Thirteen Rides Through the Haunted Mansion on Our 13th!

Grim Grinning Ghosts

Last Thursday evening Mr. Finger Candy came home, dropped his bag at the front door and said, “Let’s go to Disney World.  This weekend.  For our anniversary.”  And finally out of lameass excuses for why we couldn’t or shouldn’t – weight concerns, passports, finances, take your pick – I said yes.  Annnnnnddddd roughly 72 hours later we were standing in the Magic Kingdom!

‘Twas but a blitz of a trip, just a totally spontaneous handful of days, but we did manage to cross one of my LIFETIME bucket list items off the old roster in the form of 13 runs through the Haunted Mansion on Halloween, our 13th wedding anniversary.  The Mansion is rife with references to the number 13, and I’ve been taken with the notion of riding it 13 times in one day since I was about two years old; that this momentous event – yes, it was momentous! – took place on our 13th wedding anniversary, which itself falls on Halloween, was really just a matter of incredible timing.

Mansion 13 Collage

Tips for tackling such an impressive undertaking? 😉  Get there early and bang out as many runs in a row as you can.  We got to 10 before I declared a (super)nature break.  When we returned an hour or so later, we had “adorable” matching mini-strokes when we saw that the Mansion was offline, but it was just a temporary blip – the 999 happy haunts who inhabit the Mansion were up and spooking within minutes, and we were on our way to our 13th.

Another useful tip for hustling your way through the Mansion is to look for the tiny red dot along the wall in the room of stretching portraits.  This is where the panel will slide back, leading into the main queue area.  Line yourself up with this dot and you’ll be in the perfect spot to sweep through the doors and straight onto a Doom Buggy in the time it takes your room-mates to even realize a door has opened.

Mansion Outdoors Collage

Unlike virtually every other ride in the Magic Kingdom, the Haunted Mansion does not exit into a gift shop.  In fact, until about two or three years ago, the Mansion did not have a gift shop; you could find its wares set up on a Victorian era hearse just outside the gates.  Today you can find all Mansion merch around the corner at Memento Mori, the Mansion’s designated gift shop.  That’s where we snagged a few souvenirs to commemorate our trip, our anniversary and 13 completed runs through the Mansion!

Magic Band Collage

2017’s limited edition Haunted Mansion Magic Bands seemed in order.  “Okay, yeah, so they’re cool and all,” you may be saying to yourself, “but Sandra, what precisely are you two numbskulls going to do with a parks-specific RFID reader anyways?”  Well, take it back to Disney, for one.  We’re already planning another trip as early as Christmas. 🙂  If you stay on property at one of Disney’s resorts like we did – Port Orleans Riverside, and lordy, it was GORGEOUS! – you get a plain jane Magic Band that acts as your everything – room key, park admission, FastPass-getter, credit card.  It’s a nicely comprehensive little system.  Also an absolute nightmare for anyone with qualms about “governmental” oversight or the deep surveillance state.  Not sure what to say to those folks except a Disney vacation is absolutely not for you.  Your every move is being tracked and analyzed by the House of Mouse; accept this or perish (Wired published a great piece on Cyberdyne’s Mickey’s Magic Band tech here.)

Mansion Merch 1

Items that will perhaps get a bit more everyday use include a damask print tie for my husband and some cool Mansion maid socks for me.

Mansion Merch 2

And I couldn’t say no to a couple more items in the Mansion’s iconic damask-with-eyes wallpaper, including another pair of socks (can’t ever have too many) and a waterproof, super lightweight backpack that proved invaluable over our two days at the Magic Kingdom.  This sucker really fits a lot!  It also glows under black light, which is absolutely not why I purchased it in the first place (yes, it absolutely is!)

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All fun and merch aside, though, it was an amazing day – a top three-er, no hesitation!  Really, how many of us get to say we completed a pretty nutso, lifetime bucket list item, and on a special anniversary, no less?!  This happy person, that’s who. 🙂

Mansion Shot

And none of this fabulous, fantastical – phantasmical? – fun would have been possible without being married to this incredible guy.  I highly recommend it.  He’s the Jack to my Sally in that I often have to keep him from enthusiastically spinning off into another dimension, but when he pulls me along for the ride, it’s always a wild and wonderful one.  I had the bestest time with my bestest friend. 🙂  A once-in-a-lifetime experience…although we’re already relishing the possibility of making it a multiples-in-a-lifetime experience.  To the next 13!

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Ombre Latte

Ombre Latte

I’d like to pretend that the diminishing gradient-within-a-gradient thing I’ve got going on here was on purpose (my pinkie represents a freshly-layered ombre latte, whereas my index finger is said latte after a few minutes’ rest?) but it was not.  It’s always such a pain when the coolest effects come about completely unintentionally!

This manicure reminds me of this nitro-brewed concoction Mr. Finger Candy ordered at a Starbucks Reserve the other day (AKA Super Pretentious Starbucks with Rough Hewn, Wood Grain bars and a Wine List.)  It had a creamy, gently churning top layer that looked just like the head on a pint of Guinness (also a husband favourite; my man likes his coffee and his beer hella STRONG.)  It was pretty cool – he said the cold brew technique really brought out those notes in the coffee (citrus, caramel, etc.) that none of us can normally detect – but perhaps nothing that needs to be repeated on a daily basis (she says now; wait until the day he’s lugging home canisters of combustible gases so we can nitro our coffee from the comfort of our very own (pre-explosion) kitchen!)

Blood in the Water

Jaws Full Hand

Hey look, it’s my boy Jaws!  Always fun to catch up with my favourite fiberglass shark, with a cameo from the outstandingly tacky anchor print blazer the asshat Mayor of Amity wears as he’s dooming his island-bound constituents to death-by-shark.

Slightly tangential, but I miss the Jaws ride at Universal Studios Florida with the fire of 1,000 exploding oil tankers.  Ah, to smooch that germ-ridden mug just one more time, as I did on our honeymoon (and maybe five or six other times in my life, but this sweet shark kiss happened on our honeymoon.  Mr. Finger Candy was very understanding.) 😉

Smooching Jaws

Do You Suppose This is His Way of Telling Me I Smell?

Demeter Birthday Pic

Simply curious, as my husband gifted me with a metric butt ton (actual measurement, “butt ton”) of delicious Demeter fragrances for my birthday, and you just don’t do that unless a) someone really stinks (“This smells so great!  Wear all of it at once, immediately”) or b) you know your spouse really well, as mine did when he correctly surmised that I’d love to receive such a bounty of beautiful birthday blends (also an affection for alliteration.) 😉

So what terrifically odd combination of fragrances did my husband put together for his beloved on her 40th? Let’s take a peek, shall we?

Starting with the header photo, this apparently represents my birthday breakfast, a thing I actually didn’t have because I was fasting in anticipation of a blow-out Italian dinner later that evening.  But the thinking here is that I’d wake up and snarf down a plate of birthday cake-flavoured cinnamon toast topped with vanilla ice cream and maple syrup. With a tomato on the side (which I wholly approve of; all that sugar needs a bit of tart and fresh to balance it out.)

Speaking from a dietary perspective, that’s kind of horrifying!  But these fragrances are not – lovely single scents, all.  I particularly like Cinnamon Toast, which smells like cinnamon hearts, and, super surprisingly, Tomato, which on initial application smells exactly like a ripe, sun-warmed tomato.  It’s a unique smell that conjures up nice memories of my grandfather futzing over his heavily laden tomato plants out in the garden.

Demeter Zombie Collage

Next up we have the zombie fragrances, which, upon spritzing and sniffing, we decided I will never, ever wear because they smell like dirt and rot and probably skunk pheromones.  I love the theming behind these Zombie for Him, Her and Dog fragrances (what, the cats just fend for themselves?) but wowza, do they stink.  I suspect that Demeter’s Dirt fragrance, an otherwise pretty acceptable fresh earth kind of scent, is the base for all three of these colognes, with hits of dead flowers (for Her), decaying leaves (for Him) and something that’s erring awfully close to urine (for the Dog.)  I adore them, they are so weird, but these will probably remain collectibles only.  Also, you will pry my Snowmint Mallow from my cold, dead, zombiefied hands before I trade it in for something more apocalypse-appropriate.

Demeter Kitten Fur Pic

Leaving the best for last, we have my cat Weegie looking disillusioned (so basically a day ending in Y) beside a bottle of Kitten Fur!  Which smells a bit like very mild laundry detergent.  I don’t think Weegie’s tummy fur smells like soap (you get the best, most accurate results – also probably hissed and swatted at – by sniffing a cat’s tummy) but I suppose if any creature in this house is going to smell like laundry, it’s going to be the one that spends 22 hours a day lounging around on freshly washed linens.

All in all, a lovely, thoughtful gift full of fun surprises and some very unique finds.  Well done, sweetie. 🙂

Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi Fingers

Raspberry Pi circuitry nails, for the major nerd in your life.

The major nerd in MY life (Mr. Finger Candy) has been messing about with the Raspberry Pi (basically a super stripped down, build-your-own-computer system) for years now. One Saturday morning three or four years ago I sleepily stumbled out to the livingroom to find my him gone, save for one tiny, computerized, rainbow-flashing display blipping away on the coffee table, repeatedly informing me that my husband was out procuring breakfast and would be back shortly.  It was super cute.  His nerdery is really quite adorable, even if three-quarters of the time I have no freaking idea what he’s talking about! 🙂

(Di)vision Street Wear

division-street-wear

Oof, showing my age with that reference to Vision Street Wear, an American skate footwear company founded in the late ’70s and popularized in the ’80s.  When I was about 11 or 12, only the coolest of the cool kids wore Vision Street Wear (also Chip and Pepper, Vuarnet, Sex Wax and Independent Trucks) and it will surprise absolutely no one to learn that I had a monstrously huge slow burn of a crush on the only floppy-haired boy in school to wear his Vision tees (swoon) whilst riding an actual skateboard (commence pre-teen delirium.)

Anyhow, bit of a tangent there on the origin of this post’s title, which actually arises from The Division, my husband’s favourite video game.  The title is a play on words on the Vision Street Wear name, although it’s also in reference to the design inspiration for these nails – a limited edition holiday sweater coveted by only THE most festive badasses in the game.  That the sweater comes festooned in tiny cats, candy canes and snowflakes is merely icing on the fruitcake.  But the bragging rights that result from simply owning the sweater?  Now, THOSE live on forever!  I once likened The Division to the Sims – a collector game where managing your inventory occupies more time than actual game play.  But I’m starting to think it might be more like a fashion game, given the amount of time Mr. Finger Candy and his online friends spend managing their virtual wardrobes.  Cher Horowitz spent less time picking out her school clothes, I swear.

But it’s a very cute sweater, and my husband is a pretty cute guy, so who was I to say no? Especially when the manicure turns out this well (a real surprise; holiday sweater designs have never been my thing.)  Stay warm out there, friends (real and virtual.)

Fall Fun Series: Halloween ’16

halloween-decor-collage

Coming at you dark and early this Halloween morn, friends, with best wishes for a spooktacular ‘Ween ’16.  As for me, I’ll be spending the day with Mr. Finger Candy as we celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary!  Here’s a throwback to the big day.  I think we clean up pretty well. 🙂

us-wedding-1

And while we do have some plans, we’re both big time homebodies, and neither one of us is much for the grand anniversary show (if you don’t get married so you can spend your time binge-watching TV on the couch in your jammies together, you’re doing it wrong!) We’ll probably spend the day sticking close to home, where we’ll be surrounded by the creepy-cozy Halloween decorations I finally put up this past weekend.  Better late than never!

You’ve already met my Halloween town, a rundown, way-off-the-highway amusement park mostly populated by bats and skeletons.  It takes up the entire surface of my diningroom table, and compromises the bulk of my seasonal decorating.

halloween-town-1

Out in the kitchen we have two ceramic Jack-o-Lantern tealight “bags” that I’ve somehow managed not to destroy over 15-plus years of use, as well as a couple of lovely and thoughtful cards from sweet blogger friends.

decor-1

Down in the bathroom we have a cool wire tealight candelabra I purchased from Michael’s I-have-no-idea how long ago (if I don’t destroy them, I tend to hold on to my favourite possessions forever) and my Trick (and) Treat towels, which are actually tea towels and not hand towels – tell no one. 😉

candelabra-collage

bathroom-towels

In the second bedroom we have my Book of Spells, a large decorative tome (from Hallmark, I think) meant for holding Halloween sweets, although given the shelf life of Halloween treats around my house (non-existent), it’s doing far greater work safely holding the broken off bits and bobs of my Halloween town.

spell-book

Out in the diningroom we have a tombstone fit for a Terminator.  I just think it’s funny. The petrified catnip mice may disagree.

catnip-mice

And finally, out in the diningroom (but in this picture it’s in the kitchen) we have the newest addition to my Halloween haul, a devil kitty wax warmer from Yankee Candle that my husband bought for me a couple of months ago.  Sophia is her name, and in addition to her cute little devil tail and ears, she has a row of adorable little bat markings that run down her back.  Here Sophia is diligently melting my last chunk of Rosegirls’ Boo’s Spooky Castle, a blend of Boo Berry, Vanilla Crunch Donuts and Monster Cookie, and one of only two even remotely Halloween themed waxes in my collection (the other being another cereal blend, Strawberry Frankenberry.)

Yankee Halloween Kitty.png

And so there we have it, the Halloween decor here at Casa Finger Candy.  And now I’m off to enjoy my anniversary!  I hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween, friends – may your candy hauls be back-achingly grand!