Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christina's Tops for 2009

As I have done for the past few years, without any more adieu, is the annual roundup of a few of my favorite things. I've included a few new categories to this year's listing. Enjoy! I'll see you in the New Year!

Best Movie: Wow, 2009 was a great year for movies. From J.J. Abram's "Star Trek" revamp which was a Trekkies dream to the Disney lovers faves like "Up" and "The Princess and The Frog," there are still quite a few movies I'm looking forward to in the last few days of the year. I'm very excited for the musical extravaganza "Nine" led by Daniel Day-Lewis and Kate Hudson and "Up In The Air" starring George Clooney and "Twilight"'s Anna Kendrick.

Worst Movie I Paid For: Couples Retreat. While I love Vince Vaughn, this movie just didn't have it. Besides the Guitar Hero scene, catch it on DVD. It's an ensemble cast you just can't love.

Best DVD Rental: Well, we pretty much got rid of rentals this year and switched to Netflix. I'm in love with the on-demand features that stream directly to our Mac. We've seen loads of great movies so it's hard to pick only one.

Best Song: I think for the second year in a row - it would have to be anything by Taylor Swift. Screw Kanye West. She's making the gold records.

Song I Couldn't Get Out of My Head: Miley Cyrus, you little hit maker. Between "Ice Cream Freeze," "Hoedown Throwdown" and "Party in the USA," she left sugary pop songs stuck in my psyche and in my car's CD player in '09.

Best New Restaurant I Tried: Flat Top Grill in Wauwatosa. Pick your own stir fry meal with noodles, rice (brown or white), then add veggies, meat and an array of sauces to customize your dish. It's fresh, fast and never full. It also has a great brunch on weekends that includes pancakes, French toast and eggs the way you like 'em. Beats Stir Crazy in Brookfield hands-down!

Best Moment: Getting hired on full-time at Children's Hospital. I am so lucky to work with the talented women that I do. I love my job.

New Year's Resolution: To not see a doctor for at least the first quarter of '10. I'm sick of being sick.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cool "tilt shift" video from the Disney folks

The folks at Walt Disney World put together this really cool video using tilt shift photography techniques. It's a day in the life of the Magic Kingdom. It uses a mixture of miniature models and real photos. Check it out!

This originally posted on the new Disney World blog at

What a great day for a run!

Yesterday, Brett and I took part in Briggs & Al's Run & Walk for Children's Hospital. I was amazed at the turnout on such a cold day in Milwaukee!

Approximately 15,000 people came out to participate in the 8K run and 3- or 5-mile walks through downtown. Children's Champions, former and current hospital patients, cheered on runners across the course. I had chills and was choking back tears as some of the Champions braved the cold and held up signs thanking the participants.

Marquette University's Pep Band, Men's Basketball team and cheerleaders were all on-hand to greet runners. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee cheerleaders and Victor E. Panther met participants near the 4-mile mark.

I can't say enough how proud I am of the people who came out. We saw license plates from all across the country. Thank you for supporting the great work that Children's Hospital of Wisconsin does!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Check out my guest blog on

AJ over at asked if I could write a quick review of Tokyo Dining. Check it out over at the site!

In case you haven't checked the site out before, it's a great resource for everything food at WDW. Because we all know that food is the biggest attraction there!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Haven't had much to say...

So sorry I haven't posted lately. I was just clicking through and noticed I actually have comments from people who follow me. Thanks so much for reading! I never thought my life was actually that interesting, but what do I know?

Well, I'm going to be guest blogging over at next week. I'm stoked for that. I'll be writing about Tokyo Dining at Epcot's World Showcase.

I promise I'll try and be better at updating this for the rest of the year. There's quite a bit going 10-year reunion in a few weeks, the diet plan and, of course, keeping you updated on Disney news.

Funny thing - Brett wants me to start a side job. Planning other people's Disney vacations. I feel strange about taking people's money for something that I just love to do. But I can offer a complete service from start to finish from planning day-to-day itineraries, offering restaurant hints, and offering tips for scrapbooking to creating video montages (thanks to the new iMac).

What do you think? Is he right?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Scary thoughts

I've been undergoing tests the past few weeks. I wish I could say it was for something happy like I'm about to have a baby. But no. These aren't happy tests. They're actually kinda scary.

I almost collapsed at the gym two weeks ago. I thought I was having a really strong asthma attack. My arms were tingling. My head was fuzzy. My eyes were blurry. I couldn't even sit up. I felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders.

I went to the doctor a few days later. She started taking my oxygen levels. My blood pressure. My pulse. Something just wasn't right.

She came back saying that I have slight anemia. Nothing new. I've been taking iron pills to help my iron levels for about six months now. I've always had a blood clotting problem.

But, she was worried that this incident just wasn't another asthma attack. My inhaler hasn't been helping. I've been fatigued for the past few weeks. No energy. Sleeping most of my free time. I'm out of breath just walking a short distance. I can't carry groceries. I can't stand up from my bed without getting dizzy. It's been a complete 180 from the person who just finished a 5k run in March.

As I sat waiting in the doctor's office by myself, it was like sitting in some movie. "I'm worried it could be a blood clot..."

The words just trailed off...echoing in the back of my head.

I'm screaming inside, "What?!?"

"You need some more tests. I'd like you to get a stress test, get a chest x-ray and get some blood drawn," my doctor said.

The worry that goes through your head is unimaginable for a diagnosis such as a blood clot. "What could happen to me?" "I just got married..." "How did this happen?" "What about my family and friends?" "How can I stop it?"

Now, I have to go back for more tests. The scary, worrisome thoughts are coming back even stronger. I was up at 3 a.m. in a cold sweat, crying in fear that something will happen to me in my sleep. "What happens if I have a clot and it moves?"

I know nothing has been officially diagnosed. But this is such a terrifying experience for me. Why do I not have any energy? Why am I having so much difficulty just breathing? When can I go back to exercising?

I have to undergo a test on Friday called a ventilation/perfusion scan. I have to breathe in some low doses of radiation and also get injected with radiation. Then the radiologists will check to see if my blood vessels are moving blood and if my lungs are moving air. If they see the radiation pooling in areas, they can tell if I have a pulmonary embolism, or clot. Read more about the procedure.

I can't wait for the next few weeks to be over. I want the these scary thoughts to go away. I just want to be OK.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Help the kids at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

This year's Briggs & Al's Run & Walk for Children's Hospital of Wisconsin is Saturday, Oct. 10, in Milwaukee. Take part in one of the largest combined run/walk events in the United States. Your donation goes directly to the patients at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. You can take part in a 3- or 5-mile walk, or 8k run along the shores of Lake Michigan.

Donate now or learn more at!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Forming team for Sarah's Stride 2009

Hi everyone,

This year's Sarah's Stride to benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Milwaukee is taking place on Saturday, May 16, in Hart Park in Wauwatosa. If you're interested in joining the team, please contact me via e-mail or Facebook before April 15. Registration is $20 for individuals and an additional $75 for teams. Fees are due on May 4.

When you sign-up, you receive a long-sleeve wicking T-shirt, drawstring backpack and goodies, finisher medal and refreshments. Distances are a 5k (3.1 mile) run or 2-mile walk.

Learn more at or Please consider helping this great cause! You don't have to be a professional runner! Trust me, I'm far from it!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dining Review: Liberty Tree Tavern

We had ressies at 8:40 for Liberty Tree Tavern. We were all suddenly really hungry after waiting in line for Splash Mountain for almost an hour.

Brett and I had done this one for our honeymoon but John really wanted to try it again. The restaurant was not nearly as full as it had been previously for the character meals.

The food hasn't changed much in a year. It's still the same traditional family-style meal. Starters include a garden salad with raspberry vinaigrette, hot rolls and butter. Then, turkey with gravy, stuffing, ham and a mustard sauce, roast beef, mashed potatoes and Stouffer's mac & cheese. Then, apple cobbler with vanilla ice cream for dessert.

It was a filling meal but no sparks were flying. We were stuffed by the end and needed to find a bench before heading off to Extra Magic Hours.

A huge family from Australia was next to us. At least 12-14 people. It was loud! We could obviously tell they hadn't had root bear before because they were all passing around one glass and saying how much is wasn't like sasparilla and how it tasted like medicine. If medicine tastes like that in Australia, I need to move there.

Our server did a great job of refilling items for us. He was almost too quick with getting drink refills.It's a good meal for picky eaters. But the drawback is the price. They haven't changed the price since getting rid of character dining. It just isn't worth the price minus the extras now. I'd go back in the future, but only if they reduced the price or brought back the characters.

Dining Review: Tokyo Dining

We originally were supposed to eat at Narcoosee's on Saturday night after the 5k. But we were tired and didn't want to spend as much money with the current state of the economy. So we decided to insert an alternative table service in its place on our last day. Well, we managed to fit two table service meals in its place and probably came about even if we had gone with our original plan.

One of the restaurants we decided to try was Tokyo Dining for sushi. We've recently been on a huge sushi kick and enjoy finding new places that have exciting, experimental choices.

None of us had ever actually been to the Japan pavilion at World Showcase, so there were a lot of firsts. There are beautiful ponds and gardens in the pavilion. The large ceremonial temple still has scaffolding and a huge tarp around it due to renovations. The Cast Members in the entire area were the nicest I have encountered.

Tokyo Dining is located on the second floor above the Mitsokoshi shopping area. It shares the space with Teppan Edo. There were definitely more people trying the teppanyaki-style dining experience where the teppan chefs prepare your food in an entertaining way for you.The CMs at the entry all wore traditional kimonos. They bowed as they greeted you (your servers did as well).

A large picture window overlooks the lagoon (it must be great for Illuminations.) A center dining area has tables and gives a front row seat of the sushi chefs and a large plasma screen that plays calming images of flora and fauna.

Our waitress was so sweet! She bent over backwards for any needs. First, she brings a warm wash cloth and instructs you its to refresh your hands. The menu isn't extensive as some places but there are a few new sushi items that we haven't seen elsewhere.

We each end up trying something different. I tried the Bento box (a mix of tuna sashimi, seaweed salad, steamed rice, teriyaki beef and tempura veggies). It was fabulous. The fish had a great flavor. The seaweed salad was a nice surprise. It was very refreshing. The tempura batter was one of the lightest I have ever tried. It actually stuck to the veggies well and had a great crunch.

Brett had a Spicy Philadelphia Roll, yellowtail sashimi and salmon roll. John had tempura shrimp, squid sashimi, and yellowtail. Everything was amazing. The Spicy Philly roll was something we haven't seen anywhere else. I normally don't like cream cheese in my sushi, but the smoothness of the cream cheese provided a great cooling effect to the spicyness of the rest of the roll.

Tokyo Dining also provided us with a special anniversary dessert slice of chocolate ginger cake. It was really good! I love ginger so much and never thought it would be such a great compliment to chocolate. It wasn't too decadent. (Photo)

Overall, Tokyo Dining is now one of my favorite Disney dining destinations and one of the hidden gems at World Showcase. The entire experience was fabulous. The only downside was the price. It wasn't quite as competitive as other choices you could make at the world or in comparison with other sushi restaurants, but service and ambience more than make up for it. We will definitely be back!