way, Jafar easily takes the throne for her father, the Sultan, and rules over Agrabah.
Despite all her screams for help, Jasmine is left to rot away in the dungeon until she starves to death. Alone.
Only Jafar lives happily ever after.
Let’s take a look at the makeup more closely:
When it came to killing off Jasmine, I had to really think about what being locked away in a dungeon would do to her. Not only would she lose color and volume from her face, but her lips would dry out and crack due to lack of water. I wanted to make sure to keep her signature winged eyeliner, but to make it realistic, made it run down her cheeks from tears- probably the last water she’d ever get.
I started by using a few layers of pale foundation and did the dramatic wings and signature thick eyebrows (if only I could keep those year round!) Then, I started putting gray under the cheekbones, into my collarbone and neck to make the bones really pop (just in case it showed!), and used burgundy, greens, and yellows around the eyes, mouth, and nose to make the bruising look realistic.
To create dried, cracked lips, I spread a layer of liquid latex over my lips, waited until it was almost dry, and moved my mouth around to naturally rip it up. To really intensify the effect, I took eyebrow scissors and tweezers and pulled apart the cracks, creating holes and big chunks missing. I then took different color red cream paints and lipsticks and painted in the holes and cracks to give them depth. (Ignore the liquid latex on the cheek–that look did not work so I removed it).
For the tears you see in photos above- I actually used activated charcoal (used for tooth whitening) and mixed it with water and let it drip down my face naturally.
BAM! Dead Jasmine
When you get the WHOLE family to theme with you
The original Disney Princess. The Fairest of them all, so fair an Evil Queen tried to kill her in many different ways to get rid of her so she can claim that title. Talk about vain. When the Huntsman the Evil Queen hires to cut out Snow White’s Heart and bring it back to her in a box fails, she takes matters into her own hands- poisoning an apple that Snow White bites and falls into a sleep like death… until Prince Charming kisses her, and wakes her up (while all the woodland creatures and Dwarves cry tears of joy).
BUT WHAT IF…
When the Evil Queen sends the Huntsman to bring back Snow White’s heart in a box, he doesn’t chicken out? What if Snow White never even got a chance to take a single bite of that poison apple, because she was already lying dead on the forest floor- heart torn from her chest by the Huntsman’s Axe?
Who’s the fairest of them all? The Evil Queen.
Let’s talk makeup- a lot of people were asking on social media how the hell I did it.
To be totally honest, Snow White is my LEAST favorite Disney Princess, so… I was more than a little excited to off her, and there were so many ways to do it. The most overdone, I think, is poisoning her with the apple. I wanted to make sure to do something I hadn’t seen before. Animal mauling? Eaten by starving Dwarves? But what really sounded the best was having the Huntsman complete his task. It was a big undertaking, a lot of area to cover, and easy to get wrong, but also a pretty simple process: Toilet paper and liquid latex.
Paint on the latex, layer TP, more latex, more TP, until I figured I had a thick enough fake “skin”.
It took a long time, and quite a bit of blowdrying- can’t you tell I was enjoying the process?
Once it was set enough to proceed, I put foundation over the entire piece matching my face color (which is a far paler foundation than I use from day to day- they don’t call her SNOW White for nothing), and then set with powder.
I then took scissors, and cut a hole directly in the center, and ripped the latex up and down to look like an axe had hit Snow directly in the chest. I used creme based black paint and painted all of the skin underneath, dark red for the inside of the “skin”
Yes, I also cut down the costume- the axe doesn’t magically miss the clothes! I also used bruise colors, and deep red, and blotted it all over my chest to give it bruising, and to blend the edges into my skin (since I’m not a pro, they weren’t the best)
After getting the wig and signature Snow White red lipstick on, I took liquid blood, poured it into my hands, and flicked it onto my face and chest to simulate blood spatter, and painted more into the wound to make it look really goopy and to give it depth.
Me and my Hunstman (the kid couldn’t decide on a costume so I said- WELL THEN, YOU’RE THEMEING WITH ME)
I’m REALLY happy with how this one came out- all the hard work paid off (but my skin was not a fan of the latex).
What do you think? Which is your favorite princess kill?? Who do you think NEXT year’s princess will be?
Yes, I already know. I AM PREPARED!
This blog was written in partnership with the EZ Dis Travel Agency. All opinions are truthful and my own.
I’ve always got Disney on the brain- From my Halloween costume (hard to believe is only a few days away) to how I’ve always wanted to go to Disney for Christmas. I don’t have a bucket list, but if I did, that would be toward the top.
Never have I ever been a huge fan of Christmas. It just always seems like I’m sick, or something big goes wrong- but Disney is so dang magical that I think it could even make my least favorite holiday amazing.
From all of the festive decorations all over the parks, and the decorated trees (and the SHOPPING)
To the holiday parade
To Cinderella’s castle being decked out for the season
Characters in their holiday costumes
The INSANE gingerbread displays at the Disney resorts
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
There is SO much to see, and I can’t wait to do it, but I know it’s going to take time and dedication to make it happen- not just monetarily (you’d be surprised how well you can budget for a Disney trip, but it does take effort) but to PLAN.
As I always say, it’s never too early, OR too late to start planning your next Disney adventure. And while some people might love planning, many people find the stress of all the little details (and there are a ton when it comes to Disney) overwhelming, but you don’t have to go it alone. Grab an expert, FOR FREE, from EzDis. Use the code HH18!
They can help your Disney dreams, no matter what time of year it is, come true. From booking your resort and ride times, to your food reservations– whatever you might need, they’ve got you covered.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy!
OH, and enter this giveaway! Just in time for the holidays, no matter WHERE you spend it (though I hope it’s at Disney!)
Comment below with your FAVORITE thing to do on Christmas for your chance to win FOUR Mickey Santa hats like this one!
Perfect to wear in the parks, or just around the house! Entry period is from 8:30pm Eastern on 10/26 – 8:30pm on 10/30. Winner must respond to the email notifying them their name has been drawn within 48 hours– so make sure you leave a comment with an e-mail address.
Good luck, and happy booking!
I've been wanting to tweet lately in support of how AWESOME y'all have been despite my audio issues. AND I think we have it fixed! Let's see.... Live now on #twitch playing #deadbydaylight twitch.tv/holdinholden
Planning for the Holidays at Disney (AND a Giveaway!) goo.gl/fb/7jE77C
@Chelsea_momma I know them feels
@turb0z See also: Booger bulbing (way back in the baby/toddler years)
What I say: Your hair is a mess. I'm gonna help you brush it What my kids hear: Although you've never actually been injured any of the previous 1,000 times I've brushed your hair, this is it. You're definitely gonna die this time. Please proceed to scream at the top of your lungs
@firebirdblog With Disney I got lucky, we're all massive Disnerds. Other movies have not gone so well, though.
@firebirdblog Trust me when I say I will dropkick a fellow 30-something if they come near me with that 😂 I'm taking my kids to enjoy with me, although I am sure I will enjoy more. End of the day- they are kids movies. You don't want kids in them, go to a late showing. ez