HAPPY NEW YEAR

We are so close to the end of the year, and that always seems hard to believe, doesn’t it? I mean, the Counting Crows even wrote the annually relevant jam, “A Long December” about what this confused, sort of gray feeling of wistfulness and closing is like. (Note to self: find time to listen to “A Long December” before January rolls around). But just like the song says – “There’s reason to believe that maybe this year will be better than the last.” – and I get that. I think we all do.

With a new beginning (which we all logically know is really just watching the ball drop on TV from Times Square and taping up a new desk calendar at work when we get back from holiday break) comes what we all need so desperately to keep us moving forward – the smallest glimmer of hope. Because hell, maybe this year really will be better than the last. Maybe it takes moving forward to realize that the year we are leaving behind wasn’t really so bad after all – or, in some cases, maybe it truly was an awful one, and we need to prepare ourselves to move on so that we can get some space to start to heal. No matter where you are at in your personal journey, by the time the last dregs of December are clouding the bottom of the glass, I think we can all agree that we are ready to ring in the New Year, if only just to see what might happen next.

Time is so incredibly sentimental and bittersweet. We hold on to it so dearly, using it to mark our good and our bad and our in betweens. I think that’s why I’ve always upheld a particular romanticism in regards to fresh starts and new beginnings. While it sometimes feels scary to enter uncharted territory, even if it is purely symbolic – it also feels so exciting. And that’s because of possibility. Because possibility exists, and because we, even at our darkest hours, exude hope for a better tomorrow – somewhere out there in the ether, the two mix together and become chance. “You never know” – one of the most powerful phrases in the history of language.

With the examination of time come and gone comes the natural reflection of what we have experienced in the duration. I think this reflection is wise, because I believe that we all have the responsibility to try to become a better version of ourselves every year. And reflection is how we do that – how we look back at what we have just survived, as a learning tool, as a way to honor the time spent, as a way to grow positively. We cannot learn if we do not reflect – even if reflecting is difficult and sometimes painful to do.

So, in that vein – I reckon it’s time that I mark down a little something about what 2017 meant to me. Painful as it may have been, sometimes.

Continue reading “HAPPY NEW YEAR”

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SEE YA REAL SOON + DISNEY SPRINGS (01/29/17)

Sadly time to pack up and go! Had to say goodbye to the gang in the entranceway of our hotel before we left!

Continue reading “SEE YA REAL SOON + DISNEY SPRINGS (01/29/17)”

EPCOT (01/27/17)

I always have to ask myself if EPCOT or the Magic Kingdom is my favorite park, and it’s such a fine line that it really depends on the day. But dayum, do I love EPCOT.

This was a first for us – EPCOT was hosting its first International Festival of the Arts, and I absolutely had to get down there to see what they had to offer. Also, I will use anything as an excuse to get to Disney World. Enjoy some photos from around the world and of some truly beautiful art, aka my selfies. JK. Sort of.

Continue reading “EPCOT (01/27/17)”

DISNEY DAY 2 (pt 2) – MARCH 2016

So, like I said in my last post, this one is going to be dedicated to the Festival of Fantasy parade … because it’s the FESTIVAL OF FANTASSSSSSSYYYYYY! Tom and I routinely sing the soundtrack to this parade throughout the funeral home on any given day, it is very magical.

This was my third time seeing FoF – it accidentally happened to me for the first time when I was sitting outside languidly eating a cheeseburger slathered in nacho cheese (don’t you dare judge me) at Pecos Bill’s in November of 2014, which is the short story of how I got to see Flynn Rider for the first time with a cheeseburger clamped in my fist, staring up at him in dumbstruck awe. The second time was in March of 2015 (sadly, no cheeseburger was present) – we stood off to the side of the castle and watched the parade come around. This last time, we happened to be at the train station and ran off the train to watch when we realized it was time. They had the majority of the train station roped off for people who aren’t poor like us, so we had to stand all cramped to the side like sad little peons, so these aren’t the best pictures, but hey, whatever. Enjoy!

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So this was our vantage point, what a nasty, ugly view, right?

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I am about 80% certain that the Prince Charming in this situation here was formerly the Peter Pan that was so mean to me that I had a weeping breakdown that could only be cured with a Dole Whip.

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I looOooooOove the dress on this float, bless it.

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FROZEN BABIES

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QUEEN OF ALL THINGS.

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This picture of Rapunzel is SOoOoO bad, but it was the only one that I snapped so IM SORRY.

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This should make up for it tho

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Legendary mer-goddess, queen of my heart and forever my ultimate icon

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I LOVE the detail in the Peter Pan float.

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These bratty sweeties

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Speaking of bratty sweeties! ❤

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MerMer!

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This is another favorite float – DISNEY GOES STEAMPUNK!

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That weird child

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My favorite part of the whole parade ❤

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I NEED ONE OF THESE COSTUMES NOW

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❤ ❤

 

Okay, I think next up will be Animal Kingdom, so stay tuned! I’m really trying to get these posted before I go back next week :X Fortunately Universal Studios broke my camera (full story later) and it’ll be hotter than a witch’s tit, so I doubt I’ll be taking many photos anyway. BUT STILL. Trying to be efficient!

DISNEY DAY 2 (pt 1) – MARCH 2016

I know you have all been sitting at home crying out of misery and agony, just waiting for me to post my next installment of my last Disney-venture (lol), but OMG if school and work could just chill for a minute, that would be great. Things have been so busy, I expect my head to fly off any minute.

Anyway! Gonna do this post in two parts. First part will be randomness around Magic Kingdom, the second will be solely focusing on the Festival of Fantasy parade. So, without further adieu, this is day 2 (pt.1)  – MAGIC KINGDOM!

Our morning started out just like every other Disney morning – promising each other the night before that we would get up early enough to be there when the park opened, sleeping through our alarms 500 times, lots of grumbling and complaining, emergency trips to the bathroom, highly caloric Mickey shaped breakfasts, and whining about the Florida weather. The usual.

Because she is the best, Tifni took the day off from work to spend with us at Magic Kingdom. Also because she is the best, she gifted me a pair of matching ears that we wore together all day – since she & I met through instagram, one ear had our insta handles on it, and the other had Minnie & Daisy taking a selfie. All hand painted by Tifni & the cutest damn things EVER. We had also pre-planned our outfits so that we would be lookin’ precious all day long (as long as you were able to ignore my sweat mustache). Anyway, she came to our hotel after breakfast to meet us (YAY!!) and we bussed on over. Though it was hotter than 40 hells outside, it was a really gorgeous day, and it wasn’t exceptionally crowded, so BONUS.

First stop for these kitty girls: we had to say hello to Marie. And I’m SO glad that we did, because she has since been replaced by STITCH, which is a hateful a cruel joke, if you ask me. Not that I don’t like Lilo & Stitch, but I got burned three times by a blind box incident wherein I kept only getting the same Stitch, and frankly, that is when the magic left me.

(Robyn & mom opted out of this photo opportunity, but there were there with us in love and spirit and kittykraze)

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If you can’t see Tifni’s dress clearly, IT HAS CATS ON IT and is the most precious thing ever. Marie seemed to love us, but frankly, she always loves Tom more. Every time they see each other, it gets really poignant and romantic.

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See what I mean?

 

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KittyGirl squad!

Barf-a-roni at this photo quality tho.

It is at this time that I would like to point out two things: yes, I know how awesome my dress is, because frankly it thrilled me so much that I didn’t even care if I went into the parks at all, just so long as I could wear it all day and twirl around like I was a star of toddlers and tiaras – and 2 – yes, I totally ruined my dress’ aesthetic with sneakers. YOU WALK 14 HOURS IN A DAY AND COME BACK TO ME AND SAY SOMETHING.

Next, before our adventuring truly began & before our hair went totally flat in the Florida heat, we went off to the castle to take some glamor shots!

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All the boob sweat in the world was worth how adorable this photo is.

I call this photo series …. trying to take pictures and almost being murdered by a stroller.

Like I said, I was reallllly stoked to show off my dress – so I spread that puppy out wide & proud. Then I realized that Tom had completely cropped my skirt out of the shot. So I died inside.

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Though we finally got it sorted in the end.

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My beautiful mUUUUuther, all decked out in her haunted mansion gear!

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A selfie to show off the detail in the ears that Tifni made for me!

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When the castle has the crane up, I literally pretend the castle doesn’t exist.

Moving on!

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We watched the band play and made our way over into God’s greatest and glorious place, Tomorrowland!

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Tomorrowland is the best because it features Disney World’s greatest ride, the PeopleMover. The PeopleMover has some of the best views of Disney World.

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Like dis.

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And like dis.

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Dis too.

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But most importantly, like dis. I dare you to bring me a cuter mother.

After the PeopleMover, a snack was obligatory:

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Then we took a pretty lil walk to visit some of our favorite gals:

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This was my first time meeting these cuties at the Storybook Circus, and I loved their costumes so much, it made me want to scream and stress sweat. So I did a little bit of both.

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S’cute.

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Robyn with THE LADIES. Tom was probably having a cigarette and my mother usually refuses to be photographed, so, moving on!

We spent the rest of the afternoon watching the Festival of Fantasy Parade (next post), meandering about, and having lunch. After lunch, we visited Rapunzel in her tower bathroom, and I finally found some damn hidden Pascals. Thats a lie. Everyone else found them and showed me. BUT STILL.

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Sadly, Tifni was starting to get tired & was ready to head out – so we made two quick stops before she left.

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Naturally. Two mermaid besties have to go see their queen, don’t they?

And!

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We rode Dumbo! Which was a first for everyone except for Tifni. And it was a hoot, really. Enjoy glamor shots of each one of us in an elephant. Especially Tom & Robyn, who I feel really took it to the next level.

Sadly after that, Tifni left us 😦 But fortunately, we got to see another friend later in the evening –

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THE BEAST! At this point in the day, I had that frozen Britney Spears look on my face, but I promise I was having fun. I’m pretty addicted to Be Our Guest, tbh. Sorry bout it!

Anyway, so that was pretty much our day. The next post will be solely photos of the Festival of Fantasy parade – I just didn’t want to spoil the parade for any who may not have seen it. Expect it to be posted in 2 to 3 years, just like everything else. K bye!

DISNEY DAY 1 – MARCH 2016

Hi all! So, I’ve decided that the best way to share all of my Disney World photos and stories with everyone is just to blog about them, because I always hate feeling like some adult loser bombarding tons of Disney photos to people who don’t care about them. So, feel free to click on the DISNEY tag here for a comprehensive collection of all my Disney adventures!

So, let’s catch up on my last trip. First off: our arrival and dinner with Tifni & Josh!

This was our second time staying at the Art of Animation resort, and I’m a big fan of the place. For starters, I will go anywhere that has a create your own pasta bar, and those are just cold hard facts. Really though, AoA has such gorgeous theming – you totally feel like you are living the Disney dream the moment you arrive. As one could deduce by the name, it is alllll about modern Disney animation, and I looOooOove it. What I do not love is when I have spent 13 hours in the parks and my cankles are swollen and I have to hear the Miley Cyrus cover of “Part of Your World” for the 50th time in a day on the shuttle, but you know, whatever. Small price to pay for all dat fun.

So we stayed in one of the Lion King family suites, which was so cute I could have died. Robyn, Tom, and moi-self bunked up in the main room, and Mom smartly holed herself up in the single room. Here are some pictures of the room before we destroyed it with the tsunami that is our disgusting selves:

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Some things to note – ALL OF IT BECAUSE HOW DAMN DARE IT BE SO ADORABLE. But really, it was super neat. The chair was a grub, for heaven’s sake! Robyn’s bed could fold into a dining room table, and mine folded back into a couch. Bless the versatility. And it all provided us the opportunity to sing The Lion King soundtrack all week long, and what could be better? NOTHING.

Moving on! Tom & I are big fat fatties who plan our entire Disney trip around where we want to eat (I am not kidding about this), and I caught a whiff of a place called Sanaa (over in Kidani Village at the Animal Kingdom Lodge) where you could a – order bread service (sold) and b – watch giraffes prance by from your window whilst you gorged (double sold) – so I booked a reservation for our first night in town. In the most exciting of news, Tifni, my IG turned IRL BFF, and her fiancé, Josh, came to have dinner with us! YAAAAAAS FRIENDS!!! UNITING IN HOLY FRIEND UNITY AT DISNEY!

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First time visiting the Animal Kingdom Lodge, woot woot!

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This photo is called “Foliage” in honor of us going outside for once in our lives.

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This photo is called “I can’t even be modest, my makeup looked so damn good I deserve an award”

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ERRRRMAAAGERRRRD

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The giraffe is in this photo, but the redhead also in this photo wasn’t smart enough to change the focus. So make it a game – FIND THE GIRAFFE!

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Sadly, Sanaa was kind of meh – I probably wouldn’t choose to go there again, honestly. I’m just trying to find the nicest way to say it made me poop a lot, but I guess there’s no sugarcoating that. Alas (earwax), as Alanis would say, “you live, you learn” – and I’m glad that we at least experienced it once! While the food wasn’t my favorite, it was a truly beautiful restaurant – I really dug the scenery – AND GIRAFFES APPEARED, AS PROMISED. I also dug that Robyn got a little boozy and made me laugh so hard I almost peed myself. Finally, and most of all, it was great to reunite with Tifni & Josh, because they are hilarious and awesome and anyone who is willing to spend an evening with us deserves a medal. Someone get those two a medal.

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That time Robyn was everything.

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Just a few supermodels paling around together in the AKL gift shop, as supermodels tend to do. You know how it is.

So that is it for our first night! Next up: DAY AT MAGIC KINGDOM WITH TIFNI!

DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE

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EPCOT, December 7, 2015. Dress by Torrid.

So, surprise! Here we are.

The first post in my new space.

I guess I should explain, for starters, why I felt like it was time to find a new space to begin with. I have been writing as Minxual/at Minxual for nearly six years now, but recently have made the decision to shut that site down and move on to bigger and brighter things.

Nothing really happened that triggered this move. There was no big scandal or need to flee from my former internet home. I guess the long and pretty boring short of it is that I just sort of outgrew Minxual and what it represented to me. With Minxual, there became a sort of underlying dread, or maybe it could even be classified as a fear, that I felt when it came to producing content. There was no fun in it anymore. I felt a lot like I was being controlled by a space that was supposed to be a space that I was in control of. I felt typecast and stereotyped (completely by myself), and could not separate myself from a feeling of failure or disenchantment that came every time I posted.

There was also just the want to shed skins, to move away from past lives. The person you are at 23 and the person you are at 29 are complete and total strangers to one another, and that became more and more apparent whenever I would log in to post something. It is also important to mention that at its origin, Minxual was a retaliation blog. I had my little wings crushed by a boy who treated me badly all those years ago, and Minxual was my soapbox, my way of harnessing that pain and shame and trying to make a revolution out of being scorned. Like anything that is born from a place of malice or bitterness, it’ll never really get off the ground, and it will never really do anything much besides fester. Not to say that I feel that I’ve spent the past six years festering at Minxual- I am and will always continue to be really, really proud of the work that I did there, and proud of the fact that I tried to turn something painful and ugly into something bigger and better – but I’m definitely not the same girl that I was back then, nor do I want to be. I had a lot of fun for a lot of years being a minx, and a minx I shall always be at heart  – but the past is in the past. She is in the past.

What I really craved, at the end of the day, was just a blank canvas. No expectations. No forced deadlines. No constant want to apologize if what I posted was sad instead of funny or felt unimpressive. Just my own space for me to share whatever I want, whenever I want to, for whomever might be passing through. Read it, don’t read it, I don’t care. I’m posting for me. And I’m really, really excited.

Lastly – the name change?

Well, that’s pretty easy, of course. Ashley in Wonderland is a spin on a few different things – my love of whimsy, my love of Disney, and my fascination with the concept of “Wonderland” itself.

The thing that I’ve always found really interesting, about the concept of Wonderland, is how much and how little it can be at the same time – somehow both beautiful and sinister, a lot like life is.

I remember being a kid and seeing the Disney film and wanting to go there SO badly – but as an adult, you look at that movie and you see it all completely differently. Wonderland is beautiful, but terrifying. Fantastic, but dangerous. And that’s sort of how my life feels right now. Everything is so very exploratory, and I think Wonderland is just the place to do some really good investigative work about who I am as a person and what the world around me means. Because some days, my wonderland is just as it sounds – the beautiful reality of every day life, when things are so bright and so intense that everything feels just like a dream that you don’t want to wake up from. And at other times, my wonderland is a warped and twisted creature, a living, breathing, all-consuming thing – and those times are just as important to acknowledge.

So, here I go – down the rabbit hole.

Welcome to Ashley in Wonderland.