Thanksgiving at Disneyland

This year my family spent Thanksgiving at Disneyland. It was a very different choice for us in terms of how we typically spend our holiday, but with all the stuff happening in our lives we decided we needed a break from reality. We were even joined by our Elf, Spot, on the trip.  Santa gave my son permission to hold him on the trip as Disney is magical enough to sustain his Elf powers, or whatever. It was very cool.

I have never seen Disneyland dressed up for the holidays and I was basically enthralled every minute. From the moment you enter the parks you are met with decorations and smells and smiles that transport you into the land of Christmas.

During our first night there we were able to walk down Main Street and it ‘snowed’ on us….a fine bubble mist that smelled of gingerbread and candy rained down on us under purple glowing lights as Christmas music played. I think I saw 200 people crying tears of joy, my husband and I included. It was very magical and very emotional. As we walked down Main Street to exit the park under the mickey shaped garland and wreaths hanging overhead we had our eyes glued to the gorgeous tree with a million twinkling lights. It was beautiful.

We had eaten at Cafe Orleans and slept like babies that night after being stuffed with delicious New Orleans inspired food and Holiday Magic. 

The next day was Thanksgiving Day and it was somehow, even more magical than the first day of our trip. We went on the Walk in Walt’s Footsteps Tour and it gave us a very amazing perspective on Disneyland and Walt Disney’s dreams coming to fruition. The tour included 3 hours of walking through the lands of the Disneyland park and hearing Walt’s recorded words played to us on a device as well as being educated on Walt’s history by our amazing tour guide (Shout out to very tall tour guide Adrian!!). We were able to go on two rides and into one attraction without waiting and the tour included a lunch at private tables in the tour garden as well as a special pin commemorating the tour.

 

Possibly the best part of the tour, the day and maybe our entire year so far in general, was having the opportunity to go inside of Walt Disney’s private apartment in Disneyland above the fire station on Main Street. It was the place Walt stayed while he was at the park, where he visited with his grandchildren and watched the parades down Main Street. It was where he sat and came up with some of his most amazing and magical ideas. It was a place we never thought we would be able to see with our own eyes. 

If you aren’t a Disney fan, a true hardcore fan of the history and legacy of Disney, I can see why you might not understand the excitement about all of this. My family is a pack of hardcore Disney nerds. For us Disney is a way of life, not just some animated films and a theme park. We like to follow our dreams and spend time as a family experiencing magic whenever we get the opportunity. My son was blown away by the ability to stand where Walt stood and to learn about his life from his youth to his death and legacy. I don’t think we could have asked for a more amazing experience.

 

The next day and a half we tried going on the rides we typically didn’t take time to enjoy on past visits. We went on the Casey Jr. train, the Storybook canal boats,  and Snow White’s ride. We also went on the Nemo submarine ride and of course, experienced the fun of It’s a Small World with it’s Christmas makeover.  Then we headed to California Adventure and took some time to explore the Bug’s Life area and eat some delicious food from the Festival of Holidays. We also had fun watching Fantasmic with all of it’s exciting updates. 

All in all I’d say our trip did exactly what we needed it to do…it refreshed and recharged us for the holiday season. Our family has been going through so many difficult things the last few months and being able to get away and spend time in such a magical place with the people I care the most about has made the future seem more exciting. Learning about how Walt Disney overcame so many challenges and followed his dreams despite the obstacles in his way made me feel like I can do anything to reach my own goals and follow my own dreams.

I will be doing a Giveaway soon with a very cool Disneyland Holiday exclusive item…so stay tuned!

Small Business Saturday: DRT Woodworks

Great products for wine and beer enthusiasts.

I met Daniel Torres, the owner of Fresno’s DRT Woodworks at the ArtHop in October and just loved his unique take on a portable wine caddy. His designs use wood and rope and they have a nice rustic feel to their design.

Daniel started his woodworking business in July of 2017 after being inspired by California wine culture. He said it started as a personal project to properly transport wine but eventually developed into a business once others became interested in purchasing his designs.

He does custom orders of wine racks, wine caddys and beer caddys which are all hand made with pine and comes with or without stain per customers preference. 

(Note: the beer caddy had a bottle opener and a hidden magnet to catch your bottle caps!!)

Daniel is originally from Grand Terrace, CA and moved to Fresno in 2008 for school.  Being from the SoCal wine country he grew up learning about wine and has been involved ever since. He says he plans to give back some proceeds to the Sonoma County Wildfire disaster relief funds as it has greatly affected their wine commerce, as well as families and businesses in the region. He also plans to help the Fresno Community with local charity work in 2018.

“Ever since I was young, I wanted to start and run my own business, I also wanted that business to have purpose. I am a huge advocate for supporting small businesses everywhere and I am an even bigger advocate for that business to give back to the community where it resides. That is what I plan to do with DRT Woodworks; the idea of whenever you buy something from me, your dollar will stretch further and actually mean something to the community where it resides.”

Ways to contact DRT Woodworks:

https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/DRTWoodworks

(909) 649-4686       DanielRTorres5@Gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Friendship Club

Earlier this month my son and I started a Friendship Club at his elementary school. He has experienced bullying and had trouble making friends and I thought building a safe and creative space within his school would help him, and other children with similar issues, foster friendships and have some fun during their school day.

The school was kind enough to allow me to use a room on campus during lunch recess for the club one day a week. The first day of the club I arrived about 30 minutes before lunch recess and they gave me the key and I set up the little room by clearing off tables and setting out my homemade printable sheets and crayons and other writing utensils for the kids. The club hadn’t yet been “advertised” to the students by the school or PTA and I was a little nervous that no one but my son would show up. I had printed 30 of my little projects just in case and when the lunch recess bell rang I started getting pretty excited.

Lunch recess was between 11 am and 1 pm for all 7 grades (k-6) and within that time period I had roughly 50 kids come through the room and it felt like a whirlwind of excitement. My son showed up about 45 minutes into it as he is in 3rd grade and brought his own posse of kids from his classroom. I literally ran out of supplies and had to break out lined paper and had kids make me a list of some things they’d like to do during friendship club in the future. I was blown away by how kind and creative these kids were and I thoroughly enjoyed watching them interact.

We came up with one rule that first meeting, “Always be a friend to everyone.”

The second week came and I had gone to the dollar store and stocked up on supplies in preparation. This week’s project would be making bookmarks. I pre-cut 100 bookmarks from a rainbow of card stock and had more coloring utensils and hundreds of stickers.

I am happy to say that I ran out of supplies again during the second meeting of Friendship Club. There were so many kids I could hardly hear through the friendly banter. No one argued, and every single kid had a smile on their face. What really helped was the very kind donation for the club from my son’s teacher; she gave us a gigantic tub of legos. So the kids who couldn’t make bookmarks were able to hunker down on the carpet and play legos together. It was phenomenal.

I am truly excited to continue Friendship Club throughout the school year. I have a goal to get at least one other adult volunteer to help oversee the kids with me. Some of the kids have expressed a desire to have a board game day and possibly make friendship bracelets. I think that will be something we can do during January.

I am including some downloads of the printables I have made if you’d like to use them with your kids. If you decide to start a friendship club at your school let me know! I’d love to share my ideas with you.

Printables

 Download Buddy or Bully Printable

 Download Emoji Friendship Printable

 Download Turkey Hand Activity

 

Small Business Saturday: Collect Coffee Bar

A Fresno coffee bar that will give you an education in coffee.

Collect Coffee Bar is located right in the midst of Fresno State and it is the perfect coffee shop for students.  They opened in August of 2016 and the owner, Sara Jarrar,  has been making this shop a success ever since. She has lived in countries all over the world and settled in Fresno about 4 years ago and followed her dream of opening a coffee bar where customers can not only order amazing drinks, but they can become educated on coffee. She is dedicated to her customers and staff, who she calls her work-family. 

This coffee shop is designed beautifully with mugs hanging from a chandelier, creative seating and beautiful wall pieces. It is so aesthetically pleasing it will draw you in to sit and enjoy one of their delicious hand crafted coffees. They have a full and interesting menu of drinks as well as a mouth watering baked goods selection. And to top it off, they are pet friendly. 

Each month Sara Jarrar has a different charity that patrons can donate to at her coffee shop and she plans on getting more involved in local charities in 2018. Her shop supports local artists as well, so if you love coffee, art, and helping others you should come in to Collect Coffee Bar and enjoy!

3142 E. Campus Pointe Dr.      Call (559)-797-4267
Fresno, California
Facebook                  Instagram                  Website

 

Small Business Saturday: Fresno City Vapor

“We believe in the vaping community, and want to extend it to the central valley through our vaping lounge.”

Fresno City Vapor is owned by Fresno native, Ryan Ah Tye and he is dedicated to serving the 21 and up community of vape users in Fresno. But he also has a more interesting goal…to help you STOP SMOKING. 

It seems counter-intuitive but he quit smoking cigarettes through vaping and has even gone as far as discouraging people to start vaping if they didn’t have the cig habit before they come into his shop.

“Another one of our focuses was to help people quit smoking. We both have experienced incredible results using e-cigarettes to stop smoking regular cigarettes and we have both weened down to low nicotine or zero nicotine. We are aware that many people vape for pleasure and never smoked, but we wanted to make this available to people trying to stop smoking since it had been so successful for both of us.” (Ryan)

He also says he has the best staff in town, and I definitely agree. The vape culture can sometimes have a weird “hipster/bro” energy to it and this shop is not in that realm at all. I am able to go in this shop and feel welcome, comfortable and not pressured to buy right away. The core group of 5 guys at this shop have pretty much all been there from the start in 2013 when Ryan opened Fresno City Vapor. They treat their customers well and have earned great respect in the Fresno Vaping Community. The entire shop is clean and friendly, with a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Ryan talked about his hopes to venture into charitable events and continue with projects such as “Toys for Tots”. He wants to connect with the Fresno community and he is searching for creative ways to do so. One such way is that he allows artists to display their work in his shop and is a supporter of local artists in the central valley. Ryan also creates his own vape liquids and juices available in his shop, as well as internationally. 

If you Vape or use e-cigarettes you should definitely come down and check out this amazing shop. I know you won’t leave empty handed. 

 

Fresno City Vapor    (559) 285-6430

FresnoCityVapor@Gmail.Com

5769 N First Street Fresno 93710 

Facebook     Instagram     

 

 

Small Business Saturday: Root Access Hackerspace

Root Access is a home for Fresno’s hackers, crafters, makers, builders, and artists!”

owned and operated by Derek Payton and Andrew Runner in Fresno, Ca

A helpful bit of info from their website:

If any of these sound good to you, you belong in our space!
Electronics & Robotics Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and other microcontrollers
Computers Programming, networking, and security
Prototyping & Fabrication 3D printing and laser cutting
Textile Arts Sewing, knitting, and crochet

I have been so happy to see this business open in Fresno’s Tower District. It is going to be an amazing addition to the Fresno tech community. Located only blocks from Fresno City College and Olive Ave (The main street of Tower District) it is primed for success. 

They host tech and art events for the community as well as offering classes to those who are interested in learning about coding, cyber security, robot building and crafting! They have computers, laser cutters, 3D printers and sewing machines for the members and will help you learn how to use these tools with their educational accessibility. 

 

So how can you gain access to this amazing establishment?

Website         Facebook

1476 N Van Ness Ave
Fresno, California                                      Call (559) 856-1399
Check them out, and #SupportSmallBusiness !

 

Small Business Saturday: Flickin’ Lit Candle Co.

Chelsea Gonzalez is a local small business owner located in Los Banos, California.

” Hand crafted & infused with essential oils • Made with a dash of sass and soy wax • Hand poured • Eco and vegan friendly,  Candles w|attitude & essence”

 

Flickin’ Lit Candle Co. is a very interesting and creative candle operation made 100% by Chelsea herself. She creates candles and wax melts into tiny works of art. As someone who has used both the wax melts and candles I can vouch that they small beyond amazing.  I can melt one piece of the wax and they last all day long throughout my entire home.

She not only makes quality products, she has managed to market them creatively by slapping classic and hilarious names on to her products.  Some of the scents include: Half-Baked, Best F’in Apple, PSL & Uggs, Queen Basic, Fresh AF, and Whorechata….to name a few. She also has a “Hella Basic Package” for Fall. All of these include FREE SHIPPING!! Which is basically a dream come true. 

Chelsea works hard to make her customers happy and has some great ideas which will make her business a success.  So go check her out! #SupportSmallBusiness

Flickin’ Lit Website

Facebook

or email/call her: Flickinlitcandles@Gmail.com   (209) 658-7123

 

Small Business Saturday: Crafted by Camargo

Kicking off Small Business Saturday for Blogtober with Crafted By Camargo!

Omar Camargo is a local artist and business owner in Fresno, California.

“I’m fairly new to the entire online shop, and business aspect of things, definitely have learned a lot along the way. My shop has only been open for about 6 months. And it originally opened as a jewelry shop, but I really love creating all sorts of things, so it slowly started branching to other things, such as party decor, custom mugs & t- shirt’s, slowly want to roll out cards for several occasions since I love to water color as well. I really love custom orders, so I strongly encourage them! Everything you see is made by me, I work on everything myself. I’m very particular about how I like things to look, and be done, even down to the packaging. I think cohesion and presentation of a product is key, so I really try to deliver that. I’m excited to have my first pop up shop in early December! My ultimate goal would be too create several pop up shops throughout the Central Valley, collaborate with other local business owners, and maybe someday have a small store front of my own. “

Omar is a very hardworking and talented young entrepreneur and student here in our community and I want you to check out his shop and see his work! #SupportYourLocalArtists!

Here are some places you can see his work and shop:

Facebook

Etsy

Turning 31 Didn’t Suck

My Birthday at Disney

 

I had a fantastic birthday and took some very cool photos! I also made an obnoxiously long photo journal post about it (above) and I hope you enjoy reading all about it and looking at my Disneyland photos.

So many things are coming to this blog in October so don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE! 

-Robyn