16 April 2015

Walt Disney World & Scrapbook - Part I


Hello there!

Few weeks ago, after some hesitation, we decided to go to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. 
I am super excited!

I have never been to Disney World. We have been to Universal Studios in Orlando after Minecon 2013 and at Disneyland Paris, after Minecon 2012. 


Disneyland Paris 2012

So when Nathan asked me if I would like to go I was not so sure. I said: But I have been to Disney already. He looked at me and explained.

Disney World is not Disneyland. And here is some fun facts about WDW:
  • It is 100 square kilometers big (40 sq miles) - that is as big as San Francisco or 1/3 of Wroclaw area. (Disneyland is 19 square km)
  • It hires 60 000 employees, who are called cast members, as they are "in character" while they are at work.
  • There is four separate theme parks and two water parks. The oldest park - Magic Kingdom was opened in 1971!
  • It has internal transportation system that includes buses, monorail (!) and boats. I have read somewhere there is around 200 buses!
  • Lost and found: Every year, the park finds an average of 6,000 cellphones, 3,500 digital cameras and 18,000 hats.
  • If you were to stay in a different room every night at the Disney World resorts, to sleep in them all would take you 68 years.
  • And more here: http://www.statesman.com/news/travel/40-fun-facts-for-disney-worlds-40th-anniversary-1/nRh6J/

"That is so cool" I said, after Nathan told me all that and more. 
We planned and calculated, checked flights and vacation days left, I asked if I can take some time of work and BOOM! We are going.

The trip is in 24 days. After watching tons of videos on YouTube it seems almost crazy. 
People plan this trip for months in advance. Well, I guess we'll just see how it goes.
We even managed to get a table at Be Our Guest - which is apparently insanely hard thing to do, not even taking into account the super late decision to go.

Have you been to Disney World? Would you like to go?
What are your favourite things about WDW? Share your stories folks!

As a preparation for the trip I am also making two scrapbooks, small and big one.
I will update on my progress, as it makes me more likely to finish it!

I started on the small scrapbook some time ago and finished outer and inner covers. 
It will be used for travel, so the big one stays cute and precious!
You can see a little plane bookmark sticker in the top right corner.

Small scrapbook for traveling.

The small scrapbook looked like the big on the picture below. I used Geometry PaperPad from Panduro and I picked light pink and white pattern. 


Size does not matter.
 I actually used the inner cover as a front for the big scrapbook, as it was already almost entirely white, and I didn't have to worry about cutting out the small binder holes. That makes the cover look a bit more neat. I used one of the sheets from that Geometry PaperPad, with a pattern I didn't like, because it had a nice pastel teal colour at the back. It will be a border for the centerpiece. 

Tools are important.

Initially I imagined Ariel in the center, as she is one of my favourite characters. However the 3D-ish Ariel sticker I ordered was way too small for the size of the book. So I will replace it with another 3D of 5 princesses all together. I hope it will look nice!

Hands scratched by cat. Meow.

I used plastic straws as a center for this very delicate tissue paper sheets. I glued them together on the longer edges. I had a plan to make them look like waves and be placed under Ariel. But since she is no longer in the picture, I used a different color tissues. I am not sure if this idea will actually work. 

In progress.
I used colored straws as they were the only ones I had on hand. The colors will pop more if I replace them with white straws. I am not sure if I will keep them there or remove them. If I remove them, the tissue paper will become flat and it will not give the dimension detail to the book. However straws make it a bit too puffy and they will be hard to cut to shape and covered.



For now I ended up with maybe 15 straws. Since the princesses have different dress colors I will look for more suitable tissues. I actually found some in flower store (used to wrap bouquets) but I haven't got time to pick them up yet. I will most likely do that this Friday so I can work more on the straws during the weekend. 

Ariel will most likely end up on a wrinkled teal and turquoise tissue paper, since that was the original idea. This way I can keep my favourite princess with me during our travels. 

I hope you enjoyed it a bit and thanks for reading!

30 March 2015

Hyped by Disney!




I can not believe how excited I am about our upcoming trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando. Nathan asked me some time ago if I would like to go and I didn't mind, but at that time I would not say I was excited. We already went to Disneyland in Paris after Minecon 2012 and to Universal Studios after Minecon 2013. It was great and I loved it. Universal slightly more than Disney, because it had Harry Potter! 

I started to watch YouTube videos about Disney World and realized that it is an awesome experience I never had as a child, that people of all ages go there and have amazing time, that I should do whatever I want even tho I am not a child anymore and that I should make it count by trying to have a magical experience. So all this excitement was jump stayed by YouTube! 

If you have never check WDW on YouTube you should... People make all sorts of videos from "What to take and how to pack" to vlogs, shopping hauls (which I love), tips and tricks and recommendations and reviews. Hours of footage of packing and unpacking various bags, eating food or just talking. 
I am amazed. 


I started to work on a little scrapbook to capture our plans, trip, the visit and everything related to Disney! I never had a scrapbook project before so I hope it will go great. 



Looking at all the videos and happy people I also want to fulfill my long time dream of making some YouTube videos. And of course I always wonder if there is anyone who would watch it and enjoy it. But I guess that if it makes me happy I will do it either way.

I hope we have wonderful experience there and that someday we will get to enjoy it with our children!


Thanks for reading!




29 March 2015

Throwback Sunday - Blizzcon 2013

Blizzcon 2013 - November 8–9

I am afraid I do not have much to say about this event - it was definitely the most disappointing Blizzcon we have ever been to. 
The usual upside was that we got to meet and hang out with our friends. Other than that it was just uneventful. The staff seem to be bored and unexcited too. 


The "day before" tranquility.

Weather in Anaheim was of course awesome as usual. Sunny and warm in November.
That is quite a treat when you travel from Sweden. I remember standing on the pavement with Nathan, waiting for the light to change and dying of heat. It was super sunny.


Stage was beautiful.
There was of course a fair amount of good cosplay, which I always enjoy!


Gone fishing.


Lovely Svetlana from Kamui cosplay.
Amazing Svetlana from Kamui Cosplay which I admired for years and got to see up close for the first time. Her creations are so unique and beautiful! 


Buzz

 World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor was announced. That was the cool part. 
However the panels and info was very stingy. I think after Panda Expansion everyone was quite excited about sort of "back to the roots" approach.

The panel about planned Warcraft Movie was quite embarrassing - as I remember it now. All answers were either "We do not know yet" or "We know but we can't tell you".


Mandatory pic with famous Orc.

The concert at the end of convention was Blink 182 which would be exciting maybe 10 years ago. At least to me. 

Blizzcon 2013 was not the best one. I still enjoyed the event and time with my friends. Sadly this made Nathan reluctant to go next year, which is a shame since 2014 Blizzcon was the best convention I have ever been to. 

I hope you enjoyed this Throwback Sunday. I have few events I never wrote about so I will try to bring them back as "Blast from the Past" series. You are always welcome to comment. Thanks for reading!


24 March 2015

Cleaning my mind?

Ah long time ago I actually updated this blog. I went to bed yesterday and,  as usual, thought of updating. Complicated, sophisticated and beautiful sentences came to my mind and I was so proud that my brain works so well at 1:30 am. Of course I forgot all of it the next morning. Does it happen to you as well? I find it very unfair that the inspiration strikes when you are at a place of comfort with nothing to scribble on.  To be honest I expected that to happen and yet I did not leave my cocoon to find the phone or at least a pen to transfer my thoughts onto the bedsheet.
If I could only remember what I was thinking about,  maybe I could recreate at least a part of the perfection my brain cooked in the "almost coma" state.
Oh well, maybe next time.

A lot of fantastic things happened since Minecon 2013, which was my last post. I feel obligated to inform the internet about the highlights. I am funny like that. I will include visual to help your imagination sometimes, and of course because it is faster to scroll through pictures than read. 

We are in the age of pictographic communication yet again. I am not going to lie here and say that I read it all. I was also, like probably many of you, affected by Facebook virus for some time. It is all good and still fun after you realise and fix the fact that most of the time you scroll and do not retain any real information. However I limit my time there to interactions I can not get in person or over the phone.

Need to set a reminder to proof read this at home and post it. And with my soon to be legal trial version of Photoshop, I'll prepare mentioned visual aids.

Looks like today is a day of SPRING CLEANING!



Fiffi is cleaning too...

20 November 2013

Minecon and Awesome Orlando 2013

I was very excited for Minecon this year. I attended the previous official ones, in Las Vegas and Paris but never as a Mojang employee before. What can I say... This one was definitely the best one yet. I enjoyed every minute spent with the team and amazing volunteers. it was a pleasure to work with my colleagues from the support office as well, quite a different setting than the office!

Sadly we did not have a lot of time to walk around the expo floor, but I managed to sneak a peek before the convention started. Quality of some pictures is poor, due to my phone camera being accidentally set to HDR mode :D The expo floor was AMAZING. When we walked in the first thing we saw was a HUGE barn and lovely animals Greg and his team prepared this year. Took some pictures of the horses and donkeys (my favourite) before the crowd arrived. Diorama area was not finished so I did not take any pictures hoping to see finished sets photographed with good camera later. Sadly I did not find any pictures yet.

Creepers gonna creep!

Steve is getting ready. 

Sheepsies are being silly and fall on their faces.

We had giant creepers before - this time it was giant Steve right in the middle of the hall. Very cool and impressive:

Hi giant Steve!

I missed some panels due to work, but I hope I will watch them soon, since everything was recorded. I was really interested in panel for parents, Autism & Minecraft, Future of Minecraft (obviously because Nathan was on the stage!) and few others. I managed to listen and watch a bit of the panels that took place in the panel room I was working at for two days. It was a lot of fun!

Here some more pictures from Minecon taken with my crappy phone :(
The gates to the main expo hall... We were all impressed and amazed. It looked absolutely brilliant with the smoke and the lights, looked like a real portal! Great idea, my congratulations to the person who came up with this!

The gates

Ha ha! Trapped!

This is self explanatory. I hope.

After the first day of Minecon we were very lucky to go to Island of Adventure for few hours. The convention attendees had the park for themselves for few hours. This is always such an amazing treat. The park is designed for 40.000 people (as far as I remember) but we could enjoy it in a small group of around 7.000!!! Almost no waiting!

Very smooth ride!

I didn't go on the Hulk the first day. I was too tired and stuffed with food to risk it, but I tried it next day. Nathan however loved it, and he is not so fond of roller coasters. The ride is relatively smooth, so if you have a chance to try it out and you hesitate - it is not as bad as it looks.

Gates to evil!

One thing about the amusement parks that is a bit weird and sometimes annoying is the picture taking while you are most terrified and/or have your eyes closed. Those pictures are also very expensive and not very good due to bad lighting and spartan conditions. We always go to see how it looks and end up not buying it. Well Island of Adventure and Jurassic Park offer you a different experience. When you enter the park you will be given a card with QR code, which you can use in places of interest to take a photo. Jurassic Park is a very good place to do that - we passed few picture spots with crashed cars with huge dinos behind them. This seems to be a solution to our problems - we never have any pictures together with Nathan... However upon our first visit to the park this system was not offered to us :( So we still have no pictures!



AND NOW LADIES AND GENTLEMAN - THE BEST DAMN THING IN THE WORLD:


Yes, it is Hogwarts. I want to live there... no kidding. I is this rare occasion that I am happy as a child. It doesn't happen very often, actually last time I remember was when I got my first contact lenses and I could see the world again in full size, with no distortion (15 years ago).
I was jumping with joy... and it didn't feel fake. The place is beautiful - we arrived at twilight to snowy village of Hogsmeade and made our way to Hog's Head for a pint of Butterbeer.


Everything looks so real and amazing, the staff is wearing appropriate attire in every place of interest. They are all very chatty and nice. 

He moved... I swear...

I can not have fizzy drinks so I picked the frozen Butterbeer, it was yummy! Next time I will ask just for the foam from the top, as it was the most delicious, sweet and creamy drink I have ever had. I hear the bubbly version is even better - make sure you try both!

After a quick pint, not to waste time, we proceeded with exploring. We stood in a long long line for the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Walking through the corridors of Hogwarts feels magical - the pictures on the walls actually move and look very real. You can visit Dumbledore's office, Gryffindor common room, Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom with Hermione, Ron and Harry present! Later on you join a flying adventure with Harry. BRILLIANT! I regret we did not go there over and over again...
Pure magic.

Post office next to Ollivanders

Owl post office - so crowded!

Three Broomsticks
The owl post office is full of parcels waiting to be picked up, Three Broomsticks serves Butterbeer and pumpkin juice. You can find curious items at Zonko's and chocolate frogs at Honey Dukes. I visited the website https://www.universalorlando.com/harrypotter/ and now I am sad I missed so much stuff. There is plenty to see and we did not cover that in two days! I guess the rest of the park was too distracting. There is always next time...

Chocolate frog anyone?

This silly guy photobombed me. I loved it!

What to get! What to get?
Visiting students.

Bye bye Hogsmeade!

I don't know what else to write about this place. I do not want to repeat word "magical" all the time. But it was. If you want to feel like a child and you like Harry Potter novels - if you are ever in Orlando - make sure you find few hours to explore the Island of Adventure. It is worth it. I am sure I will go back!

This makes me wonder about other beloved books and movies - would I ever feel like I felt in Hogsmeade in any other theme park? I know for sure that even Lord of the Rings park would not make me feel this way. Maybe Witcher and A Song of Ice and Fire? I think they are too serious tho... Do you have any books or movies you would like to see made into a theme park?

Moving along with this post... There is so much ground to cover! Nothing as exciting as Hogsmeade but still lots of fun!

Two very distinctive elements of Orlando's scenery are upside-down houses. We visited one of them, Wonder Works, with our friends Sharon and Erik. To be completely honest with you - we did not know what to expect. We thought - eh maybe 1 hour to see this upside down thing and lets go to dinner! Well... I think we spent about three hours there and did not play, touch and see everything.

Nathan and Erik felt like at home.
  Three floors full of fun. I am not going to describe all of it, because this post is long enough already. Lets proceed to the pictures that will show you some of the cool things we did.

Tesla coil!
This is so awesome. Thank you Mr. Tesla! I never had a chance before to play with magic like that!

Erik and Ola at the bubble lab!
And how cool is it to end up in a giant bubble?!

Did not hurt at all!
Did not hurt a bit. I would even say it was comfy. But I like to sleep on my belly.. that could be a bit of a problem.

Double bubble.
Double bubble power! Make up!

Poland CAN into space!
DO NOT TELL ME POLAND CANNOT INTO SPACE!
We can and we will!

Up, Up and Away!
Ok now... I do not have a fear of heights... but this guy on the left does! It is Erik aka. Grum! He was a trooper... He went to the most scary passages and pushed his limits. It is inspirational to see people fighting their fears. Even with the harness on you do not feel very safe if there is NOTHING to hold on to and you have to really watch your step. Very well done my friend! Very well done!

After a lovely adventure time we went to a great restaurant in Orlando, which was kinda recommended to us by friends from Mindcrack team -  Fogo de Chão - a Brazilian Steakhouse.
Lovely food and amazing service, fun experience and definitely something different! Even tho I am not a meat enthusiast - I was very happy and impressed with the formula & presentation.

Mix it up!

Some gourmet salads from a huge buffet to start the meal. When you are done with those they supply some hot side dishes like potatoes, fried bananas (delicious and my favourite) and polenta sticks. The red card you can see in the corner on the picture below is a flip card. One side (red) says - No thanks! - and it is placed like that at the beginning of the meal. 

Get ready to flip!

 When you are done with your salads and you are ready for some meat, you flip it over to the other side (green) that says: Yes please! and then suddenly meat appears. And it is on a sword...

Classy rats! (actually chicken)

The staff circles around with different types of meat in the swords and tridents, you are able to pick what you want and how well done you want it. They cut a piece directly to your plate or let you pick it right from the sword with little tongs. Now... you have to remember to flip the card back to the No Thanks! side or they will just keep coming and coming... 

Everyone who joined us was really happy with the choice of the restaurant. I liked it especially because I eat small portions of food and I had a huge choice and I was not afraid to taste new stuff. Which I would not do in a regular restaurant - being to afraid to end up with a huge portion of food I don't like. I wish the would be more places like this!
If you ever have a chance to try it out - do not hesitate! It was awesome!

And now for some fantastic randomness: 

Iconic.

We visited Universal Studios - it was nice, but nothing compare to Harry Potter experience for me.
I enjoyed Minion Mayhem from Despicable Me 2 - probably my favourite raid along with E.T.
I enjoyed The Simpsons Ride, Transformers 2 and Revenge of the Mummy too!

Go west!


I enjoyed M&M's even more. I am a fan of Peanut Butter version. Yummy!


 Then I enjoyed even more M&M's! That's right. MORE!

We did a lot of cool things in Orlando, met hordes of nice people, gave and received hugs from old friends!
But it was soon time to say good bye! As it is now for me! We continued our trip and moved to the other coast - sunny California. But that is a story for the next post!

Bye bye Minecon! We will miss you!

I hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did! Thank you all for reading!
Don't be shy - share your thoughts!