Dress Has Always Been My Strongest Suit

I have never, ever claimed to be a fashionista. I truly would love to be one because I find it fun, yet daunting. More daunting than fun, if I’m being honest. Most days? I’m wearing something akin to this.

Yep, that's a car selfie. Because I started writing this post in the car and also because I spend a good deal of time carting my kids around to and from activities.

Yep, that’s a car selfie. Because I started writing this post in the car and also because I spend a good deal of time carting my kids around to and from activities. Keeping it real, that’s me.

Now while I am not a fashionista, I actually do embrace the dress up factor to the very fullest extent. I’m talking costumesRun Disney is the perfect opportunity to get creative. Our costumes have progressively gotten more elaborate. Thankfully I have a couple of very talented friends who are able to make dreams a reality.


Of course, over the years, it’s also expanded to non-Disney events as well. Because why the heck not? (Also, prizes for costumes sure don’t hurt the odds of the Scoot a Doot chicks dressing up!)


It only stands to reason that having the opportunity to try on actual Broadway show costumes would make me lose my ever-loving mind, correct? Correct! And yet, that’s actually what happened.

Let me say it again because I’m not sure you understand. I GOT TO TRY ON COSTUMES FROM BROADWAY SHOWS.

(I also spazzed out slightly. More on that in a few.)

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration in New York City on Monday and I’m still on cloud 9 from the entire experience, start to finish. Actually cloud 9 might not be high enough. Cloud 10 or 11, at least.

In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing lots of good info that I gleaned during the event but as a jumping off point, let’s talk about the absolutely amazing and intricate costumes from Disney Broadway shows.

Conference attendees were invited to tour the New Amsterdam theater, which is currently home to the Broadway show Aladdin.

The first thing said to us on the tour was, “How would you like to try on costumes and check out some set pieces from Disney Broadway shows?”

This was my facial expression.

This was my facial expression.

Then I sort of had a freak out moment as we walked to the room. I’m not sure if I’ve shared this before but I am a big theater geek. I was in musicals throughout childhood and college, we have subscriptions to local theater companies. I just love the stage!

I did a good job of keeping it together, for the most part. I think. Okay, maybe the immediate people around me realized how much I was freaking out. I mean, this was a HUGE deal.

After a brief history lesson about the Disney Theatrical groupsshows: Beauty and the Beast, Mary Poppins, Tarzan, Aida, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King and Newsies and seeing a bit of the magic behind a few of the sets, we were able admire the costumes and set pieces that lined the walls of the room.

The wardrobe costume from Beauty and the Beast. Aren't the details incredible?

Madame De La Grande Bouche’s costume from Beauty and the Beast. Aren’t the details incredible?

Headdresses from Aida (that's where the title of this post came from, btw)

Headdresses from Aida (that’s where the title of this post is from, btw)

And then this happened…

Under the sea on King Triton's throne! I think I could actually run in something like this.

Under the sea on King Triton’s throne! Isn’t the headpiece amazing?

My new friend, Melissa of Autism Mommy Avengerneeded a little bath in Ariel’s tub.


From Under the Sea to Stepping in Time.

Fun fact: that coat was small (like my arms were contorted a bit) and very heavy!

Fun fact: that coat was small (like my arms were contorted a bit) and very heavy!

And then we took to the jungle!

On the bus ride home Melissa mentioned that these headdresses were worth $7,000. WHAT THE WHAT?

On the bus ride home Melissa mentioned that these headdresses were worth $7,000. WHAT THE WHAT?

You can bet that I was holding on tight!

You can bet that I was holding on tight! I am slightly accident prone.

Unsurprisingly, the attention to detail was incredible. Would you expect anything less from Disney?

Something I thought was very interesting was how they used “cheats” with their costumes, sneakers under the Beast’s “claw boots” and Velcro on things like the wardrobe costume above.

Jenn and Cam are always looking for ways to simplify things on our running costumes and make them fit our situations and needs; I loved seeing that Broadway designers do the same!

These headdresses look like heavy wooden carvings but they are actually only 4 ounces. They adjust with the same design as a construction hard hat!

These headdresses look like heavy wooden carvings but they are actually only 4 ounces. They adjust with the same design as a construction hard hat!

One of the main reasons I enjoy costumes is because it allows me to take on a different persona and be someone else, if only for a little bit.

I think it’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day routine of being a mom, a wife, a community member. When I get to wear something a bit out of the ordinary, it’s a reminder that those aren’t the only things that define me. Every day can have a little magic if we just seek it out!

Are you a fan of dressing up random days of the week? Or just Halloween? Are you a big theater geek like me? I’m not alone, right?

The Disney Social Media Moms Celebration was a free event that I was fortunate enough to be invited to. Other than a magical day, no other compensation was given and all opinions are my very own.

The City of Motherly Love – Philly’s Disney Social Media Moms Celebration

Immediately following the Disney Social Media Moms conference in Philadelphia last Thursday the text messages, tweets, and phone calls started rolling in asking the details of the event. I might have been a little excited about it and may have talked about it non-stop for the weeks leading up to it. #yesitotallydid


The short answer: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

The long answer: Um, how much time do you have?

Seriously though, it’s taken me a few days to coherently put together this post because there was so much I took away from the five hour morning session.

It wasn’t even just about what was said, it was the entire experience; in particular the camaraderie with people I was meeting for the first time or whom I’d only conversed with via social media. To not only put a face to the names (and in some cases put a real name to the screen name) isn’t something that happens nearly enough, in my opinion. Having face time (not the app), and being able to look someone in the eye while chatting about common interests and goals is what life is about!

Breathing the same air as Disbroads Tania and Kristen was pretty spectacular.

Breathing the same air as Disbroads Tania and Kristen was pretty spectacular.

What can I tell you about Disney’s Social Media Moms Philly event, without sounding too much like a toddler in my storytelling (and then, and then, and then) and also without leaving anything out? Summarizing is difficult, but here are a few kernels of wisdom I gleaned that are applicable to life in general.


Disney are fun makers and as such, are memory makers. My one and only college spring break experience was Disney. My husband and I honeymooned there eleven years ago. Brooke and Vic joined me for my first 13.1 experience at the Princess half marathon in 2012. I’ve adored bringing my children there as the years have galloped past at astonishing speeds. The list goes on!

Disney has a wonderful recipe of mixing magic, Imagineering, and an enthusiasm for connections. Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager for Disney Parks blog, shared a favorite story of a very special lost teddy bear finding his way back home… but not before having a little fun in the parks. The blog post really touched readers because it encapsulated values that we love to see within people and within our favorite companies.

Applying this to my life is definitely not as magical as in the Disney Parks but I do try to incorporate the same type of thought process through my days. I choose positivity, gratitude and overall goodness and gravitate toward those who do the same.

This guy knows all about making memories!

This guy knows all about making memories!

Three of the speakers were Huggies brand MomInspired grant winners and while I don’t have a current business plan for which I’m seeking a grant, I definitely related to the moms on this panel. Lead by Maria Bailey of Mom Talk Radio much of the conversation was based on how to balance time as a mom and time working on their projects.

Well, let’s just say that this was my tweet earlier today…


Yep, rookie mistake. Maria made the point of suggesting that you make sure to look at the white of your children’s eyes when they are speaking to be present within the conversation. As such, I shut down the computer and took them to the pool club where we all played in the pool together for two and a half hours. (Now one is napping and the other is reading. Sweet blissful quiet, you are welcomed with open arms!)

The ladies on the panel told us about their products, shared a bit about their thought processes and also how they went about getting to where they are today with their ideas. Dispensing one piece of advice has to be incredibly hard to do because Amy, Kristi and Jen all worked very hard in following their dreams but they each narrowed it down.


Prior to the On the Road event, the organizers requested each of the attendees to share their favorite Disney Side picture and for me, that was like asking me to pick my favorite child! Pretty much impossible! However, I finally went with the picture that I have on my Meet Meri page because I feel like it encapsulates my love affair with Disney pretty thoroughly.

We were surprised with by HP’s Noah Lomax with this bit of awesomeness…


HP Photo Card Pack with one card that had ME showing my Disney Side. Sweet!

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE REAL LETTERS.The fact that we were provided with this adorable card (is it narcissistic to say this?) and a stamped envelope to send along to anyone we so desired. I’m only a little obsessed with postage, you will find me window shopping for custom envelopes on sites like http://www.agenvelopes.com.au/ instead of browsing facebook and social media. Mom and Dad, I hope you enjoyed getting real mail from your adorable daughter.

These days the written word is very often limited to those we read on the computer screen, however I do believe there is something very special about receiving correspondence via the letter carrier. This gesture from HP was appreciated!


The day wrapped with health and fitness guru, the Mojo Coach, Debi Silber. I found myself nodding in agreement with many of the points she made during her presentation.

Debi explained that as moms, we are capable of doing so much. And because of that, we do so much… until we can’t. We get overloaded, bogged down, and take on too much until the wheels fall off (or the mom starts pulling her hair out of her head). That was something that really spoke to me.

Because yes. YES, YES, YES.

It’s why I carve out the time that I need to go to the gym, to get a run in, to go to a Disney Social Media Moms conference (even though it was the last day of school): to make time for me. My belief system, my internal monologue, used to be a lot of excuses… reasons why I couldn’t or shouldn’t do something. It has been updated in the past couple of years to I can and I will.

It’s all interconnected; a lot of what this conference encapsulated was finding and maintaining balance, embracing off-the-wall ideas (or 10pm typos that turn into something wonderful à la Gary Buchanan – ahem, the DIAPER DANS anyone?) and looking to tap into the childlike wonder that hides within us all.


Have you ever been to a social media celebration? This was my first but I would love to participate in more – I had a blast! There’s so much more I’d love to share about this one that I just might have to do another post.