A Yellow Dress, Enchanted Rose, and Adventures in the Great Wide Somewhere

As a little girl, I had a hard time choosing my favorite Disney princess. I jumped around from Ariel to Jasmine to Mulan. As I grew older, I realized that my childhood role models were all strong-willed women who did things in their own way. And even though I loved them all, I couldn’t help, and still can’t help, but feel the strongest connection to Belle. Thus, you can only imagine how magical I felt when I first put on the Cindy Polka Dot Vintage Dress in Yellow from Dolly and Dotty.

The Cindy Dress combines the simplicity of a mid-1950s summer dress with the boldness of a shawl collar, which was coined a “fancy collar” when it first arrived on the scene. Most collars during this time were white in contrast with the rest of the dress, and Dolly and Dotty nailed this vintage design to a tee, but with one modern improvement: the collar comes around the shoulders and meets as a deep-v in the center of the back. I can’t help but wonder if this would have been considered scandalous back in the day, but in today’s world it’s the type of detail that I love.

The bodice, like most mid-century style dresses, is fitted from the bust to the waist, at which point you can choose to pair one of two belts with this gorgeous gown: a solid white belt (as I’m wearing), or one that matches the fabric of the dress itself (who doesn’t love options!).

The skirt flares out into a perfectly full circle skirt that can be worn with or without a petticoat (but I rarely step out of the house without at least a single layer petticoat on).

The Cindy, like most of Dolly and Dotty’s fabulous frocks, is made from lightweight cotton with a little bit of stretch, making it perfect for spring and summer when you may be eating a little bit too much ice cream (maybe that’s just me), or sitting in the car on a long road trip to the beach. The dress is not lined, which allows the fabric to breathe and keeps you feeling fabulous.

Like all of Dotty and Dolly’s garments, the Cindy comes in UK sizes 8-22, providing a wide range for gorgeous pinups of all sizes. For reference, I’m wearing a UK 10, which is my normal UK size. If you’re unsure, or not accustomed to UK sizing, check their size chart and review their length measurements provided for every dress.

The Cindy is sold through Dolly and Dotty‘s website and is priced at £34.99 (roughly $43), which is phenomenal for such gorgeous dresses, especially one that makes you feel like your favorite princess.

Shipping within the UK starts at as little as £3.50, while delivery to mainland Europe or the US ranges from £12.99-18.99 (about $23). Fortunately for us gals across the pond, they provide free shipping for orders over £50 ($62), so it’s definitely worth ordering more than one dress (wouldn’t you anyway? I mean, look at them!).

I could go on and on about why Belle is my favorite princess: she loves books, she’s fearless, smart, beautiful, but my favorite characteristic of hers is her ambition. She wants nothing more than an adventure in the great wide somewhere, and I, too, want that more than I can tell. I’ve always felt like I’m destined for something great, that I could never settle into a desk job or the corporate world, that I meant for so much more than a provincial life.

Maybe my aspirations are too big, maybe being a woman in science– being a vet–  is too big of an adventure, but when I put on this dress I embrace my inner Belle and feel like I can accomplish this goal as long as I hold onto my ambition.

Dress: Cindy Polka Dot Vintage Dress in Yellow c/o Dolly and Dotty | Shoes: Patent Leather Oxford in Cream – American Apparel | Enchanted Rose Tumbler- Walt Disney World’s Be Our Guest restaurant c/o the best boyfriend on earth
Special thanks to Katie from Dolly and Dotty for this magical opportunity.

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Mickey Mouse, Madam Mim, Tiki Prints, and Harlqeuin

2016 has been a rough year for both Anthony and I, filled with severe medical events for each of our moms and the loss of a truly exceptional friend. We realized that, for our own sanity, we needed the vacation of all vacations- one in which real life didn’t matter. So naturally we went to Disney and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Our first day was spent in one of our favorite, and seemingly underrated, parks: Animal Kingdom. Anthony is a master Disney-planner, so we had a full itinerary consisting of a nighttime safari, meeting characters, Festival of the Lion King and Escaping Everest.

Festival of the Lion King is Anthony’s favorite part of Animal Kingdom. We were fortunate enough to be provided with VIP seating for the event, which led him to be selected to demonstrate Elephant noises in front of the whole crowd.

If you’ve been to Animal Kingdom and haven’t experienced a nighttime safari, then you’re doing it wrong. We’ve gone through the Reservation countless times, but never have we seen such a variation of species as we did around sunset. Elephants, a White Rhino, three Lions, Cheetahs, Hyenas, you name it, we saw it. It was the perfect way to end the day.

Naturally I coordinated each day’s outfit to the park in which we were headed and to me Animal Kingdom screamed Tiki. I paired my Orange Harley Top from Pinup Girl Clothing with my Laura Byrnes High Waisted California Trousers in Orange Tiki Print for the perfect tropical look. Anthony even got in on the fun, with his Disney-exclusive Tommy Bahama Mickey Mouse Hawaiian shirt (which I absolutely love on him).

 

Day 2: Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios has always been my favorite park to take pinup-style photos. The entrance feels like you’re stepping onto the set of a classic film, not to mention they have the Sci-Fi Drive-In and the Prime Time 50s Diner.

Anthony loves Hollywood Studios because he’s a complete Star Wars fanatic, not that I don’t love Star Wars, but he’s definitely more into the fandom. The coolest part was getting to see Captain Phasma lead the Storm Troopers in the Imperial March (I’m looking forward to learning more about her origin).

Meeting Kylo Ren was a different story. He’s actually terrifying. He peers around the corner and stares you up and down in silence, assessing you. Anthony’s moment of glory came with Kylo Ren adjusted his death grip. I, on the other hand, stood there silent and intimidated. Shows how useful I’d be in a rebellion.

Every time we go to Hollywood Studios we make reservations for Sci-Fi Drive-In. It’s my favorite place in the park. The inside is designed to make you feel like you’re sitting in your car at an actual 50s drive-in. They play old sci-fi film clips, cartoons, snippets from what people thought the year 2000 would be like. When I’m there I never want to leave.

For Hollywood Studios I wanted something a little more playful, so I paired my Black Peasant Top from Pinup Girl Clothing with my Pinup Couture Jenny Skirt in 1950s Harlequin. Anthony was getting slightly annoyed at how many complements I received on this look, but I was in pinup heaven.

 

Day 3: Magic Kingdom

Anthony is the master of getting us reservations at Be Our Guest. The first time we went our table was in the West Wing, looking over the enchanted rose. The following times we went for breakfast in the Great Hall. Every room in that place is gorgeous and the food is always delicious.

Going early for breakfast, before the park opens, allows us to ride the busiest rides before the crowd arrives. Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight are two of our favorites. These two average at least an hours wait during the day.

Of course, Haunted Mansion is always a must. I was terrified of this ride as a little girl. At eight years old I heard the werewolf howl outside of the mansion and vowed to never step foot on that ride. Years later, it’s one of my absolute favorites and I always have to step in to Memento Mori afterwards to check our their ghostly wares.

Since this trip was part of our Halloween celebration (Halloween is my favorite holiday), I decided to dress in costume. During the summer I came up with the idea of dressing up as Madam Mim from The Sword in the Stone. Obscure, I know, but I did end up finding the sword (which wouldn’t come out of the stone for me) and a Madam Mim pin to help people make the connection.

Having no luck finding the right outfit, I ordered this customized dress from Hearts and Found. I cannot rave about it enough. It was made to my exact measurements and it the most comfortable dress I own. It took a couple or weeks to arrive (custom made and sent from Vietnam), but I couldn’t be happier.

 

Day 4: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Let me preface this by saying that I may be unhealthily passionate about Harry Potter.

This was Anthony’s first time to The Wizarding World. I had been to Hogsmeade back in college, but had never gotten the chance to see Diagon Alley. Needless to say, I was losing my mind.

The first thing I wanted to do was head to Ollivander’s and (finally) get my wand, but of course got distracted by Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. I must have looked like such a fool walking around that shop, mouth agape and eyes wide.

Escape from Gringotts was next on the list (with a ten minute wait!), then Borgin & Burkes (for my Death Eater goods), and so on.

Once inside of Ollivander’s I headed straight to a wall, any wall really- they were all covered in wands, and found mine: Luna Lovegood’s wand, my fellow curious Ravenclaw. Every second I was in that park I had my wand out, twirling and flicking it as if it actually could perform magic.

At the end of the day, I walked away with my wand, a Ravenclaw scarf, a Time Turner keychain, and a belly full of chocolate frog and frozen butter beer. The damage was far less than expected, but I was radiating with joy. When the time came, I didn’t want to leave. I wanted that to be my world.

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I had always thought I would be a Slytherin, but after finding out I was a Ravenclaw I embraced it wholeheartedly. I truly am a Ravenclaw, wit and science are above all else in my mind. I wanted my outfit to represent my house, while maintaining a Halloween vibe. My Spider Web Peasant Top from Pinup Girl Clothing was just what I needed, and I paired it with my Streak of Success Midi Skirt in Navy from Modcloth.

 

Day 5: Epcot

Our final day was spent drinking around the world at Epcot (hence my very casual, sports team-representing outfit). At the end of it all, we were exhausted, but we got to spend the day with some of our best friends, drinking and eating all over the world.


I could not have asked for a better vacation. It was so hard to leave, but we’re already planning our next.

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