My STRUGGLE to Open Up

The older I’ve gotten, the more comfortable I’ve become in my own skin.  This also means that I’ve done some deep questioning as to why I do the things that I do, why I am the way that I am, and more.  I’ve also found my hard core passions: travel, wine, new experiences, etc.


For those that know me, or have met me in person, you may know that I am actually a pretty quiet person, a person that usually sits on the outskirts listening quietly to the extraverts in the room.

And for those that know me a bit more also know, that after a good glass of wine, I tend to open up a bit more, and show a bit more of my fun side.  Even though yes, there’s still a bit of anxiety inside.

BUT, one thing, I’ve constantly realized overtime is that it’s really, really hard for me to open up.  Meaning, the small talk conversations drive me insane (I’m an introvert, true as can be introvert!) And, well, the deeper conversations, it has to be something I’m really passionate about.  Which, if you’re a person just meeting me, it may mean, I may not leave you with the best of first impressions.  I struggle with this, I do!

I’m one of those kinds of people that has experienced a TON in life, grown up a bit too fast, and gone through things, but I’m also a deep, deep introvert.  In a social situation, I often times, freeze up, and get overwhelmed in a room full of people, especially people that are complete strangers. And often times, off of vibes I receive from a room full of people, the people I’m around, etc.  For those that are super loud, I tend to shy away from (sorry, you guys tend to make me a bit nervous!)  For those that are more brutally honest, I tend to also shy away from (lets be honest, I don’t want to be the brunt of your next joke, introvert here!)

Over the years, I’ve learned how to be polite in these kind of social situations, but still, I’m that girl in the corner that stands socially awkward, hoping someone will come up to me first.  And this, this I owe to the extraverts in the room, the ones that step up to the plate to introduce themselves, and get me talking to find a place where I’m more comfortable.

But, over the years I’ve realized that I make it hard on myself.  By not opening myself up more, I may turn people off or away, or give people the wrong impression of me.  I hate this thought, and I hate knowing this.

So, this is where I come to you…. how, in your every day lives, do you become more open?

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Insider Tips for the Perfect Family Vacation to Yosemite!

So, confession time.  As of this October 1, I have lived in California for nearly 5 years, and have YET to visit Yosemite National Park.  As this year marks their 125th Anniversary, I have made a pact to visit this beautiful area within the NEXT year.

So that means, immense research has BEGUN on this area.  As I’ve begun to dig in and learn where to go, where to stay, and what activities to participate in, I’ve also been getting some GREAT insider information from others that reside in the area day in and day out, and other travelers that have been to the area numerous times through the years.  I will continue to share this information with all of you as the year goes on.


Yosemite Falls from Glacier Point: Photo Credit: DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc.

With that being said, General Manager, Brett Archer, of the Ahwahnee Hotel has given some Insider Tips for making the most of your Family Vacation to Yosemite:

1) Rafting down the Merced River is a great way to cool off during the hot summer and provides a new perspective of Yosemite’s landmarks.  There are a lot of beaches at which pull out, take a refreshing dip, and enjoy a picnic lunch.   The Ahwahnee, Curry Village, Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, and Degnans Deli can provide a quick, convenient, tasty, and fresh picnic lunch.


North Dome and Merced River in the Fall: Photo Credit: Kenny Karst/DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc

2) Un-connect the kids from their devices and have them re-connect with nature.  Take part in one of the NPS or Delaware North interpretive programs such as Wee Wild Ones, Starry Skies, or the Junior Ranger Program.  Many of the programs in Yosemite are free.

3) Have some fun learning and laughing with Ranger Ned’s Big Adventure at the Curry Village Amphitheater and then head into the Curry Village Ice Cream Corner for a hand-scooped ice cream cone, hot fudge sundae or rootbeer float.


4) If swimming pools are not your thing, there are many beaches along the Merced River at which to hangout and keep cool.  The beaches at Housekeeping Camp and the Swinging Bridge are easy ones to get to and provide unparalleled views of Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, and Glacier Point along with the quintessential swimming holes.


Merced Lake: Photo Credit: DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc. 

 5) The Valley Visitor Center and Indian Village, Happy Isles Nature Center, and Pioneer History Center are all great places to learn of Yosemite’s history, lore, and mythology, and traditions.


6) The Valley Floor Tour is a cool way to see Yosemite without being trapped inside a bus.  This open air tram affords unhindered and awe inspiring views all the while a National Park Service Naturalist provides a detailed narrative of all that you are seeing.


Photo Credit: YosemitePark.Com

I know there’s a ton more TIPS out there, and I’d love to hear some of your own.  Share some of your BEST Yosemite Vacation tips below to make this first trip for me truly successful!


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Get READY for Exclusive Collections from the Disney Store at #D23Expo!

Disclosure: I am covering this year’s D23Expo taking place August 14-16 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

One of the best parts about attending the D23 Expo every couple of years is seeing the EXCLUSIVE collections come out on behalf of the Disney Store.

This YEAR has some GREAT finds available to those attending D23 Expo before sales to the General Public.  For Die Hard Disney Fans, shopping for these EXCLUSIVE finds is so much a part of the fun.

Highlights at this year’s D23 Expo include:

Disney Fairytale Designer Collection – Happily ever after meets happily evil in Disney Store’s newest series of the Disney Fairytale Designer Collection being previewed at D23 EXPO. Featuring five sets of Limited Edition pairs, these collector doll sets were designed by Disney Store artists and carefully crafted to capture the beauty and romance of fairytale friends and foes.



Available for the first time at D23 EXPO, guests can pre-purchase the complete set of five Hero/Villain pairs prior to the general public pre-sale beginning online Monday, September 14.


Following the preview at D23 EXPO, the doll sets will be released and available for purchase in stores and online starting September 29, with a new pair released each week. Each set is limited to an edition of 6,000 globally and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.


This line expands into a collection of apparel, mugs, journals, home décor and more, available to the general public in stores and online on September 14.


  • Once Upon a Time – Continuing the ‘heroes and villains’ theme, Disney Store will introduce the Once Upon a Time Snow White and Evil Queen Doll Collection, available exclusively at D23 EXPO. Limited to an edition of 300, the doll collection, inspired by ABC Studios’ television series Once Upon a Time, brings to life the beauty, magic and charm of the iconic fairytale characters from the show.

 Once-Upon-a-time-dollsRetail Value: 129.95

Exclusively for guests who purchase the doll set at D23 EXPO, Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White) and Lana Parrilla (The Evil Queen) will be available for an autograph signing at the ABC booth on the D23 EXPO floor from 4 – 4:45 p.m. on Saturday, August 15. This special opportunity will be followed by the Once Upon a Time panel taking place in Stage 23 from 6 – 7 p.m.


  • Star Wars – Disney Store will launch an exclusive collection of Star Warsitems at the EXPO on Friday, August 14. The collection will feature apparel, collectibles, and toys, including the Star Wars Elite Series, a new line of highly articulated and detailed die cast action figures, representing characters from Star Wars Episodes I-VI. The action figures will be sold individually at Disney Store locations beginning later this year; however, EXPO attendees have the opportunity to purchase the full set of Star Wars Elite Series action figures, which includes D23 EXPO-exclusive versions of R2-D2 and C-3PO.



Additionally at D23 EXPO, Disney Store will introduce Star Wars Legion Helmets, a series of eight vinyl collectible helmets inspired by the Star Wars Legion Helmet project launched in early 2014. Celebrating creativity and Star Wars, the project pulled together artists from across The Walt Disney Company, resulting in 300 stormtrooper helmets being transformed into diverse pieces of art, which inspired these collectible recreations – epic additions to every Empire.


  • Toy Story 20th Anniversary – In celebration of the 20th Anniversary of Disney∙Pixar’s Toy Story, Disney Store gleaned art from the adored film’s archives to illustrate the evolution of the beloved characters, Buzz and Woody. Featuring toys, collectibles, apparel and more, this collection will be released at the Disney Store shop at D23 EXPO on Friday, August 14.


  • Disney Tsum Tsum – All-new collections of everyone’s favorite stackable plush will be unveiled at D23 EXPO, with one releasing each day in limited quantities in mini, medium and large sizes. In addition, limited-edition mini box series – exclusive to D23 EXPO – will be released along with each collection, and a Mickey Mouse Tsum Tsum mini vinyl figure will be available for $5 with any purchase, while supplies last.


Also launching at D23 EXPO is Disney Store’s “Disney 3D Print Studio,” which offers fans the chance to personalize figures, including Marvel’s Iron Man, with their likeness through the use of facial-scanning kiosks. The figures ordered at the event will feature packaging unique to D23 EXPO.


New this year, in an effort to minimize wait times for guests, D23 is introducing StorePass at select D23 EXPO shopping locations, including the Disney Store shop. A limited quantity of StorePass tickets will be available starting at 10 a.m. on Friday, August 14, and while they last, at the StorePass desk located adjacent to the StagePass distribution area in Hall A. Guests can visit’s “Things to Know” page for more details.


The Disney Store shop at D23 EXPO can be found in the Disney Consumer Products Pavilion. Additional details and updates about Disney Store D23 EXPO events and activities will continue to be updated on, on Facebook, and Twitter @DisneyD23.


 Tickets for D23 EXPO 2015 are $74 for a one-day adult admission and $54 for children 3–12. Tickets for members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club are $65 for a one-day adult admission and $48 for children. Multi-day money-saving tickets are also available. D23 Members can save as much as $112 off the price of admission, based on the purchase of four three-day tickets at the D23 Member rate. For more information on tickets and the ticket pricing structure for D23 Members and general admission, visit

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