Emily Travels – Vacation Saving Tips

Me at Disney. Happy as a clam and not worried about money. 

Vacations. How wonderful they are, yet how expensive they can be. As you probably know, I recently got back from a week long vacation in Walt Disney World. This trip took a lot of planning and even more saving to make happen (I work in social services, aka not a lot of money). So while I used these tips for Disney specifically, I think most of them can be applied to all kinds of travel. Let’s get into it.

  • Try to get an approximate amount that you’ll need to start saving as early as possible. For instance, Disney doesn’t release their pricing for the following year until about the end of June each year. Since I knew I wanted to travel in February, and I started planning REALLY early, I couldn’t price a trip for the exact time I wanted. So I picked a couple of different weeks during the year and made up sample trips to see how much they would cost. I did this with flights as well. And actually, this turned out to be pretty spot on (my flights even ended up being a little cheaper than what I priced before!). Now you have an approximite amount you need. If you’re doing a Disney Dining Plan add that amount in as well. We paid as we went for food but I still came up with an approximate amount just by looking at the restaurants I wanted to go to (and you can do this for any trip). Also budget what you *think* you’ll spend on souvenirs – you know your spending habits, I don’t.
  • Whatever figure you just came up with, add to it. It’s better to come home from vacation with money left over than go into debt because of a souvenir or fancy dinner you just had to have.
  • When you’re saving, pick an amount and stick to it! If you’re saving for a trip, and you’re on a budget, you’re probably going to have to make some sacrifices somewhere. That may be taking a little from your fun/entertainment money or a clothing budget. Maybe its saving all of your change (my mom starting doing this a few weeks before our trip and ended up with enough to cover a meal for both of us). Whatever you do, pick a certain amount you’re willing to save, and move it to a savings account as soon as it comes in. I chose to put aside 10% of each of my bimonthly paychecks. It doesn’t sound like a ton, but it really accumulated fast. I also used any windfall money (like my tax refund or the rare milage checks I get from my job) and put it toward my trip.
  • Save with your Target Red Card. Obviously you can save 5% on your shopping trips to Target, which is helpful, but here’s something else. This tip is not my own, but one I picked up from the DIS Unplugged youtube channel. They discussed using your Target Red Card to buy Disney gift cards to use on snacks, meals, or souvenirs on your trip. You still get the 5% off, so for every $100 of gift cards you buy, you’ll save $5. I know it doesn’t sound like a lot, but I think any savings, especially for Disney, helps a lot. You can apply this to other trips as well. If you know you’re going to go to a certain restaurant or stop by Starbucks, why not but a gift card and save on that as well! Bonus savings: if you have the Starbucks app you can enter the gift card there and earn rewards to a free drink!
  • Use credit card rewards, if you responsibly can. I have a couple of credit cards that I earn cash back with. That’s great! And if you keep your balance paid off, that’s like free money! But if you aren’t so great with credit (believe me I’ve been there), you might want to stay away from the rewards because interest charges will be way more than you ever earn. I always put my rewards money straight into my savings and I probably earn about $100 a year. Again it’s not a ton of money, but I’m of the mindset that every little bit helps!
  • Ebates! If you don’t already use it here’s my referral link (you’ll earn $10 if you spend $25!). I think Ebates is great for online shopping that you’re already doing. I mean why not get free money back for something you were already buying. Ebates will also try coupon codes to see if you can save even more. I have the Ebates plugin on my browser so it automatically pops up on online stores that offer cash back. So easy!

And that’s that! I can honestly say if you use some or all of these tips, you’ll be able to take a great vacation, even if you’re not made of money! (Also this post isn’t sponsored by anyone I mentioned, I just really did these things!).





A Disney Layout with Feed Your Craft


For the month of March I was given the privilege of being the Special Guest for the Feed Your Craft Creative Team! March’s kit is called Grow Wild and it’s absolutely gorgeous! For my first spread with this kit, I decided to make a page for my Disney album. This documents times in Frontierland from our last day in the parks. I love the colors in the kit and they worked really well with my photos. I used the die-cuts a lot in this layout, which is kind of unusual for me, but again they worked really well with my photos.

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Don’t forget to check out Feed Your Craft!

How to Disney from a Disney Newbie

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset
     Guys, I went to Disney! And it was great! But also kind of stressful… which is what I’m going to discuss today. I learned a lot about how to best “do Disney” while I was there… by making mistakes.
     First, if you have the ability to go to Disney at anytime, and aren’t harbored by kids’ school schedules or only being able to take vacation at certain times of the year, make sure you really think about the dates you go. I went during the week of my birthday. My birthday is mid February the day before Valentine’s Day. I didn’t see that as being a popular Disney holiday and it seemed to me that it would be a slower time of year. But I was wrong. Mardi Gras happened to fall on my birthday. And many kids in Louisiana get that whole week of school off. And they go to Disney. Also when we first arrived it was at the end of a cheerleading competition weekend at the ESPN Wide World of Sports on Disney property and there were cheerleaders all over for the first part of the trip. We were told there were 20,000 cheerleaders on property. So, if you want to avoid crazy crowds, check for competitions, and check for any kind of holiday, even if it might seem random to you.
     Really think about the weather. I didn’t pack the best. I brought pants, a couple of dresses, and last minute I luckily threw in a basic skirt. But no shorts. And I brought layers. It was February and I was expecting 70 degree weather. But it was in the mid 80s and quite hot everyday. So check and recheck the weather. If you want to bring one warmer outfit and a jacket or sweatshirt if you go during winter and I think that would be fine but remember this is Florida winter.
Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
This day was one of the hottest, and one of the most crowded. 
     Go early! We had a tendency to not leave our resort until 11 or 12 when the crowds were really starting to get big at the parks (especially Magic Kingdom). The rides that typically can be walk ons had 40 minute waits. The day we did go early, and when we stayed late and did rides after the fireworks, we were able to walk right on. So maybe avoid midday if you can.
Walked right on this guy, as you should. 
     Don’t be afraid to change your plans. I skipped fast passes and cancelled my Be Our Guest reservation. I CANCELLED BE OUR GUEST. One of the most highly sought after reservations. So why did I do that? Well my original plan for the day was to head to Magic Kingdom in time for the reservation at 1:30 and stay all the way through to the fireworks with a couple of fast passes in between. After a couple of days, I realized this plan was never going to work. It was going to be too long, too hot, and too stressful. So I cancelled. We ended up going to the park a couple of hours later than originally planned, grabbing snacks, riding the tea cups, and then I skipped my Big Thunder fast pass. The fast pass line was 45 minutes long! There’s nothing fast about that. So instead we went to Casey’s for dinner and I caught my Seven Dwarves Mine Train fast pass before finding a spot for the fireworks. So clearly my day changed quite a bit from my original plan but that’s okay and it was still a fun day.
     I hope you enjoyed hearing some types from a first-time-since-childhood Disney goer. And get ready for more Disney inspired posts to come. I’ve got a lot in mind!

On Being Single on Valentine’s Day

Version 2

It’s that time of year when everyone is focused on love. Valentine’s Day. It’s always been a double edged sword for me. On one hand, it’s right around my birthday and as soon as I start to see all the candy and decorations I start to get excited for the season. Also, everything is adorable. But on the other hand if you’re single, which I usually am, that fact tends to get emphasized to the point that you feel like something must be wrong with you. I don’t want this to be taken as me thinking there is something inherently wrong with Valentine’s Day. I don’t. I think it’s great to show loved ones that we care, it should be done all the time, but I don’t think we have to put down singles in the process.

I’ve been single most of my adult life. Single in terms of never married, and much of the time, single in terms of not being in a relationship. Mostly, I’m okay with it. I really don’t want to be in a relationship unless I feel like it will add to my life. I don’t need someone to “complete” me (and neither do you) and I really don’t want to bring someone into my life unless it feels right. Call me picky, but I don’t want to go down that path with just anyone.
So here’s my advice for all the single folks, whether you’re a long-term singleton like me, or you’re newly single, and maybe dealing with some heartbreak: It’s okay! Don’t let society pressure you into feeling, down, less-than, or shameful because you don’t have a partner right now. Be content with your independence, learn who you are as a person, and wait until that right person for you comes along to commit. And this Valentine’s Day, focus on the loved ones you do have, like your Galentine, a family member, or your pet. And finally, don’t forget to treat yourself! (How many Parks and Rec references can I put in one post?)
Wishing you love and the best!

Rock the Dots!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Today, January 22nd, is National Polka Dot Day!! Its also the day we celebrate Miss Minnie Mouse and Rock the Dots!! Polka dots are one of my favorite things to wear, so of course I had to put together an outfit. I should mention this outfit is much too spring-y for right now, but you might spot me wearing in the parks in less than a month!!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

This dress is an older one in my closet that I found at Charming Charlie on clearance. It was polka dotted and one of my favorite colors?! Of course I had to get it (I haven’t been able to find anything that looks a lot like this dress online, but this one is also really cute and has a similar fabric). My jacket was a more recent purchase from Target (similar) and its super cute with the “Hello Sunshine” embroidery.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

This pin is one of the newest to my collection and when I saw it, I couldn’t not buy it. The colors, the design, the saying, it was just perfect! Its from Be Magical Studio. 


And that’s my outfit! I really can’t wait to break out super fun outfits like this at Disney World, and at home once it finally warms up!






Project Life 2018 Plans

I’m currently in the process of wrapping up my 2017 Project Life album and my December Daily so I thought this would be a great time to share my 2018 plans (its also the beginning of the year, so obvious, yeah…).


9×12 again: I really loved this size album. My first year (2016), I did 12×12 which felt pretty overwhelming to me a lot of times. 9×12 was more comfortable for me, I like that there are lots of options for using 3×4 photos and journaling cards, and I just like the look of the page.

Bright, bright, bright!: I think this was my original plan last year but that sort of immediately got away from me. I love bright colors, bright journaling cards and papers, and my favorite layouts last year were the really colorful ones. So expect a lot of color in 2018!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetVersion 2


A Disney Album: I know I’m going to take 8000 photos when I go to Walt Disney World (next month!!) so its definitely going to need its own album. I’ll be using 9×12 for this too. I’ll also include a spread in my regular Project Life album of my favorite photos from the trip.

More curated photos: Seeing as this is my third year doing Project Life, and frankly my life hasn’t changed a ton over those 3 years, I don’t feel the need to document every little thing. So that means throwing out the idea of weekly or monthly spreads and more just documenting what I have to document. I’m going to focus on taking better photos and things that are different, and of course, any big events will still get documented.

Probably no December Daily: I had fun taking all of the photos for my December Daily, and I loved my supplies, but putting the album together is another story, well a story I’m still working on. I almost feel like I came to resent having to work on this album and I just wanted to get it done! Because of that, I don’t feel like I’m able to create my best work. With already knowing I’m going to have two large albums going this year, I don’t know if I want to put that extra pressure on myself. December is 12 months away, though, so we’ll see!

How are you documenting 2018? Are you doing Project Life or something else? Let me know!




2018 Goals


New year, new goals, right? I should mention this isn’t an exhaustive list of my goals for the year. There are a couple that are more personal that I’m going to keep off the internet for now. But here are the rest!

1. Be a better blogger – I want to blog more – I’m hoping for twice a week a least. I’d like to increase the content on the blog. I’d love to do more home decor posts, diys, and other crafty things besides just scrapbooking (though that’s also not going anywhere). I would also love to incorporate more fashion and style related posts into the blog, though that may have to wait until we’re at least in double digit temperatures. 
2. Improve my health – I know everyone says this, but it is so important. I’m turning 30 this year and I think now more than ever I really need to focus more on eating healthier foods and exercising regularly. I know I tend to let things get in the way like the desire for comfort foods on a bad day or my back injury flaring up (which is usually a legit reason to not workout) but I need to focus on what’s best for my body because it’s the only one I have. 
3. Have the best time at Walt Disney World – I’m going to Disney World!! For the first time since I was 5! I’m really not concerned that I’m not going to have a good time. What I am concerned with is staying in the moment. I don’t want to be so caught up in photographing every little thing that I don’t actually enjoy what I’m doing. I don’t want to be concerned with trying to do everything while I’m there, because it’s just not possible. And I don’t want to be fretting about the trip being over and having to go home when the trip has barely begun. Basically, I just need to be mindful. 
4. Maybe be slightly less attached to my phone – Anytime I find myself slightly bored, I’m reaching for my phone, which really isn’t healthy at all. I check instagram way to often, I look at Facebook overtime I get a notification, and if I start playing a game, its hard to stop. There are so many better things I could be doing, so I just need to find ways to limit these habits.
So those are my goals! What do you want to accomplish this year? Do we have any of the same goals? Let me know!