They Say Stay in Your Lane, Boy

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Breaking news: This post has nothing to do with Disney!  Um, actually, wait a sec… (*consults first three seconds of the YouTube video posted below*)…yeah, sorry, there’s a bit of Disney in there.  It would appear I literally cannot help myself, no apologies.

Also can’t help myself because we’re talking about twenty one pilots here, my favouritest of the favoured bands, and I will take every opportunity afforded to me in this world to tell absolutely everyone about last Halloween when Mr. Finger Candy and I dressed up like Tyler Joseph, the lead singer of TOP, for an after hours party at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.  Rock star cosplaying – I highly recommend it.  Tigger was a fan!

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The other night we finally got to see twenty one pilots live for the first time on their Bandito tour, and they were INCREDIBLE.  So polished!  So much tech – pyro, air jets, confetti, lasers, drum platforms and multiple, moving stages.  So much shirtless Josh Dun, the drummer with the sweet disposition and the even sweeter abbbbbbbbssssssss.  And so much heart.  It’s obvious how much Tyler and Josh love what they do – it radiates from every aspect of this carefully orchestrated production.  This is the adult in me speaking (let her speak; she doesn’t get out very often!) but there’s nothing more attractive than someone(s) showing care and competence.  Not sure I needed the boost, but I’m smitten with TOP all anew. 🙂

And newfound smittenness needs nails, don’t you think?  So here’s a TOP-friendly mani inspired by the aesthetics of their three major albums, 2013’s blue and red Vessel, 2015’s black, red and white Blurryface and 2018’s camo and yellow Trench.

TOP Collage

Being all smitten-like also required me to put together a video I shot of *some* of the show, which you will find below.  But truthfully, I’ll never make a living as a concert blogger (is there such a thing, and where can I get in on this racket?) because I don’t want to be a documentarian, I just want to be there carpe-ing in the moment, singing along to Holding On To You at the top of my lungs whilst offhandedly contemplating Josh’s arms day routine.  It’s unfortunately not a comparable experience to the full show (GO, GO, SEE THEM, YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT) but I hope you enjoy these snippets all the same.

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Monday Bloody Monday

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Ah yes, but a better Monday than LAST Monday, because on this particular Monday Bloody Monday WE HAVE A TOILET!!!  I so jinxed myself last week talking about it, too, as I knew I would – sure enough, the plumbers went to install the thing, only to discover that the piece that connects the toilet to the pipe in the wall would not fit.  And this on a model whose specs were mandated, recommended AND approved by the condo board, individuals who presumably (?) have functioning eyes and brains, although you’d never know it.  Too busy giving me crap because the contractors left a bit of dust in the elevator to pay attention to critical matters of shared infrastructure, I guess (made all the more galling by the fact that they had the printed schematics from the manufacturer right in front of them, something we didn’t actually need to provide, but did so out of an act of woefully misguided kindness.)

Anyhow, we ran about the city sourcing a new toilet on our dime and time, returned the old guy and paid the supplier restocking fee, paid the plumbers for the first aborted install, wrote a furious e-mail to our property management company, Reid Property Management, which has gone completely ignored (edit: received a response today, one of those classic “Sorry you feel this way” non-apologies), wrote another furious letter to our condo board, put the wheels in motion to move out of this horribly mismanaged hole if this reno ever nears completion, and finally – finally! – had our new toilet installed on Friday afternoon.  The rest of our bathroom is within striking distance of being finished, but I’ve learned not to talk about this stuff too much, lest I absolutely jinx it.  So I’ll just be over here smooching my new toilet, as you do, because I’m just so happy that it’s here and it fits.

I also have a new Disney foodie video I published to our YouTube channel, Park or Perish!, all about yummy grub to grab at the Animal Kingdom, a mostly reno-friendly activity I’ve been pinning my sanity to in the absence of nail art or reading or just having two seconds to myself where I’m not besieged by filth, grumpy contractors or my own dumbass neighbours.  I love putting together these little videos.  Love how righteously ravenous they make me ever so slightly less, particularly when our kitchen is also out of commission, but the memories are nearly enough!  Enjoy!

Down, But Not Out

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Goodest of mornings, friends, from the Reno Zone, population: still my husband and I!  But against all odds, we had a lovely long weekend – thanks in large part to the great, Fishbowl-enhanced time we had at the wedding of a couple of old friends (I’ve known the bride since grade 6!) – so despite the fact that everything is still quite torn up (you try navigating a floor full of ceramic tile clips at 3 am, especially if you’ve been drinking something called a Fishbowl!) we’re feeling slightly more optimistic about the renovations.  There’s even been appreciable progress made on the bathroom, and at the risk of jinxing things further (but really, could we get more jinxed?) we may have a semi-functioning bathroom by the end of the day.  Yup, totally jinxed it!

Cheryl's Wedding

But I haven’t been so out of it that I haven’t had a bit of time to work on another Fave Food of Disney video for our YouTube channel, Park or Perish! – need something to occupy my time whilst tiled into my livingroom for the next five to seven hours of adhesive-setting time (I now know far too much about ceramic tile adhesive and underlay materials – wasn’t exactly an area I felt I needed a lot of edu-ma-cating in, but I suppose it’s always nice to learn something new.)

And so here’s the five-minute result of all that time-wiling!  As always, I hope you enjoy this video and don’t become too fixated on some Disney nibble that’s only available at the Magic Kingdom for Five Days in May – that’s a Blue Rodeo joke, and one of my favourite songs – because that’s totally Disney’s jam.  But these snacks are available all the time, so, you know, just a hop, skip and a jump down to central Florida, no big. 😉  Thank you – always – for watching!

Loner

Loner Girl

Bored, fidgety, harbouring a gigantic crush on a sketchy English moppet and in possession of coloured greasepaint pencils – what could possibly go wrong here?

I’m seriously so obsessed with this Yungblud kid.  He’s got a twenty one pilots-by-way-of-Stone Roses kind of vibe going, with a pit stop at the three-way junction where My Chemical Romance, Oasis and a Hot Topic warehouse intersect.  He’s a bizarre little munchkin with too much hair, and I’m delighted to now be aware of both his existence and music – with Keith Flint of The Prodigy now off bouncing around the afterlife, I was in need of an inexplicable crush on a transient-looking Englishman in too much guyliner, and Yungblud is providing in SPADES.

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And when I’m obsessed, well, I kind of start to dress like them.  Already working out our Halloween costumes for this year’s Mickey’s Not So Scary.  Can’t wait to see Mr. Finger Candy in pink socks, creepers, chipped black nails and nine pounds of charcoal-coloured eyeshadow.  Um, actually, wait – YES, now that I think about it, I’d kind of like to see that hot ass look right NOW… 😉  I love rock star cosplaying at Disney – in a sea of Little Mermaids, it’s fun to be an Ursula.  If Ursula was into sketchy English yobs with insanity hair and a major set of crazy eyes.  Which she might be.  I mean, I don’t know her life.

But for right now, I’ll content myself with this test run on a Loner-esque look, complete with face paint and my best approximation of Yungblud’s batshit, gravity-defying coif (it’s like Robert Smith got his hair did by Edward Scissorhands.)  We’ll revisit this at Halloween – d’you know what I mean, yeah?

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On a Not-So Lazy Sunday Morning

I’ve been a very busy bee this morning – no day of rest for this little worker, who is already feeling anxious about tomorrow’s BIG START to our renovations.  I may have mentioned a time or 20 that I’m not the best at dealing with stress; I can turn myself into anxiety-ridden knots over things that should really be NBD (although I suppose completely gutting and renovating your bathroom – your only bathroom – and replacing all of your flooring qualifies as an actual big deal.)  So I’ve been up for many hours removing framed photos and other artwork from the walls, stashing boxes of our belongings on the balconies, and making two raspberry cream cheese pies for a celebratory, kick-off to the renos dinner we’re having this evening with my mother, who has been acting as our in-the-know general contractor (we have a contractor, actually, but my mom has a lot of experience in the area of construction and home renovations, and we couldn’t have arranged ANY of this without her invaluable assistance and oversight.)  So it’s been a bit of a busy day, and it only just turned noon!

I accidentally tore off three of my four “good hand” nails the other day pulling up the last of our flooring, so I’ve been looking for other blogging and vlogging ways to occupy my online creative energies.  Enter a couple of short videos I made for our YouTube channel, Park or Perish!, all about some of the delicious food we’ve enjoyed at Disney World over our last number of trips – just try not to fall ravenously hungry looking at all this yumminess.  Happy watching, and bon appetit!

Bust Out Your Jazz Hands at Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort

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During our last Disney trip (the one we took three weeks ago and which I very much wish I was enjoying right this moment instead of hiding out in my home from another weekend of Eastern Ontario Nightmare Snow) we stayed at the Port Orleans French Quarter, a resort I’ve wanted to stay at since it opened nearly 30 years ago.  A sister property to the exquisite Port Orleans Riverside, which is just on down the river bend, and at which we have stayed twice, the French Quarter shares its sibling’s incredible attention to detail in its (deeply sanitized) presentation of Louisiana, here with architecture, food, entertainment and an overall design aesthetic modeled after The Big Easy herself.

I lamented in an earlier post the unfortunate experience we had at Pop Century during our last trip.  In short, it was a gong show of noisiness, uncleanliness and general mismanagement.  We wound up cutting our stay short by four days and moving over to Coronado Springs to see out the remainder of our vacation.

No such drastic measure was required this time, because our stay at French Quarter was perfection, everything I had hoped it would be when I first spied its colourful wrought iron balconies in travel brochures many, many years ago and thought, “I want to stay THERE.”

Like both Coronado Springs and the Riverside, the French Quarter is a moderate level resort, meaning it sits at about the mid-way point in terms of room rates and offered amenities.  Being on the smaller size (1,000 rooms to both Coronado and Riverside’s 2,000) it doesn’t have its own table service restaurant, although its food court, the charmingly-named Sassagoula Float Works, named after the meandering little river that runs along the back side of the resort, is outstanding – efficient, nicely laid-out and featuring some of the best Cajun grub you’ll find outside of N’Awlins itself.  I continue to have nostalgic thoughts about the sweet-and-spicy fried chicken on a biscuit I had twice, wondering if maybe I should have replaced one of those biscuits with a steaming bowl of shrimp and grits.  Or maybe just had both.  Ahh, now we’re talkin’!  Followed up by pillowy, powdered sugar-dusted, Mickey-shaped beignets, because the French Quarter is the only place in the whole of the Walt Disney World Resort that has them.

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Every resort that we have stayed at (four now, three moderates and a value) seems to have prioritized one element of its service above all others.  At French Quarter, this was everything surrounding food and beverage service, from the actual food and beverage (oh, that chicken!) to the service itself, which was always prompt and friendly.  Zero complaints about the lack of a “proper” restaurant; if anything, I liked the food I had at Sassagoula Float Works better than the meal we had at the Riverside’s similarly menu’d restaurant, Boatwright’s.

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But there’s so much more to the French Quarter than its fluffy beignets, and thankfully, their exemplary approach to food extended to nearly all other areas of service, including maintenance and cleaning, groundskeeping and landscaping, check-in (fuss-free and speedy, a Disney resort first for us) and both boat and bus transportation.  The French Quarter just really seemed to have its act together on all fronts, and I liked it.  THIS is the Disney vacation experience I always hope we’ll enjoy – a virtually seamless one.

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Not to say there aren’t a few nit-picky little things I’d change about the French Quarter.  While I loved the free-form, Mardi Gras-themed pool featuring a giant sea serpent water slide (loved zipping down his tongue into the pool even more!) I found myself wishing for a second, smaller pool, a quieter spot for more lap-oriented swimmers to work off the last of the day’s amusement park energy.  Even with its smallish footprint, it’s odd that the French Quarter only has one pool; the Riverside has six!

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And while I really liked our recently refurbished and redecorated room (it felt solid and well-insulated, like our own little bubble amidst the low key hustle and bustle of the rest of the resort) I didn’t care for the lighting, which was all of the sallow, overhead variety.  I HATE OVERHEAD LIGHTING!!!  Always have.  I’m a real low lighting, desk lamp kind of person.  Even the shaded sconces above our beds cast an odd light (nasty little LED lightbulbs at work, I’m sure; I hate those things, too!)

But in all areas where it actually counted – and a lot where it didn’t – the French Quarter knocked it out of the park.  The architecture is gorgeous, a picture perfect recreation of the cleanest and most charming bits of New Orleans – wooden slat shutters, grand balconies, brick pillars and wrought iron everything.  The entire resort is laid out like a small city, with painted wrought iron balconies framing brick-edged streets dotted with hitching posts and streetlamps.  As you near the lobby, jazz music drifts through the air, beckoning you inside, where you can relax in the plush, chandelier’d lobby, or perhaps over by the soothingly trickling fountain, or maybe even inside Scat Cats’ lounge, something like a Sloe Gin Fizz in hand.  The pool was beautiful and overseen by some of the most attentive lifeguards I’ve ever seen.  The cast members we dealt with were friendly and helpful.  The buses ran frequently and on time.  The food was delicious.  Our room was quiet.  Again, excepting the One True Pool issue and my own hangups about overhead lighting, zero complaints!

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One morning a couple of days out from our flights home, I couldn’t sleep (side effect of being terrified of flying) so I slipped out of our room and took myself on a solo, 5 am walking tour of the resort, which I filmed!  Because of course it’s the new normal to be walking around at 5 in the morning talking to yourself through a small camera.  Weird world, man.  But I do hope you’ll check out this video, if not to see this lovely little resort for yourself in the (mostly) still and quiet of a balmy Florida morn, then to lend legitimacy to my whole, “See, I really was talking to someone and not just myself!” argument.  Thank you. 😉

Rockin’ the Birthday Dots

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Mickey Mouse turned 90 years old this year, and all across the Walt Disney World Resort, where I was lucky enough to enjoy a recent lovely vacation, there were tons of opportunities to meet Mickey and Minnie in their birthday wear (not to be confused with birthday suits, which would be an entirely different and altogether terrifying experience.)  Both Mickey and Minnie are sporting some fly new threads for the occasion, a white suit for Mickey and a white sundress for Minnie, both liberally sprinkled with multi-coloured dots.  There are also some black Minnie ears available in the shops, likewise adorned with rainbow-hued polka dots, because this is Disney, and of course there are.

We get asked all the time if we’ve met the park OGs, Mickey and Minnie, and the answer is no, never, not a once.  My husband and I go to Disney World and we meet Kylo Ren, Chewbacca and BB-8.  We stand in a two and a half hour long lineup to meet Jack and Sally of The Nightmare Before Christmas (worth every one of those 9,000 seconds!)  We hang out with Wreck-It-Ralph and Vanellope Von Schweetz, dine with the Beast and rawk out with Vampirina.  And I once nearly overturned a tavern table in my zest for sprinting outside and directly into the bulgy, waiting arms of Gaston.

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But Mick and Min have remained elusive.  Something to rectify on our next trip.  For now I’ll just have to satisfy myself with these nails that rock both Mickey and Minnie’s birthday dots.  To the next 90, young mouse(s)!

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