Sunday, December 28, 2014

Annual Pass Diaries: Disney Trip December 2014

Cameron and I purchased Annual Passes for Disney World in October for our anniversary. (well more for my anniversary present) We knew we would be going for a long trip in the Spring with some friends, and figured if we did our 4th and 5th anniversary's there as well it would pay for itself to go ahead and get the annual pass.

I feel like it had more than paid for itself already. I will post more on that later this week, the benefits of having an annual pass, but for now I will leave you with a few of my favorite photos from the trip.

We like to get an early start on trip days, so we packed up the car and rolled out around 6am, to be to Orlando around lunch time.

One of the reasons we were able to make this quick trip happen is Cameron's parents were already down there and graciously let us crash in their condo for a few days.

Once we settled in, and freshened up we headed to Downtown Disney (soon to be Disney Springs) the amount of work that has been done, even since we were there in October, is amazing. I am so looking forward to when it will all be completed. We had dinner at one of our favorites, Raglan Road. Over 80% of the menu can be done Gluten Free and they have a great selection of hard ciders too.
We walked around, and did some shopping but decided to head back to the room fairly early because we knew we were headed to Magic Kingdom the next day.

I had prepared myself for the worst crowds, but honestly it just really wasn't that bad. Maybe not even as bad as the time we were there around Spring break and for sure not as bad as when we accidentally went on the 4th of July haha.

In order to be sure none of the crew got too tired to stay late, we took it easy in the morning, slept in and had breakfast. We headed to Magic Kingdom around lunch time.

Of course our first stop was to get a Mickey bar before we headed to our first FP on Space Mountain. The lines on the rides that usually have long lines were long, like 120 min on Space Mountain around the afternoon. Thank goodness for FP.
Since it had only been two months since we were here, I really didn't have a lot that I felt like I needed to do. I mainly just wanted to relax and enjoy the park.

But one thing that was on my MUST list this time was the Liberty Square River Boat. As far as I can remember (and I asked my parents too) I have never ridden it. It usually has shorter hours than the rest of the park, and to be honest we are usually packing so much into our Magic Kingdom day, we would always just skip it.




After a late lunch we headed over, the boat leaves on the hour and half hour, and we only had a few min to wait to board. We were close to the front of the line, so we got a nice spot for Cameron's parents to sit and it was such a relaxing ride.



Let's talk about the awesome lighting at this time too #nofilter The views on this ride are incredible. I had no idea that there was so much back here. If you haven't done it, this for sure needs to go on your must do list. It is the perfect mid-day relaxing ride.


Perfect views of my favorite ride

Big Thunder Mountain Rail Road
Pro Tip: The boat has three viewing floors. Everyone with kiddos goes up to the top floor (no shade cover) and a lot of people say on the second floor (where you board) I recommend going to the left when you get on, and heading to the bottom floor (this is where you unload the boat as well)

Proof that it really is the WILDEST RIDE IN THE WILDERNESS
Vintage Disney animatronic scenes are one of my favorite things

A non animatronic cutie who had his little feet wrapped around the edge of this marker
I'd be lying if I said my smile isn't always this big when I am in my happy place

Cameron's mom and me on the boat
I said it before and I will say it again, the views from this boat cannot be beat. I will never skip over this again. Liberty Square with Cinderella's Castle in the background is pretty much perfection.




From there, we headed right over to grab a Dole Whip, because ... Dole Whip.
We sat in Adventureland and people watched for a while while we enjoyed our Dole Whips, then we settled in near the Castle to watch the lighting as the sun was going down (with popcorn of course, because Disney = Snacks)

Next came another FP, then dinner, and we settled in to watch Wishes (the fireworks display) We found a new favorite viewing spot (if you don't care about seeing celebrate the magic) It's usually our favorite part, but we've seen it a bunch and didn't feel like braving the crowds.

By now most of the rides are down to super short waits, we walked right on to the Little Mermaid ride and then the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor.
Then we headed up to the Castle to get some close up photos and take in all the beautifulness. I could have hung out up there all night.

I was so glad we were able to make this trip happen because I have never seen the castle all iced over for the winter. Let me tell you, it was worth the whole trip just for that.

Our beautiful day at Magic Kingdom was coming to a close, and just as we were headed out to get some sleep this happened...

Yes, it is snowing on Main Street. Night. Made.

Overall, even though we only went to the parks one day, this day is going down as one of my favorite Disney memories ever. Thanks Cameron for making it happen.

Have you ever visited Disney World in the Winter? What's your favorite part?


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Influenster Frosty VoxBox

It's VoxBox Day. I was so excited to be selected to try out some new products courtesy of Influenster. I love getting free samples, and coupons so a VoxBox in the mail is pretty much the best thing ever.



What's inside?

- Boots No7 Protect and Perfect Advanced sample (PLUS a coupon to buy the full sized version at Target or Target.com)

- NYC Expert Last Lip Color in Sugar Plum

- Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Tea sample (PLUS a coupon to buy more at the store)

- Eco Tools Hair Brush

- Rimmel Eye Makeup remover

- Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof eyeliner

- McCormick Gourmet Thyme

- Fruit Vines Bites

I think I am most excited to try out and use the brush. I was in desperate need of one anyway, so it totally worked out. I love that it can be used on any type of hair, and it helps your hair dry faster. I have used Rimmel products before so I am excited to try out their eyeliner - especially since it is waterproof, and I find it is so hard to find one I like that is also waterproof. 

Least excited about the Fruit Vines bites, they are advertised to have low fat and no preservatives but upon checking the ingredient list (Corn Syrup, Sugar, Wheat Flour, Modified Corn Starch, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Malic Acid, Artificial Flavor, Glyceryl Monostearate, Sunflower Lecithin, Glycerin, Salt, Red 40) I am going to pass, even if I wasn't gluten free... that's WAY too many things that are GMOs and chemicals for my taste. 

I can't wait to give further reviews on their website, and maybe even something from this box will make it's way into a My Favs on Thursdays post. 

Don't forget, you can sign up to be considered for your own VoxBox via this link here.

Disclaimer - I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes, all opinions are my own


Saturday, December 13, 2014

People Love Mail

Hello my name is Nicole, I am a blogger and 3/5 posts this week included buffalo check plaid.

The Stay Cozy Card

This one is no exception.

We are still stuck in the house on the beautiful Saturday trying to get ourselves 100% better so we can return to being normal humans again. I was cleaning and organizing some of the inventory left over from ICE that we didn't leave at Crafted Westside for their Pop Up and I came across a few cards we hadn't put on the website yet.

So here you go! The Stay Cozy card and the Peppermint Mochas card are now available for the shop.

Peppermint Mochas Card
Which do you like best? Limited availability of each card in the shop now.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Everybody is Working for the Weekend

It's Friday. Is it Friday? I wouldn't know. This time of year hand makers and small business owners are not likely taking the weekends for themselves. But if I was heading out of my house this weekend (and not working in between naps and giant cups of coffee) you can bet your flannel cowl this is what I would be wearing. I love dressing up a basic jeans and a tee shirt with cute booties and a patterned scarf.



Be sure you keep updated on all things DBN by following along with us on twitter and Instagram {hint: we are planning a MAJOR giveaway for the end of December, so you for sure want to be following along on Instagram}


We got ourselves a little bit behind because the last week or so I have been battling a sinus infection ... and just as I am starting to feel better again, Cameron comes down with it. So there's that.


In between naps, we are trying to keep HUSTLING to get those orders out. There is still time to get some DBN goods by December 24th, but please keep in mind the following dates when placing your orders.


disclaimer - this post contains affiliate links

Last Day


Today is the absolute last day we can probably (we say probably because you really never know with the USPS this time of year) say your order will arrive by December 24th using regular mail.

After today, you will have to pay to upgrade!

SHOP NOW


Thursday, December 11, 2014

My Favs on Thursdays - metaphore bags

Welcome to our weekly link up, that I have lacked very much participation in recently, where Katy Meghan and I link up to chat about our favs this week.

Today I can't wait to share my new fav bag with you. To start I want to say that I am bag-lady. Everything from luggage, to backpacks, sling packs, tote bags, cross body bags, you name it I have it. I own more bags than any other accessory and I am picky.

When I saw this bag on Etsy I immediately added it to my wish list.


I wanted something with a durable bottom, and leather accents. The hand-painted polka dots on the canvas are just the icing on a perfect cake. 

The tote is handmade in Turkey by Elif & Asiye. Let's start at the top. The straps are made from vegetable tanned leather and are the perfect length to carry as well as have good access to the bag when you are wearing it. The zipper is a great quality, and has a leather zipper pull which matches the straps. The body of the bag is made from an eco-canvas which they hand paint the polka dots on to (so cute) and last but not least the bottom is made from a thick waxed canvas. 

Having the waxed canvas bottom is such a bonus for this bag, because I am not worried about it when  I have to set it down. It also provides a great stability in the bag even when there isn't much inside. 

image via

The inside of the bag is lined in the same canvas that the outside is, with two HUGE pockets. The pockets fit an iPhone 6 (on it's side) and anything else you might need to grab quickly.

I could go on and on about the quality of the bag, but you should really just order one for yourself. Shop Metaphore here.

PS. I was not paid or compensated in anyway for this review, I just like to share my awesome finds with all of you.

Be sure to join the linkup below!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Gluten Free at Disney - Kona Cafe

We went to Disney in October for the first time since we found out about Cameron's food allergy, and the first time since being Gluten Free.

It was the first place we traveled to that I wasn't worried about getting sick at all. Disney is the best when it comes to customizing experiences for guest with allergies of any kind. Each and every food location we went to went above and beyond to make our experience perfect.

Over the next few Wednesdays I will be posting my reviews of different Disney restaurants, snack carts and our resort, Coronado Springs, from a gluten-free perspective. I hope this information is helpful to anyone who needs it. Please feel free to ask a question in the comments, or send me an email!

Kona Cafe - Dinner



Location: Disney's Polynesian Resort

I couldn't get any really awesome photos of Kona Cafe because the entire Polynesian Resort is under renovation. But it is located on the second floor of the Polynesian, next to Ohana, closer to the monorail entrance.

Reservations: Yes, I would recommend you have an advance dining reservation (ADR) for this restaurant, all though you may not need one. If you don't have one be sure to go at an off hour.
Another reason to make a reservation anywhere they take them on Disney property is when you are making them, there is a section to note your food allergy, that way the hostess can make the waiter aware of it when seating you.

Serving: breakfast, lunch and dinner (we ate there for dinner)

The following dining experience took place October 2014:

At the time of our visit Disney had begun testing menus at certain restaurants that are for guests with food allergies (in the past, and at some restaurants that are not testing this, upon learning of your food allergy, the chef would come speak to you at the table) so we were given a Gluten Free menu when we were seated.

Our waiter asked if we would still like to speak to the chef, but we declined. He said he would be back to take our order with a special allergy form, and returned with a sheet that he filled out, specifying the allergy, and our table right down to the time he took our order.

Now for the delicious part, the food.

We noticed when we walked in, bread on everyone's table (which we assumed we wouldn't be getting) but to our surprise they brought us the most amazing allergy free rolls (gluten, dairy and nut free) and sweet butter to spread on them. So good I forgot to take a picture.

We also ordered a sashimi appetizer, but I forgot to take that picture as well, we were super hungry from a day filled with travel.

All of the items on the gluten free menu, are regular menu items, that your non-gf friends can order as well.

Cameron ordered the Grilled Kona Coffee-rubbed Pork Chop


I was surprised, because he almost never orders pork when we are out to eat. It was so delicious. I would highly recommend it!

I have been craving sushi, so I instantly knew I wanted the Volcano Roll. Let's just say everyone wanted this when it got to my table.


This work of art, I mean sushi dish, was the best sushi I have ever had, complete with gluten-free soy sauce.

And last, but not least, the dessert. I am sucker for Crème Brûlée, so when Meghan (from HayesDays.com) said it was the best she has ever had, I knew we had to order it.


Yes, that is a caramelized banana on top. Just order it.

Have you ever eaten at Kona Cafe? It is on my MUST DO list for all the trips now.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Buffalo Check

I have always been a fan of patterns. It seems like every season I find myself totally addicted to one. This winter is no exception, as I cannot get ENOUGH Buffalo Check Plaid.

Check out some of my favorite finds.

This Scarf.
This pullover. {my favorite Black Friday purchase}
This Fat Zipper Dopp Kit.
This Leash.
This Tie.
This Pillow.


This Clutch.

I have a few dollars left on an Etsy gift card that is burning a whole in my pocket, I think I may need to make that clutch mine. 

I am still on the hunt for the perfect flannel for myself. I made the mistake of trying on this one and this one at J Crew and none of the others have lived up to it's perfection. Just waiting on the perfect coupon to them mine. 

Do you have any patterns you can't get enough of this season?


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Winter Shipping Deadlines

The following are the 2014 shipping deadlines for Designs by Nicolina orders to probably get them by December 24th. 

I say probably because with the USPS I cannot make any promises at all when it comes to the arrival of your package. 

The best advice I can give is order ASAP. 


All orders of two items or more we will be automatically upgrading to Priority Mail shipping for our customers. These deadlines apply in both the Etsy shop and our online store.

Happy Shopping!


Friday, December 5, 2014

Coffee Love

I was freshening up the shop yesterday, and realized a bunch of the new prints that we debuted for ICE had not made it in there yet!

So I drank a few cups of coffee and made it happen.

Here they are!

The #needcoffee Art Print
The ombré color on this print can be customized to match your kitchen or coffee bar area. The design is hand-letterd by me.

Dear Coffee I Love You Art Print
The adorable polka-dots that make up the background of this art print are actually little coffee rings. 'Coffee' text hand-lettered by me.

Simple Coffee Cup Art Print
This print perfectly complements the previous two. Hand-drawn by me.

I guess we had a bit of a coffee theme this time around. What do you think of the new prints? Have a favorite?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Atlanta

We had friends in town, and the very first time we hosted over-night guests, last weekend. We had a blast catching up, and spent some time doing some tourist things in our city. It is so funny that when you live somewhere, you sometimes forget about all the exciting things there are to do around town.

We started our day at the Georgia Aquarium

We haven't been in so long, there were lots of new things to see. Including the new Dolphin Tales show, which was so much fun (well, the dolphins were, there was also a very interesting musical element that you would have to see to believe... and not in a good way haha)

One Gluten Free at the Georgia Aquarium note: They have several different kinds of chips, and a few kinds of cookies, as well as candybars, but due to cross-contamination in the food areas, none of the counter service is safe to eat.

But that was OK with us because we were headed to our favorite Yeah! burger for lunch.
Yeah! Burger never disappoints, if you ever find yourself in the Atlanta area, it is a MUST.

The four of us, Brittany & I were best friends when we were little, but they both our families moved and we lost touch until last year when I found her on Instagram though a mutual friend. Social media for the win on this one. We all get along so well, and seriously the lighting that night was amazing, there is no filter on this picture.

We spent some time exploring the Westside area of Atlanta, which has some of our favorites like Star Provisions and the Crafted Westside Pop Up (where you can pick up some awesome DBN goods now through December 24th) and ended up at Jeni's for dessert.

Can you say amazing? How did it take us so long to try this place?



I got the sweet potato & roasted marshmallow flavor, sounds odd, but was amazing! Cameron got vanilla, not as adventurous but still delicious!

The whole weekend was jam packed with food, fun and office reruns. I couldn't have wished for a more perfect time.

Hope your weekend was a good as mine, but it probably wasn't (unless your name is Cameron, Chase or Brittany)