But in a good way, not in a “I ate too many mini Snickers and now I have to go off and hibernate for the next three weeks” kind of way. Although I did eat A LOT of mini chocolate bars this weekend, and given the time change, a nap sounds pretty good right about now…
In all weird actuality, we wound up having a very nice Halloween, COVID mandates notwithstanding. Trick-or-treating wasn’t banned in my city outright, just discouraged – that should really be the City of Ottawa’s motto: “It’s Not Banned, Simply Discouraged!” – and so we stayed close to home, stocking up on what seemed like a reasonable amount of candy should any trick-or-treaters actually grace our Jack-o-Lantern-adorned doorstep.
And they did! We had 22 kids and one highly amused delivery driver pop by, much to our delight. We had a nice little socially distanced setup going, with pre-wrapped bags of candy laid out on the front steps, Haunted Mansion music blasting through the open windows, and a gentle, low-lying fog drifting through the garden, courtesy of Mr. Finger Candy’s intense new love of the fog machine (the phrase, “This might be the best thing we’ve ever bought!” was uttered more than once.)
We even threw together a couple of last minute costumes, transforming ourselves into a maid and butler of the Haunted Mansion.
And I went real big with my eye makeup look, simply because when else in 2020 have I had a time or place to wear six different shades of blue, green and purple eyeshadow?
In the days leading up to Halloween (okay, so for the entire month of October) we also put out a lot of Halloween decorations, really got in touch with our inner Clark Griswolds!
So it’s little wonder our house saw a bit of action, given that we were seemingly the only gig in (this) town. I overheard a few kids that had already passed by grumble, “Oh man, I wish we could go to that house again” and I nearly chased them down the street with armfuls of Sour Patch Kids before I remembered that now – and always! – luring children to your house with candy is generally frowned upon. There’s entire fairy tales written about it! 😉
Near-forays into Hansel and Gretel-dom aside, however, we had a really excellent Halloween. And did you know it was our wedding anniversary? Of course you did, I never shut up about it! It was our 16th, and our first as homeowners. It definitely wasn’t the usual kind of anniversary celebration we like to enjoy – that would involve a week-and-a-half-long trip to Disney – but given the circumstances of 2020, we’ll gladly take it. Nothing wrong with throwing together a couple of very last minute costumes and spending the night crouched over a fog machine drinking Swedish Fish-o-ritas (actually, they were orange creamsicle margaritas – Screamsicles – with a chocolate salt rim from the Lone Star in Ottawa, and not only were they very festive, but they were also incredibly delicious. Hmm, they might have been the reason we got that food delivery – tacos! – once the trick-or-treaters cleared out.)
All in all, I’m super pleased with how our first homebound Halloween went, and I’m hearing similar things from friends and family. I think the general circumstances of this year – shitty ones, not to put too fine a point on it – have forced a lot of us to think outside the box on events like holidays, and in a lot of unique respects, we seem to be all the better for it. Friends with kids have reported that they took part in local scavenger hunts, neighbourhood candy drives, costumed movie nights and other cautious, but no less creative, approaches to the Halloween season, and everyone seems to have had an unusually great time. Going forward, I really hope the city takes note of the ways people are trying to responsibly and safely move forward with “living with” COVID, and maybe cuts us all a little slack. Most of us are really trying. Without a doubt, though, THIS is the Halloween these kids will always remember. I know I certainly will. Hope you had a good one, too, friends.
Show of hands if this pandemic has left you, too, feeling wildly imbalanced. I know that over here in Sandraville, I have spent the past six months vacillating between frantic highs (back-busting stretches of gardening, mad cleaning, and a fun new obsession with keeping my lawn watered) and why-effin-bother lows (silly crying jags, disinterest in seemingly everything, and boredom that probably borders on clinical.) Most days I get along just fine, going about my life like most of us are – cautiously, probably a bit timidly, but trying. Sometimes showing up is 90 percent of the battle.
But the temptation to slide into pandemic pity has been, on occasion, overwhelmingly tempting. I want to wallow, even when I know – especially when I know – that wallowing is unproductive, and just plain makes me feel bad.
So with the desire to banish those bad feelings for a little bit, Mr. Finger Candy and I recently sat down and talked about all of the things we were fortunate enough to experience pre-pandemic – our year and a half of indulgent Disney vacations chief among them – and how very, very lucky we were to have been given that time. It was a wonderful lesson in a gratitude, and a timely reminder to count our many blessings.
It’s in that spirit that I now present to you THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE! No, really, with zero disrespect to the many important dates and events in my life (high school and university graduations, first date with my husband, our wedding…) this day – October 31st, 2018 – ranks as the absolute best. 🙂
It starts with an obsession with twenty one pilots, Halloween and Disney vacations, as all good stories do. We were – and still are – mad as Hatters for our favourite band, twenty one pilots. We were also going to be celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary – yup, we were married on October 31st – with a trip to Disney World. So when we found ourselves with Halloween tickets to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, an after hours event held at the Magic Kingdom, we decided to dress up like two different video versions of TOP’s enigmatic frontman and maestro, Tyler Joseph.
At the time I proposed attending the party en costume, Mr. Finger Candy lamented that no one was going to know who we were. “Husband of little faith!” I admonished. “Okay, so not everyone is going to know who we are. But the RIGHT people are going to know.” Sure enough, we were in the park maybe 10 minutes before I began hearing delighted cries of, “Hey look, twenty one pilots!” Rock star cosplay – it’s what’s for breakfast.
Actually, what was for breakfast was this obscenely rich – TOO RICH – Poison Apple Cupcake, an $8 item from the Main Street Starbucks (“Home of the Half-Hour Lineup”) that was all Instagram and no taste. It was a real one-and-done, as in take one bite and you’re done. Cute, but way, WAY too much. I generally prefer far less Red Food Dye No. 4 in my baked goods.
We then skipped up Main Street to the hub, where we took the requisite photo in front of Cinderella Castle.
Actually, we snapped photos all over the place. When in Disney!
We got stuck on It’s a Small World – you have no idea how small that world truly is when you’re creeping through it at .3 nautical miles an hour – and nearly missed our lunch reservations at Be Our Guest, the Beauty and the Beast themed restaurant in New Fantasyland. As a reward for our stress, anxiety and patience (what are we going to do, bail out in the middle of Equatorial Africa and wade our way to the exit?) we were blessed with a total sweep of the It’s a Small World goodbye boards. Ciao, Belle-a!
Speaking of, lunch at Be Our Guest – a first for us; we’re normally breakfast people at this amazing themed restaurant – was the very definition of scrum-diddily-yum. My husband continues to rhapsodize about the vegetarian French onion soup two years on, and I think I once had a sexy dream about the beef dip. 😉
This restaurant has special meaning for us. It’s where we like to go for our most romantic and special meals – an anniversary breakfast, now an anniversary lunch, and one very lovely (and very late) Christmas Day dinner. We normally like to grab a table in the West Wing, where thunder and lightning flash throughout the room and the Beast’s shredded portrait morphs from human to monster and back again, but for this meal we snuggled up for the first time in the library, where a gigantic music box of Belle and the Beast twirled gently in the center of the room, tinkling softly.
Between our late lunch and the start of the party, we hit up some rides – nothing that would muss up our costumes too much (sorry, Space, Splash and Big Thunder Mountains.) Instead we kicked back with multiple stately rides on the PeopleMover, a surprisingly zippy, magnet-powered Walt original. Whilst in Tomorrowland, we also tried out our fun new identities as Tyler Two Space Pilots on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, a black-lit, neon-splattered shoot-the-target ride. And we concluded our time in Tomorrowland with a showing of the Carousel of Progress, a moving, animatronic stage show depicting one American family’s relationship to innovation and progress across the last 100 years. Sounds like a total snooze, but I assure you, it’s a delightful hoot. Also, 22 minutes of seated air conditioning.
It was also in the Tomorrowland bathrooms where I bemusedly overheard a little girl and her mom discussing my costume, with the mom furiously trying to shush her daughter as she, in her best approximation of sotto voce, LOUDLY grilled her mother as to whether she, too, had seen the funny, dirty girl with the crud on her neck. Heh.
Once the sun began to set, we picked up our party wristbands, grabbed a couple of sacks and hit up the innumerable trick-or-treat trails. And we CLEANED UP, because we were SUPER INTO IT. You can’t help but throw candy at the costumed adults shouting “Trick-or-Treat!” and excitedly swapping goodies as they hustle off to the next candy stop. By the end of the evening we had amassed two bulging sacks of candy (PB Snickers, Mars, Skittles, M&Ms and enough Starburst to power an 11-year-old’s birthday party) – or about five pounds of miniature sized sweets that I had to declare and explain to an amused TSA agent on our journey back home. No ragrets!
In between ducking down dimly lit treat trails (or very brightly lit treat trails, in the case of the ones set up inside an attraction) we hit up Pirates of the Caribbean, which featured live actors dotted throughout the ride. I didn’t find that they really added a whole lot to the experience (you want scary, try getting stuck on Pirates for 45 minutes!) but Mr. Finger Candy always loves an excuse to “YEE-AAAARRRGGHH!” with impunity. We also ambled back over to the Haunted Mansion in Liberty Square for the first of the evening’s three rides, which is 10 fewer rides than we took the Halloween previous, when we rode the Mansion 13 times in one day for our 13th wedding anniversary.
Back in Fantasyland, we met Pooh and the rest of the Hundred Acre Wood gang, likewise resplendent in their Halloween costumes. I think Tigger was a big TOP fan, because he kept gesturing excitedly to his neck.
In between riding rides, meeting cool characters, amassing a ridiculous amount of candy and fielding a ton of questions about our costumes, we nabbed an amazing spot in Frontierland for the 11 pm parade, and spent our wait time goofing around with one of the Disney PhotoPass photographers.
Mickey’s Boo to You Parade was so much fun! Here, see for yourself in this video I made of the first Not So Scary we attended earlier in the season (though in this case I failed to record the very best part of the parade – literally dropped my phone – which my husband refers to as Jafar making f**k-eyes at his wife. What can I say, the baddies like me.)
We closed out the night with the midnight showing of the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular, a mildly raunchy stage show featuring the Sanderson Sisters, as well as a whole host of other Disney baddies, including Mr. Oogie Boogie Man, Cruella DeVil, Dr. Facilier, Hades and, once again, Jafar (boy, that guy gets around.) My favourite part of the show were the lights and images that they projected onto Cinderella Castle. Gorgeous.
At that point it was about one o’clock in the morning, so with the tenderest of tootsies, arms laden with bulging sacks of candy, and completely jacked on high fructose corn syrup, we boarded a bus back to our resort…and then began the whole thing all over again five hours later! We are nothing if not committed Disney travelers.
So what made this day the very best? Well, not-so-simply because I was doing something so special, with the most beloved person in my life, on our most important day, dressed like my favourite musician, on my very favourite holiday, in the most magical place on earth. And a Disney villain tried to make me his snake bride. How could that not be the best day of my life? 😉 And one that I have very much enjoyed sharing with you. Thanks for coming along on this gratitude-affirming look back on one of those days that makes life worth living.
This year we listed our condo for sale. And it rained. A lot.
Okay, wait, back to the condo part. “But hey, wait,” you may be saying to yourself. “Didn’t you just renovate your condo? And wasn’t it kind of hell?” And the answer would be yes to all of those queries – we did just finish it, and it was its own very special kind of hell, but it was time to move on. Onwards and upwards and outwards! In fact, here’s the tour video our agency shot; hope you like the place. 🙂
Anyhow, in light of that bit of major adulting (lord, how I HATE that term) we’re having a pretty low key anniversary – regrettably no Disneying this year. 😦 Instead we went to the lumber yard for some last minute “I’m selling my house” items and ate sausages and veggie dogs, standing up in the end-of-October drizzle, in the parking lot. It actually wasn’t terrible – this guy certainly looks pleased with himself!
But because I can’t ever let the opportunity pass to look backwards in fondness at my life, I created this little video for our YouTube channel, Park or Perish!, about the year we rode the Mansion 13 times in one day. Two years on, it remains pretty well the coolest thing we’ve ever done, and I wish with all my blackened heart and soul we were there today. This fun little video will have to suffice for now. Happy Halloween, friends, and happy 15th to us.
Here’s a terrible joke for you – what do zombies use to bake their cupcakes? A brain pan. Wah-waaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh. 🙂
Zombies were the name of the game for the fourth prompt in the nail art challenge I’m participating in on Instagram. I wasn’t in the mood for your more traditional blood ‘n’ guts design, choosing instead to go with this cutie pie cupcake manicure, which even features two of my favourite zombie-themed polishes, Girly Bits Cosmetics’ Dead Man’s Toe and Dollish Polish’s Look at the Flowers, Lizzie. Can’t go wrong with brain cakes drizzled in sanguine coulis and snot green frosting, can you?
I’m participating in another nail art challenge over on Instagram, this time themed to seemingly everyone’s favourite holiday, Halloween. This bonerrific manicure (c’mon, did you think I was going to leave a potential boner joke on the table, metaphorically speaking?) is in service of the first challenge prompt of “Spooky Skeleton.”
Speaking from a design perspective, skeletons are my least favourite Halloween decorating trope, and I’ve never really cared to paint them on my nails either (though this early design is way dope; I’d try anything in those super early days, and sometimes it didn’t even turn out that badly!) But I do like bones (and boner jokes) and so I decided to do this simple, but rather striking, bone design, enhanced with four nifty, colour-shifting multi-chromes from Polish Me Silly (from index to pinkie, Obsession, Mystery, Dreamer and Paradise.)
Hey! Lest some of you mistakenly think that a poor resort stay at Pop Century was enough to completely undo our precious Disney vacation goodwill, allow me to reassure you that no, it did not. We are remarkably resilient Disney travelers, and when the overall cruddy vibe at Pop Century began impacting our moods – seriously, who wants to be a grumper puss on holiday? – we got the heck out of there and got on with our trip. No surprise here, but Disney vacations are expensive, time-consuming and require a ridiculous amount of what I call managerial oversight. I realize how awful that sounds to those of you who prefer to vacation in “set it and forget it” mode, but once again, allow me to assure you we like these kind of vacations; if we didn’t, we wouldn’t have gone to Disney World four times in one year. We always have a great time; we’ve just never had to work quite so hard at ensuring that great time. But things got markedly better – and absolutely calmer – once we moved over to our new resort, in part because Coronado Springs is a really wonderful place to stay, and also because we just refused to allow the crummy time we were having at Pop Century to negatively impact our entire trip. Ain’t no one got time for that on holiday!
Besides, by the time we decided to leave our resort, we had already been having a ton of goofy, good times fun, and we weren’t inclined to step off the party bus anytime soon. And some of the most fun we had across our entire 11-day vacation was during an actual party, our second run at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party on October 31st, which also happened to be our 14th wedding anniversary!
We attended Mickey’s Not So Scary in late August during our Labour Day trip, and it was an experience. Bowled over by the oppressive heat and bonkers humidity, we didn’t attend in costume, and just sort of stumbled around from meet-and-greet to parade to fireworks to midnight stage show in a sucrose-enabled haze. The whole thing is a blur of too much sugar and too much damp and not enough sleep. We vowed to do better during our Halloween to Christmas trip.
And so to celebrate 5110 days of wedded bliss and our second Mickey’s Not So Scary, we decided to don our first ever couples costumes, and spent the day – and the long party evening – bombing around the Magic Kingdom as two different video versions of Tyler Joseph, the lead singer of twenty one pilots. Why two Tylers and no Josh Dun, the drummer? With all adoration for Josh, neither one of us is confident enough to show that much sideboob – the man loves his low-cut tanks, if he’s wearing a shirt at all (never change, bro.) 😉
Mr. Finger Candy, resplendent in Tyler’s Stressed Out ensemble (complete with meggings and a whole lot of black gunk about his neck and hands) was being a terrifically good sport, but he was also convinced that absolutely no one would know who we were. “Husband of little faith!” I mock-admonished him, in the act of smearing my own hands and neck with black stage makeup for my Lane Boy getup. “Okay, so not everyone’s going to know who we are. But the RIGHT people are going to know!”
Turns out we were both a whole lot right and a whole lot wrong. Virtually every cast member working the evening party knew exactly who we were, prompting much on-the-spot fanboy and fangirling over TOP’s new album, Trench. In a park full of incredibly costume’d guests (wowza, some people turn it out) we had people running up to us to tell us how much they loved our outfits, and you could hear people all over gleefully shouting out, “Omigod, twenty one pilots!” It was completely awesome. I also think Tigger may have been a TOP fan – he kept enthusiastically gesturing to his neck and giving me delighted, double barreled thumbs up.
Of course, there were also the people who had no clue who we were (“Are they video game characters?” was a common refrain, followed by a dismissive, “Oh, they’re that band”) and I still chuckle when I think of the little girl I overheard in the bathroom stage-whispering to her mortified mom, “Mommy, mommy, did you see the dirty girl with the black stuff all over her neck?” Heh.
Anyhow, that’s the story of how much I love twenty one pilots, and how much my husband loves me, and I him – I wouldn’t ask just any man to don meggings and a toque in 90 degree weather for me. 😉 And it’s not every man who would wear them for his wife either (though if we’re being totally honest here, he can go ahead and dress like that every day of the rest of our lives, because he looked hot as hell! Nearly got us bounced out of the park after I tried to drag him behind the little Dutch kids on It’s a Small World to snog. Joke, joke – although that is the number one way of getting kicked out of the parks. Turns out Mickey’s not so down with the guests trying to bang behind the animatronics.) 😉 We had a blast, and it was a great party, Halloween, anniversary and day. Can’t ask for much more than that.
Well, here’s something I’ve never done before – blogged whilst on the road. Said road, of course, being in Disney World, where Mr. Finger Candy and I are celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary! Yeah, we’re the people who got married on Halloween, and now we’re the people heading off for another round of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party! I hope to have some cool couples costume pics for you tomorrow, but for now, here’s a wee peek at just a bit of the sunny anniversary fun we’re having down Disney way.
Call this updated Night of the Living Dead-esque manicure the inevitable sequel to a design I always thought I could do a little bit better. I’m sure George A. Romero thought likewise when he attempted Dawn of the Dead. Ooh, sick zombie burn!
But real talk? Wonkus hand position aside, I actually prefer the original design; it’s clearer than this muddled black-and-white cemetery, and the tiny details are more delicately rendered. Here, take a peek!
Not entirely unfortunate, right? Like I said, slightly sideways hand position aside (it took a long, long time to nail down a position that both felt and looked good) I think this 2013 manicure is far superior to the one I did today. What’s old is new again! Or maybe I’m just regressing? Hard to tend to my nail artabilities when I’m running off to Disney every 20 seconds (slight exaggeration, but only slight – we’re leaving for our anniversary trip in two days! So 172,800 seconds.) Anyhow, perhaps I’ll have to update the update of the original, just to put these black-and-white zombie things six feet under where they properly belong once and for all. 😉
Goodest of mornings, friends, and welcome to the final prompt of the Fall Fun Fridays series I have been embarking on with my blogging buddies Jay and Julie. Today we’re discussing the great autumn out-of-doors.
Well, they probably are. Julie takes some of the most beautiful photographs of nature I’ve ever seen and Jay just loves getting out and exploring the world, so I’m sure they both have lots of cool adventures to share in the great wide somewhere. Please do check out their blogs to follow along in the fun.
As for me? Well, you know it all pretty well begins and ends with Disney. I commented earlier during this series that the last two years, I’ve had a hard time mustering up an appropriate level of enthusiasm for the Fall. As in I’ve had hardly any – very unusual, as I just adore the autumn. Is there a better season for gloomily beautiful weather, scrumptious food, delightful decorations and just cozying up with someone you love? I certainly don’t think so.
But the last two years there’s been a weird block in place where it has literally taken leaving my gorgeously be-leaf’d province for Disney World in Orlando, Florida to jump start my Fall fever. I suppose that’s because like most things Disney embarks upon, they do the autumn – and especially Halloween – very, very well. And being the Halloween nuts we kind of are, there’s nothing that gets our happiness meters revving like our favourite time of year at the most magicalest place on earth.
And so we’re heading back again in just a couple days’ time to immerse ourselves in the season – one last Halloween hurrah for these two old marrieds celebrating their 14th Halloween wedding anniversary. And when we return, I’ll no doubt have tons of photos to share of our end-of-autumn adventures, but that doesn’t do any of us any good right now, does it? And so I’m sharing this little video I made for our YouTube channel, Park or Perish!, of the Fall fun we had at Disney World just this past Labour Day long weekend. It was our first time attending Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, a spooktacular after-hours event at the Magic Kingdom, but our second time hitting up the World for the autumn season, and I think we really did it up right. I hope you enjoy it, and thank you again for following along with this little blogging series – it’s been so nice to have you by every Friday. 🙂