Evernotes Every Friday

1. Creating the World of Oblivion

I know I’m not the only one who pays attention to the design details in movies, but I will be paying extra attention to these graphics in Oblivion (with Tom Cruise) now that I’ve seen this short behind the scenes flick—with the lead graphics animator, David “dlew” Lewandowski, and design director, Bradley “Gmunk” Munkowitz. Thanks Ismael Burciaga for sharing!

2. Process of a Product Photography Shoot

Another behind the scenes glimpse in this post about a product photography shoot. I am still grasping portrait photography, but product photography can be just as hard if not worse—I mean, how do you make a bottle of coffee concentrate speak your brand to your target audience? What an amazing process goes into these shoots, from the props to the lighting… Thanks V.K. Rees Photography for the glimpse into your process, via Yes and Yes.

3. How to Work with Creative People

This site was cracking me up while at the same time I just nodded along. Are us creatives really a breed of our own?

I think this is one of my favorites though:

“One of the worst things you can do to your creatives, artists, and designers is treat them like plumbers, mechanics, and janitors, held to the expectations of magicians, wizards, and geniuses.”
– Adam DeVarney, Artist

Read more here. Thanks to swissmiss for sharing!

4. Skillshare: Label Design

Oh man oh man, I really want to take this class with Lettering legend Jon Contino—whom I’ve featured a few times. Sign up for the class here! And get from Creature Comforts here.

5. Threadless features Monster’s Ince

While I may be super picky on what type of Disney “fan art” I like and don’t like, I do love so many submissions to this Threadless t-shirt design contest for Monster’s Inc, including the winner featured below. Congrats Patrick Seymour on winning!

Cars Land—Photo Tour, Part 2


Here is part 2 of my Cars Land Photo Tour! See part 1.

Let’s continue down through Radiator Springs… just past the Cozy Cones on your left, you will find the Radiator Springs Curios shop.


SHOPPING. Between the Cozy Cones and Luigi’s Tires, you’ll find one of the last shops in Radiator Springs… the Curios.




SHOPPING. Across the intersection you’ll find Ramone’s House of Body Art, another store that just expanded since the grand opening.




ATTRACTION. While I was so looking forward to the big Radiator Racers ride, I was super excited to be able to ride on Luigi’s Flying Tires, a ride that is based on a Tomorrowland Ride from the 1960’s: the Flying Saucers. They were never able to get that ride functioning to its full capacity so I really hoped they worked the kinks out for Luigi…

The line itself moves very slowly for a ride that seems to end as soon as you figure out how to get moving. Right before you board, pay special attention to the diagrams on how to ride.

You [and your ride buddy together] must lean in order to get your tire to move… but not lean too much. Or too little. There’s a special sweet spot that will really get your tire to zoom. With only 2 rides under my belt, I have yet to really master getting this ride down. Hope that changes next time.




The below photo shows just how delayed this post has been… these inflated beach balls have long since been removed from the ride but as my only photo of the ride itself, this will have to do. 🙂



ATTRACTION. And of course, the ride everyone waited years for… similar to the Test Track at Epcot, Radiator Springs Racers covers 6 acres of this 12 acre land.

Before you even get in line, a helpful tip for many is to get in the single rider line. It cuts the wait time down by over half the time if not more. But if you are in need of a Fast Pass, make sure you grab one outside of Bugs Land—these Fast Passes go fast!


And the third option, actually waiting in line… it truly is an immersive line experience. So many items to check out, even the very realistic mold on the rocks. 🙂


The ride itself truly takes you within this work of art. Getting to go up to the bridge from the movies and ride along with the other cars is just such a neat experience for any Cars fan.

But once you get inside the ride, the Cars come to life and away you go through an animated Radiator Springs, full of life size audio-animatorics.

Then comes the racing, once your car goes through either its final paint job by Ramone or a quick tune up at Luigi’s, your car is ready to race! Good luck!


Before you leave Cars Land, make sure you take a walk toward Pacific Wharf to be able to get the best look at the rockwork of Radiator Springs. It’s really the best place for photo opps too!

To get to this walkway, head for the gap between Ramone’s and Flo’s V8 Cafe.




Well that’s all folks! Hope you enjoyed the tour!


Cars Land—Photo Tour, Part 1

This post has been long overdue but last summer—and since then—I have been taking photos of the brand new Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park. And while many of you may have been down to visit the gang from Radiator Springs, I know quite a few who haven’t. So this is just a broad glimpse into what exactly this new land contains—where’s the food, what’s a store, and of course a scoop on the rides…

CARS LAND is located between Bugs Land and the San Francisco Wharf. It has quite a few entrances but we will start our journey at the main entrance where you are greeted with a postcard like sign, welcoming you to Cars Land.




OUTDOOR FOOD CART. Your first stop on the right is similar to the fruit stand that stood here before Cars Land came to being… at Fillmore’s you can get all the hippie dippy stuff: fruit, bottled beverages, and other snacks.




ATTRACTION. Next up on your left is Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree. This ride was actually a lot more fun than I had been expecting! Out of all 3 ride, this would be my second favorite. The line has plenty of decor for you to look at and read, plus it moves pretty quickly. The ride itself has you sitting in the tractors which then rotate along several discs—think Tea Cups but with half as much spinning.





SHOPPING. back on the right, this shop has anything you can think or dream of that’s Cars related.


Plus these really awesome hats!



OUTDOOR FOOD CARTS. If you’re looking for some food without the sit down experience, a “quick” grab it and go, head to the Cozy Cone Motel. Each cone has a different type of food from popcorn to ice cream and they even offer breakfast if you come early enough! Keep in mind, these lines move pretty slow. More info on the food served can be found here on Micechat.

Outside the main office of the motel is your best chance to snap a photo with Mater or Lightning… keep an eye out for a hidden Buzz Lightyear inside the office too! 🙂





RESTAURANT. A 50s diner, for the families who want more of a full, sit down meal with plenty of seating available—inside and outside.

More info on the food served can be found here on Micechat.




And coming next week… Luigi’s Flying Tires and of course a look at the ride that covers 6 acres of California Adventure: Radiator Springs Racers!

Photo Tour of Disneyland’s Exclusive Club 33


Are you ready for the GRAND tour of Club 33?

And I mean grand because there are a ton of photos. Too many actually to even post here. Between me and Mr. Anthony Tran, there were hundreds of photos taken… from the furniture to the walls and beyond the balconies. Including the bathroom facilities.

If you want the more sensational post about our trip check my first post here… the following post is all about the facts—the whats and where’s that at’s.

The Entrance and Beyond the Door

You begin by ringing the doorbell to check in at the front door with the receptionist.


Then the big moment arrives when you get to walk through the emerald painted Club 33 door and the whole party is greeted by the receptionist and a large staircase and a lift (elevator).

The lift was created especially by Walt Disney Imagineering after Walt and his wife Lillian saw one while shopping in the French Quarter in New Orleans. more info



Lounge Alley

The staircase takes you up and above Royal Street where you then cross over the street below. Many people think Club 33 is just above the Blue Bayou restaurant but the buffet area and the main dining room is actually across the way and above the French Market.

(To get a better idea on where you’re at I am going to show exterior photos mixed with interior…)

This first photo was taken from across at the balcony seen in the second photo, the balcony with the bluish iron work is the trophy room, which you’ll see later on the tour. 🙂


The other side of the red shutters…



Down this “lounge alley” leads you to the buffet stations and ends at the main dining room. To your right and out of frame would be the top of the staircase and the trophy room.


This table is from the movie Mary Poppins and found its home in the Banks home before finding its place here at the Club.



Buffet Room and Bar

Next up would be the bar, and in the background you can see the couch us girls were sitting at (seen above).


Photo by Anthony Minh Tran

We came during the lunch hour so each meal came with a buffet of appetizers.


Photo by Anthony Minh Tran


Photo by Anthony Minh Tran

As well as a dessert bar. Behind the dessert bar were concept art pieces by Marc Davis for the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.


Photo by Anthony Minh Tran


Main Dining Room

When we first arrived the dining room was full but by the end our group was the only one left. We were definitely making the most of our time there.



Photo by Anthony Minh Tran


Photo by Anthony Minh Tran

Our meals ranged from lobster to rabbit to rack of lamb. For the most part everyone ordered the steak. 🙂


Photo by Anthony Minh Tran

Photo by Anthony Minh Tran

The View

My favorite part of the whole visit was standing out on the balconies above New Orlean’s Square.

These three are from the balcony facing Pirates of the Caribbean…




And these few are from the balcony facing toward the Rivers of America and Haunted Mansion.

I am so happy Anthony got his photo with my favorite spot of Disneyland, the Courtyard of Angels, in the background!


Photo by Anthony Minh Tran



Trophy Room

Looking up and above the Blue Bayou restaurant is the Trophy Room, a more informal dining room for the Club.






I had to take a photo of the curtains because I want to try to match them for our home office!


This turkey vulture is an actual audio animatronic that would be voiced by an actor hidden in a sound room. The chandeliers above the tables had hidden microphones that the actor could use to respond to the guests while they dined. All the microphones have since been removed but the vulture still sits above the entrance.



As we near the end of our tour, let’s take a quick glimpse inside the restroom faciltiies, which are almost just as beautiful as the rest of the Club.



And thanks to Anthony, here’s the mens room. 🙂


Photo by Anthony Minh Tran


Let’s take one quick glimpse back before we go and look up close at some of the art featured throughout Club 33…

Starting with of course the Ryman concept art for the Courtyard of Angels that I posted about in January!


Marc Davis character development concepts behind the dessert bar…



The original entrance to the apartment above Pirates of the Caribbean on Royal Street… before the creation of the dual staircase in front of the attraction.







Club 33 really doesn’t rush you through your time there. From the moment we got there they allowed us to meander throughout and take as many photos as we wanted to. They even prolong bringing out the main course so you can get as many appetizers as you want and you don’t have to rush. Which led our visit to be 3 hours long. 🙂


The night before we went, I was looking up random stories about the Club online and found a post by a castmember who finally got her turn to enjoy Club 33. She closed her post with a photo of the back of the door. And I really loved that. For the rest of my life I will have many more photos from the front of the emerald green door but only these rare photos of the back of the wooden and red door.


And thanks Anthony for taking such amazing photos throughout our visit! We all so appreciate it!


Photo by Anthony Minh Tran

And of course one very last glimpse back… to the right behind the tree is the main dining room where our party of 10 spent 3 hours on our Sunday touring the exclusive Club 33 at the Happiest Place on Earth.

Photo by Anthony Minh Tran

Photo by Anthony Minh Tran

A Year Spent at the Happiest Place on Earth / 2012

Here’s to another great season spent at the Happiest Place on Earth! To the memories and photographs, to the friends and laughter.

See my 2010 year at Disneyland and 2011.

March 5

We are friends with the rebel spy!


May 1

Fantasmic Mickey, aka the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, is my favorite Mickey.


May 6

Love going to the Happiest Place on Earth with a little one…


June 3

Celebrating the conclusion of Lauren’s Disneyland pass along with her birthday!


June 4

Photography fun with Rachel and Patrick and the newly constructed Carthay Circle Theater (more photos here).


June 18

First encounter with the amazing new Cars Land just three days after its debut.


September 9

Love this statue of Walt and the Mouse!


September 23

Freaking out as Peter Pan’s biggest, and probably eldest fan.


November 13

Celebrating Christmas in November under a mighty large tree with the best friend.


December 2

Love going to Disneyland with these two. <3 More about A Moment with 4 Year Old Eli here.


December 13

Celebrating Rachel’s 20th birthday along with the annual Candlelight Processional.


February 6

Gotta love weeknight trips to the park especially during the off season, so many rides in just a mere 90 minutes at the park and even a few photo opps!


February 24

A trip with the ever growing Chapin family!


March 3

Couldn’t have closed my annual pass out with a better trip: a visit and lunch at Club 33. No joke! Eeeek! I posted a little about the day yesterday but there is a full photo tour to come!


Thoughts on Club 33


My mind is still reeling and taking in our lunch at Club 33. I can now say I have been there, dined there, and even photographed the Club 33 toilet.

I have been to Club 33.

I still can’t believe it. A dream come true, a wish that I have hoped for for eight years.


Growing up I was always a Disney fan, of the park and the animated films. But when I really got hooked was eight years ago when I first learned of Hidden Mickeys. The first hidden Mickey I was ever shown is on Pirates of the Caribbean and learning about these various secrets of the parks, led me to look into more and more and more. Above all, Disneyland is my favorite Disney creation. And Club 33 is the exclusive, elusive, and most secretive part of this magical place.


Luckily, my husband and my friend Lindsey joined me in my quest of learning all things Disneyland. Lindsey and I walked around with a Hidden Mickey book and toured the park like a scavenger hunt trying to uncover every single secret the Imagineers left to us. And since then, we have wished to go to Club 33. Dreamed of. Hoped for. But never truly thought it would ever happen.


You have to really know someone to get in there. Many castmembers of the parks have never even been there. And luckily, I know someone who knows someone. 🙂

And now I can walk with you through New Orleans Square and point up and show you the windows above the French cafe, and say, “right there, between those two balconies, was our table for 10 at Club 33.”


My Favorite Place in Disneyland: The Courtyard of Angels

It’s been over a month since I have experienced the Happiest Place on Earth and I find myself reminiscing over past trips… which brings me to tell you all, be looking forward to a plethora of Disneyland related posts coming your way. Blogging about THPOE is a poor placebo to experiencing the real thing but it’ll help make the withdrawls easier to handle.

Anyway—let me introduce you to my absolutely favorite place within the Disneyland Resort…

The Courtyard of Angels.

This secret escape from the masses of the park is always a favorite retreat of mine. Whether it’s decked out in its finest for the Christmas season or just any other day in the park, its usually emptied of guests—a wonderful breather! This is actually the place I secretly hoped my husband would propose to me (where he actually proposed would make a great post for later :))!

Anyway, here’s a small peek into the history of this grand courtyard.

Herb Ryman’s Le Grand Courtyard

Herb Ryman is an uber-famous artist from the 1950s, an actual Disney Legend. His beautiful drawing of Disneyland is what sold the park to its investors, so to some, maybe Disneyland wouldn’t be where it is today without him. Walt Disney loved Ryman’s concept for the courtyard that is was created perfectly to match its concept.

Here is what The Court of Angels looks like today:

The floors above the courtyard are home to the infamous Club 33 and its kitchen. What I would give to dine there! [EDITED TO ADD: Thanks to this very post, I got the chance to dine there, read all about it here and the photo tour here.]

You can find the courtyard by walking past the exit to Pirates of the Caribbean, past the Blue Bayou restaurant, past Club 33, and just past the next store… there are tall wide gates to your left that open up to the courtyard! If you hit the bathrooms by the train station, you’ve gone too far. 🙂

My absolute favorite time to visit my secret corner of the park is at Christmastime of course! It’s always decked out in its finest holiday garb!

2005, the year we first started dating and our first photo in the courtyard

2005, the year we first started dating, gotta love my Photoshop work of way back when

And while I don’t love the crowds outside my corner, I do love to share it with others! And I try to visit it as often as I can. Here’s just a few other photos I found in my archives from over the years:

Celebrating our first month dating with a Valentine's Dinner at Blue Bayou—our first photo in the courtyard, I had titled this photo "stairs" so I guess I didn't even know what they were at the time.

Celebrating our first month dating with a Valentine’s Dinner at Blue Bayou—our first photo in the courtyard, I had titled this photo “stairs” so I guess I didn’t even know what they were at the time.

Celebrating our 1 year dating anniversary!

Celebrating our 1 year dating anniversary!


just months before our wedding!

Rachel's first visit!

Rachel’s first visit!


With the Johnson girls, daring to go as far up the stairs without getting in trouble!

My little sister modeling for me right after I got my DSLR camera, 2011


My most recent photo in the courtyard, with my friend Lauren on the last day of her annual pass.

I don’t have any more recent photos from the courtyard as it has recently transformed into a store! Boo, and double hoo! Really, Disneyland, you don’t need any more places to shop!

But I’d like to end on a happy note, and while taking special moments in the courtyard are much more difficult now, I’d like to thank you for taking this trip down memory lane with me. And for sharing this special place at the Happiest Place on Earth with me.

If you ever get a chance to visit the Courtyard of Angels, please let me know! I’d love to see your photos and memories as well (just place a link in the comments below)!

[EDITED TO ADD: The Courtyard is now closed making way for a new entrance to Club 33.]

[EDITED TO ADD: Check out this link that tells the story of Sally, the inspiration behind the music instructor plaque along the stairs, and how the courtyard got its name.]

A Moment: 4 Year Old Eli at Disneyland

Each and every moment with all these little children are so precious to me. But each time they learn something new and take those big steps to growing up, my heart breaks a little knowing those moments are gone.

Eli’s wonderful mommy, Jamie, said something so profound a few weeks ago… She said that she was getting so caught up in being sad that those moments have past, she was missing out on the moments now. So instead she would take each one for its worth and celebrate each new moment.

I took this to heart when we took Eli to Disneyland at the beginning of the month. The last time I went with Eli was when he was 2… he loved going on all the rides but did not like getting off, he didn’t understand that getting off one ride just meant going to another. This time, Eli told us which rides he wanted to go on, which was just so cool! This led to us really getting to go through the parks through 4 year old eyes. And that was just so much fun!

Okay okay, I am getting to “a moment!”

Eli wanted to go on the Jumpin’ Jellyfish ride in Disney California Adventure and as we waited in line, he watched the attraction as it went up… and down… up… and down. And as I snapped photos of the awed look in his face, I was struck with remembering a similar photo taken just 2 years before…



All this to say, going forward I am going to keep trying living in each moment with all these little ones—and the big ones! Because really, Disneyland with a 4 year old, really is that much more fun! Especially when they start asking to ride the roller coasters!

Disneyland’s Candlelight Processional, Christmas Traditions 2012

Christmas at Disneyland is always magical. The park is themed down to the smallest detail, decked out to its finest for this merry season. Plus, where else can you experience snow in Southern California? You know, besides the mountains?

My all time favorite tradition is the Candlelight Processional, where the entire Town Square is transformed, where the lights of Main Street dim, where hundreds of choirs walk through the park singing Christmas carols, where the Gospel of Jesus is read to the masses.

If you have never made it to one of these very special nights, I would highly recommend it. And for the first time ever, in its 54 years of celebrations, Disneyland expanded the tradition from its 2 night spectacle into a 20 night long extravaganza. Almost every single night of this merry month, Disneyland commenced the procession not just once but twice nightly.

I have been unable to attend the last few years as it was only the first weekend of December, but this year Rachel and I made it to last week’s performance with Dick Van Dyke as narrator.

Dick Van Dyke, Walt Disney, Julie Andrews

After seeing this show more than a few times, Mr. Van Dyke is my all time favorite narrator. He graced us with his presence the very first year my husband and I ever attended. His voice just gives me chills. My favorite moment this year is walking within 20 feet of this Disney legend as he was ushered  to backstage. He was just as happy and sweet as I could have imagined. And of course I was in such shock to see him before the show, I didn’t even grab of a photo of this adorable man!

Candlelight Processional at Disneyland, Dick Van Dyke

Dick Van Dyke, narrates 2005 Candlelight Processional, the first time I ever saw the performance. source

Anyway, back to the Processional. To give you a few more details, the Candlelight Processional begins with hundreds of choir members, walking down a dark Main Street, illuminated only by candles. The procession ends at the train station where a stage has been elaborately set up. From there the choirs grace us with many a Christmas song interspersed with a special guest celebrity narrator reading the story of Jesus’ birth.

It’s quite a unique event, one somewhat unusual in this politically correct world. This is one event that I hope Disney keeps and I hope to always be able to attend in support of this glorious tradition.

Tomorrow is the last event for the year with John Stamos as narrator. If you can’t make it this year, there’s always next. 🙂

Decent photos are hard to get so I am thankful for finding the above photos via Google. Below is a video from last Wednesday’s 7:30 performance, the one I was able to attend.

Disney Ornament, Christmas Traditions 2012


One of my favorite traditions is buying our annual Disney ornament! I featured our 2011 ornament last year along with several others from previous years.

This year’s ornament, similar in look to last year, is our 8th annual ornament from Disneyland.


I think some of my favorite Disney ornaments though are from their more rustic collection—which feature a more vintage Mickey and Minnie—wish they had these out again this year.


Another new ornament this year was from our trip through Oregon, from Mutnomah Falls!


And lastly, remember this beauty from the Vintage Marketplace? Well, I had a migraine and had to miss the ornament exchange, so look who is sitting pretty on my tree?


What are some of your favorite ornaments?