Jakks Pacific Presents new Frozen Dolls and More!

Jakks Pacific Frozen Elsa Wand

I received product to facilitate my review. Additional compensation was not received and all opinions are my own.

Do you want to build a snowman?

If you’re my daughter, the answer is “YES!” Frozen fever is still raging in my house and I don’t see it ending any time soon. If the Frozen aisle at Target is any indication, Frozen fever is still going strong in households everywhere.  You can imagine my daughter’s face when she opened a box of Frozen goodies from Jakks Pacific last month. I’m pretty sure there were squeals, tears, and a whole lot of jumping. I finally got her to sit still long enough for a photo before she tore the boxes open.

Jakks Pacific Frozen Toys

Jakks Pacific always creates fabulous product lines based on Disney movies and other popular franchises: Star Wars, Cabbage Patch Kids, Nintendo, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Disney Princess, and more! They carry everything from dolls to dresses to apps and even great products for your four-legged friends. We have plenty of Jakks toys in our home and the quality has always been top-notch.

We received the Enchanting Anna Dress (SRP $19.99). My daughter is in Kindergarten and wears a size 5/6 in girls. The dress is sized for ages 3& up (to size 6x). It fit her beautifully and she should be able to get a few months of wear out of the dress before the sleeves and bodice become too tight. This is a basic play dress, so it’s a little thinner than the deluxe dresses you may find inside Disney Parks. It’s perfect for pretend play because it easily fits over clothing and does not use buttons or zippers (which means mama doesn’t need to be there to dress/undress her every time.) We’re doing this new thing now where I can’t photograph her playing dress-up, so you’ll just have to imagine how stinkin’ cute she looks in the dress. I swear she thinks she’s 16 already.

Jakks Pacific Frozen Elsa Wand

The perfect accessory for the dress is the Elsa’s Musical Snow Wand (SRP $12.99.) Warning: if you’re like me and the sounds of “Let it Go” make you twitch a little, you may want to skip the wand and go for the cute jewelry or wigs to accessorize your little one’s gown.

Jakks Pacific Frozen Toddler Elsa Doll

We also received the Elsa Toddler Doll (SRP $24.99) which is so adorable! It even includes a little Olaf, which my son immediately commandeered for his own.

I know it’s a bit of a struggle to find Frozen toys right now, but don’t lose hope! I’ve had much better luck finding the toys in stores like Target and Toys R’ Us instead of online. I highly recommend picking up some of these Jakks Pacific toys if you’re able to. You can also check sites like In Stock Now to be alerted when new stuff goes on sale.

You can find Jakks Pacific on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Easter Basket Ideas from Wonder Forge

Frozen Matching Game by Wonder Forge

Thank you to Wonder Forge for providing product for this post. No other compensation was received.

The Easter Bunny only has a few days left to get ready for his big day! If you’re like me, you’re scrambling to find some great items for your kid’s Easter baskets that won’t have them jacked up on sugar until Memorial Day.

Don’t get me wrong, my kids get plenty of candy at Easter, but I always add a little extra something to their baskets. This year, I’ve added new crayons (who doesn’t love a fresh box of crayons), bubbles, sidewalk chalk, coloring pads, water bottles (we’re constantly on the go and they’re perfect for road trips), and a new game. I know it sounds like a lot, but it’s really not! And the majority of the items can be used outside this Spring, well if we ever get Spring weather, that is! I switched things up this year and bought tin buckets for their “baskets” so they can store their chalk/bubbles in the buckets in our garage. The wicker Easter baskets never seem to hold up and I hate having to store them ever year.

So here’s where I’m supposed to show you these awesome buckets, filled with all of the wonderful goodies inside. Well, we’re traveling for Easter weekend and I couldn’t put their buckets together ahead of time. They’re all packed away in a suitcase, ready to come along to their Grammy’s house. And, you know I love you all, but I couldn’t bring myself to stage the buckets just to rip them apart and redo them this weekend. I know you feel me, fellow parents.

Ok, so back to the games. Thanks to Wonder Forge, our kids will be getting two amazing games this year!

My daughter is still infected with Frozen Fever and can’t get enough of the movie, dolls, dresses, songs…you name it. If it’s Frozen, she wants it! This Wonder Forge Frozen Matching Game is going to be perfect for her bucket!

Frozen Matching Game by Wonder Forge

My son is a typical three year old boy and has recently discovered the amazingness of super heroes. He’s going to flip when he finds the Marvel Matching Game in his bucket!

Marvel Matching Game by Wonder Forge

Why are matching games the perfect game for my kids?  Well, matching games can be played independently or with others. The kids learn how to entertain themselves when they play alone and to take turns when they play against each other. It’s also a game I don’t mind playing with them. They’re also easy on the budget. Wonder Forge Matching Games are priced under $10!  Tip: We store the pieces in a ziptop bag and discard the boxes. We find it’s much easier to clean up and store that way!

You can find Wonder Forge Matching Games at a large number of retailers.

Where to Buy Wonderforge Toys

Be sure to pick up a game for your child’s basket this Easter! Check out the Wonder Forge Matching Games and leave a comment with which game you think your child would love to see in their Easter basket!

Mad Housewife Cellars Wine Review

Mad Housewife New Label

 

 

I received two bottles of Mad Housewife Cellars Wine for this review.  All opinions are my own.  I’d never lie about wine, y’all.

If you know me, you know that I love wine.  I take great joy in perusing the aisles at the liquor store to pick out a new bottle.  Of course, I always have my old favorites on standby, but there’s something exciting about trying out a new wine.  It’s almost like getting a hidden treasure…you can see the outside, read the label, see what Wine Enthusiast has to say, but you really don’t know what’s inside until you take that first smell and sip.  Maybe I’m just a wine romantic.

You can imagine my excitement when Melissa reached out to me to do this review for Mad Housewife Cellars.  A wine review?  Sign. Me. Up.

Mad Housewife Cellars has a definite sense of humor about themselves.  “What’s domestic bliss without a little wine?” is their catch phrase, after all.  And I really appreciate their approach to giving women a delicious, reasonably priced choice for an every day wine.  I thoroughly enjoy having one glass of wine after the kids are in bed.  It’s my treat to myself of a long day of work and family obligations.  When I reach for the bottle of Mad Housewife, the kitchsy label reminds me to not take myself too seriously.

Speaking of the label, Mad Housewife just unveiled a new look for their wines.  I absolutely love it.  I could see Betty Draper pulling the bottle out of the kitchen cabinet and having a glass after dinner.  It’s fun, fresh, and would definitely catch my eye in the wine store.  What do you think?  I think it was a great improvement!

Mad Housewife New Label

But Mad Housewife’s approach to marketing doesn’t rely on a label.  Mad Housewife Cellars produces fabulous wine in several varieties.  I tried the Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Both varietals have won several awards from distinguished wine competitions, and it’s easy to see why.  The Cabernet was smooth, and had distinct notes of cherry, without being overly sweet.  It had a very nice mouthfeel.  If I were a chocolate girl, I would pair it with a little dark chocolate dessert.

I’m more of a red wine girl, but the Chardonnay was also great: fruity with high notes of melon and apple, with a creamy feel.  This would be my go-to wine when I sneak one of the kid’s cupcakes at night.  (What? You know you do it, too)  It would also make a great cooking wine (after all, you don’t cook with wine you wouldn’t drink…that’s the cardinal rule) and would pair nicely with fish or chicken dishes.

Have a girl’s night in?  Be sure to check out the Mad Housewife Recipe Collection.  And try mixing it up!  Going to a bridal shower?  Just think of the fun you could have making a retro-inspired gift basket featuring a couple bottles of Mad Housewife!

I can’t say enough great things about Mad Housewife Cellars.  And that’s not because they gave me free wine.  Free wine is only fun if it tastes good, and I can honestly say this wine hits that mark.  I’ve already purchased the Merlot and more of the Cabernet.

Have you tried Mad Housewife Cellars wines before?  What do you think of their new label?

Mad Housewife Cellars is available at most local wine sellers and on Amazon.com.  Grab a bottle and take five minutes for yourself tonight.  (and, as always, drink responsibly)

You can find Mad Housewife on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  They definitely know how to have fun on social media!  Be on the lookout for fun memes and contests on their sites.

Cheers!

Christmas Tree Tidbits from Hallmark

CHRISTMAS-VACATION-Hallmark-social-graphic-FINAL

 

 

I received the “The Band Concert” ornament in exchange for this post.

Christmas is less than a week away, which means we’re putting the final touches on our holiday decorating.  In our home, our Christmas tree is the center of the holiday universe.  Our tree isn’t the fanciest tree, either.  We don’t do elaborate themes or crazy decorating.  For us, our Christmas tree is a time capsule we unearth every December.  It’s filled with memories and stories we relive each year as we unpack the ornaments and place them on branches.

CMAS-TREES-Hallmark-Holiday-social-graphics-FINAL

It’s been a tradition in my family for as long as I can remember for my mom to purchase a Hallmark Keepsake Ornament for each of us kids every Christmas, and now she purchases them for the grandchildren.  After 30 years of my own ornaments and now ornaments for my husband and two children, you can imagine how many Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments fill our tree!  In fact, I moved my Father Christmas Series Keepsake Ornaments to a display case this year because we didn’t have enough room on the tree for all of my Santas!

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What I love most about Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments is the stories they tell.  From First Christmases to hobbies to favorite movies and sports teams, Hallmark has every moment covered.

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I collect the Father Christmas Series as well as Gone With the Wind ornaments.  And, of course, I always leave room on my tree for my favorite mouse.  This year, we’ve added The Brave Little Tailor, the second in the Mickey’s Movie Mousterpeices Series and the amazing The Band Concert ornament.  How stinking adorable is this?!

Mickey is no stranger to the Hallmark family, that’s for sure!

DISNEY-Hallmark-Holiday-social-graphic-FINAL

107 magical Mickey Mouse appearances!  I only wish I had room on my tree for them all.

This year, Hallmark is celebrating 40 years of Christmas memories and magic with Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments.  For our family, Christmas isn’t complete without Hallmark on our tree and we hope to collect our favorite ornaments and capture memories for another 40 years.

Do you collect Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments?  Which ornament is your favorite?

Driver Safety with PEAK Back-Up Cameras

PEAK Back-Up Camera

This post is brought to you on behalf of PEAK Back-Up Cameras.  All opinions and content are my own.

We do so many things to keep our children safe when they’re in our car.  We make sure they’re in the correct car seat and buckled up at all times. And we make sure our children, and the children in our neighborhoods are safe outside of our vehicles, too.  We make sure we drive slowly down our streets.  We observe school zones.  We stay off of our cell phones.  And we check twice when backing out of our driveways or in the parking lot at school.

Sadly, checking and double-checking before backing up isn’t foolproof.  It can be impossible to see a smaller child or toddler walking behind your car no matter how many times you look.  Blind spots are a very real issue. (as a personal note: I fully believe in using your mirrors and eyes first and the camera as an additional step in the safe process of backing-up.  Never rely solely on a camera system when backing up your vehicle.)

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates, an average of 292 deaths and 18,000 injuries occur each year as a result of back-over crashes and 44% of those deaths involve children under the age of five. Several consumer groups have pushed for the Department of Transportation to require all new vehicles (in particular vehicle classes) to be equipped with rear back-up cameras.  After some delays, the new regulations are expected to take effect sometime in 2015.

But where does that leave families who can’t afford to upgrade to a new car?  We won’t be trading in my car for quite a few years, but I still want the extra piece of mind that comes with having a back-up camera.

PEAK Back-Up Camera

Luckily, PEAK offers a wireless back-up camera you can easily install into your existing vehicle.  Simply mount the camera to your rear license plate holder and you’re set!  It takes less than 15 minutes to install on most vehicles and it’s available nationwide at Walmart and leading auto retailers.  Watch the video below to see how easy it is!

PEAK was generous enough to send me a back-up camera for my vehicle (2009 Toyota Camry) and I couldn’t be happier with it.  It installed easily and gives me that extra bit of reassurance in the school or grocery store parking lot to know I’m backing up safely.  This would be something I would most certainly purchase for myself or for a gift (it would make a great non-traditional baby shower present), especially if we towed a trailer or boat with our vehicle.

To learn more, check out the PEAK website or connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Personalized Disney Gift Cards and $25 Disney Gift Card Giveaway

First-Mickey-Bar-Disney-Gift-Card

I’m excited to be here doing another guest post for Melissa!  Melissa is a Disney fanatic just like me, so I thought this post would be perfect to share on her site.  Hopefully, this gives her some extra time to snuggle those sweet baby girls.

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I was not paid to write this post. Giveaway is being supplied by me. The end.

I took this photo in 2011 and it remains one of my favorite photos I’ve taken of the kids at Walt Disney World. Is there anything better than two kids sharing their first Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar together? I think not.

First-Mickey-Bar-Disney-Gift-Card

When I was asked to join the 2012 Walt Disney World Moms Panel, my amazing friends decided to get together and purchase a Disney Gift Card so I could buy myself something special to commemorate the accomplishment. Imagine my surprise when I opened the envelope and saw this:

Personalized Disney Gift Card

My heart melted. They took my favorite Disney memory and put it on a Disney Gift Card. Every time I used the gift card, Cast Members would comment about the photo. I loved showing it off! I still reload and use the card on every trip I take. They didn’t just give me a gift card, they gave me a memento I’ll keep forever, and each time I look at it, I remember how happy that magical moment at Walt Disney World made me.

It was something so simple, that didn’t cost anything extra, but it made all of the difference.   That’s Disney magic for you.

If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind gift for the Disney lover in your life, definitely check out personalized Gift Cards from Disney Gift Card.

Want a chance to win your very own Disney Gift Card? Well, to celebrate the new site and my upcoming Disney trip, I’ve decided to giveaway a $25 Disney Gift Card! You can chose a stock image or have yours personalized, it’s totally up to you.

And, while I try never to use automated giveaway widgets, I know this one will be popular and the thought of printing and cutting out all of your awesome entries to draw out of a hat makes me cringe. Yes, I’m lazy. I know. It’s one of my less endearing qualities.

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Secret of the Wings Review and Giveaway #DisneyInHomeBloggers

Secret of the Wings Wing Surprise

The latest Disney Fairies Adventure, “Secret of the Wings” is now available on Disney DVD, Blu-ray and 3D combo packs!

What is “Secret of the Wings” all about, you ask?

Well, for the first time in the Disney Fairies franchise, we get to step over to the Winter Woods, home of Periwinkle (remember how I told you Periwinkle was now greeting guests at Disney Parks?).   Tinker Bell and Periwinkle notice their wings have a very strange, magical reaction when they’re near each other.  Together, they discover a very powerful secret which will change their lives (and possibly the lives of fairies from all seasons), forever.

I had the opportunity to screen “Secret of the Wings” in 3D at Disney Toon Studios as part of my time at the #DisneyInHomeBloggers event.  I was blown away, but I was anxious to see if my children would love the film as much as I did.  As soon as it arrived, I made some popcorn and put the movie in the DVD player to gauge their reactions.  After all, this is a children’s movie, right?

Both of my children (four year old girl and two year old boy) love the film.  Did I say “love”?  I mean LOVE.  In fact, it was on repeat in the car during the six hour road trip to and from grandma’s last week.  It’s all they want to watch right now.  Bunny has even started dancing around the house singing “The Great Divide”.  When I asked Bunny what her favorite part of the movie was, she told me “when Periwinkle’s friends take Tinker Bell ice sledding.”  She loved meeting the new Winter Woods fairies and all of the winter fun they had.  She’s a big fan of snow.  Who knew?

“Secret of the Wings” is an incredible film.  It has a little bit of everything: love, friendship, family, mischief (because it can’t be a Tinker Bell movie without that stubborn fairy getting into some type of trouble, right?), action and adventure.  Disney always makes sure to throw in some jokes that will fly over your child’s head, but make you chuckle, and the underlying love story definitely tugged at my heartstrings.  I can see this film being a favorite among young children like mine through the tween set: the soundtrack is made up of bubbly pop songs, perfect for the 9-12 year old range and the positive friendship/sisterly theme is something young girls will hopefully grab a hold of.

One concern I had was that the Winter Woods would give the film a holiday feel, making it watchable only during the holiday months, but I am very happy to report that is not the case.  There are no sleigh bells or holly in the Winter Woods.  It is just a world of pure, snowy beauty, making this a relevant film year-round.  And it is a beauty!  The animation is breathtaking.  There’s really no other word for it.  I’ve always loved the vibrant, bold colors of the Disney Fairies film, and somehow, the animators were able to achieve the same vibrant, beautiful coloring, even in the snow-covered Winter Woods.

Definitely stay tuned, too, to see my coverage of the making of “Secret of the Wings”!  We were given an insider’s tour of Disney Toon Studios and met some of the creative geniuses behind the film.  It gave me a whole new respect for how animated features are created.

What’s even more exciting?  We’re giving away an amazing “Secret of the Wings” prize package to one very lucky Sippy Cup Mom Reader including:

  •  1 copy of the Secret of the Wings Flitterrific 4-disc combo pack (3D Blu-ray/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Download
  • 1 Secret of the Wings zipper pull
  • 1 fairy-sized Secret of the Wings storybook pamphlet

The entry is open to US and Canada residents and ends on 11/1/2012.  Simply enter using the Rafflecopter form below:

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Disclosure: I attended the #DisneyInHomeBloggers event as a correspondent of SippyCupMom.com. Disney paid for my transportation, accommodations, and incidentals in exchange for coverage of the events.  

Meet Periwinkle at Disney Parks #DisneyFairies #DisneyInHomeBloggers

Tinker Bell and Periwinkle at Disneyland and Disney World

The Disney Fairies family has a new member…Periwinkle from the all-new Disney Fairies film “Tinker Bell and the Secret of the Wings” (available on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack & HD Digital Download October 23rd).

In honor of the movie release, Disney Parks has introduced Periwinkle as a new meet-and-greet character. I had the opportunity to meet Periwinkle (and Tinker Bell in her fabulous Secret of the Wings winter outfit) at the #DisneyInHomeBloggers event in August. She was so cute and I love the way Tink and Peri interact with each other.  Be sure to keep an eye on their wings…something magical just may happen when they are close to each other!

Who is Periwinkle?  Well, she’s a Frost Fairy from the Winter Woods.  She also happens to be Tinker Bell’s sister!   You’ll notice a little touch of the Winter Woods when you visit the Disney Fairies at Tinker Bell’s Magical Nook in Magic Kingdom Park and Pixie Hollow in Disneyland Park.

 

Are you excited to meet Periwinkle?

Disclosure: I attended the #DisneyInHomeBloggers event as a correspondent of SippyCupMom.com. Disney paid for my transportation, accommodations, and incidentals in exchange for coverage of the events. 

Cinderella: Diamond Edition Blu-ray Review and Giveaway #DisneyInHomeBloggers

Cinderella: Diamond Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack

 

 

“Cinderella”  has always been one of my all-time favorite Disney movies.  I can remember watching it as a little girl (on VHS, no less) and waltzing around my parent’s living room humming “So This is Love”.  I’m pretty sure I wore through at least one VHS tape.  We’ve owned “Cinderella” on DVD for as long as I can remember and now my daughter dances around the living room and pretends to try on glass slippers.

You can imagine how excited I was to have the privilege of covering the latest release of “Cinderella: Diamond Edition” for SippyCupMom.com as part of the #DisneyInHomeBloggers event.  62 years after its original release, Disney has brought “Cinderella” out of the vault and onto Blu-ray for the first time ever. Enhanced picture and sound has made “Cinderella” even more beautiful than before.  I compared the quality of our DVD to the new Blu-ray version and I was blown away at the crisp picture and clear sound.  It’s definitely worth upgrading your DVD to the Blu-ray version.

During the #DisneyInHomeBloggers event, we had the opportunity to meet with Brian Kwan and Evan Acosta from Disney Interactive to preview the Personalized Digital Storybook: Bibbidi-Bobbidi-You Disney Second Screen Experience.  Viewers can connect their iPhone/iPad to their Blu-ray player (we did it through our home wireless to our PlayStation3) and watch as the Fairy Godmother jumps from your television screen to the device screen while telling you the story of “Cinderella” and leading you in interactive game experiences.  The games were simple enough that my two year old could play along, but enough to keep my four year old interested.  You can even play the games on the go, without needing to connect to your television.

“Cinderella: Diamond Edition'” bonus features don’t stop there.  There’s a behind-the-scenes peek at New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World, never seen before scenes from “Cinderella”, interviews, and the animated short “Tangled Ever After”.  “Cinderella:Diamond Edition” is a must-down for any Disney movie or Disney Princess fan.

Want to own your very own “Cinderella: Diamond Edition” Blu-ray Combo pack?  Well, we have one to give away to a very luck Sippy Cup Mom reader!  Simply follow the Rafflecopter instructions below!

Good luck and remember, “A dream is a wish your heart makes”!

“Cinderella: Diamond Edition” Blu-Ray Combo Packs are available at retailers nationwide now! 

 

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I attended the #DisneyInHomeBloggers event on behalf of SippyCupMom.com.  Disney provided my transportation, accommodations and other incidentals in exchange for coverage of the events.  While talking points were suggested, all thoughts are my own.  Contest is subject to the rules set forth by SippyCupMom.com.  I was given a copy of “Cinderella: Diamond Edition” for review purposes and is providing the giveaway prize.

Disney’s Animation Research Library Tour #Cinderella #DisneyInHomeBloggers

Disney Animation Research Library Cinderella

 

The #DisneyInHomeBloggers trip was incredible, but the highlight for me was our visit to the Disney Animation Research Library (ARL).  The ARL is the official “safe house” of Disney animation property.  Once known as “the morgue”, the ARL is now a state-of-the-art preservation and storage facility.  The location of the ARL is kept secret and we were not permitted to take our own photographs inside of the building.  (all photographs in this post are property of Disney, used by permission)  We met two incredible, passionate ARL team members: Fox Carney, an ARL Librarian and Lella Smith, the Creative Director for the ARL.  Their Disney and animation knowledge blew me away.  It was a huge honor to have them conduct our tour.

Disney Animation Research Library Lobby

Our tour started in the camera rooms.  Here, specialists take high-resolution photos (and I mean HIGH res…the output of the images could be printed onto your living room wall) of individual sketches.  This method replaces the old scanning method which caused undo stress to images from being flipped upside down and pressed down by the scanner lid.  It also allows Disney to send sketches electronically, when requested, instead of having multiple sets of (gloved) hands manipulate the papers.  I am amazed at the patience the specialists have. Can you imagine snapping a photograph of every single piece of paper used to sketch a full-length film such as Cinderella?

Once the sketches are photographed, they are cataloged.  The digital images are assigned special tags and file names.  The amount of digital storage used by the ARL is beyond massive, as you can probably imagine, but the filing system makes it easy for the ARL team to find what they’re looking for.  One of the techs showed us an animation sequence from the digitized Cinderella sketches.  I’m pretty sure you can tell by the expression on my face how amazing it looked to see those sketches “dance” on the screen in front of us.

The sketches are packaged and archived into large vaults within the ARL.  We went inside the infamous Vault Three, which houses films from Snow White (1937) to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977).  The vaults are protected with a fire system which uses gas, instead of water, to diffuse any fires and protect the contents within.  As Mr. Carney put it “putting out a fire in here with water would be trading one evil for another.”   In other words, water is just as bad as fire when it comes to protecting a large amount of paper. We also saw some very rare hand-painted glass planes, used for backgrounds on a multiplane camera, which created a three-dimensional effect in two-dimensional animation.

The vaults also house many 3-D pieces, some of which were uncovered in the trash or in random storage boxes.  These pieces, called maquettes are used by animators to get a better perspective on how a character should/would react to light and shadows.  This Pinocchio was used while animating the film (you can see Walt Disney with this marionette in the photo)

We also had the great pleasure of meeting some of the ARL design team.  This team is responsible for designing everything from artwork for high-level executives offices to exhibitions featuring Disney art.  We got a sneak peek of the plans for the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Creation of a Classic exhibition at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Fransico, which will be on view from November 15, 2012 to April 14, 2013.  The ARL design team works on everything, including things like choosing a wall color or frame for the art.

My favorite part of the tour came at the end.  We were brought into a room with original sketches and concept art from Cinderella.  I stood right in front of something the legendary Mary Blair drew.  There were tears in my eyes and a chill down my spine.  Mary Blair has always been my favorite Disney artist and to see something her hands actually touched? It was incredible.  Mary Blair worked on concept art for Cinderella and her influence is seen throughout the film as well as several other Disney films.

It was truly a once in a lifetime experience getting to tour the ARL and see original artwork up close.  It’s something I will never forget and always be truly grateful for.  Hey, who knows, maybe if I get that Masters in Library Science degree one day, I could find myself working at the ARL.  Dare to dream, right?

Be sure to check out the Cinderella Diamond Edition Blu-Ray and Disney DVD Combo pack on October 2.

I attended the #DisneyInHomeBloggers event on behalf of SippyCupMom.com.  Disney provided my transportation, accommodations and other incidentals in exchange for coverage of the events.  While talking points were suggested, all thoughts are my own. 

Turtle Talk With Crush at Disney California Adventure #DisneyInHomeBloggers

Turtle Talk with Crush

One of my favorite places in Disney California Adventure at Disneyland Resort is the Disney Animation Building.  It’s a hidden gem, especially on a hot day or when you just want to decompress for a little bit.  The Disney Animation Building is filled with some great, interactive exhibits, including the Animation Academy (where you can learn to draw Disney characters), the Sorcerer’s Workshop (my favorite room in the Workshop is Beast’s Library where you can discover which Disney character you’re most like.  I always get Tinker Bell), and the Animation Courtyard (an amazing place to sit and watch the projections and enjoy a little quiet).  The projections in the Courtyard constantly change and show the evolution of several Disney films from first sketches to final animation.  It is definitely worth sitting down and watching the entire sequence of clips.

Animation Courtyard at Disney Animation Building

The main focus of our Disney Animation Building tour was Turtle Talk With Crush, an interactive show staring none other than the Disney*Pixar Finding Nemo star, Crush the sea turtle.  Guests sit in the “human tank” and get to ask Crush anything and everything they can think up.  We’ve visited Crush in his East Coast tank at Walt Disney World and we’ve definitely heard a wide range of questions from “How many kids do you have?” to “What does a turtle smell like?” (that one got lots of laughs).  Crush also loves to learn about humans so he can relay the info back to his youngest offspring,  Squirt.

Turtle Talk with Crush

Well, when you put a bunch of bloggers together in one room with a microphone at our disposal, you know we’re going to ask lots of questions!  Being the uber Crush fan I am, I just had to jump at the chance to ask him a question.  Whenever you ask Crush a something, he gives you an awesome sea turtle name.  I am now known as “A-Frame Ashley”.  I kinda dig it.  I asked Crush if they still celebrated birthdays after 150 years.  His response?  “Sometimes, dude. Sometimes we forget, but we do totally love celebrating turtle hatch days.  My father, Mr. Turtle, is close to 200 years old, dude.”

Turtle Talk With Crush

Crush likes to teach guests all about the life of a sea turtle, too.  For example, we learned sea turtles can go around fifteen minutes without going to the surface for air.  If they need to sleep, they can lower their heart rates and stay under for up to five hours.  How cool is that, dude?  They also get their green color from all of the green sea kelp they eat on the ocean floor.  I had no idea!  He can even name all of his little turtle offspring, but I’d fill up an entire blog post trying to write them all down for you.

Turtle Talk With Crush is a totally awesome experience.  It never ceases to amaze me how quickly Crush comes up with the answers to questions and you’ll definitely laugh a lot.  If you’re at Disney California Adventure at Disneyland Resort or Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort, make sure you stop by and say hello to Crush.  He so totally rocks!

Ashley at Turtle Talk With Crush

Catch Crush in Finding Nemo 3D, in theaters today! 

I attended the #DisneyInHomeBloggers event on behalf of SippyCupMom.com.  Disney provided my transportation, accommodations and other incidentals in exchange for coverage of the events.  While talking points were suggested, all thoughts are my own.   All photos are property of Disney, unless otherwise indicated by watermark. 

Finding Nemo 3D Review #DisneyInHomeBloggers

#DisneyInHomeBloggers Finding Nemo 3D screening

Finding Nemo 3D is swimming into theaters tomorrow, September 14th.

I was lucky enough to see a private screening of Finding Nemo 3D last month (on the Walt Disney Studios lot no less!) as part of the #DisneyInHomeBloggers event.  Don’t we all look fabulous in our 3D goggles?

#DisneyInHomeBloggers Finding Nemo 3D screening

Finding Nemo has always been one of my favorite Disney*Pixar films.  From the very first moment I saw it in theaters, to each time I’ve watched it on DVD at home with my kids, I’ve been captivated by the story and by the pure antithetical beauty of the film.   Translating Finding Nemo to the 3D screen was one of the best things Disney*Pixar could have done.   What was once beautiful in 2D is now simply breathtaking in 3D.

Finding Nemo 3D

One concern I had about the 3D version of the film was if the “scary” scenes would be amplified, therefore keeping my four year old from wanting to watch the film. If you’ve seen Finding Nemo before, you know there are some pretty dark scenes at the beginning of the film and during the scene with the angler fish.  I am pleased to say I did not find the scenes to be any scarier than they were before.  The “bad fish” do not come out at the audience, and I am confident my four year old will be able to handle the film without a problem. I give major props to the 3D animators for keeping their audience in mind.  Other film companies may have not done the same thing and went for the cheap 3D gags.

Now, I’m not sure if this was just because I was watching the film with other adults and could actually hear the dialogue clearly for once, but during certain points of the film I could swear new lines were added.   I’m used to watching the firm with two small children at home, and we all know how that can make it impossible to hear what’s really going on during the movie.  I’m anxious to watch it again in 3D (and on Bly-ray later this year) to see if I was right.

Poster Finding Nemo 3D

Finding Nemo 3D is definitely worth seeing in theaters.  Kids will love seeing their favorite characters come to life and adults will really appreciate the stunning animation and effects.

And don’t forget to arrive early for your showing!  You will not want to miss the latest Toy Story Toons short “Partysaurus Rex”.   The lovable Rex from Disney*Pixar’s Toy Story franchise becomes the king of bath time (even with his little arms) in this hilarious short.  The music makes you want to dance in your seat and the new bathtub toys make for some really hilarious additions to the Toy Story family.   Check out this awesome sneak peek and be sure to keep your eyes out for some small tributes paid to other Disney*Pixar characters hidden in the bathroom decor.

 

Catch Finding Nemo 3D and Partysaurus Rex in theaters nationwide September 14th in Disney Digital 3D.
I attended the #DisneyInHomeBloggers event on behalf of SippyCupMom.com.  Disney provided my transportation, accommodations and other incidentals in exchange for coverage of the events.  While talking points were suggested, all thoughts are my own. 

Buena Vista Street and Cars Land at Disney California Adventure with #DisneyInHomeBloggers

Flo's V8 Cafe Cars Land

As part of our amazing #DisneyInHomeBloggers trip to celebrate the releases of Disney-Pixar’s “Finding Nemo 3D”, Cinderella Diamond Edition, and Disney Fairies’ new film “Secret of the Wings”, we were treated to an amazing day at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California.

Disneyland Resort consists of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park as well as three hotels (Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, Disneyland Hotel, and Paradise Pier Hotel) and the Downtown Disney District.  Unlike it’s Florida counterpart, all areas of Disneyland Resort are within walking distance of each other and traveling between Disneyland and Disney California Adventure is as simple as crossing through the Esplanade.  I really enjoy the close proximity of the parks and resorts.  It definitely saves you a lot of time you might otherwise have to spend on a tram or bus.

But don’t let the compactness of the area fool you…Disneyland Resort packs a ton of attractions, entertainment, shopping, and dining into their magical location.  In fact, even after a four day stay in April, I still hadn’t experienced all Disneyland Resort had to offer.

Our morning began in Disney California Adventure, with a stop at the Animation Building to visit Turtle Talk with Crush (more on this soon!).  Then we headed over to Buena Vista Street, the newly remagined entrance to Disney California Adventure (DCA).  You really feel like you’ve stepped back in time to the days of Hollywood in the 1920’s-30’s.  This is my absolute favorite part of the DCA expansion.  I could spend hours on Buena Vista Street watching the Red Car Trolley go by or talking to the Citizens of Buena Vista Street.  (Coffee lovers will rejoice at the new Starbucks location inside of Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical Cafe)  Be sure to grab your copy of the Buena Vista Bugle when you arrive.  It contains all of the latest news and happenings at DCA and makes an amazing collectible souvenir.

Buena Vista Street is also home to the Carthay Circle Theater which houses the Carthay Circle Restaurant, the newest choice for fine dining at Disneyland Resort.  This building is modeled after the site of 1937 world premiere of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”.

  I had the opportunity to dine at Carthay Circle in April and while the service left a little to be desired, the food was absolutely incredible and the atmosphere couldn’t be beat.  The classic Hollywood themeing continues inside the restaurant, all the way down to the cocktail menu.

Carthay offers private dining rooms which would be perfect for a special occasion.  In fact, my dream birthday celebration would take place in one of those rooms.  With all of my friends and family decked out in their dapper 30’s outfits.  Dare to dream, right?

After our tour of Buena Visita Street was complete, we headed to Cars Land, a 12-acre expansion where Disney-Pixar’s film “Cars” comes to life right before your eyes.  If you’ve ever seen “Cars”, you’ll stand in the middle of Route 66 and think to yourself “I’m actually IN Radiator Springs”.  And it’s true.  You really do feel like you’re in the movie.  Cars Land doesn’t feel like a recreation of the film, rather it feels like you’re on the actual set of the movie.

Cars Land offers three attractions, dining and shopping.  You can fuel up with a complete meal at Flo’s V8 Cafe (which I did in April and loved it) or grab some hand-held snacks to-go at the Cozy Cone Motel.  Each building in Cars Land is modeled as an exact replica of the location in the film.

The marquee attraction at Cars Land is Radiator Springs Racers, a mix of the traditional Disney “dark ride” (meaning a story-based ride in a dark setting) and an outdoor speed track experience.  While I didn’t get the opportunity to experience the attraction this time around, I did ride it in April and I was blown away.  I can see why park guests are waiting two hours or more in line to get their turn on the Racers.  You can check out my video of a small snippet of the attraction (which happens to be my favorite part.  The music is perfectly timed and you really get overwhelmed at the sheer beauty of the experience when you see the waterfall in person) for a little taste of the experience.


Incredible, right?

Cars Land and Buena Vista Street have really made Disney California Adventure a place everyone should visit at some point in their lives.  I can not wait to return to Disneyland Resort, and especially Disney California Adventure, again.  While I was born and raised on Walt Disney World, Disneyland truly has a special place in my heart and always will.

I attended the #DisneyInHomeBloggers event on behalf of SippyCupMom.com.  Disney provided my transportation, accommodations and other incidentals in exchange for coverage of the events.  While talking points were suggested, all thoughts are my own.  

Cinderella-inspired Shopping with Disney Consumer Products #DisneyInHomeBloggers

Cinderella Bling Tee and Collectabilitees Old Navy Tee

As part of the #DisneyInHomeBloggers trip last week, I got the exciting privilege of checking out some of the newest offerings in the Disney Consumer Products line in honor of the Diamond Edition release of “Cinderella” and the all-new Disney Fairies film “Secret of the Wings”. {more to come on the Disney Fairies products in a later post}

While I know my little princess is going to go crazy over some of the new product lines, it was very exciting to see Disney’s latest fashions for adults.  After all, we’re always a princess, no matter what our age, right?  I’m hesitant to wear character gear, but these offerings definitely made me change my opinion.

(August 24, 2012, Los Angeles, CA) Mommy bloggers attend Disney Consumer Product’s glamorous Cinderella Showcase Dinner at The London Hotel in Los Angeles to experience the new assortment of products celebrating the release of Walt Disney’s classic animated film Cinderella on Blu-ray. The event provided guests with the royal treatment, including pampering and accessorizing with Cinderella-inspired cosmetics and jewelry followed by a showcase of the latest Cinderella fashions set to release this fall.
Photo by: Kayvon Esmaili for Disney / Location: The London Hotel

I really dig this Cinderella tee.  I’ve always been a huge fan of a vintage tee with a blazer (it’s so Carrie Bradshaw) and I can totally see myself rocking this outfit in the Fall!  This shirt is available at Disney Stores and DisneyStore.com.

And who doesn’t love bling?  Every princess knows a little bling goes a long way and this Cinderella slipper tee is the perfect hint of bling (also available at Disney Stores and DisneyStore.com).  Check out the shirt on the adorable mini model.  It’s one of Old Navy’s new line of “Collectabilitees.  We received a sample to bring home and my daughter was smitten!  It’s going to be getting a lot of wear at school this year for sure.

The girls were also rocking some insanely stylish shoes from Stride Rite’s new Stride Rite for Disney Princess and Cinderella Collections.  I’ll have a full review on that line coming up in a future post over at MamaOfAllTrades.com.  Let’s just say they made our must-own list for back to school, y’all.

Ok, so brace yourselves for the cute that’s about to happen.  Are you ready?  Are you sure?

Ballet apparel by Capezio for Disney Princess

Bam.  Disney Princess by Capezio.  Bunny is taking ballet for the first time this Fall and I can not wait to see her decked out in her Disney Princess by Capezio gear.  It’s super affordable and available at Toys r Us, Amazon and online at Capezio.com.

Last, but most certainly not least, we were treated to a peek at the Disney Fairy Tale Weddings line by Alfred Angelo.  I was fortunate to see the brial gowns at the 2011 Disney Social Media Moms conference so it was a real treat to see some of the bridal party offerings at this event.

The bridesmaid dress shown could be worn for a variety of events and we were even talking about how it would be so cute to shorten the dress and add some pockets after the wedding.  I am all about special occasion dresses that can be worn more than once.  The flower girl dresses were certainly something out of a fairy tale.

And, of course, every bride needs to feel extra special on her big day, right?  Well, the Fairy Tale Weddings jewelry line by Kate Aspen is the perfect icing on the cake (the wedding cake, that is).  You can learn more about the Fairy Tale accessories at DisneyBridal.com.

This Cinderella-inspired line draws from the shapes of the famous glass carriage that carries Cinderella to the ball.  When I got my earrings home I noticed a really cute feature…on the back of one of the earrings was a little, blue gemstone for a built-in “something blue”.   How sweet is that?

So, now you’ve seen some of the fab clothes, but what else do you need to complete your princess transformation?  Make-up.  Yes, Sephora has teamed up with Disney to launch a Cinderella-inspired beauty line this October.  (I know, I’m pretty giddy about this, too)

 

I received a sample of the perfume (some of the other ladies received the nail polish line).  I’m not a huge perfume person, but this was light and very feminine.  I’m excited to see the rest of the collection when it debuts this Fall.  The line will include the perfume, nail polish, shadow and color pallets, lipstick, and mirrored compacts all inspired by the classic film.

As you can tell, there are SO many amazing things coming out from Disney Consumer Products!  Which of the above items are you most excited about? Leave a comment and let me know!

I still have a ton of previews to show you over on my site, so definitely stay tuned!

Look for the Cinderella Diamond Edition, available on Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack October 2nd.

I attended the #DisneyInHomeBloggers event on behalf of SippyCupMom.com.  Disney provided my transportation, accommodations and other incidentals in exchange for coverage of the events.  While talking points were suggested, all thoughts are my own.  

Meet Merida, a Tollytots Doll Review and Giveaway

Merida Forest Adventure

Dolls and princesses.  Princesses and dolls.  I’m pretty sure those are the only two thoughts running through my daughter’s mind lately.  You can imagine the squeals of delight when she opened a box from Tollytots and discovered her new best friend waiting inside.

Merida Forest Adventure

Tollytots has released a series of dolls featuring Disney-Pixar’s latest “Brave” princess, Merida.  New for Fall 2012 is the Forest Adventure Merida.  The doll comes complete with Merida in her “adventure” outfit, shoes, bow, three arrows, and quiver.  No Merida doll would be complete without her signature red curls hanging down.  (I am very pleased to report the bow is non-functional and the arrows are made of a soft rubber-like material, which means I don’t need to worry about my four year-old or two year-old poking each other’s eyes out or flinging arrows all over the house.)

We have purchased several of the Tollytots “My First Disney Princess” dolls and have always been more than pleased with the quality of the construction of not only the dolls, but the dresses and accessories as well.  Our “Singin’ in the Bath Ariel” doll has survived probably one hundred bath times at this point and she’s still in perfect condition.  It’s not every day you find a product which really stands up to the test of a toddler and preschooler!

Merida Forest Adventure Doll

Most of all, I love the imagination and creativity the dolls can spark in my child.  She will spend hours playing with her Tollytots dolls: making up new adventures and stories and practicing her mommy and doctor skills.  Her little brother even gets in on the action and helps rescue the princesses from the evil forces at hand (usually Darth Vader, I know, you’re really shocked at that one).  I love having her play with toys where she’s in control of the story.  While hand-held electronics are great, it’s good to know my children are just as happy playing with “old-fashioned” toys, too.

Tollytots also produces a whole line of great doll accessories from Graco and Fisher-Price.  They’ve partnered with quality companies to produce high-quality products, designed to help your child unleash their creativity and imagination.

Would your daughter or son love their very own Merida doll?  Well, Tollytots is giving one away to a very lucky Sippy Cup Mom reader!  

Make sure you check out Tollytots on Facebook and on Twitter at @Tollytots!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a Merida Forest Adventure doll for my review.  Tollytots can not guarantee that winner will receive product reviewed above, but will be something comparable if not. All thoughts are my own.  The giveaway contest is run by the rules of SippyCupMom.com.

Fish, Fairies, and a Glass Slipper…#DisneyInHomeBloggers Trip Announcement

Cinderella Secret of the Wings Fining Nemo Blu Ray Boxes

In a little over a week, I’ll be travelling to the Los Angeles Area as part of the #DisneyInHomeBloggers Press Event.  I can not begin to explain how excited I am to be covering this trip for Melissa and SippyCupMom.com (and I’m still totally giddy over her recent announcement).

Over three days, we’ll be attending screenings of Disney·Pixar’s “Finding Nemo 3D” and the new Tinker Bell/Disney Fairies movie “Secret of the Wings”.   Not only that, but we’ll get to tour the Disney California Adventure Animation building (one of my absolute favorite spots in all of Disneyland Resort), interview the one and only Crush (duuuuuude), and tour Walt Disney Animation Studios and Disney Toon Studios where we’ll meet with filmmakers and get to see the  Animation Research Library’s prized collection of Cinderella memorabilia and artifacts!  Can you hear my heart pitter-pattering?

This trip kicks off the celebration of the releases of Disney·Pixar’s “Finding Nemo 3D” (In Theaters September 14th & Available on Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack December 4th), “Cinderella: Diamond Edition” (Available on Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack October 2nd), and “Secret of the Wings”: an all-new Tinker Bell/Disney Fairies adventure (Available on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack & HD Digital Download October 23rd).  You can bet all three of these Blu-Rays will be under our Christmas tree this holiday season.

If you haven’t seen the trailer for “Secret of the Wings”, you definitely have to check it out!

 

 

 

You can follow along with the trip in a variety of ways! I’ll be posting updates on the Sippy Cup Mom Facebook page, the Mama of All Trades Facebook page and under the @SippyCupMom and @MamaOfAllTrades twitter accounts Be sure to also follow along with the #DisneyInHomeBloggers hashtag to get updates from all of the amazing bloggers attending.  And, of course, I’ll be posting a full report of the trip here on SippyCupMom.com!  You’re definitely going to want to stay tuned!

I’ll see you in LA!

 

Disclosure: Disney is providing an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles including travel, accommodations and activities. All thoughts and opinions are my own